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Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst [D-Boulder] is entering her second year as the leader of the chamber; she is also term limited at the end of the session. As part of our series previewing the legislative session statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland talked to her about her priorities.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

David Amster-Olszewski, a 2009 graduate of Colorado College, has been named to Forbes magazine's 2016 list of "30 Under 30" for his work in the energy sector.  Amster-Olszewski, 28, founded his company SunShare in Colorado Springs, with a community solar garden at Venetucci Farm

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Democrats have a one-seat minority in the state senate. They'll also have a new minority leader for the upcoming legislative session. Senate minority leader Lucia Guzman [D-Denver] sat down with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland to discuss her new role.
 

Interview Highlights:

On Leading her Caucus

"As a senator I have certain great interests whether it be judiciary or the health of our kids in schools. Now as the minority leader I have to think more broadly. I have to think about the caucus itself," said Guzman.

On Winning Back the Majority

"We also know that we must be very strategic about what we do, how we do it, so that in the long run we are looking towards the future, towards the election, towards the outcome of those elections and hoping they'll be positive to our group," said Guzman.

On Repealing the Death Penalty

"It's been a long term passion of mine, you know my father was murdered, and yet from that very day I continue to think we don't grow as a society by killing people who kill people… I'm not going to bring that bill this year. It goes back to the fact that I'm the minority leader, not an individual Senator," said Guzman.

Colorado General Assembly

Colorado's annual legislative session begins on January 13th. For a series leading up to the session, statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland is sitting down with legislative leaders to discuss their goals and the big issues they must confront.
 


KRCC

Colorado lawmakers are returning to the state capitol next week for the four-month annual legislative session. As part of our Capitol Conversation series, Bente Birkeland talked to statehouse reporters about the national political scene and how it will impact the session.

Shanna Lewis / KRCC

The Pueblo Conservancy District is moving forward to find a contractor for the next phase of work to repair the Arkansas River Levee.

Colorado Springs Overflows with Stormwater Projects

Dec 16, 2015
Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control & Greenway District, CO Dept. of Public Health & Environment, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments

Next year's budget in Colorado Springs includes $16 million for stormwater repairs. Colorado Springs Utilities will also spend $3 million. Much of those funds are likely to go toward improving the Fountain Creek Watershed, which runs through Colorado Springs and down into Pueblo; and the list of projects that need to be done along Fountain Creek is long and expensive.
 

Andrea Chalfin

"Colorful Colorado" may one day be referred to as "Crowded Colorado" given the number of people expected to move to the Centennial State by 2040. All that growth will take a toll on the state's infrastructure as well as water and other natural resources.

GWWO Inc./Architects

The project to build a new Pikes Peak Summit Complex is in its final stages of preliminary design.

Four options are under consideration, which aim to modernize comfort and educational experiences for visitors.

Bente Birkeland/RMCR

The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether local cities in Colorado can either ban hydraulic fracturing or declare a moratorium.

The chamber was filled with a who's who in the energy world, from policy experts and state and city officials, to top attorneys and environmental activists, highlighting the importance of the cases.

Pool video/KUSA

The accused gunman in last month's shootings at a Planned Parenthood clinic is facing more than 150 separate charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder. 

57-year-old Robert Dear had a number of outbursts during Wednesday's court appearance, calling himself a "warrior for the babies," and saying he doesn't want a psychological evaluation.

After the proceedings, District Attorney Dan May said he would not comment on the defendant's behavior.  May also said he has time to decide whether or not to seek the death penalty.

UCCS

UCCS Officer Garrett Swasey was laid to rest Friday with a service at New Life Church.  Swasey was one of three killed in a shootout at a Planned Parenthood clinic last week

His coffin was draped with an American flag and law enforcement officers served as pallbearers.  He was remembered as man of faith, family, and courage, who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper spoke at the service, calling Swasey's sacrifice humbling.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Screenshot from a shared video of the proceedings

The alleged gunman in Friday’s shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood appeared in court for the first time today. KRCC’s Jake Brownell attended the hearing at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center, and has this report:

 

    

As reporters and cameramen awaited the first advisement hearing of Robert Lewis Dear, a line of squad cars formed across the street, in front of the El Paso County Coroner's office.

CSPD

Authorities have identified the civilian victims of Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic on the city's northwest side as 35-year-old Jennifer Markovsky and 29-year-old Ke'Arre Marcell Stewart.  Officials previously identified UCCS Police Officer Garrett Swasey as another fatality.

Stewart was a veteran of the Iraq War who recently left the military.  Markovsky is being described as a kind-hearted, lovable person. 

Swasey's family released a statement Sunday, thanking people for their support and asking for privacy.  

The two civilians killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday were Ke'Arre Stewart, a father of two and Army veteran who served in Iraq, and Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two who was reportedly at the clinic to support a friend.

A resource center is opening today to assist people directly impacted by Friday's shooting incident.  It will open today at 1:00 at the Mortgage Solutions Financial Center, 3650 North Nevada.  Support personnel will be on hand from the police and fire departments, sheriff's office, District Attorney's office, as well as mental health and spiritual care professionals.

Andrea Chalfin

Vigils are being held in Colorado Springs Saturday for the victims of Friday's shootout at the Planned Parenthood clinic on the city's northwest side. Governor John Hickenlooper has ordered flags lowered to half-staff until further notice. 

Three were killed Friday as a gunman holed up in the clinic for hours.  Among the dead are two civilians, and Officer Garrett Swasey, a six-year veteran of the police department at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

UPDATE Saturday 4 PM: Updated information from the city says four civilians were transported to hospitals with gunshot wounds during the incident.  Five law enforcement officers, four with the Colorado Springs Police Department and one from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, were also taken to hospitals with gunshot wounds.  Three additional police officers were injured.  All are in good condition and expected to make full recoveries.

Noel Black

44-year-old Officer Garrett Swasey has been identified as the police officer killed in today's incident. Swasey was a six-year veteran of the UCCS Police Department, and was responding in support of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

UPDATE: 7:00 PM MST:  Colorado Springs police are confirming three fatalities, two civilians and one police officer from UCCS.

Four other civilians and five officers are in the hospital in "good condition."

Fostering Fish Recovery in the Colorado River Basin

Nov 24, 2015
Laura Palmisano

Some native fish in the Colorado River and its tributaries are struggling to stay afloat.  Invasive species, dams and water diversions all complicate the recovery of endangered fish in those waterways.  One long-standing program ties together federal and state agencies with regional groups to help these cold-blooded creatures make a comeback.

Two different drones will take flight over the San Luis Valley following Federal Aviation Administration approval. 

The FAA has approved the launching and testing of two drones in an 8000 square mile airspace near the airport in Alamosa County.

Brian Argrow, professor of aerospace and engineering sciences at The University of Colorado Boulder, was involved in getting FAA approval. "Everyday there's some new application that people are using the drones for and this is all in the interest of tapping into this market," he said.

Deputy Chief J. Petersma / Falcon Fire Department

Crews from several El Paso County area fire departments responded to a grass fire in the eastern part of the county Tuesday afternoon.  The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says its dispatch office sent out nearly 130 reverse 911 calls to nearby residents, and a voluntary evacuation was put in place for residents bound by Shear, Edison, Fossinger, and Yoder Roads.

CDOT

Bustang is expanding to some weekend service starting Saturday.


USGS

A national crowd-sourcing project from the U.S. Geological Survey that began in Colorado is offering map enthusiasts an extra incentive to contribute to the National Map during International Map Year.
 


Nicole Nicoletta is Manitou Springs' newest mayor after the completion of the official election canvass.

After El Paso County election officials considered military and overseas votes, which were due by November 12, a 10-vote margin still separated Nicole Nicoletta from Coreen Toll.

Ryan Parsell with the clerks office says the race was close, but says it wasn't "close enough to trigger a recount.  Close enough certainly to generate a lot of interest in what the procedure is or would have been if a recount had been necessary."

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Monday that Colorado would accept Syrian refugees. President Barack Obama said the U.S. would receive at least 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year, but a growing list of Republican governors pledged to block refugees from relocating to their states.

"We can protect our security and provide a place where the world's most vulnerable can rebuild their lives," said Hickenlooper in a statement.

A study of the 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire recommends that crews fighting similar fires that spread into urban areas be trained in both structure protection and traditional wildland firefighting tactics. 

Alex Maranghides, fire protection engineer for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST says the investigation shows defensive measures specifically designed for the wildland urban interface, or WUI, can benefit firefighting efforts.

Lt. Governor Joe Garcia to Step Down

Nov 10, 2015
Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado's Lt. Governor Joe Garcia announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from the position next year, after five years on the job. He also heads the Colorado Department of Higher Education and will leave that post to helm a higher education policy group for the western U.S., called the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.
 


Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Colorado Springs residents can expect to see road repairs taking place after ballot measure 2C was approved with 65% of the vote. 
 

The measure allows for a .62% sales tax increase to go toward road maintenance, and is expected to draw around 50 million dollars a year in revenue.

Mayor John Suthers said he plans to appoint a five person advisory committee to review progress, and added that the Public Works Department will issue occasional updates.

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