Weld County | KUNC

Weld County

Erin O'Toole / KUNC

Today, on a special episode of Colorado Edition, we explore the question of who makes the decisions that protect the people during a public health crisis. And we’ll look at how tensions over that are playing out in one Colorado county, whose public health director recently announced his retirement in the midst of a pandemic.

Jackie Fortier / KUNC

Later this month Dr. Mark Wallace, the director of the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment will retire. He first joined the office in 1995 and became its director in 2000. Wallace joined Colorado Edition to discuss his career and what lies ahead.

Courtesy Mark Cleveland

When Mark Cleveland took a job as an electrician for a Denver-based fracking company four years ago, he did it for the money. E-techs, as they're known, can make upwards of $70,000 a year.

"It's hard to find a job where you can have a single income and pay your bills and not worry about living check-to-check," he said. "It wasn't what I expected to be doing by any means, but it worked out."

But in early April, Cleveland got laid off. The cuts were "in response to current market conditions," his company, Liberty Oilfield Services, said in a notice issued that day.

City of Greeley / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Weld County leaders on Friday encouraged businesses of all types, from local restaurants to mom-and-pop retail shops, to reopen "whenever they feel comfortable" after Colorado's stay-at-home order expires next week, contradicting calls from state officials for a more selective reopening process over the next month.

Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

As Gov. Jared Polis and Weld County clash over walking back pandemic stay-at-home orders, the moment for first responders is uncertain. Calls to 911 with people complaining of coronavirus are still coming in.

Weld County has the third-most cases in the state, and Greeley accounts for about 75% of them. For the city's firefighters and medical responders, the governor's month-long order has made it possible for them to focus on the crisis.


Hop on Interstate 25 in Denver, drive an hour north and you'll find yourself in the middle of one of the country's fastest-growing regions: Northern Colorado. But where exactly does it start? Where does it end?

Earlier this month, we invited six residents from Fort Collins, Greeley, Evans, Loveland and Wellington to KUNC's offices to help answer that question.

North Colorado Medical Center
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Weld County will move forward with plans to sever ties with the North Colorado Medical Center, after Attorney General Phil Weiser approved the sale of its remaining assets to Banner Health.

In an opinion issued Wednesday, Weiser found the transaction, valued at $328.4 million, will “not result in a material change to the charitable purposes to which the assets of the hospital have been dedicated.”

Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Earlier this spring, police in Fort Collins seized 420 marijauna plants (yes, 420) that had been illegally grown inside area homes. Also recovered: processed weed, weed concentrate, guns and approximately $110,000 in cash.  

It’s part of what state and federal officials are calling the largest illegal marijuana market Colorado has even seen. It’s a puzzling situation considering that back in 2012, proponents of Amendment 64 promised a regulated market would do away with the illegal dealers and drug cartels. 

Barbara Kirkmeyer
Matt Bloom / KUNC

At a drill rig east of Greeley, dozens of workers are focused on moving equipment around a massive tower. But site manager Colby Edgington says there's another thing on everyone's mind.

"We may have to take our trucks and go to Wyoming or Texas or Oklahoma or something, which means I'm going to lose my guys," he said.

For now, rig work in Colorado is steady. Edgington is worried that will change in the next six to 12 months.

Jim Bowen / CC BY 2.0

It’s no small undertaking to get as many of Colorado’s 5.6 million residents as possible to respond to the 2020 census. The results of the national survey determine how much federal funding Colorado receives, the redrawing of political maps and the number of Colorado congressional seats.