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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Recall Elections Bring National Attention

Sep 3, 2013

Both sides of the gun debate in Colorado are pouring a lot of resources into the historic recall elections of two Democratic lawmakers. And as Bente Birkeland reports, next week’s September 10th elections in Pueblo and Colorado Springs are drawing national attention to the fight over gun control.
 

Shanna Lewis

The Colorado State Fair is well underway in Pueblo.  KRCC's Andrea Chalfin went down to catch some of the judging, from produce to rabbits and Pet Rock Olympics. But of course, the State Fair also has rides and games.  Here’s an audio postcard of some of the sights and sounds of the Colorado State Fair.

The Colorado State Fair runs through September 2nd, in Pueblo.

Inside the Peloton During the USA Pro Challenge

Aug 26, 2013

The USA Pro Challenge moved through Colorado last week, flashing across TV, computer, and mobile screens, thanks to a film crew on motorcycles.  But there are also team cars on the road, and Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher hitched a ride with one of them.  She has this story of what it’s like to be literally, in the middle of the peloton.

The USA Pro Challenge wrapped up in Denver yesterday, with Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team taking the overall win.

Poll Shows Mediocre Support for Gov. Hickenlooper

Aug 23, 2013
File photo

A new poll shows mediocre approval ratings for Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper as he begins his bid for reelection. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

The Colorado Department of Transportation has instituted new policies for Highway 24 as related to Flash Flood Warnings. When the National Weather Service issues a warning, or rain gages indicate more than a quarter inch of rain in the Waldo Canyon burn zone, CDOT and the Colorado State Patrol plan to close the route.  The highway will then remain closed until the warning is lifted, any debris is removed, and the road is deemed safe for travel.  In addition, CDOT will actively patrol the highway between Manitou Springs and Cascade at all times through October 1.

Andrea Chalfin


Efforts continue all across the Waldo Canyon burn scar to help reduce the effects of flooding.  Colorado Springs Utilities expects to wrap up initial work in the Northfield Watershed on Rampart Range within the next month or so.  But Project Manager Kim Gortz with Utilities says it’s really an ongoing effort.

"Hayman’s still seeing issues 10 years post-fire, so I think we’re starting in our planning phase as far as what do we do for long-term restoration, what do we do for monitoring each time we have a monsoon season."

Colorado’s first biomass power plant is nearly complete. Senator Mark Udall and State Senator Gail Schwartz toured the facility in Gypsum recently, where wood cuttings from beetle kill trees will be turned into electricity. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explains.

Colorado's Suicide Numbers at All-Time High

Aug 20, 2013

The number of suicides in Colorado is at an all time high. 1,053 people took their own lives in 2012 – giving Colorado one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. Jarrod Hindman is the Director of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He says the state’s geography limits access to mental health services, and the social stigma of getting help continues to contribute to the numbers.

The USA Pro Challenge kicked off in Aspen and Snowmass Village today. More than a hundred and twenty top cyclists are competing in the third edition of the race. As Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher reports, many explored the Roaring Fork Valley on two wheels this past weekend... and all of them were within arm’s reach during Saturday’s opening ceremonies.

Sagan won today’s first leg of the USA Pro Challenge, finishing the 66-mile stage in 2 hours, 26 minutes.

Task Force Discusses PTSD

Aug 15, 2013

Veterans and other military leaders gathered at the state capitol yesterday to talk about ways to improve treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Mike Coffman put a task force together to recommend better federal policies. Bente Birkeland has more from the capitol.

Clerks Scramble in Face of Recall Ruling

Aug 15, 2013

The recall elections of state senators John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo are still on for Sept. 10, but voters shouldn’t expect their normal mail-in ballot. A judge’s ruling this week has the clerks of both El Paso and Pueblo counties scrambling to figure out how to conduct an election that complies with as many state laws as possible. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.
 

Flood Survivor Tells Harrowing Tale

Aug 14, 2013
Liz Ruskin

While Manitou Springs authorities celebrated finding one survivor, another Manitou flood victim, 49-year-old Laura Hunter, told reporters Monday at Penrose Hospital she’s thrilled to be alive. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.

Hunter was in her small cottage in the 500 block of Canon Ave. when water started quickly pouring into her living room.

Colorado Students Not Progressing Enough

Aug 14, 2013

In subjects such as reading and math, Colorado students aren’t doing as well as state officials had hoped. The Education Department released statewide-standardized test scores Wednesday. The report indicates that while small gains have been made, many students aren’t solid in core subjects. Bente Birkeland has more.


Marci Krivonen

While Manitou Springs continues its cleanup process after recent flooding, the Western Slope is dealing with issues of its own.  Strong winds yesterday whipped up flames on a wildfire burning south of Glenwood Springs. The Red Canyon Fire grew to 350 acres and mandatory evacuations forced 15 families from their homes. The fire is burning in rugged terrain, in a Pinyon/Juniper forest. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen was with firefighters when the blaze blew up and started creeping toward them. She filed this report.

Governor Tours Eastern, Southern Colorado

Aug 13, 2013
File photo

Some residents in eastern Colorado have tough questions for Governor John Hickenlooper. The Governor is touring the area and southern Colorado this week to get feedback from local communities. As Bente Birkeland reports, he won’t always be in friendly territory...

The Governor also plans to visit Trinidad, Alamosa, and Salida among other locations tomorrow.

CDOT

Recent flooding has prompted the Colorado Department of Transportation to close Manitou Avenue (Highway 24 - Business) at the west end of town between Serpentine Drive and Highway 24.  Friday’s flood washed out two road segments, both about 30-40 feet long, and around 200-300 feet apart, making it unsafe for travel.  Engineers estimate repairs could take 2-3 months and cost around $1.5 million.  CDOT is seeking emergency funds from the Federal Highway Administration and is working on getting contracting in place so repairs can begin as soon as possible.  The total closed distance is about a

 

The Colorado Springs Police Department is confirming the body of Rose Hammes was found just after midnight last night under a bridge in a canal on Platte Avenue, near Wooten Road.

Andrea Chalfin

Flash flood watches and warnings peppered the weekend in the Pikes Peak region, with skies darkening ominously as thunder and rain rolled in each afternoon.  Last night’s warning was canceled early, and Highway 24 and Manitou Springs were spared a repeat of Friday’s devastating flooding.

Andrea Chalfin

Update: Sun 1:40 PM
Per the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, the mother of missing person Juston Travis has reported she's spoken to him and he is safe. One person still unaccounted for. As described yesterday, she is a petite blonde female, wearing black shirt over tan pants. MSPD Chief Joe Ribeiro: “Seen near the creek at one moment hanging in a tree, and then not seen the next.”

Jane Turnis

Update: 11:20PM:  The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is reporting the body of an adult man has been found along Highway 24 near mile marker 297.  They report the body was buried under a significant amount of debris along the westbound lanes of the highway.  No identification is available at this time.   

10:25 PM:  Highway 24 is now reopened, with one lane in each direction.  

Goats: The New Wave of Urban Agriculture?

Aug 9, 2013
Liz Ruskin

With interest in urban homesteading on the rise, some traditional farm animals are showing up in city back yards. It started with chickens.   Miniature goats might be next. While some worry about potential health effects, KRCC's Liz Ruskin went to one backyard east of downtown Colorado Springs to meet a woman who isn’t concerned.
 

Monycka Snowbird lives in a densely packed neighborhood of 1960s-era ranch and split-level homes, some with tidy yards, some overrun by weeds.

Oil & Gas Industry Discusses Fracking Backlash

Aug 9, 2013

The oil and gas industry says it’s trying to focus on new ways to reach out to an increasingly skeptical public. Community concern is rising as hydraulic fracturing moves into more and more populated areas of the Front Range. At the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit in Denver, which brings together energy leaders from across the country, much of the discussion this year focused on public anxiety over fracking.   

El Paso County Works to Repair Flooded Culverts

Aug 9, 2013
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With thunderstorms in the forecast for the next few days, the possibility of flash flooding in El Paso County remains.  As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, the county is working to repair roads in the Black Forest area damaged in last weekend’s floods.

The county is placing road maintenance equipment in Black Forest so it can quickly remove flood debris and keep drainages open. County Spokesman Dave Rose says the big challenge is a large drainage system that runs south through the burn area and then along Shoup Road, an important east-west route.

Courtesy: National Archives.

The White House announced today this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients. Among the honorees are Ernie Banks, Daniel Inouye, and Sally Ride (posthumously). The Medal of Freedom is given to those "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."

Buck to Enter U.S. Senate Race

Aug 8, 2013

Republican Weld county district attorney Ken Buck plans to challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall next year. Buck filed the paperwork today and as Bente Birkeland reports, he’ll first need to win the Republican primary.

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Two Colorado cities have made the top ten of this year’s “Best Places for Business and Careers” list from Forbes.  The annual list examines the 200 largest cities across the country, measured by their metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs.  Denver landed at number 6, while Fort Collins came in at number seven.  The rankings take into account data including past and projected job growth, income growth, and business and living costs.  Colorado Springs landed in the top 100 at number 44, while Greeley also made th

CDC

The Centers for Disease Control just released obesity numbers for pre-school aged children of low-income families, and nationally, the trend is generally positive.  In Colorado though, the report showed an increase in obesity rates among these children.

Oil & Gas Leaders Gather in Denver

Aug 7, 2013

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.

‘Walk with a Doc’ Hits its Stride

Aug 6, 2013
Shelley Schlender/Colorado Public News

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.

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