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.

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For every miner, there’s a family – and in the best cases, the family offers a support system that allows the miner to go into the dark to work various shifts under sometimes dangerous conditions, sleep during the day, adapt to various clocks and take it in stride when there’s a disruption of work or routine.

KVNF’s Marty Durlin spoke to someone who’s managed it for decades.

Municipalities, agencies and organizations are beginning to glimpse what the Sequestration – a round of budget cuts imposed by Congress – means to the rest of the country. 

Delta County Health Officer Bonnie Koehler told commissioners yesterday that the sequestration has taken a whack out of a crucial fund, the Community Services Block Grant that pays for some family planning services (excluding abortions), along with emergency medications for those who can’t afford them.

As Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee debated gun bills at the capitol, Delta County Commissioners heard con and pro on the enforcement of the pending legislation at their regular meeting this week.

Smyth Boone rides his bike regularly in the BLM land that’s adjacent to Paonia – the area popularly known as Jumbo, a network of dirt trails and loops on juniper-covered mesas. By taking photographs and using a meter on his bike, he’s got a record of the weather and conditions over about six years now. He posts regularly on iseechange at thealmanac.org. Here he talks about a special event that occurred last year, as well as the dry conditions that are only increasing.

For years Delta County has allowed people to dump tires for free at its Adobe Buttes Landfill – a policy that they are now re-examining. Old tires are not popular at landfills. They take up a lot of space, they can trap methane gases and become housing for rodents. Burning tires pollute air, soil and water. So why has Delta County agreed to take them for free, no questions asked? Other counties either charge or refuse to take them into their landfills.

A group gathered on Thursday in Paonia’s Poulos Park to protest violence against women, part of a world-wide Valentine’s Day action called "One Billion Rising". Marty Durlin covered the event:

On Wednesday,  KVNF cub reporters Noah McDaniel and Mason Lightfoot hit the streets of Paonia to learn what people like best about Valentine’s Day. Mason took some photos while they were at it.

The Conservation Center held an annual meeting yesterday, and chose a new name: Western Slope Conservation Center. The nonprofit was created by the marriage of two deep-rooted local organizations, the North Fork River Improvement Association, known as NFRIA, and the Western Slope Environmental Resource Council, known as WSERC.

In the North Fork Valley, Wednesday morning began with the surprising news that the BLM removed all of the North Fork land parcels from the February 14 oil and gas lease sale. KVNF's Marty Durlin hit the streets of Paonia to record public reaction to this decision.

In a press release sent out early this morning, the BLM Colorado Office announced that all 20 North Fork Valley parcels have been removed from the Feb. 14th oil and gas lease sale. 

“We’ve listened to concerns raised in numerous comments and public meetings and we are responding by deferring the North Fork Valley parcels at this time,” said Colorado State Director Helen Hankins.  “We are addressing the deferred parcels through continued dialogue with the local community and with ongoing planning efforts in the Uncompahgre Field Office.  

KVNF’s Marty Durlin interviewed BLM spokesperson Steven Hall, a Hotchkiss native, about the decision. He was speaking on his cell phone from an airport, and began by stressing that the parcels were not deferred because the the agency’s 20-year-old Resource Management Plan is inadequate. Hear that interview below:



Yesterday Delta County Commissioners passed an ordinance banning commercial marijuana enterprises in the unincorporated areas of the county. Amendment 64, which legalizes recreational marijuana in Colorado, allows counties to opt out of some provisions. A small group attended the commissioners’ regular meeting to discuss the issue. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reported on the story.

Lenny Frieling is the current board chair of Colorado NORML – the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The organization recently worked to pass Amendment 64, and now has a seat on the governor’s 24-member task force to advise the legislature on regulating marijuana and hemp. A criminal defense attorney for the past 37 years, Frieling is also a one of the 350-plus lawyers who make up the NORML legal committee. Marty Durlin spoke with Frieling from his office in Boulder about the future of regulating legal marijuana in Colorado.

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Last week the local advocacy group Citizens for a Healthy Community announced it would file a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management if the agency does not withdraw the remaining 20,000 acres in the North Fork from its February 14 lease sale. Along with other citizens’ groups and individuals, CHC has been fighting the proposed sale since it was announced in December of 2011, saying it jeopardizes the North Fork’s economy, its organic farms, orchards, ranches, wineries and way of life. KVNF’s Marty Durlin spoke with CHC director Jim Ramey.

What would have been a sparsely attended regular council meeting turned into a crowded and contentious event when state BLM officials visited Paonia to talk about pending gas leases in the North Fork Valley on Tuesday, January 22. KVNF’s Marty Durlin talked to Paonia Mayor Neal Schwieterman on the morning after.

Delta County Commissioners took a step back from a proposed ordinance curtailing Amendment 64 Tuesday after a group of concerned business owners and marijuana activists complained. 

Marty Durlin reports that six people spoke to commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday, asking them to rethink their effort to ban commercial marijuana establishments in Delta County. Comments ranged from a defense of marijuana as a valuable agricultural crop to a plea to at least drop part of the proposed ordinance that would designate soil and fertilizer as “marijuana accessories.”

Marty Durlin

The Bureau of Land Management held the first of three meetings with local town councils last night. About 50 people showed up at the Hotchkiss town hall to hear what agency representatives had to say about the pending gas lease auction of parcels in the North Fork Valley. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reports.


Members of the Vision School’s board of stewards addressed the Delta County School Board last week about the school’s desire to secure a charter designation. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reports.


On Tuesday (1/22), Delta County Commissioners will further discuss an ordinance that would block certain parts of Amendment 64, the constitutional amendment that makes recreational marijuana legal in Colorado. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reports on the ins and outs of marijuana legislation at the local level.

Mart Durlin

Delta County Commissioner Olen Lund left his county office on Monday. He served two four-year terms, the maximum allowed. During a break in his last regular commissioner’s meeting, Lund took time out to reflect on his tenure with KVNF’s Marty Durlin.

Marty Durlin

Colorado Pilot’s Association for exceptional service and facilities. Last week, airport manager Mike Clawson accepted another award from the Delta County Commissioners, noting the accomplishment. KVNF’s Marty Durlin has the story.

In a split decision, Delta County Commissioners voted down a proposed gravel pit near Crawford on Monday, citing seven issues that influenced their decision. KVNF's Marty Durlin has more.


In two weeks, Crawford residents will know whether they’ll have a new 35-acre gravel pit in their community. The Delta County Commissioners took the issue under advisement after yesterday’s crowded and heated public hearing on the controversial proposal.


Marty Durlin

Delta County Commissioners rearranged their schedule Monday in order to attend a rally featuring Rick Perry. The Texas governor was touring with local state legislators to urge Republicans to get out the vote. KVNF’s Marty Durlin has more.

Library of Congress.

This month marked the end of an era, and it’s unlikely many were even aware of it. The City of Delta tore down the old cannery building—in place since 1920—to make way for a new bypass route for Highway 50. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reports.


Mail ballots went out a week ago, and the Delta County Courthouse is a-bustle with early voters, heading into election day on November 6th. KVNF’s Marty Durlin has more.

  A few years ago, an 8,000 gallon gas tanker clipped a curb and tipped over in near Delta, spilling gasoline. Now, Delta County is more able to respond to hazardous materials spills like that one. Delta County’s emergency manager Rob Fiedler reported the news to Delta County Commissioners on Monday. KVNF’s Marty Durlin has more.

CBS Denver

Summer is waning, and the Western Slope is already starting to feel some fall weather. But Delta County is still a breeding spot for mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus. KVNF’s Marty Durlin reports.

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