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."
Colorado voters have until 7 tonight to turn in their ballots in today’s election. For nearly a month, El Paso and Pueblo County Clerks have been collecting mail-in ballots.
Despite a slow start, Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert Ortiz is optimistic about the turnout.
"I was really nervous going into today," said Ortiz, "because the voter turnout really wasn’t doing very well and it was pretty slow here in Pueblo County. We’re really excited, the last two days have been very heavy, and the voter turn out has gotten up above average."
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.
FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center opens today for residents of El Paso County affected by recent flooding. KRCC’s Martha Perez-Sanz has more.
The Center takes the place of the city’s recovery facility after the federal Major Disaster Declaration was expanded last week to include El Paso County. FEMA spokeswoman Renee Bafalis calls the Center a “one-stop-shop” that aims to help residents with insurance and medical needs, among other concerns.
It’s election day for parts of El Paso and Pueblo Counties. State senators John Morse and Angela Giron are facing possible recalls. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin caught up with the El Paso County Clerk at Centennial Hall, where at mid-day, voter traffic was moving swiftly.
This is one of seven voting centers open today in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. Clerk Wayne Williams says turnout today has been lighter at times than last week, but he says there could be an after-work rush.
With thunderstorms in the forecast for the next few days, the possibility of flash flooding in El Paso County remains. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, the county is working to repair roads in the Black Forest area damaged in last weekend’s floods.
The county is placing road maintenance equipment in Black Forest so it can quickly remove flood debris and keep drainages open. County Spokesman Dave Rose says the big challenge is a large drainage system that runs south through the burn area and then along Shoup Road, an important east-west route.
Colorado Springs and El Paso County officials have released updated flood maps for areas in and near the Waldo Canyon burn scar. The maps detail expected flood effects after one-hour rainfall amounts of a half-inch up to two inches of rain. The assessments assumed debris in floodwaters would cause blockages at street crossings. Maps include Ute Pass, Manitou Springs, and Fountain Creek. Douglas Creek maps have not yet been updated. There’s a preparedness meeting tonight at six for residents and businesses along Fountain Creek at Al Kaly Shrine.
The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder will begin mailing ballots in mid-August to registered voters in Senate District 11 for the upcoming recall election. A petition requesting the recall of Democratic State Senator John Morse was approved by a judge earlier this week. The ballot will pose two issues; one asking if Morse should be recalled. The second allows the voter to choose a successor candidate. In order for that vote to count, the first issue must not be skipped. Nearly 69,000 people are registered to vote in this election. Ballots are due by 7 PM, Sept. 10.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s office is looking into two fires in Fox Run Park, which is east of Interstate 25 off Baptist Road. The fires are considered separate incidents, but are both considered arson. Anyone with information about the fires should call the El Paso County Sheriff’s office at 719-390-5555. The department asks residents to report any suspicious activity, and to remain aware while in the area. Fox Run Park is just west of the Black Forest Fire burn scar. Last month’s fire burned more than 14,000 acres and destroyed nearly 500 homes.