Friday, May 12, 2017

This Week in Pics


The Mesa County Cameo Bridge Replacement project that consisted of replacing the deteriorated 56-year-old bridge spanning the Government Highline Canal located on I.9 Road from the I-70 off ramp is now complete.

The Cameo Bridge located on I.9 Road to the west of the former Cameo Plant, provides access to the Little Book Cliff's Wild Horse Area, which is eight miles northeast of Grand Junction. Take a short drive and check out the new bridge!

 Approximately 80 percent of the funds used to replace the Cameo Bridge were federal dollars. 

Many chain link kennels were installed at the temporary Animal Services tent facility, where animals will be housed while the repairs to the Animal Services building, 971 Coffman Road, are completed. 
A trench is being dug around the exterior walls of the Animal Service building in preparation for the installation of supports for the building. 

Floor demolition inside the Animal Services building is well underway. All the floors were dug up this week.

The outside kennels at the Animal Services facility have been removed.

On Monday, May 8, the joint Color Guard of the Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff's Office presented the colors before the hearing began.

Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis, left, thanks and recognizes Deputy Sheriff Amanda Erkman for her service in honor of Correctional Officers Week.

The joint Color Guard of the Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff's Office proceeds to the public hearing room to present the colors. Correctional Officers Week honors the brave men and women who work in the Mesa County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility and correctional officers who work in the jail and are responsible for the safety, containment, and control of more than 480 inmates a day in Mesa County.

For Correctional Officers Week, May 7-13, 2017, the joint Color Guard of the Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff's Office presents the colors. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan created National Correctional Officers Week to honor the work of correctional officers and correctional personnel nationwide. In Mesa County, this group of professionals is known as detention deputies.

Mesa County Deputy Sheriff Amanda Erkman stands in position as she recites the Pledge of Allegiance.

From left, Commissioner Scott McInnis, Commissioner John Justman, Sheriff Matt Lewis, Captain Art Smith, and Commissioner Rose Pugliese. The Commissioners Monday morning proclaimed May 7-13, 2017, National Correctional Officers Week.

Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis accepts the Correctional Officers Week proclamation and recognizes his staff for all their dedication and hard work.

On Monday morning, Grand Mesa Middle School students Daniel Smith, left, Lucas Hahn and Daniel Smith sit behind the Board of County Commissioners to experience what it is like to officiate an Administrative Public Hearing. 
Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese hosts three, eighth-grade, Grand Mesa Middle School students who will shadow her for the day. 

From left, Mesa County Treasurer Janice Rich, Public Health Director Jeff Kuhr along with Commissioner John Justman talk to the Grand Mesa Middle School eighth-graders about their role in local government.

Grand Mesa Middle School students talk to Mesa County Administrator Frank Whidden, right, about the multifaceted operations of the county.  

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, left, and Commissioner John Justman prepare for their remote testimony on  Senate Bill 301, Energy-Related Statutes, which directs the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to adopt rules under which investor-owned utilities may submit plans for the acquisition of natural gas reserves to meet their long-term supply needs.

Commissioner John Justman testifies in support of Senator Ray Scott’s bill, Senate Bill 17-301, Energy-Related Statutes.

Last week, the Grand Junction Regional Airport and Mesa County Office of Emergency Management conducted a full-scale exercise, involving the airport and local fire departments, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, coroner, and other local partners. The purpose of the exercise is to test emergency response plans ensuring that the Grand Junction Regional Airport, local response agencies, hospitals, and the coroner are able to implement onsite incident management and medical surge capabilities in response to mass casualty/fatality incidents that produce short-term medical surge. In the pictures, Captain Cox of Grand Junction Fire Department provides a safety briefing to participants in the staging area before the start of exercise.

Grand Junction Fire Department Spokesman Dirk Clingman, right, removes makeup from a "victim" of the drill airplane crash.

Mesa County Deputy Coroner Victor Yahn, right, works with the members of the Colorado Air National Guard Fatality Search and Recovery Team in preparation for recovery operations for the exercise. One of the objectives of the exercise it to evaluate the ability of the Mesa County Coroner to provide fatality management services, including scene investigation, body recovery, and victim identification.

Air National Guard trainees learn how to tag victims and properly transfer remains to a bag for transport.

Jen Stepleton of Mesa County Public Health works with the Air National Guard team to transport a deceased victim to the on-site morgue. The exercise evaluates the ability of ambulance service agencies and local hospitals to provide lifesaving treatment, transportation, and tracking of incident victims.

Travis Dorr of Mesa County Public Health works with the Air National Guard team to tag another fatality and transfer it to a transport bag.

MCHDS staff membersTravis Dorr and Jen Stepelton and Kim Shea, Delta County Deputy Coroner, watch the Air National Guard Fatality Search and Recovery Team. This part of the exercise evaluates the ability of local law enforcement agencies to secure the incident scene and ensure a safe and secure environment for traditional and atypical response personnel engaged in operations.
The Air National Guard team in action at the GJRA 2017 Full Scale Exercise.

Mesa County DHS Emergency Preparedness Specialist Travis Dorr tests out the backboard to see how sturdy it is.

The Mesa County Assessor's Office kicks off their month-long tax appeal hearings at the old Mesa County Courthouse, 544 Rood Ave. location, as well as temporary satellite offices in Collbran and Fruita for customer convenience.

Mesa County Appraisers Reed Orr, left, and Matthew Kramer review documents. FYI: While property values are on the rise, assessment rates are dropping, which means taxes will be within one percent on average of 2016. 

Behind Mesa County Appraiser Reed Orr, a slide shows that on average residential property taxes will go down. 

Mesa County Assessor's Office staff members assist residents with property information on property values.

Your Appeal Rights: After Notices of Valuation are sent out, after May 1, 2017, a 30-day appeal period begins.

Mesa County Noxious Weed & Pest Management hosted a booth for children and families to learn about responsible noxious weed management and prevention at Colorado Parks and Wildlife Heritage Days in Palisade Riverbend Park last Saturday.

Attendees had the chance to step into the shoes of the noxious weed crew and learn about being safe when applying herbicides.

Visitors learn how to handle herbicide and how to apply it.

Julie Knudson hands out temporary tattoos and talks to young outdoor enthusiasts about preventing the spread of weeds by remembering to Play Clean Go

The project on 16 Road that replaced the MM-16-N.3 and MM-16-O.5 bridges is scheduled for completion by the end of May. Crews are currently working on the final phase, which includes fence installation.

Buckskin Hill is getting close to opening as a gravel road. Paving, guardrail, and completion will happen later in the year.

On Wednesday, May 10, in honor of National Bike to School Day, Taylor Elementary celebrated by biking to school. Approximately 140 kids, eight teachers, a Palisade Police Officer, and several fire crew members from Palisade walked together from the Community Center to Taylor Elementary School. Fire and PD blocked off a street by the crosswalk so the line of kids could safely cross. Several school buses dropped kids off at the Community Center rather than the school so the kids could participate. Other schools that participated in Walk & Bike to School Days include Chipeta, Lincoln Orchard Mesa, Orchard Avenue, Pear Park, Shelledy, Rim Rock, Rocky Mountain, and Wingate Elementary. As well as Bookcliff and Grand Mesa Middle Schools. Eleven Mesa County schools have been encouraging students to walk and bike to school this spring. Walking School Buses and Bicycle Trains were organized, and prizes were drawn for one day, a whole month, or all season.
Last Friday, the Mesa County Department of Human Services along with the Workforce Center celebrated Cinco de Mayo and hosted a dress-festive contest "Cinco de Dress-Festive." Employee Arminel Estevez was the 1st-place winner.

Mesa County WFC Supervisor Shelley Grattan was the runner-up for the "Cinco de Dress-Festive."

Mesa County DHS Eligibility Specialist Maribel Vigil received honorable mention in the Cinco de Mayo celebration last Friday. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day!



Join us in celebration of Colorado Public Lands Day by participating in the clean-up of Clifton Nature Park!

The event will go from 9 a.m to 12 p.m. Friday, May 19, 2017, and is sponsored by Mesa County, the Tamarisk Coalition, and Target.

Make sure you pack sunglasses, sunscreen, snacks and water. We recommend you wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. We will have some gloves available, but if you have a favorite pair— please bring them along!

Meet at the Clifton Nature Park parking lot, which is located on the south side of D Road between 32 1/4 and 32 1/2 Road, next door to Clifton Sanitation District.

For more information, contact Teresa at (970) 255-7121 or weed.pest@mesacounty.us

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Eliminate noxious weeds and receive a gift card to a local nursery


Mesa County Noxious Weed & Pest Management presents the 2017 Gift Card Exchange: Help eliminate noxious weeds and receive a gift card to a local nursery in exchange!

Several popular ornamental landscaping plants are regulated noxious weeds that can cause damage to local infrastructure and wetlands, accidental poisoning and decrease wildlife forage.

To help you identify noxious and “obnoxious” weeds of all kinds, we will be hosting a booth at local nurseries throughout the summer.  Visit us at:

Bookcliff Gardens Nursery and Landscape: TBD

Mt. Garfield Greenhouse and Nursery: May 26 from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Valley Grown Nursery: May 12 from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm,

Additional dates: TBD

Check your flower-beds to see if you have one of the following, then stop by to exchange it for a gift card for a non-invasive native or cultivated replacement:


Giant reed grass (Arundo donax)

  • A bamboo-like perennial grass 
  • Can grow 20+ feet tall 
  • Spreads mainly through its vast root system
  • An aggressive, non-native species that has overtaken many acres of wetland/riparian corridors throughout the Southwestern U.S. and can reduce wildlife habitat, increase fire risk, and interfere with flood control while suppressing native plant growth


Plants might not be easily removed by pulling/digging as roots left in the ground can regenerate; however, they can be effectively managed with proper herbicide application (click here for further details). It is important to take proper precautions to protect yourself when cutting down/digging up plants as the woody like stalks can cause cuts/slivers. Protect from exposure to any herbicides by wearing proper attire and following directions on the label.

Cypress spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias)


  • A popular plant in rock gardens in the Grand Valley.
  • Low-growing perennial 
  • Thin, bright green, needle-like leaves, and unique yellow-green flowers that can turn reddish when spherical seed pods form
  • All parts of the plant contain a white latex sap that can cause mild to severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation




Plants can be removed by pulling/digging up the entire plant including the tap-root, or sprayed with a recommended herbicide (click here for further details). It is important to take proper precautions to protect yourself from exposure to the toxic sap and any herbicides by wearing proper attire.


Myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites)



  • A popular plant in rock gardens in the Grand Valley
  • Low-growing perennial plant
  • Thick blue-green leaves (somewhat resembling a succulent), and unique yellow-green flowers that can turn reddish when spherical seed pods form
  • All parts of the plant contain a white latex sap that can cause mild to severe skin, eye, and respiratory irritation




Plants can be removed by pulling/digging up the entire plant including the tap-root or sprayed with a recommended herbicide. It is important to take proper precautions to protect yourself from exposure to the toxic sap and any herbicides by wearing appropriate attire.

Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)


  • Popular in wildflower packets, this plant is threatening to spread into USFS land and Vega Lake State Park from private property
  • Found in many local flower beds; a look-a-like to non-invasive native and cultivated ornamentals
  • Can outcompete native grasses and flowers and decrease diversity for wildlife forage
  • Biennial/perennial plant that can grow ~3 feet tall each season
  • Flowers can be purple, pink, to white





Plants can be easily removed by pulling/digging the entire tap root out of the ground and disposing of plants and seeds in the garbage.

Japanese and Giant Knotweed, and hybrid Bohemian Knotweed
(Polygonum cuspidatum, P. cuspidatum, P. x bohemicum)

  • An interesting perennnial plant with large heart-shaped leaves and bamboo-like stalks
  • Can grow 5-16 feet tall and spreads through root system underground
  • Showy clusters of tiny white flowers present in late summer
  • Often planted for erosion control or privacy screening, these plants can aggressively spread and clog small waterways and outcompete other desirable species




Plants might not be easily removed by pulling/digging as roots left in the ground can regenerate; however, they can be effectively managed with proper herbicide application (click here for further details). It is important to take proper precautions to protect yourself when cutting down/digging up plants as the woody like stalks can cause cuts/slivers. Protect from exposure to any herbicides by wearing proper attire and following directions on the label.

To redeem a gift card to a local nursery, please provide proof of the removal/treatment of the above outlined noxious weeds on your property in the following way:

  • Bring proof of removal to our booth at local nurseries throughout the summer and redeem a gift card on the spot!
OR
  • Take before and after photos of the area where the plants are located, with a distinguishing feature on your property somewhere in the pictures so we can confirm that these plants were indeed located on and removed from your property. Please take care to dispose of plants in the trash or landfill (NOT the compost!) so pieces do not get littered around. If you choose to spray plants, please describe your actions and take the “after” picture when plants show signs of herbicide poisoning. 
  • Send pictures by email to weed.pest@mesacounty.us or text them (970) 250-3174 with your contact information and property address included. 
  • Mesa County Noxious Weed & Pest Management will be available to assist with identification and to confirm removal/treatment throughout the summer if appropriate. 
  • When removal or effective treatment is confirmed by the Mesa County Noxious Weed & Pest Management a gift card to a local nursery will be mailed to the property owner/occupant that submitted the pictures. 
  • Keep in mind that continued monitoring and removal/treatment of these noxious weeds may be required for 3-5 years as established stands may have abundant nutrient reserves in the roots and viable seeds left in the soil and can continue to persist in growth after initial treatment/removal. Continued treatment or removal when new growth is present will help eventually deplete the energy storage and seed bank of the plant.
Mesa County Noxious Weed & Pest Management is a program dedicated to locating, treating, and educating the public about noxious weeds in conjunction with the Colorado State Department of Agriculture and other agencies. This project is funded by Mesa County and the Colorado Department of Agriculture. We thank you for your cooperative efforts in noxious weed management!

*Gift cards are valued from $15-$25 to a local nursery at the discretion of Mesa County Noxious Weed Management and are available on a first-come-first-serve basis while supplies last.

Eligibility is subject to Mesa County Noxious Weed & Pest Management approval.  One gift card issued per household per calendar year.