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Colorado Edition: Feeling Unsafe

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Courtesy of Eva Bednar
Flames burned part of Eva Bednar’s property on the evening on Oct. 16, 2019. Bednar was unable to evacuate as firefighters worked to prevent the Elk Fire from reaching her home. ";

Today on Colorado Edition: we’ll learn about a new bill that focuses on prescription drug prices. And, we’ll look at why Larimer County residents are questioning the future of prescribed burns. Plus, what lawmakers are trying to do about teacher shortages, and a look at a task force aimed at reforming behavioral health care in our state.

Prescription Drug Prices

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Credit Scott Franz / Capitol Coverage
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Capitol Coverage
Colorado Democrats abandoned a paid family leave proposal of their own this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about the program from the business community. A proposal at the ballot box would create a more expansive benefit program than the one debated by lawmakers in recent years.

On Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers unveiled new legislation to hold prescription drug manufacturers accountable. KUNC’s Scott Franz was there, and joins us to explain what’s included in the legislation.

Prescribed Burns

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Credit Matt Bloom / KUNC
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KUNC
An evacuation route map is posted outside the Red Feather Lakes Community Library, which serves as a hub for the North 40 Mountain Alliance.

Prescribed burns are an increasingly important part of forest management, especially as the climate warms and the threat of catastrophic wildfire grows. But last fall, something went wrong during a burn in rural Larimer County.

And as KUNC’s Matt Bloom reports, residents there are questioning the future of the practice.  

Teacher Shortages

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Credit Scott Franz / Capitol Coverage
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Capitol Coverage
A teacher strike at the Capitol in February of 2019.

Colorado is facing a shortage of educators, especially in the rural areas of our state. One big factor at play here is teacher pay. The starting pay for Colorado teachers is roughly $4,500 less than the national average of $39,000. And while that isn’t the only factor contributing to the shortage, it’s on the minds of many during this year’s legislative session.  

Erica Meltzer, the bureau chief of Chalkbeat Colorado, joins us to talk about the teacher shortage, teacher pay and three bills in the Legislature that are geared at getting more money for educators.

Behavioral Healthcare

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Credit Stephanie Daniel / KUNC
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KUNC
"Opioids Don’t Discriminate" is one of twelve anti-stigma messages that are part of the Lift the Label campaign.

And, on the topic of the state Legislature, we look at another issue the state is working hard to address: mental health and addiction. 

We speak with Robert Werthwein, who is the director of Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health and part of two subcommittees on a task force assigned to reforming the behavioral health care system.

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. 

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 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.