91.5 KRCC Newsroom

Colorado Springs, Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico regional news from the award-winning 91.5 KRCC Newsroom.

Also, great stories from our producers, partners and people in our region. 

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Chloe Brookskistler / 91.5 KRCC

Public libraries are a place to find answers—maybe for a research question or a book recommendation. But they’re increasingly places where people seek help locating social services, benefits and housing. And to better meet those needs, libraries across the country are adding social workers to their payroll. As of October, that includes the Pikes Peak Library District.

Longmont resident Ingrid Moore went to the state Capitol on Tuesday carrying a stack of maps she said illustrates why Colorado should change the way it chooses U.S. presidents.

"Over 57 percent of all the 2016 campaign events were held in just four states," she said as lawmakers on the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee reviewed the map. "Virtually all campaign events ... were held in just 12 states. And those 12 states just have 30 percent of the population."

A cell phone, two good samaritans and a Facebook page helped Denver Police find the man suspected of breaking into the state Capitol last month and damaging several statues.

On Friday, police arrested Elias Anthony Dominguez, 26, on suspicion of burglary. According to an arrest affidavit, Dominguez allegedly entered the Capitol through a faulty security door just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 27 and started breaking chairs, glass display cabinets and bronze busts of former politicians.

NOAA's National Centers for Environment Information

A recent report from NOAA’s National Centers for Environment Information shows there were 14 severe weather events across the country last year costing a total of $89.4 billion. Five of those affected the Mountain West region.

Lawmakers in Colorado say they're seeing a growing number of cases where patients visit a hospital in their insurance network but unknowingly get treated by an out-of-network specialist or surgeon.

Then the patients get sent a surprise bill, and the worrying starts.

States that rely on the Colorado River for their water supplies are currently unable to finish a series of agreements that would keep its biggest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, from dropping to levels not seen since they were filled decades ago.

Five states — Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nevada — are done. The country of Mexico has also completed its portion. But California and Arizona failed to meet a Jan. 31 federal government deadline to wrap up negotiations and sign a final agreement.

Marco Verch / Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

There's currently another measles outbreak, this time in the Pacific Northwest. In the Mountain West, states are below the national average for measles vaccination, which could also put us at risk.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

Last year the nation was shocked when a 9-year-old Colorado boy took his own life. A recent report says youth suicide is a public health crisis in Colorado and the numbers in the Mountain West as a whole are staggering, with some of the highest rates in the nation. At the same time, there’s a significant shortage of mental health professionals -- at crisis levels in some communities. Often, it’s mental health workers in schools who work on the front lines of this crisis.

City of Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs has completed its first ever Tree Canopy Assessment.

The city used aerial imagery to map its trees and found that the canopy covers roughly 17 percent of Colorado Springs. The study also identified parts of the city that could benefit from more trees, including parks, medians, and the area surrounding a planned sports complex and the under-construction Olympic Museum near downtown Colorado Springs.

National Park Service

The National Park Service may have lost millions of dollars in revenue during the recent government shutdown, and recovering from this setback may take a while.

The American Hospital Association has released a new report on the state of rural hospitals across the country. There’s good and bad news about how the Mountain West stacks up.

First, the bad news. When it comes to the number of mental health professionals, our region looks like a black hole.

Michael Lionstar / Courtesy of Penguin Random House

For our fourth episode of the Converge Lecture Series Podcast, we're joined by writer Karen Russell.

A novelist and short story writer, Russell is perhaps best known for her novel, "Swamplandia!"

 

Set in the waterlogged wilderness of south Florida, it tells the story of a family of alligator wrestlers struggling to cope with tragedy and dealing with a string of bad luck that threatens their roadside theme park. It’s a book about grief and survival, and a haunting, deeply affecting coming-of-age tale.

Each winter, anxious water managers, farmers and city leaders in the American Southwest turn their eyes toward the snowy peaks of the southern Rocky Mountains.

The piling snow is a massive frozen reservoir, and its depth and weight can foreshadow the year ahead. Millions of dollars are spent divining what a heavy or light snowpack means for the region's reservoirs, for its booming cities, for its arid farmland.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

The 2019 State of the Rockies report says 70 percent of western voters identify as "outdoor enthusiasts." The annual bipartisan poll surveys how voters across the Mountain West feel about public lands, water, wildlife, and energy expansion. 

Seven Colorado Democrats advanced a comprehensive sexual education bill at the State Capitol on Wednesday, after a contentious hearing that ended just before midnight. The hearing included testimony from dozens of opponents and a flurry of attempted Republican amendments to the bill.

The legislation aims to expand sexual education curriculum at public schools to include such topics as consent, birth control and STD prevention.

The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association is going to court to try and put the brakes on regulations that will require all new cars sold in the state to run cleaner and with better gas mileage by 2025.

The state's Air Quality Control Commission voted unanimously in November to adopt the stronger emission rules, which come with a mandate that new cars average 36 miles per gallon.

Compared to the 89 millions acres of soybean in the U.S., the hemp industry is still meager at 25,000 acres, but experts expect that will quickly change now that President Donald Trump has signed the 2018 farm bill.

That’s because after nearly a century of heavy state and federal restrictions, hemp has been removed from the list of controlled substance and reclassified as an agricultural commodity — one that a burgeoning market has its eyes on.

Health care is emerging as a top priority for both Democratic and Republicans at the State Capitol this session, and some of the proposed legislation is already packing hearing rooms.

One of the bills would add autism to a list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. Similar legislation was vetoed by former Gov. John Hickenlooper last year.

Seven in ten Americans think global warming is happening. That's ten percent higher than what it was in 2015. But a significant number of Americans don't believe climate change is human caused—about 40 percent. And much of our region remains especially skeptical.

United States Census Bureau

The battle over a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census may have profound economic implications for the Mountain West.

Abigail Beckman / 91.5 KRCC

As the partial government shutdown continues, it's clear that communities and individuals across the country are being affected. That includes southern Colorado and Colorado Springs. Dr. Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum, came to 91.5 KRCC to discuss the local implications of the shutdown both now and in the long-term.

The Fading Dream Of The American Ski Bum

Jan 24, 2019

For generations, the siren song of deep powder and steep inclines has lured starry-eyed young people into the time-honored tradition of "ski bumming."

The phrase is as much a term of endearment as an aspiration to a life lived simply: Pick a mountain, find some roommates, and ski or snowboard as much as humanly possible. But decades of corporate mergers and tourism are turning once-scrappy ski towns into high-end resorts, leaving the alluring glow of ski bum life to grow dim in much of the Mountain West.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

On Saturday, President Donald Trump proposed a deal to congressional Democrats that would, among other items, protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for three years in exchange for $5.7 billion to fund the border wall. Following that announcement, several Colorado lawmakers in the 91.5 KRCC listening area released statements about the proposal.

Creative Commons Zero - CC0 / Pexels

The Mountain West has some of the fastest aging populations in the country, which could have some serious implications for the region's economy. 

In the foothills outside Longmont, Colorado, tucked high in a narrow valley, sits an ugly, cement slab. It's the size of a train car and juts out into North St. Vrain Creek, a shallow alpine stream that serves as the city's main drinking water supply.

A tiny sign greets hikers as they pass the structure. It reads: "Chimney Rock Dam." A small arrow points to the right.

What the sign doesn't tell you is how that cement slab ended up there.

Steve Wilson / Flickr - Creative Commons

A new study says Amtrak’s Southwest Chief passenger rail line puts $49 million a year into Colorado’s economy.

It was a busy week at the State Capitol as lawmakers started debating an initial round of bills at committee hearings and Gov. Jared Polis issued his first executive order to promote electric vehicles.

Here are some highlights, and some things to look for when lawmakers come back on Tuesday.

Cheers from environmental groups drowned out nearby construction noise in downtown Denver Thursday morning after Gov. Jared Polis announced an executive order that aims to bring more electric vehicles to Colorado.

Since the partial government shutdown began last month, almost a fifth of the unemployment claims filed in Colorado have been from federal workers.

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