Over the last 18 months, Insight with John Ferrugia has been pleased to present a series of long-form investigative programs addressing important issues to Coloradans throughout the state.
We’ve investigated such topics as high potency marijuana, the opioid epidemic, gender inequality, child sex-trafficking, oil and gas regulations, mental health, and gun laws.
Our goal has been to enlighten and empower Colorado citizens with enough information and data analysis to foster productive conversations. Rocky Mountain PBS exists to strengthen the civic fabric of Colorado.
On May 24,2018, our episode, Impact, examines new developments in the stories we’ve followed including legislation, community action, and resolutions to lawsuits.
Protecting the Vulnerable - In this special report about how Colorado treats people with intellectual disabilities, RMPBS found cases of mistreatment and neglect in some Colorado host homes, including the case of Tanya Bell, who died in a 2016 fire when she couldn’t escape in her wheelchair.
Since our report aired in January 2018, Colorado’s House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at improving the safety of these vulnerable adults. One of the sponsors of that bill thanked Rocky Mountain PBS for its reporting when he introduced the bill. The bill died in the Senate, but the state officials that oversee Medicaid told RMPBS they are still “committed to ensuring a higher standard of oversight.”
Imminent Danger - Our investigation found that our current state law prevented police, professors and family members of a mentally ill man from stopping him as he spiraled out of control and eventually killed a sheriff’s deputy and wounded four others before he was shot and killed. This special report included exclusive interviews with the mother of that man, Matthew Riehl, as well as with the parents of Aurora theater shooter James Holmes.
Since our investigation aired in April 2018, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the state House of Representatives. Lawmakers and witnesses watched our special report during a judiciary committee hearing on the bill, and referred to it during the hearing.
Traded and Trafficked - In this special report on child trafficking in Colorado, RMPBS discovered that the state had not implemented mandatory human trafficking training for Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification, despite a Colorado Human Trafficking Council recommendation that Colorado officers receive additional training.
Since our report aired in November 2017, the Colorado House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill that would increase human trafficking training for law enforcement and other organizations that provide services to human trafficking victims. The bill died in the Senate.
State of High - RMPBS reported that the marijuana industry has developed ways to extract nearly 100% pure THC, and doctors were seeing patients with signs of addiction and withdrawal.
After our report aired in October 2017, we received an email from a mother who said the report allowed her and several other families she knew to have serious conversations with their high school and college-aged children who were “dabbing” this high-potency marijuana. The mother said the RMPBS special report may have saved her son’s life.
Firestone Gas Explosion –This report examined the circumstances surrounding a deadly house explosion in Firestone, CO that killed two men. While many blamed a series of unforeseeable errors for the Firestone explosion, our investigation found state regulators and local legislators knew about about risks associated with oil and gas flowlines for several years.
Since our report aired in December 2017, the state enhanced its rules to improve location tracking and record-keeping related to underground flowlines, and required some lines that were previously exempt from pressure testing to undergo testing.
Equal Pay Equal Play – This investigation examined gender-related pay inequities involving law professors at the University of Denver. Women were being paid far less than their male counterparts, and some of them decided to sue.
Since our investigation aired in May 2017, the University of Denver and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission negotiated a $2.6 million settlement agreement. The university also agreed to set up a non-discriminatory system that pays men and women equally for merit increases.
Opioid Babies - This special report focused on babies born to opioid-addicted mothers. We found in rural areas, there aren’t enough medical professionals trained to give a recommended treatment for pregnant women. In Alamosa, for example, there was only one doctor in 50 miles.
After our report aired in February 2017, other media – including Colorado Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal – interviewed the same doctor we featured. And that doctor’s employer, Valley Wide Health Systems, has since launched a family medicine residency that includes training on the drug that’s recommended for pregnant opioid addicts so more rural doctors can be trained.
Please feel free to submit ideas for future investigations here: firstname.lastname@example.org.