KRCC Local News

News from the KRCC Newsroom.

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Pueblo
4:43 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Construction Begins on Levee

Work on the Arkansas River levee begins in Pueblo.
Credit Shanna Lewis / KRCC

Demolition work has begun to remove the top 12 feet of a section of the Arkansas River Levee in Pueblo. It’s part of the first phase of a project to repair the aging structure and meet FEMA flood control guidelines.
 

Heavy equipment moves dirt and concrete as the contractors build a ramp to access the top of the levee. Part of the pedestrian path near the work area has been closed for safety reasons. 

Consulting engineer Kim Kock says they expect the first critical section to be complete by mid February, despite the delay in beginning work.

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Water
3:19 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

USGS: Ogallala Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline

The U.S Geological Survey says the High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala, is losing groundwater likely due to increased groundwater pumping. 

The USGS released a report detailing an 8% decline between the years of 1950 and 2011. The overall average water-level declined about 15.4 feet. Between 2011 and 2013, the overall water level declined 2.1 feet.

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Colorado Springs
2:25 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Mayor Bach Won't Seek Second Term

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach
Credit file photo

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach has announced he will not run for a second term in April’s Municipal Election.  KRCC’s Rachel Gonchar has more.

Bach was elected to a four-year term in May 2011, as the city’s first “Strong Mayor” under a new charter adopted the year before. The charter transformed city government from a council-appointed city manager model to a council-elected system that gives the mayor more control of the city’s operations.

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Pinon Canyon
11:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site DEIS Public Comment Period to Close

The Army is looking to increase training activities at its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado. As part of the process, officials are required to conduct environmental impact studies and open the reports to public comments.

Today, Monday December 15, is the last day to submit public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed increase in training.

You can view the DEIS here [.pdf].

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Pueblo
4:09 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Former Smelter Site in Pueblo Designated by EPA as Superfund Site

The former Colorado Smelter site in south Pueblo is now designated a Superfund Site by the Environmental Protection Agency. As KRCC's Shanna Lewis reports, this means the federal agency will investigate and clean up toxic waste in the area.

In 2010 state health department tests found elevated levels of lead and arsenic in properties surrounding the smelter - which closed more than 100 years ago.

The EPA’s Chris Wardell says residents have a variety of concerns about the Superfund listing, ranging from costs to the effect on real estate values.  

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Water
4:05 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Draft Water Plan for Colorado Unveiled

Governor Hickenlooper releases the draft water plan for the state. It's open now for public comments.

Governor John Hickenlooper unveiled a draft of the state’s first ever water plan on Wednesday. The goal is to create a comprehensive water strategy to protect rural farm economies and bring more water to millions of people along the Front Range.The plan has been a decade in the making and supporters say it will help the state meet water demands as the population grows.
 

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Capitol Coverage
8:07 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Lawmakers to Consider Physician-Assisted Suicide

Colorado is one of several states that will take up the issue of physician-assisted suicide. The topic is once again in the national spotlight with the recent death of Brittany Maynard. The terminally ill 29 year-old moved to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s Death with Dignity law.

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Health
4:54 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Pueblo Sees First Flu-Related Death; Vaccine Encouraged

Pueblo County Health officials say a resident there has died from issues related to the flu, and 60 have been hospitalized since October. Statewide, cases are occurring a month earlier in many locations. KRCC's Tucker Hampson reports. 
 

About 100 people have been hospitalized so far this year statewide as compared to 85 at this time last year.  Lisa Miller, state epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Health, says a change in the flu virus may have lessened the vaccine effectiveness, but it’s still important.

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Capitol Coverage
7:53 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Restoration at the State Capitol

Restoration efforts inside the state capitol
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado’s state capitol is getting a major upgrade. A two-year renovation of the building’s signature gold dome was recently completed – and on the inside, work is underway on both the House and Senate chambers. As with any remodeling project, workers have uncovered some interesting surprises along the way.
 

The state capitol opened in 1894 and several restoration projects have been undertaken since then. The most recent work began because of a radiator…

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Sand Creek Massacre
6:45 am
Thu December 4, 2014

In Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Sand Creek, Governor Hickenlooper Apologizes

Tribal leaders and others gather outside the state capitol to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Governor John Hickenlooper has apologized on behalf of the state of Colorado for the Sand Creek Massacre. The Massacre happened in the early morning of November 29th, 1864.  U.S. Calvary soldiers converged on a sleeping group of mostly women, children and elderly Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. The 150 year-old event is one of the most notable incidents of violence against Native Americans in the history of the west.
 

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Sand Creek
4:51 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Gov. Apologizes at Sand Creek Massacre 150th Commemoration Ceremony

A commemoration of the Sand Creek Massacre took place today at the Capitol. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

150 years ago on the eastern plains of Colorado, the US Army, led by Col. John Chivington, killed by some estimates 200 Cheyenne and Arapahoe, mostly women and children. Today at the Capitol was the final day of a healing ceremony, where Governor John Hickenlooper publicly apologized for the massacre.

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Public Safety
3:50 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Police Officers Hit by Car During Denver Ferguson March

Four Denver police officers were hit by a car while watching a high school demonstration protesting last week’s grand jury verdict in Ferguson.

The decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson sparked demonstrations across the country, including in Colorado Springs.  

In Denver, nearly 1,000 East High School students walked out of class Wednesday and marched to the capitol. Students say the actual march was not planned.   

Still, officers shut down streets so students could cross.

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Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site
5:29 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Army Looks to Increase Intensity of Training Exercises at Maneuver Site

A sign at the entrance to the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site points the way to the public meeting.
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Explosions, drones, and full-brigade size exercises with armored vehicles are all a part of the Army’s proposed Enhanced Readiness plan for its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado. The goal is to get troops trained on new gear.  It’s a controversial plan that some say opens the door to expansion, a notion that’s long been a thorn in the side of many nearby residents.

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Colorado Springs
5:02 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Colorado Springs Council Accepting Applications for D2 Vacancy

Colorado Springs residents have until December 8th to apply for the council seat recently vacated by Joel Miller. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

Applicants must live in District 2 [.pdf], be at least 25 years of age, and both a US citizen and registered voter. The new council member will be expected to attend numerous meetings and events and meet the required minimum 30-35 hours of work a month. 

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Oil & Gas
12:20 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

Agreement Reached For Colorado's Roan Plateau

Colorado's Roan Plateau
Courtesy of EcoFlight

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 3:25 pm

The Bureau of Land Management, environmentalists, and the energy industry have reached an agreement on a proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Roan Plateau. The new plan cancels 17 out of 19 oil and gas leases that were issued in 2008. Two previous leases at the top of the plateau, and a dozen at the base will remain in place.

"These measures allow us to protect the plateau but harness some of the energy resources," said Governor John Hickenlooper.

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Connecting the Drops
11:17 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Farming the Ogallala

A center pivot irrigation system near Wray, CO
Credit Shelley Schlender

Most Colorado cities and farms get water from snowmelt in the Rockies. That’s not the case in Northeastern Colorado. This food-producing powerhouse depends on an ancient, underground reservoir called the Ogallala.

Ever since the Ice Ages, the Ogallala’s been slowly accumulating water. Modern farmers, though, pump so much water that this “timeless” aquifer is starting to run out. Someday up ahead, Northeast Colorado may have to curtail some crops, and some farm towns might become ghost towns.
 

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Pueblo's Arkansas River Levee
2:30 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Work on Pueblo Levee Project Faces Slight Delay

Looking downriver at the Arkansas River and Pueblo Levee Mural near the 4th Street Bridge.
Credit Shanna Lewis / KRCC

The start of a massive repair project on the Arkansas River levee in Pueblo is being delayed until December due to historic preservation concerns and some delays in the funding.
 

The project’s consulting engineer Kim Kock says the state historic preservation officer has said the levee could be deemed historic because it was constructed in response to the deadly 1921 floods and used methods of that time period.

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Black Forest Fire
4:12 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Black Forest Fire Cause Undetermined; No Criminal Charges

Investigators say there’s not enough evidence to file charges in connection with last year’s devastating Black Forest Fire.

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Local News
10:02 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Wastewater Disposal Seen as Potential Trigger for Earthquakes

Land near the Colorado-New Mexico border has recently been caving inwards in an area where a 5.3 magnitude earthquake took place in 2011. As KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports, scientists at the United States Geological Survey are pointing to wastewater disposal as a potential trigger.
 

Higher magnitude earthquakes are a rarity in Colorado, making the 2011 quake of special interest to scientists. Research showed a possible cause as wastewater injection which involves the pumping of large volumes of fluid into the Earth, creating high-pressure conditions.

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Arkansas River
7:40 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Celebrates 25 Years

Gates hang over the Arkansas River at the Arkansas River Headwaters Area, indicating a boating path. Winter 2012
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, or AHRA, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary today. The region spans 152 miles of the Arkansas River and saw over 711,000 visitors last year.

AHRA program assistant Rose Bayless says in its 25 years, the area has provided an outlet for outdoor recreation that the public didn’t have before, including boating and fishing.

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Election 2014
11:10 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Hickenlooper Wins Re-Election

Hickenlooper declares victory, narrowly, at the state capitol on the day after Election Day.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Democratic incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper narrowly won re-election after a race that was too close to call on Tuesday night. Hickenlooper faced off against former Congressman, Republican Bob Beauprez. It’s the second time Beauprez has lost the Governorship. Democratic Bill Ritter defeated him in 2006 by a much wider margin of double digits.

Many pundits were surprised at the intensity of the race, which was a nail biter until the end. The race wasn’t called by major news outlets until about 9:30am, more than twelve hours after polls closed.

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Election 2014
5:47 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Election 2014 Roundup

Voters across Colorado cast their final ballots yesterday on state and local issues and candidates. 

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Election
4:25 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Final Debate for Hickenlooper and Beauprez

With early voting well underway Colorado’s gubernatorial candidates staked out their positions one last time during their 8th and final debate hosted by KCNC channel 4 and Colorado Public Television last Friday night. Among the routine topics – things got heated over the issue of public safety.
 

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Elections
4:42 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Will Colorado's Growing Latino Voting Bloc Cast Ballots this Midterm Election?

Two volunteers at a Senator Mark Udall field office in heavily Latino Adams County. They were there to help rally the Latino vote and knock on doors.
Credit Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Latinos make up about twenty percent of Colorado’s population and continue to be a highly courted voting bloc during this election. It’s a group that more frequently votes for Democrats, but Latinos also turn out less often in midterm elections, and both political parties face challenges in attracting them.
 

Republicans have long been trying to make inroads with Latino voters, especially in competitive states like Colorado, where a small number of votes could swing key races for the U.S. Senate and Governor.

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Arkansas River
4:31 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Contract Approved for Arkansas River Levee Repair Project

Looking downriver at the Arkansas River and Pueblo Levee Mural near the 4th Street Bridge.
Credit Shanna Lewis / KRCC

 
The Pueblo Conservancy District awarded the contract for phase one of the project to repair the aging Arkansas River levee. The estimated cost for this initial phase is $3.6 million and is expected to begin in November and end in March.  KRCC’s Shanna Lewis reports.

The full repair project is likely to span three or four winters and will destroy the collection of murals painted on the levee by hundreds of artists since the 1970s. It’s the largest outdoor mural in the world.

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Election
3:43 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Amendment 67: 'Personhood' Returns to the Ballot

One of this November’s statewide ballot questions may look familiar to Coloradans. For the third time since 2008, voters will decide the fate of an amendment dealing with the issue of personhood. But this time around supporters are taking a different approach.
 

Amendment 67 would change the state’s criminal code and wrongful death act to include the term “unborn human beings” when referring to a “person” or “child.” Backers say it stems from the 2012 case of Heather Surovik, who shares her testimonial on the Personhood USA website…

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Elections
8:46 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

1A - El Paso County Excess Revenue

Voters in El Paso County are deciding whether or not to allow the county to keep excess revenue for the purpose of supporting parks and open space.

The Taxpayers Bill or Rights, or TABOR, stipulates any excess revenue should be returned to residents, unless voters approve a measure allowing the county to put it to other use.

Ballot issue 1A seeks to retain more than $2 million for specific projects including resurfacing tennis courts at Bear Creek Park, constructing a park in the Falcon area, and restoring trails in the Black Forest Regional Park. 

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Elections
6:46 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Amendment 68: Should Gambling Be Expanded And Taxed For Education Funding?

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 7:02 am

While much of the attention the 2014 election season has been focused on Colorado's Senate and gubernatorial races, voters will also be deciding the fates of four statewide ballot questions. One of those questions seeks to expand gambling at racetracks to help fund K-12 education.

If approved, Amendment 68 would allow horse race tracks in Arapahoe, Mesa and Pueblo counties to offer slot machines, roulette, craps, and card games such as blackjack and poker. Arapahoe Park in Aurora is at the center of the campaign.

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Public Safety
1:31 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Evacuation Drill for Pulpit Rock Neighborhood

The Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management, Fire, and Police Departments are conducting an evacuation drill for residents of the Pulpit Rock neighborhood Saturday.  KRCC's Rachel Gonchar reports.
 

The Pulpit Rock neighborhood is located in the city’s wildland urban interface and includes University Park and Sunset Mesa.

CSPD Officer David Husted says participating residents can expect a knock at their doors and instructions on what to do and where to go. He also said this area is a new focus for first responders.

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Health
11:11 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Colorado's Suicide Prevention Task Force Meets

Colorado’s new Suicide Prevention Commission is meeting this morning for the first time. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The state legislature created the group to establish new efforts for prevention priorities, broaden public and private partnerships, and identify funding resources.

Jarrod Hindman is the Suicide Prevention Section Manager at the Department of Public Health. He says the commission is expected to build on past prevention efforts.

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