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Karen Montgomery / Flickr.com - Creative Commons

Colorado is now the first state in the country to allow all Olympic athletes training in here to get in-state college tuition. Right now, it only applies to athletes living at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Colorado's $28.6 billion budget is nearing the end of its legislative journey. Each year, the six-member, bipartisan Joint Budget Committee crafts a balanced budget before sending it to the House and Senate for amendments. The JBC then has to reconcile those changes.

But in most cases, they go back to the original budget they spend months writing. This year, the House and Senate have added about 30 amendments to the so-called "long bill."

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

Congressman Doug Lamborn, Republican representative for Colorado’s 5th District, took questions from constituents at a heated town hall forum in Colorado Springs Wednesday. Half-an-hour before the meeting was scheduled to start, police were already turning away attendees at the Stetson Hills police substation, saying that the 110-person capacity had been met in the community room where the forum was to be held.

Carol M. Highsmith / Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith [LC-DIG-highsm-11937]

Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River is a new book from David Owen, a staff writer with the New Yorker magazine and author of more than a dozen books.  His latest takes him on a journey across the west following the Colorado River: the dams, reservoirs and pipelines that help quench the thirst of seven states and parts of Mexico. 

91.5 KRCC

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is term limited and the race to succeed him in 2018 is already underway. Some big names have recently announced their campaigns and much earlier than usual. The moves could impact one of the biggest agenda items still facing lawmakers during this year's legislative session – transportation funding.

Ed Sealover, a reporter for The Denver Business Journal, and Peter Marcus, with ColoradoPolitics.com, spoke to Bente Birkeland about the race.

Brian Turner / Flickr / Creative Commons

Colorado’s 4th Judicial District is being recognized for the work of its Veterans Trauma Court. The court serves vets in El Paso and Teller Counties, and has been selected as one of four “mentor” courts around the country.

NOAA Historic Photo Library / NOAA

Peak Curiosity is a new, community-driven reporting series from 91.5 KRCC. We ask listeners to submit their questions about the Pikes Peak region and Southern Colorado, and then we answer them. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to submit your question!

While the Affordable Care Act “is going to remain the law of the land” for the foreseeable future, that isn’t preventing state lawmakers from debating health care reform efforts in Colorado. One key proposal is moving through the state legislature, however it’s not likely to gain enough traction to become law in part because of the national debate over Obamacare.

A proposal in the Republican-controlled state Senate seeks to do away with the state’s health care exchange – Connect for Health Colorado – and switch over to the federal exchange.  The exchanges are how individuals purchase insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Courtesy: Bessamer Historical Society

Toxin levels at two south Pueblo parks within the Colorado Smelter Superfund area are normal, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

The ballots have been cast and the results are coming in. Numbers indicate a near 32% voter turnout across the city.   Current as of 12:53 AM (Wed):

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

The Colorado Springs Police Department says it's beginning widespread use of its body-worn camera program. 

Neighborly disputes are nothing new. There’s the dog next door that poops on your lawn. The house that throws loud backyard parties. The guy down the block who always plows through the stop sign.

But in Colorado, the introduction of legal, home-grown marijuana has elevated tension among neighbors to a whole new level.

Because of gaps in the state constitutional amendments that legalized cultivation of the drug for recreational and medical purposes -- and in the ensuing rules that sought to regulate it further -- some rural pockets in Colorado are seeing large-scale cooperative marijuana grow operations sprout up with little oversight.

91.5 KRCC

The $28.6 billion state budget is making its way through the legislature. It covers everything from roads and health care to schools and prisons. Despite many lawmakers wanting significant changes, it overwhelmingly cleared the Senate.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

Colorado's budget handily passed the state Senate on March 29. It has bipartisan support and increased four percent compared to the previous year. In many ways, the debate was a microcosm of the entire legislative session thus far. It showed lawmakers working together, complex policy issues, partisan fights and political statements. It is balanced, as required by the state constitution, but reflects how Colorado lacks enough money to fully fund schools, health care and roads.

NEA Staff / NEA

Fort Carson has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to increase art therapy offerings at the base.   

The money will go toward hiring a full-time, licensed creative art therapist to develop visual art and music therapy programs for service members dealing with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Laura Bittner / Flickr/Creative Commons

Colorado Springs city elections are on April 4th. In addition to all six city council districts, there are three questions on the ballot.

Here's some information on those issues:

Holly Pretsky / 91.5 KRCC

The number of seniors in El Paso County is expected to grow by 39% this decade.  As this so-called senior tsunami hits the Pikes Peak region, eventually, some will likely move into nursing homes. But more and more nursing home residents are actually under the age of 65.

Brennan Linsley / AP

A recent study suggests climate change could slow the rate at which snowpack melts. That could mean less water available for future use.

91.5 KRCC

A proposal to get more money for Colorado's aging and congested transportation system is on its legislative journey. The bipartisan bill, a top priority for legislative leaders and the governor, would send the question of a sales tax increase to voters and allow the state to borrow $3.5 billion for roads and infrastructure. The first committee hearing lasted about seven hours.  

Wednesday was a long day at the State Capitol. Eighty people signed up to testify on a massive transportation funding bill that if passed, would ultimately end up before voters in the fall.

During a more than seven-hour hearing before the House Transportation and Energy Committee people expressed lots of thoughts on how to improve Colorado’s roads -- and how to pay for them. Lawmakers also offered several dozen changes to House Bill 1242 but, in the end, the measure passed along party lines.

Public Domain

A recent study suggests the Colorado River could see a 35% flow reduction by the end of the 21st century due to the effects of climate change.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

The Colorado Springs Fire Department is mourning the loss of Christina Randall, who led the department's wildfire mitigation efforts.  Randall died unexpectedly over the weekend while attending a conference in Reno, Nev.  focusing on the wildland-urban interface, which is where forests meet urban areas. 

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Parks and open space are vital to the economy, according to organizers of an event this past Monday called "State of the Outdoors." 

There are plenty of things that lead to distracted driving along Colorado’s roadways: eating, putting on makeup or changing the station on your radio. Texting and driving is one distraction state lawmakers want to crack down on. 

91.5 KRCC

Colorado's latest revenue forecast shows that state lawmakers will have to fill a larger budget gap than anticipated -- a $696 million gap. Bente Birkeland spoke with other statehouse reporters about what this could mean for the state budget.

Colorado Springs City Council District 6 is the smallest council district by population, but the biggest geographically. It encompasses large swaths of undeveloped land on the city's east side, including the Banning Lewis Ranch property, as well as the Colorado Springs Airport, Peterson Air Force Base, and the northeastern neighborhoods of Stetson Hills, Ridgeview, Norwood, Old Farm and more. The district is poised for a lot of new development, which was a recurring theme in our conversations with candidates for the District 6 city council seat.

Courtesy of Dani Johnson

The body of Army Specialist Darlene Krashoc was found in a parking lot behind a restaurant in 1987.  Now, the 30-year-old unsolved murder of a Fort Carson soldier is getting a second look due to new DNA technology. 

City of Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs City Council District 5 lies in the center of Colorado Springs. It's home to the Olympic Training Center, Palmer Park, the old North End, and the Knob Hill neighborhood.

Incumbent Jill Gaebler is facing a challenge from Lynette Crow-Iverson.

The City of Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs City Council District 4 is in the southern part of the city, bound by Powers on the east, Platte to the north, and encompassing the southern part of Circle Drive.

There are three people vying for the seat, including incumbent Helen Collins.  Collins declined to be interviewed for this piece.  Her challengers, in the order they appear on the ballot, are Yolanda Avila and Deborah Hendrix.

Coloradosprings.gov

Colorado Springs City Council District 3 comprises the Westside, Downtown, the Broadmoor, Cheyenne Canyon and the Nevada Ave/HWY 115 corridor spanning south to Fort Carson. Councilman Keith King has represented the district for the last four years, but decided not to run for reelection, leaving an open contest for his vacated seat. 

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