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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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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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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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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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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Local News
9:20 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Report: Black Forest Fire Chief Acted Properly

The Black Forest Fire/Rescue District has released some of the findings from an independent investigation into Fire Chief Bob Harvey’s response during last year’s devastating blaze.  KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports.
 

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Local News
3:29 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Update: Buena Vista Routes Re-Open

UPDATE: According to Chaffee County Sheriff spokeswoman Laura Smith, an x-ray of the explosive device determined it was a "practice round" and nothing suspicious.  The Buena Vista Police Department re-took custody of the scene, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will take the device back to the crime lab for processing.  Streets have reopened and the investigation is ongoing.

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11:43 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Explosive Device in Buena Vista Causes Evacuations, Closures

Lead in text: 
An explosive device in the back of a pickup truck closed streets and around the Buena Vista stoplight. "The library and nearby buildings were evacuated, streets were closed and a code red alert was broadcast to the community. Schools were also locked down as a 'precautionary measure,' [BV Police Chief] Tidwell said." The article goes on to say that El Paso County bomb squad is on its way to Buena Vista.
"We had a lady that came to the PD this morning after 7 and reported that there was an explosive device in the back of her pickup," Tidwell said. The woman apparently parked her vehicle to clean the library, and discovered the what she believed to be an explosive device when she returned to her car.
Local News
2:07 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Study: Economic Impact of Amtrak in Southern Colorado

The existing Amtrak Southwest Chief Service through Colorado, and how it would reroute with a new station in Pueblo
Credit Summary of the Southwest Chief Impact Study, Kevin Duncan & Michael Wakefield / CSU-Pueblo

Revised, 04/24/14:  New out-of-state visitor numbers supplied to study co-author Kevin Duncan after this report aired lowers the estimated annual impact to around $3.4 million annually.  Duncan writes that it's "about $34 million over ten years. The additional cost of providing service to Pueblo is estimated to be between $26 and $30 million."

Original report:

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Sports
2:43 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Pikes Peak as Dreessen Peak? Gov. Hickenlooper Renames 14ers in Honor of Broncos

Governor Hickenlooper's proclamation designating 14ers as Broncos for Super Bowl Sunday

Governor John Hickenlooper today issued a proclamation that temporarily renames Colorado’s 14ers after members of the Denver Broncos.  According to a press release from the governor’s office, the state’s tallest peaks will go by their new names for one day only, this Sunday when the Broncos play against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.

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Local News
10:11 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

El Paso County Commissioners OK Zoning Request for Wind Farm

El Paso County Commissioners have approved a zoning request regarding a proposed wind farm in the eastern part of the county.  Here’s the press release:

Following a day long public hearing, the Board of El Paso County Commissioners this evening gave its approval to a zoning request that will clear the way for the development of a large wind farm in eastern El Paso County.

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Music Mix / Morning Edition
3:30 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Andrea Chalfin: Top (Musical) Ten for 2013

Andrea Chalfin, KRCC News Director:
 
It should be no secret by now that I’m quite the music fan, so when Vicky asked me to participate in this year’s Top 10 list, it felt like a no-brainer.  The truth is though, I’m simply not as exposed to all the new releases in quite the same way as our amazing DJs.  So, we came up with a compromise:  two albums that pulled me in and refused to let go, and eight other stuffs that caught my attention.
 
Albums that Pulled Me in and Refused to Let Go:
 
Scout Niblett: It’s Up to Emma

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7:36 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Salazar, Bacon Create PAC to Support Conservation-Minded Candidates

Lead in text: 
Ken Salazar, former Democratic Senator from Colorado and U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and billionaire hedge-fund manager Louis Bacon, a GOP backer, are creating a political action committee to support conservation-minded congressional candidates.
Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado and U.S. Interior secretary, and hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon are forming a political action committee to back pro-conservation congressional candidates. America's Conservation PAC is "dedicated to strengthening our nation's long-standing, bipartisan tradition of conserving lands and cultural resources for future generations to enjoy," Thursday's announcement said.

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