Local News

Capitol Coverage
9:37 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Hickenlooper Trying To Rally Support For Oil And Gas Compromise, Special Session

Governor Hickenlooper speaking in December, 2013.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Fri June 13, 2014 9:11 am

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.

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El Paso County
6:34 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Critics, Supporters Rally at El Paso County Sheriff's Department

Critics of Sheriff Terry Maketa holds a sign outside the El Paso County Sheriff's Department
Tucker Hampson KRCC

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.
 

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Black Forest Fire
5:39 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Black Forest Fire: Lessons Applied, Lessons Learned, Cause Undetermined

Burned trees abut a road in the Black Forest fire burn area. Picture taken 06/21/13.
Credit Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

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.

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El Paso County
4:20 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

EPC Sheriff Maketa Vows to Stay On; Says 'Distractions' will not Hinder Dept. Operations

Credit Staff Photo / El Paso County

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa restated his plans to remain in office despite an investigation into alleged wrongdoings.  As KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports, the comments came during an unrelated press conference on the Black Forest Fire.

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Environment
10:50 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Climate March Stops in Colorado Springs

Climate change activists marching from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. are stopping in Colorado Springs Tuesday. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

A core group of about 35 people is marching the entire way, with other supporters joining in for smaller distances. The goal is to inspire action and discussion about climate change.

Chris Ververis is coordinating activities in Colorado. He says the 8-month march helps spread the word and helps citizens feel as though they have a voice.

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Public Safety
4:26 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

CUSP: A Call for Volunteers for Cascade-area Flood Mitigation Work

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.

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Elections
3:47 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Two GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Debate

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.
 

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Wildfires
2:05 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

New Estimates Show Black Forest Fire as 2nd Most Costly in CO

Credit Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association

Next Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary since the start of the massive Black Forest Fire. The blaze scorched over 14,000 acres, destroyed around 500 homes and killed two people.

The non-profit Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association says after revised estimates of loss, the fire is now the second-costliest wildfire in state history.

RMIAA director Carole Walker says the initial estimate of $292 million has been increased to $420 million dollars in losses. 

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Public Safety
4:35 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Manitou Springs to Test Emergency Siren

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.

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Arkansas River
5:26 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Section of Arkansas River Restricted Due to High Waters, Strong Currents

Credit Colorado Parks and Wildlife

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.

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Waldo Canyon
5:28 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

US Forest Service Extends Waldo Canyon Closure

Map of ongoing closures on U.S. Forest Service land due to 2012's Waldo Canyon fire.
Credit U.S. Forest Service

Forest Service land closed due to the Waldo Canyon Fire will remain restricted for some time. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

The US Forest Service has extended closure orders, saying the canyon requires more maintenance and time to re-grow. The area to remain closed includes the Waldo Canyon Trail along Highway 24. Work there is expected to continue through the summer. There is a maximum 5,000 dollar fine in place for trespassing in the closed areas.

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Public Safety
8:00 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Wildfire in Huerfano County Prompts Evacuations

UPDATE (Monday, 06/02 8:00 PM):  All evacuation orders have been lifted; the fire is 100% contained. Mop up will continue and the area will be monitored over the next several days.

UPDATE (Monday, 06/02 11:45 AM): Huerfano County Emergency Dispatch says residents north of Twin Ridge Dr. on Four Mile Canyon Road to CR 312 may return.  Residents south of Twin Ridge Dr. on Four Mile Canyon Rd. are still under an evacuation notice.  The fire is 80% contained, with a burn area of 15 acres.

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El Paso County
5:10 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

El Paso County Commissioners Vote 'No Confidence' in Sheriff; Seek Resignation

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa/Bio Photo
Credit Staff Photo / El Paso County

El Paso County Commissioners gave a unanimous vote of 'no confidence' to Sheriff Terry Maketa today, and asked for his resignation after allegations of misconduct.  KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports.
 

Commissioners say the vote isn’t about guilt or innocence and that investigations into employee complaints and allegations including sexual discrimination, budget mismanagement, and a hostile work environment are underway.

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Air Force Academy
5:02 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Public Meeting: Air Force Academy's Planned Airfield Changes

The United States Air Force Academy is planning to change its airfield operations this summer. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

The proposed changes include reopening Bullseye Airfield near Ellicot and extending a northern departure route that would allow leaving aircraft to reach 1000 feet along Baptist Road before passing over other populated areas. According to the Academy, this is expected to reduce noise levels by approximately 30%. The changes are expected to take effect in June.

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Wildfire Mitigation
4:45 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Upper Monument Creek Mitigation Informational Meetings

Area residents looking for more information on a planned wildfire mitigation project in the Upper Monument Creek area are invited to public meetings. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

The proposed mitigation project on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests looks to treat about 25,000 acres of land in El Paso, Douglas, and Teller counties.

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Colorado Business
3:36 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Brand Colorado Slowly Gaining Steam

John Scaggs with Haystack Mountain Goat Dairystands beside aging cheese. Scaggs' company has started using the state's new Colorado branding.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:16 pm

More and more companies are starting to use the new Colorado logo and slogan - “it’s our nature” - to promote their products, helping the state's efforts to strengthen its brand and global competitiveness. The branding effort though has been somewhat controversial and it will take some time to determine its success.

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Public Safety
10:12 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Rains, Flash Flood Warning Prompt Hwy 24 Closure and Red Cross Shelter Opening

UPDATE:  The Red Cross Shelter has closed as of 11:23 PM.  Highway 24 has reopened.

Original post:

The Red Cross has opened a shelter in Manitou Springs for those affected by potential flooding tonight, Friday, May 23. It's at the Historic Manitou Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave.

The National Weather Service in Pueblo has issued a flash flood warning until 11:15 tonight for northwestern Pueblo County, northeastern Custer County, Teller County, and western El Paso and eastern Fremont Counties.

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El Paso County
4:27 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

EPC Sheriff Faces Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is facing allegations of inappropriate behavior, including creating a hostile work environment and sexual discrimination.  Several department commanders say the sheriff had affairs with three subordinates, abused those who questioned the alleged relationships, and removed all oversight of the department's $60 million budget.  

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Connecting the Drops
3:52 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Water Conservation on the Minds of Colorado Brewers

Credit clipart

With over 200 breweries and brewpubs, Colorado is one of top beer producers in the country.  All that beer requires a lot of water.  Brewers large and small are working to conserve the precious liquid that is crucial to creating the other precious liquid.

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Capitol Coverage
5:04 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Governor Hickenlooper Signs Stricter Pot Regulations

Governor John Hickenlooper signs House Bill 1361 to create an equivalency between marijuana that is smoked, and marijuana in a concentrate form that is vaporized.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 6:57 am

Governor John Hickenlooper signed two measures into law Wednesday, both aimed at tightening rules around marijuana edibles and concentrates. One goal is to make sure young children don’t accidentally ingest the drug.

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Southwest Chief
6:40 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Hickenlooper Signs Southwest Chief Commission Bill

Governor John Hickenlooper signs a bill that creates a commission aimed at preserving and expanding Amtrak's Southwest Chief passenger rail service in Southern Colorado. Standing behind him are State Rep. Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), Amtrak's Ray Lang, Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace and State Senator Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa).
Credit Shanna Lewis / KRCC

Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill in Pueblo today to create a commission aimed at keeping Amtrak’s Southwest Chief rolling through southern Colorado. KRCC's Shanna Lewis reports from Pueblo.
 

The train follows the historic Santa Fe Trail through Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico as it travels between Chicago and Los Angeles. But it could be rerouted unless some $200 million in repairs are made to the tracks.

Rail travel supporters gathered behind Pueblo’s Union Depot to watch the governor sign the bill.

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Pueblo
2:17 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

EPA Proposes Adding Smelter Site to Superfund List

The Environmental Protection Agency last week proposed adding a site in Pueblo to the Superfund priorities list -the federal program aimed at cleaning up hazardous waste sites. 
 

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Capitol Coverage
4:35 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

A Look Back At The Wrapped Colorado Legislative Session

Colorado Senate GOP Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 8:45 am

Colorado’s legislative session wrapped up on a muted tone Wednesday with most major bills already tied up before the closing gavel fell. This session was relatively calm compared to the previous, when Democrats pushed through historic and controversial proposals.

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Capitol Coverage
7:06 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Final Day of Legislative Session Sees Passage of Disaster Tax Relief Bill

Credit file

Colorado’s legislative session wrapped up with a quiet final day, as lawmakers put the finishing touches on several bills and gave tributes to outgoing members. And as Bente Birkeland reports, one of the least controversial measures passed after last minute negotiations.

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Public Safety
6:20 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Visible Smoke, Fire Possible During Emergency Exercise at Colorado Springs Airport

Colorado Springs residents may see smoke, fire, and emergency personnel just south of the city’s airport Thursday morning.
 

It’s an exercise from the Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management and will simulate an airplane crash and hospital patient in-processing. Emergency Management Coordinator Erin Duran says 140 service members from Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base will even act as crash victims, complete with stage makeup.

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Southwest Chief
7:33 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Railroad West: Threat of Losing the Chief Could Mean the Return of Passenger Rail to Pueblo

Freight traffic comes in along the Arkansas River in Pueblo, behind the Union Depot
Shanna Lewis KRCC

Amtrak’s Southwest Chief rolls through parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas following the historic Santa Fe Trail as it travels between Los Angeles and Chicago. But unless needed repairs are made to the tracks, this section could be rerouted to neighboring states. Yet, the threat of losing this train may be the catalyst that ends up bringing passenger rail service back to Pueblo after a long hiatus.

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Public Safety
10:29 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Colorado Springs Fire Department Battling Blaze at Martin Drake Power Plant

Colorado Springs firefighters work on a blaze at the Martin Drake Power Plant
Credit CSFD

Investigators are on the scene at the Martin Drake Power Plant in downtown Colorado Springs after a four-alarm fire broke out this morning at the facility. The fire department reports two Utilities workers suffered minor injuries, one of whom was transferred to the hospital.  There are no reported injuries to firefighters.

At a press conference this afternoon, Fire Chief Chris Riley said only one of the plant evacuees suffered a minor injury.

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Capitol Coverage
7:08 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Marijuana Edible Proposal Watered Down

Credit clipart

A bill to require stricter labels for edible marijuana products faced a setback on Thursday. Members of the Senate Health and Human Services committee voted to study the issue rather than move forward with new labels. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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Capitol Coverage
7:06 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Wildfire Prevention Proposal Likely to Fail

Credit clipart

One of the key wildfire prevention measures of this year’s legislative session is in jeopardy of failing. The proposal has cleared the house, but as Bente Birkeland reports it faces new opposition in the senate.
 

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Capitol Coverage
4:45 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Electronic Data Search Warrants in Colorado

Credit clipart

Colorado voters are likely to decide whether law enforcement agencies need a warrant to search electronic records, such as data stored on cell phones. Lawmakers are trying to refer a measure to the November ballot. The U.S. Supreme Court heard hearing two cases on the issue yesterday. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
 

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