This 30 minute interview on KVNF Radio with Cidney Fisk and her parents about their experience with the Delta County School District was broadcast July 19, 2016. Host Ali Lightfoot interviews Cidney, her parents and Delta County School District officials about the religious speakers the school routinely brings in, other incidents of proselytizing occurring within the district, and the retribution Cidney faced from her teachers and counselors after voicing her opinions about that and what Cidney perceived as the district’s misguided financial priorities: Click this link to listen to the interview.
On Monday, July 11, 2016, the Grand Junction, CO Daily Sentinel published a photo of G.J. Police Chief John Camper praying in his uniform, at a religious event in a public park.
The event was organized by Heather Benjamin, formerly a Public Information Officer at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. It took place after the shootings of multiple police officers in Dallas, Texas just days before. It was meant to honor the victims of that mass shooting and find ways “to better connect community with law enforcement.” But it inadvertently sent a message that the GJPD prefers to be better connected with religiously-observant members of the community, rather than non-religious members.
No matter how serious or well-meaning such an event may be, Chief Camper actively praying on work time, in his uniform, on taxpayer-funded public property amounted to a government endorsement of religion, and violated the separation of church and state.
To get a better idea of what was wrong with this situation, imagine that Grand Junction’s Police Chief was a practicing Muslim instead, and imagine he attended a Muslim prayer event held in Lincoln Park, wearing his uniform, during which he knelt on the grass facing Mecca and prayed to Allah.
How well would that go over with Grand Junction’s taxpayers?
Probably not very well, and a photo of that in the local paper would have caused an uproar.
This one generated nary a peep.
So here is the point: No matter what the dominant religion in the area may be, all taxpayer-funded government agencies, their employees and official representatives need to remain strictly neutral in matters of religion while on duty. The Grand Junction Police Department should not publicly demonstrate favoritism for one religion over others, or for religion over non-religion.
Chief Camper would have abided by the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and avoided showing either religious bias or preference if he had attended this religious event in his uniform but had not actively participated in the prayers, or if he had attended in his street clothes and not as a paid City official.
The race for Mesa County Commissioner in District 1 is heating up, and someone in Happy Valley is playing dirty.
Some unknown person has been stealing County Commissioner District 1 candidate Mel Mulder’s hand-made campaign signs. Mel, his wife, Vera, their friends and high school students painstakingly hand-made each sign in the summer heat to try to stretch the money Mel has raised for his campaign. Mel has raised about $1,385 so far, a fairly normal amount for a campaign for local office in the Grand Valley. By comparison, the incumbent Commissioner in District 1, John Justman has over $46,000 in his campaign fund, most of which — $31,500 — came from Justman’s own wife, Frances. According to KREX, Justman’s similar-sized, professionally-made signs cost about $500 each. Mel’s hand-made signs cost only about $100 each, showing that Mel knows how to do more with less.
Mel and Vera got permission from the landowners to place all the signs on the land where they were located. They’ve played by the rules.
Mel and Vera are not wealthy. They are average working people and can’t afford to replace innumerable stolen signs. They’ve managed to recover a few of the signs, and are offering a reward for information on who keeps taking them.
Mel is a handyman, business owner and farmer who has never taken federal subsidies, as Justman has. That could be one of the reasons why Mel Mulder poses a real threat to Justman. Mel is also a long-time public servant in Fruita. He’s served on the planning board and police commission, public works commission, parks and recreation board, drainage district, air quality control commission, and as a City Council member.
Twenty years ago, Fruita was struggling. Today we can all see how well the town is thriving, particularly compared to the rest of the County. Mel has the experience to hit the ground running as County Commissioner. He knows what’s fair and what isn’t, knows how to do more with less, is dedicated to finding sensible ways to quickly boost the economic fortunes of the Grand Valley, bring in more high-paying jobs and finally help bring people here out of poverty.
If you know who is stealing Mel’s signs, contact either this blog or Mel and Vera through Mel’s Facebook page: at https://www.facebook.com/melmulder4mesa/
Better yet, vote for Mel Mulder for County Commissioner this November and send Mr. Justman back to the farm.
Are deeply-held, popular convictions about the existence of God logical, or is there room for debate?
There’s plenty of room for debate, and that is exactly what’s going to happen on Wednesday, July 27, 2016, when Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) hosts a live, public debate about whether God is more likely to exist than not.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Mesa County Central Library, 443 N. 6th Street, in Grand Junction, and is free and open to the public.
Michael Conklin, who teaches Business Law at Colorado Mesa University, who will argue that God likely exists.
Arguing that God is not likely to exist is WCAF Vice President Mike Avila.
No tickets or reservations are required, and everyone is welcome. Come witness the Great Debate about the existence or non-existence of God, right here in Grand Junction!
Travelers on I-70 coming into Colorado and looking to spend their cash on legal marijuana see this billboard at the entrance to Grand Junction, urging them to bypass our town and go spend their money in Parachute instead.
And rightly so.
Even now, fully four years after the passage of Amendment 64 which legalized recreational marijuana in the state, Grand Junction is a “dry” town for marijuana.
Even the Los Angeles Times reported on April 4 of this year about how pot taxes reversed the fortuned of the little town of DeBeque, whose economy was struggling from the years-long collapse of the oil and gas market. DeBeque approved the sale of recreational marijuana in 2014, and never looked back.
Sales of pot in DeBeque are some of the best in the state, according to the Times, and DeBeque residents’ fears of pot melted away after they saw that the majority of patrons to the dispensary are older people with money.
“City streets are being repaired, curbs and gutters are getting replaced, the community center got a new floor and air conditioning, sewers will be fixed and pot money is being set aside for scholarships at the high school,” wrote the Times about DeBeque and it’s pot-tax bonanza.
Marijuana is now a legitimate, billion-dollar industry in Colorado. There are over 2,500 pot shops in the state, generating jobs, tourism and tax revenue. Jurisdictions in the state that allow pot commerce are enjoying burgeoning economies and historic growth. Even Governor John Hickenlooper is now admitting that marijuana isn’t as worrisome as he thought it would be and legalizing it has been a fiscal boon for the state.
But Mesa County Commissioners and Grand Junction city leaders continue to tremble in their boots with visions of Reefer Madness, and stick to their short-sighted ban on marijuana commerce, forcing area citizens to continuing living with low wages, high unemployment, homelessness and hunger.