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Colorado Edition: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Brett Levin
CC BY 2.0

Today on Colorado Edition: We follow an invasive species into Larimer County, hear the latest about gun deaths and suicide, dive deep into Colorado's marijuana markets — both legal and illegal — and break down new winter driving laws.

News Of The Day:

  • Attorney General Approves NCMC Sale - Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has approved a $328 million dollar transaction between Weld County and Banner Health. The deal makes Banner the sole owner of the North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and ends more than 100 years of the county's involvement with the hospital. Proceeds from the sale will go towards paying debt on the building and charitable efforts. In August, Weld County announced plans to sell its remaining stake in NCMC to Banner Health, which has operated the facility since 1995. 
  • Glen Canyon Dam - A coalition of environmental groups is suing the federal government over the operation of a dam on the Colorado River. The groups contend that the Bureau of Reclamation’s 20-year operational plan for Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona ran afoul of federal environmental laws. They wanted the agency to look at all the available options in managing it, including its decommission. The groups say climate change will further reduce the river’s flows. And that will endanger the ability of reservoirs to meet the needs of the 40 million people who rely on the Colorado River. The lawsuit was filed in an Arizona federal court this week. If the environmental groups are successful, the Bureau of Reclamation could be forced to craft a new long-term plan.
  • New Funds for DPS - Denver Public Schools now has more funding to focus on closing persistent achievement gaps. The DPS Foundation recently received a $10 million award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The five-year grant will allow the district to strengthen individualized supports for black, LatinX and low-income learners. The college enrollment rates for black and LatinX students – who graduated in 2018 – were 15 and 21 percentage points lower than their white peers.
  • A Netted Elk - An elk with netting tangled in its antlers has concerned Estes Park residents calling up local wildlife officials. Colorado Parks and Wildlife says they won’t intervene because the animal can still eat and get around and that sedating it right now would be risky. To prevent similar cases, they recommend residents take down volleyball and soccer nets in their yards.

Emerald Ash Borer In Larimer 

Credit Dan West / Colorado State Forest Service
Colorado State Forest Service
An adult emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer has been found in Larimer County. Local foresters say they found the highly-destructive beetle inside a pile of ash tree wood just outside of Berthoud. KUNC's Matt Bloom, who has been reporting on the beetle, joins us to fill us in on the latest migration.

New National Gun Poll

Credit Luis Melgar / Guns & America
Guns & America

Today, mass shootings and homicides dominate the national conversation on guns. But according to a new national poll from Guns & America, the APM Research Lab and Call To Mind, most gun deaths in this country are suicides. Boise State Public Radio's Heath Druzin explains. And as a note for listeners, this story talks about suicide.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide you can call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-TALK (8255).

The Current State Of Colorado's Marijuana Industry

Credit KUNC File Photo

It’s been over five years since the legalized marijuana market launched in Colorado, and today, we’re going to bring you a series of reports on what this has meant for the industry in our state. You’ll first hear from BizWest’s Ken Amundson about the state of the legal market today, and where it’s going. Then, a conversation with KUNC’s Esther Honig about the illegal marijuana market. Finally, we’ll hear from Dan Mika, also of BizWest, about how changes in banking and finance could impact the industry.

New Winter Driving Laws

Credit Jackie Hai / KUNC

Winter is soon to come in Colorado, and with it comes enforcement of a new winter driving law. In May 2019, the Colorado legislature passed a new law  that requires vehicles meet certain traction control standards for winter driving, from Sept. 1 through May 31. To learn more about the specifics of the law and how it will be enforced, we spoke with the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Andrew Hogle.

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:

  • "Vibrant Canopy" by Origami
  • "Great is the Contessa" by The Contessa
  • "Tar and Spackle" by Vacant Distillery
  • "Arizona Moon" by Cholate

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.

Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.