With the passage last year of Amendment 64, Cities and counties around Colorado are deciding whether to allow recreational marijuana shops and grow operations within their boundaries. Denver City Council said yes. El Paso County said no. The city of Pueblo passed a moratorium, deciding, in effect, to decide later. Colorado Springs City Council [...]

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Amendment 64 voted into law last year decriminalized recreational marijuana in Colorado for adults 21 and over. Now Colorado Springs, like local governments around the state, has about three months to decide whether to regulate retail marijuana sales or to ban such shops within city limits. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, City Council yesterday [...]

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The U.S. Army yesterday announced plans to deactivate one of Fort Carson’s four Brigade Combat Teams by 2017. The move would affect nearly 4,000 soldiers, but as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, it’s not yet clear how many positions the Colorado Springs Army post would actually lose.

Fort Carson spokesman Lt. Col. Armando Hernandez says [...]

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The Black Forest Fire is now 65% contained, yet thousands of displaced residents are still unable to go home, or see what remains of it. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, throngs of evacuees now come to the daily media briefings, and their frustrations are growing.

El Paso County Commission Chair Dennis Hisey yesterday began describing [...]

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Containment is at 55%. Some areas are opening up as of 8 PM to a pre-evacuation notice: The area north of Hodgen Rd. and west of Black Forest Rd., and areas north of Walker Rd. High Forest Ranch will also be downgraded to preevacuation status. Access is from the north. Highway 83, Walker Road, and Meridian Road are still closed. El Paso County has released updated assessments of homes: 483 total loss, 17 partial damage, 3451 appear unaffected. Our notes follow:

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El Paso County’s disaster assistance center aims to connect evacuees with goods and services available. It served more than 200 households Thursday, its first day of operations. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin found, it was crowded Friday with workers, volunteers and displaced families.

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News was mixed during the Thursday afternoon press conference for the Black Forest Fire. Officials declared the blaze at 5% containment, but they also announced that two people perished in the fire. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin reports.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa says the two people who lost their lives had been working to evacuate [...]

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Colorado is no stranger to the military. From active bases to a large veteran population, many residents of the state have some kind of association with the armed services. This month for Western Skies, we’re exploring some of those relationships.

You can listen to the entire episode here, or download it by right-clicking [...]

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Colorado Springs City Council yesterday voted to spend $10 million from the city savings account to lessen the risk of catastrophic fire and flooding following last year’s Waldo Canyon fire. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.

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Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach yesterday unveiled his vision for a 24-hour campus to serve the homeless. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, the mayor is looking for property downtown that can provide everything from showers to meals to drug counseling.

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Yesterday, the first day Colorado’s civil unions law went into effect, 20 same-sex couples, their friends and relatives packed into a Manitou Springs art space for a public ceremony. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.

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In one of its first actions, the new Colorado Springs City Council yesterday shelved an expansion of a solar energy program. And, as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, a new practice by Council President Keith King signaled what the outcome would be.

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Colorado Springs City Council yesterday voted to expand its Community Solar Garden program, a subsidy for solar energy that allows consumers to invest in solar panels without installing them on their own rooftops. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.

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Colorado Springs opened its new Emergency Operations Center today. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, it’s the city’s first dedicated multi-agency command post.

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Colorado Springs police arrested a man this morning who they say is a gang member and “person of interest” in the case of slain Colorado Corrections chief Tom Clements. But as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, he is being held on unrelated warrants, not as a homicide suspect.

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Colorado Springs city council has voted to restrict outdoor watering to two days a week, starting April 1. As KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, they also adopted new drought water rates intended to persuade customers to reduce usage.

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Governor John Hickenlooper and corrections officials from around the country mourned slain DOC director Tom Clements at a memorial service in Colorado Springs this morning. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin has this report.

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Investigators are hoping to talk to a woman described as a speedwalker who may have noticed details pertaining to the killing of the head of Colorado’s Department of Corrections. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin has more.

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The second of two ballot measures Colorado Springs voters will decide in April’s election would increase pay for city Council members to $48,000. It would be a big increase for them, but as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, even some vocal opponents of the measure say Council members may be underpaid.

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One of two measures Colorado Springs voters will decide in April’s election would allow the city to spend more money on park maintenance from TOPS, a fund that uses a 0.1% sales tax to buy land for outdoor recreation. The city has a big backlog of park maintenance and construction projects, but as KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports, one park advocacy group says this measure isn’t a great solution.

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Colorado Springs City Council yesterday rejected the oil and gas ordinance it’s been working on for 18 months. The regulations would have required drillers to get a city permit, but didn’t prevent hydraulic fracturing from any zone within the city. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.

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A bill to allow civil unions in Colorado could be headed to the Governor’s desk by the end of the week…Colorado Springs police and firefighters would get a raise, but the whole workforce would have to shoulder more healthcare costs. Those are among the proposals Mayor Steve Bach’s administration presented to City Council…The nearly 500-mile Colorado Trail is adding a new section expected to be ready for hiking this summer.

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Colorado Springs police and firefighters would get a raise, but the whole workforce would have to shoulder more healthcare costs. Those are among the proposals Mayor Steve Bach’s administration presented today to City Council. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.

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News

AFP/Getty Images
December 18, 2014 | NPR · A new report looks at the top causes of death in 188 countries. Infectious diseases are less of a threat than in 1990 but please, look both ways before you cross the street.
 

AP
December 18, 2014 | KQED · Public health officials in California are trying to understand why Latino babies are contracting whooping cough at much higher rates than other babies.
 

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)
December 18, 2014 | NPR · An improved version of India’s largest space-launch vehicle carried an unmanned crew capsule that was recovered after splashdown in the Andaman Sea.
 

Arts & Life

iStockphoto
December 18, 2014 | NPR · A long-awaited review of public libraries in the U.K. calls for them to expand digital services and offer a “retail-standard environment” akin to coffee shops.
 

iStock
December 18, 2014 | NPR · This playlist includes some blockbuster TED talks that have already inspired millions.
 

December 18, 2014 | NPR · In this final round, every correct answer will start with a jolly “Ho!” sound. Which goalkeeper has won two Olympic medals with the U.S. women’s soccer team? That would be Ho Ho Hope Solo!
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
December 18, 2014 | NPR · Listeners chime in with their own favorites, including Chicano Batman and Helado Negro.
 

FilmMagic
December 18, 2014 | NPR · Just a guess — you’re not done shopping yet, are you? Allow us to ease your load a bit with some thoughtful ideas for the hip-hop head on your list.
 

December 18, 2014 | NPR · Renee Montagne talks with Miles Hoffman about the history of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. Hoffman is the violist of the American Chamber Players, and authored The NPR Classical Music Companion.
 

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