KVNF Regional Newscast: May 9, 2022
Colorado schools, including Johnson Elementary in Montrose, facing 25 thousand dollar fines for maintaining “Thunderbird” mascots could be granted a one-year reprieve to become compliant with the new state law banning American Indian nicknames. The one-year delay, tucked into a school finance bill working its way through the legislature, applies only to schools added after 2021 to the state’s noncompliance list. Colorado Sun reports Monument Republican State Senator Paul Lundeen sponsored the school finance bill, saying it offers a more realistic timeframe for schools to relaunch mascots.
The U.S. Drought Monitor updated its map, and it doesn’t look good for Western Colorado. The jet stream bringing storms from the Pacific Northwest continues to swing north. Telluride Daily Planet reports the La Nina weather pattern we’ve been in all winter is keeping things dry. That means Red Flag warnings are likely to continue. The West Region Wildfire Council in Ridgway helps residents in our listening area adapt, working with property owners on mitigation to reduce fire risk. Learn more at cowildfire.org.
The U.S. Forest Service is proposing use restrictions on the area around Blue Lakes, in response to impacts from increased visitation. Ouray County Plaindealer reports the proposed management plan would require permits for hikers on the Blue Lakes Trail. The plan also proposes limiting camping, requiring permits for overnight use in some places, and other ways to mitigate impacts. The Blue Lakes area receives around 35,000 visitors per year, primarily from June to September. Increased visitation, amplified during the pandemic, resulted in trail impacts like unburied human feces, vegetation loss from campsites, dogs off-leash, illegal campfires, conflicts over loud music, overcrowding, and parking issues. The plan proposes management of over 16,000 acres within the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness and surrounding areas by dividing it into five zones with varying levels of restrictions. The public has until May 20th to comment on Blue Lakes Visitor Use Management Plan #61979, online at fs.usda.gov.
The Buy-Down Program in the town of Breckenridge has reached half of its goal for 2022. The Aspen Times reports the town has bought at least a dozen homes on the free market to sell back to the local workforce. Because of the wildly expensive housing market, the average cost for a buy down has increased 154 percent since 2019. Earlier this year, Breckenridge Town Council approved an investment of $50 million over the next five years for workforce housing, including programs like Housing Helps and Buy Downs. This is estimated to be able to add over 900 affordable housing units there.
The City of Montrose was recognized last month by the statewide membership organization Downtown Colorado, Inc. At an event in Centennial Plaza on Thursday celebrating the winners, glass awards were handed out to Montrose City Manager Bill Bell, and the owners of Chow Down Pet Supplies and San Juan Brews. Here’s executive committee member Troy Bernberg who announced the winners.
Chow Down owners Tim and Krista Bush were also selected by Downtown Colorado for the Vicki Mattox Downtowner of the Year Award. KVNF provided music for the celebration at the site of the Montrose Farmers Market. Chow Down underwrites on KVNF.
The federal government’s pandemic response program to fund free school meals for all students is set to expire at the end of June. KGNU's Shannon Young has more.