KVNF Regional Newscast: June 24, 2022
- Travis Ford, 42, pleaded guilty in Denver federal court to sending threats to Secretary of State Jena Griswold on social media. Griswold is a national advocate for elections security who has received thousands of threats over her insistence that the 2020 election was secure and that former President Donald Trump's claims that it was stolen from him are false. It's the first guilty plea obtained by the U.S. Justice Department's Election Threats Task Force, which was launched last year to investigate threats of violence against elections workers. The Associated Press reports Ford faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced October 6th.
- The Ouray County Planning Commission denied a request by Thomas Anderson of Paonia, to allow mineral extraction and processing in the Valley Zone, on a 45 square mile area. Anderson came before the Commission with a citizen-initiated amendment so he can prospect for gold, diamonds and heavy minerals on Bureau of Land Management property about 3 ½ miles north of Ouray. The Ouray County Plaindealer reports his proposed project would extract or move about 2,000 cubic yards of material, according to his documents, and widen the shoulder of Highway 550 to provide access to the claim. Mineral extraction and processing is currently allowed only in the Alpine Zone of the county, and only with a special use permit. The commissioners voted 5 to 0 to deny Anderson’s request, saying it would be incompatible with the county’s master plan and the goals of the Land Use Code.
- Excessive heat and poor air quality are two aspects of Climate Change evident in Western Colorado. Climate change also brings an increase in the number and severity of disease and pest infestations as the globe warms. In a recent press release, the Colorado Farm & Food Alliance based in Paonia writes these major health threats pose an even greater risk to agricultural operators and farmworkers, and to others who spend extended periods outside, such as people who recreate in Colorado. Heat-related sickness is already the leading cause of weather-related death. They are calling for not only adaptations, but also for industries to rapidly curtail emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. The Farm and Food Alliance will release a climate report later this year titled The Gunnison River Basin - Ground Zero in the Climate Emergency. In that report they lay out seven broad categories where communities, businesses and individuals can take meaningful climate action.
- The US Forest Service has released a report into a planned burn that turned into New Mexico's largest-ever wildfire. The report concludes the planning was overall done according to current policy. But it found that policy led to an underestimation of how dry the vegetation was, and of how likely it was that the fire would escape. It also mentioned other factors, including a government shutdown and the pandemic which, quote, "not only affected overall employee morale, but also built a sense of urgency to accomplish projects to “catch up.” Anger against the Forest Service is simmering among the thousands affected by the Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak fire. Dave Rosenthal of the Mountain West News Bureau reports.
- A group of Delta County students confronted the School Board last night with accusations of discrimination and ill treatment. Kate Redmond brings that story.