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KVNF Regional Newscast: May 18, 2023

Western Slope Legislative meeting.
Lisa Young/KVNF
Zoom screenshot from Western Slope Legislative meeting
Western Slope Legislative meeting.

Western Slope legislators are hailing a bill that creates a drought task force, reports the Montrose Daily Press. Legislators are saying the state will fare best if it stands together when it comes to protecting Colorado River water rights. The bill creates a Colorado River Drought Task Force, with subcommittees, to guide the development of water legislation. It is to include the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute tribes, regional water conservation districts, local government, farmers, ranchers, environmental nonprofits and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. If the bill creating the task force is signed into law, its members have a short window to act: between July and December 15, they must furnish their recommendations and a summary of their work to the legislative water resources and agricultural review committee.

The Delta Health Board of Directors welcomed its newest member, Davis Walton, this week, according to a hospital news release. The board’s newest addition was just one component of a busy night during Monday’s meeting. State representative Matt Soper will be serving his second term on the board as former board chair Jean Ceriani was honored for her time and service over the last seven years. The Board also voted for Dr. Doug Speedie as the new Board Chair. Speedie hopes to accomplish many things while in this position such as turning the hospital into a sound financial place while simultaneously focusing on the quality of overall care. Finally, Interim CEO Julie Huffman’s temporary contract was extended a year to provide more time for the hospital to recruit a permanent CEO.

Several Democratic West Slope Legislators held a Zoom call last week to update constituents on the conclusion of this year’s legislative session. The one hour session was co-led by Speaker of the House Representative Julie McCluskie and Senator Dylan Roberts. KVNF’s Lisa Young joined the virtual meeting and filed this report.

It was a packed house at the Lone Cone Library Tuesday night as Norwood and San Miguel County residents united in opposition to a potential new solar farm in the area. The Wright’s Mesa Solar project is a proposed 600 acre solar farm in Norwood, Colorado by OneEnergy Renewables, a solar energy company from Seattle. While project organizers said no sensitive or protected species were detected on the site or expected to be impacted, community members present expressed concern for existing native wildland, such as sage brush. Residents were also upset with the site location, worried the Norwood site would create an eyesore for the community. This is a developing report and the KVNF news team is working to get you updates on this story. You can email news@kvnf.org for news tips.

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Cassie moved to Montrose from Texas in April 2020, right before COVID changed the landscape of the world as we knew it. She brought her love of people and a degree in broadcast journalism to the Western Slope, where she built a strong foundation in local print news. She’s excited to join the KVNF family and grow as a reporter. For Cassie, her job as a journalist is to empower the community through knowledge and information. When she’s not researching and reporting, Cassie loves to spend time with her cat, Jasper, and paint something new.<br/><br/>