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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Cities around the country are turning to light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, for their street lights. These bulbs use less energy, last longer and are smaller than traditional lights and they save money. But there's a problem with some LEDs. Grace Hood of Colorado Public Radio reports. GRACE HOOD, BYLINE: The small southwestern Colorado city of Ouray is known for hiking and ice climbing. In 2009, Ouray's city...

One year ago — on Aug. 5, 2015 — an EPA crew at the Gold King Mine in southwest Colorado accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of orange water filled with mercury and arsenic. The toxic spill flowed into the Animas River, eventually running into New Mexico's San Juan River and into Lake Powell. So far, disaster response and water quality monitoring have cost the EPA about $29 million — and the problem isn't over yet. Water laced with heavy metals continues to gush out of the mine, says...

Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado is known for its iconic cliff dwellings , but archaeological artifacts left by the Ancestral Pueblo are all over. Rocky remnants of homes and farming sites are scattered throughout the dense pinyon juniper forest. Wood attracts fire though. And if you take a walk inside a forest ravaged by wildfire, you get a sense of the daunting challenge facing Scott Travis, chief research and resource manager for Mesa Verde National Park. It's his job to...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The cost of getting into some national parks increases on Thursday. The rates will go up despite the fact that visitation at parks is up, which means bigger crowds, congested traffic and busier visitor centers. But more people aren't translating into a big boost for park budgets. For example, visitation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is up 20 percent so far this year and Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion are also seeing double-digit increases. The parks are also seeing the strain....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: The federal government made a long-awaited decision today on a chicken-sized bird. The greater sage-grouse will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Rangers and the energy industry worry that doing so would've cost billions of dollars in lost income. The decision received a warm welcome during a ceremony near Denver. But as Colorado Public Radio's Grace Hood explains, no everyone is happy with...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Clean water is something that Colorado needs plenty of, especially as the population there is expected to double over the next 35 years. The state's natural resource managers have proposed two large reservoir projects to feed some of the fastest-growing cities. But as Grace Hood from Colorado Public Radio reports, longtime Coloradans are worried about the ecological harm that the damming could cause....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Last week, workers with the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally released wastewater at an abandoned gold mine in southwest Colorado. An estimated 3 million gallons of mining wastewater, laced with heavy metals, spilled into the Animas River. It's now moving downstream, and as Grace Hood from Colorado Public Radio reports, residents are worried that the discharge will enter their water supply....

This is part of a series of stories about starting over , profiling people who, by choice or circumstance, reinvented or transformed themselves. Chapel of the Interlude is a fitting name for a church in the middle of a narrow, winding canyon. In 1969, benefactors built the intimate wood-paneled structure to provide an oasis next to one of the busiest roads leading to Rocky Mountain National Park. But in 2013, a raging river between Estes Park and Loveland, Colo. deposited mud, sticks and...

"Hello. Are you registered to vote in Colorado?" It's a refrain many in the state have grown to loathe this summer — heard outside their favorite grocery store or shopping mall as signature gatherers race toward an Aug. 4 deadline to put four energy-related measures on the November ballot. With two of those measures backed by environmentalists, and the other two by industry-supported groups, all of the energy talk is leading to confusion among potential voters. Among the hassled Colorado...

The indoor shooting range at Archery in the Wild in northern Colorado used to be dominated by camouflage and hunters. But on this Saturday morning, the archery range is dotted with ponytails and 7-year-old girls like Y'Jazzmin Christopher. The popularity of The Hunger Games series is fueling an interest in the sport of archery, particularly among girls. Some sporting equipment outfitters say they've seen a big boost in bow and arrow sales since the film series began in 2012. Following in the...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uti2niW2BRA The 2013 election marked a victory for foes of hydraulic fracturing , or fracking, in Colorado. Voters in three Front Range communities decided to put limits on the practice. Next week, the north Denver suburb of Broomfield will launch a closely watched vote recount on a proposed moratorium there. Oil and gas companies say the measures create an uncertain business environment. During its original vote count, Broomfield felt more like Miami-Dade...

Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: And I'm Renee Montagne. Let's check in now on some people and places affected by the large-scale federal government shutdown. We go first to Boulder, Colorado. Its home to hundreds of federal research laboratory employees and thousands more university and contract workers, all locked out of federal buildings and labs during the budget impasse. As Grace Hood of member station KUNC...

Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: Amid the partial government shutdown, the Small Business Administration will continue only a few programs, including disaster relief loans. That's good news in Colorado, where nearly a thousand businesses were damaged or destroyed by recent flooding. Many more could see sales go down. Grace Hood of member station KUNC traveled to the small town Lyons to understand the full scope of challenges facing small businesses. GRACE HOOD, BYLINE: Life is far from normal...

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. In recent years, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies have enabled more oil and gas production along Colorado's Eastern Plains. The boom has led...

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. In recent years, the CSA model has been attracting thousands of new farmers and consumers. Farmers like CSAs because they get money to cover the costs of production at the beginning of the season. Consumers who buy in get to connect with local food producers, who provide them with fresh, and often novel...

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,...

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....

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. Erie-based Magpul Industries is the largest company packing its bags. The 200-employee business makes high-capacity magazines, which the Colorado Legislature voted to ban. In testimony before state...

The U.S. military and law enforcement agencies have seen increased public scrutiny on the domestic use of the robotically piloted planes known as drones. Working on the sidelines of this debate, the U.S. Geological Survey has been trying to find a second life for retired military drones in the areas of environmental and wildlife management. Instead of watching the battlefield, these drones are watching birds. Earlier this month, scientists spent three days flying a small 4-pound Raven A drone...

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. Freeman is co-owner of...

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...

Colorado's High Park Fire northwest of Fort Collins has topped 46,000 acres, making it one of the largest wildfires in the state's history. It's also destroyed more than 100 buildings. But firefighters are beginning to gain ground and have started containing the blaze.