Marty Durlin

Contributing Reporter

Marty Durlin contributes freelance news features, including coverage of Delta County Commissioner's meetings and local governmental issues.

Marty  is a writer, reporter and playwright currently living in Paonia, Colorado. She contributes to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News, and is a Delta County native. Her prestigious works include the plays, "Babbit", "Pollyana", and the completely original musical, "Beautiful Radiant Things". Marty was General Manager of KGNU Community Radio in Boulder, Colorado for more than 20 years.

Ways To Connect

North Fork Valley residents know how hard it can be to get an appointment to see a local doctor. Many medical practitioners have left the Valley in recent years, leaving the The North Fork Medical Clinics understaffed. Three week waits are not uncommon. But there's hope that things could get better.

Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue in Denver via Flickr Creative Commons

    

 About 1500 unwanted dogs and cats are rescued every year in Delta County. But many more are turned away. One local rescue organization wants to change that by building a bigger shelter.

But to do that, they need more money. So the group Citizens Animal Welfare and Shelter, or CAWS, is launching a capital campaign. 

Marty Durlin/KVNF

Last year the North Fork Valley received about half of Delta County’s lottery-funded Conservation Trust Fund monies. 

Marty Durlin/KVNF

As the Affordable Care Act takes effect this year, Delta County Memorial Hospital Administrator Jason Cleckler is navigating uncertain terrain.

S. Munsen/US Forest Service

This week Delta County commissioners heard a wide ranging assessment of the past year’s activities and a glimpse of the future from Grand Mesa Uncompahgre Gunnison (GMUG) Forest Supervisor Scott Armentrout. 

Marty Durlin/KVNF

Delta County Commissioners recently named two historical landmarks, one being the Rogers Mesa Community House, the other the historic Bross Hotel. 

The Bross was built in 1906 and according to early newspapers, was Delta County's first luxury hotel (and early on, its only one.)

Now, after over 100 years and eight different owners, the Bross is a bed & breakfast.

Modern Women's Club

On Monday, Delta County Commissioners named two historical landmarks. One of them is Paonia’s Bross Hotel, built in 1906 and now a bed and breakfast. The other - the Rogers Mesa Community House, built in the mid-1890s as the Hurst School. 

The Paonia Town Council held a contentious study session on next year’s approximately $2 million dollar budget last week, with declining revenues pushing a host of competitive agendas. 

Tax revenues have fallen all over the western slope, said Elyse Ackerman, regional manager of the Department of Local Affairs, or DOLA, who attended the session.

 “The whole western slope is seeing a secondary dip happening,” Ackerman says. “If you talk to Mesa County, Montrose County, everyone’s kind of seeing it. The question is why, why is that happening again?”

Headlines

  • Colorado’s failed secessionists look to the Legislature
  • Pitkin County Commissioners ponder medical marijuana greenhouses
  • Paonia Council struggles with declining revenues
  • Area Sports Report by KVNF’s Eric Gould
  • Political reporters analyze impacts of the election
  • Sidewalk measure passes in Paonia
  • Chickens have to move
  • 250,000 state residents may lose insurance
  • Grand Junction airport raided by federal agents
  • New Hemp Regulations Unveiled
Marty Durlin/KVNF

Paonia’s five and a quarter miles of bumpy, deteriorating sidewalks are a problem. Earlier this year the Town attempted to get homeowners to pay for their own sidewalk repair -- but met with resistance from residents who said they could not afford it, even if the Town contributes half the cost of concrete up to $500.

Now ballot question 2A calls for a three dollar per month addition to utility bills for ten years to cover the cost of sidewalk maintenance. 

Marty Durlin/KVNF

Delta County Treasurer Lisa Tafoya visited commissioners on Monday to obtain permission to close her office at 1 pm on Wednesday, Nov. 6, in preparation for the county’s annual tax lien sale on Thursday Nov. 7.

The closure would allow staffers to prepare for the sale, which begins promptly at 10 am in the district court room. Properties with outstanding taxes were printed once in the Delta County Independent and are listed on the county treasurer’s website, updated every Monday. 

Marty Durlin/KVNF

On Monday the Delta County Commissioners went into executive session to discuss ongoing litigation over the Hostetler hen-laying operation on Powell Mesa. The closed door sessions with county attorney Christine Knight have become a hallmark of the commissioners’ regular meetings as the case has dragged on for two years. 

The Powell Mesa Hen House dispute has renewed questions about zoning and the "right to farm" in Delta County. Adopted in 1996 by the state of Colorado and the county, the "Right to Farm and Ranch" policy lays out some parts of rural life that residents are expected to accept, including noise from tractors, manure, odor from animal confinement and the use of pesticides.

For some historical context on the policy, KVNF’s Marty Durlin spoke with former Delta County Commissioner Jim Ventrillo about the early days of the right-to-farm policy.  

Marty Durlin/KVNF

After a closed-door session with county attorney Christine Knight, Delta County Commissioners on Monday announced they would appeal the decision by District Court Judge J. Steven Patrick that forced them to issue a cease and desist order to the Hostetler hen laying operation on Powell Mesa earlier this month. 

Wolfgang Staudt via Flickr (CC BY)

In May, as the drought lingered for yet another year, Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, calling for a new Colorado Water Plan “that will support agriculture in rural Colorado and align state policy to the state’s water values.” Hickenlooper also paid tribute to Colorado’s historic water law, which claims first in time, first in right.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

On Tuesday at a regular meeting, Delta County Commissioners commented on a pending wildlife ruling by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission that would affect the imperiled Gunnison sage-grouse, asking that the commission use current habitat maps to define setbacks and not require a blanket four-mile distance. KVNF's Marty Durlin has more on the threats to the iconic bird.

The Gunnison sage-grouse is known for an elaborate mating display along with a ritual  dance, or strut. And of course there’s the mating call, which sounds something like a sluggish dran.

  • US Attorney General Eric Holder Says Feds Won’t Disrupt Legalization of Marijuana
  • Despite Holder’s Announcement, Issues Persist for Legalization
  • US House Representatives from Colorado Say Immigration Reform Not Likely
  • Colorado US Congressional Reps Advise Obama to Fully Explain Decisions on Syria
  • Some Colorado Schools Closed Due to Heat
  • New State Logo Draws Criticism
  • Western Slope Skies - Steps to Stargazing
  • Grand Junction Night Club Dancers Sue Over Employment Status
  • Colorado River Official Says Upper River Basin Not Threatened in the Short-Term
  • Money Begins Flowing Into Colorado Recall Races
  • Commercial Marijuana Opponents Pack Hall at Paonia Town Council Meeting
  • City of Delta Finalizes Ban on Commercial Marijuana
  • Labor and Business Communities Support Taxes on Commercial Marijuana
  • First West Nile death of 2013 Reported in Colorado
  • Colorado Supreme Court Says Language in Recall Rules Conflicts with US Constitution
  • After Audit, Colorado Energy Office Moves to Fix Financial Problems
  • Faced with Water Shortages, Farmers Doing More With Less
  • Governor Hickenlooper Says State is Facing a “Water Crisis”
  • Move to Raise Taxes for Public School Funding Put On Hold
  • Mesa County to Offer Tax Incentives to Keep Businesses in the State
  • Republican State Senator Draws Criticism for Comments on Race and Diet
  • Legal Battle Between State of Colorado and Reporter Covering Aurora Shootings Continues
  • Hearings on Commercial Marijuana Continue, State Recommends New Taxes
  • Budget Restraints Lead to Fewer Hours for Delta County Health Employees
  • Colorado Moose Population Growing Rapidly
  • CollaborativeWater Agreements Increase Around the State
  • Governors Say Public-Private Partnerships Can Protect Lesser Prairie chicken
  • Coloradans Consuming More Energy, Spending Less
  • Arch Coal Foundation Announces More Grants for Delta County Teachers
  • Victim of Montrose Shooting Cited with False Reporting to Authorities
  • Water Officials Say Shortages Could Pose Problems by 2021
  • Grand Mesa Parking Lot Gets Upgrade after January Deaths
  • Pot Now a Petty Offense in Grand Junction
  • Mountain Village Likely to Institute Moratorium on Commercial Marijuana Sales
  • Public Weighs In on Marijuana Regulation at State Capitol
  • Fire Season in the West Worst in Five Years
  • Organization advocates for Equal Use of Conservation and Energy on Public Lands
  • Secession Question to Appear on Weld County Ballot in November
  • Mesa County Unemployment Rate Falls Slightly From June to July
  • Colorado Set to Begin Online Testing Pilot Program in 2014

Today's episode of Local Motion features a conversation with new KVNF General Manager Rick Watts. 

  • State Committee Looks at How to Handle Colorado Wildfires
  • Evacuation Orders Lifted Today After Wildfire Near Glenwood Springs
  • Rep. Jared Polis Says He’d Be “Happy” to see Attorney General Eric Holder Leave Office
  • Texas Senator Wendy Davis Wows Democrats in Pitkin County
  • Colorado Supreme Court Declines to  Hear Recall Case
  • Paonia Town Council Continues Course of “No Action” on Amendment 64
  • Western Slope Skies – August Planets
  • Smooth Transition Reported as Naturita Clinic Goes Independent
  • Test Results Reveal Many Colorado Students Struggling in Core Subjects
  • Agreement Reached in Dispute Over Power Lines Near Delta Airport
  • Colorado Judges Decide to Not Change Majority of Reviewed Prison Sentences
  • Mesa County Residential Real Estate On the Rise
  • Veterans, Military Officials Discuss Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Denver
Marty Durlin/KVNF

The Paonia Town Council last night walked back their “fix the sidewalk or else” approach, after hearing from residents upset about a letter requiring sidewalk repair, based on a decades-old ordinance that has never been enforced. Residents who failed to comply would have been faced with a $1000 fine which could take the form of a lien on their home if they failed to pay. 

Paonia citizens waited through eleven agenda items and several reports before the opportunity to talk about sidewalks finally arrived. By then, one 37-year resident of the town had a bit of pent up anger.

  • State Enforcers Increasingly Penalizing Oil and Gas Industry with Public Service
  • Release of Gasland II Stirs Controversy
  • Mesa County Bans Retail Pot in Unincorporated Areas
  • Majority of Colorado School Districts Will Use Model Evaluation System
  • Paonia Council Rescinds Sidewalk Letter
  • Grazing Permit Owners Advise BLM Not to “Micro-Manage” Public Lands
  • Oil and Gas Industry Hoping to Shift Dialogue on Fracking
  • Former Delta County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged with Sexually Abusing a Child
  • Colorado West Nile Death from 2012 Linked to Tainted Blood Transfusion
  • University of Colorado Contest Will Send Haiku to Mars
  • Cleanup of Tanker Spill on Loveland Pass Could Take Weeks
  • North Fork Citizens Rally to find Homes for Abandoned Chickens
  • BLM Extends Public Comment Period on Dominguez-Escalante Draft RMP
  • New Study Finds Natural Gas Industry Leaking 9 Percent of Product Into Air
  • Housing Resources of Western Colorado to Offer Weatherization Services for Low-Income Residents
  • Western Slope Conservation Center Awarded Grant to Expand Paonia River Park Trails
  • Childhood Colorado Obesity Up, While National Levels Down
  • Telluride Voters Will Decide on Sugary Drinks Tax
  • State Republicans Criticize Hickenlooper’s “Attack on Transparency”
  • CU-Boulder Falls to

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