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News from the KRCC Newsroom.

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Health
3:53 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Rabid Bat Found in El Paso County

Health officials are reporting the first rabid bat of the season in El Paso County. As KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports, rabies is also showing up in surrounding areas.
 

    

Three children discovered the bat in Southwest Colorado Springs, and two were recommended for rabies post exposure treatment.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says as of early last month, 24 wild animals across the state have tested positive for the disease this year. Three were found in surrounding Pueblo and Elbert counties.

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Eightmile Fire
4:45 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Firefighters Battle Eightmile Fire in Fremont County

Google Map provided by Inciweb of the Eightmile Fire near Cañon City.
Credit Google Maps / Inciweb

UPDATE: According to a Tuesday morning press release, the pre-evacuation notice for those 16 residences in the Red Rocks subdivision was lifted around 8 PM last night, though Phantom Canyon Road remains closed.  Containment remains at 40%.

UPDATE: As of around 8 PM Monday evening, the fire is about 40% contained.  Pre-evacuation notice remains in effect for 16 residences in the Red Rocks subdivision; Phantom Canyon Road remains closed.

Original Post: 

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Capitol Conversation
12:00 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Capitol Conversation: After the Primaries

Bente Birkeland

After last week’s primary elections in Colorado, Bente Birkeland sat down with other statehouse reporters to talk about the Governor’s race and to analyze the upcoming political season.
 

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Drought
11:01 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Parts Of Southeast Colorado Drier Than The Dust Bowl

Entrance to the town of Rocky Ford, which is experiencing a longer dry period longer than it did during the Dust Bowl.
Luke Runyon KUNC

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 11:41 am

Parts of Southeast Colorado are experiencing a longer period of drought than the dry times that occurred during the Dust Bowl.

According to Nolan Doesken, the state climatologist, the past three years and eight months have been the driest stretch ever recorded for some parts of the state, including Rocky Ford, La Junta and Ordway.

"It was drier than the worst consecutive drought period of the 30s and of the 50s," said Doesken.

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Elections
7:33 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Q & A with GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Bob Beauprez

Credit U.S. House

In one of his first interviews since winning the GOP nod to challenge Governor John Hickenlooper, Bob Beauprez sat down with Bente Birkeland to discuss some of the key issues in the campaign. The Catholic former congressman explains his support for the death penalty, and why he decided to run for Governor after losing his gubernatorial race in 2006 by double digits.
 

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Tumbleweed
9:25 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

'Tumbleweed Eater' Works to Take a Bite Out of the Invasive Plant

A Skid Steer Loader pulls tumbleweed out of a ditch.
Tucker Hampson KRCC

It’s harvest season in El Paso County, but this crop isn’t exactly what one might expect. KRCC's Tucker Hampson reports.
 

A Skid Steer Loader, which looks kind of like a big Bobcat, pulls tumbleweeds out of a ditch. The tumbleweeds are then chopped up by a converted 1995 John Deere Harvester, dubbed the Tumbleweed Eater, and then shot out into neighboring fields.

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Elections
12:32 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Lamborn Ekes Out GOP Primary Win in 5th Congressional District

Retired Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn, accompanied by his wife Debbi, concedes in the 5th Congressional District.
Credit Dana Cronin

 
In Congressional District 5, Tuesday’s primary election was so close that it wasn’t until 10:45 p.m. that retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn finally congratulated incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn, who led by 3,762 votes, or slightly more than 5 percentage points, out of about 72,000 votes cast.

Speaking from his campaign gathering at a Colorado Springs charter school, Rayburn praised his team for their work, acknowledging “we jumped into this thing at the absolute last minute.”

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Elections
2:03 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Primary Elections: Recapping the Major Races

The race to be Colorado’s next Governor is officially underway. Former Congressman Bob Beauprez will challenge Governor John Hickenlooper in November after winning a four -way GOP primary race. Beauprez captured a four-point lead over his closest challenger, Tom Tancredo.  Voters in El Paso County threw their support behind Beauprez, but in Pueblo County and most of southern Colorado, Republican voters supported Scott Gessler.

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Elections
10:03 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Beauprez Gets GOP Nod, Will Face Hickenlooper In Governors Race

Bob Beauprez has won the GOP Primary for the Governors Race and will face off against the incumbent, John Hickenlooper in November.
Beauprez-U.S. House / Hickenlooper-State of Colorado

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 9:45 pm

The race to be Colorado’s next Governor is officially underway. Former Congressman Bob Beauprez will challenge Governor John Hickenlooper in November after winning a four way GOP primary race. Beauprez captured a four-point lead over his closest challenger, Tom Tancredo.

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Wildfire Mitigation
2:40 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Wildfire Mitigation Grants Available

Credit clipart

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources is offering $3.9 million in grants to help reduce the risk of wildfire. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports. 

This is the third round of funds awarded to groups like non-profits and utilities that strive to reduce the effects of wildfire on communities.

The program is focused on mitigation projects that help protect infrastructure, water supplies, and property, according to Lisa Dale with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

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Drought
5:18 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Recent Storms Help Ease Drought Conditions in Southeast Colorado

Most recent map from the U.S. Drought Monitor
Credit Eric Luebehusen / USDA

Recent thunderstorms in Southeast Colorado have helped to ease drought conditions there. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

Moderate to exceptional drought has persisted in Southeast Colorado for several years now.

Meteorologist Tom Magnuson with National Weather in Pueblo says conditions have improved after winter and spring precipitation.

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Arkansas River
4:16 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Two-Mile Section of Arkansas River Reopens

Credit Colorado Parks and Wildlife

A two-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Salida has reopened to boaters.  It closed at the beginning of June due high waters that caused a hazard at a recently constructed boat chute.  The portage trail used to bypass the chute had also become impassable.

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Elections
11:15 am
Mon June 23, 2014

4th Congressional District & Gubernatorial Races: Analyzing the Primaries

Colorado’s primary election is on Tuesday, and in many ways it marks the beginning of the political season that will culminate in November. Two GOP primary races are being closely watched.
 

The race in Colorado’s 4th Congressional district is surprisingly competitive. When Congressman Cory Gardner unexpectedly decided to run for U.S. Senate it left the race wide open. The district spans most of Eastern Colorado from New Mexico to Wyoming and includes Greeley.

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Pikes Peak Library District
4:02 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Grand Opening of PPLD's '21st Century Library'

Inside the Pikes Peak Library District's new '21st Century Library"
Credit PPLD

The Pikes Peak Library District is set to officially open its new 21st Century branch in northern Colorado Springs Saturday. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The branch houses several new types of facilities to provide equipment for aspiring artists, writers and filmmakers to learn and apply their skills. There’s also a new 400-seat theater designed for community shows, plays, and live music. 

District spokesman Travis Duncan says libraries are not static structures anymore, and the new branch will provide creative spaces for people to interact.

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Health
4:11 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

West Nile Virus Circulating Earlier Than Expected

West Nile virus is appearing in mosquitoes across the state earlier than expected this year. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The virus has been found in mosquito populations in northern Colorado counties and on the Western Slope. State Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer House says they’re not sure why mosquitoes are showing up with the virus earlier this the year, but that means people are at risk sooner than expected.

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Marijuana
1:08 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Marijuana Advocates Celebrate Pot's Legalization At Hunter S. Thompson's Owl Farm

Signs posted outside of the late Hunter S. Thompson's old homestead Owl Farm normally keep people out. But, a group of marijuana advocates recently celebrated Colorado's legalization of pot there.
Credit Marci Krivonen / Aspen Public Radio

 
Some of the heavy hitters in the marijuana community celebrated its legalization in Colorado at an event in Woody Creek recently. The group NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, held a cookout at Owl Farm, Hunter S. Thompson’s old homestead. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen was there and has this report:
 

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Elections
7:36 am
Wed June 18, 2014

GOP 4th Congressional Candidates Spar In Advance Of June Primary

The 2014 candidates for the 4th Congressional District seat. From left to right; Ken Buck, Barbara Kirkmeyer, Steve Laffey and Scott Renfroe
Photos courtesy of the campaigns

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 6:41 am

Four candidates are vying for the Republican Party’s nomination in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District after U.S. Representative Cory Gardner’s surprise decision to run for the U.S. Senate against Democratic Senator Mark Udall.

CBS 4 and Colorado Public Television recently hosted a debate with the four GOP candidates competing in the conservative and vast district that stretches from Wyoming all the way to New Mexico and the Kansas border.

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Elections
5:51 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

5th Congressional District Primary: Lamborn, Rayburn Debate

Doug Lamborn, left, and his GOP Primary challenger, Bentley Rayburn

Colorado’s 5th Congressional District consists of El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Chafee and Park Counties, and has been held by Republican Doug Lamborn since 2007.  Primary elections are next week, and last night, Lamborn and his GOP challenger Retired Major General Bentley Rayburn came together for a debate, sponsored by several local media organizations.
 

    

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El Paso County
5:11 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Maketa Appears before El Paso County Commissioners

Credit Staff Photo / El Paso County

El Paso County Commissioners invited Sheriff Terry Maketa to their board meeting Tuesday to answer questions about the functionality of the department. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

Sheriff Maketa says the allegations and subsequent investigations into his alleged wrongdoings are not interfering with emergency operations, but IT restrictions even after the seizure of hard drives and collecting of disk images are hampering fieldwork.

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Elections
3:15 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Voter Service & Polling Centers Open in El Paso County

The three remaining Motor Vehicle Offices in El Paso County are now also open as Voter Service and Polling Centers as primary election day draws near. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

Of the 214,000 ballots that went out earlier this month, over 33,000 of them have been returned so far. Most of them are expected to be returned by mail, according to Ryan Parsell, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Spokesman. Parsell added they expect between 30-35% of those who received a ballot to return them.

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Wildfires
9:10 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Smoke, Haze in Southern Colorado Due to Out-of-State Fires

Smoke and haze has moved into Colorado from fires in Arizona. 

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El Paso County
4:13 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Effort to Recall El Paso County Sheriff Moves Forward

A group seeking to recall embattled El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa received approval from the Clerk and Recorder’s office to begin collecting signatures.  KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin has more.

A resubmitted petition from the group was accepted after an initial effort was rejected on the grounds that it didn’t meet legal standards.  According to the Clerk’s office, backers need to gather more than 44,000 signatures to recall Sheriff Maketa in November. 

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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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