Austin Cope

Montezuma Elected Officials Could Get 10 Percent Pay Increase-- If State Legislature Approves

The Montezuma County commissioners voted 2 to 1 Monday to recommend a 10 percent pay increase for county elected officials. The increase would take effect only after the 2018 elections. Coroner George Deavers – who is paid $33,000 a year despite being on call around the clock – told the board that only six of Colorado’s other counties opted out of any pay increase last year. He recommended a 20 percent hike. Clerk Kim Percell voiced reservations, saying her employees had no cost-of-living...

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Courtesy of Sarah Syverson / Mancos Creative District

The Mancos Creative District hopes to create a “vibrant and sustainable economic hub” and empower a “diverse creative community” in the town of Mancos. KSJD’s Austin Cope talked with incoming Mancos Creative District Director Sarah Syverson about how the organization hopes to increase diversity and improve economic development in the town of Mancos.

Wing-Chi Poon / Creative Commons

Archaeology in Southwestern Colorado may bring to mind pot sherds, prehistoric walls, or the mass migration of people out of Southwestern Colorado in the 13th century. But a new study at the University of Colorado at Boulder adds turkeys to that list. To learn more, KSJD’s Austin Cope talked with CU Boulder Archaeologist Scott Ortman, one of the study’s authors, and a former researcher at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez. Click below to listen to a web-only extended version of the interview.

Scott Bauer / U.S.D.A. NRCS

Young people who want to get into a farm or ranch operation today face many barriers, including the cost of land and equipment, finding operating capital, and often, lack of experience.  For several decades, young people have been discouraged from getting into farming and ranching careers by the common wisdom, "that if you can't inherit it or marry into it, you can't farm.  However, there is a trend that has started over the past few years that changing that old saw.  We are seeing both young, and sometime, not so young people finding ways to fulfill their dreams.

koseb / Creative Commons

Lightning struck and killed a 24-year-old Durango man around noon on Sunday while he was mountain-biking near the Lizard Head Wilderness Area south of Telluride. The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office said in a release that John Daniel Huisjen was biking with his girlfriend on the East Fork Trail when a thunderstorm moved in. The couple and other cyclists sought shelter below tree line but Huisjen was hit. An off-duty Telluride EMT started CPR, but life-saving attempts proved unsuccessful. Huisjen’s girlfriend was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and released.

US Air Force / Creative Commons

The Montezuma County commissioners gave approval Monday for the county health department to hire a new employee for 30 hours a week to help free up environmental health specialist Melissa Mathews for her other duties. The commission and health staff discussed a recent article in the Cortez Journal that charges the health department violated state open-records law by failing to turn over inspection records of 143 restaurant facilities upon request and demanding excessive fees.

National Park Service

Officials with Mesa Verde National Park are asking visitors to help them keep black bears away from people and out of trouble, following an increase in bear sightings this summer. In a release, park officials say they are taking steps to ensure that the park’s small population of bears do not have access to human food or garbage. Staff members are hazing bears to deter them from visiting human-inhabited areas and are patrolling Morefield Campground to make sure visitors have secured their food and trash.

Austin Cope

Small businesses impacted by the May 8th Western Excelsior Plant fire in Mancos are now eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. On Friday, the SBA announced it had issued a disaster declaration, following a request from Governor John Hickenlooper. The declaration means SBA assistance is available in Montezuma, Dolores, La Plata, and San Juan counties in Colorado; Apache County in Arizona; San Juan County in New Mexico; and San Juan County in Utah.

AllenS / Creative Commons

KSJD's Austin Cope spoke with Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin about how his department is handling increased bear activity in the town of Dolores. Click below to listen.

National Park Service / Creative Commons

An oral vaccine may soon be in use to protect prairie dogs from the plague. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says in a release that prairie dogs in the wild are less likely to develop sylvatic plague if they are given peanut-butter-flavored bait containing a vaccine against the disease. The Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and other entities have collaborated on the vaccine in order to help endangered black-footed ferrets, which depend on prairie dogs for food.

busche12 / Creative Commons

The first case of equine West Nile virus in Colorado this year has been diagnosed in a horse in Larimer County on the Front Range. According to a release from the state Department of Agriculture, the case was confirmed by Colorado State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins on August 2nd. West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes and can be contracted by horses, human beings, birds, and some other animals. The state of Utah recently confirmed its first case as well, in a horse in Carbon County in the north-central part of the state.

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Sunflower Theatre

Debashish Battacharya and Derek Gripper

World music guitar virtuosos at the Sunflower Theatre, Thursday, September 21st at 7:00pm

True, authentic stories told live on stage!