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 news@kvnf.org.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

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 Town Hall
KVNF

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.

Laura Palmisano

Joe Cocker fans, Brenda and Tom Kelley of Grand Junction, Colo. were the winning bidders in the recent auction of Joe Cocker’s 1995 Jaguar. The car was given to KVNF by Joe’s wife, Pam, shortly after his death in December of 2014.  The Kelleys won by just $5 making the final bid $25,705. KVNF’s Ali Lightfoot spoke with the couple about winning the car.

In one of several courtroom outbursts Wednesday, Robert Lewis Dear, who is accused of killing three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last month, declared his guilt and said he is "a warrior for the babies."

The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether local cities in Colorado can either ban hydraulic fracturing or declare a moratorium. The chamber was filled with a who’s who in the energy world, from policy experts and state and city officials, to top attorneys and environmental activists, highlighting the importance of the cases.

“We’re very, very, serious about not wanting fracking anywhere near us,” said Kaye Fissinger with Our Longmont. She helped spearhead the ballot campaign which Longmont voters passed in 2012. “It was a landslide victory 60 to 40 percent. The people spoke. And the people should be heard.”

The seven justices heard an hour of arguments on the Longmont case, along with an hour of arguments on the five-year fracking moratorium passed by the city of Fort Collins.

Representatives from federal agencies were in Paonia earlier this week.  They held an open house to discuss the Roadless Rule, a defining policy that prevents development in wilderness across the state, except certain areas.  Areas like the North Fork.

Abraham Connection
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The death of a local homeless man due to exposure was a wake-up call for some in Delta County.

"We knew that if we didn’t step up and start helping these individuals that we would have a lot more people die in our community and we wanted to prevent that," said Cheryl Oeltjenbruns, the board president of Abraham Connection, a seasonal homeless shelter in Delta founded six years ago by community members and church leaders.

Parents of children with severe epilepsy have reported incredible recoveries when their children were given cannabidiol, a derivative of marijuana. The drug, a non-psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in cannabis, has been marketed with epithets like Charlotte's Web and Haleigh's Hope.

With two deadly mass shootings in California and Colorado in the past week, this country is again in a fierce debate over gun control.

After the massacre in San Bernardino, President Obama encouraged states to take the lead on preventing gun violence. Both California and Colorado have responded to mass shootings recently by passing tougher gun laws.

Dr Seuss, kid's books, children's books, book
Flickr user: EvelynGiggles

Colorado has room to improve according to a recent report that ranks states based on policies that promote early childhood literacy.

The report looks at seven policy areas tied to early childhood education. Then it ranks states in three categories: crawling, toddling and walking.

delta, downtown delta colorado
Flickr user: J. Stephen Conn

Delta has hired a new city manager. On Tuesday night, city officials announced David Torgler, the current town manager of Hayden, Colorado, accepted the position.

Officials delivered the news during a city council meeting. 

Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture, food and natural resource sectors each year for the next five years, according to a report from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The American agriculture industry has a problem though; there are not enough grads to fill those jobs. The report projects about two open jobs for every qualified graduate. That’s left the USDA, land grant universities and private industry scrambling to try and bridge the gap.

"Colorful Colorado" may one day need to be referred to as "Crowded Colorado," given the number of people expected to soon move here.

Weld County's population is expected to double to half-a-million – and El Paso County will still be the largest county. It's not just the Front Range; A Rocky Mountain PBS I-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 Eagle, Garfield and Routt.

The numbers show an estimated 7.8 million people will call Colorado home by 2040. All that growth will take a toll on the state's infrastructure as well as water and other natural resources.

The alleged gunman in Friday’s shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood appeared in court for the first time today. KRCC’s Jake Brownell attended the hearing at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center, and has this report:

 

    

As reporters and cameramen awaited the first advisement hearing of Robert Lewis Dear, a line of squad cars formed across the street, in front of the El Paso County Coroner's office.

The two civilians killed in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic Friday were Ke'Arre Stewart, a father of two and Army veteran who served in Iraq, and Jennifer Markovsky, a mother of two who was reportedly at the clinic to support a friend.

As Colorado Springs held vigils for those killed during a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic, we are learning more about the alleged gunman and his possible motive.

Police say Robert Lewis Dear, 57, killed three people and left nine wounded.

The man arrested after a deadly attack and standoff at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs Friday is Robert Lewis Dear, 57, officials confirm. Police gave an honor guard to an officer who died in the attack.

Update at 3 p.m. ET: Few Details Revealed At News Event

Praising the police response and saying they're relieved that more than three people were not killed, local and state officials offered few details about the case, citing the ongoing investigation during a news conference Saturday afternoon.

Many Health Co-Ops Fold, Others Survive Startup Struggles

Nov 26, 2015

Thousands of Americans are again searching for health insurance after losing it for 2016. That's partly because some large, low-cost insurers — health cooperatives, set up under the Affordable Care Act — are folding in a dozen states.

Amber Kleinman / iSeeChange

Harvest is done on the Western Slope.  All the cherries, peaches,  apples, and pears have been picked and sold, and now frost and snow is settled in.  Over at iseechange.org, several people were keeping track of the long growing season and the turn to winter.  

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