Category: Local concerns

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:

Board of Public Health & county commissioners violated state public health law with their new intergovernmental agreement

Stephen D. Daniels, new Chair of the Mesa County Board of Public Health,  violated Colorado Title 25 by giving control over the health department’s budget to the elected county commissioners. No provision in the state public health law permits that.

When the Mesa County Commissioners had the Board of Health (BOH) sign their new Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), the commissioners, County Attorney Todd Starr and all 7 members of the new BOH all either knowingly or unknowingly violated Colorado Revised Statute Title 25, Article 1, Part 5(k).

KREX TV explores how the County seized control over all of Mesa County Public Health Department’s contracts when it only contributes 4.2% of the agency’s budget

KREX reporter Michael Loggerwell’s story about Mesa County’s new Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Health Department- Part 1

KREX-TV News recently did a two-part series about the Mesa County Commissioners’ new, post-Jeff Kuhr Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that more tightly regulates the County’s relationship with the Public Health Department (MCPHD), and how it differs from the old 2012 agreement in important ways that could negatively affect public health and safety in the county.

Why are the Mesa County Commissioners sending taxpayer money out of town?

The Commissioners used a roofing company in Keenesburg, Colorado to replace the roof on the Old County Courthouse on Rood Ave., instead of a company located in Mesa County

The Mesa County Commissioners recently had the roof replaced on the Old Courthouse at 544 Rood Ave.

They gave the job to Better Line Roofing, LLC in Keenesburg, Colorado, 279 miles from here, instead of a local roofing company.

People concerned about D-51 Social Studies Forums Nov. 15 & 16

School District 51 is holding forums today and tomorrow (Wednesday, 11/15 and Thursday, 11/16) to discuss the state’s new social studies standards. The forums are today at Redlands Middle School and tomorrow at Orchard Mesa Middle School, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each day.

So, what’s up with these forums?

People reporting difficulty accessing ballot drop-off box at the Clifton DMV on election day (today)

People are reporting that construction, roped off areas and the construction workers’ vehicles are inhibiting access and causing traffic jams at the ballot drop-off box at the Clifton DMV at 3225 I-70 Business Loop, Unit A2, in Clifton. Concerns are for the ability of disabled or other-enabled people to be able to reach the box, trip and fall hazards for those stepping over the areas under construction to reach the box, traffic congestion and some people are concerned about possible voter suppression.

New Mesa County Clerk Bobbie Gross was notified of the situation, said she just noticed it on her cameras as well and was headed to Clifton immediately to address the situation.

D-51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson wants to teach creationism alongside science in public schools

“I feel like we need to be teaching both ends of the spectrum when we’re teaching things in school as well….What I mean by that is if we’re teaching the Big Bang Theory then we need to teach creationism as well.” — Barbara Evanson

On October 31, the Colorado Times Recorder highlighted a locally-made video interview with District 51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson in which Evanson says that if schools teach what is scientifically known about the origins of the universe, then they should also have to teach creationism alongside that information so kids can decide on their own what’s true.

Creationism is the religious belief that God created the universe. It is a wholly religious construct with no scientific proof behind it,

The idea of mandating creationism be taught in public schools alongside scientific information has been declared by U.S. courts to be illegal.

D-51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson says she wants to ban “a ton” of material from school libraries

In this excerpt from an interview with “Ruth” and “Lisa” (who do not provide their last names) posted on a YouTube account named “MesaCountyCompass” on October 8, 2023, “District 51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson says she would ban “a ton of material” from school libraries that she feels is inappropriate.

“Stand for the Constitution,” which still supports Tina Peters, is working to get Evanson & Skalla elected to D-51 School Board

A slide shown at a mid-October, 2023 Stand for the Constitution meeting that indicates the group still supports criminally-indicted, election denier Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters. The same group is supporting Evanson and Skalla for D-51 School District Board.

It seems like Mesa County never seems to learn from its past mistakes.

Stand for The Constitution (SFTC), the local extremist group that pushed to get Tina Peters elected County Clerk in 2018, that continued to support Peters even after her loss of 574 of ballots in 2019 and even after her indictments on multiple felony criminal charges related to election tampering, is now working to get Barbara Evanson and CynDee Skalla elected to the District 51 School Board in the November 7, 2023 election.

Stand for the Constitution also backed the three conservative school board members Haitz, Lema and Jones who have brought rancor, questionable ethics, uncertainty, disruption and hatred to the school board.