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Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Hundreds of people are expected to testify in Denver this week on proposed rules to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. The Denver hearing is one of several the Environmental Protection Agency is hosting across the country on the plans.
 

Sixty-nine year old Stanley Sturgill is from a small coalmining town in southeastern Kentucky. He flew to Denver for the day just to make his voice heard…

Pueblo’s first needle exchange is set to take place Friday.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
 

The exchange is geared toward illegal injection drug users in order to help prevent the spread of Hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Access Point Pueblo is a legal syringe access program and is hosting the exchange. 

Dr. Michael Nerenberg sits on the City-County Board of Health and has helped bring the program to Pueblo. He’s also a retired emergency room physician who worked in the city for over 24 years. Nerenberg says he’s seen drug use, including heroin, escalate over the years.

Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Recipients of an annual federal transportation grant are expected to be announced this fall. As KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports, officials in Southern Colorado are hoping the grant will help keep Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line on its current route.

The grant is known as the TIGER grant, and is part of a federal funding program that helps finance large transportation projects nationwide.

Mutton Busting: A Rodeo Tradition

Jul 24, 2014
Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media & KUNC

A furry beast, a brave rider and a roaring crowd make up the list of ingredients for the Western rodeo tradition known as “mutton busting.” Think of it as bull-riding, but for 6-year-olds, and the furry beast is actually a wooly sheep.
 

Mutton busting has its roots in Colorado, where it was first introduced in the 1980s at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The crowd-pleaser is now a favorite at many rodeos and county fairs across the Midwest and Great Plains.

Waldo Canyon restoration continues this weekend on Saturday with an effort from Volunteers For Outdoor Colorado. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The project looks to help protect nearby water supplies, infrastructure, and Highway 24, by working on a number of erosion control issues, including dead tree removal, sandbagging, and reseeding grass and trees.

Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado spokeswoman Jessica Von Duerring says it’s part of an ongoing effort to help restore the burn scar.

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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.

Colorado Springs City Council voted in favor of a resolution Tuesday supporting an intergovernmental approach to storm water issues.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
 

The resolution passed on a vote of 7-2 with Councilors Don Knight and Helen Collins opposed.  

Kevin Walker is a consultant for the Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force, an organization looking into solutions for regional stormwater issues. 

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.

Post-Flood Planning in Boulder County

Jul 23, 2014
Boulder County

The historic September 2013 flood reshaped waterways across Colorado’s northern Front Range, making major changes to both the manmade and natural environments.  Over the past ten months, homeowners, planners and policy makers have grappled with difficult decisions over where and how to rebuild, and when to let Mother Nature take her new course.
 

Lyons resident Phyllis Casey stands watching the demolition of her home. The sound of heavy equipment along Apple Valley Road in Lyons competes with the rush of North St. Vrain Creek full of spring run-off.

Friends of Browns Canyon

A poll released Tuesday shows many Coloradoans support designating Browns Canyon in Chaffee County as a national monument.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
 

The poll released by Conservation Colorado comes on the eve of a scheduled legislative hearing by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on National Parks. 

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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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.

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.

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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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.”

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.

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.

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.

Maketa Recall Effort Fails

Jul 12, 2014
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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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