The Mysterious Talking Hill off South Camp Road

December 20, 2014

Hill-All

For about five years, an unknown person has been climbing a slippery hill high on the Redlands and scratching brief messages into the greenish bentonite, and turning the hill into an ersatz billboard. The hill is just to the north of the intersection of Monument Road and South Camp Road. The messages are always in capital letters. They change frequently and consists of just four letters. It’s no easy task to make them, either. The letters are probably at least 10-12 feet tall. The messages are usually timely, too. At Mother’s Day, the hill says “MOM.” Near Father’s Day, it says “DAD.” Near the full moon it will say “MOON.” Other times, it has said “HELO,” or is just some cryptic anagram that leaves viewers scratching their heads. At the moment it says “XMAS.” If you stand near the northeast corner of Monument Road and South Camp Road and look towards the bentonite hills to the northwest, you can see it. Look for a greenish hill located between two higher, red-striated peaks. Check out what it says.

Want to take some bets on what it might say next? My guess is it might soon say “2015.”

Delta Middle School Teacher Pushes Christianity on Students

December 11, 2014

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF), which advocates for western Colorado’s secular community, has a form on its website where people can submit violations of the separation of church and state that they observe in western Colorado. On December 10, 2014, the mother of a student who attends Delta Middle School submitted the following information about Christianity being forced on middle school students in Delta, Colorado:

Jime Charlesworth, teacher, Delta Middle School

Jime Charlesworth, teacher, Delta Middle School

A teacher named named Mrs. Charlesworth teaches reading and writing at Delta Middle school. She likes to share her Christian beliefs with the class. One day she told the class non Christians were bad people. A student said that the non Christians were the people who bombed people and she did nothing to correct the conversation. On Friday 11-5-14 all DMS students were forced to watch an 1.5 hour long play about the baby Jesus. My daughter repeatedly asked if she could leave the play because she thought it was inappropriate for school. The teachers would not let her leave. My daughter felt like she was forced to attend a Christian church. My daughter has also been forced to read a book called the witness. She said it has a lot of God stuff in it. I haven’t read it yet. I met with the principal and vice principal of DMS today 12-10-14. I informed them they were violating Church and state rules. They told me the play would never be performed in DMS ever again and the Christian bias would stop. They also assured me my child would treated with respect and would not suffer because I complained. Several hours after my meeting with the principals, my daughter was singled out and yelled at by Mrs. Charlesworth, in front of the entire class. My daughter is being retaliated against for
asserting her rights.

This incident of proselytizing to student in western slope public schools joins numerous others that have been reported, like Fellowship Church’s promotion of its 4640 youth indoctrination center to middle school gym classes, and the promotion of Christian “Good News Clubs” in elementary schools.

Such incidents are blatant violations of the separation of church and state embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Public schools need to assure students are never subjected to this kind of religious proselytization.

Something to Think About…

November 23, 2014

TYJ

Above the Law: Mesa County Republican Candidates Broke G.J. City Ordinance

November 16, 2014

Note: The following commentary was written by, and reprinted with permission from a local tea party activist who goes by the handle “American Patriot.” A few spelling errors have been corrected and links are provided to further information, including the City Ordinance cited in the piece, which was fully in effect in 2014.

A Commentary by American Patriot — November 16, 2014

Former Congressman Scott McInnis won arace for Mesa County Commissioner in November, 2014, even though his campaign broke several rules, including illegally posting campaign signs on power poles without permission and standing on city medians in violation of City Ordinance 9.04.250, "Prohibition against standing on or occupying medians."

Former Congressman Scott McInnis won a seat on the Mesa County Commission in November, 2014, even though his campaign broke several rules, including illegally posting campaign signs on power poles without permission and waving signs while standing on city medians in violation of City Ordinance 9.04.250, titled “Prohibition against standing on or occupying medians.”

Just before the last election, it was reported that Scott McInnis was parading up and down the Highway 6 and 50 traffic medians parading a political sign. And the Matt Lewis for sheriff campaign was engaged in the same illegal activity at 1st and Grand in violation of City Ordinance 9.04.250 which specifically forbids the use of medians for “political campaign activity.”

It would be bad enough if it were only a commissioner-elect and a sheriff-elect that flagrantly, if unintentionally, violated the law of the land, but wait for it; here’s the kicker. It was none other than our incumbent District Attorney Pete Hautzinger, who was sign-waving on behalf of sheriff elect Matt Lewis’ campaign while occupying a designated median at 1st and Grand. Now, if you or I were to do the same thing, it could cost us up to a thousand dollars and/or one year in jail.

Have you ever heard the saying, usually used by prosecutors, DA’s and law enforcement officers that “ignorance of the law is no excuse?” Well, between McInnis, Lewis and Pete Hautzinger, which one of those three do you think could get away with using ignorance of the law as a defense? Well, maybe if they just plead ignorant, a jury of Mesa County voters could buy that? Read more »

Killing the Messenger: U.S. Postal Service in Congress’ Crosshairs

November 14, 2014
Supporters of the U.S. Post Office in Grand Junction protest further cutbacks at the Patterson Road mail sorting facility on Friday, Nov. 14th.

Supporters of the U.S. Post Office in Grand Junction protest further cutbacks at the Patterson Road mail sorting facility on Friday, Nov. 14th.

Supporters of the U.S. Postal Service rallied outside the Patterson Road Mail Processing Annex in Grand Junction Friday afternoon to protest a new round of cuts that will eliminate Saturday delivery and close 82 more postal stations, including mail sorting facilities, nationwide.

In 2006 Congress mandated that the U.S. Postal Service pre-fund health benefits for its future retirees 75 years in advance, a requirement made of no other business on Earth. The requirement is costing the Postal Service a whopping $5.6 billion per year, making it financially much harder for it to operate. In addition, now the U.S. Postal Board of Governors, which oversees the Post Office, will meet to approve cutbacks aimed at eliminating Saturday mail delivery. These newest rounds of cutbacks will delay the mail, making it take much longer to simply get a letter across town.

Palisade Pot and Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner

November 5, 2014
The Mesa County Clerk's two goofs on the Palisade ballot appear to have been effective at keeping recreational pot out of the Grand Valley for the immediate future.

The Mesa County Clerk’s two goofs on the Palisade ballot right before the Nov. 4 election — both affecting only Palisade and the town’s two pot measures — appear to have helped keep recreational pot out of the Grand Valley for the time being.

It’s no secret that Mesa County’s Old Guard Establishment Republicans (OGREs) oppose legalized marijuana. Even though Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, the Commissioners — all OGREs — exercised their option under the law to prohibit retail sale of pot throughout the unincorporated county, shutting off a new source of badly-needed new jobs and tourism, and blocking a desperately-needed economic boost to Mesa County’s long-suffering economy.

The OGREs’ only problem is that despite their best efforts, retail pot keeps creeping closer to Grand Junction, and there’s little they can do about it. Under state law, home-rule cities and towns can make their own rules regarding the sale and cultivation of pot, and last spring the town of DeBeque, 32 miles east of Grand Junction, approved retail pot shops by four votes.  Now DeBeque is poised to reap the benefits of being the first town on Interstate 70 inside Colorado’s western border to have retail recreational marijuana shops.

But retail recreational pot was about to creep even closer than that. Read more »

It’s Time to End GOP Rule in Mesa County

November 2, 2014

GOPIndistressDo you plan to vote for Republican incumbents and the same Mesa County politicians we’ve had in office before?

Think again.

Mesa County’s long reliance on the local GOP has led it to disaster.

Just look at the Mesa County GOP’s record:

1) Our unemployment rate has long remained among the highest in the state;

2) Our local wages are among the very lowest in the state;

3) 13.4 percent of our area’s residents live below federal poverty level ($23,550 for a family of four),

4) Mesa County’s suicide rate is among the highest in the U.S.;

5) Mesa County is the drunkest county in the state in 2013 (based on the average blood alcohol concentration for arrested drunk drivers);

6) Forty one percent of School District 51 students qualify for free and reduced-cost lunches at school, and Kids Aid, the area nonprofit that provides backpacks of food to hungry students so they can get through the weekends without starving, sends 1,800 District 51 students home with backpacks full of non-perishable food home every WEEK.

Yes, you read that right. Eighteen hundred Mesa County school children are food insecure every WEEK. Have you heard a single local GOP elected official mention this state of affairs? No. Read more »

Why a Fetus is Not a Person

October 31, 2014

NotADifficultConcept

Updated November 5, 2014

Colorado’s Amendment 67 did not pass, to the relief of most of the state. The measure would have declared unborn human beings as a “person” or a “child” in the Colorado Criminal Code. It was yet another a personhood measure, but this year Personhood USA, the group pushing these kinds of measures, tried to disguise that fact by calling it the “Brady Amendment,” after a fetus a woman lost in a 2012 drunk driving accident. Naming the measure after a woman’s lost fetus was an attempt to give the measure emotional appeal, because when you can get people to react through emotion, they’ll often bypass their rational thinking.

Coloradans have rejected personhood measures three times now, for good reason. The thinking behind these ballot initiatives is illogical and thus fundamentally flawed.

A fetus is not a person in any legal sense.

Both fertilized eggs and clones represent potential, not actual human beings.

Zygotes, or fertilized eggs, and fetuses lack many of the physical characteristics of human beings. They don’t have brains, skeletons, or internal organs. A fetus cannot engage in human perception or thought. The analogy that fits is that an acorn is not an oak tree and the egg you eat for breakfast is not a chicken.

Fetuses have no social identity, and there is no precedent for giving them such. Names are not legally conferred upon fetuses until after birth.  The first legal recognition of a person’s existence is their birth certificate. No government on Earth issues “pre-birth certificates.” The government does not issue death certificates for miscarried or aborted fetuses. The government does not issue social security numbers to fetuses, or give fetuses rights of citizenship upon conception. Read more »

Mesa County’s Political Conservatism Showing Cracks

October 27, 2014
This yard sign, recently spotted on north 12th Street, provides evidence that Mesa County's long-time conservative political ideology is starting to change, as more local residents start to understand the folly, and dangers, of electing Republicans to office.

This yard sign, recently spotted on north 12th Street, is evidence that Mesa County’s long-time conservative political ideology is starting to change, as more local residents begin to understand the dangers of electing Republicans to office.

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