Governor John Hickenlooper has ordered flags lowered to half-staff in memory of Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements, who was killed last night at his Monument home. A gunman killed him when he opened his front door. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

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Governor John Hickenlooper announced new initiatives yesterday to try and make Colorado better prepared for wildfires…Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall is urging the US Forest Service to accelerate their acquisition of eight new firefighting air tankers ahead of this year’s wildfire season…Three Chinook helicopters have been delivered to Fort Carson for a new combat aviation brigade.

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Some state lawmakers spent time at the former Fort Lyon Correctional Facility near Las Animas today, considering whether to repurpose the prison under a proposal from Governor John Hickenlooper…Colorado’s Latino and black residents are falling further behind the state’s white residents in some of the most important measures of social progress…and, Hundreds of people turned out for the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. marade in Denver today.

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Vestas wind energy company plans to hire more than 100 workers at its Pueblo plant…Pueblo County emergency officials are running a biennial survey in a continuous effort to improve the readiness of people who live there…The Colorado legislature prints millions of pieces of paper each year, costing the state a hefty sum. But that could soon be a thing of the past. This year in an effort to cut down on costs, each of the 100 lawmakers received new iPads.

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Two children have died from flu in Colorado, one in El Paso County…El Paso County Commissioners gave final approval to an ordinance that bans recreational marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas of the county…Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing is now completely employee owned.

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The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, has filed a federal lawsuit in Denver after the Colorado Springs City Council yesterday voted to approve a panhandling ban…While Washington lawmakers wrestle with the fiscal cliff, Colorado Senator Mark Udall continues to press fellow members of Congress for an extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit.

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Colorado Springs City Council yesterday gave initial approval to regulations concerning oil and gas drilling within city limits…Council also voted in favor of a ban on panhandling in the downtown area…Fort Carson is hosting nearly 300 soldiers and 30 helicopters from Fort Riley in Kansas for high altitude training…Firefighters battling the Fern Lake Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park have ordered more resources to help contain the blaze.

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Many of the hundreds of rape kits that Colorado police departments receive are never tested.

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The state’s tourism industry kicks off a three-day annual conference today in Steamboat Springs….AAA says Coloradans are paying less at the gas pump than last week…Two of the four candidates in the race for the 3rd congressional seat will take part in a debate tonight night in Pueblo…Thirty-seven years after he was declared missing during the rescue of an American ship crew that was seized by the Khmer Rouge, a Colorado Marine native to LaJunta has been buried with military honors.

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The deadline to register to vote in the 2012 election is tomorrow, and both presidential campaigns are in an all out blitz to register voters up until the last minute….Meanwhile, the Colorado County Clerk’s Association has issued a four-page letter of complaint to Secretary of State Scott Gessler over new voting systems in place this year.

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Even though temperatures reached near freezing across much of the Front Range last night, other parts of the state are seeing fire activity. KRCC’s Elizabeth Schoder reports.

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Drought conditions this year have affected waterfowl habitats in eastern Colorado so that hunters may have trouble finding ducks and geese this fall and winter.

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Two separate interest groups plan to air advertisements before Wednesday’s presidential debate held at the University of Denver.

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This year’s stubborn drought and the changing climate will have serious consequences for Colorado’s multi-billion dollar recreation and farming industries, as well as the state’s forests that have seen severe, unnaturally large wildfires recently…Colorado Springs police are offering a reward for information regarding the start of the Waldo Canyon fire…Chimney Rock to be designated a National Monument.

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Colorado’s economy is weak and losing momentum according to a revenue forecast released today…A new conservation plan to help the Rio Grande watershed is getting the backing of state and federal officials.

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The Environmental Protection Agency has given final approval to Colorado’s strategy to reduce air pollution, which relies heavily on switching some coal fired power plants to natural gas…Pueblo City Council voted last night to postpone indefinitely a decision on city employee benefits for domestic partners, the Chieftain reports…Colorado government leaders have marked 11 years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a service that also recognized the victims of the Aurora theater shooting and historic summer wildfires.

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Voters will see three statewide ballot questions this November. A bipartisan committee of lawmakers finalized the ballot language today…The Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau is receiving $100,000 from the federal government to try to lure visitors to town after tourism numbers fell due to the Waldo Canyon Fire.

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Environmental groups have filed a formal protest against an Obama Administration plan to fast-track large-scale solar power development in Colorado and five other western states. The public lands at the center of the dispute in Colorado are in the San Luis Valley near the New Mexico border….More firefighters are on their way to help fight a wildfire near the Wyoming border.

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Colorado Springs voters yesterday overwhelmingly approved plans to lease city-owned Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health…Residents in and around the Waldo Canyon burn area looking to purchase flood insurance should do so before September 8th in order to take advantage of a waiting-period waiver…Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Littleton was recently chosen to build and operate the next Mars Spacecraft.

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The final tally of deaths associated with a 2011 listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Southeast Colorado has increased to 33…Crews are battling a growing wildfire burning in beetle-killed forests in remote northwestern Larimer County near the Wyoming border.

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Colorado Springs voters are set to decide tomorrow on whether or not the city can lease the Memorial Health System to the University of Colorado Health system…The November ballot is on the verge of approval. Non-partisan legislative staff held a meeting today to determine if there were any loose ends…Colorado State University is leading a study on whether child-care centers in the state are prepared for disasters.

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The Defense Department has awarded another multimillion-dollar construction contract for a new helicopter brigade at Fort Carson…With the severe drought still gripping the region, two Colorado Republican lawmakers are asking the federal government to extend an emergency order that opened up more lands for livestock grazing and haying.

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Cyclists were about an hour ahead of schedule today as they rode into Colorado Springs on the 5th stage of the USA Pro Challenge…Colorado Highway 67 between Florence and Wetmore has reopened…Colorado health officials are reporting 12 people hospitalized for West Nile virus.

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News

AP
July 30, 2014 | NPR · The Senate is expected to pass the measure this week. It would expand government programs and provide funds for vets who are unable to access VA services to see private doctors.
 

AP
July 30, 2014 | NPR · House Republicans say that the president has overstepped the bounds of his executive authority. President Obama dismissed the move as a “political stunt.”
 

Mike McCune/Flickr
July 30, 2014 | NPR · A food blogger says dozens of distilleries are buying rye whiskey from a factory in Indiana and using it in bottles labeled “artisan.”
 

Arts & Life

July 30, 2014 | NPR · In London, a matinee ticket for Matilda costs about $60; in New York, it’s $137. What’s going on? The West End has weaker unions and subsidized theater, while Broadway has amenities.
 

July 30, 2014 | NPR · Syfy channel has cornered the market on a new kind of film: a movie that’s played completely straight, but constructed to look cheesy and easy to ridicule. The best example? Sharknado 2, the sequel to a film so bad it became huge success. Can the network strike gold twice by being stupid on purpose?
 

AP/Warner Bros.
July 30, 2014 | NPR · From silent stars to John Wayne to Iron Man, film critic Bob Mondello looks at the role that Hollywood has played in defining manliness, and how that definition has changed over several decades.
 

Music

KCRW
July 30, 2014 | KCRW · L.A. house-music pioneers Doc Martin and Marques Wyatt share a six-song mix on Metropolis.
 

KCRW
July 30, 2014 | KCRW · Two L.A. house-music pioneers, Doc Martin of Sublevel and Marques Wyatt of DEEP, join Jason Bentley on Metropolis to discuss their humble beginnings and share some of their current favorites.
 

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

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