When the only hospital in Leadville started to close down seven years ago, officials in the highest-altitude city in the country worried they would lose their “heart and soul.” There were layoffs in the nursing department. Extended care patients were moved to nursing homes. A city council member feared retirees would flee to other areas […]
In rural Crowley County, a safe return to in-person school is really the only option
What is distancing learning like without a laptop? Without internet? Without parents at home? Without a home at all? This spring, remote education brought on by the coronavirus pandemic raised difficult questions about equity and introduced unprecedented challenges for school districts across Colorado. These challenges hit Crowley County — a small, rural community in the […]
Colorado’s rural pharmacies wrestle against big business to remain community cornerstones
CHEYENNE WELLS – Ted Billinger Jr. closed his pharmacy in this prairie town on March 13, 2019, as the worst storm on record hit Colorado. He delivered a prescription for a child with the flu and one to the local nursing home, went home, had a heart attack in his backyard and died. For nearly […]
The inside story of the unprecedented airlift delivering coronavirus supplies to rural Colorado hospitals
The airplane touched down on the lone runway of the Alamosa airport earlier this month, and its single propeller sputtered to a stop. The pilot, Stan VanderWerf, donned a face mask and prepared to meet the welcoming party, which rolled toward his plane in a pickup truck. “We complied with all the social distancing requirements,” […]
Colorado is banking on telehealth to slow coronavirus. But many rural hospitals lack necessary resources.
Colorado health officials want to use “remote” health care services, known as telehealth, as a tool to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But despite recent regulatory changes intended to make it easier for patients to seek medical advice or treatment without leaving their home, many rural hospitals and clinics lack adequate funding, […]
For farmers in a mental health crisis, it’s often tough to seek help. A Colorado program aims to begin conversations.
Maggie Hanna grew up a typical rural kid: in school on weekdays; helping with the cattle on her family’s ranch southeast of Colorado Springs on weekends. Except Hanna had something else to contend with. When she was 9, her father, Kirk Hanna, died by suicide. Now, she’s working to bring more mental health resources to […]
Sprawling Las Animas County, like many rural areas, badly needs emergency responders. But it’s a teachable moment.
HOEHNE — Between the passing bells, teen students gradually find their way to a second-floor classroom at the K-12 Hoehne School where they pause before entering, raise both hands and, one by one, greet instructor Dominic “Junie” Verquer with what could be considered the class mantra. “BSI, is my scene safe?” At first glance, the […]