Connie Jacobson, coroner in Natrona County, Wyo., says suicide is one of the biggest public health problems facing the state. Wyoming has the highest suicide rate in the U.S., and two-thirds of suicides in the state are by firearm.
Guns are a big part of everyday life in Wyoming, and many residents have been directly impacted by a suicide in which a gun was used. The state has the highest suicide rate in the nation, and three-quarters of Wyoming's suicides are by firearm.
The rural state's relationship with guns has long made suicide prevention efforts challenging. But that may be starting to change.
Lax Gun Laws
Last year, there were more suicides in Natrona County than anywhere else in Wyoming.
Owens Lake — which dried up after losing its water source, the Owens River, to Los Angeles — is known to be a source of air pollution. The city of L.A. is in court over obligations to control dust pollution at the lake.
Credit Kirk Siegler / NPR
Owens Valley and the Sierra Nevada, the high desert environment that is drier today because of a century worth of water diversions to Los Angeles, some 200 miles away.
It's been almost 100 years since William Mulholland stood atop an aqueduct along the Owens River and said, "There it is, take it." He was referring to a diversion channel that started piping water to Los Angeles from 200 miles away. That water allowed L.A. to become the metropolis it is today.
But it also meant that the Owens River no longer flowed into the massive Owens Lake, which quickly dried up and became one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation.
Hikers walk on the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall at Yosemite National Park in California. The National Park Service has to cut $134 million from sites around the country, including Yosemite, due to the lack of a budget deal in Congress.
Spring has come early to the Yosemite Valley, and the melting snow makes for a spectacular rush of water off the granite face of Yosemite Falls, the tallest in North America.
Early March is when park officials would normally be gearing up for the busy tourist season. Instead, they're figuring out how to cut $1.5 million from their budget. Without a budget deal, the sequestration has forced the Park Service to cut a total of $134 million from sites around the country.
If you haven't been to Palisades Park — the famous oceanfront park in Santa Monica, Calif. — chances are you have seen its swaying palm trees and sweeping ocean vistas in movies and commercials.
Running up the wooden stairs that plunge to the beach is the workout to do in this city where it seems like you have to be fit to fit in. In fact, most early mornings before work hours, this park seems more like an outdoor gym than anything else, with running clubs, weight training and kickboxing classes.
President Obama speaks during a campaign event at University of Colorado Boulder Sept. 2. He and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will have their first debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday.
Colorado is a good venue for a presidential debate focusing on domestic issues. The first of three highly anticipated debates between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will take place Wednesday at the University of Denver.
The state is known for its independent voting streak, and much like the rest of the country, there are sharp political divides about the role of government in the economy. In Colorado, those differences grow from two distinct population centers.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 10:01 am
Watching the first 20 minutes of Saturday Night Live's season premiere in Denver, I counted at least four ads by the Obama campaign and liberal groups backing the president. Just one ad countering their message was aired in the same span by the Romney campaign.
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The deadly movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado has become a key issue in at least two tight congressional races in that battleground state. Since the attacks, two Democratic candidates - running in districts in and around Aurora - have called for stricter gun laws. But Republicans have accused them of trying to politicize the tragedy.
Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 12:55 pm
Some well-funded pro-Mitt Romney superPACs and other advocacy groups are pulling their TV ad dollars in Pennsylvania and Michigan and are doubling down on efforts in what they consider to be more crucial swing states — such as Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Colorado.
Those are states where President Obama has also been spending considerable time campaigning lately, but where he's facing a barrage of attack ads from his Republican rival and the conservative superPACs, such as American Crossroads, and nonprofit advocacy groups, like Americans for Prosperity.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is among the scheduled speakers at the Democratic Convention tonight. The former brew pub owner is one of the most popular governors in the country, and the Obama campaign hopes his popularity will help the party, once again, with the battleground state of Colorado in November. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC has this profile.
Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 9:57 am
Last month's deadly theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., are starting to play front and center in at least two hotly contested U.S. House races in the swing state.
The conservative lobbying group Compass Colorado this week announced it's beginning a slate of automated calls highlighting what the organization says is Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter's politicization of the July 20 attack that left 12 people dead and 58 injured.
When the Waldo Canyon Fire roared over the hill behind the Mountain Shadows neighborhood in Colorado Springs, Colo., in June, nearly350 homes were destroyed. The blaze reduced this affluent neighborhood at the foot of the mountains to rubble.
C.J. Moore's home on Mirror Lake Court was among the casualties. The inferno was so hot, her stone driveway exploded. Only a few blackened trees sway eerily in the wind where her home used to stand.
Ted Engelmann, left, helps Yamilet Ortega, 3, second from left, and Kimberly Hernandez, 7, light candles, Saturday at a memorial near the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., where a gunman killed 12 people and wounded dozens of others Friday.
President Obama is in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, meeting with the families of the victims of the deadly theater shootings that killed 12 people and injured 58 more. He'll also attend a memorial service and meet briefly with local officials.
Outside the movie theater where Friday's rampage occurred, there's a makeshift memorial at the edge of a hot and dusty lot. There are hundreds of candles and flowers, American flags and signs memorializing the victims.
"It's a sad time, very sad time," said William Cloud, a local professor, who came by to pay his respects.
In the southern Rocky Mountains, several destructive wildfires are burning across a vast stretch of parched land and firefighters are struggling to gain control. In Colorado, the High Park Fire which flared up this past weekend is huge, even for a region where wildfires are common. The fires quickly engulfed more than 41,000 acres, destroying dozens of homes and buildings. And there's no end in sight. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC brings us this update.
Tax revenue coming from shale, oil, and gas development has many states very happy, but the boom is also putting a strain on regulators. There are not enough of them to inspect all the drilling sites. Colorado, for example, has 17 inspectors for more the 47,000 active oil and gas wells. Kirk Siegler reports from member station KUNC.
KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Each day, Jim Precobb(ph) of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission logs about 400 miles in his state-owned truck.
Economists say many industries are looking up this year. But perhaps none has a better outlook than the energy sector.
New drilling technologies and rising fuel prices have generated a boom in drilling — and lots of high-paying jobs for people with the skills to work in the oil patch. On some college campuses, companies are so eager to find petroleum engineers that they are offering jobs to students even before they have graduated.
Some days, it would be easy to mistake the Metro Taxi dispatch center in Denver for a police station. Traffic and crime incidents are recorded in a special logbook, as drivers call in descriptions and locations to police.
It's part of a program called Taxis on Patrol. Just a day after the program began, a cab driver helped police make an arrest for a fatal hit-and-run. In the months since, eyewitness calls from cabbies using a bulletin system similar to an Amber Alert have led to hundreds of arrests.
Colorado holds its Republican caucuses on Tuesday. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have focused their attention there recently. The state will also be a key battleground in the general election contest. From Denver, Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC reports.
The single largest cattle show in the United States, the National Western Stock Show, is now under way in Denver. Fans roar overhead, keeping the air cool and the odors at bay, as Jeanette Fuller spiffs up her Black Angus — with product.
"High-strength hairspray, basically, just trying to get the hair to accentuate the good things about her and kind of cover up the bad things about her," Fuller says.
Ryan Van Duzer, an outdoor enthusiast who has starred in reality TV adventure shows, visits Colorado schools to talk about how working out can be entertainment. He says he often leaves frustrated after kids tell him about staying inside playing video games.
The obesity crisis is catching up with Colorado, the nation's thinnest state.
Being fit is part of the culture in Colorado: there are biking trails and hiking trails and ski slopes and even the high altitude itself helps burn off calories. But waistlines are widening, especially among children.