KVNF Regional Newscast: April 19, 2022
A federal judge in Florida struck down the national mask mandate on airplanes and mass transit yesterday. Denver International Airport joined facilities and airlines nationwide in swiftly repealing requirements that passengers wear face coverings. The Denver Post reports, in her 59-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed to justify mask-wearing on public transportation.
The City of Ouray has collected more than $16,000 dollars in fines and back taxes from three illegal short-term rental operators, and is working to collect payment on two more, including one owned by a San Juan County commissioner. The City Council adopted an ordinance on May 20th, 2019 requiring licenses to operate short-term rentals. Ouray County Plaindealer reports fines were set at an amount that would cover the city’s attorney costs for handling violations. Owners are not allowed to apply for a license until August 5th, one year from the date of the initial cease-and-desist letters.
North Fork Valley Creative Coalition has taken on managing the Mountain Harvest Festival. Delta County Independent reports the Mountain Harvest Board dissolved after 20 years amid the stress of the pandemic. The new plan is to balance attention between downtown Paonia businesses and park activities. The traditions of farm and wine tours will remain, but more visual art will be added to the event. Valley Organic Growers will help with a farmers market for the festival, scheduled for September 23rd through 25th.
Yesterday, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold testified before a State House Committee in support of Senate Bill 153, the Colorado Election Security Act. The bill would increase safeguards against potential insider threats to voting equipment and election systems. It is sponsored by Senate President Stephen Fenberg and House Rep. Susan Lontine. Griswold told the committee, quote, “Colorado is the gold standard in elections. Our elections consistently have amongst the highest turnout in the nation.” It passed out of committee yesterday, continuing its path through the statehouse. Colorado Newsline reports a new study from the Democracy Initiative Education fund that assessed election accountability ahead of the 2022 midterm elections found voters in Colorado can have the highest confidence in the country elections are free and fair.
A bipartisan measure at the state capitol to direct $35 million dollars of federal funding to at least 350 nonprofits across Colorado will get its first hearing tomorrow. Under House Bill 1356, known as the Small Community-based Nonprofit grant program, the Department of Local Affairs would receive American Rescue Plan funds. Colorado Sun reports the proposed bill would support smaller groups providing critical services to those most severely impacted by the pandemic. Ricardo Perez, executive director of the Hispanic Affairs Project, a small nonprofit serving immigrants in Western Colorado sees it as [quote] “an opportunity for the state not only to say we are promoting equity, but putting into practice equity in the way we are doing better investment for small nonprofits.” The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Rankin of Carbondale.
Colorado lawmakers are unveiling new bills this week to address an increase in people experiencing homelessness. Capitol Coverage reporter Scott Franz has more.
KVNF News Director Gavin Dahl chats with Elena Goldstein, volunteer with The Canary Committee, a group of North Fork residents focused on water conservation education.