Front Range

Leigh Paterson / Insider Energy

In Northern Colorado, two massive industries are colliding: home development and energy development. At the intersection of the two are serious and growing concerns about health and safety.

As more drilling rigs and more subdivisions go up in towns across the Front Range, what happens when people and oil and gas become neighbors?

Jackie Fortier / KUNC

Michelle Edwards is one of the owners of the Johnstown Lunch Box, a sandwich shop in one of the fastest growing towns on the Front Range. Despite a customer base that grows with each new housing development, Edwards was worried about what the 90 cent increase in the state minimum wage in January, 2017 would mean for her business -- but she has been pleasantly surprised.

“We’ve been fine. Customers were totally fine when we raised the cost of our sandwiches 25 cents,” she said. “It helped. Honestly, a little bit more would be good, but in a small town, you can only do so much. You gotta keep your prices low.”

IECRM

At a recent job fair for prospective electricians in Northglenn, Colorado, one skilled out-of-state worker named Eduardo Havier was looking for a job.

“I’m from Puerto Rico, but I currently live in Louisiana. I came all the way here just to see what you guys had going on.”

Havier flew out from Louisiana for the day, just to attend the job fair. He’s 23 years old, and already has a degree in electrical engineering technology from a community college, but he can’t find employment where he lives.

“I spent so many years and effort trying to pass my classes, I want to work in the field I went to school for. The real situation is if you don’t know anybody at the workplace, you don’t get a job.”

Colorado Takes Notes To Solve Looming Teacher Shortage

Aug 2, 2017
Jackie Fortier / KUNC

As teachers gear up for the new school year, state education officials have spent months trying to figure out how to close a growing teacher shortage. It’s estimated that 3,000 people are needed to fill open positions in Colorado. Legislation signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper directs the Colorado Department of Education to study how best to attract -- and then keep -- teachers in the profession.

John Weaver / Poudre Fire Authority

On July 28, 1997, Chris Wolf was one of two officers on duty with the campus police at Colorado State University. It was summer, and the campus was gearing up for the fall semester. Wolf was eating pizza for dinner at a local restaurant with another officer when the rain began.

“And I said something like, ‘Boy, it sure is raining hard,’ never realizing what the next several hours would bring,” he said.

Colorado's History Of July Floods Isn't A Coincidence

Jul 24, 2017
Courtesy of Jason Pohl/The Coloradoan

The last week of July has seen two of the most severe floods in Colorado’s history - and that’s not a coincidence.

Both floods began at night and both had devastating consequences. On July 28, 1997, the heaviest rain ever recorded in an urban area of the state caused millions of dollars of damage to areas of Fort Collins and killed five people. What became known as the Spring Creek Flood came two days short of the anniversary of the Big Thompson Flood of 1976, when at least 12 inches of rain fell over four hours in the mountains below Estes Park. In the subsequent flooding 143 people died.

Is Fort Collins In A Housing Bubble?

Jun 7, 2017
Jim Hill / KUNC

Northern Colorado real estate is still hot. Single family homes in Fort Collins, Loveland and Berthoud priced under $400,000 sell after an average of 18 days on the market — and sellers are getting slightly above asking price.

In Fort Collins, a starter home — one that has a mortgage comparable to area rent, is now between $300,000 and $400,000 — increasingly out of reach for many first-time buyers.  

But this isn’t a housing bubble.

New Colorado Sports Complex May Boost Rural Tourism

Jun 1, 2017
Rocky Mountain Sports Park

A $225 million sports complex is expected to be built in the Northern Colorado town of Windsor, about an hour and a half drive north of Denver.

As planned, the Rocky Mountain Sports Park would be home to 60 baseball fields and a 10,000 seat stadium, in the hopes of attracting a minor league baseball team.

Colorado CDC Lab Key In Fight Against Zika, West Nile

May 17, 2017
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Every summer a virus that can cause lifelong neurological damage and even death comes to Colorado. The West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes who feed on infected birds, and hot spots and outbreaks are common. In 2016, there were over 2,200 human cases across the country. Eight people died in Colorado from the virus.

At the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab in west Fort Collins, scientists work to combat West Nile and other vector-borne diseases, like Zika. Current CDC Director Dr. Anne Schuchat visited the lab, and spoke about their research and a surprising threat to American’s health.

Bill Badzo / Flickr

With just a few days left in Boulder County’s oil and gas moratorium, county commissioners laid out their plan to gain more local control of the multibillion-dollar industry.

Commissioners urged the public to protest at the state Capitol and vote in the upcoming gubernatorial election for a candidate who would be more receptive to statewide implementation of more restrictive regulations.

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