Local News

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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Legal Affairs
3:52 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Colorado AG: Same-Sex Marriage Licenses will be Issued

Credit clipart

Update: 10/7/14, 10:38 am

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office has announced same-sex marriage licenses are available at the clerk's office, effective immediately.  In a statement, the office says they received "final clearance" from the office of Attorney General John Suthers.

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Elections
2:43 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Buck, Meyers Debate For The Third Time Ahead Of November

Pictured to the left, Ken Buck and the right of the photo, his opponent Vic Meyers.
Buck For Colorado Campaign / Vic Meyer For Congress Campaign

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 8:53 am

It's a race that is largely flying under the radar in Colorado this election season, owing to what many say is its preordained outcome. Republican Ken Buck and Democrat Vic Meyers, the candidates vying for the open seat in Colorado's vast 4th Congressional District, squared off Wednesday in a debate hosted by Colorado Public Television and CBS 4.

This was the third such meeting for the candidates in advance of the mid-terms.

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Outdoor Recreation
8:00 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Pikes Peak's South Slope Recreation Area Opens to the Public

Boehmer Reservoir and Pikes Peak on the South Slope
Credit Colorado Springs

It’s only for two weekends before closing for the season, but the South Slope Recreation Area on Pikes Peak is now open to the public.  The watershed is home to bighorn sheep, cutthroat trout, and several reservoirs built more than a century ago.  It’s been closed to the public since 1913.
 

Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte says the ecological character of the place meant they had to tread lightly when considering opening the area to the public.

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Elections
7:51 am
Thu October 2, 2014

No Matter How Colorado Votes, GMO Labeling Debate Far From Finished

"I'm a label reader," says Denver resident Ben Hamilton. He sat on a citizen panel tasked with writing a report on proposition 105, which would require the labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.
Luke Runyon KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Mon October 6, 2014 11:41 am

Voters in Colorado will decide whether or not they want the state to require labels on foods containing genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs. The 2014 ballot measure highlights a much larger national conversation about the safety and prevalence of genetically modified foods.

If passed, food companies and farmers would need to affix on a food label the text: "Produced with genetic engineering" if the product contains certain genetically modified crops and their derived oils and sugars that end up in processed foods. Those in favor of the proposal, Proposition 105, claim consumers have a right to the information. Those opposed say it amounts to a fear campaign.

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BLM
4:20 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Public Comment Period Opens for Long-Term High Altitude Helicopter Training Proposal

Proposed area of activity for the high altitude training
Credit BLM

Fort Carson is in the process of working out a long-term agreement to use public land for high altitude helicopter training. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.

Since 2010, Fort Carson has had annual agreements with the Bureau of Land Management for training northwest of Canon City. The Mountain Post recently submitted a proposal for a 20-year agreement, which is now under review.

BLM spokesman Kyle Sullivan says the proposal is entering a one month long public scoping period.

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Public Safety
7:39 am
Mon September 29, 2014

East Peak Fire Tests the Mettle of Huerfano County Volunteer Firefighters

Volunteer firefighter Fred Partee of the Huerfano County Fire Protection District
Credit Kate Perdoni / KRCC

It’s been over a year since the East Peak fire in Huerfano County challenged the largely rural area’s resources. It came at a time when other fires were burning throughout the state, including the devastating Black Forest fire. Huerfano County’s volunteer fire protection district was the first responding agency to the southern Colorado blaze. KRCC’s Kate Perdoni reports on the challenges of the volunteer agency in the wake of the East Peak fire.
 

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Public Safety
7:13 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Colorado Volunteer Fire Departments Struggling For Recruits

Rock Creek Volunteer Fire Chief Brita Horn is also the Routt County treasurer and a part-time EMT.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 3:28 pm

In many parts of Colorado when you dial 9-1-1 to report a fire, the firefighters who arrive to extinguish it are volunteers. These firefighters have other jobs, and serve half of the state’s population. But Colorado has an ever-shrinking pool of volunteers, leaving many communities at risk.

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Pueblo
6:58 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Arkansas River Levee Repair Process Moves Forward

Credit Shanna Lewis / KRCC

The Pueblo Conservancy District, which oversees the Arkansas River levee, took action Wednesday to find a qualified contractor to repair the aging structure. The estimated $14 million project will involve cutting the height of the levee, resurfacing it and other work to improve structural stability and safety.
 

The levee was built following the deadly 1921 flood that killed hundreds and devastated downtown Pueblo. Now the levee needs to be brought into the 21st century in order to meet new FEMA requirements.

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Capitol Coverage
7:45 am
Wed September 24, 2014

In Colorado's Tight Senate Contest, A Race To Court Women Voters

Kathy Holderith making calls at a GOP field office in Lakewood, Colo. Jefferson County is considered a key swing area in the close U.S. Senate race.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 10:09 am

Colorado's U.S. Senate race is a considered by many to be a tossup. Incumbent Senator Mark Udall and Republican Congressman Cory Gardner are trying to win over as many key voting blocs as they can before Election Day – and that includes women.

In the previous close Senate contest between appointed Democratic Senator Michael Bennet and Republican Ken Buck, women played a critical role. During the waning days of that 2010 race, Bennet focused his attention on the female vote – and narrowly won. With women making up 51.4 percent of all registered voters in Colorado this election, it's a scenario Democrats are hoping to repeat.

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Local News
5:43 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Governor Commemorates One Year Anniversary of Las Animas Homeless Campus

Governor John Hickenlooper visited Las Animas today to recognize the first year anniversary of the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community. KRCC’s Hannah Fleming reports.
 

The former prison and Veteran’s Affairs hospital in Bent County was repurposed to provide mental and health care services, as well as vocational training for homeless individuals. The 550-acre campus is serving more than 200 people, with a target capacity of 300.

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Fort Carson
8:16 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Fort Carson Officials Encourage Vigilance After Reports of Shots Fired

Fort Carson officials are encouraging personnel on the base to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behavior after two shots were heard on the Mountain Post Monday night, prompting increased security measures. Military police are investigating the reports that say the shots were heard near the northwest perimeter of the base just before 8:00 PM.  Officials say this was not an active shooter event, and there’s no immediate danger. No suspects are in custody.

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Agriculture
12:23 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Organic Certification Reimbursement Deadline Approaches

Credit Clipart

Farmers looking for help in paying for organic certifications have just a few weeks left to take advantage of a reimbursement program. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports. 
 

The program is part of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2013, which was put into place by the USDA. It aims to assist farmers seeking organic certification by reimbursing up to 75% or $750.00 of the process per category, including crops and livestock.

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Capitol Coverage
8:38 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Polls Painting A Confusing Picture Of Colorado Races

On the left, Democrat Mark Udall, pictured on the right, Republican Cory Gardner.
Udall - US Senate | Gardner - US House

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 4:44 pm

Multiple polls on Colorado's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races were recently released and there are some different perspectives on where things stand with just seven weeks until the November election.

Most polls show the U.S Senate race as being too close to call. The Denver Post recently gave incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall a narrow edge over his Republican challenger Congressman Cory Gardner, but within the margin of error. A separate USA Today Poll gives Gardner a one point edge. The most recent Quinnipiac Poll was more of an outlier. It gave Gardner the lead, 48 – 40 over Udall.

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Capitol Coverage
4:53 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Senator Udall Trails in New Poll

GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner and Democratic incumbent Mark Udall

A new poll released today from Quinnipiac University shows Democratic Senate incumbent Mark Udall 8 points behind his Republican challenger Congressman Cory Gardner. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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