Delta County

CSU Rogers Mesa Agricultural Research Center
Linda Rubick

A group of Delta County stakeholders wants to breathe new life into a shuttered agricultural research center. The Colorado State University facility sits on 83 acres outside of Hotchkiss on Rogers Mesa. 

The property has a residence, classrooms, laboratory space, offices, cold storage, a greenhouse and equipment storage sheds. 

CSU used the site to conduct research on fruit trees, but now the classrooms and laboratories sit empty.

  • Feds pledge $211M to protect sage grouse
  • Thousands without irrigation water in Mesa County due to Issues with 38 Road repairs
  • Delta County hopes to see Rogers Mesa agricultural site comeback to life
  • Interview with incoming State Supreme Court Justice Robert Gabriel
Irv Halter
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A lack of access to high-speed internet is an issue for rural communities in western Colorado. 


construction, North Fork Valley
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A few years ago, a grassroots program started in Portland to encourage people to adopt solar power. That idea spread across the county and inspired similar initiatives like one in a rural community in western Colorado. 

A crew of six is working to install mounts for solar panels on a residential rooftop in Delta County. 

This home sits atop a mesa that overlooks the North Fork Valley. And, it’s the first to get a sun-powered system through a local pro-solar campaign.  

Mesa County Health Department

Colorado has its first human case of West Nile virus this year. 

Health officials say a Mesa County man hospitalized after contracting the virus is now recovering at home. He’s the first person to be diagnosed with it in Colorado so far this year, according to the state. 

Thomas Orr is a regional epidemiologist at the Mesa County Health Department.  

Newscast

  • Delta County man diagnosed with infectious disease
  • Two dead, two missing in Colorado rivers over the weekend
  • Judge won’t dismiss case against Grand Junction over panhandling ordinance
  • Birth control program gets another year of funding despite lack of legislative support

soil, dirt
NRCS Soil Health

A Delta County man is recovering after contracting tularemia. Although it’s the first reported case of the disease on the Western Slope this year, health officials are concerned.

Last year in Colorado 16 people were diagnosed with tularemia.

That's the second highest number of cases in Colorado since 1983 when there were 20 cases, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

  Newscast

  • No Charges In Fatal Fruita Shooting
  • Attempted Robbery In Montrose
  • Local Schools Awarded Millions For Improvement Projects
  • Delta County Gets Its First Car Charging Station
  • Colorado's First Outdoor Summit
  • Ride The Rockies Celebrates 30th Anniversary
  • Rainbow Trout Make A Comeback In Colorado
Paradise Theater
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The Paradise Theatre in Paonia is now a Historic Landmark. Last November, the Friends of the Paradise Theatre applied for the designation. And, last week the Delta County Commissioners approved it. KVNF's Laura Palmisano spoke to Tom Stevens, the vice president of the theatre's board, about the designation.

workplace
flickr/ashkyd

Six counties on the Western Slope have received a large grant to promote workplace wellness.  

The $630,000 grant is from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

Over the next three years, Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Ouray, and San Miguel counties will share the funding to create a workplace wellness program. 

North Fork Valley
Laura Palmisano

Over the past two years, hundreds of coal miners in Delta and Gunnison counties lost their jobs.

The decline in the coal industry has affected western Colorado. That’s why Region 10, an association of local governments, hired Utah-based consulting firm Better City.

The company is analyzing ways to foster economic growth in the area. And, the firm recently unveiled its first recommendations on how to do that.

IUD, birth control
flickr/stickypearls

An amendment to the state budget that would’ve continued a program credited with reducing teen pregnancies and abortion was killed this week. However, a controversial bill that would do the same thing cleared its second reading in the House on Friday. 

House Bill 1194 would provide $5 million to continue a program that helps low-income young women and teens access long-acting birth control. 

wine, beer, juice
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

In 2013, tourists spent more than $17 billion dollars in Colorado. And, agritourism is one industry that’s drawing visitors to the state.

In Paonia last Wednesday, local beverage producers and farmers discussed what they could do to increase agritouirsm in Delta County. 

About 30 people are at the Hive Paonia. There are vineyard owners, cider producers and farmers.

They are discussing challenges they face when it comes to attracting visits to the area. 

paonia mural, samuel wade
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The North Fork Valley in Delta County opened to settlers in the early 1880's. The founders of Paonia, Hotchkiss and other communities in the area lived in Hinsdale County's Lake City before coming to the valley. As part of our Local Motion episode on community roots, KVNF's Laura Palmisano interviewed North Fork Valley historian and author Chuck Farmer to find out more about the area's connection to Lake City. Farmer co-authored the book "In the Footsteps of the Hotchkiss Brothers" with his wife Mary.

Scott Tipton
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

U.S. Representative Scott Tipton stopped in Delta on Wednesday as part of his tour of the Western Slope. 

At a meeting with the Delta County Commissioners Tipton discussed economic issues, broadband, rural health care, energy and tax reform. He also gave a congressional update. 

KVNF's Laura Palmisano interviewed Tipton during his visit.

Tipton represents Colorado's 3rd Congressional District which covers most of the western part of the state. 

He's also scheduled to meet with the Ouray County Commissioners on Thursday in Ridgway.

Marijuana Plant
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.

North Fork Ambulance Association
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. 

paonia senior center, volunteers of america
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. 

downtown Paonia, Grand Ave Paonia
Laura Palmisano

A bill that aimed to help rural Colorado communities during times of economic crisis was killed in committee this week.  

The bill was sponsored by freshman Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, who represents seven counties including Delta, Hinsdale and Gunnison.   

Donovan says the bill would’ve allowed the state to react quickly with financial assistance when there’s an economic emergency in a community like a plant shutdown or industry-wide layoffs. 

radon testing kit
Laura Palmisano

Radon is an odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that occurs naturally in our environment. Long-term exposure to radon can cause lung cancer. That's why Colorado and the Environmental Protection Agency have declared January a call to action month for radon testing. 


downtown Paonia, Grand Ave Paonia
Laura Palmisano

A Colorado Senate bill introduced last week aims to help rural communities during times of economic crisis. 

SB15-036 seeks to give emergency assistance grants to rural communities during times of economic hardship. The bill is sponsored by freshman Senator Kerry Donovan who represents state Senate District 5. The district covers seven counties on the Western Slope including Delta, Hinsdale and Gunnison. 

CAWS
CAWS

Earlier this year the Delta County Citizens for Animal Welfare and Shelter, better know as CAWS, asked the county for $25,000. 

Last week the commissioners approved the county budget for next year.

JoAnn Kalenak, a CAWS board member, says the group didn’t get the money it asked for.

She says the budget does allocate $10,000 that will be split between the four animal rescue groups in Delta County. The money CAWS receives is earmarked for spay and neuter programs.  

Scores from Colorado’s new social studies and science tests for K-12 students show mixed results.

The exams have five rankings.

For science, 34 percent of Colorado’s fifth graders and 32 percent of eighth graders scored in the highest range.

However, statewide 32 percent of fourth graders and 45 percent of seventh graders scored in the lowest range on the social studies test.

The exams were taken by students last school year.

Paonia Fire Department
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

There are 198 all-volunteer fire departments in Colorado that serve about half of the state’s population. And a recent report finds many of these operations are seriously understaffed.

Jake Ryan

Over the weekend, Governor John Hickenlooper visited several businesses on the Western Slope.  In Delta County he toured business that received REDI grants.  The Rural Economic Development Initiative gives out grants to rural businesses that are looking to expand. 

Four companies in Delta County recently received economic development grants from the state. Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade gives out the grants under its Rural Economic Development Initiative Program.

Gardening, farming
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A program in Colorado's Delta County is helping immigrant women learn English, but they're not just sitting in a classroom studying grammar.

These women come from countries as close as Mexico and as far away as Myanmar (also known as Burma). And they're learning English on a farm where they also pick up tips on healthy eating and gardening on the Western Slope.

A Trip to the Farm

Laura Palmisano

Ten kids and their dogs competed in the 4-H Dog Obedience Show at the Delta County Fair.

Dog trainer Rayna Stout of Cedaredge judged the competition where young trainers and their K-9s were scored based on their performances in showmanship, obedience and agility. 

Kenda Falkner, 13, and her dog Australian Shepherd-Red Heeler mix Ashkie entered the show for fun.

"Well we just got this new puppy so I just thought it would be kind of fun just to kind of help train him," she said. 

mountain lion
National Parks Service

Colorado State Patrol has a failed to report a vehicle hitting a mountain lion near Hotchkiss on Sunday to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

A mountain lion was reportedly hit by an SUV outside of Hotchkiss on Sunday.

Kathy Linnell, a Paonia resident, said she struck the cat on Highway 92.

Mosquito, West Nile
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Colorado Department of Public Health said mosquitoes testing positive for the West Nile virus have been found in Delta, Mesa, Adams, Boulder and Weld counties.

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