Grand Junction | KUNC

Grand Junction

Grand Junction
Paul Wasneski / CC BY 2.0

The union for workers at a Colorado public transportation agency unanimously voted to authorize the union's executive board to call a strike if future negotiations are unproductive.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1776, which consists of 32 Grand Valley Transit bus drivers, dispatchers and utility workers, says its union leaders could set a strike date after the latest contract offer from Grand Valley Transit's operating contractor, Transdev Services, was deemed unsatisfactory.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

The temperature is hovering right around 90 degrees the day Dale Ryden and I float down the Colorado River near Grand Junction, Colorado. The water looks so inviting, a cool reprieve from the heat, but if either of us jumped in we’d be electrocuted.

“It can actually probably be lethal to people if you get in there,” Ryden, a fish biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says.

Clément Bardot / Wikimedia Commons

Pull out a map of the United States’ desert southwest and see if you can locate these rivers: Rio del Tizon, Rio San Rafael, or Rio Zanguananos. How about rivers named Tomichi, Nah-Un-Kah-Rea or Akanaquint?

Having some trouble? None of these names are used widely today, but at some point in the last 500 years they were used to label portions of what we know now as the Colorado River and its main tributaries, the sprawling river basin that supports 40 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico, across one of the world’s driest regions.

Until 1921, the Colorado River didn’t start in the state that bears the same name. It began in Utah, where the Green River from Wyoming and the Grand River from Colorado met. The story of how the Colorado River finally wended its way into the state of Colorado less than a century ago is a lesson in just how fickle our attitudes toward nature can be.

Courtesy Chris Blumenstein

Vietnam War veteran Rodger Holmes became ill in 2014, at the height of a national scandal over long patient wait times at care centers and allegations of negligence at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Holmes, who sought care for his Hepatitis C liver disease at the Grand Junction VA Health Care System, was among those to complain.  

"He lost a tremendous amount of weight," said Chris Blumenstein, who served as a VA social worker to Holmes. "He was losing his mental clarity, his mental sharpness, he couldn't remember things."

Holmes died in December 2014, but in response to concerns, the VA's national Office of Inspector General launched an investigation and released recommendations May 11, 2016.

Stephen Butler / Flickr - Creative Commons

A bill to expand a state program to offer driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants in Colorado will be introduced at the state capitol later in February. The original law [.pdf], which Democrats passed when they controlled both chambers in 2013, allows undocumented immigrants who have lived in Colorado for at least two years and have paid taxes to get a license, if they pay an extra fee.

"I want to know when I'm driving that the people driving next to me know the same rules as I do. Especially when you come from a different country, road signs might look different," said Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont), sponsor of a new bill that would expand the program to 32 driver's license offices across the state.

"They deserve the opportunity to show that they are willing to be a part of our community, willing to play by the rules."

Rebecca Jacobson / Inside Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy defines renewable natural gas as a "pipeline-quality gas that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas." The difference between it and its fossil fuel derived cousin is that RNG is a filtered byproduct of organic decomposition sourced from landfills or livestock or… well, let's just say you and me.

Laura Palmisano / KVNF

Some native fish in the Colorado River and its tributaries are struggling to stay afloat. Invasive species, dams and water diversions all complicate the recovery of endangered fish. One long-standing program is part of a multistate effort to save four species of fish native to the Colorado River Basin: humpback chub, Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker and bonytail.

It all started in 1988 when the federal government signed an agreement with Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, establishing what's called the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program.

Spring Cold Snap Shrivels Colorado Apple Crop

Aug 13, 2015
Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media

Colorado’s apple orchards are bearing less fruit. Growers are projecting an 80 percent drop in apple production for 2015. The state’s peach producers are facing an average year.

Being a fruit grower on the state’s Western Slope can be precarious. You’re one late season frost away from major crop damage -- which is exactly what happened to apple growers. 

Joe Mahoney / Rocky Mountain PBS I-News

Colorado’s suicide rate consistently tops the national average. In 2011, the state had the ninth highest suicide rate in the nation, according to the latest available Centers for Disease Control data. And it’s going up.

The suicide rate in the state has jumped around 19 percent over the past decade, taking the lives of 1,004 Colorado residents in 2013, the state health department reports.

 

    

Three people are missing including a county worker and his son after Sunday's massive landslide outside of the town of Collbran. 

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