KUNC

The Colorado Sun

Parked: Half the American Dream is a collaborative project led by The Colorado Sun with more than a dozen Colorado news outlets teaming up to report on mobile homes. Jennifer Brown, reporter and co-founder at The Colorado Sun, helped lead the project. She speaks with KDNK station manager on Booked.

Editor's note: This story is the first of a three-part series looking at the state of Colorado's efforts to get rural households connected to high-speed internet.

NORWOOD- People living in the small farming town of Norwood have done some strange things to stay connected to the internet.

For example, librarian Carrie Andrew said the security cameras at the library once captured a young man arrive on his bicycle after hours to utilize the building's blazing fast Wi-Fi.

Finding a river in the West that still behaves like a Western river -- one that rises and falls with the annual rush of melting snow -- is tough. 

Many of the region’s major streams are controlled by dams. Their flows come at the push of a button. Instead of experiencing dynamic flows, dammed rivers are evened out. Floods are mitigated and managed, seen as a natural disaster rather than an ecological necessity. 

Democrat Jared Polis is the governor-elect. In the 6th Congressional District, Jason Crow takes the win, unseating five-time incumbent Republican Mike Coffman.

Ballot measures were met with mixed support: Transportation measures 109 and 110, along with oil and gas well setback measure Proposition 112 failed, while amendments Y and Z, which address partisan gerrymandering, passed.

Gov. John Hickenlooper's administration unveiled a $31.4 billion budget proposal Thursday morning at the State Capitol. The spending plan is 4.6 percent - or $1.4 billion - bigger than the budget proposal made at this time last year. 

Water managers along the Colorado River are trying to figure out how to live with less.

Climate change is growing the gap between the river’s supply, and the demands in the communities that rely on it, including seven western U.S. states and Mexico. The federal government recently released proposals called Drought Contingency Plans designed to keep the Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs from falling to levels where water is unable to be sent through the dams that hold up Lakes Powell and Mead.

The candidates for state treasurer have largely stayed clear of the spotlight this election season. Colorado’s current treasurer, Republican Walker Stapleton, is term-limited and running for governor.

Democrat Dave Young is a state representative from Greeley and former math teacher. Republican Brian Watson is a real estate investor with no political experience.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders fired up a crowd of Colorado State University students Wednesday night with calls for Medicare for all and free tuition at public universities.

Sanders traveled to Fort Collins to stump with gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis and other Democrats seeking higher office.

Key reservoirs along the Colorado River are collectively at their lowest point at the start of a new water year since the last one filled nearly 40 years ago.

In 2002, voters in Colorado supported sweeping changes to state campaign finance laws. The goal was to rein in the influence of money in elections. The law contained a strong preamble about how large campaign contributions could corrupt politics and give special interests, corporations and the rich disproportionate influence.

Then along came the millionaires running for governor, spending millions of their own dollars on their own campaigns.

Jared Polis and Walker Stapleton squared off Friday morning inside of a barn in Kersey, just east of Greeley. The debate venue was so rustic, the tables in the barn were all equipped with fly swatters.

Here are three things that stuck with us after the debate.

The state's gubernatorial race grew a bit more heated Wednesday night on a debate stage at Colorado State University.

Republican candidate Walker Stapleton ignored the moderators' questions about statewide issues late in the debate as he repeatedly criticized Democrat Jared Polis for an incident that occurred nearly 20 years ago.

One Sunday morning several years ago Dave Huhn got a call. He’s usually off work that day, but it was the height of irrigation season and decided to answer. The woman on the other end was frantic, screaming as she watched her 82-year-old husband from the window.

Their 86-year-old neighbor was beating him with a shovel.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper weighed in Friday on the future of an embattled Democratic lawmaker, along with some other hot topics at an impromptu press conference at the State Capitol.

A printing error is keeping some Colorado voters from studying up on statewide ballot items this election season.

The error caused some of the state's voting guides, known as blue books, to be printed without some of the pages.

In 2007, years into a record-breaking drought throughout the southwestern U.S., officials along the Colorado River finally came to an agreement on how they’d deal with future water shortages -- and then quietly hoped that wet weather would return.

But it didn’t.

Colorado once turned to comedy to warn residents about the dangerous mixture of drugs and driving. Early advertisements featured actors who got so high, they were trying to start grills without propane. The ads warned that although grilling while high is not illegal, driving while high is.

But as more drivers under the influence of drugs get into fatal car crashes in Colorado, state officials are hoping a new, more simple advertising campaign will help reduce impaired driving.

The buses are packed together so tight, it's difficult to walk between them without getting hurt.

Standing in a Glenwood Springs maintenance facility, Dan Blankenship, CEO and president of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, points to a driver slowly backing into a narrow slot.

Cathy Kipp was at a recent back-to-school night at Kruse Elementary School in Fort Collins. She was handing out flyers and printed information about Amendment 73.

"This is game changing," said Kipp, a member of the Poudre School District Board of Education. "This would be the best increase in public school funding that we've been able to get in decades in Colorado."

In addition to electing a new governor this November, Colorado voters will also decide the fate of 13 statewide ballot questions, including two specifically aimed at funding transportation projects.

But beyond that shared goal, propositions 109 and 110 differ greatly.

A computer science major in college, 25-year-old Garrett Hause would fit in at a Silicon Valley startup. But he said he prefers to stay busy and work with his hands, so he decided to do something different.

Last year he took over his grandparents’ farm in Lafayette, Colorado and replaced the fields of alfalfa with five acres of hemp.

Cliff Redish is a political exile. He lives in a world that's colored Republican red and Democrat blue. He used to be a Democrat, but now he's unaffiliated. Perched on a barstool in a pub in Carbondale on Colorado's Western Slope, he's hesitant to even talk about it.

"We're so divided," Redish said. "It's just unbelievable. It's hard to even bring this up in a bar right now."

In early August three years ago, Barb Horn stood along the banks of the Animas River in the city of Durango, Colorado. Word had spread of a mine waste spill upstream near Silverton. She waited, alongside hundreds of others, for the waste to appear. But the plume took longer than expected and eventually arrived at night.

The next morning, she saw the change.

“It was absolutely surreal,” Horn says. “And I think that's why it went viral. It’s like somebody photoshopped the river orange.”

This year's governor's race is like no other in Colorado history -- at least in terms of money. The $29 million contributed so far to candidates shatters prior records. A large chunk of that money comes from millionaires, spending big in hopes of being elected to a job that pays $90,000 a year.

"There actually are no limits to what an individual can contribute to their own campaign," said Steve Bouey, a manager with the elections division of the Secretary of State's Office.

As Colorado’s population has grown, so has the oil and gas industry. Its presence is an unavoidable part of the landscape. That’s why volunteer Patricia Nelson said she has spent part of her summer collecting signatures for Initiative 97.

Between growing populations and changing climate conditions, our water sources are only expected to get more crunched. Communities in some very dry states have had to get creative about where to get their water, sometimes purifying sewage into drinking water. More western cities are beginning to get on board, too. But there’s a problem: the ick factor.

Gov. John Hickenlooper wants the federal government to withdraw a proposed rule that restricts conversations health care professionals can have with their patients.

On July 30 Hickenlooper sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking that it remove the "Compliance With Statutory Program Integrity Requirements" rule.

Jose Alvarez, a supervisor at R. H. Dupper Landscaping, stood up from changing a sprinkler nozzle on a large grassy field at a homeowner’s association in Chandler, Arizona. He surveyed the turf, a patchwork of green and brown.

In The Desert City Of Tucson, The Grass Is Not Greener

Jul 25, 2018

Tucson, Arizona used to be a city of lawns. Patches of Bermuda grass lined residential neighborhoods, kept green — even in blazing summer months — with diligent watering. Over the decades, that has changed. Tucsonans eschew lush lawns for landscaping that is more in tune with the city's desert setting — though that doesn't necessarily mean there's no green.

Since 2013, more than 6,700 court cases in Colorado have been hidden from public view . Thousands of those remain suppressed to this day. That’s the findings of a more than year-long Denver Post investigation.

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