Author: Candelas Glows

2015 in review

WordPress.com prepared this fabulous annual report to help us track some of our successes in the past year. We had about 10,000 views from all around the world, including Brazil, Germany, Japan, Italy, Finland, Mexico, Argentina, Ghana, India, Israel and more! Here’s to all kinds of successes– big and small next year. May we all awaken and keep putting each others health and well being before profit or anything else this year. Cheers!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report–with virtual fireworks and all.

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Too “Hot” to Burn? Community Concerns About Proposed Burn Gaining Media Attention

Candelas Glows members at the boundary between Candelas and Rocky Flats where Fish & Wildlife want to burn pesky weeds...

Candelas Glows members at the boundary between Candelas and Rocky Flats where Fish & Wildlife want to burn pesky weeds…

Community members along Colorado’s Front Range are bracing themselves for a possible 701-acre fire that US Fish & Wildlife wants to initiate on ex-nuclear SuperFund site, Rocky Flats. Community members as well as local politicians and municipalities are nearly begging Fish and Wildlife to cancel the burn due to fears of contamination. We echo the sentiments, based on the history of the site, the stories we continue to hear from family, neighbors and ex-workers who suffer physically, animals we have known and love who have gotten sick out there, and based on the previous burn that Fish & Wildlife undertook in 2000. Like the City of Arvada, the Town of Superior, the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice, and the 2,000+ people who have signed this petition, we do not want to breathe in the contaminated smoke that could billow from the site and its notorious high winds, nor do we want the risk of bare topsoil at the site– even if only briefly. That has gotten the media talking about this issue, from the Daily Camera and a host of other papers including the Examiner and Denver Post, to Fox News, to CBS, ABC. We were deeply dismayed at the recent Rocky Flats Stewarship Council Meeting when Fish and Wildlife seemed to say that they want to go ahead with the burn regardless of community outcry, municipality requests to cancel, and a known history of contamination at the site…. including the “hot spots” reported on by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (see below). US Fish and Wildlife has reiterated they will only give 24-hour notice about the burn (as they assess wind patterns and weather). Here’s a little video with one of our awesome leaders, Alesya Casse explaining some of this in 50 seconds or less. Notice we do not advocate bringing goats onto the land to mitigate for weeds. We think solutions need to be vetted by scientists, officials and community members. Until then, let’s leave the site alone! Please take a moment to help spread the word. Thanks to the Daily Camera for the picture and video .

Click here to see CDPHE data: Pu in SW portion of RFNWR-1.jpg

2014 Blog in Review

We’ve had a pretty awesome year spreading awareness, advocating, raising issues, having fun and building community! Thank you!

Together, we’ve helped the community remember the contaminated history of Rocky Flats, raised awareness about the concerns over new construction in the the area and the effects of the flooding, spoken out about the contaminated dog park (which we investigated with a Geiger Counter), spoken with people who are ill because of Rocky Flats, celebrated the 25 year anniversary of the FBI/EPA raid, garnered media attention, showcased the amazing (radioactive) cold war horse memorial, talked with workers, worked with creators of a Wikipedia page for the contentious and huge development, Candelas (and then defended it), presented, spoken to the EPA, hosted meetings, sparked other activists, like http://www.CandelasConcerns.com, worked with other inspiring advocates and groups like Kristen Iverson, Kathleen Sullivan, LeRoy Moore and Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice.

We’ve had some victories– big and small. The “Thanks!” from workers and neighbors who have faced illness or the death of loved ones and neighbors is the most inspiring. People reaching out to us with stories, questions, concerns and little bits of history has been incredible. Our public meetings were successes beyond our expectations. Of course, we’re happy for the media coverage in the Denver Post, Elephant Journal, the Colorado Independent, Westword (wait, was that 2013?), and more. We went to the site (at Candelas) several times, holding signs and passing out flyers, speaking to neighbors, area realtors and potential home-buyers. And we did it with activists from the original Rocky Flats encirclement as well as a new generation of college students. We stood together out there with people who are sick because of Rocky Flats, with people care-taking sick family members and people whose neighbors had just passed away from rare brain cancers. Most recently, when US Fish & Wildlife declared they wanted to conduct a 700-acre controlled burn at Rocky Flats, we worked with Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice to promote their petition. Because of the hubbub we all raised with neighbors and community members, local towns like Superior started to oppose the burn and even the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council is now publicly opposing the burn!! This is a win-win for everyone. Not bad for an informal community-based group with a budget of $0, huh?

Hopefully we’ll see many more win-wins in 2015! We’d love to see an end to the seed collecting that happens at Rocky Flats, a serious re-consideration of development in the area (including water usage), increased support for sick workers and neighbors, a long-range plan, signage in the area, memorialization of the site, increased research, public meetings with Fish & Wildlife, non-expansion of Standley Lake recreation, continued awareness-raising, including for construction workers at Candelas and nearby developments. May 2015 see increased health, beauty, and peace for all!

Oh– and check out our 2014 Blog review below for more successes!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Awareness Raising and Show of Support Planned for Sat July 19 2014. Join Us!

John Freeman's Billboard art

“Today We Made a 250,000 Year Commitment”

In 1990-1991, artist John Freeman created a billboard series to bring attention to the potentially toxic and hazardous operations of Rocky Flats. He was warning us that every day the plant was in operation, it was creating waste that would keep the site toxic for hundreds of thousands of years. Now, after only a few decades and 25 years after the FBI/EPA raid that shut down the plant, development is underway and planned in ways no one would have imagined then because of the known contamination. Many locals, experts, ex-officials and ex-workers are horrified at pending underway developments in the area that could still pose a public health threat. But many people thinking about recreating or moving into housing developments like Candelas and Whisper Creek are moving from outside the area and often from outside the state.

As much of this development has been pushed through with attempts to minimize debate and sweep concerns under (the radioactive) rug, locals have been beginning to gather voicing their collective concerns. We will again be gathering to raise awareness about Rocky Flats’ controversial, contaminated past and keep its memory alive so that people can be protected from its potential hazards.

Join us on Sat, July 19th at 11:00am

at the corner of Indiana & McIntyre in Arvada

at the Candelas new housing development.

Check out the Facebook event page and share: https://www.facebook.com/events/1509951512549741/

We’ll educate and raise awareness, discuss, and take action to say no to development around Rocky Flats, no to opening a “wildlife refuge” on contaminated soil, no to a plutonium parkway, and no to pumping water from the Western slope to feed over-sized, controversial housing. We want communities, children and animals nearby and downwind to be protected and ex-workers to be honored and treated.  We’ll have information, signs, and extra has-mat suits for those who want them.

For those who’d like more information first or who would like to help make signs and prepare can come to a teach-in Wednesday July 16th from 6pm to 7:55pm ** LOCATION CHANGED: at the Lakewood Public Library.**

Another Housing Development Comes Aglow

Another Housing Development Comes Aglow

KB Homes hosts a Grand Opening this weekend Westwoods Mesa When we began making waves about Candelas, people asked why we hadn’t targeted some of the other developments in the area. After looking at some of the contamination maps, we realized they were right! The concerns are not just with Candelas by any means. Along with Candelas and Whispering Creek, here’s another (beautiful) new development from which we hope no workers or residents are harmed.

 

File:Plutonium plume from the 1957 fire at Rocky Flats, per Colorado state dept of public health.gif

Map of contamination from the 1957 fire according to CDPHE via wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plutonium_plume_from_the_1957_fire_at_Rocky_Flats,_per_Colorado_state_dept_of_public_health.gif

Denver Post Article on Candelas Glows & Rocky Flats concerns

Denver Post Article on Candelas Glows & Rocky Flats concerns

Sunday’s Denver Post (2/9/14) featured an article on community concerns about Colorado’s controversial developments surrounding Rocky Flats, an infamous former nuclear weapons plant. The coverage is important because much of the housing developments have occurred without much public debate. Many neighbors, ex-workers, and people in the know shake their heads or have conversations about their surprise, dismay, or worries, in fact those conversations helped spark “Candelas Glows.” The controversy has largely flown under the media radar, however, which could be bad news for new-comers, neighbors, residents and workers.

The release of this article is a good time to reiterate that the concerns here are not just about the families moving into these homes adjacent to Rocky Flats. If the soil is contaminated, then the dust is contaminated and workers are digging in it and kicking it up for folks in Denver, Westminster, Arvada, Broomfield and Superior, etc. to breathe it in. What about workers and neighbors?

One thing still to be adequately covered by the media and authorities include the effects of September’s flooding on the site, both on and below the surface including nearby water, some of which serves as drinking water to nearby communities. Who will have oversight on this land when other natural disasters like the flooding or drought occur? US Fish & Wildlife?! Will they know what to watch out for to protect the public from their “Wildlife Refuge?”

Please take a moment to comment on the article, or better yet, respond through a letter to the editor. It doesn’t have to big or fancy. It’s important that your thoughts be shared– even if you’re not a “professional protester,” scientist or policy maker!

candelasglows@gmail.com

Outrageous New Icon for Rocky Flats!

RF Horse at sign

Artist Jeff Gipe’s horse with the Rocky flats closure sign off of Hwy 93.

UPDATE: To donate to the artist for repairs of the recent vandalism, please visit his “go fund me” site.

A local artist has decided to match the outrageous, radioactive history of Rocky Flats with a large, surprising work of art. Looking at Colorado’s newest historical horse sculpture conjures up images of the well know conversation-starting Bronco icon at Denver International Airport. It’s just as bright and confusing with a touch of disturbing, but it seems to have a much sweeter soul—which speaks to the “Wildlife Refuge” designation of Rocky Flats. It’s sure to leave viewers with more questions than answers. The life-size horse is wearing a magenta hazmat suit with black booties. A respirator partially covers a beautiful realistic face with thoughtful eyes.

The artist, Jeff Gipe has been interested in issues surrounding Rocky Flats for quite some time and was relieved when a local group, Candelas Glows, began raising alarms about new housing developments being built adjacent to the former nuclear weapons plant. But Jeff has a much more personal reason that he’s spent thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and lots of sweat and tears making his horse creation come to life. Jeff’s father worked at the plant for 20 years and like many of his co-workers, now suffers devastating physical effects of working at one of the world’s most notoriously polluted plutonium processing sites. In talking with members of Candelas Glows, Jeff became intrigued with the idea of memorializing the site.

Local activist riding sculpture with matching respirator.

Local activist riding sculpture with matching respirator across from rocky Flats.

Along with Candelas Glows and many community members, Gipe is concerned that Rocky Flats’ history is being ignored and that because of it, more people will be harmed. Located in a pristine-looking and beautiful part of the Front Range, the contaminated history of Rocky Flats is invisible: the radioactive accidents, the midnight plutonium incinerations, the corroded storage tanks, the sealed court documents, the historical FBI raid and the leftover plutonium waste buried there. “It’s up to people who know the history of the site, and artists,” says Gipe, “to make the invisible visible. To keep memory and even respect for the history of a critical Cold War site alive.” The horse may be shocking, but nothing compared to the controversial and sometimes shocking history it is trying to invoke. And its timing is perfect. After the September floods, activists and scientists are concerned that some of the waste buried at Rocky Flats may have risen to the surface and/or further contaminated groundwater. And in the last week of 2013, a land swap was completed which is considered to be a critical ingredient of the toll road proposed on the infamous site.

The 400-600 lb horse is lining up a couple of appearances, but is looking for a more permanent home. Gipe’s hope is that it be placed on Rocky Flats or land facing it to begin to memorialize the site and bring attention to its tumultuous and sure to be long-lasting history. For more, check out the  Facebook page for more or email at candelasglows@gmail.com .

Close up of respirator-clad activist and horse sculpture.

Close up of respirator-clad activist and horse sculpture.

The artist's icon with Candelas logo.

The artist’s icon with Candelas logo.

The sculpture in front of Candelas' recreation center and playground.

The sculpture in front of Candelas’ recreation center and playground.

Great Article on Toxic Suberbia from Colorado Independent

Great Article on Toxic Suberbia from Colorado Independent

Great article from Colorado Independent about the controversial urge to develop the beautiful, but terribly contaminated land around Rocky Flats. It covers the “plutonium parkway” which as of the end of 2013 is one step closer to reality. It also the newest Rocky Flats neighbor, Candelas and it’s claims of being “green.” It discusses the controversial history that has, through law suits and strange twists and turns, become recently cleared for development… And of course, the long history of community activism around the site of which Candelas Glows is now a part.

Great Interview on KGNU!

Great Interview on KGNU!

KGNU’s Irene Rodriguez did an in-depth interview with Michelle Gabrieloff-Parish, local mom and accidental Rocky Flats activist opposing further development around the site.

Here she talks about flooding, plutonium timescales, how a mother of three ends up being served cease and desist papers from a powerful corporation, and the need to make a memorial out of the old nuclear weapons plant (NOT a “Wildlife Refuge”)… and why you might need to buy your water for now if you live in the area.

This is the third piece on Rocky Flats the station has done since the 1,000 year flood the site recently experienced.

http://www.kgnu.org/metro/10/7/2013

Rocky Flats Flooding Runoff & Groundwater?? What are the Effects of the CO Flooding?

Rocky Flats Flooding Runoff & Groundwater?? What are the Effects of the CO Flooding?

This image is from Google crisis maps. Notice the road closure between Rocky Flats and Standley lake where we saw very strong whitewater currents of rain rushing in the late morning of September 12– when the rains were just getting started for this storm. Soon thereafter the roads were closed, most probably because that same water was out of its irrigation channel and spilling over the road.

Notice the evacuation areas surrounding the area.
The little squiggly flooding water icons are also worrisome considering how much waste is buried there… What does this mean for all the buried plutonium in terms of runoff water (which could be contaminating city drinking water for Westminster & Broomfield)? What does it mean in terms of ground water? What does it mean in terms of contaminants being brought up to the surface?
Emergencies like this are exactly why Rocky Flats should be called what it is (nuclear burial ground) and not a “National Wildlife Refuge.” Over the course of this sites life, it may see many more floods, and it could see droughts, tornadoes, dustbowls and more. Who is monitoring these situations for public safety and national security? Certainly not US Fish & Wildlife…

From http://google.org/crisismap/2013-boulder-floods