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KVNF Regional Newscast: September 18, 2023

Montrose County Courthouse
Cassie Knust
Montrose County Courthouse

The state of Colorado is going to stop using gas-powered lawn mowers and other gardening equipment in areas with poor air quality. Governor Jared Polis issued an executive order last week intended to reduce pollution and water use on government property.

It directs state agencies to phase out any gas-powered equipment with less than twenty-five horsepower by the summer of 2025. Government agencies will also now have to use water-efficient landscaping in any new construction. A new Office of Sustainability will help implement the new mandates.

The Montrose County Child Support Services office raised $1,250 for Kids Aid Montrose, which provides food-filled weekend backpacks to food-insecure children. Funds were raised through a bake sale, donation-based drawing, and luncheon, with local businesses chipping in.

This effort coincided with Child Support Awareness Month, emphasizing their commitment to community and children's welfare. The donation will help Kids Aid Montrose reach even more children in need.

High inflation and the loss of pandemic-era government aid led to a decline in median household income – now at about 74,500 dollars, according to the Mountain West News Bureau’s Will Walkey. Income inequality also increased, as did child poverty because expanded child tax credits expired.

In Mountain West states, income stayed mostly the same. Only Utah and Colorado have higher levels than the U.S. median. Poverty rates, meanwhile, are at or below average, except in New Mexico.

Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off last Friday, and economic concerns are top of mind for Colorado’s Latino voters. As Capital Reporter Lucas Brady Woods notes, a new poll takes stock of the most pressing issues facing the state’s Latino communities.

Dave Bowman, former Montrose mayor and director of the Montrose Summer Music Series, has been cleared of ethics violations brought three years ago. Bowman had been accused of using his local political position for monetary gain toward the now annual summer concert series. Accusations came from the restaurant formerly known as Divot’s, previously owned by Janece Culver, on the city-owned Black Canyon Golf Course.

In the complaint, Culver said she felt pressured by Bowman to opt into a financial arrangement between the restaurant and the concert series. At the time, she said she felt she had no choice in the matter. That case moved to the state’s Independent Ethic’s Commission, which determined last week that Bowman had not violated any ethics codes.

Bowman says the music series not only retained its sponsors but also gained more since 2020. I sat down last week with Bowman to discuss the recent ruling, as well as what’s next for the summer concert series.

In the interest of transparency, we would like to share that Bowman was formerly a volunteer DJ for KVNF. It has been several years since Bowman has been directly involved with KVNF. KVNF has reached out to Janece Culver, the original complainant, but did not receive a response at the time this story was produced.

Any updates will be added to today’s newscast online at KVNF.org. Recently, a community group held its second annual suicide awareness walk in downtown Cortez. For Rocky Mountain Community Radio, Chris Clements of KSJD has more.

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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/>