Friday, June 16, 2006


After three full rounds, both NMSU teams are out of the top standings. However, we have 4 athletes who have made the championship round. Tomorrow night, the top 12 in each event are brought back for the final round.

Chance Means and Matt Garza are coming back in the number one spot in team roping. They have three steers down in 24.1 seconds.

Krista Norell is comin back in the 5th spot in barrell racing. She has a total of 44.11 seconds for three runs.

Arcel Allsup sits in 9th place in the calf roping, with a time of 38.9 seconds on three head.

Wacey Walraven is in 8th place in the calf roping, with three down in 36.6 seconds.

Daniel Etsitty road all three of his bareback horses, finishing in 15th place.

This is the first time since I started the scholarship we have had 4 athletes qualify for the final round.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thinning the Ranks The Forest Service has long been regarded as a behemoth glacier of a federal agency, where change comes slowly, over generations, if at all. It’s more than a little ironic, then, that in this age of rapidly diminishing glaciers—government scientists say Glacier National Park’s namesakes will be gone by 2030—massive change is sweeping quickly through the Forest Service, too. In response to Bush’s management agenda, the agency has recently developed and begun implementing the “Green Plan,” a strategy that calls for systematic consideration of outsourcing more than 75 percent of Forest Service jobs nationwide. Jobs in everything from fire fighting to communications, from scientific data collection to engineering, and on down the line are on the block. The Green Plan, which national officials say is still in draft form and hasn’t officially been released, even though implementation has begun, represents an aggressive next step for an agency that has in recent years begun attempting to transform from its traditional, decentralized format into a lean, mean forest-managing machine. Gone are the days of rangers who handle everything in their necks of the woods, a method the Green Plan sterilely calls “job fragmentation,” with the critique that “although positions with multiple duties have provided extreme workforce flexibility and have served as an organizational strength, it can be perceived as inefficient, and adds extreme complexity to…competitive sourcing studies.” Welcome to the modern era, where public lands management is being molded to fit the private-sector cast. The stated goal in the president’s management agenda is to increase efficiency and decrease budgets in light of skyrocketing federal deficits and expenses. And nobody is arguing that improved savings and efficiency aren’t worthwhile goals. What is shaping up as the major debate, though, is whether outsourcing will prove to be an effective money-saving strategy for the Forest Service, and at what cost. Employee unions, and some of the agency’s own data, call into question just what might be accomplished by a massive reorganization with hypothetical consequences. Critics say that though downsized and centralized operations will obviously produce payroll savings, there are many accompanying costs to be factored: Millions of dollars are being taken off the top of the Forest Service’s already-stretched budget to fund the planning, research, management and monitoring of competitive sourcing studies and implement their results; thousands of staff are being diverted from their duties to devote their attention to executing the changes; and even employees and offices apparently unaffected by competitive sourcing must absorb leftover workloads....
Environmentalists ask judge to stop logging in roadless area Environmentalists asked a federal judge Wednesday to temporarily block logging of the first timber to be auctioned in a national forest roadless area since the Bush administration eased logging restrictions, arguing new studies show the logging will kill young trees and increase the danger of wildfire. Lawyers for the U.S. Forest Service countered that the 362 acres within the Mike’s Gulch timber sale boundaries amount to such a small percentage of the 500,000 acres burned by the 2002 Biscuit fire and the 188,000 acres of roadless area on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, that it does not meet the test of irreparable harm needed to stop the logging. U.S. Magistrate Owen M. Panner said he would rule on the request next Wednesday, noting that the primary issue will be whether any harm that might be caused by logging on the tract in southern Oregon is significant enough to justify the Forest Service starting the planning process over. Panner’s statement echoed a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week, refusing to stop the logging under a different lawsuit....
Insurance Companies Sue U.S. To Recover Hayman Fire Claims Three insurance companies filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to recover $7.04 million in claims paid for homes damaged or destroyed in the 2002 Hayman Fire. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. Inc., three Hartford insurance entities, and Allstate Insurance Co. claim the U.S. Forest Service was negligent, partly because of how the agency supervised the forestry worker who started the worst wildfire in Colorado history. Terry Lynn Barton, 42, pleaded guilty to a state felony arson charge for starting the blaze by burning a letter in a drought-stricken area, where a fire ban had been issued. The fire scorched 138,000 acres, destroyed 133 homes and forced more than 8,000 people to leave their homes. The lawsuit claims that the forest service was negligent in its duty to prevent and suppress wildfires and it breached its duty by allowing Barton to "act alone and unsupervised" by not having teams of two patrolling the area. Failure to keep radio dispatch lines available to report the fire and failure to adequately respond to the report also contributed to the forest service's negligence, the lawsuit claims....
Judge kills Big Bear condo project, fines developer $1.3 million A federal judge has killed a luxury condominium project at Big Bear Lake and fined the developer $1.3 million for violations of the Clean Water and Endangered Species acts. In his ruling issued late Monday, U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real said developer Irving Okovita deposited fill and dredged soil over wetlands, and caused erosion that damaged habitat of bald eagles that winter in the area. In addition to fining Okovita, Real ordered him to try to correct some of the damage done to the lake in the mountains 100 miles east of Los Angeles. "We're thrilled about the decision," said Sandy Steers, an activist from the tiny town of Fawnskin who led opposition to the development. "It has been a long struggle - over five years." Okovita's lawyer, Robert Crockett, called Real's ruling factually flawed and said he would ask the judge to rehear the case. If that fails, he said he would appeal the ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals....
Bush Administration to Ramp Up Aerial Gunning and Introduce Wildlife Poisons in Designated Wilderness and Research Natural Areas The Bush administration proposed last week to relax restrictions on aerial gunning and poisoning of “problem” wildlife such as coyotes, foxes, mountain lions and wolves in designated Wilderness areas and Research Natural Areas on Forest Service land. Wilderness and Research Natural Areas are the two most protective land management classifications the Forest Service has, and both were formerly off-limits to predator control programs except in limited circumstances. The changes the Forest Service announced last week would reverse the long-standing policies that protect wildlife in Wilderness areas and Research Natural Areas. The new rule would permit motorized and aerial trapping and killing of wildlife in both land designations. It would also make predator control an “objective” in Wilderness management, rather than reserving such activities for times when they are necessary to protect human life or endangered species. Worse, the new rule permits predator control when it is advised by a “collaborative process” that is undefined in the rule, but which presumably would entail meetings by livestock interests that are typically hostile both to Wilderness and to wolves, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, bears, lynx, foxes and other wildlife. “This rule is a dramatic and devastating blow to our nation’s wildlife and wilderness areas,” said Erik Ryberg, Staff Attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity....

DNA tests identify second trapped bear in fatal attack on girl
A black bear that tests showed had human DNA under its claws has been identified as the killer of a 6-year-old girl, according to Tennessee wildlife officials who acknowledged that another bear was wrongly euthanized. Elora Petrasek, 6, of Clyde, Ohio, was fatally attacked April 13 and her mother and younger half brother were seriously injured while the family visited a swimming hole and waterfall in the Cherokee National Forest in southeast Tennessee. The bear "positively identified" as the attacker - a 211-pound male that had been trapped and held almost two months by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency pending the DNA tests - has now been euthanized, officials said at a Wednesday news conference. Lab tests by the FBI found the traces of human DNA, Assistant TWRA Director Ron Fox said. A necropsy will be performed to determine whether the bear had any illnesses or abnormalities that might have contributed to the attack. Fox said the bear was euthanized in keeping with TWRA policy regarding animals that kill humans. The family was mauled during a visit to a favorite swimming hole at the Chilhowee Recreation Area near the Ocoee River, a popular whitewater, camping and fishing location....
'Ecological jewel' now a national monument President Bush created a vast new marine sanctuary on Thursday, extending stronger federal protections to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the surrounding waters with their endangered monk seals, nesting green sea turtles and other rare species. The nation's newest national monument covers an archipelago stretching 1,400 miles long and 100 miles wide in the Pacific Ocean. It's home to more than 7,000 species, at least a fourth of them found nowhere else. "To put this area in context, this national monument is more than 100 times larger than Yosemite National Park," Bush said. "It's larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined. This is a big deal." Bush announced his creation of the nation's 75th national monument at a White House ceremony. The decision immediately sets aside 140,000 square miles of largely uninhabited islands, atolls, coral reef colonies and underwater peaks known as seamounts to be managed by federal and state agencies....
Grand Portage Band to track and study wolves How many wolves prowl Northeastern Minnesota, where they live and their interactions with prey species are things the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa hope to discover. The band recently received a $249,750 federal grant to help conduct a three-year effort tracking radio-collared wolves. "The primary goal is to estimate the number of wolves on reservation and ceded territory lands" where band members are allowed to hunt, fish and gather, said Seth Moore, fish and wildlife biologist with the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa. "We want to relate that information to moose and deer populations in the same area." The Grand Portage tribal council has emphasized that it's important to restore moose populations on the reservation. The reservation is home to an estimated 80 to 100 moose. The reservation moose harvest by band members decreased to four adults in 2004-05, down from a historical average of 15. The study may help determine how large a role wolves and deer -- which carry a parasite fatal to moose -- play in limiting moose numbers. "We are expecting a lot of information to come out of this," said John Leonard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife tribal liaison for this region. "It is going to contribute to the status of wolves and give us information on how the packs interact and where we are going with the predator-prey relationship."....
Column: Religious fanatics terrorize American farmers Media coverage of environmental regulators makes them look like dispassionate scientists. But too often they are dangerous religious fanatics. Years ago, when ranchers and farmers told me that our government's environmental regulatory agencies had been captured by fanatics so hostile to the idea of private property that they'd use the endangered-species law to drive just about every landowner off his land, I thought they were overwrought. Then I learned the story of the lynx. Thousands of lynx live in North America, but since environmental officials weren't sure whether there were any in the Gifford Pinchot and Wenatchee National Forests in southern Washington state, they commissioned a million-dollar study to find out. The discovery of threatened or endangered species would be terrifying news to ranchers and farmers who depend upon use of the land for their livelihoods. Property-rights advocate Mike Paulson told us: "We basically say if you have an endangered species in your area, we're going to take your livelihood away, we're going to destroy your communities, and we're going to make it very difficult for your families to survive." The Endangered Species Act has been used to shut down logging, take away water rights, and stop multitudes of construction and development projects. I want to save endangered species, too, but government is supposed to protect the rights of the people -- not destroy their lives because threatened animals might be in their area. For their study in Washington state, government biologists nailed pieces of carpet soaked with catnip onto trees, hoping a lynx would rub up against them and leave some fur -- evidence of the lynx's existence in this particular area. Sure enough, when biologists sent carpet samples to a lab, they came back positive for hairs from a Canada lynx. That may sound like good evidence that there were Canada lynx in the area, but actually, the regulators went to a zoo, got hair samples from captive lynx, and sent those hairs to the lab to be tested....

Crop Insurance: More Needs to Be Done to Reduce Program's Vulnerability to
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse, by Daniel Bertoni, acting director, natural resources
and environment, before the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, House Committee on Agriculture. GAO-06-878T, June 15.

Highlights -

Environmental Liabilities: Hardrock Mining Cleanup Obligations, statement
for the record by John B. Stephenson, director, natural resources and
environment, before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
GAO-06-884T, June 14.

Highlights -
Government Dines on Katrina Leftovers

With a history in the Black Panthers and Green Party, Malik Rahim does not fit the stereotype of a property-rights activist. But that is what he's become in the upside-down political world of post-Katrina New Orleans, where government response to the storm is creating some strange bedfellows. Nine months after the hurricane New Orleans remains in tatters, its population is down to about 200,000 from almost a half-million. Large parts of the city, from posh Lakeview to working-class Mid-City, still have few habitable buildings. Many businesses have not reopened or are gone for good. Almost a quarter of voters in May's mayoral runoff election voted absentee. To add insult to injury, the rights of property owners who had their homes and businesses damaged by Katrina's wrath now face a more powerful and potent threat. Local government officials, armed with the public health code, eminent domain powers and a bevy of dubious legal techniques, aim to demolish buildings--and, some fear, strip titles from owners--in what are being euphemistically called "forced buyouts." Mr. Rahim is the founder of Common Ground, a homegrown group borne of the aftermath of Katrina. It has established emergency supply distribution centers across southeastern Louisiana, including in the virtually abandoned Lower Ninth Ward, where signs reading "Somebody Lives Here" and "Eminent Domain for Who?" surround the bright blue house that serves as a de facto community center. Common Ground stepped in where government failed. Its Lower Ninth Ward headquarters is on the only street in the district with electricity or communications. Power was restored the morning after Michelle Shin, coordinator of the group's Lower Ninth Ward Project, mentioned it during an interview on ABC's Nightline. The rest of the ward remains in darkness. In the last nine months, liberal New Orleans has seen a radical transformation in beliefs about private property. Katrina came on the heels of the Supreme Court's decision on eminent domain in Kelo v. New London. While the city is today using its public safety police powers to justify the demolition of homes, Common Ground activists fear it may turn to full-scale eminent domain takings over the coming months. New Orleans and the surrounding communities will likely serve as a major battleground between the increasingly mainstream view of neighborhood collectivism and the renegades determined to preserve the sanctity of homeowners' rights. The fight that has been brewing since late last year is now coming to a head....
Will feds assert wildlife control? An official with the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was short on answers Tuesday as Wyoming residents hammered him with questions about a recent memorandum outlining disease eradication in wildlife and livestock. Ryan Clarke, a regional epidemiologist with APHIS, repeatedly said he did not know ultimately how much power the federal agency would assert over states when working to eradicate the disease brucellosis in wildlife and livestock. Brucellosis can cause cattle and wildlife to abort, and has been a source of consternation for government agencies, ranchers and conservationists in northwest Wyoming. Clarke also repeatedly said the mission of his agency is to work cooperatively with state wildlife managers. Clarke made his comments to the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee at a meeting in Jackson. His comments related to a March 23 memorandum from APHIS that said the agency has "broad and expansive authority to seize and dispose of any animal, including wildlife" in the event of "an extraordinary disease emergency." APHIS has long had a hands-off approach to wildlife management, but it also has taken the position that brucellosis should be eradicated, not simply controlled. The elk and bison of the greater Yellowstone area constitute the sole remaining reservoir of brucellosis-infected animals in the country....
Horse rancher finds bridge between old, new Undulating waves of gold rise and fall amid the turbulent sea of the eastern Wyoming plains. Thin white wisps streak across a pastel blue canvas above. The wind eddies in draws and whips through the dormant grass and stunted scrub brush. Against this stark but beautiful backdrop, Steve Mantle ekes out a life in the tradition of ranchers and cowboys before him who tamed the wildness as much as it would permit. "Change is the only constant," Mantle says, brushing his hand through wiry brown hair with a dusting of gray. On the 3,020-acre expanse of land nestled midway between Chugwater and Wheatland known as Mantle Ranch, owner and operator Mantle works to tame wild horses like his father and grandfather before him....
Robert Duvall's path leads down 'Broken Trail' At 75, Robert Duvall is open to new trails. "I always try to think to myself, up to until the day I stop, that life is about being in the potential," he says in a telephone interview. "I always want to have something to give and learn." Despite being nominated for five Academy Awards, Duvall doesn't dismiss television. He is the star and executive producer of "Broken Trail," a two-part Old West miniseries airing 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday, June 25-26, on American Movie Classics (AMC). "Trail" marks the first original miniseries for the channel, known for playing such decades-old iconic films as "The Man From Snowy River" or "The Day The Earth Stood Still." Veteran film director Walter Hill ("Last Man Standing") was behind the camera of "Broken Trail," which was inspired by a true story. Production took four months and was shot mainly in Canada. Duvall plays Print Ritter, an uncle who enlists his estranged nephew (Church) to help in a drive of horses across the Midwest near the end of the 1800s. "I think the western is ours," says Duvall who was also part of CBS's epic western miniseries "Lonesome Dove." "The English have Shakespeare. The French have Moliere. The Russians have Chekhov ... and the western is uniquely ours ... it is our genre, and it's our thing."....
It's All Trew: Past generations better at doing without There's a big difference in the seemingly "throwaway world" of today and the "save it, use it up" world of yesterday. Our modern endless garage sales, acres of flea markets and thrift stores on every corner could not have operated in the past because the public saved and used their items until used up. Only an occasional estate sale featured such items. Yesterday, entire personal wardrobes could be hung behind a bedroom door on nails and the other items placed in a single dresser drawer. Sunday clothes and shoes were only for dress-up, patches were neat, showing pride and frugality, with the latest fashions often missing. Girls were taught almost from birth to save and make items for their dowry, with many owning "hope-chests" or receiving cedar chests upon graduation from high school. Yesterday, young married couples lived for years on less than many weddings cost today. Much of the old-time frugality came because credit did not exist except for business or serious purchases. Few items could be charged unless you were a well-known customer. Few charge accounts were allowed to continue long without payment in full. Saving and doing without was probably easier at this time because most people had just survived the Great Depression and Dust Bowl....

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Rattle of the diamondbacks

By Julie Carter

Not much is more detestable to talk about, see or even think about than snakes. Not your average little garden variety green snake, but the big Boone and Crocket-record book diamondbacks we have in these parts of New Mexico.

If you are still with me, you are like the many that are warily ready to hear the stories told through the ages about these creatures that grow bigger in the minds of men each time the story is told.

The fact that these cold-blooded creatures stir the imagination and conjure up the worst fears known to man makes them an interesting part of our past, present, and future. Stories through the ages are rife with tales of using snake dens to hide gold and treasures. Petroglyph drawings all over the southwest attest to the fascination of snakes for the rock writers of that day.

The role of snakes in everyday life to the dramatics of television and movies assures forever to set the stage for a wide range of emotions. Few people are truly neutral when it comes to snakes.

These critters have slithered into bedrolls, traveled up a catch rope to meet the cowboy trying to whip him to death and fallen out of trees on unsuspecting cowboys. They've made themselves at home under pickup seats, on the engine, or on the spare tire.

I even heard about a couple of cowboys staying in an old ranch house -- one went to town and one went to the couch for a little R&R only to have the couch start rattling. Seems not one but two BIG diamond backs had made prior claim an old couch that came with the house.

I realize some religious sects have a fascination for snakes but I don't understand it. A recent media story told about a girl in India who married a snake -- no, really, not the two-legged kind, but a real King cobra. She married the reptile at a traditional Hindu wedding celebrated by 2,000 guests. She says they love each other. As someone pointed out, don't you just wonder how the family reunions will turn out? Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there are snakes. Big swallow-a-rabbit-whole kind of diamondbacks, that when they are coiled up and doing their rattling thing, the sound is similar to a propane tank that has sprung a leak.

These ominous reptiles have broad flatheads the size of your wallet and bodies as big around as a man's arm. Big doesn't always mean long, but it's more average than not to find them 5-6 feet long.

There are folks who hunt them for the rattlesnake round-ups and other assorted destinations for a still-live snake. Most of us just shoot and ask questions later, or not.

The weapon of choice is a shot-gun but it is my .22 rifle and pistol that have the most "I got'em" notches in it.

The tall boy-child in my house likes to collect the rattles off each one that meets its demise. They are stashed in drawers, boxes, pickup dashboards and an occasional shirt pocket. Nothing starts your morning like sorting laundry and hearing a snake rattle from the pile of laundry you just picked up.

This week it happened to be an extraordinarily large set of rattles 3 1/2- inches long. I was just thankful they weren't still attached to their owner.

Snake stories are like hunting and fishing tales. Everybody's got one and usually it is a bigger and better one than the last one just told.

I like my snake stories to be memorials. May they rest in peace.

Copyright Julie Carter 2006