Category: Safety

Daily Sentinel & Mesa County Public Health Department appear to take steps to shield CMU from criticism

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and Mesa County Public Health Department appear to be shielding Colorado Mesa University from public criticism over its handling of the Coronavirus pandemic by minimizing and obscuring information about Covid outbreaks and how the school is handling cases.

Buried towards the end of an article in today’s Sentinel about Covid cases in area schools was a reference to a situation in which a CMU student who was sick with Covid-19 and quarantined in Piñon Hall failed to get any food delivered for two days. The paper referred to the situation as “one minor communications issue” and made it sound like the student was to blame, along with a single poster in the dorm.

Quarantined CMU student reports not getting food, help or medical attention

New CMU President John Marshall (Photo: Twitter, @MesaVeep)

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) students currently being quarantined in Piñon Hall after being exposed to Covid-19, or who are currently sick with Covid, are telling their parents there is no one stationed in the dorm to help them, and that the school is not providing them with medical attention or even food.

Colorado Public Radio (CPR) published an article September 9 titled, “To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate. At Colorado Mesa University, that was the conversation,” about CMU President John Marshall’s hands-off approach to controlling the Coronavirus pandemic. Currently CMU does not require students to be vaccinated against Covid-19, or to use face coverings, and does not allow instructors to enforce mask-wearing in classrooms — a recipe to spread the Coronavirus, especially with the more communicable Delta variant widespread in Mesa County, and where, according to the Mesa County Public Health Department, only 25-29% of people between the ages of 19 and 29 are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

CMU President John Marshall’s spin on the Israeli study matches TheGatewayPundit’s spin on the same study

The information CMU President John Marshall promoted in an email about an un-peer-reviewed Israeli study, and the key information that he left out, match that of the right wing conspiracy website TheGatewayPundit.com (Photo: Twitter @maverickprez)

On August 27, 2021, the conspiracy website TheGatewayPundit.com posted an article strongly promoting a “new study out of Israel” that touted natural immunity against Covid-19 over the immunity provided by vaccines. The Gateway Pundit article headline said people who have recovered from COVID-19 have more protection against the virus than people who’ve only been vaccinated. The study the website pointed to as the source of this information was the very same un-peer reviewed Israeli preprint on MedRxIv.org with a warning label that CMU President John Marshall pointed to as the basis for his August 30 “Campus Safety” email to staff promoting the protective value of natural immunity to Covid-19.

CMU President John Marshall cites unreliable preprint as a basis for the school’s weak Covid-19 response

New CMU President John Marshall has never published a single article in a peer-reviewed journal, and appears oblivious to the importance of the peer-review process in citing medical research as the basis for campus health policy. (Photo: Twitter, @MesaVeep)

New Colorado Mesa University (CMU) President John Marshall on August 30 cited a non-peer-reviewed study that bears a boldfaced warning label saying it might contain errors and be incorrect, as a basis for the school’s disturbingly weak mitigation plan against Covid-19 that is terrorizing staff.

The Agency of the Irresponsible

The following commentary on how Colorado Mesa University (CMU) is handling the coronavirus pandemic was written by CMU History Professor Sarah Swedberg, who is now experiencing CMU’s policies in person. This article was originally published on Nursing Clio, an open-access, peer-reviewed, collaborative blog that ties historical scholarship to present-day issues related to gender and medicine. The article is reprinted here with full permission from Dr. Swedberg.

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Like many faculty at state universities, the beginning of this school year brings me more terror than excitement. Colorado Mesa University (CMU), the institution at which I have taught since 1999, will require neither masks nor vaccines for students, and faculty cannot enforce mask mandates in the classrooms. This flies in the face of best practices for public health. When I asked the reason for this policy, I was told that there were strong feelings on both sides.

“Strong feelings” is clearly code for the fact that CMU is in a politically conservative region where there is strong resistance to both vaccination and masks. These words remind us that public health measures have always been politicized. Because I teach about HIV and AIDS and because I was a young adult in the 1980s, it is that pandemic that is foremost in my mind as I try to negotiate my own and my students’ safety.

Rep. Boebert promotes herself while I-70 shutdown causes national emergency

Boebert promotes herself at the Rifle County Fair Demolition Derby August 2 while the nearby shutdown of I-70 chokes off the flow of supplies, gas, mail, groceries and other commerce to and from her district.

CD-3 House Representative Lauren Boebert was busy making a video of herself at the Rifle Demolition Derby August 2 while at the same time Colorado Governor Jared Polis was declaring a state of emergency and requesting a federal disaster designation in her district due to the shut down of I-70, the major east-west artery that supplies groceries, gas, tourism, mail and other key commerce to Boebert’s district on Colorado’s western slope. The shutdown of I-70 is also hampering national commerce, hence Gov. Polis’ request for a federal disaster declaration.

Boebert didn’t even mention in her video the major highway disaster unfolding nearby.

In Facebook video update, CDOT says Glenwood Canyon has 10 different debris slides between No Name and Dostero

CDOT photo of Glenwood Canyon today

Upwards of ten separate debris slides occurred last night in I-70 in Glenwood Canyon between No Name and Dostero as a result of thunderstorms, the Colorado Department of Transportation reported in a live video update on Facebook at 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.

G.J., Mesa County prominently featured in LA Times article about communities where vaccine holdouts are fueling spread of the pandemic

L.A. Times article in which Grand Junction and Mesa County are mentioned several times as places in which rampant vaccine denial and the complete ending of public health protocols too soon are packing hospitals and perpetuating the pandemic for the rest of the country

The Saturday, July 17, 2021 Los Angeles Times features a prominent story about “obstinate” communities in which large numbers of people who are refusing to get  Covid-19 vaccines are now spreading a more virulent strain of Coronavirus and stalling the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.

Mesa County and Grand Junction are mentioned several times in the article as among the places where large numbers of stubbornly unvaccinated people are posing a danger to the rest of the country.

Commissioners ask governor to end supplemental federal benefits for unemployed County residents

At their public hearing on Monday, July 12, 2021, the Republican Mesa County Commissioners voted to officially request Governor Jared Polis end the supplemental unemployment benefits that have been helping keep unemployed and low income County residents and their families afloat during the pandemic.

Why? Because they want to force people to go back to work to fill mostly low paying, often difficult and dangerous front line jobs, often where people are likely to be exposed to the virus and would risk exposing their families to it as well.

15.8% of Mesa County’s population lives below the federal poverty line, more than the poverty rate for the state as a whole, at 11.5%. The 2018 Federal Poverty Level for annual income is $16,147 for an individual and $33,383 for a family of four.

To be sure, the Mesa County Commissioners aren’t living on wages like that. They make around $90,000/year when perks like health insurance are included.

Mesa County’s pervasive right wing culture is damaging our public health and economy

No one wants to say it, but Mesa County’s far right wing culture is now hurting us all, physically and economically

Everybody is dancing around it, but no one wants to come right out and say it. It’s the single biggest threat to Mesa County’s population in the last hundred years, but everyone is scared to say it:

Mesa County’s dominant far right wing culture is now causing a resurgent spread of Covid-19, sending people to the hospital and endangering the children in our community who are too young to get vaccinated. Our area’s right wing culture, with its erroneous, misinformed beliefs, is causing the majority of Mesa County residents to refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19. At the same time our elected officials have abandoned all other means of controlling the pandemic, like masking and physical distancing requirements.

We’ve heard over and over again that the Covid vaccine is now our only way out of the pandemic, but because most people in Mesa County are refusing to get vaccinated, we may never escape the pandemic.

Former Delta County School District students pressure district to end racism in schools

Jordan Evans (L) and Marisa Edmondson (R) are graduates of Paonia High School and are pushing the Delta County School District to  actively work to end what they see as pervasive racism in Delta County Schools

Two alumni of the Delta County School District (DCSD) began an all-out effort last year to pressure the Delta County School District to address the pervasive racism and discrimination they and others say they have experienced in Delta County Schools. Edmondson says while they have made some progress, the School District and School Board have largely stonewalled them and resisted the change.

Orchard Mesa Baptist Church to host Covid-19 misinformation event by liars and grifters at $20 a ticket

The Eventbrite invitation to the Covid-19 disinformation event at Orchard Mesa Baptist Church tomorrow afternoon.

Tomorrow afternoon the Orchard Mesa Baptist Church at 2748 B 1/2 Road will host a Covid-19 disinformation event for $20 admission featuring three discredited and fake “doctors” and Sheronna Bishop, who was bumped from Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign last year after Bishop publicly endorsed the Proud Boys, a far right, white nationalist organization. The Proud Boys was one of the violent extremist groups targeted by the FBI in its investigation of the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Billed as the “Truth and Freedom Tour,” the event at the OM Baptist Church features three people who are well known for disseminating false, misleading and dangerous information about the Coronavirus pandemic.

Have you ever helped reverse a drug overdose? If so, your story is needed.

The University of Colorado Denver’s Anthropology Department is looking for Coloradans who have attempted to reverse a drug overdose and who are willing to tell their stories in a digital storytelling project for the benefit of Colorado.

The goal of the project is to increase knowledge about the role the use of drugs like Naloxone and Narcan play in reducing opioid overdoses in Colorado. These personal stories will be recorded and used to increase awareness of the importance of these drugs in helping to reduce the opioid overdose epidemic in the state. The project will also benefit opioid users who are at risk of suffering an overdose.

City plans a major redesign of 7 miles of Patterson Road that greatly reduces left turns

The section of the proposed redesign of Patterson Road

Do you live near Patterson Road or use Patterson a lot to get around town?

The City of Grand Junction is currently planning a major redesign of Patterson Road aimed at reducing accidents, improving safety and traffic flow and providing better access for alternative transportation means like bicycles, buses, pedestrians, etc. The redesign area starts where Patterson originates on the west end at I-70B west of Mesa Mall, and continues about 7 miles to the east, to Lodgepole Street.
 
A traffic study found that 64% of accidents on Patterson occur at intersections, so to reduce the number of accidents, the plan seeks to greatly reduce the ability to make left turns onto and off of Patterson. The plan also proposes to drastically reduce the number of access points onto and off of Patterson Road, e.g., places where you can turn into side streets, into and out of businesses, etc.

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.