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.

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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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.

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.
 

Update: Buena Vista Routes Re-Open

Feb 18, 2014

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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

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.

Update 12/05/13: The Red Cross Shelter in Black Forest has closed. Only one resident stayed on Dec. 3rd, and no residents on the 4th.
 

Original Post:

The Centers for Disease Control says Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.  KRCC's Andrea Chalfin is joined this month by Major Douglas Langford, a neurologist at Fort Carson.  They start by defining what Alzheimer’s is and how it’s different from other forms of dementia, or even just getting older.
 

For more information:

Centers for Disease Control: Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's Association
 

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El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is disputing statements made by Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey that this summer’s wildfire that destroyed more than 500 homes and killed two people was caused by humans and "likely intentional."  

Ever wonder how local news and information blends into national programming like Morning Edition and All Things Considered? Take a peek behind the public radio curtain...

"In 1879, [adventurer and geologist John Wesley] Powell proposed that 'as the Western states were brought into the union they be formed around watersheds, rather than arbitrary political boundaries.'"

Andrea Chalfin

Colorado Springs officials held a neighborhood evacuation drill for residents of Broadmoor Bluffs over the weekend.  Fire officials say that neighborhood has stepped up mitigation efforts in the past year and a half, but because of topography, the amount of fuels, and housing density, Broadmoor Bluffs is one of the highest risk neighborhoods in the city’s wildland urban interface.  KRCC News embedded with first responders and a family that chose to participate in the drill.  We start with reporter Kate Dunn.

Residential

Many people are prescribed medications to treat different kinds of conditions, and it’s not always about simply feeling better.  For this month’s Healthy Conversation, KRCC's Andrea Chalfin is joined by Dr. Steven Lang, a family physician at Fort Carson to talk about prescription medications.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is still in Colorado working with counties, including El Paso, to assist with recovery efforts.  So far, the agency has approved more than 38 million dollars in assistance across the counties declared major federal disasters after last month’s devastating floods.  Renee Bafalis is the FEMA Public Information Officer assigned to El Paso County, and she came by the KRCC studios to talk about their efforts.  KRCC's Andrea Chalfin began by asking about the availability of assistance, despite the government shutdown.
 

Andrea Chalfin

With more than 1000 civilians furloughed at the United States Air Force Academy, officials there are calling the government shutdown 'completely disruptive.'

Almost 20% of specialized academic courses are suspended, and others combined.  Other activities are curtailed. Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson says operationally, while things like safety and medical continue, they’re having to account for some of the basics of life, like laundry and toilet paper.

Colorado Poet Laureate David Mason, also a Colorado College professor, has a goal to bring poetry to every county in the Centennial State.

El Paso County health officials are confirming the first human case of West Nile Virus in the county this year.

A man has been diagnosed with the virus in what Dr. Bill Letson, the El Paso County Public Health Medical Diretor, calls a pretty average year for incident rates.  

There may be one or two more cases, according to Letson, but mosquito activity is winding down.

El Paso is among the three additional counties added to the federal Major Disaster Declaration after last week’s devastating flooding.  That brings the total number of counties eligible for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to seven.  

Recent flood waters have left behind plenty of damage, but there is one silver lining. Rains recharged the soil, which the 2012 drought left bone dry. KUNC’s Luke Runyon has more…

While there are still pockets of dry areas in the state, the drought has been almost completely wiped out in the foothills and northeastern plains of Colorado. State climatologist Nolan Doesken says these types of weather extremes happen. Colorado may have been drenched in rain, but Doesken says that can change in a matter of months.

Update, Sat 11:30 AM: ​The boil advisory is now lifted.

Update, Fri 5:15 PM: The boil advisory for Manitou Springs is still in effect, but for certain neighborhoods only. The city says the lower section of Crystal Hills Boulevard and Vias Subdivisions require some follow-up testing, which is expected to be complete tomorrow morning. Other areas, including the downtown business district, are no longer under the boil advisory.

Streets specifically affected by the continuing boil water advisory are:

Update, 11:48 am: The suspect is in custody. Advisory lifted.


Update, 11:38 am: The affected schools Colorado Springs School District 11 are no longer on lockdown, with the exception of Community Prep.

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Update, 7:00 PM Monday: CDOT has reopened Manitou Avenue to traffic at the U.S. 24 interchange.  In addition, the ramps from U.S. 24 to Manitou Avenue are open. The culvert has been cleared of debris, and CDOT will continue to monitor it.

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Connecting the Drops Live Call-In Today on KRCC

Sep 15, 2013

The Colorado River dominates much of the water landscape in our state and throughout the Western US.  Join us today, Sunday, September 15th at 5 PM for a special statewide call-in program about the Colorado River.  We'll be joined by listeners of other community public radio stations across the state. It's part of "Connecting the Drops" our year-long series about water.  A special statewide call-in program on the Colorado River, Sunday, Sept. 15th at 5 PM on KRCC.
Learn more about Connecting the Drops here.

Colorado Springs officials have released initial damage assessments following this week's flooding.  Officials note that potential rain this weekend may produce further damaging incidents, and assessments will be ongoing.  Their list is as follows:

Damage assessments are underway in Colorado Springs as heavy rains continue to move through the Pikes Peak region and throughout the Front Range. Officials are urging residents to remain aware of weather conditions as rain is predicted throughout the weekend.
 

Director of Emergency Management Bret Waters says the city and regional partners have been preparing for these kinds of events for some time now, and it’s important to stay prepared.

Andrea Chalfin

The White House has approved an emergency declaration for flooding throughout the Front Range, making federal aid available to communities hardest hit by recent heavy rains.  As KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports, while Northern Colorado has so far borne the brunt of the damages, post-Waldo Canyon fire mitigation efforts in El Paso County have largely come undone.

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