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Courtesy Colorado Department of Agriculture

The Colorado State Fair has a new general manager this year. Scott Stoller was appointed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and started his new role at the beginning of July. Stoller comes from the Silver Dollar Fair in Chico, California where he managed all aspects of the fair. 91.5 KRCC’s Abigail Beckman sat down with him to discuss his new job.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0

Record-breaking temperatures are scorching the United States with parts of our region seeing all-time highs. A number of heat-related deaths are already being reported in the U.S.

One of the world’s biggest firefighting aircraft is based in Colorado Springs. But it's fighting fires in California right now, rather than in the Mountain West.

Ann Perricone sat at her kitchen table in south Denver where she and her husband live with six children. They have two  teenage daughters of their own, and they are also fostering a 19-year-old high school girl and her  children, ages 5 and 1.

“Do you want to go outside? What’s out there? What do you see?” said Perricone to the one-year-old toddler.

Colorado Department of Transportation Facebook

The Spring Fire burning in southern Colorado is now 55% contained, up from 43% on Saturday. It's burned 106,985 acres. The Colorado Department of Transportation has reopened Highway 160 between La Veta and Fort Garland. Colorado Highway 12 remains closed from La Veta to Cuchara Pass. Colorado 69 will also stay closed from near Walsenburg to the Huerfano/Custer County Line. Local traffic will be allowed on 69; proof of residence is required.

Spring Fire 2018 Facebook page / Rocky Mountain Indicident Management

The Spring Fire in southern Colorado is now 105,704 acres and 35% contained. The Colorado Department of Transportation anticipates reopening Highway 160 on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Colorado 12 will remain closed from La Veta to the summit of Cuchara Pass. Colorado Highway 69 will remain closed to all except local traffic; proof of residence is required. Some evacuation notices in Huerfano County have been lifted.

Courtesy Spring Fire 2018 Facebook page

The Spring Fire continues to grow quickly, with reports showing a burn area of more than 94,125 acres. That's an increase of 10,000 acres since previously reported. Containment has remained steady at 5%. Most of the land is under private ownership, while state and federal lands are also affected.

@CSP_Alamosa/Twitter

The total acreage burned by the Spring Fire continues to grow. As of Tuesday morning, officials say 78,941 acres, more than 120 square miles has been effect. The containment level of the fire decreased to 5% Tuesday, down from 10% the day before. 104 homes are confirmed destroyed.

BLM, Esri, HERE, Garmin, USGS, NGA, EPA, USDA, NPS / Inciweb

Authorities have arrested a suspect on arson charges related to the Spring Fire burning in Costilla and Huerfano Counties in southern Colorado. Jesper Jorgenson, 52, was arrested without incident by Costilla County deputies in an investigation that also included the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, state arson investigators, Colorado State Patrol, and Immigration and Customs agents. The investigation is still ongoing, and no further information is available.

By Don McCullough / Wikimedia Commons

Fires are burning in Colorado, Utah and there’s fire danger in other parts of the Mountain West. Now three U.S. Congressmen from Colorado have introduced legislation that would make it a felony to fly a drone over a wildfire. Drones can make fighting fires more difficult and put lives at risk.

courtesy Colorado Department of Transportation

Update 5:39 p.m., Friday 6/29/18: In Huerfano County, mandatory evacuations are in place for residents in Tres Valles, Paradise Acres, Raspberry Mountain, Pine Haven, and the Cuchara Valley. At this time, La Veta is not part of the mandatory evacuation but remains on pre-evacuation notice. 

Any large animals being held at the 4H barn in La Veta can stay, but a secondary location is open at the Las Animas County Fairgrounds.

Bureau of Land Management / Creative Commons 2.0

You may not have heard of PILT payments, but they’re pretty important for local economies in areas like the Mountain West.  The federal government gives these 'payments in lieu of taxes' to counties with federal lands that can't earn regular tax revenue.  

More voters participated in Colorado’s June 26 primary election than ever before. Unaffiliated voters were mailed ballots for the first time and both political parties had contested races. As for the top of the ticket, the governor’s race has been narrowed down to two very different candidates.

In primary elections held Tuesday, Colorado Democrats and Republicans tapped their picks to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper. Winning the Democratic nod was five-term congressmen Rep. Jared Polis, while State Treasurer Walker Stapleton won the Republican bid.

Lewis "Lew" Tilly / Pikes Peak Library District, Digital Photo Archive, Image no. 099-10711

 


"Everybody Welcome” was the catchphrase of Colorado Springs businesswoman Fannie Mae Duncan.

Mark Goebel, Flickr Creative Commons

A recent report ranks Pueblo as one of the worst cities in the country to live in. The study was done by New York-based 24/7 Wall Street. Results were based on quality of life factors like crime, the economy and education. Out of the 50 cities ranked, Pueblo came in 17th.

Jeff Shaw, President of the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation, says the report leaves a lot to be desired.

Until fairly recently, it was illegal to harvest rainwater in Colorado. Now, as in a number of other Western states, it’s seen as alternative water source in an increasingly dry landscape. But is rainwater safe?

Sybil Sharvelle, an environmental engineer at Colorado State University, is one researcher trying to answer that question.

Our region ranks in the top ten for suicide. A new study from the University of Utah shows there may be a reason for that.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is nothing fancy when you first drive in. No towering cliffs or dramatic canyons. It’s a calm, sunny valley – 6,000 acres all totaled -- of meadow and ponderosa pine forest.

Reservoirs that store water along the Colorado River are projected to be less than half full later this year, potentially marking a historic low mark for the river system that supplies water to seven U.S. states and Mexico.

Forecasters with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation expect the river’s reservoirs -- Lakes Mead and Powell among them -- to be at a combined 48 percent of capacity by the end of September. That would be one of the lowest points ever for the combined water storage.

Sexual harassment allegations at Colorado's Capitol came with a sizeable price tag for taxpayers -- $275,000. That includes everything from fees for attorneys, sexual harassment training and consultants to staffing for a special committee of lawmakers meeting this summer and fall to study changes to the Capitol's workplace harassment policy.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may seem like an unlikely champion for an illegal substance, but the Kentucky Republican just added the legalization of marijuana’s non-psychoactive cousin, hemp, to the Senate farm bill. The industrial hemp business is increasingly seen as an economic savior and substitute for vulnerable industries like mining, especially in Colorado, one of the first states in the nation to make hemp legal at the state level.

A bipartisan group of Colorado lawmakers kicked off an anti-gerrymandering campaign this month. They want to take redistricting decisions out of the hands of state legislators and put it into the hands of twelve voters.

National Archives and Records Administration

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in February 1848, bringing an official end to the Mexican-American War. Among other things, it moved the southern boundary of the U.S. to the Rio Grande River, instead of the Arkansas River. Part of the original treaty is on display at the El Pueblo History Museum in Pueblo.

History professor Dr. Fawn Amber Montoya coordinates Chicano Studies at Colorado State University-Pueblo. 91.5 KRCC's Abigail Beckman spoke with Montoya about the implications of the treaty, which drastically changed the lives of the people living in this region.

The effects of climate change are already being felt at the headwaters of the West’s most important river system, according to a study released earlier this year.

The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization compiled the latest science on climate change in the Colorado River headwaters in a report titled Climate Change in the Headwater: Water and Snow Impacts (PDF), presented to the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments in February.

Teri Verbickis / Creative Commons 4.0

This month, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow school nurses to administer medical marijuana to students. But not all nurses may be on board.

The last Republican governor of Colorado, Bill Owens, ended his term in 2007. That's why the GOP is pushing hard to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

It's officially Hemp History Week. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution that recognizes the “full growth potential of the industrial hemp industry.” But at the state level, real progress for the hemp industry is still all over the map.

United States Drought Monitor

Hot, dry weather is forcing fire bans across southern Colorado. Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs are the latest to enact restrictions.

Laura Bittner / Flickr/Creative Commons

Ballots for the 2018 Primary Election are arriving in voter's mailboxes this week. There is a change in the process this year, though, as unaffiliated voters are now able to cast votes in the primary. El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman shares details what voters should expect. 

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