Business and community leaders in Delta County’s North Fork Valley say Paonia, Crawford, and Hotchkiss need an economic boost. They recently held a forum on the North Fork Valley’s economy and what can be done to improve it.
About 100 people attended the forum in Paonia last week.
They came to hear different perspectives on the local economy, what’s working and what’s not, and how to make things better.
About 100 people attended a forum on the North Fork Valley's economy and what can be done to improve it.
Thirteen people ranging from the president of a coal mine to the head of the Paonia Chamber of Commerce spoke at the forum held at the Hive Paonia.
"We have our farms," says Alexis Halbert, president of the chamber. "We have our hunting resources. We have are restaurants, wineries, [and] people who are creating things out of the natural assets of the valley."
Arch Coal and the Forest Service will not be appealing a decision that revokes the company's expansion lease, as well as vacating an exception in the Colorado Roadless Rule that allows for expanded mining in the North Fork.
Tony Wachowicz, a member of the Bowie coal mine rescue team, is participating in rescue training at the college.
“Mine rescue training is where you have a group of guys who go into a simulated problem and you go into a simulated field and you vent different gases and you save different people that have gotten into a situation," Wachowicz said.
Slow Internet is a fact of life for many rural Americans, and residents of Western Colorado are no exception. There have been many failed attempts to bring faster Internet to KVNF's listening area, the latest being Eagle Net.
Now, there's yet another idea on the table. The Delta Montrose Electric Association is considering expanding broadband to much of rural Delta and Montrose counties. We begin our report at a local non-profit organization whose business is seriously impacted by the slow internet speeds.
Coal miners and their families filled the gym at the Paonia branch of the Delta Montrose Technical College on Saturday. Many of them were among the 300 people laid off by Oxbow’s Elk Creek Mine in Somerset last month. They were there to hear state Senator Gail Schwartz and others talk about how the state could help them deal with the job losses. Some ideas included rural economic development grants and financial aid for miners to go back to school. But many people left the meeting feeling just as lost as before.