Category: Local concerns

New York jury convicts Donald Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records

A New York jury has found Donald Trump guilty on all 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records in his so-called “hush money trial” about payments he made to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet in the run-up to the 2016 election. He is the first U.S. President to be convicted of  felony crimes.

Trump will be sentenced July 11 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time by Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over the case.

City Councilor says he sees cronyism creeping into G.J. City Council

Scott Beilfuss

At the regular May 1 meeting of Grand Junction City Council, Councilman Abe Herman was voted in as the new mayor of Grand Junction and Randall Reitz as Mayor Pro Tem for the next year by all attending city council members present except one, and that hold out was perhaps the more important story that Grand Junction citizens should know about.

The vote was 5-1, with current Mayor Anna Stout absent from the meeting.

The lone hold out vote was Councilman Scott Beilfuss.

Curious about the vote, I contacted Beilfuss to ask why he didn’t vote for Herman and Reitz along with the rest of Council.

D-51 employee raises a red flag about the way D-51 conducts lockdown drills compared to other school districts

A highly experienced School District 51 employee who came here from the front range with over 20 years experience in conducting lockdown drills in other school districts is raising red flags about the way D-51 conducts its lockdown drills, and the trauma it is causing students. The employee describes a heartbreaking experience during a lockdown drill with a room full of kindergarteners during the 2023-2024 school year and the lasting  effects it had on students. The employee has brought the problem up with school counselors, the D-51 School Board and Tim Leon, Director of Safety and Security for District 51, and even proposed different ways to conduct these drills that are used in other school districts that don’t traumatize students the way D-51’s drills do, and offered research by the National Association of School Psychologists on how to mitigate the negative psychological effects that lockdown drills have on young kids, but the employee’s urgings have been ignored at every turn.

Mesa County Commissioners ignoring safety concerns & quietly working to tweak land use code to advantage large scale solar development, citizens say

Commercial solar development on east Orchard Mesa (Photo: High Noon Solar)

On January 9, Mesa County Commissioners Janet Rowland, Cody Davis and Bobbie Daniel voted to put a moratorium on large-scale solar development in the County supposedly to take time to address the community’s growing concerns over these developments. Citizens are worried that the current county Land Development Code (LDC) contains no provisions protecting agricultural and irrigated land, wildlife, water sheds and view sheds from these developments, as well as no requirements for fire protection, buffers, setbacks or plans to decommission these installations that will assure solar plants that get destroyed by inclement weather or live out their expected life spans are cleaned up in a way that minimizes  environmental harm and expense to local taxpayers.

Don’t leave money on the table. Get an $800 TABOR refund, even if you don’t have enough taxable income to file a state tax return!

People who lack enough taxable income to file a state tax return may still be able to get an $800 TABOR refund this year, but if you want to get it, you have to tell the state Department of Revenue (DOR) where to find you. You do that by filing a state tax return.

Most poor or retired people don’t file tax returns because they don’t have enough taxable income (like wages or tips), but many people who could really use that $800 may not get it because they didn’t file.

Don’t leave money on the table!

Former CMU Professor Tom Acker to run against Cody Davis for County Commissioner

Retired CMU Spanish Professor Tom Acker

A Democrat has joined the race against Cody Davis for Mesa County Commissioner. Tom Acker is currently the only Democrat running for local office in Mesa County.

Acker was a professor of Spanish language at CMU for two decades. He is now a retired professor emeritus, an honorary title conferred upon him for his distinguished service to the academic community. He is a founding member of the award-winning Hispanic Affairs Project.

Originally from the east coast, in the 1980s Acker worked with refugees from the Mariel Boatlift, after over 125,000 Cubans piled into boats and headed for Florida after the Cuban government announced that anyone who wanted to leave the country was free to do so.

While he lived in Pennsylvania, Acker worked with a federally-funded agency to help farmers interact with agriculture workers.

News anchor Bernie Lange leaves KKCO, moves to KREX

Welcome to KREX, Bernie Lange

Award-winning, long time local news anchor Bernie Lange has left KKCO and will start working at KREX-TV Channel 5 on Monday, March 25 as the station’s main anchor for their 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts. He has more than 20 years experience in broadcast journalism.

Turn out to help save the much-loved Orchard Mesa Pool at two important meetings this month

Citizens attend a meeting on 3/13 to discuss how to save the much loved and needed Orchard Mesa Pool.

The Save the Orchard Mesa Pool Committee asks everyone who wants to save the OM pool from destruction to mark their calendars and attend the next city council meetings about the pool, and wear blue to help show solidarity for saving the pool:

The next meeting is March Monday, 18th at 5:30 p.m. at the downtown fire station at 625 Ute Ave., right by the Grand Junction Police station. This is a listen-only meeting, but the Orchard Mesa community needs to show a big presence. All you need to do is show up and wear blue!

Then after that, on Wednesday, March 20 at Grand Junction City Hall, 250 N. 5th Street, at 5:30 p.m. The Committee needs a HUGE CROWD to attend this meeting because City Council may be voting on the fate of the pool at this meeting. The public can weigh in at this meeting.

Findings from the 2023 Colorado Latino Policy Agenda Survey to be presented on 3/11 @ 7 p.m. @ UU Congregation

What issues are top of mind for Latino voters in Colorado? How do Colorado Latino voters feel about the major political parties?

The public is invited to this review of the Colorado Latino Policy survey findings from 2023, with some very knowledgeable local panelists. The review has the highest number of findings from CD-3.

Started in 2021, the Colorado Latino Policy Agenda (CLPA) is an annual, nonpartisan report that provides insights into the demographic makeup and views of Latino voters in Colorado on a number of pressing policy, political, and social issues.

United Way to host Poverty Immersion Experience to increase understanding of what life is like for people living in poverty in Mesa County


The Poverty Immersion Experience allows participants to spend a simulated month in the life of an individual who is experiencing poverty in Mesa County. It is an interactive event that promotes awareness of poverty in Mesa County, increases understanding of people facing poverty situations and that will inspire local change. The intent is to shift the belief and paradigm about poverty from being seen as a personal failure or character flaw to the understanding that poverty is a systemic and societal issue.

The experience offers a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of a low-income family, navigating life with limited resources, while providing for their children and accessing essential community services.

The Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool is barely afloat

Orchard Mesa Pool

Guest blog post by Mariann Taigman, co-founder of the Save the Pool Committee, and Nick Allan of Orchard Mesa United

Three different agencies—the school district, the city, and the county—are involved in managing the Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool (OMCCP).

Prior to 2020, a Pool Board was created that was comprised of one official from each of these entities to discuss the pool at joint meetings. In 2020, the pool board convened to discuss the pool’s future, including the possibility of demolition, marking the last “official” meeting of the Pool Board before it dissolved. In response, the Save The Pool Committee emerged as a grassroots effort, championed by concerned community

Kids and adults enjoying the OM Pool

members passionate about keeping the OMCCP operational.  During that final Pool Board meeting, the Save The Pool Committee presented proof to the three entities that the community wanted the pool to remain open.  Our efforts included: obtaining 7,000 online petition signatures and 1,000 paper signatures; collecting over 70 letters from school children; encouraged community engagement by distributing flyers as to the fate of the OMCCP, and having groups of community members speak at city council meetings.

Rally for the Grand Junction Post Office Monday, Feb. 19, & find out more about changes proposed to mail service

The drive-up mail boxes at the postal sorting annex at 602 Burkey Street, off Patterson and 25 1/2 Road

Local postal employees are inviting members of the community to join them at a rally tomorrow, Monday, February 19, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Grand Junction Mail Processing Facility at 602 Burkey Street to hear about changes being proposed to local postal services in Grand Junction and show support for keeping mail operations in town.

In January, Grand Junction postal employees warned of changes being proposed that could further slow mail delivery and eliminate postal jobs in Grand Junction.

The national Post Office is considering moving the sorting of local mail to Denver. This means local mail would be collected, put on trucks, driven to Denver, sorted at a processing facility in Denver, then put back on trucks and driven back to Grand Junction for delivery. With I-70 being closed more often due to inclement weather, accidents, rockslides, mudslides and other calamities, this could cause further unexpected and unpredictable delays in mail delivery in Grand Junction.

The change could also eliminate anywhere from 12-20 jobs at postal facilities in Grand Junction.

What’s all this about a severed head found in a freezer in garage at a house on Pinyon Ave.?

2019 photo of the house at 2988 Pinyon Ave. where the severed head was reportedly found in a freezer in the garage. (Source: Google Street View)

UPDATE 1/18/24 @ 11:48 a.m.: The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) issued an update today on the case of the severed head. It says, “The autopsy by the Mesa County Coroner’s Office occurred yesterday and has confirmed the human remains found at the address on Pinyon Avenue on January 12, 2024, are a human head and human hands,” and “we have no other definitive answers until further testing can be completed.” 

[Note: this story was updated with additional information received on 1/16/24@11:45 a.m. that has been added in blue text, below.]

Multiple people are reporting on social media that a severed head and possibly additional body parts were discovered in a freezer in the garage of the home at 2988 Pinyon Ave. on Friday, January 12. The story has been confirmed by multiple sources and people have been posting photos documenting the incident.

Here’s what is known so far:

Local Postal workers warn of changes coming that will further slow mail delivery

A brand new sorting machine lies in a dumpster at the Postal Sorting Annex on Patterson Rd. and Burkey St. on August 24, 2020. Employees said it was ordered dismantled and disposed of by Postmaster Louis DeJoy, who has been carrying out changes that are leaving the U.S. Postal Service in disarray

Local Postal Service workers shared a memo distributed to employees at the Burkey Street Sorting Facility on January 10 that warns changes are likely coming to the Burkey Street facility that will threaten jobs and further slow mail delivery by moving mail processing and distributing (PD&C) out of these facilities to Denver.

The 6 page memo, called a “Stand Up Talk” (pdf), warns of an impending facility review that will likely lead to consolidation of plant operations here in Grand Junction and the relocation of parcel operations from here to Denver. It indicates Trump-appointed Postmaster Louis DeJoy will likely take steps that will further erode mail service in Grand Junction and mountain towns. A veteran postal worker said the plan “will definitely slow down mail processing and probably cost some jobs in our areas,” adding that “They seem to cut service then lower their standards so it looks like they are ‘fixing things’.”

Redlands residents oppose City building new sewer lift station and piping on unstable land

In this memorable example of a very bad local development decision in the 1990s, the Mesa County Commissioners approved construction of this home on a geologically unstable cliff above the Colorado River just west of the Redlands Parkway. The decision led to the home eventually sliding down the bluff towards the river. Redlands residents now believe the City is making a similar mistake by planning to build a new sewer line and lift station on  similarly unstable land in the Redlands.

Redlands area residents are concerned that the City of Grand Junction and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) have give preliminary approval to build a huge sewage lift station on private land in a geographically unstable area, and they are warning of its potential for failure and environmental catastrophe.

The proposed lift station will replace a 6-foot diameter lift station said to be “reaching the end of its useful life” at the Ridges Subdivision, and consolidate a 4-foot diameter lift station that “is in adequate condition” on Power Road. The proposed budget for this new lift station is currently $7.1 million.

But homeowners in the area contend the new lift station and sewer lines will be built on unstable land, will destroy huge swaths of riparian habitat above Connected Lakes State Park and, in the event of a failure, could lead to huge amounts of raw sewage being dumped into the river.

Schwenke is helping realtors and developers oppose City plan for more pedestrian & bike-friendly development

Many Grand Junction streets lack curb, gutters, sidewalks and other pedestrian and bike-friendly amenities. City Council is trying to fix this by making transportation corridors safer and more user-friendly for pedestrians, bicyclists and people using public transportation. Realtors and developers oppose the effort, assisted by former Chamber president Diane Schwenke.

Former Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke, who has a consulting business now called “Schwenke Solutions,” is working as a consultant for the Grand Junction Area Realtors and Homebuilders Associations, helping them oppose the City’s new proposed Transportation Engineering Design Standards (TEDS) that are designed to make streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and people taking public transportation.

Diane Schwenke lobbies against higher wages

Former Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke appears in a 2016 TV ad opposing an increase in Colorado’s minimum wage

To that end, Schwenke authored a strange letter to the editor to the Daily Sentinel November 26 that praised a new housing development on former farmland in Nebraska that lack curbs, gutters and walkable sidewalks. She praises the beautiful agricultural setting of the development, saying it has “a layout that maximizes the view of fields of corn and soybeans on the adjourning hillsides,” but doesn’t seem to understand that such developments destroy the lovely fields and farms she likes to look at, and will cost taxpayers in the long run as cities have to add curb, gutter, drainage, adequate sidewalks and other amenities to make them safer and more attractive.

District 51 quietly working on plan that involves firing over 50 teachers in Fruita

Fruita 8/9 School, August 2022 (Photo: Facebook)

AnneLandmanBlog received the following communication this morning titled “A Huge Concern,” from a D-51 teacher who wants to get word out about the School District quietly moving forward with a plan to fire over 50 Fruita-area teachers, many of whom have over 20 years of experience: