Category: Mesa County

Commissioners planning to close Mesa County Animal Services

The Mesa County Commissioners are quietly planning to close Mesa County Animal Services, according to an item on their public hearing agenda for Tuesday, July 2 at 9:00 a.m. (pdf). The meeting will be held at the old courthouse, 544 Rood Ave., second floor.

Word from volunteers at local animal shelters who are alarmed by the agenda item is that the Commissioners plan to close the Animal Services building in Whitewater and terminate all Animal Services employees except for four, who will move to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. They will no longer have a care facility for animals.

Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis (R), running for re-election this year, is among the commissioners planning to close Mesa County Animal Services

After closing Animal Services, the Commissioners then want to rebuild the agency from scratch.

The full agenda item reads:

“Consider approving the County Administrator’s ending current municipal contracts and exploring a Request For Proposal for animal shelter services, and authorize the County Administrator to sign letters to municipalities. (Matt Lewis, Justice Services Director)”

The item is under “Item(s) Needing Individual Consideration,” on page 2 of the agenda.(pdf)

Local animal shelter volunteers are asking people to attend this meeting or weigh in with the Commissioners to protest the closure, since it will put tremendous pressure on other animal shelters in the area that are already cash strapped to house and care for the area’s lost and homeless animals.

The public can attend the meeting in person or by Zoom, and can send an email to all of the commissioners at once at mcbocc@mesacounty.us.

Zoom Meeting Info:

Note that participants cannot comment on agenda items during the “Public Comment” portion of the agenda. That time is reserved only for items that are not on the agenda. You can comment on the agenda item at the time the it is heard and discussed by the commissioners, but public comments are limited to a maximum of three (3) minutes per speaker, unless otherwise further restricted by the Chair of the commission.

To attend and comment virtually, you’ll need to fist complete the “Public Hearing Participation Sign Up” form on the County’s website no later than 8:00 a.m. on the day of the meeting.

Zoom meeting link for the Tuesday, 7/2 meeting:

Meeting ID: 896 1946 4916

No passcode is given, so a passcode may not be necessary.

If you are attending the meeting by Zoom and want to submit a comment on the County Commissioners’ planned closure of Animal Services, you can send an email to all of the commissioners at once at mcbocc@mesacounty.us

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland (R), who lost her June 25th primary election bid to get a fourth term as commissioner

 

Mesa County Commissioner Bobbie Daniel (R), shown with indicted former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters

 

 

Rowland booted as commissioner

Results as of 10:25 p.m. Tuesday night

Political newcomer J.J. Fletcher of Palisade won by a wide margin over longtime career politician Janet Rowland in the primary election for District 3 Mesa County Commissioner.

Rowland conceded the race this morning via a brief Facebook post. 

U.S. Surgeon General calls gun violence “an urgent public health crisis in America”

For the first time the U.S. Surgeon General of the United States has issued an urgent warning about gun violence in America, calling it a public health crisis.

Dr. Vivek Murthy says that in 2020, firearm‑related injuries became the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the U.S., surpassing motor vehicle crashes, cancer, and drug overdose and poisoning.  He further says that almost 6 in 10 U.S. adults say that they worry “sometimes,” “almost every day,” or “every day,” about a loved one being a victim of firearm violence, and that such high levels of exposure to firearm violence for both children and adults in the U.S. “give rise to a cycle of trauma and fear within our communities, contributing to the nation’s mental health crisis.”

The Mesa County Public Health Department says “is it worth noting that Mesa County has one of the highest rates of gun deaths in Colorado and, per capita, even the United States.” There were 95 recorded deaths by firearms in Mesa County from 2020 to 2022.

People are living in fear in the U.S.

Nationwide, sales of bullet proof backpacks for children soar at the beginning of the school year. In 2019, the American Psychological Association reported that one third of U.S. adults say fear of mass shootings is keeping them from going to certain places and events, and it’s clear that the increase in public gun massacres is taking a toll on our collective mental health in America and affecting the way many people are living their daily lives. To understand why people fear the now massive prevalence of guns in the U.S., you need only look at this groundbreaking November, 2023 report by Washington Post on the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in 2022.

Elected officials who feel the weight of this moral crisis of inaction on the issue of firearm violence in the U.S. and want to know what policies actually work to reduce firearm injuries and deaths, and which don’t, can access this report by the Rand Corporation, updated in 2023, that analyzes the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of a wide range of gun policies, and makes recommendations for the most effective policies to implement.

If you know of someone who possesses firearms and is posing a risk to themselves or others, you can access instructions on how to access Colorado’s Red Flag law in Mesa County here.

High speed fiber optic internet lines getting installed throughout the Grand Valley

A roll of fiber optic conduit awaits installation underground in northwest Grand Junction. If you’ve seen construction scenes like this in your area, it means high speed fiber optic internet will be coming to your neighborhood in the not-too-distant future. This is a photo of Clearnetworx operations ongoing in northwest Grand Junction, near the Foresight Circle area.

Two companies are currently racing to install high speed fiber optic internet lines throughout the Grand Valley, particularly in areas that have been underserved with high speed internet.

The two companies are ClearNetworx and Highline.

Clearnetworx is based in Montrose. It is a local company privately owned by Doug Seacat, who was born and raised in Montrose. Clearnetworx has already installed high speed fiber lines in Palisade, and their system went live on December 21, 2023. Clearnetworx started installing fiber lines in Fruita in May of 2023, and have made significant progress in bringing fiber to the west central area of downtown Fruita. You can see a map of their progress for installation in the Grand Junction area here.

Abortion access initiative makes it onto Colorado’s 2024 ballot

It’s official.

The initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the Colorado state Constitution will be on the ballot this November.

Since it seeks to amend the state constitution, it will need a vote of at least a 55% in favor to pass.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Election Office announced today that supporters of Initiative #89, the “Right to Abortion,” had submitted the required number of signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for Colorado’s statewide General Election ballot on November 5, 2024.

Meet ‘n’ Greet event this week for JJ Fletcher, the Republican running against Janet Rowland for County Commissioner in the 6/25 primary election

UPDATE, 5/8/24 @ 10:30 a.m. – JJ Fletcher has cancelled this event. 

Claudette Konola will host a Meet ‘n’ Greet this week on Wednesday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. for JJ Fletcher, the candidate running against Janet Rowland for County Commissioner in the June 25, 2024 primary election.

The event will be at Claudette’s home, so she requests people use the blue “message” button on her Facebook page to RSVP and get the location.

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.

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.

Transparency out the window in selecting new Director for the Mesa County Public Health Department

For Mesa County residents trying to find out how the search is going for a new County Public Health Department (MCPHD) director, the County is acting like it’s really none of your business, unless you belong to their secret circle of private citizens and friends to whom they are giving private access and input into the decision.

Janet Rowland, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners, told people when she was running for office that transparency in government is “absolutely critical,” but the search for a new MCPHD director has been anything but transparent.

Woodland Park-based Christian nationalist group working to influence Mesa County District 51 School Board election

Truth & Liberty Coalition fliers seek to influence the local school board election by focusing on right wing culture war issues. The fliers were placed at La Milpa Tortilleria on 30 Road.

High-quality, multi-colored, bilingual fliers created by the front range Christian dominionist group Truth & Liberty Coalition are showing up at businesses around town. The fliers use right wing culture war rhetoric targeting gay and transgender students in an attempt to influence the outcome of the November 7 District 51 School Board election. The fliers appear to endorse CynDee Skalla, Jessica Hearns and Barbara Evanson.

The fliers were found at La Milpa Tortilla Factory in Grand Junction and are bilingual in English and Spanish.

Ascent Classical Academy used the wrong kind of post-remediation lead testing in the Rocky Mountain Gun Club building, according to CDPHE

How lead is dispersed at shooting ranges (Georgia Dept. of Public Health/Seattle Times)

The Vertex Company LLC of Denver, which Ascent Classical Academy hired to test the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building for lead contamination after the building was remediated, did the wrong kind of testing, says an specialist with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Caren Johannes of CDPHE’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division Compliance Unit, who oversees closed shooting ranges, looked over online remediation report (pdf) that Ascent posted its website on August 11, 2023, and concluded that the Vertex Company did the wrong kind of testing for lead in the building, so their results will not be valid.

Concern growing about Grand Mesa Nordic Council

Grand Mesa Nordic Council grooms cross country ski trails on the Grand Mesa, to help the public enjoy them. (Photo: GMNC website)

A storm is brewing over the governance of the Grand Mesa Nordic Council (GMNC), as longtime members set off alarm bells about the way the group has been operating recently.

GMNC is a nonprofit group made up of local cross country skiers. It was founded in 1990 to groom and maintain popular ski trails on the Grand Mesa and work with the National Forest Service to develop new trails. Over its 40+ years of existence, it has been remarkably successful.

Originally, GMNC was made up of volunteers and operated on a shoestring budget of donations from skiers and businesses that support the sport. Their pursuit of their mission was driven by members’ love and passion for the sport. But after growing steadily over the years, donations increased to the point where the GMNC now pulls in about quarter million dollars a year, and for the first time, the group was forced to hire paid staff to manage its affairs.

The result has been worrisome to many.

Background check: County Attorney Todd Starr

7/5/23 Sentinel article about Mesa County Attorney Todd Starr

7/5/23 Sentinel article about Mesa County Attorney Todd Starr’s fraudulent action to deceive a court Trustee

People in highly-paid, taxpayer-funded jobs who also are in positions to influence Mesa County actions and policies should be background checked, especially when they start doing potentially illegal things like helping the Mesa County Commissioners dismantle of the Board of Public Health for no real reason, and in apparent violation of county policies and state law.

Mesa County Attorney Todd M. Starr certainly meets that criteria. He makes a salary of $190,800/year, not including perks and benefits, and appears to have facilitated illegal acts by the Mesa County Commissioners against the Board of Public Health.

So I decided to background check him.