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 and Inside Energy

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

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Colorado could be the next state to allow hunters to wear florescent pink. A Democratic proposal to give hunters the option of wearing pink – in addition to the traditional safety orange – has passed the Republican controlled Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee.

"I hunt because it's a treasured time with my dad and my brothers," said Senator Kerry Donovan (D-Vail), a big game hunter and sponsor of Senate Bill 68 [.pdf]. "And the stories that happen in hunting camp are the stories that my family tell over and over again."

Peyton Manning is once more on top of the world. The Denver Broncos quarterback — a future Hall of Famer in what may be his final season — is once more a Super Bowl champion. The Broncos have beaten the Carolina Panthers, 24-10.

The game fell well short of a quarterback duel, though. Again, it was the Denver defense that led the way, harassing Cam Newton, forcing turnover after turnover and even tacking on a score of their own.

Roughly three weeks into Colorado's annual legislative session, a lot of bills are starting to get their first hearings. We've heard the priorities of the leaders and the governor, as well as some of the more interesting bills.

But 2016 is an election year, and a presidential one no less. How will politics impact the bills being heard in committees?

Lawmakers have introduced the first wave of bills as part of the annual legislative session. To learn what's in store, we asked reporters who work daily under the dome at the capitol.

It was a tale of two defenses — and two very divergent outcomes — in the NFL's conference championship games Sunday.

In the NFC, the Carolina Panthers stormed their way to a commanding victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Earlier in the day, in the AFC, the Denver Broncos narrowly survived a late-game push from the New England Patriots to emerge with a win.

The victories mean conference titles for the Panthers and the Broncos — and, more importantly, a trip to the Super Bowl for both teams.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Colorado has seen its first avalanche fatality of the season.

Officials say on Thursday afternoon, snowmobilers riding in the Ruby Range west of Crested Butte triggered the avalanche.  

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says one of the riders was 'caught and buried' on a day ranked considerable for danger. 

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Wednesday that the state will prioritize connecting and building 16 hiking and biking trails in all parts of Colorado. The goal is to connect and build missing trail segments to make it easier for people to access open space and parks.

It's part of the governor's Colorado the Beautiful initiative, unveiled in 2015.

Millie Hamner

Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillion, is the chair of the state Joint Budget Committee this session. She’s also the vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. The Western Slope lawmaker recently spoke to KVNF about what big budget issues will be debated at the capitol this session. 

The annual legislative session is under way and lawmakers are once again back at the state capitol. Gov. Hicknelooper laid out his priorities – like more bipartisanship and tackling the budget by addressing the hospital provider fee – in his State of the State. But how do those priorities translate for the legislators working under the gold dome for 2016?

Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his sixth State of the State address to the state Legislature Thursday. In his speech he highlighted the need for people from all political stripes to work together to fix the state's big budget problems and discussed Colorado's economic gains and challenges.

"We're one of the top states for economic growth," Hickenlooper said. "One of the best places for business and careers, for quality of life, for health and tourism."

The Colorado capitol had a back to school vibe Wednesday, with families and friends joining lawmakers in the chamber for the opening of Colorado's annual legislative session. The building hummed with activity — and the usual pomp and ceremony and opening day speeches — after the eight month interim. Isaac Slade, the lead singer of the Denver-based rock band The Fray, sang the national anthem in the Senate.

But it wasn't all fun, the first bills are introduced on opening day, and lawmakers begin to outline their priorities for the next four months.

When Colorado's 2016 legislative session convenes Jan. 13, Democrats will have a one-seat minority in the state Senate. They'll also have a new minority leader for the upcoming session, Lucia Guzman of Denver.

Colorado's annual legislative session begins Jan. 13, 2016. What are the goals of legislative leaders and the big issues they must confront?

For state Senate President Bill Cadman (R-Loveland), who is term limited at the conclusion of the session, it means negotiating an election year, the state budget and his own future in politics.

Flickr user: oatsy40

Arch Coal announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday. The company operates the West Elk Mine outside of Paonia and is the second largest coal company in the U.S.   

Heading into the 2016 annual legislative session Colorado lawmakers will debate a host of topics from energy and water, to the budget and schools. For House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland), the session – which begins Jan. 13, 2016 – will be dominated both by the budget and potentially the politics of a presidential election year.

Mike King, the executive director of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources, is leaving the position at the end of January 2016 to become Denver Water's new director of planning. Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland sat down with him to talk about the future of oil and gas and the state's hydraulic fracturing debate, and his time heading the agency.

As technology advances, many industries are being disrupted by increased automation. But when it comes to managing and protecting the water supply, there are many tasks that still require a combination of people and technology.

That's where reservoir caretakers come in. Some cities and counties employ these workers to live in remote locations and watch over the water supply.

The wastewater treatment plant in Grand Junction, Colo., takes in 8 million gallons of raw sewage — what's flushed down the toilet and sinks.

Processing this sewage produces a lot of methane, which the plant used to just burn off into the air.

The process was "not good for the environment and a waste of a wonderful resource," says Dan Tonello, manager of the Persigo Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Now, using more infrastructure, the facility refines the methane further to produce natural gas chemically identical to what's drilled from underground.

DMEA Board Votes To Get Into Internet Business

Dec 30, 2015
internet, broadband
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The Delta Montrose Electrical Association made a big decision this week about its plans for fiber optic internet.

DMEA's board of directors voted Tuesday night to get into the internet business. The electrical co-op has been considering high-speed, fiber optic internet for a while, but now they are officially going for it.

According to state and federal census figures, Colorado's population is expected to grow by an additional 2.3 million people by 2040. That's going to significantly impact the way we live – from traffic congestion, to water, to quality of life.

Most noticeably will be a shift to an older population.

Population Surge Projected For Western Slope

Dec 29, 2015
Paonia, North Fork Valley
Steve Huntley

It’s estimated 7.8 million people will live in Colorado by the year 2040. A Rocky Mountain PBS News analysis of data from the state demographer and the U.S. Census Bureau shows, seven of the 10 fastest growing counties will be on the Western Slope, including Garfield and Montrose. 

Alaska is about to become the first state to have pot cafes where people can buy and consume marijuana, similar to Amsterdam.

Right now, that's not legal in other states that have recreational marijuana.

Brothers James and Giono Barrett, who own a marijuana business, Rainforest Farms, in Juneau, also plan to produce a line of chocolate bars infused with pot. They'll be an alternative to the sugary, processed edibles Giono says he has eaten recently in Colorado.

Sen. Donovan On Colorado’s Upcoming Legislative Session

Dec 23, 2015
Kerry Donovan
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Last week, state Sen. Kerry Donovan hosted a town hall in Paonia. She talked about her first year at the capitol and bills she's working on for the next legislative session.

On a brisk morning in Denver recently, an ambulance pulled up in front of a downtown office tower. "I think the patient is going to make it," Dr. Irene Aguilar said as a team rolled out the gurney.

Suspect In Custody After Telluride Bomb Threat

Dec 18, 2015
San Miguel County Courthouse
J. Stephen Conn via flickr

Authorities arrested a 65-year-old man for allegedly threatening to blow up government buildings and making threats against Telluride schoolchildren.

Law enforcement arrested Kenneth Joseph Krawchuk in Cortez on Friday afternoon, according to a release from the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office.  

Grant Preserves Ranchland In Montrose County

Dec 18, 2015
Galley Ranch
Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust

A grant will help preserve a ranch within the Uncompahgre National Forest.

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust received $436,000 to conserve 705 acres of the Galley Ranch. The money comes from Great Outdoors Colorado. 

It's the time of the year when Katie Abrams sees her Fort Collins neighbors pulling up with real trees tied to car roofs. She feels small pangs of jealousy when friends post woodsy pictures in flannel shirts, cutting down the perfect spruce.

“It all sounds really nice,” Abrams says. “And then once you go out and do it I can just imagine all the steps involved.”

So instead she pulls out the fake tree from the garage. A mentality that terrifies American Christmas tree growers.

Volunteers of America, food
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A program on the Western Slope that makes sure seniors have enough food to ride out winter storms kicked into gear Monday. 

Workers with Volunteers of America packed “blizzard” boxes at the Senior CommUnity Meals site in Eckert.

The packages contain non-perishable items like tuna, cereal, powdered milk and canned soup.  

  • Western Slope program delivers winter storm food boxes to seniors 
  • El Niño to bring more snow
  • Norwood pharmacy to open soon
  • Palisade High School needs severe repairs
  • Grand Junction police officer suspended, demoted
  • State budget already under discussion

Paonia's Budget: Cuts, Fees, And Flexibility

Dec 14, 2015
Paonia Town Hall

Last week, the town of Paonia’s board of trustees approved a budget for 2016.  The board approved increases in the water rates, personnel cuts, and planned for a major overhaul of the town’s water mains.  To discuss this further, KVNF’s Jake Ryan sat down with town manager Jane Berry and trustees and finance committee members Ross King and Charles Stewart.