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KVNF Regional Newscast: May 27, 2022

The scene at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio, Colorado on May 26, 2022, during the GOP primary debate for Congressional District 3.
Ken Brott
The scene at the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio, Colorado on May 26, 2022, during the GOP primary debate for Congressional District 3.

Nationally, the economic news is grim. However, in Colorado the outlook is better. Colorado Sun reports the state’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in April, the lowest level since before the pandemic. More Coloradans are working, with 15,400 returning to jobs in April. Average hourly earnings grew 10 percent the past year. Gas prices are hitting everyone hard, but the impact here is lower as Coloradans are driving less. We have the 10th lowest fuel tax per gallon, about 22 cents. The Department of Labor and Employment says there are two job openings for every unemployed person.

Thousands of Coloradans are getting ready to flock to the mountains for the long Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer. As Scott Franz reports, state meteorologists say travelers should be vigilant about increased fire danger.

SPOT (:44)

If you are towing anything, twist up the chains so they don’t spark. When target shooting, avoid incendiary targets and exploding ammunition, and bring a shovel and fire extinguisher. Fireworks are not permitted on public lands. If camping, use a fire ring. Never leave a fire unattended and make sure you put it out completely before leaving.

Colorado legislators passed a bill this year to fund grants to areas seeking Dark Skies compliance and certification, including Paonia. The Dark Skies Promotion and Designation bill will help fund replacement of outdated park lighting, an expensive barrier to Dark Skies designation. The Delta County Independent reports multiple drafts of a Paonia lighting ordinance have been under review since 2020.

Grand Junction Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby attended a Third Congressional District candidate forum on Wednesday hosted by the Mesa County Democratic Party. He writes the candidates, Sol Sandoval, Alex Walker, and Adam Frisch spent more time attacking U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert than each other. Walker, who is gay, said Boebert and Donald Trump’s presence in our democracy has emboldened a hateful streak. As a late addition to the race in February, Walker spent considerable funds on a video that went viral, featuring feces dropping from the sky, which he said represented Boebert’s BS. He does not reside within CD3, he lives in Avon. Sandoval, daughter of immigrants, lives in Pueblo. She is a single mom and community organizer who has spent much of her career as a social worker employed by Pueblo County. Ashby reports she wants to see the district represented by someone in Congress who can bring in more federal aid, rather than someone who rejects such aid and then later touts bringing it in. She told the crowd, quote, “I’m not running because I’m going to pick fights on the internet. It is time we elect an adult, who’s experienced and understands what families are going through.” Frisch served eight years on the Aspen City Council, starting in 2012. He asserts that his business experience is what’s needed to help others in the district succeed, but the Sentinel points out he has only raised $230,000, loaning his campaign $1.5 million of his own money. Sandoval has raised $800,000 from individual donors. Walker has just $129,000.

Congressmember Lauren Boebert, whose campaign has over 2 million dollars on hand and State Senator Don Coram who has raised about 55 thousand dollars, met in a Republican primary debate in Ignacio Thursday. The wide-ranging forum included personal attacks and calls to arm school teachers. KSUT's Mark Duggan has more.

FEATURE (3:55)

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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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