Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 11:41 am
Parts of Southeast Colorado are experiencing a longer period of drought than the dry times that occurred during the Dust Bowl.
According to Nolan Doesken, the state climatologist, the past three years and eight months have been the driest stretch ever recorded for some parts of the state, including Rocky Ford, La Junta and Ordway.
"It was drier than the worst consecutive drought period of the 30s and of the 50s," said Doesken.
In one of his first interviews since winning the GOP nod to challenge Governor John Hickenlooper, Bob Beauprez sat down with Bente Birkeland to discuss some of the key issues in the campaign. The Catholic former congressman explains his support for the death penalty, and why he decided to run for Governor after losing his gubernatorial race in 2006 by double digits.
It’s harvest season in El Paso County, but this crop isn’t exactly what one might expect. KRCC's Tucker Hampson reports.
A Skid Steer Loader, which looks kind of like a big Bobcat, pulls tumbleweeds out of a ditch. The tumbleweeds are then chopped up by a converted 1995 John Deere Harvester, dubbed the Tumbleweed Eater, and then shot out into neighboring fields.
In Congressional District 5, Tuesday’s primary election was so close that it wasn’t until 10:45 p.m. that retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn finally congratulated incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn, who led by 3,762 votes, or slightly more than 5 percentage points, out of about 72,000 votes cast.
Speaking from his campaign gathering at a Colorado Springs charter school, Rayburn praised his team for their work, acknowledging “we jumped into this thing at the absolute last minute.”
The race to be Colorado’s next Governor is officially underway. Former Congressman Bob Beauprez will challenge Governor John Hickenlooper in November after winning a four way GOP primary race. Beauprez captured a four-point lead over his closest challenger, Tom Tancredo.
A two-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Salida has reopened to boaters. It closed at the beginning of June due high waters that caused a hazard at a recently constructed boat chute. The portage trail used to bypass the chute had also become impassable.
Colorado’s primary election is on Tuesday, and in many ways it marks the beginning of the political season that will culminate in November. Two GOP primary races are being closely watched.
The race in Colorado’s 4th Congressional district is surprisingly competitive. When Congressman Cory Gardner unexpectedly decided to run for U.S. Senate it left the race wide open. The district spans most of Eastern Colorado from New Mexico to Wyoming and includes Greeley.
The Pikes Peak Library District is set to officially open its new 21st Century branch in northern Colorado Springs Saturday. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
The branch houses several new types of facilities to provide equipment for aspiring artists, writers and filmmakers to learn and apply their skills. There’s also a new 400-seat theater designed for community shows, plays, and live music.
District spokesman Travis Duncan says libraries are not static structures anymore, and the new branch will provide creative spaces for people to interact.
West Nile virus is appearing in mosquitoes across the state earlier than expected this year. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
The virus has been found in mosquito populations in northern Colorado counties and on the Western Slope. State Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer House says they’re not sure why mosquitoes are showing up with the virus earlier this the year, but that means people are at risk sooner than expected.
Some of the heavy hitters in the marijuana community celebrated its legalization in Colorado at an event in Woody Creek recently. The group NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, held a cookout at Owl Farm, Hunter S. Thompson’s old homestead. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen was there and has this report:
CBS 4 and Colorado Public Television recently hosted a debate with the four GOP candidates competing in the conservative and vast district that stretches from Wyoming all the way to New Mexico and the Kansas border.
Colorado’s 5th Congressional District consists of El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Chafee and Park Counties, and has been held by Republican Doug Lamborn since 2007. Primary elections are next week, and last night, Lamborn and his GOP challenger Retired Major General Bentley Rayburn came together for a debate, sponsored by several local media organizations.
El Paso County Commissioners invited Sheriff Terry Maketa to their board meeting Tuesday to answer questions about the functionality of the department. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
Sheriff Maketa says the allegations and subsequent investigations into his alleged wrongdoings are not interfering with emergency operations, but IT restrictions even after the seizure of hard drives and collecting of disk images are hampering fieldwork.
The three remaining Motor Vehicle Offices in El Paso County are now also open as Voter Service and Polling Centers as primary election day draws near. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
Of the 214,000 ballots that went out earlier this month, over 33,000 of them have been returned so far. Most of them are expected to be returned by mail, according to Ryan Parsell, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Spokesman. Parsell added they expect between 30-35% of those who received a ballot to return them.
A group seeking to recall embattled El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa received approval from the Clerk and Recorder’s office to begin collecting signatures. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin has more.
A resubmitted petition from the group was accepted after an initial effort was rejected on the grounds that it didn’t meet legal standards. According to the Clerk’s office, backers need to gather more than 44,000 signatures to recall Sheriff Maketa in November.
Governor John Hickenlooper’s office said he’s still in discussions about whether to call lawmakers back to the state capitol for a special session on oil and gas issues. The goal would be to pass a compromise bill and avoid a fight at the ballot box.
A handful of residents gathered outside the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department Thursday afternoon in downtown Colorado Springs to show their disapproval of Sheriff Terry Maketa. Maketa faces allegations of wrongdoing, including creating a hostile workplace, sexual discrimination, and budget mismanagement. Those protesters were met by others who support the embattled sheriff.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office released a report looking at the response to the Black Forest Fire Tuesday, nearly one year to the day after the devastating fire began.
The After Action Report [.pdf] details what went right during last year’s fire, and where there’s room for improvement. Maketa said they applied lessons learned from the previous year’s Waldo Canyon event, including providing a quicker flow of information to those displaced.
The Coalition for the Upper South Platte is looking for volunteers to help with flood mitigation projects along Highway 24 this month. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
Volunteers are needed to help seed land and create sediment catchment basins in Cascade. These projects are intended to slow or redirect water to help protect against erosion and reduce the risk of property damage. Lisa Patton is the volunteer coordinator for CUSP. Patton says the Waldo Canyon burn scar is already suffering.
Four Republicans are vying to be the lone candidate to run against Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper in the fall. But with the primary election coming up on June 24th, only two of the candidates participated in a taped debate hosted by CBS 4 and Colorado Public Television. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
Manitou Springs is conducting a full-scale test of their emergency siren tomorrow (Thursday). KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
The siren test is planned for 12:00 noon. It’ll play a high and low tone and a spoken message indicating it’s only a test.
The siren system is housed at city hall and is intended to help residents be aware of when there’s an emergency and to instruct them in what to do. The siren has specific alert messages to warn citizens for each type of incident.
A two-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Salida continues to remain restricted due to dangerous conditions. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
Recent high waters and a new diversion structure in the river have raised safety concerns near Silver Bullet Boat Chute near Johnson Village. The diversion structure is creating unusually strong currents, and the reentry point on the portage trail that’s used to allow boaters to go around the chute is currently impassable due to high water levels. The area is restricted to only whitewater kayaks and canoes.