Southern Colorado

Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

In the summer of 2002, water pumps in Colorado’s San Luis Valley stopped working.

The center pivot sprinklers that coax shoots from the dry soil and turn the valley into one of the state’s most productive agricultural regions strained so hard to pull water from an underground aquifer that they created sunken pits around them.

“This one right over here,” says potato farmer Doug Messick as he walks toward a sprinkler, near the town of Center. He's the farm manager for the valley's Spud Grower Farms. “I came up to it one day and I could’ve driven my pickup in that hole.”

screencap via pacermonitor.com

When you open a window in your home, do you consider yourself outside? Probably not. That was the argument that inmates at Colorado State Penitentiary made in a class-action lawsuit [.pdf] against the Colorado Department of Corrections. The case has been settled and the Department of Corrections will build three new recreation yards at the Cañon City prison by the end of 2016.

Darryl Glenn campaign via Facebook

Colorado's Republican Party has their man to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet in November: Republican El Paso County commissioner Darryl Glenn. With nearly 40 percent of the vote, the relatively unknown attorney and Air Force veteran won a five-way primary race. So what does this mean for the state's U.S. Senate race? We asked political reporters at the capitol to weigh in.

Darryl Glenn campaign via Facebook

Republican El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn will challenge incumbent Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet this November. Glenn won a five-way primary race with nearly 40 percent of the vote in order to take on the sitting senator.

Former Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham came in second to Glenn, followed by Robert Blaha, Jon Keyser and Ryan Frazier.

Mike Kaplan / U.S. Air Force

Remarks by the President at the graduation ceremony for the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., June 2, 2016.

Katherine-Claire Nynas / special to RMCR

Water rights can be a touchy subject for Colorado families whose livelihoods are tied to the resource's availability. Touchy subjects like buy-and-dry, a growing population, building new reservoirs and even rain barrels strain the combined efforts of the state to maximize a limited resource.

Standing in contrast to some of those squabbles, a tight-knit community of farmers and ranchers in San Luis in southern Colorado uses old methods of cooperation to help ensure healthy livestock and a good harvest in the arid region.

Cara Pallone / KOTO

Colorado residents have vastly different health outcomes, based in part on where they live in the state. Rocky Mountain PBS News analyzed health data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to rank each of the state's 64 counties based on a variety of health indicators from obesity, to amount of exercise, to smoking and premature deaths.

David Fulmer / Flickr - Creative Commons

"Colorful Colorado" may one day need to be referred to as "Crowded Colorado," given the number of people expected to soon move here.

Weld County's population is expected to double to half-a-million – and El Paso County will still be the largest county. It's not just the Front Range; A Rocky Mountain PBS I-News analysis of data from the state demographer and the U.S. Census Bureau shows seven of the 10 fastest growing counties will be on the Western Slope, including Eagle, Garfield and Routt.

The numbers show an estimated 7.8 million people will call Colorado home by 2040. All that growth will take a toll on the state's infrastructure as well as water and other natural resources.

Efforts to fund much-needed repairs to Amtrak's Southwest Chief line got an extra boost Monday as the U. S. Department of Transportation awarded $15.2 million to the project.  Combined with matching funds, the grant, known as a TIGER grant, totals $24.5 million.

 

Whole Foods Market has announced that by April of next year it will stop sourcing foods that are produced using prison labor.

The move comes on the heels of a demonstration in Houston where the company was chastised for employing inmates through prison-work programs.

Michael Allen, founder of End Mass Incarceration Houston, organized the protest. He says Whole Foods was engaging in exploitation since inmates are typically paid very low wages.

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