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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HEALTH
5:50 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Colorado Officials Try To Raise Radon Risk Awareness

Health officials say the best way to protect yourself from radon is by testing your home. And, winter is the perfect time to do it because when you test you need to keep all of your doors and windows closed.
Credit Laura Palmisano

Radon is an odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in our environment. Long-term exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. That's why Colorado and the Environmental Protection Agency have declared January a call to action month for radon testing. 


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HEALTH
6:00 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Emergency Flu Shelter For The Homeless To Open In Mesa County

A medical technician with the Wiesbaden Army Health Clinic prepares an influenza shot.
Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

The state reports more than 2,600 people have been hospitalized because of the flu so far this season. And, St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction has seen its share of those cases. 

Gretchen Gore, with the hospital, says after patients are discharged it’s recommend they rest at home, but that’s not an option for everyone. 

"It was discovered that when we have someone that is homeless they don’t have a warm home to go home to and recover," Gore says.  

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COMMUNITY
10:17 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Local Motion: Forest Service Seeks To Address Spruce Beetle, Aspen Decline In Western Colorado

Spruce beetles have invaded the inner bark of this spruce tree in Hinsdale County, Colo.
Credit Laura Palmisano

Over the past decade spruce beetles have been causing a big problem in southwest Colorado. And it’s getting worse. The beetle is devouring mature spruce forests and turning them into expanses primed for wildfire.

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NEWS
9:45 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Police Investigating Break In At Paonia Pharmacy

There was a break in Thursday night at Hays Drug Store in downtown Paonia.
Laura Palmisano

There was a break in last week at Hays Drug Store in downtown Paonia. 

Police are still investigating, but it appears the burglars stole prescription medication.

Officials say they don't know what kinds of medications were taken yet because they're waiting for pharmacy staff to inventory. 

 According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado has one of the highest rates in the nation for prescriptive pain pill abuse.

HEALTH
6:00 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Flu Quarantine Ends At Mesa County Jail

Health officials say you can reduce the spread of the flu by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands, and staying home if you are sick.
Credit flickr/breatheindigital

Up to nine inmates with influenza at the Mesa County Jail were quarantined for a five-day period that ended earlier this week. 

Heather Benjamin, with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, says the ill men were placed in two separate pods, or sections, during that time. 

"Those two pods were quarantined in the sense that no new inmates were moved into those pods and no inmates were moved out," Benjamin says.

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Colorado Ski Resorts Report Strong Early Season

A skier hitting the slopes in Colorado.
Credit flickr/zachd1_618

Last season a record 12.6 million skier visits were recorded by Colorado resorts. 

Jenn Rudolph is with Colorado Ski Country USA, an industry association that represents 21 ski resorts across the state. She says those resorts are reporting a strong early season. 

"From the beginning of the season which was on Oct. 17 through the end of December we saw the amount of skier visits [reported] was only about 1 percent off of last year’s early season skier visits," Rudolph says.

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EDUCATION
9:50 am
Thu January 22, 2015

North Fork Charter Initiative Appeals To State Board Of Education

Cassandra Shenk, left, and Chelsea Bookout, with the Valley Charter Initiative, talk about the Waldorf inspired charter school they want to see open in Paonia during a public meeting at Paonia Elementary in December of 2014.
Credit Laura Palmisano

A group that was denied charter recognition by the Delta County School Board is appealing to the state. 

The Valley Charter Initiative wants to open a Waldorf inspired public charter school in Paonia. 

In December, the Delta County School Board unanimously denied the groups request for charter recognition.

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ARTS
6:00 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Ridgway's Sherbino Theater Turns 100, Changes Ownership

The Sherbino Theater in Ridgeway turns 100 this year.
Sherbino Theater

This year the Sherbino Theater in Ridgway is celebrating its one-hundredth anniversary.

The theater is known for the musical acts and guest lecturers it brings to the Western Slope. 

A Tour Of The Historic Sherbino 

"The building was built by Louis Sherbino," Patrick O’Leary, the president of the Ridgway Chautauqua Society, says. "And he built the theater so that his son and daughter-in-law would have a place to play. His son was a fiddle player."

The Chautauqua Society now runs the theater. 

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NEWS
3:39 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Bill To Aid Rural Communities During Hard Times

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 Colorado Senate bill introduced last week aims to help rural communities during times of economic crisis. 

SB15-036 seeks to give emergency assistance grants to rural communities during times of economic hardship. The bill is sponsored by freshman Senator Kerry Donovan who represents state Senate District 5. The district covers seven counties on the Western Slope including Delta, Hinsdale and Gunnison. 

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EDUCATION
4:35 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Disparity In Growth For Colorado Schools

Nearly half of Colorado's districts experienced declining enrollment this school year, according to the state department of education.
Credit flickr.com/bionicteaching

The Colorado Department of Education has released its statewide look at school enrollment. 

The state's preschool through 12th grade pupil count shows Colorado gained more than 12,000 students this school year. 

There are 889,006 public school student in the state, according to the data.  

Schools on the Front Range, like in years past, have the most pupils.

On the Western Slope, the Mesa County Valley School District is the largest. It ranks 12th in the state.

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SPORTS
5:24 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Ice Climbing Draws Thousands To Small Colorado Community

An ice climber competes in a climbing event during the Ouray Ice Festival.
JT Thomas

Rock climbing is already a popular sport. And, its winter cousin ice climbing is gaining popularity too. 

Ice Climbing In Ouray

It’s a chilly morning at the Ouray Ice Park. 

Hundreds of people are gathered here for the 20th annual Ouray Ice Festival.

The event celebrates the sport of ice climbing. And, the park is a mecca for it.

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Mesa County Record Requests Go Digital

This week the Mesa County Commissioners also approved a new policy for how much the county can charge for record requests.
Credit flickr.com/jrparis

This week Mesa County launched its new online portal for record requests. 

Now anyone seeking documents from the county can just send an email.

Angela Barnes, the assistant county attorney, says the portal makes getting information easier because people don’t have to go in person, mail or fax a request.

"Everyone is operating via email anymore so it made sense that if a constituent wanted a record or two that they could email us the request," Barnes says. 

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NEWS
2:02 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Ice Climbing Instructor Discusses Sport At Ouray Ice Festival

People ice climbing on the beginner wall at the 20th annual Ouray Ice Festival on Jan. 10, 2015.
Credit Laura Palmisano

This past weekend the 20th annual Ouray Ice Festival took place. The festival is a gathering of ice climbers, gear vendors and ice climbing fans. At the festival you can watch an ice climbing competition or try the sport for yourself. KVNF's Laura Palmisano went to the gathering and spoke to Mark Miller. He's an ice climbing instructor for San Juan Mountain Guides. 

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Temple Grandin Discusses Autism

Temple Grandin is a well-known advocate for autism awareness and a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University.
Credit Rosalie Winard

Temple Grandin is a well-known advocate for autism awareness and a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University. She came to Grand Junction Friday to speak at an autism conference, as someone who has autism. KVNF's Laura Palmisano sat down with Grandin before the conference.

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NEWS
4:38 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Grand Junction Approves Senior Housing Project

The Grand Junction city council approved a 128-unit apartment complex for seniors.
Credit flickr.com/chaparral

The Grand Junction city council approved a new affordable housing project for seniors. 

The Grand Junction Housing Authority wants to build a 128-unit apartment complex for seniors. 

The city council unanimously approved the affordable housing project Wednesday night.

The Housing Authority plans to build the complex on a four-acre parcel near St. Mary’s Hospital.

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NEWS
12:43 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Two Utah Men Survive Gyroplane Crash In Mesa County

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office says rescue workers reached the gyroplane crash site using snowmobiles.
Credit MCSO

Tuesday night a gyroplane crashed in Mesa County.

Utah residents Mike Burton, 53, and Josh Humphries, 30, were on board the aircraft when it crashed in a remote area near Glade Park.

Emergency officials say Burton, the pilot, was transported to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction via Careflight for medical treatment. He was complaining of back pain.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office says Humphries initially declined medical attention, but was later taken by ambulance to St. Mary's for care.

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HEALTH
10:17 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Leadville Hospital Might Be Saved By Outside Investors

Last year St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville, Colo. announced it plans to close in March. Hospital officials say the closure comes after voters failed to pass a property tax increase to help fund the facility.
Credit St. Vincent Hospital

St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville is scheduled to closed in March.

The 25-bed critical access hospital serves more than 7,300 people in Lake County.

Since the closure was announced in November, St. Vincent has laid off nearly half of its staff and ended its long-term care unit and physical therapy services.

The hospital is still operating its emergency room and ambulance service.

KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Karen Rinehart the community relations director for St. Vincent. 

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

CDOT Wants Local Input On Statewide Bike Map

Cyclists racing down McClure Pass during Stage 2 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge in Colorado.
Credit Laura Palmisano

The Colorado Department of Transportation, CDOT, maintains a statewide map of bike routes. The agency is looking to upgrade this online map with more local information. KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to CDOT spokesman Dan Wilson about the effort. Wilson says the agency wants local governments to help it update the map. 

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HEALTH
10:49 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Delta County Memorial Hospital's CEO Looks Ahead

Delta County Memorial Hospital opened an Urgent Care in Dec. 2014.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Delta County Memorial Hospital expanded its health care options for patients in 2014. It took over two clinics in the North Fork Valley and opened an Urgent Care. KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to the hospital's CEO Jason Cleckler about the expansion and what's ahead for it in 2015.  

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NEWS
11:17 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Region 10 Gets Feedback From Western Slope Seniors

Credit flickr.com/sparkleglowplug

Region 10 is an organization of governments that serves six counties on the Western Slope.  It funds services and resources for senior citizens. The organization recently wrapped up a community conversation series where it got feedback from seniors.  KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to Eva Veitch the director of Region 10's Community Living Services about what was learned from the meetings.

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