Colorado

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Colorado ranks among the best states in the nation when it comes to education, a booming economy, and the well-being of its residents. But there’s another factor where Colorado rates above average, and this one isn’t something to be proud of. Deaths from drug overdoses in Colorado are above national rates, reports Colorado Public Radio. And some counties are among the nation’s highest.

Prowers Journal

Colorado’s unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in December to 3.5 percent, reports The Prowers Journal. During the same period, the national unemployment rate remained unchanged from at 5.0 percent. Two southeast Colorado counties—Baca and Kiowa—had the lowest posted unemployment percentages in the state. Otero County had an exceptionally high rate, at 6.7 percent.

CPR / Hart Van Denburg

Colorado’s construction industry continues to thrive, reports Colorado Public Radio. Four out of five construction firms in the state expect to hire more workers this year, according to a new survey by the Associated General Contractors of America. Colorado construction is at higher levels than the national average. 81% of all firms surveyed plan to add workers.

Tanya Spillane / Flickr Creative Commons

A raft of new laws went into effect in Colorado last week, reports Fox 31 Denver.

One major law will mean money in the pockets of the state’s lowest-paid workers. The minimum wage jumped eight cents, to $8.31. The minimum for tipped workers is now up from $5.21 to $5.29. However, this is a small raise compared to the $15 wage some workers had asked for. The new rate is merely part of a state mandate that the minimum wage be adjusted for inflation each year.

While Colorado Booms, Many Eastern Counties Struggle

Dec 9, 2015
Colorado Public Radio

Colorado consistently ranks highly on lists of best places for businesses. And the state’s unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, the lowest in eight years and almost two percent lower than the national rate. However, some Coloradans aren’t sharing in the good times, including much of the eastern part of the state. Colorado Public Radio has published an interactive map that allows Coloradans to see how well their county is doing compared to neighbors.

Colorado Adopts Landmark Water Plan

Nov 23, 2015
Cyrus McCrimmon / Denver Post

Colorado adopted a landmark $20 billion water plan last week, reports The Denver Post. The new law hopes to accommodate rapid population growth in the state.

Hart van Denburg / Colorado Public Radio

Despite a booming economy in Colorado, the state is experiencing a $373 million budget gap, reports Colorado Public Radio. The gap is between what the state will owe and what it will bring in starting in July 2016.

Colorado Health Co-Op Folds

Nov 13, 2015

Rick and Letha Heitman, of Centennial are customers of the cooperative Colorado HealthOP, which is folding.Credit John Daley / CPR NewsEdit | Remove

ABC 7 News Denver

The Huffington Post has posted a news report from Denver's ABC 7 News about a popular exhibit at the Colorado History Museum concerning Colorado's civil rights struggle in the 1960s. While Colorado is not generally the part of the US that comes to mind when the words "civil rights" are mentioned, the Mile High City had its own turmoil, including protests and clashes with police. The exhibit's stay at the museum has now been extended.

You can view the video here.

Rural Colorado Struggles to Find Teachers

Oct 7, 2015
Jenny Brundin / CPR News

Colorado’s rural school districts are on the brink of crisis when it comes to finding enough teachers to fill the classrooms. Colorado is simply not producing enough teachers, reports Colorado Public Radio. Over the past five years, enrollments in the state's teacher prep schools are down 23 percent. Math, science and special education teachers are especially in demand. Colorado has begun to recruit educators in states with teacher surpluses, such as Michigan and Utah.

A New Colorado Water Law Is Put to the Test

Sep 30, 2015
Geoff Elliott / Grand Environmental Services

A groundbreaking 2013 Colorado law allows water rights owners to allocate water to a river during times of low flow. And now that law is being put to the test, reports National Geographic. The law is important because it challenges the old “use-it-or lose-it” rule of water conservation.

In Colorado, Rents Are at an All-Time High

Sep 7, 2015
Dipankan001 / Wikimedia Commons

Colorado rents are at an all-time high, reports Denver station KUSA. The average rent for an apartment in Colorado is nearly $1,200. That's up about 7 percent from last year. To deal with increased demand, housing units are being constructed throughout the state. Even so, Colorado’s vacancy rate sits at a steady 4.4 percent. As soon as one renter leaves, another renter fills their place. And when that happens, the landlord often raises the rent.

In Colorado, Auto Sales are Booming

Aug 31, 2015
Foter / Creative Commons

In regional news, Coloradans are buying more new cars these days than at any time in the last decade, reports Colorado Public Radio. The trend has lifted the spirits—and the profits—of the state’s auto dealers. Many of the state’s residents now feel good enough about the economy  to invest in big purchases such as automobiles.

Laughing Squid / Creative Commons

The expanding marijuana industry in Colorado may have hit a financial roadblock, reports The New York Times. Federal banking officials have rejected an application from The Fourth Corner Credit Union in Denver, which serves Colorado’s pot industry.

dr_relling / Creative Commons

Three water managers in Colorado have stated that the state might have enough water to sustain it in the future, despite dwindling resources, climate change, and a growing population. However, these experts stressed that the state MUST be smart about its water and use it wisely, reports Colorado Public Radio. Colorado’s first state water plan, which is available now for viewing, will be finalized in December.

University of Denver

Civil rights for animals may be the next frontier in the struggle for rights, reports Colorado Public Radio. Justin Marceau is the University of Denver’s first full-time animal professor, and he has been working hard to fight the so-called “Ag-Gag” law in Idaho, which makes filming inside of farms and slaughterhouses illegal. The litigation supposedly targets “extremists” and “agriterrorists.” But Marceau argues that the law would, in fact, prevent whistleblowers from exposing abuses in farms and slaughterhouses. 

Colorado Remembers the Pony Express

Jun 29, 2015
Frank Reese / Flickr

Last week, on a warm Wednesday evening, 600 riders raced on horseback across the northeastern corner of Colorado. The riders were retracing the route of the legendary Pony Express, to commemorate the mail service’s 155th anniversary.

14% of Colorado Residents Use Marijuana, Study Finds

Jun 29, 2015
Chuck Grimmett / Creative Commons

NPR member station KRCC reports that a new study has found that 14% of Coloradoans use marijuana. The Colorado state Health Department reports that of those 14%, one third use pot every day. Almost one if five of state marijuana users drive after using the substance. A little over half of Colorado residents have never tried pot.

Brennan Linsley / Associated Press

While marijuana is now legal in Colorado, you can still be fired for testing positive for the substance. The Washington Post reports that the state supreme court ruled 6 to nothing this week against a man who was trying to get his job back after failing a drug test. Colorado now becomes the fourth state to rule against an employee in such a case.

The Prowers Journal

The Prowers Journal reports that historical preservationists have begun restoring the Camp Amache Japanese internment camp near Granada in Southeast Colorado, which held over 4,000 Japanese Americans during the Second World War. Workers have completed reconstruction of a water tower and a guard tower, and now work has begun on a barracks facility. The preservationists hope to accumulate 10,000 bricks in order to complete the project, and they are gathering as many used bricks as possible.

iStockphoto

Obtaining a prescription for medical marijuana in Colorado may soon prove more difficult, according to Colorado Public Radio. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has called for more oversight of physicians, as the vast majority of the state’s 100,000 marijuana prescriptions can be traced back to about two dozen doctors, and legislators want to ensure that these prescriptions are not being written frivolously. Dr.

Amtrak’s New Mexico route to stay on track

Apr 3, 2015
Amarillo.com

Amtrak's existing New Mexico route of the Southwest Chief passenger train will stay on track. This announcement marks an end to the two year debate about the route and if maintenance and upgrade cost would cause it to change.  

Child poverty in Colorado

Apr 1, 2015
Colorado Public Radio / Colorado Public Radio

  Child poverty is a major concern in Colorado, officials are contending with the issue by addressing teen pregnancies, food stamp use, and much more. In a report published last month government leaders can see the wide variety of concerns and take measures to alleviate the problem.

Technology Boom in Colorado

Mar 31, 2015
Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media/KUNC

Colorado is leading the nation with innovation, in recent years Boulder and Denver have become as home to tech startup companies in an unlikely industry. Agriculture is where the money’s at in Colorado these days; growers are patenting new technology in irrigation, food science and plant genetics according to a report from NPR correspondent Luke Runyoon.

nbcnews.com

Colorado veterinarians are warning pet owners that the number of dogs accidentally eating pot products is on the rise reports Vermont Public Radio.

Apryl Steele is the past president of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association.  She says since pot became legal in Colorado, they’ve seen a four-fold increase in the number of dogs treated for accidentally ingesting it.  Steele says THC is much more toxic to dogs who don’t understand the concept of eating just a little. 

Luke Clayton

For the past five years, my friend Larry Large and I have outfitted elk and bear hunts on a ranch located in northern Colorado, not far from Wyoming’s southern boundary. This is rough, wild country and game is plentiful. It’s one of the few places that I know of with such a large population of black bear. Elk are always plentiful here and because we hunt during the September archery season, before snowfall triggers the resident elk to migrate to lower, warmer valleys, the animals are using their summer pattern of bedding in the black timber up high and moving into the valleys and lower elevations during the day to feed and water. 

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

When September’s flood waters came down from the Front Range foothills, they destroyed homes and wrecked office parks. The water ruined roads, bridges and highways. The floods destroyed farms and crops, and unleashed tremendous pressure on aging irrigation infrastructure, some of which dated back to the late 1800s.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Colorado made history when it opened up licensed marijuana retail shops this year. Aside from just legalizing the purchase of smoke-able marijuana, it also means pot brownies have the potential to be big business. Food products infused with marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, are available in stores across the state.

If you live in the Texas Panhandle you’re more likely to be discussing plans for THANKSgiving rather than ThanksGIVing, as you might it Kansas.  There’s commonality in how we speak across the High Plains but also differences.  Click through the slide show above to view some food-related differences in pronunciation and usage across the region. 

Explaining Colorado's Amendment 66

Oct 30, 2013
staticflickr.com

Next week, Colorado voters go to the polls to vote on a state constitutional amendment to increase income taxes and fundamentally change how money goes to public schools.

Amendment 66 proposes to change Colorado from a flat-tax state and replace the structure with a progressive or graduated two-tier income tax system.

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