News

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

As a result of Colorado's booming oil production, energy companies are paying more in severance taxes – money they pay the state for taking minerals out of the ground. Half of it is supposed to go to back to local communities, both directly and through grants. But thanks to market forces and political conditions in Denver, it's not always a stable source of funding.

Furiously Fast

May 25, 2015
NASA

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

The absolute favorite of many astronomers is visible in the sky right now, the planet Saturn. It is hard to express how beautiful Saturn is through a telescope, so you really do want to come to one of our public star parties and take a peek. Saturn’s beauty will take your breath away. It has rings!

HSPPR Pet of the Day: Sandy

May 22, 2015

I'm Sandy, and I can’t wait to spend my retirement with you! I first came to HSPPR's sister shelter, Pueblo Animal Services, in mid-April because my owners couldn’t care for me anymore. I wasn’t finding my new family there, so now I am here in the Springs hoping to meet the family that will keep me and love me for the rest of my life! Like most seniors, I am content to nap quietly on your couch for most of the day. I am very sweet and friendly, and I just love receiving calm attention.

Steve Wilson / Flickr - Creative Commons

The Colorado Department of Transportation Commission voted unanimously to approve $1 million to help preserve the Southwest Chief rail line in southern Colorado. It's part of a route that stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles.

The aging track needs major upgrades or Amtrak will have to reroute the line out of Colorado and parts of New Mexico and Kansas. The train stops in Lamar, La Junta and Trinidad, in southeastern Colorado.

A series of workshops this month looks to discuss the future of bicycling in Colorado Springs.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.

The forums will help update the Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan, which lays out a ten-year strategy for the improvement of bicycling conditions in the city.

Brian Shevock is the Bicycle Coordinator for the city. He says his biggest challenge is the spread out nature of Colorado Springs.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Former Colorado Attorney General John Suthers will be the next mayor of Colorado Springs.  

Suthers soundly defeated former Colorado Springs mayor Mary Lou Makepace in a runoff election by a two to one margin.  He said Tuesday night that he was humbled by the response, but there’s work to be done.

"The challenge is very, very significant," Suthers said. "And so I take delight in the political victory tonight, but tomorrow, we hit the ground running and working very very hard."

  Colorado Springs officials are seeking disaster assistance after rain in early May caused an estimated $8.2 million in damages to public infrastructure, including roads, stormwater, and parks and trails. The local disaster declaration covers rainstorms and flooding from May 3 to the 12th.  Initial reports indicate an estimated $281,000 for sinkholes, 5 million for stormwater damages, including landslides and erosion, and nearly 3 million for parks and trails. 

HSPPR Pet of the Day: Snow Bear

May 19, 2015

Hi! I'm Snow Bear, a 1-year-old spayed white shorthair. I came to HSPPR because my owners were moving and couldn’t take me with them. I'm deaf, so I'm looking for a loving home that will keep me safe indoors. I have lived with  dogs and children before, but sometimes I don't do well with other cats. My winning personality should do well in most households. I love being held and even know how to play fetch! Come adopt me today!

Colorado Springs voters will elect a new mayor on Tuesday in a runoff race featuring former Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and former Colorado Springs mayor Mary Lou Makepeace.

As of late last week, 37% of residents who received ballots have cast their votes.  Around 7000 ballots mailed to voters were deemed undeliverable. 

Spike to Spica

May 18, 2015
nasa

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

A few episodes ago we talked about the star Arcturus, and how you could find it by following the curve of the handle of the Big Dipper across the sky. Today let’s talk about what happens if you keep following that same curve past Arcturus. You can speed on, to Spica

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Commencement for Colorado College's class of 2015 begins at 8:30 a.m. on Monday in its rain back-up location: the World Arena.  CLICK HERE FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT COMMENCEMENT MOVING.

The late Myron Wood was one of the most prolific  photographers of the Pikes Peak Region and Southwest during the 20th Century. Though he himself never achieved the degree of fame that his talents might merit, students of his such as Robert Adams gained renown in the New Landscape movement.

Flickr / Creative Commons

The new aerial fire fighting research center in Rifle opened this week with a ribbon cutting.  Melissa Lineberger is the director of the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, and recently spoke with KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh about her experience with wildfires and her vision for the program.
 

BACK ON THE AIR

May 14, 2015

KRCC's signal in Colorado Springs has gone down as of about 9:10am 5/14/15.  We're uncertain of the cause.  Our engineer is rushing to correct the problem.  Thanks for your patience.

UPDATE 9:40am: It appears that our link to our main transmitter has gone down and we are unable to deliver audio.  Our engineer is headed to Cheyenne mountain to turn on older, microwave equipment.  We'll post more updates as we learn more.

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The USA Pro Challenge recently announced the route for this year’s bicycling race, and as expected, Colorado Springs was not among the stage cities.  KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The race provides an economic boost to all of Colorado, bringing in over $100 million statewide.

Director of Communications with the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau Chelsy Offutt says the event continues to grow, with a 12% increase in revenue last year. Offut says Colorado Springs did put in a bid to host the Pro Challenge this year, but didn’t make the cut.

El Paso County Commissioners have voted to approve two settlements in claims brought against the Sheriff’s office, former Sheriff Terry Maketa, and former Undersheriff Paula Presley.  The claims allege lost income and benefits due to a hostile work environment.
 

County Attorney Amy Folsom said at Tuesday morning’s commissioner’s meeting that her office has analyzed the risk of liability and evaluated the potential cost of litigation in each case.

Featuring performances by Carolyn Wonderland, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, Mr. Sipp, Mulebone, and BJ Estares and Route 61.   

Pre-festival parties!

A live broadcast of BJ Estares and Route 61 (free) in the Ivywild Gymnasium at noon on Wednesday the 22nd of July,  Mulebone (free) at Quinns Pub Thursday evening the 23rd of July, and Carolyn Wonderland (free with a Blues Under the Bridge ticket/$15 general admission) at the Gold Room Friday the evening of July 24th. 

Regal Regulus

May 11, 2015
clipart.com

  This is “Looking UP! in southern Colorado,” from the Colorado Springs Astronomical Society. I’m Hal Bidlack, and there are lots of reasons to look up!

As you look up in the southern Colorado sky, did you know that you can see a lion? 

NWS-Pueblo

UPDATE 5:08 PM:  Watches and warnings continue to evolve as the weather system continues to move eastward.  A tornado watch remains in effect for much of southern and eastern Colorado, including Pueblo and El Paso Counties until 9:00 PM.  Flood warnings remain in effect for portions of El Paso, Pueblo, Otero and Bent Counties. Winter storm warnings are in effect for northeastern El Paso County, Teller County, and north into Douglas County, among other regions.

Rains this week have stalled roadwork on Kiowa and Bijou streets in downtown Colorado Springs. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The roads were milled and ready for paving when the recent heavy rainfalls hit, causing them to deteriorate. Colorado Springs Street Division Manager Corey Farkas says while they can’t plan for the weather, it hasn’t affected the project timeline.

Colorado’s state legislature wrapped up its work on Wednesday. Lawmakers covered a host of topics during their four months under gold dome. It was also the first session since Republicans re-gained controlled of the state senate. Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about the session as part of our capitol conversation series.
 

UPDATE: Vollmer has reopened. Tapadero and Green Mountain Rds. remain closed. 

El Paso County officials have closed several roads:

HSPPR Pet of the Day: Greg

May 8, 2015

If you are looking for a well-dressed gentleman who can’t wait to greet your guests at the door, come check me out! I'm Greg, a 2-year-old neutered black kitty. I came in as a stray, so HSPPR doesn’t know much about me, but it’s clear I have had plenty of experience with people before. I am an active young man who would enjoy having all the attention I can get – and lots of toys if you leave me home by myself! I love a good headscratch and can’t wait to explore my new home with you. Come adopt me today!

Trinidad is reeling from a mass layoff. KRCC's Dana Cronin reports.
 

Around 100 people are losing their jobs at the Pioneer Natural Resources branch in Trinidad. The Texas-based oil and gas company was the largest employer in the city, says Gabriel Engeland, Trinidad's City Manager, who adds that the layoffs are devastating both economically and socially.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

State lawmakers waited until the last minute to decide some of the biggest issues hanging over the capitol for the 2015 legislative session. They worked overtime to get everything wrapped up before a midnight deadline Wednesday night.
 

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A bill to raise the salaries of state lawmakers and other elected officials quietly made its way through the state house in the final days of the legislative session. It passed on the last day of the session clearing the House with the minimum number of required votes. It had virtually no debate in either chamber.

“People in my district, whenever I tell them how much we make as lawmakers up here, are astounded. They are kind of appalled,” said Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City). He voted for the measure in the Senate where it passed with a wider margin.

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Colorado will soon have a felony DUI law on the books.  On the final day of the legislative session, the Senate passed House Bill 1043 [.pdf] to create a felony DUI for habitual drunk driving offenders. It passed the Senate 34-1.

Anthony Artusa / NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

Up to two inches of rain have fallen in parts of southern Colorado today, providing additional relief to some dry conditions in the plains.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
 

As of the end of April, the U.S. Drought Monitor showed portions of southern Colorado were still classified as severe drought.

Eric Petersen, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pueblo and says the rain is helping ease those dry conditions.

Journalist and novelist Peter Heller has led a life of adventure, covering extraordinary stories in remote parts of the world for such magazines as Outside, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He’s the author of several critically acclaimed books of nonfiction, and more recently, he’s made a foray into fiction-writing with his bestselling novel The Dog Stars and his new book, The Painter. He’ll be in Colorado Springs to speak at Colorado College on Wednesday as part of the Journalist-In-Residence speaker series.

Private landowners can now sign up for classes focusing on how to conduct safer pile burns. KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
 

Those who complete the course become certified burners and will also be protected on a limited basis from civil liability.

"It’s not just a simple go out and light the match. There’s a lot of steps that go into prescribed fire,” said Mike Frary, Unit Chief for Prescribed Fire for the Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

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