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Colorado Edition: A New Understanding

Amanda Andrews

Today on Colorado Edition: Colorado State University has been embroiled in debate after a photo of four students in blackface went viral. We learn more about how the student senate has handled the issue and hear from CSU President Joyce McConnell about the school's approach. We also explore the state of the ski industry in Steamboat Springs, learn about upcoming changes to Colorado's foster care system, and bust a popular myth surrounding bears.

News Of The Day:

  • CU Lawsuit - The Boulder Daily Camera newspaper has filed a lawsuit seeking names of the other finalists for the University of Colorado system president. The university’s Board of Regents appointed Mark Kennedy in May. The decision was controversial, as Kennedy was identified as the lone finalist. The Daily Camera says the university has refused two requests for the identities of the five other candidates under the Colorado Open Records Act. 

  • Plastic Bans - A plastic bag ban goes into effect at grocery stores in Steamboat Springs Tuesday and a state lawmaker from Vail wants to make it easier for other cities to enact their own bans. Sen. Kerry Donovan told the Aspen Daily News she’s considering a bill to end a state law that blocks cities and towns from banning plastic items. That section of law – which was added in 1993 - hasn’t stopped places like Steamboat and Aspen from banning single-use plastic bags at grocery stores or tacking fees onto them. But it has complicated efforts to ban plastic items in other cities, including Denver. At least a dozen Colorado towns have passed plastic bag bans since 2011.

  • Winter Weather Help - October is when the first snow usually comes to Colorado. The Colorado Department of Transportation is looking for help with the winter weather ahead. CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson says they want to hire about 100 snowplow drivers and highway maintenance workers by November. The strong economy has created competition for commercially licensed drivers and in order to compete, CDOT is offering between $23 and $25 an hour, along with housing stipends in some higher-need areas. 

CSU's Blackface Response

Credit Amanda Andrews / KUNC
Colorado State University students and community members fill a student government meeting on September 18, 2019 to address hate speech and racism on campus.

In early September, a photo of four Colorado State University students posing in blackface went viral, setting off an uproar on CSU’s campus. This led to questions about First Amendment rights on campus and what the university can and cannot do when it comes to hate speech. To learn more about how the school and the students responded, we were joined by KUNC’s Amanda Andrews and Stephanie Daniel.

Growing Pains: Steamboat Springs - Part 5

Credit ©2019 Larry Pierce / Steamboat Ski Resort
Steamboat Ski Resort

Last week on the show, we explored some of the growing pains facing Steamboat Springs, from a lack of affordable housing to its sales-tax only revenue model. One area we thought would be a target for growth-related issues was the ski resort. But KUNC’s Desmond O’Boyle looked into it, and as it turns out, the state of skiing in Steamboat Springs is healthy.

Federal Changes to Foster Care

Colorado is in the middle of reforming its foster care system due to a new federal law. The reforms focus on putting kids in homes rather than care centers. But there are concerns about whether these changes are feasible.

To learn more, we spoke with Jennifer Brown, a writer for The Colorado Sun. She recently wrote about the new law and how it plays into Colorado’s existing foster care system. You can find that story here.

Bears and Menstration


More than 50 years ago, the "Night of the Grizzlies" happened at Glacier National Park. And as Maggie Mullen reports for KUNC, the repercussions of the incident are still being felt today - especially for women in the wilderness. Read Maggie’s story here.

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:

  • “Tar and Spackle" by Vacant Distillery
  • "On Our Own Again"
  • "Brass Buttons" by Nursery
  • "Towboat Theme" by Towboat

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.

Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.