Mark Duggan

Visitors are flocking to Colorado’s public lands. But large crowds can post a risk of spreading COVID-19. KSUT’s Mark Duggan spoke with Joe Lewandowski of Colorado Parks & Wildlife about their efforts to keep visitors safe at state parks. 

Courtesy State of Colorado

Colorado Governor Jared Polis is putting the brakes on part of Colorado's reopening plans. But he's also touting a new phase to allow some areas to open even more. Mark Duggan explains:

 

 

 

Stasia Lanier/KSUT

Local farmer's markets are adapting to keep customers and vendors safe during the pandemic. Some small agricultural producers are even finding ways to sell their produce through websites and delivery. Mark Duggan spoke with Melanie McKinney Gonzalez, market manager for the Durango Farmer's Market to learn more:

 

Photo courtesy of Ignacio Community Library

Some libraries in the Four Corners are taking cautious steps at reopening to the public. But visitors will see some changes. And the materials you return will be quarantined before they go back on the shelf. KSUT reporter Mark Duggan takes a closer look:


Mark Duggan/KSUT

Artists find themselves in a unique position during the coronavirus pandemic. Galleries and museums have been shuttered for months, cutting off a large part of the art market. But staying home has also led to a creative outpouring for many artists. People are looking for ways to channel their anxiety and other emotions. Mancos-based blacksmith Alex Bond came up with a way to get small pieces into the hands of art lovers using vending machines.

 

 

Mark Duggan/KSUT

 

COVID-19 cases continue to rise in some parts of the country. But in Colorado, new cases and hospitalizations are trending downward. We wanted to know how one area health care organization is handling the pandemic, from preparing for a possible spike in cases to balancing public health with a desire by some to return to normal. KSUT reporter Mark Duggan reached out to Tony Sudduth to find out more. He's the CEO of Southwest Health System and Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez.

Photo courtesy of Region 9 EDD

COVID-19 is having a big impact on local businesses. Some struggle, others thrive. And employees are caught in the middle. The long-term effect on the area's economy is still unknown.

KSUT's Mark Duggan checked in with two area business boosters to get a report on the state of the Four Corners economy:

 


courtesy of Colorado Parks & Wildlife

While you worried about the coronavirus, a familiar presence awoke from its winter slumber and went looking for dinner.

Black bears in southwest Colorado have been active since April. They’re foraging for food and sometimes finding it in trash cans. With many people observing Colorado’s “safer-at-home” order, they could come into contact - and conflict - with bears.

Luke Clancy is the Bear Education Coordinator for Colorado Parks & Wildlife's Durango office. We reached out to him to find out more about the health of our ursine neighbors. And what you can do to avoid meeting up with them in your backyard.
 


Kyle Todichini for KSUT

Darrah Blackwater sees radio waves as a natural resource. The Navajo Nation member and recent law school graduate works to bring high-speed internet to rural tribal lands. Her efforts focus on what she calls “spectrum sovereignty,” or the recognition of tribal spectrum rights.

“That means that the radio waves on the land have been on the land since what we call in federal Indian law, ‘time immemorial.’ Which means it’s been there as long as the land, the mountains, the water, the air has been there.”

KSUT recently spoke with a Mancos resident who started a GoFundMe campaign to get food and other supplies to Navajo elders who may be quarantined or sheltering at home.

The effort was coordinated with Jon Yazzie a resident of Kayenta, Arizona on the Navajo Nation and a full-blooded Navajo. The fundraiser has been successful and groceries are already going to support elders in that area. KSUT's Mark Duggan reached out to Yazzie to get an update:

 

On the Navajo Nation, the COVID curve is flattening. Efforts to trace the spread of the disease are working. But challenges remain. Federal native health officials are responding with more funding, as KSUT's Mark Duggan explains:

 

Mark Duggan/KSUT

Colorado restaurants can reopen their dining rooms and patios for the first time in two months. But diners should prepare for some changes to the way their favorite eateries operate, as KSUT's Mark Duggan explains:

Mark Duggan/KSUT

Mesa Verde National Park reopens on Sunday, after a two-month closure because of the coronavirus. But there are some caveats to what visitors will be able to see and do. KSUT reporter Mark Duggan reached out to park superintendent Cliff Spencer to learn more:

 

Mark Duggan/KSUT

Hunger is hard enough. It's even more difficult to face during a global pandemic. As unemployment has skyrocketed, so has people's reliance on food programs. From daily meal services to community food pantries, volunteers say they've seen a sharp increase in people lining up for feeding services.

One program in Cortez is known as Grace's Kitchen. It's part of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. Doug Bleyle, the Priest-in-Charge at St. Barnabas, says the program has been serving food to disadvantaged communities for more than 20 years. During the pandemic, they've switched from a dining room environment to sack lunches. With social distancing.

KSUT Reporter Mark Duggan talked to Bleyle about how Grace's Kitchen keeps people fed during a crisis.

Every week, Montezuma County resident Rena Wilson drops by the Valley Inn Nursing Home in Mancos. She's there to visit her longtime friend, Mac Neely, who is 99 years old. During the coronavirus pandemic, their visits are separated by a window. Their relationship endures, even during tough times. So far, there have been no COVID-19 cases at Valley Inn, unlike at other assisted living facilities. KSUT Reporter Mark Duggan spoke with Rena Wilson about how she and Mac Neely stay close - even through a pane of glass.  


Some of us may know someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19. Or suspect they had it. One Durango-area woman got a positive test. She suffered what she calls a mild case, but still says she was miserable. KSUT Reporter Mark Duggan talked to her about her experience:

The coronavirus is negatively impacting much of the U.S. economy, particularly energy markets. High Country News writer and former Durango resident Jonathan Thompson has covered oil and gas for a long time. He says the pandemic hasn't had much effect on natural gas. But oil is a different story. And the fallout will affect everybody, as KSUT Reporter Mark Duggan explains:


Jicarilla Apache Nation

Area Native American tribes are continuing with their efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Jicarilla Apache Nation in north-central New Mexico has turned to its Facebook page, tribal-owned radio station KCIE, and website to get the word out. Mark Duggan reports:


Library of Congress

The flu pandemic of 1918 had a profound effect on the world. In Colorado, it led to quarantines and even armed guards keeping visitors away from some towns. We take a closer look at the response to the flu in part two of our conversation with Fort Lewis College History Professor Andrew Gulliford. And we examine a more recent viral outbreak in the Four Corners. KSUT’s Mark Duggan reports:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Humankind is no stranger to pandemics. The 1918 influenza infected 500 million people -  or about a third of the world's population at the time. In the Four Corners, it was particularly devastating on Native lands and in Silverton.

KSUT Reporter Mark Duggan reached out to Fort Lewis College History Professor Andrew Gulliford to find out more about the regional impact of what has come to be known as the Spanish Flu.


Mark Duggan/KSUT

The pandemic has been particularly hard on small businesses. But some are relying on their regular customers and government loans to weather the storm. 

KSUT's Mark Duggan talks to two business owners in the Four Corners about the challenges of keeping the doors open:

 


courtesy of Denkai Animal Shelter

Animal adoptions are up nationwide. Especially now, people want the companionship and therapy that comes with having a pet. KSUT's Mark Duggan spoke with Floss Backburn, Founder and President of the Denkai Animal Sanctuary in Cortez to learn more:

 


Courtesy State of Colorado

Colorado Governor Jared Polis is loosening some restrictions in the state as cases of COVID-19 start to level out a bit. Mark Duggan has more:

 


Mark Duggan/KSUT

Even in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, the job of educating children continues. Developing online learning has been challenging for school officials. But as KSUT's Mark Duggan reports, it's also been a success:

 


Photo courtesy of Andrew Baxley/Osprey

A number of businesses in the Four Corners have stepped up to make face masks and other supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. KSUT's Mark Duggan profiles their efforts.


Mark Duggan/KSUT

As of Thursday, April 9, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe had no reported cases of COVID-19. The number is in stark contrast to the neighboring Navajo Nation, now with more than 450 confirmed cases. KSUT's Mark Duggan spoke with the tribe's chairman about the steps they've taken to stay ahead of the pandemic.  


Mark Duggan/KSUT

School districts in the Four Corners have had to pivot quickly to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. But they're also working to provide kids with food. KSUT's Mark Duggan explains:


Courtesy of Navajo Nation

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting the Navajo Nation particularly hard. As of Sunday, April 5th, more than 300 tribal members have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and more than a dozen have died. Health officials are bracing for more cases, even as much-needed supplies are starting to arrive. KSUT's Mark Duggan reports:


One of the most profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the toll on our mental health. As KSUT's Mark Duggan reports, there are several ways to make isolation a little easier:


Mark Duggan/KSUT

Health officials in Montezuma County are preparing for an increase in confirmed cases of the COVID-19 infection. That includes ramping up testing, making room for more patients, and rallying the community to help. KSUT's Mark Duggan spoke with county health director Bobbi Lock to get the latest:


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