Stacy Nick / KUNC

Amid hikers and bikers along Boulder Creek, artist Mike Papadakis is working on his latest commissioned piece -- a detailed mountainscape.

But next to his canvas, you won’t find any paint or paint brushes. All he needs is a mildly sunny day and a magnifying glass.

But instead of torturing ants or practicing his survival skills with fire starting, the Golden-based artist uses the lens and the sun’s rays to burn a design onto a wooden canvas.

“For years, people that have been painting with magnifying glasses,” Papadakis said. “It’s come to be known online as solar pyrography.”

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

The costs of wind and solar power have fallen dramatically in recent years. Still, renewables only account for a fraction of the energy produced in the United States.

That's one of the challenges facing the new director of the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado. Dr. Martin Keller, who took over following the retirement of Dan Arvizu in late 2015, describes NREL's mission -- acting as the nation's premier renewable energy research laboratory -- as one of filling in the gaps in science and technology.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado is well-known for its outdoor recreation, but Gov. John Hickenlooper wants to take it to the next level - by making it even easier for people to access open space and parks. In addition to a previously unveiled Colorado the Beautiful Initiative, the governor has also pledged $100 million to create and connect bike trails.

"The ultimate goal is connecting everyone from Denver to the foothills and mountains to the west," said Tom Hoby, Jefferson County's director of open space and parks.

Golden Museums

If you've ever been to a house museum (the Molly Brown House for example,) you pretty much know the routine. You take a tour with a docent who explains the history while standing behind a velvet rope looking at pristine historical artifacts. Then you stop by a small gift shop and you're done.

There's little reason to go back. Unless, that is, your Aunt Carol is in from out of town.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn / KUNC

Colorado has a vibrant local food scene. Farms grow succulent Western Slope peaches and Pueblo green chiles. Sauce companies brew pungent barbeque; picklers offer gourmet preserves.

Elizabeth Mozer, who started the Lyric Cinema Café in Fort Collins, wanted to offer those local foods to her customers. She ran into difficulties, though, when she tried to track them down.

"We were running all over, trying to find things," she recalled. "It took a lot of effort, driving all over the place."

Mozer realized other businesses interested in sourcing locally were probably having the same problem. So she and her husband started LoCo Foods, to distribute local foods. Now LoCo and another new local food distributor, Source Local, are filling in the missing link between food producers and markets and restaurants.

RTD / Flickr

The Regional Transportation District is closing the W line between Knox Station and the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden between August 9 and August 11. The reason is for something RTD officials hadn’t anticipated.

Jim Hill / KUNC

A historic first occurred Thursday for the highly anticipated West Rail Line that will connect Golden to Denver. RTD ran the first ‘test train’ the length of the line with power from the overhead electrical lines.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is expected to attract tens of thousands of spectators in Golden and Boulder today. But the event will also slow down and stop traffic on several key highways.