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Colorado Edition: Close Quarters

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STEPHANIE DANIEL
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KUNC
Inmates from the Sterling Correctional Facility perform the play "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility.";

Today on Colorado Edition: A recent report reveals delays in becoming a U.S. citizen are getting longer. We also learn about a group trying to bring together the residents of a mobile home in Eagle County, take a look at a recent partnership that is bringing the arts into Colorado's prisons, and explore what a potential strike in the healthcare industry could mean for Coloradans.

News Of The Day:

  • Vehicle Emissions Standards - Colorado’s attorney general, Phil Weiser, has said he would fight to maintain the state’s vehicle emissions standards after the Trump administration earlier today revoked the rights of states to set their own. Colorado enacted standards around zero emission vehicles back in August. Weiser tweeted that "this action is a direct assault on our system of cooperative federalism." It is still unclear how the attorney general will challenge the national move.
     
  • Civil Rights Division Audit - The state auditor's office has found that Colorado's Civil Rights Division investigates discrimination complaints too slowly, and that its Civil Rights Commission operates without transparency. The audit says delays could prompt people to opt out of the process to pursue their complaints through lawsuits instead. The Colorado Sun reports that the commission couldn't provide documentation on how it decided more than 200 cases from fiscal years 2017 and 2018. And it says commissioners voted in closed session, violating open meeting laws.
     
  • Not Proud To Be - Student leaders at the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University are working together to protest a blackface incident at CSU last week. CSU officials say the four students who posted to social media in blackface are covered under the First Amendment, and the university will not take action against them. Organizers are using the hashtag "Not Proud To Be" to encourage policy changes. Students from both universities plan to attend CSU's student government meeting tonight to ask for a response condemning racially motivated incidents.

Citizenship Delays

A new report shows those hoping to become U.S. citizens through naturalization are waiting a lot longer. The processing time for citizenship applications has essentially doubled since 2016. The report, from the Colorado State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, highlights the backlog of applications – and how it's impacting the voting and employment rights of those stuck in the system. 

To learn more, we spoke with Ming Hsu Chen. She's a professor of law at the University of Colorado Boulder, and is a member of the bipartisan state advisory committee which issued the report. 

Parked: Part 3

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Credit TINA GRIEGO / THE COLORADO INDEPENDENT
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THE COLORADO INDEPENDENT
A resident of the Aspens Mobile Home Village in Avon takes in the view from the deck of the mobile home she and her family have lived in for about six years. As with other trailer parks, they own the trailer and rent the lot space. She has lived in the U.S. since 2001, and says the Aspens is home, but so, too, is Mexico.

This week, we've been hosting conversations about a statewide reporting collaboration led by The Colorado Sun about mobile homes. In the past two days, we've talked about legislation that protects owners of mobile homes. In today's conversation, we're going to step away from policy and look at the human side of mobile home parks. Tina Griego, the managing editor for the Colorado Independent, reported on the Aspens Mobile Home Village in Eagle County, and about a group that's been meeting there. 

Potential Kaiser Permanente Strike

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Credit HENRY ZIMMERMAN / KUNC
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KUNC
Kaiser Permanente facility in Greeley, Colorado.

Last week, Colorado employees of Kaiser Permanente, the health care and insurance provider, voted to support a nationwide strike. While employees of the company have not yet begun a strike, they could soon, depending on how contract negotiations go between the company and the union that represents them, a nationwide union called Service eEmployees International Union, or SEIU. To learn more about what the potential strike could mean for Coloradans, we spoke with BizWest reporter Dan Mika.

Performing Arts In Prison

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Credit STEPHANIE DANIEL / KUNC
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KUNC

The University of Denver and the Department of Corrections recently signed a three-year deal to bring arts programming to every prison in the Colorado. The initiative is the first of its kind in the state. KUNC’s Stephanie Daniel takes us to one prison to see how the performing arts are playing out.

National Cheeseburger Day

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PIXABAY

You may have seen that today is National Cheeseburger Day! And as it turns out, the cheeseburger may have been invented in Denver.

According to History Colorado, Louis Ballast, the owner of a drive-in in Denver called Humpty Dumpty Barrel Drive Inn filed a trademark claim for the cheeseburger in March of 1935. It is also said that that restaurant was Colorado’s first drive-in. A granite plaque now stands on the site. 

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
  • "LaBranche" by Bayou Birds
  • "Peacoat" by Studio J
  • "Town Market" by Onesuch Village

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, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.