Category: Public health

D-51 School Board President’s transphobic social media posts draw condemnation

District 51 School Board President posted this photo to social media recently on her personal account

Recent social media posts by District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz, and one in particular that she posted on Mother’s Day, are drawing condemnation, disgust and shock from many Mesa County residents who saw them.

“Gold standard” medical study finds Ivermectin does not reduce risk of severe Covid-19

A large number of Mesa County residents harbor the mistaken belief that the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin, used to de-worm horses and prevent heart worm in dogs, can treat Covid-19, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says this is not true.

The bogus idea that Ivermectin is effective against Covid was promoted locally by Grand Junction area chiropractors who spread medical misinformation about Covid-19, including one who urged people to buy livestock-strength Ivermectin and administer it to themselves as a Covid-preventative. Some local chiropractors spread medical misinformation and discouraged people from getting safe and effective vaccines against the disease as a way to help sell their own proprietary brand of supplements they claimed would prevent Covid-19. Members of the Mesa County Republican Party even introduced a resolution for their party’s platform to try to make Ivermectin an over-the-counter drug in Colorado.

After Ivermectin poisonings surged across the country in 2021 due to the spread of this dangerous misinformation, the FDA created an entire web page explaining why people should not use Ivermectin to try to prevent, treat or mitigate Covid-19.

Now there’s even more proof that using Ivermectin to treat Covid is pointless: A large-scale “gold standard” study on using Ivermectin to treat Covid was just published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and it concluded Ivermectin does not reduce the likelihood of hospitalization from Covid-19.

Open burning still a scourge in Mesa County in 2022


It’s a beautiful spring day in Mesa County, and once again the time of year when palls of thick smoke from open burning envelope entire neighborhoods, turning beautiful, fragrant, warm spring days into days of physical illness, suffering and despair for Grand Valley residents.

With the biggest medical center between Denver and Salt Lake and a wide variety of retirement housing, Grand Junction has long been an attractive area for retirees. But many people who settle here are unaware of the archaic open burning tradition here that exacerbates health problems and can pose an extraordinary health threat to sensitive people with illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, bronchitis and those who use supplemental oxygen for lung and heart disease.

Woman makes Q-Anon style threat against Telluride School Board

Gabriella Moorman’s letter to the Telluride Board of Education and Superintendent

Taking a leaf from the QAnon playbook of turning school boards into battlegrounds for unhinged conservative politics, a woman named Gabriella Moorman threatened individual members of the Telluride School District board in San Miguel County as a way to rail against district policies that guided masking during the pandemic, sex education, Critical Race Theory (which is not taught in K-12 schools) and other  practices and policies the school board has taken in the past.

Moorman wrote to board members that “you could lose your house, your cars, your job, your retirement, etc., if you DO NOT PAY ATTENTION. You are inviolation of multiple State, Federal and International laws … and you could be facing time in FEDERAL PRISON for your actions if you do not cease and desist.”

StopTheMandateGJ kicked off Facebook, starts new page, tries to evade another shutdown by using code words

The anti-vaccine group StopTheMandateGJ had its Facebook page shut down January 7th for violating Facebook’s Community standards after Facebook started cracking down on “vaccine misinformation superspreaders” last fall. The group was organized by local chiropractors Greg Haitz and Daniel Vaden of the Rimrock Wellness Center at 12th and Patterson Road, and for months spearheaded protests outside hospitals, getting groups of people to wave signs against getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

Greg Haitz

The group is trying to get re-established on Facebook again, though, and this time the page administrator tells users how to use code for words like “vaccine” and “jab” to avoid getting shut down again. The admins also tell users how to link to articles and web pages containing misinformation without the links being detected by Facebook:

Is it safe yet to go to indoor meetings and parties? Here’s how to tell.

This post is dedicated to my dad, Daniel N. Fox, who died on 2/11/22 from Covid-19, after catching it from someone who came into his home and inadvertently infected his entire household. Two people out of the three in his household have died as a result. The second person died on 2/14/22.

As the omicron surge recedes in Mesa County, people are starting to gather in large crowds for indoor events again, like meetings, concerts and parties. But is it safe?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests you take into account the type of gathering you’re considering attending: Is it a small gathering of just people you know, or will there be people there from multiple households or with whom you are unfamiliar? Large gatherings with more people from other places pose a higher danger of infection with Covid-19.

Take into account your risk level, and that of others near you: Do you have children under 5 years old at home who are unvaccinated? Or do you live with, visit or work with older people who have weaker immune systems or other health conditions? If you are around people who are vulnerable to the virus, your behavior, specifically carelessly exposing yourself to large crowds and failing to test for infection before spending time with them, can raise their risk of getting Covid-19, and even kill them, as it killed my dad last Friday.

Another Rimrock Wellness Center chiropractor dispenses dangerous medical disinformation

Charles Daniel Vaden

For many people, chiropractors are de facto primary health care providers, particularly in medically underserved rural areas like the western slope. Many people find it easier and more affordable to see a chiropractor than an M.D., and tend see their chiropractors far more often than they do M.D.s., generating familiarity and a relationship of trust with these health professionals. This puts chiropractors in a unique position to deliver vital public health information to a good portion of the community. They could, for example, be educating people about positive health behaviors, informing them about what’s scientifically proven to keep people safe from contracting Covid-19, telling people what works best to keep them of the hospital if they get Covid-19, and helping them know when to seek further medical care.

But instead of using their valuable position to benefit public health, it turns out many Grand Junction chiropractors are dispensing egregiously false medical information about vaccines and how to prevent Covid-19. And these chiropractors aren’t just flushing their value as a community public health asset down the toilet. They are lying to the people who support them financially and trust them the most, misleading people in very dangerous ways and often doing it for profit.

Mesa County Concerned Citizen meme demonstrates local cluelessness about respiratory transmission of disease

Meme in an email blast sent out by the far right group Mesa County Concerned Citizen on 11/15/21, showing that likely many local people lack any understanding of how respiratory disease transmission works — vital information that’s central to getting a pandemic under control

The above meme was sent out in an email blast last November 15, 2021 by the far right extremist group Mesa County Concerned Citizen.

The meme makes it clear that many Mesa County residents likely lack an understanding about how the transmission of respiratory diseases works — information that is massively important to our ability to bring the virus under control. This could be one reason why the coronavirus has been able to spread so efficiently in Mesa County, and why it is likely to persist here.

Former KKCO weatherman Butch McCain now shilling for anti-vaxxers

Former KKCO Channel 11 weatherman Butch McCain, who was fired last October for refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, stands in front of a fake weather map in a video promoting the anti-vax group Stop The Mandate GJ

Former longtime KKCO weatherman Butch McCain, who was fired from KKCO last October after refusing to get a Covid-19 vaccine in compliance with his employer Gray TV’s Covid-19 vaccine policy, is now promoting the anti-vax group Stop the Mandate GJ, which is encouraging others in our area to also refuse the vaccine.

McCain now appears on the first page of StoptheMandateGJ’s website, talking in front of a fake weather map and saying in part,

“It’s not about Covid any more, it’s about forced compliance…Let’s be the resistance to their nationwide tyranny…

 

Another local chiropractor spreads dangerous misinformation about Covid prevention and treatment

Photo: YouTube, 2010

In October, 2021, the U.S. News and World Report revealed chiropractors are a major force stirring up anti-vaccine sentiment and spreading medical misinformation across the country in the pandemic. Often regarded as trusted health professionals, chiropractors who do this pose a potent threat to the public by hawking supplements as alternatives to vaccines, working to help people evade vaccine mandates, recommending unapproved and potentially toxic medication regimens to treat and prevent Covid, and abetting anti-vaccine movements at the local level.

That is certainly happening here in Grand Junction, too.

G.J. chiropractor recommends novel but fraudulent way for anti-vaxxers to try to avoid mandatory Covid vaccination

New Life Chiropractic on Patterson Rd., operated by Wesley Sheader, recommends “VaxControlGroup.com” to anti-vaxxers who are trying to evade vaccine mandates. The only problem is, it’s fraudulent.

Grand Junction chiropractor Wesley Sheader of New Life Chiropractic at 2532 Patterson Road is giving people trying to evade Covid-19 vaccine mandates a unique way to evade the jab: he suggests they join an unvaccinated study control group which can issue them an official-looking ID card saying they can’t be vaccinated because they are a participant in the study.

The only thing is, there is no study and the “control group” is a scam.

“Mesa County Concerned Citizen” fraudulently promotes $182 ripoff box of common OTC items as an “early and effective treatment of COVID-19”

Screen-shot from a January 6, 2022 email sent out by Mesa County Concerned Citizen in which the group links to this box of every day drug store items selling online that claims to be an “early and effective treatment for Covid-19.”  The box sells for $160.00 plus $20 shipping and $12.37 tax, for a total of $182.36 — all for about $60 worth of over-the-counter items.

In its January 3, 2022 email blast, the local extreme right wing group “Mesa County Concerned Citizen” included a plug for “The Defense Box,” an item selling online that contains about $60 worth of common over-the counter items like Pepcid, Listerine, Vitamin C and baby aspirin, that costs $182.36, including shipping and tax.

The group says the items are an “early and effective treatment option” for Covid-19.

None of the items in the box are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment, prevention, mitigation or cure of Covid-19.

Redlands chiropractor spreads dangerous medical misinformation amid pandemic

In a video on his business web page under the heading “Covid Treatments,” Grand Junction chiropractor Ronald Engler of the Redlands Chiropractic and Wellness Center administers horse deworming medication to himself and encourages others to do the same to themselves, in violation of FDA guidance on use of the drug.

NOTE: This video has been banned on YouTube previously for posing a serious risk of egregious harm. It was uploaded again here for purposes of criticism in this article. We’ll see if it lasts.

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While some Grand Junction chiropractors are profiting from the pandemic by marketing proprietary dietary supplements that they falsely infer will prevent or treat Covid-19, others are using their credibility as health care providers to openly promote dangerous medical misinformation to the public.

One of these is Ronald W. Engler of the Redlands Chiropractic and Wellness Center.

Does Greg Haitz’s furtive editing of his “Immune Support Pack” page indicate consciousness of guilt?

Chiropractor Greg Haitz previously ran for Grand Junction City Council. His wife, Andrea, is now on D51 School Board.

Last month we noticed that Grand Junction chiropractor Greg Haitz of the Rimrock Wellness Center at 12th and Patterson, was marketing his own proprietary “Rimrock Wellness Center” brand of dietary supplement, “Immune Support Pack,” with a description that inferred the product could help mitigate or protect against Covid-19, or “C19”:

Rimrock Wellness Center’s “Immune Support Pack” description as it appeared on December 25, 2021, linking the product to protection from, and mitigation of Covid-19

The National Institutes of Health currently warns Americans that

Data are insufficient to support recommendations for or against the use of any vitamin, mineral, herb or other botanical, fatty acid, or other dietary supplement ingredient to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

At the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively monitoring for firms that are marketing products using fraudulent claims that they can prevent, mitigate or treat COVID-19.

After the blog about this product was published, we noticed Haitz edited his “Immune Support Pack” web page to remove the descriptive paragraph previously seen above, and instead he had substituted a list of five published studies:

Trump urges his supporters to get vaccinated. Will Mesa County listen?

“I recommend taking the vaccines. It’s good. I did it. Take the vaccines.”

“The vaccines do work and they are effective.” — Sept. 1, 2021

                                          — Donald Trump

An NPR analysis of more than 100,000 people across the country showed that people who live in counties that voted 60% or more for Trump in the November, 2020 election had 2.73 times higher death rate from Covid-19 than counties that voted for Biden. Counties with an even higher share of the vote for Trump have even higher death rates from COVID-19.

65% of Mesa County voters voted for Trump in the 2020 election.

Mesa County, obviously a strongly pro-Trump county, would appear to be a death trap. Our County is sadly is averaging more than a death a day from Covid-19. Eighty-five percent of people admitted to local hospitals for Covid-19 are still unvaccinated. 

Local chiropractor Greg Haitz is behind “Stop the Mandate GJ,” hawks unproven supplements for Covid-19

Stop the Mandate GJ’s street address matches that of Greg Haitz’s business, Rimrock Wellness Center

Greg Haitz, owner of Rimrock Wellness Center

Rimrock Wellness Center, a chiropractic office at 12th and Patterson that also sells fat-loss treatments and supplements, has the same street address as “Stop the Mandate GJ,” the group agitating to stop hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ offices from requiring health workers be vaccinated against Covid-19, the highly communicable, often deadly disease causing the pandemic. At the same time it is encouraging people to remain unvaccinated, Rimrock Wellness Center is also trying to profit off unvaccinated people’s fear of getting Covid-19, as well as their misperceptions of the relative safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.

Haitz fraudulently promotes his own brand of supplement as protective against Covid-19

HD-55 candidate Cindy Ficklin (R) now blames taxpayers and a Daily Sentinel reporter for her getting Covid, and is taking unproven treatments for the disease

Ficklin says she “went underground” to get Ivermectin to treat her Covid-19 infection, and displays the bottle in a Facebook post. There is no evidence Ivermectin cures Covid-19, and the FDA urges people not to use it.

Republican House District 55 candidate Cindy Ficklin is using non-medically approved treatments for Covid-19, including the animal de-worming medication Ivermectin. She also says she is inhaling “silver and Glutathione” with a nebulizer to “prevent conjestion [sic] from hardening in my lungs.”

Anti-mask, anti-vax Republican candidate for HD55 Cindy Ficklin has Covid-19, blames it on government

Cindy Ficklin announced on December 19 that she has Covid-19. Ficklin is a militantly anti-mask, anti-vaccination Republican known for spreading the ideas masks are symbols of oppression and vaccines contain “nanotechnology.”

Anti-mask, anti-vaccination candidate for HD-55 Cindy Ficklin (R-Mesa County) announced December 19 on Facebook that she has contracted Covid-19 and is blaming it squarely on the U.S. government.

Ficklin announced she had the disease after emerging from a 30 day ban from Facebook. Facebook has banned Ficklin numerous times for spreading lies and conspiracy theories on her page. Ficklin has repeatedly asserted without proof that the SARS CoV2 virus was created in a laboratory to target obese, elderly and unfit people; she has spread lies about vaccine deaths and about public health physician Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, profiting personally from the virus.