Andrea Chalfin

Morning Edition Host/Managing Editor

Andrea came to KRCC in 2008 by way of Missouri. She’s responsible for KRCC’s overall news presence, and oversees a cadre of freelancers and students.  Her award-winning work has been heard on NPR, The World (PRI), and the BBC. The Ohio native loves music and media, food, and the open road; it’s also not uncommon to see her taking a walk through downtown Colorado Springs.  Follow Andrea on Twitter @AndreaChalfin.

Kevin Kreck / Associated Press

The Colorado Classic takes off from Colorado Springs Thursday, bringing nearly 175 professional cyclists from around the world to the Centennial State.  Colorado Springs hosts the first leg, with the women's race kicking off mid-morning Thursday, and the start of the men's race set for the afternoon.  Both starts take place downtown at Tejon and Pikes Peak, with peak road closures occurring on Thursday along the route between downtown and Garden of the Gods.

Steve Wilson / Flickr - Creative Commons

The state commission tasked with looking into passenger rail on Colorado's Front Range is getting to work.  The committee is an expansion of the previous Southwest Chief commission, and still tasked with working to preserve and improve the long-distance Amtrak route that travels through southern Colorado, as well as connect it to Pueblo.

Courtesy: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The state parks program that puts backpacks with parks passes, binoculars, and guides into public libraries is in its second year.  "Check Out State Parks" officially launched last year in more than 280 libraries statewide.  This year, it's expanded to include many publicly funded college and university libraries. 

Hickenlooper file photo

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other climate goals.  Hickenlooper also says the state will join the U. S. Climate Alliance, which is a group of states looking to uphold the Paris Climate Accord.  President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris Accord earlier this year.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Several months prior to the Waldo Canyon Fire, Myrna Candreia had a premonition.  "Something inside me told me, 'You need to prepare for a fire,'" she recalls.  "I had developed this feeling inside that things weren't good. Maybe it was because of the drought we were having?"

One week before the fire, she went to Staples, bought boxes and set them up, but didn't fill them.  "I could have been fully prepared and a lot more prepared.  I wasn't.  I got a few things out," she says.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Parkside resident Mike Finkbiner was a roofing contractor during the original construction of the Colorado Springs subdivision, and says Mountain Shadows as a whole was "pretty well planned" when it was built in the 1980s.  It wasn't until 2002 that he moved into the community, and then to a different home in Parkside in 2005.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Retired electrical engineer Barry Timmons and his wife relocated to Colorado to be closer to family, and lived in the Parkside neighborhood of Colorado Springs for three years before the Waldo Canyon Fire claimed his home.

"It's just a nice area, it was a nice little home," Timmons says.  "It was very conducive to us being a retired couple."

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Carla Albers and her family moved into their Mountain Shadows home in 1990.  They'd always loved the westside and figured it would be a starter home, but ended up loving the neighborhood and the area.  

"It just ended up being up one of those neighborhoods where a lot of younger couples moved in with a lot of kids," she recalls.  "It was just a really great place to raise a family."

Their house was among the nearly 350 homes lost in 2012's Waldo Canyon Fire.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

When the Waldo Canyon Fire broke out five years ago, Nick Gledich found himself in two roles. On the one hand, he's the superintendent of District 11.  A number of schools were threatened by the blaze; another served as a staging area for firefighters and first responders.  On the other hand, Gledich was also among the Mountain Shadows evacuees.

Jeffrey M. Foster / Courtesy UCCS

It's been slightly more than a month since Dr. Venkat Reddy officially took over the top spot at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, but he's no stranger to the school.  He's spent 25 years there, starting as a finance faculty member, serving as Dean of the Business School, and shepherding online education for the University.  

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

A ceremonial groundbreaking in downtown Colorado Springs Friday marked the start of construction on a new museum dedicated to U.S. Olympic history and ideals. 

A new website and program from the state is geared toward streamlining the process of professional credentialing for active-duty military personnel and veterans looking to start licensed careers in Colorado.  It's called "Veterans Occupational Credentialing and Licensing," or VOCAL, and it's run by the state Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), which oversees more than 50 professions.

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

A White House source has told Fox News that nearly a dozen candidates are under consideration to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey, including Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith [LC-DIG-highsm-11937]

Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River is a new book from David Owen, a staff writer with the New Yorker magazine and author of more than a dozen books.  His latest takes him on a journey across the west following the Colorado River: the dams, reservoirs and pipelines that help quench the thirst of seven states and parts of Mexico. 

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

The ballots have been cast and the results are coming in. Numbers indicate a near 32% voter turnout across the city.   Current as of 12:53 AM (Wed):

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

The Colorado Springs Fire Department is mourning the loss of Christina Randall, who led the department's wildfire mitigation efforts.  Randall died unexpectedly over the weekend while attending a conference in Reno, Nev.  focusing on the wildland-urban interface, which is where forests meet urban areas. 

The City of Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs City Council District 4 is in the southern part of the city, bound by Powers on the east, Platte to the north, and encompassing the southern part of Circle Drive.

There are three people vying for the seat, including incumbent Helen Collins.  Collins declined to be interviewed for this piece.  Her challengers, in the order they appear on the ballot, are Yolanda Avila and Deborah Hendrix.

The City of Colorado Springs

District 1 in Colorado Springs is situated northwest of downtown.  It borders the Air Force Academy and contains Garden of the Gods and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Incumbent Don Knight, retired from the Air Force and defense industry, is facing a challenge from local businessman Greg Basham.  91.5 KRCC sat down with Knight and Basham separately to talk with them about the challenges facing their district and the city, taxes, and their visions for Colorado Springs.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: As of around 7PM Monday evening, all evacuations have been lifted.  Residents must have ID to reenter.

Steve Wilson / Flickr - Creative Commons

This post has been updated, first on Sat 1/28/17 to expand the story.  Last updated Thursday 2/2/17 to reflect that the bill has been introduced at the statehouse.
 

The state's Southwest Chief Commission, which has been working since 2014 to find ways to preserve and expand a long-distance Amtrak route that runs through southern Colorado, is setting its sights on passenger rail along the Interstate 25 corridor and Colorado's Front Range. 

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Extreme winds in southern Colorado Monday prompted the closures of the El Paso County Courthouse and Cheyenne Mountain State Park.  The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) also placed restrictions on high profile commercial vehicles on El Paso County roads.  The department also barred the vehicles, including semi- and tractor- trailers, from Interstate 25 between Monument and the New Mexico state line after multiple rollover accidents.  This restriction was lifted around 7:40 Monday evening.

Laura Bittner / Flickr/Creative Commons

Still need to cast that ballot?  For many voters in Colorado, it's a long one.  If you're still weighing state issues, 91.5 KRCC wants to help.  Here you will find information and links on how to vote, as well as information on the nine statewide issues facing Colorado residents this November.

U.S. Forest Service

Residents of the Eagle Springs Ranch Subdivision and the Greenwood Subdivision from County Road 390 to mile marker 24 in Custer County are now allowed back into their homes. The Custer County Office of Emergency Management says residents must pick up re-entry passes sometime between 3:00-8:00 today  at the Wetmore Volunteer Fire Station located at 200 CR 290 in Wetmore. Proof of residents and identification is required.  Re-entry will begin at 5 PM.

Highway 96 will open to thru traffic from McKenzie Junction to Wetmore at 3 PM.

El Paso County Sheriff's Department

Evacuations are being lifted after a fire broke out near the Rampart Reservoir. The fire has burned about 14 acres, and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office says it's now being worked jointly with the Forest Service.

Fremont County Sheriff's Office

The Junkins Fire burning predominately in Custer County has prompted evacuations in Custer and Pueblo Counties.  A Type I Incident Command Team assumed command of the Junkins Fire Wednesday morning.  260 personnel are fighting the blaze, including hand crews, air tankers and helicopters.  As of Wednesday afternoon, the fire has burned nearly 17,000 acres, and is now at 3% containment.  The incident commander expects to see more containment tomorrow.  The fire started when a power line was knocked down due to strong winds, landing on a barb wire fence.

Pueblo County Sheriff's Office

Residents of Mountain Shadows Mobile Home Park and the Twin Buttes subdivision in Pueblo County are being allowed back into their homes today, after being evacuated due to the Beulah Hill Fire. 

Pueblo County Emergency Management

Evacuations are in place in Pueblo County due to a wildfire burning near Beulah. 

The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office is ordering mandatory evacuations of the entire Beulah Valley. Use Highway 78 to evacuate to Pueblo. See the map above for exact evacuation boundaries.

Evacuation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Oldham Road and Extended Oldham Road
  • Signal Mountain (use south exit for evacuation)
  • North Creek to Red Mountain Youth Camp
  • Pine Drive (use 12 mile as the preferred evacuation route)
  • North Signal Mountain Rd
  • Mountain Shadows Mobile Home Park
  • 2 mile radius of 8300 block of HWY 78 to include 3R Rd.

A rundown of evacuation notices can be found at the Pueblo County Emergency Management info page. Additional updates available at the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office Twitter Page.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado Springs is embarking on a two-year process to create a master plan for the city.  The effort, announced Wednesday, looks to provide what's being called a "roadmap to [the] city's 20-year future," and will help guide policies and priorities.

In prepared remarks at Wednesday's unveiling, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the process will look at land use planning, including growth and infill, but it's much broader than that.

courtesy CC/FAC

Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center have finalized a merger that, after a four-year transition period, will result in the full integration of the center into College operations.

Rob Powell, Division Z / via Inciweb and Freemont County Sheriff's Office

TUESDAY UPDATE: Evacuees from the Hayden Pass Fire along County Road 6 in Fremont County will be allowed back to their homes starting Thursday morning at 8.  Those returning home should know heavy timber will continue to burn on the interior of the fire perimeter.

ORIGINAL POST (Monday): Some residents of Fremont County who have been evacuated due to the Hayden Pass Fire are being allowed to return home. 

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