Kirk Siegler

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.

Siegler grew up near Missoula, MT, and received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Colorado.  He’s an avid skier and traveler in his spare time.

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It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

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I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour in Southern California, where there are more questions than answers about yesterday's gun battle between police and a man thought to be Christopher Dorner. Dorner is the former LAPD officer who's been on the run. He's accused of setting out on a killing spree to avenge his dismissal from the force, and he's blamed for the deaths of four people in the past week.

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We're also following a story in Southern California: the ongoing hunt for a former policeman suspected of a killing spree. Christopher Dorner is sought in the shooting of three people last week. The mayor of Los Angeles announced the city is offering a $1 million reward for any information leading to his arrest. As NPR's Kirk Siegler reports, one of the largest manhunts in California history is now going into its fifth day, with no major leads.

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Catholics in Los Angeles are reassessing the legacies of their church leaders. A court order led to the release of thousands of pages of documents on sex abuse. The documents relate to something we've heard about on this program, that Cardinal Roger Mahony shielded abusive priests while he was archbishop. Here's NPR's Kirk Siegler.

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A huge manhunt is underway in Southern California. People are looking for a former LAPD officer said to be armed and extremely dangerous.

CHIEF CHARLIE BECK: Christopher Dorner is wanted for a series of crimes, including assaults on officers and three homicides in Southern California in the past week.

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If you haven't been to Palisades Park — the famous oceanfront park in Santa Monica, Calif. — chances are you have seen its swaying palm trees and sweeping ocean vistas in movies and commercials.

Running up the wooden stairs that plunge to the beach is the workout to do in this city where it seems like you have to be fit to fit in. In fact, most early mornings before work hours, this park seems more like an outdoor gym than anything else, with running clubs, weight training and kickboxing classes.

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Heading in the other direction, American Express says it plans to lay off more than 5,000 workers in the coming year. These unexpected cuts come despite a strong holiday sales season.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: All told, the layoffs will account for about eight percent of American Express's entire workforce - most from the company's global travel business.

California has a new law in affect this year that bars employers from forcing employees to hand over their social media passwords. Some companies have been asking for these passwords to keep tabs on employees.

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These fresh conversations about gun control in Washington began, of course, after last Friday's tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. People in that town of paying close attention to the conversations in Washington, even as funerals and memorials commemorating the victims go on. NPR's Kirk Siegler sent this report.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved...

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Drug cartels are taking to the ocean. That's because security along the land border between the U.S. and Mexico has been beefed up. Smuggling off the coast of Southern California is up 30 percent this year, according to the government, and that has the Coast Guard and Homeland Security warning of an increasingly dangerous situation off the busy coast.

NPR's Kirk Siegler reports.

Cargo started moving again on Wednesday at the nation's largest ports. An eight-day strike by clerical workers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is over. Melissa Block talks with Kirk Siegler from the port, where clerks, longshoremen and truckers are all glad to be back on the job.

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Now, let's talk next about Colorado, where Republicans edged ahead in early voting, the same early voting that was key to Democratic success back in 2008. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC has our story.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Early voting at polling stations like this one in downtown Denver ended this past Friday, but yesterday there was a steady stream of voters dropping off their mail-in ballots.

PAMELA MALONE: Well, I was just turning in my vote before the final last hours...

How do you reach an audience of more than 200,000 people a day in an important swing state without buying an expensive TV ad?

If you're Sid Overton, you build a blimp and fly it alongside one of Colorado's busiest freeways.

"It says, 'Romney For President. He Creates Jobs,' " Overton told KUNC.

Colorado is a good venue for a presidential debate focusing on domestic issues. The first of three highly anticipated debates between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will take place Wednesday at the University of Denver.

The state is known for its independent voting streak, and much like the rest of the country, there are sharp political divides about the role of government in the economy. In Colorado, those differences grow from two distinct population centers.

Watching the first 20 minutes of Saturday Night Live's season premiere in Denver, I counted at least four ads by the Obama campaign and liberal groups backing the president. Just one ad countering their message was aired in the same span by the Romney campaign.

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The deadly movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado has become a key issue in at least two tight congressional races in that battleground state. Since the attacks, two Democratic candidates - running in districts in and around Aurora - have called for stricter gun laws. But Republicans have accused them of trying to politicize the tragedy.

From member station KUNC, Kirk Siegler reports.

Some well-funded pro-Mitt Romney superPACs and other advocacy groups are pulling their TV ad dollars in Pennsylvania and Michigan and are doubling down on efforts in what they consider to be more crucial swing states — such as Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Colorado.

Those are states where President Obama has also been spending considerable time campaigning lately, but where he's facing a barrage of attack ads from his Republican rival and the conservative superPACs, such as American Crossroads, and nonprofit advocacy groups, like Americans for Prosperity.

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Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is among the scheduled speakers at the Democratic Convention tonight. The former brew pub owner is one of the most popular governors in the country, and the Obama campaign hopes his popularity will help the party, once again, with the battleground state of Colorado in November. Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC has this profile.

Freshmen chatter anxiously as they stream out of their dorms for orientation at the University of Colorado in Boulder this week. There's a buzz and energy around campus that you might expect this time of year.

But Deb Coffin, vice chancellor for student affairs, says one thing is different: "It is legal now to bring your concealed carry weapon with you, as long as you're a permit holder and keep it concealed."

Last month's deadly theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., are starting to play front and center in at least two hotly contested U.S. House races in the swing state.

The conservative lobbying group Compass Colorado this week announced it's beginning a slate of automated calls highlighting what the organization says is Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter's politicization of the July 20 attack that left 12 people dead and 58 injured.

When the Waldo Canyon Fire roared over the hill behind the Mountain Shadows neighborhood in Colorado Springs, Colo., in June, nearly 350 homes were destroyed. The blaze reduced this affluent neighborhood at the foot of the mountains to rubble.

C.J. Moore's home on Mirror Lake Court was among the casualties. The inferno was so hot, her stone driveway exploded. Only a few blackened trees sway eerily in the wind where her home used to stand.

President Obama is in Aurora, Colo., on Sunday, meeting with the families of the victims of the deadly theater shootings that killed 12 people and injured 58 more. He'll also attend a memorial service and meet briefly with local officials.

Outside the movie theater where Friday's rampage occurred, there's a makeshift memorial at the edge of a hot and dusty lot. There are hundreds of candles and flowers, American flags and signs memorializing the victims.

"It's a sad time, very sad time," said William Cloud, a local professor, who came by to pay his respects.

We ask neighbors in Aurora, Colo., what they know about the suspected movie theater shooter, James Holmes.

Crews in Colorado are struggling to get the upper hand on the massive High Park wildfire that's destroyed more homes and property than any blaze in the state's history. With Colorado and the rest of the drought-plagued Southwest coming off a winter with record low snowpack, officials are braced for more fires. But previous forest management techniques could be partly to blame for the severe fires.

Some voters in Colorado are not happy about President Obama's decision to come out in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

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Tax revenue coming from shale, oil, and gas development has many states very happy, but the boom is also putting a strain on regulators. There are not enough of them to inspect all the drilling sites. Colorado, for example, has 17 inspectors for more the 47,000 active oil and gas wells. Kirk Siegler reports from member station KUNC.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: Each day, Jim Precobb(ph) of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission logs about 400 miles in his state-owned truck.

JIM PRECOBB: It is absolutely staggering.

Part of a series

Economists say many industries are looking up this year. But perhaps none has a better outlook than the energy sector.

New drilling technologies and rising fuel prices have generated a boom in drilling — and lots of high-paying jobs for people with the skills to work in the oil patch. On some college campuses, companies are so eager to find petroleum engineers that they are offering jobs to students even before they have graduated.

Some days, it would be easy to mistake the Metro Taxi dispatch center in Denver for a police station. Traffic and crime incidents are recorded in a special logbook, as drivers call in descriptions and locations to police.

It's part of a program called Taxis on Patrol. Just a day after the program began, a cab driver helped police make an arrest for a fatal hit-and-run. In the months since, eyewitness calls from cabbies using a bulletin system similar to an Amber Alert have led to hundreds of arrests.

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