Grace Hood




Voters in communities in Ohio and Colorado will decide measures this coming Tuesday that would ban or limit the practice of hydraulic fracturing. Across the U.S., campaigns questioning the health and safety of fracking for natural gas are heating up. Grace Hood of member station KUNC reports on the effort in Fort Collins, Colorado.

GRACE HOOD, BYLINE: Most look forward to having some downtime over the weekend, but not Kelly Giddens.


The heavy floodwaters in Colorado this month caused more than 37,000 gallons of oil to spill into or near rivers, and the state's oil and gas industry is rushing to fix equipment damaged during the storm. It comes at a time when there's growing public concern about the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing in the state.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing is something typically associated with fields and open land. But it's not uncommon in Colorado and other states for a residential neighborhood to become the site of oil and gas activity.

The peak of the summer harvest is approaching, which means that if you have a community supported agriculture share, you may be receiving a daunting amount of fresh produce to cook every week.

The rambling, funky ride called Banjo Billy's Bus Tours, in Boulder, Colo., is equal parts history, crime stories and comedy. It's all woven together by John Georgis — better known as Banjo Billy — in a playful, "choose your own adventure" style.

"You can either choose a PG tour, or a PG-13 tour, or an R-rated tour," he tells one group of riders. The crowd chooses the R-rated version, but they have to work for it.

"If you want the R-rated tour, you gotta say it like a pirate," Banjo says, drawing a bunch of "arrrrghs" from tour-goers. "R it is!"

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.

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.

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.