Local News

Journalism
2:34 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Gazette's Philipps Wins Pulitzer

Dave Philipps

Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Dave Philipps has won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his series "Other than Honorable," which appeared in the paper last May.

From the Pulitzer Prize website:

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Connecting the Drops
9:11 am
Sun April 13, 2014

Connecting the Drops Live Call-In Sunday on KRCC

Water & Energy is the topic this Sunday afternoon at 5 on a special live statewide call-in program.  It's part of Connecting the Drops--a year-long collaboration on Colorado water issues from KRCC and other member stations of Rocky Mountain Community Radio.  Today, we'll have a panel of experts discussing the impact of energy development on Colorado water.  Your calls are encouraged, and we'll provide a specific number for you to call during the show.  That's today from 5-6 PM.

The toll free number for listeners to call in is 1-800-737-3030.

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The Dust Bowl
8:51 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Grapes of Wrath Turns 75: The Dust Bowl Then, and Conditions Now

Prowers County, Colorado. Dust storm circa 1935
Credit Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [LC-USF343-001617-ZE] / Library of Congress

John Steinbeck’s classic the Grapes of Wrath turns 75 on Monday.  The novel takes place during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and follows the Joad family as they leave Oklahoma and head to California.  Portions of Colorado were also a part of the Dust Bowl, and certainly the state is no stranger to blowing dust.

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Capitol Coverage
5:07 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Sponsor Pulls Cyber-Bullying Bill

A bill aimed at creating new penalties for cyber bullying failed in the senate judiciary committee on Wednesday. The sponsor reluctantly asked lawmakers to postpone the bill, saying it needs more study. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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Capitol Coverage
7:20 am
Thu April 10, 2014

'Student Success Act' Passes House on Initial Vote

Lawmakers have scaled back several provisions in a major education bill after hearing the concerns from school districts across the state. The Student Success Act initially passed the House on Wednesday with the new changes. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Local News
5:21 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Study Examines Effects of Climate Change on Birds, Reptiles in the Southwest

Williamson's sapsucker, as pictured in the USGS report "Projecting Climate Effects on Birds and Reptiles of the Southwestern United States"
Credit Sally King / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new study released by the U.S. Geological Survey looks at the effects of climate change on certain species in the American Southwest.  KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The study focuses on twelve bird and reptile species in the southwest and how they’re expected to endure changes in breeding ranges and habitats.

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Southwest Chief
7:33 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Railroad West: New Mexico's Legislative Perspective

Amtrak in Raton, NM
Credit Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief runs daily from Chicago to Los Angeles, stretching across portions of Western Kansas, Southern Colorado, and Northern New Mexico.

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Colorado Springs
7:06 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Colorado Springs Welcomes New Sister City

Colorado Springs has a new sister city in Greece.  KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The city of Ancient Olympia on the southwestern coast of Greece is officially the seventh sister city of Colorado Springs.

Olympia is the birthplace of the traditional Olympic Games over 2,700 years ago and is now home to the International Olympic Academy.
 

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Transportation
10:58 am
Tue April 8, 2014

County Groups Conduct Transportation Survey

A highway in Southern Colorado. Photo taken: April 2013
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

As the state examines how best to allocate transportation funding across Colorado, county-based regional advocacy groups, including southern Colorado’s Action 22,  are conducting a transportation survey. KRCC’s Elaina Formby reports.
 

The rise of hybrid and eco-boost vehicles has led to fewer gas station fill-ups and a marked decrease in gas tax revenue. Action 22 President and CEO Cathy Garcia says this decrease contributes to a growing divide between urban and rural parts of the state.

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Agriculture
5:08 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Sunflower Growers Consider Higher Assessment Fees

Credit CSU Extension

Colorado's climate puts it among the top 10 states for sunflower production, but many of the state's farmers have cut back on planting sunflowers. Last year Colorado’s sunflower production dropped to a fraction of its high in 1999. Now, growers are considering how much they're willing to pay to help reverse the trend. Shanna Lewis reports farmers are voting on whether to double the fee on sunflowers.

 

Sunflower growers currently pay three-cents per hundred weight to support marketing and research on their crop. 

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Capitol Conversation
3:25 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Capitol Conversation: State Budget Enters Final Stages

The state’s 23 billion dollar budget has cleared both legislative chambers. Now it’s up to lawmakers on the joint budget committee to iron out any differences. In this week’s capitol conversation Bente Birkeland sits down with statehouse reporters to discuss the major highlights in this year’s budget.
 

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Capitol Coverage
4:46 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

State Senate Passes Bi-Partisan Budget

The state senate has passed the annual budget – and it cleared the chamber with more Republican support than in previous years. As Bente Birkeland reports, a conference committee will now meet to iron out differences between the versions the two chambers passed.
 

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Capitol Coverage
10:45 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

State Senate Adds Money for Aerial Firefighting Fleet

Colorado’s $23 million budget is nearing the end of its legislative journey after floor debate in the senate Thursday. As Bente Birkeland reports, the senate made one noteworthy change to the house’s version.
 

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Harvest Public Media
10:06 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

While Farm Life Changes, FFA’s Blue Jacket Stays The Same

The blue corduroy jackets sported by high schoolers in FFA have been a part of the group's brand since its founding in 1928.
Credit Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

The blue corduroy jacket worn by high school students in FFA, formerly the Future Farmers of America, is an icon of rural life. To the average city dweller the jacket is a vestige of dwindling, isolated farm culture, as fewer and fewer young people grow up on farms. The numbers tell a different story however. In spite of that demographic shift, a record number of kids are donning blue jackets this year.
 

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Public Safety
9:50 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Manitou Springs Community Forum on Disaster Preparedness

Manitou Springs officials are inviting residents to a community forum Saturday to talk about disaster preparation.  KRCC’s Rachel Gonchar has more.
 

Mayor Marc Snyder, Police Chief Joe Ribeiro and City Administrator Jack Benson will deliver progress updates on fire and flood mitigation projects.

Manitou Springs Emergency Fund (MERF) spokesman David Hunting says the city is about to start a bidding process for Williams Canyon and Canon Avenue work, and has made some progress on clean-up progress.

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History
4:28 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

A Conversation with David Mason: Colorado Poet Laureate & Ludlow Author

Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason penned Ludlow, a “novel-in-verse” based on the Ludlow Massacre.  The event took place 100 years ago this month and left its mark on Colorado and on labor relations across the country. 

Mason, also a Colorado College English Professor, came by the KRCC studios for a conversation that aired live on sister station KGNU in Boulder, and they’ve shared the audio with us.  KGNU’s Maeve Conran speaks with Colorado Poet Laureate and Ludlow author David Mason (30 minutes):

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Local News
3:43 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Pueblo PD Launches Trial for Interactive Crime-Fighting Tool

The Pueblo Police Department is running a 45-day trial of a new interactive crowd-sourced crime fighting platform.  KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The platform is called CrimeSuspect.Net and equips citizens with the ability to help law enforcement fight local crime.

Pueblo Media Systems Administrator Bobby Cuomo says real-time tips from the public can serve as an extra set of eyes to Pueblo’s police department.

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Capitol Coverage
2:50 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Budget May Douse State Aerial Firefighting Fleet

A Type 1 helicopter, known as a snorkel, drops water on the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, Colo., June, 2012.
National Guard Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 10:56 am

Lawmakers on Colorado’s powerful joint budget committee are skeptical about finding money for an aerial firefighting fleet for the upcoming wildfire season. A report from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control recommends spending $33 million on spotter planes, small air tankers, helicopters, and leasing large air tankers for wildfire season.

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Connecting the Drops
7:33 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Colorado Leads the Charge in Small Hydropower Projects

An old postcard depicting the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.
Credit US Bureau of Reclamation

Using the force of moving water to generate electricity is an old idea.  For much of the 20th century, hydroelectric technology led to the construction of giant dams across the American West and around the world.   But big hydro projects have a big impact on surrounding ecosystems, and Colorado is at the center of a growing move toward hydropower on a smaller scale.
 

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Local News
8:24 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Bear Creek-Cutthroat Trout Public Comment Period to End

The public comment period on a U.S. Forest Service proposal that could close or reroute several trails in the Pikes Peak region is drawing to a close tomorrow. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

Some trails in Bear Creek Park could be closed to help protect what the U.S. Forest Service calls the last known habitat of Colorado’s endangered native greenback cutthroat trout.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Senior Aquatic Biologist Doug Krieger says Bear Creek is home to between 500 and 700 greenback cutthroat trout that have adapted to this particular stream.

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Capitol Coverage
5:00 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Telecom Proposals Move Forward

Credit clipart

Even in 2014, many parts of the Colorado are still not connected to the Internet – and if they are it’s not at high speeds. A package of bills to reform and update the state’s telecommunications industry cleared its first committee at the state capitol on Tuesday.
 

Similar proposals have failed in the past, but this year there’s more momentum and strong backing from the Governor’s office. Supporters say the flagship measure would redirect some of the money currently used to pay for high cost land lines into building broadband in underserved areas.

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Agriculture
8:06 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Urban Agriculture in the Pikes Peak Climate

Lettuce starts and mature leafy greens flourish in the grow beds of Christine Faith's aquaponics system. Koi live in the tank under the beds.
Michelle Mercer KRCC

The backyard farming movement continues to grow in Colorado Springs, but exactly what kind of farming makes sense in our challenging climate is a complicated business. The harsh, high altitude sun, thin topsoil, short growing season, and especially, the limited water supply present obstacles for even the most dedicated urban homesteaders.
 

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Capitol Conversation
4:59 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Annual Report on Children's Well-Being

Colorado Child Well-Being Index
Credit Kids Count in Colorado! / Colorado Children's Campaign

Child advocates say more children continue to live in poverty in Colorado compared to when the state was in the depths of the recession. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

 (You can find the full report from the Colorado Children's Campaign here.)

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Capitol Conversation
10:51 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Capitol Conversation: The Upcoming Budget Debate

Bente Birkeland

Lawmakers in the statehouse are gearing up to debate the budget in the coming days. As part of our weekly capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about what to expect and what makes this year's dynamic different.
 

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Southwest Chief
8:12 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Railroad West: Colorado Lawmakers Weigh In on the Southwest Chief

Amtrak's Southwest Chief pulls into the Lamar station.
Credit Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Colorado’s Amtrak rail line in southeastern Colorado is in need of major repairs. Upgrades to the track are expected to be in the millions, and a measure is moving through the statehouse to try and find ways to finance the project and save the rail line.  It’s part of a multi-state effort.
 

The Southwest Chief line runs through the towns of Lamar, La Junta, and Trinidad. It’s part of a longer passenger route stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles.

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Capitol Coverage
10:10 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Cigarette Restriction Bill Goes Up In Smoke

Smokers in Old Town Fort Collins, in this file photo from May 2007.
Paul L. Dineen Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 8:44 am

A bill to increase the smoking age in Colorado to 21 failed in the house finance committee Wednesday. One Democrat joined with Republicans to defeat the measure.

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Capitol Coverage
5:28 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

State Budget Forecast is Stronger than Anticipated

Credit clipart

Colorado lawmakers learned today that the state’s economy is stronger than expected and they’ll have more money to spend in next year’s budget.
 

For the past few weeks, the grumblings around the state capitol were that the revenue forecast would be lower than anticipated. Instead, it’s $61 million higher.

“Right now you have a lot of flexibility in the budget because revenues are growing,” said Natalie Mullis, the state’s non-partisan chief economist.

She says the recovery has been slow, but it’s picking up.

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Agriculture
7:33 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Climate Change Could Benefit Some Invasive Plants

Ellen Nelson has battled invasive plants that out-compete native grasses on her grass-fed beef ranch near Bellvue, Colo. Some climate studies suggest that fight will worsen in the coming decades.
Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Most climate models paint a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now: It will likely be warmer and the air will be richer with carbon dioxide. Though scientists don’t yet know how exactly the climate will change, new studies show it could be a boon to some invasive plant species.
 

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Capitol Conversation
5:05 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Health Bills & the Budget

Bente Birkeland

A number of controversial healthcare bills are up for debate at the statehouse this legislative session.  For this week’s Capitol Conversation, statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about some of them, and also talks about one of the biggest budget fights going forward.
 

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Local Non-Profits
5:38 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Michael Hannigan Announces Retirement From PPCF

Michael Hannigan, Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation Announced his retirement in this press release on March 3:

Michael Hannigan, Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation (PPCF), has announced his retirement from the organization effective December 31, 2014.

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