Andrea Chalfin

News Director

Andrea came to KRCC in 2008 by way of Missouri. She’s responsible for KRCC’s overall news presence, and oversees a cadre of freelancers and students.  Her award-winning work has been heard on NPR, The World (PRI), and the BBC. The Ohio native loves music and media, food, and the open road; it’s also not uncommon to see her taking a walk through downtown Colorado Springs.  Follow Andrea on Twitter @AndreaChalfin.

Whole Foods says it will stop selling products made by a Colorado prison labor program after a protest against the practice at one of its stores in Texas.  The company says the products should be out of its stores by April 2016, if not sooner. Whole Foods says it has sold tilapia and goat cheese produced through the Colorado Correctional Industries program in Canon City since at least 2011.

Prison reform advocates have likened the program to indentured servitude, citing low wages. 

The Colorado Springs Police Department has received a grant of $600,000 to purchase 500 body cameras. The department plans to assign the cameras to about 470 police officers who work closely with citizens.

Policies will come after public input, says CSPD Commander Pat Rigdon, adding that they'll also be informed by the department's pilot program and by what other police departments have done. 

The La Plata County Sheriff's Office is releasing more information in the case of Dylan Redwine, the Monument 13-year-old who disappeared in southwestern Colorado in 2012.  His remains were found less than a year later.

Earlier this summer, the sheriff's office said they had a person of interest.  Investigators are now naming that person as Mark Redwine, Dylan's father.  The county coroner has also amended Dylan's death certificate to reflect "homicide" as the cause of death, as opposed to "undetermined."

Colorado Springs City Council gave preliminary approval to place two measures on November's ballot that would benefit roads and parks. 

Mayor John Suthers formally presented his proposals at Tuesday's council meeting, one of which will ask residents for a .62% sales tax increase for road repairs.  It would sunset in five years and generate around $50 million each year.

Critics say that money can be found in the existing budget, but Suthers says that's just not realistic.

The city of Colorado Springs is continuing steps in smoothing over a contentious stormwater issue with its southern neighbor.  City Council yesterday passed a resolution allowing Mayor John Suthers to put $150,000 toward funding a restoration master plan for the Monument Creek Watershed.  Monument Creek flows into Fountain Creek.  High flows there have been causing problems for Pueblo downstream.

Pueblo City Council President Steve Nawrocki says he's been working with Mayor Suthers to address the chronic issue, adding that he's satisfied with the efforts thus far.

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. 

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.

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."

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.)

During the Cold War, the Army began making land acquisitions to develop a training site where mountain post soldiers could prepare for war in an environment similar to potential areas for deployment. The result was the establishment of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, an over 200,000 acre training area in Southeastern Colorado. More than 20 years later, in 2006, the Army sought to expand the site. Instead, they met a local organized resistance, and were unable to extend their training ground.  

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. 

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

Jason Turner / Photo courtesy: Pueblo Nature and Raptor Center

A member of the endangered California condor species was found far from home in a backyard near Colorado Springs.  The large bird was taken to the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo after being picked up by the Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and transported via Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteers.

Diana Miller, director of the Pueblo Nature and Raptor Center, said the bird was in good condition, despite being a little thin.

It was sent Tuesday morning to the Peregrine Fund in Arizona to be reintroduced into the wild.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Colorado Springs' newest mayor was sworn into office Tuesday with a ceremony outside the Pioneers Museum. 

Former state Attorney General John Suthers took the oath of office as city council, employees, residents and military representatives watched.  

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. 

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. 

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.


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.

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

El Paso County officials have closed several roads:

  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.

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, says the rain is helping ease those dry conditions.

John Suthers and Mary Lou Makepeace are in a runoff election for Colorado Springs mayor. Ballots are due by May 19. Credit and Edit | Remove


Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Colorado’s Southwest Chief commission met Friday, just days after $1.5 million in funding amendments were stripped from the House’s state budget proposal and another funding bill was put on indefinite hold. 

The commission is tasked with finding money for the route, including needed repairs to the tracks and for possibly adding a stop in Pueblo. 

Former Attorney General John Suthers and former Colorado Springs mayor Mary Lou Makepeace are headed to a runoff election next month to be the city’s next mayor.  Colorado Springs voters yesterday gave Suthers 46% of the vote, while Makepeace came in with 24%.  Among the other leading candidates, Joel Miller received 16% of the vote, while Amy Lathen received 12%.  The runoff election is scheduled for May 19.

Chris Woodka / Pueblo Chieftain

The projected growth of Colorado’s Front Range has water planners looking ahead to meet the demands of the population influx.  One way to meet the growing need is for utility companies to buy water rights from farmers and ranchers and then divert that water to cover the city’s needs, commonly called “Buy & Dry.”

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

High up in the Colorado Rockies, across the Continental Divide and northwest of Leadville, is the Homestake Reservoir, and lately, things have been looking good up there.  Colorado Springs Utilities put together a press tour of the region in mid-March to show where that water comes from and how they measure it to predict the year in water.

As winter’s grip begins to fade along the Front Range, water managers with Colorado Springs Utilities are closely monitoring what’s happening hundreds of miles away. 

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC


The themes of leadership, cooperation, and transparency resounded through an auditorium at UCCS at a recent mayoral forum, sponsored by local media organizations.  Billed as a debate featuring the four leading candidates in this year’s Colorado Springs mayoral race, the 90-minute event covered topics such as transportation and regional collaboration.

Listen to the full debate here, with candidates Amy Lathen, Joel Miller, John Suthers and Mary Lou Makepeace (see below for audio of specific questions and answers):