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Colorado Edition: A View From The Top

Sgt. Benjamin Crane
Colorado National Guard
Colorado Army National Guard aviators search for 6-year-old Falcon Heene over the skies of northeastern Colorado on Oct. 15, 2009.

Today on Colorado Edition: we examine the ins and outs of two statewide ballot questions. Plus, we learn about a recent settlement for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, dive deep into the story of the balloon boy hoax, and get more details about Colorado's Free Application Day.

News Of The Day:

  • Park County Teacher Strike - Teachers at a central Colorado school district have gone on strike over a contract dispute, leading Park County School District RE-2 to cancel classes today. Teachers are asking for better pay and a contract that includes them more in decision-making.  District officials have offered a $2,000 raise. The district southwest of Denver consists of three schools with about 40 teachers and 600 students. This is the third teacher strike in Colorado in the last 18 months. 

  • Nederland Recall - A recall vote in Nederland is on hold after seven protest petitions were filed last week. The initial recall petition for the mayor, mayor pro-tem, and a town trustee gathered enough signatures by the end of September for a vote. Residents then had a week to file a written protest against the petition. A copy of the protests will be sent to Nederland town officials today. The city will hold a protest hearing Oct 24. 

Proposition CC - Taxpayer's Bill of Rights


On Friday, ballots for Colorado’s 2019 election began to be mailed out. There are two statewide measures up for a vote this year, both of which were referred by state lawmakers. 

As KUNC’s Scott Franz reports, Proposition CC is pitting lawmakers seeking more money for roads and education against residents who think government spending should be limited.

Proposition DD - Sports Betting

Empower Field at Mile High

Ever since the Colorado Water Plan passed in 2015, state leaders have pointed to its goals — of more efficient water use and increased storage — as something to aspire to. But they never had a solid way to pay for the projects and conservation programs it outlined. Colorado lawmakers are hoping that will change with a statewide ballot question they referred to voters this November.

KUNC’s Luke Runyon starts his look at Proposition DD at a tailgate party in Denver. 

Catholic Church Abuse In Colorado


Last week, a new settlement fund was announced for victims of sexual abuse by Colorado priests. This comes during an ongoing independent investigation into the extent of abuse by priests in our state.

To learn more about the fund, and what the church has been doing to prevent sexual abuse of children over the past decade, we spoke with Jennifer Brown from the Colorado Sun. You can find her reporting on the subject here.

Balloon Boy Hoax

Tomorrow marks the 10-year anniversary of a media event that captivated people around the world. And it happened right here in Northern Colorado. At the center of it all – one Fort Collins family and their silver, helium-filled balloon.

After launching the weather balloon into the sky on Oct. 15, 2009, Richard and Mayumi Heene weren’t able to track down their six-year-old son, Falcon. The concern at the time was that he had climbed into the balloon before it departed. Authorities were quickly called, including the Federal Aviation Administration, and before long, folks around the country and the world watched to see what would happen with the balloon as it floated south from Fort Collins toward Denver International Airport – possibly carrying a small boy with it.

The balloon ultimately came down about 12 miles from the airport and when authorities went to investigate, the boy was nowhere to be found. As it turns out, Falcon was hiding in the attic above the family’s garage, putting to bed concerns that he went along for the ride. But then the family went on CNN to talk about the incident, and that’s where the “hoax” part of the story came into play.

To talk about the cultural impact of the hoax 10 years later, we spoke to Robert Sanchez, a senior staff writer for 5280 Magazine. His recent piece, “The Balloon Boy Hoax – Solved!”, can be found in the October issue of 5280.

Free Application Day

Credit Stephanie Daniel / KUNC
Incoming students at the University of Northern Colorado meet with financial aid advisors during a 2018 summer orientation.

Once again this year, Colorado students will have the opportunity to start investing in their futures for free. All 35 public colleges and universities and several private institutions in the state will allow students to apply without fees all day Tuesday, Oct. 15.

KUNC’s Stephanie Daniel joined us to give us the details

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:

  • "Rabbit Hole" by Love and Weasel
  • "The Zeppelin" by Aeronaut
  • "Inessential" by Bayou Birds
  • "On Our Own Again" 

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. 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.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily look at the stories, news, people and issues important to you. It's a window to the communities along the Colorado Rocky Mountains.