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PNS Daily Newscast - August 12, 2020 

Former VP Joe Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate; some schools have science-based metrics for open classroom instruction.

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California Sen. Kamala Harris will be on the ticket with Joe Biden in November. Four states had primaries yesterday, and two had runoffs. Georgia and Wisconsin appear to have improved since last time.

Inmates Help Restore Colorado Wilderness Area

Eagles Nest Wilderness area. Credit: PDTillman/Wikimedia Commons.
Eagles Nest Wilderness area. Credit: PDTillman/Wikimedia Commons.
August 17, 2015

DENVER - A piece of Colorado's Eagles Nest Wilderness has been restored to its historic condition, thanks to the hard work of 18 prison inmates. The group removed an ugly blight, a mining building from the 1950s.

Since heavy machinery isn't allowed on Rock Creek Trail, Ken Waugh, an officer with the Dillon Ranger District, hooked up with Colorado Correctional Industries, which specializes in the kind of old-school manual labor required. Waugh called the project a "win-win" for conservationists and the crew of volunteers.

"They do feel like they want to give back and provide a high quality job and to do something that's important," says Waugh. "That comes out in the quality of their work. They know they get to be out there in this fantastic place rather than behind bars in prison."

The crew worked by day and camped out under the stars at night. They dismantled the building using only hand tools, and hiked an average of 16 miles a day hauling cinder blocks and metal to the trail head northwest of Silverthorne. On weekends they went back to prison in Buena Vista.

Erik Wayland, a trail crew boss with Colorado Correctional Industries, receives applications from inmates wanting to volunteer on projects. He only accepts non-violent offenders within a few years of release. He says a lot of the inmates have never spent time in the wilderness.

"Now, most of them say 'I'm going to come back here with my kids or I'm going to come back here with my parents,'" says Wayland. "They want to show that they were able to do something positive in their lives and in such a beautiful area and it made a huge impact on them."

Wayland says inmates are paid $7.60 a day on overnight projects. He notes several were congratulated by hikers who came from the nearby trail, drawn by the noise. The project at Eagles Nest began in early July and wrapped up late last week.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO