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
1:09 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Testing Reform Bill Is Pulled At The Legislature

Colorado General Assembly

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:05 am

A bipartisan measure to reduce testing for students in Colorado's public schools is not proceeding as planned through the statehouse. Senate Bill 215 [.pdf] was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee Thursday. No longer, it was pulled from the calendar before the hearing.

"We just need to make sure we get the policy right," said state Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), a sponsor of the measure along with Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood).

The sponsors are unsure of when SB 215 will get a hearing. The bill would eliminate mandatory assessments in the 11 and 12th grade and reduce redundant tests in the earlier grades. It has been billed as the major school testing reform bill of the session.

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NEWS
5:57 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

As Schuller Steps Down, What's Ahead For Colorado's Energy Industry?

Tisha Schuller, the current executive in charge of the state's trade organization for oil and gas has accounced her departure from the position.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 7:59 am

The executive director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Tisha Schuller, recently announced that she's leaving the state's largest trade organization for the energy industry.

In a statement released by COGA, Schuller said it was a "wild ride" and that she was honored to have represented the state's oil industry. While remaining in her position until the end of May, Schuller sat down to talk about the future of the industry and why she decided to leave her position.

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NEWS
5:37 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Garfield County Lands Nation's First Aerial Firefighting Research Center

Credit The U.S. Army via Flickr

Colorado has announced the location for a 'first of its kind' aerial firefighting research facility.

The Rifle-Garfield County Airport will be home to the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting.  

"So virtually everything we do in wildland firefighting will be subject to be looked at by this center of excellence," Paul Cooke, the director of the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, says. 

He says the center will test and evaluate existing and new technologies used in aerial firefighting. 

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NEWS
11:39 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Mixed Economic News As The Legislature's Budget Work Nears

Stephen Butler Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 9:54 am

As they prepare to write the annual budget, there's mixed news for Colorado lawmakers. The latest revenue forecast shows the economy will remain strong, but there is a lot of uncertainty going forward, especially when it comes to low oil prices and how it ripples through the state's economy.

"On net low oil prices are good for the national economy, but for areas where you have energy production, energy production states, on net it has been negative in the past," said nonpartisan Chief Legislative Economist Natalie Mullis. "Colorado is a third tier energy producing state and it does have a dampening effect on our economy."

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NEWS
10:33 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Economic Development Bill Progresses At State Capitol

Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A bill to find ways to boost economic development in highly distressed regions of Colorado has cleared the state House. 

The bipartisan measure calls for the creation of a working group that identifies areas in Colorado that are struggling. 

The group would make recommendations to the legislature on how to improve the economies of these distressed regions. 

Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver is one of the bill’s sponsors.  

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NEWS
12:22 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Curfew Set For City Of Delta Youth

The city of Delta curfew for kids goes in effect in April. Unaccompanied minors need to be off the streets by midnight. There are some exceptions to the rule. For example, kids can be out after the city's curfew if they are getting of work, leaving a movie or coming back from a school event.
Credit flickr/nathanmac87

The city of Delta has put a juvenile curfew into effect.  The town council passed the ordinance at the request of Delta Police Chief Robert Thomas.

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HEALTH
10:12 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Delta Hospital Seeks To Extend Federal Payments

Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

For the past three years, Delta County Memorial Hospital has been participating in a pilot program that's allowed it to collect more money from Medicaid and Medicare for its services. 

The program will sunset in 2017, but the hospital doesn't want to that to happen. That's why it's lobbying federal lawmakers to support two bills that would extend it.  

Additionally, the hospital wants to see if it can change its classification in effect making those larger payments permanent, but to do that it also needs federal support. 

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POLITICS
4:03 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Would Automatic Voter Registration Increase Turnout?

Advocates are looking to a new Oregon law as a model for increasing voter turnout.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Go to renew your driver's license in Oregon, and you will now be signed up to vote automatically.

It's the first state in the country with that sort of law, which is designed to make voting easier, and stands in contrast to the trend seen in the past several years in more conservative states.

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NEWS
4:25 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Which Bills Will Hit The Gov's Desk This Session?

Jim Hill KUNC

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 7:31 am

We're just past the halfway mark for the annual 120-day legislative session. As lawmakers (and the reporters that cover them) enter the home stretch, what's the scuttlebutt under the gold dome? Which bills are being delayed? How is the Governor handling split legislative control?

For insights we picked the brains of reporters who work the halls on daily basis at the capitol.

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POLITICS
5:03 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Obama, 2016 Contenders Deal With Changing Attitudes On Marijuana

Polls show changing American opinion on marijuana, and it's having an effect on politics.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 9:26 am

The divide between Republicans and Democrats on pot politics is narrowing, President Barack Obama said in an interview Monday.

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NEWS
1:19 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Home Kitchen Producers, Lawmakers Hope To See Cottage Food Law Expand

Monica Wiitanen adds wood to her outdoor oven that she uses to bake bread.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Cottage food laws are on the books in almost every state. These statutes allow people to make food products in their home kitchens and sell their goods directly to consumers. In Colorado two bills would expand the state's three-year-old Cottage Foods Act.  

Monica Wiitanen is adding wood to her outdoor brick oven. She uses it to bake artisanal breads that she makes in her home kitchen. 

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HEALTH
11:15 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Vaccination Gaps Helped Fuel Disneyland Measles Spread

Disneyland and California Adventure Park seen in late December, soon after measles was contracted by some visitors to Disneyland.
George Frey Landov

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 7:56 am

California has been dealing with a big measles outbreak since December, when cases emerged among visitors to Disneyland in Orange County.

Measles spread quickly afterward. As of Friday, the state had confirmed 133 measles cases among residents since December.

Of the people who got sick and for whom the state could determine vaccination status, 57 people hadn't been vaccinated against measles and 20 people had had at least one shot of the vaccine.

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NEWS
5:09 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

When Police Are Given Body Cameras, Do They Use Them?

Body cameras, like this one shown at a 2014 press conference in Washington, D.C., are small enough to be clipped to an officer's chest. Washington and Denver are among U.S. cities trying the cameras.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 4:55 am

Back in December, following the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama called for $75 million in funding for 50,000 body cameras to be used by police around the United States. The cameras record police activity, and their use is intended to boost accountability.

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NEWS
10:41 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Paonia Trustees Officially Dismiss Town Clerk

From left to right, Trustee Erik Gould, Trustee Ross King, Mayor Pro-Temp Charles Stewart and Mayor Neal Schwieterman at the Paonia Board of Trustees meeting where Town Clerk Barbara Petersen was officially dismissed.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The Paonia Board of Trustees held a meeting on March 10, bringing the hearing over town clerk Barbara Peterson to a close. 

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POLITICS
9:28 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Colorado Legislature Poised For A Look At Oil & Gas Health Impacts

Jim Hill KUNC

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:46 am

Trying to get more information on the health impact of oil and gas drilling is a topic that lawmakers will soon be taking up at the statehouse. It comes after the Governor's Oil and Gas Task Force finished their work and issued several health related recommendations.

"I get a little bit concerned and annoyed when people try to use health as the basis of what they don't like about oil and gas," said Dr. Larry Wolk the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

He said he understands the concern, but worries the state doesn't have enough hard data.

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Federal Hemp, Marijuana Bills Backed By Colorado Congressmen

A bill in the U.S. Senate would legalize industrial hemp.
Credit flickr/edwardthebonobo

A federal bill to legalize industrial hemp farming has the backing of a Colorado Congressman. 

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week. 

The bill would remove industrial hemp from the marijuana definition in the Controlled Substance Act thus allowing farmers to grow it.

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

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NEWS
3:04 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Researchers Think There's A Warm Ocean On Enceladus

A new analysis suggests that Enceladus' ocean is being heated from the bottom up. That could explain plumes of ice seen at its south pole.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 6:07 pm

Saturn's moon Enceladus is a mystery. From Earth it looks tiny and cold, and yet it's not a dead hunk of rock. Passing spacecraft see trenches and ridges, similar to Earth's, and in 2005 NASA's Cassini mission spotted ice geysers streaming from its south pole.

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NEWS
5:25 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Expansion Stumbles In Committee

Senator Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) and Margery Grandbouche with Hilltop Community Resources, which operates the Get Real Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program testify in support of a bill to expand the program statewide.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 7:40 am

A bill to expand a teen pregnancy prevention program for low-income youth failed in the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday on a party line 3-2 vote. Republicans defeated the measure, one that was sponsored by one of their own.

"I guess this is my big thing is let's take an inventory of what we're doing before we throw another layer on there," said Senate Finance Committee chair Tim Neville (R-Littleton).

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NEWS
5:24 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Congressman Scott Tipton Checks In On Delta County During Western Slope Tour

Congressman Scott Tipton at the Delta County Courthouse for a meeting with the commissioners on Wed., March 11, 2015.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

U.S. Representative Scott Tipton stopped in Delta on Wednesday as part of his tour of the Western Slope. 

At a meeting with the Delta County Commissioners Tipton discussed economic issues, broadband, rural health care, energy and tax reform. He also gave a congressional update. 

KVNF's Laura Palmisano interviewed Tipton during his visit.

Tipton represents Colorado's 3rd Congressional District which covers most of the western part of the state. 

He's also scheduled to meet with the Ouray County Commissioners on Thursday in Ridgway.

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NEWS
4:51 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Bill To Aid Colorado Volunteer Fire Depts. Signed Into Law

Credit flickr/mgabelmann

A bipartisan bill to help Colorado volunteer fire departments organize and get funding was signed into law Wednesday. 

Governor John Hickenlooper approved the Volunteer Fire Department Organization Act along with 20 other bills. 

The act helps not-for-profit, non-governmental, volunteer fire departments gain official recognition and makes them eligible to receive state assistance grants. 

State fire officials estimate there are up 60 volunteer fire departments across Colorado that this bill could assist.

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