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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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The Middle Distance
7:22 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

The Middle Distance 3.28.14: A Sprightly Dance

This time of year I begin wishing for the sight of daffodils in bloom. Where I grew up, they usually began to show their yellow faces in late February or early March, depending on whether they enjoyed full sun or grew in dappled shade beneath a tree. I remember the appealing instructions for naturalizing a lawn with daffodils: Pick up of fistful of the bulbs that look like small onions, and toss them as you’d toss chicken feed or grass seed. Plant them where they land. Plant hundreds of them.

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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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The Middle Distance
6:41 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

The Middle Distance 3.21.14: I Didn't Get It

Recently I came across some old notes that might as well have been written in Sanskrit. Aphorisms, clever sayings that seemed to turn on themselves.

“If you experience it, it’s the truth. The same thing believed is a lie.”

“In life, understanding is the booby prize.”

This was my handwriting but the ideas might as well have been written in code.

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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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The Big Something
4:55 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Remembering Artist Bill Cummins with Sean O'Meallie

Local artist Bill Cummins was a character, a caricature, and a cartoon all rolled together in a Republican tofu sandwich. He passed away last month at the age of 84. Artist Sean O'Meallie and I remember his cognitive contortions, his art, and his trademark wintergreen odor.

We highly encourage you to come see the closing of his exhibition this Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Manitou Arts Center. There will be an informal rememberance of his life during the closing.

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The Middle Distance
6:00 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

The Middle Distance 3.14.14: Beyond the Sure Certainty of Home

Credit PPLD Image 001-5291

In 1987 I had two best friends, both named Julie. They were new acquaintances who had no connection to my past or my family or to each other, only to me. I’ve been thinking about them during these early spring days when the snow is falling and a particular kind of quiet loneliness envelops the house. Remembering the two Julies makes me think about friendship and what it means at different stages of life. I remember them with the gratitude of a lost traveler coming across a friendly local who’s happy to give directions. I remember them the way a tree’s roots remember water.

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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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Capitol Coverage
10:12 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Cell Phone Driving Ban Defeated

Credit clipart

A bill to ban talking on cell phones while driving failed in the House Transportation Committee on Wednesday. Two Democrats joined Republicans in defeating the measure.
 

The hearing was emotional at times and lawmakers were brought to tears after Shelly Forney from Fort Collins testified about her 9 year old daughter Erica’s death. Erica was biking near her home when a woman talking on her cell phone hit her with her car.

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Southwest Chief
7:33 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Railroad West: Southwest Chief Faces Possible Colorado Derailment

The Southwest Chief roughly 20 minutes east of Trinidad, Colorado. The Sangre de Cristo Range looms in the distance in this photo from July 2011.
Credit Steve Wilson / Flickr – Creative Commons

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief is a long distance passenger train that travels daily from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Some riders travel the full route, others use it as their primary transportation between shorter distances.  The train follows the historic Santa Fe Trail, one of the oldest commerce routes in the American West.  Along the way, it passes through Southern Colorado—Lamar, LaJunta, and Trinidad—and then into Raton in Northern New Mexico.  But the rails are aging, and the Southwest Chief could be diverted, bypassing Colorado and Northern New Mexico entirely.
 

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Southwest Chief
2:59 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Railroad West: Amtrak along the Santa Fe Trail

Credit Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Amtrak's Southwest Chief runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through towns in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico.  The future of the route is in question, as the current rail lines require upgrades in order to maintain passenger rail speeds.  A partnership is on the table to share expenses for the upgrades; as proposed, Colorado’s portion would be about $40 million over the course of ten years. A bill making its way through Colorado’s legislature would set up a commission to study the issue, as well as the possibility of adding a depot in Pueblo.

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The Big Something
2:58 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Brenda Biondo Brings America's Playgrounds to the People

We're excited to see that ForeEdge books will publish Manitou Springs-based photographer Brenda Biondo's book, Once Upon a Playground, this May (visit this Blurb book for a preview of her beautiful photography).

Colorado Springs has its own fascinating history with playgrounds--check out this video we produced back in 2010 on Colorado Springs native and artist, Fred Schumm, and his space age creations.

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Local News
7:05 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Douglas Creek & Flash Floods: Info Meeting Tonight

Colorado Springs officials will talk flash floods along Douglas Creek at a public meeting tonight. KRCC's Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The meeting is expected to provide education and updated information about increased flash flood risk due to the Waldo Canyon burn scar, including the city’s planned response to a flash flood.

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Business
9:54 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Vestas to Add Workers

Credit clipart

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas says it’s expecting to add at least 850 factory workers statewide this year.  400 have already been hired.  The announcement comes after one of the best years for orders placed with the company, and after leaner previous years led to a series of layoffs at its Colorado plants.  In a statement, Vestas says 80 of those workers will be at its Pueblo facility, where they’re expected to reach full capacity this year.  The company also says it expects by the end of the year to employ more than 2000 total workers in its four factories in the state.

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Sports
7:33 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Born Missing a Femur, Athlete Aims to Medal in Sochi

Alpine ski racer Melanie Schwartz is racing for the United States in Sochi. The Canadian native has duel citizenship and raced for Canada at the Vancouver Games. She trains in Aspen.
Credit Marci Krivonen / Aspen Public Radio

Alpine skier Melanie Schwartz is racing for Team USA at the Paralympics this week. The part-time Aspen resident was born without a femur, but started skiing at a young age. This will be her second Paralympics, but her first competing for the United States. In 2010 she raced for Canada. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has this profile.

At the U.S. Adaptive Alpine National Championships, skiers fly down a steep slalom course at Buttermilk Mountain, just outside of Aspen. The competition, in mid-February, is one of the last contests before the Paralympic games.

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Culture
4:50 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Remembering Women's Liberation: A Conversation with Jennifer Lee

Filmmaker Jennifer Lee will be showing her award-winning documentary, Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation, tonight at 7pm in the Cornerstone Arts Center. The film focuses on the experiences of women who played key roles in the women’s liberation movement during the 1960s. KRCC’s Jake Brownell spoke with Lee about the film. For more information about the screening, click HERE.

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Capitol Coverage
8:12 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Taking A Tally At The Colorado Legislative Midpoint

Credit clipart

Colorado’s 2014 legislative session is already halfway over. So far lawmakers have tackled a whole host of issues – everything from gun law repeals to wildfire and flood related measures.

By all accounts this year’s session has been much less contentious compared to the previous year. In 2013, Democrats used their majority to pass stricter gun laws, a new voting bill, and tougher renewable energy standards for electric coops.

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Transmission Problems
1:20 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

Cañon City Translator Problems

We've received reports that KRCC's Cañon City translator is off the air.  We will be working on the translator on Monday.  We apologize for the disruption.

The Middle Distance
5:11 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

The Middle Distance 3.7.14: The Experience of Seeing

[Boy at Fine Arts Center] by Myron Wood, June 1960. Copyright PPLD. Image Number: 002-5808.

Last week I traveled to Seattle for a convention of writers — more than 10,000 of them — in a massive convention center. The event was bustling and hectic and hyper-scheduled from early morning to late at night. Harried conventioneers with plastic nametags lugged heavy totebags, studied maps and diagrams, and rushed up escalators and down long corridors from panels to readings, to absorb wisdom and inspiration for their art.

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