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.

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NEWS
2:53 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Paonia Eagles Win State Track Championship

Top Left to Right: Coach Randall Palmer, Courtney Van Vleet, Mckenna Palmer, Coach Brian Mitchum, Coach Brent McRae, Morgan Hartigan, Jeze Fabijanic , Ashley Van Vleet, Cheyanna Christian, Taylor Carsten, Coach Scott Reinks -- Bottom Left to Right: Randy Rapke, Kassidy Rapke, Brianna Van Vleet, Emily Pieper, Marisa Edmonson, Easton Hartigan, Brooklynd Ericson, Deon Jensen, Chelsea Meilner, Shira Woods, Brooke Hillman
Credit Tannille Van Vleet

The Paonia High School Girls Track team are state champions, again.  Last weekend the Eagles won their third state championship in a row.  To talk about the event, KVNF's Jake Ryan sat down with Ashley Van Vleet and Chelsea Meilner.

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HEALTH
9:31 am
Thu May 21, 2015

Heart Risk Factors May Affect Black Women More Than White Women

African-American women may be more sensitive to metabolic abnormalities like high triglycerides or low good cholesterol.
iStockphoto

African-American women can be at risk of heart disease even if they don't have metabolic syndrome, a study finds.

That's a problem, because the current thinking is that metabolic syndrome — defined as high triglycerides, bad cholesterol, abdominal fat, high blood pressure and impaired glucose metabolism — is the big risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

The picture with women appears to be a lot more complicated, especially when you compare women in different racial or ethnic groups.

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POLITICS
4:16 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

The Ballooning Importance Of The 'Latino Vote,' In 3 Charts

People vote on Election Day 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 11:09 am

As 2016 campaigns heat up, Republicans are working to boost their momentum among Latino voters, and the numbers make it easy to see why.

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NEWS
4:10 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

West Slope College Goes Tobacco-Free

More than 1,000 colleges and universities across the U.S. are tobacco-free, according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.
Credit Flickr/smartsignbrooklyn

A college on the Western Slope is joining the growing number of higher education institutions that ban tobacco products.

The Delta-Montrose Technical College will be a tobacco-free school.

"All forms of tobacco products including smoking and smokeless tobacco or chew and e-cigarettes are banned," John Jones, the college's director, said.

He said it was a two-year process to get the policy in place.

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NEWS
11:50 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Thompson Divide Swap Gets Delta County Support

Several counties across the Western Slope have supported the Thompson Divide lease swap.  Delta County was one of the last holdouts, but they made their decision on Monday.

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NEWS
4:41 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Western Slope Communities Get Workplace Wellness Grant

Delta County will oversee the $630,000 state grant to create a regional workplace program in six counties.
Credit flickr/ashkyd

Six counties on the Western Slope have received a large grant to promote workplace wellness.  

The $630,000 grant is from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

Over the next three years, Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray, and San Miguel counties will share the funding to create a workplace wellness program. 

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NEWS
11:52 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Haven House Nears Goal To Buy Property, Keep Shelter Open

Credit Haven House

The future of a transitional housing program for homeless families on the Western Slope is uncertain. 

Haven House needs to raise $345,000 by Friday to buy the property where it operates. 

The shelter opened in Olathe four years ago. It has 30 units where homeless families and individuals can stay for an extended period.

"Certainly between Grand Junction and Durango there is nothing like it," Larry Fredericksen, the president of the nonprofit faith-based shelter, said.

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HEALTH
9:38 am
Mon May 18, 2015

How We Store Food At Home Could Be Linked To How Much We Eat

Do food-laden environments really contribute to obesity or is it the other way around?
Photo illustration/Ryan Kellman/NPR

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 4:40 pm

Keeping food out of sight could be a way to keep it out of your mouth. That's the hunch of Charles Emery, a psychologist at Ohio State University, anyway. His latest research suggests that how food is set up around the house could be influencing how much people eat and, ultimately, how heavy they might be.

There are a lot of factors that scientists say explain obesity — defined as a body-mass index over 30 — from genetics to lifestyle changes to socio-economic status.

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NEWS
4:59 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Rep. Coram On The 2015 State Legislative Session

Don Coram talks about House Bill 1006 at its signing ceremony in Montrose on Tuesday, May 12, 2015.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The 2015 state legislative session has come to an end. KVNF's Laura Palmisano caught up with Republican Rep. Don Coram at a recent bill signing event in Montrose. He represents House District 58, which covers Montrose, San Miguel, Dolores and Montezuma counties.

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ARTS
4:17 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Grand Junction Photography Project Looks Beyond The Badge

Suzette Freidenberger is a patrol officer with the Grand Junction Police Department.
Credit Nathan Lopez Photography

This week is National Police Week. It is an occasion to honor officers who died in the line of duty. 

The time of remembrance this year comes on the heels of protests against police in major cities across the U.S. and a national debate on police tactics. 

In a local effort to increase understanding between law enforcement and the public, a Western Slope photographer is trying to get people to look beyond the badge and see the person in uniform.

Photographer Nathan Lopez moved to Grand Junction seven months ago from Oregon.

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NEWS
5:02 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Montrose Library District Faces Grim Budget Deficit

The Montrose Library in downtown Montrose, Colo.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The Great Recession officially ended in 2009, but communities on the Western Slope are still feeling its effects.

In Montrose County, unemployment remains high and property values have not returned to pre-recession levels.

Paul Paladino, the director of the Montrose Regional Library District, said low property values affect the libraries.

"We are funded 90 percent from property taxes," said Paladino.

He said since 2013, the library system has faced a $420,000 budget deficit and is dipping into reserves to help make up for that loss.

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NEWS
4:41 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

EPC Commissioners Approve Settlements

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 1:52 pm

El Paso County Commissioners have voted to approve two settlements in claims brought against the Sheriff’s office, former Sheriff Terry Maketa, and former Undersheriff Paula Presley.  The claims allege lost income and benefits due to a hostile work environment.

 

County Attorney Amy Folsom said at Tuesday morning’s commissioner’s meeting that her office has analyzed the risk of liability and evaluated the potential cost of litigation in each case.

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NEWS
3:37 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Gov. Hickenlooper Signs Bill To Fight Invasive, Thirsty Plants

Governor John Hickenlooper talks about House Bill 1006 at the bill's signing ceremony in Montrose.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

On his tour of the Western Slope this week, Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill to create a grant program to help communities fight invasive plants that threaten riparian areas in Colorado.

House Bill 1006 creates the Invasive Phreatophyte Grant Program.

Governor John Hickenlooper signed the bill at a ceremony in Montrose on Tuesday.

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NEWS
12:16 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Do We Talk Funny? 51 American Colloquialisms

Jennifer Maravillas Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 7:25 pm

Has American English become homogenized? Have our regional ways of saying particular things — sometimes in very particular ways — receded into the past? Or do we talk as funny as ever?

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AGRICULTURE
1:45 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Sheep Ranchers Count On American Muslims To Keep Lamb On Menu

Sheep are sold in small lots like this one at the Centennial Livestock Auction in Fort Collins, Colo.
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media/KUNC

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 1:23 pm

Sheep ranchers, feedlot owners, and processors in states like Colorado, Nebraska and Illinois are banking on America becoming a more diverse place.

Specifically, they want American Muslims to buy more of their lamb.

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NEWS
11:43 am
Sun May 10, 2015

Western Colorado Climate Challenge Conference in Paonia

Last weekend saw the Western Colorado Climate Challenge in Paonia.  It was a conference focused on the impacts of climate change on the Western Slope, and what could be done to address them.  This event was a little different than others like it.  This is Rob Menzies, one of the facilitators.

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ENVIRONMENT
11:02 am
Sun May 10, 2015

iSeeChange: Birds Not Thrown Off By Warm Temps

Black Chinned Hummingbird
Credit Flickr User colorob

Spring is in full effect, and for quite a while birds have been migrating through the area.  One listener, Marylin Stone, commented on the iSeeChange website that she noticed, for the first time this year a Bullock's oriole and a hummingbird, she wasn’t positive which species.  I brought this observation to Jeff Birek, a biologist with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.

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NEWS
5:25 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Severance Tax Dollars Help Fund Regional Sport Shooting Complex

The state gave Palisade a $2 million severance tax grant to help fund a regional sports shooting complex at Cameo.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The state collects severance taxes from companies that extract nonrenewable resources in Colorado. Some of this money goes to communities in the form of large grants. Most of these grants go to communities to help build fire stations, upgrade water systems, restore historic sites, and aid with other infrastructure or economic development projects. The program is also providing funds for a shooting range on the Western Slope. 

Roger Granat is the 73-year-old mayor of Palisade. He grew up there. And as a boy, he would often visit the neighboring community of Cameo. 

"The general store and the post office sat over here on our right," Granat said on a recent visit to the old town site.  

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NEWS
5:31 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Colorado's 2015 Legislature Takes A Bow With A Flurry Of Activity

Gov. John Hickenlooper signing the annual budget bill, April 24, 2015. Under the state constitution the only thing the legislature is required to do is pass a balanced budget each year. The last day of the 2015 session was a mad dash for some bills.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 10:12 am

State lawmakers waited until the last minute to decide some of the biggest issues hanging over the capitol for the 2015 legislative session. They worked overtime to get everything wrapped up before a Wednesday midnight.

Reducing the number of standardized tests public school children take has been a top priority for lawmakers in both parties this session. The Governor even mentioned it during his January State of the State Address. Despite overall agreement on the problem, the issue wasn't resolved until the final moments of the session, after months of negotiations and numerous bills on the topic.

Test reform wasn't alone, priorities such as a felony DUI bill, reauthorization of the Office of Consumer Counsel, a change in the law for rain barrels, and a salary increase for elected officials were all on the docket in the waning moments of the General Assembly.

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NEWS
5:26 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Severance Taxes Critical To Colorado Communities

Ouray got a $200,000 grant from the state to develop a master plan to reconstruct its hot springs pool with the help of severance tax dollars.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

    

Severance taxes are a vital source of funding for communities across Colorado. This tax applies to revenue the state collects from mining and energy extraction. Half of these funds go directly to communities affected by those activities. The other half goes towards grants for infrastructure and economic development.  

"We have just under a million gallons of hot, natural spring water that flows into the pool," said Patrick Rondinelli, the city administrator of Ouray, while visiting the city's hot springs pool. 

"There’s always been ponds in the early years that were in this location and then finally in the late 1920’s a formal swimming pool was built on this very site," he said.  "And, it’s been maintained in that condition in some variation. There’s been some changes made to it but basically in this same very site all these years."  

Rondinelli said Ouray closes the pool in the spring for about a week to clean it and do basic repairs. The site attracts about 135,000 visitors a year and is a major tourism draw for the small mountain community.

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