Board of Mesa County Commissioners. (L-R: Bobbie Daniel, Cody Davis and Janet Rowland). Photo: Mesa County
District Attorney Dan Rubinstein announced he’s closed the investigation into the Mesa County Commissioners’ allegations of financial wrongdoing by Mesa County Public Health Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr, saying,
“We lack sufficient evidence of anything criminal…” and “…[We] lack sufficient evidence that Mr. Kuhr was personally involved in, or personally directed, any level of reporting that would make him criminally culpable for material misstatements.”
Drinking Liberally is a non-partisan social group that holds get-togethers in town at food and drink establishments while hosting guest speakers. The event focuses on protection of our civil liberties, like freedom from government and corporate overreach (for example denying workers the right to organize, denying women the right to access abortions and preventing transgender people access to medical care). On Tuesday, May 23, the event was held at Edgewater Brewery at 905 Struthers, by the Colorado River.
The packed crowd included notable conservatives like Tom Keenan and Cindy Ficklin, members of the far right wing group, Stand for the Constitution. The event featured two Speakers: newly-elected Mesa County Clerk Bobbie Gross and Darren Cook, former longtime D-51 teacher who is running for D-51 School Board.
Ascent Classical Academy’s auction. There is no notification that these items were taken out of a lead-contaminated building
A classified ad in today’s Daily Sentinel gives notice that an auction is being held online to benefit the new Ascent Classical Academy charter school. All of the fixtures that were in the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building, the building to be used to house the school, are being auctioned off to raise money for the school.
Since lead contamination is a well-known hazard at former shooting ranges due to the very fine lead dust thrown off by bullets when they are fired, the building is undergoing remediation for lead. All of the fixtures previously inside the building, including the HVAC system, cabinets, furniture, artwork, lumber and other items were also contaminated with lead.
Lead poisoning caused by exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, especially in young children.
Click the image to go to the new website for the Andrea Haitz recall effort
The public can now keep track of the effort to recall School District 51’s Board President Andrea Haitz by going to SignForKids.com, where people can find out where to sign petitions, get trained in how to gather signatures, donate to the effort or volunteer to help. The organizers need to gather 15,000 valid signatures of registered voters within the next two months.
The website states the public’s grievances against Haitz:
Andrea Haitz was elected to the District 51 Board in 2021, promising transparency.
Instead, Haitz has turned local control of school dollars over to extremist organizations, turned fundamental parts of her job over to expensive lawyers, denied student pleas for mental health services, and used her office for family political gain.
The biggest decisions at District 51 are now being turned over to outside interests and fringe extremists who don’t represent Mesa County families.
Before Andrea Haitz was on the District 51 School Board, she was on the Juniper Ridge charter school board.
In January of 2018, while on Juniper Ridge’s board, the school was found to be educating kindergarteners in a 10×20 foot windowless tent that was heated by a wood stove and had a single rented porta-potty next it for a bathroom, alongside a bright red wood chipper.
On November 8, 2022, Colorado passed Proposition FF, a ballot measure to provide free meals to all public school students. The measure, called the Healthy School Meals for All Program, was referred to the ballot by the state Legislature and passed by a healthy margin of 57-43%. The measure generates funds by limiting state tax deductions for people earning over $300,000/year, and is set to raise more than $100 million/year. The program will reimburse participating school districts to provide free meals to all students and will provide grants for Districts to purchase local food. According to the Healthy School Meals for All FAQ guide, there is also an option for participating districts to provide wage increases or stipends to front-line staff who assist with the program.
The former Rocky Mountain Gun Club building at 545 31 Road, where Ascent Classical Academy plans to open a new charter school this August. The sale of the building closed recently. It was listed for $7 million.
Ascent Classical Academy uses a curriculum advanced by Hillsdale’s Barney Charter School Initiative, “an outreach program of Hillsdale College devoted to the revitalization of public education through the launch and support of classical K-12 charter schools.”
Ascent Classical Academy plans to open in Grand Junction in August, 2023, at 545 31 Road, the building that formerly housed the Rocky Mountain Gun Club, just as the District puts the finishing touches on shutting down East Middle School, a high-performing traditional public school in the heart of downtown Grand Junction.
Some District 51 teachers are saying they feel blindsided, abandoned and upset by the School Board’s odd headlong rush towards closing three traditional schools this fall. The District cites falling birth rates, the pandemic, online schools, families moving out of the area and other reasons for the decline in students as reasons to close the schools.
But that doesn’t fit the demographic narrative we’ve been told as recently as the end of last year.
Just last November the Daily Sentinelreported that the western slope has seen substantial population growth over the last decade and Mesa County is expected to keep growing over the next few decades due to in-migration, saying this brought “a sense of hope that District 51 will see an increase in students.”
In mid-November, 2022, the City of Grand Junction announced the possible closure of the Orchard Mesa Pool in early 2023.
The group, Save the Pool, is encouraging people with families to come to the December 21st Grand Junction City Council meeting this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall Auditorium, 250 N. 5th Street, Grand Junction to stand in solidarity to keep the pool open.
The national student-led group March For Our Lives will hold a local rally Saturday, June 11, from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. at the Old Mesa County Courthouse at 6th and Rood to demand legislators enact policy measures to reduce the epidemic of gun massacres now gripping America. The rally will feature local youth and adult speakers and a march through downtown Grand Junction and more.
The First Congregational Church sign (Photo: Shirley Zimmerman Kodis)
After the uproar over anti-transgender memes District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz posted recently on her personal social media accounts, the First Congregational Church at 5th and Kennedy in Grand Junction took steps to make it clear to the public that their church welcomes transexual kids. The church is directly across the street from Grand Junction High School.
Church Administrator Beth Rakestraw said on her social media account that “Transkids are loved and welcomed at my church!” The church describes itself on its website as a “progressive Christian community” and says “We welcome all people regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender preference, ability, and disability…At our church you don’t have to check your brain at the door. We believe that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. … No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”
Haitz tried to walk back her posts by telling the Daily Sentinel that people had “misinterpreted” her memes because they “don’t understand satire,” but that was disproved after Heidi Hess of One Colorado revealed to the Daily Sentinel that Haitz belonged to the Facebook group Reboot 2022, whose mission statement says “Transgender is not an option.”
District 51 School Board President posted this photo to social media recently on her personal account
Recent social media posts by District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz, and one in particular that she posted on Mother’s Day, are drawing condemnation, disgust and shock from many Mesa County residents who saw them.
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.
“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!
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.
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.
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.
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.