Weekend catch-up: Getting by in Vail, and five other stories you may have missed

February 14, 2015

Low-wage workers in resort country

Photo: Erika Gonzalez in Edwards trailer park
Erika Gonzalez sits in the kitchen of the trailer she shares with another family and a boarder in Edwards, Colo. on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. On the table is a notarized legal document she needs to prove her ownership of the trailer, which she recently paid off after 10 years of payments. 

Behind the gold medals at the FIS world championships, thousands of low-wage workers just barely scraping by in the Vale Valley. Erika Gonzalez, who works at Subway, told CPR News she has no choice but to rent out bedrooms in her small trailer in Edwards. “We earn very little. The money is just enough to survive,” she said in Spanish. More here.

Audio: CPR’s Andrea Dukakis reports from the Vail Valley

Just me, or is it warm in here?

Photo: Colorado high February temperatures 2015
Data from the National Weather Service's Boulder office. 

We're barely halfway through May April February but we're already on track for a month of record-breaking warmth. We're currently more than 12 degrees above the average February temperature of 31 degrees. Fret not though, winter enthusiasts, cooler weather is on its way next week. More here.

Tough road from foster care to college

Photo: Senator Linda Newell and Will Patton
Democratic Sen. Linda Newell chats with Will Patton who recently "aged out" of Colorado's foster care system. He is currently homeless but graduated in the top of his class at North High School.

Just over a quarter of foster kids graduate from high school in Colorado. Even fewer graduate from college. One Colorado senator is trying to change that. "If we don’t get a grasp on it, we are going to pay not only humanely, but also pay fiscally," said State Sen. Linda Newell. More here.

Audio: CPR’s Jenny Brundin reports on foster youth

Hippies' contribution to Colorado: More than just weed

Photo: Drop City
Woman and child in Drop City near Trinidad.

Back in 1968, "Drop City" near Trinidad was the unlikely center of hippie culture in this part of the U.S. B. Erin Cole, an assistant state historian, told CPR News' Ryan Warner that "hippie capitalists” helped shape Colorado’s economy, from the rise of natural foods to the embrace of new art. More here.

Audio: Ryan Warner speaks with B. Erin Cole

Hey schools, don't count on any marijuana tax money

Photo: Marijuana bud, dollars bills in background, Denver dispensary (AP Photo)
A caregiver picks out a marijuana bud for a patient at a marijuana dispensary in Denver in a file photo.

Unless the Legislature acts soon, the marijuana tax revenue that was supposed to go to schools and prevention programs will end up in other pockets. That's the confusing result of a quirk in the state constitution, CPR News' Ben Markus explains. Here’s the issue: the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, requires the state to ask voters to approve any new taxes. When doing so, the state must estimate the money the tax would raise, and estimate the overall tax collections without it. If either one of those estimates is off, the new revenue must be refunded. More here.

Audio: CPR’s Ben Markus reports on marijuana tax revenue