Tag: education

CMU hosts climate change denier this evening

This article is reprinted in with permission from the author, , of the ColoradoTimesRecorder.com.

Colorado Mesa University is hosting climate change denier Steve Goreham this evening, for a speech titled “Energy, Climate Change & Public Policy.”

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese promotes tonight’s speech at CMU by climate change denier Steve Goreham

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese promoted the event on her Facebook page.

Local atheist group puts on student essay contest! Top high school student gets $500, top middle school gets $250

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) is holding it’s first-ever student essay contest this fall.

The contest is open to all Mesa County middle and high school students, whether they attend regular public school, a charter or online school, or are in a school district outside the Grand Valley, like in Gateway, Plateau Valley or DeBeque.

Students are asked write on the topic of “What is separation of church and state, and why is it important to maintaining our democracy?”

Essays should be a minimum of 700 words and a maximum of 1,000 words.

The winning high school student gets $500, and the winning middle school student gets $250.

Liberals, be very proud of who you are

Mesa County vehicle that displays enmity towards liberal and progressive residents

Right wingers often disparage political liberals in western Colorado with nasty names like “libtard” and “snowflake.” Some even claim without foundation that liberalism is a “mental disorder.”

But being politically liberal is a profoundly positive thing. 

Why?

Because liberals have made most of the progress in American society.

Atheist billboard graces entrance to Grand Junction at Easter, 2018

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) has a new digital billboard up in front of Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A at Rimrock Marketplace on I-70 B just in time for Easter. It shows a child with a shocked look on his face holding a book that looks very much like a Bible. It says “Belief without proof is gullibility.” You can see the board as you are heading west on I-70 B.

WCAF wanted their spring billboard to have an educational component this year. The group wanted to emphasize that people deserve proof before believing what they’re told. They also want to urge people to come to logical conclusions based on verifiable facts rather than on lore, mythology or pure faith.

WCAF’s mission is to educate the public about atheism, promote acceptance of atheism as a rational belief system and preserve and promote the wall of separation between church and state.

The board is up through Tuesday, April 4. WCAF says anyone who takes their photo with the billboard and posts it on WCAF’s Facebook page will get a free package of M&Ms.  To donate to more billboards like this, go to WCAF’s Donation page.

Rep. Jared Polis to open Grand Junction office Sat., Jan. 6 at 10:00 a.m.

Rep. Jared Polis

House Rep. Jared Polis is running for Colorado governor and will officially open his Grand Junction office this coming Saturday, January 6 at 10:00 a.m. at 421 Colorado Ave.

Polis is a new-age candidate. He is an entrepreneur who started several successful internet businesses. He is the first openly gay parent in Congress and a champion of education. Polis has served on the Colorado State Board of Education, and served a single six-year term until his district was eliminated. He created a foundation that gives annual Teacher Recognition Awards. In 2004, Polis established the charter school, “New America School,” a high school that primarily serves older immigrant youth ages 16–21.

Grand Junction Chamber backs scary candidates for the contested seats in School Board election

The chamber is endorsing pretty scary candidates for school board

It’s no surprise that in the contested District 51 School Board races, the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is endorsing candidates who are demonstrably the worst of the pack. That’s par for the course.

What IS surprising is that you can figure this out from reading the Chamber’s very own “Mesa County Valley School District 51 Voter Guide,” (pdf) in which the chamber endorses Thomas Keenan for District E and Dusti Reimer for District D.

For the voter guide, the chamber asked each candidate to answer four questions. Apparently the chamber printed the candidates’ responses verbatim, without editing.

The results are pretty damn scary for the two candidates they endorsed.

Thomas Keenan, the District E candidate, had a hard time putting together a coherent sentence. Below is a screenshot of Mr. Keenan’s answer to the chamber’s Question #4: “Why should members of the Grand Junction Area Chamber vote for you?” Immediately beneath his barely-comprehensible answer, the chamber endorses Mr. Keenan:

CMU Staff and Students Unhappy with School’s Odd, Oppressive Administrative Structure

Tim Foster, President of Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University staff members are expressing frustration with the school’s unusual, flat administrative structure, which seems strategically designed to eliminate staff input into school operations, and prevent empowerment of the staff on campus.

CMU President Tim Foster over the years has reshaped CMU’s administration to eliminate the normal avenues of communication between staff and administration that most other universities have, employees say. Instead Foster has substituted an odd, flat administrative structure that eliminates staff’s input into school operations and serves as a firewall against opposition to the administration.

Now’s Our Chance to Help School District 51 — Finally!

Crumbling ceiling tiles and exposed pipes at Orchard Mesa Elementary School

First the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and downtown business owners like Doug Simons of Enstrom Candies told city residents they needed to pay an extra sales tax to fund an event center downtown. People panned the idea and voted it down by a huge margin. A common criticism was, “A tax to build an event center? But what about our crumbling schools?” Then the chamber, Simons and CMU proposed waving a magic wand and changing the names of North Avenue to “University Boulevard,” and 12th Street to “Maverick Way,” saying this will be really great. People again panned the idea for the cost and inconvenience. A widely-expressed sentiment about the proposed name change has been ”Change the name of North Avenue? But what about our crumbling schools?”

Cidney Fisk’s First Year at University: An Update

Cidney Fisk, speaking at California Freethought Day last fall

Cidney Fisk, the former 4.0 GPA Delta High School student who risked everything in 2016 to publicly expose the pervasive Christian proselytizing and other injustices going on in Delta County’s public schools, has completed her first year at University of Denver and will soon start her second year.

Cidney paid dearly for speaking out about her public school district. She lost grants for college tuition from local funders after the Daily Sentinel published a front page article about the proselytizing which bore her photo and contained extensive quotes about what she had experienced at school. Cidney’s teachers and counselors suddenly turned their backs on her and refused to write letters of support for her applications for scholarships, effectively tanking her chances of getting those scholarships. After speaking out, Cidney struggled to cobble together enough money to attend university. Cidney is from a low income family and completely dependent on grants, loans and scholarships to fund her tuition.

No Prayers Permitted at D-51 Graduation Ceremonies, and Schools Cannot Participate in Religious Baccalaureates. Period.

 

There is no doubt left on the matter of prayer at School District 51 graduation ceremonies:  School-sponsored prayers are not permitted at District 51 graduation ceremonies.

Some parents this year objected to prayers being included in Palisade High Schools’ graduation ceremony, and rightly so.

It violated federal law, and school district policy.

Ray Scott Shocks Constituents with Displays of Poor Grammar, Lack of Knowledge in Social Media Exchanges

Ray Scott

First came this exchange via IPhone, widely shared on Facebook by a Colorado Mesa University biology graduate who specializes in conservation of endangered species. The biologist wrote to Colorado State Senator Ray Scott concerned about his uninformed, overly-simplistic views on energy production and effects global climate change:

Delta County “Sex Ed” Teacher Shelly Donahue Banned from Oklahoma School District

Donahue with her bag of spaghetti, which she uses to illustrate what girls’ brains are like

A school district in Tulsa County, Oklahoma has banned sexual abstinence speaker Shelly Donahue from returning after students complained that her comments during a “sex ed” presentation were demeaning to girls and insulting to children of broken families.

The news of her being banned pertains to Colorado’s western slope because Delta County School District regularly hires Shelly Donahue to give the very same talk to Delta high school seniors.

She’s Back! Self-Styled Grand Junction Missionary June Fellhauer Returns to Pitch her $99 Religious Video Series to D-51 Girls

Self-styled G.J. missionary June Fellhauer, giving a talk on “Women’s Purpose” July 12, 2015 (Photo credit: YouTube)

June Fellhauer is back, once again taking advantage of School District 51’s “PeachJar” literature distribution system to plug her $99 video evangelism series to girls 11 years and up.

Fellhauer is kind of like Grand Junction’s own Shelly Donahue, but without the plastic bags of full of spaghetti and waffles, and titillating talk about masturbation. And unlike Donahue, Fellhauer apparently preaches only to girls, not boys, at least when she preaching for money.

Several days ago Fellhauer sent out a flier to D-51 families promoting another free sales-pitch event, this one called “Becoming Love,” aimed at girls 11 and up. The purpose of the event is to recruit kids’ families to pony up $99 for their daughters to view Fellhauer’s online, four-week video series in which she teaches biblical myths to girls with the primary message that women are subservient to men rather than qualified, able individuals in their own right. Fellhauer warns girls not strike out on their own, and tells girls if they remain helpers underneath the “cover” of their men, the men will “lift them up,” and they will get their power that way.

Why Average People Shouldn’t Listen to the Grand Junction Area Chamber

chamberIt’s election time again, and soon the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce will issue it’s “2016 Voter Guide” in an attempt to try and influence how people in Mesa County vote on ballot measures and local elected offices.

If you’re an average, hard-working working citizen in Mesa County, there is only one thing you need to know about the chamber’s voter guide: ignore it.

Why?

Because the chamber doesn’t represent Mesa County’s working population. It exists solely to promote the financial interests of the few Mesa County businesses who pay its dues, and nothing more. What’s more, most businesses oppose measures aimed at helping workers and their families, so the chamber reflexively opposes any ballot measures that would benefit the thousands of workers and residents who spend money locally and really keep this area humming.

WCAF Hoping to Run 2016 Winter Holiday Billboard

The billboard WCAF hopes to run this December in Grand Junction. To donate to help make this board happen, go to WesternColoradoAtheists.org and click on "Donate."

WCAF members hope to run this billboard in December in Grand Junction. To donate to help make this billboard a reality, go to WesternColoradoAtheists.org and click on “Donate.”

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers, the western slope’s longest-established secular advocacy group, is hoping (NOT praying) to run a winter solstice billboard on Grand Junction’s I-70 Business Loop this holiday season. The group voted unanimously to gather enough funds to make the board happen. They need only $265 to run it for one week, and they hope to run the board from December 18-24, 2016. One donor has already pledged $100 to make it happen, so the group is quickly moving towards making its goal a reality.

WCAF was established in 2007, and will be ten years old next February. The group now has hundreds of Facebook followers.

People wanting to donate towards the billboard can go to WCAF’s “Donate” page and donate through PayPal. There is no minimum donation, all donations are tax deductible and 100% of donations go to WCAF. You can use a credit or debit card, and you don’t need a PayPal account to donate.

WCAF Awards Delta Student $4,325 Scholarship

Cidney Fisk gets her scholarship from WCAF. She is flanked by two family friends, WCAF Vice President Michael Avila and WCAF President Aleksandr Kolpakov

Cidney Fisk is flanked by family friends Robert Manley and Kim Pursell, WCAF Vice President Michael Avila and WCAF President Aleksandr Kolpakov, as she receives her scholarship August 15

Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) today awarded Cidney Fisk, the former Delta High School student who drew the public’s attention to the rampant Christian proselytizing in Delta County Schools, a $4,325 scholarship towards her college education.

Fisk, an A+ student and captain of Delta High School’s Speech and Debate Team, contacted WCAF for help last spring with the in-school proselytizing in the Delta County public school district. Cidney knew the proselytizing was illegal and told WCAF that the school had hired Shelly Donahue, a Christian missionary, to give abstinence-only-before-marriage “sex ed” talks to high school students. Donahue’s talks were based on religious ideology, all of the slides in her talks contained religious crosses, and the talks did not contain any of the information the state requires be included in a sex ed curriculum, like information on contraceptives, STDs or HIV. Cidney also highlighted other problems with separation of church and state occurring in the Delta County School District, like youth pastors roaming campus and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting during class time.

The Daily Sentinel featured Cidney on the front page of the paper in an April 1, 2016 expose’ about the Delta County School District. Cidney endured threats and harassment as a result, and not just from her fellow students. Her high school counselor said she would “hate to see” Cidney’s chances to get scholarships harmed if Cidney kept criticizing the school, and her student government teacher gave her Fs on her projects immediately after the Sentinel article appeared. When Cidney asked her teacher why she had gotten the Fs, he told her her grades would go back up when she stopped criticizing the school. The Fs threatened her ability to get grants and scholarships to attend college. WCAF set up a scholarship fund to help Cidney, and the donations toward her scholarship poured in from all across the United States and four foreign countries, after a local blog about her predicament went viral.

Cidney will attend Denver University in September. This scholarship made it unnecessary for her to take out any loans for her first year at the school.

WCAF to Award $4,325 to Student Who Exposed Christian Proselytizing in Delta Public Schools

Cidney Fisk of Delta, Colorado

Cidney Fisk of Delta, Colorado

On Monday, August 15, 2016 Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers (WCAF) will award a $4,325 college scholarship to Cidney Fisk, the newly-graduated Delta High School student who exposed the pervasive Christian proselytizing in Delta County’s public schools. WCAF will hand over the check to Cidney at noon in front of Delta High School in Delta, Colorado.

Cidney is an award-winning, A+ student who excelled in speech and debate, but was punished for her opinions about the school.

The scholarship is WCAF’s largest to date. The group gave a $1,000 gift to the Mesa County Public Library Foundation in July of 2013 to help with construction of the new downtown Central Library, and in spring, 2016 donated $100 to Delta Middle School to help with minor repairs in the girls’ and boys’ restrooms in the school’s cafeteria.

Cidney graduated from Delta High School last May and was outspoken about the school bringing in Christian-based speaker Shelly Donahue, who gave an abstinence-only-before-marriage talk to students. This talk was nominally secular, but contained crucifixes in all the slides and Donahue told the students that having premarital sex “puts

A slide from Shelly Donahue's "WAIT" program shown at Delta High School in October, 2015, containing Christian crosses (crucifixes)

A slide from Shelly Donahue’s “WAIT” program shown at Delta High School in October, 2015, containing Christian crosses (crucifixes)

them further from God.” This talk the only “sex ed” most DHS students ever received from the school district, but it contained none of the state-required information about contraceptives, sexually-transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS or other information the state says public schools must give students if districts choose to teach sex education.