Colorado

Looking To History To Combat Wildfires

Jun 14, 2018

As at least half a dozen fires in Colorado force hundreds to evacuate, and have closed a national forest, some residents say they're shocked at how quickly the fire has spread. The speed of wildfires is actually something Colorado ecologists have been studying, and they say history may provide clues on how to slow it down.

The effects of climate change are already being felt at the headwaters of the West’s most important river system, according to a study released earlier this year.

The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization compiled the latest science on climate change in the Colorado River headwaters in a report titled Climate Change in the Headwater: Water and Snow Impacts (PDF), presented to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments in February.

The last Republican governor of Colorado, Bill Owens, ended his term in 2007. That's why the GOP is pushing hard to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The four Democratic candidates vying to replace Gov. John Hickenlooper recently discussed everything from transportation and education to fixing the state's budget in a debate this week.

Mike McBride / Flickr-Creative Commons

Colorado's juvenile justice system will undergo a comprehensive review over the next six months. The goal is to bolster efforts to help keep youth out of the system as well as improve outcomes for those already in it.

Drought has basically divided the Mountain West into two separate regions this year.

Storms kept Idaho, Montana and Wyoming wet over the winter, and the national Drought Monitor shows no drought in those states.

In a nonbinding straw poll, Democrats gave Cary Kennedy a decisive victory in caucuses for Colorado governor. She took 50 percent of the vote. Congressman Jared Polis came in second with 33 percent and former state senator Mike Johnston finished a distant third with 8 percent.

Charlie Riedel / AP

The City of Denver is exploring the possibility of an Olympic bid for a future Winter Games. Officials are studying the potential cost to the city and whether residents support the idea.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. EDT Thursday

Police have apprehended a man they say went on the run Wednesday after fatally shooting two men and a woman at a Walmart outside Denver as hundreds of terrified customers ran for cover.

Merchandising giant Amazon wants to open a second headquarters – called Amazon HQ2 -- outside of Seattle. Colorado is pulling together what it hopes is a winning bid, but it’s a competitive venture.

“This has gotten the attention of the nation for that matter -- and North America, so we’re competing internationally,” said J. J. Ament, the CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.

While Colorado’s congressional delegation had mixed reactions to President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, many continue to show bipartisan support for the policy. The executive order, signed by President Obama, gave children brought into the United States illegally a chance to stay in the country legally.

The state of Colorado collected $180 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales in the 2016 fiscal year.

But could the well run dry?

As of July 1, 2017, Nevada is the eighth state to sell recreational marijuana -- and it won’t be the last. California, the sixth largest economy in the world, will start selling pot Jan. 1, 2018.

Jackie Fortier / KUNC

Three years after legalizing recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, lawmakers are turning to pot to fill some gaps in the budget. That's why lawmakers voted to increase a special use tax on recreational marijuana sales from 10% to 15% in 2017. But while the money can be a salve for some of Colorado's problems, it doesn't, and can't, solve them all.

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.

Flickr User: Pictures of Money / Creative Commons

Things are in limbo after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell delayed a vote on the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A group of 13 senators crafted the bill after the House passed their version of a health care bill in May to replace what is also known as Obamacare.

Based on what's in the Senate bill right now, Bente Birkeland spoke with Joe Hanel of the nonpartisan Colorado Health Institute to break down what the numbers could mean for residents and the state's budget.

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.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

April's episode of Air Check announces NPR's Tiny Desk Series move to Colorado Springs--just kidding. But it does bring Colorado Springs musician and Alex Koshak back from a tour with Esme Patterson, where they performed at the real Tiny Desk in NPR's headquarters in Washington D.C. John Craigie, modern-day troubadour, drops in to play a few songs from his new album No Rain, No Rose; Craig Carnick tells the story of Motown Studios where he worked the night shift as a recording engineer in the 1960s; and the Bells of St. Vrain share the art of handbell performance.  

In July of 2016, The Broadmoor welcomed its new director of operations and experienced master chef, John Johnstone, stepping into the role of Vice President of Food and Beverage.

Colorado officials have highlighted seven shovel-ready road and water projects should the Trump administration secure roughly $1 trillion in infrastructure funding. The National Governor’s Association sent that list, along with projects from 48 other states and territories, to the Trump administration on Feb. 8.

Colorado’s list includes adding two urgent projects -- an express lane heading west into the mountains on I-70 and adding capacity lanes along the northern and southern parts of I-25. It also includes water projects and one to expand rural broadband.

During the opening days of the 2017 Colorado legislative session, lawmakers and the governor outlined their priorities for the good of the people in the centennial state. But are elected officials in line with your priorities and concerns?  We asked Coloradans from across the state to weigh in.

Coloradans hope politicians work together

A doctor handed Melissa Morris her first opioid prescription when she was 20 years old. She'd had a cesarean section to deliver her daughter and was sent home with Percocet to relieve post-surgical pain. On an empty stomach, she took one pill and lay down on her bed.

"I remember thinking to myself, 'Oh, my God. Is this legal? How can this feel so good?' " Morris recalls.

Daniel Hoherd / FLICKR (Creative Commons)

New US Census Bureau data shows Colorado's population continues to grow steadily. 

91.5 KRCC

As the 9am bell rings at Chavez Huerta Preparatory Academy - a charter school on Pueblo's west side - kids make their way between small classroom buildings scattered about the campus. In a little room in one of those buildings, a handful of students tune up for their morning music class.

91.5 KRCC

On this episode of Air Check we dive into the local punk music scene with the local group Cheap Perfume,  Vicky hosts the Denver based band Paper Bird for an in studio performance and interview, Jake heads to the Chavez Huerta Preparatory Academy in Pueblo to uncover the makings of mariachi music, and Mike Love of the Beach Boys talks with Vicky about lyrics on demand and meditating with the Beatles and Maharishi. All that, AND three of our favorite new songs. 

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.

While the presidential race has taken up a lot of attention, local elections in Colorado deserve some time in the spotlight.  In the state legislature, Democrats hold a three-seat majority in the House, and Republicans have a one-seat majority in the Senate.

Colorado is receiving a $12 million grant to assist youth and their families with serious mental, emotional, and behavioral issues. 

Matt Larson is in his mid-thirties and already concerned about what will happen at the end of his life. A year ago, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was treated, but there’s a 50 percent chance it could return. If it does, he wonders at what point he would want to die. In November, Colorado voters will decide whether terminally-ill patients can legally end their lives.

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

A new mobile app looks to incentivize users to help out the environment.

The app, called YourCO, will allow users to log do-it-yourself conservation projects, such as picking up trash or turning down the thermostat, and earn badges and rewards along the way.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

C.J. Boyd is a man on the move.

For the last eight years, the bassist has been on permanent tour--living out of an old ambulance converted to run on veggie oil, playing night after night in coffee shops, bars, art spaces, punk houses, and just about every other imaginable venue. And that's just how he likes it.

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