Tag: Public safety

March planned to draw attention to police murder of Fruita man, Gage Lorentz

Gage Lorentz was murdered las March 21 by a Carlsbad Caverns National Park Ranger who shot him after pulling him over for going too fast on a dirt road. Lorentz was unarmed and unintoxicated at the time. No charges have been brought in the case.

A peaceful march will be held Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Stoker Stadium to demand justice for Gage Lorentz, a 26 year old Fruita man who was shot and killed March 21 by a Carlsbad Caverns National Park National Park Ranger after the ranger pulled him over for speeding on a dirt road. 

Lorentz was unarmed and had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time he was pulled over.

Lorentz was driving home from Pecos, Texas, where he worked on drilling rigs, to see his family in Fruita when he took a short detour to meet a friend in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. While in the Park, Ranger Robert Mitchell pulled Lorentz over for speeding on a dirt road near the Rattlesnake Springs area of the park, a type of traffic stop that typically results in a warning or a ticket.

Body cam video shows Lorentz, clearly nervous, complying with the officer’s orders to get out of his truck and keep his hands visible, but he refused the officer’s demand to turn around and put his back to the officer. Mitchell started a scuffle with Lorentz and ended up shooting and killing Lorentz. No one has been charged in Lorentz’s murder.

Grand Junction’s growing illegal fireworks problem

Kids playing with illegal fireworks on 7/4/2019 started a fire that threatened to burn eight houses on the Redlands.

Independence Day in Mesa County offers fun and entertainment for many, but also causes fear, anxiety, property loss and taxpayer expense from fires and injuries.

This year, kids playing with illegal fireworks started a wildfire that endangered eight houses on the Redlands. The residents were briefly ordered to evacuate.

One good thing Trump has done: Banning bump stocks

Trump banned bump stocks last December by executive action, and the new law is effective NOW.

Watch out, local gun nuts. President Donald Trump is coming for your guns.

Last December, President Trump issued an executive order banning bump stocks (pdf), devices that use the recoil energy generated from each shot of a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firearms’ rate of fire. The new rule amended the definition of “machine gun” to include bump stocks.

The ban went into effect three days ago, on March 26, 2019, exactly 90 days after it was published in the Federal Register.

On March 28, 2019 the U.S. Supreme Court refused an effort by gun nuts to block the ban, so Trump’s new rule is currently in full force, making anyone who owns a bump stock a felon.

Grand Junction wants to increase its sales tax, but it should stop wasting existing funds and tap obvious sources of new revenue first

As a liberal progressive voter, I believe it is our patriotic duty to pay taxes for public amenities that make our quality of life great, like public safety.

This coming April, though, Grand Junction City Council will ask voters to increase the City’s combined sales tax rate from the current 8.02% to a whopping 9.16%, a rate even higher than the City of Boulder.

City Council has very good arguments for needing more money: we need more fire stations, emergency response times are too long, and we have roads and bridges in need maintenance and repair.

Of course City residents want the safety and security of these amenities, but the City hasn’t done anywhere near all it could to make the best use of revenues it already has, and to create new revenue streams to fund City necessities before it goes to City residents with a request that they pay such a big increase in city sales tax.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce takes off it’s fig leaf

Grand Valley Drainage District pipe choked with weeds. (Photo credit: GVDD)

If there is a shred of doubt left that the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce exists only to promote it’s own political ideology, it dispelled that notion today with an ad in the Daily Sentinel endorsing the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) Board candidate notable for being the remarkably far less qualified person for the seat.

The Chamber endorsed the less-qualified candidate for one reason only: she opposes the fee imposed by the GVDD in 2016 to raise funds for crucial improvements needed to the Grand Valley’s stormwater drainage system. Residents pay an extra $3/month. The fees assessed to businesses are higher because their larger “big box” buildings and paved parking lots create far more polluted stormwater runoff than homes, burdening the valley’s drainage system more than residences do. The drainage system, designed in 1915 primarily to collect agricultural seep from fields, is already in bad shape and needs improvement and expansion to cope with the valley’s change from primarily a rural/agricultural area into an urban area. If runoff exceeds the amount of drainage capacity we have, the result will be flooding, property damage and damage to other important infrastructure, like roads.

Flex your muscle by getting out and voting in the May 8 Drainage District election!

Why drainage matters: Sherwood Park flooding after a sudden heavy summer rainstorm

Mark your calendars: there’s a local election coming up that Grand Valley progressives and intelligent voters can actually win if they just get out to vote: It’s an election in which typically only about 200 people turn out vote, so one or two dozen extra voters coming out could really tip the entire election in a good way for our valley. It’s for the District 3 seat seat on the Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) board, and it’s coming up May 8. (pdf)

The difference between the two candidates is stark. It should make for a very easy decision by voters.

Don’t be fooled. Gun massacres are about GUNS, not mental illness.

Yes, President Trump, it IS a ‘guns situation.’

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Republicans are claiming that the easy availability of guns in the U.S. isn’t even a factor in our national epidemic of mass shootings. Instead they point to mental illness as the only factor that should be considered.

Hogwash.

Grand Junction Chamber Opposes Protections for Public and Environment from Drilling Hazards

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke and the Chamber’s Board oppose a legal ruling that protects Colorado residents from drilling hazards.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is squarely opposed to protecting Colorado residents’ safety when it comes to oil and gas operations, and is demonstrating this by siding with oil and gas companies in an ongoing court case filed by Colorado children who feel their health, safety and the environment are threatened by overly permissive drilling and fracking activity.

Spring Open Burn Season Fouls the Air, Casts a Pall over the Grand Valley

 

The Grand Valley’s springtime air is fouled with smoke from open burning

It’s springtime and open burning season is upon us once again, giving Grand Valley residents sore throats, burning eyes, runny noses, headaches and asthma attacks. Beautiful spring days that dawn clear and bright are soon fouled by dense plumes of smoke that drift across the valley forcing people to close their doors and windows and grab their inhalers. KKCO 11 News on March 16 said, “Add in an early allergy season and you have a recipe for a breathing disaster.”

And a disaster it is, for many people, and not just for their health, but for their property, too.

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:

Burn Haze Has TV Weather People Recommending Grand Valley Citizens Close Windows and Doors

A smoky, smelly haze fills the Grand Valley's air as open burning season gets underway

A smoky, smelly haze fills the Grand Valley’s air as open burning (open polluting) season starts

Thinking of moving to Grand Junction?

You might want to think again. It’s spring open burning season — something people moving here rarely hear anything about from the Chamber of Commerce relocation packets, or from their realtors. Thanks to the cultural throwback of open burning, an acrid pall hung across the Grand Valley today as open burning season began. The air smelled as bad as it looked, too, reeking of burnt wood and rubber, and driving people indoors to escape the respiratory effects of the smoke.

July 4th, 2015 Mayhem Aftermath

Illegal Fireworks cause damage in Mesa County

11.28 acres of dry brush behind several houses in northwest Grand Junction were burned last night as a result of illegal bottle rockets being set off by a family on Chestnut Ave.

Firefighting and law enforcement resources in Mesa County were stretched thin last night as Independence Day festivities got out of control and the use of illegal fireworks abounded across the County.

A major brush fire that started at around 10:00 p.m. near 26 1/2 and G 1/2 Roads was actually at the west end of Chestnut Ave. The resident whose house was most in danger from the fire reported that a family across the street setting off illegal bottle rockets in the middle of Chestnut Ave. started the fire. One of the bottle rockets drifted on the wind and fell to the ground in the field behind their house, setting the brush on fire. Fortunately no structures were burned and no one, including any firefighters, were hurt. A firefighter on the scene Sunday reported that at 3:00 a.m. last night the flames were still three feet high, and that at one point the fire jumped a paved road, but firefighters were able to stop it. By 1:00 p.m. Sunday, four fire trucks, including a brush tender called down from Rifle, were still on the scene with a hose hooked up to a nearby fire hydrant, and the fire had been substantially put out. The fire burned a total of 11.28 acres.

Fireworks caused another accidental fire perilously close to this apartment complex on 25 1/2 Road, just north of Pomona Elementary School

Scorched tree trunks and landscaping show fireworks caused yet another accidental fire perilously close to this apartment complex on 25 1/2 Road, just north of Pomona Elementary School

Evidence of a second accidental fire being set last night due to fireworks use was apparent nearby at an apartment complex at 622  25 1/2 Road, just north of Pomona Elementary School. Dry landscaping had caught fire, very nearly setting trees next to the apartments on fire.

Lax law enforcement against the sale and use of illegal fireworks, combined with careless use and usually hot, dry weather endanger hundreds of people every Independence Day in Mesa County. Report use of illegal fireworks in your neighborhood immediately after first sight by calling 911.

G.J.’s North Desert Trashed by Off-Road Vehicles, Shooting, Dumping

Off-roaders revel in tearing up the North Desert area after rain and snow, creating rutted mud pits for fun.

Off-roaders revel in tearing up the North Desert area after rain and snow, creating rutted mud pits for fun.

If you want tourists, friends and family to see the best our area has to offer, whatever you do, don’t take them up 27 1/4 Road into the desert north of H Road. While the panoramas from the north desert area are spectacular, this formerly stark and beautiful range of mancos shale hills running along the base of Grand Junction’s iconic Bookcliffs is now defaced from virtually end to end with trash dumps, mud ruts, shotgun shells and makeshift religious memorials to people who have died out there in accidents.

What used to be a marvelous place for a long, peaceful walk with your dog, is now so disappointing it tries the soul.

An airplane flies over areas on BLM land where shooting is permitted, right underneath the takeoff/landing patterns for G.J. Regional Airport

An airplane flies over BLM land where shooting is permitted underneath the takeoff/landing patterns for G.J. Regional Airport

Since the shooting range opened several miles out on 27 1/4 Road, and since the North Desert started being included on OHV (off-highway vehicle) maps, the area has turned ugly. It’s also a more dangerous place for peaceful users, like walkers, bikers and horseback riders.