Photos: Twenty Cities With the Fastest-Rising Rents -- and Denver's Place on the List

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More photos below.
Is the cost of living in Denver increasing? If you're a renter, the answer is almost certainly "Yes." A Trulia.com analysis of rental prices nationwide includes a roster of cities with the highest rent boosts from August 2013 to August 2014, and Denver has a prominent place on it despite overall prices remaining in the middle range -- for now, anyhow. Count down the photo-illustrated, data-infused top twenty below, and to read the complete Trulia.com post, click here.

See also: Ten Cities With the Greatest Growth in Poor Neighborhoods -- Including One in Colorado

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John Hickenlooper's Fracking Panel Snubs the Fractivists

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Colorado Springs No Fracking Zone Facebook Page
One of the sentiments that won't be discussed by the governor's new task force.
Earlier this week, when Governor John Hickenlooper announced the names of the nineteen people selected for a special oil and gas task force intended to address fracking-related land use and health issues across the state, he boasted of the group's "balanced and informed representation." It was as if he was introducing one of those ethnically diverse platoons from old War War II movies: the Italian from the Bronx, the Polish kid from Chicago, the hillbilly from Georgia, the farm boy from Ohio, the Navajo scout, the cigar-chomping noncom from Anytown, USA.

Depending on when they were made, those movies frequently left somebody out of the rainbow commandos -- the Latino, the Asian guy, almost certainly the African American (racial desegregation didn't become U.S. military policy until 1948). And Hickenlooper's group neatly excludes any of the folks who prompted its creation: Conspicuously absent from the task force is anyone who was actively involved in the recent slew of campaigns to promote more local control over fracking and impose bans on drilling in several Front Range cities.

See also: How Colorado became ground zero in America's energy wars

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Medicaid Patients and Doctors Are Seeking a Cure for Denver Health's Managed Care

Categories: Business, News

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Brian Stauffer

Hollie Presley sits at the kitchen table in her tidy southwest Denver home, surrounded by paperwork. Her four-year-old, Isabella, watches a cartoon in the living room, while her infant son, Parker, reclines in a bouncy chair within arm's reach, his belly full from his last bottle. The paperwork chronicles Presley's ongoing struggles with Colorado's Medicaid system. Presley wants her children to be able to go to the same doctors at South Federal Family Practice who delivered them and who know them. But because the family lives in Denver, getting both of her kids on a Medicaid plan that allows for that has been tough.

That's because since 2006, any Medicaid recipient with a Denver address has been automatically enrolled in the Denver Health Medicaid Choice plan. This so-called passive enrollment happens even if the patient has been seeing another doctor for years and lives nowhere near a clinic operated by Denver Health. And it happens despite the fact that Denver Health has a waiting list that's thousands of patients long (though it's taken significant steps to reduce it over the past year).

See also: Alternative therapy could be the next step for those with spinal cord injuries


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Photos: Tour Five of the Most Expensive Homes for Sale in Colorado

Categories: Business

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More photos below.
Either the economy's finally improving or folks selling homes think it is -- because the number of eight-figure Colorado homes for sale is definitely on the rise. Whereas the priciest property on our winter roster of the most expensive homes for sale in Denver was going for a mere $9.2 million, our latest list of gorgeous abodes available over a larger swath of Colorado via the good folks at The Home Cart features five that start at more than $15 million. Check them out below, complete with multiple photos and Home Cart text -- and be sure to click on the links if you want to see more.

See also: Photos: Six Most Expensive Homes for Sale in Denver, Winter 2014 Edition

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Medicare Fraud Case Claims Optum Put Patients in Hospice Care Who Weren't Terminal

Categories: Business, News

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A screen capture from Optum Palliative Care's website. More photos below.
The U.S. Justice Department has decided to join in a federal lawsuit filed by two Colorado whistleblowers; it alleges that a national palliative care provider improperly billed Medicare millions of dollars for hospice services provided to patients who weren't terminally ill. The suit against Optum Palliative and Hospice Care claims that the company offered hefty bonuses to employees who kept the numbers of patients up and fired those who attempted to weed out patients who weren't eligible for hospice benefits.

See also: James Hibbard: $1.6 Million in Settlements Reached in Coroner Sex Harassment Fiasco

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Queen City Trading Is What LoDo Needs -- So Why Won't It Open in the New Union Station?

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When one train pulls out of the station, another pulls in. That's how it seems to be working out for Stephanie Shearer and Chris Bacorn -- with a little help from "What Does LoDo Need," a contest we told you about earlier this year.

The two have figured out what Denver likes -- and how to make small business work in hip neighborhoods. That's why their jewelry store, Pandora on the Hill, has thrived in Capitol Hill for twenty years, and why they were able to open two more local-centric boutiques, Peppermint and Soul Haus, in the EZE Mop building on East 17th that they bought five years ago and renovated into a hip hangout.

See also: Photos: The Top Ten Things LoDo Needs -- According to You

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Top Ten State Economies According to MSN Money -- and Colorado's Big Finish

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Memes and more below.
Plenty of folks in these parts continue to complain about the rough economy -- but according to MSN Money, such gripes have reached their expiration date. The site has just ranked the fifty state economies from worst to first, and Colorado is solidly ensconced in the top ten. But where did it finish? Count down the meme-illustrated list below, complete with excerpts from MSN Money text -- and to see the original post, which features even more facts and figures, click here.

See also: Top Ten States With the Most and least People Who'd Leave If They Could: Suck It, New Jersey

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Breckenridge Marijuana Shop Fights Move to Force It Off Main Street

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Photos from the Breckenridge Cannabis Club Facebook page.
Breckenridge has a well-founded reputation for progressive marijuana policy. The town's voters decriminalized pot in 2009, years before the passage of Amendment 64.

Nonetheless, officials passed a law banning new pot shops from opening on Main Street, and a grandfather clause for the Breckenridge Cannabis Club, which was already located there, is about to expire. But the latter's co-owner says an extension has been granted and she's hopeful the BCC will be allowed to remain for the long term.

See also: Sean McAllister on Breckenridge's decriminalization of weed, the Board of Health's medical-marijuana action

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Marijuana: Ex-Bronco Supports Plan to Turn Women's Prison Into Pot Factory

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A photo of the prison facility from the Colorado Farm Products Facebook page.
A women's correctional facility in Brush closed in 2010. But it could reopen soon -- as a retail marijuana grow, shorthanded by the media as a "pot factory."

Problem: Brush currently has a moratorium on marijuana businesses. But the city council could lift that ban after a town hall meeting tonight -- and Nick Erker, the man behind the proposal, is hoping a sales campaign and a pitch from a popular former Denver Bronco will help him convince officials to give him a chance.

See also: Marijuana: $24.7 Million in Recreational Pot, Edibles and Concentrates Sold in June

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Photos: Ten Fastest-Growing Colorado Cities According to NerdWallet

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Photos and more below.
Colorado hasn't been immune from the economic challenges of recent years -- but what communities are doing the best when it comes to shaking off the doldrums? "Cities on the Rise in Colorado," a post on the website NerdWallet, attempts to answer that question -- and many of the communities on its list will come as a surprise. Count down the photo-illustrated top ten below, complete with excerpts from NerdWallet text and stats, as well as the methodology used to determine the rankings.

See also: Photos: Ten best places to see the wild beauty of Colorado

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