Category: Health

Western slopers who fail to grasp danger of Coronavirus are threatening public health

Post on the Grand Junction Community Message Board on Facebook yesterday by Anita Heffalump, who has since changed her name on Facebook to “Anita Hippogriff”

 

Local resident Anita Heffalump alarmed members of the community yesterday by posting an event on the Grand Junction Community Message Board Facebook page that urged people to physically gather to protest public health authorities’ stay-at-home order aimed at protecting people from the pandemic spread of COVID-19, the deadly disease caused by Coronavirus.

Coronavirus currently has no no treatment, no cure, no immunization available to prevent it, and is killing people throughout the globe at an alarming rate. The only tool available to reduce transmission of the new virus and save lives during the pandemic is to distance ourselves from each other by staying home as much as possible.

As many as a third of responders to Daily Sentinel survey fail to grasp the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic

Daily Sentinel poll

The Daily Sentinel published results of a non-scientific online poll today asking readers for their opinions of the ongoing stay-at-home order due to the Coronavirus pandemic. About 72 percent of people said they agree with the order and are obeying it. Twenty one percent say they’re following the stay-at-home order even though they think it’s “over the top,” and 7 percent say they are not following the order at all because they think it’s “too extreme” or “unnecessary.”

This means about a third of people in our area aren’t really grasping the seriousness of this pandemic.

That’s scary.

It took a pandemic to stop open burning in Mesa County, as public officials finally recognize it as a public health threat

A “controlled burn,” started by a person with a permit, got out of control on March 5, causing $5,000 worth of damage and endangering nearby residents

The Mesa County Health Department suspended residential open burning in the county indefinitely on March 18 in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

No doubt tens of thousands of valley residents are greatly relieved.

The Health Department explained the ban by saying:

COVID-19 is a lower respiratory illness impacting residents with underlying medical conditions, more severely than other groups. This decision was made to ensure the best possible air quality for residents in high-risk categories, and to ensure our medical community has enough resources to care for the patients impacted by COVID-19.

The last-century scourge of open burning is halted at last, at least for awhile

Mesa County’s spring burn season — a throwback to a time when this area was predominantly agricultural — runs from March 1 through May 31. Every year like clockwork, as soon as the weather warms up and people start getting outdoors, they find their springtime ruined by plumes of smoke that give them sore throats, burning eyes, runny noses, headaches, asthma attacks, and exacerbate their lung conditions. Beautiful spring mornings are soon fouled by smoke drifting across the valley, forcing people to close doors and windows and grab their inhalers.

Grand Junction family doc starts Facebook page to answer questions about COVID-19

Dr. Elvi Whiteford

Dr. Elvi Whiteford of Appleton Clinics has started a Facebook page called “Medical Providers Keeping GJ Educated and Supported,” where people can go to get authoritative answers to questions about the COVID-19 virus and efforts to cope with the pandemic.

Dr. Whiteford is a family medicine doctor who was born and raised in Grand Junction. She got her M.D. from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 2000 and has practiced here since 2008. She set up the Facebook page as an educational forum where people can get the most accurate, timely and factual medical updates on COVID-19. The page does not seek donations or take requests for care, but rather is just a place to get authoritative, science-based answers to questions and share the most up to date information possible.

Here is an example of the kind of questions Dr. Whiteford is getting, and the answers she is giving:

Rep. Tipton votes to cut Medicaid, CHIP

House Rep. Scott Tipton has voted against financial transparency in government, against protecting citizens’ access to health insurance, against working families and to protect wealthy Americans and keep their taxes low. He’s up for re-election this year.

On February 6, 2020 House Rep. Scott Tipton voted in favor of cutting funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), federal programs that cover poor children, pregnant women, the elderly and disabled people with health insurance who could not otherwise afford it.

Tipton voted “no” on House Resolution 826 (HR-826), a measure brought by Democrats that condemned Trump’s cuts to the federal safety net programs that protect Americans who have fallen on hard times.

Taking away health insurance

More than one million children have lost Medicaid and CHIP health insurance coverage under President Trump, and over 750,000 adults have lost Medicaid coverage. Trump’s latest budget calls for even more cuts to Medicaid and the and Affordable Care Act, and it includes deep cuts to Social Security and Medicare, while extending tax cuts for wealthy people, despite his promise he would not touch Social Security or Medicare.

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.

Now you can get free, medically-accurate sexual health info anonymously via text

Do you have questions about sexual health but can’t afford to call a medical doctor? Are you finding it tough to find somewhere on the western slope where you can get unbiased, non-judgmental, medically-accurate sexual health info on your specific situation?

Planned Parenthood now offers a FREE chat/text program that allows young people to live-chat with trained health educators from their cell phone or computer about any topic dealing with sexual health.

This service is available nationwide and it provides completely non-judgmental, medically-accurate information on any and all sexual and reproductive health topics, including the various kids of birth control, how they work and how to use them, sexual intercourse, how and where to obtain emergency contraception, sexually-transmitted diseases/infections, pregnancy, abortion, unusual discharges, menstruation and anything else you need info on.

To access the program, just text PPNOW to 774636 to get started. It’s 100% anonymous and 100% free.

The U.S. has a measles epidemic, but is it in Grand Junction?

States where measles outbreaks have occurred in the U.S. as of May 24, 2019

The growing number of unvaccinated people in the U.S. has led to the largest outbreak of measles in the U.S. since the disease was declared eradicated in 2000. Cases of measles have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington state.

According to the Mesa County Health Department, there have been no cases of measles reported so far in Grand Junction, and only one case in Denver  in January, 2019. But don’t let that make you complacent. People travel widely to and from stricken areas, and could bring the epidemic to Colorado large scale at any time. Measles is an extremely contagious viral disease. When a person with measles leaves a room, people who enter that room afterwards can catch the disease for up to two hours after the infected person has left.

One good thing Trump has done: Banning bump stocks

Trump banned bump stocks last December by executive action, and the new law is effective NOW.

Watch out, local gun nuts. President Donald Trump is coming for your guns.

Last December, President Trump issued an executive order banning bump stocks (pdf), devices that use the recoil energy generated from each shot of a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firearms’ rate of fire. The new rule amended the definition of “machine gun” to include bump stocks.

The ban went into effect three days ago, on March 26, 2019, exactly 90 days after it was published in the Federal Register.

On March 28, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court refused an effort by gun nuts to block the ban, so Trump’s new rule is currently in full force, making anyone who owns a bump stock a felon.

Grand Junction may soon lose its only secular hospital

A previous blog discussed why Mesa County residents should be glad to have an alternative to a Catholic hospital in the valley and why it is so important to people’s health to have a secular hospital option available for medical care. But our valley’s one non-religious hospital option may disappear, and soon.

In October 2018, Community Hospital and Centura Health Network signed a letter of intent to merge. It provided each party with a 120 day-long window to evaluate the deal and decide whether or not to go ahead and finalize it.

Those 120 days are almost up, and a final decision on the merger must be made by February 10th.

CBS/Washington Post: U.S. Congress complicit in advancing the U.S. opioid epidemic

Colorado House Rep. Scott Tipton. The bill that hobbled DEA’s pursuit of out-of-control opioid pharmaceutical distribution passed the House on a voice vote, so no record of individual votes was made.

A blockbuster CBS News/60 Minutes and Washington Post investigation reveals that after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) cracked down on big pharmaceutical distributors who were knowingly pumping millions of addictive opioid drugs into the black market in cities and towns across the country, the U.S. Congress passed a law to block DEA from freezing such highly suspicious drug shipments to keep them from getting to the streets.

Rep. Scott Tipton: A One-Man Wrecking Ball for Coloradans

House Rep. Scott Tipton votes against financial transparency in government, against protecting citizens’ health and against American workers

Think House Representative Scott Tipton is on your side? Think again.

In the last couple of weeks, Rep. Tipton has voted against cleaner air, against creating more American jobs, and in favor of keeping financial information secret that would allow Congress to tell if changes President Trump proposes in the U.S. tax code would benefit his family’s income.

An Answer to City Market’s Huge Amount of Food Waste


San Francisco has successfully addressed the problem of excessive food waste from restaurants and grocery stores — of the same type  that we are still seeing here in Grand Junction, specifically with City Market’s tremendous waste of food daily from its hot delis.

A nonprofit organization called Food Runners collects extra hot food from markets and restaurants left over at closing time, and brings it to local foster homes, food pantries and homeless shelters where it feeds hungry people and is greatly appreciated. It’s simple, and there is no liability for the providers of the food.

Why can’t this happen here?

Delta County School Board Rips Off Kids

A slide from Shelly Donahue's "WAIT" program shown at Delta High School

Crucifixes in a slide from Shelly Donahue’s “WAIT” program at Delta High School

The Delta County School Board is violating state and federal laws in order to keep students from getting medically-accurate sex education information, and it seems to be by design.

Last October, the school district hired controversial abstinence-only-before-marriage pontificator Shelly Donahue as a sex education speaker for students. According to students, this was the only “sex education” the Delta County School District provided them, and the school board and district administration apparently consider this an adequate sex education.

Far from it.

For those who aren’t familiar with Shelly Donahue, she is an evangelistic Christian abstinence-only speaker who rakes in government grant funds by giving “WAIT” (“Why Am I Tempted”) training in public schools. Donahue’s website says

“She is passionately committed to Jesus Christ as the ultimate answer to the teen sexual activity problem in America. As a motivational speaker and a leading sex education expert, she is making a significant impact for the Kingdom of God!”

The leading "T" in Donahue's business logo is a crucifix in flames; the logo and cross appear in every slide, regardless if presentations at public schools

The leading “T” in Donahue’s business logo is a flaming crucifix; the logo and cross appeared in every slide in her presentations at Delta schools

In her talks, Donahue dishes out vast amounts of medically inaccurate information to kids and uses broad, simplistic analogies that convey stereotypical images of what boys’ and girls’ personalities are like. She includes liberal doses of religiously-based, guilt-and-shame to frighten students out of having sex before marriage.

The Marlboro Train: The Biggest Promotion on Earth That Never Happened

Marlboro Train (2007) from Marty Otañez on Vimeo.

Philip Morris’ “Project Thunder” was public relations plan to construct and operate a wildly-luxurious, custom-built 20-car Marlboro train as a promotion for Marlboro cigarettes. The train was to consist entirely of double-decker cars and feature amenities such as a hot tub car, massage rooms and gambling. The train would stop at locations throughout the scenic southwestern U.S. and let passengers off to partake in iconically western activities like horseback riding, bicycling, river rafting, and paragliding. Philip Morris planned to give selected smokers the “trip of a lifetime” on a “deluxe train through Marlboro Country.”

The train was going to be used for only one season, from May-September 1996, at an estimated cost to Philip Morris of $44 million.

The train was built at tremendous expense to PM, but PM ultimately pulled the plug on the project very late as the train was close to completion. PM then ordered the train destroyed. The company made the rail car company workers who were manufacturing the train in Fort Collins, Colorado, sign nondisclosure agreements that forced them to stay silent about the project and its ultimate demise.

Plans for Project Thunder can be viewed at this link at University of California San Francisco’s Legacy Tobacco Documents Library: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/neg36e00

Burn Haze Has TV Weather People Recommending Grand Valley Citizens Close Windows and Doors

A smoky, smelly haze fills the Grand Valley's air as open burning season gets underway

A smoky, smelly haze fills the Grand Valley’s air as open burning (open polluting) season starts

Thinking of moving to Grand Junction?

You might want to think again. It’s spring open burning season — something people moving here rarely hear anything about from the Chamber of Commerce relocation packets, or from their realtors. Thanks to the cultural throwback of open burning, an acrid pall hung across the Grand Valley today as open burning season began. The air smelled as bad as it looked, too, reeking of burnt wood and rubber, and driving people indoors to escape the respiratory effects of the smoke.

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.

What the Grand Junction Economic Partnership Won’t Tell You About the Grand Valley

Open burning in Mesa County creates traffic hazards as well as cardiac and respiratory hazards for many residents

Open burning in Mesa County creates traffic hazards and poses a cardiac and respiratory threat to many residents for months out of the year

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership (GJEP) recently revealed an attractive new website to try to lure more educated people to relocate to Mesa County, but it avoids telling the whole story about what people face when they move here.

Hazardous Waste Capital of Colorado

One important thing people need to know when considering a move to the Grand Valley is that Mesa County is the hazardous waste dump capital of the state. Mesa County is home to the largest radioactive hazardous waste repository in the state, the Cheney Repository, a 94 acre industrial waste site completed in 1994. The Cheney site sits on the flanks of the scenic Grand Mesa, near another hazardous waste site the Mesa County Commissioners approved in 2012, Alanco Energy’s Deer Creek frackwater disposal site. That facility currently consists of 8 acres of open evaporative ponds. Trucks of full of contaminated frackwater drive from rig sites for hundreds of miles around to dump their loads there, and the noxious odors emanating from the Deer Creek facility have been making Mesa County residents for miles around sick with headaches, vomiting, sore throats, bloody noses and respiratory illnesses. Despite years of pleading for help, the county commissioners have done nothing to help the situation. Alanco owns another 160 acres at the same site, and hopes to expand its stinky frackwater and other hazardous waste dump operations. Given the hearty embrace the Mesa County Commissioners have given past hazardous waste dumps, it’s likely to happen, too.