Local News

Connecting the Drops
11:17 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Farming the Ogallala

A center pivot irrigation system near Wray, CO
Credit Shelley Schlender

Most Colorado cities and farms get water from snowmelt in the Rockies. That’s not the case in Northeastern Colorado. This food-producing powerhouse depends on an ancient, underground reservoir called the Ogallala.

Ever since the Ice Ages, the Ogallala’s been slowly accumulating water. Modern farmers, though, pump so much water that this “timeless” aquifer is starting to run out. Someday up ahead, Northeast Colorado may have to curtail some crops, and some farm towns might become ghost towns.
 

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Pueblo's Arkansas River Levee
2:30 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Work on Pueblo Levee Project Faces Slight Delay

Looking downriver at the Arkansas River and Pueblo Levee Mural near the 4th Street Bridge.
Credit Shanna Lewis / KRCC

The start of a massive repair project on the Arkansas River levee in Pueblo is being delayed until December due to historic preservation concerns and some delays in the funding.
 

The project’s consulting engineer Kim Kock says the state historic preservation officer has said the levee could be deemed historic because it was constructed in response to the deadly 1921 floods and used methods of that time period.

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Black Forest Fire
4:12 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Black Forest Fire Cause Undetermined; No Criminal Charges

Investigators say there’s not enough evidence to file charges in connection with last year’s devastating Black Forest Fire.

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Capitol Conversation
5:07 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Capitol Conversation: A Divided Statehouse

Colorado's statehouse will have divided control in January. Republicans gained a one-seat majority in the state senate, while Democrats held onto their house majority. Bente Birkeland talks to statehouse reporters about what that means for some key issues lawmakers hope to tackle.
 

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Local News
10:02 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Wastewater Disposal Seen as Potential Trigger for Earthquakes

Land near the Colorado-New Mexico border has recently been caving inwards in an area where a 5.3 magnitude earthquake took place in 2011. As KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports, scientists at the United States Geological Survey are pointing to wastewater disposal as a potential trigger.
 

Higher magnitude earthquakes are a rarity in Colorado, making the 2011 quake of special interest to scientists. Research showed a possible cause as wastewater injection which involves the pumping of large volumes of fluid into the Earth, creating high-pressure conditions.

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Arkansas River
7:40 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Celebrates 25 Years

Gates hang over the Arkansas River at the Arkansas River Headwaters Area, indicating a boating path. Winter 2012
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, or AHRA, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary today. The region spans 152 miles of the Arkansas River and saw over 711,000 visitors last year.

AHRA program assistant Rose Bayless says in its 25 years, the area has provided an outlet for outdoor recreation that the public didn’t have before, including boating and fishing.

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Election 2014
11:10 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Hickenlooper Wins Re-Election

Hickenlooper declares victory, narrowly, at the state capitol on the day after Election Day.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Democratic incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper narrowly won re-election after a race that was too close to call on Tuesday night. Hickenlooper faced off against former Congressman, Republican Bob Beauprez. It’s the second time Beauprez has lost the Governorship. Democratic Bill Ritter defeated him in 2006 by a much wider margin of double digits.

Many pundits were surprised at the intensity of the race, which was a nail biter until the end. The race wasn’t called by major news outlets until about 9:30am, more than twelve hours after polls closed.

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Election 2014
5:47 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Election 2014 Roundup

Voters across Colorado cast their final ballots yesterday on state and local issues and candidates. 

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Election
4:25 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Final Debate for Hickenlooper and Beauprez

With early voting well underway Colorado’s gubernatorial candidates staked out their positions one last time during their 8th and final debate hosted by KCNC channel 4 and Colorado Public Television last Friday night. Among the routine topics – things got heated over the issue of public safety.
 

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Elections
4:42 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Will Colorado's Growing Latino Voting Bloc Cast Ballots this Midterm Election?

Two volunteers at a Senator Mark Udall field office in heavily Latino Adams County. They were there to help rally the Latino vote and knock on doors.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Latinos make up about twenty percent of Colorado’s population and continue to be a highly courted voting bloc during this election. It’s a group that more frequently votes for Democrats, but Latinos also turn out less often in midterm elections, and both political parties face challenges in attracting them.
 

Republicans have long been trying to make inroads with Latino voters, especially in competitive states like Colorado, where a small number of votes could swing key races for the U.S. Senate and Governor.

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Arkansas River
4:31 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Contract Approved for Arkansas River Levee Repair Project

Looking downriver at the Arkansas River and Pueblo Levee Mural near the 4th Street Bridge.
Credit Shanna Lewis / KRCC

 
The Pueblo Conservancy District awarded the contract for phase one of the project to repair the aging Arkansas River levee. The estimated cost for this initial phase is $3.6 million and is expected to begin in November and end in March.  KRCC’s Shanna Lewis reports.

The full repair project is likely to span three or four winters and will destroy the collection of murals painted on the levee by hundreds of artists since the 1970s. It’s the largest outdoor mural in the world.

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Election
3:43 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Amendment 67: 'Personhood' Returns to the Ballot

One of this November’s statewide ballot questions may look familiar to Coloradans. For the third time since 2008, voters will decide the fate of an amendment dealing with the issue of personhood. But this time around supporters are taking a different approach.
 

Amendment 67 would change the state’s criminal code and wrongful death act to include the term “unborn human beings” when referring to a “person” or “child.” Backers say it stems from the 2012 case of Heather Surovik, who shares her testimonial on the Personhood USA website…

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Elections
8:46 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

1A - El Paso County Excess Revenue

Voters in El Paso County are deciding whether or not to allow the county to keep excess revenue for the purpose of supporting parks and open space.

The Taxpayers Bill or Rights, or TABOR, stipulates any excess revenue should be returned to residents, unless voters approve a measure allowing the county to put it to other use.

Ballot issue 1A seeks to retain more than $2 million for specific projects including resurfacing tennis courts at Bear Creek Park, constructing a park in the Falcon area, and restoring trails in the Black Forest Regional Park. 

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Elections
6:46 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Amendment 68: Should Gambling Be Expanded And Taxed For Education Funding?

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 7:02 am

While much of the attention the 2014 election season has been focused on Colorado's Senate and gubernatorial races, voters will also be deciding the fates of four statewide ballot questions. One of those questions seeks to expand gambling at racetracks to help fund K-12 education.

If approved, Amendment 68 would allow horse race tracks in Arapahoe, Mesa and Pueblo counties to offer slot machines, roulette, craps, and card games such as blackjack and poker. Arapahoe Park in Aurora is at the center of the campaign.

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Public Safety
1:31 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Evacuation Drill for Pulpit Rock Neighborhood

The Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management, Fire, and Police Departments are conducting an evacuation drill for residents of the Pulpit Rock neighborhood Saturday.  KRCC's Rachel Gonchar reports.
 

The Pulpit Rock neighborhood is located in the city’s wildland urban interface and includes University Park and Sunset Mesa.

CSPD Officer David Husted says participating residents can expect a knock at their doors and instructions on what to do and where to go. He also said this area is a new focus for first responders.

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Health
11:11 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Colorado's Suicide Prevention Task Force Meets

Colorado’s new Suicide Prevention Commission is meeting this morning for the first time. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The state legislature created the group to establish new efforts for prevention priorities, broaden public and private partnerships, and identify funding resources.

Jarrod Hindman is the Suicide Prevention Section Manager at the Department of Public Health. He says the commission is expected to build on past prevention efforts.

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Elections
9:00 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Committee Stages 'Chicken Debate' to Urge 5th Congressional Debate

Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The notion of "political theater" took a different sort of turn on Thursday when the Democratic challenger in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District debated pseudo-chickens. 

Three people dressed in bright yellow chicken suits served as stand-ins for Republican Doug Lamborn at a debate with his Democratic challenger, Irv Halter.  The move comes after Halter and others say Lamborn is refusing to debate.

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Elections
9:10 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

Hickenlooper Points To Successes On Economy, Bipartisanship

State of Colorado

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 8:38 am

After four years in office Governor John Hickenlooper is facing the toughest campaign of his political career. A recent poll from The Denver Post shows his race against Republican former Congressman Bob Beauprez statistically tied. What's more, Beauprez is also making gains on Hickenlooper in the Denver metro area and in rural Colorado.

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Elections
7:44 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Beauprez: 'What I'm Doing Is Standing Up For Colorado'

Bob Beauprez, pictured here in his official congressional photo from his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, 2006.
U.S. House

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 8:37 am

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez is facing a close race against Governor John Hickenlooper in his gubernatorial bid. Back in 2006, he made several missteps in his campaign for governor, but in this 2014 run he's run a much tighter ship.

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Elections
12:01 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Hickenlooper, Beauprez Debate in Colorado Springs

Credit Beauprez-U.S. House / Hickenlooper-State of Colorado

Colorado’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper and his Republican challenger Bob Beauprez met for one of their final debates last night at UCCS, sponsored by the school and the Colorado Springs Gazette, Independent and Business Journal.
 

Topics included jobs and the economy, energy development, and education.  

One question from the audience focused on climate change and the role people play in it.

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Elections
5:13 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

Commission, Statehouse Candidates Debate at Citizens Project Voter Forum

The Citizens Project held a General Election voter forum Tuesday night, featuring the race for El Paso County Commissioner District 5, as well as state legislative races for House District 17, House District 18, and Senate District 11.  Other candidates for office were also invited to speak at the forum.

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Local News
10:01 am
Tue October 14, 2014

September Hailstorm Considered Among Most Expensive

A hailstorm last month has become one of the most expensive in the state. KRCC’s Rachel Gonchar has more.

Damages to houses, roofs and vehicles from the September 29th hailstorm have caused over $200 million in estimated insured losses.

While these numbers are largely for the Denver South Metro area, damages also occurred in other parts of the state.

Carole Walker is the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. She says the recent storm can serve as a wake up call.

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Forest Health
3:39 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Evergreen Shedding Can Appear Similar to Bark Beetle Infestation

Evergreen shedding is a natural occurrence in the fall in Colorado. As KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports, foresters say it’s simply a part of an annual growth cycle and not a sign of illness or bark beetles.
 

Typically the needles of Ponderosa Pines, Lodge Pole Pines and Douglas Firs will turn yellow and red before dropping off. The trees may also shed small branches. 

Kathryn Hardgrave is the Assistant Forester with the Salida district of the State Forest Service. She says while bark beetles can cause evergreen color changes as well, it’s a different process:

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Pueblo
2:43 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Pending Loss of Levee Mural Means an Eventual Blank Canvas

Looking downriver at the Arkansas River and Pueblo Levee Mural near the 4th Street Bridge.
Shanna Lewis KRCC

The mural that covers most of the 2.8 mile long Arkansas River levee in Pueblo is facing its demise. Hundreds of huge images painted over the last forty years by at least a thousand artists combine to make this artwork. It’s so massive, it’s listed by Guinness World Records as the largest outdoor mural on the planet. But it’ll be destroyed during the forthcoming repair project.
 

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Arkansas River
8:47 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Pueblo's Arkansas River Levee Faces Major Repairs

A crack is seen along Pueblo's Arkansas River levee
Credit Pueblo Conservancy District

The levee that protects much of downtown Pueblo from potential floodwaters in the Arkansas River is about to get a major facelift. After levees failed in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, FEMA made a push for levee certification. And for Pueblo’s aging Arkansas River levee this means an estimated 15 million dollar repair project and the destruction of its famous mural. The alternative is downtown properties would have to buy flood insurance. The process has brought to the forefront structural deficiencies.
 

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Southwest Chief
7:24 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Federal Railroad Administration Head Addresses Southwest Chief Commission

Credit Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Members of Colorado’s Southwest Chief Commission heard opening remarks at their meeting Thursday from the head of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration.
 

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Weather
7:16 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Cold Front, Tropical Storm Simon Bring Heavy Precipitation

Heavy precipitation is causing hazardous conditions throughout much of Southern Colorado.  KRCC’s Rachel Gonchar has more.
 

The most rain is expected in El Paso County and should last until midday tomorrow.

Paul Wolyn is a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo. He says Tropical Storm Simon is only partly responsible for the current precipitation.

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Capitol Coverage
8:34 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Both Sides Vie For The Youth Vote In Tightly Contested Colorado Senate Race

Daniel Almodovar and Stephen Shaw both attend CU-Boulder. They are undecided voters and neither is happy with the gridlock in Congress. They blame both political parties and the President.
Bo Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 4:48 pm

With Colorado's U.S. Senate race too close to call, both parties are on an all-out blitz to court as many voters as they can prior to the November election. The youth vote has traditionally helped Democrats, but Republicans see an opening with national support for President Obama falling among the millennial generation.

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Local News
4:47 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Prescribed Burn Set for Florissant Fossil Beds Region

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is planning a prescribed burn of 180 acres starting Monday.
 

The goal is to minimize fuel levels, mitigate wildfire risk, and to help protect the communities surrounding the monument. The fuels are mainly ponderosa pine and grass.

Florissant Park Ranger Jeff Wolin says there are specific conditions that need to be met before the project can start.

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Elections
10:09 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Udall, Gardner Tangle Over Reproductive Rights, D.C. Ties In Denver Post Debate

Udall - U.S. Senate | Gardner - U.S. House

Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 7:21 am

Democratic Senator Mark Udall and Republican Congressman Cory Gardner had a spirited debate Tuesday night hosted by The Denver Post. Both candidates are locked in a tight race and both stayed on message in the hour-long debate.

Udall attacked Gardner as extreme and out of touch, Gardner criticized Udall for being in lockstep with President Barack Obama.

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