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KVNF Regional Newscast: April 13, 2022

Delta Health

(:05) This is KVNF’s Regional Newscast for Wednesday, April 13th. I’m Gavin Dahl.

(:45) Republican State Senator Don Coram has qualified for the June 28th primary ballot, when he will challenge incumbent Lauren Boebert. The 73-year-old has spent the past 10 years at the state capitol, working on hundreds of mostly bipartisan bills with a focus on public education and rural issues like agriculture and broadband development. The Grand Junction Sentinel reports the Montrose resident says he is challenging Boebert because he dislikes how she has conducted herself since getting into office. Unaffiliated voters in the Third District can choose to cast either a Democratic or Republican ballot during the primary. June 6th is the deadline for voters affiliated with a political party to change your registration to vote in a different party's primary election.

(:20) Democratic candidate Scott Yates tells KVNF News he is ending his campaign for CD3. His signature gathering effort fell short by 123 out of the 1,500 valid signatures needed. Yates’ departure from the race leaves three Democrats on the June primary ballot: Soledad Sandoval of Pueblo, Adam Frisch of Aspen, and Alex Walker of Avon.

(:25) The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office also announced yesterday Neal Walia, Democratic candidate for Congressional District 1, has qualified for the primary ballot. Diana DeGette has served 12 terms in the solidly Democratic 1st Congressional District, and she now faces a primary challenge from the left. Walia says he will be a champion for Denver’s most vulnerable communities. He is a former staffer of John Hickenlooper.

(:50) Twenty-three Republican members of Congress have sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland asking to remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list. Colorado’s Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Lauren Boebert asked Haaland to appeal a February ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffery White overturning the delisting of wolves during the former administration. Denver Post reports the Republicans assert wolves are fully recovered. Experts and environmentalists argue otherwise, however. While wolf packs in the Great Lakes region are doing well, numbers are still lacking in the Rocky Mountain region where they were hunted to near extinction generations ago. In Colorado, gray wolves remain on the state endangered list and voters approved a ballot measure in 2020 requiring officials to reintroduce the species by the end of 2023.

(:15) The U.S. Forest Service will spend more than $18 million dollars to help reduce the risk of wildfire along the Front Range of Colorado. Senator Michael Bennet introduced the new funding package in an area burned by the 2020 Cal Wood fire.

BENNET CLIP (:15) Boulder County has really become a crucible for what we're facing in terms of climate change in this country. The whole state of Colorado has become a crucible for what we're facing in terms of climate change, both in terms of flooding and in terms of fires.

(:20) The new money will be used to treat up to 10-thousand acres in two national forest areas in Colorado, Arapaho and Roosevelt, plus Pike-San Isabel. Wildfire protection in those areas is especially critical, since forests are an important part of the watershed that supplies water to the Denver metro area and surrounding cities.

(1:10) A coalition of labor and community groups is suing Governor Jared Polis, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and its executive director, Joe Barela, and the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics and its director, Scott Moss. The plaintiffs seek to redress overtime rules for agricultural workers they say violate state law and the Colorado Constitution. Senate Bill 21-87, which Polis signed into law last June, required CDLE to adopt new rules for overtime pay for workers on the state’s farms and ranches. Previously, the state had exempted agricultural employers from all overtime pay requirements. Most industry groups opposed SB-87, arguing that paying agricultural workers overtime would gut Colorado’s farms and ranches, which rely on employees to work 60 hours or more per week. Colorado Newsline reports the final overtime rules were adopted in November. For the first year the new rules are in effect, overtime starts at 60 hours worked in a single week. Then, starting in 2024, that goes to 56 hours during the high season. The rest of the year, overtime pay starts at 48 hours. This is a compromise that pleased neither agricultural employers nor labor advocates.

(:10) The Governor says a package of bills advancing at the state house this week will generate hundreds of thousands of new affordable housing units. Scott Franz reports.

SPOT (:45)

(:35) Delta Health recently received Sole Community Hospital Provider status from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Officials were finally able to prove the need for the designation as the hospital's rural location makes it difficult for patients to travel to Montrose or Mesa County hospitals during winter months. In addition to the new status, the hospital will ask Delta County voters to approve a sales tax increase during a Special District Election on May 3rd. KVNF’s Lisa Young asked Delta Health CEO Matt Heyn about the hospital's new status and why they need an additional revenue stream.

FEATURE (2:18)

(:06) That does it for Wednesday’s KVNF Regional Newscast. Special thanks to Kate Redmond. I’m Gavin Dahl.

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Gavin Dahl is a writer and producer with a passion for community media. He worked for KVNF from July 2020 to July 2022. He won awards and recognition for his KVNF reporting from the Colorado Broadcasters Association and Society of Professional Journalists. His writing has been published by The Montrose Press, The Sopris Sun, Boulder Weekly, Raw Story, Radio Survivor, Boise Weekly, and The Austin American-Statesman. He graduated from The Evergreen State College with a BA in media production and community organizing.
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