In the wake of last year’s destructive wildfires, Colorado’s residents, scientists, and government officials have been working hard to manage the ongoing threat. We’re not only mitigating our landscapes; we’re adapting our very understanding of what it means to reside within reach of mountain forests. Join KRCC News for “Flash Point,” a special series produced by Andrea Chalfin and Michelle Mercer on how wildfire is changing life in Colorado. Click here for an interactive timeline, stories, and additional web content.

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Ten years after the start of the war in Iraq, veterans are increasingly struggling with substance abuse, which often goes hand in hand with post-traumatic stress disorder. A recent study shows that one out of five active duty service members say they drink heavily. As the numbers grow, so does the need for programs aimed at helping heal these invisible wounds. One of the places offering such programs is Haven Behavioral War Heroes Hospital in Pueblo, which opened in 2009. KRCC’s Shanna Lewis has this profile of the facility, which brings together staff with military backgrounds to focus on soldiers coming home from current wars.

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A worker at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in southeast Colorado remained hospitalized last night after sustaining injuries in an incident where another woman was killed…At a rescheduled campaign stop in Pueblo yesterday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized president Obama’s handling of the economy and the situation in the Middle East.

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At a rescheduled campaign stop in Pueblo Monday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized president Obama’s handling of the economy and the situation in the Middle East. KRCC’s Shanna Lewis reports about 2000 people turned out for the event at the Pueblo airport.

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Some 2000 supporters met Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a campaign stop at the airport in Pueblo today…One woman is dead and another seriously injured after a disturbance at a state prison in Southeastern Colorado this morning.

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The Colorado State Fair begins today in Pueblo. Amid the livestock shows, carnival rides, monster trucks and big name bands, there’s a small outdoor stage that features Colorado entertainers. Anita McCoy of Canon City performs there. She’s tap danced with her students at the Fair for more than 30 years, and on Sunday she’ll [...]

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Wind power giant Vestas has announced it’s laying off workers at its Pueblo facility…Trinidad Mayor John Rino has resigned effective immediately…Officials say State Highway 67 near Cripple Creek remains closed after a sinkhole opened over a mineshaft under the roadway.

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Wind power giant Vestas has announced it’s laying off workers at its Pueblo facility. Vestas would not provide an exact number, but did say that the job reduction represents about three percent of its total US and Canadian workforce. The plant had employed some 400 people making towers for wind turbines. In total, about 1700 [...]

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President Barack Obama finished out his two-day campaign swing through the state yesterday with stops in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin attended the rally at Colorado College and Shanna Lewis was at the morning event in Pueblo. We begin there.

Photo: Shanna Lewis.

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A lasting legacy of 9/11 is the tens of thousands of wounded soldiers coming home from two wars, only to find a new battle to fit back into civilian life again. Many have crippling wounds that remain unseen. Programs aimed at helping these veterans are popping up around the country, including one we reported [...]

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This month we’re taking you on a trip through Colorado, visiting places and talking to people that help make the Centennial State what it is.

You can listen to the full episode, or download here.

You can also head to the individual segments for the audio and web extras:

The Great [...]

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Poor Coloradoans are more likely to die younger than the state’s wealthiest residents, according to a recent study by the University of Washington…and, artist Christo’s plan to hang nearly six miles worth of fabric over parts of the Arkansas River along U.S. Route 50 is largely intact under a version that federal land managers [...]

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This week Jews around the world are celebrating Passover. Families and friends gather at seders, which are the ritual holiday dinners to commemorate the redemption of their ancestors from slavery. On Passover, and throughout the year, observant Jews eat only food certified as Kosher. That means it must meet the requirements of millennia old Jewish [...]

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Wind tower manufacturing giant Vestas opened a new factory south of Pueblo earlier this year. Two accidents, one of them fatal, marked its first six months of operations, along with the announcement that the international company was laying off some 3000 workers in Europe. Nonetheless, Vestas created some 450 jobs in the Pueblo area, [...]

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This month we’re going to spend the hour looking back at some of the topics we covered since kicking off the revival of Western Skies in June. 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 [...]

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At a time when becoming a farmer often means a large initial investment, or when generational farms seem to reach near the end of the line…or when landowners simply might not have the time, experience, or desire to ranch or farm their property, there’s a new program that seeks to pair next generation farmers [...]

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We all need to eat, and in this episode of Western Skies, we attempt to connect you with the people who produce our food. From community supported agriculture to traditional ranching, we’ve talked to people involved with this basic necessity, and bring you their stories.

You can download the full episode, or listen [...]

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The Medano Fire has consumed nearly 5000 acres in the Great Sand Dunes National Park about 25 miles northeast of Alamosa. Fire managers there are using strategic planning and risk assessment to protect people and private property in that area. They held a community meeting in the nearby town of Gardner last night. KRCC’s Shanna [...]

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The Medano Fire continues to burn in and around the Great Sand Dunes National Park about 25 miles northeast of Alamosa.Now a second major fire is burning in southcentral Colorado. Yesterday afternoon a blaze erupted about 14 miles east of Canon City causing evacuations of homes and businesses in the area. KRCC’s Shanna Lewis filed [...]

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State budget forecasters told lawmakers today that there are insufficient funds to pay the bills for this fiscal year and the new fiscal year beginning July 1…and, earlier today fire officials reported that the Medano Fire has burned over 4700 acres in Saguache and Huerfano counties, about 25 miles northeast of Alamosa.

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The Medano Fire burning near the Great Sand Dunes National Park has spread to some 5,000 acres as of earlier today. Shanna Lewis filed this report from Westcliffe.

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Photos: Friday, smoke could still be seen from the Medano Fire in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve over the Sangre de Cristos at the south end of the Wet Mountain Valley. Credit: Shanna Lewis.

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[slideshow id=41]

Last night a huge cloud of smoke drifted across Huerfano and Pueblo counties. The smoke is from a wildfire burning in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve northeast of Alamosa. Shanna Lewis sent us this report from Westcliffe.

Photos: Smoke from the Medano Fire in the Great Sand Dunes National Park [...]

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[slideshow id=41]
Reports of visible smoke in Pueblo and Westcliffe likely originate from a fire burning at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Southeastern Colorado. Officials there say a fire sparked by lightening earlier this month flared back up, but is not a threat to park visitors or resources, and is being managed.

[...]

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News

ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 17, 2014 | NPR · The Carolina Panthers placed Greg Hardy on the list over a long-running case and the Cardinals did the same after Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault.
 

The Canadian Press
September 17, 2014 | NPR · The mayor, who made international news after he admitted to smoking crack, dropped out of the mayoral race last week. Ford’s doctor said he was “optimistic.”
 

AP
September 17, 2014 | NPR · The Fed said because wage-and-price hikes remain low and growth continues at a moderate pace, interest rates will stay at historic lows for a “considerable time.”
 

Arts & Life

September 17, 2014 | NPR · Martin Amis’ latest novel, which takes place in Auschwitz, has already stirred up controversy in Europe according to the New York Times. But reviewer Alan Cheuse calls it the triumph of Amis’ career.
 

Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
September 17, 2014 | NPR · Hayes, a professor of writing at the University of Pittsburgh, was recognized for “reflecting on race, gender, and family in works that seamlessly encompass both the historical and the personal.”
 

iStockphoto
September 17, 2014 | NPR · How one woman’s quest to bring you the scientific method has resulted in a blog project chock-full of chocolate chip cookie experiments. Wear your oven mitt and bring a glass of milk.
 

Music

Folk Alley
September 17, 2014 | FolkAlley · Loretta Lynn, Jason Isbell, Jackson Browne, and more of the most revered artists in roots music performed live from Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
 

Vimeo
September 17, 2014 | NPR · A slow fade, rather than a hard stop, used to be the popular way to end a pop song. NPR’s Robert Siegel speaks with Slate reporter William Weir about the fade-out’s history and recent decline.
 

Mountain Stage
September 17, 2014 | NPR · The Portland singer counts indie-rock, folk and Celtic musicians among his many collaborators, but here he performs both solo and accompanied by the Mountain Stage band.
 

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