Tag: Human rights

Businesses beg city to fix Horizon Drive Deathtrap; City claims “Sorry, no funds”

Matthew Bandelin, struck by a vehicle and killed at age 38 while trying to cross Horizon Drive in January, 2015

The headline article in today’s Daily Sentinel, “No quick fix on Horizon,” tells how for years businesses along Horizon Drive have been begging the City of Grand Junction to make the street safer for pedestrians.

Three pedestrians, all tourists, have been killed by vehicles on Horizon Drive in the last seven years trying to cross the street between the hotels and restaurant establishments. The three victims were all killed within 700 feet of each other. These people lost their lives merely because they visited our town. Many others have been very badly injured crossing Horizon Drive, but lived. The safety problem on Horizon has been well known to the City for a long time, but nothing has been done during all this time to make the street any safer for pedestrians.

Donald Trump’s Tweet from Early This Morning (which he quickly deleted)

Early this morning, just days after a white supremacist drove a car into a crowd in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing a woman, President Trump retweeted an image of a Trump train running over a CNN reporter. The image was originally posted by an “alt-right” conspiracy theorist and Trump fan. Trump quickly deleted the post after it sparked criticism as being highly inappropriate just days after the Charlottesville violence.

Here is the tweet Trump sent to his nearly 36 million followers:

Grand Junction’s Satanic Invocation a Success, More Diversity Likely Coming Soon

Grand Junction, Colorado’s first Satanic invocation went off without a hitch yesterday evening, with an audience of about 50 interested onlookers and five out of seven city council members present.

The audience and was quiet and respectful as the speaker made the following statement to Council:

Trump tells murderous Filipino President Duterte he’s “doing an unbelievable job on the drug problem” in his country


A recently-released confidential transcript of an April, 2017 phone call from President Donald Trump to Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte reveals Trump praised Duterte, telling him he’s been “doing an unbelievable job on the drug problem” in his country.

President Duterte has had death squads gun down approximately 7,000 Filipino citizens in the streets of his country since June, 2016, in a systematic program of extrajudicial killings. Often the killers, many of whom reportedly received compensation for each person they killed, plant evidence to try to justify the killings.

G.J. City Council Candidate Jesse Daniels is Generating Buzz

Momentum is growing for Grand Junction City Council candidate Jesse Daniels, the youngest and most modern-thinking city council candidate we’ve ever had. He’s fighting for some long-needed beneficial change in Grand Junction, and it’s about time.

Jesse is different kind of candidate. He has special appeal to the younger set who’ve long felt completely unrepresented on city council and longed for a change. Jesse knows how to roll…He has a logo, a Facebook page, understands social media and the importance of the Internet, and like most hard-working city residents, Jesse is a working person himself, not a retiree. He’s been involved in the goings-on in downtown Grand Junction for over 20 years.

Massive Anti-Trump March in Grand Junction One Day After Inauguration

If yesterday’s massive Women’s March to protest Donald Trump in Grand Junction proves anything, it’s that western Colorado is clearly not a politically monolithic area for conservatives any more.

Grand Junction saw the largest crowd ever in its local history turn out today to participate in a march downtown in support of liberal values like women’s rights, equality, diversity and respect for all human beings. Grand Junction’s march was held simultaneously as, and in support of the massive Women’s March in Washington, D.C., as well and similar protests in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles other cities all across the world.  The marchers turned out they day after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who openly insulted women in many ways during his long campaign for president and in public venues throughout his life and career.

State Department and U.S. Women Worry Trump is Preparing to Cut Programs Benefitting Women

18 year old Aria Watson, a student in Oregon, created a series of photographs of women with some of Donald’ Trump’s misogynistic statements written on them for a photography class. The project has gone viral.

Women inside and outside the government are chilled by the news today that Donald Trump’s transition team has asked the State Department to provide him with detailed information on U.S. programs aimed at benefitting women around the world, as well as a list of positions in the department that are involved in reducing gender violence and promoting women in the workplace. A senior official said people in the State Department are “freaked out” by the request and deeply concerned Trump wants to roll back these diplomatic efforts, many of which were spearheaded by Hillary Clinton.

It’s no wonder they’re concerned.

Grand Junction Business Owner Trying to Make People Feel Safer in Wake of Election

The T-Shirt Litsheim plans to market to help make people feel safer

The T-Shirt Litsheim plans to market to help make people feel safer. To get your “Protector of Peace, Ally to All” shirt, call or text Litsheim at 970-201-8752.

After David Litsheim, owner of Seeds of Revolution at 241 Grand Ave., started reading growing numbers of first-hand accounts on social media of racist assaults and bullying after the election, he wanted to find a way to address the problem. With help from Bryan Wade, Litsheim designed a highly visible T-shirt that will serve as a symbol telling people “If you are being intimidated or fear for your safety, come to this person because they are safe.”

The campaign mimics a similar campaign that sprang up in the United Kingdom after Donald Trump’s election. Brits have started wearing safety pins on their lapels to symbolize anti-bigotry, anti-violence and safety.

Why We Should be Glad To Have an Alternative to a Catholic Hospital in Mesa County

While the above video is a humorous review of the dangers Americans face when using Catholic hospitals, the main points it makes are dead true. Catholic hospitals can endanger patients’ lives because of the many restrictions placed on their medical care by Catholic dogma.

Local “Deplorables” Gather for Trump’s Visit

Former Delta County "Castration school board member" Kathy Svenson attended Trump's rally of self-described "Deplorables" yesterday at West Star Aviation in Grand Junction

Former Delta County “Castration school board member” Kathy Svenson (arrow, in kooky hat) was one of the self-described “Deplorables” at Trump’s visit at West Star Aviation in Grand Junction yesterday

 

A woman who attended Donald Trump’s rally in Grand Junction yesterday appeared in a front page photo in today’s Daily Sentinel and was identified as “Kathy Svenson of Delta.”

Svenson was a highly suitable attendee for Trump’s rally. She is, in fact, a bona fide “Deplorable.”

Svenson is the famous former Delta County School Board member who gained notoriety nationally and internationally for saying transgender students should be castrated before being permitted to use the restrooms in public schools. She became known as “The Castration School Board Member” of Delta County, Colorado.

Svenson made her comments after the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled that a 6-year-old transgender student could use the girls’ restroom at her school.

Lawsuit Filed Against Donald Trump on September 30, 2016, for Child Rape

Tipton announced he is supporting Donald Trump for president

Donald Trump was slapped with a lawsuit September 30 alleging forcible rape of a 13 year old girl. Several local elected officials, including Rep. Scott Tipton and all three Mesa County Commissioners, John Justman, Rose Pugliese and Scott McInnis, continue to openly support the Republican candidate for U.S. president. 

The domestic media has been quiet about the fact that the Republican Party’s candidate for U.S. president, Donald J. Trump, has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed on September 30, 2016 for rape of a child. The plaintiff originally filed her case in June, 2016, but pulled it and then re-filed on September 30, 2016.  The victim says she was 13 years old when Trump violently raped her at a Manhattan party in 1994. The woman pulled her original suit after filing it herself, without the help of attorney, and making errors in the filing. She has since refiled her case with the help of Florida attorney J. Cheney Mason, who served as co-counsel in the successful defense of Casey Anthony, the woman who was acquitted in 2011 of murdering her two year old daughter, Caylee Anthony, after the child’s disappearance in 2008.

The lawsuit names Trump and a friend of Trump’s, Jeffrey E. Epstein, who is a registered sex offender. The Florida sex offender registry describes Epstein’s crime as “procuring a person under age of 18 for prostitution.”

It is unprecedented for a candidate for U.S. president to face a rape a lawsuit during the course of a campaign.

G.J. Chamber Runs TV Ads Opposing Increase in Colorado’s Minimum Wage

Diane Schwenke of the Grand Junction Chamber quotes a statistic by Erc Fruits, a freelance, pay-for-play economic consultant who works out of his home in Portland, Oregon, producing reports that meet the needs of his paymasters

Diane Schwenke of the Grand Junction Chamber cites a statistic produced by “Eric Fruits,” a pay-for-play economic consultant who works out of his home in Portland, Oregon producing economic reports that bolster the positions of his big-business paymasters. Fruits’ claim directly contradicts the U.S. Department of Labor regarding the actual effects of increases in the minimum wage.

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke has been appearing on TV in ads opposing Amendment 70, which would increase in Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 and hour by 2020. The western slope has among the lowest per capita income in the state (pdf), and among the highest rates of homelessness, poverty, suicide and hunger. The ads reinforce the chamber’s longstanding reputation of opposing the best interests of area workers and their families, and continues its long-standing record of lobbying to keep area wages extraordinarily low compared to the rest of the state. The ads also reinforce the chamber’s image as an elite club that lobbies for wealthy business owners and out-of-state member corporations, while neglecting the needs of the rest of the community.

Fruits?

An Answer to City Market’s Huge Amount of Food Waste


San Francisco has successfully addressed the problem of excessive food waste from restaurants and grocery stores — of the same type  that we are still seeing here in Grand Junction, specifically with City Market’s tremendous waste of food daily from its hot delis.

A nonprofit organization called Food Runners collects extra hot food from markets and restaurants left over at closing time, and brings it to local foster homes, food pantries and homeless shelters where it feeds hungry people and is greatly appreciated. It’s simple, and there is no liability for the providers of the food.

Why can’t this happen here?

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.

FFRF Warns Delta County School District to End Shelly Donahue’s “Sex Ed” Talks

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

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

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has sent a letter (pdf) to the Delta County School District’s attorney warning that Shelly Donahue’s “sex ed” talks in schools there violate laws that prohibit religious proselytizing in public schools and require specific information be included in public schools’ comprehensive sex education courses.

Andrew Seidel, staff attorney with FFRF in Madison, Wisconsin, wrote to Aaron Clay, legal counsel for the Delta County School District 50J in the two-page letter that:

“Shelly Donahue’s biography on her website prominently includes her personal ‘salvation’ story and how she came to accept Jesus and the Holy Spirit into her life. While discussing her relationship with her ex-husband, Ms Donahue writes that ‘I believe that because Dave and I didn’t begin our relationship with a foundation of Biblical purity, we never connected heart-to-heart.’ That belief, and her subsequent desire to ‘fill that hole in [her] heart,’ led Ms. Donahue to develop her abstinence-only program. She also claims that a preacher and divine intervention healed her brain tumors. Finally, she proclaims, ‘I am passionately committed to Jesus Christ as the ultimate answer to ALL things, including teen sex.’ Her sex education program relies on her religiosity, not science, medical training, or specialized knowledge of the subject. Her website includes several videos of her TALL Truth presentations, which feature emphatic references to her religious views, but no discussion of STIs or contraceptives, which are essential, and state-mandated, elements of sex education.”

Seidel points out how easy it is to discern Donahue’s religious agenda from her website, and says that it is “well settled that schools may not advance or promote religion.” He cites several nationally significant legal cases in which rulings have reinforced this legal point.

Seidel wrote that,

“…In this case, it would have taken only a cursory glance at Ms. Donahue’s website to verify her religious agenda. Merely skimming her ‘About’ page reveals her inappropriateness as a speaker on sex education. It is difficult for us to understand how this event could have been approved. Your community undoubtedly possesses many secular experts who have experience, training, certification and/or degrees and would be delighted, usually at no cost to the district, to discuss the topic of sex education before your student body, and whose presence would not raise constitutional red flags.”

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.

Cidney Fisk’s Interview on KVNF Radio

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 12.44.55 PMThis 30 minute interview on KVNF Radio with Cidney Fisk and her parents about their experience with the Delta County School District was broadcast July 19, 2016. Host Ali Lightfoot interviews Cidney, her parents and Delta County School District officials about the religious speakers the school routinely brings in, other incidents of proselytizing occurring within the district, and the retribution Cidney faced from her teachers and counselors after voicing her opinions about that and what Cidney perceived as the district’s misguided financial priorities: Click this link to listen to the interview.

Delta County School District Gives Thumbs-Up to Handing Out Atheist and Satanic Literature to Students

Brochure to be distributed to Delta County High School students on April 1

Brochure to be distributed to Delta County High School students on April 1

The Delta County School District (DCSD) has approved the distribution of atheistic, secular and Satanic literature to middle and high school students throughout Delta County on April 1, 2016, and will carry out the literature distribution on behalf of the groups who have applied to do it.