One of the most pervasive notions of American cultural identity is that of the Old West and the myth of the cowboy. This month we stick a magnifying glass up to those notions to see where they originate, and where they continue to resonate.

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The Colorado Department of Health is monitoring the impact of several wildfires in southern Colorado, for now, shifting some attention away from the ongoing Arizona fires that have created hazy skies in the past week…and, several airlines have agreed to remove excess-bag fees for the military after a Brighton soldier and a buddy posted [...]

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Much of southern Colorado has spent the day under a Smoke Health Advisory…and, the United States Postal Service is working to cut costs by consolidating mail facilities, and shutting down offices that they deem unsustainable.

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Officials say one of the main landing gear collapsed on a small commercial plane after arriving at Denver International Airport, but none of the 11 passengers and crew was hurt…and, the runoff election for Colorado Springs’ new strong mayor is today. KRCC’s Tristan Dickison hit the streets to find out if people are voting, [...]

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Senate Democrats have defeated a bill aimed at revamping the Governor’s Energy Office. The bill would’ve expanded the mission to include promoting traditional forms of energy alongside wind and solar…and, The Colorado Springs city clerk is encouraging voters to return ballots early for the upcoming runoff election, according to the Gazette.

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Colorado lawmakers are inviting voters to the capitol tomorrow to weigh in on new proposals for redrawing the state’s seven congressional districts…and, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to take a look at whether a species of stonefly in the Cache la Poudre River should receive endangered species protection.

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Governor John Hickenlooper received an annual pre-season brief today on this year’s fire season in Colorado…and, regents at the University of Colorado have voted 5-4 to discontinue the journalism program on the Boulder campus.

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Firefighters from several counties in Southeast Colorado are still working to contain a grassfire in Bent County that has burned more than 9,000 acres since it started on Saturday…Lawmakers in the Colorado House have begun meetings to discuss the particulars of the proposed state budget.

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Colorado Springs city officials have announced the draw for positioning on next month’s mayoral run-off ballot will be held tomorrow…and, a national panel of judicial and law enforcement experts met today in New Mexico to begin its part in a massive federal and tribal effort aimed at revamping the justice system across Indian Country.

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Firefighters say a small wildfire that broke out in a Colorado Springs park appears to have been started intentionally…and, drier than normal weather is keeping fire risk at high levels.

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About fifty buses from Falcon School District 49 circled the state capitol today with messages for lawmakers who are considering cuts to education funding…A proposal by Colorado lawmakers to combine the Colorado Division of Wildlife with Colorado State Parks is up for review…and, a small earthquake registered near Steamboat Springs early Wednesday morning.

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An impairment standard for drivers using medical marijuana has won final approval in the Colorado House. The bill says drivers are impaired if they have a THC level of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter in their blood…Candidates for Colorado Springs mayor met last night at a public forum…and, the Colorado Division of Wildlife [...]

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Voters in Colorado Springs will soon start receiving ballots for April’s city elections…and, Handicapped parking permits in Colorado could come from out-of-state physician recommendations under a bill introduced today.

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The state senate gave initial approval to a bill today that would require elementary school children in Colorado to have 30 minutes a day of physical activity…Religious tolerance will be the focus of a review at the Air Force Academy…and, a wildfire north of Boulder that’s prompted the evacuation of more than 200 homes [...]

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In Washington, the Senate today rejected competing Republican and Democratic spending bills. Colorado’s Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Democrats, voted against both measures…Colorado Springs mayoral candidate Phil McDonald has dropped out of the race, according to the Gazette…and, the Pikes Peak Library District is one of two districts in the state [...]

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The Colorado Department of Education says 72.4% of the class of 2010 graduated high school on time, which means within four years…A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to block a prayer luncheon at the Air Force Academy…and, the Mountain Metropolitan Transit service has replaced 30 passenger vans.

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With temperatures still hovering around the zero degree mark, energy companies in the region are clearly experiencing in a spike in natural gas consumption…According to a release from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, nearly 50 students at the college are relocating from the UCCS Housing Village to new rooms due to a break [...]

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A winter weather advisory is in effect for much of the listening area, and temperatures are expected to plunge to near record lows tomorrow night…Five faculty members at the Air Force Academy and a religious watchdog group are filing a civil rights suit against the school, saying it’s violating the constitutional separation of church and [...]

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The President’s State of the Union yesterday focused heavily on innovation and job creation. Colorado’s freshman Republicans found some things to like in the speech and some things not to like….and, organizers of a study on improving a section of Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs are presenting recommendations tonight.

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The flu season is underway and area health officials expect it to be less severe than last year….and, the U.S. Olympic Committee adds five new board members.

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A closed coal mine will soon reopen in Las Animas County and is expected to create over 400 new jobs there…and, Colorado’s rating as one of America’s healthiest states has slipped.

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The number of foreclosures in El Paso County rose last month while its southern neighbor also saw a slight increase…and, a recent survey in Trinidad School District #1 shows parents still prefer the telephone as the primary means of communication with school officials.

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Many Coloradans stand to lose their long-term unemployment benefits this week, as the national extension expires…and, Governor Bill Ritter says Colorado state government needs to take a bigger role in developing and promoting water projects if the state is going to provide for the estimated 10 million people who will live here in 40 years.

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News

AP
December 21, 2014 | NPR · Brazil and the U.S. played to a 0-0 draw in the final of the International Tournament of Brasilia, giving Brazil the first-place finish overall. None of the games were televised in the U.S.
 

Reuters/Landov
December 21, 2014 | NPR · Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who ambushed two NYPD patrolmen, spoke to people on the street just before the shooting took place, according to a police official.
 

Courtesy of Amelia Wolf
December 21, 2014 | NPR · American Jewish college student Amelia Wolf spent Hanukkah last year in Ramallah. As the holiday approached, she was lonely — until her Palestinian hosts got wind of how she was feeling.
 

Arts & Life

Coffee House Press
December 21, 2014 | NPR · Valeria Luiselli, who was born in Mexico City and lives now in Harlem, released two slim, multinational books this year: the essay collection Sidewalks and her time-jumping novel Faces In The Crowd.
 

AP
December 21, 2014 | NPR · The actress stars in the new film Into The Woods, in theaters Thursday. On screen she’s a natural. But as a kid, she had a stutter so severe she could hardly say her own name.
 

Feral Films, Inc.
December 21, 2014 | NPR · A filmmaker invited white residents of Buffalo, N.Y., to speak candidly about race. Karen Grigsby Bates finds the results are thought-provoking, often surprising and sometimes disturbing.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
December 21, 2014 | NPR · How do you make a Christmas album without succumbing to formula? “Put a little Outkast to it,” the soul singer says.
 

December 21, 2014 | NPR · In the 1960s, the Beatles sent their most loyal fans a Christmas gift every year — a flexi-disc. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to music writer Colin Fleming about the annual holiday single.
 

KCRW
December 21, 2014 | KCRW · The singer and guitarist revisits “Hi-Fi,” from his much-loved breakthrough album, Transistor Radio.
 

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