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2014 Colorado’s Power Players

Power Players

With its bitterly contested U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races, Colorado has been a focus of huge sums of money. Much of it came from mega-corporations and multimillionaires and billionaires from outside the state.

But the money flowed both ways. There are many Coloradans who use their financial power to influence politics nationally and in other states. Continue Reading →

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Air Force Academy Superintendent Wants Overall Review

Former Air Force Cadet Eric Thomas walks through the cadet dorms Tuesday, May 28, 2013, the day before the Class of 2013 graduates at the Air Force Academy. Thomas, who was a confidential imformant and critical to several convictions, was kicked out of the academy in March, less than months short of graduating.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Follow up to The Gazette's reporting on the Air Force Academy's cadet informant program:

The Air Force Academy superintendent plans a top-to-bottom review of admissions, recruiting, graduation and disenrollment following a Dec. 1 investigation by The Gazette that showed the Air Force operated a system of cadet informants. Link to full article: Air Force Academy superintendent wants overall review. Continue Reading →

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Boulder Voters Face Competing Ballot Measures on Municipal Electric Company

Xcel Energy

By Adrian D. Garcia
Boulder voters face competing energy utility measures on the ballot Tuesday, one put forth by Boulder City Council that would advance a city owned and operated electric system, and the other funded largely by energy giant Xcel that would slow the process down if not derail it. The city’s measure, Question 2E, would authorize the expenditure of up to $214 million to acquire Excel Energy’s distribution system in Boulder, continuing the process approved by city voters in 2011 to explore forming a municipal electric utility. Advocates argue Boulder could more effectively pursue green energy goals if it was operating its own “muni.”

Question 310, which arrived on the ballot first via a citizens’ initiative, forcing the city to put up its competing measure,  would also amend the city’s home rule charter to stipulate that voters would have to approve the total debt limit and repayment amount of any debt a municipal utility issues. Any Boulder County residents who might receive energy from the city’s utility would also vote on that debt. “It’s inconvenient for the city to get the voters input, but it’s also a massive amount of debt that the city’s taking on,” said Katy Atkinson, spokeswoman for Voter Approval of Debt Limits, an issue committee supporting Question 310. Continue Reading →

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Bloomberg, Melinda Gates Join Big Contributors to Colorado’s Amendment 66 Campaign

bsb

Two more big names – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Melinda Gates – kicked in $1 million each to an effort to convince Coloradans to raise income taxes to support K-12 education. Bloomberg Philanthropies gave $1,050,000 on Oct. 16 and Gates gave $1 million on Oct. 17. The two largest contributors are two teachers’ unions. Continue Reading →

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Losing Ground: The Cliff Effect

The measures passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 “to end welfare as we know it” were heralded as a ticket to economic self-sufficiency. The poor would be encouraged to enter the workforce and eventually leave all welfare assistance behind. In this Colorado-based scenario, a single working parent with two children is shown breaking even with a combination of wages and work support benefits that include child care assistance, food stamps, Medicaid and income tax credits. However, as the parent’s earnings rise, she begins to lose benefits, with child care assistance the largest by far. The cliff effect occurs when even a modest increase in income leads to a complete termination of a benefit and a large net loss to the family. Continue Reading →

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Gun deaths: Suicide rate quadruple homicide rate

By Kevin Vaughan and Burt Hubbard | The I-News Network
During the 12-year span between the mass shootings at Columbine and Aurora, Coloradans used guns to kill themselves about four times more frequently than they used them to kill each other, an I-News analysis of death certificates found. The analysis, which covered the years 2000 through 2011, also found that white residents disproportionately committed suicides with guns while minorities were disproportionately victims of homicide shootings. In the wake of the July 20 attack at the Century Aurora 16, which left 12 people dead and more than 50 injured, state legislators introduced a flurry of measures, including proposals to prohibit the sale of high-capacity magazines, impose universal background checks, and ban people with concealed weapons permits from carrying guns on college campuses. The bills have sparked sometimes-emotional debate and prompted large protests as gun rights activists and supporters of the proposals beseeched lawmakers and Gov. John Hickenlooper. Earlier this week, a plane circling central Denver towed a banner that read: "Hick: Don't Take Our Guns." Continue Reading →

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Losing Ground: Socioeconomic gaps widening between Colorado minorities and whites

The Losing Ground project by I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS showed widening disparities, including college graduation rates, between Colorado's blacks and Latinos and their white counterparts.

By some of the most important measures of social progress, black and Latino residents of Colorado have lost ground compared to white residents in the decades since the civil rights movement. Minority gains made during the 1960s and 1970s have eroded with time, an I-News analysis of six decades of demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau found. In other categories, the gaps between whites and minorities have steadily widened since 1960. The analysis focused on family income, poverty rates, high school and college graduation and home ownership. Health data and justice records examined also revealed stark disparities. Continue Reading →

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Colorado’s Medicaid Dental Woes

Kids in Colorado miss nearly 8 million hours of school each year because of toothaches. Children from low-income families are most at risk for tooth decay, the most common childhood disease, with untreated cavities affecting 19 percent of kindergartners in the state's poorest schools. Many if not most of these children are eligible for Medicaid dental benefits. But most don't make it to the dentist. Only a quarter of Colorado counties met a 2010 state goal of getting at least 44 percent of Medicaid-eligible residents under age 19 in for dental treatment, according to an I-News analysis of state records.Without that treatment, many kids in pain end up using expensive emergency room services or undergoing multiple dental procedures while under anesthesia. Continue Reading →

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