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Colorado Edition: Data For The People, By The People

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Today on Colorado Edition: We learn about redrawing legislative and congressional districts in Colorado and we dive into the debate over the location of Larimer County’s voter-approved behavioral health facility. We’ll also hear about volunteer-driven data collection and a new model for policing in Steamboat Springs. Plus, we explore the questions researchers still have surrounding COVID-19.

Independent Redistricting Commissions

In 2018, Colorado voters passed two amendments to create independent commissions on redistricting. The commissions will redraw electoral districts for congressional and state legislative districts. Jessika Shipley joined us to explain what this means, and how the application and selection process for these commissions will work. She is staff coordinator for Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commission.

Larimer County Behavioral Health Facility

Larimer County commissioners will soon decide where to build a new regional mental health facility to serve Fort Collins and Loveland. Voters approved the project, and the funding for it, in 2018. But as KUNC’s Matt Bloom reports, finding the right location has divided some residents and elected officials.

Volunteers Gather Public Health Data

We’re now in the fourth week of the state’s face covering mandate, which was issued by Gov. Jared Polis in mid-July. And though we don’t have great data to show how many Coloradans across the state are complying with the mandate, we do have some idea of how compliance is going in certain communities, thanks to local volunteer-driven data gathering projects. Jennifer Brown has been reporting on these reconnaissance missions for the Colorado Sun and she joined us to discuss her reporting.

Questions About COVID-19

Scientists are trying to answer to answer a lot of questions help in the fight against the coronavirus. How does the immune system defend against COVID-19? And why does the virus impact people differently? One local lab is helping find those answers by gathering coronavirus patient samples. KUNC’s summer science fellow, Seré Williams, joined us to fill us in on some of those efforts.

Steamboat Springs Police Try Co-Responder Model

Across Colorado, and here on the show, we’ve been having conversations about how policing works and doesn't work. One model police departments around our state are turning to is a co-responder program, where law enforcement pairs with behavioral health specialists to respond to calls that are related to behavioral health. The Steamboat Springs Police Department is working to implement a co-response program this fall. We spoke to Cory Christensen, chief of police for Steamboat Springs, about the program.

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 (@kombuchacowboy), and produced by Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. Managing editor Brian Larson contributed to this episode. We get production help from Rae Solomon.

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 iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m.