Laura Palmisano

Senior Reporter/Producer

Laura is a senior reporter and producer 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 (Arizona PBS & KJZZ) and Tucson (Arizona Public Media). 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 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. While attending ASU, she reported for Cronkite News and the State Press. She was also a Scripps Howard intern for ABC15 in Phoenix. 


Ways To Connect

Economy, North Fork Valley
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Two local organizations are partnering to create a business and resource center in Delta County.

Delta County Economic Development (DCED) and Region 10 are now sharing workspace in downtown Delta. 


A coal mine near Paonia is laying off more workers.

Bowie Resource Partners announced on Tuesday that it's eliminating nearly 100 jobs at the Bowie #2 Mine.

Stephen Butler via Flickr (CC-BY)

In the 2016 legislative session, Democratic state Representative Millie Hamner will chair the Joint Budget Committee. Hamner represents House District 61. It covers parts of Delta and Gunnison counties along with Summit, Lake and Pitkin counties. As part of a district tour, she stopped in Paonia over the weekend. KVNF's Laura Palmisano sat down with Hamner in the studio to discuss school funding, the state budget and the upcoming legislative session.

Lake Fork Valley Conservancy, Hemson Creek, Lake City
Lake Fork Valley Conservancy

A Hinsdale County nonprofit recently received a sizable state grant to help it with a public access easement along the Lake Fork of the Gunnison.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife awarded the Lake Fork Valley Conservancy $33,000.

Montrose County in western Colorado is an agricultural community. Everything from apples to zucchini is grown there. However, not everyone knows what’s in season, how they can access it or how to prepare it.

The Local Farmacy Rx program is trying to change that. Through it low-income families learn how to eat healthy locally. 

karen refugees, esl class
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

This week on Local Motion, we explore learning English as a second language. First, we'll hear from University of Colorado, Boulder linguist Maria Thomas-Ruzic. She's worked in the ESL field for over 40 years. Thomas-Ruzic explains why English is a basic need for immigrants in the United States and the challenges adult learners face.

Elsewhere Studios
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

This week Colorado Creative Industries, the state’s art agency, announced this year’s recipients of its Colorado Creates grant program.

It awarded 168 grants to organizations across the state. In the KVNF listening area, groups in Delta, Gunnison, Mesa, Ouray and San Miguel counties got funding.

black bear
U.S. Forest Service

State wildlife officials have concluded that a bear didn’t attack and maul a hunter over the weekend on the Grand Mesa. 

On Saturday, a man in his late 60s reported he was attacked by a bear. He told Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials he was parked on his ATV near Powderhorn Ski Resort when a bear attacked him causing him to drive over a small cliff into rocks below. CPW says the episode left him  with extensive but non-life threatening injuries.  

bull moose
Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The Grand Valley had an unusual visitor last week. Colorado Parks and Wildlife received calls about a moose in Grand Junction near Orchard Mesa. 

"As curious as that may sound it turned out to be true," said JT Romatzke, the area wildlife manager. "We did respond and did indeed find a young bull moose in the Grand Valley."

Marijuana Plant

The state of Colorado is having a pot holiday, well sort of, on Wednesday, Sept. 16. It's lifting the 10 percent sales tax people pay on recreational marijuana and the 15 percent excise tax paid by the industry.

This is a result of the voter-approved Tax Payers Bill of Rights, known as TABOR. To help explain how this law works and is applied, KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to Richard Collins, a law professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

medical equipment, health

A significant increase in syphilis cases in Colorado has health officials concerned.

Between January and July of last year, there were 164 early stage syphilis cases recorded in the state. During the same period of this year, there were 255 early syphilis cases. That’s a 56 percent increase.


Dr. Daniel Shodell, with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, says across the U.S. infection rates are going up including here in Colorado. 

Sherbino Theater
Sherbino Theater

This year the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway turns 100 years old. The theater is known for the musical acts and guest lecturers it brings to the Western Slope. On Friday, there will be an anniversary celebration at the theater that includes vaudeville style performances, silent films and of course a birthday cake. 

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Courtesy of Greg Owens

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is now an International Dark Sky Park. 

"Being an international dark skies park means the Black Canyon has exceptional starry nights [and] an environment that's great for people and wildlife, but it’s also a place where an exceptional amount of astronomy education takes place," said Nick Myers, a lead interpreter at the site.

vote, flag, voting
Laura Palmisano

Voters in Cedaredge will decide on two ballot questions this November. The town’s board of trustees unanimously approved the items last week.  

The first question deals with Senate Bill 152. It’s a decade old state law that prevents local governments from providing internet service to residents unless the people over turn it. 

John Hickenlooper
Laura Palmisano

On this episode of Local Motion, we’ll hear from Governor John Hickenlooper and members of his cabinet who spoke at a forum in Montrose last month. First, Irv Halter, the director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, speaks. Then John Swartout , a senior advisor to the governor, talks about sage grouse. And lastly, Hickenlooper delivers his remarks. 

tissue box, sick, illness, cold

Delta County is seeing a spike in pertussis, also known as whooping cough, cases. The highly contagious respiratory disease causes uncontrollable coughing and can make it difficult for people to breathe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says whooping cough can be fatal, especially to young children under a year old.

Between July and August, Delta County saw seven confirmed cases of the disease.

Bonnie Koehler, the deputy director of the county health department, says this uptick in cases is concerning.

karen refugees, esl class
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

As anyone who's ever taken a foreign language class knows, it’s hard to learn another language. For immigrants to this country, that challenge can affect their whole lives. According to census data, in 2013, there were more than 25 million people in the United States with limited English proficiency.  And, in Colorado's rural Delta County, a group of refugees from Southeast Asia is trying to overcome this barrier. 

community options
Community Options, Inc.

A local nonprofit that helps individuals with intellectual and development disabilities is constructing a new regional center.

Montrose-based Community Options, Inc. serves six counties on the Western Slope.

Last week, the organization broke ground on a three-acre property near downtown. Right now, it’s renovating one of the buildings on the site. 

CSU Rogers Mesa Agricultural Research Center
Linda Rubick

A group of Delta County stakeholders wants to breathe new life into a shuttered agricultural research center. The Colorado State University facility sits on 83 acres outside of Hotchkiss on Rogers Mesa. 

The property has a residence, classrooms, laboratory space, offices, cold storage, a greenhouse and equipment storage sheds. 

CSU used the site to conduct research on fruit trees, but now the classrooms and laboratories sit empty.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr

A Telluride nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs launch their businesses is seeking applicants for its 2016 startup program. 

Telluride Venture Accelerator, an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, started three years ago. 

It brings entrepreneurs to the mountain town for a five-month residency program.  

Irv Halter
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A lack of access to high-speed internet is an issue for rural communities in western Colorado. 

John Hickenlooper
Laura Palmisano

Governor John Hickenlooper and members of his cabinet were in Montrose on Thursday for a community forum.

montrose regional dispatch center
City of Montrose

The city of Montrose is going to create its own regional dispatch center with an estimated price tag of $1.8 million. 

cows, dairy farm
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Across the state 70 facilities are under quarantine for a viral disease that affects livestock.

Small Potatoes Farm
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The state is offering financial assistance to Colorado farmers looking to move away from using flood irrigation. 

fiber optic cable
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Region 10 received $5.2 million grant from the state to develop better broadband access on the Western Slope. 

La Plata County

About a million gallons of contaminated mine water spilled into a tributary of the Animas River in San Juan County on Wednesday. 

black bear
U.S. Forest Service

Three laws sponsored by Western Slope legislators go into effect this week. 

Stephanie Helleckson, North Fork Community Chorus
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The North Fork Valley now has a community chorus. KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to Stephanie Helleckson, the music director and conductor, of the new vocal group. 

bull moose
Kent Miller / NPS

The moose population on the Grand Mesa is growing. The area is home to more than 400 of the large animals. This Saturday, July 25 is the sixth annual Grand Mesa Moose Day event.