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

Getty Images
December 20, 2014 | NPR · The two officers were shot inside of their marked patrol car in Brooklyn. The suspected gunman has died of a self-inflicted gunshot.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · An analyst from GasBuddy.com says 24 states have at least one station with the price per gallon at $1.99 or less.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · He flew nearly 150 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, but after the war, Steward returned home and was denied a mortgage because of his skin color.
 

Arts & Life

Ocean/Corbis
December 20, 2014 | OZY · Rising temperatures have hastened harvest dates in Sonoma County — and they’re changing grape-growing patterns around the world. Vineyards are responding with everything from sunscreen to sensors.
 

iStockphoto
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Mark Bailey, who detailed old Hollywood’s legendary love affair with liquor in his book Of All the Gin Joints, shares stories from a bygone era over cocktails at a legendary Hollywood bar.
 

AP
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Some in the entertainment industry are wondering if they’ll have to be careful now about the stories they tell or the jokes they make in the wake of Sony’s withdrawal of The Interview.
 

Music

Whitney Curtis for NPR
December 20, 2014 | NPR · Michel Martin has spent much of the last few months on the road, and she has been moved by the people she’s met and the stories they’ve shared with her. She remembers her ‘Top 5′ moments of 2014.
 

NPR
December 20, 2014 | NPR · She came to the desk a little unsure, and left singing “West Memphis” with intensity and passion. Williams has a voice like no other, and it shines in these intimate moments.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 20, 2014 | NPR · From Aphex Twin’s unmistakable return to Leon Vynehall’s emotional faculty with samples, distinctive voices dominate the list of electronic albums that made an impression this year.
 

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