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Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik said she has filed a formal workplace sexual harassment complaint against a fellow senator, Daniel Kagan, alleging that he was inside a restroom designated for female legislators and staff multiple times.

How bad is 2018 snowpack in the southern Rocky Mountains, you ask?

Let me count the ways.

Currently, snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin, which supplies the vast majority of water for what is arguably the southwest’s most important river system, sits at 69 percent of median. In 2002, the watershed’s driest year on record, there was more snow on the ground at this point in March than there is now.

Colorado’s public pension system needs more money to remain viable. The Public Employees Retirement Association, or PERA, is the retirement benefit for teachers and other public employees. Right now, it’s only 58 percent funded. Senate Bill 200 is starting its journey through the legislature and it will need bipartisan support if it is going to pass.

Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland spoke with Brian Eason of the Denver Post and Ed Sealover with the Denver Business Journal about the bill, and what’s at stake.


The collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Miami last week is raising questions about "accelerated bridge construction," something that happens across the country and here in the Mountain West. These so-called "instant bridges" are where most of the bridge is built off-site and then installed.

Colorado Springs FIre Department @CSFDPIO

Residents who have been evacuated due to a fire along the El Paso-Pueblo County line can start returning to their homes, with the exception of three locations. The fire, which started Friday on Fort Carson near a training exercise, has burned 3300 acres and is 80% contained as of late afternoon Saturday. 

Colorado Springs FIre Department @CSFDPIO

7:00 p.m.: In a press briefing Friday evening, officials confirmed that several structures have been lost in the fire, but said no loss of life or injury has been reported. El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said most of the threatened structures are believed to be safe at this point, and that fire crews are focused now on extinguishing the blaze. He said he hopes the fire will be out before midnight.

A spokesperson for Fort Carson explained that the blaze -- which was sparked on Fort Carson and joined up with another flare up that started in the area yesterday -- began in the vicinity of a training exercise that was being conducted on post. He added that the training was necessary and could not have been delayed, despite red flag fire conditions in the region Friday.

As word came this week that yet another round of layoffs were planned for The Denver Post's newsroom, lawmakers at the Capitol worried about what the future would look like with less news. Among those concerned about the fate of news is Rep. Larry Liston, who for years has clipped articles from newspapers to keep track of what's going on. 

Larry Lamsa / Wikimedia Commons

Federal and state agencies are struggling to pay for much needed maintenance and conservation on public lands so they’re turning to things like park fees and hunting permits to raise the cash.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Across the country students walked out of school Wednesday morning, including in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. In Colorado Springs, several hundred people surrounded Palmer High School for 17 minutes to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting.

More than 100 Senate staff, aides and interns have been warned against speaking to journalists about workplace issues, including sexual harassment, and the trainings aimed at preventing it.

At issue are two emails obtained from Senate sources that say it is a violation of the chamber's policies for workers to grant interviews to reporters. A third email, sent directly to us by the top Senate administrator, asked us to tell members of other news organizations not to approach aides and interns for interviews, but rather to speak with communications secretaries. We didn't act on that request because it's not our role to direct the reporting of other news organizations. 

Brett Levin / Flickr/Creative Commons

A new pilot study from the Institute of Cannabis Research, or ICR, at Colorado State University Pueblo examines a wide range of topics, including the socio-economic effects of legalizing marijuana.

If it weren’t for the snowy alpine peaks in the background, camels would look perfectly at home in the undulating yellow sand hills of Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

“It’s really a very special place. And it is very unusual. It’s almost like an alien landscape when you happen upon it,” says Vanessa Mazal, who has been visiting the national park since she was a kid and now works with the National Parks Conservation Association.

It began in 2014. Doctors noticed a cluster of mysterious cases in Colorado and Wyoming. Children were coming in with weak and paralyzed limbs. Eventually, 120 patients across the U.S. came in with similar symptoms.

91.5 KRCC

Senate Republicans have passed a bill that would allow Coloradans who already have a handgun to conceal carry without a permit. It passed along party lines and will soon be debated in the Democratic-controlled House where it’s future is more uncertain.

John Suthers State of the City 2016 / Colorado Springs

El Paso County Commissioners are holding another public meeting on plans to expand I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock.

Democrats are harshly criticizing state Senate President Kevin Grantham, saying he’s preventing lawmakers accused of sexual harassment from being held accountable. Grantham has countered by saying that sexual harassment is a “cancer” that must be rooted out and that any lawmaker convicted of a crime should be expelled. But that answer hasn't satisfied Democrats.

Colorado lawmakers from both sides of the aisle recently voted out one of their own. The decision to expel Representative Steve Lebsock, (D) came after an independent report found the allegations of sexual harassment brought forth by five women to be credible.

Bente Birkeland discussed the outcome of the vote with Brian Eason of the Denver Post and Marianne Goodland with Colorado Politics, specifically about what swayed some lawmakers, and how that could impact what’s happening in the Senate where three lawmakers have also been investigated for sexual harassment.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC, Mountain West News Bureau

The national conversation we’re having on guns is particularly painful in Colorado, where Columbine and Aurora are still active wounds. And like the rest of the country, this Mountain West state is deeply divided over what measures to take.

In a nonbinding straw poll, Democrats gave Cary Kennedy a decisive victory in caucuses for Colorado governor. She took 50 percent of the vote. Congressman Jared Polis came in second with 33 percent and former state senator Mike Johnston finished a distant third with 8 percent.

National Weather Service

Days of warm temperatures, high winds, and low humidity across the southern Colorado region have seen Red Flag Warnings and a number of fires crop up. A Red Flag Warning means conditions are ideal for the start and spread of wildfires, including dry fuels, low relative humidities, and gusty winds.

The leader of Colorado’s Senate said that last week’s historic decision in the House to expel a legislator amid sexual harassment allegations would have no bearing on how similar cases in the Senate are resolved. Senate President Kevin Grantham said the House made a tough decision to remove a fellow legislator from the Capitol.



The federal Clean Power Plan is currently on hold due to various legal challenges. Not one of the Attorneys General from the Mountain West States has signed on to a brief by a coalition of states supporting the plan.

Ken Lund / Flickr

It was a dramatic and at times tearful day at Colorado’s Capitol as member after member of the House made statements for and against the removal of a fellow legislator. In the end, the chamber voted 52-9 to oust Rep. Steve Lebsock, who had been accused by five women of sexual harassment and retaliation. Those allegations were “more likely than not” to have occurred, an investigation concluded early this week.

Rocky Mountain Food Report

Distillery 291 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, wins 'Best American Rye" for the second time at the World Whiskies Awards on Tuesday, February 27, at Brandy Library in New York City. Whisky Magazine, based out of the UK, categorizes select countries for the first round, from there the winners move forward onto the global awards in London that take place on Thursday, March 22. RMFR catches up with Michael Myers, owner of Distillery 291, while he’s still on the East coast and he shares with us how he’s savoring the moment.

Matt Chmielarczyk

On this episode of Air Check, local musician Nina de Freitas picks a favorite new tune and sits in on the musical roundtable discussion, Dar Williams plays a couple songs in the 91.5 KRCC studio and talks with Vicky about her love affair with America's towns and cities, and some local music aficionados tell us about their concert picks in the weeks to come.

Tensions were high at Colorado's Capitol Thursday as Democrats and Republicans discussed whether to expel Rep. Steve Lebsock, who has staunchly denied allegations of sexual harassment.

Photo by Sierra Coon / Canyonlands National Park

Many are calling it far-fetched, but a mountain west entrepreneur is reviving a proposal to draw water from Utah's Green River and funnel it to Colorado's growing and drought-prone Front Range. The pipeline would move billions of gallons of water across hundreds of miles from Utah through Wyoming and down into Colorado.

The independent Employers Council, which has been tasked with investigating several state lawmakers accused of sexual harassment, is defending its work. The lawmakers -- accused of misconduct by colleagues, Capitol workers, interns and aides -- have criticized the council’s efforts to get to the bottom of allegations. Some have even raised the question of bias. Amid this, and efforts to oust a lawmaker over allegations, two investigations in the Senate are now being handled by a new firm that declined to comment on its methods.

Western Illinois might be close to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, but it’s the driest part of the state this year.

“We really haven’t really had any measurable rain since the middle of October,” says Ken Schafer, who farms winter wheat, corn and soybeans in Jerseyville, north of St. Louis. “I dug some post-holes this winter, and it's just dust.”

City of Colorado Springs

The 2018 Winter Olympics came to a close in Pyoengchang this past weekend. Meanwhile, the city of Denver is actively exploring whether to make a bid for the Winter Games in coming years. With all this Olympic news swirling around, we thought it would be a good time to check in with Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, to discuss the impact of the games on Colorado Springs -- so called Olympic City, USA.