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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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

NASA/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech
April 17, 2014 | NPR · Kepler-186f is almost the same size as Earth, and it orbits in its star’s “Goldilocks zone”– where temperatures may be just right for life. But much is unknown because it’s also 500 light years away.
 

iStockphoto
April 17, 2014 | NPR · It turns out the first chili peppers were grown by humans in eastern Mexico. And it’s not the same region where beans and corn were first grown, according to new ways of evaluating evidence.
 

Science Source
April 17, 2014 | NPR · Scientists based their technique on the one used to create the sheep Dolly years ago. These cells might one day be useful in treating all sorts of diseases.
 

Arts & Life

April 17, 2014 | NPR · Critic Maureen Corrigan recommends two graphic novels — one about a Yiddish advice column in the early 1900s and another about a regiment of African-American soldiers who fought during World War I.
 

Warner Brothers Pictures
April 17, 2014 | NPR · The new science fiction film Transcendence doesn’t work very well as a story, but it’s got an interesting way of trying to keep itself grounded in nature while exploring technological terrors.
 

April 17, 2014 | NPR · “Selfie” may have been the 2013 word of the year. But “belfies,” or “butt selfies” are now in the spotlight. We learn more about why they earned a fitness model a spread in Vanity Fair magazine.
 

Music

NPR
April 17, 2014 | NPR · The cousins have formed Black Jungle Squad, a collective of relatives and close friends. “Taking it back to the days when there was a lot more crews in hip-hop,” says Jeremiah. “Like Native Tongues.”
 

Courtesy of the artists
April 17, 2014 | NPR · We’re guessing some yoga and Pilates classes preceded a round of musical and physical one-upwomanship that’s gone viral.
 

Courtesy of the Kennedy Center
April 17, 2014 | WBGO · At the KC Jazz Club, Moran sets up two tunes with pre-produced sound montages, including a unique take on “Honeysuckle Rose.” Hear Moran’s long-running Bandwagon trio play Washington, D.C.
 

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