Colorado

Capitol Coverage
7:45 am
Wed September 24, 2014

In Colorado's Tight Senate Contest, A Race To Court Women Voters

Kathy Holderith making calls at a GOP field office in Lakewood, Colo. Jefferson County is considered a key swing area in the close U.S. Senate race.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 10:09 am

Colorado's U.S. Senate race is a considered by many to be a tossup. Incumbent Senator Mark Udall and Republican Congressman Cory Gardner are trying to win over as many key voting blocs as they can before Election Day – and that includes women.

In the previous close Senate contest between appointed Democratic Senator Michael Bennet and Republican Ken Buck, women played a critical role. During the waning days of that 2010 race, Bennet focused his attention on the female vote – and narrowly won. With women making up 51.4 percent of all registered voters in Colorado this election, it's a scenario Democrats are hoping to repeat.

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Capitol Coverage
8:38 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Polls Painting A Confusing Picture Of Colorado Races

On the left, Democrat Mark Udall, pictured on the right, Republican Cory Gardner.
Udall - US Senate | Gardner - US House

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 4:44 pm

Multiple polls on Colorado's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races were recently released and there are some different perspectives on where things stand with just seven weeks until the November election.

Most polls show the U.S Senate race as being too close to call. The Denver Post recently gave incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall a narrow edge over his Republican challenger Congressman Cory Gardner, but within the margin of error. A separate USA Today Poll gives Gardner a one point edge. The most recent Quinnipiac Poll was more of an outlier. It gave Gardner the lead, 48 – 40 over Udall.

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Capitol Coverage
4:53 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Senator Udall Trails in New Poll

GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner and Democratic incumbent Mark Udall

A new poll released today from Quinnipiac University shows Democratic Senate incumbent Mark Udall 8 points behind his Republican challenger Congressman Cory Gardner. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Capitol Coverage
4:33 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Governor Trails Beauprez in Quinnipiac Poll

GOP gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez and Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper
Credit Beauprez-U.S. House / Hickenlooper-State of Colorado

Less than a week after a Denver Post poll listed the Governor’s race as too close to call, a new poll out today has Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez ten points ahead of Governor John Hickenlooper. Bente Birkeland has more.

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Capitol Coverage
7:33 am
Wed September 17, 2014

State Rejects Stricter Medical Marijuana Caregiver Rules

Jenea Cox - who testified at the hearing - and her 5-year-old daughter Haleigh. They moved to Colorado from Georgia so Haleigh could take a special medical marijuana strain to help with her seizures.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

The state board of health has voted against setting maximum patient caps for medical marijuana caregivers. The proposed rule would have limited caregivers to just ten patients. After a tense and at times tearful hearing on Tuesday, the board said the change was unnecessary. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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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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Capitol Coverage
4:37 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Oil & Gas Task Force Delayed

The Governor’s Oil and Gas Task Force charged with coming up with new recommendations for the energy industry is getting off to a slower than anticipated start. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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Connecting the Drops
8:15 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Colorado's Water Plan

Sunset at McPhee Reservoir near Cortez. The reservoir provides crucial irrigation and municipal water to the Four Corners region.
Credit Colorado Foundation for Water Education

It’s been over a year since Governor Hickenlooper issued an executive order calling for the creation of a state water plan.  It won’t be a legal document, but the plan is expected to make recommendations that will guide future water planning and funding decisions.  The process is well underway, with a deadline to deliver a draft plan by this December.
 

Mike Preston, manager of the Dolores Water Conservancy District, which stores and delivers water from the Dolores River, stands next to an irrigation outlet on McPhee Reservoir, near Cortez. 

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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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Energy
5:10 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Colorado Dismisses Lawsuit Against Longmont's Oil and Gas Rules

State energy regulators have dropped their lawsuit against the city of Longmont for adopting stricter oil and gas rules that Colorado officials argued infringed on the state’s rights. Bente Birkeland has more…

Meanwhile, a judge in Fort Collins today ruled that that city's ban on fracking violates state law.

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Energy
1:43 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Oil & Gas Deal Creates Task Force, Seeks Withdraw of Ballot Initiatives

Congressman Jared Polis and Governor John Hickenlooper announce a deal on oil and gas to avoid a costly fight at the ballot box.
Credit Bente Bikeland / RMCR

Democratic Congressman Jared Polis said he would call on the withdrawal of two anti-fracking ballot initiatives he’s backing so the state can try to craft a legislative solution. He said he made the decision in the last few days, “I’ve said that from the very start my personal preference is to address these issues legislatively.”

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Capitol Coverage
10:41 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Judge Rules Against Colorado's Gay Marriage Ban

Credit clipart

A federal judge in Colorado struck down the state’s gay marriage ban Wednesday. The judge put a temporary hold on the decision so the state can appeal it to a higher court. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

The judge in this case has issued a stay until late August as part of the ruling to give the state a chance to appeal.  While Attorney General John Suthers and Governor John Hickenlooper both requested a stay so the issue could eventually be decided by the U. S. Supreme Court, both agreed the state ban should be declared unconstitutional.

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Capitol Coverage
4:25 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Stumping For Beauprez, Christie Stands Firm On Colorado Pot

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez talks to reporters with Chris Christie. Christie, the head of the Republican Governor's Association is in Colorado campaigning for Beauprez.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 4:29 pm

While campaigning for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie refused to back down from his comments made earlier in 2014, criticizing Colorado’s quality of life after legalizing recreational marijuana.

“We’ve got to stop in public life worrying about making everybody happy and faking it, like we’re going to agree all the time,” said Christie.

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Connecting the Drops
7:00 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Planning for the Future: Water Education for Colorado's Youth

A student from St. Mary's School in Denver reaches for a rock in a stream near Breckenridge, CO. The students were looking for aquatic bugs as part of a lesson on stream health taught by the Keystone Science School.
Credit Sam Fuqua

When it comes to water, Colorado’s kids can expect to face a challenging future;  a growing population and increasing demand may mean difficult trade-offs.  That’s one reason educators and policy-makers say it’s critical to teach young people about water management.

On a breezy spring morning in south Denver, a line of about 30 teenagers snakes down a hill at Overland Pond, a little urban park next to the South Platte River.  The kids are passing golf balls to each other really fast, and dropping many of them. 

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Health
3:53 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Rabid Bat Found in El Paso County

Health officials are reporting the first rabid bat of the season in El Paso County. As KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports, rabies is also showing up in surrounding areas.
 

    

Three children discovered the bat in Southwest Colorado Springs, and two were recommended for rabies post exposure treatment.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says as of early last month, 24 wild animals across the state have tested positive for the disease this year. Three were found in surrounding Pueblo and Elbert counties.

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Elections
7:33 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Q & A with GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Bob Beauprez

Credit U.S. House

In one of his first interviews since winning the GOP nod to challenge Governor John Hickenlooper, Bob Beauprez sat down with Bente Birkeland to discuss some of the key issues in the campaign. The Catholic former congressman explains his support for the death penalty, and why he decided to run for Governor after losing his gubernatorial race in 2006 by double digits.
 

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Marijuana
1:08 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Marijuana Advocates Celebrate Pot's Legalization At Hunter S. Thompson's Owl Farm

Signs posted outside of the late Hunter S. Thompson's old homestead Owl Farm normally keep people out. But, a group of marijuana advocates recently celebrated Colorado's legalization of pot there.
Credit Marci Krivonen / Aspen Public Radio

 
Some of the heavy hitters in the marijuana community celebrated its legalization in Colorado at an event in Woody Creek recently. The group NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, held a cookout at Owl Farm, Hunter S. Thompson’s old homestead. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen was there and has this report:
 

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Colorado Business
3:36 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Brand Colorado Slowly Gaining Steam

John Scaggs with Haystack Mountain Goat Dairystands beside aging cheese. Scaggs' company has started using the state's new Colorado branding.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:16 pm

More and more companies are starting to use the new Colorado logo and slogan - “it’s our nature” - to promote their products, helping the state's efforts to strengthen its brand and global competitiveness. The branding effort though has been somewhat controversial and it will take some time to determine its success.

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Transportation
10:58 am
Tue April 8, 2014

County Groups Conduct Transportation Survey

A highway in Southern Colorado. Photo taken: April 2013
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

As the state examines how best to allocate transportation funding across Colorado, county-based regional advocacy groups, including southern Colorado’s Action 22,  are conducting a transportation survey. KRCC’s Elaina Formby reports.
 

The rise of hybrid and eco-boost vehicles has led to fewer gas station fill-ups and a marked decrease in gas tax revenue. Action 22 President and CEO Cathy Garcia says this decrease contributes to a growing divide between urban and rural parts of the state.

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Capitol Conversation
4:59 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Annual Report on Children's Well-Being

Colorado Child Well-Being Index
Credit Kids Count in Colorado! / Colorado Children's Campaign

Child advocates say more children continue to live in poverty in Colorado compared to when the state was in the depths of the recession. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

 (You can find the full report from the Colorado Children's Campaign here.)

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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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Health
4:14 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Colorado Loses "Least Obese" Title

January-December 2013; Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
Credit Gallup

Colorado is no longer the least obese state in the country, according to a new Gallup poll released yesterday. KUNC’s Luke Runyon reports.
 

Since 2010 Colorado has consistently topped lists as having the slimmest population in the country. Not anymore. Montana has usurped the title, where 19.6% of the population is obese, compared to Colorado’s 20.4, putting the Centennial State in second place. Mississippi has the highest level, at 35 percent.

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Capitol Conversation
7:33 am
Mon March 3, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Senate Race Shakeup

Bente Birkeland
Credit file photo

News last week that Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is entering the U.S. Senate race to try and unseat Democrat Mark Udall sent shock waves through Colorado’s political landscape.  The move has caused some Republicans to drop out of the race.  As part of our weekly Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about the change.
 

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Elections
3:36 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

GOP Candidates Swap Races

U.S. Representative Cory Gardner (R)

Wednesday’s surprising race swap between Representative Cory Gardner and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck may demonstrate a game changer for Colorado’s Republican Party. Colorado State University political science professor Kyle Saunders says the solidly Republican 4th Congressional District is a more natural fit for Ken Buck. He thinks Gardner has a better opportunity to win the Senate race against incumbent Democrat Mark Udall.

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Capitol Coverage
7:21 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

GOP Gubernatorial Challengers Debate

Four of the six Republican candidates seeking to replace Governor John Hickenlooper in the fall faced off in their first formal debate last night at the Denver Post. As Bente Birkeland reports, they touched on a host of topics – including the two missing candidates.
 

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Capitol Conversation
7:48 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Capitol Conversation: Branding Colorado

Capitol Coverage reporter Bente Birkeland
Credit file photo

Last summer Colorado officials rolled out a new state brand and logo. It’s popular among some groups but received mixed support at the state capitol. A Republican bill to send the branding question to a vote of the people failed at the statehouse. As part of capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about the back story and where the branding issue goes from here.
 

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Local News
6:32 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

"Making Colorado" Brand Sees 250 Registrants

Credit brandColorado

250 companies have registered for Colorado’s new branding program since its launch last year, even as the logo faces a legislative challenge. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

“Making Colorado” looks to have a unified logo for products made in the state. The logo is currently under legislative review after mixed reaction. 

Chief Marketing Officer Aaron Kennedy says the new registrations are a great start and it’s too early to tell what may come of action at the statehouse.

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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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Capitol Coverage
6:37 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Colorado Launches Bid for RNC

Colorado has formally launched its campaign to put in a bid to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. Republican leaders announced members of the host committee late last week. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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Capitol Coverage
11:18 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Experts Examine Economic Cost of Natural Disasters

A new study from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business shows that it may be difficult to quantify how droughts, fires and floods are impacting the state’s economy over the long term. But it’s safe to say natural disasters are already influencing public policy and are requiring communities to shift their thinking. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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