As the year draws to a close, CPR News is taking a look back at our most-read articles from 2015. Among the high profile events like the Gold King Mine Spill, many readers also found time for education and environmental stories. And hot springs. You loved our hot springs story. Haven't read them all? Now's a great time to catch up.
The images of bright orange waterways seared into the consciousness of Americans this year, even inspiring a nod from a New Yorker cartoonist. In quick fashion, energy and environmental reporter Grace Hood delivered what was known about the spill's cause:
"At the Gold King Mine, EPA officials were using heavy equipment for their site investigation to learn the extent of contamination. Not only was there was more mine wastewater than expected, but the water was held back by a dam of soils as opposed to rocks. While the EPA was digging around, water gushed out and started to drain down," she wrote. Read the story here.
Only an hour away from Denver, Genoa-Hugo Elementary school needed just one more teacher last year. Unfortunately for the school, there were zero applicants. Education reporter Jenny Brundin found a number of factors at play, including our political climate:
“In the last five to six years, we’ve had several mandates that were truly unfunded, went through a recession, put more on people’s plates and didn’t take anything off," said Don Anderson, director of the East Central Board of Cooperative Educational Services. "And so that political landscape has caused people to ask, 'Do I really want to be a teacher?'" Read the story here.
Last year, the school lunchroom was a good indicator for how things were going at George Washington High School. On one side, the mostly-white International Baccalaureate students. On the other side, students in traditionally paced courses, mostly African-American and Hispanic. Changing that divide was tough, remembered parent Todd Mackintosh.
“You could have cut the air with a knife at the beginning," he said. Read the story here.
What's cooler than Quentin Tarentino hanging out with Samuel L. Jackson in Telluride? Maybe this post on how the production spent over $140,000 at a local tire shop.
Owner Stuart Armstrong said business went up about 25 percent this year, resulting in by far his best January and February since opening the shop in 1997. Read the story here.
Imagine this: You land at Denver International Airport, take the new East Rail Commuter Line to Union Station, board the Ski Train and arrive right at the slopes of Winter Park all in about three hours.
Or maybe you don't need to imagine the ski train part, because you've been in Colorado since before 2009 and used the now-defunct service.
Either way, the possible reboot has got people across the state talking. Read the story here.
Marijuana's sort of having a moment.
In 2016, voters in as many as 10 states will consider whether to join Colorado and three others in legalizing recreational weed. Then presidential candidate Rand Paul came to Colorado and got on the bandwagon. So the civic-minded and pot proponents alike enjoyed this article detailing how future presidents might deal with the issue. Read the story here.
Whether the change took a few years or almost a hundred, the images from NASA are striking. See ore of the images here.
“I had a hundred dollars in my pocket and a box of books," said Kevin Monteiro says about his first day out of prison. "No family, nobody.”
In a five-part series, Colorado Matters reporter Andrea Dukakis explored how parolees are expected to navigate life outside of prison. But in this first installment, the weight of Monteiro's struggles were felt acutely by readers. Read Montiero's story here.
A single parent with two children cannot survive on minimum wage alone in any county in the state. That's the finding from a self-sufficiency index from the University of Washington.
"There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight," says University of Washington professor Diana Pearce who developed the self sufficiency scale and wrote the report "At some point, something’s just got to give. Families just can't afford [it]." Read the story here.
Who can resist the promise of secret hot springs in Colorado? Few of you, if this far-and-away most popular story is any indication. Read the full list here.