State lawmakers are back to work under the gold dome for the annual legislative session. As part of our capitol conversation series, Bente Birkeland talks to political reporters about the first few days, and the Governor’s state of the state address.
Governor John Hickenlooper says Colorado has weathered a tough year but showed the world what it means to come together and be strong. The Governor gave what could be his final state of the state address on Thursday – before facing reelection in the fall.
The Governor’s speech began on a somber note as he remembered the tests Colorado faced in 2013. The head of the State’s Department of Corrections was gunned down. Natural disasters plagued the summer and fall – and then there was December’s shooting at Arapahoe High School…
Officials in the Pikes Peak region are seeking volunteers to help staff call centers in the event of another large emergency. The effort comes from Pikes Peak United Way 211, the City of Colorado Springs, and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 4:08 pm
As the 2014 legislative session opened Wednesday, newly elected state Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) – the second woman to hold the position – urged lawmakers to problem solve and skip the shouting matches in her opening day speech.
State lawmakers return to the capitol on Wednesday and they face a tough political climate. Several members are running for higher office. The makeup in the senate has also changed since last session: two Democrats were recalled for supporting stricter gun laws, and another Democrat resigned rather than face a potential recall election. Bente Birkeland discusses how politics will shape the legislature as part of our ongoing Capitol Conversation series.
Chico Basin Ranch sits on the high prairie just 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs. The sprawling family-run, working cattle ranch spans 87,000 acres and is home to animals both tame and wild. KRCC's Martha Perez-Sanz wanted to know more about the life of a modern day 'cowboy' and has this audio postcard from a visit to the Ranch.
The Rocky Mountain Field Institute held its last trail maintenance event of the year in mid-November at Garden of the Gods. Around 75 volunteers from all parts of the Colorado Springs community showed up to help. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore was there and has this audio postcard.
The Rocky Mountain Field Institute is participating in IndyGive! KRCC is a partner in IndyGive!
People come from far and wide to hike the Manitou Incline, especially now that it’s legal. Rain, shine, or even snow, everyone who makes the trek has his or her own motivation. Along with her friend Mariel Dempster, KRCC’s Kate Dunn made the journey during the cold and snowy weather we recently had in the Pikes Peak region, and brought back this audio postcard.
The Incline daily record holder, Greg Cummings, was known for making the trek 601 times in a year.
It’s an annual tradition in the Rocky Mountain Region for folks to search for holiday trees in the National Forests. Permitting has largely closed for the season, but KRCC’s Maggie Spencer recently set out into the Pikes Peak Ranger District with fire prevention officer Dawn Sanchez and found the Gurzi’s of Colorado Springs on the hunt for their tree. She brought back this audio postcard.
State lawmakers are once again heading into a legislative session following a school shooting. Colorado passed controversial gun laws earlier this year in the wake of the Aurora theatre shooting and the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Bente Birkeland takes a look back at the gun legislation and talks to lawmakers who are taking stock of things.
El Paso County Commissioners have approved a zoning request regarding a proposed wind farm in the eastern part of the county. Here’s the press release:
Following a day long public hearing, the Board of El Paso County Commissioners this evening gave its approval to a zoning request that will clear the way for the development of a large wind farm in eastern El Paso County.
For decades, housing developments in the suburbs have come complete with golf courses, tennis courts, strip malls and swimming pools. But make way for the new subdivision amenity: the specialty farm.
A new model for suburban development is springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement. Farms, complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees, are serving as a way to entice potential buyers to settle in a new subdivision.
Democratic state lawmakers say a new law requiring universal background checks for gun purchases is working well. Data from the Department of Public Safety shows 2% of private gun sales were blocked because of the law.
Seventy-two sales were stopped because the would-be buyer was convicted or charged with a serious crime; such as murder, sexual assault, possession of dangerous drugs and theft.
Colorado’s energy industry trade group is now involved on three fronts with lawsuits over voter approved fracking bans or moratoriums. The latest move involved the announcement of suits against Lafayette and Fort Collins.
A lawsuit is already pending against the city of Longmont for a ban approved in 2012. Some in the state say a lawsuit is the wrong way to go.
A new study from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business shows that it may be difficult to quantify how droughts, fires and floods are impacting the state’s economy over the long term. But it’s safe to say natural disasters are already influencing public policy and are requiring communities to shift their thinking. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
The Shoshone hydroelectric powerplant holds the largest historic water right on the Colorado River.
Credit Maeve Conran
Kayakers getting ready to paddle the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. The landing is just below I-70. The hydro-powered Shoshone Generating Station is not visible but is just to the left of this photo.
A complex series of agreements govern the distribution of water throughout the state. Along the Colorado River, farms, cities & towns, and the recreation industry are all big players. But everyone takes a backseat to a tiny hydroelectric plant that’s over one hundred years old. It’s the Shoshone Generating Station, and it plays a critical role on the Upper Colorado.
Colorado’s budget is not structurally sound, according to a new study released yesterday. Economists from Colorado State University say over the long term, the state will spend more money than it receives. As Bente Birkeland reports, the study points to a number of causes.
Senator Mark Udall is expected in Chaffee County today to unveil new proposed legislation that looks to declare Browns Canyon a national monument and wilderness area. KRCC’s Maggie Spencer has more.
The Arkansas River runs through Browns Canyon, and if passed, the bill would declare 22,000 acres of land from Nathrop to Salida a national monument and an additional 10,500 acres as protected wilderness.
Colorado’s Energy industry is continuing to make the case that hydraulic fracturing is safe and a critical part of the state’s economy. They’re stepping up efforts following the recent passage of fracking bans and moratoriums in three Front Range communities. The outcome of a ban in Broomfield has yet to be determined.
“Merely the fact that they qualified shows that there’s not enough education out there on these issues,” said Jon Haubert, spokesman for Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development – or CRED.
In the future, forests near Aspen and across the state will likely look a bit different. Already, mountain shrubs are replacing some Aspen stands and changing the complexion of the region. Pitkin County is now tracking these shifts on open space properties. Two Aspen-area non-profit organizations are helping. The new data is thanks to a pair of towers that’s tracking things like soil moisture and temperature. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.
Theater projectors are going where most of the dazzling special effects in summer blockbusters have gone: All digital. In 2014, Hollywood will no longer release movies on traditional film stock. Theaters must convert or be forced to close – including those in rural Colorado.
That’s easier said than done in smaller towns versus a big city cineplex. Colorado is putting up $200,000 to try and save 13 rural movie theaters.
CDOT’s I-25 expansion project is working to add a 3rd lane in each direction between Colorado Springs and Monument by the end of the year. As KRCC’s Maggie Spencer reports, the recent winter weather is slowing progress.
The department planned to complete construction on the section between Woodmen Road and Interquest Parkway by Thanksgiving. CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson says much of the necessary work to do so is not possible during wet and cold conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control says Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin is joined this month by Major Douglas Langford, a neurologist at Fort Carson. They start by defining what Alzheimer’s is and how it’s different from other forms of dementia, or even just getting older.
Sunday’s mining accident near Ouray was one of the worst in recent Colorado history. Two miners died and nearly two dozen were injured. More details about what happened are starting to come out. Reporter Samantha Wright with the Telluride Watch newspapers has been covering the accident. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher spoke with her about the emerging details. Listen here:
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is disputing statements made by Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey that this summer’s wildfire that destroyed more than 500 homes and killed two people was caused by humans and "likely intentional."
Less than a year away from the 2014 election, a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Governor John Hickenlooper edging out his Republican challengers, but as Bente Birkeland reports, reaction is also mixed to some of his policies.
Residents of Pueblo and Colorado Springs get to weigh in on a high speed rail study that looks at transportation from Pueblo to Fort Collins via the Denver International Airport. KRCC’s Martha Perez-Sanz has more.
The study looked at existing high speed rail technologies and various impacts and feasibility issues. It comes from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Division of Transit and Rail.