Summit County

Ben Brown

In June KUNC posed a Curious Colorado question to listeners: "Are you a teacher - or do you know one - who has to get a summer job to make ends meet? Share your plans with us."

Ben Brown, a sixth grade science and design thinking teacher in Summit County, responded, saying he spent 20 years working in the private sector before becoming a teacher. He loves teaching.

His summer break essay follows:

Over my summer break, I launched a business.

The last bell of the school year rang. I watched students stream out of the school, excited about what summer will bring. Their excitement is always so infectious. I packed up my classroom, I completed my end of year checklist, high fived my colleagues and then headed out of the building myself.

If you ever hear a teacher say they don't like summer break, I think they're lying. I love summer.

Peak 2 Fire Now 85 Percent Contained

Jul 5, 2017
Tony Cooper

[Update: July 10, 8:30 a.m. MT] After a busy weekend for firefighters, the Peak 2 fire is now 85 percent contained and evacuation and pre-evacuation orders for hundreds in and around Breckenridge have been lifted.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Data continues to show that where a person lives in Colorado plays a big role in dictating how much they pay for health insurance. That's because insurers use it to calculate premiums and in some regions it's unusually high. State lawmakers are aware of the problem – but are not sure what the solution is.

"I was seeing upwards of $500 a month," said Sam Higby, a Breckenridge outdoor gear shop employee. He's 35 and healthy, but said on his salary he simply can't afford healthcare.

"It does weigh on me as an active person, being concerned about what might happen out there."

Cara Pallone / KOTO

Colorado is, overall, one of the healthiest states in the country – but things are starting to change as the population grows and ages. One of the unintended side effects is a widening disparity between the healthiest and least healthy counties.

New data indicates disparities across geographic regions; with people living in the mountain communities generally ranking as the healthiest in Colorado. In part due to the things that attract people to the state to begin with.

"The amount of sunshine, the world class skiing, hiking, fly fishing, the ability to go right outside your backyard and experience nature," said Democratic Summit County commissioner Dan Gibbs.

EPA

Say the names of these Colorado towns out loud: Silverton. Leadville. Silver Plume. Rico. Bonanza. Ironton. The last two are ghost towns, but the names of each allude to a history that - most of the time - is nearly invisible to most of the state's residents.

That mineral-rich past burst into the public consciousness after Environmental Protection Agency workers mistakenly triggered a release of contaminated water from the Gold King mine just above Silverton. The rust-colored water, laden with iron and several heavy metals, including very high concentrations of arsenic and lead, oozed its way down the Animas River, through the town of Durango and into New Mexico and beyond.

In the spill's wake, many questions have been raised. One is, just how big is the scale of mining wastewater problems in Colorado? Another is, what is being done to clean them up?

charenton / Flickr - Creative Commons

The state of Colorado is facing new lawsuits over recreational marijuana legalization. The Washington D.C. based Safe Streets Alliance is suing the state in federal court to try and close down the industry.

"It is illegal under federal law to sell marijuana and in this country federal law is the supreme law of the land," said David Thompson, the lead attorney for the Safe Streets Alliance.

Nathan Heffel / KUNC

Built in a restored 1909 school building, the newest library in Summit County will be unveiled to the public Saturday. Breckenridge's Grand Vacations Community Center and Summit County South Branch Library – otherwise known as "the center" – will hold a grand opening celebration before getting down to business.

The structure may be old but Scott Vargo, assistant Summit County manager, said the new library is cutting edge. 

Nathan Heffel / KUNC

As winter arrives in Colorado, a familiar friend came to town with it: winter driving. Traffic between Denver and the Vail Valley is notorious in the cold months, but Colorado's Department of Transportation said they’re ready for another long winter. But is there a permanent solution to the Interstate 70 problem, or are we doomed to more long delays and closures?

Nathan Heffel / KUNC

Summit County has distinct advantages like sprawling mountain vistas and world class ski resorts, making it a prime vacation spot. But for the county's educated middle class, living there full-time, there are disadvantages to calling the county home.

Making ends meet, and buying a home here, is harder than it looks.

Nathan Heffel / KUNC

The Colorado State University Extension Program was created 100 years ago when Congress authorized land grant Universities to provide research based information to agents in communities across the state. While you may think farming, agriculture and 4-H when you think about a CSU Extension, the Summit County Extension Office is about as far away from farming as you can get.

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