Mark Duggan

Mark Duggan

Local groups that address hunger are finding that the coronavirus has a hidden silver lining. It's led to a swell of support and more focus on food resources in the Four Corners.

Wyssen Avalanche Control Co.

A new avalanche control system on Lizard Head Pass southwest of Telluride aims to make it easier and safer for crews to manually trigger slides.

 

Every winter, sudden avalanches bury roadways and threaten the lives of travelers, both on the road and in the backcountry.

Avalanche control crews are also at risk. They’re out in often-nasty weather, trudging up relatively safe slopes to fire explosives at unsafe ones.

Dig Deep

Most of us take hot and cold running water and a flush toilet for granted. But for some residents of the Navajo Nation, it's a luxury they don't get to enjoy at home. Some studies show up to a third of Navajo households lack indoor plumbing. But several projects now underway are trying to bridge what's known as the “water gap.”


Here are the latest state and regional COVID-19 numbers. The graphs compare data from August and July. County figures indicate total positive cases.

TV pilot being shot in Montezuma County

Aug 21, 2020
Mark Duggan

A television show pilot that will be shot in Montezuma County this fall aims to put the area on the filmmaking map. It's also an opportunity for the show's creators to revel in the Four Corners backdrop they call home.

Novelist Chuck Greaves, who lives southwest of Cortez, and director, Félix Enríquez Alcalá, a recent transplant to Mancos, both say they want to showcase the region's diverse beauty in the show, called “Badwater.”

Mark Duggan

Last week, on the fifth anniversary of the Gold King Mine Spill, we learned that little has been done at the congressional level to clean up abandoned mines in southwest Colorado. But progress is being made locally, as citizens groups work with the Environmental Protection Agency. KSUT's Mark Duggan has a follow-up.

 

Red Feather Development Group

Up to a third of the households on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations lack access to clean running water. This can be a particular problem for maintaining hygiene, especially during a pandemic. Now an Arizona organization is installing self-contained handwashing stations for tribal members.


Mark Duggan

This week was the fifth anniversary of the Gold King Mine spill. The disaster ignited hope among observers that the many old and abandoned mines around Silverton would finally be cleaned up. Politicians and federal officials promised swift action. But a closer look reveals that at the governmental level, progress is moving very slowly, if at all. KSUT's Mark Duggan has more:


With unemployment rates skyrocketing, more families are facing economic hardship. That means some can’t afford to give their children basic school supplies. One group in Montezuma County is trying to help. KSUT's Mark Duggan reports:


A Colorado man spreads art across the internet

Jul 31, 2020

If you have a social media feed, chances are that you've seen something that was posted by a “bot.” Short for robot, they're little computer programs that automatically post to social media. Sometimes they post highly-polarizing political content that's meant to provoke. But one Colorado man has found a way to use them for good...spreading art across the internet. KSUT's Mark Duggan introduces us to him:


Monsoon moisture is finally arriving in southwest Colorado. But the long-term outlook calls for more drought. KSUT's Mark Duggan explains:


GrandCanyonTrust.org

A new program seeks to connect Navajo and Hopi entrepreneurs with micro-loans to help them through the pandemic. It's known as “Kinship Lending” and has helped artists and small businesses.

KSUT's Mark Duggan spoke with Jessica Stago of Change Lab, a Native-owned business resource group that runs the loan program:

 

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is issuing a statewide mask order as cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in the state. KSUT's Mark Duggan has more:


A renewed effort is underway to rename some geographic features in Colorado. KSUT's Mark Duggan takes a closer look:

 

 

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,’” she explains. “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:

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