Oil and gas leaders are gathering in Denver this week to discuss innovation and controversy in their industry. Bente Birkeland takes a look at how the state’s water wars can shape the public debate over fracking.
A new study finds deployment-related factors like combat experience or days deployed have little or no influence on suicide rates. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin has more from one doctor who's researching suicide in the military.
Every Saturday morning, Shirley Epstein puts on her walking shoes and heads to a tree-lined park to join dozens of friends, and her doctor, for a long walk.
Epstein’s walk with her doc is taking place in Denver. But it’s part of a program being replicated across the state – from Grand Junction to Pueblo to Fort Collins to Greeley – as a national effort to “Walk with a Doc” has caught on among medical professionals and hundreds of their patients in Colorado.
Colorado Springs' Interim Fire Chief Tommy Smith will be moving to Redmond, Washington after accepting the chief position there. Smith stepped in as the interim head of the Colorado Springs Fire Department earlier this year when Chief Rich Brown stepped down. Smith is expected to begin his new duties in September, after Christopher Riley takes over the fire department. Riley was appointed as the city's fire chief last week, pending approval from city council. According to a press release at the time, there were no internal candidates for CSFD Chief.
Supporters of a tax increase for K-12 schools turned in petitions today to try and get the measure on the November ballot. They submitted twice the amount required by law. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
Sandbags will be available to homeowners facing impacts from potential flash flooding in and near the Waldo Canyon burn scar. They'll be given away free at the Verizon Wireless building on Garden of the Gods Road from 8 - 2 Saturday. The sand comes from last week's Olympic Downtown Celebration and its sand volleyball pit.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, so for this month’s Healthy Conversation, we’re talking vaccinations. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin is joined by Lt. Col. Diane Heinz of Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, and we begin by talking about what back to school means for vaccines.
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach gave his yearly “state of the city” address at a luncheon yesterday. He outlined a number of goals and accomplishments, and as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, he also used the occasion to press his plan to build four major tourism projects, including a downtown stadium and a U.S. Olympics museum.
A roughly billion-dollar education tax increase is likely to go before voters this fall. It’s part of a larger package of education reforms state lawmakers passed last session. Bente Birkeland talks to supporters about the challenges ahead, and how they hope the initiative won’t meet the same fate as a similar proposal.
When genetically modified wheat was found growing in Oregon earlier this year, it didn’t take long for accusations to start flying. No one knew how the unapproved wheat ended up in the ground. A flurry of finger-pointing cast potential blame on a federal seed vault in Colorado, which housed the same strain of wheat. The facility's been cleared of wrongdoing since then, but the investigation brings up questions of how secure these seed vaults actually are. KUNC and Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon took a tour of the Colorado vault, and has this report.
It’s a low time of year in Colorado politics. No general election, no Governor’s race. The state capitol is quiet, and the hustle and bustle of the legislative session is long gone. But for senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs, this off election year is shaping up to be the busiest of his life. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
A conveyor belt transports potatoes from Shriver's storage shed to a bagging operation. This load of potatoes is headed for North Carolina.
Credit Maeve Conran
A Colorado Department of Agriculture inspector examines potatoes from Karla Shriver's farm.
Credit Maeve Conran
Karla Shriver stands by a pumping system that draws water from the aquifer.
Credit Maeve Conran
A hydro pump meter which shows how much water Shriver draws from the aquifer.
Credit Maeve Conran
One of the irrigation ditches on Shriver's farm. The ditches run dry by the end of May, which means Shriver relies solely on the aquifer for irrigation water for most of the summer.
Credit Maeve Conran
Steve Vandiver, General Manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, in his office in Alamosa. He’s charged with stopping the depletion of the aquifer in San Luis Valley, and is working to create subdistricts.
Credit Maeve Conran
Karla Shriver stands by one of the many pivot sprinkler systems that she uses to irrigate her farm, just north of Alamosa. She irrigates her land with water from ditches and the aquifer, and is concerned about the depletion of the aquifer.
In early July, Colorado designated 14 counties "primary natural disaster areas" due to agricultural losses caused by the recent and ongoing drought. Several of those counties are in the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado. Farmers there are now eligible for low interest emergency loans, but as KGNU’s Maeve Conran reports, that may not be enough for this agricultural hub, which is facing a long term water crisis that could permanently affect the entire valley.
The federal government has approved a major disaster declaration for the Royal Gorge Fire in Fremont County. The declaration means federal aid is available to deal with the effects, including unemployment benefits for Royal Gorge Bridge & Park employees and others who are out of work after this summer’s wildfire, who aren’t otherwise eligible for state jobless benefits. Aid is also available for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities. Governor John Hickenlooper’s office says a similar request for the Black Forest Fire is pending.
Living near the mountains, it’s easy to see changes in nature, especially in the snow. In recent years, dust from desert areas like Utah has coated some of the area’s snowpack. Scientists in Boulder say the amount of dust being blown into Colorado and throughout the West has increased over the last two decades. They measured calcium in rainfall to come up with their findings. Jason Neff is associate professor of geology at CU-Boulder and coauthor of a recent dust study. He told Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen the escalation of dust emissions is due to several factors.
As gas and oil drilling are reaching all-time highs in Colorado, drilling is occurring closer to schools and residential neighborhoods, like this one in Fort Collins. Credit: David O. Williams/Colorado Public News
A former president of the Colorado Medical Society calls the current hydraulic fracturing boom in the state’s oil and gas industry an “experiment in motion” for the public at large – one that could lead to higher rates of cancer and other illnesses over the next 10 to 15 years.
Colorado Springs City Council voted yesterday to opt-out of recreational marijuana sales after listening to public comments and a plea from Mayor Steve Bach to opt-out. Bach called it a jobs killer, and cited concerns from the military. Bach also said it’s important to take a regional approach, mentioning other communities who have opted out of recreational marijuana sales like El Paso County, Monument, and Green Mountain Falls. If council decided not to opt-out, they would have voted on a moratorium. But Bach pressed for the ban.
The American farmer is getting older. Most recent census data shows the average age is 57. And while that tells us who is farming now, it also shows who’s not. While the farming community continues to age, fewer young people are filling the ranks. Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon asks the question: Do young people even want to farm anymore?
The quick answer is yes, just not in the same numbers as they used to. And surveys indicate many of them don’t want to farm in conventional ways.
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 Obama administration launched an initiative Friday aimed at reducing the risk of wildfire to water supplies in the West. As KUNC's Grace Hood reports, Colorado will be one of six states to see pilot projects.
Flows of ash and debris into streams after a wildfire can be damaging to the local water supply. Aiming to mitigate this problem, the US Departments of Agriculture and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding Friday. USDA Chief Tom Vilsack:
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.
The Colorado River and its future imbalances were the focus of a Senate hearing in Washington DC yesterday. The river supplies water for cities and farms in seven states and parts of Mexico. Lawmakers went over a 2012 study that projects water demand will outpace supply in the coming decades. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.
Preliminary estimates show insurance companies will pay almost $300 million dollars to homeowners affected by the Black Forest Fire. About 3,600 auto and homeowner insurance claims have been filed since the June wildfire, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. But Executive Director Carole Walker expects that number will grow.
A group of sheriffs aiming to overturn new gun laws are happy with language they say clears up confusion. Yesterday, attorneys for the two sides came to an agreement on the measure that limits magazine rounds to fifteen. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.
A lawsuit filed by more than 50 Colorado sheriffs challenging two new gun laws is scheduled to go in front of a judge today. The laws went into effect July 1st. Now, an attorney representing the sheriffs is asking for the parts of the law setting limits on gun magazines be put on hold. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.
The Pipeline Fire on Fisher’s Peak started yesterday and is burning in steep, rocky terrain. Multiple units responded from in and around the Trinidad region, but officials say it’s been difficult to access the fire. The active fire has shown extreme activity on the entire perimeter of the blaze, though no evacuations have been ordered.