Grace Hood


Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of the High Park fire northwest of Fort Collins, Colo. The blaze consumed 259 homes in the rural area, but so far only 10 households have finished rebuilding a year later.

As Gary and Martha Lemert sort through photographs from the High Park fire, it takes just one before and after shot to convey the complete devastation of their 10-acre property.

All they had left after the fire was a green roof that looked like it had been melted on top of gray rubble. All told, the Lemerts lost eight buildings, including a garage and a guest house.

Colorado responded to the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., by passing new gun control measures last month. That's not sitting well with several gun-related businesses in the Centennial State, where four companies have announced plans to relocate all or some of their operations.

The U.S. military and law enforcement agencies have seen increased public scrutiny on the domestic use of the robotically piloted planes known as drones. Working on the sidelines of this debate, the U.S. Geological Survey has been trying to find a second life for retired military drones in the areas of environmental and wildlife management. Instead of watching the battlefield, these drones are watching birds.

An obscure tax code provision crafted for drug dealers is giving state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries a headache.

In Colorado, federal income tax rates for dispensaries can soar as high as 70 percent because of a tax code section that does not allow businesses to claim certain deductions.

The section is known as 280E, and it was originally written for illegal drug traffickers. But today it's a thorn in the side of licensed dispensary owners like Erica Freeman.



Hay is one of the basic materials on a farm. It's important. But dried grass is not the kind of thing most farmers or ranchers would keep under lock and key until recently. The ongoing drought has meant less hay to go around. Production of alfalfa, for instance, is down 15 percent this year. So hay prices are soaring and so is the number of hay thefts. Grace Hood of member station KUNC reports from Colorado, one of several states where hay rustling is on the rise.

Welcome to the 21st century classroom: a world where students watch lectures at home — and do homework at school. It's called classroom flipping, and it's slowly catching on in schools around the country.

When Jessica Miller, a high school sophomore in rural Bennett, Colo., sits down to do her chemistry homework, she pulls out her notebook. Then she turns on an iPad to watch a video podcast. Whenever the instructor changes the slide, Miller pauses the video and writes down everything on the screen.

Colorado's High Park Fire northwest of Fort Collins has topped 46,000 acres, making it one of the largest wildfires in the state's history. It's also destroyed more than 100 buildings. But firefighters are beginning to gain ground and have started containing the blaze.

Some rural counties are having trouble affording ambulance services. Urban ambulances have frequent calls and less territory to cover, which helps keep them afloat. But in more sparsely populated areas, calls can be few and far between. Funding for these emergency services are low-hanging fruit for counties facing tough budgets. From member station KUNC, Grace Hood reports.