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Connecting the Drops
8:58 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Water Quality an Issue for Some Communities in Colorado's Eastern Plains

The City of Sterling spent $30 million on a water treatment plant that went into operations in November 2014.
Credit Maeve Conran

Coloradans pride themselves on the quality of their drinking water, most of which originates high up in the Rocky Mountains.  But many communities on the Eastern plains have water that not only tastes bad, it’s out of compliance with federal drinking water standards.

Many diners at the J and L Cafe in downtown Sterling are sipping on glasses of tap water as they enjoy lunch on this December morning.  That was not the case just a year ago. 

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Pueblo
4:51 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

EPA, Health Officials Meet to Discuss Superfund Testing

The Environmental Protection Agency and public health officials held open meetings Tuesday to talk with residents in the south Pueblo neighborhoods listed as a Superfund site in December. KRCC’s Shanna Lewis reports.

The EPA eventually wants to test soil samples around some 1900 homes. Previous testing found toxic lead and arsenic levels around the site of the former Colorado Smelter, which closed in 1908.

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Looking Up
4:15 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Comet Lovejoy

Credit 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 in the night sky right now.

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Fort Carson
11:10 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Governor Speaks in Support of Fort Carson

Governor John Hickenlooper spoke in support of Fort Carson Tuesday at a listening session in Colorado Springs.  The forum comes as the Army looks to reduce its numbers of active-duty soldiers by at least 40,000.

The reductions could impact up to 16,000 personnel at Fort Carson.  The listening session was one of 30 being held across Army bases aimed at providing input to the Pentagon before any decisions are made.

Governor Hickenlooper said Colorado has a long, proud history with the military, and provides training and support that is unique.

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Culture
1:52 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

Author Angela Ricketts Tells of War's Toll on the Homefront

Angela Ricketts
Credit Twitter

As the wife of an Army Colonel, Angela Ricketts knows firsthand the effects of war on the families of those who serve. In her acclaimed debut book, No Man's War: Irreverent Confessions of an Infantry Wife, she offers a behind-the-scenes look at the sacrifices made and the hardships endured by soldiers' spouses and children, and provides a rare glimpse into the tight-knit, sometimes insular community of military families. Hampton Sides, bestselling author of In The Kingdom of Ice, Blood and Thunder and Ghost Soldiers, spoke with Ricketts about her book.

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Fort Carson
2:00 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Community Listening Session for Input on Fort Carson

Army leadership is seeking public input in light of changes and cuts that could affect the Pikes Peak Region.  KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports on a community listening session held Tuesday.
 

The Army is looking to reduce the number of active duty soldiers by at least 40,000. The Regional Business Alliance says this could impact up to 16,000 personnel at Fort Carson.

4th Infantry Division spokesman Lt. Colonel Armando Hernandez says community input will play an important role in the coming changes.

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Capitol Conversation
7:45 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Physician Assisted Suicide

Capitol reporter Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Democratic lawmakers in Colorado recently introduced a measure to allow terminally ill patients to take medication to end their lives. The patients must be given a prognosis from two different physicians giving them less than six months to live.

Why do supporters say it’s the compassionate choice?

Who strongly opposes it?

Bente Birkeland discusses the proposal with statehouse reporters.

Some key points from the conversation:

Precautions in Place

Ivan Moreno with the Associated Press

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The Middle Distance
5:21 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Middle Distance 1.30.15: That Beckoning Horizon -- A Fond Farewell to The Middle Distance

 

After more than 200 episodes and nearly five years, Kathryn Eastburn has decided to retire The Middle Distance. It has been a pleasure to work with Kathryn, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors, whatever they may be. If you've enjoyed reading/hearing her column over the years, we hope you'll  join us in thanking her in the comment section below. 

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Capitol Coverage
4:58 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Background Checks for Youth Leagues Defeated

Credit file

A bill to require background checks for volunteers and employees of youth sports clubs failed to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Opponents said the measure had too many gaps in it. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

In Colorado, roughly 6 million children play in youth sports clubs, ranging from soccer and baseball to swimming and basketball.  Supporters say these sports clubs attract sexual predators because of lax standards.

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Colorado River
5:23 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Study Estimates Economic Value of the Colorado River

Map accompanying unrelated Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study
Credit Bureau of Land Management

A new study on the Colorado River estimates the Basin would lose almost two-thirds of its economic value were the waterway to run dry.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
 

Researchers at Arizona State University found the Colorado River system accounts for more than 1.4 trillion dollars in economic activity and provides nearly 16 million jobs. In Colorado, that would mean a loss of nearly 200 billion dollars of economic activity and 2 million jobs.

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Western Issues
4:43 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Drought Forum Looks at Tourism and Recreation

U. S. Drought Monitor
Credit Richard Tinker / NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

Experts from western states are gathering in New Mexico to talk about drought and its impacts on recreation and tourism.  KRCC's Tucker Hampson reports.
 

A video from the Western Governors Association shows a montage of streams and water formations affected by drought, some dry and barren.

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Connecting the Drops
10:11 am
Wed January 28, 2015

ICYMI: State Water Plan the Topic of Special Connecting the Drops Program

The state water plan was the topic of conversation for a special Connecting the Drops program that originally aired on Sunday, January 25. 

Guests:  

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Public Safety
4:57 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

3-Acre Fire Doused in Stratton Open Space

Firefighters put out a 3-acre fire in Stratton Open Space
Credit CSFD Twitter (@CSFDPIO)

UPDATE: 01/29/15, 9:41 AM: CSFD released official details of the fire last night.  It burned a total of 5.92 acres, with five agencies responding: Colorado Springs Fire Department, Colorado Springs Utilities Wildland Team, El Paso County Wildland Team, Pike National Forest Fire, Broadmoor Fire Rescue.

UPDATE: 01/27/15, 5:29 PM:  CSFD spokesman Captain Steve Oswald says a juvenile's misuse of a lighter caused the fire.

ORIGINAL REPORT:

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Capitol Coverage
2:58 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Physician Assisted Suicide Bill Introduced

Credit file

A bill to allow terminally ill patients to take their own lives was introduced at the state capitol Tuesday. Supporters say they want to give patients an option to die with dignity.
 

House Bill 1135 [.pdf] would let people who have less than six months to live take a prescription to die. 

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Local News
3:13 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

AFA Cadet Dies in Skiing Accident

An Air Force Academy cadet died in a ski accident at Keystone Resort in Summit County this past weekend.

First year cadet John “Jack” Lindsey was skiing on a mid-level run and wearing a helmet when the accident occurred and was pronounced dead on the scene.

In a statement, Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson offered her condolences to Lindsey’s family and those who knew him.

The academy is coordinating funeral arrangements with Lindsey’s family and support services are available.

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Capitol Conversation
7:31 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Republicans Flex New Senate Majority Status

Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Colorado’s new Republican Senate majority flexed their muscles last week at the state capitol. They used their power on the joint budget committee to defund a 2013 law allowing people in the country illegally to obtain a state driver’s license. They also struck down a bill to harmonize Colorado’s civil unions law with a gay marriage ban that was deemed unconstitutional by the 10th circuit court of appeals. They also struck down a commission looking pay equity between men and women.

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Connecting the Drops
8:10 am
Sun January 25, 2015

Connecting the Drops Live Call-In Program

Tune in to KRCC Sunday, January 25 at 5 PM for a special one-hour call-in Connecting the Drops program focusing on the State Water Plan.

The plan looks to find a way to meet the state’s growing water needs. But what does it mean for different stakeholders?  Joining us for a state wide discussion on the Colorado Water Plan are James Eklund, Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Jim Pokrandt with the Colorado River Water Conservation District  and Chris Woodka with the Pueblo Chieftain will be our guests, and your calls will be welcome at 800-737-3030.

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Capitol Coverage
1:59 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

State Republicans Look to Supreme Court for Civil Union/Gay Marriage Clarity

Credit file

Republicans at the state capitol defeated a bill on Wednesday that sought to clean up and harmonize the state’s civil unions and gay marriage laws. Lawmakers said they wanted to wait and see how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the issue this summer. Bente Birkeland has more.
 

 

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Capitol Conversation
9:54 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Capitol Conversation: Hickenlooper's State of the State

Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Governor John Hickenlooper gave his annual State of the State Address in front of a joint session of the General Assembly Thursday. 
 

Capitol Conversation Highlights

What stood out in Address

 Ed Sealover- Denver Business Journal

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Capitol Coverage
12:45 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Hickenlooper Q & A: 'We Have Some Very Difficult Choices to Make'

Governor John Hickenlooper
Credit Colorado.gov

Governor John Hickenlooper said he was intentionally vague at times during his annual state of the state address, which he delivered to the legislature on Thursday. He recently sat down to discuss his speech and what it means for the year ahead with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland.

Interview highlights:
 

Governor Hickenlooper on the Constitutional Conflicts between TABOR, Amendment 23 and Gallagher

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The Middle Distance
2:54 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

The Middle Distance 1.16.15: Two Full Pints of Pecans

 

This cold January, Mama keeps the heat cranked up to 73 and only goes outside to put out the mail. She’s down to less than 90 pounds, her weight about the same as her age, but she still glides around on her little cat feet from chore to chore, all day long, every day. By the time I get up in the morning she has already unloaded the dishwasher, brought in the newspaper and read it, made the coffee and warmed up the biscuits.

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Local News
11:34 am
Thu January 15, 2015

EPC Commissioner Darryl Glenn to Run for U.S. Senate

Darryl Glenn
Credit El Paso County Commissioners

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn has announced he will run for U.S. Senate in 2016.  The Republican cites issues like the economy, immigration, and veterans issues as among his main concerns.  In a statement, Glenn said his early announcement shows he’s committed to the time and networking necessary to create what he’s calling a “comprehensive strategic plan.”

Glenn has served on the Colorado Springs City Council and was recently elected to a second term as a commissioner.

Democrat Michael Bennet currently holds the senate seat.

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Capitol Coverage
4:00 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Mineral Rights Compensation Bill Introduced

State lawmakers are mostly holding off on introducing energy related bills this session. While oil and gas development is a hot topic, legislators are waiting for a report from the Governor’s Oil and Gas Task Force. The task force is holding meetings this week in Greeley and is charged with crafting recommendations to help mitigate the impacts of drilling to communities and harmonize local and state regulations. The group has held hearings across the state and the final meeting is next month.

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Capitol Coverage
7:58 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Hickenlooper, State Lawmakers Take Oath of Office

Credit file

Governor John Hickenlooper was sworn into office Tuesday for his second term. The ceremony took place on a chilly morning outside the west steps of the state capitol. Several hundred people gathered to watch Hickenlooper along with other statewide elected officials take the oath of office.
 

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Capitol Conversation
8:57 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Capitol Conversation: 2015 Legislative Session Opens

Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland
Credit D. Utterback

Colorado’s legislative session opened last week. As part of our Capitol Conversation series, statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland discusses the beginning of the session with other political reporters, and touches on some of the bills that were introduced during opening week.

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Colorado Traveler
6:00 am
Sun January 11, 2015

WINTER ON THE RANCH – A COOL EXPERIENCE

C Lazy U Ranch
Bing Images

The little sorrel mare plunges joyfully through the powdery drifts, like a carousel horse freed from its pole. Her shaggy winter coat is frosted with snow and when she pauses at the hilltop, she snorts steam and her sides heave with the effort. Yet, she tugs at the reins, seems eager to push on.

But not yet.

The view from here needs to be savored – silvery snow and dark evergreens are cast against the blue-jay sky over the Rocky Mountains near Granby.

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Local News
6:16 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

FBI Releases Sketch of Person of Interest in Explosion

Investigators released this composite sketch of a person they're looking for in relation to an explosion outside a building that includes the offices of the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP.
Credit FBI

Investigators have released a sketch of a man they say is connected to an explosion outside a building that includes the offices of the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP.

The man is described as white, around 40 years old, and balding.  Investigators say he was in the area at the time of the bombing and appeared to have carried something down an alley and returned to his truck empty handed.

Special Agent Thomas Ravenelle heads the FBI Denver field office and says they’re still not speculating on motive.

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The Middle Distance
6:40 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

The Middle Distance, 1.9.15: Migrations

Credit Kathryn Eastburn

The plan was to fly, but at the last minute I decided to drive instead. I’d set aside a month to visit my mother on the Texas Gulf coast over Christmas and into the new year, and I reasoned it would be good to have my car for the month in Galveston, if the mechanic deemed it roadworthy for the 2,500-mile round trip.

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Health
2:37 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Measles Confirmed in El Paso County Patient

El Paso County Public Health officials say someone who traveled to Colorado Springs last month has tested positive for measles.  The case may be connected to nine other measles cases in two other states where the patients visited Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park in mid-December. 

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Public Safety
11:32 am
Thu January 8, 2015

Local Law Enforcement & NAACP, Mayor Release Statements about Explosion

Local officials have released statements in response to Tuesday's explosion outside a building that houses the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP, as well as a business.  

A joint statement distributed by the Colorado Springs Police Department comes from local law enforcement agencies and Colorado Springs NAACP President Henry Allen, Jr.:

 

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