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.

El Paso County Works to Repair Flooded Culverts

Aug 9, 2013
clipart

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.

clipart

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.

 

Colorado Springs' Interim Fire Chief Tommy Smith will be moving to Redmond, Washington after accepting the chief position there.  Smith stepped in as the interim head of the Colorado Springs Fire Department earlier this year when Chief Rich Brown stepped down.  Smith is expected to begin his new duties in September, after Christopher Riley takes over the fire department.  Riley was appointed as the city's fire chief last week, pending approval from city council.  According to a press release at the time, there were no internal candidates for CSFD Chief.

Education Campaign Kicks Off

Aug 5, 2013

Supporters of a tax increase for K-12 schools turned in petitions today to try and get the measure on the November ballot. They submitted twice the amount required by law. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

Sandbags will be available to homeowners facing impacts from potential flash flooding in and near the Waldo Canyon burn scar.  They'll be given away free at the Verizon Wireless building on Garden of the Gods Road from 8 - 2 Saturday. The sand comes from last week's Olympic Downtown Celebration and its sand volleyball pit.

Pueblo City-County Health officials are warning residents of West Nile virus in the area.  Mosquitoes have tested positive, but no human cases have been reported.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, so for this month’s Healthy Conversation, we’re talking vaccinations.  KRCC's Andrea Chalfin is joined by Lt. Col. Diane Heinz of Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, and we begin by talking about what back to school means for vaccines.

Additional Information:

file photo

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach gave his yearly “state of the city” address at a luncheon yesterday. He outlined a number of goals and accomplishments, and as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, he also used the occasion to press his plan to build four major tourism projects, including a downtown stadium and a U.S. Olympics museum.

Education Tax Ballot Initiative

Aug 2, 2013

A roughly billion-dollar education tax increase is likely to go before voters this fall. It’s part of a larger package of education reforms state lawmakers passed last session. Bente Birkeland talks to supporters about the challenges ahead, and how they hope the initiative won’t meet the same fate as a similar proposal.

When genetically modified wheat was found growing in Oregon earlier this year, it didn’t take long for accusations to start flying. No one knew how the unapproved wheat ended up in the ground. A flurry of finger-pointing cast potential blame on a federal seed vault in Colorado, which housed the same strain of wheat. The facility's been cleared of wrongdoing since then, but the investigation brings up questions of how secure these seed vaults actually are. KUNC and Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon took a tour of the Colorado vault, and has this report.

Recall Elections Take Shape

Jul 30, 2013
file

It’s a low time of year in Colorado politics. No general election, no Governor’s race. The state capitol is quiet, and the hustle and bustle of the legislative session is long gone. But for senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs, this off election year is shaping up to be the busiest of his life. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach has selected Pueblo Fire Chief Christopher Riley to be the new head of the city’s fire department. Riley has served as Pueblo’s Chief since 2006. According to a release from the city, Riley will earn $145,000 per year.  He’s expected to start September 9th, pending approval from City Council mid-August.  Former Fire Chief Rich Brown retired in the spring. The city says 40 people applied for the position, with no applications coming from internal candidates. Interim Chief Tommy Smith will return to his post as Deputy Chief of Support Services.

Shrinking Aquifers in the San Luis Valley

Jul 29, 2013
Maeve Conran

In early July, Colorado designated 14 counties "primary natural disaster areas" due to agricultural losses caused by the recent and ongoing drought.  Several of those counties are in the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado.  Farmers there are now eligible for low interest emergency loans, but as KGNU’s Maeve Conran reports, that may not be enough for this agricultural hub, which is facing a long term water crisis that could permanently affect the entire valley. 

The federal government has approved a major disaster declaration for the Royal Gorge Fire in Fremont County.  The declaration means federal aid is available to deal with the effects, including unemployment benefits for Royal Gorge Bridge & Park employees and others who are out of work after this summer’s wildfire, who aren’t otherwise eligible for state jobless benefits.  Aid is also available for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities. Governor John Hickenlooper’s office says a similar request for the Black Forest Fire is pending.

Dust on the Rise in Colorado and the West

Jul 26, 2013

Living near the mountains, it’s easy to see changes in nature, especially in the snow. In recent years, dust from desert areas like Utah has coated some of the area’s snowpack. Scientists in Boulder say the amount of dust being blown into Colorado and throughout the West has increased over the last two decades. They measured calcium in rainfall to come up with their findings. Jason Neff is associate professor of geology at CU-Boulder and coauthor of a recent dust study. He told Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen the escalation of dust emissions is due to several factors.

Raising Longterm Health Concerns over 'Fracking'

Jul 24, 2013

A former president of the Colorado Medical Society calls the current hydraulic fracturing boom in the state’s oil and gas industry an “experiment in motion” for the public at large – one that could lead to higher rates of cancer and other illnesses over the next 10 to 15 years.

Colorado Springs City Council voted yesterday to opt-out of recreational marijuana sales after listening to public comments and a plea from Mayor Steve Bach to opt-out. Bach called it a jobs killer, and cited concerns from the military.  Bach also said it’s important to take a regional approach, mentioning other communities who have opted out of recreational marijuana sales like El Paso County, Monument, and Green Mountain Falls.  If council decided not to opt-out, they would have voted on a moratorium.  But Bach pressed for the ban.

 

The American farmer is getting older. Most recent census data shows the average age is 57. And while that tells us who is farming now, it also shows who’s not. While the farming community continues to age, fewer young people are filling the ranks. Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon asks the question: Do young people even want to farm anymore?

The quick answer is yes, just not in the same numbers as they used to. And surveys indicate many of them don’t want to farm in conventional ways.

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder will begin mailing ballots in mid-August to registered voters in Senate District 11 for the upcoming recall election. A petition requesting the recall of Democratic State Senator John Morse was approved by a judge earlier this week. The ballot will pose two issues; one asking if Morse should be recalled. The second allows the voter to choose a successor candidate.  In order for that vote to count, the first issue must not be skipped.  Nearly 69,000 people are registered to vote in this election.  Ballots are due by 7 PM, Sept. 10.

The Obama administration launched an initiative Friday aimed at reducing the risk of wildfire to water supplies in the West. As KUNC's Grace Hood reports, Colorado will be one of six states to see pilot projects.

Flows of ash and debris into streams after a wildfire can be damaging to the local water supply. Aiming to mitigate this problem, the US Departments of Agriculture and Interior signed a memorandum of understanding Friday. USDA Chief Tom Vilsack:

clipart

The El Paso County Sheriff’s office is looking into two fires in Fox Run Park, which is east of Interstate 25 off Baptist Road. The fires are considered separate incidents, but are both considered arson. Anyone with information about the fires should call the El Paso County Sheriff’s office at 719-390-5555. The department asks residents to report any suspicious activity, and to remain aware while in the area. Fox Run Park is just west of the Black Forest Fire burn scar.  Last month’s fire burned more than 14,000 acres and destroyed nearly 500 homes.

Morse, Giron Recall Elections Set for September 10th

Jul 18, 2013

A recall effort is moving forward to oust two Democratic state lawmakers over their support for gun control laws. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

Colorado River the Subject of Senate Hearing

Jul 17, 2013

The Colorado River and its future imbalances were the focus of a Senate hearing in Washington DC yesterday. The river supplies water for cities and farms in seven states and parts of Mexico. Lawmakers went over a 2012 study that projects water demand will outpace supply in the coming decades. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Applications are due tomorrow for state money to help with wildfire mitigation projects. As KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports, there are other goals for the grant program as well.

Pages