91.5 KRCC Newsroom + Local Stories

Colorado Springs local, and Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico regional news from the award-winning 91.5 KRCC Newsroom.

Also, great stories from our producers, partners and people in our region. 

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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.  

Looking Up: Buy-noculars

Mar 27, 2017
Hal Bidlack

This week on Looking Up Dana Bidlack regales us with her wide appreciation of the night sky.

Over the past two years, you’ve heard my husband Hal go on and on about the amazing things in the night sky that you can see through a telescope. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a fancy telescope or any expensive equipment to enjoy a star party or even just an evening in the back yard. An inexpensive pair of binoculars will reveal hundreds of wondrous objects, from the comfort of a lawn chair.

Thomas Kolicko, owner/founder of Traverse Image, a production company based out of Denver, is giving the first glimpse of their next documentary, The Whiskey Film. Kolicko is known for directing, Crafting a Nation, a film highlighting microbreweries across the country, with a distinct nod to Colorado’s contribution.

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.

Looking Up: Kochabitation

Mar 20, 2017
earthsky.org

This week on Looking Up Hal reminds us that Polaris is not always the North Star.

Chances are, if there is anything you know about navigating around the night sky, it is that you can use the front two stars of the Big Dipper to find Polaris, the North Star. In the pre-GPS world, lots of navigation, from sailing ships to aircraft to even spacecraft, relied on celestial navigation to find their way home. And, for about the last 1500 years or so, Polaris has been the star everyone used. But did you know that this was not always the case?

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. 

Here are a few more events coming up recommended by The Rocky Mountain Food Report, plus an update on their staff:

• 22nd Annual Pikes Peak Food and Wine Expo: A fun festival of food and drink with samples galore from restaurants and distributors with a cooking competition and craft cocktail competition.  $45. Sunday, March 19, noon to 3 p.m. The Broadmoor World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd.

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. 

Lawmakers are midway through this year’s legislative session and the big issue at the halfway mark is what to do about funding transportation. Democratic and Republican leaders are backing the idea of asking voters this fall if they support a tax increase to address those needs. The issue is poised to dominate the second half of the session.

“If there is going to be a long-term solution to transportation infrastructure it’s going to almost certainly require something that the voters are going to weigh in on,” said Senate President Kevin Grantham, a Republican. He made that comment late last year, prior to the January start of the session, and has kept the promise, backing House Bill 1142, which would add millions of dollars for transportation needs.

The City of Colorado Springs

District 2 in Colorado Springs is located in the northernmost part of the city.  It borders the Air Force Academy, moves north past Interquest Parkway, and hits the eastern border at a portion of Powers and Black Forest Roads.  Current seat-holder Larry Bagley is not seeking re-election, and the district has only one candidate. 

Looking Up: The Edge Of Night

Mar 13, 2017
NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: W. Keel (U. Alabama)

This week Hal spins a tale about the Spindle Galaxy, affectionately known as NGC 5866.

Most things in the sky have scientific names. But sometimes we also name things because of what they look like, like the Big Dipper. And if you are under 50 years old, you may be forgiven for asking what the heck the Spindle Galaxy is named after. 

91.5 KRCC

Legislative leaders have coalesced around a bill that, if approved, would ask Colorado voters to approve a sales tax increase to fund road, bridge and transit projects. The bipartisan transportation bill is dividing the GOP, with opponents saying Colorado hasn't done enough to tighten its budget and find efficiencies.

The City of Colorado Springs

District 1 in Colorado Springs is situated northwest of downtown.  It borders the Air Force Academy and contains Garden of the Gods and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Incumbent Don Knight, retired from the Air Force and defense industry, is facing a challenge from local businessman Greg Basham.  91.5 KRCC sat down with Knight and Basham separately to talk with them about the challenges facing their district and the city, taxes, and their visions for Colorado Springs.

Deric Stowell/Courtesy Daneya Esgar

A bill that would create a license plate honoring the Pueblo chile is moving forward in the senate. 

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Looking for something to do food and/or drink related this week and month?  The Rocky Mountain Food Report has you covered:

David Zalubowski / Associated Press

As Colorado's legislative session reaches the halfway point, lawmakers have introduced more than 400 bills. Many bills cover controversial topics and are short-lived, though the debates and hearings can last hours. So why do lawmakers spend so much time on legislation that never sees the light of day?

For some, it's intended to send a message. Others are aiming for long-term goals.

COURTESY OF SENATE PRESIDENT KEVIN GRANTHAM

A top Republican joined with Democratic leaders at the Colorado legislature Wednesday evening in an effort to find solutions to ongoing transportation woes.

To do that, lawmakers are proposing a bipartisan bill, HB1142, that would send the question to voters, asking for a 0.62-cent sales tax increase. That money would go towards priority infrastructure projects, as well as to provide funding to local governments for transit, roads, trails, and potholes.

Jake Brownell / 91.5 KRCC

The master planning process is underway for a section of North Cheyenne Canyon called Strawberry Fields, which the city of Colorado Springs traded to the Broadmoor Hotel in a controversial land exchange last year. The plan, which is being developed by local company N.E.S. Inc, will establish parameters for future management and trail development on the 180-acre property.

Larry Hulst / Courtesy Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center

Photographer Larry Hulst, whose photographs of rock and roll icons are currently on display at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, never imagined that his pictures would one day be hanging in an art museum.

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