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Colorado Edition: Wet And Heavy

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courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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CC BY 2.0
Snow in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.

Today on Colorado Edition: We take a broad look at Colorado's many legislative interim committees. We also explore how snowpack plays into water management in our region. KUNC's Michael de Yoanna tells us what it's like to be an investigative reporter and we learn about the rise of unaffiliated voters in our state.

Understanding Snowpack

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Credit giac o))) / CC BY 2.0
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CC BY 2.0

2019 is quickly coming to an end — and so far this winter, the state has gotten a lot of snow. While you’re driving on slick roads, or carving your way down the slopes, drought might be the last thing on your mind. But new data from the U.S. drought monitor shows that even with the amount of snow we’ve gotten, the Four Corners area in southwest Colorado is in the midst of a severe drought. That same data shows that almost 70% of our state is either abnormally dry, or is in a moderate or severe drought.

And when we think about drought, many of us think about rainfall, or lack thereof. But so much of water security in the West is actually wrapped up in snow. When it melts, it becomes drinking and irrigation water for millions throughout the region. A high snowpack lets farmers, skiers and water managers breathe a sigh of relief, while a low one can spell long-term trouble.

KUNC’s Luke Runyon tells us more about what the rest of the winter might bring.

Legislative Interim Committees

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Credit Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage

Colorado’s legislative session is about to begin: lawmakers will return to the capitol for a start date of Jan. 8. But a lot of the work that will set lawmakers up for the next session is already done. To learn more about what goes on between sessions in interim committees and how they shape the legislation that’s up for debate, we spoke to KUNC’s Scott Franz

The Rise Of Unafiliated Voters In Colorado

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Credit Jackie Hai / KUNC
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KUNC

In addition to the start of the next legislative session here in Colorado, 2020 also kicks off a big election year. And with elections comes a lot of talk about partisanship.  Colorado has long been known as a purple state because of its partisan balance, but that’s changing.

The latest voter registration numbers show that 40% of the state’s voters are unaffiliated. That’s up from 30% about 10 years ago. To further explore this trend in our state’s politics, we spoke with John Frank of the Colorado Sun. You can read his reporting on unaffiliated voters here.

What It's Like To Be An Investigative Reporter

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KUNC's military and investigative reporter, Michael de Yoanna.

As the year winds down, we’re looking back at the reporting our newsroom did in 2019, and talking about the stories behind the stories. Today, we spoke with KUNC’s military and investigative reporter Michael de Yoanna.

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:

  • “UpUpUp And Over” by The Balloonist
  • "Hundred Mile" by K2
  • "PolyCoat" by The CabinetMaker

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.