Kevin Vaughan

Kevin Vaughan, senior reporter at the I-News Network, is an award-winning journalist and author. Over his 25-year career he has written for the Fort Morgan Times, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post and has covered some of the state's biggest stories. Among them have been the tragedy at Columbine High School, Colorado's horrific wildfire season of 2002, the Colorado Rockies' 2007 World Series run, and the fight by Tim Masters to overturn his conviction in the murder of Peggy Hettrick. He is a 1986 graduate of Metropolitan State College, and his work has been honored numerous times. His 2007 Rocky Mountain News series, "The Crossing," which examined the lifelong reverberations of Colorado's worst traffic accident, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. He is the co-author (with Jim Davidson) of the best-seller <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Ledge-Inspirational-Friendship-Survival/dp/0345523202">The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier</a>.</em>

Recent Stories

Colorado’s Deadliest Neighborhood: Census Tract 54.00

Flowers wrap a stop sign where Mayra Cervantes, 18, and Cesar Ramirez-Ibanez, 21, were randomly shot and killed as they hung a yard sale sign on July 6, 2008 in Colorado Springs. Their deaths would add to the toll in Colorado’s deadliest neighborhood during the 12-year span been the mass shooting tragedies at Columbine and Aurora. Census Tract 54.00, a southeastern Colorado Springs enclave  of 1960s tract houses, apartment complexes and four public schools, recorded 24 gun deaths during the period.
(Joe Mahoney/I-News Network at Rocky Mountain PBS)


The night would add to the toll of tragedy in Colorado’s deadliest neighborhood, a southeastern Colorado Springs area of 1960s tract houses, apartment complexes and four public schools – where postcard-perfect views of Pikes Peak frame the skyline to the northwest, and where gunfire and death are an intractable reality of life. Continue Reading →

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Rural Emergency Medicine

A car swerves across the center-line and slams into you head-on in a sickening thud, a spray of glass, an exploding air bag. You’re alive, but you’re hurt and you need help – fast. Someone calls 911. Who comes to render aid, how much training and experience they have, and even how long it takes them to arrive will vary drastically, depending on where you are in Colorado. And so will your chances of dying. Continue Reading →

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New Mexico Program Aimed at Silent Killer

Baby boomers – those born in the generation following the end of World War II – may be unknowingly paying a heavy health price as a result of growing up in the age of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. That price is coming for many in the form of Hepatitis C, a disease that can lay dormant in a person for decades then cause potentially fatal liver diseases like cirrhosis and cancer. Detected early enough, it is curable – but many of those who have it don’t find that out until it’s too late. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that everyone born between 1945 and 1965 undergo a simple blood test for the disease. According to federal officials, an estimated 5 million people born over that span are unknowingly carrying the disease. Continue Reading →

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On-Street Makeover Aimed at Obesity Reduction

A dedicated bike lane right down 17th Street, separated from traffic by a barrier? Shutting down three blocks of Bannock Street for three hours every Wednesday and turning it into a playground? Those are ideas similar to ones that Chicago officials have implemented with a simple goal – attacking the burgeoning obesity problem. Colorado is continually touted as the fittest state in the country, thanks to the fact it has repeatedly had the lowest adult obesity rate in the country. But trouble may be on the horizon – I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS reported recently that the state ranks 23rd in childhood obesity rates, and officials worry that portends a future that is very different from today. Continue Reading →

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Mr. Twister? Seeing it is Believing it – Sometimes

I remember that I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw the dark cone descending from the eastern sky, and that I didn’t say anything to the other three people in the car because I was sure they’d make fun of me. It looked like a tornado. But tornadoes don’t happen here. At least that’s what I thought that day – May 18, 1975. I was not quite 12 years old. Continue Reading →

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Pine Beetle-killed timber a wildfire threat?

Colorado’s 4.3 million acres of beetle-decimated forests represent a catastrophe in the making during another devastating wildfire season. Or do they? That is the conventional wisdom as another summer unfolds with destructive blazes that have left skies along the Front Range choked with smoke, but the reality is not so simple. “The issue is not will beetle-kill forests burn – they certainly will,” said Monica Turner, a University of Wisconsin professor who has done extensive research of wildfires in the West. “The question is, are they burning worse – more severely – than if the forest was green?”
Beetle-kill areas in Colorado's Red Zones. Continue Reading →

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School Exercise & HB11-1069

A 2011 state law requiring 30 minutes of physical activity a day for elementary students was supposed to mark a new tool in the fight against childhood obesity – but in reality it did little more than reinforce the status quo, an I-News examination found. The reason: The measure was so gutted during the legislative process that it has meant virtually no meaningful changes in the way elementary schools are operated. The standard imposed by the law – which allows recess to count as physical activity time – was already being met by districts across the state. Two years later, the school day looks exactly the same for students across the state as it did before the law was passed. Continue Reading →

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Story: Colorado Twisters

The tornado sighting that set off alarms and frightened passengers at Denver International Airport Tuesday afternoon was a startling reminder that Colorado is indeed twister country. Since 1950, only six other states have experienced more tornadoes than the 1,948 documented here, an I-News examination of federal weather data found. Two of the state’s fastest-growing counties – Weld and Adams, which surrounds DIA – had the most tornadoes during that 63-year span. Combined, they accounted for 410 tornadoes, more than one of every five. In addition, the Weld County town of Windsor experienced the most destructive twister in state history. Continue Reading →

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Colorado ranks near top nationally in tornado activity

A tornado touches down at Denver International Airport  on Tuesday afternoon,  June 18, 2013. The Nation Weather Service rated it as an EF1 that registered 97 mph winds sparking the evacuation of the airports common areas, but no injuries were reported.

The tornado sighting that set off alarms and frightened passengers at Denver International Airport Tuesday afternoon was a startling reminder that Colorado is indeed twister country. Since 1950, only six other states have experienced more tornadoes than the 1,948 documented here, an I-News examination of federal weather data found. Two of the state’s fastest-growing counties – Weld and Adams, which surrounds DIA – had the most tornadoes during that 63-year span. Combined, they accounted for 410 tornadoes, more than one of every five. In addition, the Weld County town of Windsor experienced the most destructive twister in state history. Continue Reading →

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REPORT: Colorado’s Deadliest Neighborhood

Flowers wrap a stop sign where Mayra Cervantes, 18, and Cesar Ramirez-Ibanez, 21, were randomly shot and killed as they hung a yard sale sign on July 6, 2008 in Colorado Springs. Their deaths would add to the toll in Colorado’s deadliest neighborhood during the 12-year span been the mass shooting tragedies at Columbine and Aurora. Census Tract 54.00, a southeastern Colorado Springs enclave  of 1960s tract houses, apartment complexes and four public schools, recorded 24 gun deaths during the period.
(Joe Mahoney/I-News Network at Rocky Mountain PBS)


COLORADO SPRINGS – Gunfire erupted without warning – a burst of rifle shots from a vehicle just 10 or 15 feet away that left two people crumpled on the sidewalk, bleeding and dying. It was 10:51 p.m. on a Friday in June 2008, and the first sound the emergency operator heard was a scream, followed by the distraught, wrenching words of Nataly Cervantes, who’d dialed 911 seconds after the shooting. “Please, hurry up,” she sobbed into the phone, haltingly. “Somebody shot my sister and my boyfriend. Please, hurry up.”

The woman’s sister and boyfriend had stopped on a street corner to tape up a homemade yard sale sign when they were cut down by an Iraq war veteran who derived a perverse thrill from shooting total strangers. Continue Reading →

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