Preliminary estimates show insurance companies will pay almost $300 million dollars to homeowners affected by the Black Forest Fire.

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A group of sheriffs aiming to overturn new gun laws are happy with language they say clears up confusion. Yesterday, attorneys for the two sides came to an agreement on the measure that limits magazine rounds to fifteen. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

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A lawsuit filed by more than 50 Colorado sheriffs challenging two new gun laws is scheduled to go in front of a judge today. The laws went into effect July 1st. Now, an attorney representing the sheriffs is asking for the parts of the law setting limits on gun magazines be put on hold. [...]

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Search and rescue crews found the body of Randy Udall yesterday, in Wyoming’s Wind River mountain range. The Carbondale resident was brother to U.S. Senator Mark Udall and well known for his work on environmental issues. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has this remembrance.

Randy Udall was known in Colorado and across the [...]

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Industrial hemp could be Colorado’s next cash crop. But until rules are crafted for the growing and processing of the plant, state officials are telling would-be hemp farmers to wait. KUNC’s Luke Runyon has more.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries are the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But another problem is starting to emerge after these soldiers come home and seek treatment. In a three-part series that started yesterday in the Colorado Springs Gazette, investigative reporter Dave Philipps examines the growing number [...]

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Governor John Hickenlooper recently fired up a special task force in response to the state’s ongoing drought. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, the group will focus on making sure communities across the state can deal with the effects of drought.

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A bill authorizing the creation of a state firefighting air tanker fleet is on its way to the governor. But as KUNC’s Nathan Heffel reports, there’s no guarantee the fleet will be in the air anytime soon.

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Federal food inspectors will start checking cantaloupe farms and other processing facilities throughout the country and here in Colorado for deadly food borne bacteria. As KUNC and Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports, the increased scrutiny is in direct response to two large-scale outbreaks.

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The Bureau of Land Management suspended more than two-dozen energy leases in the Thompson Divide yesterday. Most of the leases were set to expire at the end of May. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

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Despite fierce winds in and around Fort Collins, fire crews continue to make progress battling the Galena Fire in the foothills northwest of town.

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Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas is laying off workers at its Windsor and Brighton blade factories, the company announced today. The reduction affects 10% of Vestas’ statewide workforce of 1100 employees, and comes after Congress renewed a Wind Energy Tax Credit at the end of last year.

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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has announced that the military will extend some benefits to same-sex partners. KUNC’s Grace Hood has more on what the move will mean for the 26-thousand men and women serving at Fort Carson.

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A Western Slope public library is trying something new this spring: a seed collection. With a library card in hand, you can check the seeds out, grow the plants, and within nine months, harvest the new seeds and bring them back. Aspen Public Radio‘s Luke Runyon recently spent some time in the [...]

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One of the biggest topics right now across the state is oil and gas development, specifically, hydraulic fracturing. Communities, industry, and the state are all working to ensure their interests are protected. But it’s a complicated issue, and often contentious. This month for Western Skies, we’re holding a magnifying glass up to fracking, the rules, regulations, and community concerns. (This month’s image by artist and rig-worker, Streeter Wright.)

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Early this week, the U.S. House of Representatives nixed an amendment to a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that would have provided aid to victims of the 2012 wildfires in Colorado. KDNK’s Ed Williams spoke with Senator Michael Bennet, who co-sponsored the amendment.

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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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A winter storm is bringing some much-needed rain and snow to the Front Range and northern mountains.

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A new study suggests that, despite popular opinion, bark beetles do NOT play a major role in large-scale wildfires in Colorado and other western regions.

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Water managers in Colorado are bracing for another bad year. The largest water utilities on the Front Range are already taking steps to prepare for another dry summer, a summer some predict could be worse than last year. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, utilities in Colorado Springs and Denver are preparing in advance.

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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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An avalanche killed a Summit County man outside the town of Marble this past weekend. It’s the second avalanche related death in as many weeks this winter.

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Tackling the issue of low water supplies and increasing demand will be a top priority for lawmakers during the upcoming legislative session. As part of our series on snow, Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland takes a look at some of the proposals being floated around and talks to state leaders about preparing for the worst.

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News

Reuters /Landov
December 17, 2014 | NPR · Havana freed Gross, who spent five years in a Cuban prison, as a humanitarian gesture. The former USAID contractor said he hoped the U.S. and Cuba move past their “mutually belligerent” policies.
 

The White House
December 17, 2014 | NPR · It was a phone call that preceded a plan to normalize diplomatic relations between historical foes.
 

AP
December 17, 2014 | NPR · The stalemate has outlasted 10 U.S. presidents, a failed invasion, a nuclear crisis and countless boatloads of Cuban asylum seekers. All that changed on Wednesday.
 

Arts & Life

December 17, 2014 | NPR · In Gay Berlin, Robert Beachy describes the rise of a gay subculture in the 1920s and ’30s, how it contributed to our understanding of gay identity and how it was eradicated by the Nazis.
 

Daniella Cheslow for NPR
December 17, 2014 | NPR · Some Christians in Israel and the West Bank celebrate Eid el-Burbara on Dec. 17. The feast honors St. Barbara, an early convert to Christianity whose story is echoed in the Rapunzel tale.
 

Vice
December 17, 2014 | NPR · “Nonna Marijuana’s Italian Feast” is the first episode of a Web series exploring pot cuisine. It features a charming 91-year-old grandmother who cooks cannabis Italian food infused with love.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artists
December 17, 2014 | NPR · The results are in! St. Vincent’s self-titled album was by far the most popular record in our listener poll for the best music of 2014. On this week’s show we count down the Top 25.
 

December 17, 2014 | NPR · Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says Black Messiah is as adventurous as any fan could hope for.
 

Courtesy of the artist
December 17, 2014 | NPR · In Road Dawgs, the members of Future Islands speak candidly about the group’s nearly decade-long career and its new-found success.
 

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