Happy 245th birthday, America!

Because of fire restrictions on the Western Slope, let’s just pretend we lit all 245 candles on the cake. The local fire departments have enough to contend with without a massive candle mishap on their hands.

Be festive and be safe!

The annual Stuff the Bus donation drive, in support of School District 51 families in need, will start on Tuesday in Clock Court at Mesa Mall.

According to a recent District 51 newsletter, finding the money to buy school supplies is a struggle for many families and this annual fundraiser helps. School supplies are collected and delivered to each school, where office staff can distribute them to those in need.

To participate in the drive, drop off new school supplies in the white school bus that will be parked inside Mesa Mall.

“Your generosity and kindness will be greatly appreciated,” the newsletter said.

The town of Palisade is seeking public sculptures entries for the Palisade Art Vision’s sixth annual sculpture/walk exhibit.

Artists are paid honorariums of $250–$750. There are locations in downtown Palisade ranging from smaller, 12-inch sculptures up to larger, 9-foot tall sidewalk and plaza way-finding pieces.

The entry deadline is July 12 and forms are available through the Palisade Chamber of Commerce.

The July Oral History presentation is “A Brief History of the Ute Water,” presented by Ute Water’s district external affairs manager, Andrea Lopez.

Hosted by The Mesa County Historical Society and the Museums of Western Colorado, the presentation is from noon–1 p.m. July 15, at the Central Library, Mesa County Libraries, 443 N. Sixth St. Seating is limited and reservations are required by calling 243-4442.

Inspired by the success of the Collbran Project, the Ute Water Conservancy District was founded by a group of farmers who fought to bring domestic water services to the rural areas of the Grand Valley, a news release said. Today, it is recognized as the largest domestic water provider between Denver and Salt Lake City, serving 85,000 customers.

Region 10’s certified Medicare counselors will host an informational seminar on how to navigate the Medicare system at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, in the meeting room at Grand Mesa Oncology and Rheumatology Center, 1502 E. Third St., in Delta.

This seminar is free, but seating is limited. Reservations and masks are required. Call 249-2436 for information and to register.

Mesa County Partners will benefit from The RONIN Rally, a first time event hosted by new real estate company, RONIN Real Estate Professionals.

There are two parts to the fundraiser. First, purchase a Rally Towel — the cost of a towel is a donation to Partners — then take the towel anywhere in the world, snap a photo of the towel and its cool surroundings, then post with the hashtag #roninrally21 to be entered in the photo contest.

The contest will run through Aug. 31. The final five will be chosen and put to a public vote on Facebook. The winner will receive $500 in gift cards to local businesses.

Go to the “RONIN Real Estate Professionals” Facebook page for information.

The final numbers are in for Montrose’s Bucks for Biking effort that encouraged commuters to ride their bikes to work instead of driving their cars — and get paid for doing so.

Montrose Area Bicycle Alliance the program in June that paid citizens $2 per day to bike to work, a news release said.

“The initial feedback was amazing and some companies volunteered to match that payout for their employees” said MABA volunteer board member Jeff Rice in the release.

According to Rice, the inspiration for the program came from construction in the downtown area that was causing parking problems. MABA has run the Bike to Work Day events for the past many years with an average turnout of 40 riders for the free burritos.

“Going off that number we did some calculations and felt safe about offering $2 per day to the riders,” he said.

To date there is no other community in Colorado that offers such a program, the release said. Some companies offer it individually however no non-profit has it available for all citizens in a set area.

And, the effort paid off:

A total of 907 individual rides (which meant 907 cars not on the street), for a total of 4,378 miles biked.

There were 92 riders and the demographics were split — 46 female and 46 male participants.

The most miles logged by an individual was 240 (he lives 6 miles out of town and utilizes an E-bike to commute every working day).

The city of Montrose earned a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists last summer and the MABA feels it was the driving force behind that designation since it focuses on inspiring citizens to bike for utilitarian purposes when they don’t need to drive a vehicle. MABA also leads cruiser rides, hosts Bike to Work Day events, runs a Bike Match Program that gets donated bikes back into the public for free, partnered with the high school welding class to produce bike parking racks for around the city, and has put together an Urban Bike Map.

Maps are online at montrosebicycle.org/biking-map or available for free at local bike shops, the Montrose Library, Visitors Center, and various Montrose businesses.

Area organizations will receive a portion of a $42,500 grant fund, awarded by El Pomar Foundation to nonprofits in the Northwest region.

Harmony Acres Equestrian Center of Fruita, $5,000 for direct care of equines; Sally Beck Fund.

Colorado Discover Ability of Grand Junction, $2,500 for general operating support; competitive.

Doors 2 Success of Grand Junction, $2,500 for general operating support; competitive.

Housing Resources of Western Colorado of Grand Junction, $2,500 for homeless support in Montrose County; regional merit.

Submit community news and red, white and blues by email to communitynews@gjsentinel.com, by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to 734 S. Seventh St., Grand Junction, CO, 81501. Online calendar items can be uploaded at GJSentinel.com/local-events.