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KVNF Regional Newscast: September 22, 2023

On today’s Farm Friday, KVNF’s Cassie Knust spent a very colorful day in Olathe last Saturday covering Agricola, a tribute and celebration of the region's diverse agricultural workers. KVNF's Cassie Knust shares comments from Angeles Mendez, president of the Western Colorado Migrant and Rural Coalition, reminding the community that migrant ag workers are sacrificing more than ever when it comes to producing our food and oftentimes, they can’t even afford the food they’re picking.

An initial report on Wednesday’s Delta County Libraries District Board Meeting looks promising. The meeting took place just as libraries in Crawford and Hotchkiss re-opened following a temporary closure due to staff shortages. The district is still looking to hire more employees in Cedaredge, Delta, Crawford and Paonia.

According to one meeting attendee, the district’s budget once considered ‘inadequate’ could be considered ‘robust '. The budget is up around $320,000 due to big increases in property tax revenue and higher interest payments from investments. Next year’s budget is estimated to top $2 million dollars for the first time in the district’s history.

Hotchkiss and Paonia libraries welcomed Carl Smith, a former library employee, as its new manager. Smith says his focus will be on early childhood and literacy, helping kids to be ready for school. Also, on tap is a cooperative effort with the libraries and health care providers for telehealth. The district is looking to purchase more laptops and provide a quiet space for patrons to converse with health care providers.

Delta County Commissioners approved a Lodging and Entertainment Liquor License for Sage View Ranch LLC located in Paonia. The unanimous decision came during Tuesday morning’s regular board meeting. The board was introduced to new Environmental Health Director Shaun Gardner. Gardner says health department business is continuing as usual… as the county looks to add two additional environmental health specialists.

Commissioner heard an update on the 2023 Delta County Fair from Ryan Bates. Bates reported that the fair was ‘in the black’ financially, with good attendance and a record setting livestock sale to boot. FFA and 4-H students often use money from the livestock sale for continued fair projects or for college. Commissioner Mike Lane offered what appeared to be disparaging remarks directed at the community’s LGBTQ youth following the fair report, implying that only FFA and 4-H students could tell the difference " between a man and woman.”

KVNF contacted the commissioner for clarification on his remarks. Lane responded via email saying, “I received your email expressing your opinion of my remarks during the BOCC meeting, 4-H has worked hard to include kids of all backgrounds", adding that there was, "nothing more to add or retract.”

To be clear, KVNF never questioned the actions of local 4 H groups, only the words and intent of those words spoken by a County Commissioner in a public meeting. In our request for comment, KVNF shared with Commissioner Lane that LBGTQ youth are at higher risk for suicide. He’s comments came only weeks after the board proclaimed September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

KVNF is dedicated to elevating the voices and struggles of communities lacking representation in our listening area and reporting on public officials when they deny or disparage those groups in public.

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Lisa was born in Texas but grew up on a small farm in Olathe, Colorado and considers herself a “Colorado native after six years of age.” Lisa has seven years experience in media, beginning as a News Director for a small radio station on the Eastern Plains. Following her initial radio career, Lisa worked as a staff reporter for The Journal Advocate in Sterling, Colorado and most recently as a staff reporter for the Delta County Independent. Lisa is thrilled to join the award-winning News and Public Affairs team at KVNF.