KRCC Local News

Colorado Springs local and Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico regional news from the award-winning KRCC Newsroom. Past series include Flash Point, and Healthy Conversation. Looking for recent KRCC daily newscasts?  Click here.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Governor John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday that the state will prioritize connecting and building 16 hiking and biking trails in all parts of Colorado. The goal is to connect and build missing trail segments to make it easier for people to access open space and parks.

It's part of the governor's Colorado the Beautiful initiative, unveiled in 2015.

KRCC

Colorado lawmakers are back at the state capitol for the annual legislative session. Bente Birkeland discussed priorities from the Governor and legislative leaders as part of our capitol conversation series.


Bente Birkeland / RMCR

On Thursday Governor John Hickenlooper delivered his 6th State of the State address to the state legislature. In his speech, he highlighted the need for people from all political stripes to work together to fix the state's big budget problems and discussed Colorado's economic gains and challenges.   

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado's annual legislative session began on Wednesday, with the usual pomp and ceremony and opening day speeches. The building had a back to school vibe, with families and friends joining lawmakers in the chamber, as it hummed with activity after the eight month interim. Isaac Slade, the lead singer of the Denver based rock band the Fray, sang the national anthem in the Senate.
 

    

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado is heading into the 2016 annual legislative session next week and state lawmakers will debate a host of topics from energy and water, to the budget and schools. Statehouse Reporter Bente Birkeland discussed the session with House Minority leader Brian DelGrosso [R-Loveland].


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.
 


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