Laura Palmisano

Senior Reporter

Laura is a senior reporter for KVNF Community Radio. She covers eight 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's a 2015 fellow for the Institute for Journalism & Justice's fellowship on immigrant families. She also has experience as a producer, videographer and video editor. Laura graduated summa cum laude from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. While attending ASU, she reported for Cronkite News and the State Press. She was also a Scripps Howard intern for ABC15 News. 

  

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ARTS
5:59 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Using Shakespeare To Combat Bullying In Schools

Actors Sarah Adler, left, Ben Griffin, center, and Bethany Talley perform "Twelfth Night" at Paonia Elementary School.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Bullying is still an ongoing issue and telling kids to be nice to each other isn't always enough. That's why educators are getting creative.

In Colorado, some schools are using Shakespeare to get kids talking about violence and bullying and what they can do to prevent. 

More than 120 students are sitting on the gymnasium floor of Paonia Elementary. 

These third through sixth graders are here to see a play. 

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NEWS
11:13 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Program Trains Soldiers For Careers In Solar

LCpl. Aponte, front, and Sgt. McConnell move a solar module.
Credit Solar Energy International

The U.S. Department of Energy is piloting a program that trains military personnel for careers in the solar industry. The Reach for the Sun course is designed for people exiting the service and returning to civilian life. Paonia-based Solar Energy International is leading two of the three pilot programs including one at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks to Kathy Swartz, the executive director of SEI, an educational nonprofit, about the project.

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LOCAL MOTION
10:40 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Local Motion: Delta County's Lake City Roots

This historical mural in downtown Paonia features Samuel Wade and Tony Bear. Wade is the founder of Paonia.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The North Fork Valley in Delta County opened to settlers in the early 1880's. The founders of Paonia, Hotchkiss and other communities in the area lived in Hinsdale County's Lake City before coming to the valley. As part of our Local Motion episode on community roots, KVNF's Laura Palmisano interviewed North Fork Valley historian and author Chuck Farmer to find out more about the area's connection to Lake City. Farmer co-authored the book "In the Footsteps of the Hotchkiss Brothers" with his wife Mary.

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NEWS
10:39 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Eckert Crane Days Draws Birders, 'Craniacs'

In March and April thousands of greater sandhill cranes fly over Delta County in Colorado as part of their spring migration.
Carole Scott Photography

This past weekend was the 15th annual Eckert Crane Days event. People from across Colorado came to Delta County to witness the spring migration of the sandhill crane. 

It’s a clear morning at Fruitgrowers Reservoir in Eckert. There are about 30 people here waiting to see a flock of greater sandhill cranes take flight.

"We have it on 45 power so we so that we can bring the cranes in close," Susan Chandler-Reed with the Black Canyon Audubon Society says.

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HEALTH
10:30 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Medicare Factoring Patient Satisfaction Into Payments Affects Local Hospitals

Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The federal government has changed the way it pays hospitals through Medicare. It now factors in patient satisfaction. To discuss the affects on a local hospital, KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks with Jason Clecker, the CEO of Delta County Memorial Hospital. Over 60 percent of DCHM patients are on Medicare.

To see how your local hospital scored visit http://ow.ly/KGQk4

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NEWS
5:37 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Garfield County Lands Nation's First Aerial Firefighting Research Center

Credit The U.S. Army via Flickr

Colorado has announced the location for a 'first of its kind' aerial firefighting research facility.

The Rifle-Garfield County Airport will be home to the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting.  

"So virtually everything we do in wildland firefighting will be subject to be looked at by this center of excellence," Paul Cooke, the director of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, says. 

He says the center will test and evaluate existing and new technologies used in aerial firefighting. 

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NEWS
10:33 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Economic Development Bill Progresses At State Capitol

Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A bill to find ways to boost economic development in highly distressed regions of Colorado has cleared the state House. 

The bipartisan measure calls for the creation of a working group that identifies areas in Colorado that are struggling. 

The group would make recommendations to the legislature on how to improve the economies of these distressed regions. 

Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver is one of the bill’s sponsors.  

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LOCAL MOTION
2:18 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Local Motion: Addressing The Needs, Wants Of Colorado's Growing Senior Community

Credit flickr.com/sparkleglowplug

In 2010, 10 percent of Colorado’s population was over the age of 65.

The state ranked fourth lowest in the nation for people in this demographic. However, this age group is rapidly growing according to the Colorado Demography Office.  

It’s projected this age cohort will more than double to nearly 1.3 million people over the next 20 years. 

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HEALTH
10:12 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Delta Hospital Seeks To Extend Federal Payments

Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

For the past three years, Delta County Memorial Hospital has been participating in a pilot program that's allowed it to collect more money from Medicaid and Medicare for its services. 

The program will sunset in 2017, but the hospital doesn't want to that to happen. That's why it's lobbying federal lawmakers to support two bills that would extend it.  

Additionally, the hospital wants to see if it can change its classification in effect making those larger payments permanent, but to do that it also needs federal support. 

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NEWS
1:19 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Home Kitchen Producers, Lawmakers Hope To See Cottage Food Law Expand

Monica Wiitanen adds wood to her outdoor oven that she uses to bake bread.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Cottage food laws are on the books in almost every state. These statutes allow people to make food products in their home kitchens and sell their goods directly to consumers. In Colorado two bills would expand the state's three-year-old Cottage Foods Act.  

Monica Wiitanen is adding wood to her outdoor brick oven. She uses it to bake artisanal breads that she makes in her home kitchen. 

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Federal Hemp, Marijuana Bills Backed By Colorado Congressmen

A bill in the U.S. Senate would legalize industrial hemp.
Credit flickr/edwardthebonobo

A federal bill to legalize industrial hemp farming has the backing of a Colorado Congressman. 

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week. 

The bill would remove industrial hemp from the marijuana definition in the Controlled Substance Act thus allowing farmers to grow it.

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

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NEWS
5:24 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Congressman Scott Tipton Checks In On Delta County During Western Slope Tour

Congressman Scott Tipton at the Delta County Courthouse for a meeting with the commissioners on Wed., March 11, 2015.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

U.S. Representative Scott Tipton stopped in Delta on Wednesday as part of his tour of the Western Slope. 

At a meeting with the Delta County Commissioners Tipton discussed economic issues, broadband, rural health care, energy and tax reform. He also gave a congressional update. 

KVNF's Laura Palmisano interviewed Tipton during his visit.

Tipton represents Colorado's 3rd Congressional District which covers most of the western part of the state. 

He's also scheduled to meet with the Ouray County Commissioners on Thursday in Ridgway.

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NEWS
4:51 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Bill To Aid Colorado Volunteer Fire Depts. Signed Into Law

Credit flickr/mgabelmann

A bipartisan bill to help Colorado volunteer fire departments organize and get funding was signed into law Wednesday. 

Governor John Hickenlooper approved the Volunteer Fire Department Organization Act along with 20 other bills. 

The act helps not-for-profit, non-governmental, volunteer fire departments gain official recognition and makes them eligible to receive state assistance grants. 

State fire officials estimate there are up 60 volunteer fire departments across Colorado that this bill could assist.

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ARTS
6:06 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Paonia Inspires Local Fiber Art Installation

Adriana Villagran, left, and Amber Imrie-Situnayake, right, worked together to create the fiber art installation.
Laura Palmisano KVNF

An interactive art installation on display now at the Blue Sage Gallery in Paonia was inspired by local residents and businesses. 

It’s Thursday night in Paonia. Elsewhere Studios is packed with people.

They’re here to see the work of the artists who are wrapping up their residencies.

On the second-floor of the studio is an art installation created by two women from California.

The upper portion of the display is a canopy of sticks arranged like an upside down bird’s nest with threads hanging down from it.   

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NEWS
9:22 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Bill To Expand Colorado Cottage Foods Act

Under the the Colorado Cottage Foods Act products like bread can be made by producers in their home kitchens and sold directly to consumers.
Credit flickr/chiotsrun

A bill to expand the Colorado Cottage Foods Act is scheduled to get its first hearing Tuesday afternoon.

KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Democratic Representative Millie Hamner about the act and the expansion bill she's co-sponsoring. 

The bill is assigned to the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee.

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NEWS
7:00 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Water Sports Park Opens In Montrose

Marine veteran Jared Bolhuis tests the waves in a kayak before the park opened.
Credit Welcome Home Montrose

There’s still snow on the ground, but that’s not stopping people from enjoying a new water park on the Western Slope. 

The city of Montrose has finished construction two months ahead of schedule on its Water Sports Park. The recreation area is now open to the public. 

The park utilizes a section of the Uncompahgre River. Montrose created ‘wave stimulators’ so people can kayak, paddle board, raft and swim in the waves.

City Engineer Scott Murphy explains how it works.

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NEWS
6:23 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Sheriffs, Prosecutors Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Law

A medical marijuana plant grown in Colorado's Delta County.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Colorado has been under fire lately over Amendment 64.  The state is currently being sued by neighboring states and a Washington, D.C. organization over recreational marijuana.  Now, Colorado is being sued by its own sheriffs. 

Six sheriffs from across Colorado and sheriffs and prosecutors from Nebraska and Kansas are plaintiffs in the suit. Governor John Hickenlooper is named as the defendant.

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NEWS
11:09 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Colorado Cottage Foods Act Sees Possible Expansions

Under the the Colorado Cottage Foods Act products like bread can be made by producers in their home kitchens and sold directly to consumers.
Credit flickr/chiotsrun

A bill to expand the Colorado Cottage Foods Act is scheduled to get its first hearing early next week. 

The act allows people to sell certain products made in an unlicensed home kitchen directly to consumers. 

House Bill 1102 seeks to broaden it. Republican Rep. Yuelin Willett of Grand Junction is one of the bill’s sponsors.

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Facing Financial Woes North Fork Ambulance Looks For Solutions

The North Fork Ambulance Association is the only emergency medical services provider in the North Fork Valley. It's staffed by volunteer emergency responders.
Credit North Fork Ambulance Association

The North Fork Ambulance Association is facing a large budget deficit. 

The association has been operating in Delta County for 46 years. 

"We are the only emergency response in the valley for medical," Kathy Steckel, the organization's executive director, says. "The next closest emergency medical comes out of Delta."

The nonprofit has five employees and about 50 volunteer emergency responders. 

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Facing Financial Troubles North Fork Ambulance Asks Public For Solutions

More than 25 people attended the North Fork Ambulance Association's meeting in Hotchkiss on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The North Fork Ambulance Association is facing a large budget deficit.

That’s why the organization is hosting a series of meetings to gather ideas from the community on what to do about the problem. The first meeting was in Hotchkiss on Thursday night. 

The association is the only ambulance service provider in the North Fork Valley. About 50 volunteer emergency responders staff it. 

The nonprofit is funded by paid memberships, grants from the state, charging non-members for ambulance services and donations. 

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