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. 

Looking for recent 91.5 KRCC daily newscasts?  Click here.

-------------------------------------------------

Subscribe to 91.5 KRCC News + Local Stories in iTunes.
Subscribe to 91.5 KRCC Newscasts in iTunes.
Subscribe with an Android device.

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.

ED SUOMINEN / FLICKR ALL CREATIVE COMMONS

 

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.

Charlie Riedel / AP

The City of Denver is exploring the possibility of an Olympic bid for a future Winter Games. Officials are studying the potential cost to the city and whether residents support the idea.

(Updated at 4:47 p.m.) Saying a report has confirmed multiple allegations of sexual harassment, Democrats in Colorado’s House of Representatives have moved to expel one of their own -- Rep. Steve Lebsock. It is an unprecedented move as Senate Republicans who have faced confirmed reports of sexual harassment at the Capitol continue to serve.

Colorado’s Capitol, like 28 other statehouses across the country, has security checkpoints at public entrances. There are metal detectors that visitors and lobbyists must pass through under the watchful eyes of State Patrol officers, who are there to protect everyone in the building and keep illegal guns and other weapons out. But for some, the security is too much.

Lawmakers inside the capitol are grappling with how to put more money into transportation, a priority for both parties. Now, the issue will be debated statewide because of a group of statewide ballot proposals. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland talked to Brian Eason with the Denver Post and Marianne Goodland with Colorado Politics about the chances of passage – and what it means for the current legislative session.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office / Creative Commons

Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment is  calling for a repeal of the Dickey Amendment - the law that essentially limits federal funding for gun violence research. Mountain west states have some of the highest rates of gun-related deaths in the country.

Coquette’s Bistro & Bakery via Rocky Mountain Food Report

Coquette's Bistro and Bakery, Colorado Springs' innovative, gluten-free restaurant, grows their brand with expertise from new hire, Johnathan Shankland, operations manager, formerly at The Antler's, A Wyndham Hotel. Since starting his position in November 2017 Shankland says the purpose of his role is to allow Michelle and Turu Marx, co-owners and mother/daughter team at Coquette's, "to start looking outside of these four walls."

A complaint alleging that Sen. Jack Tate harassed a woman at the state Capitol has been found credible. The woman, a former intern, alleged that Tate flirted with her and touched her in an elevator in an unwelcome manner during the 2017 legislative session. The former intern was 18 years old at the time, and has asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. 

Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who is facing calls to resign in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, has been named in a new complaint at the state Capitol. The accuser, a man who worked as a non-partisan Senate staffer in 2016, alleges that Baumgardner created an offensive and hostile work environment.

A fierce debate is taking place across the country right now: What to do about immigrants who came here illegally as children. Up until recently, they qualified for a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects them from deportation. But the Trump administration rescinded that Obama-era rule and Congress is debating what will take its place.  

We talked to three people affected by that debate right here in the Mountain West.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Pages