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Colorado Edition: Change Of Plans

Women's Foundation of Colorado
Marcela Caro reads with her daughter. A participant in the One Morgan County WAGES program, Caro hopes to get a degree in engineering.

Today on Colorado Edition: we'll learn about one city that's considering creating its own municipal broadband network. Plus, what exactly is an AR-15? We'll also learn about how the city of Fort Collins is re-evaluating its crossing guards after a recent death. Finally, why a group of women in Fort Morgan is working together to go back to school. 

News of the day:

  • Polis And DACA - Gov. Jared Polis says Colorado has few options for protecting the thousands of DACA recipients living in the state should the program be cancelled. In a call with reporters Thursday, Polis said his administration is now exploring forms of aid, such as providing free legal help to so-called Dreamers. But it's essentially powerless to protect them. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that will decide the program's future. About 15,000 young adults in Colorado are enrolled in DACA, which shields them from deportation and allows them to work. A ruling in the case is expected next spring.
  • Driver's Licenses - The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles says nine locations will now issue driver's licenses for people who lack documentation or are in the country with temporary legal status. A bill was passed last  year with bipartisan support granting the 6-year-old program additional funding. Previously, just three DMV locations offered the special license, which allows a person to insure their car but not to vote or obtain public benefits. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing in February, immigrants from rural areas shared how they were forced to wait several months for an appointment, then drive multiple hours and miss work to obtain a license. In addition, appointments had become so coveted that they were being sold on a black market. 
  • Oil And Gas Lease - The Bureau of Land Management has withdrawn oil and gas lease approvals in several Colorado counties, they say, because of recent federal court rulings for the greater sage grouse. The Denver Post reports the BLM said the land would be reconsidered for a future sale. Officials say a preliminary order issued in October by U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill suspends the Trump administration's changes to plans approved by the Obama administration to protect greater sage grouse. The changes removed restrictions on development across 10 states, including Colorado. 

Municipal Broadband

Credit U.S. Department of Energy

Several Colorado communities are moving forward with installing municipal broadband networks. Other cities along the Front Range, however, haven't yet decided to do so. 

We spoke with Brian Sullivan, software applications manager for the city of Greeley, to learn about how the city is thinking about the debate. 

What Is An AR-15?

Credit Jonathan Levinson / Guns And America
The Ruger Mini-14 (top) is identical in function to the AR-15 (bottom) but isn’t as popular as the AR-15 and is largely ignored by gun control advocates and policymakers.

The gun debate in America often focuses on one weapon: the AR-15. But the AR-15 is just a rifle that has been modified to look a certain way. Jonathan Levinson looks at how that popular image shapes how we regulate guns. 

School Crossings In Fort Collins

Credit Poudre School District

The Poudre School District in Fort Collins is re-evaluating its crossing guard system after the death of a child outside Lopez Elementary earlier this month. Parents have been calling for more crossing guards, leading to pressure on the school district to make changes. 

Miles Blumhardt has been following the story for the Coloradoan and joins us to explain what's going on.  

Back To School

Credit Mohamed Hassan / Pixabay

For most refugees, coming to the U.S. means a chance at getting an education. But many become stuck in low-paying jobs to get by. Now a group of women in rural Colorado are working together to overcome their obstacles and go back to school. KUNC's Esther Honig has more

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:

  • “Bling Bong” by Ronnie Reverb 
  • "Noe Noe" by Castro 
  • "Longtime Rye" by Sunday at Slims 

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.

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Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.