NEWS

NEWS
5:26 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Severance Taxes Critical To Colorado Communities

Ouray got a $200,000 grant from the state to develop a master plan to reconstruct its hot springs pool with the help of severance tax dollars.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

    

Severance taxes are a vital source of funding for communities across Colorado. This tax applies to revenue the state collects from mining and energy extraction. Half of these funds go directly to communities affected by those activities. The other half goes towards grants for infrastructure and economic development.  

"We have just under a million gallons of hot, natural spring water that flows into the pool," said Patrick Rondinelli, the city administrator of Ouray, while visiting the city's hot springs pool. 

"There’s always been ponds in the early years that were in this location and then finally in the late 1920’s a formal swimming pool was built on this very site," he said.  "And, it’s been maintained in that condition in some variation. There’s been some changes made to it but basically in this same very site all these years."  

Rondinelli said Ouray closes the pool in the spring for about a week to clean it and do basic repairs. The site attracts about 135,000 visitors a year and is a major tourism draw for the small mountain community.

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NEWS
9:16 am
Thu May 7, 2015

For Rural Colorado, Stability Of Severance Taxes Is Always In Flux

The red brick streets in the historic downtown of Trinidad.

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 7:19 am

As a result of Colorado's booming oil production, energy companies are paying more in severance taxes – money they pay the state for taking minerals out of the ground. Half of it is supposed to go to back to local communities, both directly and through grants. But thanks to market forces – and political conditions in Denver – it's not always a stable source of funding.

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NEWS
8:00 am
Thu May 7, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Thursday, May 7, 2015

  Newscast

  • Colorado makes 3rd DUI a felony
  • Western Slope property values mostly up
  • Birds migrations unhampered by warm temps
  • Oil taxes support communities across the state, but funding is uncertain
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NEWS
3:21 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Colorado Lawmakers OK Elected Official Pay Raises

Colroado General Assembly

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 1:05 pm

A bill to raise the salaries of state lawmakers and other elected officials quietly made its way through the statehouse in the final days of the legislative session. It cleared the House with the minimum number of required votes. It had virtually no debate in either chamber.

"People in my district, whenever I tell them how much we make as lawmakers up here, are astounded. They are kind of appalled," said Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City), he voted for the measure in the Senate where it passed with a wider margin, 21-14.

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NEWS
3:19 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Felony DUI Bill Clears Colorado Legislature On Final Day

Colorado General Assembly

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 1:04 pm

Colorado will soon have a felony DUI law on the books. On the final day of the legislative session the Senate passed House Bill 1043 [.pdf] to create a felony DUI for habitual drunken driving offenders. Legislators had failed to pass it for several years, this time it passed the Senate 34-1.

"There are some holes this legislation is never going to fill there are family members we're not going to get back, and tragedies we can't undo," said Senator Mike Johnston (D-Denver) the bill's sponsor.

Only a handful of states don't have a felony DUI law. Some lawmakers were worried about the costs of incarceration, other legislators wanted to make sure the state provided proper treatments and interventions before giving jail time.

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NEWS
8:03 am
Wed May 6, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

  Newscast

  • District 51 buys food truck to feed kids over summer
  • Area clinic receives 700 thousand dollars to serve low income patients
  • Ouray County approves another marijuana grow operation
  • Ski towns send letter about coal industry
  • National fire forecast calls for above average fire activity
  • Capitol Conversation looks at final days.
NEWS
4:46 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

What's Left To Do At The Statehouse?

Ken Lund Flickr - Creative Commons

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 2:32 pm

The state's annual legislative session adjourns May 6, 2015. The last few days are always hectic as state lawmakers try to push through final bills. Other bills under the gold dome fail on the calendar or just die in committee. So which measures will make it?

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NEWS
4:38 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

District 51 Buys Food Truck To Feed Needy Students

A design of what District 51's new food truck might look like.
Credit District 51

In Mesa County, 42 percent of children qualify for free or reduced lunch.  

During the summer, many of these same kids qualify for a meal program when school is out. 

Usually Mesa Valley School District 51 offers this program at four or five schools, but this year there’s only enough funding to have it at two.

However, this summer the district plans on bringing meals to some students.

With the help of a $50,000 grant from the Western Colorado Community Foundation it purchased a food truck from Denver. 

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NEWS
7:58 am
Tue May 5, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Tuesday, May 5, 2015

  Newcast:

  • Montrose apartment fire
  • Paonia board of trustees find  possible fraudulent use of the town’s debit card
  • Western Colorado Climate Challenge Conference  in Paonia
  • Paonia Chief of Police Scott Leon retires
  • Students taught financial literacy
  • Federal lands bill dies
NEWS
5:25 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Local Schools Bring In Experts To Teach Kids About Money

Autumn Lettau with NuVista Federal Credit Union teaches sixth-graders at Centennial Middle School in Montrose, Colo about financial literacy.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Many states require students be taught financial literacy. However, Colorado is one of the few that also tests on it. To help students learn, some schools are bringing outside experts into the classroom. 

Six teams of students are playing a quiz game similar to Jeopardy. The purpose of the game is to gauge the financial literacy of sixth-graders who just completed a weeklong course on the topic. 

"I wish that somebody had taught me this when I was this age,"Autumn Lettau with NuVista Federal Credit Union says.

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NEWS
8:11 am
Mon May 4, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Monday, May 4, 2015

  Newscast

  • New summer construction starts on Highway 133
  • Bill to address school funding advances at state capitol
  • EPA grant lets Montrose investigate suspected contamination
  • Measure moves forward to hold schools liable for student injuries and deaths
  • Region 10 unveils plans for revitalization of Delta, Gunnison counties
  • Haven House’s future uncertain, but hopeful
NEWS
5:20 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Region 10 Seeks Input On Econ. Development Ideas For Delta, Gunnison Counties

The North Fork Valley is an agricultural area in Delta County know for its organic farms.
Credit 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.

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NEWS
11:18 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Colorado Lawmakers Looking For A Pay Bump With New Bill

Colorado General Assembly

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 9:33 am

A bill to raise the salaries of Colorado's elected officials was introduced in the Senate Thursday.  The proposal had been discussed for months, but people working on the measure said state lawmakers in both parties wanted to make sure there were enough votes for it to clear the legislature before allowing an introduction. This late in the session, a legislative leader must approve a bill before it can be introduced.

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NEWS
11:02 am
Fri May 1, 2015

School Violence Immunity Bill Clears Committee Vote

Colorado General Assembly

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 7:40 am

A measure to eliminate immunity for public schools for school shootings, death, sexual assaults and other series injuries that happen to students on school grounds cleared the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. It passed on a vote of 10-3.

Currently public schools are not liable. Legislative leaders in both parties are sponsoring the change, spurred in part by the 2013 death of Claire Davis. She attended Arapahoe High School in Littleton when a fellow student shot and killed her before turning the gun on himself.

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NEWS
8:02 am
Fri May 1, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Friday, May 1, 2015

  Newscast

  • Hard freezes in springtime likely to continue
  • Wildfire awareness day this weekend
  • Senate kills racial profiling bill
  • Attorney General joins suit against BLM over fracking rules
NEWS
7:59 am
Thu April 30, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Thursday, April 30, 2015

  Newscast

  • Telluride passes panhandling ordinance
  • DeBeque Town Marshall formally charged
  • Climate event to take place in Paonia
  • State water plan comment period to close tomorrow
  • State bill would fund programs to uproot invasive, thirsty plants
NEWS
11:38 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Photos: Baltimore Quiet For 2nd Night; New York, Denver Protests Noisier

Demonstrators snarl traffic as they try to block an entrance to the Holland Tunnel during a solidarity protest Wednesday in New York City.
Michael Abbott Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 2:28 am

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

For the second night in a row, people in Baltimore appear to have mostly heeded a citywide curfew.

But solidarity protests resulted in dozens of arrests in New York, and police used pepper spray on demonstrators near the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. Other large protests were held in Seattle, Houston, Washington, Boston and Minneapolis.

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NEWS
1:08 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Bill Aims To Draw New Businesses To Struggling Colorado Communities

A going out of business sign in Paonia. The Colorado town is in a county with high unemployment and a sluggish economy.
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A bipartisan bill introduced in the state legislature this week looks to give struggling Colorado communities a jump-start. 

Senate Bill 282 would create ‘tax-friendly zones’ in up to 30 highly distressed counties across the state. 

"We are talking about areas that have the highest unemployment and lowest wages," said bill sponsor House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran, D-Denver. 

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NEWS
8:05 am
Wed April 29, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  Newscast

  • Marijuana tax refund might go to voters
  • Montrose County sued over airport, again
  • State bill could help rural communities
  • Program seeds clouds for snow over Grand Mesa
  • Forecast calls for above average rainfall
  • Fetal homicide bill clears Senate
NEWS
9:26 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Did You Know It's Legal In Most States To Discriminate Against LGBT People?

Danny DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 5:04 pm

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage, which is now legal in about three dozen states.

But it's also legal in most states to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — LGBT — people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation.

So in many states, a person could marry someone of the same gender and then get fired for being gay.

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NEWS
7:58 am
Tue April 28, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

  Newscast

  • Man shot and killed in Fruita over weekend
  • Construction set to begin for Montrose Rec Center
  • Program continues to supply federal money to rural schools
  • Norwood medical center now can serve those with VA benefits
  • Lake City petition puts brakes on OHV ordinance
  • Introduced state bill would raise salaries for elected officials
NEWS
11:50 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Nepal Death Toll Tops 5,000; At Least 1.4 Million Need Food Aid

A man prays Tuesday morning next to rubble of a temple destroyed in Saturday's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Adnan Abidi Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 5:32 am

Updated at 8:55 a.m. ET

More than 5,000 people are confirmed dead from Saturday's earthquake just outside Kathmandu, Nepal. Nearly 11,000 more were injured, according to Nepal's National Emergency Operation Center.

From Kathmandu, NPR's Kirk Siegler reports that strong tremors are continuing:

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NEWS
4:59 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Construction Starts On $28M Montrose Recreation Center

If construction stays on schedule, officials estimate the Montrose recreation center will open in the fall of next year.
Credit KVNF / Laura Palmisano

On Friday, hundreds of people attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the new multimillion-dollar recreation center in Montrose.  

The facility has an estimated price tag of $28 million. 

"Tracking the whole history, it’s probably going on almost two decades of effort to bring a recreation center to Montrose," Ken Sherbenou, the executive director of the Montrose Recreation District, says. 

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NEWS
4:00 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Lawmaker Pay Comes Up As Colo. Legislature's Close Draws Near

Jim Hill KUNC

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 8:16 pm

A bill to raise the salaries of elected officials in Colorado is expected to be introduced in the final days of the legislative session. A measure has been in the works for months.

Statewide elected officials in Colorado have not received a raise since 1998. The state's governor ranks 47th in the country in terms of salary, earning $90,000.

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NEWS
8:54 am
Mon April 27, 2015

Fed Land Control, I-70 Tread Bills Debated At The Capitol As Time Ticks Down

KUNC File Photo

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 7:13 am

As the state Legislature enters the home stretch, lawmakers recently debated a measure to study whether to transfer federal lands to the state. Another bill aimed at relieving congestion on Interstate 70 heading through the mountains also became contentious. There's not much time left for these debates, the annual session ends May 6.

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NEWS
8:04 am
Mon April 27, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Monday, April 27, 2015

  Newscast

  • Wildfire bill progresses in legislature
  • DeBeque town marshall arrested on embezzlement charges
  • State cracks down on a Western Slope business seeking investors
  • Study calculates the amount of money National Parks bring to the state
  • Capitol Conversation looks at federal lands and I­-70
NEWS
2:03 am
Mon April 27, 2015

Opening Statements To Begin Monday In Colorado Theater Shooting Trial

An artist's sketch of Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes, from an April 2013 court appearance.
Bill Robles Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 4:39 am

It's been nearly three years since 12 people were killed in Aurora, Colo., at a midnight premier of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.

James Holmes' legal team admits he was behind the massacre, but there are two key questions: Was he insane, and should he be put to death?

Tom Teves says his son Alex made a split-second decision to shield his girlfriend when the gunman stormed the theater and began firing into the crowd.

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NEWS
11:21 am
Fri April 24, 2015

6 Million People Visited Colorado National Parks Last Year

Colorado National Monument
Credit National Parks Service

A new federal report finds in 2014 national parks saw a record number of visitors. And, those tourists generated nearly $30 billion in economic activity. 

Colorado has a dozen national parks. More than 6 million people visited these sites last year, according a National Park Service report. 

It says tourists contributed more than $370 million in visitor spending to local gateway communities. And, the study says that spending supported 5,800 jobs in the state. 

Overall, NPS estimates national parks had an economic impact of $552 million on Colorado’s economy.  

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NEWS
8:10 am
Fri April 24, 2015

KVNF Regional Newscast: Friday, April 24, 2015

  Newscast

  • Burglary reported at Delta airport
  • School boards push for restoration of funding
  • Montrose Police station gets money to fix leaky roof
  • Teens clean up river­side for Earth Day
  • Governors of Colorado stand by testing
  • Gallop releases poll on environmental thought
NEWS
1:50 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Approval Sought Again For Gravel Pit In Montrose County

A satellite image from Google Earth that shows the site of the proposed Uncompahgre Gravel Pit in Montrose County west of State Highway 550.
Credit Google Earth

Two years ago, the Montrose County Commissioners denied a special use permit to construct a gravel pit.

The commissioners cited concerns over the location of the haul road, the length of time the asphalt plant would operate and the size of the pit as reasons for denying the permit.

However, the commissioners encouraged the applicant to reapply if they could address those concerns. 

The Montrose County Planning Commission will hold a public meeting Thursday to hear feedback on the proposed Uncompahgre Pit. 

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