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
7:00 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Water Sports Park Opens In Montrose

Marine veteran Jared Bolhuis tests the waves in a kayak before the park opened.
Credit Welcome Home Montrose

There’s still snow on the ground, but that’s not stopping people from enjoying a new water park on the Western Slope. 

The city of Montrose has finished construction two months ahead of schedule on its Water Sports Park. The recreation area is now open to the public. 

The park utilizes a section of the Uncompahgre River. Montrose created ‘wave stimulators’ so people can kayak, paddle board, raft and swim in the waves.

City Engineer Scott Murphy explains how it works.

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NEWS
6:23 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Sheriffs, Prosecutors Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Law

A medical marijuana plant grown in Colorado's Delta County.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Colorado has been under fire lately over Amendment 64.  The state is currently being sued by neighboring states and a Washington, D.C. organization over recreational marijuana.  Now, Colorado is being sued by its own sheriffs. 

Six sheriffs from across Colorado and sheriffs and prosecutors from Nebraska and Kansas are plaintiffs in the suit. Governor John Hickenlooper is named as the defendant.

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HEALTH
4:32 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Colorado Debates Whether IUDs Are Contraception Or Abortion

An interauterine device provides long-term birth control.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 7:21 pm

A popular contraception program in Colorado is receiving criticism from conservative lawmakers who say that the program's use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, qualify as abortions.

More than 30,000 women in Colorado have gotten a device because of the state program, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. An IUD normally costs between $500 and several thousand dollars. Through the program women could receive one for free.

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NEWS
2:42 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Peterson Hearing Results Postponed Until March 10

Credit Jake Ryan / KVNF

Tuesday the Board of Trustees for the town of Paonia held a hearing, a trial of sorts, for Barbara Peterson, the town clerk that was dismissed last December.

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HEALTH
12:15 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Snow Is Delicious. But Is It Dangerous To Eat?

When foraging for delicious bites of snow, steer clear of plowed piles and manure, researchers say.
Ryan Kellman NPR

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 1:45 pm

Many people will see the snow that's currently blanketing much of the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. as a nuisance coating sidewalks and roads. Others are celebrating it as an excuse to spend the day swooshing down a hill.

As for me, I like to think of snow as food.

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NEWS
11:09 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Colorado Cottage Foods Act Sees Possible Expansions

Under the the Colorado Cottage Foods Act products like bread can be made by producers in their home kitchens and sold directly to consumers.
Credit flickr/chiotsrun

A bill to expand the Colorado Cottage Foods Act is scheduled to get its first hearing early next week. 

The act allows people to sell certain products made in an unlicensed home kitchen directly to consumers. 

House Bill 1102 seeks to broaden it. Republican Rep. Yuelin Willett of Grand Junction is one of the bill’s sponsors.

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POLITICS
9:53 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Drone Privacy Bill Gets Delayed In Colorado Judiciary Committee

A DJI Quadcopter drone.
Adam Meek Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:42 am

The sponsor of a proposal to put guardrails around the use of drones for non- government purposes asked lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee to delay a vote on the bill Tuesday.

"I would work with members of the committee to make sure it truly protects the privacy of people in the state," said Representative Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park).

The delay came after nearly two hours of testimony that focused on emerging technologies and a person's reasonable expectation of privacy.

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Facing Financial Woes North Fork Ambulance Looks For Solutions

The North Fork Ambulance Association is the only emergency medical services provider in the North Fork Valley. It's staffed by volunteer emergency responders.
Credit North Fork Ambulance Association

The North Fork Ambulance Association is facing a large budget deficit. 

The association has been operating in Delta County for 46 years. 

"We are the only emergency response in the valley for medical," Kathy Steckel, the organization's executive director, says. "The next closest emergency medical comes out of Delta."

The nonprofit has five employees and about 50 volunteer emergency responders. 

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NEWS
9:06 am
Mon March 2, 2015

'The Black Summit' Draws African-American Skiers And Boarders To Aspen

Art Clay, 78, of Chicago takes a run in a light snowfall on Wednesday. Clay is a co-founder of the National Brotherhood of Skiers.
Sonya Doctorian for NPR

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 1:28 pm

We've all heard the old adage that every snowflake is different, but they do have one thing in common: They're all white. That's also the image that many have of the people taking part in winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding, here in the U.S.

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NEWS
11:23 am
Sun March 1, 2015

6 In 10 Young Republicans Favor Legal Marijuana, Survey Says

A user prepares to roll a marijuana cigarette on the first day of legal possession of marijuana for recreational purposes in the District of Colombia on Thursday.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Sun March 1, 2015 7:28 pm

Nearly two-thirds of Millennials who identify as Republican support legalizing marijuana, while almost half of older GOP Gen-Xers do, according to a recently released Pew survey that could be an indicator of where the debate is heading.

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POLITICS
6:27 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Hickenlooper On The Work Of The Oil & Gas Task Force

Governor John Hickenlooper.
Bente Birkeland RMCR

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 6:21 pm

Reaction at the state capitol to work of the Oil and Gas Task Force was decidedly mixed. Members of the governor's own party called the effort a failure, one lawmaker even graded it an "F+."

The proposed recommendations are intended to mitigate the impacts of energy development near communities. While the task force wants local governments to be more involved in developing large drill sites, it stopped short of allowing cities and counties to adopt rules stricter than the state standards.

With the final nine recommendations to hit Governor John Hickenlooper's desk Feb. 27, what are his thoughts on the group's work and the backlash?

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NEWS
6:00 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Facing Financial Troubles North Fork Ambulance Asks Public For Solutions

More than 25 people attended the North Fork Ambulance Association's meeting in Hotchkiss on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The North Fork Ambulance Association is facing a large budget deficit.

That’s why the organization is hosting a series of meetings to gather ideas from the community on what to do about the problem. The first meeting was in Hotchkiss on Thursday night. 

The association is the only ambulance service provider in the North Fork Valley. About 50 volunteer emergency responders staff it. 

The nonprofit is funded by paid memberships, grants from the state, charging non-members for ambulance services and donations. 

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HEALTH
1:58 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Hickenlooper Announces Campaign To Reduce Rx Drug Abuse

Credit flickr/macwagen

This week Governor John Hickenlooper announced a new campaign seeking to reduce prescription drug abuse and misuse in Colorado.

In partnership with the University of Colorado the state has launched its “Take Meds Seriously” campaign.

Robert Valuck, a professor of pharmacy at CU, is part of a statewide consortium created by the governor to address prescription drug abuse in Colorado.  

"We say safe use, safe storage [and] safe disposal," Valuck says ."And that’s what our public awareness campaign is all about." 

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POLITICS
10:05 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Lawmakers React To The Oil & Gas Task Force's Recommendations

Manager of State Government Affairs for ConocoPhillips in the Rocky Mountain Region and task force member Perry Pearce speaks during the groups final meeting Tuesday.
Dan Boyce Inside Energy

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 5:47 am

After five months of meetings, and coming up with nine recommendations, the work of Governor John Hickenlooper's Oil and Gas Task Force is getting mixed reviews from lawmakers at the state capitol.

Among the critical voices is Democratic Senator Matt Jones of Longmont.

"What they were charged to come up with is strong community protections, they got an F+, they're talking about how it's really a B, it's not," Jones said.

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HEALTH
10:02 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Therapeutic Specialist Discusses Recreation Program For Western Slope Seniors

Volunteers of America offers a senior therapeutic recreation program on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Paonia.
Credit Laura Palmisano

February is National Therapeutic Recreation Month. Volunteers of America has therapeutic recreation programs for seniors in Montrose and Delta counties. KVNF's Laura Palmisano speaks to Anne Johnson, a therapeutic specialist, who oversees the program. 

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NEWS
1:40 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Colorado Pushes For Concealed Guns In K-12 Schools

Colorado educators take part in a concealed carry course in Englewood, Colo., on Nov. 8. The course is open to all state school employees. Participants who complete the training are eligible to apply for a permit to carry a handgun.
MATTHEW STAVER Landov

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 5:42 am

Patrick Neville was a 15-year-old sophomore at Columbine High School in 1999. He was on his way to a fast food lunch when the shooting started.

Two students, armed with guns and pipe bombs, had stormed the Colorado school, on their way to killing one teacher and 12 students — some were Neville's friends.

Neville, now a Colorado state representative, says many of Columbine's teachers and faculty acted heroically that day.

But, he says, "I truly believe that had some of them had the legal authority to be armed, more of my friends might be with me today."

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NEWS
11:52 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Paonia Wins Big At Wrestling State Championships

Four time state champion Jesse Reed during a match.
Image by Tamie Meck

The Colorado High School State Wrestling Tournament finished up over the weekend.  Once again Paonia was well represented at the top. 

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NEWS
2:37 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Hinsdale, Mineral Counties Hit Roadblock In Public Health Merger

Credit Colorado Division of Insurance

Hinsdale County and Mineral County are pretty similar.  They’re right next to each other, have comparable populations, and if their county commissioners work things out, might have the same public health district.

Susan Thompson is the chair of the Hinsdale Board of County Commissioners. 

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NEWS
9:28 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Colorado Family Planning Program Funding Bill Takes First Step

Colorado House

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 7:55 pm

A bill attempting to reduce teen pregnancies and provide state funding for intrauterine devices has passed its first test at the capitol. House Bill 1194 would provide $5 million for clinics across the state that offer long-term reversible contraceptives to low-income women and teenagers. Colorado has been running the program with a private grant, which will run out at the end of June 2015.

"Our teen birth rate has dropped 40 percent over the last four years and 34 percent drop in abortions," said Larry Wolk, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

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NEWS
5:22 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

With Gratitude Veterans Craft Canes For Fellow Vets

Vietnam veteran Gary Gratton carves an eagle head.
Laura Palmisano

Throughout history, the eagle has symbolized strength and courage.

It’s been called “the king of the skies” and in mythology it was often a messenger for the gods.

And now the eagle is also becoming a symbol of gratitude.

Military veterans on the Western Slope are handcrafting canes decorated with the head of an eagle for fellow veterans. 

Gary Gratton leans over a lathe. He’s sanding a piece of basswood shaped like an eagle’s head.

Gratton retired from the Marines as an officer. He spent some of his career fighting in Vietnam.

"I’ve spent 27 years serving my country," he says. "Now I want to serve my community." 

Gratton volunteers at the Warrior Resource Center in Montrose.

There he helps coordinate the Eagle Head Cane Program.  

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