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Colorado Edition: Education update; federal water cutbacks in Arizona; new Bureau of Reclamation leadership

Stephanie Shufelt with two students
Stephanie Daniel
Student teacher Stephanie Shufelt helps fifth-graders Joshua Meza Hernandez and Micah Conroy complete a worksheet on resiliency at East Elementary School in Littleton.

This month’s wave of COVID-19 cases, driven by the omicron variant, is taking a toll on schools across the state. Students, teachers and staff, already worn out from the past year of educating during a pandemic, are now facing half-empty classrooms and severe staffing shortages that have pushed some schools back into remote learning. At the same time, Colorado lawmakers are getting underway this month with a number of bills looking to address these and other education issues. We’re joined by Erica Meltzer, bureau chief at Chalkbeat Colorado, with an update on the state of education in this latest chapter of the pandemic.

As the Colorado River shrinks, there’s a lot on the line: water that supplies 40 million people throughout the Southwest, plus farms, wildlife and hydropower at the nation’s largest reservoirs. A stretch of drought that’s lasted more than two decades is continuing to take its toll on water supplies across the West. Cronkite News reporter Emma VandenEinde brings us to the fields of central Arizona, where farmers are grappling with federal water cutbacks.

The federal agency that deals the most with the Colorado River is the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The agency has a new deputy regional director for the lower basin. David Arend has worked for the bureau for 20 years, most recently overseeing hydropower, and comes to the position at a critical time for the future of water for millions. He spoke with KUNC’s Alex Hager about some of the biggest issues going forward.

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.