Category: Corporations

Whitewater-Area Residents, Ignored by Mesa County Commissioners, Still Suffer from Frackwater Odors, Illnesses

The Mesa County Comissioners (Cartoon: Douglas J. Monroe)

The Mesa County Commissioners (Original cartoon by Douglas J. Monroe)

On November 23, 2015, residents of Whitewater, Colorado submitted a letter to Mesa County Planning Department and the County Commissioners asking for permanent relief from the odors and health problems they have been suffering from Alanco Energy Services’ Deer Creek frackwater disposal facility.

Residents of the Kannah Creek, Bridgeport Road and the greater Whitewater areas have formed a community advocacy group called the Whitewater Community Alliance. They have complained to the County since 2013 of loss use of their property due to the noxious odors emanating from the Deer Creek facility.

Alanco Energy Services' Deer Creek Frackwater Disposal Facility near Whitewater, Colorado

Alanco Energy Services’ Deer Creek Frackwater Disposal Facility near Whitewater, Colorado

Residents report getting headaches, sore throats, nosebleeds, nausea, asthma attacks and malaise when the odors engulf their properties. The smell and accompanying illnesses are worst at times of high humidity, in the late evening and early morning hours. People who have visited the area surrounding Alanco’s waste pits describe an unbearably strong, metallic-excrement odor and complain of sore throats lasting hours to days after the visit.

Help Whitewater Residents End Their Hazardous Waste Hell

Whitewater residents' petition seeking help to get rid of the sickening stench of Alanco's frackwater pits.

Whitewater residents’ petition seeking help to get rid of the sickening stench of Alanco’s frackwater pits.

Whitewater residents are begging other Mesa County residents to help them, and boy, do they need our help.

Imagine you’ve bought some peaceful acreage in the outskirts of Mesa County. You finally realize your dream of owning your own land. You build a house, move in and start enjoying the beauty, quiet, views and proximity to wildlife that the area offers.

Then one day, a stench akin to metallic excrement wafts over your house. It’s doesn’t just stay for a minute. It’s not there for just an hour. It’s permanent. The stench is so strong it forces your family indoors on nice summer evenings. You have to close all your doors and windows in midsummer to try to escape it. Then your family starts getting sore throats and headaches. Your kids start having nosebleeds and vomiting. You contact local and state authorities for help, to no avail. Whatever you do — no matter how many letters you write, phone calls you make or public hearings you go to — nothing changes.

You’re stuck with it.

Welcome to the world of Whitewater residents living within smelling distance of Alanco Energy’s Deer Creek frackwater evaporation ponds.

In 2012, the County Commissioners approved construction of Alanco’s hazardous waste disposal facility in the Whitewater area. It now accepts contaminated water from fracked wells 24/7 for hundreds of miles around. The facility evaporates the contaminated water into the air to get rid of it, but it’s also Whitewater residents’ air. People who live downwind are forced to breathe everything Alanco’s evaporation pits are pumping into the air, and it’s making them sick.

No Help

Whitewater residents have been struggling to get a stop put to the harmful stench since 2013. They’ve begged Alanco Energy Services, their elected officials and health and environmental agencies from Denver to Grand Junction for help for years, all to no avail. No person and no agency has helped them. They’ve been helpless to fight the problem and continue to breathe the contaminated air around their homes and get sick.

Now they are warning other Mesa County residents that they could be next if the Commissioners keep approving this type of industrial hazardous waste development in Mesa County. They’re also asking their fellow Mesa County residents for help by signing petitions demanding commissioners either end their hell once and for all, or shut down Alanco’s hazardous stink pits.

The petition says:

Background: The Deer Creek Evaporative Waste Facility located at 5180 Highway 50 in Whitewater, began accepting “produced water” from oil and gas operations in August, 2012, despite objections from nearby residents. In September, 2013, residents living in the surrounding area began submitting complaints regarding offensive odors emanating from the facility. Complaints were addressed to the Mesa County Planning Committee, Health Department, County Commissioners, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Alanco Energy Services, owners and operators of the facility. Odors described as “metallic” and “sickening”have often forced residents to inhibit outdoor activities and retreat indoors and close windows. Residents have experienced adverse health conditions such as headaches, dizziness, bloody noses and vomiting, which they believe are associated with the odors. Repeated complaints over a two year period have resulted in only short-term solutions with continued promise of future remedies.

Action petitioned: We, the undersigned, believe area residents have the right to full and healthy enjoyment of their property and have endured Alanco’s incompetent practices for too long. We contend that Alanco, in acting irresponsibly, sets and unhealthy precedent for prospective industrial development in Mesa County and across the entire Western Slope. Viable alternatives for treating produced water exist. Therefore, we urge our elected representatives to require Alanco to utilize proven, safe and effective treatment methodologies, or revoke the company’s Permit

You and Your Family Could Be Next

The Deer Creek frackwater disposal site (Photo credit: Mel Safken, Whitewater)

The Deer Creek frackwater disposal site (Photo credit: Mel Safken, Whitewater)

The Deer Creek frackwater disposal facility and Whitewater residents’ plight is a lesson, and a red flag to all of us. All Mesa County residents (other than the commissioners themselves, of course) currently run the risk of having a hazardous waste facility approved close enough to your homes to impact your health, quality of life and property value. If the county commissioners green light more facilities like Alanco’s hazardous stink pits and then refuse to remedy the problems these facilities cause the way they’ve failed to do in Whitewater, the rest of us run the risk of the same kind of treatment. The way the current Mesa County Commissioners revere oil and gas development, it’s a likely scenario.

It’s time for all Mesa County residents to help our Whitewater neighbors regain their health, environment and property values, and help protect ourselves from getting overrun by dangerous industrial development. You can do it by signing and circulating the petition, and showing the commissioners we all care about this disastrous situation.

To download, print and sign Whitewater residents’ petition to the Mesa County Commissioners, click here.

 

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Community Rights Ballot Initiative Coming Back in 2016

Screen shot 2015-08-19 at 12.12.12 PMColoradans for Community Rights (CCR) is gearing up to once again put a Community Rights initiative on the 2016 state-wide ballot.

A Community Rights amendment doesn’t ban anything. Instead, the measure establishes that communities in Colorado have a definitive right to local self-government. That is, the new law would give people, not corporations, the dominant authority to decide how to best protect health, safety and welfare in their own communities and surrounding natural environments. Basically, the measure would allow communities to decide, free from corporate or state interference, whether to allow corporate projects that could negatively impact their safe and healthy environments.

What does this measure mean to citizens on the western slope?

The Community Rights Amendment would, for example, give Mesa County residents living around Alanco’s stinky Deer Creek frackwater ponds the right to disallow this land use in their area. It would also give Paonia residents the right to keep drilling and fracking activities away from their schools, residential areas and organic farming districts. Corporations and their trade groups could no longer sue communities over decisions to keep dangerous or noxious industrial activities out of their area. The amendment would also prevent corporations from suing communities that vote to enact living wages, or ban GMOs (genetically modified organisms), for example.

On August 17, CCR submitted the official ballot language for the 2016 Colorado Community Rights Amendment to the Colorado Legislative Council. The ballot measure is very short, only about 200 words. After the ballot language is approved, CCR will organize a state-wide campaign to gather the number of signatures necessary to qualify the measure for the November 2016 statewide ballot.

CCR tried to get a Community Rights measure on the 2014 statewide ballot, but legal challenges by corporations opposed to the measure succeeded in delaying the signature-gathering phase of the effort until it was too late. This time, CCR has started work early enough that they will have a better shot at getting the measure on the ballot and passing it.

Efforts to pass Community Rights Initiatives are also ongoing in New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Energy Expo Protesters Shame Organizers over Fringe Speaker, Demand More Focus on Clean Energy

Crowd of protesters at Grand Junction's Energy Forum and Expo 2015

Crowd of protesters at Grand Junction’s Energy Forum and Expo 2015

A crowd of people rallied outside Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction today to protest Energy Expo speaker John L. Casey, who lectures on climate change but does not have any qualifying degrees or peer-reviewed publications on the subject. Casey is known for pandering to the belief popular among the tea party fringe that global warming is a massive scientific fraud perpetrated by the U.S. government and the United Nations. YouTube videos of Casey speaking before tea party groups in Florida show him to be a fear monger whose talks devolve into race-baiting and instilling fear in ILoveSciencehis audiences. He warns people to lay in a year’s supply of food to deal with food shortages he predicts will occur in a coming ice age, and tells them to be ready to defend their stored food supplies from urban minorities whom, he says, will try to beat them up and kill them to get it.

Area Educational Institutions Blindsided by Choice of Expo Speaker

Bonnie Peterson is said to be the person responsible for inviting Casey to speak, without  informing hosts or sponsors of the Energy Expo.

Bonnie Peterson is said to be the person responsible for inviting Casey to speak, without informing hosts or sponsors of the Energy Expo.

Neither Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster nor Teresa Coons, Executive Director of the John McConnell Math and Science Center, were consulted or informed about the controversial speaker that members of small Expo subcommittee quietly selected to keynote this year’s Club 20 Energy Expo in Grand Junction.

John L. Casey, slated to give the keynote talk at this Friday’s Energy Expo, has alarmed citizens with his extreme fringe views.

In videos of his talks publicly available online, Casey tells audiences that man-made climate change is a scientific fraud perpetrated by the U.S. Government and the United Nations. He says global warming has ended, that in 2007 the sun entered a “hibernation” phase and now we have to prepare for a coming ice age that will devastate our food supply. In a November, 2014 video, Casey predicts dire food shortages worldwide. He urges people to lay in a full year’s supply of food to cope with it, telling people to ignore the expiration dates printed on food containers. He predicts that the diminished food supply will lead to massive social panic and tells his audiences that they need to get ready to defend their food stores from rioters, murderers and thieves. His mission is to “get the message out” about the purported coming devastation.

George Rossman, one of the three committee members responsible for inviting Casey to speak

George Rossman, one of the three committee members responsible for inviting Casey to speak

The Tea Party News Network bills Casey as a “climatologist,” and though he has made a name for himself speaking and writing about climate science, he has no degrees in climatology, nor has he ever published any peer-reviewed research on the topic. He is a favorite speaker of Florida tea party groups, and available videos invariably show him speaking before far-right conservative audiences and talk show hosts.

Foster and Coons are both quick say that their organizations have not contributed any money to the Energy Expo, but neither has stepped up to condemn the invitation of Casey.

Casey was selected to speak by a three person subset the committee that organized the Energy Expo. Members of this committee reportedly are Bonnie Peterson, former chair of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and now Executive Director of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, Kathy Hall, a former lobbyist for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and George Rossman (who is a woman), a professional event organizer. None of these committee members informed the Expo’s hosts or sponsors about their choices of speakers prior to finalizing the schedule.

There are only two possibilities these women could claim that led to selection of this embarassing speaker: 1) They were fully aware of Casey’s fringe views and lack of credentials, and invited him anyway, or 2) they didn’t properly vet Casey prior to hiring him to keynote the event.

Neither scenario is acceptable.

If the first scenario is true, then these three acting alone pulled the Energy Expo into the tea party political fringe zone without informing the hosts or sponsors whose organizations’ names appear on Expo promotional materials about their choices.

If the second scenario is true, they neglected a duty to vet Mr. Casey by checking out his previous talks, and should be held accountable for this mistake and the shame it has brought to the event.

The event’s biosketch of Casey, whichi says up front that he’s been called a scam artist and a fraud, would seem to indicate scenario #1 is the case, and that Peterson, Hall and Rossman knew exactly what they were doing, and what they were bringing to the Expo by inviting Casey.CaseyEnergyForum

Event hosts Colorado Mountain College, CMU and the Math and Science Center, may not have contributed any money to the event, but they have put their credibility as respected educational institutions on the line. By trusting the Expo organizers, they’ve shot themselves in the foot. In exchange for lending their names to the event, the organizers have dragged them into the mud by purposely choosing a wacky, fringe tea party speaker who trades on generating fear to make a name for himself.

 

 

 

G.J. Energy Expo Keynote Speaker is a Tea Party “Clown Act”

 

John L. Casey, who will be a featured speaker at this year's G.J. Energy Expo, gives a talk titled "Man Made Global Warming: The Biggest Scientific Fraud in History" to a tea party group in Florida

John L. Casey, a featured speaker at this year’s G.J. Energy Expo, gives a talk titled “Man Made Global Warming: The Biggest Scientific Fraud in History” to a tea party group in Florida

Club 20 is outing itself as a tea party group, and in so doing joins the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce in shedding any pretense of being politically even-handed. Unfortunately, it looks like the same can now also be said for Colorado Mountain College, Colorado Mesa University and the other hosts and sponsors of the Club 20 Energy Expo and Forum.

Club 20’s annual Energy Expo and Forum is scheduled to be held at Grand Junction’s Two Rivers Convention Center February 27, and the keynote speaker at this year’s event is raising lots of eyebrows.

He is global warming conspiracy theorist John L. Casey.

The Energy Expo is dominated by extractive energy pursuits, like drilling and fracking, but that is nothing new. It is hosted by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce (already a well-established arm of the local tea party), Club 20, Colorado Mesa University, Colorado Mountain College and the John McConnell Math and Science Center.

Given the respect for education and level of intelligence the public expects of at least some of the above sponsors (CMC, CMU and the Math and Science Center), members of the public are left scratching their heads about how such a nutty keynote speaker got selected this year.

What’s Wrong with Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shops? Plenty.

Religious sign posted in Jimmy John's -- an ominous sign that there is more wrong with the chain than meets the eye.

Religious sign posted in Jimmy John’s — an ominous sign that more wrong with the chain than meets the eye.

Under pressure from a family member, I tried a Jimmy John’s sub shop last week. I had never eaten at one before. I tried their “Vito” Italian sub with few hot peppers on it. It turned out to be pretty decent — good enough, I thought, to go to another Jimmy John’s store few days later and order the same sandwich again. It tasted just as good as the first one, but this was probably the last Jimmy John’s sandwich I will ever eat. Here’s why:

As I stood at the cash register ordering sandwich #2, I noticed a huge, religious-theme sign posted on the wall right above the place where you wait to pick up your sandwiches. I asked the cashier why there was a religious sign on the wall of their sandwich shop. She just said “It’s a corporate thing.”

That was my first hint that something was very wrong with Jimmy John’s. It seems like businesses that go out of their way to push a god-and-country meme on their patrons (pdf) often have a slew of bad things going on behind the scenes that they are trying to hide from the public. It was just a hunch, a gut feeling I’ve gotten over years of observing these things, so I checked it out. I hit the internet and started investigating Jimmy John’s.

E-Coli, Mistreatment of Employees and Tax Avoidance…for starters

Sure enough, my suspicions about the chain were confirmed. I found article after article about a wide variety of things that are very wrong not only with Jimmy John’s sandwich stores, but also the chain’s owner, Jimmy John Liautaud. The more I read, the more horrified I got, and the less I wanted to eat there again.

In 2012, Jimmy John’s was found to be the source of a multi-state outbreak of E-coli that sickened 29 people in 11 states. Seven victims had to be hospitalized.

Jimmy John's "God" sign, alongside a giant pickle

Jimmy John’s “God” sign, alongside a giant pickle

Liautaud makes his lowest-paid hourly employees — not just managers — sign no-compete agreements that prohibit them from working at ANY sandwich shop within three miles of the first shop where they worked for two years after leaving Jimmy John’s, and prohibits them from working at any other Jimmy John’s for 12 months after leaving. This makes it tough for high school or college student employees to get other jobs nearby after working at a Jimmy John’s. Former employees have brought a lawsuit against Liautaud over the practice.

A vocal critic of income taxes, Liautaud owes the state of Illinois over $1.4 million in taxes on his 2009 purchase of two corporate jets. Jimmy John refused to pay the taxes by arguing that the jets qualified for a commercial transportation tax exemption. The state of Illinois didn’t agree.

Jimmy John’s also recently settled a class action lawsuit in California (pdf) for falsely advertising over a 2 1/2 year-long period that their sandwiches had sprouts on them. They didn’t.

Jimmy John’s has come under fire for making financial contributions to extreme, anti-immigrant politicians in Arizona, like Joe Arpaio (the Maricopa County Sheriff known for racial profiling, arresting his critics and locking up innocent people) and failed presidential candidate John McCain, who selected Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008.

Wage Theft, Anti-Immigrant Policies, Canned Hunts

Two former Jimmy John employees from two separate store locations have also filed a lawsuit charging Jimmy John’s with committing systematic wage theft by forcing workers to work off the clock and refusing to pay them overtime. Jimmy John’s delivery drivers also sued the chain in 2013 charging that company stiffed them of wages and forced them to pay for their own vehicle insurance and maintenance. The chain has also been charged with crushing employees’ attempts to unionize.

Jimmy John's owner, Jimmy John Laiutaud poses with an endangered African elephant he killed on a canned hunt.

Jimmy John’s owner, Jimmy John Laiutaud poses with an endangered African elephant killed on a canned hunt.

Pretty bad stuff all around, and all of the above would have been plenty to put me off. But by far the most repulsive thing about Jimmy John Liautaud is that he loves to go on canned (fake) hunts and kill threatened species of large, wild animals. Canned hunts are hunts where shooters pay large fees to “hunt” trophy animals confined inside fenced enclosures. Sometimes the animals are pre-wounded to make the hunt even easier for a paying shooter. Website after website shows horrific photos Liautaud grinning proudly over carcasses of endangered African elephants, leopards and even an Alaskan brown bear that he reportedly killed inside a wildlife refuge.

Jimmy John with a dead endangered leopard.

Jimmy John with a dead endangered leopard.

The public response to Jimmy John’s killing of endangered animals has been visceral. The Facebook page “Boycott Jimmy Johns” urges people to stop patronizing Jimmy John’s restaurants in response to Liautaud’s pointless joy-killing of endangered large animals. A petition on Change.org asks people to boycott Jimmy John’s sub shops until Liautaud stops killing exotic animals for sport. The petition asks Liautaud to make a public apology and give a donation towards wildlife preservation in Africa. The petition is now closed, but Liautaud offered no apology nor gave a donation as requested.

The above is all I need to know about Jimmy John’s. However good, fast or cheap their sandwiches may be, my appetite for them has been completely wiped out by what I now know about the chain and the truly disgusting behavior of Jimmy John Liautaud, the chain’s founder and namesake.

Ray Scott Working to Block Constituents’ Access to the Courts for Construction Defects

Water intrusion issues around windows may not become apparent until years after construction is complete.

Water intrusion issues around windows may not become apparent until years after construction is complete.

On January 14, Colorado State Sen. Ray Scott introduced SB15-091 (pdf), a bill titled “Reduce Statute Of Limitations Construction Defects,” that would protect developers from lawsuits when things go drastically wrong with the homes they build. Scott’s bill would cut in half the amount of time homeowners in Colorado would have to file lawsuits over construction defects, from six years to three. If enacted, the bill would shield homebuilders from being accountable for significant problems and expenses that homeowners incur due to construction defects they discover just a few years after moving in a new home. Most states provide consumers a 10-12 year window in which to file suits over damages due to construction defects in a new home. Scott’s bill would make Colorado one of the states with the smallest windows for consumers to gain recourse against shoddy construction.

Many construction defects aren’t apparent until years after construction, after the home has been through several wind, rain and snow storms, and cycles of cold, heat, dryness and humidity. It takes time for these conditions to reveal problems with roofs, foundations or wall construction, like use of inadequate materials or poor workmanship. Mistakes and oversights by builders or subcontractors are not only common, but are often completely unnoticeable within the first few years after construction. They can also result in extremely costly repairs for the homeowners. Under Scott’s bill, homeowners would be left holding the bag for expensive repairs to their homes needed due to shoddy construction.

Silt Blogger Falls Seriously Ill, Finds Glenwood Hot Springs Pool Contaminated with Pseudomonas

Peggy Tibbetts, an author who blogs about life up-valley in Silt, Colorado

Writer Peggy Tibbetts blogs about life up-valley in Silt, Colorado

Last August, Peggy Tibbetts, a blogger in Silt, Colorado fell seriously ill with a bacterial infection after using the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. Tibbetts has been a member of the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool for 18 years and uses the pool 2-3 times per week. She had never had an adverse incident there, but noted recently that a close friend and her husband had also reported falling ill after using the pool.

After an extended period of illness, in October, Tibbetts was diagnosed with an infection of pseudomonas aeroginosa, a bacteria that thrives in wet places, including poorly maintained pools. Externally, it can cause a condition known as “hot tub rash,” The bacteria can survive the elevated temperatures of a hot tub or hot springs. Symptoms of internal infection include inflammation and sepsis. If pseudomonas auruginosa colonizes in major organs like the lungs, liver or kidneys, the resulting infection can be fatal.

On October 24, after receiving her diagnosis, Tibbetts contacted the Garfield County Health Department through their website, told them about her illness and the possible link to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and asked them to investigate. On October 28, Tibbetts received an email from Garfield County environmental health specialist Morgan Hill, stating: “[W]e received your website inquiry and are following up on your concern related to pseudomonas at the Glenwood hot springs pool. We will contact you soon with more information.”

On November 4 and 5, the pool had an unannounced closure.

By November 12, the county did not contact Tibbetts, so she contacted them and asked for the lab results regarding bacteria in the hot springs pool. She soon received an email response from GarCo Environmental Health Manager Joshua Williams with the lab results from a hydrologic engineering firm called Zancanella & Associates, which showed the Glenwood Springs Hot Therapy Pool had indeed tested positive for pseudomonas aeruginosa on August 6, 2014, and August 13, 2014. Included with the email was a memorandum from Tom and Tony Zancanella to the county dated October 29, 2014, showing the county had been sitting on those rest results for two weeks, and hadn’t notified either Tibbetts or the public. Correspondence from Zancanella showed the pool hadn’t been tested for pseudomonas before that since 2011.

Beware of Tricks at Local Grocery Stores

Read the fine print: the chicken is artificially injected with a 15% saline solution, for which you are paying by the pound

Read the fine print: the chicken is artificially injected with a 15% saline solution, for which you are paying by the pound

Last summer I picked up two raw chickens on sale at City Market, put one in the freezer and the other on the smoker for dinner. When it was done and I cut into it, the chicken oozed a milky-looking liquid and had a weird, stringy texture that all dinner guests agreed made it just too unappealing to eat. With my main dish inedible, I ran back to City Market with the second chicken and told them something was very wrong with it. They gave me my money back and I bought a ready-made rotisserie chicken to substitute for dinner that night. To say we were disappointed was an understatement.

After that, I couldn’t help but wonder: what was wrong with my chicken that it came out so funky?

The answer is, it wasn’t really chicken. The fine print on the label said the chicken had been “enhanced” with a “15% solution of chicken broth.”

This is what ruined my dinner. I cooked a chicken that had been pumped full of liquid, when I thought I was buying just chicken. It was also on sale, which meant it had probably been sitting around a little longer than desired prior to purchase.

“Enhancing” chicken is a euphemism for injecting it with a mixture of water, phosphate, sodium and sometimes carrageenan, a chemical derived from seaweed that increases the chicken’s ability to hold the injected liquid in its tissues. Injecting it this way plumps up the chicken, making it look more appealing to consumers. You can see a video of a chicken-injecting machine at work here.

City Market’s Insulting Political Birthday Card Section

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

McInnis Campaign Fails to Get Permission to Post Signs

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.

All You Need to Know About Mesa County Politics, All in One Place

In Mesa County, things are little backwards. The candidates are the biggest signs are the ones NOT to vote for.

Mesa County rule of thumb: Vote AGAINST the candidates with the biggest, most professionally-made signs

Have you been so busy trying to make ends meet, putting food on the table and raising your kids that you haven’t had time to bone up on local politics? There’s an election is coming up this November. How will you know who to vote for?

It’s simple.

The one thing you need to know is that the same party has been in charge of everything here for decades: the Mesa County Republican Party, which some call the “Old Guard Republican Establishment” (OGRE). They’ve had a lock on local elected offices for a very long time.

So have they done a good job? Judge for yourself:

1) Mesa County’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the state;

2) Our local wages are among the very lowest in the state;

3) 13.4 percent of people in our area live below federal poverty level ($23,550 for a family of four),

4) Our suicide rate is among the highest in the U.S.;

5) Mesa County was the drunkest county in Colorado in 2013 (based on the average blood alcohol concentration for arrested drunk drivers);

6) Forty one percent of School District 51 students qualify for free and reduced-cost lunches at school, and Kids Aid, an area nonprofit that provides backpacks of food to hungry students so they can get through the weekends without starving, sends 1,800 District 51 students home with backpacks full of non-perishable food home each WEEK.

Yes, you read that right. Eighteen hundred Mesa County school children are food insecure every week.

The Crucial History Lesson Behind CO Ballot Initiative #75: the “Community Rights Amendment”

SummitvilleSuperfund

Colorado citizens learned their lesson from the Summitville Mine Disaster of 1992-93, but the state courts and legislature did not, and have repeatedly invalidated local laws that communities enact to protect their citizens from hazardous business pursuits.

Colorado citizens are now gathering signatures to get Ballot Initiative #75, a groundbreaking constitutional amendment, onto the state wide ballot in November.

Business interests have called Initiative #75, also known as the “Right to Local Self-Government” or the “Community Rights Amendment,” an “anti-fracking” initiative, but the measure confers more protection on Colorado citizens than just an anti-fracking initiative, and there are some very solid recent history lessons that are driving Colorado citizens to push for this initiative.

One of them is the Summitville Mine Disaster of 1992-1993.

The Summitville Mine, operated by the Summitville Consolidated Mining Corporation, Inc. (SCMCI), was an open-pit gold and silver mine located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, about 40 miles west of Alamosa.  SCMCI used a cyanide heap leaching technique to extract gold and silver. The process involved excavating ore from the mountain, then crushing it and placing it onto a 1,235 acre open leach pad lined with clay and synthetic material. The company then poured a sodium cyanide solution over the crushed ore to leach out gold and silver. The contaminated water was collected and held in leach ponds on the mine property.

Sodium cyanide is highly toxic, and among the most rapidly-acting of all poisons.

You Heard it Here First! Sentinel Adopts AnneLandmanBlog’s “LoJo” Name for its Neighborhood

This ad run in today's Daily Sentinel shows the paper has adopted AnneLandmanBlog's new nickname for lower dowtown G.J.: "LoJo"

This ad run in today’s Daily Sentinel shows the paper has adopted AnneLandmanBlog’s new nickname for lower dowtown G.J.: “LoJo”

Today’s Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has an ad promoting a run the paper is sponsoring called the “Wrong Side of the Tracks Run” planned for July 3 that starts at the paper’s office building at 734 S. 7th Street and ends at the Edgewater Brewery at 905 Struthers Ave.

In the ad, the Sentinel adopts the nickname first proposed by right here in AnneLandmanBlog for Grand Junction’s southern downtown area as it undergoes its urban renewal phase. We called it  “LoJo.” The nickname appeared in our April 17, 2014 blog titled “Jumpin’ Without Jesus: Get Air at the Silo Opens Soon in Grand Junction,” about the old Mesa Feed grain silo and building being made into a trampoline and jumping facility.

Yes, folks, you heard it here first!

Thanks, Daily Sentinel!

Below is the photo with the caption using the name “LoJo” from the April 17th Jumpin’ Without Jesus blog:

The old Mesa Feed building on south 7th Street in LoJo is being rebuilt into a climbing and trampoline amusement park.

The old Mesa Feed building on south 7th Street in LoJo is being rebuilt into a climbing and trampoline amusement park.

 

 

Botox Victim Wins $18 Million from Allergan after Contracting Botulism Poisoning

Ad for Botox Cosmetic. Allergan hid information from doctors and patients about the dangers of injecting botulinum toxin into the body.

Ad for Botox Cosmetic. Allergan hid information from doctors and patients about the dangers of injecting botulinum toxin into the body.

Dr. Sharla Helton, an accomplished obstetrician in Oklahoma City, won $18 million a long-running legal fight against the maker of Botox, after she contracted botulism poisoning as a result of getting injections of Botox Cosmetic 2006.

Botox Cosmetic, which is injected into people’s faces to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, is made from a highly potent neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin is the most acutely lethal toxin known to man, and has been considered for its potential as a biological weapon. Just four hundredths of an ounce of undiluted botulinum toxin is enough to kill one million people by giving them the nerve disease botulism, which causes paralysis. Allergan must dilute their toxin so much that the amounts in its drug Botox cannot be measured in conventional terms. One “unit” of Botox is the amount that will kill one half of a test population of laboratory mice. A typical injection of Botox is 20 times that amount.

Even very slight errors in how and where a doctor injects the drug can potentially cause significant and even lethal health problems.

Midwife Sounds Alert Over Spike in Stillbirths in Heavily-Drilled Vernal, Utah

Drilling density in the Uintah Basin, where Vernal is located

Drilling density in the Uintah Basin, where Vernal is located

A midwife in Vernal, Utah, has raised a red flag about a spike in the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in the small town in 2013. The statistic has emerged alongside explosive growth in drilling and fracking in the area. Energy companies have flocked to Vernal in the last few years to develop the massive oil and gas fields that underlie Uintah County.

The midwife, Donna Young,  who has worked in the Vernal area for 19 years, reported delivering the first stillborn baby she’s seen in all her years of practice in May, 2013. Doctors could not determine any reason for the baby’s death.

While visiting the local cemetery where the parents of that baby had buried their dead child, Young noticed other fresh graves of babies who were stillborn or died shortly after birth.

Young started researching local sources of data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths, like obituaries and mortuary records, and found a large spike in the number of infant deaths occurring in Vernal in recent years. She found 11 other incidents in 2013 where Vernal mothers had given birth to stillborn babies, or whose babies died within a few days of being born.

Vernal’s full-time population is only about 9,800.

The rate of neonatal deaths in Vernal has climbed from about equivalent to the national average in 2010, to six times the national average in 2013.

Along with the surge in oil and gas drilling in the Vernal area over the last few years, the winter time air in the Uintah basin, where Vernal sits, has become dense with industrial smog generated by drilling rigs, pipelines, wells and increased traffic.

“DrillingAhead.com” Gives Inside Look at Problems, Accidents and Worker Behavior in Oil and Gas Field

DrillingAhead.com is a worldwide networking website for employees of the oil and gas field. Rotating news stories on the the site’s front page have headlines like “Fingertip Amputation Hangs Over Chesapeak Energy,” “2 Dead, 9 Injured After Oilfield Explosion Near Orla, Texas,” and “Texas Newspaper Investigation Questions Oilfield Safety; Says 663 Killed in 6 Years.” The latter story discusses the U.S. federal government’s failure to enforce safety standards on drilling rigs.

DrillingAhead.com also lets oil and gas field workers upload videos of what they see  at their worksites. So far workers have uploaded almost 16,000 videos onto the site, with many showing accidents and workers screwing around. One video titled “Directional Drilling Nightmare” shows a drill bit gone awry and surfacing in a nearby field, spewing mud and fluid around the area. Others show workers sleeping on the job, and another shows a gas plant exploding in fire at an unnamed location in Colorado. Another truly incredible video shows drilling rig workers engaging in a pipe-licking contest (video at left), where two men actually try to outdo each other for the length of time they can hold their tongues against an active, circulating vertical section of pipe.

DrillingAhead.com also links to a fascinating Flickr site featuring still photos of “Oilfield Accidents.” Photos show frightened workers clinging desperately to the railing of a severely listing offshore rig, an offshore rig sinking into the water, a truck impaled by oilfield equipment, rigs that have collapsed or caught fire (or both), and rigs completely encased in ice.

DrillingAhead.com gives a detailed inside look at the actual operation of drilling rigs around the world as seen by the workers themselves, and in so doing does plenty to undermine confidence — if there ever was any — in how drilling operations are carried out worldwide.

In fact, DrillingAhead.com provides ample justification to worry mightily about the safety and integrity of oil and gas drilling operations everywhere.