A school board candidate forum that was planned for last evening, Monday, October 16, was cancelled abruptly the day of the event after the venue hosting the event, Good Judy’s Bar & Club downtown, received a violent threat on Facebook.
For this article, information was taken from Colorado Tracer (the state’s campaign finance disclosure website), Little Sis (a free database that tracks key relationships between politicians, business leaders, lobbyists, financiers, and their affiliated institutions), the subscription background check site Truthfinder.com, Zillow.com, the archives of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the subscription newspaper archive Newspapers.com, the candidates’ own social media accounts and campaign websites if they have them, and the social media pages of other people and groups in Mesa County where the candidates might have posted, or where they might have been mentioned.
I would urge readers to particularly look at which candidates have hired professional agents and campaign consultants, who they’ve hired to do these jobs, and which candidates are serving as their own registered agents and managing their own campaigns.
The candidates running for the two open seats on District 51 School Board in 2023 are:
District A: José Luis Chavéz, CynDee Skalla and Jessica Hearn
District B: Barbara Evanson and Cindy Enos Martinez
Michael Kosnett, M.D., M.P.H., at CU Anschutz School of Public Health in Aurora, CO, an expert in medical toxicology, occupational and environmental health who specializes in occupational and environmental toxicology of heavy metals, including lead, weighed in about the type of post-remediation lead testing that should be used at the Ascent Classical Academy building (swipe or bulk testing), and what the residual lead levels are allowed to be in this situation.
Lead is a highly poisonous element that, according to UNICEF, is responsible for 1.5% of global deaths. Children are particularly susceptible to its effects.
AnneLandmanBlog received the following email from Bradley Turpin, Milk and Institutions Program Manager in CDPHE’s Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability saying the company that performed the post-remediation testing for lead at the new Ascent Classical Academy building (the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club at 545 31 Road) did in fact use a test that they are allowed to use in this instance. He apologized for the confusion caused by their former statement that bulk testing would be appropriate in this situation. The official did not comment on the current lead levels in the building, but CDPHE does appear to be involved in overseeing the remediation.
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.
Notice: Since this article was written, AnneLandmanBlog has found out from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)’s Hazardous Waste department expert in charge of dealing with closed firing ranges that Ascent contractor Vertex Companies of Denver utilized the wrong type of post-remediation testing technique for this facility, rendering the results in the report Ascent posted on August 11 invalid and essentially useless. Read more about it here.
The 8-page, post-lead remediation testing report that Ascent Classical Academy Grand Junction posted on its website August 11, 2023 (pdf) shows that 30 of the 66 sites tested for lead in the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building at 545 31 Road, which is to serve as the new charter school, still have lead levels 5-23 times above HUD allowable limits.
And Ascent did not test the air inside the facility.
The post-remediation testing was performed by the Vertex Company, which included a disclaimer in the report that essentially says it wasn’t feasible to test all areas of the building, so there may still be areas where lead dust levels exceed HUD limits.
In the wake of Commissioner Janet Rowland’s recent coup over the Mesa County Public Health Department, if the the past is a predictor of future behavior, under Rowland the Health Department is likely in for a significant reduction in its ability to respond to public health threats, and area residents will likely face more danger from emerging health threats.
UPDATE as of 8/11/2023, 4:00 p.m. – Ascent Classical Academy updated it’s blog today with a link to a report (pdf) provided by remediation project manager, the Vertex Company. The actual remediation was performed by Hudspeth Environmental Remediation Company based in Centennial, whose website says they specialize in asbestos and lead paint removal. According to the chart provided in the report, many areas remain 5 to 23 times above HUD’s recommended lead clearance cleanup standard of <10 µ/sq.ft. (less than 10 micrograms per square foot). Among these are the men’s bathroom on the first floor, which had 71 µ/sq.ft, the floor of the first floor “men’s restroom in the tactical area,” with 83 µ/sq.ft., the former “Handgun range – floor in NE corner” at 68 µ/sq.ft., “Handgun range – floor in middle by west wall” at 57 µ/sq.ft., the “Handgun range – center of floor in room south of handgun range,” which had 130 µ/sq.ft., the “Handgun range – floor in SE corner” at 98 µ/sq.ft. and “Handgun range – floor in room south of range” with 230 µ/sq.ft.
The “Discussion” part of the report states,
“As it is not feasible to sample all areas of all surfaces, the wipe sampling strategy utilized by VERTEX does not provide for, nor ensure that all surfaces within a subject property undergo wipe sampling; thus, the possibility exists that lead-in-dust concentrations on surface locations not sampled during an assessment may be in excess of HUD and/or CDPHE Regulation 19 cleanup standards.”
Translation:” It’s not feasible to test the whole property, so there may be lead concentrations in places we didn’t check that may be in excess of HUD and CDPHE’s cleanup standards.”
Ascent does not yet have a Certificate of Occupancy for the building.
The Ascent Classical Academy charter school is planning to move into the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building at 545 31 Road, which formerly served as an indoor shooting range for 7 years. The inside of the building is currently being rebuilt and their website says the first day of school will be Tuesday, September 5, 2023, but to date, Ascent still hasn’t provided the public with documentation from a government health authority that their building poses no threat of lead poisoning to occupants,
and they appear to be withholding information on the remediation status of the building. [See above update.]
Advocates for Moms Demand Action, a gun violence prevention group, handed Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) a pin on July 18 honoring 10-year old Maite Rodriguez, one of 19 children massacred in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.
Maite’s body was so mangled by gunfire that she was only identifiable by her favorite pair of green Converse tennis shoes with the heart drawn over the right toe that she was wearing that day. Maite, her fellow students and teachers were killed with an AR-style rifle. (Click here for a demonstration of why AR-15 style rifles are so much more damaging to the body than other types of firearms.)
Boebert promptly walked to a trash can with the pin and flier explaining its significance and tossed it into the can, right in front of the people who had handed it to her.
Some people are expressing concern about the president of Grand Mesa Little League after finding out about an arrest in his background that involved sexually-tinged abuse of younger kids, and seeing worrisome comments about his behavior on social media.
Christopher Riley, who was formerly known as Christopher David Rasmussen, was arrested November 21, 2001, on charges of third degree assault and false imprisonment after he tied up a 14 year old boy at Grand Junction High School who had resisted Rasmussen’s attempts to videotape him nude. Rasmussen was also accused of filming additional students nude at the school earlier that month. Rasmussen’s name was made public in the Daily Sentinel at the time because he was 18 years old at the time of the incident.
Lisa Rickard Mills is Behavioral Health Strategies Manager for Mesa County, reports to Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland and is administering programs funded with $1 million in combined grants from the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health, St. Mary’s Hospital and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
According to text messages (pdf) obtained between Janet Rowland and Mills, Mills also appears to have been instrumental in prompting Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland to start her recent attacks Mesa County Public Health Department Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr.
Mills is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) with the State of Colorado. Public records show that in 2020 she was sanctioned by the state Board of Social Work Examiners.
Mesa County Public Health Department (MCPHD) Director Dr. Jeff Kuhr has been under attack by the Mesa County Commissioners, who for some reason have been working for months to generate credible reasons to fire him. Commissioner Janet Rowland in particular has targeted Kuhr, accusing him of financial impropriety and grievous errors in MCPHD’s procurement processes. The Commissioners have ordered the Mesa County Board of Public Health to fire Kuhr, but they refused, saying there is no actual evidence that he’s intentionally done anything wrong. Not only that, but the State of Colorado rates MCPHD as having the lowest possible financial risk (pdf) in its compliance with federal and state contracts, making it clear that the state trusts MCPHD, but our right wing commissioners don’t. (This financial risk rating is done every three years, but the state skipped it during the pandemic. The MCPHD is currently undergoing this analysis again.)
A classified ad in today’s Daily Sentinel gives notice that an auction is being held online to benefit the new Ascent Classical Academy charter school. All of the fixtures that were in the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building, the building to be used to house the school, are being auctioned off to raise money for the school.
Since lead contamination is a well-known hazard at former shooting ranges due to the very fine lead dust thrown off by bullets when they are fired, the building is undergoing remediation for lead. All of the fixtures previously inside the building, including the HVAC system, cabinets, furniture, artwork, lumber and other items were also contaminated with lead.
Lead poisoning caused by exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, especially in young children.
AnneLandmanBlog has received credible information that a large number of former Red Rock employees have moved over to Grand Valley Auto, where they are continuing to use the same tricks they learned at Red Rock.
Are you aware of someone who owns firearms and is presenting a danger to themselves or others?
Colorado’s new Red Flag law was passed in 2019 and went into effect in January of 2020.
A Red Flag law is an “if-you-see-something-say-something” law put in place by the Colorado Legislature to give Coloradans a way to alert law enforcement to people who have guns and are posing a threat to themselves or others.
Red Flag laws, also called Extreme Risk Protection Orders or ERPOs, give judges the ability to seize the firearms of people who are posing a danger to themselves or others, to protect public safety.
The law was created to give people a way to try to head off incidents of lethal domestic violence, suicides and mass shootings like those currently proliferating across the U.S. in schools, shopping malls, theaters, grocery stores, universities, in parking lots, at parades, in offices and other places Americans go in the course of their everyday lives. As of May 8, 2023, there have been more mass shootings than there have been days in America, so the threat of mass killings being committed by people who own or possess firearms is very real and happening more frequently now than ever before in our history.
The law was used 73 times in the first 7 months after it was enacted and as of the end of 2022, it has been used more than 350 times.
The League of Women Voters and Grand Valley Interfaith network will be co-sponsoring a free talk, “Understanding Colorado’s Red Flag Law,” on Monday, May 22, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 536 Ouray Ave. The featured speaker will be Tom Mauser of Colorado Ceasefire, whose son, Daniel Mauser, was murdered in the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999.
Westword, Newsweek, the U.K. Independent, Daily Mail and other news outlets are reporting that Colorado House Rep. Lauren Boebert’s eldest son, Tyler, caused a serious car crash on September 17, 2022 that gave his passenger life-changing injuries, and the injured passenger is saying since then Rep. Boebert has been covering up the incident and minimizing the severity of his injuries.
Tyler Boebert, 18, was driving his father’s black Ford Expedition SUV at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night on Garfield County Road 100, going to a party with a friend, Noble D’Amato, 19, when he failed to negotiate a curve and flipped the vehicle 180 degrees. It landed on its roof in Cattle Creek, leaving the driver and passenger upside down. D’Amato was taken to the hospital with concussions and a severely lacerated hand, an injury D’Amato says has kept him from being able to hold a torch for welding, and forced him to change vocations. He is now a personal caregiver. D’Amato says the injury will probably affect him for the rest of his life.
In January of 2018, while on Juniper Ridge’s board, the school was found to be educating kindergarteners in a 10×20 foot windowless tent that was heated by a wood stove and had a single rented porta-potty next it for a bathroom, alongside a bright red wood chipper.
Grand Junction’s average January daytime temperature is 31 degrees F, just below freezing.
Juniper Ridge’s Board didn’t tell District 51 about the tent and did not submit a plan to the School District use it. Instead, Juniper Ridge portrayed its use to parents as an “extended field trip.”
After about 12 days of this, someone in the neighborhood called District 51 to report the setup.