Screenshot from a shared video of the proceedings

The alleged gunman in Friday’s shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood appeared in court for the first time today. KRCC’s Jake Brownell attended the hearing at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center, and has this report:



As reporters and cameramen awaited the first advisement hearing of Robert Lewis Dear, a line of squad cars formed across the street, in front of the El Paso County Coroner's office.


Authorities have identified the civilian victims of Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic on the city's northwest side as 35-year-old Jennifer Markovsky and 29-year-old Ke'Arre Marcell Stewart.  Officials previously identified UCCS Police Officer Garrett Swasey as another fatality.

Stewart was a veteran of the Iraq War who recently left the military.  Markovsky is being described as a kind-hearted, lovable person. 

Swasey's family released a statement Sunday, thanking people for their support and asking for privacy.  

The two civilians killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday were Ke'Arre Stewart, a father of two and Army veteran who served in Iraq, and Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two who was reportedly at the clinic to support a friend.

A resource center is opening today to assist people directly impacted by Friday's shooting incident.  It will open today at 1:00 at the Mortgage Solutions Financial Center, 3650 North Nevada.  Support personnel will be on hand from the police and fire departments, sheriff's office, District Attorney's office, as well as mental health and spiritual care professionals.

Andrea Chalfin

Vigils are being held in Colorado Springs Saturday for the victims of Friday's shootout at the Planned Parenthood clinic on the city's northwest side. Governor John Hickenlooper has ordered flags lowered to half-staff until further notice. 

Three were killed Friday as a gunman holed up in the clinic for hours.  Among the dead are two civilians, and Officer Garrett Swasey, a six-year veteran of the police department at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

UPDATE Saturday 4 PM: Updated information from the city says four civilians were transported to hospitals with gunshot wounds during the incident.  Five law enforcement officers, four with the Colorado Springs Police Department and one from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, were also taken to hospitals with gunshot wounds.  Three additional police officers were injured.  All are in good condition and expected to make full recoveries.

Noel Black

44-year-old Officer Garrett Swasey has been identified as the police officer killed in today's incident. Swasey was a six-year veteran of the UCCS Police Department, and was responding in support of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

UPDATE: 7:00 PM MST:  Colorado Springs police are confirming three fatalities, two civilians and one police officer from UCCS.

Four other civilians and five officers are in the hospital in "good condition."

Fostering Fish Recovery in the Colorado River Basin

Nov 24, 2015
Laura Palmisano

Some native fish in the Colorado River and its tributaries are struggling to stay afloat.  Invasive species, dams and water diversions all complicate the recovery of endangered fish in those waterways.  One long-standing program ties together federal and state agencies with regional groups to help these cold-blooded creatures make a comeback.

Drones to Take to the Sky in the San Luis Valley

Nov 24, 2015

Two different drones will take flight over the San Luis Valley following Federal Aviation Administration approval. 

The FAA has approved the launching and testing of two drones in an 8000 square mile airspace near the airport in Alamosa County.

Brian Argrow, professor of aerospace and engineering sciences at The University of Colorado Boulder, was involved in getting FAA approval. "Everyday there's some new application that people are using the drones for and this is all in the interest of tapping into this market," he said.

Deputy Chief J. Petersma / Falcon Fire Department

Crews from several El Paso County area fire departments responded to a grass fire in the eastern part of the county Tuesday afternoon.  The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says its dispatch office sent out nearly 130 reverse 911 calls to nearby residents, and a voluntary evacuation was put in place for residents bound by Shear, Edison, Fossinger, and Yoder Roads.


Bustang is expanding to some weekend service starting Saturday.


A national crowd-sourcing project from the U.S. Geological Survey that began in Colorado is offering map enthusiasts an extra incentive to contribute to the National Map during International Map Year.

Nicole Nicoletta is Manitou Springs' newest mayor after the completion of the official election canvass.

After El Paso County election officials considered military and overseas votes, which were due by November 12, a 10-vote margin still separated Nicole Nicoletta from Coreen Toll.

Ryan Parsell with the clerks office says the race was close, but says it wasn't "close enough to trigger a recount.  Close enough certainly to generate a lot of interest in what the procedure is or would have been if a recount had been necessary."

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Monday that Colorado would accept Syrian refugees. President Barack Obama said the U.S. would receive at least 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year, but a growing list of Republican governors pledged to block refugees from relocating to their states.

"We can protect our security and provide a place where the world's most vulnerable can rebuild their lives," said Hickenlooper in a statement.

A study of the 2012 Waldo Canyon wildfire recommends that crews fighting similar fires that spread into urban areas be trained in both structure protection and traditional wildland firefighting tactics. 

Alex Maranghides, fire protection engineer for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST says the investigation shows defensive measures specifically designed for the wildland urban interface, or WUI, can benefit firefighting efforts.

Lt. Governor Joe Garcia to Step Down

Nov 10, 2015
Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado's Lt. Governor Joe Garcia announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from the position next year, after five years on the job. He also heads the Colorado Department of Higher Education and will leave that post to helm a higher education policy group for the western U.S., called the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

Colorado Springs residents can expect to see road repairs taking place after ballot measure 2C was approved with 65% of the vote. 

The measure allows for a .62% sales tax increase to go toward road maintenance, and is expected to draw around 50 million dollars a year in revenue.

Mayor John Suthers said he plans to appoint a five person advisory committee to review progress, and added that the Public Works Department will issue occasional updates.

Trails to Get a Facelift After 2D Passes

Nov 5, 2015
Colorado Springs

Voters overwhelmingly decided to allow Colorado Springs to retain $2.1 million in excess revenue to repair and improve eight stretches of trail throughout the city.

The targeted trails include Shooks Run, Skyline, and the Sand Creek Trails.

Karen Palus, head of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said the improvements will include trail resurfacing and increased signage. Palus also said they’ll try to minimize the impacts to trail users.

The polls are closed and ballots are being counted across the state on a variety of issues.  These results are not final as ballots are still being counted.

Results as of 5:40 AM Wednesday.

Statewide, Proposition BB, which would allow the state to keep tax revenue from marijuana, is passing with 67% of the vote in favor.

In Colorado Springs, voters have approved Issue 2C with 65% in favor.  It will increase the sales tax by .62% to help pay for road repairs and is expected to raise about $50 million annually for five years.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Department and Colorado Springs Police Department have released the identities of the victims from Saturday morning's shooting incident. 

33-year old Noah Harpham killed three before being killed by police in a shootout.  The original victims have been identified as:

35-year old Andrew Myers
42-year-old Jennifer Vasquez
34-year old Christina Baccus-Gallela. 

Roads Update 9:42 PM Sat 10/31/15: All roads are now open. 

Roads Update 7:20 PM Sat 10/31/15:  Platte and Wasatch are open.  There are still closures on Prospect.

Original post:

Authorities are keeping several city blocks closed near downtown Colorado Springs through much of Saturday as they investigate an incident that resulted in four fatalities, including the death of the suspect.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Camping fees for Colorado Parks and Wildlife are going up to help keep up with rising maintenance and utility costs. 

The fee increase will be anywhere from $2-$10 a night depending on the campsite, with the exception of primitive campsites that don't have electrical outlets or restrooms nearby.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Manda Walters says even with the added cost, she doesn't see visitor numbers dropping.

Milken Family Foundation

A middle school teacher in Pueblo County is one of up to 40 nationwide to win a Milken Educator Award.

Former Staff Sergeant Ryan Moore has taught for seven years after spending six in the Army.  The 8th grade science teacher at Liberty Pointe International in Pueblo West was surprised by the award, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000. 

Moore says his teaching philosophy is based on relationships.

"Through relationship teaching, you learn about these kids, you learn about their home lives, you learn about their struggles, you learn about their successes," says Moore.  "And when you do that, teaching becomes easy because you know how to reach them.  And it also becomes easy because you want to help these kinds once you know them."

Moore says he genuinely loves his work and the people at his school. 

Milken Educator Awards come from the Milken Family Foundation, which cites Moore's classroom imagination and leadership as some of the reasons for the award.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Dozens of watch parties were held across the state Wednesday night as the GOP presidential contenders held their third debate at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

At the Epernay Lounge in downtown Denver, business and grass roots Republican groups hosted about 150 people. The crowd mostly consisted of moderate Republicans; many were undecided and had several possibilities for support.

Shanna Lewis / KRCC

Work to repair and extend the levees that protect downtown Pueblo from flooding will likely get underway again early next year, a little later than expected.

This phase of the project includes taking about 12 feet off the top of the Arkansas River levee. The dirt removed will be used to extend the levee along Wild Horse Creek, which flows into the Arkansas.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado will take center stage when the GOP presidential hopefuls hold their third debate, taking place at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was also recently on campus. CU students said all the activity is engaging younger voters ahead of the 2016 race.

Freshman Eliza Leeson is a Humanities major. She was among the roughly nine thousand students who attended the Bernie Sanders rally in Boulder.

State and county officials are encouraging voters to return ballots in person if they're not yet mailed.

The request comes after some voters experienced delays in receiving their ballots for the November 3rd election. Reports show that some are going to and from Denver multiple times before being delivered to voters.

Ryan Parsell of the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office says he’s never seen this problem before, and suggests that voters use the ballot drop off locations instead.

Steve Wilson / Flickr - Creative Commons

Efforts to fund much-needed repairs to Amtrak's Southwest Chief line got an extra boost Monday as the U. S. Department of Transportation awarded $15.2 million to the project.  Combined with matching funds, the grant, known as a TIGER grant, totals $24.5 million.

"This is really a huge win," said Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace, who also heads the state's Southwest Chief commission. "And [it] shows that if you put aside your differences, you forget about party, if you forget about state lines, if you all work together you can accomplish great things."

Sample Ballot / El Paso County Clerk & Recorder

The highest profile item on this year's ballot in Colorado Springs is Issue 2C. The mayor and city council are proposing a .62% increase in the sales tax to help pay for road repairs. Opponents of the tax say there's enough money already in the city's budget.

The proposed tax increase is estimated to add $50 million dollars a year, in each of the next five years, to the road repair fund. And, according to Councilwoman Jill Gaebler, the extra money is needed because the city has fallen behind. She says part of the problem is a lack of funding and part is the city's growth.

Maggie Spencer / KRCC

Efforts to fund much-needed repairs to Amtrak's Southwest Chief line got an extra boost today as the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded 15.2 million dollars to the project. 

Combined with matching funds, the grant, known as a TIGER grant, totals 24.5 million. Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace heads the state's Southwest Chief commission: