Category: Public health

Delta County right wingers fight the prospect of teaching medically-accurate sex ed in Delta schools; Gay groups to rally in support this Thursday

Conservatives in Delta are working to oppose the teaching of medically-accurate sex ed in Delta County schools

Delta County conservatives are in a tizzy over the prospect that their school district may implement a medically-accurate, comprehensive sex education curriculum in compliance with a new Colorado law passed in 2019.

Until recently, the Delta County Schools’ only consistent “sex education” curriculum consisted of presentations by a woman named Shelly Donahue, a Christian abstinence-only speaker whose talk relied heavily on shame, guilt and medically-inaccurate information. Donahue likened girls brains to cooked spaghetti and boys brains to toaster waffles. The slides in her show were sprinkled with crosses, and she told kids that having premarital sex put them “further from God.” Donahue’s $2,000 speaking fee was picked up by a Christian missionary group. One Oklahoma school district has banned Donahue from speaking because students said her talks were demeaning to girls and children from broken homes. (For more on Shelly Donahue and the Delta County School District, search on “Shelly Donahue” in the AnneLandmanblog search box on right side of any page.)

Why installing Rose Pugliese as County Attorney is a crazy mistake

Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist being considered for County Attorney.

A top headline in yesterday’s Daily Sentinel announced that former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is the sole finalist for the job of Mesa County Attorney, which, as of 2019 was the highest-paid job in the County.

Based on Pugliese’s qualifications, or lack thereof, this is nothing short of crazy, and it smacks loudly of cronyism by Mesa County’s Old Guard Republican Establishment (OGREs).

Pugliese won consideration as sole contender for the job despite having a track record that would probably get the rest of us fired.

Oh, where to begin?

Application by Cindy Ficklin to be D-51 Superintendent raises alarm

Cindy Ficklin (L), an applicant for the job of D-51 School Superintendent, flashes the hand signal of the “Three Percenters” militia while scuba diving in Hawaii. (Photo credit: Facebook). Right photo & caption are from Wikipedia. The Anti-Defamation League lists this gesture as a racist hand sign. [UPDATE 2/20/21]: We have since been informed that in the context of scuba diving, this symbol is used to say a diver is “OK.” That was likely the case in this scenario, although since Mesa County is largely a desert, very right wing politically, has numerous elected officials who have in fact advanced QAnon theories and Trump’s lies about the election, and since few people here scuba dive, many people interpreted this symbol in its political context rather than its scuba diving context.]

Grand Junction real estate agent Cindy Ficklin submitted an application February 10 to become District 51 Superintendent, raising alarm bells among people familiar with her extremist views.

Who is Cindy Ficklin?

Ficklin is a 40-something GOP firebrand known for her extremist right wing views and her outspoken manner.

In a red-meat speech she gave on July 4, 2020 to a mostly un-masked crowd at the “Stand for the Constitution Freedom Rally” in a local park, Ficklin railed against masking and contact tracing — the only tools available to control the Coronavirus. She said that “CDC guidelines for opening schools … are literally formed of human torture and child abuse,” and spread the false narrative that government was forcing vaccines on people. She railed against public health recommendations to “stay home to stay safe” and whipped up anger at community efforts to control the virus, saying “the new normal” we’re all living with is “an attempt to infringe on our civil rights.”

Top 12 Coronavirus outbreaks in Grand Junction all traced to churches

Mesa County Public Health Department’s Feb. 5 list of Coronavirus outbreak sites

As predicted in this blog in early January, Grand Junction churches became super spreaders after they started holding in-person services again January 3rd.

Churches resumed holding indoor, in-person services and other activities after the state declared on December 7th, 2020 that churches are “critical services” and eliminated the cap on the number of people who could attend.

People started packing churches again in early January.

Backsliding

As of today, all twelve of the top outbreak sites on Mesa County Public Health Department’s Covid-19 outbreak list are churches. The daily case count reached into the triple digits again yesterday after weeks of two-digit number daily case counts.

Holy Superspreader! G.J. churches hold in-person services, draw crowds on first Sunday of 2021

Fellowship Church on 24 road near I-70 on Sunday morning, 1/3/21

On December 7, Colorado changed its list of “critical services” as defined by the pandemic to include “houses of worship,” eliminating the cap on the number of people who can attend religious services in person. As a result, local churches are wasting no time packing people back in to in-person services at the start of the new year. The move to lift the cap on church attendance came after the U.S. Supreme Court’s new conservative majority ruled against the State of New York in a lawsuit in which the governor sought to limit in-person attendance at religious services to reduce the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. It also comes just as a new, more communicable strain of Corona virus was discovered in the state, at a time when the state is lifting some restrictions on businesses and as School District 51 announced a return to in-person learning this week — a potent combination that could greatly increase the spread of the deadly virus.

Petition asks the Mesa County Public Health Dept. to enforce mask mandate at Mesa Mall

A Move-On.org petition is asking the Mesa County Health Department to enforce the state-wide mask mandate inside the Mall.

The petition states,

Covid-19 is spreading fast and hard through Mesa County. Many people are still not taking the threat seriously. It is putting [Mall] employees, tenants, and guests at a ridiculously high risk of catching and spreading the virus. The effects are dangerous and deadly and we have a moral and social imperative to do what we can to keep each other safe. The Mesa Mall is responsible for the safety of those who enter it’s walls. If they can’t provide a safe place for people to work, shop, and visit, then they should shut down for the health and safety of our community.

A mask mandate is currently in place throughout Colorado to reduce the spread of the deadly, communicable Corona virus that is sweeping the country. It requires everyone 11 years and older to wear a face mask in enclosed public places. Masks are recommended anywhere people are sharing air.

How to effectively complain about businesses that aren’t enforcing the mask order:

Mesa County Facebook group aims to undermine public health, sicken more people

The Facebook group “Free Mesa County” aims to sicken and kill as many people as they can in Mesa County by defying public health orders aimed at protecting the community from the novel Coronavirus, which can be deadly and has no cure.

A Facebook group called “Free Mesa County” has been created to encourage people to undermine public health and advance the spread of the novel Coronavirus in Mesa County by openly disobeying Colorado’s mask mandate and demanding full occupancy for indoor venues like churches.

The group’s latest event is an “en masse” maskless shopping event to be held this Friday, January 1, New Year’s Day. The group is urging its followers to go out and swarm local businesses without wearing face masks. Wearing of face masks is currently a requirement in all indoor public places designed to stop the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, which causes Covid-19.

State Senator Ray Scott refuses to wear mask in Village Inn, lectures waiter not to enforce rule, saying “WE make the laws”

State Senator Ray Scott, who has a track record of being rude to his constituents, getting sued by the ACLU for blocking constituents on social media and getting slapped with a formal ethics complaint, recently displayed his legendary hubris again after he refused to put on a face mask while inside a Village Inn restaurant in Grand Junction.

The story was reported by the Colorado Times Recorder on December 21.

According to the Times Recorder, the waiter approached Scott and told him that he would have to leave if he didn’t wear a mask inside the restaurant, Scott lectured the waiter by saying “Governors make rules, but WE make the law,” and explained the difference between a rule and a law. Scott then told the waiter he was being too “heavy handed” in enforcing the statewide masking rule.

The pitfalls of Mesa County’s “5 Star” Coronavirus protection program

Mesa County’s 5-Star program creates expectations that often aren’t met, and leaves it to patrons to police establishments for compliance, which can then lead to harassment, threats and intimidation against patrons who complain.

Mesa County has been touting it’s “Variance Protection” (“Five Star”) program as the key to keeping businesses open amid the pandemic, and while the goals of the program are laudable, the widespread lack of enforcement, particularly of masking requirements, can unfortunately create a climate of additional threats to patrons, and not just to their health.

Commissioners publicly urge Mesa County residents to wear masks

The unchecked community spread of Coronavirus, high number of hospitalizations and rising deaths from Covid-19 in the county has led the Mesa County Commissioners to finally issue a press release Nov. 13 urging all Mesa County residents to wear masks whenever they patronize local businesses, avoid close contact with others and avoid indoor gatherings. The release is headlined “Commissioners encourage community members to wear a mask.”

The Commissioners are now putting their support behind an all-out effort to raise awareness of the public health emergency the virus is causing in our community, get people to take the situation seriously, keep local businesses afloat and help our area avoid more mandatory closures.

Mesa County Commissioners John Justman, Rose Pugliese and Scott McInnis all urge Mesa County residents to wear masks at all times when patronizing local businesses.

Here is the Commissioners’ statement:

RN literally begs Mesa County Commissioners to urge public to wear masks, distance, avoid gatherings

Benita Phillips, R.N., B.S.N. begged Mesa County Commissioners on 11/9 to make a definitive public statement urging the public to wear masks, avoid gatherings and strictly follow other public health protocol to help rein in the rapid spread of the novel Coronavirus in our community

A registered nurse openly begged the Mesa County Commissioners to make a statement telling people they need to wear masks when patronizing local businesses, maintain physical distancing and strictly avoid gatherings, to help rein in the area’s skyrocketing Covid-19 infection rate.

Benita Phillips, R.N., B.S.N., a retired Veterans Administration nurse, spoke to the commissioners in the public comment period of their Monday, 11/9 meeting (video, @ 1:02). Phillips spoke after Mesa County Public Health Department Executive Director Jeff Kuhr told commissioners about the dire situation the county faces from the ongoing uncontrolled spread of the novel Coronavirus. Dr. Kuhr told commissioners that last Saturday the county reached its highest new Covid case count in a single day: 180.

Better Know a District: The CO House District 54 race, Soper vs. Slaven-Emond

Where is Colorado House District 54?

Colorado House District 54 is all the dark pink area in this map. It includes Clifton, Fruitvale, DeBeque, the towns of Mesa, Collbran, Fruita, Loma, Mack, Glade Park, Palisade, Whitewater, Gateway, the western side of Delta County and the central part of the town of Delta proper. It’s the “doughnut” around state House District 55.

Republican Matt Soper at the GOP rally in Delta on Saturday, May 16, 2020, where he told numerous lies to the crowd.

The race for Colorado House District 54 is between the incumbent, Matt Soper (R) and AliceMarie Slaven-Emond (D), both of Delta. You can read articles in this blog about Matt Soper at this link.

Matt Soper (R-incumbent)

Soper won the House Representative D-54 office in 2018 under contentious conditions. Published articles reveal that Soper lied to the Secretary of State about where he lived in 2018, listing the address of a rental house his mother owns as his own residence in order to meet the residency requirement to qualify to hold the House District 54 seat. In truth, an unrelated family had lived in the house for years, and after one of the occupants swore in a legal affidavit that Matt Soper did not live in the house with him and his family, Soper had his mother evict the family from the home as retribution for telling the truth publicly about how Soper did not live there.

March planned to draw attention to police murder of Fruita man, Gage Lorentz

Gage Lorentz was murdered las March 21 by a Carlsbad Caverns National Park Ranger who shot him after pulling him over for going too fast on a dirt road. Lorentz was unarmed and unintoxicated at the time. No charges have been brought in the case.

A peaceful march will be held Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Stoker Stadium to demand justice for Gage Lorentz, a 26 year old Fruita man who was shot and killed March 21 by a Carlsbad Caverns National Park National Park Ranger after the ranger pulled him over for speeding on a dirt road. 

Lorentz was unarmed and had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time he was pulled over.

Lorentz was driving home from Pecos, Texas, where he worked on drilling rigs, to see his family in Fruita when he took a short detour to meet a friend in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. While in the Park, Ranger Robert Mitchell pulled Lorentz over for speeding on a dirt road near the Rattlesnake Springs area of the park, a type of traffic stop that typically results in a warning or a ticket.

Body cam video shows Lorentz, clearly nervous, complying with the officer’s orders to get out of his truck and keep his hands visible, but he refused the officer’s demand to turn around and put his back to the officer. Mitchell started a scuffle with Lorentz and ended up shooting and killing Lorentz. No one has been charged in Lorentz’s murder.

CMU President Tim Foster appears to have quietly un-endorsed Janet Rowland

Original endorsement ad Janet Rowland posted ad on her Facebook page that violated the Hatch and Fair Campaign Practices Acts. She later revised it to remove Foster’s title as President of CMU.

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President Tim Foster appears to have quietly asked Mesa County Commissioner candidate Janet Rowland (R) to remove any mention of his name from her campaign Facebook page, effectively un-endorsing her — a reversal of his previous whole-hearted endorsement.

New online resource map shows real and fake abortion clinics in Colorado

 

KeepAbortionSafe.com now offers a Pregnancy Resource Map that shows which “pregnancy clinics” throughout the country are real, and which are fake.

Offices that bill themselves as “crisis pregnancy centers” or “pregnancy clinics” often are not actual medical clinics, but religiously-based anti-abortion operations that lure in women struggling with unexpected pregnancies. They intentionally withhold information from women about their full complement of reproductive options. Such “clinics” steer women away from abortions and offer “information” that casts abortion as debilitating, dangerous and frightening.

Finding true reproductive health services clinics in Colorado, that is, ones that offer a full range of medically-accurate sexual health information, contraceptives, information and treatments for sexually-transmitted diseases and infections, and all legal and safe reproductive health options can be tricky because in Colorado fake “pregnancy resource” clinics and outnumber real abortion and medical information providers by almost 3 to 1.

Tim Foster endorses anti-science candidate with a track record of plagiarism for Mesa County Commissioner

“Principled”? Tim Foster’s endorsement of anti-science, documented plagiarist Janet Rowland for Mesa County Commissioner. (Screen shot taken from Janet Rowland’s Facebook page on 8/19/20.)

Tim Foster wants to make one thing clear: he is endorsing Janet Rowland for Mesa County Commissioner not in his capacity as longtime President of Colorado Mesa University (CMU), but strictly as an individual.

Well, Okay.

While he certainly has the right as a private citizen to endorse Rowland, doing so nevertheless makes Mesa County residents scratch their heads and wonder why Foster, who everyone knows heads a local university with a Nursing Program, Graduate Nursing Programs and a Physician Assistant program, would endorse an anti-science candidate who actively promotes Q-Anon-based anti-mask disinformation on her social media.

It seems incongruous. Rowland’s posts directly conflict with guidance issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for controlling the pandemic. All this is going on while CMU is making a monumental effort at a tremendous expense to get students and staff to comply with strict on-campus masking and physical distancing rules to minimize the potential public health threat posed by CMU’s opening the school year with in-person learning amid the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

Graph of cumulative Mesa County Covid cases shows where county is headed

Graph showing the number of Covid-19 cases in Mesa County Covid over time, from March 1-July 31, 2020. The Mesa County Health Department does not have a graph like this on its Coronavirus information web page. The steep rise in cases recently is telling. (Chart credit: Tim Kozak)

Whether through oversight or intention, the Mesa County Health Department does not have a graph of cumulative cases of Covid-19 on its website, but such a graph can give a clear picture of how well or how poorly our county is doing in preventing spread of Corona virus, and show us where we are going under the current conditions. This chart provides that missing information.

Local tire business circumvents public health mask law

Commercial Tire Service

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Commercial Tire Service at 725 23 1/2 Road has found a way to circumvent the Colorado’s recent public health order mandating everyone wear a face mask in indoor spaces to help stop the spread of the deadly Corona virus: They tacitly suggest with a sign at the entrance that everyone entering the business can simply claim they have an undisclosed medical reason why they can’t wear a mask.

Commercial Tire Service has a sign in their front window that says:

ATTENTION CUSTOMERS

Those in our state government have ordered all persons entering indoor facilities to wear a mask. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you are exempt from the orders. Due to HIPAA and the 4th Amendment we cannot legally ask you about your medical condition. Therefore, if we see you without a mask, we will assume you have a medical condition. We welcome you inside to support our business.