Sunday, March 01, 2015

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The magic in the makeup drawer

by Julie Carter

You have heard it all many times before. Beauty is only skin deep. Take care of the inner self and the outer self will take care of itself.

Women tend to look at themselves in parts as opposed to the whole package created by God. We see our hair as not long enough, not thick enough, not curly enough, or not straight enough.

We see our eyes as not big enough, not wide-set enough and never the right color. Our lashes are never long enough and as we age, they appear even shorter as gravity forces the eyebrow area to a lower elevation.

And then there are the rest of our parts. Never the skin we would like to have, never the height, weight or shape that pleases ourselves.

The magic drawer

At my house, beauty is in the mysterious “magic drawer” -- a name my makeup magician sister-in-law gave to her stored concoctions of beauty. She would disappear to her boudoir, open this big dresser-drawer full of magic makeup and momentarily re-appear looking like something off the cover of Vogue.

I thought having a drawer like that was a very good idea, but over time I discovered my magic drawer contained more of a Parks and Wildlife look than the Vogue variety. The contents of such a drawer are very proportional to the lifestyle it enhances.

The cover girl look has always eluded me and in fact, I’ve noticed a transition in the drawer inventory that tells a story about then and now.

Hot pink anything is gone

Hot pink blush has been replaced by under-eye concealers. Hot pink pearlized lipstick is now medicated lip balm. The hot pink nail polish is gone and clear Hard as Nails is in its place. The bright blue eye shadow to make your eyes sparkle is now a soft beige version to conceal the puffiness.

Over-the-counter pills for weight control and ever-lasting energy are long gone and in their place is an industrial sized bottle of Tylenol PM. Birth control pills are replaced by hormonal therapy pills and the tropical coconut-pineapple-banana suntan oil has morphed into a jar of mega-moisturizer with a 10,000 SPF factor.

Sunglasses with crazy-colored frames to match every outfit have been replaced by a plethora of reading glasses conveniently placed everywhere.

Looking cute and coiffed at the ranch while you work like a hired hand is a futile effort at best. Usually no one is more surprised how good you clean up than the boss himself.

New hair-do?

I was having lunch with one of those ranch-wife hired hands and her husband joined us at the restaurant. His first inquiry to his wife was, “Did you just get your hair done?”

“No,” she explained. “You just haven’t seen me with it fixed in so long you forgot what it looked like.”

Of course he doesn’t have much hair so the concept of keeping it presentable in all weather, wearing all kinds of winter gear and hats, has never been an issue for him.

The upside to the lifetime transformation of the magic drawer is about the woman herself.

At this point in life she knows who her real friends are and having them doesn’t require a certain “look.”  She knows that being appreciated is far more valuable than being a cover girl.

Dignity and self-assuredness are the absolute best elements of beauty. You won’t find them in a drawer, magic or otherwise.

Julie can be reached for comment at

McFarland - Trabajo y Memorias

Almond bloom and sulfur dust
Trabajo y Memorias
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            A week ago yesterday almond bloom peaked in Kern County, California.
            I remember the first time I experienced it. There were still a few Kern Royals in old orchards and that red against the white blossoms captured attention as much as the essence in the air. It was the latter that just consumed you. The drone of bees deadened other sounds and the sweetness of the smell was almost overpowering.
            Within days, the first applications of sulfur would follow to commence the mildew programs for the sea of grapes that stretched north and east for miles. The smell of sweet almond bloom would then be corrupted by the biting edge of sulfur.
As the freshness of California spring played out, the heavy, dirty air of the blistering harvest season would start to build. It was then the dreary expectation of marathon 100ยบ days would sink into your soul. The yellowish air would steal away any glimpse of the Sierras, and … summer would descend.
            On the same day of peak almond bloom, we sat in a darkened theater and watched the new movie, McFarland. I was surprised by the emotion it prompted.
            The story is good. It follows the career of Coach White and his nationally recognized cross country program at McFarland High School located in California’s southern San Joaquin Valley. His first year was 1987.
            We preceded him to the McFarland area in 1981.
That was the year I finished graduate school at NMSU and California became home. Similarly to the suggestion by the young English teacher who spoke to Coach White on his first day of class, our home became Bakersfield. The cultural impact and the feeling of loneliness and despair demonstrated by the character were no different from our arrival responses. There was little comparison to our roots in New Mexico. It was intimidating.
That first job in California was with Superior Farming Company. The company farmed just over 41,000 acres of ground in Kern, Fresno, Madera, and Imperial counties. Over half that acreage was trees and vines and the field headquarters was just south from McFarland on Kimberlina Avenue.
McFarland became a landmark and hub that impacted our entire California career.
The references uttered here and there within the script were lost among the majority of watchers, but they were not missed when I heard them. Kite Avenue and Elmo Highway are real as are Whisler and Sherwood avenues. Kite Avenue was not just a route to run in the difficult practices, it was the home of Hollis Roberts and the center of an empire that began in Dust Bowl poverty in Texas and wound up with more than 165,000 acres of farmed land in California. I came to know Hollis well, and the immensity of his human experience was no different than that of the kids and the coach the story portrayed.
In fact, the parallel of McFarland on many people is striking. If you were engaged in the business of farming in McFarland at that time, chances were you faced the same challenges of escaping poverty or lower middle class that the story reserved for farm workers.
In the end, a half dozen New Mexico kids migrated there simply trying to find a place to gain a toehold and exist. We had nothing but a shared will and driving ethic. We were terrified of failure. If our circumstances could be caricatured by military vernacular, we had long outrun our supply lines and were operating totally on our own.
As for the farm workers, though, they were very much part of our lives.
My negative memories come from the violence advocated by Caesar Chavez. Delores Huerta, and the United Farm Workers. McFarland was the center of that universe. I will remember the firearms in the vineyard on Ashe’s Alley, and confrontation years later when our company inherited a major fruit operation and its ongoing labor union dispute. Without question, I was despised by the position I held and the color of my skin.
Positive memories come from the interaction with the crews and individuals. From those ranks came men and women who are brothers and sisters for life. Xavier Salinas, Genaro Monzon, and Narciso Arzate became not just capable supervisors they became trusted comrades and good businessmen. They demonstrated what the American dream means.
Women were no different. The crew leaders and individuals, ladies who endured, were, in 1981, young and ambitious just like me. I remember how I was taken by the bright colors of protective scarves and covering that the table grape crews wore to protect themselves from the sun and heat. When I last walked among them calling old friends by name, we were no longer so young. Those of us who had been together for those 20 years understood what that meant.
When we started our own company, Met West Agribusiness, McFarland continued to be important. We were managing an almond orchard on Whisler Avenue, but when we took over the management of 4200 acres of vineyard on Sherwood, we were on our way.
New Mexican, Mike Dallas, became manager of that division. Through Mike’s efforts, the company’s impact on McFarland became more profound. He would serve as president of the local school board. He would become the chairman of the local irrigation district. He founded a Christian ministry in the prison that was a feature in the movie, and he was a deacon in his church. He made that division the most consistently profitable in the entire company. He also suffered the accident that resulted in his death …all of which took place in the town of McFarland.
The spirit
I watched the movie trying to recognize land marks and points of correctness for 1987. I’ll suggest period and authenticity shortfalls for matters like tarped and ground stored almonds, poled tomatoes, the prison, and covered grapes in that era, but the immensity of the industry is correct. It was and remains monstrous. I reveled at glimpses of the citrus belt, the Friant Kern Canal, and vineyards (that were more likely Delano than McFarland), but what a homecoming the experience sparked.
We saw the movie with our youngest daughter, Lindsay, and her family. Like her mother and I, the movie became a personal reflection. She and her older sister, Stephanie, were both California State FFA officers and their respective years of service each took them the length and breadth of California.
Lindsay talked about her chapter visit to a McFarland FFA banquet. She walked through the front door of the high school exactly as it appeared in the movie. It was her favorite visit and it became a topic of continuing discussion that evening. It was suggested a similar story line could be developed with the McFarland advisor, Mr. Elliot, and his program. The same tough little town and kids fighting for a chance were exact parallels to Coach White and his cross country teams. Like Coach White, Mr. Elliot chose to make McFarland home. His FFA program showed the results.
Lindsay remembered how motivated the members were. She invited them to the upcoming state convention. They took her up and descended around her prior to her retirement address. She doesn’t remember last names or skin color. She remembers kids of the San Joaquin learning, creating, and growing in confidence and expression.
It was so familiar.
The hot, clammy yellow haze of late summer was captured brilliantly in the filming. The almond orchards they ran through displayed stress induced from water being cut off for harvest. The citrus scenes were right at the 500’ frost line elevations, but the glimpse that created the most emotion was a glimpse of the Friant-Kern canal.
It was right there one morning John Oglesby and I found a dog in the canal. The situation was critical. The pads of his front feet were bleeding where he had been trying desperately to climb the steep concrete walls.
“What are we going to do,” John asked.
“We are going to get him out,” was the response.
In John’s pickup, I found a short piece of hemp rope. It wasn’t long enough so I tied a chain to it.  I then tied a honda and shook a loop out. On the first shot, I roped that dog. The dog was big probably weighing over one hundred pounds. John joined with me pulling him up the embankment. When we got him to the top, he never stopped. He climbed right up and looked me in the eye. I fell back into John sending us all to the ground. There I laid under that soaking wet dog as he licked my face in serious appreciation.
“Can all you New Mexico boys rope like that?” John asked from underneath me.
I never said yes, but … I never said no, either.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “McFarland … go see it.”

A budget that grows government and cultivates dependency

By Rick Manning

You can tell a lot about someone’s priorities by sneaking a peak at their budget. From churches and charities to Fortune 500 companies and individual households, financial statements show true colors, not just lip service.

President Obama’s recently-released budget is no different and it showed the world what we already knew — he’s a tax-and-spend liberal with out-of-whack priorities.

Take its effect on America’s family farmers and ranchers, for example.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described his boss’ plan this way: “The budget proposal achieves reforms and results for the American taxpayer… and creates a pathway towards continued growth and prosperity in rural America.”

But that’s just the press release version. The numbers behind the budget show only a desire to grow government and cultivate dependency.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would expand discretionary spending by $1 billion in 2016 under the plan. Meanwhile, it would continue the increase of overall USDA spending — up $40 billion since 2009, when the president began his term.

Not exactly a nod to taxpayers or fiscal discipline.

Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would also get a big raise under the budget to help them tighten their regulatory hold. Spending there would increase $450 million, or about 5 percent.
That is hardly a pathway to rural prosperity given the regulatory burden already weighing down farmers and ranchers. Not to mention the daily efforts by the government to overreach at the altar of climate change.

And how does the Administration expect to pay for its Big Government budget increases? Through new taxes and by gutting an efficient policy run by the private sector, of course.

First, farms would shoulder a brand-new death tax under the White House plan.

When land is passed to the next generation, heirs would face a new and immediate capital gains tax — even before they sell the land — in addition to the estate taxes already on the books.

Administration spin-doctors, who have made an art of class warfare, described it as “closing a loophole on the rich,” but the real-world implications would reverberate through rural communities from coast to coast.

Farmers, who tend to be land rich and cash poor, would be left with no recourse other than to liquidate the inheritance just to pay the taxman. Keeping the family farm in the family wouldn’t be an option.
And those lucky enough to succeed in the face of growing environmental regulations and new taxes would be left with fewer tools to fight Mother Nature under Obama’s plan. Because the one area of the farm budget he actually cuts is crop insurance.

For years, Congress has been transitioning to an insurance system that is run by the private sector and partially-funded by farmers. They did this in order to end old-style government subsidies and annual disaster bailouts.

Crop insurance still costs taxpayers money because the government helps offset premiums, but for the first time in the history of ag policy, most farmers get an insurance bill every year instead of a government check.

And thanks to private-sector efficiency and the fact that growers collectively pay $4 billion a year in premiums, overall farm policy spending has declined in recent years.

Now the president wants to undo these positive steps in the name of more government and, ultimately, more taxpayer risk.

White House messaging might say otherwise, but the numbers reveal a plan that weakens the private sector in favor of a more government-centric bureaucracy that raises taxes in pursuit of an extreme environmenal agenda.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

Reprinted with the permission of the ALG.

Editorial - A Dictator's Dynamic In Obama's Bullet Ban

The president has ordered the reclassification of AR-15 bullets as a threat to lawmen, effectively banning them. It's nonsense. But we see what's going on: a backdoor bid to ban guns and scrap the Second Amendment.

It shouldn't be forgotten that the one time President Obama publicly showed a lot of anger came when the assault-weapon ban he proposed in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre failed to pass in Congress.

In that effort, his minions had falsely claimed that the gunman had used an AR-15 Bushmaster rifle, which was never the case. But that didn't matter, because the real plan was to make the popular hunting rifle the emblem of evil in his attempted gun grab.

Visibly enraged, he vowed to get his way by other means. "This effort is not over," he said at the time.
And that's what brings us here — to the sudden "reclassification" of the 5.56mm NATO round as "armor piercing" ammunition and therefore a threat to law enforcement, and subject to a ban.

First of all, the claim is false. Hunting rifles, including the AR-15, are rarely used in urban street crimes against lawmen, and Obama's people have no examples to speak of. But these rifles are popular among hunters and rural populations who have a significant need for self-defense in wilderness areas with more bears, coyotes and pumas than cops.

But it's not just a false premise that makes this bullet grab so objectionable.

Obama's move pretty well lifts a page from the oldest trick in the dictator's handbook — to limit rights by limiting material access. Instead of banning the free press, dictators everywhere limit access to newsprint. Instead of banning coal-fired plants, as candidate Obama said, just bankrupt coal companies.

Oregon's signature solar energy project built on foundation of false hopes and falsehoods

Dignitaries gathered on a dry Klamath Falls hillside in August 2011 to celebrate the launch of the largest solar power project ever attempted in Oregon. As then-Gov. John Kitzhaber and others dug their golden shovels into the hard ground, they were adamant that this was not another state-sponsored green energy boondoggle. This $27 million collection of solar arrays would be a boon for the economy as well as the environment. For nearly $12 million in tax credits, state officials said, taxpayers could expect the project developer to buy local and hire local, creating a virtuous circle of energy savings, reduced greenhouse gases and jobs. 
"An economy of innovation is within our reach," Kitzhaber said, rewarding "efficiency rather than excess." Kitzhaber got the efficiency part right. The solar arrays fired up a year ago, generating even more power than expected at Oregon Institute of Technology and Oregon State University. But those solar arrays rest on a foundation of falsehoods and false hopes, an investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive has found. Interviews and an examination of thousands of pages of documents show that state officials wrongly awarded millions in state tax credits, turning a blind eye to phony documents. The project also was dogged by an international trade war, a bitter corporate rivalry and a stunning twist that traded high-paid Oregon jobs for prison labor at 93 cents an hour...more

Experts say ranching done right improves the environment and wildlife habitat

By Temple Grandin 

The Society for Range Management (SRM) and ranchers and range professionals who participate in SRM are doing wonderful things with grazing to improve rangeland and plant biodiversity. The problem is that the public does not know anything about it.

After spending two days at this informative meeting in Sacramento, Calif., I read a very negative article on cattle wrecking rangeland in a recent issue of Harper’s magazine. These types of articles lead the public to believe that cattle should be removed from public lands.

Yet, the SRM meeting featured many sessions that showed how well managed grazing can provide habitat for wildlife. The water sources that ranchers provide for their cattle also provide water for endangered species such as the California Condor. Both our industry and SRM need to better communicate with the public on environmental stewardship.

Several speakers explained that humans have influenced the ecology of the rangeland for centuries. Chuck Striplen, University of California-Berkeley (UCB) associate environmental scientist and a member of the Amiah Mutson Tribal Board, explained how the historical use of rangeland needs to be studied. He says that western rangelands have never been a pristine wilderness untouched by humans. He says we have forgotten the original effects of Native Americans on the land and ecology. Learning about the long-term historical effects of humans on rangeland can aid in the development of best management practices.

Lynn Huntsinger, a California rancher and UCB professor of environmental science, explains that maintenance of ranches will prevent loss of valuable ecosystems. When ranches are maintained, the land will not be sold for development. In her talk, she explained how stock ponds have served as habitat for endangered Tiger Salamanders...

Temple Grandin is an animal behaviorist and a professor in Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Science.

BEEF, the nation’s leading cattle publication, annually publishes 12 monthly issues for America’s top cow-calf operators, stocker-growers, cattle feeders, veterinarians, nutritionists and allied industries, covering production, animal health, nutrition, finance and marketing issues.

Grazing cows return to Arana Gulch to help endangered tarplant

The cows came home to Arana Gulch to help restore a troubled native wildflower. Cattle grazed the coastal prairie greenbelt for more than a century, when 100,000 Santa Cruz tarplants with their tiny yellow flowers pinpointed the meadows. The property was part of the Eastside Dairy farm through the mid-1950s and grazing continued until 1989. “In the years after the cows left, those numbers plummeted to just a handful,” said ecologist and tarplant expert Grey Hayes, who is part of the Arana Gulch restoration team. A relative to the sunflower, the pretty tarplant is listed as endangered by the state and threatened on the federal level. Its main threat is towering invasive non-native plants that block sunlight from reaching the short herb. Agriculture and development have consumed most of its historical range, which stretches from Marin County to Monterey County. Just pockets of the plant remain. “Cattle grazing is really the only sustainable solution to managing the habitat and recovering this endangered wildflower,” Hayes said. “Unlike people, cows can be out there constantly clipping the invasive grasses close to the ground. They allow light to reach the seeds and the seedlings.” Fourth-generation Santa Cruz rancher Tommy Williams manages cows at Arana Gulch, Moore Creek Preserve, UC Santa Cruz and in Scotts Valley. “Most of my operation is revolved around working to preserve these rangelands and the native grasses and flowers and the Ohlone tiger beetle,” he said...more

No irrigation water again this year for Valley farmers

Farmers again will get no federal river water for more than 2 million acres of cropland in the San Joaquin Valley, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Friday. Though the announcement was no surprise, it sent ripples of anxiety through the farming industry on both the east and west sides of the Valley, which rely on water from the federal Central Valley Project. Don Peracchi, board president of the Westlands Water District’s board, mostly in west Fresno County, said: “The federal government’s Central Valley Project is broken. Some of the most vital elements of the state’s economy are being allowed to wither and die.” The bureau, which operates the massive Central Valley Project, blamed depleted reservoirs, drought and a snowpack that is a fifth of its average size. Officials said they would update the forecast if stormy weather produces more water. “We are bracing for a potential fourth year of severe drought, and this low initial allocation is yet another indicator of the dire situation,” said Reclamation Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. Bureau leaders are discussing ways of supplying water for health and safety purposes to small city customers, such as Orange Cove and Huron. This season, which unofficially ends April 1, appears to be a fourth year of drought, though this winter has been wetter than last in Northern California. There was also criticism Friday about the amount of water federal officials are pumping through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said pumping restrictions for water quality and environmental concerns have cost the Valley water. “This year, we’ve already lost 318,345 acre-feet of water,” he said. “And that number will only continue to rise.” Bureau officials later said they are working daily with wildlife and other agencies to make sure delta pumping is providing as much water as possible without compromising the water quality or the ecosystem. Last year, without river water from the federal project, farmers were forced to pump the groundwater to keep orchards and other permanent crops alive. The pumping left many rural residents with dry wells as the groundwater levels dropped, especially on the east side of the Valley...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1386

From his just released CD Ralph Stanley & Friends here is Ralph along with Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale performing I Am The Man, Thomas

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tougher ozone standards could snuff out the recovery, businesses warn

The business community is ramping up its opposition to tighter ozone standards proposed by the Obama administration, warning that these efforts would be devastating to the economy. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) released a study Thursday which concludes that revising the standard from the current 75 parts per billion (ppb) down to 65 ppb would reduce the nation’s GDP by $140 billion annually and $1.7 trillion from 2017 to 2040. It would also cost businesses $1.1 trillion to comply with the new regulations, the group argues. The study, conducted by National Economic Research Associates Economic Consulting and commissioned by NAM, also has business leaders fearing the tougher standards could snuff out a nascent economic recovery. The study argues the new standards would result in 1.4 million fewer jobs per year on average through 2040. For groups such as NAM, that is reason to keep the current regulations in place. “Manufacturers in the United States are in the midst of a resurgence that’s fueling job growth and economic recovery nationwide, but the proposed tightening of the ozone standard puts our momentum at great risk,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said. “This data confirm our long-held concern that revisions to the ozone standard represent one of the most significant threats, not just to our manufacturing sector, but to our economy at large.”...more

Second extinction? No, Mexican wolf thrives

by Robert Mansell

At Arizona Game and Fish Commission meetings, we frequently hear public comments about how the commission's actions will lead to the "second extinction" of the Mexican wolf.

But with the recent announcement that the Arizona-New Mexico wolf population grew by 31 percent last year, isn't it time for naysayers and everyone interested in Mexican wolf recovery to recognize the program's success?...

Our biologists, who manage wildlife based on science, expected this more rapid growth to occur as the percentage of wild-born wolves increased. When the majority of a re-established wolf population is wild-born, survival rates increase and populations grow exponentially. We've now achieved the reintroduction project's original objective of 100 wolves with a population that is 100 percent wild born.
The value of having the Mexican wolf designated as a 10(j) non-essential, experimental population under the Endangered Species Act cannot be overlooked. This designation gives the field team the flexibility to try new methods, such as last year's successful cross-fostering of pups from a genetically valuable pack with little experience raising young to placing pups with an experienced pack. New techniques like this provide an important means for bolstering the wolf population and increasing genetic diversity.

Full recovery, though, can only be accomplished when the Mexican wolf is recovered in Mexico, where 90 percent of their historic habitat occurs.

...Although we have heard public comment to the contrary, the newly revised 10(j) rule guiding Mexican wolf recovery is a major step in the right direction.

Robert Mansell is chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

Montana bill to demand royalties from federal land sales advances

Does the federal government owe Montana for a century of public land sales? A bill brought by Senator Jennifer Fielder (R-Thompson Falls) and endorsed by the Senate Thursday says it does. Fielder says the law that made Montana a state, the Enabling Act, calls for the state to get five percent of any public land sales. That past and future money would benefit the permanent school trust. However, the U.S. Forest Service disagrees with that interpretation. The amount of money in question is not clear, but the Forest Service has sold some 70,000 acres in Montana since statehood, much of it to improve access to lands or resolve checkerboard ownership. Senator Pat Connell (R-Hamilton), opposing the measure, said that much of that transferred land could have been part of land exchanges and doesn't represent sales that could produce the royalty. The bill directs the Attorney General's office to look into the sales and demand the money, plus interest, from federal agencies. The Senate endorsed the measure on a 34-16 vote...more

Forest service to Wyoming: Bighorn herd in legislative debate isn't a concern

Federal officials aren't concerned about a western Wyoming bighorn sheep herd that has become a point of debate in Cheyenne. Legislators are working to protect Wyoming's domestic sheepherders after a recent U.S. Forest Service action to limit domestic sheep grazing in Idaho's Payette National Forest.  Nora Rasure, U.S. Forest Service regional forester, said state lawmakers have nothing to worry about in a recent letter to Gov. Matt Mead. Concern from both parties rose from a proposal to remove bighorn sheep from the Darby Mountain region near Afton. Rasure said the current bighorn sheep management plan identifies the Darby region's sheep as a "non-emphasis" herd.  "We do not have any current desire to address risks that domestic sheep may represent to that herd," she wrote in the letter to Gov. Mead...more

The Forest Service says they have no current desire to protect bighorns from domestic sheep in the area that has a "non-emphasis" herd.  Future desires may change and "non-emphasis" is just an administrative designation subject to change.  Act now legislature, act now.

Family of Utah boy killed by bear reaches settlement with state

The parents of a Pleasant Grove boy who was dragged from a campsite and killed by a bear in 2007 has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, according to an attorney for the family. Samuel Ives, 11, was killed June 17, 2007, during a Father's Day camping trip near the Timpooneke Campground in American Fork Canyon. His body, which had been mauled by a black bear, was found about 400 yards from the family campsite. The bear was found and killed the next day. The Ives family sued the state and DWR in 2008, claiming the state was liable for the boy's death because officials failed to warn the public that a dangerous bear was in the area and had attacked other campers. "Sam's death was 100 percent preventable," the boy's mother, Rebecca Ives, told The Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday. "The reason that we were so enraged when this happened was not because a bear attacked and killed our son, it was because the federal government and the state had been notified that they had a black bear out there that needed to be put down ... They failed to act and the result was that my son was killed." The case originally was tossed out by state judges in 2009 and 2011, but the Utah Supreme Court overturned one dismissal in 2013, saying the state had a duty to protect the young boy because DWR officials knew about the bear. The settlement agreement, hammered out through discussions during the past few months, awards the family financial damages, but fails to require the state to enact new policies or practices related to nuisance wildlife that may pose a threat, Tyler Young, an attorney for the family said Monday. "Our hope was that the state would implement a 'Sam Alert' for bears that had shown aggressive behaviors toward humans," Young said. "We weren't able to get anything like that." Young declined to disclose the financial terms of the agreement but said it is less than the statutory cap of $583,900 outlined in the state's governmental immunity law. Missy Larsen, spokeswoman for the Utah attorney general's office, which represented DWR in the wrongful-death lawsuit, confirmed the settlement Tuesday. Larsen said the agreement includes only financial compensation and does not require DWR to make any changes to its policy or procedures...more

Wildlife agencies plan to restore grizzlies in Washington

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and Washington state agencies are planning to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades. The Everett Daily Herald reports the agencies plan to hold public meetings next month in six cities. The input will help the agencies decide how to bring back the endangered species. An impact statement on the recovery plan would address public safety, livestock predation and the possible effects on business and recreation. Most grizzly bears in the state were killed by settlers. It’s estimated there may be fewer than 20 of the big bears living in the North Cascades south of the Canadian border. Meetings are scheduled from March 3 to March 11 in Winthrop, Okanogan, Wenatchee, Cle Elum, Seattle and Bellingham. AP

DOE, Pentagon considering new uses for Nev. site -- lawmakers

House Republicans say two federal agencies are planning to use the remote Yucca Mountain site in southern Nevada for activities other than its congressionally authorized use as a repository for spent fuel from nuclear reactors. "We have learned that officials from the Department of Energy and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) have discussed the possibility of conducting activities at or near the Yucca Mountain site that are not related to the statutorily required uses for the site and adjacent lands," three senior House Republicans wrote in a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan, Environment and the Economy Chairman John Shimkus of Illinois and Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania signed the letter. The Republicans -- outspoken proponents of ensuring that Yucca Mountain is used for the storage of hot radioactive waste -- said they are concerned about the legal and policy implications of any other use. They asked Moniz to explain what is being planned or discussed and how this could affect the use of Yucca Mountain as a repository...more

How the NSA Stole the Keys to Your Phone

By Julian Sanchez
A blockbuster story at The Intercept Thursday revealed that a joint team of hackers from the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), broke into the systems of one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cell phone SIM cards in order to steal the encryption keys that secure wireless communications for hundreds of mobile carriers—including companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.  To effect the heist, the agencies targeted employees of the Dutch company Gemalto, scouring e-mails and Facebook messages for information that would enable them to compromise the SIM manufacturer’s networks in order to make surreptitious copies of the keys before they were transmitted to the carriers. Many aspects of this ought to be extremely disturbing.

First, this is a concrete reminder that, as former NSA director Michael Hayden recently acknowledged, intelligence agencies don’t spy on “bad people”; they spy on “interesting people.”  In this case, they spied extensively on law-abiding technicians employed by a law-abiding foreign corporation, then hacked that corporation in apparent  violation of Dutch law. We know this was hardly a unique case—one NSA hacker boasted in Snowden documents diclosed nearly a year ago about “hunting sysadmins”—but it seems particularly poetic coming on the heels of the recent Sony hack, properly condemned by the U.S. government.  Dutch legislators quoted in the story are outraged, as well they should be.  Peaceful private citizens and companies in allied nations, engaged in no wrongdoing, should not have to worry that the United States is trying to break into their computers.

Second, indiscriminate theft of mobile encryption keys bypasses one of the few checks on government surveillance by enabling wiretaps without the assistance of mobile carriers. On the typical model for wiretaps, a government presents the carrier with some form of legal process specifying which accounts or lines are targeted for surveillance, and the company then provides those communications to the government.  As the European telecom Vodaphone disclosed last summer, however, some governments insist on being granted “direct access” to the stream of communications so that they can conduct their wiretaps without going through the carrier.  The latter architecture, of course, is far more susceptible to abuse, because it removes the only truly independent, nongovernmental layer of review from the collection process. A spy agency that wished to abuse its power under the former model—by conducting wiretaps without legal authority or inventing pretexts to target political opponents—would at least have to worry that lawyers or technicians at the telecommunications provider might detect something amiss. But any entity armed with mobile encryption keys effectively enjoys direct access: they can vacuum up cellular signals out of the air and listen to any or all of the calls they intercept, subject only to internal checks or safeguards.

Lincoln Nation Forest management planning begins March 25

Staff of the Lincoln National Forest are beginning a four-year journey to draft a new forest plan and the first community meeting for the Smokey Bear Ranger District is set for March 25. "The National Forest Management Act of 1976 requires every national forest or grassland managed by the Forest Service to develop and maintain an effective land management plan, also known as a forest plan," District Ranger Dave Warnack told Lincoln County commissioners at their meeting last week. "Plainly speaking, the forest plan is a document that provides guidance for the management of all resources and activities on the forest. The service contracted with community outreach specialists who have worked on several forest plans throughout the country, to help the district conduct the first meeting, he said. Staff wants feedback from groups and individuals who have worked with the Forest Service in a collaborative fashion on whether the experience was positive or negative, "and how can we keep it more positive and secondly, how do you wish to be involved. The's a spectrum, some just want to be informed and some want to roll up their sleeves and be part of it, (present) ideas and be a partner. "We'll be trying to gauge that and figure out who wants want. The third thing is tying to lay out the process so they will know what to expect over the next four years." Commission Chairman Preston Stone said he wants the county's Land Use and Rural Affairs Committee members involved in the plan, along with consideration of provisions in the county's existing land use plan...more

Do you see all those trees around the sign?  Huge swaths of this land should never have been reserved as a national forest.

Smokey Bear was real? Author from Boca pens tale of real-life cub

Nearly 65 years ago, a teenage Karen Signell gazed at the bear cub lolling in a tree inside his exhibit at the National Zoo and wondered why his eyes seemed so sad.  Rescued from a forest fire in New Mexico in May 1950, the orphaned little brown bear had been flown to the zoo in Washington, D.C., to become a living symbol of Smokey Bear, the blue jeans and ranger hat-wearing character that popularized the phrase, "Only YOU can prevent wildfires."Signell, a born animal lover, knew about Smokey's life but still wanted to know more about the bear. So she decided to write his story. And just months ago, the now 79-year-old Boca Raton woman published the U.S. Forest Service-licensed novel that's been a lifetime in the making. Called "Smokey Bear: The Cub Who Left His Pawprints on History," Signell's book details the bear's life based on years of research, including meeting with a man whose family helped heal Smokey's burned paws and belly, visiting the mountain where he was found and reading endlessly about the campaign he brought to life. The book is told from Smokey's perspective. Don Bell, who helped his parents and sister care for the cub at their Santa Fe, N.M., home, initially wasn't sure about that approach. He thought it might come out "hokey."  "I've lived with this thing since 1950, so when I first heard what she was going to do, I thought, 'Well, OK, I'll go along,'" said Bell, 79, of Las Cruces, N.M. "After she got it all put together and everything and finished it up, I read it and I think she did a pretty damn good job." He was around 15 when his dad came home with the then-5-pound bear. A cowboy turned game warden, Ray Bell, Don Bell's father, was stationed in New Mexico's Capitan Mountains when the forest fire that injured Smokey broke out. The Bell family was constantly taking in wild animals, so Don Bell didn't think much of the "cute little guy" who slept in a rabbit cage on the back porch. But the story of the rescued cub would become a national phenomenon. Smokey's arrival at the capital airport drew hundreds of reporters, photographers and onlookers, and he appeared in newspapers across the country...more

Thursday, February 26, 2015

League of Conservatio Voters scorecard for NM Delegation

Jewell-Murkowski feud could hurt Interior's funding, priorities

Phil Taylor, E&E reporter

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's relationship with a key Alaska senator remained on thin ice yesterday, complicating Jewell's efforts to boost agency funding and advance the Obama administration's legislative agenda.

Jewell told reporters yesterday that she and Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have maintained "a constructive relationship."

That's despite Murkowski's public attacks on the secretary's recent decisions to set aside Alaska lands and waters from oil and gas drilling and reject a key road.

"Murkowski is a very strong advocate for her state," Jewell told reporters after a 2½-hour budget hearing before Murkowski's panel.

But Murkowski didn't share the love.

She blasted Jewell for "depriving [Alaskans] of jobs, revenue, security and prosperity" and being aloof to Alaskans' need to access federally protected lands.

"The chairman is furious and bewildered," said Murkowski spokesman Robert Dillon. "I don't know how constructive it is when the secretary clearly has not shown a real interest in having a constructive relationship."

Murkowski has said she plans to use her perch as chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee panel that funds Interior to force the administration's hand on natural resources policy.

I still bet she'll vote to increase Interior's budget, unless she's prevented from doing so by the Budget Control Act.

GOP battles with EPA over rules

House Republicans used a Wednesday hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget to attack various regulations being pursued by the agency. Most of the fights focused around the EPA’s proposals to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but other regulations also got attention. “EPA seems intent on locking in a long list of new regulations that will bind future administrations,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said at the hearing of two subcommittees of the panel...more

Will Rep. Upton and other Republicans vote to fund an agency issuing reg's that will "bind future administrations"?

“If this plan puts reliable base load energy from sources such as coal and nuclear in danger, communities may face higher costs and potentially suffer brownouts when most in need,” said Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), chairman of the environment subpanel.

Will Rep. Shimkus and other Republicans vote to fund an agency issuing reg's that will cause "higher costs" and "brownouts"?

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the energy and power subcommittee, questioned whether the EPA has the legal authority for its power plant rules, but McCarthy said she felt “very confident” that the rules align with the Clean Air Act.

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) challenged the legality of the EPA’s proposed carbon rules for newly built coal power plants.

Will Reps. Whitfield and Murphy and other Republicans vote to fund an agency acting beyond its legal authority?

How a Solar Farm Set Hundreds of Birds Ablaze

It's no secret that solar power is hot right now, with innovators and big name companies alike putting a great deal of time, money, and effort into improving these amazing sources of renewable energy. Still, the last thing you'd likely expect is for a new experimental array to literally light nearly 130 birds in mid-flight on fire. And yet, that's exactly what happened near Tonopah, Nevada last month during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. According to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management (NBLM) in Reno, as reported by Re Wire, a third of the newly constructed plant was put into action on the morning of Jan. 14, redirecting concentrated solar energy to a point 1,200 feet above the ground. Unfortunately, about two hours into the test, engineers and biologists on site started noticing "streamers" - trails of smoke and steam caused by birds flying directly into the field of solar radiation. What moisture was on them instantly vaporized, and some instantly burst into flames - at least, until they began to frantically flap away. An estimated 130 birds were injured or killed during the test...more

Nevada land transfer opponents prepare for legislative hearing

A conservation group sent out a rally cry Tuesday for those opposed to a sweeping federal-to-state public land transfer. In an email, the Nevada Conservation League asked recipients to take action against Senate Joint Resolution 1 by encouraging lawmakers to vote down the measure, and voicing their disapproval at a meeting next week. “This is a crucial moment, when grassroots action can make an enormous difference,” the message states. The resolution asks congress to transfer an initial 7.2 million acres of federal land to the State of Nevada. The remaining public land – excluding military sites, tribal land, wilderness and Great Basin National Park – would be transferred on request. Those backing the bill, however, said the state would actually supplement its budget by tens of millions if it had control over the land. A study completed at the behest of the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force, chaired by Elko County Commissioner Demar Dahl, estimated the state stood to gain about $26 million in the first year of the proposed transfer. Dahl said the intent is for all existing rights to transfer with the land. He and other proponents believe a land transfer would increase access to public lands, and that public land concerns will be better resolved in Carson City than Washington D.C. Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, said the 7.2 million acres targeted for the initial transfer are comprised of areas the Bureau of Land Management identified for disposal, as well as “checkerboard land” made up of alternating public and private squares that line the railroad corridor...more

Critics protest proposal to control federal lands in Colorado

Groups representing hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife advocates rallied side by side in Denver on Wednesday in protest of a proposal by Colorado lawmakers that seeks to take control of federal public lands in the state. Organizers of the demonstration outside the Capitol building, which drew about 100 people including some wearing camouflage hunting outfits below bright orange headwear, said the state has no right to seek so-called cooperative management of national lands. "This kind of action is not supported by the overwhelming majority of Coloradans who consistently state that they believe these lands belong to all Americans and should be managed for the benefit of all," said Kate Zimmerman, director of public lands policy for the National Wildlife Federation. The Republican-sponsored bill before lawmakers seeks to reserve for the state of Colorado "the right to exercise, concurrently with the United States government, all of the same authority possessed by the United States government with respect to a particular area." The bill argues that the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management have restricted efforts by the state of Colorado and its counties to respond to wildfires that start on land owned and operated by the U.S. government. Supporters say a "concurrent" approach between federal, state and local governments also is needed to investigate and prosecute crimes such as arson and illegal drug production...more

Top official delivers bleak forecast for Lake Mead

Nevada faces “significant possibilities” of water shortages if drought on the Colorado River persists into the next two years, according to an ominous forecast delivered Wednesday by a top government official. Michael Connor, deputy secretary of the Interior Department, said there is a 20 percent chance of shortages in Nevada and Arizona in 2016 if levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell continue to drop, “and it goes up to almost 50 percent after that.” Connor briefed members of the House Interior subcommittee who met to review the department’s budget request for the coming year. Connor, the department’s No. 2 leader and its ranking expert on water, appeared alongside Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The dire assessment comes as little surprise in Nevada, where residents have watched with dismay as a shrinking Lake Mead has left boat ramps high and dry and uncovered the remains of communities that once sat far below the surface. In July, Lake Mead sank to a record low not seen since the reservoir was first being filled in the late 1930s. Nevada, Arizona and California have entered into a series of cooperative efforts to bank water and save the lake, which provides 90 percent of the water for Las Vegas. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is overseeing the drilling of a new deep-water intake pipe — like a straw — to allow pumping to continue even as lake levels continue to recede...more

Lawsuit: flood control levees on Rio Grande threaten species

The environment group WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court challenging a federal engineering project that its says threatens the health of the Rio Grande ecosystem from just north of Socorro to Elephant Butte. The project — already underway — also will alter hundreds of acres of key habitat of the Rio Grande silvery minnow, Southwestern willow flycatcher and yellow-billed cuckoo in violation of the Endangered Species Act, the group said in its court action. The lawsuit targets the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ project to build 43 miles of engineered levees along the river — from the San Acacia Diversion Dam south to Elephant Butte Reservoir. The Corps secured funding and started construction on the first two phases of the project earlier this year, which will provide levees along about six miles of the river to protect the town of Socorro...more

2-Year Trek From Turf to Table Delays Cheaper U.S. Beef

There’s little relief ahead for record U.S. steak and burger prices. While cattle ranchers like Brenda Richards are expanding herds for the first time in almost a decade, it can take two years to get more meat on the plate. After shrinking supply sent beef costs surging last year, the government still expects output to drop to a 22-year low in 2015. While ranchers are starting to breed more cows, calf gestation is nine months, with as much as 20 more before they are big enough to slaughter. Richards says she may increase her family’s 600-cow breeding herd to as many as 650. “It’s a little bit of an expansion,” said Richards, who has been farming in Reynolds Creek, Idaho, with her husband for three decades. “We’ve held steady for quite some time.” With supplies remaining tight, restaurant operator Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. and Bloomin’ Brands Inc., owner of the Outback Steakhouse chain, are forecasting gains in 2015 beef costs. Retail prices will jump 5 percent to 6 percent this year, more than any other food group and double the rate for all foods, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. The cattle herd on Jan. 1 in the U.S., the world’s largest beef producer, was 1.4 percent bigger than a year earlier at 89.8 million head, the first increase for that date in eight years, USDA data show. The herd began last year as the smallest since 1952, after droughts from Texas through the Midwest dried pastures and pushed the price of feed corn to records in 2012...more

Global beef production needs to rise by 43% to feed growing population

Get ready, People worldwide want what you produce and more and more, they have the means and methods to buy it. And that, according to Elanco, is very good news. Growth of the world population and new entrants to the middle class will cause demand for meat, milk and eggs to increase worldwide. By 2050, average per capita beef consumption will increase slightly from 182 grams (6.4 ounces) per week to 194 grams (6.8 ounces). To meet this increased demand, global beef production will need to increase by 43%. This will be possible through the use of farming innovations and best practices that will allow farmers and ranchers around the world to produce more beef with fewer resources—meeting global demand, while freezing the industry’s environmental footprint. If innovation is frozen at 2010 levels, farmers and ranchers will need to raise 710 million additional cattle and water buffalo to meet 2050 demand. To raise more cattle and water buffalo without improved farming best practices, especially in developing countries, farmers and ranchers would need to increase their use of grazed forage* and water by 43%. With continued improvement for farming practices, such as better year-round nutrition and improved breeding and genetic selection, fewer than 1.7 billion cattle and water buffalo will be needed to provide adequate global beef supplies. This is nearly the same size as today’s global herd of cattle and water buffalo, which is approximately 1.68 billion. More importantly, the beef industry can freeze its environmental footprint to 2010 levels...more

American Hat Company: The Official Cowboy Hat of The National High School Rodeo Association

American Hat Company is proud to announce it is the official cowboy hat of The National High School Rodeo Association, (NHSRA) and the National High School Rodeo Association Junior Division (NHSRA JD). The NHSRA is the largest rodeo association in the world, sanctioning more than 1,800 rodeos including 48 state and provincial rodeo finals. American Hat Company becoming the official hat of the NHSRA and the NJHSRA signals a significant brand shift among the young people in the sport of rodeo. "The opportunity to partner with NHSRA and the NJHSRA is a dream come true for American Hat Company," says Keith Mundee, American Hat Company President.  "The high school kids unofficially adopted our brand five years ago and we have been very grateful.  Now it is our chance to give back to the association and provide some additional scholarship funds.  We believe high school rodeo is the future of the sport of rodeo." American Hat Company is known for great quality and setting the trends in the western hat market with unique color combinations and design patterns in their straw hats and a special lacquer finish that will allow you to wear your hat in the rain. American Hat Company makes the very finest felt hats available. Its signature hat is a 1000X Belly Beaver and Mink. Founded in 1915 in Houston, Texas, the brand has grown to a world known cowboy hat preferred by rodeo champions, working cowboys, ranchers and Texas lawmen.  American Hat Company is an innovator in the western industry and has been credited with developing the "open crown" concept.  The company is celebrating 100 years of producing the very best quality felt and straw hats this year.  American Hat Company also partners with Tuf Cooper to make a signature series of Tuf Cooper straws and felts...more