Laura Palmisano

Senior Reporter/Producer

Laura is a senior reporter and producer for KVNF Community Radio. She covers seven counties on Colorado's Western Slope. You may also on occasion hear her host Morning Edition and Local Motion on KVNF. Laura has worked at public radio and television stations in Phoenix and Tucson. Her work has aired on NPR, the BBC, Harvest Public Media and the Rocky Mountain Community Radio exchange. She was 2015 fellow for the Institute for Justice & Journalism's fellowship on immigrant families. She also has experience as a videographer and video editor. Laura graduated summa cum laude from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. 

  

Ways to Connect

avalanche
Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Colorado has seen it’s first avalanche fatality of the season.

Officials say on Thursday afternoon, snowmobilers riding in the Ruby Range west of Crested Butte triggered the avalanche.  

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says one of the riders was 'caught and buried' on a day ranked considerable for danger. 

Millie Hamner
milliehamner.com

Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillion, is the chair of the state Joint Budget Committee this session. She’s also the vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. The Western Slope lawmaker recently spoke to KVNF about what big budget issues will be debated at the capitol this session. 

Stephen Butler via Flickr (CC-BY)

This week on the program, we'll hear Governor John Hickenlooper's State of the State address. The speech was originally recorded on Jan. 14, 2016. 


  • Palisade board approves buying land for a regional shooting complex
  • The 2016 Colorado state legislative session kicks off
  • DMEA board member talks about regional broadband efforts 

  • Hickenlooper outlines legislative priorities for 2016 session
  • Paonia resident, horse killed in accident on Hwy 92
  • Environmental activists respond to Arch Coal’s bankruptcy
  • For 2016, Democrats in the Colorado Senate will have a new leader

coal
Flickr user: oatsy40

Arch Coal announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday. The company operates the West Elk Mine outside of Paonia and is the second largest coal company in the U.S.   

  • Construction underway to repair erosion in Montrose
  • Commissioners approve backyard chickens in unincorporated Mesa County  
  • With state water plan finalized, ball lands in lawmakers’ court
  • Rep. J. Paul Brown on the 2016 legislative session 
  • Colorado moves away from self-bonding

  • Missing snowmobiler found after overnight search outside of Telluride
  • Ailing Grand Junction homeless shelter seeks help from city
  • More than 169000 Coloradans signed up for health coverage since Nov. 

Paonia, North Fork Valley
Steve Huntley

It’s estimated 7.8 million people will live in Colorado by the year 2040. A Rocky Mountain PBS I-News analysis of data from the state demographer and the U.S. Census Bureau shows, seven of the 10 fastest growing counties will be on the Western Slope, including Garfield and Montrose. 

Kerry Donovan
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Last week, state Sen. Kerry Donovan hosted a town hall in Paonia. She talked about her first year at the capitol and bills she's working on for the next legislative session.

San Miguel County Courthouse
J. Stephen Conn via flickr

Authorities arrested a 65-year-old man for allegedly threatening to blow up government buildings and making threats against Telluride schoolchildren.

Law enforcement arrested Kenneth Joseph Krawchuk in Cortez on Friday afternoon, according to a release from the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office.  

Galley Ranch
Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust

A grant will help preserve a ranch within the Uncompahgre National Forest.

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust received $436,000 to conserve 705 acres of the Galley Ranch. The money comes from Great Outdoors Colorado. 

Volunteers of America, food
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A program on the Western Slope that makes sure seniors have enough food to ride out winter storms kicked into gear Monday. 

Workers with Volunteers of America packed “blizzard” boxes at the Senior CommUnity Meals site in Eckert.

The packages contain non-perishable items like tuna, cereal, powdered milk and canned soup.  

Abraham Connection
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The death of a local homeless man due to exposure was a wake-up call for some in Delta County.

"We knew that if we didn’t step up and start helping these individuals that we would have a lot more people die in our community and we wanted to prevent that," said Cheryl Oeltjenbruns, the board president of Abraham Connection, a seasonal homeless shelter in Delta founded six years ago by community members and church leaders.

Dr Seuss, kid's books, children's books, book
Flickr user: EvelynGiggles

Colorado has room to improve according to a recent report that ranks states based on policies that promote early childhood literacy.

The report looks at seven policy areas tied to early childhood education. Then it ranks states in three categories: crawling, toddling and walking.

delta, downtown delta colorado
Flickr user: J. Stephen Conn

Delta has hired a new city manager. On Tuesday night, city officials announced David Torgler, the current town manager of Hayden, Colorado, accepted the position.

Officials delivered the news during a city council meeting. 

razorback sucker, fish
Laura Palmisano

Some native fish in the Colorado River and its tributaries are struggling to stay afloat.  Invasive species, dams and water diversions all complicate the recovery of endangered fish in those waterways.  One long-standing program ties together federal and state agencies with regional groups to help these cold-blooded creatures make a comeback.

coal
Flickr user: oatsy40

Arch Coal recently said that it might file for bankruptcy. The St. Louis-based company operates the West Elk Mine near Somerset and is the second largest coal company in the U.S. KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to Robert Godby, an economics professor at the University of Wyoming, who tracks the coal industry, about the announcement.  


DMEA, Delta Montrose Electric Association, Marv Ballantyne
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The Delta Montrose Electric Association hosted an energy efficiency forum in Hotchkiss on Tuesday night.

About 45 people attend the forum at Hotchkiss Memorial Hall.

DMEA set up informational tables about energy efficiency programs the co-op offers such as rebates for LED light bulbs and energy efficient appliances.  

There was even an interactive display where people rode a stationary bike to see how much energy it took to light up an incandescent bulb versus an LED one.  

Delta County Library District, Paonia Library, Delta County Libraries
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The Delta County Library District is experiencing a shake-up in leadership.

Last Wednesday, the library board placed district director Annette Choszczyk on paid administrative leave. On that same day, John Gavan, the district’s IT manager, resigned in protest.

In an email, Gavan says Choszczyk was a “highly capable and effective library director.”  

rico, snow, houses
CREDIT FLICKR USER: SUSAN RENEE

A program that assists low-income Coloradans with their winter heating costs is accepting applications.

Last year, the Colorado Low-Income Energy Program, or LEAP, helped 81,000 households with their heating bills.  

delta, downtown delta colorado
Flickr user: J. Stephen Conn

Editor's Note: This story was updated on Nov. 10, 2015  because the city announced Dana Schoening withdrew his application. 

Delta is hoping third time’s the charm for its city manager search.

In April, Delta’s then city manager Justin Clifton left for a job in Arizona. The city launched the search for his replacement in May. 

vote, flag, voting
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Voters across the Western Slope overwhelming approved broadband measures. 

Communities across the region asked residents to opt-out of Senate Bill 152. The decade-old state law prevents local governments from providing internet services or spending money on broadband infrastructure unless residents overturn it.  

Voters in Gunnison, Delta and Ouray Counties approved opt-out measures. Residents in Crested Butte, Paonia, Hotchkiss, Crawford, Cedaredge, Delta, Ridgway, Ouray and Telluride also passed similar ballot issues.  

going out of business sign, economy
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

This week on Local Motion, we discuss the economy in Delta County and local efforts to improve it. KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Delta County Commissioner Bruce Hovde, Michelle Haynes, the executive director of Region 10,  and Trish Thibodo, the executive director of Delta County Economic Development. 

River Valley Family Health Center

A health center in Olathe that primarily serves low-income and uninsured patients is expanding.  

River Valley Family Health Center is opening a location in Montrose this week. A majority of the health center’s patients are on Medicaid or don’t have insurance.  

ice climbing, Ouray Ice Park, Ouray Ice Festival
JT Thomas

Tiny beetles are causing big problems for Ouray Ice Park.  

Fir engraver beetles are destroying the white fir trees climbers use as anchors. 

"As trees are dying, all of a sudden we have a serious loss of safe anchoring options for climbers within the park," said Mike Macleod, the president of the park’s board of directors. 

Macleod said the park is installing alternative anchoring in areas of the park where trees were traditionally relied upon.

saw peter, karen refugees
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Saw Peter is Karen. That’s an ethnic group in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.  And for more than 100 Karen refugees in rural Delta, Colo., he’s the go-to person for advice, translation and other essential information.

Like the other refugees in this community, life hasn’t been easy for Peter.

As a young man, he smuggled his family to Malaysia because the government in Myanmar seized their farm and threatened to kill them.

internet, broadband
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Governments and organizations across the Western Slope say slow and unreliable broadband is hindering economic development. That’s why communities across the region want voter support this fall on measures that would allow them to try and address the issue. 

Economy, North Fork Valley, economic development
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Two Colorado communities hard-hit by the downturn in the coal industry received federal grants last week to help diversify their economies.

The Obama administration awarded Region 10, an organization of six counties on the Western Slope, a $1.2 million grant. Moffat County also got $50,000.

Delta County Memorial Hospital
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Over the summer, Delta County Memorial Hospital ended its partnership with the North Fork Clinics. The relationship lasted for a little over a year. DCMH had taken over managing the clinics in Paonia and Hotchkiss. After the hospital announced it was returning management to the two physicians who previously owned the clinics, the facility in Hotchkiss closed and one of the physicians left.

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