Tag: Local concerns

United Way to host Poverty Immersion Experience to increase understanding of what life is like for people living in poverty in Mesa County


The Poverty Immersion Experience allows participants to spend a simulated month in the life of an individual who is experiencing poverty in Mesa County. It is an interactive event that promotes awareness of poverty in Mesa County, increases understanding of people facing poverty situations and that will inspire local change. The intent is to shift the belief and paradigm about poverty from being seen as a personal failure or character flaw to the understanding that poverty is a systemic and societal issue.

The experience offers a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of a low-income family, navigating life with limited resources, while providing for their children and accessing essential community services.

Weak, barely-legible signage was a weak and ineffective early attempt to address homelessness and poverty in Grand Junction

Through the simulation, participants will gain insight into the structural barriers and emotional challenges that individuals living in poverty face on a daily basis.  Understanding the tough decisions they must make, the fears they must confront, and the frustrations they endure on a daily basis can help our community create more meaningful support systems.

Please note – this experience is not a game! This simulation is designed to help participants begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive month to month.

(Photo credit: KKCO 11 News)

The Experience will be held at the Mesa County Workforce Center, 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 29, 2024. Participants are asked to be present for the entire event. Water and light snacks will be available, but participants are encouraged to eat lunch prior to the event.

Attendance is limited to 80 participants.

It is free to participate in the Experience, but United Way asks that people register at this website first so organizers have an idea of the number of people who will be attending.

The event is a part of the United Way of Mesa County United to Solve Homelessness program, a community-based education and outreach program to raise awareness, inspire solutions, and work towards solving the issue of homelessness in Mesa County. United Way of Mesa County has partnered with several local organizations that work in this field to assist in the planning and implementation of this program.

For questions, email info@uwmesacounty.org or call 970-243-5364

The Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool is barely afloat

Orchard Mesa Pool

Guest blog post by Mariann Taigman, co-founder of the Save the Pool Committee, and Nick Allan of Orchard Mesa United

Three different agencies—the school district, the city, and the county—are involved in managing the Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool (OMCCP).

Prior to 2020, a Pool Board was created that was comprised of one official from each of these entities to discuss the pool at joint meetings. In 2020, the pool board convened to discuss the pool’s future, including the possibility of demolition, marking the last “official” meeting of the Pool Board before it dissolved. In response, the Save The Pool Committee emerged as a grassroots effort, championed by concerned community

Kids and adults enjoying the OM Pool

members passionate about keeping the OMCCP operational.  During that final Pool Board meeting, the Save The Pool Committee presented proof to the three entities that the community wanted the pool to remain open.  Our efforts included: obtaining 7,000 online petition signatures and 1,000 paper signatures; collecting over 70 letters from school children; encouraged community engagement by distributing flyers as to the fate of the OMCCP, and having groups of community members speak at city council meetings.

Rally for the Grand Junction Post Office Monday, Feb. 19, & find out more about changes proposed to mail service

The drive-up mail boxes at the postal sorting annex at 602 Burkey Street, off Patterson and 25 1/2 Road

Local postal employees are inviting members of the community to join them at a rally tomorrow, Monday, February 19, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Grand Junction Mail Processing Facility at 602 Burkey Street to hear about changes being proposed to local postal services in Grand Junction and show support for keeping mail operations in town.

In January, Grand Junction postal employees warned of changes being proposed that could further slow mail delivery and eliminate postal jobs in Grand Junction.

The national Post Office is considering moving the sorting of local mail to Denver. This means local mail would be collected, put on trucks, driven to Denver, sorted at a processing facility in Denver, then put back on trucks and driven back to Grand Junction for delivery. With I-70 being closed more often due to inclement weather, accidents, rockslides, mudslides and other calamities, this could cause further unexpected and unpredictable delays in mail delivery in Grand Junction.

The change could also eliminate anywhere from 12-20 jobs at postal facilities in Grand Junction.

What’s all this about a severed head found in a freezer in garage at a house on Pinyon Ave.?

2019 photo of the house at 2988 Pinyon Ave. where the severed head was reportedly found in a freezer in the garage. (Source: Google Street View)

UPDATE 1/18/24 @ 11:48 a.m.: The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) issued an update today on the case of the severed head. It says, “The autopsy by the Mesa County Coroner’s Office occurred yesterday and has confirmed the human remains found at the address on Pinyon Avenue on January 12, 2024, are a human head and human hands,” and “we have no other definitive answers until further testing can be completed.” 

[Note: this story was updated with additional information received on 1/16/24@11:45 a.m. that has been added in blue text, below.]

Multiple people are reporting on social media that a severed head and possibly additional body parts were discovered in a freezer in the garage of the home at 2988 Pinyon Ave. on Friday, January 12. The story has been confirmed by multiple sources and people have been posting photos documenting the incident.

Here’s what is known so far:

Local Postal workers warn of changes coming that will further slow mail delivery

A brand new sorting machine lies in a dumpster at the Postal Sorting Annex on Patterson Rd. and Burkey St. on August 24, 2020. Employees said it was ordered dismantled and disposed of by Postmaster Louis DeJoy, who has been carrying out changes that are leaving the U.S. Postal Service in disarray

Local Postal Service workers shared a memo distributed to employees at the Burkey Street Sorting Facility on January 10 that warns changes are likely coming to the Burkey Street facility that will threaten jobs and further slow mail delivery by moving mail processing and distributing (PD&C) out of these facilities to Denver.

The 6 page memo, called a “Stand Up Talk” (pdf), warns of an impending facility review that will likely lead to consolidation of plant operations here in Grand Junction and the relocation of parcel operations from here to Denver. It indicates Trump-appointed Postmaster Louis DeJoy will likely take steps that will further erode mail service in Grand Junction and mountain towns. A veteran postal worker said the plan “will definitely slow down mail processing and probably cost some jobs in our areas,” adding that “They seem to cut service then lower their standards so it looks like they are ‘fixing things’.”

Schwenke is helping realtors and developers oppose City plan for more pedestrian & bike-friendly development

Many Grand Junction streets lack curb, gutters, sidewalks and other pedestrian and bike-friendly amenities. City Council is trying to fix this by making transportation corridors safer and more user-friendly for pedestrians, bicyclists and people using public transportation. Realtors and developers oppose the effort, assisted by former Chamber president Diane Schwenke.

Former Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke, who has a consulting business now called “Schwenke Solutions,” is working as a consultant for the Grand Junction Area Realtors and Homebuilders Associations, helping them oppose the City’s new proposed Transportation Engineering Design Standards (TEDS) that are designed to make streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and people taking public transportation.

Diane Schwenke lobbies against higher wages

Former Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke appears in a 2016 TV ad opposing an increase in Colorado’s minimum wage

To that end, Schwenke authored a strange letter to the editor to the Daily Sentinel November 26 that praised a new housing development on former farmland in Nebraska that lack curbs, gutters and walkable sidewalks. She praises the beautiful agricultural setting of the development, saying it has “a layout that maximizes the view of fields of corn and soybeans on the adjourning hillsides,” but doesn’t seem to understand that such developments destroy the lovely fields and farms she likes to look at, and will cost taxpayers in the long run as cities have to add curb, gutter, drainage, adequate sidewalks and other amenities to make them safer and more attractive.

District 51 quietly working on plan that involves firing over 50 teachers in Fruita

Fruita 8/9 School, August 2022 (Photo: Facebook)

AnneLandmanBlog received the following communication this morning titled “A Huge Concern,” from a D-51 teacher who wants to get word out about the School District quietly moving forward with a plan to fire over 50 Fruita-area teachers, many of whom have over 20 years of experience:

KREX TV explores how the County seized control over all of Mesa County Public Health Department’s contracts when it only contributes 4.2% of the agency’s budget

KREX reporter Michael Loggerwell’s story about Mesa County’s new Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Health Department- Part 1

KREX-TV News recently did a two-part series about the Mesa County Commissioners’ new, post-Jeff Kuhr Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that more tightly regulates the County’s relationship with the Public Health Department (MCPHD), and how it differs from the old 2012 agreement in important ways that could negatively affect public health and safety in the county.

Why are the Mesa County Commissioners sending taxpayer money out of town?

The Commissioners used a roofing company in Keenesburg, Colorado to replace the roof on the Old County Courthouse on Rood Ave., instead of a company located in Mesa County

The Mesa County Commissioners recently had the roof replaced on the Old Courthouse at 544 Rood Ave.

They gave the job to Better Line Roofing, LLC in Keenesburg, Colorado, 279 miles from here, instead of a local roofing company.

People concerned about D-51 Social Studies Forums Nov. 15 & 16

School District 51 is holding forums today and tomorrow (Wednesday, 11/15 and Thursday, 11/16) to discuss the state’s new social studies standards. The forums are today at Redlands Middle School and tomorrow at Orchard Mesa Middle School, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. each day.

So, what’s up with these forums?

People reporting difficulty accessing ballot drop-off box at the Clifton DMV on election day (today)

People are reporting that construction, roped off areas and the construction workers’ vehicles are inhibiting access and causing traffic jams at the ballot drop-off box at the Clifton DMV at 3225 I-70 Business Loop, Unit A2, in Clifton. Concerns are for the ability of disabled or other-enabled people to be able to reach the box, trip and fall hazards for those stepping over the areas under construction to reach the box, traffic congestion and some people are concerned about possible voter suppression.

New Mesa County Clerk Bobbie Gross was notified of the situation, said she just noticed it on her cameras as well and was headed to Clifton immediately to address the situation.

D-51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson says she wants to ban “a ton” of material from school libraries

In this excerpt from an interview with “Ruth” and “Lisa” (who do not provide their last names) posted on a YouTube account named “MesaCountyCompass” on October 8, 2023, “District 51 School Board candidate Barbara Evanson says she would ban “a ton of material” from school libraries that she feels is inappropriate.

School Board candidate forum cancelled after threat of violence posted on Facebook


A school board candidate forum that was planned for last evening, Monday, October 16, was cancelled abruptly the day of the event after the venue hosting the event, Good Judy’s Bar & Club downtown, received a violent threat on Facebook.

Valley foxes turning up dead

Emaciated, dead fox found near the Grand Valley Canal at 26 Road, seen August 1. (Photo: Anne Landman)

Three dead foxes have been reported in the Grand Valley within the last 6 weeks, all looking like they just dropped dead in their tracks, without overt injuries or bleeding. Two have been reported to the Colorado Department of Wildlife.

The first one was spotted August 1 on the south side of the Grand Valley Canal just east of 26 Road.

A second dead fox was spotted August 28 in the vacant lots behind Crossroads Blvd., also near the Grand Valley Canal:

Residential trash services vary widely in cost

City of Grand Junction garbage truck

Thinking of shopping for a new residential trash service? There may be good reason.

Republic Services recently bought Monument Waste and Rocky Mountain Sanitation, but the consolidation of the companies reduced competition and did NOT result in lower prices for customers.

The following prices are for one 96 gallon can, picked up once a week in the 81505 zip code, in 2023:

Waste Management ….. $40.74/month

Republic Services ….. $43.56/month for the first year, plus a $50.00 deposit, plus $15 to deliver the can, and after the first year the rate increases to $48.00/month

City of Grand Junction trash service ….. $19.75/month, and they supply the can.

There is a privately owned service called 970 Trash Wizard, but their routes are full and they aren’t currently accepting new customers.

The City of Grand Junction only services residences inside City limits, but they are by far the most efficient, with one operator driving an automated truck that hoists, empties and replaces each can automatically, without any wear and tear on a human being. The City is also implementing a new residential recycling service as well, phasing it in area by area, which will allow customers to recycle plastics #1, #2 and #5, as well as fibers like newspaper, clean cardboard, magazines and egg cartons, all for no extra cost for trash customers.

Concern growing about Grand Mesa Nordic Council

Grand Mesa Nordic Council grooms cross country ski trails on the Grand Mesa, to help the public enjoy them. (Photo: GMNC website)

A storm is brewing over the governance of the Grand Mesa Nordic Council (GMNC), as longtime members set off alarm bells about the way the group has been operating recently.

GMNC is a nonprofit group made up of local cross country skiers. It was founded in 1990 to groom and maintain popular ski trails on the Grand Mesa and work with the National Forest Service to develop new trails. Over its 40+ years of existence, it has been remarkably successful.

Originally, GMNC was made up of volunteers and operated on a shoestring budget of donations from skiers and businesses that support the sport. Their pursuit of their mission was driven by members’ love and passion for the sport. But after growing steadily over the years, donations increased to the point where the GMNC now pulls in about quarter million dollars a year, and for the first time, the group was forced to hire paid staff to manage its affairs.

The result has been worrisome to many.