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

Majid Saeedi/Getty Images; Maxppp /Landov
September 1, 2014 | NPR · Saffron, vanilla, palm oil, cacao and cottonseed oil are still picked by hand in some parts of the world. Sometimes that manual labor shows up in the price of the food; sometimes it doesn’t.
 

AP
September 1, 2014 | NPR · Passenger pigeons were once the world’s most abundant bird, but they were also the cheapest protein available. The last passenger pigeon, Martha, died exactly a century ago at the Cincinnati Zoo.
 

Sarah Tilotta for NPR
September 1, 2014 | NPR · Many immigrant men in the U.S. work hard to hold onto definitions of masculinity from their native countries — while also rejecting more rigid gender roles that may be the norm in their homelands.
 

Arts & Life

Alison Rosa
September 1, 2014 | NPR · Until Guardians of the Galaxy came along, this year’s box office figures were the worst in years. But critic Bob Mondello says there are bound to be some fall films that get pulses pounding again.
 

Jonathan Ring
September 1, 2014 | NPR · NPR’s Madhulika Sikka profiles Cumming, the author of thoughtful spy sagas like A Colder War. Cumming’s books provide plenty of action, but also grapple with the moral quandaries of espionage.
 

September 1, 2014 | NPR · MK Asante reads a poem composed for Morning Edition titled, “In Summer.” The Baltimore-based writer says it is in tribute to Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African-American poet.
 

Music

September 1, 2014 | NPR · The archetypal ’70s band had a charismatic frontman and wonderful songs, but they also had drug problems and kept breaking up. Their Warner Bros. recordings are in a new box set called Rad Gumbo.
 

September 1, 2014 | NPR · Prospect Hill is Flemons’ first album since leaving the band Carolina Chocolate Drops. By coincidence, the multi-instrumentalist recorded it the day Pete Seeger died. Originally broadcast July 30.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 31, 2014 | NPR · After a three-year hiatus, the singer’s 14th album is the sound of a once-prolific genius who’s only recently relearned what it’s like to walk on steady footing.
 

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