Regional News

Weekdays at 8 a.m. & 5:50 p.m.

KVNF's original reporting covers a variety of issues affecting the Western Slope - everything from environmental and energy issues to breaking news and statewide legislative debates. We also feature content from our Rocky Mountain Community Radio partner stations and Inside Energy

Our news team is always looking for leads. Let us know what's happening in your area, what issues you care about and what you'd like to hear us cover - email us at news@kvnf.org.

Ways to Connect

American Indian mascots draw controversy. They're most visible as the logos of sports teams… and some in Colorado call some of the symbols racist. Efforts at the state Legislature to try and ban the use or restrict the mascots at schools have failed. That hasn't stopped some schools from working with tribes to find the middle ground.

Strasburg, Colorado, is where the last spike was hammered in the nation's coast-to-coast railroad in 1870. This tiny town about an hour east of Denver is also home to the Indians, Strasburg High School's sports teams.

Data continues to show that where a person lives in Colorado plays a big role in dictating how much they pay for health insurance. That's because insurers use it to calculate premiums and in some regions it's unusually high. State lawmakers are aware of the problem – but are not sure what the solution is.

"I was seeing upwards of $500 a month," said Sam Higby, a Breckenridge outdoor gear shop employee. He's 35 and healthy, but said on his salary he simply can't afford healthcare.

"It does weigh on me as an active person, being concerned about what might happen out there."

Colorado has a new head of the state's Department of Natural Resources. Appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, Bob Randall now gets the official nod as head of the organization that oversees everything from state parks and wildlife, to oil and gas drilling, mining and water conservation.

A federal judge in Wyoming has struck down the Obama administration's regulations on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn't have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands.

In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight.

A Colorado woman managed to fight off a mountain lion that was attacking her 5-year-old son.

During the harrowing rescue Friday evening, she "reached into the animal's mouth and wrested her son's head from its jaws," The Aspen Times reported.

This week, as part of the Nation Engaged project, NPR and some member stations will be talking about what the 2016 primary season has revealed about voters' confidence in the American electoral system.

Voters unhappy with the political system this year and unsure about whether their vote matters have big complaints how the country's two main political parties choose their candidates.

Vigils, marches and rallies were held across the country and the world on Monday evening to remember the victims of the deadly attack in Orlando, Fla.

Events were held in New York, Vermont, Florida, California, Alaska, Rhode Island, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and in Washington, D.C. Another vigil is scheduled for Tuesday in Atlanta, Ga.

In New York, thousands gathered outside the Stonewall Inn, the site of a 1969 police raid that launched the modern gay rights movement.

It's crunch time for the Republicans striving to be the nominee to campaign against Democrat Michael Bennet in Colorado's U.S. Senate race. The primary is still wide-open, and when the mail ballots are counted June 28, each candidate has a plausible shot of winning.

"I cannot pick a frontrunner. I couldn't even come close to picking a frontrunner," said political consultant Eric Sondermann.

"There's not a dominant figure in this race."

The luminous glow of light pollution prevents nearly 80 percent of people in North America from seeing the Milky Way in the night sky.

That's according to a new atlas of artificial night sky brightness that found our home galaxy is now hidden from more than one-third of humanity.

Sharing Ministries Food Bank
Laura Palmisano/KVNF

Sharing Ministries Food Bank recently broke ground on its new facility in Montrose, a much needed expansion officials with the organization say.  The new warehouse will triple the regional food bank's capacity.  In the past five years, Sharing Ministries has seen a 92 percent increase in the amount of people needing food assistance. Officials say the new building will help them keep up with the growing demand. 

West Elk Mine
WildEarth Guardians

The last fully operational coal mine in the western part of the state announced layoffs Thursday.

The West Elk Mine outside of Paonia is owned by Arch Coal. The company filed for bankruptcy in January and says it’s letting go of 80 workers.

An F-16 with the Air Force Thunderbirds crashed Thursday afternoon after the group's demonstration at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony. 

A U.S. pilot who was part of the Navy's Blue Angels demonstration team died Thursday after his F/A-18 aircraft crashed in Smyrna, Tenn., southeast of Nashville, according to military and local officials. The Blue Angels had been preparing to hold an air show this weekend.

The jet went down in an open field not far from an apartment complex, local officials said during a news conference Thursday afternoon. The crash occurred some 2 miles from the runway.

These details come from the Navy:

Monarch butterflies are disappearing.

Populations of these distinctive black and orange migratory insects have been in precipitous decline for the past 20 years, but scientists aren't exactly sure what's causing them to vanish.

The City of Thornton is one of many growing suburbs of Denver, Colo. On a day without much traffic, it's only a 20-minute commute into the state capitol, and its new homes with big yards make it an attractive bedroom community. Nearly 130,000 people live there, and the population is expected to keep booming.

Jake Ryan/KVNF

The economic downturn in the fossil fuel industry is not only affecting profits and jobs; it’s also impacting funding for state projects.

natural gas facility, Parachute
Flickr: EnergyTomorrow

In Colorado’s oil- and gas-producing counties, science teachers broach a thorny subject in their own backyard.

With a swipe of the governor's pen, it is now legal for Coloradans to collect the rain that falls from their roofs. The move makes Colorado the final state in the country to sanction rain barrels.

The man who acknowledged attacking a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last year is not competent to have his criminal case go forward, a judge ruled on Wednesday. Robert Lewis Dear Jr. is accused of killing three people and wounding nine others in Colorado Springs in November.

With only a few days left in the state's legislative session, lawmakers in both parties are trying to get something across the finish line that will help with the state's high cost of housing, while lots of other bills are failing.

Colorado Republicans were mixed on the news that Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the presidential race. That leaves New York businessman Donald Trump as the apparent nominee. He has rattled the Republican Party establishment, and there's a lot of political calculating going on from the GOP as well as the Democrats.

The message from Colorado Republicans after the state convention was clear: We want Cruz. Much like with the state's Dems, who mostly lean toward Bernie Sanders, what happens if the preferred nominee isn't the final candidate?

Debtors' prisons have long been illegal in the United States. But many courts across the country still send people to jail when they can't pay their court fines. Last year, the Justice Department stepped in to stop the practice in Ferguson, Mo. And now, in a first, a U.S. city will pay out thousands of dollars to people who were wrongly sent to jail.

A bill is making its way through the statehouse that would allow judges to re-examine the cases of juveniles sentenced to life without parole. A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling made it unconstitutional for minors to have no possibility of parole -- except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

The court said it was cruel and unusual punishment. Currently 48 youth in Colorado were given mandatory life sentences prior to that ruling, many for heinous crimes.

"Murder is never OK, taking someone's life is never OK, but should we ever allow a second chance, a second look?" asked Senator Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge), one of the main sponsors of a bipartisan bill that cleared the Senate 32-3.

One of the country's most outspoken abortion providers has filed a civil rights complaint against the hospital where she works, saying that it has wrongly banned her from giving media interviews.

The population of northern Colorado is booming, and we're not just talking about people here.

The number of dairy cows is now higher than ever.

At the northern edge of the state, Weld and Larimer counties are already home to high numbers of beef and dairy cattle, buttressed by the region's numerous feedlots, which send the animals to several nearby slaughterhouses. But an expansion of a cheese factory owned by dairy giant Leprino Foods will require even more cows.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled unanimously against the city of Longmont's hydraulic fracturing ban and the moratorium in Fort Collins Monday. The state's highest court said that Longmont's ban conflicts with state law and is invalid and unenforceable. The court ruled that state law also preempts the moratorium in Fort Collins.

KVNF / Jake Ryan

The Elk Creek Mine in Gunnison County was once one of Colorado’s most productive coal mines. Its coal silo stood tall for 50 years, but last Friday it was demolished. While just another step in the mine’s shutdown, its collapse was symbolic.


  • Mild wildfire season predicted for Colorado
  • Olathe Board of Trustee dies at 71
  • Man found dead in Ouray County pond died of exposure
  • A look at the 2016 Paonia Film Festival  

Lawmakers in both parties have unveiled a proposal to bring a presidential primary back to Colorado. It's estimated that conducting a primary will cost anywhere from $5 to $7 million. Despite the price tag, the heads of both the state Democratic and Republican parties and Gov. John Hickenlooper support it.

We asked two reporters working at the capitol on a daily basis what that means.

A Colorado commission studying American Indian representations in public schools released a report that recommends that schools not use American Indian mascots. However, if the schools do choose to do so, they should partner with a tribe to make sure it is done in a respectful way.

Right now, 30 Colorado schools use some type of American Indian mascot or imagery.

Pages