Friday, August 28, 2009

New Tools for Sustainable Farming

Environmentalists are just as fond of talking about it as are politicians, economists or marketing experts – "sustainability" has become a buzzword. The problem is that the term sustainability can refer to many things and have manifold interpretations. Agricultural scientists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have shed light on the subject. Together with colleagues in theoretical and applied science they have managed to give the term "sustainability" a more definite meaning. They have helped to make this multi-faceted concept quantifiable – a benefit to farmers, food manufacturers and consumers alike. The research question was: How can the sustainability status of farms with available operating data be determined and systematically improved? The goal was very ambitious – to improve the environmental balance of agricultural enterprises without compromising their operating efficiency and social performance. In years of meticulous work to this end, the team of researchers developed indicators and models to analyze, assess and optimize the sustainability of agricultural enterprises. After all, sustainable farming really does benefit everybody: It conserves natural resources, saves energy, reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers, and fosters a healthier environment, more competitive farms and safe foodstuffs. Thanks to their new indicator model, the TUM researchers are now able to describe agricultural enterprises as systems based on their material and energy flows...USNews

Looting of Indian artifacts targeted: Federal crackdown reveals depth of criminal intrigue

What has become the nation's biggest crackdown on dealers of black-market Native American artifacts doesn't lack for intrigue. Armed raids. Secret informers. Sacred objects. Since the investigation began 2 1/2 years ago, 26 people, including a number of well-known antiquities collectors, have been charged in three states. Two suspects committed suicide, one of those a former Scottsdale resident. One man is charged with threatening the life of an informant who spearheaded the inquiry. Using a paid informant identified only as "the Source," agents of the FBI and Bureau of Land Management purchased sacred Hopi kachina masks, Navajo pendants, Pueblo pottery and other artifacts from more than two dozen figures in the Four Corners states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Court records say the civilian operative spent $335,000 buying more than 250 apparently illicit objects. Federal investigators estimate that four-fifths of the nation's archaeological sites have been plundered by amateur collectors and professional thieves. The Four Corners case was nicknamed Cerberus Action in honor of a mythological three-headed dog that guards the gates of Hades. It has been touted by the Interior Department as America's "largest ever undercover operation" targeting looters. Since December 2006, court records say, an informant has been paid more than $224,000 to infiltrate the "network of criminals who pillage archaeological sites." The Source was equipped with video and audio devices as he made deals. Some suspects bragged about illegally obtaining artifacts, pointing out their looting grounds on maps. One defendant vowed to die in a gunfight with federal agents. Another was arrested after he threatened to "take care of" the paid informant. According to affidavits, the Source was an antiquities dealer for years before he began working with investigators in 2007. Federal authorities say he has no criminal history and volunteered to help because he was outraged by the black market...azcentral

Wolves kill 120 sheep at ranch near Dillon

Kathy Konen has lost guard dogs to wolves in the past, but nothing prepared the Dillon rancher for the killing of 120 buck sheep last week. "They were in the sagebrush, on the creek bottom - just all over the pasture," Konen said Thursday. "It's a terrible loss to our livestock program." Konen said they discovered the attack Aug. 16 while checking their sheep in the Rock Creek drainage of the Blacktail Mountains south of Dillon, where they pasture buck sheep in summer. She said they check their sheep every two or three days, so the attack was recent. She and her husband, Jon, immediately called officials with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which sent out a federal trapper to investigate the scene. The trapper found numerous carcasses of sheep that had been killed by wolves, said Carolyn Sime, FWP wolf program coordinator. The total included 82 confirmed kills and 40 carcasses that were classified as probable kills, including some that had been eaten by bears. The attack occurred on private land the Konens own. It's not the first attack that the Konens have had this summer. They lost 26 sheep to wolves in the same pasture in July, she said. After that attack, FWP authorized federal trappers to remove three wolves that had been observed in the area...BillingsGazette

On Energy, Obama Finds Broad Support

Most Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling energy issues and support efforts by him and Democrats in Congress to overhaul energy policy -- including the controversial cap-and-trade approach to limiting greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Even as public support has slipped for Obama's health-care proposals, support for ambitious changes in energy policy has been steady. Although the issue of health care arouses more intense feelings than energy policy does, those who do feel strongly about energy and climate policy tend to tilt toward the administration's position and a broad majority of people echo Democratic lawmakers' views on the benefits of proposed changes. Nearly six in 10 of those polled support the proposed changes to U.S. energy policy being developed by Congress and the administration. Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the issue, compared with 30 percent who do not. A narrower majority, 52 to 43 percent, back a cap-and-trade system; that margin is unchanged since June...WPOst

EPA says wells in Wyoming show possible pollution from frac'ing

Government scientists believe they have found indications that natural-gas drilling activities may have polluted groundwater sources in Wyoming. Scientists testing water from domestic wells in the area around Pavillion, Wyo., for the Environmental Protection Agency say they have found methane gas, hydrocarbons, lead and copper in water from the well of a rancher named Louis Meeks. When Meeks submitted water from a second well, according to reports published by the ProPublica nonprofit news organization, the same substances were detected. Scientists reportedly found traces of those and other contaminants, known to be used in drilling procedures, in 11 of 39 wells tested since March. The company with wells near Meeks' land, the Canadian-based energy giant, EnCana, reportedly has begun supplying Meeks' ranch with potable water until further tests can be completed. This reportedly is the first time the EPA has undertaken its own water analysis in response to complaints of contamination in drilling areas...PostIndependent

More than 1,500 ordered to flee Calif. wildfires

Wildfires chewed through tinder-dry brush up and down California on Friday, forcing hundreds to flee ritzy seaside neighborhoods, comfortable foothill suburbs and tiny farming communities. Up to 1,500 people were ordered to evacuate from the wealthy seaside community of Rancho Palos Verdes, Fire Inspector Frederic Stowers said early Friday. He said the mandatory evacuations were ordered until 6 a.m. Friday. The wealthy communities on the Palos Verdes Peninsula south of Los Angeles are in an area known for horse trails, spectacular Pacific Ocean views, pricey real estate and exclusive golf clubs, including the Trump National Golf Club owned by Donald Trump. Helicopters dropped water on the 100-acre blaze, slowing its progression toward homes, but there was no containment early Friday, Stowers said...AP

FEMA Despoils Desert, Environmentalists Say

FEMA is destroying rare desert riverine habitat by encouraging and insuring development in flood plains, putting endangered species such as the jaguar and the southwestern willow flycatcher at greater risk, WildEarth Guardians claims in Federal Court. Through its administration of the National Flood Insurance Program, FEMA has insured structures in some of Arizona's most threatened watersheds and floodplains, including the Colorado River and Gila River watersheds, according to the New Mexico-based nonprofit that has about 500 members in Arizona. "FEMA encourages development in riparian areas and flood plains that destroys remnant portions of habitat relied upon by threatened and endangered species in Arizona, and that leads to the increased fragmentation of this habitat to the detriment of species survival and recovery," according to the complaint...CourthouseNews

How Many Biologists Does It Take to Count a Dead Grizzly?

On December 17, 2004, Louisa Willcox of the Natural Resources Defense Council convened a collection of U.S. grizzly bear advocates in Bozeman, Montana, with a call to arms. Under threat of lawsuit from the governor of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planned a fast-track removal of Yellowstone’s grizzly bears from the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Convinced that such a move—under the sorts of conditions proposed by the agency—could send the park’s grizzlies on a downward spiral toward extinction, Willcox figured the activists and lawyers gathered had about a year to either derail the process, or get ready to sue. Those responding to her call were the heavy-hitters of northern Rocky Mountain nonprofits: conservation lawyers who had successfully defended Yellowstone’s wolf reintroduction program, and built a tenuous consensus around the idea of reintroducing grizzlies to the remote Selway-Bitterroot wilderness of central Idaho and western Montana; attorneys from the firm that won the case (if only temporarily) for Bill Clinton’s roadless initiative, who stopped Crown Butte from digging its New World Mine cyanide heap leach gold mine at the northeastern corner of Yellowstone, and who won their case to phase snowmobiles out of that park. It was not, however, an amiable gathering. Within minutes, old alliances and grudges reared their ugly heads...CounterPunch

Yellowstone the focus of bio-blitz

Approximately 80 academics and scores of additional National Park Service employees and volunteers will scour a segment of Yellowstone National Park on Friday. Their goal: Document every plant and animal species observed over that period of time. The event is being called a bio-blitz. The concept has been used to document the biological diversity of a number of smaller parks around the nation, but now makes its way to the crown jewel of America’s national park system. “Other park service units have done this, but we’ve never done one in Yellowstone National Park,” said Ann Rodman, geographic information systems specialist for Yellowstone. “To be honest, we’re really not sure what to expect.” While the park conducts annual surveys for its larger mammal species such as elk and bison, Rodman notes that many of the smaller lifeforms living within Yellowstone National Park have somehow slipped through the cracks throughout the years...PowellTribune

Bee calamity clarified

An illness that has been decimating US honeybees for more than three years probably isn't caused by a single virus, but by multiple viruses that wear down the bees' ability to produce proteins that can guard them against infection, according to a new study. Cells taken from bees that had succumbed to colony collapse disorder (CCD) were cluttered with ribosomal RNA fragments, suggesting that the bees had trouble translating genetic material into functional proteins, Berenbaum and her colleagues report today (August 24) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Berenbaum and colleagues at the US Department of Agriculture screened thousands of transcripts in the guts of bees from both healthy and CCD-stricken colonies from the east and west coasts of the US. CCD bees had several unusual RNA fragments resulting from broken, malfunctioning ribosomes. Multiple infections with a family of viruses called the picorna-like viruses, which seem to especially afflict CCD bees, could cause the appearance of such RNA fragments as they overwhelmed ribosomes and limited the cells' ability to manufacture functioning proteins. Bees that are not able to make proteins cannot mount effective responses to viral or bacterial infection or respond to dietary shortages, Berenbaum said. Although the study didn't uncover a single cause for CCD, said Dan Weaver, a Texas-based apiculturist who was not involved with the research, it "provides some hints and suggestive evidence that maybe there's a general impairment of bees' ability to cope with pathogens at a basic regulatory step."...TheScientist

Cattle from Canada under investigation

Washington state is investigating a herd of cattle in Stevens County that may have violated state-entry requirements when they arrived from Canada. "We are in the middle of investigating why they haven't met Washington's animal health or entry requirements," Washington State Veterinarian Leonard Eldridge said. "My investigators and brand inspectors have been in the area where the cattle are running." Eldridge said a time frame has been set for the ranchers under investigation to present the herd to the state for testing. Eldridge declined to comment further until the investigation is complete. He also declined to name the cattle owner or identify the number of cattle being investigated. "Be assured we are on top of the investigation," he said. "I do have the individual animal identification on every one of those animals as it came across the border, so I know what I'm dealing with." Some neighbors are concerned the animals may have commingled with their cattle, Eldridge said. "If indeed that has happened and these cattle have not met Washington's animal health requirement, that is a violation," he said. "If there are diseased cattle, it will affect all surrounding cattle," said Len McIrvin, partner at Diamond M Ranch, which is adjacent to the herd under investigation. Wade King, president of the Cattle Producers of Washington, said his organization has closely watched the investigation. Several members are affected, he said. "These cattle were destined for a dry feedlot down in the Basin and were diverted from the port of entry directly to this ranch property in Northport," King said...CapitalPress

Bovine TB creates hassles, few losses for ranchers

Bovine tuberculosis has created costly problems for the cattle industry in states where the disease has appeared, but it appears to be a manageable threat. Nebraska and Texas are investigating positive cases of bovine tuberculosis to determine whether there has been an outbreak of the disease already confirmed in California, Minnesota, Michigan and New Mexico. The disease is considered untreatable in cattle, so both infected and uninfected animals in a herd usually are killed when bovine tuberculosis is found. But cattlemen and others say few cases have been confirmed and the disease is proving more of a nuisance than a real threat to their roughly $60 billion industry. "The fear and the phobia that's been caused by all of this has been much more damaging than anything to do with the disease," said Bim Nelson, who runs Bassett Livestock Auction in north-central Nebraska, where two cases of the disease were found in one herd. For cattlemen in states where the disease is present, the biggest problem related to bovine tuberculosis is the cost and hassle of testing cattle before they are shipped over state lines. On average, testing adds $5 to $15 per head to the cattle industry's costs...AP

NM ag workers seek compensation

New Mexico is hearing a debate over whether agriculture workers need to be included in the state-run workers compensation system. A group of civil rights organizations is suing to have New Mexico agricultural workers included. On the other side, Roosevelt County wheat and beef producer Matt Rush said most farmers and ranchers provide insurance for employees and don’t need another government mandate. The workers compensation task force the Legislature appointed gave the opinion the current system is working and the state shouldn’t mandate that agriculture participate in workers compensation, Rush said. If producers didn’t offer health coverage or give employees money to buy their own policies, Rush said, workers would go elsewhere. Walter Bradley, government and business affairs director for the Dairy Farmers of America in Clovis, said DFA polled New Mexico dairies. Of the 90 percent who responded, all have health insurance for their employees, mainly through private sources. Bradley said dairies and farms having loans — as most do — are required by the bank to carry such coverage. “The bottom line is that dairies and farms have coverage, and there’s no evidence to show that those costs should be raised,” Bradley said. Joining the state workers compensation system would triple producers’ expenses, Bradley said. Rush said he found estimates the move could increase production costs 50 percent to 60 percent. “It would literally put a large portion of New Mexico agriculture out of business because the profit margins are so slim right now anyway,” he said...PortalesNewsTribune

Farm to Hub to Table - New Nonprofit Feeds Appetite For Local Food

But this month, Proutt's tomatoes showed up in a salad of local lettuces and carrots at JABA's day center in Charlottesville. Proutt dropped off his harvest at the Local Food Hub, a new nonprofit group that aggregated his produce along with that of 20 other local small farmers and delivered it to JABA's central kitchen. Projects like the Hub are popping up around the country. And they could be the missing link between supply of and demand for products grown close to home. In Louisville, Grasshoppers Distribution sells the produce of 100 state farmers to 75 restaurants and schools. In Burlington, Vt., the nonprofit Intervale Center is aggregating produce from 20 farmers to sell to individuals and, this winter, to local restaurants, hospitals and universities. In Northern California, the pioneering Growers Collaborative estimates that over the past year it delivered 400 tons of local produce to Kaiser Permanente's 19 regional hospitals. Such networks also are a priority for the Obama administration, which hopes they will improve rural economies and promote healthful eating: "What we've got to do is change how we think about, for example, getting local farmers connected to school districts because that would benefit the farmers delivering fresh produce," Obama told the Organizing for America health-care forum last week...WPost

But Above Everything Else, Bev Walters Is A Cowboy

More at home on the range than anywhere else, this septuagenarian is a hallmark of the Valley. Santa Ynez local Bev Walter celebrates her 77th birthday the day this story appears in print, which, by extension is a celebration of her long life as an artist, actress, rodeo rider, show rider and, beyond everything else, a cowboy. “I’m a cowboy, not a cowgirl,” Walter states emphatically. “Cowboying is a profession.” In conversation, it is evident this is a mistake many have made before, but Walter is unafraid to correct it. She has always worked on a ranch, she says, and, up until a riding accident in 2000, she’s done the work male cowboys do, including building fences, branding, castrating, roping and hauling horses and cattle. Cowgirls are more about the riding, she says, although Walter has certainly done her fair share of that as well. For years, Walter and her two sisters rode off and on with famed trick rider and performer Montie Montana in his traveling show. “Montie was a dear, dear friend and a mentor,” Walter says. “He taught me a lot about breaking horses and a repertoire of the horse tricks for making children laugh. We used to go to the hospitals and perform for the children with the horses.” She didn’t like traveling, though, and always found herself back on a ranch...SantaYnezValleyJournal

Eulogy for Elmer Kelton: An author as beloved as his books

The following eulogy was delivered at the funeral of Elmer Kelton Thursday afternoon by the Rev. Ricky Burk, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church: In his autobiography, “Sandhills Boy,” Elmer says he discovered America on April 29, 1926, at Horse Camp on the Five Wells Ranch a few miles east of Andrews, Texas. His mother often told him that it was a wet, stormy day and the first few weeks were equally stormy for Elmer and his parents. Elmer was born prematurely, and his mother kept him in a shoebox and often in the oven in order to keep him warm and help him survive those first perilous weeks. Although he grew up on a ranch, Elmer and horses never connected. He said it might have begun before he was even able to walk. His father was working half-broken horses and his mom was sitting on the fence holding him and watching her husband. Dad decided it was time for Elmer to have his first ride, so he placed Elmer in front of him in the saddle. The bronc immediately began to pitch while Dad held on to the reigns with one hand and Elmer with the other. He calmly worked the bucking bronc around to where mom was seated on the fence and handed off Elmer like a quarterback handing off a football. Elmer said that from that day forward his relationship with horses went downhill...GoSanAngelo

Into the sunset: Friends, family bid farewell to Kelton

The funeral for Elmer Kelton began with western tunes recorded by “The Sons of the Pioneers” and ended with the writer’s favorite hymn, “Just as I Am.” In between, the friends, family members and fans gathered at the First United Methodist Church Thursday shared laughter, tears and a lesson. Drawing on personal recollections as well as material from Elmer’s novels and autobiography, the Rev. Ricky Burk, senior pastor at the church, remembered the writer, the man, and what he gave us. “Through the characters of his writings Elmer taught us a lot about life,” the pastor said in his eulogy. “His books were about basic human nature, the struggles we all face.” Ricky said Elmer once wrote his characters are “not the traditional Western fictional heroes, standing up to a villain for one splendid moment of glory. They are quiet but determined men and women who stand their ground year after year in a fight they can never fully win, against an unforgiving enemy they know will return to challenge them again and again so long as they live. “They are the true heroes.”...AbileneReporter

Song Of The Day #119

I've had several folks ask if I had today's selection. They don't remember the artist or the title of the song, but they do remember what it is about.

The song is I'm Tying The Leaves (So They Won't Come Down). The song was written by E.S.S. Huntingdon & J. Fred Helf and was first recorded in 1907 by Byron G. Harlan. If you want the original 1907 recording you can download it for free here. In addition to the Harlan recording, I have it by Jimmy Greer & Mac O Chee Valley Boys, Kenny Roberts, Grandpa Jones and Lulu Belle & Scotty. It's the Lulu Belle & Scotty recording that Ranch Radio will offer today, and it's available on their CD Down Memory Lane With Lulu Belle and Scotty.

The song is simple, but the imagery is powerful and that's what folks remember.

If only we could just tie the leaves.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Obama to Spend Billions on Oil Exploration…In Brazil

That’s right, the Wall Street Journal reports, $2 billion of your tax dollars will soon be going to the state-owned Brazilian oil company, Petrobras so they can explore the off-shore Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin. The WSJ wrote, “The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a ‘preliminary commitment’ letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount.” This money will come either in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. One might look at the massive national dept, suffering economy, failing Post Office, failing Cash For Clunkers program, billions for bailouts, billions for ‘stimulus,’ and the fact that we already had to work until August 12th this year just to pay for the current costs of government, and ask “How can we afford to pay Brazil to do something we don’t even allow in our own country?”...ATR

EPA Whistleblower’s Office May Get Shut Down

Following a whistleblower report that criticized a global warming rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly considering shutting down the agency office in which the critical report originated. Dr. Alan Carlin, the senior analyst whose report EPA unsuccessfully tried to bury, worked in EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE). According to a story in last Friday’s Inside EPA, the agency is now considering shutting that office down. The Washington Times ran an editorial yesterday, critical of the potential shut down of the internal review office by the EPA: In June, the Competitive Enterprise Institute made waves by releasing internal e-mails from the Environmental Protection Agency. In those messages, a top administrator told a key researcher that the researcher’s new report would not be released. Why? Because it does “not help the legal or policy case” for a controversial decision to treat global warming as a health hazard. In short, because researcher Alan Carlin’s conclusions differed from the administration’s political agenda, his research was ignored. CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman appeared on the G. Gordon Liddy radio show yesterday to talk about the scandal, and the EPA’s plans to shutter the office that produced the controversial report. Kazman reiterated what he said in a statement on Monday about the issue: “Economists are the most likely professionals within EPA to examine the real-world effects of its policies,” said Kazman. “For this reason, the NCEE is a restraining force on the agency’s out-of-this-world regulatory ambitions. EPA would love to get that office out of the way, especially since it has within it civil servants like Dr. Carlin, who are willing to expose the truth about EPA’s plan to restrict energy use in the name of global warming.”...OpenMarket

So much for sticking to science.

Study Warns of ‘Energy Sprawl’

A paper published on Tuesday by the Nature Conservancy predicts that by 2030, energy production in the United States will occupy a land area larger than Minnesota — in large part owing to the pursuit of domestic clean energy. The authors call it “energy sprawl” — a term meant to draw attention to habitat destruction, and to warn that biofuels in particular will take up substantial amounts of land. “There’s a good side and a bad side of renewable production,” said Robert McDonald, a Nature Conservancy scientist and one of the authors, in a telephone interview. The paper looked at several scenarios, including a “base-case” derived from current Energy Information Agency forecasts for the country’s energy mix in 2030, as well as various permutations of efforts to cap greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. The study took into account only land impacts in the United States...NYTimes

Secretary Salazar Announces $13 Million Contract for Navajo Indian Irrigation Project Pumping Plants

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation has awarded Archer Western Contractors, Ltd. of Phoenix, Arizona, a $13 million contract to construct two pumping plants near Farmington, New Mexico. The pumping plants are key features for continued development of the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project. That ongoing project, which Reclamation is developing for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, provides water for the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry farming enterprise of the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation Irrigation Project, which was begun in 1964, is now 70 percent complete. Under the new contract, the Phoenix firm will construct the pumping plants over the next two year period. The contract covers complete construction of the pumping facilities including buildings, electrical work, installation of electronic operating controls, and installation of the pumps. The associated pipe laterals that will carry the water will be constructed through a future contract. The pumping plants are located about 14 miles south of Farmington, New Mexico and are scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2011. “When these pumping plants and pipe laterals are completed, an additional 5,166 acres of irrigation capacity will be added to the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project,” Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor announced...PressRelease

Song Of The Day #118

Before there was Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys and before Monroe created the format that would become bluegrass, there was The Monroe Brothers, Charlie & Bill. They recorded 60 tracks for Bluebird from 1936 to 1938, and broke up in 1938.

I've selected two songs from their recordings. First is their 1938 recording of Have A Feast Here Tonight which showcases Bill's skill on the mandolin and presages the virtuoso he would become on that instrument. Second is their 1937 recording of Do You Call That Religion? because many of their recordings were gospel, and because the Owner/Producer/Manager of Ranch Radio really likes that song.

You can get 30 of their songs from Rounder Records Vol.1 & Vol.2, or you can get them all on the Bear Family 6 disc box set Bill Monroe - Blue Moon Of Kentucky 1936-1949.

Court’s Steroid Ruling Pumps Up Computer Privacy

A divided 11-judge federal appeals court panel has dramatically narrowed the government’s search-and-seizure powers in the digital age, ruling Wednesday that federal prosecutors went too far when seizing 104 professional baseball players’ drug results when they had a warrant for just 10. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ 9-2 decision offered Miranda-style guidelines to prosecutors and judges on how to protect Fourth Amendment privacy rights while conducting computer searches. Ideally, when searching a computer’s hard drive, the government should cull the specific data described in the search warrant, rather than copy the entire drive, the San Francisco-based appeals court ruled. When that’s not possible, the feds must use an independent third party under the court’s supervision, whose job it would be to comb through the files for the specific information, and provide it, and nothing else, to the government. Judges, the appellate court added, should be wary of prosecutors and perhaps “deny the warrant altogether” if the government does not consent to such a plan in data-search cases...Wired

S.D. National Guard leader: Pentagon control of local troops would create chaos

The state’s adjutant general of the South Dakota National Guard and Gov. Mike Rounds are among state leaders opposed to a Pentagon proposal involving control of how part-time military troops are used in any state. At the heart of the disagreement is who will command troops when they are sent to a particular state to deal with a hurricane, wildfire or other disaster. The military justifies a change in law as a natural extension of its use of federal forces. The governors see the Pentagon move as a strike at state sovereignty. Rounds agrees with the National Governors Association’s opposition to the plan. “When we’re dealing with natural disasters, we’ve got a response system in place that works,” Rounds said in an e-mail statement. “Sometimes you need more forces, such as reservists, as part of the existing structure to respond to emergencies. We do not want a separate Pentagon chain of command that would complicate response efforts.”...RapidCityJournal

Mexico's new drug use law worries US police

Mexico now has one of the world's most liberal laws for drug users after eliminating jail time for small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and even heroin, LSD and methamphetamine. But stunned police on the U.S. side of the border say the law contradicts President Felipe Calderon's drug war, and some fear it could make Mexico a destination for drug-fueled spring breaks and tourism. Tens of thousands of American college students flock to Cancun and Acapulco each year to party at beachside discos offering wet T-shirt contests and all-you-can-drink deals. Enacted last week, the Mexican law is part of a growing trend across Latin America to treat drug use as a public health problem and make room in overcrowded prisons for violent traffickers rather than small-time users. Supporters of the change point to Portugal, which removed jail terms for drug possession for personal use in 2001 and still has one of the lowest rates of cocaine use in Europe. Portugal's law defines personal use as the equivalent of what one person would consume over 10 days...AP

More people caught at U.S.-Mexico border with fraudulent, stolen or purchased documents

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers report an upswing in so-called impostors and fraudulent document cases at U.S. ports of entry in recent years, as the government has increased border enforcement and cracked down on illegal crossings. The number of people caught at the nation's ports of entry with fraudulent, stolen or purchased documents grew from about 23,500 in 2006 to more than 28,000 in 2008 — an increase of about 19 percent, according to CBP statistics. Warren Burr, the director of CBP's fraudulent document unit in Virginia, estimated that about 90 percent of cases involved documents seized at the ports of entry from impostors with legitimate paperwork, such as U.S. passports, green cards and border crossing cards. On the enforcement side, the U.S. government has also stepped up prosecutions of fraudulent document cases...USAToday

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

U.S. needs climate law before Copenhagen: officials

The United States needs to have a climate change law in place before international talks on a climate pact begin in December, two top Obama administration officials said on Monday. The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed legislation in June to cut U.S. carbon emissions from utilities, manufacturers and others 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The Senate is set to take up its own version of the bill in September when lawmakers return from their summer recess. It is unclear whether the bill will make it into law before the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December. The highly contentious debate over health care reform is likely to crowd the legislative agenda in the fall. "We think it is important for the president to be empowered to be able to say to the rest of the world that America stands ready to lead on this issue," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters after an energy briefing at the White House...Reuters

U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeks trial on global warming

The nation's largest business lobby wants to put the science of global warming on trial. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to ward off potentially sweeping federal emissions regulations, is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change. Chamber officials say it would be "the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" -- complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect. The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change. If the EPA denies the request, as expected, the chamber plans to take the fight to federal court. The EPA is having none of it, calling a hearing a "waste of time" and saying that a threatened lawsuit by the chamber would be "frivolous."...LATimes

UPDATE: The Chamber petition is available here, and they are not challenging the science behind global warming, but whether "EPA has demonstrated, as a matter of law, that greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles in the U.S. endanger public health or welfare.”

Government Agencies Would Need $16.6 Billion in New Tax Revenue to Buy Carbon Allowances Under Global Warming Legislation

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study says that all levels of government – federal, state, and local – will have to come up with a total of $16.6 billion in additional revenue to purchase carbon allowances, if cap-and-trade – to allegedly combat global warming -- is enacted into law. Experts say this could prompt increases in taxes. This is the second government report to estimate that the proposed climate-change legislation, formally known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, will eventually cost consumers more. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study published on June 19 revealed that the House cap-and-trade bill, passed by a 219 to 212 vote on June 26, would cost an estimated $175 per household every year...CNSNews

Gee, seems like this may hit people making less than $250,000 a year.

Jury finds BLM, DuPont negligent in land case

A federal jury has found the Bureau of Land Management and E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. negligent in the use of an herbicide blamed for damaging thousands of acres of crops across a broad swath of southern Idaho. The jury found the BLM negligent in its decision to use of the powerful herbicide Oust to control invasive weeds on public lands burned by wildfires in 1999 and 2000. The verdict reached Monday in U.S. District Court in Boise, also found DuPont responsible for selling a product that was defective and unreasonably dangerous and lacking adequate warnings. The verdict was welcome news to some of the 130 farmers whose potatoes, sugar beets, grains and corn crops were destroyed for several years when winds blew the powdery herbicide on to their nearby farmland...AP

Three Views of the Wolf Wars: A Hunter, Advocate, and Game Official Speak Out

This is a long, but interesting piece and can be read at New West.

Local Rancher Loses Thousands to Wolves

The time has come for what Idaho hunters and ranchers have been looking forward to for years: tags to kill wolves are on sale now. There was a slight hiccup Monday afternoon. Fish and Game's computer system went down for about 20 minutes but it's back up and running. More than four thousand tags have been sold statewide so far and locally about 40 tags have gone out the door to eager hunters at Sportsmen's Warehouse. A local rancher has dealt with huge losses from the wolves and he, like many hunters, is getting the guns ready. "Since 1895, the Siddoways have been running sheep in this country," said Jeff Siddoway whose great grandfather started the sheep business. It's been in the family for more than a century and the fourth generation Siddoway sells lambs, bucks and ewes. But this year, he's lost more than $35,000 worth of livestock to what he calls vicious predators of the wild. "Every day, every night you're out there trying to find them, protect whatever you have to do to keep them away...but you know they're going to come back and do you some damage," explained Siddoway. Last week, Fish and Game commissioners decided hunters could harvest 220 wolves within the state. Siddoway says he's disappointed they choose the lower quota but doesn't believe they'll be able to kill that many...LocalNews8

There's a video report available at the linked site.

BLM cuts energy leasing in Wyoming range

The Bureau of Land Management has decided that thousands of acres in the Wyoming Range will be off-limits to oil and gas drilling, state BLM Director Don Simpson said. Energy companies had purchased 23 leases on 24,000 acres of the land in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, but the BLM held off on issuing the leases when conservation groups protested. Simpson did not elaborate on the BLM's decision, which he announced Sunday. Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, conservationists and hunting outfitters attended the announcement. Dustin Child, an outfitter whose camp is in the Wyoming Range, said he was happy with the decision. "It's great," Child said. "It gives me great hope. We've probably won the battle." An additional 20,000 acres are also part of that challenge by conservationists, and the U.S. Forest Service is expected to address that land next month after completing an air quality analysis as part of an environmental study...AP

Minerals industry may face fee hikes

Under pressure to shore up federal budgets, the Obama administration has proposed several measures to speed up payments and increase processing fees on the minerals industry. For example, a $4,000-per-well processing fee that originated in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 would swell to $6,500 per well. Another proposal would strip away the industry's ability to deduct drilling and other "intangible" expenses. On the coal front, there's a push to require that federal coal "bonus bids" be paid in lump-sum at the time of lease rather than the usual five-year payment plan. In a letter to Congress this week, Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States executive director Marc Smith said the measures are sold as an elimination of unnecessary subsidies. If enacted, the measures would severely cut available capital needed to continue to develop domestic energy resources, he said. "That means less capital available to be put back into drilling more wells, developing American energy, creating jobs and generating revenue for federal, state and local governments," Smith wrote to Congress...BillingsGazette

Spotted owls block Skamania wind farm expansion

Plans for a wind farm on some state land in Skamania County are on hold because it’s spotted owl habitat. The Department of Natural Resources is no longer considering leasing 2,560 acres to the SDS Lumber Co. for possible future expansion of the proposed Whistling Ridge Energy Project. “The reason it was withdrawn was because of issues with endangered species,” DNR spokesman Aaron Toso told the The Vancouver Columbian. “It will give us some time to work with the federal services to see how we can make wind energy work with our habitat conservation plan.” Last month, the agency found itself having to defend the Radar Ridge wind turbine lease on forest land in Pacific County after a team of biologists said the proposed turbines would harm or kill marbled murrelets, robin-sized seabirds that nest in that specific tract of old-growth trees near the coast...DailyWorld

Yup, that's our policy: habitat for animals trumps clean energy for humans.

Human needs should come first in environmental policy

Ever hear of the Yellowstone Sand Verbena? Probably not, since the only place this plant is currently known to grow in North America is a beach in the national park bearing that name in Wyoming. Or how about the Meltwater Lednian Stonefly, which is only found in Glacier National Park in Montana? That one will be gone by 2030, thanks to global warming, assuming global warming is a reality, as claimed by some scientists. Or it may be frozen by the new little ice age predicted by other scientists. These are two of 29 species -- including 20 plants, six snails, two insects and a fish -- the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says may require federal actions to avoid extinction under the Endangered Species Act. As Examiner Columnist and Chapman University Law School professor Hugh Hewitt explains elsewhere in today's edition, such policies will "essentially sequester large swaths of private property from all use for years." There won't be a dime of compensation for the private property owners involved, either. But the injustices to private property owners hardly begin to describe the full human toll exacted by current law, which embodies a fundamentally unbalanced view of the proper relationship between man and nature...WashingtonExaminer

Wild pigs increasing damage to Fresno Co. ag

Fresno County farmers and ranchers are accustomed to dealing with tiny insects and plant diseases. But their latest pest is a big one, weighing in at more than 100 pounds. And it has a voracious appetite. Wild pigs are ranging over more of Fresno County and causing more damage. "It used to be just rangeland that they would root up or livestock ponds that they would wallow in and destroy," said Fred Rinder, Fresno County Department of Agriculture's wildlife and weed management supervisor. "But not any more." These days, the pigs are venturing from the foothills in eastern and western Fresno County to devour oranges, almonds, grapes and vegetables on Valley farms. Their rooting can destroy berms and rip through irrigation lines. While many of the pigs average about 100 pounds, some have grown much larger. "A big 300-pound pig will rub up against an almond tree and put a 30-degree lean on that tree," Rinder said. At Harris Farms River Ranch near Sanger, as many as 200 pigs have been caught and killed over the last several years...FresnoBee

'I wanna be a cowgirl for a lifetime'

For a few hours Tuesday, a Bothell girl forgot about her life-threatening illness and lived her life-long wish. Saddling up to Sugar Pie is more than a horse ride for Alyssa McCarron-Thompson. It's her dream. "I wanna be a cowgirl for a lifetime, or until I get tired of horses," she said. The horse ranch in Maple Valley is a world away from the hospitals and headaches that have haunted this 7-year-old since April. Doctors discovered a brain tumor behind Alyssa's eyes. Surgeons could only remove 35 percent of the second grader's tumor. "If you took it all out, it would have messed up my eyesight," Alyssa said. Doctors say there's a strong chance it could grow back. Tuesday, the Make A Wish Foundation swapped her hospital gown for cowboy boots. Real life cowboys taught Alyssa the ropes, such as how to round up cows, and cut a calf from the herd, and that some ranchers have hearts as gold as her boot tips. "We're just here to help make her wish," said rancher Duane Herbert...KOMO-TV

End of the Line for Dude Ranches?

The Old West’s dude ranches have been dwindling for years, but home on the range this summer is starting to look like an Indian massacre. “Dude ranches in Colorado and elsewhere in the West are only at 60 to 70 percent capacity this summer, the Cody, Wyoming-based Dude Ranchers Association (DRA) admitted to the Associated Press,” said That has translated into much lower prices. “With business down, some ranches are offering shorter stays, slashing already low children’s rates and including additional extras such as free massages,” the site said. The AP said the current problem for dude ranches is that they are not attracting enough ‘dudes and dudettes.’” Even before this summer, however, “the number of dude ranches is slowly decreasing,” wrote The Wall Street Journal more than two years ago...HotelInteractive

'Mayor of Mud Springs' a true Old West character

Bill Bowden remembers going off to Sunday school class each week in the mid-1920s hoping that his regular teacher would be absent. What he and the other boys in the small San Dimas church were hoping for was the appearance of a quiet man in his early 70s as their substitute teacher. Bowden and the rest of the boys knew it didn't take much to draw this teacher away from Bible study and into the Old West. Soon their teacher would be regaling them with colorful tales of Geronimo or Wyatt Earp or Tombstone, Ariz. or even the gold rush in the Yukon. The teacher was San Dimas citrus rancher John P. Clum, who could tell great stories because he had lived through most of them himself. "He had a perpetual twinkle in his eye and a soft voice," said Bowden, a resident of Goldsboro, N.C., when he wrote a recollection for the San Dimas Historical Society. "These were the Sundays we liked. Not because we didn't like David and Goliath, but Mr. Clum told us Indian stories. Stories like you wouldn't believe ..." After years in the mining towns of the West and Klondike, Clum spent some of his latter years in the relative quiet of a West Cienega Street ranch in San Dimas. While there, he was jokingly called the Mayor of Mud Springs, a reference to San Dimas' original name and because he was once mayor - in fact, the first mayor - of Tombstone. He went to Rutgers College as a divinity student but quit to take a job with the War Department. He was among the first employees of the new Meteorological Service, later the National Weather Service. After a long train trip to Colorado, he rode a bumpy stagecoach the remaining 100 miles to Santa Fe, N.M., carrying his fragile barometer in one hand and a derby hat in another, according a story he would tell friends. He made New Mexico's first official weather observation in November 1871...DailyBulletin

Song Of The Day #117

Ranch Radio is offering some early Gene Autry this morning, with his recording of The End Of The Trail

While Gene sings about a picture, the original The End Of The Trail was a sculpture by James Earle Fraser:

It was for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915 that Fraser produced his most recognized work, the doleful "End of the Trail." While intended to be cast in bronze, material shortages due to the war prevented this, and the original plaster statue slowly deteriorated until it was obtained by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1968 and restored. The restored statue is currently on display in the entryway of the Oklahoma City museum, and the original that sat in Visalia, CA, was replaced with a bronze replica. Fraser was later to remark that he should have copyrighted the image and that many people, painters, print and calendar makers and even other sculptors, made more profit from this work than he did.

Today's selection is available on Autry's 12 track Back in the Saddle Again by Sony Records.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Impact of the Waxman-Markey Climate Change Legislation on New Mexico

On June 26, a 1,427-page climate change bill introduced by Representatives Henry Waxman (D–CA) and Edward Markey (D–MA) passed the House by a narrow margin. The bill, also known as Waxman–Markey, includes a number of alarming provisions, chief among them a cap-and-trade program that would attempt to curb global warming by imposing strict upper limits on the emission of six greenhouse gases, with the primary emphasis on carbon dioxide (CO2). The mechanism for capping these emissions requires emitters to acquire federally created permits (or "allowances") for each ton of greenhouse gas emitted.

Because these allowances carry a price—and because 85 percent of the United States' energy needs come from carbon-emitting fossil fuels—Waxman–Markey is best described as a significant tax on energy use. Since everything Americans use and produce requires energy, the tax hits U.S. pocketbooks again and again. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis forecasts severe consequences, including skyrocketing energy costs, millions of jobs lost, and falling household income and economic activity—all for negligible changes in the global temperature.[1]

Workers and families in New Mexico may be wondering how cap-and-trade legislation would affect their income, their jobs, and the cost of energy. Implementing Waxman-Markey would put a chokehold on New Mexico's economic potential, reducing gross state product by $2.93 billion in 2035.

Consumers would be hit hard. Between 2012 (when the restrictions first apply) and 2035 (the last year of this analysis), the prices of electricity and gasoline will rise sharply when compared to prices in a world without cap and trade. By 2035, Americans living in the state of New Mexico will see their electricity prices rise by $1,271.33 and their gasoline prices rise by $1.26 per gallon solely because of Waxman-Markey.

As the economy adjusts to shrinking gross domestic product (GDP) and rising energy prices, employment will take a big hit in New Mexico. Beginning in 2012, job losses will be 9,875 higher than without a cap-and-trade bill in place. And the number of jobs lost will only go up, increasing to 11,450 by 2035.

Contrary to the claims of an economic boost from green investment and green job creation and "postage stamp" costs, the Waxman-Markey climate change legislation does the complete opposite by increasing energy prices-thereby causing a considerable reduction in the rate of economic growth, the amount of GDP, household incomes, and employment.

David W. Kreutzer, Ph.D., is Senior Policy Analyst for Energy Economics and Climate Change, Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D., is Policy Analyst in Macroeconomics, William W. Beach is Director of the Center for Data Analysis, Ben Lieberman is Senior Policy Analyst in Energy and the Environment, and Nicolas D. Loris is a Research Assistant in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

[1]Chip Knappenberger, Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (the IPCC-Based Arithmetic of No Gain), MasterResource, May 6, 2009, at (August 3, 2009).

Experts: water issue crucial in world climate deal

Thousands of scientists and experts urged world leaders Friday to include strategies for global water management in the planned Copenhagen climate agreement. Participants at the World Water Week conference said climate change will severely affect water supplies and poorer countries need support to help them adapt. "At the moment the water issue doesn't get enough attention in the climate negotiations," Anders Berntell, head of the Stockholm International Water Institute, told The Associated Press. "To be effective, climate negotiations must factor in the impact and importance of water for the world and, indeed, human well-being." Scientists at the weeklong conference also demanded more effective use of water across borders and called for better cooperation between officials involved in land and forest management, climate questions and water issues...AP

Beetles, wildfire work together to ravage northern forests

A veil of smoke settled over the forest in the shadow of the St. Elias Mountains, in a wilderness whose spruce trees stood tall and gray, a deathly gray even in the greenest heart of a Yukon summer. "As far as the eye can see, it's all infested," forester Rob Legare said, looking out over the thick woods of the Alsek River valley. Beetles and fire, twin plagues, are consuming northern forests in what scientists say is a preview of the future, in a century growing warmer, as the land grows drier, trees grow weaker and pests, abetted by milder winters, grow stronger. Dying, burning forests would then only add to the warming. Along with shrinking the polar ice cap and thawing permafrost, scientists say, the warming of the Arctic threatens to turn boreal forest -- the vast cover of spruce, pine and other conifers blanketing these high latitudes -- into less of a crucial "sink" absorbing carbon dioxide and more of a source, as megatons of that greenhouse gas rise from dead, burning and decaying wood...AP

Grasshopper infestation raises toxic beetle worry

An outbreak of grasshoppers this summer could be behind recent detections in Wyoming of a toxic beetle that can be deadly if eaten by horses, according to agriculture officials. Ranchers in two Wyoming counties have reported blister beetles this summer, although neither has reported any livestock poisonings, said Scott Schell, assistant extension entomologist with the University of Wyoming. Still, the pests’ presence is worrisome. Horses that eat blister beetles can become severely ill or die from gastrointestinal, heart or kidney trouble. The first signs of blister beetle sickness are acute colic, diarrhea and excessive salivation. Blister beetle outbreaks often follow significant grasshopper infestations because the beetle larva eat grasshopper eggs, said state veterinarian Jim Logan. Cattle and sheep can also be sickened, but not usually to the same degree as horses...AP

Judge sets hearing over Montana, Idaho wolf hunts

Environmental and animal rights groups have been granted a last-minute hearing before a federal judge on their request to stop upcoming wolf hunts in the Northern Rockies. Wolves across much of the region were removed from the endangered species list earlier this year. Public hunts for the predators -- the first in the Lower 48 states in decades -- are scheduled to begin Sept. 1 in parts of Idaho and two weeks later in Montana. Combined, the two states authorized hunters to take 295 of an estimated 1,350 wolves, or about a fifth of the animal's population. Groups including Defenders of Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States last week asked for a court injunction to bar the hunts. Today, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said he would hold a three-hour hearing Aug. 31 in Missoula to hear arguments in the case...AP

A Solar-Powered Oil Field?

BrightSource Energy has broken ground on a 29-megawatt solar steam plant at a Chevron oil field in Coalinga, Calif. The 100-acre project’s 7,000 mirrors will focus sunlight on a water-filled boiler that sits atop a 323-foot tower to produce hot, high-pressure steam. In a conventional solar power plant, the steam drives a turbine to generate electricity. In this case, the steam will be injected into oil wells to enhance production by heating thick petroleum so it flows more freely. Oil companies typically rely on steam generated by natural gas or other fossil fuels to maximize oil recovery in places like the oil patch in California’s Fresno and Kern counties, where the petroleum is heavy and gooey. That part of California also has some of the state’s strongest sunshine and several large solar power plants are planned for the region...NYTimes

Who needs gasoline if you have old beer?

It sounds too good to be true: A residential system that allows people to make fuel from old beer, leftover wine and other waste products and use it to run their vehicles. That's what inventors of the E-Fuel MicroFueler claim, and there's support for the idea in government, industry and pop culture. MicroFueler buyers are eligible for a $5,000 tax credit. Former L.A. Laker Shaquille O'Neal is an investor in the system's distributor. The $10,000 E-Fuel MicroFueler consists of a 250-gallon tank for organic feedstock, such as waste wine and beer, and a still that converts it to pure ethanol, or E-Fuel. The still doubles as a fuel pump, which works similarly to those at gas stations. The only waste product is distilled water. "If we give everybody the ability to make their own fuel, you break the oil infrastructure," said MicroFueler inventor Tom Quinn, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who also developed the motion-control system for the Nintendo Wii gaming system, a version of which is used in his new micro-refinery...LATimes

Forest Service to add 140 jobs in Albuquerque

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez announced Monday that the U.S. Forest Service plans to add 140 employees to its local work force by January 2010. “We’re talking about high-paying jobs that pay between $40,000 and $70,000 annually,” Chávez told the Business Weekly. “In this economy, 140 new high-wage jobs is good news.” The Forest Service, currently housed in the old Sun Healthcare building at Journal Center in North Albuquerque, has been consolidating its financial services and human resources in Albuquerque for the past two years, Chávez said. The consolidation is creating more local positions and a need for at least 100,000 square feet of new space over the next 18 months...NMBusinessWeekly

Boy Dies After Dragged by Cow at Alaska Fair

A 9-year-old Alaska boy has died after he was dragged several hundred feet by his own cow at the Kenai Peninsula State Fair in Ninilchik. The boy's father, Blair Martin, says his son Mathias died at Providence Alaska Medical Center on Friday night, hours after he was dragged by the cow at the fairgrounds. He says his son died from head injuries. Martin says the boy put around his waist the rope attached to the cow's harness, and that something spooked the cow while Mathias was out of his family's view. He says bystanders' cries for help alerted him to the cow "dragging what I just thought was a jacket, and it turned out to be his ragdoll body bouncing in the background." AP

Texas Horse Dies of Rabies, Possible Human Exposure

Public health officials in Texas are alerting anyone who may have come in contact with a certain horse at the Scurry County Rodeo, held in mid-July in Snyder, that they might have been exposed to rabies. More than 250 contestants from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas participated in the rodeo. The horse was at the rodeo July 16-18. It became ill July 28, died July 30, and tested positive for rabies on Aug. 5. The horse was not in any rodeo ceremonies or events and was in a stall the entire time. Officials say it is highly unlikely, but possible, that the horse was capable of transmitting the rabies virus while at the rodeo arena...TheHorse

16-Year-Old Quarter Horse Racehorse Still Winning

American Quarter Horse runner Silent Cash Dasher on Sunday won at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw, Okla. Owned and trained by Gary Earp of Jay, Okla., the gelding by Dash Easy is 16 years old. In a sport with the majority of its participants competing in futurities for 2-year-olds and derbies for 3-year-olds, Silent Cash Dasher has captured the hearts of many racing fans because of his longevity. Earp said the gelding led nearly all the way from the gates to the wire and finished nearly a length in front. The race was a triumph of age. A retired heavy equipment operator, Earp is 65 years old. Jockey Roy Brooks turned 68 on Aug. 1...TheHorse

Song Of The Day #116

Here's Patsy Cline from 1956, and her recording of I Love You Honey.

True fans will want her 4 disc box set The Patsy Cline Collection.

1st Annual Hidalgo County Cowboy Dinner and Dance

Honoring Rural Families, Rural Traditions - Preserving Our Rural Heritage

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Animas Community Building, Animas, NM

The Hidalgo County Cattle Growers, Women Involved in Farm Economics (WIFE) and the Tobosa Cowbelles are hosting the First Annual Hidalgo County Cowboy Dinner and Dance to be held on Saturday, September 19, 2009 at the Animas Community Building, Animas, NM. Dinner starts at 6:00 pm and the dance at 8:00 pm.

Music provided by The Delk Band (, Bucky Allred and Dee Ford with special performances by Kip Calahan-Young, Kyli Rose Moore, Junior Gomez and other local talent.

Many of us can remember going to Saturday night dances at the school gym in Hachita, the old Legion Hall in Cotton City or even the all-nighters at Cloverdale. Families, friends and neighbors would come from miles around to share a meal, visit with one another and enjoy an evening of dancing. We can certainly refer to those days as “the good ole days” and we want to show our younger generation what it was like and allow our older generation to remember the way it was.

This is a fundraising event. All are welcome. There will be no admission charge. However, your contribution will be appreciated and will serve as your admission to the Cowboy Dinner and Dance.

Fifteen percent (15%) of the net proceeds will go to benefit the Hidalgo County Fair Association. The balance will be shared by the Gila Livestock Growers Association and the Catron County-based Americans for Preservation of Western Environment (APWE) ( as they prepare for potential litigation and to also fund efforts to inform our urban friends and neighbors of the devastating impact the wolf reintroduction program is having on the people and communities that are forced to live with wolves on their ranches, in their yards and in their communities.

The Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program ( has evolved into an assault on our rural way-of-life by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) with the help and support of extremist environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity, Wildearth Guardians and the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

Today, the people and communities in and around the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA), which encompasses the Gila and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, are bearing the brunt of this unbelievable program but efforts are underway to spread the destruction beyond the boundaries of the BRWRA. The FWS already has plans in place to release wolves in Mexico just thirty miles south of the New Mexico border and less than 75 miles south of Animas, New Mexico before the end of the year.

The Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program has been grossly mismanaged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and our ranchers and rural communities are paying the price. The program is a bust. Ranches have been lost, local businesses are suffering, elk hunting in the Gila will never be what it once was and, most importantly, rural families are being put in danger every day.

The FWS operates under federal law that requires them to work with and coordinate with local government to insure that federal programs are not in violation of local laws or local custom and culture. Federal law requires the FWS to consult with, cooperate with and be consistent with the laws and rights of local government that represents the people. FWS is either not aware of these federal laws or they just plain don’t care because they will run over local elected officials who may feel threatened or intimidated by the actions of federal agencies.

For contributions, please make checks payable to Gila Livestock Grower’s Association for “Preserving our Rural Heritage”. Bring your check to the Cowboy Dinner and Dance or mail to Gila Livestock Grower’s Association (GLGA), HC64, Box 30, Magdalena, NM 87825. Credit Card contributions can be made at

Joe Delk (575) 644-3082___Judy Keeler (575) 549-2520

Monday, August 24, 2009

Environmental disappointments under Obama

While the President has been bogged down for the last couple months in an increasingly histrionic health-care debate—which has devolved so far into ridiculousness that one doesn't know whether to laugh or cry—environmental decisions, mostly from the President's appointees have still been coming fast and furious. However, while the administration started out pouring sunshine on the environment (after years of obfuscated drudgery under the Bush administration), they soon began to move away from truly progressive decisions on the environment and into the recognizable territory of playing it safe—and sometimes even stupid. Since taking power this January, the Obama administration has made very few decisions that are completely illogical—one might even say simply stupid—but a recent decision by the new Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, to allow the clear-cutting of 381 acres of primary rainforest in Alaska falls under this heading. It’s as though Vilsack has not come up to date both on Obama's pledge for green jobs—which clear-cutting isn’t—and on the direct link between deforestation and climate change. Everything about this decision goes directly against Obama’s speeches and pledges to date...Mongabay

U.S. Commerce Secretary Freezes Arctic Fishing Expansion

Once ice-bound even in summer, climate change now is thawing the Arctic in summer, opening up waters that commercial fishing interests are eager to harvest. To prevent ecosystem damage due to commercial harvesting activity, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today decided to prohibit the expansion of commercial fishing in federal Arctic waters until researchers gather enough information on fish and the Arctic marine environment to put safeguards in place. "As Arctic sea ice recedes due to climate change, there is increasing interest in commercial fishing in Arctic waters,” said Locke. "We are in a position to plan for sustainable fishing that does not damage the overall health of this fragile ecosystem." Fisheries managers have identified Arctic cod, saffron cod, and snow crab as likely initial target species for commercial fishing in the region...ENS

New Documentary Explores Human Cost of Global Warming Propaganda

Scientifically unsound claims about global warming are being used to seduce young students and to cajole lawmakers into accepting the legitimacy of regulatory schemes that restrict the use of fossils fuels, according to a new documentary. The husband-wife team of Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney co-produced and directed “Not Evil, Just Wrong” in an effort to highlight the long history of “anti-human propaganda”...The documentary will premier 8 p.m. on October 18. The film is available for purchase online where “Cinematic Tea Parties” are already being organized. A special screening was held for supporters at the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) office in Washington D.C. Wednesday night. “Carbon is the new DDT,” McAleer said in interview. “Environmentalists are pushing the same kind of anti-human propaganda that triggered the ban on DDT. Millions of children died of malaria because of this ban. The same kind of deception is now being used to target carbon dioxide. Industries that rely on fossil could be shut down and jobs lost thanks to all of the fear mongering and the disinformation that is not justified by science.”...NewsBusters

Here is the trailer for the documentary:

Advocates fight Nevada wild horse roundup

Wild horse advocates are seeking to halt federal land managers' plans to remove all mustangs from a large swath of eastern Nevada, saying the animals deserve protection under federal law. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has started removing 350 horses southwest of Ely and plans to begin removing 270 more in October near Caliente. The roundups affect all wild horses in an area around Ely covering 1.4 million acres or more than 2,000 square miles. Horse defender Christine Jubic of Albany, N.Y., filed a petition last week for an emergency order to halt the roundup with the Interior Board of Land Appeals until it can rule on her appeal challenging the roundup. The roundup began Wednesday, five days after the BLM's Ely district released an environmental study that concluded it had no significant impact. "They're trying to do it quietly under the radar," Jubic said. "These animals are supposed to enjoy federal protections, and the BLM is out to eradicate them off of our public lands altogether." Jeffrey Weeks, manager of a BLM Ely-area field office, said all horses are being removed in some areas because studies found insufficient forage and water to maintain healthy wild horses and rangelands. The agency still plans to manage 810 to 1,695 horses on 3.7 million other acres in the Ely area, a region that encompasses some 12 million acres, or 18,750 square miles, he said...Newsday

Deep in California Forests, an Illicit Business Thrives

Officials say the rise in the number of such grows has resulted in part from a tightening of the border with Mexico. “It’s made it much more difficult for the cartels to smuggle into the country, particularly marijuana, which is large and bulky,” said the Santa Barbara County sheriff, Bill Brown. “It’s easier to grow it here.” California is also popular with marijuana growers for all the reasons that customary farmers like it. “The conditions are very conducive: the water and the soil and the sunshine,” Sheriff Brown said. According to the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, a multiagency task force managed by the state’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, this year is already one for the record books. In more than 425 raids since late June, some 3.4 million plants have been seized, up from 2.9 million all of last year. And, officials note, they still have roughly a month and a half before the campaign expires with the end of harvest season. Raids occur daily, from southern counties like Riverside, where some 27,000 plants were found on July 2, to northern ones like Lake and Shasta, in each of which more than 400,000 plants have been destroyed by the authorities this year. (Mature plants are usually incinerated, younger ones simply uprooted.) About 2.7 million plants, nearly 80 percent of the seized crop, have been found on federal, state or other public lands. Officials attribute the plants’ prevalence there to the vast area investigators are expected to cover. “It’s rugged terrain, very difficult to get to and very difficult to see,” said John Heil, a spokesman for the United States Forest Service, which in California has jurisdiction over 20.6 million acres, home to nearly 60 percent of this year’s seizures...NYTimes

In the summer, forests in U.S. are hot spots for squatters

For most of the past three years, Mark Reno lived at no cost in the piney woods just north of Payson. Now, he is beginning a six-month stint in federal prison at taxpayer expense, convicted of setting up an unlawful residence in the Tonto National Forest. Among the thousands of squatters who become semipermanent denizens on public lands nationwide, Reno appears to be unusual only because he got caught so often that he was finally put behind bars. Under federal law, national forests are reserved for recreational use by the public. It is a Class B misdemeanor to set up a residence or to remain in any forest for more than two weeks during a 30-day period. The maximum punishment is a $5,000 fine and six months of incarceration. The squatter phenomenon is a problem on public lands nationwide, especially in Western states, where the federal government owns more than half of all property...ArizonaRepublic

Obama, Frogs, Traffic & Sex

Traffic noise could be ruining the sex lives of urban frogs by drowning out the seductive croaks of amorous males, an Australian researcher said Friday...AP

Somehow, the words "seductive" and "croaks" just don't seem to go together.

Anyway, the damn fool frogs should have never left the countryside to begin with.

They should hang in there, though, cuz Obama will soon have all of us driving itty bitty and very quiet electric cars. That will create a frog seduction long as their croaks don't violate EPA noise levels.

Historic Kofa Bighorn Sheep Herd Being Eaten By Mountain Lions

Biologists recently presented the Arizona Game and Fish Commission with compelling data indicating that recovering the critically important Kofa desert bighorn sheep herd from near record-low population levels will be challenging due to additive mountain lion predation. Game and Fish Department biologists informed the commission at its Aug. 7 meeting that the monitoring of one radio-collared mountain lion revealed it had killed 14 bighorn sheep since February, an average of one bighorn sheep about every 10 days. At this rate, this one lion is on pace to kill an estimated 37 bighorn sheep annually. By comparison, the estimated annual yearling recruitment from the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge bighorn sheep herd is only 39 animals...ammoland

New Hampshire Town Considers Bear Ordinance

Large groups of bears are creating a nuisance for residents in Bethlehem, and the problem has gotten so bad the town is considering an ordinance. Officials said bears are rummaging through trash bins, eating and attacking farm animals and in some cases coming dangerously close to family pets. "I've been here for 15 years and never saw them until this year," said resident Bob Kimmerle. Kimmerle said he had to fire a gun in the air to scare a bear away after it ate two roosters near his fence. "He put his arm through and pulled them through," Kimmerle said. The proposed ordinance lays out fines for people who feed wildlife. The ordinance is also written to make sure businesses throw trash into animal-proof trash bins...WMUR-TV

Cattle focus of high-altitude research in NM

More than 100 young Angus and Hereford bulls are on a working vacation at 8,700 feet above sea level in northern New Mexico, chomping on lush, high-meadow grass, helping researchers and ranchers get a handle on a disease that causes 75,000 cattle deaths each year across the West. In a study by New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Beef Cattle Performance Association, researchers are conducting high-altitude cattle performance testing on the bulls to determine which are susceptible to high altitude disease. The findings could help ranchers develop a genetic line of altitude-resistant cattle. An estimated 1.5 million cattle are raised annually at high elevations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. High-altitude disease — essentially a bovine equivalent to human hypertension — impacts herds that graze above 5,000 feet. The disease kills 3 percent to 5 percent of cattle each year, a loss valued at more than $60 million, said Tim Holt, veterinarian and professor at Colorado State University. Manny Encinias, beef specialist at New Mexico State, said the project is the first time cattle have been tested in a centralized high-altitude performance program on a grass-only diet...AP

Mexico Hit By Lowest Rainfall In 68 Years

Mexico is suffering from its driest year in 68 years, killing crops and cattle in the countryside and forcing the government to slow the flow of water to the crowded capital. Below-average rainfall since last year has left about 80 of Mexico's 175 largest reservoirs less than half full, said Felipe Arreguin, a senior official at the Conagua commission, which manages the country's water supply. "We have zones where the reservoirs are totally full but others that don't have even a drop of water," he said in an interview late on Tuesday. More than 1,000 cattle have been lost due to lack of rainfall, and up to 20 million tons of crops managed by 3.5 million small farmers are at risk of being lost, agriculture groups say. The arid northwest region of Mexico has been hardest hit, along with the central part of the country surrounding Mexico City where 20 million people live...Reuters

Rancher Cleared In 40-Year-Old Death

An 88-year-old sheep rancher long accused of causing the death of his wife's first husband nearly 40 years ago has finally been cleared. A Mesa County jury has found Nick Theos of Meeker not liable on all three claims in a wrongful death lawsuit. The ruling ended a lawsuit brought by the son of a Meeker salesman who died in 1969. Jim Robinson died at age 38 of intoxication from thallium, a poison used by ranchers in the 1950s and '60s to kill coyotes and rats. Robinson's son, Matt Robinson, believed that Theos purposely exposed his father to the poison. Seven years after Jim Robinson died, Theos married his widow, Lois Robinson Theos. When Jim Robinson died, the cause was ruled a sudden, unexplained illness. But questions about the death swirled for decades. Jim Robinson's body was exhumed in 2001 and the cause of death changed to thallium intoxication. But no criminal charges were filed...AP

Feedlots find they can't break downward cycle

Cattle feed yards in the Texas Panhandle and elsewhere have been operating at a loss for 18 months, and while many would like to sell their sprawling operations, there are either no buyers or no banks willing to provide financing, industry observers say. Easing grain prices have lowered feed costs, but in the recession, consumers continue to show low interest in beef, punishing the industry, said Don Close, market director of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association in Amarillo. Wholesale demand for beef has dropped 9 percent in the last nine months, compared to the same period the year before, Cattle Fax reported in July. “We had extremes through the spring of losing $150 on every head,” Close told the Star-Telegram. “With lower corn costs, the average is now a loss of $50 a head.” Remarkably or not, the number of feedlots closing is relatively few — mainly operators who were too small to efficiently compete, poorly hedged on cattle futures, or located in fringe areas like New Mexico with higher transportation costs, said Kevin Good, a market analyst with Cattle Fax, a news and research service that tracks industry trends. Good said there are too many feed yards for the number of cattle being processed by slaughterhouses. He estimated that there may be 20 to 25 percent overcapacity. “As a result of losing money, we have people in dire straits,” said Paul Hicks, a Fort Worth cattleman who works with feeders. “A lot of them are stuck with a lot of empty pens. A lot of feed yards are for sale —there's a world of feed yards available right now.” The major feedlots are under distress, but none has closed, said a regional broker, who spoke candidly in return for anonymity. He estimated that “easily 20 percent of feed yards are on the market today.”...FtWorthStarTelegram

A different kind of ranch, a different kind of cowboy artist

The sky at Chico Basin Ranch seems impossibly vast, befitting the rolling landscape it covers like a pale blue bowl: 87,000 grass-cloaked acres, studded with five spring-fed lakes and, depending on the season, up to 2,500 cattle. The ranch, situated in an empty place on the map more than 30 miles southeast of Colorado Springs, is a cowboy's paradise. That means it is also paradise for any cowboy artist worth his paint. Which is where the two Dukes come in, a pair of princes in their respective realms and visionaries to boot. Duke Phillips is the rancher. Duke Beardsley is the artist. Together, in a fusion of commerce and conservation that could only happen in the open West, the two do what is possible to summon art from the natural world. The two men are mavericks of a sort. They operate within a tradition, yet stand apart from it. Phillips, 53, was raised in the cattle business yet has jettisoned all hidebound notions of ranching: He is a land steward and educator as well as a working cowboy. Beardsley, 39, while a spiritual heir to classic Western artists Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington, uses his time on the ranch to create eye-popping paintings influenced by modernists Andy Warhol and Franz Kline...DenverPost

Trainer gives housebound herding dogs an outlet

Jerry Stewart plucks a long Misty cigarette from his mouth while standing in the midst of several acres of flat land offering little more than flocks of sheep, some fencing and rows of eucalyptus. But for him and other herding dog trainers, the Perris property is near paradise. From under a fatigued black cowboy hat, the grizzled trainer calls out commands in a low, calm voice -- away to me, go bye, walk up -- coupled with indistinguishable sounds -- "chka, chka, chu" -- to make the young border collie move the flock of sheep where he wants. About 90 percent of people who train herding dogs in the United States do it for sport, said Peggy Richter, board member for the American Herding Breed Association. That number has remained steady over recent years, Richter said. The only change has been that more breeds of dogs are being trained. Border collies and Australian shepherds are traditional herding breeds, but less active dogs that make better companions also are being trained. Richter, a herding trials judge, said about 100 herding events a year are held throughout California...PressEnterprise

Trew: Myths, truths about tidbits

In devouring books and hearing the old stories on many subjects, I am amazed at the tidbits of information on which my mind seems to focus. Why certain items interest me while others are passed over I can't explain. Here are a few examples of this strange interest. Almost every old-time cash register I have seen in museums during my lifetime have a small narrow marble top located just below the keys and above the cash drawer. Recently I learned the reason for this attractive addition. The small marble slab is actually a coin quality tester. Friend Bill Marquis of Old Stoney and a fellow historian demonstrated the test. First he tossed some of today's pennies, nickels and quarters onto the marble slab revealing only a dull "thunk" as they struck the hard surface. Then he pulled out his lucky old-time silver dollar and tossed it onto the marble. There was a distinct bell-like ring signifying the difference in the amount of silver in the coins. It seems there were a lot of slugs and diluted coins way back when. The tester was cheap, and the sound beyond question. This is a long way from the technical pen used by today's clerks to detect counterfeit bills. The same purpose but a different technology altogether. Many times history has written how the Burnett family, owners of the famous 6666 ranches, took the brand and name from an incident where property was won with a poker hand holding four sixes. According to sources close to the earliest Burnett owners and employees who worked for them on the original ranch in Denton County, this story is not true. Jeremiah Burnett sent his first trail herd to Kansas and with his profit bought a another ranch adjoining his home ranch. He realized the 6666 brand would be hard for cattle rustlers to change so he bought the brand along with the land, and it's been used to this

Song Of The Day #115

Let's get things kicked off this Monday morning with an up tempo tune from the Hi-Flyers.

The Hi-Flyers were formed in Fort Worth in the late twenties, before Milton Brown's Brownies and Bob Wills' Playboys, and even before the Light Crust Doughboys.

A decent selection of their later recordings is available on the 28 track Hi-Flyers 1937-1941.

Here they are playing Alamo Polka.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

NM Livestock Board to probe animal cruelty at National High School Finals Rodeo

The New Mexico Livestock Board said this week it will investigate alleged animal cruelty at the National High School Finals Rodeo following the release of an Internet video depicting horses and bulls being electrically shocked with handheld cattle prods.

However, at least one official on the investigating board said he has seen nothing out of line with what is shown on the posted video.

The four-minute clip posted on YouTube and filmed by an animal rights group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, shows more than 10 bucking horses and nine bulls being prodded with the pronged devices as the rodeo chutes open at an arena that appears to be McGee Park.

Many of the film clips detail the use of prods beyond what the National High School Rodeo Association animal welfare rules allow. The association's rulebook states horses can be shocked below the neck if the animal stalls in the chute. Bulls are never to be prodded when inside the chute, the rulebook states.

Video clips document as many as six rodeo workers prodding horses in the upper neck as gates open, and one rodeo worker prodding bulls in the hind legs and tail within the chute. Just one animal appeared to stall in the chute prior to being prodded.

A majority of the clips show rodeo workers placing the unidentified devices within their hands or pants pockets immediately after use.

"They're trying to make an animal that isn't acting aggressive act aggressive," said Steve Hindi, president of the Illinois-based Showing Animals Respect and Kindness activist group. "There's a lot of voltage behind (the prod) and it hurts, it hurts more than an electric fence."

Hindi noted the manufacturer of the Hot-Shot, the handheld prod he believes was used during the Farmington rodeo, warns the device is not designed to be used on horses or in rodeos.

Considered legal action

New Mexico animal cruelty laws exempt "commonly accepted rodeo practices" from being enforced as animal abuse, said Heather Ferguson, coordinator of the New Mexico Attorney General's Animal Cruelty Task Force.

"It sounds like this particular rodeo made and created regulations as to what they deemed appropriate rodeo practices, and the individuals that utilized the hot prod on the neck of the horses violated those practices," she said.

Determination of whether the action constitutes accepted rodeo practices by state law is made exclusively by the state Livestock Board, she said.

Livestock Board Deputy Director Bobby Pierce said this week the agency will review all film taken during the 2009 National High School Finals Rodeo at McGee Park to determine whether the use of prods reached beyond what state law allows.

But at first look, Pierce said, use of the prods were not inappropriate or abusive during the Farmington rodeo.

"The reason they do it into the high neck is to (have the horse) look away from the shock and turn to look into the arena," Pierce said. "A little quick shot to get an animal out of the chute, that's really for the animal's safety and the rider's safety both."

If if the roughstock animals were prodded around the eyes or ears, or the shock was given repeatedly, cruelty charges could apply, he said.

"The short clips that I've seen, I didn't see anything out of line," Pierce said.

The National High School Rodeo Association hosts the rodeo finals each July, rotating the event between Farmington; Springfield, Ill.; and Gillette, Wyo.

Responding to allegations that the use of prods went beyond the organization's own regulations during the 2009 rodeo, National High School Rodeo Association Executive Director Kent Sturman said the organization is reviewing the publicly posted video clips and contacting everyone thought to be involved.

"We're looking into that. You cannot tell what any of those people have in their hand. They may have absolutely nothing," Sturman said, noting poor video quality prevented better analysis. "We'll just continue to enforce our rules and monitor the situation."

According to association policy, anyone found violating the animal welfare rules could be fined up to $500. The association has taken no formal action since the July rodeo against individuals depicted in the video clips, some of whom are identified by the Denver-based rodeo association, Sturman said.

History of prodding

Similar roughstock prodding was reported at the finals rodeo in Springfield, Ill., in 2006, which led to a court order mandating the practice not occur during the 2007 rodeo finals in that state.

But excessive use of electric prods is particularly common in high school rodeo, Hindi claimed, because the best bucking horses and bulls typically are reserved for professional rodeos, while high school events often use tamer animals.

"It's definitely not your Grade A bucking stock, so they're doing even more things than we usually find to get those animals to perform," Hindi said.

Following the witnessed prodding during the 2006 high school finals in Illinois, the chairman of Gov. Bill Richardson's New Mexico Rodeo Council told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register that such abuse wouldn't be tolerated in New Mexico.

"To Hot-Shot a roughstock animal out of a chute doesn't happen," state Rodeo Council Chairman Robert Detweiler told the Illinois newspaper as the finals rodeo prepared to return to Farmington.

In New Mexico, he said, "They're raised to buck. They're not shocked to buck."

Detweiler could not be reached for comment.

Debbie Romero, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico Rodeo Council, said the group was not involved in hosting the Farmington event and had no opportunity to take action to ensure animals weren't abused.

The animal activist group did not attend the 2008 National High School Rodeo Finals in Farmington to watch for excess prodding, and none was reported.

A local response

The Tres Rios High School Rodeo Association, a San Juan County group funded and directed by local community governments, was unaware of the alleged excess use of prods on rodeo animals until after the 2009 rodeo concluded, said Tres Rios Director Beth Utley.

The association executive committee is expected to meet in the coming weeks to discuss the economic impacts of hosting the event and determine whether the area should make a bid for the national rodeo to return in 2014, Utley said, but after seeing the video on Thursday, the matter was added to the committee's next agenda.

And a meeting may be called sooner than planned.

"We have to poll (association committee members) and see how far they want to take it," Utley said, "Or see if we want any additional stipulations put into the contract to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again if the rodeo is brought to San Juan County."

The association will review the online video, which Utley described as "high quality," to confirm it was filmed at McGee Park in 2009 prior to taking any formal action.

"We're just as concerned about this video as the general public is," Utley said. "We'll do our best to see what we can do about it."

James Monteleone:

Farmington Daily Times