Today is the last day to register for unemployment assistance for residents affected by the Waldo Canyon fire. The aid is for people who lost their jobs and self-employed residents who have been unable to work as a result of the fire, and are otherwise not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Those who live, work, or travel through the disaster area can apply by calling the Wildfire Unemployment Resource phone line. That number is 888-843-8382. Those affected by the High Park Fire in northern Colorado are also eligible. (More information is here.)

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved low-interest disaster loan assistance for farmers, ranchers, businesses, homeowners and nonprofit organizations affected by wildfires, flooding and mudslides…

Crews with Colorado Springs Utilities continue to assess damages to the Northfield Water System after flash flooding last week caused significant erosion and debris flow…

State budgets across the country are starting to show signs of stability according to a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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Claire Harbage for NPR
December 21, 2014 | NPR · True confession: Our editors mistook a sheep for a goat. Now we’ve learned a lot about how cool sheep really are. Maybe our blog should be … “Sheep and Soda?”
 

December 21, 2014 | NPR · If TV and movie nurses took care of us when we’re sick, we’d be in a heap of trouble. Those images of nutty, slutty and clueless nurses are bad news for the profession, and for patients.
 

Deena Prichep for NPR
December 21, 2014 | NPR · For many Norwegian-American families, the most anticipated Christmas treat isn’t chocolate or sugar-dusted cookies. It’s a simple potato-based pancake, spread with butter and sugar or jam.
 

Arts & Life

December 21, 2014 | NPR · Cooper worked closely with Taya Kyle to turn her late husband’s book, about his time as a Navy SEAL, into a film. “We all felt him the whole time we were shooting the movie,” Cooper says.
 

December 21, 2014 | NPR · If TV and movie nurses took care of us when we’re sick, we’d be in a heap of trouble. Those images of nutty, slutty and clueless nurses are bad news for the profession, and for patients.
 

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.
 

Music

Getty Images
December 21, 2014 | NPR · John Schneider and Tom Wopat, the good old boys from The Dukes of Hazzard, have recorded a Christmas album. NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with them about nurturing a creative partnership offscreen.
 

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.
 

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