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Chris Clements


Chris Clements is a former news reporter for KSJD. He had previously covered literary arts as a reporter for The Chautauquan Daily in Chautauqua, New York, and graduated with a degree in English from Arizona State University. At KSJD, Chris has collaborated with KUNC (northern Colorado NPR) on water conservation stories, and had his spots regularly featured on NPR's national newscasts.

  • The Navajo-Churro are treasured by Navajo Nation herders and weavers who host community celebrations of the breed in Southwest Colorado to showcase the textiles they create from the sheep’s wool.
  • 20 years after the murder of a Native American man on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation, the FBI says it’s offering a new $10,000 reward for any information about the crime. On January 31, 2004, a Towaoc resident named Avery Whiteskunk went missing and was later found dead near County Road G. An FBI bulletin released on Monday said anyone with information about the individual responsible should contact its Denver field office. Whiteskunk is one of 27 cold case homicides involving tribal citizens in Colorado, according to statistics from a newly-created state office. And the Rico Board of Trustees is considering pursuing dark sky certification for the town. At a trustee meeting earlier this month, a representative from Dark Sky Colorado said that the certification could preserve Rico residents’ views of the starry night sky by changing the land-use code or ordinance that regulates lighting in the town, according to the Ore Cart.
  • Farmers, landowners and local government agencies will come together on Wednesday in Towaoc for the latest listening session on a plan to protect and manage the Mancos River. The group behind the plan is made up of municipalities and organizations that lie along the river, like Mesa Verde National Park, the Mancos Conservation District and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, that have voluntarily joined together to coordinate on management. The listening session is intended for tribal members and ag producers who rely on the river to give feedback on a new watershed stream management plan. It’ll serve as a guide for communities to better use and conserve water resources, and could include voluntary or compensated changes to irrigation rules during drier years. More outreach sessions will take place starting this spring and summer for feedback on the first draft. And the Bureau of Land Management says it plans to remove roughly 91 wild burros from rangelands near Canyonlands National Park.
  • After nearly 20 years of keeping Montezuma County informed, the final issue of the Four Corners Free Press recently hit newsstands across Cortez. The regional newspaper covered politics, environmental issues, and more for southwest Coloradans and residents of the Four Corners region. Chris Clements of KSJD sat down with Gail Binkley, the editor and co-founder of the Free Press, to talk about the newspaper and its last issue.
  • A new skate park in downtown Cortez held its first public skate session on Tuesday. The Beech Street Skate Park was created and funded by residents and local businesses in Cortez so that skateboarders would have a chance to practice their tricks even during the winter months, when another skate park in town is closed. Annie Seder, a volunteer at the park, says the park operates in a shared warehouse with different pieces that can be set up and put away quickly. Seder says the skate park gives young people and adults in rural Montezuma County the chance to meet up, make friends and do some serious kickflips. And this week, a resident of Ridgway, Colorado was cited by the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office for allegedly stealing newspapers that published a story on sexual assault allegations. The weekly edition of the Ouray County Plaindealer featured a story on a sexual assault that occurred in the home of the Ouray County chief of police. After hundreds of copies of the newspaper were taken, a local business owner came forward and returned them to the paper’s office.
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife reached an agreement to collect the wolves in Washington for release sometime next winter. However, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in southwest Colorado says they were never meaningfully consulted by the state about the reintroduction of wolves or the consequences it could have for tribal ranchers on the West Slope.
  • As many as 15 gray wolves could be reintroduced to Colorado’s Western Slope next winter, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. It’s a move that concerns the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in southwest Colorado. CPW reached an agreement with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation last week to collect the wolves on the tribes’ land in eastern Washington. 10 wolves from Oregon were released in Colorado last month, the first batch under the state’s reintroduction plan. However, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe says they were never properly consulted about the decision to reintroduce wolves to the state or the potential impacts it could have on the sovereign nation. And Mesa Verde National Park is asking for the public’s help in locating a 73-year-old man who went missing while hiking on a trail last week. Thomas Irwin was last seen hiking Petroglyph Point Trail last Monday.
  • The U.S. EPA has announced that it reached a settlement with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority that means the NTUA has agreed to improve wastewater treatment facilities in three communities in northern Arizona. The Department of Justice filed a complaint on behalf of the EPA that says the facilities violated Clean Water Act permits meant to protect human health and the environment by discharging wastewater not treated to proper levels into washes across the tribal nation. It also says the NTUA failed to maintain their facilities’ sewage systems and prevent sewage spills. The roughly $100 million settlement will mean some short-term and long-term upgrades to facilities in Chinle, Kayenta and Tuba City that serve about 20,000 people, mostly Navajo citizens. And four seats on the Cortez City Council are open in the upcoming election on April 2. Nomination packets are available at City Hall, and are due this Monday, January 22.
  • On Friday, a Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council member was indicted by a grand jury for 12 counts of alleged sexual abuse and assault that took place on the reservation. In a special meeting held on Saturday, the Tribal Council moved to place Lyndreth Hemp Wall on unpaid administrative leave indefinitely if he doesn’t quickly resign. They also removed Wall from his appointments to boards and commissions and issued a formal reprimand. Wall is a former Montezuma-Cortez school board member and a well-known figure in the area. If he’s convicted of a felony, he could be removed from the Council by a two-thirds vote that would also bar him from serving on it again. And this weekend, a mainstay of local journalism in southwestern Colorado, the Four Corners Free Press, will print its final issue.
  • Last month, the Montezuma County Board of Commissioners voted to cut 10 positions from the Sheriff’s Office. In response, employees have petitioned the state of Colorado to begin the process of collective bargaining in the new year. Allen Phelps is a detective at the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and the president of Mesa Verde Lodge 74 Fraternal Order of Police. Without proper staffing levels, Phelps says the office is unable to adequately deal with the number of homicides, sexual assaults and property crimes that occur in the county. Phelps says 70 of 72 employees at the office signed petitions in favor of collective bargaining, which will now initiate a ballot election. And a plane crash in a forest north of Dolores resulted in two deaths this past weekend.