Category: Children

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.

Mesa County’s pervasive right wing culture is damaging our public health and economy

No one wants to say it, but Mesa County’s far right wing culture is now hurting us all, physically and economically

Everybody is dancing around it, but no one wants to come right out and say it. It’s the single biggest threat to Mesa County’s population in the last hundred years, but everyone is scared to say it:

Mesa County’s dominant far right wing culture is now causing a resurgent spread of Covid-19, sending people to the hospital and endangering the children in our community who are too young to get vaccinated. Our area’s right wing culture, with its erroneous, misinformed beliefs, is causing the majority of Mesa County residents to refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19. At the same time our elected officials have abandoned all other means of controlling the pandemic, like masking and physical distancing requirements.

We’ve heard over and over again that the Covid vaccine is now our only way out of the pandemic, but because most people in Mesa County are refusing to get vaccinated, we may never escape the pandemic.

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.

Delta County right wingers fight the prospect of teaching medically-accurate sex ed in Delta schools; Gay groups to rally in support this Thursday

Conservatives in Delta are working to oppose the teaching of medically-accurate sex ed in Delta County schools

Delta County conservatives are in a tizzy over the prospect that their school district may implement a medically-accurate, comprehensive sex education curriculum in compliance with a new Colorado law passed in 2019.

Until recently, the Delta County Schools’ only consistent “sex education” curriculum consisted of presentations by a woman named Shelly Donahue, a Christian abstinence-only speaker whose talk relied heavily on shame, guilt and medically-inaccurate information. Donahue likened girls brains to cooked spaghetti and boys brains to toaster waffles. The slides in her show were sprinkled with crosses, and she told kids that having premarital sex put them “further from God.” Donahue’s $2,000 speaking fee was picked up by a Christian missionary group. One Oklahoma school district has banned Donahue from speaking because students said her talks were demeaning to girls and children from broken homes. (For more on Shelly Donahue and the Delta County School District, search on “Shelly Donahue” in the AnneLandmanblog search box on right side of any page.)

Application by Cindy Ficklin to be D-51 Superintendent raises alarm

Cindy Ficklin (L), an applicant for the job of D-51 School Superintendent, flashes the hand signal of the “Three Percenters” militia while scuba diving in Hawaii. (Photo credit: Facebook). Right photo & caption are from Wikipedia. The Anti-Defamation League lists this gesture as a racist hand sign. [UPDATE 2/20/21]: We have since been informed that in the context of scuba diving, this symbol is used to say a diver is “OK.” That was likely the case in this scenario, although since Mesa County is largely a desert, very right wing politically, has numerous elected officials who have in fact advanced QAnon theories and Trump’s lies about the election, and since few people here scuba dive, many people interpreted this symbol in its political context rather than its scuba diving context.]

Grand Junction real estate agent Cindy Ficklin submitted an application February 10 to become District 51 Superintendent, raising alarm bells among people familiar with her extremist views.

Who is Cindy Ficklin?

Ficklin is a 40-something GOP firebrand known for her extremist right wing views and her outspoken manner.

In a red-meat speech she gave on July 4, 2020 to a mostly un-masked crowd at the “Stand for the Constitution Freedom Rally” in a local park, Ficklin railed against masking and contact tracing — the only tools available to control the Coronavirus. She said that “CDC guidelines for opening schools … are literally formed of human torture and child abuse,” and spread the false narrative that government was forcing vaccines on people. She railed against public health recommendations to “stay home to stay safe” and whipped up anger at community efforts to control the virus, saying “the new normal” we’re all living with is “an attempt to infringe on our civil rights.”

Obscene Republican flags across the street from Orchard Mesa Middle School and a day care center draw outrage

Obscene flags in front of a home on Unaweep Ave. on Orchard Mesa, directly across the street from Orchard Mesa Middle School and a day care center.

Orchard Mesa residents are recoiling at the obscene Republican flags on display at 2737 Unaweep Ave., a house directly across the street from Orchard Mesa Middle School and the Eagle View Learning Center, an early childhood educational center.

The homeowner has three flags: the top one says “TRUMP 2020 – NO MORE BULLSH*T,” a middle flag shows a fantasized Rambo-styled version of Trump holding a machine gun, and the third flag says in big letters “F*CK BIDEN AND F*CK YOU IF YOU VOTED FOR HIM.”

The obscene language and violent imagery — imagery now inextricably linked to the Republican Party after the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters January 6th that left 5 people dead — are drawing outrage from area residents, who are trying to get the flags removed. At least one person has contacted KKCO, KREX and the Mesa County Republican Party’s headquarters at 1227 N. 23rd Street, Unit #103, Grand Junction, 970-261-0778.

Mesa County Commissioners use taxpayer money to recruit evangelical Christian foster families

Janet Rowland’s religious nonprofit got $57,360 in taxpayer funds in 2017  to recruit Christian foster families and place adopted kids in religious homes. (Photo: KKCO 11 News)

Newly-discovered Mesa County documents (pdf) reveal that in 2017, the Board of County Commissioners handed over $57,000 in taxpayer funds to a Christian organization represented by Janet Rowland for the purpose of recruiting solely evangelical Christian foster families in Mesa County.

Rose Pugliese, John Justman and Scott McInnis — all Republicans — unanimously agreed to enter into a contract (pdf) to pay $57,360 in taxpayer funds to Project 1.27, a Christian ministry that works through churches to recruit religious foster and adoptive families to assure children are “cared for within Christian communities.”

Janet Rowland was Project 1.27’s national director.

The group engages in  “[foster] training with a solid Christian perspective,” and provides training to “Christian parents wishing to foster and adopt.” The group’s website makes no mention of recruiting families belonging to any other religions or of no religion.

The county’s contract required 20 hours a month be spent on “faith based recruitment.”

Project 1.27’s website only addresses recruitment of Christian families, saying they provide “state-required, biblically-based training for Christian parents wishing to foster and adopt.”

This is misleading since legally, no state can require “biblically-based training” in anything. Project 1.27’s website does not say it is open to recruitment of families from any other religion, or non-religious families.

Republican congressional candidate Lauren Boebert may have committed a felony by arming a 17 year old employee

The Colorado Times Recorder is reporting that Republican Congressional candidate for District 3, Lauren Boebert, likely committed a criminal offense in 2015 when she required an underage employee to carry a firearm in her diner. Boebert and her husband own Shooters Grill, an eatery in Rifle, Colorado whose attention-getting business gimmick is requiring all employees to open-carry handguns.

Boebert’s alleged firearm offense was documented in a January, 2015 YouTube video about the diner which included a clip in which the young employee, Brooke Shackleford, admits she is just 17 years old and open carries a firearm inside Boebert’s restaurant while she works.

Under Colorado Revised Statutes 18-12-108.7 it is illegal to allow a juvenile to possess a handgun, and whoever does so commits a Class 4 felony, punishable by fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000 and 2 to 6 years in prison.

Other Class 4 felonies include crimes of sexual assault, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and identity theft.

 

 

 

 

State to give free money to CO public schools to teach medically-accurate sex ed

 

Republican Colorado State Senator Don Coram, a rancher from Montrose, sponsored the legislation creating the grant program

Delta County School District 50J, are you listening?

For the first time, the State of Colorado is offering free money (pdf) and plenty of it to school districts to teach medically-accurate, comprehensive, culturally-sensitive and inclusive sexual education.

Last May, Governor Polis signed the Youth Wellness Act, (pdf) HB19-1032, that provides the funds and requirements for eligible curriculum.

Believe it or not, HB19-1032  was sponsored in part by Montrose rancher and Republican State Senator Don Coram.

Grand Junction High School photos

In case you haven’t had a chance to tour Grand Junction High School prior to the November 5 election, the following photos were taken inside the school on a tour on Saturday morning, October 19, 2019. What the photos cannot relate are the odors in some of these areas, which were quite objectionable. Ventilation was lacking in many areas. Measure 4A on the Mesa County Ballot will fund construction of a new Grand Junction High School. The current building was constructed in 1956. AnneLandmanBlog urges a “YES” vote on Measure 4A for fund a new school:

Classroom on the east side of campus

One more thing about commissioner candidate Janet Rowland…

Former County Commissioner Janet Rowland (January 2005 – January 2013) advocated a program that paid women with drug addictions $300 to get sterilized

Former Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, who has already had two terms in the recent past and is now running for a third term, has given Mesa County voters plenty of reasons not to elect her again, but here’s another one, and get ready. This one is kind of creepy.

In 2008, Rowland promoted a program that paid drug-addicted women $300 to get sterilized so they couldn’t reproduce. The program, called Project Prevention, targeted its advertising mainly at women, and 37% of the women who had been sterilized under the program were African-American. In 2009, African-Americans made up just 12.4% of the U.S. population.

Free digital literacy resources available from Southern Poverty Law Center

Are you a teacher looking for ways to teach kids how to tell the difference between real and “fake” news, how to determine whether an online source is legitimate, reliable and fair, and how to engage in social media discussions responsibly? Are you looking for ways to help kids negotiate topics in the news, like immigration, civil rights, race and gender identity?

Well, here’s your answer.

The Southern Poverty Law Center now offers free Common Core-compatible classroom materials and resources that can help kids discern malicious online fare like propaganda deployed by hate groups to recruit new members, false conspiracy theories and racist lies. It will also help kids become more sophisticated consumers of news and social media and navigate topics like race and ethnicity, religion, variations in ability, immigration, class, bullying and bias, gender and sexual identity and rights and activism.

And did we mention it’s all free?

SPLC’s, program, “Teaching Tolerance,” includes K-12 lesson plans that align with Common Core standards and offers professional development tools that will help teachers increase their own online savvy. Teachers can access a multitude of resources, like lessons for different grade levels, student tasks, lesson plans, teaching strategies for different grade levels, film kits, printable posters and other classroom materials, and they are all available at no cost by visiting Tolerance.org.

Colorado bill would prohibit teaching religious doctrine in public school sex ed curriculum

Colorado State Senator Don Coram

Delta County School District, are you listening?

Colorado State Senator Don Coram, a Republican who represents Montrose and Ouray counties, is a sponsor of HB19-1032, “Comprehensive Human Sexuality Education,” a bill to prohibit sex ed instruction in K-12 public schools from “explicitly or implicitly teaching or endorsing religious ideology or sectarian tenets or doctrines, using shame-based or stigmatizing language or instructional tools, employing gender norms or gender stereotypes, or excluding the relational or sexual experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals.”

The bill would appropriate least $1 million annually for a grant program to carry out the new law, and it would give highest priority for the grant funds to rural public schools.

Why is this bill needed? Because of the Delta County School District.

Ridgway passes single-use plastic bag ban

Autumn Sagal, Indigo Krois, Elani Wallin and Maizy Gordon (Photo: Telluride Daily Planet)

On December 12 the Ridgway Town Council passed an ordinance (pdf) banning single-use plastic bags and urging residents to curtail their use of other single-use plastics like straws, single-use food take-out containers, coffee stirrers, soda bottles, disposable water bottles, eating utensils and food packaging.

The ordinance states single-use plastics have “severe negative impacts on the environment” on both a local and global scale, that they “contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, litter, atmospheric acidification,” and cause problems with water sources and harm wildlife. Ridgway’s Town Council also passed the ordinance to help reduce the amount of waste going into the town’s landfill.

Hate in Grand Junction on full display today at Mesa County Deplorables rally against refugees

People from central America on their thousand-mile foot trek to find a place where they can live in safety with their families. Vicious gang violence has become rampant in some central American countries, forcing families to flee.

An article in today’s Daily Sentinel says Mesa County Deplorables will hold a rally downtown today against the people who make up the “caravan” of central American refugees headed northward on foot towards the U.S. border to escape violence in their home countries. People joined the caravan and have been traveling together to protect themselves against violent attacks while en route to find a safer place to live with their families.

Who are the “Deplorables”?

Mesa County Commissioner John Justman is listed as a member of Mesa County Deplorables

“Deplorables” is a label many of President Trump’s supporters eagerly took on during the 2016 presidential campaign. The social media of “Deplorable” groups around the country depicts the group’s ideology as manifesting broad-brush disrespect towards people from other countries, objectification of women and an emphasis on the way women look rather than on their intellect, abilities or contributions. “Deplorable” ideology reflects feelings of superiority and an outright fear of people who are different physically, racially, sexually and ethnically from people within their own social circles.

Local atheist group puts on student essay contest! Top high school student gets $500, top middle school gets $250

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) is holding it’s first-ever student essay contest this fall.

The contest is open to all Mesa County middle and high school students, whether they attend regular public school, a charter or online school, or are in a school district outside the Grand Valley, like in Gateway, Plateau Valley or DeBeque.

Students are asked write on the topic of “What is separation of church and state, and why is it important to maintaining our democracy?”

Essays should be a minimum of 700 words and a maximum of 1,000 words.

The winning high school student gets $500, and the winning middle school student gets $250.

Grand jury report details sexual abuse by over 300 priests in PA Catholic Church alone

President Trump and wife Melania shown with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who in July, 2013, requested permission from the Vatican to move $57 million in church funds to protect the the church’s assets from victims of priest sexual abuse. The Vatican approved Dolan’s request in five weeks.

It’s an unfathomably bad day for religion, but a better day to be an atheist, if you already are one. If you’re not already, the news coming out about the Catholic church (again) this week may be enough to flip you, if not just grip you.

A Pennsylvania grand jury has dropped a devastating 1,356 page report (pdf) that describes in excruciating detail the child sexual abuse that has occurred within the Pennsylvania Catholic church, perpetrated by over 300 “predator priests” in that state alone. The grand jury names each priest and has identified over a thousand credible child victims who endured abuse at the hands of the Church over a period of 70 years. Some of the victims are in their 80s now.

It’s time to stop advertising guns.

In keeping with the culture of linking of firearms to masculinity, Daily Sentinel ran a Sportsman’s Warehouse’s ad promoting guns as gifts for Father’s Day, 2018

It’s time for our local paper, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and other publications to stop advertising guns. This is the rock-bottom minimum that can be done to end the glorification of guns and senseless proliferation of gun violence in society. It is the metaphorical lifting a pinky finger to take action against a problem, but it is necessary.

Given the rate at which gun massacres are happening in our country, as a matter of health and safety, it’s time to just stop promoting guns in any way, and nowhere is this more true than in Mesa County.