Colorado Public Radio

Scientist Gabrielle Petron looks out into the world and sees numbers. In her work for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Petron plots data on her computer like most people complete a shopping list on the back of an envelope. 

Arapahoe County needed three days to finish counting ballots after election night, despite relatively light participation in the 2019 off-year election.

Denver needed nearly two, and many of the state’s most populated counties needed more than one.

Get used to it.

Copyright 2019 CPR News. To see more, visit CPR News.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Richard Dash of Alumina Energy stood in front of a small crowd gathered inside the white, marble hallways of the Colorado Governor’s Residence. This was his chance to pitch oil and gas executives on his company’s thermal storage system to capture energy from renewable or fuel-fired power plants. 

Public hearings in the impeachment inquiry begin in the U.S. House today. Coloradans of various political stripes said this week they will watch the hearings closely, but hope the process goes quickly. 

At the Federal Center light rail stop, just west of Denver in Lakewood, on Tuesday, voter Joe Brosky said the public hearings would ideally bring more facts to light.

Democrats are smarting from their latest loss on fiscal policy after this week’s defeat of Proposition CC, but as the next legislative session approaches, they are considering doubling down and asking voters for a full repeal of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights next year.

FBI Announces Arrest In Plot To Attack Pueblo's Temple Emanuel Synagogue

Nov 7, 2019

Federal officials have arrested a man accused of plotting to attack a historic synagogue in Pueblo. The co-conspirators turned out to be undercover FBI agents.

Court documents say Richard Holzer, 27, of Pueblo, was arrested Friday just after the agents brought him what were supposedly two pipe bombs along with dynamite to blow up Temple Emanuel.

If Proposition DD passes this November, not only would sports betting become legal, but Colorado could secure a new way to fund “state water projects and obligations.”

Just three years ago, the CEO of Molson Coors was bragging about Denver being home to the world’s third-largest beer maker.

Not anymore.

The announcement that Molson Coors would shift its corporate headquarters from Denver to Chicago ends a nearly 150-year corporate governance relationship between the beer “brewed with pure Rocky Mountain water” and Colorado.

This is the first installment in CPR’s series Teens Under Stress, a months-long examination of the pressures adolescents are under and what can be done about it.

Neal Levine remembers the reaction he would get when he first introduced himself to statehouse legislators as a cannabis lobbyist.

“‘Is that a real job?’” he recalled. Yes, it is a real job.

As more and more states legalize marijuana in one form or another, it’s become a billion-dollar industry that has attracted the attention of federal lawmakers and lobbyists.

Outside groups continue to spend millions of dollars to sway Colorado voters on a key tax question: Should the state be able to keep excess revenue and spend it on transportation and education? The answer will impact how Colorado budgets.

In addition to mail and advertising, the conservative group Americans for Prosperity has sent people door to door.

“We are asking you to vote no on Prop CC. It weakens our Taxpayer Bill of rights,” Heather Williamson said to a Republican voter in Westminster who answered the door.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Will recreational and medical marijuana voters have more political clout in 2020? The Cannabis Voter Project hopes so. The project made inroads identifying voters during the 2018 midterm election and now they’re turning their recruitment efforts to pot stores in Colorado and across the country.

When state Rep. Alec Garnett heard the U.S. Supreme Court would allow states to start sports gambling he didn’t waste a moment. Colorado’s Democratic House Majority Leader immediately called ‘dibs.’

He tweeted that he would sponsor a bill he initially thought would be a slam dunk for passage since there were so many reasons to do it.

State officials will pay homeless advocates $3.4 million to refurbish 28 studio apartments so mentally ill people stuck in the criminal justice system awaiting restoration to competency before they stand trial won’t sit in jail.

The 28 units will be specifically designed for mentally ill homeless people caught in limbo within the criminal justice system. These are people who have usually been charged with very low-level crimes — trespassing or public urination or drinking, for example — but have been deemed mentally incompetent to face the criminal charges filed by prosecutors. 

Updated 12:54 p.m.

Some of the biggest players in Colorado’s billion dollar legal marijuana industry are gearing up to flex their political muscle in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Senate race. On one side sits Republican incumbent Cory Gardner. Democrats haven’t chosen their nominee yet, but all eyes are on former two-term Gov. John Hickenlooper.

If that’s the matchup, industry support will likely fall to Gardner.

There’s a bee species that lives in the White Rocks Nature Preserve between Valmont and Lookout roads northwest of Louisville, and rumor has it that this species lives only in that area of Colorado.

It all started at the mall when a friend offered a puff from their JUUL e-cigarette. 

“It was kind of peer pressure,” said Beth, a Denver 15-year-old who started vaping in middle school. “Then I started inhaling it, and then I suddenly was, like, ‘wow, I really think that I need this, even though I don’t.’”

Between water and electricity, Colorado’s legal cannabis industry already has a big environmental footprint. But what about Front Range air quality? Could the plant itself be contributing to air pollution?

No, it’s not the pot smoke. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is conducting a study of terpenes, the organic compounds that make the cannabis plant smell so strong.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s entrance into Colorado’s U.S. Senate race has brought the contest to the national spotlight, in part for the rifts exposed between Democratic party leaders and progressive activists on the ground.

“West Nile disease is brutal,” said Betsy Marston, the shock of the loss of her husband still in her voice. “You suffer. He suffered.”

Her husband, Ed, the 78-year-old former publisher of High Country News, had recovered well from a heart bypass operation and was back to hiking through the Paonia wilderness. Within a span of a few days, however, his body went dramatically downhill to where “he could barely walk, and that’s when we went to the ER,” Marston said.

Open space is coveted territory for hikers and mountain bikers. Hitting the trails in Westminster or Jefferson County can mean less traffic than a trip up the mountain to a crowded Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Open space is wild-looking land set aside for preservation with the idea that it won’t be developed. Typically, voters weigh in on a tax to buy, manage and maintain it. And the city also doesn’t carve up the land into a park with picnic tables, baseball diamonds and jungle gyms. 

It’s a Colorado credo that the Western Slope is far different from the Front Range. But is it separate and distinct enough to deserve its own specific oil and gas regulations? 

The question divided a recent meeting of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in Glenwood Springs. The regulators were in town to give presentations and hear public testimony ahead of the major overhaul of state oil and gas rules mandated by the passage of SB 19-181.

Critics of the Trump administration’s decision to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Grand Junction fear the real goal is to weaken the bureau. 

These concerns and suspicions have only been heightened by recent statements and actions from administration leaders. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt appointed William Perry Pendley as acting BLM director. For years, Pendley advocated selling off the public lands of the agency he’s now leading.

For 10 years Hunter Hobbs was a heroin user. That’s what was big in North Carolina where he’s from. Then he moved to Colorado, where methamphetamine was more widespread.

“It was everywhere, and it was very easy to get,” Hobbs said. “I would buy other drugs and the person I was buying them from would provide meth as well, just kind of give it to me.”

It might be a slow wildfire season, but crews are still busy preparing. Colorado’s helicopter unit is taking advantage of the lull to train to be the first state team in the country that can fight fire at night.

A recently confirmed member of the state’s Independent Ethics Commission was investigated in 2016 for workplace harassment, ultimately agreeing to undergo counseling and spend six months away from an office she oversaw to avoid contact with employees who complained about her conduct. 

Conservative activists have taken to cafes, fairgrounds and rodeos across Colorado to gather enough signatures to ask voters a simple question: Should Democratic Gov. Jared Polis be recalled? The attempt has divided the GOP, yet some see a recall as their only option right now.

“I’m just extremely disappointed in Jared Polis,” said Kathy Abrams of Englewood as she walked up to a recall Polis petition table just outside of the Centennial Gun Club.

A decade ago Colorado lawmakers began to withhold money from public schools in order to balance the state budget.

That total shortfall now stands at a whopping $8.1 billion. Each year, a half a billion-dollar IOU is lopped off from district budgets. The loss in funding, coupled with restrictions on where school districts can set their property tax rates, has increased inequities between school districts.

Pages