Local News

Local news

Newscast for Friday, 7/24/15, 5:32 PM:
 

Refurbished Wurlitzer to be Unveiled

Jul 24, 2015
Mike Peters, Executive Director of the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation

A near century-old refurbished Wurlitzer organ gets an unveiling this weekend.  
 

The historic instrument moved around Walsenburg through the years, but returned to its original home at the Fox Theatre in the 90’s. The Pikes Peak Area Theatre Organ Society refurbished the rare instrument in a project that took six years to complete.

Don Wick with the society says the theater organ in Walsenburg is rare because it has a piano component, and only a few of this type are left.

Newscast for Thursday, 7/23/15, 5:32 PM:

  • A committee of state lawmakers studying water issues is wrapping up a tour in Durango, Montrose and Craig this week. The goal is to hear from local communities about the Colorado water plan and other water issues. Bente Birkeland has more.
     
  • High winds have caused the closure of some recreational areas on National Forest land in Douglas County.
     

Devils Head Fire Tower Recreaction Areas Closed

Jul 23, 2015

High winds have caused the closure of some recreational areas on National Forest land in Douglas County.

The Devils Head Fire Tower, campground, trailhead, and picnic area were closed after a blowdown occurred in the South Platte Ranger District of Pike National Forest.

The historic fire Tower is the only original Front Range lookout tower still in use today.

The damaged area covers around six acres of aspen, spruce, and Douglas-fir trees. Crews are assessing damages and working to remove fallen trees and dangerous snags from the area.

Newscast for Tuesday, 7/21/15, 5:32 PM:

  • A burned American flag was discovered on a statue in front of Colorado Springs City Hall.
     
  • Vice President Joe Biden toured a manufacturing center at the Community College of Denver today. Bente Birkeland reports.
     

A burned American flag was discovered on a statue in front of Colorado Springs City Hall early Tuesday morning, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.  An investigation revealed the flag to be the one typically displayed in front of City Hall. 

Investigators with the department have checked surveillance cameras to no avail, says CSPD Public Information Officer Lieutenant Catherine Buckley.  Buckley says they currently have no suspects for what she says is a misdemeanor crime. 

Bob Wick, BLM California / BLM Flickr / Creative Commons

A last-minute change to an indoor venue due to stormy weather couldn't keep folks away from a dedication ceremony Saturday for Colorado's newest National Monument.  Supporters gathered in bleachers at the Buena Vista High School gym to hear from local, state, and federal officials as they celebrated the designation.
 

The nearly 22,000-acres of public land that stretches from Buena Vista to Salida in Chaffee County along the Arkansas River is well known for its recreation and wildlife. 

Urbanization of Agricultural Land

Jul 16, 2015
Maeve Conran

An additional 2.5 million people are expected to move to Colorado by 2040, the vast majority of them headed for the Front Range.   As part of Connecting the Drops, our state-wide water series, Maeve Conran looks at the impact on Colorado as its landscape changes from crops to houses.

The traffic on a stretch of I-25 north of Denver is the soundtrack to the changes that farmer Kent Peppler has seen happening in Weld County. 

West Nile Confirmed in Pueblo

Jul 16, 2015
clipart.com

Mosquitoes in Pueblo have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

No human cases of West Nile Virus in Pueblo have been confirmed, but the Pueblo City-County Health Department says recent rainfall means more mosquitos.

Health officials urge residents to take precautions to avoid contracting the virus, including draining standing water, using insect repellent, and dressing in long sleeves and pants.

Symptoms typically show up within two weeks and may include fever, fatigue, and headache. Residents are urged to seek medical attention at any sign of the virus.

Brian Fuchs, National Drought Mitigation Center; David Simeral, Western Regional Climate Center / U.S. Drought Monitor

Dry conditions across Colorado have largely disappeared, according to the latest U. S. Drought Monitor. 

Only a small portion of the state remains listed under the "Abnormally Dry"  classification, compared with more than a quarter last week.  Those remaining dry locations are in the northwest and southwest portions of the state.  

No portion of Colorado currently faces drought conditions.

The U. S. Drought Monitor shows about 98% of the state clear of all classifications of drought and dry conditions, compared with 59% one year ago.

Andrea Chalfin

Some lawmakers are rumbling about possibly moving the Colorado State Fair from Pueblo. Colorado's Legislative Audit Committee took up the issue of State Fair finances Tuesday, noting that the annual event has lost money each year for more than a decade. 

The Fair receives state and local support, but some committee members questioned Pueblo's commitment, and suggested it might make the Fair more financially viable if it moved.

Pueblo City Council President Steve Nawrocki says the city's contributions are on a rebound.

Wednesday Newscast, 07/15/15, 6:04 PM

Jul 15, 2015

Newscast for Wednesday 7/15/15, 6:04 PM:
 

  • The Colorado Board of Health has voted against adding post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of ailments eligible for treatment with medical marijuana. The 6-2 vote today came despite the backing of the state's chief medical officer. The board has voted at least three times against adding PTSD to the list of eight debilitating conditions that qualify for medical pot.

 

  • Pueblo officials are downplaying the threat of the State Fair moving from the Steel City.  

Newscast for Tuesday, 7/14/15, 05:32

Expectations Riding High for 'Bustang'

Jul 14, 2015
CDOT

A new bus service has launched that will help connect Front Range cities and locations along the I-70 corridor to Denver. Monday was its inaugural day of operation.
 

The new bus system from the Colorado Department of Transportation aims to provide an alternative and to help reduce traffic along interstates.

CDOT’s Bob Wilson says Bustang’s first day of service went well despite a few website and phone glitches, adding that CDOT expects the service will be popular.

Fort Carson is faring better than many as part of the Army's efforts to reduce overall troop numbers by 40,000.

The Mountain Post will lose about 365 soldiers, a fraction of the 16,000 once deemed possible

In a statement, Colorado Springs mayor John Suthers called this good news for the city, and says it's "an indication of the importance of Ft. Carson in the overall defense mission.  It also reflects positively on the case Colorado Springs has made on behalf of Ft. Carson."

Pricing Tool Looks to Aid Local Farmers, Consumers

Jul 9, 2015
clipart.com

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is introducing a new tool that aims to help farmers and consumers with local pricing.

Shoppers and sellers at local markets can now find average prices for items sold at farmers markets and through farm-to-school programs on the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s website.

The new tool will aid producers in helping them decide how to price thei items, says Glenda Mostek, marketing specialist with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, adding that it will also help buyers.

Haze from smoke drifting south from wildfires burning in Canada continues to linger over Colorado, prompting the state's health department to issue a wildfire smoke health advisory for much of the Front Range. The advisory includes El Paso, Pueblo, Huerfano, Las Animas and Otero Counties, and is set to expire at 4 PM Wednesday. (UPDATE: The advisory has been extended until 9 AM Thursday.)

Current and former Colorado state Democratic lawmakers are praising the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing same sex marriage nationwide. In the 5-4 decision, the court ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"Today is an amazing day for America and equality, said Democratic former Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino, who served as Colorado’s first gay speaker and helped pass a bill to make civil unions legal in the state.

"I knew we would get to this day in my life time, but never thought it would come so quickly. I am so proud of our nation's ability to move towards full equality for all people. The work is not done to end all discrimination but today was a gigantic step forward."

Shanna Lewis / KRCC

A lot of dirt needs to get moved to repair the Arkansas River levee in Pueblo, and plans for the repairs are changing so that dirt can be put to use on other projects. Those changes may affect efforts to preserve historic sections of the murals painted on the levee.
 

Originally plans called for reducing the height of the levee by 12 feet in phases, but now other projects can use the dirt quicker than first thought. Pueblo Conservancy District consulting engineer Kim Kock said that means they need to keep moving forward.

Despite state lawmakers failing to pass a bill to fund the effort, a program to provide long acting reversible birth control to young, low-income women in Colorado is being extended for another year.

The long acting contraceptives, according to state figures, have helped cut teen pregnancy rates in the state by 40 percent. Abortions have gone down too.

High Water Levels Prompt State Park Restrictions

Jun 18, 2015

Record-breaking rains leading to high water levels have prompted Colorado Parks and Wildlife to restrict access in some recreational areas. 

Boat ramps, shoreline access points and parking areas are limited at Lake Pueblo State Park. The department isn’t sure when they’ll reopen.

Near Lake George, the South Platte River is running usually high, resulting in the closure of Spinney Mountain State Park’s river access lot. The department is discouraging fishing along many areas of the river.

clipart.com

It's been more than a month since Colorado lawmakers wrapped up their annual legislative session at the state capitol, but the work is far from over. Many of the bills that failed this year will likely be back next year, and some long-standing issues may already be poised to go before voters in 2016.

"I've worked on issues that have taken a couple of years to get through," said Representative Don Coram (R-Montrose).

Shooks Run Planning Kicks Off With Meeting

Jun 17, 2015

The City of Colorado Springs is looking at the future of Shooks Run, a corridor located east of downtown between Fountain Creek and Patty Jewett Golf Course. 

The first of several public workshops takes place on Thursday, kicking off a 16-month collaborative planning process called Envision Shooks Run. 

The project will create a plan to address issues like drainage, multi-modal transportation, and urban planning to help improve infrastructure and enhance the corridor.

Survey: Nearly 14% of Colorado Adults Use Pot

Jun 16, 2015
CDPHE

In a newly released survey, the state Health Department says nearly 14% of Colorado adults currently use marijuana.

Of those who currently use pot, one third use it every day. About 19 percent drove after using. Slightly more than half of Colorado adults have never tried marijuana.

The survey also showed young adults aged 18 to 24 are ten times more likely to use pot than older adults over the age of 65.

The National Weather Service in Pueblo says Colorado Springs received a record breaking 3.16 inches of rain Monday.  The old record, set more than a century ago in 1914, was 2.27 inches.  The record-breaking day comes after a record-breaking month of May, which, for the most part, removed southern Colorado from lingering drought conditions. 

Brett Levin Flickr / Creative Commons

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that companies can legally fire employees for using medical marijuana, even off duty.

The decision is based on the case of Brandon Coats. He is a quadriplegic who takes medical marijuana to control muscle spasms in his legs. Dish Network fired him from his job as a customer service representative in 2010 after he failed a random drug test. Coats then sued for unlawful termination. Business groups praised the court's decision.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

After a mild and wet spring, temperatures along the Front Range are expected to soar this week and that has fire managers on edge. The Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture are using this lull in the fire season to call for changes in how the federal government funds wildfire suppression.

While Colorado has experienced much needed rain, fire officials are still expecting an average fire season.

Developing Colorado with Water Conservation in Mind

Jun 10, 2015
clipart.com

Finding enough water to meet the demands of the booming Front Range has city planners closely looking at how new developments can be built with water conservation as a key component.  With the second draft of the State Water Plan scheduled for release in July, many water advocates are hoping to see the issue of land use addressed.
 

Colorado has experienced massive population growth in the last few years, and that trend is projected to continue.

The deadline for bills that passed during the state's legislative session to become law or get vetoed was Friday. Measures are either signed by the Governor or become law without his signature. Some proposals have large signing ceremonies, while others are done quietly. Bente Birkeland talks to state capitol reporters about some of the measures.
 

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The Department of Defense has approved plans to modify and increase training at the Army's Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in Southern Colorado.  The Record of Decision [.pdf], signed May 1 and made available last week, approves what's being called "Enhanced Readiness Training," to include brigade-size exercises an

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