The town of Parachute, Colorado, in Garfield County, is celebrating the opening of its first recreational pot shop today. Parachute has a population of about 1,000 people, and the new shop, called The Green Joint, has already created 20 new jobs in the town. Parachute is about a 45 minute drive east of Grand Junction on I-70. The Green Joint already has seven other stores in the greater Roaring Fork Valley, including in jGlenwood Springs and Rifle.
In June 2015, the Trustees of the Town of Parachute voted 4-2 to end their ban on recreational marijuana sales in the town, opening the town to the financial benefits of the state’s booming new legal marijuana economy.
It’s no wonder Parachute is celebrating the store’s opening, too. After suffering losses of tax revenue and jobs as a result of the latest downturn in the oil and gas industries, a new 3.5 percent tax on the Green Joint’s sales will go to support support the town’s schools, law enforcement, firefighting and other city services.
Mesa County and Grand Junction remain unable to take advantage of the booming new marijuana economy, since both jurisdictions have banned retail recreational marijuana within their borders, with the exception of incorporated towns within Mesa County, which can make their own rules regarding whether or not to allow marijuana sales.
Main source: New Recreational Marijuana Shop, KREX TV, December 17, 2015,
Recent news reports tell of the Mesa County Commissioners’ current struggle to deal with a $3 million budget deficit due to decreasing tax revenue. At the same time, Grand Junction City Councilors, citing a lack of tax revenue, turn down a chance to host the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a potentially huge economic boon and an event that could draw favorable domestic and international media coverage for the city.
The economy remains bad and getting worse on other fronts in Mesa County, too. Last June, Mesa County saw its biggest jump in unemployment in 12 months, rising 6.6 percent in June alone. The lost jobs are attributed to low gas prices and continuing cutbacks in the oil and gas field, which has a long history locally of being an unreliable, employer locally.
At the same time that Mesa County’s economy is circling the drain, unemployment rates in the rest of the state are tumbling and, according to the Denver Post, have reached new lows not seen since the dot-com boom in the 1990s. Front range rents are high, vacancies are low and by all accounts other parts of the state are buzzing with new and growing economic activity.
So why is Mesa County languishing amid the state’s overall economic bonanza?
Things are bad here in large part because the Mesa County Commissioners and Grand Junction City Council are barring citizens in our area the ability to participate in the booming new marijuana economy.
As previously noted here on AnneLandmanBlog., the Mysterious Redlands Talking Hill’s constantly-changing messages consist of single 3-4 letter words only. Over the past few years the Hill has said innumerable things, including “MOM,” “DAD,” “MOON,” TREK,” “USA,” and “XMAS.” Last week it said “YETI.”
Who repeatedly clambers up this crumbling hillside to scratch huge, short, engimatic messages into the hillside?
No one knows. But whoever it is, please keep it up. It sure keeps our interest!
You can see the Talking Hill from the intersection of Monument and South Camp Roads. Pull over in the general area of the intersection of the two roads, and look northwest towards the greenish, bentonite hill located between the two buttes with rocks on top, as seen in the picture.
Report to AnneLandmanBlog what is says when you see it!
Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) again hosted their highly popular booth at the Main Street Farmers Market in downtown Grand Junction on Thursday, 9/24.
So far, WCAF’s has been the only booth at the Farmers Market to challenge people’s knowledge and sense of fun by offering a short and always-entertaining Atheist Quiz.
People seem to love it, too.
A Pennsylvania company called Fireworks is celebrating Pope Francis’ upcoming U.S. visit by marketing a specially-designed toaster that burns the image of Pope Francis onto your sliced bread. The Toaster comes with and an additional insert that toasts the words “Spread the Love” in English onto your toast. The toaster has seven shade settings and a removable crumb tray and sells for $48.95 online at ToastThePope.com.
Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, September 22 from Cuba and will be in the U.S. until Sunday, September 27.
It was a long time in coming, but a Grand Junction resident named Derrick Sorg has finally started a Change.org petition to end the ban on cannabis cultivation and retail sales in Grand Junction.
Sorg says lifting the ban on marijuana commerce will finally create more jobs in our area and bring in more tax revenue for schools. Sorg says if he gets enough support for his online petition, he will initiate an official City petition to get a measure to legalize pot cultivation and sales on the local ballot. The Colorado Department of Revenue reports steadily increasing taxes being collected from marijuana sales. Many Grand Junction area residents see high-paying jobs being created across the state and watch as other towns rake in significant revenue from the new marijuana economy, and feel our town is being left far behind.
KKCO 11 News broadcast information about Sorg’s petition on the evening news tonight. The petition currently has 148 signatures, and the number is increasing. See and sign the petition here.
There’s a terrific new food truck in town, “El M7 Mariscos Y Mas” (“El M7 Seafood and More”) that’s camped out at 2856 North Ave., between Maxim Motors and the LeMaster Motel & Trailer Park. This terrific little place is the best thing to happen to North Avenue in a long time. El M7 specializes in mariscos, or seafood and offers deliciously different Mexican dishes like shrimp ceviche, fish tostadas, crab tostadas, fish tacos, shrimp quesadillas and burritos. They also have some larger and more awesome sounding dishes like Aguachile Camarones Ahogados (raw shrimp cooked in lime juice topped with onions and avocado slices, seasoned with salt and pepper). As a “barometer dish,” I ordered the shrimp ceviche to go. It cost $10 even. For that I got a big, 16-oz container of ceviche, a good supply of tortilla chips chips and crackers, one little container with fresh lime slices and another with a red, piquant-tasting spicy mariscos sauce, a napkin and some ketchup.
The ceviche was truly perfect. PERFECT. Many times, especially in landlocked Grand Junction, if you can even find ceviche on a menu, it’s too fishy, or it’s made too salty, too tart or too vinegar-y. But not here. M7 really knows what they are doing and they absolutely NAILED this ceviche. It was truly delicious. The serving size was generous, too, enough for TWO of the bowls seen in the accompanying photo. They got the meal ready super-fast after ordering, too. This place really deserves your business. We are so lucky they are here!
Independence Day is Mesa County offered fun for some, but caused a tremendous amount of trouble and expense for citizens in the evening due to multiple fireworks-caused fires, intoxicated drivers, people angry at neighbors who continued to blast fireworks off late into the night, loose dogs running scared and a host of other problems.
Someone using illegal fireworks started a major fire at 26 and G 1/2 Roads around 10:00 p.m. on Independence Day. The fire lit up the night sky with an orange glow and could be seen for well over mile away. The fire caused evacuation of several houses and burned a wood pile and barn. Grand Junction Fire Department engines 4, 5 and a BLM brush truck responded to the fire. Despite the glow of the fire being visible and smoke smell filling the air for miles around, people living in the immediate area continued blowing off illegal fireworks, which were visible in the night sky along with the blaze.
Fires were also reported on Buffalo Drive on the Redlands and Bean Ranch Road in Whitewater, where a fire initially reported as 100 ft in diameter quickly grew to 1/2 acre by 11:00 p.m., with flames visible from Highway 50. The Bean Ranch Road fire was reportedly on BLM land with no one attending to it.
It was also a busy night for law enforcement. An elderly woman at 2856 1/2 Elm Ave. called law enforcement at 11:16 p.m., extremely anxious about fireworks being thrown into her yard and threatening to go outside with her gun and kill the people who kept setting them off if law enforcement didn’t come immediately and make them stop.
Law enforcement responded to many calls regarding intoxicated people stumbling around at Lincoln Park and on the streets, as well as drunken drivers throughout the valley weaving and going going off the sides of roadways. At 11:12 p.m., an intoxicated man reportedly passed out on the street approximately 200 yards east of 30 and E Roads. Stray dogs were reported running loose from Loma to Orchard Mesa and Animal Control was called.
Another brush fire was reported on Highway 50 at mile marker 47 at 11:06.p.m.
“We’re getting slammed,” law enforcement reported.
While Caitlyn Jenner has been grabbing all the headlines, it’s been almost overlooked that Grand Junction has been experiencing some gender-bending of its own.
Grand Junction now has its first professional drag queen troupe, The CD’s Drag and Jewell Case, LLC. The troupe is another indication of a slow but steady culture shift going on in this formerly conservative area of Colorado, and for that reason alone it’s surely something significant enough to talk about.
The troupe currently has five members, although usually only two or three perform at any given time. The group’s founders and lead performers are Coco Jem Holiday and Donatella Mysecrets De’Ore, and the supporting members are Livvi Dior, Onyx Reign and Delilah Delight. With a total of five entertainers now in their “Jewell Case,” the CDs have enough so they can have coverage in the event that some can’t make it to a gig.
Grand Junction’s Third Annual Colorado West Pride Parade was more impressive than ever this year, with more sponsors and floats than in previous years, and a bigger crowd of spectators on Main Street. The weather was perfect for the event, with a temperature in the 70s, intermittent cloud cover, just a faint breeze and no rain.
Note – Owing to City Council’s now-official change of name of North Ave. to University Ave. in 2017, I am re-posting this blog from 2015.
In a March 24, 2015 editorial, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel argues that “North Avenue needs a modern moniker.” The article cites the town’s extensive modernization and expansion since it’s founding many years ago, and extensive capital improvements, like the airport and interstate highway, as reasons to rename North Avenue to University Avenue — the most frequently suggested new name for the street.
Changing the name of North Avenue is a fine idea, but it’s thinking small.
Re-Naming is On a Roll, But What Will Really Work to Remove Grand Junction’s Negative Baggage?
We need to take collective big deep breath, go a big step further and rename the entire city.
Lots of local features have been renamed in the past few years. We’ve re-named Walker Field Airport, Mesa State College and F Road, all with no ill effects. The new names have even proven to be marked improvements over the old names, eliminating confusion and better representing the amenities they point to.
But let’s face it, folks. Grand Junction has plenty of negative baggage. This is reflected in the slew of pejorative nicknames our area has earned: “Grand Junktown,” “Gland Function,” “Spun Junction,” “Meth Junction,” “Tweakerville,” to name a few. Moreover, our town has given rise to a disproportionate number of dysfunctional institutions, embarrassing political scandals and politicians.
In 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a small box in the shape of a one room schoolhouse, filled it with books and mounted it on a post in his front yard with a sign that said “FREE BOOKS. Take a book, leave a book.” People in his neighborhood loved it, and so did his family and friends. Soon other Wisconsinites started putting up little free libraries in their own neighborhoods. The trend soon expanded to other states and countries around the world, and in a few short years the “Little Free Library” movement was born. Bol originally put up his free library box to promote reading for children, literacy for adults and to help people see the value of libraries in general.
For about five years, an unknown person has been climbing a slippery hill high on the Redlands and scratching brief messages into the greenish bentonite, and turning the hill into an ersatz billboard. The hill is just to the north of the intersection of Monument Road and South Camp Road. The messages are always in capital letters. They change frequently and consists of just four letters. It’s no easy task to make them, either. The letters are probably at least 10-12 feet tall. The messages are usually timely, too. At Mother’s Day, the hill says “MOM.” Near Father’s Day, it says “DAD.” Near the full moon it will say “MOON.” Other times, it has said “HELO,” or is just some cryptic anagram that leaves viewers scratching their heads. At the moment it says “XMAS.” If you stand near the northeast corner of Monument Road and South Camp Road and look towards the bentonite hills to the northwest, you can see it. Look for a greenish hill located between two higher, red-striated peaks. Check out what it says.
Want to take some bets on what it might say next? My guess is it might soon say “2015.”
The most overlooked and historic story in Grand Junction this week is the area’s burgeoning gay scene and the growing prominence of the area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population.
This year Gay Pride week brought an extended celebration of gender diversity to this formerly staid town, where previously people preferred to quietly sweep such culture under the rug.
Not any more.
Saturday, May 17 brought a gender-bending drag queen show to the Mesa Theater on Main Street, complete with a laser light show, throbbing techno music, Cirque-de-Soleil-style dancers atop lit towers and rambunctious performances by hilarious drag entertainers from Denver, Salt Lake and Provo.
Lest you think organizers had to go out of town to find such entertainers, that wasn’t the case. The show featured a performance by a home-grown, local drag troupe, The CDS Drag, with performers Jem Holiday, Donatella Mysecrets and Stella Rae.
Sunday, May 18 brought the Second Annual Gay Pride Parade and street festival. Heidi Hess, the western slope grassroots organizer for One Colorado, which works to secure and protect equality and opportunity for LGBT people and their families, reports that the size of the parade nearly tripled this year.
A controversy arose in Grand Junction last month after a parent complained about a video shown to Grand Mesa Middle School students that promoted Fellowship Church’s new youth indoctrination center, “4640.” The video boasted that 4640 had a foam pit, a ledge swing, a “spider jump center” and a delicious food court “filled with more junk food than you can imagine.” The only problem was that kids going to 4640 get pressured to become Christian.
But Fellowship Church is about to get some secular competition for the minds and bodies of local recreation-starved youth.
A trampoline and climbing amusement park called Get Air at the Silo is getting ready to open in the old Mesa Feed building at 715 S. 7th Street in LoJo (lower downtown Grand Junction). Word is the silo on the property is getting remade into a climbing course.
Attractions will include a foam pit, a series of pit trampolines that allow people to jump like rabbits from one to the next, dodge ball, gymnastics training, “Extreme Air Training,” an angled trampoline you can run up to do flips, “air jam basketball” (a tramp for slam-dunking basketballs into a hoop), a course for smaller kids and a snack and party room. The facility will be equipped with delayed-view recording cameras and a giant, flat-screen monitor that lets patrons and their friends review their jumps.
The facility is a franchise of Get Air Management, which operates large trampoline parks worldwide. Get Air has parks in Tucson, AZ, Kennewick, WA, Temecula, CA, Huntington Beach, CA, Kaysville, UT, Nicholasville, KY, Poway, CA, and has more parks set to open this summer in Oregon, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Washington and Maine.
A similar Get Air facility in Tucson, AZ charges $10 for one hour of jumping, but some cities in California charge up to $14/hour. The facility will be available for parties, and passes will be available. For the fee, patrons can jump all they want with zero pressure to become Christian.
Get Air Management requires users to sign legal waivers regarding injury and follow specific safety rules. Users of recreation facilities like foam pits and trampolines, whether they are in secular or religious facilities, need to be aware of the potential for serious injury from these activities.
Get Air Silo is located at 715 S. 7th Street in Grand Junction, near the Daily Sentinel building.