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
5:40 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Colorado Allows Sales Of Powdered Alcohol

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 5:58 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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ARTS
6:00 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Paonia Art Show Highlights Ability

Rhoda Yago poses with her artwork on display at the Blue Sage Gallery in Paonia.
Laura Palmisano KVNF

A new art show in Paonia seeks to challenge the way people think about individuals with disabilities. 


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NEWS
1:59 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Cholita, An Abused Bear In Peru, Gets A New Home In Colorado

Cholita, an Andean bear, was abused in a circus in Peru and is now in a small zoo. An animal welfare group has now received permission to take Cholita to a wildlife sanctuary in Colorado, along with more than 30 former circus lions.
Courtesy of Animal Defenders International

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 6:48 pm

A badly abused Peruvian bear named Cholita is coming to a sanctuary in Colorado. Animal Defenders International announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expedited the request and she will be on her way next month.

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NEWS
1:10 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Colorado National Parks Grapple With Lack Of Funding For Repairs

According to a federal report, The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park needs $5.5 million for maintenance and repair projects.
Credit NPS

A new report estimates national parks need $11.5 billion to address maintenance and repair projects. The National Park Service report finds Colorado parks alone could use more than $200 million dollars.

KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks to Sandra Snell-Dobert, a spokesperson for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area. 

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HEALTH
5:33 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Employers And Insurers Gain Control In Workers' Compensation Disputes

Frances Stevens uses a custom ramp leading to her van. An accident at work in 1997 left her unable to walk. She received full workers' compensation benefits until two years ago, when the insurer withdrew her medications and home health aide. Her lawsuit is a test of California's use of anonymous, independent medical reviewers.
Glenna Gordon for ProPublica

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 10:41 am

Frances Stevens could have been a contender. She was training to be a Golden Gloves boxer and working as a magazine publisher in 1997 when 1,000 copies of the latest issue arrived at her San Francisco office.

"I'd just turned 30. I was an athlete. I had a job that I loved, a life that I loved," she recalls. "And in a second my life changed."

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NEWS
1:41 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Uphill Skiing Gains Traction In Colorado

For a more invigorating workout, nonprofit worker Chris Lane uphill skis near Aspen four times a week.
Marci Krivonen Aspen Public Radio

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 5:33 am

It's spring break season and families and college students are heading to Colorado's ski resorts. You've heard of downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, but a growing trend in these areas involves people skiing uphill.

It's midday in Aspen, Colo., and uphill skier Chris Lane is on a break from work at a nonprofit. He clicks into his ski bindings and begins his 1,600 vertical foot journey uphill — on skis.

He's going against downhill traffic, so he stays on the side of the ski run.

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NEWS
10:31 am
Sat March 28, 2015

After Abuse In A Peruvian Circus, A Bear Awaits A New Home

Cholita, an Andean bespectacled bear, was rescued from a circus in Peru after suffering from abuse. An animal welfare group is now attempting to take Cholita to the U.S.
Courtesy of Animal Defenders International

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 7:59 pm

In Peru, a beleaguered bear is looking for a new home.

And the former circus animal is getting high-profile help from Michael Bond, the British author of the well-loved children's books about Paddington bear.

The tale of Cholita, an Andean spectacled bear like the fictional Paddington, is less the stuff of children's books and more of horror films.

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ARTS
5:59 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Using Shakespeare To Combat Bullying In Colorado Schools

Actors Sarah Adler, left, Ben Griffin, center, and Bethany Talley perform "Twelfth Night" at Paonia Elementary School.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Bullying is still an ongoing issue and telling kids to be nice to each other isn't always enough. That's why educators are getting creative.

In Colorado, some schools are using Shakespeare to get kids talking about violence and bullying and what they can do to prevent. 

More than 120 students are sitting on the gymnasium floor of Paonia Elementary. 

These third through sixth graders are here to see a play. 

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AGRICULTURE
1:32 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Is Colorado Primed To Become The Silicon Valley Of Agriculture?

A drone built by Agribotix, a Boulder startup, flies over a farm in Weld County, Colo. The drone has a camera that snaps a high-resolution photo every two seconds. From there, Agribotix stitches the images together, helping the farmer see what's happening in a field.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media/KUNC

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 6:31 am

Colorado is famous for its beer and its beef. But what about its farm drones?

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NEWS
11:53 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Testing Reform Remains In A Holding Pattern At The Legislature

Gov. John Hickenlooper touting SB 215 alongside Senate Pres. Bill Cadman, Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, and Kelly Brough, the president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. The measure is now being reworked.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 11:05 am

On average students in Colorado classrooms take more than two-dozen assessments before they graduate, in some cases up to four times a year according to the Colorado Education Association. Critics say it actually means less time for overall learning.

A bipartisan measure aimed at reducing the number of tests Colorado public school students take remains in limbo at the state Legislature. The sponsors delayed the first hearing and don't know when it will be rescheduled – if at all.

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NEWS
11:13 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Program Trains Soldiers For Careers In Solar

LCpl. Aponte, front, and Sgt. McConnell move a solar module.
Credit Solar Energy International

The U.S. Department of Energy is piloting a program that trains military personnel for careers in the solar industry. The Reach for the Sun course is designed for people exiting the service and returning to civilian life. Paonia-based Solar Energy International is leading two of the three pilot programs including one at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks to Kathy Swartz, the executive director of SEI, an educational nonprofit, about the project.

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NEWS
5:05 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

What Colorado's Latest Economic Report Means For The Budget

Jim Hill KUNC

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 5:04 am

Colorado's latest revenue forecast was good news for lawmakers, showing a healthy economy and more money for the state budget. There was also one notable hedge, the uncertainty around low oil prices and the oil industry's effect on the state economy.

So just what are the implications of more state revenue? We turn to the reporters that work the halls of the capitol to find out.

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NEWS
10:39 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Eckert Crane Days Draws Birders, 'Craniacs'

In March and April thousands of greater sandhill cranes fly over Delta County in Colorado as part of their spring migration.
Carole Scott Photography

This past weekend was the 15th annual Eckert Crane Days event. People from across Colorado came to Delta County to witness the spring migration of the sandhill crane. 

It’s a clear morning at Fruitgrowers Reservoir in Eckert. There are about 30 people here waiting to see a flock of greater sandhill cranes take flight.

"We have it on 45 power so we so that we can bring the cranes in close," Susan Chandler-Reed with the Black Canyon Audubon Society says.

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HEALTH
9:22 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Quality-Testing Legal Marijuana: Strong But Not Always Clean

Andrey Saprykin iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 2:52 pm

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in four states, but that doesn't mean it's a tested consumer product. Some of those potent buds are covered in fungus while others contain traces of butane, according to an analysis of marijuana in Colorado.

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NEWS
5:44 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Kids Count Report Delivered To Lawmakers, Shows Decrease In Child Poverty

Children visit the state capitol for the release of the annual Kids Count Report from the Colorado Children's Campaign.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 7:56 am

Colorado's childhood poverty rate has decreased for the first time in five years. The latest data comes as part of the annual Kids Count Report, which offers information on the health and well-being of children across the state.

"That is great news for Colorado," said Lt. Governor Joe Garcia. He went on to add that there's always a but, "We know that there are still far too many children growing up in households where they don't have access to the opportunities and resources they need to be healthy and succeed."

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NEWS
2:19 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

In Congress, New Attention To Student-Privacy Fears

LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:30 am

Several efforts in Washington are converging on the sensitive question of how best to safeguard the information software programs are gathering on students.

A proposed Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 is circulating in draft form. It has bipartisan sponsorship from Democratic Rep. Jared S. Polis of Colorado and Republican Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana.

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HEALTH
11:18 am
Mon March 23, 2015

If You're Going To Die Soon, Do You Really Need Statins?

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 2:30 pm

It's easy to get put on statins, and it can be surprisingly hard to get off them. That's true even for people who are terminally ill and might have bigger concerns than reducing their cardiovascular risk.

People approaching the end of life who did stop statins were not more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who kept taking the drugs, according to researchers who tested the idea.

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HEALTH
10:30 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Medicare Factoring Patient Satisfaction Into Payments Affects Local Hospitals

Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The federal government has changed the way it pays hospitals through Medicare. It now factors in patient satisfaction. To discuss the affects on a local hospital, KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks with Jason Clecker, the CEO of Delta County Memorial Hospital. Over 60 percent of DCHM patients are on Medicare.

To see how your local hospital scored visit http://ow.ly/KGQk4

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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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