Category: Weird Grand Junction Stuff

City Council to Consider Ban on Open Burning at Tonight’s Meeting

Open burning of fields along roads in Grand Junction's residential areas creates a visibility hazard for drivers, and health hazards for residents, pedestrians, bicyclists and more.

Open burning in Grand Junction’s residential areas creates respiratory problems for residents, pedestrians, bicyclists as well as visibility hazards for motorists.

Does the smoke from open burning make you choke?

The Grand Junction City Council will consider bringing the City a bit further into the 21st century this evening when they consider an ordinance to ban open burning at their regular meeting.
Below is a summary of what the ordinance will do, taken from page 85 of tonight’s agenda. There are plenty of exceptions to the burn ban, but at least is does make it illegal to burn household and yard waste. That’s better than the “no action” alternative City residents been suffering with.
Looking at what else is on tonight’s agenda, council probably won’t get to this item much before about 7:45 p.m., and probably won’t get to the part where they allow public comment on the ordinance until maybe 8:20 or 8:30 p.m. If you’ve suffered from clouds of stinky, suffocating smoke overtaking your neighborhood during the five months of the year when open burning is still allowed, you might want to weigh in in favor of this measure:

Who Is the Woman Cutting Loose With a Racist Rant in Front of the Mesa County Health Department?

Adding to concerns about the growing undercurrent of bigotry, hatred and intolerance that runs in western Colorado, this unidentified Grand Junction-area woman cut loose with a racist rant towards a Latino family in the parking lot of the Mesa County Health Department on Monday, August 1.

The family expressed concern about a dog that was left in a hot car in the parking lot.  The temperature that day was in the mid to high 90s.

One of the Latino family members filmed the woman’s rant as evidence in case the woman harmed them, then posted the video on Facebook, where as of August 4 it had gotten over 360,000 views. It’s also posted on YouTube.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel ran an article about the incident and the video in today’s paper.

So far, the woman engaging in the racist rant has not been identified.


UPDATE: Here is the ranting woman’s response after the video went viral. She claims she is hispanic herself so could not be racist.

Looking to Spend Your Cash on Legal Weed? Don’t Stop in G.J.!

Billboard on I-70 at the 22 Road entrance to Grand Junction. Got cash for pot? Then drive on through to Parachute!

Billboard on I-70 at the 22 Road entrance to Grand Junction. Got cash for pot? Then stay in the car and keep driving on through to Parachute!

Travelers on I-70 coming into Colorado and looking to spend their cash on legal marijuana see this billboard at the entrance to Grand Junction, urging them to bypass our town and go spend their money in Parachute instead.

And rightly so.

Republican Kook Runs for Mesa County Commissioner Against Justman

Mesa County Commissioner District 1 candidate John Davis ran for President of the United States in 2012

Mesa County Commissioner District 1 candidate John Davis in front of his eponymously-painted motorcoach when he ran for President of the United States in 2012

Another doozy of a Republican candidate is running for local office, this time against Mesa County Commissioner District 1 incumbent John Justman.

It’s John Davis.

The local Republican Party just keeps them coming, don’t they?

Grand Valley Residents Jump the Gun on Open Polluting Season 2016

A Grand Junction resident at

A Grand Junction resident at 720 26 Road openly burns a pile of yard debris on February 28, several days before the official start of Mesa County’s Spring Open Polluting season, which runs from March 1 to May 31.

Spring Open Polluting season is almost here in Mesa County, but many landowners who are eager to burn leaves and trash can’t wait. They’re jumping the gun and polluting their neighbors’ air earlier than the law allows.

Open Polluting Season in the county officially starts on March 1 and runs until the end of May. During this time, area residents can legally burn yard debris and force their neighbors inhale the smoke without concern for the health or welfare of anyone around them. The County also permits open polluting in September and October. During these months citizens are allowed to pour trash into the Grand Valley’s air and suffocate nearby residents with clouds of stinky smoke during the five most beautiful months of spring and fall, ironically at the same time outdoor temperatures become most conducive to enjoying outdoor activities.

DeBeque’s Economy Booms While Grand Junction’s Languishes

Legalized marijuana in Colorado and Washington state may open the door to a new kind of tourism.

The new marijuana economy is helping Colorado towns boom — but not Grand Junction

The little town of DeBeque, population 500, in Mesa County, Colorado, which voted to start selling retail recreational marijuana in 2014, is basking in the financial glow of its decision.

Marijuana sales taxes are now generating more revenue for the town than all the other retail establishments and oil and gas industry impact fees combined.

Slap Down! Mesa County Commissioner Scott Mcinnis Rebukes Ultra Right Wingnut, Defends All the Good the Federal Government Does

Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis verbally slapping down an ideologically pure ultra right wing nut who spoke before them multiple times on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016

Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis verbally dressed down an ideologically pure Mesa County ultra right wing nut who spoke before them on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, who urged them not to accept federal funds to fix a dangerous flood area along I-70 where one person has already been killed

In a jaw-dropping political turnabout at Monday’s (2/8/16) Mesa County Commissioner meeting, the county’s farthest ultra-right wing nuts out-right winged the regular right wing nuts, resulting in arch conservative Commissioner Scott Mcinnis strongly defending — yes, defending — all the good the federal government does for Mesa County citizens and our quality of life.

The fireworks started with a discussion of whether Mesa County should accept a $2.1 million grant to build a detention pond in Bosley Wash at the bottom of the Bookcliffs. The wash has been the site of several flash floods in recent years resulting one person getting killed, several private properties being repeatedly covered in mud and silt and massive mudflows pouring over I-70.  Bosley Wash endangers a total of 200 properties near the base of the Bookcliffs between Clifton and Palisade.

More Proselytizing Reported in District 51 Schools

Proselytize definition

Yet another incident of inappropriate proselytizing was reported in a District 51 school late last month. The parties spent the last few weeks working to resolve it. An update was just recently available. Following is a description of what happened.

On December 31, the father of a Lincoln Orchard Mesa (LOM) Elementary student contacted Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF), a western slope group that advocates for separation of church and state, about an inappropriate incident of proselytizing involving his child that occurred at LOM on November 20.  The student is 8 years old and in the 3rd grade.

According to the parent and child, here is what took place:

LOM students were taking their regularly-scheduled lunch break in their school’s lunchroom on Friday, November 20, 2016.  The student at the center of the incident was sitting at a table chatting with friends in the lunchroom, as was usual for kids at lunch. During the conversation, the student shared with her friends that she did not believe in God. A friend who heard the comment immediately went to a nearby lunchroom assistant named Jody Payne and told her that her friend did not believe in God. Ms. Payne went over to the table and told the student, in front of her friends, that “God created everything” that she “needed to, and should believe in God.”

Grand Junction Right Wingnuts’ “Donald the Dragon Slayer” Billboard

Donald the Dragon Slayer billboard

Grand Junction right wingnuts’ “Donald the Dragon Slayer” billboard at the top of the 5th Street Hill. Notice the names of groups like “GLBT,” “Iran,” “FEMA” and “EPA” on the scales, and the gold dollar signs dripping off Donald’s right foot. Pure Grand Junction wacko propaganda at it’s most bigoted and embarrassing best.

“Merry Christmas,” Wacky Grand Junction Style

The owner of the land at the top of the 5th Street hill has a holiday message for Grand Junctionites. The previous sign in this spot previously depicted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as a dragon slayer battling Muslims and corporate media

The owner of the land at the top of the 5th Street hill has a big holiday message for Grand Junctionites. The previous sign in this spot depicted Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as a dragon slayer battling Muslims and corporate media. (Photo Credit: AP – which does not stand for Associated Press)

New Recreational Marijuana Shop Adds 20 Jobs in Parachute

Staff of The Green Joint

Staff of The Green Joint

The town of Parachute, Colorado, in Garfield County, is celebrating the opening of its first recreational pot shop today. Parachute has a population of about 1,000 people, and the new shop, called The Green Joint, has already created 20 new jobs in the town. Parachute is about a 45 minute drive east of Grand Junction on I-70. The Green Joint already has seven other stores in the greater Roaring Fork Valley, including in jGlenwood Springs and Rifle.

In June 2015, the Trustees of the Town of Parachute voted 4-2 to end their ban on recreational marijuana sales in the town, opening the town to the financial benefits of the state’s booming new legal marijuana economy.

It’s no wonder Parachute is celebrating the store’s opening, too. After suffering losses of tax revenue and jobs as a result of the latest downturn in the oil and gas industries, a new 3.5 percent tax on the Green Joint’s sales will go to support support the town’s schools, law enforcement, firefighting and other city services.

Mesa County and Grand Junction remain unable to take advantage of the booming new marijuana economy, since both jurisdictions have banned retail recreational marijuana within their borders, with the exception of incorporated towns within Mesa County, which can make their own rules regarding whether or not to allow marijuana sales.

Main source: New Recreational Marijuana Shop, KREX TV, December 17, 2015,

The Problems with Mixing Religion and Government in Mesa County & Grand Junction

“Sad, that their choice was taken away…. No one had to take a Bible if they didn’t want one. All through life you have to make life decisions. This would have been a good life training to stand up as an individual and say ‘no thank you.’ ”

The above was a comment left on a previous blog about the Gideon Bible giveaway that was to take place at the Colorado Mesa University’s nursing program pinning ceremony December 11. This commenter, and others who wrote in a similar vein, show there is a fundamental misunderstanding about U.S. government locally, and about the nature of the U.S. government and the benefits of keeping church and state separate.

churchstateMany people mistakenly claim the U.S.was “founded as a Christian nation,” and point to our country’s founding documents as proof.

They need to look more closely.

The U.S. Constitution contains no mention of “God,” “Lord,” “Jesus,” “Christ” or any other deity. The founders intentionally designed it as a completely secular document. The Declaration of Independence does mention a generic “Creator,” but the Declaration is not U.S. law. It was a letter addressed to the King of England. Many people confuse the two documents. The difference between them is huge. The only document that has the force of law behind it is the Constitution. It’s the only one that really matters.

The Bill of Rights is similarly secular, with no mention of a god or gods, lords or deities. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, contained in the Bill of Rights, provides for a separation between religion and government. This provision truly sets the United States apart from other countries.

On-Campus Bible Giveaway Still On; CMU Nursing Students Unhappy with School’s Response to Bible Protest

GJ_CMU_sign2-630x418The anonymous Colorado Mesa University nursing students who oppose administration plans to hand out Gideon Bibles at their December 11 pinning ceremony are livid at the school’s response to their protest, and have already contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) about their plight.

“We are serious about it,” one of the anonymous complainants said.

Some students opposing the bible handout aren’t Christians, and some of them have no religious bent at all.

Bible handouts at nurses’ pinning ceremonies are normally features of religious institutions of higher learning, like Baptist or Christian colleges. It’s rare for a publicly-funded college or university to highlight a specific religion at a graduation ceremony this way, or for their graduation ceremonies to have any religious component at all, because of federal laws governing the separation of church and state.

The students want to remain anonymous because they’ve already gotten harassment and ridicule for speaking out against CMU’s endorsement of Christianity. They do not want to be put in the position of having to refuse to accept a bible in front of other people because a Catholic hospital is the biggest medical employer in the area, and they feel refusing to take a bible (or failing to be seen picking one up off a table) could negatively impact their ability to get jobs locally. Some of them may continue to have to interact with the same instructors in graduate programs.

Beyond that, the bible handout is more than just unfair to the nursing program’s non-Christian, atheist and agnostic students. It’s most likely illegal, and by allowing bibles to be given out on campus at a school-sponsored function, CMU may be crossing a legal line.

Under U.S. law, publicly-funded schools cannot give the appearance of endorsing any religion.

In a June 19, 2000 Supreme Court, ruling (pdf) in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Jane Doe, the Court wrote:

“[S]chool sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents ‘that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community and accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.’”

Giving away Christian bibles at an on-campus, school-sponsored event like a pinning ceremony — even if the bibles are simply set on a table for pickup — would give the distinct appearance that the school endorses that religion.

“Outing” the Protesters

Some school staff have claimed that the 31 students of the graduating class had already voted on the matter some time ago, but that’s not the case.  A memo nursing students got from staff earlier in the fall listed pinning ceremony requirements and indicated quite clearly that the bible giveaway was a non-negotiable part of the program. Also, the Director of CMU’s nursing program, Debra Bailey, sent out an email only yesterday, November 12, asking all of the students to vote by email on whether the bible giveaway should be part of the ceremony. The problem with this, aside from this vote being taken very late in the game and only under pressure, is that Ms. Bailey made the vote mandatory and ordered all of the students to submit their votes by email, which would of course allow her to “out” all of the protesters.

Is a vote like that fair? “No, of course not,” say the complaining students, who sought an anonymous vote on the matter. This vote seems more like a trap than anything else.

Screen shot 2015-11-13 at 4.41.51 PM

An Easy Fix

There is really no reason for all the hand-wringing, finger-pointing and agonizing that’s going on over this event, by students or staff. There is a very easy way to defuse the whole problem, stop cold any potential threat of litigation against CMU and its instructors and satisfy the upset nursing students 100% percent without inconveniencing anyone or costing anything: Move the Gideon Bible giveaway off campus entirely.

The Gideon volunteer could sit at the Christian coffee bar across 12th Street from CMU with the bibles, and nursing grads can be instructed to go to the coffee bar after the pinning ceremony to get one if they want it. Rather than putting unwilling people in the uncomfortable position of having to refuse a bible or be seen not taking one at the pinning ceremony, just make the books available to all the people who want them at an easily-accessible, comfortable location nearby off campus.

Voila’! Problem solved.

How Far Will CMU Staff Push the Matter?

All that remains to be seen is how far CMU Nursing Program staff are willing to push their luck with this issue, in the face of clear and fairly recent case law on the subject. Staff can insist on keeping the bible giveaway on campus and take their chances with a group of upset students contacting the ACLU and the FFRF, or they can solve the entire problem, placate the students and save CMU and themselves from any legal threat and just move it off campus.

It’s so easy to fix this problem and make everyone happy, but will they?

Given how issues of separation of church and state have played out in Grand Junction in the past, where elected officials have tried to prove a religious point by avoiding the easy, sensible solution and instead choosing expensive, convoluted solutions that cost taxpayers a lot of money, this issue could go either way. If this issue goes the wrong way, though, it could put CMU out on a limb.

Let’s hope that’s not the case with this issue at CMU. Let’s hope that the school administrators choose the simple, sensible solution, and move the bible giveaway off campus. Then they can avoid this thorny problem into the future by learning from it, honoring and respecting the diversity that exists on campus, and steadfastly avoiding any activity that resembles an endorsement of religion on campus from here on out.

 

 

 

 

CMU to Force Christian Bibles on RN/BSN Grads; Nursing Students Fight it

A box of Bibles from Gideons International

A box of Bibles from Gideons International

Students about to graduate from Colorado Mesa University’s RN/BSN nursing program are fighting a school-sponsored plan to hand out Gideon Bibles to nursing graduates after they step down from the dais at their pinning ceremony. The December 11 pinning ceremony is a symbolic welcoming of newly-graduated nurses into the nursing profession, and is the nursing students’ official, school-sponsored graduation ceremony.

Students Given No Choice

RN/BSN Nursing program administrators let students vote on many details of their own graduation ceremony, like the location and photographer, but made it clear to students that the Bible give-away was a non-negotiable part of the ceremony.

The Bibles are to be distributed by a local volunteer for Gideons International, a Christian evangelical organization that works to convert people to Christianity. According to their website, Gideons International is “dedicated to telling people about Jesus through sharing personally and by providing Bibles and New Testaments.” The Gideons are primarily known for putting Bibles in hotel and motel night stands, but they also distribute Bibles to elementary schools starting in the 5th grade, and to colleges, prisons, jails, hospitals and medical offices.

CMU nursing students who aren’t Christian and some who aren’t religious were appalled that they would be forced to either accept or reject a Christian Bible in front of the entire audience at their graduation ceremony. The students protested the Bible give-away to CMU president Tim Foster, but nursing program faculty attempted to ridicule the complaint and told students it is simply “what we do,” and they should just accept the Bible as a gift.

christianNurseThe disaffected students then contacted Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF), a group that advocates for the separation of church and state. WCAF wrote a letter (pdf) to CMU President Foster and Diana Bailey, the head of CMU’s RN/BSN program, on the students’ behalf explaining that many students in CMU’s 2015 nursing class who aren’t Christians find the Bible give-away offensive and improper.  Under the law, WCAF said, the Gideons can give away Bibles, but only if they stand on city-owned sidewalk, well off school property, while they do it.

CMU Focuses Exclusively on Christianity

“It’s a blatant disregard of other peoples’ religion,” said one student, who wished to remain anonymous, to WCAF members. Another student wondered why just one religion would be represented at the ceremony. To be fair, the students said, CMU needs to distribute texts from other religions as well, like Books of Mormon, Korans and Talmuds.

The students have a point.

Public schools can’t do anything that gives the appearance of endorsing a single religion.

The Supreme Court, ruling (pdf) in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Jane Doe (June 19, 2000), explained that,

“[S]chool sponsorship of a religious message is impermissible because it sends the ancillary message to members of the audience who are nonadherents ‘that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community and accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, favored members of the political community.’”

Publicly-funded institutions like CMU have to stay neutral in matters of religion, and cannot do anything a reasonable person might construe as an endorsement of a particular religion.

And that’s exactly how the nursing students see the Bible give-away: as an improper endorsement of one and only one religion: Christianity.

The nursing students have three main goals:

  1. They want to remain anonymous out of fear of retribution and the potential for compromising their future careers locally,
  2. They want their entire class to be able to vote on the Bible give-away, and if a majority of the class approves of it, the students want other religious texts, as well as information on atheism, to be included in the give-away.
  3. The want CMU to acknowledge that the Bible give-away violates the law, and they want to keep future nursing classes from having to grapple with this same issue over again in future years.
CMU President Tim Foster

CMU President Tim Foster

One thing that’s working in the nurses’ favor is Gideons’ own internal policy governing the distribution of Bibles in schools. Gideon International’s Form 115 policy on school scripture distribution (in Section 4-1, under “Reaching the Hearts of our Young People”) says,

“If any method of distribution [at a school] has the potential to create media publicity, the distribution must be cancelled or postponed.”

If CMU refuses to work with the nursing students to change or eliminate the Bible give-away, WCAF has vowed to contact the local media, protest at the pinning ceremony and, if necessary, contact the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) for legal help fighting it.

Mysterious Redlands Talking Hill: Still Communicating

The Mysterious Redlands Talking Hill speaks again. This time, it says "YETI." Why? No one knows.

The Mysterious Redlands Talking Hill now says “YETI.” Why? No one knows.

As previously noted here on AnneLandmanBlog., the Mysterious Redlands Talking Hill’s constantly-changing messages consist of single 3-4 letter words only. Over the past few years the Hill has said innumerable things, including “MOM,” “DAD,” “MOON,” TREK,” “USA,” and “XMAS.” Last week it said “YETI.”

Who repeatedly clambers up this crumbling hillside to scratch huge, short, engimatic messages into the hillside?

No one knows. But whoever it is, please keep it up. It sure keeps our interest!

You can see the Talking Hill from the intersection of Monument and South Camp Roads. Pull over in the general area of the intersection of the two roads, and look northwest towards the greenish, bentonite hill located between the two buttes with rocks on top, as seen in the picture.

Report to AnneLandmanBlog what is says when you see it!

 

 

 

Why Stop at Renaming North Ave.? Grand Junction Needs a Modern Moniker

Grand Junction is plagued by a host of bad nicknames

Grand Junction is plagued by a host of bad nicknames

Note – Owing to City Council’s now-official change of name of North Ave. to University Ave. in 2017, I am re-posting this blog from 2015.

In a March 24, 2015 editorial, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel argues that “North Avenue needs a modern moniker.” The article cites the town’s extensive modernization and expansion since it’s founding many years ago, and extensive capital improvements, like the airport and interstate highway, as reasons to rename North Avenue to University Avenue — the most frequently suggested new name for the street.

Changing the name of North Avenue is a fine idea, but it’s thinking small.

Re-Naming is On a Roll, But What Will Really Work to Remove Grand Junction’s Negative Baggage?

We need to take collective big deep breath, go a big step further and rename the entire city.

Lots of local features have been renamed in the past few years. We’ve re-named Walker Field Airport, Mesa State College and F Road, all with no ill effects. The new names have even proven to be marked improvements over the old names, eliminating confusion and better representing the amenities they point to.

But let’s face it, folks. Grand Junction has plenty of negative baggage. This is reflected in the slew of pejorative nicknames our area has earned: “Grand Junktown,” “Gland Function,” “Spun Junction,” “Meth Junction,” “Tweakerville,” to name a few. Moreover, our town has given rise to a disproportionate number of dysfunctional institutions, embarrassing political scandals and politicians.