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. 

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.

This fall Judge Richard Gabriel will be sworn in as Colorado’s next State Supreme Court Justice. He currently serves on the Colorado Court of Appeals. He received his undergrad degree at Yale University and went to the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. Gabriel talked to statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland about his view of politics in the judicial process, why he became a lawyer and some of his significant cases. 


CSU Rogers Mesa Agricultural Research Center
Linda Rubick

A group of Delta County stakeholders wants to breathe new life into a shuttered agricultural research center. The Colorado State University facility sits on 83 acres outside of Hotchkiss on Rogers Mesa. 

The property has a residence, classrooms, laboratory space, offices, cold storage, a greenhouse and equipment storage sheds. 

CSU used the site to conduct research on fruit trees, but now the classrooms and laboratories sit empty.

innovation
Thomas Hawk/Flickr

A Telluride nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs launch their businesses is seeking applicants for its 2016 startup program. 

Telluride Venture Accelerator, an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, started three years ago. 

It brings entrepreneurs to the mountain town for a five-month residency program.  

A program to provide long acting reversible contraceptives to low-income women has been funded for another year. About a dozen health and community foundations have stepped up to provide the funds, something the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had been working overtime to try and secure.

Students are heading back to school, but the road to graduation for this the incoming crop of seniors varies by high school. The reason? Unlike other states, Colorado does not have a set requirement for what it takes to receive a diploma.

Creating a standard is an ongoing debate and one that state lawmakers tried to answer in 2007 and 2008 when they approved legislation requiring a minimum statewide requirement.

The Justice Department is trying to make it easier for Native American tribes to gain access to national crime databases. Federal authorities say the program could prevent criminals from buying guns and help keep battered women and foster children safe.

The issue of who can see information in federal criminal databases might sound boring, until one considers a deadly shooting at a high school in Washington state last year.

A beautiful ballerina and a handsome prince are at the heart of the world's most famous ballets. Sleeping Beauty. Swan Lake. The Nutcracker, of course.

And at training grounds for future dancers, plenty of girls hope to someday wear the prima ballerina's tutu.

But it's become a challenge to find the boys who will one day form the other half of the pas de deux.

'Cooties And Stuff'

Wade Hanson

As wildfires continue to rage in the Northwest, Colorado has had a relatively mild season.  It’s unsure, though, if it will stay that way. 

Irv Halter
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A lack of access to high-speed internet is an issue for rural communities in western Colorado. 


Jake Ryan

The 35th annual Telluride Mushroom Festival took place this month. 

John Hickenlooper
Laura Palmisano

Governor John Hickenlooper and members of his cabinet were in Montrose on Thursday for a community forum.

Like a lot of students, 17-year-old Nick Bain says he really likes his school, but sometimes it can feel like a chore.

"It just feels a little bit like you just have to keep doing one thing after another, but without a whole lot of thinking about an education in general," says Nick.

So one day he decided to write down what he was doing every 15 minutes at the Colorado Academy in Denver.

montrose regional dispatch center
City of Montrose

The city of Montrose is going to create its own regional dispatch center with an estimated price tag of $1.8 million. 


cows, dairy farm
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Across the state 70 facilities are under quarantine for a viral disease that affects livestock.


The Environmental Protection Agency was investigating an old mine near Silverton, Colo., earlier this month, when it accidentally released 3 million gallons of toxic waste water into the Animas River.

Initially the agency downplayed the incident and provided little information. So Navajo President Russell Begaye traveled to the source of the toxic spill and posted a video of it on Facebook.

In the video, he stands in front of the still-leaking mine.

iSeeChange: Dead Finches

Aug 14, 2015
Flickr User quinet

Earlier this summer, we received an observation over at iseechange.org about finches.  Ann Cabillot  had a mystery: dead purple finches found across Paonia.

Small Potatoes Farm
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The state is offering financial assistance to Colorado farmers looking to move away from using flood irrigation. 

This year's El Niño is shaping up to be a whopper — potentially surpassing the one in 1997, which was the strongest on record, the National Weather Service says.

That could be good news for drought-stricken California, but not-so-good for places such as the Philippines and Indonesia, which typically experience below-normal rainfall or drought conditions during El Niños.

A $6 million project to spiff up the state capitol is almost done. The two-year renovation of the building's signature gold dome is complete; inside the capitol workers are restoring both the House and Senate chambers.

Colorado's capitol opened in 1894 and has gone through a few restorations since then. The latest iteration restores the chambers to how they looked at the turn of the century.

In Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, towns that are downstream from the old gold mine where contaminated wastewater spewed into a river have shut off their water supplies' connections to the spill. Two rivers will remain closed until at least Monday, officials say.

fiber optic cable
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Region 10 received $5.2 million grant from the state to develop better broadband access on the Western Slope. 


Editor's note: This story was originally published on August 9, 2015.

Fresh air, the smell of pine trees, the sounds of birds chirping and brooks babbling — all of these have helped American city-dwellers unwind for generations. But in the era of Jim Crow segregation, nature's calm also gave African-Americans a temporary respite from racism and discrimination.

In an event that has led to health warnings and turned a river orange, the Environmental Protection Agency says one of its safety teams accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River in southwest Colorado.

The spill, which sent heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants into a waterway that flows into the San Juan National Forest, occurred Wednesday. The EPA initially said 1 million gallons of wastewater had been released, but that figure has risen sharply.

From member station KUNC, Stephanie Paige Ogburn reports for our Newscast unit:

Jurors in the trial of Aurora Theater shooter James Holmes did not come to a unanimous final sentencing decision. As a result, the court will impose the sentence of life in prison for Holmes' killing of 12 and injuring of 70 others in 2012. Even though he was spared the death penalty, the trial is likely to once again spark debate over whether Colorado should even have the penalty on the books.

The last attempt to repeal the state's death penalty was in 2013. It was backed by former Representative Claire Levy (D-Boulder).

"I think it's immoral, it's ineffective. I think it doesn't belong in a modern system of justice. I don't think we impose it in a fair impartial way," said Levy. "People don't get executed. They sit waiting the outcome for decades."

James Holmes will get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The jurors who convicted him of murdering a dozen people and trying to kill 70 more at a midnight movie three years ago could not agree on a death sentence.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for less than seven hours over two days.

District Attorney George Brauchler, who had sought to have Holmes executed, said, "I still think death is justice for what that guy did ... but I respect the outcome." He also said the jury did "a hell of a job."

As cities in Colorado expand to accommodate a growing population, so are costs of providing services and utilities. Some communities, like Aurora, a city of 350,000 east of Denver, are reevaluating how they charge for services like water and how those costs might encourage smarter growth.

La Plata County

About a million gallons of contaminated mine water spilled into a tributary of the Animas River in San Juan County on Wednesday. 

Urbanization of Agricultural Land

Aug 6, 2015

An additional 2.5 million people are expected to move to Colorado by 2040, the vast majority of them headed for the Front Range.   As part of Connecting the Drops, our state-wide water series, Maeve Conran looks at the impact on Colorado as its landscape changes from crops to houses.

The traffic on a stretch of I-25 north of Denver is the soundtrack to the changes that farmer Kent Peppler has seen happening in Weld County. 

black bear
U.S. Forest Service

Three laws sponsored by Western Slope legislators go into effect this week. 


The College Board has just released the latest curriculum framework for its Advanced Placement U.S. history course, and it appears to have satisfied many of the old framework's critics.

The rewrite comes after anger over its 2014 framework sent the College Board, which administers the AP exam, back to the drawing board.

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