Andrea Chalfin

News Director

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.

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Fort Carson
8:16 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Fort Carson Officials Encourage Vigilance After Reports of Shots Fired

Fort Carson officials are encouraging personnel on the base to remain vigilant and report any suspicious behavior after two shots were heard on the Mountain Post Monday night, prompting increased security measures. Military police are investigating the reports that say the shots were heard near the northwest perimeter of the base just before 8:00 PM.  Officials say this was not an active shooter event, and there’s no immediate danger. No suspects are in custody.

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Southwest Chief
4:21 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Southwest Chief Application Receives TIGER Grant

Credit Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Efforts to preserve Amtrak’s Southwest Chief long-distance passenger train service that runs through southern Colorado got a financial boost.  KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports on a grant from the federal Department of Transportation that will help fix some of the regional track that’s in most need of repair.

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Fort Carson
5:18 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Fort Carson Conducts Crisis Exercise and Separate Live-Fire Exercise

Fort Carson is conducting a full-scale crisis exercise Tuesday and Wednesday.  The training is expected to feature a simulated car bomb near Prussman Chapel on the Mountain Post.

Those on base can expect road closures from 5 am until 3 pm Tuesday, specifically Prussman between Berkeley and McGrath, and Porter Street. McGrath will be down to one lane for about a block.  Detours may also be in place.

The annual exercise tests emergency response procedures.  Previous simulations include chemical spills, terrorist attacks, and winter weather.

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Two-Way
7:30 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Colorado Looks to Advanced Technology for Battling Wildfires

An example of thermal imaging from the 2008 Freeway Fire near the City of Yorba Linda in southern California
Credit Phil Riggan

Colorado’s legislature this year created the state’s own air fleet for fighting wildfires. The endeavor includes four helicopters, two single engine air tankers, and two PC-12 single engine planes equipped with new thermal imaging technology.  The move has put Colorado at the forefront of utilizing advanced technology to battle the destructive blazes.  Reporter Ryan Maye Handy wrote a series of articles for the Colorado Springs Gazette about this new technology.  She spoke with KRCC's Andrea Chalfin about it.
 

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Local News
8:54 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Road Closures for USA Pro Challenge to Start Wednesday

The USA Pro Challenge makes its way to Colorado Springs on Thursday for Stage 4. Cyclists will start at the Broadmoor and make their way through downtown before heading up to Garden of the Gods. They'll repeat the downtown to Garden of the Gods circuit four times for a total of 70 miles.

In preparation, road closures will begin on Wednesday, with various reopening times on Thursday.

Roads closures Wednesday start at 9:00 AM:

Tejon between Kiowa and Colorado
Pikes Peak between Cascade and Nevada

5:00 PM Wednesday:

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Local News
8:55 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Black Forest Fire Chief 'No Longer Employed'

Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey is apparently no longer with the department. A statement from the fire district says Chief Harvey cleared his personal items out of his office on Wednesday. Harvey has been on medical leave since early June, and the Board of Directors was looking to schedule a meeting with him to discuss his condition and his intentions.  The board then learned Harvey had said elsewhere that he was no longer employed.

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Drought
4:45 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Colorado Drought Conditions Improve; 'Exceptional' Classification Lifted

U. S. Drought Monitor
Credit Richard Tinker / NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

Drought conditions in Colorado have seen another week of slight improvements across the state, and the worst category of drought has disappeared altogether.  One week ago, about .5% of Colorado was classified as “Exceptional Drought,” all in southeastern Colorado.  Now, that area is categorized under  “Extreme Drought.” One year ago, 3% of the state was listed as “Exceptional Drought.” 

The U. S. Drought Monitor currently shows normal conditions across 60% of Colorado.  One year ago, that number was 1.5%.

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Southwest Chief
3:56 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Southwest Chief Commission Prepares to Meet

Credit Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Colorado’s commission to look at preserving Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line is gearing up to start its meetings. 

The commission’s been tasked with coordinating efforts to try and save the line, which faces possible rerouting out of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico if necessary infrastructure upgrades aren’t completed.

Jim Souby is the President of the Colorado Rail Passenger Association, and was appointed to the commission to represent the tourism industry.

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Southwest Chief
7:30 am
Wed August 6, 2014

A Funding Quandary: Who Should Pay to Save the Southwest Chief?

Amtrak's Southwest Chief pulls into the Raton, NM station in May.
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief is a long-distance passenger train that travels daily from Chicago to Los Angeles along the Mountain Route of the historic Santa Fe Trail.  Along the way, it knits together rural communities, like La Junta, Colorado and Raton, New Mexico and connects them to larger cities, like Albuquerque and Kansas City.  The route is at risk though.

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El Paso County
2:31 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Maketa Recall Effort Fails

Credit Staff Photo / El Paso County

Embattled El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa will not face a recall election in November. Organizers of the effort had until 1:00 Saturday to turn in the more than 44,000 signatures needed for the recall.

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Eightmile Fire
4:45 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Firefighters Battle Eightmile Fire in Fremont County

Google Map provided by Inciweb of the Eightmile Fire near Cañon City.
Credit Google Maps / Inciweb

UPDATE: According to a Tuesday morning press release, the pre-evacuation notice for those 16 residences in the Red Rocks subdivision was lifted around 8 PM last night, though Phantom Canyon Road remains closed.  Containment remains at 40%.

UPDATE: As of around 8 PM Monday evening, the fire is about 40% contained.  Pre-evacuation notice remains in effect for 16 residences in the Red Rocks subdivision; Phantom Canyon Road remains closed.

Original Post: 

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Elections
2:03 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Primary Elections: Recapping the Major Races

The race to be Colorado’s next Governor is officially underway. Former Congressman Bob Beauprez will challenge Governor John Hickenlooper in November after winning a four -way GOP primary race. Beauprez captured a four-point lead over his closest challenger, Tom Tancredo.  Voters in El Paso County threw their support behind Beauprez, but in Pueblo County and most of southern Colorado, Republican voters supported Scott Gessler.

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Arkansas River
4:16 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Two-Mile Section of Arkansas River Reopens

Credit Colorado Parks and Wildlife

A two-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Salida has reopened to boaters.  It closed at the beginning of June due high waters that caused a hazard at a recently constructed boat chute.  The portage trail used to bypass the chute had also become impassable.

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Awards
12:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

KRCC News Wins National PRNDI Award

KRCC News has been recognized by Public Radio News Directors, Inc., or PRNDI, for its online content accompanying last year's series, "Flash Point: Living with Wildfire." The 1st Place Award comes in the "Best Multimedia Presentation" category among small newsrooms.

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Elections
5:51 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

5th Congressional District Primary: Lamborn, Rayburn Debate

Doug Lamborn, left, and his GOP Primary challenger, Bentley Rayburn

Colorado’s 5th Congressional District consists of El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Chafee and Park Counties, and has been held by Republican Doug Lamborn since 2007.  Primary elections are next week, and last night, Lamborn and his GOP challenger Retired Major General Bentley Rayburn came together for a debate, sponsored by several local media organizations.
 

    

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Wildfires
9:10 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Smoke, Haze in Southern Colorado Due to Out-of-State Fires

Smoke and haze has moved into Colorado from fires in Arizona. 

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El Paso County
4:13 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Effort to Recall El Paso County Sheriff Moves Forward

A group seeking to recall embattled El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa received approval from the Clerk and Recorder’s office to begin collecting signatures.  KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin has more.

A resubmitted petition from the group was accepted after an initial effort was rejected on the grounds that it didn’t meet legal standards.  According to the Clerk’s office, backers need to gather more than 44,000 signatures to recall Sheriff Maketa in November. 

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El Paso County
6:34 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Critics, Supporters Rally at El Paso County Sheriff's Department

Critics of Sheriff Terry Maketa holds a sign outside the El Paso County Sheriff's Department
Tucker Hampson KRCC

A handful of residents gathered outside the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department Thursday afternoon in downtown Colorado Springs to show their disapproval of Sheriff Terry Maketa. Maketa faces allegations of wrongdoing, including creating a hostile workplace, sexual discrimination, and budget mismanagement.  Those protesters were met by others who support the embattled sheriff.
 

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Black Forest Fire
5:39 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Black Forest Fire: Lessons Applied, Lessons Learned, Cause Undetermined

Burned trees abut a road in the Black Forest fire burn area. Picture taken 06/21/13.
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office released a report looking at the response to the Black Forest Fire Tuesday, nearly one year to the day after the devastating fire began. 
 

The After Action Report [.pdf] details what went right during last year’s fire, and where there’s room for improvement.  Maketa said they applied lessons learned from the previous year’s Waldo Canyon event, including providing a quicker flow of information to those displaced.

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Public Safety
8:00 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Wildfire in Huerfano County Prompts Evacuations

UPDATE (Monday, 06/02 8:00 PM):  All evacuation orders have been lifted; the fire is 100% contained. Mop up will continue and the area will be monitored over the next several days.

UPDATE (Monday, 06/02 11:45 AM): Huerfano County Emergency Dispatch says residents north of Twin Ridge Dr. on Four Mile Canyon Road to CR 312 may return.  Residents south of Twin Ridge Dr. on Four Mile Canyon Rd. are still under an evacuation notice.  The fire is 80% contained, with a burn area of 15 acres.

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El Paso County
5:10 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

El Paso County Commissioners Vote 'No Confidence' in Sheriff; Seek Resignation

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa/Bio Photo
Credit Staff Photo / El Paso County

El Paso County Commissioners gave a unanimous vote of 'no confidence' to Sheriff Terry Maketa today, and asked for his resignation after allegations of misconduct.  KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports.
 

Commissioners say the vote isn’t about guilt or innocence and that investigations into employee complaints and allegations including sexual discrimination, budget mismanagement, and a hostile work environment are underway.

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Public Safety
10:12 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Rains, Flash Flood Warning Prompt Hwy 24 Closure and Red Cross Shelter Opening

UPDATE:  The Red Cross Shelter has closed as of 11:23 PM.  Highway 24 has reopened.

Original post:

The Red Cross has opened a shelter in Manitou Springs for those affected by potential flooding tonight, Friday, May 23. It's at the Historic Manitou Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave.

The National Weather Service in Pueblo has issued a flash flood warning until 11:15 tonight for northwestern Pueblo County, northeastern Custer County, Teller County, and western El Paso and eastern Fremont Counties.

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El Paso County
4:27 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

EPC Sheriff Faces Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is facing allegations of inappropriate behavior, including creating a hostile work environment and sexual discrimination.  Several department commanders say the sheriff had affairs with three subordinates, abused those who questioned the alleged relationships, and removed all oversight of the department's $60 million budget.  

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Public Safety
10:29 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Colorado Springs Fire Department Battling Blaze at Martin Drake Power Plant

Colorado Springs firefighters work on a blaze at the Martin Drake Power Plant
Credit CSFD

Investigators are on the scene at the Martin Drake Power Plant in downtown Colorado Springs after a four-alarm fire broke out this morning at the facility. The fire department reports two Utilities workers suffered minor injuries, one of whom was transferred to the hospital.  There are no reported injuries to firefighters.

At a press conference this afternoon, Fire Chief Chris Riley said only one of the plant evacuees suffered a minor injury.

----

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Southwest Chief
3:22 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Southwest Chief Advocates Seek Federal Grant

Credit Maggie Spencer / KRCC

A new collaborative effort that crosses state lines has pledged more than $9 million as part of a grant application that would help keep Amtrak’s Southwest Chief on its current route through Southern Colorado.  KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports.
 

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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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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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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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