University of Northern Colorado (UNC)

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

For the second year in row, Colorado students will not have to pay to start investing in their futures.

Colorado Free Application Day is Oct. 15. All 35 public colleges and university and several private higher education institutions in the state will allow students to apply for free.

Helen Popinchalk and Andrew Bablo
Stacy Nick / KUNC

All summer, the Campus Commons Gallery at the University of Northern Colorado has been under wraps. The windows are papered over with old drawings, black and white photos of atomic mushroom clouds and vintage newspaper articles decrying "Doom Town Wiped Out By Mighty Atom Bomb."

It's been drawing a lot of attention to the gallery's upcoming exhibition, said Pam Campanaro, UNC's director of galleries. The space itself has been kept under lock and key. Only Campanaro and the artists and crew have been allowed into the space.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

Update posted June 26, 2019 at 5:48 p.m.: A spokesperson with Clayton Homes says the company has reopened conversations with the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center about the properties they own in Dearfield. "Our hope is to find a way to support their goals while moving ahead with plans to establish affordable housing in the area," said a statement.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

About a century ago, African-American settlements sprang up across the West. Now, one of those sites in northern Colorado is set to host new houses.

The Black American West Museum, based in Denver, owns a number of properties in what used to be the town of Dearfield, Colorado. But a national homebuilding company, CMH Homes, Inc., also known as Clayton Homes, is now taking steps to turn other parts of the town into new residences.

Excercises at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Sam Howzit / Flickr Creative Commons

It's a new year, which means resolutions are being made and broken everywhere. As always, the most popular ones tend to center around working out and being healthy.

But are New Year's resolutions the best way to make lasting change?

McKinstry

The Colorado School of Mines has launched a new energy awareness and savings program. PowerED will retrofit facilities to be more efficient and teach students and staff how to conserve through online community engagement.

"We're training the next generation of scientists and engineers, and so we want them to go out into the world and understand energy and how people affect the energy use of buildings," said Lauren Poole, the sustainability coordinator for Mines.

Hunter Wilson / UNC

School is back in session at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Along with all the freshman, there's a new face on campus - President Andrew Feinstein. He replaced Kay Norton, who led UNC for 16 years.

Feinstein's tenure officially began on July 9.

KUNC's Stephanie Daniel spoke with Feinstein to learn more about his vision for the university.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

According to experts, one of the biggest factors is pay. In 2016, the state ranked 46 in the nation for average salary. Rural schools have an even harder time recruiting because the pay is often lower than urban areas and there's not much of a hiring pool.

"If you lose a teacher, there's nobody that you can just snag from the community to keep up," said Democratic Rep. Barbara McLachlan, a former educator.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Jenny Lee is frustrated.

Due to a change in her parents' employment status, the rising senior at the University of Northern Colorado had her Federal Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) flagged. Her FAFSA application was selected for an audit - or verification, as it's called in higher education.

"At first it wasn't bad, I thought, 'Sure, I'll get it done. No big problem,'" said Lee. "But as I've been stuck in this for months now, it's been frustrating and I'm just like, 'Will I get financial aid?' Because this is like one last little barrier at this point."

Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Blink while driving on Highway 34 east of Greeley, Colorado, and you might miss the former Great Plains town of Dearfield.

Abandoned towns from the early 20th century are far from unique on this stretch of plains. Withered storefronts and collapsed false-front homes are common. Boom and bust economics and harsh weather made it tough for turn of the century settlers to succeed long-term.

Few ghost towns, however, have all the elements that make Dearfield’s story so compelling today: larger than life characters, struggles to live off the land, tales of racial integration at the height of the Jim Crow era.

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