Colorado Springs

The Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management, Fire, and Police Departments are conducting an evacuation drill for residents of the Pulpit Rock neighborhood Saturday.  KRCC's Rachel Gonchar reports.
 

The Pulpit Rock neighborhood is located in the city’s wildland urban interface and includes University Park and Sunset Mesa.

CSPD Officer David Husted says participating residents can expect a knock at their doors and instructions on what to do and where to go. He also said this area is a new focus for first responders.

The Citizens Project held a General Election voter forum Tuesday night, featuring the race for El Paso County Commissioner District 5, as well as state legislative races for House District 17, House District 18, and Senate District 11.  Other candidates for office were also invited to speak at the forum.

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:

Colorado Springs City Council voted in favor of a resolution Tuesday supporting an intergovernmental approach to storm water issues.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
 

The resolution passed on a vote of 7-2 with Councilors Don Knight and Helen Collins opposed.  

Kevin Walker is a consultant for the Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force, an organization looking into solutions for regional stormwater issues. 

The city of Colorado Springs is accepting public comments on their new Park System Master Plan.  KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The plan looks to address the most important issues for the upcoming decade. The Executive Director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition is participating in the blueprint process, and TOSC Advocacy Director Bill Koerner says one of the issues in the draft is the need for more open space.

The committee tasked with addressing stormwater needs throughout the Pikes Peak region is hosting several community meetings to talk about their new draft plan. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The Pikes Peak Stormwater Taskforce formed two years ago to address drainage systems in the region. The plans include improvements on Manitou Boulevard and bank stabilization on Monument Creek.

Task Force spokeswoman Rachel Beck says they’re focusing on long-term solutions.

Electric rates for Colorado Springs Utilities customers are going down starting this Friday. KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
 

City Council approved a proposal from Colorado Springs Utilities to reduce electric rates as operations improve at the downtown Drake Power plant after May’s fire.

Typical residential customers will see a $1.68, or 2.2% decrease in their monthly bills, while typical commercial customers will see a 3% decrease. 

Public safety crews in Southern Colorado are gearing up for this Independence Day weekend. As KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports, that includes being on the lookout for illegal fireworks.
 

Recent wet weather means Colorado Springs is bringing back its annual fireworks display, but hot and dry weather is in the forecast. 

Colorado Springs Deputy Fire Marshal Kris Cooper says that means fire danger is still a reality.

PPLD

The Pikes Peak Library District is set to officially open its new 21st Century branch in northern Colorado Springs Saturday. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The branch houses several new types of facilities to provide equipment for aspiring artists, writers and filmmakers to learn and apply their skills. There’s also a new 400-seat theater designed for community shows, plays, and live music. 

District spokesman Travis Duncan says libraries are not static structures anymore, and the new branch will provide creative spaces for people to interact.

Climate change activists marching from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. are stopping in Colorado Springs Tuesday. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

A core group of about 35 people is marching the entire way, with other supporters joining in for smaller distances. The goal is to inspire action and discussion about climate change.

Chris Ververis is coordinating activities in Colorado. He says the 8-month march helps spread the word and helps citizens feel as though they have a voice.

Colorado Springs residents may see smoke, fire, and emergency personnel just south of the city’s airport Thursday morning.
 

It’s an exercise from the Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management and will simulate an airplane crash and hospital patient in-processing. Emergency Management Coordinator Erin Duran says 140 service members from Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base will even act as crash victims, complete with stage makeup.

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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Parks Master Planning Underway in Colorado Springs

Apr 29, 2014
Michelle Mercer / KRCC

Approximately every ten years, Colorado Springs undertakes a Master Planning process for the parks system. As KRCC’s Michelle Mercer reports, this time around, the economic downturn and recent natural disasters are affecting the planning process.
 

Colorado Springs has a new sister city in Greece.  KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The city of Ancient Olympia on the southwestern coast of Greece is officially the seventh sister city of Colorado Springs.

Olympia is the birthplace of the traditional Olympic Games over 2,700 years ago and is now home to the International Olympic Academy.
 

The public comment period on a U.S. Forest Service proposal that could close or reroute several trails in the Pikes Peak region is drawing to a close tomorrow. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

Some trails in Bear Creek Park could be closed to help protect what the U.S. Forest Service calls the last known habitat of Colorado’s endangered native greenback cutthroat trout.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Senior Aquatic Biologist Doug Krieger says Bear Creek is home to between 500 and 700 greenback cutthroat trout that have adapted to this particular stream.

Urban Agriculture in the Pikes Peak Climate

Mar 26, 2014
Michelle Mercer / KRCC

The backyard farming movement continues to grow in Colorado Springs, but exactly what kind of farming makes sense in our challenging climate is a complicated business. The harsh, high altitude sun, thin topsoil, short growing season, and especially, the limited water supply present obstacles for even the most dedicated urban homesteaders.
 

Colorado Springs officials will talk flash floods along Douglas Creek at a public meeting tonight. KRCC's Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The meeting is expected to provide education and updated information about increased flash flood risk due to the Waldo Canyon burn scar, including the city’s planned response to a flash flood.

Trainings for volunteer call takers during large emergencies in the Pikes Peak region are taking place this week.  It’s a collaboration between Pikes Peak United Way 211, the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.  KRCC’s Martha Perez-Sanz was at the first gathering and has this report.
 

Vegans and vegetarians in the Pikes Peak region now have a directory of like-minded businesses. KRCC's Martha Perez-Sanz reports.
 

The directory comes from the Colorado Springs Vegan and Vegetarian Group, which recently sprouted to over 600 members. Lead organizer JL Fields says members became curious about how they could take their vegan or vegetarian lifestyles beyond personal eating choices.

Officials in the Pikes Peak region are seeking volunteers to help staff call centers in the event of another large emergency. The effort comes from Pikes Peak United Way 211, the City of Colorado Springs, and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

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.
 

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CDOT’s I-25 expansion project is working to add a 3rd lane in each direction between Colorado Springs and Monument by the end of the year.  As KRCC’s Maggie Spencer reports, the recent winter weather is slowing progress.

The department planned to complete construction on the section between Woodmen Road and Interquest Parkway by Thanksgiving. CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson says much of the necessary work to do so is not possible during wet and cold conditions.

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Residents of Pueblo and Colorado Springs get to weigh in on a high speed rail study that looks at transportation from Pueblo to Fort Collins via the Denver International Airport.  KRCC’s Martha Perez-Sanz has more.

The study looked at existing high speed rail technologies and various impacts and feasibility issues. It comes from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Division of Transit and Rail.

Colorado Springs' SD11 Approves Sale of Building

Nov 15, 2013
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Colorado Springs’ District-11 School Board approved the sale of Abraham Lincoln Elementary to a local developer in a unanimous vote Wednesday.  KRCC’s Kate Dunn has more.
 

Lincoln Elementary shut its doors in May after the district decided to consolidate several underused schools.           

School Board Director Al Loma says local developer Bob Elliott’s proposal would re-purpose the school building and turn it into a mixed-use space for businesses, senior living, and eateries.

The USA Pro Challenge cycling race will return to Colorado Springs next year after the city was left out of this year’s race. As KRCC’s Maggie Spencer reports, that’s not the only regional location hosting a stage next year.

Cyclists will face a circuit race in Colorado Springs in the 4th stage of the event after ending the previous day’s ride atop Monarch Mountain.

After a one-year hiatus, Amy Long with the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitor’s Bureau says they’re expecting even more excitement around next year’s event.

Remembering Lawrence Leighton Smith

Oct 28, 2013
Colorado Springs Philharmonic

Lawrence Leighton Smith passed away last week at his home at the age of 77.  Smith spent more than a decade as Music Director of the Colorado Springs Symphony and Philharmonic.  After making the decision to retire following the 2010-2011 season, Smith was diagnosed with Binswanger’s Disease, a form of dementia.  During his final season with the Philharmonic, KRCC’s

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

CDOT: 2013 Economic Impact Study for Colorado Airports

A new study details the economic impact of regional airports on the state.  KRCC’s Kate Dunn reports.

The study comes from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division.  It shows while payroll and economic output continue to rise, the total number of jobs has fallen below 2003 levels.

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.
 

A pair of Republican state lawmakers took the oath of office yesterday, after winning historic recall elections last month. Gun control legislation was behind the recall effort. But even with two more Republican Senators at the state capitol, Democrats are still in control of both the House and Senate. Bente Birkeland has more.

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