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Thursday, March 5,2015

What happens when a son sets out to profile his father?

Documentary reveals the history of far more than a record store

By Elizabeth Miller
The documentary film Old Man is as much a story of a troubled, perhaps marginally dysfunctional family as it is the story of a troubled record store — and, in many ways, a dysfunctional town. The portrait of Boulder is not graceful. It’s a critique of the town’s ability to win both for greatest number of advanced degrees per capita and for high incidence of teen suicide and drug use. That’s the context the film’s director Dan Schneidkraut leans on to make a far more personal story make sense — one that’s about his father, Andy, owner of the Boulder institution Albums on the Hill.
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Thursday, March 5,2015

Task force recommendations and near misses

The right to vote on setbacks and local control was traded for this task force. So what did we get?

By Elizabeth Miller
When Governor John Hickenlooper handpicked his task force to examine state and local regulations concerning oil and gas operations, his stated intent was to resolve those issues involving competing regulatory entities and multiple jurisdictions including state and local governments, surface and mineral owners, oil and gas operators and local community members concerned about the effects of drilling and fracking. The task force itself was crafted as a compromise to pull initiatives from last November’s ballot that would have allowed Colorado voters to weigh in on the rights of local communities to defend their environment and citizens, and on establishing a 2,000-foot setback from occupied buildings. In his executive order for the task force, the governor charged its members with addressing those issues, as well as drillingrelated concerns over noise, air quality and dust in a state valued as much by the people who choose to make Colorado their home as by the corporations invested in extracting the state’s oil and gas.
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Thursday, February 26,2015

The trouble with Casey

Parents press for school closure in the face of unresolved concerns over toxic gas at school

By Elizabeth Miller
Here’s what we know for sure about the air at Casey Middle School: It smells bad. Since the new, $33 million rebuilt school opened in August 2010 and became home to just under 600 students and about 50 teachers, reports have circulated of air that smells like rotten eggs and, sometimes, feces. Air monitors brought into the school have identified levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a colorless, flammable gas known for its rotten egg smell. Those levels, according to reports from now multiple third-party monitoring agencies, are below the levels that immediately trigger cause for concern for adults in the work place. But here’s the thing: That may not be true for children.
Thursday, February 19,2015

‘Drawn’ to create new lines

How an artist and climber created an epic journey for himself and monumental tribute to a friend and mentor

By Elizabeth Miller
What would you do, if you were a 30-something parent with a career and a mortgage, and still felt the call of the wilderness, not just for weekend camping trips and days at the local crag sport climbing, but to venture into the unknown, to climb...
Thursday, February 19,2015

Whose lands should those be?

Proposed bill presses for increased state control over public lands; opponents express concerns over expense and access

By Elizabeth Miller
Among the bevy of bills introduced at the start of the Colorado legislative session in January was Senate Bill 15-039, which takes a complex spin on a question that’s increasingly coming up in western states’ legislatures: Who should hold jurisdiction over public lands?.
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Thursday, February 19,2015

No solid ground

Thousands of Front Range homes were built over areas with potential to collapse and could face additional risks due to oil and gas extraction

By Elizabeth Miller
The coal mines that lie under portions of downtown Lafayette and Louisville, outskirts of Erie and most of Frederick, Firestone and Dacono were built to collapse. Coal mines on the Front Range from the 1860s when coal mining began in Colorado until roughly 30 years ago used the technique of “room and pillar” mining — tunneling into a coal seam and digging rooms off the side between pillars of coal.
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Thursday, February 12,2015

The show goes on

Grant from State Historical Fund ensures high school students keep their theater, and so does Boulder

By Elizabeth Miller
Growing pains first took the Tara Performing Arts High School to the Nomad Playhouse in 2001 — they didn’t fit the smaller venues they’d used in the past and needed a space their first graduating class could use for an all-school production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.
Thursday, February 5,2015

Lessons in leaving

Making a visit to Holt with Denver Center and Kent Haruf

By Elizabeth Miller
The stories are told in spare language and dialogue light on syllables but heavy with subtext. The cutting simplicity of the language eliminates so much of the saccharine or bombastic rhetoric writing about the American West can be particularly prone to.
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Thursday, February 5,2015

Park Service kills hundreds of bison despite objections from Native Americans and activists

By Elizabeth Miller
Their estimates, based on the field campaign’s ongoing monitoring of bison management and the park’s biweekly reports, is that 135 have been taken through hunting, 270 to slaughter and at least five to a research facility.
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Thursday, February 5,2015

Don't get taken

Locksmith industry still scam prone in unregulated Colorado

By Elizabeth Miller
When Longmont resident Nikki Kayser needed to replace the deadbolt on her door on Thanksgiving Day, she turned to the Internet for a locksmith who would work holidays, and found herself connecting to someone through a personal cell phone he answered with a gruff “hello” instead of a business name.
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