Two Colorado state lawmakers are facing recall votes over their support for stricter gun laws. The recalls have cast a national spotlight on Colorado and are drawing big out of state donations. Bente Birkeland sat down with reporters who are covering the recall campaigns to discuss what’s at stake.
Once again this summer, the Western United States saw plenty of forest fires. Some continue to burn. When the flames are extinguished, the dollar signs emerge, and states handle fire suppression costs differently. In Colorado, it depends on what kind of land is burning and how big the blaze is.
Voters who live in Senate District 11 in El Paso County can start heading to four polling centers at 8 this morning to cast early ballots in the special recall election. Included locations are the Main Office at the Citizens Service Center on Garden of the Gods, Southeast at Powers and Airport, downtown Colorado Springs on Cascade, and another on North Union. Three other locations are scheduled to open on Monday.
A contentious real estate transaction in Old Colorado City is now a thing of the past as Iowa-based Kum & Go announced this morning that it's canceling plans to purchase property from Goodwill between 23rd and 24th Streets.
All around Colorado, new collaborations are emerging around water storage and water use. Partnerships with reservoirs are turning out to be key in terms of environmental stewardship, river protection, and healthy communities that rely on water. As part of our year long series Connecting the Drops, KGNU's Maeve Conran looks at some of these collaborations that have produced tangible results.
Portions of Pikes Peak will be closed this week to shoot the next installment in the Fast and Furious franchise. Another closure is expected this fall, as Hyundai is scheduled to shoot a car commercial there. Donald Zuckerman is the Colorado Film commissioner. He says that before the film incentive program, Colorado wasn’t even being considered by the movie industry.
Both sides of the gun debate in Colorado are pouring a lot of resources into the historic recall elections of two Democratic lawmakers. And as Bente Birkeland reports, next week’s September 10th elections in Pueblo and Colorado Springs are drawing national attention to the fight over gun control.
The Colorado State Fair is well underway in Pueblo. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin went down to catch some of the judging, from produce to rabbits and Pet Rock Olympics. But of course, the State Fair also has rides and games. Here’s an audio postcard of some of the sights and sounds of the Colorado State Fair.
The Colorado State Fair runs through September 2nd, in Pueblo.
The USA Pro Challenge moved through Colorado last week, flashing across TV, computer, and mobile screens, thanks to a film crew on motorcycles. But there are also team cars on the road, and Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher hitched a ride with one of them. She has this story of what it’s like to be literally, in the middle of the peloton.
The USA Pro Challenge wrapped up in Denver yesterday, with Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team taking the overall win.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has instituted new policies for Highway 24 as related to Flash Flood Warnings. When the National Weather Service issues a warning, or rain gages indicate more than a quarter inch of rain in the Waldo Canyon burn zone, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol plan to close the route. The highway will then remain closed until the warning is lifted, any debris is removed, and the road is deemed safe for travel. In addition, CDOT will actively patrol the highway between Manitou Springs and Cascade at all times through October 1.
Efforts continue all across the Waldo Canyon burn scar to help reduce the effects of flooding. Colorado Springs Utilities expects to wrap up initial work in the Northfield Watershed on Rampart Range within the next month or so. But Project Manager Kim Gortz with Utilities says it’s really an ongoing effort.
"Hayman’s still seeing issues 10 years post-fire, so I think we’re starting in our planning phase as far as what do we do for long-term restoration, what do we do for monitoring each time we have a monsoon season."
Colorado’s first biomass power plant is nearly complete. Senator Mark Udall and State Senator Gail Schwartz toured the facility in Gypsum recently, where wood cuttings from beetle kill trees will be turned into electricity. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explains.
The number of suicides in Colorado is at an all time high. 1,053 people took their own lives in 2012 – giving Colorado one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. Jarrod Hindman is the Director of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He says the state’s geography limits access to mental health services, and the social stigma of getting help continues to contribute to the numbers.
The USA Pro Challenge kicked off in Aspen and Snowmass Village today. More than a hundred and twenty top cyclists are competing in the third edition of the race. As Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher reports, many explored the Roaring Fork Valley on two wheels this past weekend... and all of them were within arm’s reach during Saturday’s opening ceremonies.
Sagan won today’s first leg of the USA Pro Challenge, finishing the 66-mile stage in 2 hours, 26 minutes.
Veterans and other military leaders gathered at the state capitol yesterday to talk about ways to improve treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Mike Coffman put a task force together to recommend better federal policies. Bente Birkeland has more from the capitol.
The recall elections of state senators John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo are still on for Sept. 10, but voters shouldn’t expect their normal mail-in ballot. A judge’s ruling this week has the clerks of both El Paso and Pueblo counties scrambling to figure out how to conduct an election that complies with as many state laws as possible. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.
While Manitou Springs authorities celebrated finding one survivor, another Manitou flood victim, 49-year-old Laura Hunter, told reporters Monday at Penrose Hospital she’s thrilled to be alive. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.
Hunter was in her small cottage in the 500 block of Canon Ave. when water started quickly pouring into her living room.
In subjects such as reading and math, Colorado students aren’t doing as well as state officials had hoped. The Education Department released statewide-standardized test scores Wednesday. The report indicates that while small gains have been made, many students aren’t solid in core subjects. Bente Birkeland has more.
While Manitou Springs continues its cleanup process after recent flooding, the Western Slope is dealing with issues of its own. Strong winds yesterday whipped up flames on a wildfire burning south of Glenwood Springs. The Red Canyon Fire grew to 350 acres and mandatory evacuations forced 15 families from their homes. The fire is burning in rugged terrain, in a Pinyon/Juniper forest. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen was with firefighters when the blaze blew up and started creeping toward them. She filed this report.
Some residents in eastern Colorado have tough questions for Governor John Hickenlooper. The Governor is touring the area and southern Colorado this week to get feedback from local communities. As Bente Birkeland reports, he won’t always be in friendly territory...
The Governor also plans to visit Trinidad, Alamosa, and Salida among other locations tomorrow.
Recent flooding has prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation to close Manitou Avenue (Highway 24 - Business) at the west end of town between Serpentine Drive and Highway 24. Friday’s flood washed out two road segments, both about 30-40 feet long, and around 200-300 feet apart, making it unsafe for travel. Engineers estimate repairs could take 2-3 months and cost around $1.5 million. CDOT is seeking emergency funds from the Federal Highway Administration and is working on getting contracting in place so repairs can begin as soon as possible. The total closed distance is about a
Flash flood watches and warnings peppered the weekend in the Pikes Peak region, with skies darkening ominously as thunder and rain rolled in each afternoon. Last night’s warning was canceled early, and Highway 24 and Manitou Springs were spared a repeat of Friday’s devastating flooding.
Update: Sun 1:40 PM Per the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, the mother of missing person Juston Travis has reported she's spoken to him and he is safe. One person still unaccounted for. As described yesterday, she is a petite blonde female, wearing black shirt over tan pants. MSPD Chief Joe Ribeiro: “Seen near the creek at one moment hanging in a tree, and then not seen the next.”
Update: 11:20PM: The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is reporting the body of an adult man has been found along Highway 24 near mile marker 297. They report the body was buried under a significant amount of debris along the westbound lanes of the highway. No identification is available at this time.
10:25 PM: Highway 24 is now reopened, with one lane in each direction.
With interest in urban homesteading on the rise, some traditional farm animals are showing up in city back yards. It started with chickens. Miniature goats might be next. While some worry about potential health effects, KRCC's Liz Ruskin went to one backyard east of downtown Colorado Springs to meet a woman who isn’t concerned.
Monycka Snowbird lives in a densely packed neighborhood of 1960s-era ranch and split-level homes, some with tidy yards, some overrun by weeds.
The oil and gas industry says it’s trying to focus on new ways to reach out to an increasingly skeptical public. Community concern is rising as hydraulic fracturing moves into more and more populated areas of the Front Range. At the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit in Denver, which brings together energy leaders from across the country, much of the discussion this year focused on public anxiety over fracking.
With thunderstorms in the forecast for the next few days, the possibility of flash flooding in El Paso County remains. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, the county is working to repair roads in the Black Forest area damaged in last weekend’s floods.
The county is placing road maintenance equipment in Black Forest so it can quickly remove flood debris and keep drainages open. County Spokesman Dave Rose says the big challenge is a large drainage system that runs south through the burn area and then along Shoup Road, an important east-west route.