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U.S. Army/Sgt. Jecca Geffre

Governor John Hickenlooper was in Rifle Wednesday at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new wildfire research center. 

The Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting will officially open later this summer but, elected leaders from around the state gathered Wednesday for an unofficial welcome.

"We are pleased as punch to have the Center of Excellence here, at Rifle/Garfield County Airport," said Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson.

Marci Krivonen

The month of April is when the Greater Sage Grouse does an elaborate dance to find a mate. The chicken-like bird lives in northwest Colorado and other western states and it’s population is shrinking. The largest conservation effort ever is underway to improve the bird’s habitat and prevent a federal “endangered” listing. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen visited the largest breeding grounds in the state, where the birds gather each year for their courtship dance.

Ruedi Water and Power Authority

An effort is underway to get people to conserve water across the Roaring Fork Valley. On Tuesday a public meeting will be held in El Jebel on the Regional Water Efficiency Plan.

For more than a year, major water suppliers in the Valley like the Cities of Aspen and Glenwood Springs, have been creating their own water efficiency plans. Those plans make up a larger effort. It lays out ways to use less water.

Colorado's childhood poverty rate has decreased for the first time in five years. The latest data comes as part of the annual Kids Count Report, which offers information on the health and well-being of children across the state.

"That is great news for Colorado," said Lt. Governor Joe Garcia. He went on to add that there's always a but, "We know that there are still far too many children growing up in households where they don't have access to the opportunities and resources they need to be healthy and succeed."

aspensnowmass.com

The Aspen Skiing Company is getting involved in the legal fight for marriage equality. The company is one of hundreds of businesses urging the US Supreme Court to embrace same-sex marriage. 

For one year now, Colorado has allowed recreational marijuana stores to operate. In the Roaring Fork Valley, fourteen recreational pot shops are operating. Aspen Public Radio is examining the legal marijuana business from one end of the Valley to the other and, how momentum has shifted from the mid Valley to  Aspen. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher and Marci Krivonen report.

Longtime Carbondale resident Tom Bleskan is standing outside of what could be his new line of work. He’s next to a small warehouse.

Marci Krivonen

CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business released a study last week tracking how much money the oil and gas industry has contributed to the Colorado economy. Researchers found billions of dollars were generated over a four-year period.

The study was commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute and looks at energy development in each county from 2008 to 2012. During that time, the energy industry generated more than $126 billion statewide, the analysis finds.

Marci Krivonen

Same-sex marriage became legal in Colorado on Tuesday after the state supreme court cleared the last hurdle. Colorado’s attorney general announced clerks in all 64 counties were legally required to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Kat Sing and Toni Grenko were the first gay couple to get a license in Garfield County. The couple, from No Name, has been together for three years.

Jose Antonio Navas/Creative Commons/Flickr

The Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder is already fielding inquiries after a U.S. Supreme Court non-decision on Monday opened the door for same sex couples to wed. The high court’s refusal to take up the issue impacts Colorado. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explains.

County clerks across the state will begin issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples likely in a matter of days. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers says a ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down gay marriage bans will apply in Colorado.

forestcamping.com

The Forest Supervisor for the White River National Forest says he expects to see more marijuana grow sites on national forest land now that pot is legal in Colorado.

Forest Service officials on Wednesday dismantled a large cultivation site near Ruedi Reservoir. It’s illegal to grow marijuana on federal land and there are strict penalties.

Hunters discovered the latest site that contained more than 2600 mature marijuana plants. That’s $6 million to $8 million worth of pot. Scott Fitzwilliams is Forest Supervisor.

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