KUNC's In The NOCO is a daily look at the stories, news, people and issues important to you. It's a window to the communities along the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The show explores the big stories of the day, bringing context and insight to issues that matter. And because life in Northern Colorado is a balance of work and play, we explore the lighter side of news, highlighting what makes this state such an incredible place to live.
Could reintroducing wolves restore an ecosystem? Research says it's complicated
Wolves are a contentious topic in the West, especially in Colorado where they were recently reintroduced. They are also central to a new 20-year study looking at their removal and reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park and what that means for disruptions to the food web.
Tom Hobbs and his research team at Colorado State University found that reintroducing apex predators like wolves failed to restore the ecosystem to its original state. Still, he cautions against drawing certain conclusions from the research.
“I really don't want our work to be cast as sort of anti-wolf, to use it to say, ‘Well, it wasn't a good idea to reintroduce wolves.’ That's not what we're showing at all. What we're showing is that the benefits of a complete food web — that includes large carnivores like wolves — can take a long time to be realized.”
Hobbs joined In The NoCo’s Erin O’Toole to discuss his research – and what it could mean here in Colorado.
Honoring history: How Colorado’s first Latina state historian uses the past to inform her present
In 2021, Nicki Gonzales became Colorado’s first Latina state historian. History is a lifelong vocation for the Regis University professor – one that has helped to inform her own identity, and honor her family’s legacy.
"When I was state historian, I would dedicate my presentations and my activities to my paternal grandmother, who I never met, but who was a single, mother of three boys here in Denver,” Gonzales said. “Her family, they were miners and they worked in the agricultural fields of Northern Colorado, Boulder County. And I think the most satisfying thing has been being able to honor my family's history."
Gonzales’s work has helped to provide us with a fuller picture of Colorado’s cultural landscape, uncovering state history and acknowledging its sometimes problematic details. She will give remarks at an event Wednesday, Feb. 28 at History Colorado, during the launch of a new curriculum for K-12 students focused on Denver's Chicano movement. That starts at 2:00 p.m.
Gonzales joined In The NoCo's Erin O'Toole to reflect on her search for identity and deeper meaning, starting with her own family history.
This is an encore of our podcast from Sep. 22, 2023.
Northern Colorado students increasingly face housing insecurity. A KUNC series investigates why
One in 27 students in Poudre School District is experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. That’s a statistic that KUNC senior editor and reporter Leigh Paterson recently stumbled on. Her reporting on youth mental health had suggested there was a problem, but this number told her the issue was more urgent than she’d thought.
“It is on the radar of all of the school districts that I interact with and it is just a very difficult problem to solve because it involves so many overlapping social and systemic issues,” Paterson said.
She directed the new KUNC series “Unseen but Everywhere,” airing Mondays on KUNC this month. It brings together the lived experiences of unhoused and housing-insecure students. The reporters who spent time with those students — Rae Solomon, Emma VandenEinde and Lucas Brady-Woods — joined In The NoCo’s Erin O’Toole to discuss what they learned.
Uncovering legacy of Black life in the West impels Acoma Gaither in her work for History Colorado
Museum curator Acoma Gaither has been a student of Black history for as long as she can remember. She’s pored over rich historical accounts of Black life in America’s North, South and East. But she says a lot of the history of Black life in our state still needs to be uncovered.
“And that's what really drew me to Colorado,” Gaither said. “I think there's so much opportunity and learning about that Western lens in terms of Black history. It's rich with a lot of hidden stories and I think the spirit of Black folks who came out here to farm and homestead — it takes a certain personality. So that kind of story and spirit really drew me out here.”
Gaither recently moved to Denver from Minnesota to work as History Colorado’s associate curator of Black history. She sat down with In The NoCo’s Erin O’Toole to discuss some of the untold stories she wants to uncover here.
Higher ed becomes higher priority in Colorado with new bipartisan effort, state investments
Health care is a fast-growing industry in Colorado, but finding people to work these jobs is a constant struggle amid the state’s ongoing worker shortage. State leaders are hopeful that a new bipartisan bill will alleviate some of the pressure. It would fund healthcare training across the state, including a new medical school — the College of Osteopathic Medicine — at the University of Northern Colorado.
That move would have a big impact, said Angie Paccione, executive director of Colorado’s Department of Higher Education. Nearly two-thirds of osteopathic doctors are primary care physicians, and there’s a big need in this area.
The model for this new medical college also includes placements, addressing a reason why people may start a program but not finish, because they can't get the placement for another year, Paccione explained.
She expects a domino effect on nursing “and on all different kinds of positions where we have great shortage areas.”
In The NoCo’s Erin O’Toole spoke with Paccione about this and other investments the state is making to help Coloradans further their education after high school.
You can read the report from the Lumina Foundation on the state of higher education that's mentioned in the episode.
Fort Collins singer-songwriter Cary Morin's new album brings the Old West to life
One of Cary Morin’s guitars is proudly displayed at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. That black Fender electric speaks to his musical legacy here in Northern Colorado as an Americana artist — or rather, "Native Americana," as some have dubbed his musical style. It is a style with deep Indigenous roots that Morin brought with him from Montana and replanted in Fort Collins four decades ago.
"The people that I grew up around influenced the songs that I write and the music that I play, just like any songwriter is influenced by the people that they grew up around,” Morin said. “My Crow heritage is definitely rich in unique music and culturally unique. So that provided a different backdrop for me."
Morin’s new album Innocent Allies, is inspired by the paintings of Charles Marion Russell, whose work conjures vivid images of life in the Old West. In The NoCo’s Erin O’Toole met up with Morin at the museum to talk about this new project.
This is an encore of our podcast from Jan. 5, 2024.
Concise, accurate, well-balanced journalism
I love KUNC’s Colorado Edition. These reporters give a good variety of well-researched news from around the state in a concise, accurate manner. It’s my favorite way to know what is happening in the state and feel confident I’m getting accurate reporting. Thank you and please don’t stop!!
Great Selection Of Local Issues + Gracious Hosts
KUNC's Colorado Edition is a newscast covering a wide array of local issues in and around Colorado. Flawlesly curated and hosted by Erin O'Toole and Karlie Huckels, the program has a strong emphasis on taking into account the voice and opinions of the local citizens of Colorado. Highly recommend it.