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KVNF Regional Newscast: May 20, 2022

Misty Hunter
San Juan Cinema
The concession stand at San Juan Cinema in Montrose is ready for action on May 20, 2022.

A controlled burn blew out of control in high winds near the border of Montrose County and Ouray County yesterday. The Simms fire caused evacuations of residents near Government Springs Road and Wildcat Canyon Thursday evening around 6:30. Montrose Press reports the fire reached about 370 acres as of 7 p.m. and was burning through piñon-juniper, threatening multiple structures in its path. Stay tuned for more info when we have it.

Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush has come out with an endorsement for Sol Sandoval in the Third Congressional District primary. Mitsch Bush, who lost to Lauren Boebert in the November 2020 election, says Sandoval is the best candidate to beat Boebert.

Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein released his report yesterday on a criminal investigation into voting tabulation irregularities in Mesa County during the 2020 election. Investigators found allegations by Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and her minions in their so-called third report, which imagined nefariously installed software to alter vote tabulations from a remote location, was bogus. What actually happened was now fired Election Manger Sandra Brown was attempting to troubleshoot a problem on an election machine during early voting and again during the April 2021 city election. Grand Junction Sentinel reports she rebooted machines during active vote counting, which is not supposed to be done, inadvertently creating errors in ballot tabulation.

Montrose County School District is finally in the clear with all school mascots. The Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs voted yesterday to remove Montrose High and Johnson Elementary from a list of schools violating the law banning derogatory Native American mascots in Colorado. The District will not be required to pay the $25,000 dollar monthly fine set forth in statute. The Johnson Thunderbird mascot will have to go, but the new Red Hawks mascot for Montrose High can proceed with no red feather.

Only Lamar High School, on the Easter Plains, will face the $25,000 monthly fines mandated by state law. They are refusing to replace their Savages mascot, wanting to remove indigenous imagery and change it to Savage Thunder. Colorado Sun reports the Commission rejected that idea. As of now, however, there’s no agency empowered to collect the fines. State lawmakers considered closing the loophole this year in a school finance bill. It passed the legislature but didn’t include a fix to the fine collection.

Columbine Middle School in Montrose has named current assistant principal Eric Sanchez their new principal starting next school year. Montrose Press reports he has been in his current role for a year, and worked in the district for more than a decade, as an assistant principal at Olathe Middle and a special ed teacher at Centennial Middle.

Students of the North Fork Montessori School in Crawford have earned “Water Protector" Certifications from the Canary Committee, a local citizen-organized water conservancy group. The children pledged to be water protectors, and show drought awareness by conserving water and teaching others. Delta County Independent reports the all-volunteer Canary Committee had students complete Water Protector Handbooks.

Colorado is experiencing another uptick in coronavirus cases. As Scott Franz reports, the state’s top disease expert says COVID hospitalizations could reach as many as eight hundred by mid June.

SPOT (:40)

San Juan Cinema in Montrose reopens tonight after three years. KVNF News had a chance to catch up with Misty Hunter, whose family also owns and operates the Fox Theater in Montrose, ahead of the reopening of the San Juan for the summer.

FEATURE (3:40)

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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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