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

ice climbing, Ouray Ice Festival
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. 

Temple Grandin
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.

senior citizen
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.

snowmobiles
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.

St. Vincent Hospital
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. 

bikes, USA Pro Challenge, cyclists
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. 

Delta County Memorial Hospital, Urgent Care
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.  

hands, senior citizen
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.

Newscast

  • Holiday Travel Advisories
  • Hammond's Candy Creates Iconic Candy Canes In Denver
  • Colo. GOP Now Control Senate, A Look At How Dem. Plan To Regroup
  • Helping Colorado Dairymen Lighten Your Milk's Energy Load

Newscast

  • A White Christmas Predicted For The Western Slope
  • As More Resorts Make Snow, Climate Change Spells Trouble
  • Garfield County Man Charged In Father’s Death To Undergo Mental Evaluation
CAWS
CAWS

Earlier this year the Delta County Citizens for Animal Welfare and Shelter, better know as CAWS, asked the county for $25,000. 

Last week the commissioners approved the county budget for next year.

JoAnn Kalenak, a CAWS board member, says the group didn’t get the money it asked for.

She says the budget does allocate $10,000 that will be split between the four animal rescue groups in Delta County. The money CAWS receives is earmarked for spay and neuter programs.  

Gunnison Sage Grouse
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

On Monday Gunnison County sent a letter to the federal government saying that it plans to sue to stop the listing of the Gunnison sage-grouse as a threatened species.

The county follows the state in this move. Last week, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office sent a similar letter to the federal government. 

The Gunnison sage-grouse was listed as a threatened species last month. 

The birds are found in parts of Utah and Colorado. It’s estimated there are only 4,800 of them left. 

tissue box, sick, illness
flickr/breatheindigital

State and federal health officials are warning this flu season could be a bad one.

Veronica Daehn Harvey, with the Mesa County Health Department, says a resident has died from complications from the illness.  

She says the last time the county saw a flu-related death was three years ago. 

Newscast

  • Flu Hits Mesa County Hard, One Death Reported 
  • Gunnison County Could Sue Feds Over Sage-Grouse Listing
  • State House Democrats Plan Bills To Boost Lagging Colorado Regions
  • CAWS Meets With Delta County To Discuss Animal Control Funding
  • Art Unveiling At Paonia Library
ski, skiing, Colorado, snow
flickr/zachd1_618

Powderhorn Mountain Resort opened Saturday.

Dave Smith, with the ski resort, says Powderhorn had to delay its opening by 10 days because of above average temperatures and below average snowfall. 

"Just after we delayed it we did start to see some additional snowstorms bringing in natural snowfall, but it also brought in colder temperatures so our snow making crews were able to get out there and create as much snow as possible to get a good solid base down there," Smith says. "And Mother Nature continued to bring us more snow."

Colorado Division of Insurance, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Colorado Division of Insurance

The Delta County School District recently received $75,000 from the state to create a work training program. 

The grant comes from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.

"Our hope is with that money we’ll [be able] to set up some tracks so that kids as they come out of high school potentially have their CNA and are able to pursue other types of health care fields," Kurt Clay, the assistant superintendent for the school district, says.  

Clay says the funds will be put towards scholarships for juniors and seniors seeking careers in the medical field. 

Joe Cocker Tribute Show
Laura Palmisano

Long-time friends and associates of late rock icon Joe Cocker spent Monday hosting a tribute show to him. They broadcasted from the KVNF Cocker Studio and shared his music and their stories about him with listeners. Cocker lived in Crawford, Colo. for nearly two decades where he started the Cocker Kids' Foundation with his wife Pam. Cocker was also a major supporter of KVNF. 

Joe Cocker
Olaf Heine

Joe Cocker, the British-born blues and rock singer, passed away Monday morning at his home in Crawford, Colo. at the age of 70. He died of lung cancer.

Cocker is known for hits such as his cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “You Are So Beautiful”.

Here’s Cocker during a 2007 interview with KVNF talking about what he remembers most about Woodstock. 

"I hate to say it to whoever asks, but I do get asked that a lot," Cocker says. "And it’s because I wasn't there that long. We flew in. I got straight out of the helicopter and went up on stage. It was late morning, did the show. Somebody gave me a big spliff backstage and I was back on the helicopter and out of there."

Cocker's performance at the 1969 music festival rocketed his career. 

Unemployment, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining & Safety

On Friday the state released its employment outlook for November.

Colorado's unemployment rate continues to drop. In October it was 4.3 percent and has moved down to 4.1 percent. The last time it was this low was in January of 2008. 

KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to Joe Winter, a senior economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, about the report and what the economy might look like in 2015. 

Paonia Elementary, Public Meeting, Waldorf School
Laura Palmisano

The Delta County School Board has denied a North Fork Valley group its request for charter school recognition. 

The Valley Charter Initiative is a group of parents and educators trying to open a Waldorf inspired public charter school in Paonia. 

On Wednesday the five-member school board unanimously denied the initiative's request. 

Kurt Clay, the assistant superintendent for the school district, says the board cited seven reasons for rejecting the charter.

Delta County Memorial Hospital, Urgent Care
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Delta County Memorial Hospital is once again expanding its health care options for patients. Earlier this month the hospital opened an Urgent Care center in Delta. 

"We have a lot of the same things that an emergency room would have to care for people," Jane Rosen, a nurse practitioner with DCMH's new Urgent Care, says. 

Rosen explains how it differs from the emergency room.

Hilltop's Health Access, office
Laura Palmisano

Open enrollment for Colorado’s health exchange ends Feb. 15. If you need help figuring out coverage options there are enrollment centers across the state where you can get it.  

Hilltop’s Health Access site in Grand Junction is busy. It's 1 of 13 enrollment centers in the state.

People can come here to get help navigating Colorado’s insurance exchange.

Rhonda Lofing manages the site for Hilltop, a local nonprofit. Lofing is also a certified health coverage guide.

Connect for Health Colorado
connectforhealthco.com

According to the latest data, more than 100,000 Coloradans have sign up for private health insurance through the state’s exchange.  

Open enrollment for Connect for Health Colorado started last month.

As of Monday, more than 136,000 residents have signed up for coverage.

Breaking down those numbers, more the 27,000 people enrolled for Medicaid and 932 signed up for CHP+, the state’s health plan for low-income children and pregnant women.

The exchange has also seen more than 108,000 enrollments in private insurance plans.

On this week's Local Motion we are showcasing the regional reporting by the KVNF news team. We'll hear stories from Laura Palmisano, Jake Ryan and Bente Birkeland. They report on the struggles volunteer fire departments face, groundwater monitoring in the North Fork Valley, Colorado's spruce beetle epidemic, the proposed physician-assisted suicide bill, domestic violence, and solar energy.


Black Welsh Mountain sheep, grazing
Laura Palmisano

Federal researchers are on a mission to back up the genetic material of the plants and animals that the nation’s food supply depends on. A pair of ranchers in the hills of western Colorado are joining in and are trying to ensure the future of the rare Black Welsh Mountain sheep.

It’s a sunny morning at Desert Weyr, a 40-acre sheep farm outside of Paonia, Colorado.

Oogie McGuire and her husband own this farm. They raise Black Welsh Mountain sheep. They’re smaller than the white sheep most people are used to seeing. They’re solid black, and the males have curled horns. 

Sawtooth Mountain Ranch
Courtesy of The Trust for Public Land

This week Great Outdoors Colorado announced it will give out $7.7 million in grants.

The money will be used to fund conservation and open space projects across the state. 

Great Outdoors Colorado has awarded $4.5 million dollars to local governments and land trusts to preserve more than 40,000 acres.

Tuesday night the Paonia Board of Trustees approved the town’s budget for 2015.

Town officials say Paonia is in a ‘fiscal crisis’ and tough choices were made to address its budget deficit. 

The town will cut three staff members by the end of this year. 

Pink slips have been handed to the town clerk, a police officer and a sanitation worker.

Recently hired town manger Jane Berry says the layoffs were necessary to help close Paonia’s $410,000 budget deficit.

Paonia Elementary, Public Meeting, Waldorf School
Laura Palmisano

More than 50 people attended a public meeting at Paonia Elementary on Friday night. 


Economy, North Fork Valley
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Business and community leaders in Delta County’s North Fork Valley say Paonia, Crawford, and Hotchkiss need an economic boost. They recently held a forum on the North Fork Valley’s economy and what can be done to improve it.

About 100 people attended the forum in Paonia last week.

They came to hear different perspectives on the local economy, what’s working and what’s not, and how to make things better.

Hive Paonia
Laura Palmisano

About 100 people attended a forum on the North Fork Valley's economy and what can be done to improve it. 

Thirteen people ranging from the president of a coal mine to the head of the Paonia Chamber of Commerce spoke at the forum held at the Hive Paonia. 

"We have our farms," says Alexis Halbert, president of the chamber. "We have our hunting resources. We have are restaurants, wineries, [and] people who are creating things out of the natural assets of the valley."

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