Category: Activism

Need an abortion in Grand Junction, or on the western slope? Here is updated information.

NOTE: I’ve written about how to obtain an abortion in Mesa County before on this blog, most recently in 2020, but the landscape on this issue keeps changing. Some options disappear while others expand, and with potential changes looming on the national policy front, I’m re-visiting the topic, and will continue to update it periodically. 

In light of the recently-leaked draft Supreme Court ruling indicating the right wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court is likely next month to formally overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that assured abortion was legal throughout the U.S., it is prudent to revisit the issue of abortion in Colorado, and specifically how to obtain one in Grand Junction and on the western slope.

First of all, there is no reason to fear losing the right to have an abortion in Colorado, ever. Abortion will stay legal and accessible in Colorado, whatever the Supreme Court does.

G.J. citizens rally to protest draft Supreme Court opinion indicating Court will vote to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion

Supporters of abortion rights attend a hastily-called rally in front of the old Mesa County Courthouse on 5/3/22 to protest an impending Supreme Court decision that threatens American womens’ right to obtain an abortion.

The Mesa County Women’s Right Action League organized a rally on short notice today in response to a leaked draft of a major Supreme Court decision published by Politico that indicates the far right majority on the Court will vote to eliminate women’s constitutionally-guaranteed right to obtain an abortion, a right women have had for 50 years. The rollback of womens’ freedom would be unprecedented.

Featured speakers included Jennifer Hancock, a board member of Cobalt, a Colorado-based organization that that helps people get access to abortions, Heidi Hesse of One Colorado, Jeriel Clark and Pastor Valerie Carlson of the American Lutheran Church.

Rep. Janice Rich rescues homeowners locked out of common space

A bill that House Rep. Janice Rich introduced in response to the plight of Grand Junction residents who were unjustly shut out of their common space by an overzealous HOA, “Homeowners’ Reasonable Access to Common Areas,” gets signed by Governor Polis at the state Capitol in Denver on April 12, 2022. (Left to right: House Rep. Edie Hooton, Rep. Janice Rich, Gov. Polis, Sen. Tammy Story)

A year ago this blog highlighted the plight of homeowners who suddenly found themselves repeatedly locked out of their own common space park for months at a time by an overzealous homeowners association (HOA). The example was the Moonridge Falls subdivision in Grand Junction where, without consulting homeowners, the HOA locked the ornamental gates to the home owners’ small open space park in winter due to a sudden fear that ice on the 2-foot deep irrigation pond in the park posed a danger. No one had been injured on the pond, there hadn’t been any accident or incident involving the pond, the pond ices over every year and the park hadn’t been locked before as far back as most neighbors could remember.

StopTheMandateGJ kicked off Facebook, starts new page, tries to evade another shutdown by using code words

The anti-vaccine group StopTheMandateGJ had its Facebook page shut down January 7th for violating Facebook’s Community standards after Facebook started cracking down on “vaccine misinformation superspreaders” last fall. The group was organized by local chiropractors Greg Haitz and Daniel Vaden of the Rimrock Wellness Center at 12th and Patterson Road, and for months spearheaded protests outside hospitals, getting groups of people to wave signs against getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

Greg Haitz

The group is trying to get re-established on Facebook again, though, and this time the page administrator tells users how to use code for words like “vaccine” and “jab” to avoid getting shut down again. The admins also tell users how to link to articles and web pages containing misinformation without the links being detected by Facebook:

Angry crowd faces down School Board at their meeting Monday, 2/7

Screenshot of the packed, angry but well-behaved crowd that faced down the new School Board President Andrea Haitz and the other new school board members Monday night, 2/7/22, as they made moves toward possibly firing district administrators. The screenshot is from a video taken at the beginning of the meeting, before the Board went into executive session to discuss the employment contracts of Superintendent Diana Sirko, Assistant Superintendent Brian Hill and the Director of Equity and Inclusion, Tracy Gallegos. An equal number of people were outside. A student in front is holding a sign that says “Don’t make me use my INSIDE VOICE!”

7th Street Deli saved by Tim Foster

The 7th Street Deli has been at the same location on 7th Street and Bookcliff for 15 years

The 7th-Street Deli has been saved!

The deli was threatened with eviction in mid-January for non-payment of back rent. The owner had suffered a prolonged 50% loss of business due to back-to-back renovation projects that took place on 7th Street in 2019 and 2020, and then got hit with the no-indoor dining order in 2020 from Covid. Deli owner Debbie Allen had made it through all those obstacles and was finally getting out of her debt when the property owner slapped her with an eviction notice and a lawsuit for tens of thousands in back rent. The deli started a GoFundMe account and donations poured in. By the end of January they had raised about $8,000, but it wasn’t enough to pay off all the back rent.

7th Street Deli threatened with eviction

You’ve seen it…you drive by it all the time. After 15 years in this location, the much-loved 7th Street Deli, a woman-owned and operated family business that makes home-made food, has been threatened with eviction.

The 7th Street Deli just south of St. Mary’s Hospital may soon be forced to close its doors.

The restaurant has been there for 15 years, and has been owned and operated by Debbie Allen and her daughter for the last 8 years. It is woman-owned business and the only restaurant close to the hospital. Their food is damn good and now they might have to close.

On January 5th, the landlord who owns the Medical Arts complex where the deli is located threatened Debbie and her family with eviction by the end of the month for non-payment of rent. The eviction notice comes after the restaurant was faced with a long series of unfortunate events starting in 2018. It has been struggling to come back, and just as business is finally starting to improve again, now this.

How did they get into this position after having so much success for so long?

Former KKCO weatherman Butch McCain now shilling for anti-vaxxers

Former KKCO Channel 11 weatherman Butch McCain, who was fired last October for refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, stands in front of a fake weather map in a video promoting the anti-vax group Stop The Mandate GJ

Former longtime KKCO weatherman Butch McCain, who was fired from KKCO last October after refusing to get a Covid-19 vaccine in compliance with his employer Gray TV’s Covid-19 vaccine policy, is now promoting the anti-vax group Stop the Mandate GJ, which is encouraging others in our area to also refuse the vaccine.

McCain now appears on the first page of StoptheMandateGJ’s website, talking in front of a fake weather map and saying in part,

“It’s not about Covid any more, it’s about forced compliance…Let’s be the resistance to their nationwide tyranny…

 

New conservative school board members violate CO Open Meetings Law, make decisions in secret

Newly-elected D-51 School Board member Andrea Haitz promised transparency, but is violating open meetings laws and attempting to enact policy without public comment. At about 4:43 into the meeting video, after a suggestion that the Board could get more information about potential law firms to hire, Haitz says “There’s a certain point where you can get too much information.”

It took no time at all for the newly sworn-in District 51 School Board members to violate Colorado’s Open Meetings Law (pdf), violate their campaign promises of transparency, and indicate their willingness to spend excessive taxpayer funds for no clear reason, and they did it all in one breathtaking move they sprang on everyone a full four hours into their first board meeting December 14.

Election conspiracy theorist Sherronna Bishop compares G.J. blogger to a top U.S public health physician

In what apparently was meant as a slur toward trangender people, Garfield County election conspiracy theorist Sherronna Bishop, who calls herself “America’s Mom,” in this Instagam post today compared Grand Junction blogger Anne Landman to Admiral Rachel Levine, M.D., newly-appointed as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health and among the most accomplished public health physicians in the country.

In what was meant to be a slur aimed at transgender people, Garfield County election conspiracy theorist Sherronna Bishop, who bills herself as “Americas Mom,” today in an Instagram post compared AnneLandmanBlog author Anne Landman to Admiral Rachel Levine, M.D., the highly accomplished public health physician who was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the nation’s new Assistant Secretary of Health in the U.S. Department of Human Services.

The Agency of the Irresponsible

The following commentary on how Colorado Mesa University (CMU) is handling the coronavirus pandemic was written by CMU History Professor Sarah Swedberg, who is now experiencing CMU’s policies in person. This article was originally published on Nursing Clio, an open-access, peer-reviewed, collaborative blog that ties historical scholarship to present-day issues related to gender and medicine. The article is reprinted here with full permission from Dr. Swedberg.

———

Like many faculty at state universities, the beginning of this school year brings me more terror than excitement. Colorado Mesa University (CMU), the institution at which I have taught since 1999, will require neither masks nor vaccines for students, and faculty cannot enforce mask mandates in the classrooms. This flies in the face of best practices for public health. When I asked the reason for this policy, I was told that there were strong feelings on both sides.

“Strong feelings” is clearly code for the fact that CMU is in a politically conservative region where there is strong resistance to both vaccination and masks. These words remind us that public health measures have always been politicized. Because I teach about HIV and AIDS and because I was a young adult in the 1980s, it is that pandemic that is foremost in my mind as I try to negotiate my own and my students’ safety.

School Board candidate Haitz sends out offensive fundraising email

Fundraising email from Andrea Haitz announcing her campaign for D-51 school board

School District 51 Board Candidate Andrea Haitz sent out a red-meat fundraising email in July that offended teachers, parents and D-51 employees who have been working hard to give kids the best education possible while struggling with all the difficulties imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Haitz said,

“Politics is in the way of our children’s future. Political agendas are being jammed down our kids’ throats. Necessary tools that were once taught, like critical thinking, have now been replaced with divisive ideologies and revisionist history.

I will not watch our kids be brainwashed. I am taking a stand!

Will you join me by making a contribution to my campaign?”

The email was a dog-whistle designed to extract donations from far-right conservatives who fear “Critical Race Theory,” (CRT) a body of legal and academic scholarship that proposes that race is a social and not a biological construct, and that discusses how race and a history of institutionalized racism have created and perpetuate a system that broadly disadvantages people of color in American society.

Group petitions District 51 to use stronger Covid-19 protocols this fall

National news report on July 27 says current guidance is that all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools should wear masks regardless of vaccination status, especially indoors in Covid hot spots. Mesa County is a Covidhot spot for the more contagious Delta variant.

Supporters for Open and Safe Schools (SOS), a group of Mesa County residents who are alarmed by the lax Covid-19 prevention protocols School District 51 put in place for this fall, is challenging the District’s “2021-22 Keeping Schools Open Plan” as insufficient to keep students and the surrounding community safe from COVID outbreaks and school closures amid a continuing pandemic.

District 51 announced its “Keeping Schools Open” plan on July 16, but the plan does not require students or staff to wear face coverings. Instead it makes masking optional, lets unvaccinated visitors onto schools grounds without wearing face coverings and only encourages, and does not require, staff and students over 12 years to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

15 year old Florida Covid patient who did not get the opportunity to get vaccinated

Currently children under 12 are not eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, making them more susceptible to infection, especially with more transmissible Delta variant that spread rapidly in Mesa County after the County Commissioners ended all Covid protections in the county last spring. Currently only 43 percent of Mesa County adults over 12 years of age are fully vaccinated, far lower than the statewide average of 54 percent.

Mesa County has already had one pediatric COVID death.

Crowd protests Boebert and Jordan’s appearance in G.J.

Some of the crowd that turned out to protest Boebert and Jordan

A crowd of about 50 protesters came out to heckle Mesa County’s wealthiest Republicans as they arrived at the Grand Junction Convention Center to attend a Mesa County Republican Party fundraiser on Saturday, July 24 featuring House Representatives Lauren Boebert and Jim Jordan.

Boebert was recently shunned by a GOP women’s fundraising group, the Value In Electing Women (VIEW) PAC, which called her “a shameless self-promoter” and a “carnival barker.” The group accused Boebert of treating Congress like a joke and a reality show. Boebert’s votes have shocked much of the nation. She voted against giving medals to the U.S. Capitol Police who defended Congress from the 1/6 attack. She voted against a bill to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, and was one of only two legislators to vote against a national bone marrow registry to help cancer patients  She also voted against protecting seniors and indigenous communities from scams in a 413-8 vote.

Got kids? If so, you’re about to get serious financial help from the Biden-Harris Administration and the Democrats.

American families with children will start getting substantial monthly payments from the government starting July 15 to help with the costs of raising their kids, and it’s all thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration and the Democrats, who voted in a Coronavius relief bill last March.

On March 11, President Biden signed The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, into law. Most people know it as the bill that made the government send out $1,400 Coronavirus relief checks to Americans earlier this year, but there is another vastly important part of the Act that will start benefitting American families very soon.

Section 2 of the Act changes the rules regarding the Child Tax Credit to speed financial relief to most working American families.

Former Delta County School District students pressure district to end racism in schools

Jordan Evans (L) and Marisa Edmondson (R) are graduates of Paonia High School and are pushing the Delta County School District to  actively work to end what they see as pervasive racism in Delta County Schools

Two alumni of the Delta County School District (DCSD) began an all-out effort last year to pressure the Delta County School District to address the pervasive racism and discrimination they and others say they have experienced in Delta County Schools. Edmondson says while they have made some progress, the School District and School Board have largely stonewalled them and resisted the change.

Have you ever helped reverse a drug overdose? If so, your story is needed.

The University of Colorado Denver’s Anthropology Department is looking for Coloradans who have attempted to reverse a drug overdose and who are willing to tell their stories in a digital storytelling project for the benefit of Colorado.

The goal of the project is to increase knowledge about the role the use of drugs like Naloxone and Narcan play in reducing opioid overdoses in Colorado. These personal stories will be recorded and used to increase awareness of the importance of these drugs in helping to reduce the opioid overdose epidemic in the state. The project will also benefit opioid users who are at risk of suffering an overdose.

Delta County School Board blocks students from medically-accurate, comprehensive sex ed

Kathy Svenson of Delta County. speaking to the Delta County School Board, likens transgenderism to putting diesel in a gas engine. In 2013 Svenson, a former Delta County School Board Member, said transgender children should be castrated before they are allowed use school restrooms.

At its Friday, May 21, 2021 meeting, the Delta County School Board unanimously passed Resolution 2021-15, blocking students who attend Delta County public schools from being able to access a comprehensive, medically-accurate sexual education. People who attended the meeting reported that the School Board did not give the public any notice about its intent to vote on the resolution at the meeting. According to KVNF Radio, the school board had promised it would circulate a questionnaire and host a public meeting about the topic, but it did not.