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Colorado Edition: One Of These Things

Leigh Paterson/Inside Energy

Today on Colorado Edition: A special election on whether to allow marijuana dispensaries in Estes Park is taking place in December. We explore the issue with a local reporter. Plus, we speak to Colorado's Secretary of State about how the process for gathering ballot signatures works in our state. We also dive into transportation funding after Proposition CC failed, hear about the tribes calling for a say in the future of Colorado River water, and explore a lawsuit in Vail sought by residents who want to protect a herd of bighorn sheep.

News Of The Day:

  • Bennet's Presidential Campaign - Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet continues to travel across the country for his presidential campaign, even though he’s trailing far behind the other candidates in every poll, and he did not make the cutoff for this week’s Democratic debate. But last month, he told CNN he’s staying in until at least Feb. 11, which is primary day in New Hampshire. It seems improbable he’ll do well there, but it's not unheard of. In 1992, then-little-known Arkansas governor Bill Clinton won that state… and went on to become president.
  • Medical Marijuana - The Colorado Supreme Court says a person who is sentenced to probation can use medical marijuana unless there’s evidence that it would counter the goals of a sentence. In a unanimous decision released today, the state's highest court "disapproved" of an El Paso County judge’s decision prohibiting Alysha Walton from using medical marijuana while on probation. It said that decision violated Walton’s rights guaranteed under Colorado’s constitution. The Denver Post reports that the Supreme Court didn't reverse the decision for Walton because she had already completed her sentence. But the ruling will set a precedent for others in similar situations.
  • COGCC Hearings - The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is meeting in Greeley on Tuesday to consider changes to the state’s flowline rules. Flowlines are the underground pipelines that connect oil and gas wells to storage tanks. This is the second wave of proposed changes after a 2017 flowline leak caused a deadly home explosion in Firestone. The commissioners will hear public comment on the new rules Tuesday evening and deliberate the rest of the week. A final vote is expected Thursday or Friday. 

Special Election In Estes Park

Credit Town of Estes Park

This week, the town of Estes Park will send out ballots for the Dec. 10 special municipal election which has one question on it: should the sale of marijuana be allowed in the town of Estes Park? To explore the issue further, we spoke with Avery Martinez, a reporter with The Estes Park Trail Gazette.

Secretary Of State Jena Griswold On Signature Verification And More

Credit Jackie Hai / KUNC

Last week, a group petitioning to change the wording of Colorado’s constitution to explicitly ban non-citizens from voting said they gathered enough signatures to get the question on the state’s ballot for 2020, although the Secretary of State’s Office has not yet verified those results. And there is an upcoming deadline for petitioners to gather enough signatures to get a question about re-introducing wolves to the state on the 2020 ballot. To get a better picture of how signature gathering works in our state, we spoke with Colorado’s Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

The Tribes Calling For Inclusion In Western Water Development

Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC
A canal carries Colorado River water to farmland near Poston, Arizona, owned and operated by the Colorado River Indian Tribes, a key player in Arizona's Drought Contingency Plan.

Tribes in the Colorado River basin have been marginalized for more than a century in discussions of Western water development. A few recent moments are beginning to change that dynamic. With a big drought agreement inked and a landmark study finished, tribes are increasingly calling for a seat at the table to negotiate the river’s future.

KUNC’s Luke Runyon brings us more. You can go further into Luke’s reporting here.

The Future Of Transportation Funding

Credit Colorado Department of Transportation

After Coloradans rejected Proposition CC, which would have helped pay for education and transportation in our state with the money that would otherwise be refunded under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the administration of Gov. Jared Polis is having to look for other ways to fund transit. So what is that Plan B?

As Jesse Paul reported for The Colorado Sun, it has to do with the creation of regional transportation districts. He joined us to tell us more.

Vail Development Lawsuit

Credit Wikimedia Commons

In October, the town of Vail announced that it would move forward with a controversial workforce housing development known as the Booth Heights development. The project has created tension in a town that desperately needs more affordable housing, because of the impact the development would have on a local herd of bighorn sheep. Last week, residents filed a lawsuit against Vail town officials over this development, to try to stop it from moving forward.

To learn more, we spoke with John LaConte, a reporter for The Vail Daily.

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:

  • “Gaena” by Azalia
  • "Come as You Are" by Cauldron
  • "Brass Buttons" by Nursery
  • "Faster Faster Brighter"
  • "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. 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.