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Colorado Edition: Kindergarten's Not What It Used To Be

Keenan Kellog
Stephanie Daniel
Beginning this school year, Greeley-Evans School District 6 will no longer have to pay for full-day kindergarten. It will use the savings to give all district employees a raise, including educators like kindergarten teacher Keegan Kellogg.

Today on Colorado Edition: we'll discuss what former Gov. John Hickenlooper's announcement that he will enter the primary race for Republican Cory Gardner's Senate seat means, and what's next. Plus, we'll talk with Gov. Jared Polis about full-day kindergarten, and look into why an influential philanthropist in Fort Collins is embroiled in a controversy over a proposed homeless center. 


News of the day:

  • Bears - This year has been especially problematic for bears in Colorado. Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department has had to euthanize 72 bears so far in 2019. There are many reasons for the uptick. Denver Channel 7 reports the biggest one is residents living in areas with bear activity not securing their trash. But Parks and Wildlife also says climate change is a contributing factor as there is less natural food for bears when they emerge from hibernation. And development is another factor as more communities pop up in areas considered to be part of bears' natural habitat. 
  • Space Command - Colorado Springs will be the initial headquarters for the new Space Command. The president launched Space Command last  year. Its goal is to organize the military's space operations as concerns grow around Rusisa and China's ability to disrupt U.S. satellites. 
  • Colorado State Fair - The Colorado State Fair in Pueblo opens tomorrow. The entertainment lineup includes staples from rock, Tejano and country music scenes. Some first-time offerings include an 80-foot high-dive show, a hypnotist and a large-scale balloon artist, among others. The fair's "Horsin' Around" theme celebrates 150 years of horse events. The fair runs through Labor Day. 

Hickenlooper Enters The Senate Race

John Hickenlooper
Credit Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0
CC BY-SA 2.0
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has annoucned he is entering the race for Republican Cory Gardner's Senate seat, in a video released Thursday morning.  He is now the 12th Democrat running in the primary election. KUNC's Scott Franz joins us to discuss the news.

Full-Day Kindergarten Launches Across The State

Credit Bradley Gordon / CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0

As kids across Colorado continue to head back to school, one thing is new, at least for some districts: free, full-day kindergarten. In the past, the state only funded kindergarten for a half-day. Some districts still offered a full-day option, either deciding to pay for it themselves or charging tuition for the program. This year, full-day kindergarten will be funded by the state, through the School Finance Act formula.

Colorado's Gov. Jared Polis championed this legislation through the state legislature and joined us to discuss the program. 

We also spoke with KUNC's Stephanie Daniels about what this change has meant around the state. 

Fort Collins Philanthropist In Midst Of Controversy

Credit City of Fort Collins

Pat Stryker is a wealthy philanthropist and an influential resident of Fort Collins, known for being the person behind NewWestFest, a free annual music festival in the city. Recently, she's been working on opening a homeless services campus in the northern part of the city. But some residents are upset, questioning her involvement in the project because of the property she owns in the town. 

Pat Ferrier, a reporter from the Coloradoan, joins us to discuss. 

Chapel In Colorado Springs To Be Repaired

Credit Abigail Beckman / 91.5 KRCC
91.5 KRCC
The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado has announced it will close its cadet chapel for extensive renovations beginning in September.

This week, we learned that the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs will close its cadet chapel next month for extensive repairs. Plans for a renovation project were scrapped earlier this year, when federal funds were diverted to an Air Force base in Florida. In April, KRCC's Abigail Beckman took us inside the iconic building to see what needed to be done.

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music this week by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • "Turning" by Lathe
  • "Horizon Liner" by The Pine Barrens

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and Henry Zimmerman (@HWZimmerman), and produced by Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. News director Catherine Welch and managing editor Brian Larson contributed to this episode.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily news magazine taking an in-depth look at the issues and culture of Northern Colorado. It's available on our website, as well as on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, beginning Sept. 2, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.