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KVNF Regional Newscast: January 10, 2024

Photo Courtesy of Marisela Ballesteros Celestino

Lawmakers are returning to the State Capitol today for Colorado’s 2024 legislative session. Dozens of bills are ready to be introduced. KVNF’s State Reporter Lucas Brady Woods reports several of them would address accessibility for people with disabilities.

Delta County’s District 3 Commissioner Wendall Koontz announced that he’s running for reelection. Koontz secured 70% of the votes in the 2020 election.

He told the Montrose Daily Press that his values revolve around limited government, fiscal responsibility and supporting agriculture and Western Slope water rights. When looking back at his first term’s accomplishments, Koontz listed upgrading the Delta County Land Use Code, developing the Miners Trail, and leading the new playground and community space at the Delta County Fairgrounds.

He also cited the improved football field entrance at North Fork High School. Koontz has one registered opponent, Stephen Reed of Hotchkiss.

A federal judge dismissed former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters' case, where she sought to block District Attorney Dan Rubinstein from prosecuting her in state court.

This comes before her upcoming trial, says the Daily Sentinel, which includes identity theft charges and tampering with election equipment. The judge ruled that Peters failed to present clear grounds for federal intervention in a state case, emphasizing her claims' lack of substantial evidence.

Peters alleged that officials investigating her actions as a “whistleblower,” violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The judge found Peters’ evidence insufficient, stating that the documents cited did not support her allegations.

Marisela Ballesteros is the first Cora Indian and Indigenous person elected to the Gunnison City Council. She successfully ran unopposed for a seat on the Gunnison City Council last year and was sworn into office last month to serve a four-year term.

She was also elected mayor pro tem by her fellow council members. She says it's estimated that Cora Indians, an indigenous group from Mexico, make up at least one-fourth of Gunnison's Spanish-speaking population.

For KVNF, Laura Palmisano interviews Ballesteros about her decision to run for office and her goals now that she is a city council member.

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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/>