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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NEWS
5:22 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

With Gratitude Veterans Craft Canes For Fellow Vets

Vietnam veteran Gary Gratton carves an eagle head.
Laura Palmisano

Throughout history, the eagle has symbolized strength and courage.

It’s been called “the king of the skies” and in mythology it was often a messenger for the gods.

And now the eagle is also becoming a symbol of gratitude.

Military veterans on the Western Slope are handcrafting canes decorated with the head of an eagle for fellow veterans. 

Gary Gratton leans over a lathe. He’s sanding a piece of basswood shaped like an eagle’s head.

Gratton retired from the Marines as an officer. He spent some of his career fighting in Vietnam.

"I’ve spent 27 years serving my country," he says. "Now I want to serve my community." 

Gratton volunteers at the Warrior Resource Center in Montrose.

There he helps coordinate the Eagle Head Cane Program.  

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NEWS
6:02 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Teen Pregnancy and Dropout Prevention Bill Advances At State Capitol

HB 1079 seeks to extend and expand a pilot program known as the teen pregnancy and dropout prevention program.
Credit flickr/isnow

A Colorado bill aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and keeping kids in school cleared the state House last week. 

The bill seeks to extend and expand a pilot program known as the teen pregnancy and dropout prevention program. 

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HEALTH
6:00 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Health Officials Want You To Give Your Heart Some Love

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heart disease kills more than 600,000 Americans each year.
Credit flickr/proudlove

It's common to see candy and paper hearts in February, but medical professionals also want you to think about your own heart this month. KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Mark Leach the director of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation at Delta County Memorial Hospital. In recognition of National Heart Month, they discuss heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in the United States. 

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NEWS
11:14 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Body, SUV Recovered Below Red Mtn. Pass Outside of Ouray

The rented SUV that was pulled from below Red Mountain Pass outside of Ouray on Thursday.
Credit CDOT

Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton was closed for most of Thursday while emergency personnel recovered an SUV along with the body of a missing man.

Officials say the body of Jin Junge of Denmark was recovered along with a rented white Cadillac Escalade that fell more than 400 below the highway.

Junge was reported missing by family members on Feb. 4.

The Ouray County Sheriff’s Office says GPS equipment installed in the rental vehicle helped them find it.

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NEWS
5:33 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Bill To Aid Colorado Volunteer Fire Depts. Heads To Governor's Desk

Credit flickr/mgabelmann

A bipartisan bill aimed at helping volunteer fire departments organize and get funding heads to the Governor’s desk. 

HB 1017 cleared the state Senate on Tuesday. 

The measure would create the Volunteer Fire Department Organization Act. 

Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, is one of the bills sponsors.

"It will be one of the first bills that will be presented to the Governor to sign into law," Hamner said.

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NEWS
2:43 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Mesa County Plans To Sue Feds Over Grouse Listing

The Gunnison Sage Grouse is found in parts of Utah and Colorado. It’s estimated there are only 4,800 of them left. The largest population of the species, about 4,000 grouse, inhabits the Gunnison Basin.
Credit Flick/bryanto

Mesa County is showing its support for Colorado’s decision to sue the federal government over the listing of the Gunnison sage grouse.  

"We believe that state of Colorado’s decision is solid,"  Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis said. "We join several other counties in doing that [including] Gunnison County [and] Garfield County." 

McInnis said the Mesa County Board of Commissioners has instructed the county attorney to draft a notice of intent to sue over the listing. 

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Colorado Bills To Require Photo ID For Same-Day Voter Registration

Credit Laura Palmisano

Two Republican sponsored bills that would require a photo ID for same-day voter registration get their first hearing at the state capitol Wednesday. 

In 2013 state Democrats overhauled Colorado election laws. Republicans protested the changes especially the provision allowing voters to register on Election Day.

GOP lawmakers want people to show a photo ID to do this.

Two bills scheduled to be taken up by the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee address this topic.

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NEWS
5:41 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Bill To Aid Colorado Volunteer Fire Departments Progresses

Credit flickr/mgabelmann

A Colorado bill aimed at helping volunteer fire departments organize and get funding has already cleared the House and is progressing in the Senate. 

HB 1017 would create the Volunteer Fire Department Organization Act.  

It would help non-governmental, not-for-profit volunteer fire departments gain official recognition and make them eligible to receive state funding.  

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NEWS
12:34 pm
Fri February 13, 2015

Montrose Health Center Gets $422K To Prevent Youth Pot Use, Abuse

The Center for Mental Health in Montrose got a $422,000 grant through Colorado marijuana tax dollars to help prevent youth pot use and abuse.
Credit flickr.com/prensa420

The Center for Mental Health in Montrose has received a grant through marijuana tax dollars to help prevent youth pot use and abuse. 

The $422,000 grant, awarded by the state of Colorado, was announced this week. 

The center will share the funds with 16 other organizations across the Western Slope that work with young people. 

The Delta County School District will receive the most funding with a $100,000 grant.

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ENVIRONMENT
10:56 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Colorado Sues Feds Over Gunnison Sage Grouse Listing

Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the listing of the Gunnison sage grouse.

Last November, the grouse was listed as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. 

After the announcement, Colorado along with environmental groups and local governments threatened to sue. 

On Wednesday the state filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the listing.

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NEWS
10:48 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Mesa County School District Tries To Combat Student Drug Use With Education

Cody Roark, left, and Nick Cunningham oversee Pathways, a new Mesa County Valley School District drug intervention program for students.
Credit Laura Palmisano

A year after recreational marijuana stores opened, Colorado is still trying to determine the impact on youth who aren't legally allowed to use pot.

Recently released data shows that in the last school year drug incidents in Colorado middle and high schools reached a ten-year high and certain districts standout in the data including the Mesa County Valley School District.

Mesa County District officials say they are trying to address the problem through more education. 

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NEWS
6:35 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Mesa County School District Cites Marijuana Legalization For Rise In Student Drug Cases

Last school year, Grand Junction High School reported 51 drugs cases to the state. The school had the highest number of drug incidents within Mesa County Valley School District 51 last year. It's also the largest school in the district.
Credit Laura Palmisano

A year after recreational marijuana stores opened, Colorado is still trying to determine the impact on youth who aren't legally allowed to use pot.

Recently released data shows that in the last school year drug incidents in Colorado middle and high schools reached a ten-year high and certain districts standout in the data.

Last year, Mesa County Valley School District 51 also reported more student drug cases than it had in the past ten-years.

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HEALTH
6:00 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Child Health Lags In Colorado, Report Finds

Credit Flickr.com/dis_patch

A report that grades Colorado on the health of its citizens gave the state high marks for adult health, but mediocre scores for child health.

The 2015 Colorado Health Report Card uses indicators like obesity, poverty and access to medical care as ways to measure the overall health of people in the state. The Colorado Health Foundation puts out the report. 

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HEALTH
5:20 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Vaccination Rates Worry Colorado Health Officials

Colorado is one of twenty states that allow parents to opt-out of vaccines with a personal belief exemption form.
Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

The national measles outbreak has state and local health officials concerned. 

Last month 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of those cases was reported in Colorado and a majority of them are part of an outbreak linked to a California amusement park.  

That’s why state and local health officials are urging adults to get vaccinated and parents to inoculate their kids against the disease.

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NEWS
6:15 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Local Motion: Regional News Roundup Feb. 2015

On this week's Local Motion, we’ll hear a roundup of some of the regional reporting that KVNF and partner stations have done.

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NEWS
5:56 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Bill To Expand Teen Pregnancy and Dropout Prevention Program

HB1079 seeks to extend and expand a pilot program known as the teen pregnancy and dropout prevention program. Republican Rep. Don Coram of Montrose co-sponsored the legislation.
Credit flickr/isnow

A Colorado bill aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and keeping kids in school will be heard by the House Appropriations Committee Friday morning. 

HB1079 seeks to extend and expand a pilot program known as the teen pregnancy and dropout prevention program. Republican Rep. Don Coram of Montrose co-sponsored the legislation. 

Coram says the pilot program has been running for over a decade in Mesa, Montrose and Delta counties.

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NEWS
3:14 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Bill To Aid Rural Colorado Communities Dies In Committee

In recent months multiple businesses have closed and shop spaces remain empty on the main drag in Paonia. The town is in Delta County, a place that's seen the boom-or-bust cycle of the coal industry.
Credit Laura Palmisano

A bill that aimed to help rural Colorado communities during times of economic crisis was killed in committee this week.  

The bill was sponsored by freshman Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, who represents seven counties including Delta, Hinsdale and Gunnison.   

Donovan says the bill would’ve allowed the state to react quickly with financial assistance when there’s an economic emergency in a community like a plant shutdown or industry-wide layoffs. 

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NEWS
5:30 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Bill To Boost Renewable Energy In Colorado Schools

A bill by Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, seeks to give grants to schools for alternative energy projects.
Credit flickr/theentiremikey

A bill that seeks to give grants to schools for alternative energy projects will be taken up by a state Senate committee next week. 

A federally funded program that started in 2007 gave grants to public school for wind energy projects. In Colorado 16 schools took advantage of it. 

The money for that program has since dried up, but a bill introduced by Democratic State Senator Kerry Donovan of District 5 seeks to revive it at the local level. 

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HEALTH
10:44 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Leadville Hospital To Stay Open Under New Management

Colorado-based Centura Health will take over managing St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville.
Credit St. Vincent Hospital

It seems Lake County’s only hospital won’t be closing. A new partnership has saved St. Vincent General in Leadville.

Last November, St. Vincent Hospital announced it was planning to close in March due to financial issues. A property-tax increase that would have helped the hospital pay for much-needed repairs was turned down by voters. 

Now, things are looking better for St. Vincent General. This week the hospital’s board entered a verbal agreement with Centura Health, a Colorado-based company.

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Veteran Ouray Ice Guide Dies In Climbing Accident

Mark Miller of Ouary taught ice climbing for over 20 years. He worked as an instructor for San Juan Mountain Guides.
Credit San Juan Mountain Guides via Facebook

Tragedy has struck the ice climbing community of Ouray. A local climbing instructor died while guiding clients in San Juan County last week.

Mark Miller, 50, was guiding clients on an ascent near Eureka last Friday. It’s reported an ice bulge broke when Miller was climbing off-rope causing him to fall to his death. 

Miller taught ice climbing for over 20 years. He worked as an instructor for San Juan Mountain Guides.

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