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KVNF Regional Newscast: November 21, 2023

Gavin Dahl

The Colorado Board of Health has passed new penalties for abuse, neglect and preventable death cases at assisted-living facilities. Starting in January, fines will increase to as much as $10,000 per incident, or higher.

Currently, fines are capped at $2,000 per year.

The changes are part of legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2022 intended to shore up accountability for the state’s assisted-living facilities, which have faced increasing scrutiny over abusive treatment and wrongful deaths in recent years. An investigation from the Denver Gazette found there have been 110 wrongful deaths in the facilities between 2018 and 2022.

In some of those cases, facilities weren’t fined at all.

Starting November 27 in Montrose, Uncompahgre Road over the South Canal near Pahgre Road will be closed for a couple of weeks. Crews are replacing the bridge deck and doing some repaving. The closure is expected to last until December 12, but it all depends on the weather.

Drivers can still access Canal Road on the west side of the bridge and are advised to take alternative routes during this period. For more information, visit www.montrosecounty.net or call Montrose County Road and Bridge Department at 970-249-5424.

The Palisade Board of Trustees just made a big decision about sewer rates. They voted to raise the rates for single-family residential units by $22 in 2024. According to the Daily Sentinel, this increase will help fund a major project to redirect Palisade's wastewater to the Clifton Sanitation District's chemical plant.

It would also decommission the local sewer lagoons. It's all part of their plan to improve the wastewater system. They're also getting a loan and a grant to help with the costs. Tap fees won't be affected.

Colorado's recycling and composting rate has been stuck at half the national average for several years. That's according to a new report released last week called “The State of Recycling and Composting” in Colorado. It's put together every year by EcoCycle, a nonprofit recycler based in Boulder County, and COPIRG, the Colorado Public Interest Research Group.

Rachel Setzke with EcoCycle, is one of the co-authors of the report. She says in Colorado, 16% of waste is being diverted from landfill to compost and recycle. This is compared to the national average of 32%.

Setzke also says legislation passed last year in Colorado will help. The law means packaging producers are responsible for funding a statewide recycling program, creating no-cost access to recycling for everyone in the state.

Colorado was the third state to pass a producer responsibility law for recycling. Similar programs have been operating in Europe, Canada, India and Australia.

Montrose has a Single-Stream Curbside Recycling program that offers free recycling services to residents. They collect metals, plastics, paper, and cardboard. The City of Delta has a drop-off service located at 640 West 4th Street in Delta where you can recycle clean cardboard. Make sure to remove any styrofoam, plastic, or other materials before dropping off your cardboard at the designated fenced area behind the Public Works Building.

When a developer decides to build in the City of Montrose, there's a land use fee they have to pay to Montrose County School District.

The reasoning behind this practice, says Matt Jenkins, communications director for the district, is that whenever new subdivisions or housing is built in the city, inevitably more families and their children will follow.

This also means an additional need for funding more school programming. Carlton Mason with CASA of the 7th Judicial District recently requested a waiver of that fee, which amounted to around $30,000.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates–CASA is a national nonprofit that trains volunteers to be court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children. At a recent school board meeting, Mason focused on CASA’s current housing support project, a program meant to help young adults aging out of foster care and older individuals facing housing insecurity.

The school board approved Mason’s waiver request in light of the housing support project.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has new data showing the massive economic impact of the recreation economy, which is particularly pronounced in the West. The Mountain West News Bureau’s Murphy Woodhouse reports.

When water solutions are discussed, many utility and business leaders are in the room. But at the annual One Water Summit in Tucson, some Indigenous youth got a chance to weigh in, too. Emma VandenEinde reports for the Mountain West News Bureau.

This story was supported by The Water Desk, an initiative from the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism.

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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/>