Man Paralyzed by Spinal Cord Injury Walks Again After Groundbreaking Surgery

October 20, 2014

A British man paralyzed from the chest down in a knife attack two years ago has regained the ability to walk after an experimental treatment in which doctors transplanted cells from one of his olfactory bulbs into his spinal cord.

Olfactory sheathing cells (OEC) and enable the sense of smell. Since olfactory cells, which part of the nervous system, are constantly being damaged and replaced, the olfactory system is the only nervous system in the body that constantly regenerates itself throughout life. Doctors harnessed this regenerative ability to help the man regain his ability to walk.

Surgeons performed two separate operations. First, they removed one of the patient’s two olfactory bulbs and used it to grow more olfactory ensheathing cells in a culture. After two weeks, they transplanted some of the new OECs into the man’s spinal cord. They then made about 100 micro-injections of OECs just above and below the damaged area of his spine. In a second surgery, doctors took four small strips of nerve tissue from the man’s ankle and placed them across the gap in his spinal cord. The graft provided a bridge across the gap in the spinal cord for the OEC regrowth to follow.

Prior to the operation, the patient had undergone intensive physiotherapy for two years but made no progress towards getting his leg function back. But three months after the experimental surgery, he noticed more muscle growth in this left thigh. Six months after the operation, he took several steps on his own between parallel bars, with help from a physical therapist and supported by leg braces. He has also gotten back some of his bladder and bowel sensations and sexual function.

Using the man’s own cells eliminated the possibility his body would reject the transplanted cells. MRIs done on the patient’s spine indicate the gap in his spinal cord has closed since the treatment.

The landmark research that led to the successful operation was supported by the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) and the UK Stem Cell Foundation. None of the researchers or institutions involved in the pioneering research want to profit from it, and NSIF says it would acquire any patents that might come out of the research so they can make the surgery technique freely available to all who need it.

Until this groundbreaking surgery yielded these results, spinal cord regeneration was thought to be impossible.

Source: Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant, BBC.com Health News, October 20, 2013

City Market’s Insulting Political Birthday Card Section

October 18, 2014
One of City Markets political birthday cards, all of which are derogatory to Democrats, and this one towards women

One of City Markets political birthday cards, all of which are derogatory to Democrats, and this one towards women

The 24 Road City Market in Grand Junction has a “Political birthday” greeting card section in which all the cards are derogatory towards Democrats and President Obama. One was derogatory towards women in the course of insulting Democrats. None of the cards derided Republicans. The same cards are at the 32 Road City Market as well, so are probably in all their stores.

City Markets are part of the Kroger grocery store chain, a politically right national grocery chain. In 2014 election cycle so far, the Kroger Company has given a total of $23,000 to Republican candidates but only $7,250 to Democrats. The company has also refused to honor more than 100,000 requests from patrons to prohibit customers from openly carrying guns into its stores.

More and more of City Market’s Grand Junction customers are Democrats, but you wouldn’t know it from their “political birthday” card section, in which 100% of the cards insult liberals.

City Market's "boobs" birthday card

Inside City Market’s “boobs” birthday card

If you are looking for an alternative to City Market, Sprouts Farmers Market in Grand Junction has a greeting card section, too, and it does not contain cards that insult women or Democrats.

Moms Demand Action's ad against Kroger's policy of allowing patrons to brandish weapons in its stores

Moms Demand Action’s ad against Kroger’s policy of allowing patrons to brandish weapons in its stores

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner, Up for Re-Election, Makes 2nd Major Screw-up in Palisade Ballots

October 18, 2014
Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner just racked up her second screw up in Palisade ballot measures regarding marijuana retail sales. Coincidence?

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner just racked up her second screw up in Palisade ballot measures regarding marijuana retail sales. Coincidence?

First Palisade residents reported getting mail-in ballots without Referred Measures 2A and 2B on them. Now other people who live near Palisade but outside the town limits report getting ballots that do have Referred Measures 2A and 2B on them. The measures are only to be voted on by town residents.

Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner blamed the printer for the first screw-up of neglecting to include the two measures on some ballots, even though before commencing a print job a printer offers the customer, who in this case would have been Reiner, a proof to approve to assure accuracy of the final print job. If Reiner did not get a proof of the ballots prior to printing, she definitely should have requested one. When she got the ballots, she should have examined them for accuracy before mailing them. Ms. Reiner apparently did none of these things, but instead passed the blame onto the printer, without saying who it was.

Ballot received by a county resident who lives near, but not in Palisade, that contains Referred Measures 2A and 2B. The two measures are only supposed to be voted on by residents within town limits

Ballot received by a county resident who lives near, but not in Palisade, that contains Referred Measures 2A and 2B. The two measures are only supposed to be voted on by residents within town limits

Measure 2A asks Palisade residents if they want to allow retail recreational marijuana sales and cannabis growing facilities within the town limits. Measure 2B asks town residents if retail sales of recreational marijuana within town limits should be taxed.

If voters approve the measures, Palisade would become the first town inside Colorado on I-70 where tourists could legally buy recreational marijuana. The measures have great potential to boost the town’s coffers and local economy in general, as well as increase Palisade’s already considerable agricultural-tourism appeal.

Reiner hasn’t yet said who she blames for residents who don’t live within town limits getting ballots with the two measures on them, but we’ll guess she’ll likely say it wasn’t her.

 

Update: Sheila Reiner called at 6:15 this evening to say she believes the error occurred with her print vendor in Arizona who appears to have grabbed ballots out of the wrong stock during the stuffing procedure for ballots destined for a particular area of the Palisade outskirts. There is a number printed vertically along the right side of every ballot’s outer envelope, to the right of the address window. Sheila is trying to figure out who got them, and how many are wrong. If you got the wrong ballot, please call the Mesa County Clerk’s office at (970) 244-1662 to tell them your ballot number and let them know. 

Phillips: WaPo Cites Mesa County Sheriff’s Office as Misspending Public Funds

October 15, 2014
Benita Phillips is Mesa County's only woman candidate for Sheriff, and is running as a write-in candidate. She and her husband live in Palisade.

Benita Phillips is Mesa County’s only woman candidate for Sheriff, and is running as a write-in candidate. She and her husband live in Palisade.

Mesa County Sheriff write-in candidate Benita Phillips is drawing the public’s attention to an October 11 article in the Washington Post, “Asset seizures fuel police spending,” that specifically cites the Mesa County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office  (MCSO) as an example of a law enforcement agency guilty of grossly misspending public funds.

The article states,

Auditors found the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office paid thousands for projectors, scanner equipment and other items that were not intended for law enforcement. They also paid for 20 lawyers in the Mesa County prosecutor’s office to attend a conference at the Keystone ski resort. Auditors questioned more than $78,000 in spending. The Mesa Sheriff’s Office also did not respond to calls from The Post. [Emphasis added.].

Read more »

Atheist/Freethinker Community Expands on the Western Slope

October 10, 2014
Logo of HAFTA-Montrose

Logo of HAFTA-Montrose

A new branch of Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers has formed in Montrose, Colorado called HAFTA-Montrose. The acronym stands for “Humanists, Atheists, Freethinkers and Agnostics.” HAFTA-Montrose began meeting regularly this summer and intends to help correct local misconceptions about people who embrace secular belief systems (that don’t include a god), provide fellowship for like-minded people, and much-needed education and advocacy for the secular point of view in Montrose-Ridgway area of western Colorado.

The group can be contacted through their new Facebook page.

Colorado House Rep. Ray Scott’s Weird 2014 Bill

October 9, 2014
Here ya go, Ray! Introduce a bill for us, will you?

Here ya go, Ray! Will you introduce a bill for us, now, too?

Have you been wondering what Colorado House Rep. Ray Scott has been doing to benefit the western slope during his time in the Colorado House? So have we, but looking into this question left us scratching our heads.

In April, Ray Scott sponsored HB14-1046, a very important bill to create a Scottish-American license plate (pdf). To get the plate, all a person had to do is prove they made a financial donation to the St. Andrew Society of Colorado. That’s right…Scott introduced a bill that would financially benefit a group that has almost no presence on the western slope. The St. Andrew Society has exactly one member in Silt and one member in Montrose. They have no members or branches in Mesa County, and only put on two annual events, both on the front range. Ray Scott is not a member of the group, either, according to Jean Casson, the group’s self-professed “mother hen” for 40 years, and their public contact for phone inquiries. According to Casson, the Scottish-American constituency here on the western slope at the moment isn’t even big enough to support a single pro-Scottish group. Read more »

McInnis Campaign Fails to Get Permission to Post Signs

October 6, 2014
Illicitly-placed "McInnis" campaign sign on a power pole along G Road, placed without permission from XCel. The McInnis campaign has been asked to remove the signs.

Illicitly-placed “McInnis” campaign sign on a power pole along G Road. XCel has asked McInnis’ campaign to remove the signs.

The “Scott McInnis for Commissioner” signs that have appeared on power poles throughout the county have been placed illicitly, without first obtaining permission from the power company. The power poles are private property and the signs will have to be removed.

When someone from a different campaign contacted XCel to ask permission to place signage on the company’s power poles for a different candidate, and pointing out that Scott McInnis already had signs on the poles, XCel responded:

“The area contact has notified the [McInnis] campaign office to remove all signage from our private property. At this time, we are not allowing any political signage on our poles or other property. Again, we appreciate that you asked for consent prior to posting signs for your candidate. We hope you have a wonderful weekend.”

Former congressman Scott McInnis withdrew from a 2010 run for Colorado Governor amid a plagiarism scandal, for which he later apologized. In 2004, Congress also violated its own House Rule XXI, Clause 6 to rename a natural conservation area in Colorado after McInnis, who was then a sitting congressman. The rule prohibits sitting members of Congress from naming public works or lands after themselves.  McInnis did not notify anyone in Colorado about the bill to change the area’s name to honor him, and only two representatives spoke in favor of it — one from California and one from Guam. The bill was passed with a non-recorded voice-vote on a day when the House chambers were practically empty.

WCAF Says “Help Hungry Kids this Halloween”

October 6, 2014
Few kids suffer from a shortage of candy at Halloween, but lots of Mesa County kids suffer from food insecurity year 'round.

Few kids suffer from a shortage of candy at Halloween, but lots of Mesa County kids suffer from food insecurity year ’round.

How much money will you spend on Halloween candy this year? And how much good does that really do?

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers thinks some of that money can do a lot more good if applied to help alleviate hunger in our community.

Sadly, an astonishing number children in our own area suffer from food insecurity.

Mesa County’s poverty level is significantly higher than the state’s as a whole, making life difficult not just for local parents, but for their kids, too. Thirteen percent of Mesa County families live below the federal poverty level, compared to 8.9 percent for the rest of the state.  More than half of the students attending Mesa Valley School District 51 schools qualify for the free and reduced lunch program, and a fairly large number of kids who don’t qualify still go hungry because of poor parental behavior.

This Halloween, Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, western Colorado’s secular community since 2007, urges people to think differently and consider taking the money you would normally spend on candy, and maybe even just a little more, and donating it to Kids Aid, the local nonprofit that provides backpacks full of non-perishable foods to kids who would otherwise go hungry over the weekends.

Kids Aid currently sends home a phenomenal 1,800 backpacks of food every week to students in all District 51 schools.  The need in our community is very real.

Few kids suffer from a shortage of candy at Halloween, and obesity and diabetes are growing problems for young children. At the same time, many local kids are suffering from a chronic shortage of real, nutritious food.

Four dollars worth of candy money will feed a child for one whole weekend. Sixteen dollars of candy money will feed a child for a month, $48 worth of candy money will feed a child for a quarter and $128 worth of candy money will feed a child for an entire school year.

Few kids need more candy at Halloween, but a lot of kids need more nutritious food.

WCAF urges people to be a “Kids Aid House,” put their candy money to higher use this year, and help turn Halloween in Mesa County into a helping holiday for hungry kids.

Send donations to

Kids Aid

P.O. Box 2569

Grand Junction, CO 81502

…or donate through Kids Aid’s website at KidsAidColorado.org

Bottoms Up

October 2, 2014
Two bushes, located at the "Vintage 70s" subdivision along G Road between 12th Street and Horizon Drive, are carved into the shape of a gigantic buttocks and appears to be mooning drivers traveling along G Road.

Bushes located between two garages in the “Vintage 70s” subdivision along G Road between 12th Street and Horizon Drive, appear to be carved into the shape of a gigantic buttocks, mooning drivers traveling along G Road.

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