Colorado is embarking into uncharted territory as the Department of Transportation creates its first public private partnership along U.S. Highway 36. CDOT officials say they don’t have the money to repair and maintain all the state’s roads and bridges and this agreement is necessary. But as Bente Birkeland reports, several lawmakers have serious concerns and want to slow down the project.
Two are dead in separate avalanches in Colorado this week. KRCC’s Elaina Formby reports.
One avalanche caught two snowmobilers, killing one near Kebler Pass, west of Crested Butte. Another avalanche by the North Fork Swan River, south of Keystone Ski Resort, caught two skiers. One escaped, the other, a man in his 40s from the Front Range, was found dead at 11:30 this morning.
A new poll released by Quinnipiac University suggests Colorado voters believe marijuana legalization is hurting the state’s reputation. But as KRCC’s Nat Stein reports, voters still continue to support the laws.
51% of polled voters in the state say legal pot is bad for Colorado’s image. Only 38% say the new laws are helping.
Last summer Colorado officials rolled out a new state brand and logo. It’s popular among some groups but received mixed support at the state capitol. A Republican bill to send the branding question to a vote of the people failed at the statehouse. As part of capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about the back story and where the branding issue goes from here.
Amtrak’s Southwest Chief Rail Service runs through southern Colorado and into New Mexico on its way from Chicago to Los Angeles. The route faces repair costs, and Colorado’s portion of that could be about 40 million dollars over the course of 10 years. As KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports, a new economic impact study breaks down what those repairs mean to Southern Colorado, and what it would take to add a train station in Pueblo.
Researches are using lasers to determine snowpack. These images show measurements of snow water equivalent (top) and snow albedo, or reflectivity (image) for the Tuolumne River Basin in California's Sierra Nevada in April, 2013. Albedo shows the percentage of sunlight reflected back; the lower the albedo, the faster the snowmelt rate and runoff.
Scientists in Colorado are working to improve runoff forecasting in the West so water managers can meet growing needs in the future. A growing population coupled with climate change means every drop will count. Scientists are mapping terrain and snow with lasers to provide a more accurate picture of the snowpack. It's called the NASA JPL Airborne Snow Observatory. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Jeff Deems, a research scientist with the University of Colorado, Boulder. He’s involved with the project.
A bill to study how to upgrade the state’s emergency radio communication system is moving through the statehouse. Lawmakers say the bill is important in the wake of recent wildfires and floods. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
The State Historical Fund, or SHF, has awarded nearly $9 million total in grants for preservation projects all over the state. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the Fine Arts Center, and the Canon City Carnegie Library are among the southern Colorado structures that recently received funds.
Steve Turner, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, says often the buildings chosen for the grants are among the most loved places in a community. "They also are frequently really the civic heart of a community," Turner said.
Trainings for volunteer call takers during large emergencies in the Pikes Peak region are taking place this week. It’s a collaboration between Pikes Peak United Way 211, the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. KRCC’s Martha Perez-Sanz was at the first gathering and has this report.
The gun debate that riveted the state capitol last session once again took center stage yesterday. As Bente Birkeland reports, emotions were strong, but compared to last year, fewer people came to the capitol to testify on a key gun bill.
Republicans have vowed to repeal a package of gun control proposals that the Democrats passed. The first bill in their sights? The bill that brought universal background checks and fees for gun purchases to Colorado.
After dominating last year’s legislative session, state lawmakers are once again beginning to debate the issue of guns. Republicans are taking the lead this time around, trying to repeal many Democratic bills including stepped up background checks.
The background check law was part of a larger package of gun control bills Democrats passed in the wake of the Aurora Theater shooting and shooting in Newtown Connecticut. Republicans say Democrats overreached.
Some of the meatier bills of the legislative session are beginning to move through the statehouse. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to political reporters about what's on the horizon.
Vegans and vegetarians in the Pikes Peak region now have a directory of like-minded businesses. KRCC's Martha Perez-Sanz reports.
The directory comes from the Colorado Springs Vegan and Vegetarian Group, which recently sprouted to over 600 members. Lead organizer JL Fields says members became curious about how they could take their vegan or vegetarian lifestyles beyond personal eating choices.
Communities across Colorado could soon decide whether to extend bar hours beyond the current 2 am closing time. But some feel a statehouse proposal to change the law could do more harm than good.
Under the bill cities and towns could allow bars to stay open as late as 4:30 in the morning. Supporters - say the 2 am closing time is dangerous because it dumps thousands of people into the streets and behind the wheel at the same time...
As heavy snow continues to fall across the Rockies, the risk of avalanches has prompted warnings from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Forecaster Dr. John Snook says natural and human triggered slides in Colorado’s backcountry are likely, and says we're nearing "the most extreme we've seen so far this winter."
A study by USAA finds higher rates of texting while driving among service members who have never been deployed than among those who have. KRCC’s Elaina Formby reports.
The company’s study shows more than half of active-service military who have never been deployed admit to texting while driving, as compared to 39% of those previously deployed. The rate dips another five percent for service members within six months of returning from deployment.
Officials from Connect For Health Colorado say they’re on track to be self-sustaining when federal subsidies run out next year. KRCC’s Nat Stein on the latest from the state’s health insurance exchange.
Almost 69,000 Coloradoans have gotten health insurance through the state’s new insurance marketplace. That includes a significant uptick since the end of last year.
CEO Patty Fontneau told lawmakers on Thursday the exchange won’t need to charge high fees on premiums, due to the enrollment numbers. She also says the exchange plans on trimming staff to help cut costs.
A bipartisan committee at the statehouse has moved forward a bill to make it easier to remove people’s mug shots from commercial websites if they were never convicted of the crime for which they were arrested.
Supporters of House Bill 1047 say it’s wrong for businesses to post mug shots and force people to pay to take them down.
Governor John Hickenlooper today issued a proclamation that temporarily renames Colorado’s 14ers after members of the Denver Broncos. According to a press release from the governor’s office, the state’s tallest peaks will go by their new names for one day only, this Sunday when the Broncos play against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Colorado made history when it opened up licensed marijuana retail shops. Aside from just legalizing the purchase of smoke-able marijuana, it also means pot brownies have the potential to be big business.
Food products infused with marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, are available in stores across the state.
Marijuana, though, is still considered illegal by the federal government. The existing food safety system, which relies heavily on support from federal agencies, can’t ensure that marijuana-infused foods are safe.
Cantaloupe farmers in eastern Colorado responsible for a deadly outbreak of listeria two years ago were sentenced today after pleading guilty to six misdemeanor charges in October. KRCC’s Nat Stein has more.
A federal magistrate in Denver sentenced brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen to five years of probation, starting with six months of home detention. Each brother also must pay $150,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.
Scientists with the US Geologic Survey are studying the relationship between earthquakes, gas drilling and the practice of re-injecting waste-water into the ground. They're looking at area around Trinidad in Southern Colorado, where the number of earthquakes has been growing. Trinidad currently averages about eight magnitude-3 earthquakes a year.
Geophysicist Justin Rubinstein with the USGS, says there appears to be a correlation to the waste water injection process, but adds it happens at only a handful of the 35,000 injection wells across the country.
Helping prevent and fight wildfires is one of the top priorities for Colorado lawmakers in both parties this session. But so far, substantial policy changes recommended by the Governor’s wildfire task force are being rejected. As Bente Birkeland reports, the current package of legislative proposals is not nearly as aggressive as some would like.
Lawmakers and Governor Hickenlooper are touting a package of bills they say will help prevent and fight wildfires. Most of the measures stem from an interim committee that met in the off session. Bente Birkeland has more at the state capitol.