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August 29, 2016
HEADLINES: Town Manager Jay Harrington reports that Mountain Fair tax revenues this year were up 9.5% over 2015. Carbondale Arts relied on a team of 300 volunteers and reportedly worked with 145 vendors. For the latest edition of Eye on Crime, KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh takes a look at Carbondale police activity from August 11th to the 25th. FEATURE: Brent Gardner-Smith from Aspen Journalism talks about his latest article, on Lake Powell water levels, with KDNK's Gavin Dahl. PLUS: In November, Colorado voters will decide whether or not to triple the tax on tobacco products. KDNK’s Gavin Dahl talks to Ross Brooks, CEO of Mountain Family Health Centers, to find out more about the effort.
August 26, 2016
HEADLINES: 1. Church groups and shareholders want the oil and gas industry to back off on efforts to stop new BLM rules. Eric Galatas reports. 2. CPW has cancelled an emergency fish salvage at Harvey Gap lake. The fishing boon was announced on August 18 but due to the closure of a stretch of County Road 237, south of the reservoir, CPW has reinstated the usual bag, possession, and size limits for fish in the lake. The road, which collapsed Sunday night, is now closed indefinitely and plans for draining the reservoir for inspection have been postponed until next year. 3. Carbondale Town Trustees are interviewing replacements for out-going member AJ Hobbs' seat but not everyone agrees that the new trustee should be appointed. KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh has more. The candidates are Beth Broome, Michael Durant, Gwen Garcelon, Heather Henry, Rebecca Moller, and Erica Sparhawk. 5. Firefighters from Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire are planning to ignite two prescribed fires on Bureau of Land Management lands in the coming weeks if conditions are right. The 200-acre Sheep Gulch Prescribed Fire is planned four miles northwest of Gypsum in Eagle County. Smoke may be seen from the Eagle River corridor and Town of Gypsum. In Garfield County, the 160-acre Roan Plateau Prescribed Fire is planned for the East Fork Drainage of Parachute Creek, north of Rifle. Smoke may be seen from the Roan Plateau, Rifle, and the I-70 corridor. 6. Members of the energy industry, policy makers and elected officials are gathering in Denver this week for the annual Rocky Mountain Energy Summit. Bente Birkeland has more. FEATURE: School is back in session across the state, so KDNK News Director Gavin Dahl got up early and called an education reporter to talk about school start times for this week’s News Brief.
August 25, 2016
HEADLINE: Another two statewide ballot measures have qualified for this November's election, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Initiative 98 would allow unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without having to declare membership in a political party. Initiative 140 would restore a presidential primary, held before the end of March in presidential election years. These measures would amend state law, not the constitution, so they are initiatives rather than amendments. FEATURE: Carbondale was the scene of two reported sexual assaults this summer. And, some residents are angry that Town Trustees have yet to talk about, or implement, new precautions. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh reports. PLUS: Today is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Scott Braden, Wilderness and Public Lands Advocate at Conservation Colorado, says funding shortages and privatization schemes are the biggest threats national parks face.
August 24, 2016
HEADLINES: The Basalt Town Council appointed finance director Judi Tippets temporary town manager on Tuesday night, following the resignation on Friday of town manager Mike Scanlon. Next on the agenda was public comment and the room was packed. The entire meeting video is online at GrassrootsTV.org. FEATURE: Today is the first day of school for all students in the Roaring Fork School District, grades 1 through 12. With quite the sense of timing, the local board of education meets tonight at 5:30 at the Bridges campus at 400 Sopris Ave. Scott Gilbert, president of Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley talks about their proposed project at Basalt High School with KDNK's Gavin Dahl. PLUS: The campaign to eliminate an outdated provision of the state constitution that allows for slavery in certain cases is now officially underway. As Bente Birkeland reports, state lawmakers referred the measure to the November ballot. It’s called Amendment T.
August 23, 2016
HEADLINES: Carbondale trustees meet tonight at 6 and the agenda includes interviews of applicants for the open seat on the board. Town hall’s new video system is due to be installed later this week, which will make it much easier to view meetings live online or on demand. In other town news, plans for the new City Market have been delivered to the Building Department and distributed to other departments for review. The Basalt town council agenda tonight includes an executive session to address town manager Mike Scanlon’s resignation on Friday. The meeting begins at 6pm. Initiative 143 that would triple cigarette taxes in Colorado has qualified for the November ballot, the Secretary of State’s office announced yesterday. With Colorado poised to spend billions on transportation in coming years, a new report finds the state will need to invest at least a billion dollars per year in transit, biking, and pedestrian infrastructure to meet the demands of the state’s shifting demographics and growing population. Eric Galatas reports. FEATURE: KDNK’s Amy Barr featured Mitzi Ledingham, deputy director of Pitkin County Human Services, on her latest Get Connected program. They discussed the Healthy Community Fund. Check out the rest of the conversation, and all of our locally-produced talk shows at KDNK.org/publicaffairs. PLUS: A new report from the national non-profit Hispanic Access Foundation urges the protection of public lands and open spaces to meet the growing needs of the state’s rising Latino population. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
August 22, 2016
HEADLINES: KDNK staff and volunteers joined the Our Town One Table celebration last night, with two of the approximately 100 tables. It was very fun. Basalt Town Manager Mike Scanlon notified the town on Friday that he is resigning. The council meets Tuesday night and will discuss the matter in executive session. This week’s Eye on Crime takes a look at Carbondale police activity between August 4th and August 11th. FEATURE: This summer, the Bureau of Land Management released an environmental impact statement that protects most of the Thompson Divide from future oil and gas leasing. But, the decision leaves more than 46 square miles of roadless areas in the southern and western portions of the White River National Forest open to energy extraction. KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh recently joined Wilderness Workshop and Trout Unlimited on an Ecoflight over these areas to see what’s at stake. You can learn more about conservation flights at ecoflight.org. PLUS: As schools reopen this week, parents who are worried about whether their kids are victims of bullying don't have to feel helpless. Eric Galatas reports.
August 19, 2016
HEADLINES: Mental and behavioral health advocates are calling it a crisis. In rural Colorado there is just one behavioral health specialist per six thousand residents. This week organizers in three communities walked the distance to their closest services, about 50 miles away, over the course of two days. The routes were Parachute to Grand Junction, Cortez to Durango, and Cañon City to Pueblo. The “In Our Shoes” walkers are raising awareness about the need for better access to mental health support and gathering online petition signatures asking the state legislature to fund suicide prevention in Colorado’s 47 most rural counties. You can learn more about the issue and the petition at healthiercolorado.org. Colorado’s Secretary of State is urging people to make sure their voter registration is up to date early – and allowing people to use smartphones to register. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol. FEATURE: ProPublica has discovered a tax loophole that allows ranchers in parts of the Colorado River Basin to get bigger tax write-offs the more water they use. Gavin Dahl speaks to Abrahm Lustgarten, senior reporter for ProPublica, about his article, “Gimme a Break! IRS Tax Loophole Can Reward Excessive Water Use in Drought-stricken West.” PLUS:
NASA says it has pinpointed the cause of the largest cloud of heat-trapping methane in the United States, over southwest Colorado. Eric Galatas reports.
August 18, 2016
HEADLINES: The Spring Creek 2 Fire, which burned across more than 600 acres in Garfield and Mesa County, is now fully contained. Glenwood Springs City Council meets tonight at 6pm with a second reading and vote on the one cent City Acquisition and Improvement Fund Sales and Use Tax ballot question and a couple Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District grants on the agenda. A proposed development along Midland Avenue also on the agenda is on the cover of the Post Independent today. Speaking of the paper, congratulations to award-winning columnist Randy Essex, named publisher of the Post Independent yesterday. He will continue to serve as editor. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is holding meetings around the state about its new Predator Control Study. They propose killing 5 to 10 mountain lion and 10 to 15 black bear annually for the next three years on a portion of the Roan Plateau, north of Rifle. CPW says not enough mule deer fawns are surviving through the winter and wants to see if predation is a factor. Amy Hadden Marsh attended Tuesday’s meeting in Rifle and talked to people in the audience about what they think of the proposal. CPW’s Predator Control Study is proposed for private and BLM lands. An environmental assessment will be available for public comment later this year. FEATURE: Tonight is the last rodeo of the season in Carbondale at the Gus Darien Arena, beginning at 7:30 tonight. Slack starts at 6. KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh produced a special final rodeo moment. PLUS: Soon, Harvey Gap Reservoir will become an angler’s paradise. KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh has more. More info at cpw.state.co.us.
August 17, 2016
HEADLINES: Wildfire crews reached 90 percent containment yesterday on the Spring Creek 2 Fire, southeast of Parachute. Carbondale police hired two new officers, Josh Sanders and Kelli Litzau. This week they begin field training, which is expected to last from now until Thanksgiving. In terms of policies that support working families, Colorado ranks in the middle of the pack nationally, but a new federal grant might help. Eric Galatas reports. FEATURE: Access to quality healthcare and a doctor can be difficult in rural Colorado, especially along the eastern plains. That’s why the state is embarking on a new training program to recruit and train more family practice physicians. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol. PLUS: Congratulations to Collin Szewcyzk, who began a new job at Garfield County yesterday. He has been a guest on the KDNK Weekly News Brief. His reporting in the Aspen Daily News will be missed. And a bipartisan committee of lawmakers met yesterday to begin crafting water policy that could be introduced during next year’s legislation session. But as Bente Birkeland reports, lawmakers think politics may be getting in the way of some significant proposals.
August 16, 2016
HEADLINES: Ryan Becvarik, 29, of Carbondale was found unconscious in the town ditch Sunday. After CPR was attempted on-site, he was taken to Valley View Hospital and pronounced dead. Garfield County Coroner has ruled the death as an accidental drowning. Colorado has seen a sharp increase in West Nile cases this year. The state Department of Health says that 13 cases of human West Nile virus have been reported, including one death. On August 5, a horse in Weld County was diagnosed with the virus. The Willow Creek neighborhood of Battlement Mesa in Garfield County has been chemically treated due to high numbers of the Culex Tarsalis mosquito, which carries the virus. Alcohol and other drugs may have been a factor in a car crash early Saturday morning on Hwy 6 between Canyon Creek and Newcastle that killed 2 GWS residents. Erick Mondragon, 20, the driver had a BAC of .236 and was under the influence of meth, cocaine, and THC. The passenger was Amalia Cabrera, 19, who had also been drinking. FEATURE: Author and traveler Jon Waterman, who took a boat trip down the Colorado river in 2008 from its source to the sea, talks about the health of the Colorado River. He wrote a book about it called “Running Dry” and spoke with KDNK’s Bill Kight this month on For Land's Sake. In this clip, they talk about why Waterman decided to take on the adventure and the fate of the Colorado River. You can hear the entire conversation with Jon Waterman at kdnk.org/public affairs. Scroll down to For Land’s Sake. PLUS: Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to study the effect of mountain lions and black bear on mule deer in the Piceance Basin. But, as KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh found out, the agency might be contradicting itself. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will hold a public meeting tonight about the predator study at 6 PM at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.