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Colorado Edition: The End Of An Era

Luke Runyon
The home of O.T. Jackson, the founder of Dearfield, Colo., sits on the town site in rural Weld County. It's one of the few remaining structures.

Today on Colorado Edition: a new report details the health effects of the oil and gas industry. Plus, we'll discuss the latest in construction on Interstate 25. We'll also look back at the history of the town of Dearfield. And, as we celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage, we'll talk about the history of the movement in Colorado. 

News of the Day: 

  • Elk Fire - Firefighters are working to contain a wildfire that began as a controlled burn and is now threatening about 50 homes in northern Colorado. For more on the fire, follow these updates from the KUNC newsroom. 
  • National Guard - National Guard members have a significantly higher rate of suicide than active-duty troops. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including Colorado's Michael Bennet, are asking the Pentagon why that is. Six Democrats, two Republicans, and one independent senator have asked for a report that would identify risk factors National Guard members face, as well as any gaps in prevention programs. The senators speculated that factors might include isolation from the broader military community, employment difficulties, and trouble accessing mental health treatment, especially in rural areas. 
  • Boulder Greenhouse Gas Emissions - The City of Boulder claims to have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18%. The announcement came after the release of the 2018 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, which is part of the city's overall goal to mitigate climate change. The reductions came from improvements made to city-owned buildings, as well as leadership shown by water utilities. The city has published inventory reports since 2005 as a way of measuring the progress of emission reduction initiatives funded by the Climate Action Plan. 

Oil And Gas Study

Oil well
Credit Matt Bloom / KUNC

Colorado officials have unveiled the results of a multi-year scientific study that says oil and gas operations may have a more significant impact on human health than previously believed. 

The study found people living between 500 and 2,000 feet of oil and gas fracking sites, under certain conditions, can have elevated risk of nose bleeds, headaches, dizziness and other short-term health effects. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health commissioned the study, and, along with members of the state's oil and gas conservation commission, they held a press conference at their Cherry Creek office earlier today. KUNC's Scott Franz was there and joined us to discuss the findings.  

I-25 Construction

Credit Matt Bloom/KUNC
Cars and trucks drive along I-25 in Johnstown.

The drive along Interstate 25 in northern Colorado is pretty rough these days. The growing traffic and construction seems to have no end in sight. But there is some good news for drivers, and KUNC's Matt Bloom joins us to bring us up to speed.

Celebrating Dearfield Day

Credit Rae Ellen Bichell / Mountain West News Bureau
Mountain West News Bureau
The workshop of blacksmith and fiddler Squire Brockman is stabilized by a few wooden posts. It sits next to the dilapidated cafe and across the street from the old gas station in Dearfield.

In 1910, the town of Dearfield in Weld County was established. It was an African American farming community known for its dryland farming techniques. 

The last original settler was its founder, Oliver Toussaint Jackson, who lived in Dearfield until he died in the late 1940s. Since then, the few remaining original buildings have fallen into disrepair. Saturday is the annual Dearfield Days, when volunteers can help with historic preservation.

George Junne, professor of Africana studies at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, joined us to tell us more about the history of Dearfield. 

Celebrating Women's Suffrage

Credit Stacy Nick / KUNC

This week, as ballots go out across the Front Range, we've been discussing election issues. Today we're going back in history to talk about women and the right to vote.

Congress passed the 19th Amendment 100 years ago. Historian Patty Limerick, from the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, joined us to explain how Coloradans were at the forefront of that movement. 

Suffragette Sculpture

Jane DeDecker
Credit Stacy Nick / KUNC
Artist Jane DeDecker works outside of her Loveland studio grinding down the plaster on a maquette (model) of her sculpture 'Every Word We Utter.'

Over the coming year, Colorado will join states across the nation in commemorating the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote. Back in August, KUNC's Stacy Nick profiled a Loveland sculptor who says it's an event worth celebrating, and she's hoping to convince some people in Washington D.C. of that too.  

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:

  • "Wingspan" by Bayou Birds

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.  

Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.