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Colorado Edition: Douglas County schools drop mask requirement; Western water users to meet; ski map artist James Niehues retires

Loveland ski area painting
James Niehues
Loveland ski area painting

On Wednesday, the Douglas County school board voted 4-3 to drop a requirement to wear masks in schools. This vote is the latest action in a debate that has unfolded slowly over the last few months and comes at a critical time for schools in Douglas County and around Colorado, who are facing down the now-present omicron variant and rising COVID-19 numbers around the state. To discuss the vote and what it will mean for students and staff, we spoke with Erica Meltzer, bureau chief at Chalkbeat Colorado.

More than 40 million people depend on water from the Colorado River, and its supply is steadily shrinking thanks to nearly two decades of drought. Meanwhile, demand from cities and farms across the region is going up. Next week, some of the most important people in Western water management will gather under one roof to discuss its future. The annual Colorado River Water Users Association meeting in Las Vegas brings together scientists, water managers and other people who depend on the river. Also attending will be KUNC’s own Alex Hager, who reports on the Colorado River and joined us to preview the conference.

Ski map artist James Niehues recently announced his retirement from hand-painting ski trail maps. Niehues, who lives in Parker, Colorado, has painted more than 200 ski resort maps in multiple countries over his 30-year career. But Niehues is passing the torch of his craft forward. Rad Smith, a Bozeman, Montana-based map illustrator and cartographer, has been studying under Niehues for six years. Now, as Niehues moves on to a new project painting American landscapes, Smith is continuing the work. In October, Niehues and Smith joined Colorado Edition from their respective studios in Parker and Bozeman to talk about retirement, the art of ski map painting and where the field is headed now.

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and edited by Henry Zimmerman (@kombuchacowboy). Our production team includes Tess Novotny (@tess_novotny). KUNC news director Brian Larson is our executive producer. Web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai.

The mission of Colorado Edition is to deepen understanding of life in Northern Colorado through authentic conversation and storytelling. It's available as a podcast on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC, Monday through Friday at 2:30 and at 6:30 p.m.
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 in the show by Blue Dot Sessions.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a daily look at the stories, news, people and issues important to you. It's a window to the communities along the Colorado Rocky Mountains.