Tag: Mesa County

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.

Transparency out the window in selecting new Director for the Mesa County Public Health Department

For Mesa County residents trying to find out how the search is going for a new County Public Health Department (MCPHD) director, the County is acting like it’s really none of your business, unless you belong to their secret circle of private citizens and friends to whom they are giving private access and input into the decision.

Janet Rowland, Chair of the Board of County Commissioners, told people when she was running for office that transparency in government is “absolutely critical,” but the search for a new MCPHD director has been anything but transparent.

Woodland Park-based Christian nationalist group working to influence Mesa County District 51 School Board election

Truth & Liberty Coalition fliers seek to influence the local school board election by focusing on right wing culture war issues. The fliers were placed at La Milpa Tortilleria on 30 Road.

High-quality, multi-colored, bilingual fliers created by the front range Christian dominionist group Truth & Liberty Coalition are showing up at businesses around town. The fliers use right wing culture war rhetoric targeting gay and transgender students in an attempt to influence the outcome of the November 7 District 51 School Board election. The fliers appear to endorse CynDee Skalla, Jessica Hearns and Barbara Evanson.

The fliers were found at La Milpa Tortilla Factory in Grand Junction and are bilingual in English and Spanish.

Ascent Classical Academy used the wrong kind of post-remediation lead testing in the Rocky Mountain Gun Club building, according to CDPHE

How lead is dispersed at shooting ranges (Georgia Dept. of Public Health/Seattle Times)

The Vertex Company LLC of Denver, which Ascent Classical Academy hired to test the old Rocky Mountain Gun Club building for lead contamination after the building was remediated, did the wrong kind of testing, says an specialist with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Caren Johannes of CDPHE’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division Compliance Unit, who oversees closed shooting ranges, looked over online remediation report (pdf) that Ascent posted its website on August 11, 2023, and concluded that the Vertex Company did the wrong kind of testing for lead in the building, so their results will not be valid.

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.

Mesa County Commissioners violate County policy to appoint Janet Rowland to Board of Public Health

Last page of the intergovernmental agreement MCA 2012-079, laying out the relationship between Mesa County and the Board of Public Health (BOH). The appointment of Janet Rowland to the BOH was highly controversial at the time Commissioners made it, but the Commissioners skipped holding the required meeting with the BOH about it first.

The relationship between Mesa County and the Health Department is governed by the 2012 “Agreement, MCA 2012-079” (pdf), dated June 25, 2012.

The Agreement discusses financing, budgeting, purchasing and personnel policies, and it lays out the overall relationship between the two agencies.

Item #2 of the Agreement says a county commissioner may be appointed to the Board of Health, but Item #10 says:

“10. Points of controversy hereunder will be addressed by a meeting between the Mesa County Board of Health and the Board of County Commissioners.”

Janet Rowland

Janet Rowland was appointed to the Board of Health on April 25th.

It was a highly controversial appointment at the time.

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.

District 3 Commissioner Candidates Discuss Deficiencies in County’s Administration of Food Assistance Program

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A June 27, 2016 article on this site discussed how Mesa County turns away almost half of eligible applicants who go to the local Department of Human Services to apply for food stamps. This unused assistance leaves millions of dollars on the table that not only could help more needy county residents buy food for their families, but that would also boost the local economy by pumping millions more dollars of revenue into local grocery stores.

Planned Islamaphobic Rally Fizzles in Face of Opposition by Peaceful Mesa County Citizens

Anti-Islamaphobia rally particpants in Grand Junction today had plenty of signs indicating how they felt about an armed rally by Islam-haters that was planned for the same spot, but never materialized

Participants in Grand Junction’s Anti-Islamaphobia rally had plenty of signs indicating how they felt about an planned protest by armed Islam-haters that was supposed to be held in the same spot, but never materialized

Mesa County residents blocked an armed Islamaphobic uprising from materializing today by gathering at a Grand Junction Islamic Center with enthusiasm, lots of free cookies and plenty of big, handmade signs promoting peace, love and diversity.

Anti-Islamaphobia rally participants hold signs in Grand Junction

Anti-Islamaphobia rally participants hold signs in Grand Junction

The anti-Islamaphobia rally was held to counter the so-called “Global Rally for Humanity,” an armed protest against local Muslin residents that right-wing gun nuts had planned. Similar protests aimed at intimidating U.S. Muslims were planned in 20 cities nationally; Grand Junction’s was to be one of them.

But thanks to strong, organized opposition, the Islam-hating rally pulled it’s Facebook event announcement page and never materialized.

Waves of residents who abhorred the idea of Mesa County being known as a hotbed of Islamaphobia attended the peace rally, which went on all morning and into the early afternoon. They held up signs on I-70B stating a need for a more diverse, loving western Colorado. Many cars honked as they went by and gave a thumbs-up to the event.

RealPatriotsIn one brief incident, four right-wing Islam-haters did show up, but all they did was make some rude gestures, call the group “delusional,” take a selfie with rally participants and then leave. Otherwise the group was completely successful in blocking the planned armed demonstration of hatred against Muslims that was to take place.

Congratulations, citizens of 21st century Grand Junction. You’ve showed that the culture is at long last really changing here, and it has already changed enough that political sanity can occasionally prevail.

Phillips: WaPo Cites Mesa County Sheriff’s Office as Misspending Public Funds

Benita Phillips is Mesa County's only woman candidate for Sheriff, and is running as a write-in candidate. She and her husband live in Palisade.

Benita Phillips is Mesa County’s only woman candidate for Sheriff, and is running as a write-in candidate. She and her husband live in Palisade.

Mesa County Sheriff write-in candidate Benita Phillips is drawing the public’s attention to an October 11 article in the Washington Post, “Asset seizures fuel police spending,” that specifically cites the Mesa County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office  (MCSO) as an example of a law enforcement agency guilty of grossly misspending public funds.

The article states,

Auditors found the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office paid thousands for projectors, scanner equipment and other items that were not intended for law enforcement. They also paid for 20 lawyers in the Mesa County prosecutor’s office to attend a conference at the Keystone ski resort. Auditors questioned more than $78,000 in spending. The Mesa Sheriff’s Office also did not respond to calls from The Post. [Emphasis added.].

CO Senate District 7: Claudette Konola vs. Ray Scott, the Club 20 Debate in Full

Many Mesa County residents noticed the almost complete lack of local media coverage of the Club 20 debate between the candidates for Colorado’s State Senate District 7, Claudette Konola (D) and Ray Scott (R). The Daily Sentinel offered only one short quote from each candidate, and the local television stations ignored this important debate completely. In the interest of helping western Colorado citizens get adequately informed about the Senate District 7 candidates, we offer a two-part video (credit: Bill Hugenberg) and a transcript of the Senate District 7 candidates’ debate.

13 Insane Republican Arguments Against Upgrading the Colorado National Monument to a National Park

LIES, LIES, LIES -Opponents to changing the Colorado National Monument into a national park posted this photo on their website, "Friends of the Colorado National Monument," to warn that lack of access will ensue if the Monument becomes a national park. The photo's caption says it was taken at the entrance to the "Kapalua National Conservation Area." No such conservation area exists.

Mesa County Republicans who oppose changing the Colorado National Monument into a national park posted this photo on their website, “Friends of the Colorado National Monument,” to warn that lack of access will ensue if the Monument becomes a national park. The photo’s caption says it was taken at the entrance to the “Kapalua National Conservation Area.” There is no such conservation area.

Name a simple, cost-free way to boost our area’s sagging local economy and put Grand Junction on a lot more tourist maps.

That’s right, it’s upgrading the Colorado National Monument to national park status.

The push to turn the Monument into a national park has won widespread support from a broad spectrum of the community, and for good reasons.

The Monument has all the natural features it needs to qualify as a national park, and making the change would clarify what tourists are looking for. Right now, tourists think the Colorado National Monument is a statue or a commemorative plaque. If the Monument were called a “park” instead, it would clarify what they are heading to see. Also, as a national park the Monument would draw more travelers from the airport and more tourists off I-70, boosting business at local hotels, restaurants, coffee bars, rental car companies, gas stations, art galleries and other businesses.

Sounds like a good idea, right? That’s because it is. And for that reason, the Grand Junction Economic Partnership endorses it. The Chamber of Commerce has supported it. The Grand Junction Visitors and Convention Bureau says it is a “clear opportunity to attract more visitors.” Even the Western Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association supports it. The Daily Sentinel supports it, saying “Studies show that monuments which become national parks don’t necessarily see a big increase in the number of visitors. But they do see a change in the types of visitors, with more people coming from outside the immediate area, staying longer in the area and spending more money.”

So if upgrading the Colorado National Monument to a national park is such a no-brainer and it would do our area so much good, why isn’t the effort going forward full throttle?

Mesa County Tea Partiers Continue to Battle “Old Guard” GOP Machine

AnneLandmanBlog has obtained video of western slope conservatives meeting at a local restaurant December 20, 2013 to pressure former Palisade Police Chief Carrol Quarles to run against State Senator Steve King for Mesa County Sheriff.*  King is the candidate the Mesa County Republican Party has selected to run for Sheriff in the upcoming 2014 election. Quarles was fired from his position as police chief by the town of Palisade in October, 2012.