This month we’re going to spend the hour looking back at some of the topics we covered this year. There was a lot of overlap, stories that could have appeared in multiple episodes, and themes that kept popping up from topic to topic. Here are some of the conversations that took place this year in Western Skies.

You can listen to the entire episode, or download here:

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You can also head to the individual segments by clicking any of the links below.

The Great Road Trip through Southern Colorado
“The Dry:” African American Homesteaders in the Arkansas River Valley
The Ghost Army and Local Artist George Vander Sluis
Film Production as Economic Development
The Nickel as a Canvas

Western Skies is a collaboration between KRCC News and The Big Something.


The Great Road Trip through Southern Colorado

Big Something producers Noel Black and Craig Richardson took to the road this past July to meet some of our neighbors. This is their story.

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From the August episode, “Uniquely Colorado.”


“The Dry:” African American Homesteaders in the Arkansas River Valley

Despite the fertility of the Arkansas River Valley, not every seed will grow. Such was the case with the African-American homesteaders who settled “The Dry,” which was abandoned due to irrigation issues. KRCC’s Kate Jonuska reports on a recent archeological dig that is attempting to bring The Dry’s history back into the light.

Listen here, or download:

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From the August episode, “Uniquely Colorado.”


The Ghost Army and Local Artist George Vander Sluis

Ghost Army

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Wartime subterfuge is as old as the Trojan Horse. But during World War II, the Army created a top-secret troop of artists called the Ghost Army to use fake arsenals, sound effects and other sleights of hand to trick the Germans. One of the artists in the troop, George Vander Sluis, spent time teaching at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in the 1940s.

The Ghost Army is also the subject of a documentary of the same name by filmmaker and author Rick Beyer (quoted in the story above). The film is due to be completed later this year and you can watch a trailer below or visit his website at ghostarmy.com.

From the March episode, “Military.”


Film Production as Economic Development

Movies like How the West Was Won starring Henry Fonda and Gregory Peck, the original True Grit with John Wayne, and Sleeper with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton have given places like Canon City, Denver, Durango, and Bent’s Old Fort near LaJunta visibility on the silver screen. But as other areas began offering large incentives, Colorado’s desirability seemed to fade into the background. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin examines the current state of on-location shoots in Colorado, and how one county is looking to the film industry as part of its economic future.

Download or listen to the story here:

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Colorado Creative Industries
Office of Film, Television, & Media

Mark Cloer, Director of Economic Development for Crowley County, says, “We offer the natural, the true effect.” Instead of recreating something in a Hollywood set, Cloer says, “We offer reality. We offer a true touchstone opportunity for the filmmaker.” See and decide for yourself, in this slideshow of scenes from Crowley County.

Here’s a trailer teaser for a music video from Montauk Media, filmed in its entirety in Crowley County. It includes the abandoned house seen as in the slideshow above.

“The Fallout” Music Video Teaser from Montauk Media on Vimeo.

Here’s a music video from Montauk Media, partially filmed in Crowley County:

We Shot The Moon “Amy” Music Video from Montauk Media on Vimeo.

From the February episode, “Arts.”


The Nickel as a Canvas

As the economy continues to sputter, one local artist is reviving an art form that allowed down-and-outers in the early 20th-Century to turn nickels into, well, maybe not gold, but a lot more than a nickel. KRCC’s Noel Black reports.

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Postscript: We checked with the American Numismatic Association, and it IS legal to deface US money of any kind as long as your don’t try to pass it off as a different denomination.

From the October episode, “The Economy.”

 

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News

Courtesy of Save the Children
May 4, 2015 | NPR · The release of a new report on the world’s mothers is a reminder of the gap between rich and poor — in the developing world and in American cities as well.
 

Mike McCune/Flickr
May 4, 2015 | NPR · A new book suggests that tall tales on craft bourbon labels are the rule rather than the exception. They’re just one example of a slew of “carefully cultivated myths” created by the bourbon industry.
 

AP
May 4, 2015 | NPR · Amid the latest case of poor police-community relations, critics are targeting N.Y.’s policing theory, which aims to crack down on minor offenses. But it’s also praised for reducing the crime rate.
 

Arts & Life

Jerry Bauer
May 4, 2015 | NPR · The British mystery writer was known for her Inspector Wexford series and in her later years became active in Labour Party politics. NPR’s Petra Mayer has this remembrance.
 

NPR
May 4, 2015 | NPR · The Sandwich Monday team says “See you later.” Then we say, “Are you gonna eat that?”
 

May 4, 2015 | NPR · The off-beat funnyman retires this month after 33 years hosting late-night television. Fresh Air’s David Bianculli says that David Letterman’s humor “provided a new blueprint for the TV talk show.”
 

Music

May 4, 2015 | KCRW · KCRW’s Jason Bentley spins tracks from Ratatat, Niia, Disclosure and more in a two-hour EDM mix.
 

NPR
May 4, 2015 | NPR · Fueled by a dozen years of rhythmic interaction (and a lot of espresso), Iyer’s working band transforms selections from throughout the pianist’s deep and varied catalog.
 

Courtesy of the artist
May 4, 2015 | WXPN · Hear and download two songs by the Americana singer, whose work taps a deep well of pain.
 

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