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Parks, Trails & Recreation
10:27 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Colorado Springs' Park Master Plan Open for Comments

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.

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Capitol Coverage
4:27 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Reporter Roundtable: Same-Sex Marriage in Colorado's Courts

Credit clipart

A federal judge in Denver said Colorado’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and three county clerks have been issuing marriage licenses in the state. Bente Birkeland talks to statehouse reporters about the changes and what it means politically.

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Drought
4:19 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Rainfall Numbers Help Ease Drought in Southern Colorado

Current drought conditions in Colorado through July 15, 2014.
Credit David Miskus / NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

Rainfall in Southern Colorado has been noticeably high for the past few days. But, as KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports, the rain is actually following a pattern more typical of this region.

In the past week, parts of El Paso County may have received as much as six inches of rain. Yesterday’s moisture accounted for about half that. 

The National Weather Service in Pueblo says Southern Colorado is experiencing a fairly typical monsoon season, which the region hasn’t seen in the past decade or so.

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Flood
3:59 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Mitigation Efforts Helping Ease Impacts of Heavy Rain

Impacts from rains like Wednesday’s downpour in El Paso County are lessened due to mitigation work that’s taken place.  KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

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Capitol Coverage
8:10 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Gov. Pulls the Plug on Special Legislative Session for Oil & Gas Rules

Governor John Hickenlooper has formally pulled the plug on the possibility of a special legislation session to consider stricter rules for the oil and gas industry. Hickenlooper said there weren’t enough stakeholders on board for a bi-partisan solution.

“We continue to believe that the right way to solve complex issues like these is through the legislative process and through transparent rule making.”

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Williams Canyon
5:01 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

CDOT Installs New Flood Monitoring Equipment in Williams Canyon

Williams Canyon is getting new rain-monitoring equipment from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the US Geological Survey. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports on the installations taking place this week.
 

The new equipment looks to complement the devices installed in Waldo Canyon last year, and are intended to allow CDOT to see the progression of floods as they move toward Highway 24. The new gear includes a real time video feed camera, a remote radar gauge, and an additional rain gauge.

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Pueblo
7:34 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Pueblo's Old Bojon Town Celebrates Heritage; Eligible for Historic District Designation

The Colorado, or Eiler's, Smelter. The smokestack was torn down in 1923, and its bricks were used for the neighborhood school.
Courtesy: Bessamer Historical Society

Part of a small neighborhood near the former Colorado Fuel and Iron steel mill in southeast Pueblo could become a national historic district. As a post-World War II working class neighborhood, it’s not the kind of place you’d normally expect to get this kind of recognition. It’s long been known as Old Bojon Town after the Eastern European immigrants who came to work at the mill.

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Southwest Chief
3:33 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

'Whistle-Stop' Tour Travels Along the Southwest Chief Route

La Junta Mayor Lynn Horner (left) shakes hands and poses with Amtrak CEO and President Joe Boardman (right)
Credit Dana Cronin / KRCC

The President and CEO of Amtrak rode the Southwest Chief line in a separate train through Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico on a Whistle-stop tour to talk about the future of the route.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin was in La Junta and has this report.
 

The Southwest Chief runs between Los Angeles and Chicago. The future of the route is in question, as the current rail lines require upgrades in order to maintain passenger rail speeds.

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El Paso County
2:31 pm
Sat July 12, 2014

Maketa Recall Effort Fails

Credit Staff Photo / El Paso County

Embattled El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa will not face a recall election in November. Organizers of the effort had until 1:00 Saturday to turn in the more than 44,000 signatures needed for the recall.

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Rafting
12:22 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Strong Rafting Year Expected Despite Fatalities

This year has seen a spike in Colorado waterway fatalities. But, as KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports, those in the rafting industry continue to predict a good season overall.

Four deaths have occurred during commercial rafting trips in Colorado this year, including two on the Arkansas River. This comes after several years without incident.           

David Costlow, director of the Colorado River Outfitters Association, says it’s still unclear whether there are any trends among the fatalities.

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Pueblo
11:23 am
Fri July 11, 2014

TV Segment to Highlight Pueblo's Arts, Culture

A film crew from a lifestyle program airing on public TV stations is visiting Pueblo.  KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

Crews from Voyager are focusing on culture, lifestyle, and arts for a 28-minute segment on Colorado’s Steel City. The Voyager series visits locations around the world for its multimedia broadcast.

Production Coordinator Rita Pando with the Pueblo Arts Alliance says the segment is an opportunity for people to see what Pueblo has to offer.

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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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Stormwater
4:54 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Stormwater Task Force Seeks Public Input

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.

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Southern Colorado
4:38 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch Evacuated as Precaution; Conditions Seen as Learning Opportunity

100 boy scouts were evacuated early Tuesday morning from the Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch in Southern CO when heavy rains caused a nearby creek to rise. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

As a precautionary measure, the scouts moved to a Red Cross shelter in Walsenburg. Scout Executive for the Santa Fe Trail Council Michael Stewart says this incident and last year’s East Peak Fire have given them an opportunity to teach the scouts hands-on environmental awareness.

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Utilities
3:58 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Electric Rates to Go Down for CSUtils Customers

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. 

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El Paso County
1:38 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Flood Repairs Continue On Old Stage Road

One of several culverts to be replaced along Old Stage Road
Credit El Paso County

Crews are slated to begin repairs on the final damaged section of Old Stage Road in El Paso County this week. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

Last September’s flooding caused extensive damage, and the work will include repairing the road and retaining wall, and installing larger culverts. 

El Paso County Engineer Andre Brackin says repairs on Old Stage Road have been ongoing.

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Holiday
10:39 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Public Safety Crews on Alert During Independence Day Weekend

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.

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Sports
4:03 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Bobby Goodin Safety Fund Established

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and the family of Bobby Goodin have joined forces in establishing a safety fund after Goodin’s tragic death earlier this week. KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.

The Goodin family wants the fund dedicated to improving motorcycle safety on the Pikes Peak course, which features switchbacks and over 100 challenging turns before finishing at the peak’s summit. A portion of the fund will also be reserved for the financial security of Bobby Goodins’ daughters, Jacquelyn and Melissa, both in their 20’s.

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July 4th
11:17 am
Thu July 3, 2014

July 4th Weekend Means Heavy Traffic Throughout Colorado

Coloradoans are preparing to hit the road for the July 4th holiday weekend. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

Rising gas prices are still 7 cents lower on average than last year, and are expected to have little effect on the number of Colorado residents traveling 50 miles or more for the holiday weekend. 

The Independence Day weekend sees some of the largest numbers of travelers in comparison to other holidays, according to Bob Wilson, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Transportation.

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Capitol Coverage
10:25 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

With More Tech On The Farm, Rural Colorado Left Waiting, Wanting For Broadband

Yuma County is one of the largest agricultural producing counties in the state. Farmers here are starting to embrace precision agriculture, to use the latest technology to monitor information on the farm such as planting, yield, water and nutrients.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 6:54 am

People living in many parts of rural Colorado still don’t have access to high speed Internet. It’s a problem for schools and businesses, and in eastern Colorado it is making it harder for farmers to take full advantage of the latest technology even as state lawmakers passed legislation to try and even the playing field.

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Eightmile Fire
12:34 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Eightmile Fire Contained

The majority of crews battling the Eightmile fire are being released today. KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.

Fire officials say due to cooperative weather, the lightning-caused blaze is now 65% contained, with the remaining perimeter located in inaccessible terrain. One fire crew, two engines, and a helicopter will remain with the fire, which spans over 500 acres. There’s been one heat related injury. Phantom Canyon Road between mile markers 4 and 12 remains closed.

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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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Eightmile Fire
4:45 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Firefighters Battle Eightmile Fire in Fremont County

Google Map provided by Inciweb of the Eightmile Fire near Cañon City.
Credit Google Maps / Inciweb

UPDATE: According to a Tuesday morning press release, the pre-evacuation notice for those 16 residences in the Red Rocks subdivision was lifted around 8 PM last night, though Phantom Canyon Road remains closed.  Containment remains at 40%.

UPDATE: As of around 8 PM Monday evening, the fire is about 40% contained.  Pre-evacuation notice remains in effect for 16 residences in the Red Rocks subdivision; Phantom Canyon Road remains closed.

Original Post: 

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Capitol Conversation
12:00 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Capitol Conversation: After the Primaries

Bente Birkeland

After last week’s primary elections in Colorado, Bente Birkeland sat down with other statehouse reporters to talk about the Governor’s race and to analyze the upcoming political season.
 

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Drought
11:01 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Parts Of Southeast Colorado Drier Than The Dust Bowl

Entrance to the town of Rocky Ford, which is experiencing a longer dry period longer than it did during the Dust Bowl.
Luke Runyon KUNC

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 11:41 am

Parts of Southeast Colorado are experiencing a longer period of drought than the dry times that occurred during the Dust Bowl.

According to Nolan Doesken, the state climatologist, the past three years and eight months have been the driest stretch ever recorded for some parts of the state, including Rocky Ford, La Junta and Ordway.

"It was drier than the worst consecutive drought period of the 30s and of the 50s," said Doesken.

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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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Tumbleweed
9:25 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

'Tumbleweed Eater' Works to Take a Bite Out of the Invasive Plant

A Skid Steer Loader pulls tumbleweed out of a ditch.
Tucker Hampson KRCC

It’s harvest season in El Paso County, but this crop isn’t exactly what one might expect. KRCC's Tucker Hampson reports.
 

A Skid Steer Loader, which looks kind of like a big Bobcat, pulls tumbleweeds out of a ditch. The tumbleweeds are then chopped up by a converted 1995 John Deere Harvester, dubbed the Tumbleweed Eater, and then shot out into neighboring fields.

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Elections
12:32 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Lamborn Ekes Out GOP Primary Win in 5th Congressional District

Retired Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn, accompanied by his wife Debbi, concedes in the 5th Congressional District.
Credit Dana Cronin

 
In Congressional District 5, Tuesday’s primary election was so close that it wasn’t until 10:45 p.m. that retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn finally congratulated incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn, who led by 3,762 votes, or slightly more than 5 percentage points, out of about 72,000 votes cast.

Speaking from his campaign gathering at a Colorado Springs charter school, Rayburn praised his team for their work, acknowledging “we jumped into this thing at the absolute last minute.”

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Elections
2:03 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Primary Elections: Recapping the Major Races

The race to be Colorado’s next Governor is officially underway. Former Congressman Bob Beauprez will challenge Governor John Hickenlooper in November after winning a four -way GOP primary race. Beauprez captured a four-point lead over his closest challenger, Tom Tancredo.  Voters in El Paso County threw their support behind Beauprez, but in Pueblo County and most of southern Colorado, Republican voters supported Scott Gessler.

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Elections
10:03 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Beauprez Gets GOP Nod, Will Face Hickenlooper In Governors Race

Bob Beauprez has won the GOP Primary for the Governors Race and will face off against the incumbent, John Hickenlooper in November.
Beauprez-U.S. House / Hickenlooper-State of Colorado

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 9:45 pm

The race to be Colorado’s next Governor is officially underway. Former Congressman Bob Beauprez will challenge Governor John Hickenlooper in November after winning a four way GOP primary race. Beauprez captured a four-point lead over his closest challenger, Tom Tancredo.

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