AnneLandmanBlog received the following email from Bradley Turpin, Milk and Institutions Program Manager in CDPHE’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability saying the company that performed the post-remediation testing for lead at the new Ascent Classical Academy building (the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club at 545 31 Road) did in fact use a test that they are allowed to use in this instance. He apologized for the confusion caused by their former statement that bulk testing would be appropriate in this situation. The official did not comment on the current lead levels in the building, but CDPHE does appear to be involved in overseeing the remediation.
Thinking of shopping for a new residential trash service? There may be good reason.
Republic Services recently bought Monument Waste and Rocky Mountain Sanitation, but the consolidation of the companies reduced competition and did NOT result in lower prices for customers.
The following prices are for one 96 gallon can, picked up once a week in the 81505 zip code, in 2023:
Waste Management ….. $40.74/month
Republic Services ….. $43.56/month for the first year, plus a $50.00 deposit, plus $15 to deliver the can, and after the first year the rate increases to $48.00/month
City of Grand Junction trash service ….. $19.75/month, and they supply the can.
There is a privately owned service called 970 Trash Wizard, but their routes are full and they aren’t currently accepting new customers.
The City of Grand Junction only services residences inside City limits, but they are by far the most efficient, with one operator driving an automated truck that hoists, empties and replaces each can automatically, without any wear and tear on a human being. The City is also implementing a new residential recycling service as well, phasing it in area by area, which will allow customers to recycle plastics #1, #2 and #5, as well as fibers like newspaper, clean cardboard, magazines and egg cartons, all for no extra cost for trash customers.
The Vertex Company LLC of Denver, which Ascent Classical Academy hired to test the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building for lead contamination after the building was remediated, did the wrong kind of testing, says an specialist with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
Caren Johannes of CDPHE’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division Compliance Unit, who oversees closed shooting ranges, looked over online remediation report (pdf) that Ascent posted its website on August 11, 2023, and concluded that the Vertex Company did the wrong kind of testing for lead in the building, so their results will not be valid.
Notice: Since this article was written, AnneLandmanBlog has found out from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)’s Hazardous Waste department expert in charge of dealing with closed firing ranges that Ascent contractor Vertex Companies of Denver utilized the wrong type of post-remediation testing technique for this facility, rendering the results in the report Ascent posted on August 11 invalid and essentially useless. Read more about it here.
The 8-page, post-lead remediation testing report that Ascent Classical Academy Grand Junction posted on its website August 11, 2023 (pdf) shows that 30 of the 66 sites tested for lead in the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building at 545 31 Road, which is to serve as the new charter school, still have lead levels 5-23 times above HUD allowable limits.
And Ascent did not test the air inside the facility.
The post-remediation testing was performed by the Vertex Company, which included a disclaimer in the report that essentially says it wasn’t feasible to test all areas of the building, so there may still be areas where lead dust levels exceed HUD limits.
In the wake of Commissioner Janet Rowland’s recent coup over the Mesa County Public Health Department, if the the past is a predictor of future behavior, under Rowland the Health Department is likely in for a significant reduction in its ability to respond to public health threats, and area residents will likely face more danger from emerging health threats.
A storm is brewing over the governance of the Grand Mesa Nordic Council (GMNC), as longtime members set off alarm bells about the way the group has been operating recently.
GMNC is a nonprofit group made up of local cross country skiers. It was founded in 1990 to groom and maintain popular ski trails on the Grand Mesa and work with the National Forest Service to develop new trails. Over its 40+ years of existence, it has been remarkably successful.
Originally, GMNC was made up of volunteers and operated on a shoestring budget of donations from skiers and businesses that support the sport. Their pursuit of their mission was driven by members’ love and passion for the sport. But after growing steadily over the years, donations increased to the point where the GMNC now pulls in about quarter million dollars a year, and for the first time, the group was forced to hire paid staff to manage its affairs.
The result has been worrisome to many.
If you’ve entered Sam’s Club’s parking lot using the driveway off 25 1/2 Road lately, you’ve probably noticed a sad sight.
The longstanding “Tennis Bubble,” an inflatable structure otherwise known as the Junction Indoor Tennis Center at 535 25 1/2 Road. which houses four tennis courts inside an inflatable vinyl bubble that protects players from the weather, has deflated.
So what happened to The Bubble?
Did somebody stab it? Did the owners forget to pay their electric bill? Are the tennis courts being converted into pickleball courts?
The answer is, none of those.
Former Red Rock GMC financial manager Tiffany M. Miller was arrested earlier this month and charged with forgery, identity theft and criminal impersonation.
AnneLandmanBlog obtained a copy of the full August 2 arrest affidavit (pdf) for Miller.
The biggest takeaways from it are summarized below:
- A couple was trying to buy a vehicle from Red Rock GMC at 741 N. First Street, and applied for a loan through the dealership. After they left with the vehicle, two Red Rock financial managers, Tiffany Miller and Matthew Morris, phoned the customers’ lender and posed as the couple, in a claimed effort “to verify the information on the auto [credit] application,” and “expedite the loan process.”
- In addition to posing as the customers, Miller falsified information on the customers’ credit application, including who the primary driver of the vehicle would be, and the length of time the couple had lived at their residence, and she falsely stated the car had extra accessories it didn’t actually have, including running boards, rear bucket seats, a rear entertainment system and blind spot monitors. The customers told GJPD investigators the car they were purchasing had none of these features. These items would have increased the value of the vehicle to the lender. (Note: This is a practice that, according to a former Red Rock finance employee is called “Power Booking,” that is aimed at increasing the value of the car to the lender to get the customer a bigger loan.)
- The Grand Junction Police Department (GJPD) first sent the case to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Auto Industry Division (AID), the enforcement agency for dealerships. Months later, the AID sent it back to the GJPD because “the allegations are for felony criminal activity.”
- Red Rock GMC General Manager Tyson Chambers said Red Rock GMC got “locked out” of Canvas Credit Union via their online lending platform, Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL), because of the “victim complaint and the potential forgery on the loan application.”
- Tyson Chambers fired both Tiffany Miller and Matthew Morris, the two GMC financial managers who posed as customers on the phone call to the lender. Morris later told the GJPD criminal investigator that he was told that making calls posing as customers was “just part of the business and everyone knows they do it, to include the banks.”
UPDATE as of 8/11/2023, 4:00 p.m. – Ascent Classical Academy updated it’s blog today with a link to a report (pdf) provided by remediation project manager, the Vertex Company. The actual remediation was performed by Hudspeth Environmental Remediation Company based in Centennial, whose website says they specialize in asbestos and lead paint removal. According to the chart provided in the report, many areas remain 5 to 23 times above HUD’s recommended lead clearance cleanup standard of <10 µ/sq.ft. (less than 10 micrograms per square foot). Among these are the men’s bathroom on the first floor, which had 71 µ/sq.ft, the floor of the first floor “men’s restroom in the tactical area,” with 83 µ/sq.ft., the former “Handgun range – floor in NE corner” at 68 µ/sq.ft., “Handgun range – floor in middle by west wall” at 57 µ/sq.ft., the “Handgun range – center of floor in room south of handgun range,” which had 130 µ/sq.ft., the “Handgun range – floor in SE corner” at 98 µ/sq.ft. and “Handgun range – floor in room south of range” with 230 µ/sq.ft.
The “Discussion” part of the report states,
“As it is not feasible to sample all areas of all surfaces, the wipe sampling strategy utilized by VERTEX does not provide for, nor ensure that all surfaces within a subject property undergo wipe sampling; thus, the possibility exists that lead-in-dust concentrations on surface locations not sampled during an assessment may be in excess of HUD and/or CDPHE Regulation 19 cleanup standards.”
Translation:” It’s not feasible to test the whole property, so there may be lead concentrations in places we didn’t check that may be in excess of HUD and CDPHE’s cleanup standards.”
Ascent does not yet have a Certificate of Occupancy for the building.
The Ascent Classical Academy charter school is planning to move into the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building at 545 31 Road, which formerly served as an indoor shooting range for 7 years. The inside of the building is currently being rebuilt and their website says the first day of school will be Tuesday, September 5, 2023, but to date, Ascent still hasn’t provided the public with documentation from a government health authority that their building poses no threat of lead poisoning to occupants,
and they appear to be withholding information on the remediation status of the building. [See above update.]
Ever since the sign went up last spring at 2566 Patterson Road next to the new Coffee Trader announcing “The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill” would be “Coming Soon,” foodies have been watching with great anticipation, thrilled at the prospect of having delicious new Greek/Mediterranean cuisine in town.
Employees at the Coffee Trader said the place expected to open in September, but we’re going to have to wait for our lamb, chicken, beef or shrimp souvlaki, spanakopita, avgolemono soup, gyros, falafel plates, tzatziki, lemon potatoes and more.
After the sign went up, nothing else happened.
People in highly-paid, taxpayer-funded jobs who also are in positions to influence Mesa County actions and policies should be background checked, especially when they start doing potentially illegal things like helping the Mesa County Commissioners dismantle of the Board of Public Health for no real reason, and in apparent violation of county policies and state law.
Mesa County Attorney Todd M. Starr certainly meets that criteria. He makes a salary of $190,800/year, not including perks and benefits, and appears to have facilitated illegal acts by the Mesa County Commissioners against the Board of Public Health.
So I decided to background check him.
Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland wasted no time in taking credit for the contributions towards improving childcare in Mesa County made by former Public Health Director Jeff Kuhr, whom Rowland recently pushed out through an expensive and vicious months-long campaign over a personnel disagreement.
On July 29, Rowland showed off the new Clifton Community Campus at 3270 D 1/2 Road to Governor Jared Polis, crowing that it was “designed to be a community hub featuring an early childhood education center…” without ever mentioning that Public Health Director Kuhr was the one who initiated the big push to expand child care in the county (pdf) and helped the County get funding to make the childcare center possible.
After an ownership change at the Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade drove artists away earlier this year, more than twenty Grand Valley artists will now display their work in the newly-expanded Craig Gallery Palisade at 128 East 3rd Street in the heart of downtown Palisade. The Gallery is easily identified by the big, red metal heart sculpture in front of the building.
Gallery owner Tammy Craig, who also owns Fruit and Wine Real Estate, has wanted to expand the Gallery for some time.
“Then Kay Crane became available and I saw the opportunity to take the gallery to the next level with a full-time Gallery Director,” she says. “Kay’s expertise and experience are unparalleled. As the former Director of the Blue Pig Gallery and an artist in her own right, Kay is well known for attracting and working well with top-flight artists.”
Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland succeeded in imposing her political will on the Mesa County Public Health Department yesterday after appointing two final conservative members to the Mesa County Board of Public Health (BOH).
Health Department employees point out Rowland made all the new appointments to the Board of Health without consulting a single person at the Health Department.
“The fact that they keep appointing people to our Board that so clearly do not support the work that we do feels like a spit in the face every time,” one employee said.
In a July 18, 2023 video posted on Rumble.com — the online video platform right wing extremists turn to after being banned from YouTube and Facebook — indicted former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters optimistically starts off a half hour interview by saying “I always have a smile on my face because I know the best is yet to come.” She explains why she just fired her criminal defense attorney, Harvey Steinberg. She told her attorney,
“If you can’t get me off on two misdemeanors, how are you going to fight seven felonies and three misdemeanors?”
Advocates for Moms Demand Action, a gun violence prevention group, handed Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) a pin on July 18 honoring 10-year old Maite Rodriguez, one of 19 children massacred in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.
Maite’s body was so mangled by gunfire that she was only identifiable by her favorite pair of green Converse tennis shoes with the heart drawn over the right toe that she was wearing that day. Maite, her fellow students and teachers were killed with an AR-style rifle. (Click here for a demonstration of why AR-15 style rifles are so much more damaging to the body than other types of firearms.)
Boebert promptly walked to a trash can with the pin and flier explaining its significance and tossed it into the can, right in front of the people who had handed it to her.
The Mesa County Commissioners’ newly-appointed Chair of the Public Health Board, Stephen D. Daniels, has made it known that he is a strong supporter of anti-vax conspiracy theorist and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (RFK). In multiple posts on his social media accounts, Daniels urges people to be open to discussion about Kennedy’s views and believe what Kennedy has to say.
But does Daniels support what RFK told a table full of people last week at a press event in Manhattan (video), that the Covid-19 virus is “ethnically targeted” to attack Caucasians and Black people, and to spare Jews and Chinese people?
RFK’s comments were widely reported as being a “Bigoted new Covid conspiracy about Jews and Chinese” (NY Times), as being “deplorable” and “hurtful” (Fox News), as spreading “false claims” about Covid-19 (CBS News) and being “antisemitic and racist” (ABC News).
Specifically, RFK said in part,
“There is an argument that it [Covid-19] is ethnically targeted. COVID-19 attacks certain races disproportionately. COVID-19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.”