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Colorado Edition: Coming Together

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Today on Colorado Edition: In the midst of multiple wildfires burning across the U.S., a group of Colorado lawmakers has been focused on legislation to prevent them in our state. We check in to see what the Wildfire Matters Review Committee has been working on. Plus, we head to the Four Corners to see how climate change is affecting the region. We also dive deep in the controversial CORE act and learn about the transcontinental railroad and its legacy in Colorado 150 years after its completion.

News Of The Day:

  • Election Day Look-Ahead - Colorado voters are deciding on two statewide ballot questions tomorrow, Nov. 5, along with local council races and tax hikes. Proposition CC and DD are the two big questions this year. CC would remove a cap on the amount of tax dollars the state can keep at the end of the year, meaning the government could spend it on public education and road improvements. DD would legalize sports betting in Colorado. A new tax on the proceeds would fund a long list of water conservation and infrastructure projects across the state. Ballots must now be dropped off at official election sites — it’s too late to mail them in.   

  • Pueblo Synagogue - The FBI says it has arrested a man in a plot to bomb a historic Colorado synagogue. The co-conspirators turned out to be undercover agents. Court documents say 27-year-old Richard Holzer was arrested Friday just after the agents brought him what were supposedly two pipe bombs along with dynamite to blow up Temple Emanuel in Pueblo. The investigation into Holzer began after an undercover FBI agent purporting to be a woman who supports white supremacy contacted him on Facebook. It's not clear if Holzer has a lawyer representing him. 

  • Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame - Colorado’s Women’s Hall of Fame will get 10 new inductees next year. Among them are teachers, journalists, doctors, activists, and public servants, like former Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton, and labor rights activist Lupe Briseno. Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame inducts a new class of contemporary and historical women every two years. More than 160 Colorado women have been honored since the Hall of Fame was founded in 1985.  

Wildfire Matters Review Committee

Credit Colorado State Forest Service

Numerous wildfires are raging across the U.S. One group of Colorado lawmakers is focused on advancing legislation to address wildfires and the threat they pose to our state. We spoke with Rep. Marc Snyder, chair of theWildfire Matters Review Committee, to learn what legislation they’re bringing in front of the general assembly in 2020.

Climate Change At The Four Corners

Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC
A sprinkler irrigates land outside Cortez, Colorado. Communities in the Four Corners region have been bouncing between desperately dry and record-breaking moisture since the winter of 2017.

Climate change has been called “the new normal” by some. But residents in the Southwest say there’s nothing normal about it.  Communities in the Four Corners region — where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet — have been bouncing between desperately dry and record-breaking moisture for the past few years.

KUNC’s Luke Runyon brings us more on how they’re adapting. You can read more of Luke’s reporting on climate change in that region here.

The Controversial CORE Act

South Shale Ridge in western Colorado is prized for scenery, and the natural gas that lies beneath it.
Credit Photo by Kirk Siegler
The CORE Act would bring protections for hundreds of thousands of acres of Colorado land. But the bill isn't without its opponents.

Last week, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy, or CORE Act passed a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which would protect around 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, seems unlikely to pass through the Senate, and the Trump administration has said they would veto the act if it does. To help us break down the politics surrounding this bill, we spoke with Jesse Paul, politics reporter for the Colorado Sun.

The Legacy Of The Transcontinental Railroad in Colorado

Credit U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
A 19th century map shows proposed railroad routes across the American West.

150 years ago, the first transcontinental railroad in the United States was completed, when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies met at Promontory Point in Utah. The impacts of its construction were felt around the country, even in states like Colorado that weren’t part of the original route. Colorado was later connected to the transcontinental railroad by the Denver Pacific Railroad. To learn more about the legacy of the transcontinental railroad in Colorado and in the West, we spoke with state historian William Wei.

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 Shoes They Wear" by Delray
  • "Chromium Blush" by Ray Catcher
  • "Highway 430" by Truck Stop
  • "Take a Tiny Train" by Ray Catcher

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.