Category: Safety

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.

Western Slope Republicans need to apologize and tell the truth

Republican House Rep. Lauren Boebert, CD-3, (Photo:Youtube) — advanced the Big Lie about massive election fraud that led to the insurrection.

Donald Trump repeatedly claimed in the months following the election that he had won the election by a landslide, but it was stolen from him due to massive voter fraud.

It was the most outlandish lie of Trump’s term, maybe the craziest of his life, and it led thousands of his supporters to violently attack the Capitol in an insane attempt to overturn the results of the election on his behalf. We all watched, horrified, as hordes of angry Trump supporters bashed their way through barriers and stormed the Capitol holding their Confederate and “Don’t Tread on Me” yellow Gadsden flags, intent on capturing and killing legislators, journalists and anyone with a political opinion different from their own. The insurrection, based on lies, caused the death of five people, including a police officer.

68 Elected officials in Colorado House District 3 sign letter to House leadership condemning Boebert’s actions

CD3 House Rep. Lauren Boebert is under scrutiny for her association with right wing groups that supported the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021

68 elected officials from cities and counties across Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District have sent a letter (pdf) January 12 to House leaders condemning CD-3 Rep. Lauren Boebert and asking them to open an investigation into Boebert’s actions leading up to, and on the day of the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6.

The letter was sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and was signed by elected officials from the counties of Routt, Pueblo, Eagle, Lake, Gunnison, Pitkin, Saguache, Ouray, La Plata, Hinsdale, San Miguel, and San Juan and from the cities of Durango, Bayfield, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Eagle, Lake City, Ophir, Mountain Village, Leadville, Ridgway, Telluride, Glenwood Springs, Avon and Aspen.

Rep. Boebert violated police orders to stay off social media during insurrection at Capitol

Republican House Rep. Lauren Boebert, CD-3, (Photo:Youtube)

Colorado House Rep. Lauren Boebert kept tweeting during the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol even after Capitol police repeatedly told her and other legislators not to make any social media posts while sheltering from the armed and dangerous pro-Trump mob.

Boebert posted two messages on Twitter during the attack. The first one said “we were locked in the House Chambers.” In the second, Boebert said “The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.”

Boebert has been accused of posting these tweets to help insurrectionists locate House Speaker Pelosi in order to do her harm.

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii tweeted that legislators “were specifically instructed by those protecting us not to tell anyone, including our family, where exactly we were, for reasons that remain obvious.”

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.

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.

32 year old Black man found hanging in carport in Grand Junction

DeAndre Rogers

In an alarming case that has received little to no attention, Deandre H. Rogers (pdf), a Black man aged 32, was found hanging in a carport in Grand Junction, Colorado on September 21, 2020. He had participated on June 1, 2020 with a group of local Black Lives Matter activists who met with G.J. Police Chief Doug Shoemaker in the lobby of the Grand Junction Police Department to protest unjust treatment they had experienced at the hands of local law enforcement. The discussion took place about a month after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police on May 25, 2020.

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.

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.

Bear seen this morning near 27 and G Roads

Photo provided by neighbor in the area of 27 and G Roads (via Nextdoor Network)

Neighbors on the Nextdoor Network report seeing a young bear wandering around the neighborhoods near 27 and G Roads and on Horizon Glen, off Horizon Drive between 7th and 12th Streets, this morning, Monday, August 17, around 11:00 a.m.

If you live in the area, beware! Bring in trash cans if possible.

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.

GarCo Public Health: Boebert’s food poisoned 80 people in 2017

Lauren Boebert, Republican candidate for 3rd Congressional District and proprietor of Shooter’s Grill in Rifle, Co (Photo: Facebook)

Calls started pouring into the Garfield County Public Health Department (GCPH) at 10:00 a.m. on June 6, 2017, from people complaining  they had come down with severe diarrhea and nausea. In all, 17 people called or walked into the health department that day saying they had suddenly become ill with the same symptoms.

What did all these people have in common?

They had all attended the Rifle Rodeo on June 5 and eaten food supplied by the only vendor at the fairgrounds that day: Lauren Boebert, owner of Shooter’s Grill and Smokehouse 1776.

That’s according to a 10-page GCPH report titled Rifle Rodeo 06/05/17 Outbreak Report, which is publicly available on the internet (pdf).