Friday, August 27, 2010

Missing Salem horse trainer found safe

A missing horse trainer from Salem, N.M., has reported himself alive and well to local authorities after being missing since August 11. John Barnett, 65, met with Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office investigators at the Caballo RV Park and General Store shortly before noon Friday. He told investigators he read about himself being missing and said he had been "under a lot of stress and only wanted time to be alone," according to a DASO news release. Barnett is reported to be in good condition and is back with his familiy. He was reported missing earlier this week after his family grew concerned by his lengthy absence. LC Sun-News

Richardson awards stimulus funds to crack down on cockfighting, manage wild horses

Governor Bill Richardson today announced two federal stimulus awards totaling $250,000 that will go to protect animals in New Mexico.

The first award of $150,000 will go to the state Department of Public Safety to help law enforcement officers stop and prosecute illegal cockfighting, dog fighting and respond to animal hoarding cases. The award will support an investigator, training, and a field manual for officers across the state.

The second award of $100,000 will help humanely manage an overpopulated wild horse herd on the Jicarilla Apache Nation. The Jicarilla Nation reports a long-standing problem with wild horses on tribal lands, which damage natural resources and compete with wildlife and cattle for food. The New Mexico Livestock Board will oversee a contractor for the project, which aims to assess the population, develop humane solutions such as relocation and adoption, and other humane options.

"These Recovery Act awards will support our efforts to improve animal health and welfare across New Mexico," Governor Richardson said.

The Jicarilla Apache Nation estimates that as many as 600 wild horses are roaming on tribal lands -- and that the ideal number is about 5 percent of the current wild horse population. The wild horses also disrupt migration routes for native deer and elk populations in addition to competing with wildlife and cattle for feed.

Both awards are from the discretionary Government Services Fund.

Press Release

Public's help sought in search for missing Salem horse trainer

The public is being asked to help find a Salem, N.M., horse trainer last seen two weeks ago. John Barnett, 65, drove away from his rural Salem home, 11 miles outside of Hatch, the afternoon of Aug. 11, according to Do-a Ana sheriff's investigator Ricky Madrid. A neighbor spotted him last, doing yard work at his girlfriend's residence on Spring Canyon Road in Hatch. Recently, Barnett had reportedly been depressed due to a bank repossession of some of his equipment, according to family and law enforcement. A native of Duncan, Ariz., Barnett was busy building and equipping a horse-training arena, and preparing for work running cattle, when his girlfriend, Sun-News columnist Claudette Ortiz, profiled him in April. Barnett "feels blessed," she wrote. "Like all blessings, his multiplied on a steady diet of midnight oil and elbow grease. In Hagerman, he learned to rope calves with two wraps and a hooey (a half-hitch knot) from his uncle at age 11. While attending college in Las Cruces, he worked and lived at the Cox Ranch 10 miles east of the NMSU campus, studying Range Science by gas light. As a calf roper on the rodeo circuit, then rancher and horse trainer, he is used to starting his day in the middle of the night." Since going missing, his family has tried repeatedly to reach him on his cell phone, but he has not answered and the phone might have run out of minutes, Madrid said. He was last seen driving a white 2003 Ford two-door pickup truck displaying New Mexico registration and plate FXY-660. Anyone with any information on his whereabouts is asked to contact central dispatch at (575) 526-0795. You may remain anonymous...more

This didn't catch my attention on the TV news tonight, but then I read this story in the Sun-News and the words Hagerman and calf roper jumped out at me. I went to school with Barnett at NMSU, only I knew him as Johnny.

Sure hope they find him alive and well.

Aw, Wilderness!

ONE day in early 1970, a cross-country skier got lost along the 46-mile Kekekabic Trail, which winds through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. Unable to make his way out, he died of exposure. In response, the Forest Service installed markers along the trail. But when, years later, it became time to replace them, the agency refused, claiming that the 1964 Wilderness Act banned signage in the nation’s wilderness areas. Despite the millions of people who have visited the country’s national parks, forests and wildernesses this summer, the Forest Service has become increasingly strict in its enforcement of the Wilderness Act. The result may be more pristine lands, but the agency’s zealous enforcement has also heightened safety risks and limited access to America’s wilderness areas. Over the last 45 years Congress has designated as wilderness 40 percent of the land in our national parks and one-third of the land in our national forests — more than 170,000 square miles, an area nearly as large as California, Massachusetts and New Jersey combined — as wilderness. In March 2009, President Obama signed a law protecting 3,125 more square miles, the largest expansion in more than a generation. Over the decades an obvious contradiction has emerged between preservation and access. As the Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management — each of which claims jurisdiction over different wilderness areas — adopted stricter interpretations of the act, they forbade signs, baby strollers, certain climbing tools and carts that hunters use to carry game. As a result, the agencies have made these supposedly open recreational areas inaccessible and even dangerous, putting themselves in opposition to healthy and environmentally sound human-powered activities...more

Finally someone in the MSM is writing factually about the restrictions in Wilderness Areas. I never dreamed it would be the New York Times.

Obama’s Drilling Ban No Longer Needed, Report Finds

President Barack Obama’s moratorium on deep-water drilling is no longer needed because new rules reduce the risk of an uncontrolled spill, according to a report for a panel investigating BP Plc’s blowout. Rules issued in June by the Interior Department “provide an adequate margin of safety to responsibly allow the resumption of deep-water drilling,” according to the report today from the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based research group. The rules, if followed by BP, Apache Corp. and other drillers, and enforced by regulators, “will achieve a significant and beneficial reduction of risk.” The report was prepared for the presidential commission investigating the BP spill. Its leaders, former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Reilly and former Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida, have questioned the need for the moratorium, which is scheduled to expire Nov. 30...more

Crapo announces first Owyhee land acquisitions

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, the Republican who spearheaded creation of 517,000 acres of federal wilderness in the Owyhee canyons last year, announced on Thursday the purchase of 971 acres of private inholdings from ranchers. No price was disclosed. The deal includes more than a mile of the North Fork Owyhee River, located just east of the Oregon-Idaho border, that will be available for fishing, hiking and habitat protection. That 611-acre property has belonged to Owyhee County rancher Mike Hanley. Environmental groups said the acquisition helps ensure the integrity of the wilderness and removes roadblocks for public access into some of the nation's most remote country. "This is an important first step in achieving the greater goal for the completion of the wilderness in the Owyhees," said David Kirk, of The Wilderness Land Trust, a group that acquires unprotected private land within wilderness and returns it to public ownership. Kirk's Colorado-based group, with The Nature Conservancy, are assisting with the transfers and plan to shift ownership to the Bureau of Land Management. Earlier this month, Crapo announced the Bureau of Land Management had set aside $2 million for land purchases included in his Owyhee Initiative...more

Congressman blasts U.S. Forest Service for "abusive," "predatory" fees

Congressman Tom McClintock made the following statement to the Regional U.S. Forest Service Management Roundtable hosted by Congressman Wally Herger in Sacramento on Wednesday, August 25: There are four general subjects that my constituents have brought to my attention that I feel are important to raise in this forum. First, some of the most disturbing stories I have heard locally involve the abuse of cost recovery fees by the Forest Service. This has been a source of great frustration and evinces an attitude within the Service that I believe requires immediate correction. For example, the California Endurance Riders Association had been using the El Dorado National Forest for many years. This time, when they sought a simple 5-year 10-event permit to continue doing exactly what they have been doing without incident for decades, the Forest Service demanded $11,000 in fees. They paid these fees, but the El Dorado National Forest management nevertheless pulled the approved permit and halted the process on utterly specious grounds. It then demanded an additional $17,000 fee, causing the Endurance Riders Association to cancel what had been a long-term civic tradition that had been a boon to the local economy. In 2010 this outrage was repeated after the group spent $5,800 for the “Fool's Gold Endurance Run” that had been an ongoing event for more than 40 years. The Polka Dots Motorcycle Club tells a similar story...more

State explores private management of state parks

The chairman of a board looking at the potential for privatizing state government functions would like to see Utah privatize a handful of state parks to see if they can be run more efficiently than they are now. The Utah Privatization Policy Board, an advisory panel to the Legislature, has been exploring privatization for several months. But Randy Simmons, chairman of the board, said he would like to see a pilot project to see how private companies can manage six to eight state parks. The state currently manages 43 parks, reservoirs, museums and golf courses. A handful are profitable, but many, particularly the museums, are not, Mike Styler, director of the Department of Natural Resources, told the panel Wednesday. Parks receive about $31 million annually in operating funds from the state. Simmons, former Providence mayor and head of the political science department at Utah State University, suggests putting money-makers and -losers together to find a balance. The idea of park privatization was raised during this year’s legislative session, but no action was taken...more

FDA finds evidence of salmonella in chicken feed

Food and Drug Administration officials said Thursday their investigators had homed in on chicken feed as a likely major contributor to the salmonella contamination that triggered a nationwide egg recall and potentially caused nearly 1,500 cases of illness. Feed found at Wright County Egg in Iowa tested positive for salmonella, FDA officials said at a joint news conference with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Salmonella also was found in walkways and manure at Wright County Egg, as well as in ingredients used in the feed. The samples of the salmonella were a genetic match to the salmonella that has made many people sick, officials said...more

The Government Can Use GPS to Track Your Moves

Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements. That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant. It is a dangerous decision — one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy. The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high...more

Concerns raised over law giving tribal police more powers

Senator Jeff Bingaman heard concerns on Thursday about a new law that gives tribal police more power. A dozen officials of various tribes attended the roundtable discussion at San Juan College in Farmington. A bill passed in July gives tribal authorities more power to prosecute on tribal land. While it may sound good on paper, some officials say it's not that easy. "Without additional funding, we're never going to be able to do it," Navajo chief prosecutor Bernadine Martin said...more

Here is the KOB-TV video report:


Bill Huey, 85, leaves conservationist legacy

Bill Huey, known to some as the godfather of New Mexico wildlife management, died Wednesday at his home in Tesuque — almost a year and a half after the death of his wife of 62 years. Huey, 85, spent more than three decades with the state Game and Fish Department, rising to cabinet secretary of its parent agency. After retirement, he traveled extensively and became an outspoken conservationist. After graduating from Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, Huey enlisted in the military and reported to Aviation Cadet School in Dallas in 1943. In 1945, he left for England where he was a turret gunner on a B-17 bomber. After the war, he enrolled in New Mexico A&M, now New Mexico State University, in Las Cruces, studying engineering, and soon met another engineering student, Mary Blue of Rochester, N.Y. After an engagement of only a few hours, Huey and Blue were wed. They remained married until her death on March 6, 2009. After graduating in 1948, Huey took a job as a game warden for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and was posted to Reserve. He would later serve as the department's chief of public affairs and assistant director before Gov. Jerry Apodaca appointed him cabinet secretary of the new Natural Resources Department in 1977. He retired from state government at the end of 1982...more

Song Of The Day #391

Out West week on Ranch Radio continues with Johnny Bond and Elton Britt, performing Texas Cannonball and Pinto Pal respectively.

You will find the tunes on the three CD box set Songs Of The Golden West - Tumbling Tumbleweeds, which has a total of 75 tracks. It is apparently not available at Amazon.com.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

House Ag Chair: Cap and trade 'dead' in Congress -- but not at EPA

Carbon cap and trade legislation is effectively "dead" in Congress, House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson told feed industry executives Monday, with the chief struggle over carbon regulation now solely being played out in and around the Environmental Protection Agency. The Senate isn't just short of the votes for a cap-and-trade measure like what passed the House last June, it's short of the votes for any significant climate measure at all. And today Peterson confirmed the whispers on Capitol Hill — that environmental lobbyists are scaling back their efforts on a large-scale climate bill because they too have come to privately accept that it won't happen this year. "The environmental community has basically stood down and they're pulling all of their money out of the effort and all their lobbying," Peterson said. "So it's dead." "So the issue now is is the EPA going to try to regulate this under the Clean Air Act?" Peterson said. That was almost certainly a rhetorical question, because the answer is obviously yes. In fact, they've already started...more

Texas fights global-warming power grab

The state's slogan is "Don't mess with Texas." But the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is doing just that, and at stake is whether the Obama administration can impose its global-warming agenda without a vote of Congress. President Obama's EPA is already well down the path to regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, something the act was not designed to do. It has a problem, however, because shoehorning greenhouse gases into that 40-year-old law would force churches, schools, warehouses, commercial kitchens and other sources to obtain costly and time-consuming permits. It would grind the economy to a halt, and the likely backlash would doom the whole scheme. The EPA, determined to move forward anyway, is attempting to rewrite the Clean Air Act administratively via a "tailoring rule," which would reduce the number of regulated sources. The problem with that approach? It's illegal. The EPA has no authority to rewrite the law. To pull it off, the EPA needs every state with a State Implementation Plan to rewrite all of its statutory thresholds as well. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan W. Shaw saw the tailoring rule for what it really is: a massive power grab and centralization of authority...more

How green is Judge Molloy?

One of the West's most controversial federal judges -- Don Molloy in Missoula, Mont. -- was at it again Aug. 5. Ruling on two lawsuits filed by 14 environmental groups, Molloy ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore full Endangered Species Act protections for the 1,300-plus gray wolves in Idaho and Montana. By doing so, the judge fueled the perception in some camps that he's a green activist. Molloy also ruled for environmentalists in an important case last year, ordering the feds to restore protections for Yellowstone's grizzly bears because of the decline of whitebark pines, a primary food source. Four months ago, Molloy ordered the U.S. Forest Service not to use helicopters to spray weeds in grizzly habitat in northwest Montana because the noise might cause the bears to flee. A right-wing Oregon blogger condemned Molloy as a "nutzoid" greenie after those rulings. It's a refrain that began shortly after Democratic President Clinton appointed Molloy in 1995. Over the years, Molloy has blocked dozens of timber sales, reined in backcountry snowmobilers, protected wilderness-study areas, upheld Montana's ban on game farms that might spread wildlife diseases -- you get the drift. Molloy -- who gets a lot of environmental cases simply because of his location -- still rules against environmentalists more than half the time, says one lawyer who's often in his court. Another frequent lawsuit-filer quickly names five timber sales that Molloy approved over his objections; all five were ultimately blocked by an appeals court...more

What's the Beef? Food-Inflation Fears

Cattle prices are soaring toward records, pushing up the cost of beef in grocery stores and adding to the risk of a broader wave of food inflation. The gains are being fueled by rising appetites globally and a dwindling U.S. herd. Purchases of U.S. beef around the world have surged as emerging economies become more prosperous. At the same time, ranchers hit in recent years by drought and the financial crisis have cut the number of cattle to the lowest level in decades. The rally has driven up the futures market for cattle by 11% since early July to reach the brink of the $1-a-pound mark, just shy of the $1.04 record set in 2008. Prices dipped 0.3% Tuesday, to settle at 99.475 cents a pound, after rising for the previous 11 trading sessions. Consumers already are paying more, with the retail price of choice beef up 4% in July from December, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Further increases may be in the offing; last week alone wholesale prices climbed 3.2%. While some observers said the August rally may be short-lived, they also said the fundamentals of a cattle shortage and rising demand mean prices will remain high over the longer term...more

Egg recall results in push for food safety bill

The Senate’s yearlong failure to pass a food safety overhaul has hampered the ability of the Obama administration to quickly recall the 600 million eggs connected to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 2,000 people, experts and lawmakers say. The House approved its version of the food safety bill in July 2009 — that was more than 60 recalls of Food and Drug Administration regulated products ago, according to a report by the Make Our Food Safe coalition. But the Senate has continued to drag its feet. The pressure is now on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has consistently pushed the bill to the back burner. The pending legislation not only gives the FDA recall authority but also imposes stricter rules on mandatory inspections, trace-back protocol, access to company records and whistleblower protections — all of which are lacking in the current food safety law, which is more than 70 years old...more

Another "crisis" and another fed grab for power. We certainly don't want Obama and his sidekicks to be "hampered", now do we.

Read on and you will see the real reason for delay is an amendment attached by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.)which has driven former supporters to become opponents of the bill.

Hay bales finding lots of art fans

Hay fields across Montana and Wyoming are filling with round and square bales, providing feed for the winter and artistic opportunities for the creative. It is called ‘hay bale art’ and it is increasing in popularity around the nation. In Montana, the Utica County Fair has played a part growing the popular medium. Each year fair directors include a “Follow the Bale Trail” display on U.S. Highway 239. Nobody really knows how hay bale or straw bale art started. But, like those mysterious crop circles, it appears quietly around the world, showing up almost overnight on little-traveled country lanes, busy freeways, or near gravel roads. Around the country, a lot of bale art will sport holiday themes. Giant spiders and pumpkins lurk in fields at Halloween time. Massive turkeys, large enough to feed 50 to 100 hungry cattle, often show up at Thanksgiving; and Christmas time is sure to find white snow-bales stacked up to form a giant snowman large enough to cause the puny snowman in the neighbor’s yard to melt with shame. However, from Hobson to Utica to Windham, there is no theme and bales of all shapes and ideas dot the fields along the 20-miles stretch. The bales and their artistic titles will make you smile. Viewers may see a giant pink and black bottle of “Oil of Old Hay,” waiting longside a fence; a “Grizzly Bale” lumbering across a field; a gargantuan “Baled Bald Eagle” surveying the land; even two, brightly colored fish spend time “Finding Hay-mo” in a central Montana pasture...more

Baxter Black: If you only had a cowboy ...

There's an old saying, "A mule is as good as a horse, 'til you need a horse." Or, of course, the revorse! I saw a photo in the newspaper of a man standing in the surf trying to throw a rope around the tail of a beached baby humpback whale. My first thought was, "A marine mammal biologist is as good as a cowboy, 'til you need a cowboy." "If only I had a cowboy." How many times have you thought that yourself? Like two years ago when your cat got stuck up a tree. Sure, you called a firefighter. They showed up with sirens blaring and lights flashing. Then they broke out the ladders and attempted to climb up the tree. A cowboy would simply have roped the limb, dallied and bent the limb back double. Then, with true cowboy clarity, he would have shucked the dally, released the limb and catapulted the cat into the neighbors stock tank where the Navy SEALs could have rescued him! Or, say you were being picketed by the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the lunatic fringe for texting non-organic messages to caged hens encouraging them to "lay one for the team." You realize that reasonable dialogue with moon-eyed zealots is futile, so you call a cowboy...more

Song Of The Day #390

Today Ranch Radio presents Trailin' by Ray Whitley's Range Ramblers.

You will find the tune on a CD by various artists put out by Bronco Buster Records titled In The West Where Life Is Free.

Hot damn I like this kind of music.

Drug cartel suspected in massacre of 72 migrants

A Mexican drug cartel massacred 72 Central and South American migrants within 100 miles of the U.S. border that they were trying to reach, according to an Ecuadorean survivor who escaped and stumbled wounded to a highway checkpoint where he alerted marines, official said Wednesday. The marines fought the cartel gunmen at a ranch in the northern state of Tamaulipas on Tuesday, a battle that left one marine and three suspects dead. They found the bodies of 58 men and 14 women in a room, some piled on top of each other. The Ecuadorean migrant told investigators that his captors identified themselves as members of the Zetas drug gang, said Vice Adm. Jose Luis Vergara, a spokesman for the Mexican Navy. Authorities believe the migrants were from Honduras, El Salvador, Brazil and Ecuador. It is the biggest massacre to date in Mexico's drug war and the most horrifying example yet of the dangers faced by immigrants trying to get to the U.S. Authorities did not say why the gang killed the migrants. Mexico's drug cartels frequently kidnap migrants and threaten to kill them unless they pay fees for crossing their territory. Sometimes, gangs contact relatives of the migrants in the U.S. and demand they pay a ransom...more

Grenade attack near Brownsville bridge has authorities on high alert

Mexican authorities responded Tuesday night to a shootout at Mexico’s attorney general’s office (PGR) in Matamoros and to a grenade that was thrown near B&M International Bridge. Sources say the incident began when a brief firefight broke out between Mexican military and armed gunmen at approximately 8 p.m. at the PGR offices on Sixth Street in Matamoros. It was not clear if anyone was injured or killed in this latest attack. During the attack, a grenade exploded near the Junta de Aguas y Drenajes facility a few yards away from B&M International Bridge. Because of the explosion, a number of federal, county and local law enforcement officials on the U.S. side of the border rushed to secure the area around the bridge. According to Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, the sheriff’s department SWAT team was deployed to the bridge to help secure the area and prevent any possible spillover of violence...more

Sheriff questions BP line patrol strategy

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever directed his attention to the Border Patrol last week. During an interview with KFI AM 640 on Aug. 18, Dever said it has come to his attention that Border Patrol agents are avoiding certain areas along the Southern Arizona border to avoid conflict. "Agents have told me - this isn't second hand - that there are places where they don't work right along the border because it's too dangerous," Dever said. "There is concern at the management level, at a certain level, that it's too dangerous right there on the fence." Dever said it is his understanding that management is concerned about Border Patrol agents getting into a fight with illegal immigrants and smugglers and fear such a confrontation could spark an "international incident." Dever stressed that not all management is taking this approach, but some are. If this is the case, Border Patrol agents are basically being told, "not to do their jobs," Dever said. "I've been hearing this anecdotally for some time, but now I have Border Patrol agents and their families telling me that this is the case," he added. In a written statement to Capitol Media Services, last week, the U.S. Border Patrol denied Dever's allegations. Dever said calls reporting dead bodies in the desert, drugs, home invasions and break ins related to illegal immigration will continue to increase and bog down law enforcement until something is done to secure the border...more

Mexico: bleeding to death in the war on drugs

The shootout left four people dead; but that was just the beginning. As dust began to settle on a ranch in north-eastern Mexico, thought to have been owned by one of the world's most powerful drug cartels, the battle-hardened Marines stumbled upon their first decomposing corpse. Minutes later, they found a second; then a third. By the time troops had finished searching the remote property, roughly 90 miles from the US border, a total of 72 contorted bodies had been laid out in rows, beneath the summer sunshine. The discovery on Tuesday afternoon marks a new low in a brutal conflict that has taken the lives of an estimated 28,000 Mexicans in the three-and-a-half years since the country's President, Felipe Calderon, declared "war" on the nation's wealthy and extraordinarily well-armed drug cartels. Mass graves are becoming an increasingly common by-product of the wave of drug-related violence sweeping the country. In May, 55 bodies were pulled from abandoned mine near Taxco, just south of Mexico City; last month, 51 more were unearthed from a field next to a rubbish tip near the northern city of Monterey. They provide stark reminders of the growing cheapness of life in a conflict that is constantly plumbing new depths of barbarity. Over the weekend, four decapitated bodies, their genitals and index fingers cut off, were hung upside down from a bridge just outside the nation's capital. Two more were dumped nearby on Tuesday. Although most Mexicans support Mr Calderon for now, a growing minority believe that the drug war will be impossible to win. Earlier this month, former president Vicente Fox, a staunch supporter of the US crackdown on drugs, declared that recent events had won him over to the cause of legalisation...more

Consulate Warning of Zeta Kidnappings

The US Consulate is warning Americans who travel to Monterrey Mexico they face a greater risk of being kidnapped. The warning was issued after the possible kidnapping attempt of a college student. The incident is raising new concerns about the danger of being kidnapped and held for ransom in Mexico. Organized criminal groups like the Zetas are trying to make more money to fight the drug war through kidnappings and extortions. The Zetas have military training and are very resourceful. They are not just targeting people in the drug business. Business owners, their families and anyone who can pay a large ransom is being targeted. Federal law enforcement sources say the Valley is also seeing a sharp increase in kidnappings...more

Cartels' cash flows across border

Stashing cash in spare tires, engine transmissions and truckloads of baby diapers, couriers for Mexican drug cartels are moving tens of billions of dollars in profits south across the border each year, a river of dirty money that has overwhelmed U.S. and Mexican customs agents. Officials said stemming the flow of this cash is essential if Mexico and the United States hope to disrupt powerful transnational criminal organizations that are using their wealth to corrupt, terrorize and kill. Despite unprecedented efforts to thwart the traffickers, U.S. and Mexican authorities are seizing no more than 1 percent of the cash, according to an analysis by The Washington Post based on figures provided by the two governments. The major Mexican drug organizations write that off as the cost of doing business - losing a percentage far smaller than the fees for an ordinary wire transfer or ATM withdrawal, Mexican and U.S. law enforcement officials said. The drug traffickers and their Colombian suppliers smuggle $20 billion to $25 billion in U.S. bank notes across the southwest border annually as they seek to circumvent banking regulations and the suspicions aroused by large cash deposits, studies by federal officials, regulators and academics show...more

Sounds like the money would stay here if it weren't for the prying bank regs created by our own ineffective war on drugs.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Drillers May Face Months of Waiting Even After Obama Lifts Deep-Water Ban

President Barack Obama’s administration may agree to an early end for its moratorium on deep-water oil and gas drilling while backing new regulations that may keep rigs idle for months afterward. Obama is likely to lift the drilling ban in October, ahead of its scheduled Nov. 30 expiration, said Michael McKenna, president of MWR Strategies, an oil industry consulting firm in Washington. Heightened scrutiny of drilling’s risks may delay the resumption of operations by companies such as BP Plc and Apache Corp. until mid-2011, McKenna said. The administration halted drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet after BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico blew out April 20. Government officials from Gulf Coast states say the moratorium is ravaging a regional economy already hit hard by the spill, putting the White House under political pressure to end the ban early, McKenna said. “Lifting the moratorium is almost unimportant,” McKenna said in an interview. “It’s how different the regulatory regime is going to be after. The end game here is to make it a very, very difficult and time-consuming regulatory process.”...more

3 Ex-Forest Chiefs Back Rocky Mountain Land Plan

Three former chiefs of the U.S. Forest Service are asking Montana's congressional delegation to protect the Rocky Mountain Front, a plea they say marks the first time they have united to urge passage of a land measure. The request was made in a letter, sent earlier this month, that urges the delegation to "take a leadership role in the passage of the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act." It was signed by Dale Bosworth, Forest Service chief from 2001-2007; Michael Dombeck, the agency's chief from 1997-2001; and Jack Ward Thomas, who headed the Forest Service from 1993-1996. The Rocky Mountain Heritage Act is proposed legislation written last year by wilderness advocates, farmers, ranchers and others living where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains between East Glacier and Lincoln. The act aims to preserve existing uses for the land, like grazing or outfitting, while protecting species in the area. It would designate six new wilderness areas and create a large management area that would protect the land but still allow some timber cutting and use by livestock. It also includes a provision to fight noxious weeds over hundreds of thousands of acres...more

Company regrets Ruby Pipeline conservation deal

An El Paso Corp. spokesman expressed regret that the company struck a deal setting aside some $22 million in conservation trusts to alleviate environmental opposition to a Wyoming-to-Oregon natural gas pipeline. El Paso's subsidiary, Ruby Pipeline LLC, began construction of the $3 billion pipeline the day after receiving federal approval on July 30. Just weeks before receiving approval, El Paso struck a deal with the Western Watersheds Project and Oregon Natural Desert Association setting up two conservation trusts. The trusts, managed by a third party, would be used to buy out federal grazing allotments and otherwise curb activities along the 680-mile Ruby Pipeline route to protect habitats for sage grouse and other wildlife. El Paso spokesman Richard Wheatley said the company felt that the level of opposition brought by the two groups left no other choice but to strike a deal. "We did not expect the backlash we have received from the counties and states concerning our agreements with Western Watersheds on the trust," Wheatley said Monday. "Had we done more homework ... perhaps we would have gained more insight to the opposition to those two groups and how they operate." Now El Paso finds itself in hot water with several state and county governments despite mostly enthusiastic support from government officials at the onset of the project. County governments across four western states, including four southwest Wyoming counties, say El Paso Corp. betrayed their support by striking the conservation trust deal at the last minute. They say any trust fund established to mitigate impacts of the pipeline ought to benefit all stakeholders and not just single out one interest group...more

Feds tout griz health

Federal officials will appeal a court decision that returned grizzly bears to the Endangered Species List, calling the ruling “unbelievable” given the population’s three-fold increase since 1975. They announced their decision this week, saying they will challenge the decision by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, of Missoula, Mont., who ruled last year in favor of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. That conservation group said the alarming loss of whitebark pine, a grizzly food, plus unreliable state and federal management plans could not ensure that the species will sustain itself in the ecosystem. “The ruling was ... ‘unbelievable’ is probably the best word,” U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grizzly bear recovery coordinator Chris Servheen said in a telephone interview from his office in Montana. “We disagree with every point [Judge Molloy] has.” Servheen acknowledged the decline in whitebark pine trees but said “whitebark pine has been declining for some time. During that time the grizzly bear population has increased and continues to increase every year.” “The grizzly bear is not a whitebark-pine-dependent species,” he said...more

Crapo, Risch asking feds to appeal wolf lawsuit

Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to appeal a district court decision that ended Idaho’s sanctioned wolf hunt and put gray wolves back on the endangered species list. The two GOP senators sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who was the lead defendant in the lawsuit to end Idaho’s wolf management and hunt. Crapo and Risch said in their letter that the judge’s ruling earlier this month should be challenged. “This ruling entirely ignores the successful recovery of the gray wolf in Idaho, as well as our state’s strong wolf management plan, which, as you know, has been approved by the FWS and has demonstrated Idaho’s role as a responsible and effective manager of gray wolf populations within our boundaries,” they said. “It is vital that Idaho be permitted to manage its wildlife populations.”...more

Dozens of burros die at dried-up spring

Nearly 60 burros were discovered dead in and near a horizontal mine shaft in a remote Mojave Desert wilderness area late last week, federal officials said Tuesday. The animals probably were seeking water from a spring inside the tunnel that apparently had dried up. In all, 56 burros died, most likely of thirst, BLM officials said. Some of the animals had been dead for as long as two weeks and were decomposing in the 100-degree-plus heat, said a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Land Management. Bureau officials saved the lives of another 13 burros that were suffering from severe dehydration. A helicopter delivered 750 gallons of water to the site, about 35 miles west of Needles, on Thursday. By the next morning, all of that water had been consumed. Another 4,000 gallons were brought in by helicopter and a county water tender and placed in portable troughs. The survivors remained at the remote site on Tuesday but probably will be moved to the federal corrals in Ridgecrest, nearly 200 miles away, officials said...more

So, would they have done the same if it were cattle?

Census Bureau: 94.6 Percent of U.S. Is Rural Open Space

Data newly available from the 2000 Census show that at least 94.6 percent of the United States is rural open space, calling into question one of the most common arguments made in defense of smart growth and compact urban development: that we are “running out” of open space. More than two out of three Americans live in urbanized areas. These areas collectively cover 2 percent of the nation’s land area. Counting urbanized areas and urban clusters together, nearly four out of five Americans live in an urban setting. Urbanized areas and urban clusters cover 2.6 percent of the nation’s land. Remaining “places” account for just 4.4 percent of the U.S. population, but they cover 2.8 percent of the land. Their density is far lower than the density of urbanized areas and urban clusters. The average urbanized area has nearly 2,700 people per square mile, and the average urban cluster has close to 1,500 people per square mile. But the average place (outside of urban areas) has just 133 people per square mile. Together, urbanized areas, urban clusters, and rural places occupy 5.4 percent of the nation’s land, while urban areas alone cover just 2.6 percent. Rural open space thus covers between 94.6 and 97.4 percent of the land in the United States...more

Song Of The Day #389

Ranch Radio stays Out West with The Ridge Runnin' Roan by Glen Rice.

Stray bullets from across border worry El Paso

The first bullets struck El Paso's City Hall at the end of a workday. The next ones closed a major highway, hit a building at the University of Texas at El Paso and struck a local charity. Shootouts in the drug war along the U.S.-Mexico border are sending bullets whizzing across the Rio Grande into one of the nation's safest cities, where authorities worry that it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt or killed. At least eight bullets have been fired into El Paso in the last few weeks from the rising violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, one of the world's most dangerous places. And all U.S. police can do is shrug because they cannot legally intervene in a war in another country. The best they can do is warn people to stay inside. "There's really not a lot you can do right now," El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles said. "Those gun battles are breaking out everywhere, and some are breaking out right along the border."...more

Baby shot dead, man and boy beheaded in Mexico border city

A six-month-old baby died after being shot in the head by hitmen in northern Mexico, where officials Tuesday also reported the discovery of two headless males, including a teenage boy. Hitmen chased a man into a house in the country's most violent city of Ciudad Juarez and killed him on Saturday before shooting the baby in another room, Chihuahua state justice officials said. The baby died two days later. At least 19 minors under the age of 10 have been killed as a result of violent attacks this year in the border city, according to a press tally. The heads of a 15-year-old and his uncle were meanwhile found in the centre of the town of Casas Grandes, in the north of the same state, officials said Tuesday. Their bodies were found on a road nearby...more

83 Police Killed in Mexican Border City This Year

Organized crime groups have killed 83 police officers this year in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital, raising to 214 the number of law enforcement agents murdered in the border city in the past three years, “Joint Operation Chihuahua” spokesman Jaime Torres said. A municipal police officer was gunned down on Tuesday as he was driving home, Torres said. Officer Cesar Marquez had just been named earlier in the day to be the operations coordinator of a police station in Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas. All the police agencies in the border city are on full alert due to the attacks being staged by drug traffickers, Torres said. Of the 83 officers murdered this year, 28 were municipal officers, 23 were federal law enforcement agents and 10 were state police officers, with the remainder being from the transit police and other agencies, Torres said...more

Police: U.S. teen randomly kidnapped, found in Reynosa

Police reunited a teenage woman with her family Monday afternoon, nearly 19 hours after she was abducted, blindfolded and dumped in a Reynosa field. The 18-year-old woman, whose name was not disclosed by police, was walking to a friend’s house about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. A black van pulled up alongside her and three men hopped out, San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said. They snatched the girl, blindfolded her and took her to Reynosa. The kidnappers began calling the woman’s family demanding ransom money. “The kidnappers somehow missed it that she had a cell phone,” Gonzalez said. “We were able to keep communicating with her.” The chief said police investigators, FBI agents and Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies negotiated with the kidnappers. Once the abductors realized their victim’s family would not be able to pay a ransom, they dumped her in a random field. Customs officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents were put on alert to look for the teen and a helicopter surveyed Mexico from this side of the border, but found nothing. U.S. authorities did not contact their Mexican counterparts because they did not know whether they were corrupted or connected to the girl’s captors, Gonzalez said...more

Another tunnel discovery in Nogales

Another border tunnel has been found on Arizona's border with Mexico. U.S. Border Patrol agents working in cooperation with local and federal law enforcement agencies found a tunnel Friday in Nogales, under the southbound lane at the DeConcini Port of Entry. The weight of a passenger bus caused a collapse in the road. From Oct. 1, 2009, to July 31, 2010, five tunnels were identified within the Tucson Sector. During the same period last year, 20 tunnels were discovered...more

under the southbound lane at the DeConcini Port of Entry

This is almost funny. Dennis DeConcini is the former Senator from Arizona, and the illegals are using a Port of Entry named after him to tunnel their way into the US.

Not to be outdone, Senator Bingaman is wanting to designate the Potrillos as wilderness. That too will become a Port of Entry for the illegals. Perhaps we should name it after Bingaman. Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Former BLM manager accepted gifts

The former district manager of the Bureau of Land Management's Farmington field office accepted trips to pro golf tournaments, donations to his son's youth baseball teams and other prohibited gifts from oil and gas companies he was charged with regulating, according to an Office of the Inspector General investigation made public this week. Steve Henke, after managing the Farmington field office for nine years, resigned from the BLM in May to accept a job as president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. According to a government investigation initiated prior to his resignation, Henke accepted gifts from oil and gas companies and misused BLM funds. However, no evidence was found that Henke gave preferential treatment in exchange for the gifts, according to the report made public through a federal Freedom of Information Act request. Henke in response to the investigation report said he did nothing wrong. "There's no evidence or indication of any quid pro quo or any inappropriate conduct with regard to the oil and gas (industry) on my part, that's the bottom line," Henke said. "If the lines between my professional responsibilities, my personal life and my civic responsibilities overlap, I think in the final analysis, the point that there's no indication that there was a quid pro quo of any sort is indicative of how I conducted business on behalf of the public at BLM."...more

Energy vote costly for Harry Teague

Rep. Harry Teague made an expensive decision last June when he supported Democratic leaders on climate change. The former oil man bucked his energy-producing home district to support Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s cap-and-trade legislation — a yes vote that cost him millions of dollars in lost business at his family’s company, which services the local oil and gas industry. And it’s a vote that ultimately could end up costing the House freshman his job. Teague stands out more than most Democrats when it comes to the climate change debate. Thanks to his conservative-minded and energy industry-driven constituency, he instantly landed atop the list of potential GOP pickup opportunities. “Cap and trade is a vote that’s contrary to the economic interests in the district, and I don’t think Harry is going to get away with that,” said Jim Manatt, a prominent Republican fundraiser and the owner of Roswell-based Thrust Energy Inc. Some local oil industry officials even targeted Teague’s company, which he’d built up from scratch into a multimillion-dollar business, marking him one of the richest members in Congress. “Immediately, everybody quit using his businesses,” said Lance Wilbanks, the CEO of Wilbanks Trucking in Artesia, who said he thought it was “sleazy” that Teague’s company changed its name after the climate vote in attempt to hedge some of its losses...more

AZ Ranchers and Conservationists Begin New Era in Wolf Management

The Mexican gray wolf reintroduction program along the Arizona-New Mexico border is moving into a new phase, with a program compensating ranchers for wolf-caused livestock losses being taken over by the federal government. Meanwhile, Craig Miller, Southwest representative with Defenders of Wildlife, says his organization's resources will be redirected to projects that actively safeguard livestock and protect wolves. "It should benefit ranchers as well as conservationists because it provides significant flexibility in the way the funds are used to address conflicts." Eva Sargent, Southwest program director with Defenders of Wildlife, says her group will now focus on what they call "Wolf Coexistence Partnerships," using proven methods to proactively prevent livestock losses to wolves. "Special fencing, more cowboys or range-riders in the field to watch out for the cattle; the human presence keeps the wolves away. You could do moving of cattle to more secure pasturing that's further from wolf dens." Craig Miller says the goal is near-zero losses of both livestock and wolves through a combination of collaboration, common sense, and cost-effective methods and tools...more

Wild horse roundup opponents ignore reality

t should come as no surprise that wild horse advocates have assembled more than 3,000 letters opposing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's plans to round up nearly 2,000 wild horses in southwest Wyoming this fall. Many people see wild horses as a romantic symbol of the West. So the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign had no trouble rallying people around the country and internationally to oppose the BLM's helicopter roundup plans. What many of those people don't understand is that while the BLM has a responsibility to manage wild horses, it also has an obligation to manage federal land where those horses live for multiple uses -- livestock grazing, recreation, wildlife and mineral development, to name just a few. If wild horse herds are allowed to run wild -- remember, they have no natural predators and multiply rapidly -- there's no possibility for balance. And "management" of wild horses means just what its says in the dictionary: "to direct or control the use of," or "to exert control over." Even if you accept the argument of some wild horse advocates that the animals should be considered a native species, modern wildlife management principles would dictate that the horse population should be controlled. Because we don't allow wild horse hunting seasons, the only real option is to remove excess animals from the range...more

Research IDs lands along Yellowstone River that may be public

Research done by a coalition of local groups has identified 10 tracts of land along and in the Yellowstone River between Laurel and Billings that may be public. Ultimately the groups would like to see public islands and former islands opened to river travelers for camping, hunting and recreation along the Yellowstone’s entire length, said Mike Penfold, who’s leading the effort. Although identifying the lands and then having them ruled public takes time and money, Penfold said the process is still cheaper than buying land. To find the lands, the groups first commissioned a geomorphology study of the river by Womack and Associates, a geology and engineering firm. The study showed which islands may have existed before Montana became a state in 1889. Islands that formed before Montana became a state are state lands, even if they later attach to the bank. Islands in the river at the time Montana became a state that were never patented are federal land, even if they later attach to the bank. From that survey, the groups identified 22 tracts between Billings and Laurel that were potentially public. “That gave us a lot of areas that might fit that category,” Penfold said. “Then we looked at where taxes were being paid.”...more

Mike Penfold is the former State Director of the BLM in Montana and it doesn't surprise me he is working to increase the size of the federal estate. I worked with him (or tried to) in the 80s.

Michigan hails judge's ruling in Asian carp fight against Chicago

The five Midwestern states suing to keep Asian carp – the behemoths that gorge on plankton and leap 10 feet in the air – out of the Great Lakes claimed to score a legal victory Monday. On Monday, a federal judge held an initial hearing and scheduled more hearings for expert testimony in early September. The Michigan attorney general’s office heralded the decision, since it will be the first time the case is heard on its merits. The Supreme Court earlier this year declined to take up the case. The goal of the lawsuit is to force Chicago to shut down two locks except in cases of emergency, preventing Asian carp from using the canals to reach the Great Lakes. That plan has met with with fierce resistance from barge and tour boat operators. But with carp DNA showing up near Lake Michigan and a bighead carp found in June just six miles from the lake – and beyond the electronic barrier that is supposed to keep it out – a number of groups are calling for drastic action before the fish can infiltrate the Great Lakes with potentially dire consequences...more

Math Lessons for Locavores

But the local food movement now threatens to devolve into another one of those self-indulgent — and self-defeating — do-gooder dogmas. Arbitrary rules, without any real scientific basis, are repeated as gospel by “locavores,” celebrity chefs and mainstream environmental organizations. Words like “sustainability” and “food-miles” are thrown around without any clear understanding of the larger picture of energy and land use. One popular and oft-repeated statistic is that it takes 36 (sometimes it’s 97) calories of fossil fuel energy to bring one calorie of iceberg lettuce from California to the East Coast. It is also an almost complete misrepresentation of reality, as those numbers reflect the entire energy cost of producing lettuce from seed to dinner table, not just transportation. Studies have shown that whether it’s grown in California or Maine, or whether it’s organic or conventional, about 5,000 calories of energy go into one pound of lettuce. Given how efficient trains and tractor-trailers are, shipping a head of lettuce across the country actually adds next to nothing to the total energy bill. It takes about a tablespoon of diesel fuel to move one pound of freight 3,000 miles by rail; that works out to about 100 calories of energy. If it goes by truck, it’s about 300 calories, still a negligible amount in the overall picture. (For those checking the calculations at home, these are “large calories,” or kilocalories, the units used for food value.) Overall, transportation accounts for about 14 percent of the total energy consumed by the American food system. Other favorite targets of sustainability advocates include the fertilizers and chemicals used in modern farming. But their share of the food system’s energy use is even lower, about 8 percent. The real energy hog, it turns out, is not industrial agriculture at all, but you and me. Home preparation and storage account for 32 percent of all energy use in our food system, the largest component by far. Indeed, households make up for 22 percent of all the energy expenditures in the United States. Agriculture, on the other hand, accounts for just 2 percent of our nation’s energy usage; that energy is mainly devoted to running farm machinery and manufacturing fertilizer...more

The Teamster Tariffs

An 18-month trade war between the U.S. and its third largest trading partner took a turn for the worse this week when Mexico announced new tariffs on 26 previously tariff-free items that it imports from America. Washington state apples and California oranges and pistachios, among other things, will now cost 20% more in Mexico than they did last week. Cheeses from California and Wisconsin now face a 25% tariff. Though Mexico removed 16 items from the tariff list, the additions mean a net increase of 10 new U.S. exports facing Mexican duties and raise the value of the exports hit to $2.6 billion from $2.4 billion. The list of 99 items was released Wednesday and went into effect Thursday. This is bad news for U.S. producers whose goods compete with exports from countries like Canada and Chile, which have free trade agreements with Mexico. It is a wound that the fragile and export-dependent U.S. economic recovery can ill afford. It is also self-inflicted. Under the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), goods and services are supposed to flow largely tariff-free across the Mexican, U.S. and Canadian borders. But the U.S. hasn't kept its side of the bargain, refusing for 15 years to allow Mexican trucking companies to compete on American soil. esident Clinton first yielded to pressure from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to block Mexican trucks in 1995. Mexico pursued fruitless negotiations for five years, finally winning an appeal to a Nafta resolution panel in 2001. The Bush Administration promised to respect the panel's ruling but it waited until 2007 to launch a pilot program to allow a limited number of Mexican long-haul trucks into the U.S. and test their safety. The program demonstrated that Mexican trucks are as safe as their U.S. counterparts. But that didn't matter to Congressional Democrats who killed the pilot program in 2009...more

U.S. Agriculture Paying Price for Inaction on Mexican Trucks

Mexico’s trade retaliation against the United States is expanding in size and scope due to the U.S. government not meeting obligations to allow Mexican trucks to operate in the United States. Due to this inaction, America’s farmers and ranchers are paying a steep price and the American Farm Bureau Federation is calling for immediate action to correct the matter. The updated retaliation list published by Mexico includes tariffs that take effect today against U.S. pork, certain types of U.S. cheese, pistachios, a wide range of U.S. fruits and vegetables and other farm and non-farm goods. “Mexico is one of our best trading partners and allowing this retaliation to continue for a provision we are obligated to meet is simply unacceptable,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “The economic impact from this growing list will be significant to many farmers and ranchers.”...more

Stage set for USDA-DOJ workshop in Ft. Collins

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the lineup of speakers for its joint workshop with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on competition in livestock markets. The workshop, to be held Aug. 27 in Ft. Collins, Colo., is expected to draw hundreds of cattle producers with wildly divergent views about market fairness. Not only supporters of conventional marketing systems but particularly those who believe the current market structure is anticompetitive and stacked against the independent producer have planned pre-workshop events on Aug. 26. The liveliest part of the meeting promises to be the two open-microphone sessions for the public, one at midday and the other after the final afternoon panel. As with the previous three joint USDA/DOJ workshops, the morning session will be opened by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and DOJ antitrust division chief Christine Varney. The first panel will be moderated by Vilsack and Varney and will include the following panelists: Mike Harper, sheep producer, Eaton, Colo.; Dr. Taylor Haynes, rancher, Cheyenne, Wyo.: Robbie LeValley, rancher, Hotchkiss, Colo.; Harry Livermont, rancher, Interior, S.D.; Chris Petersen, hog farmer, Clear Lake, Iowa; Allen Sents, feedlot owner, Marquette, Kan., and Alden Zuhlke, rancher, Brunswick, Neb...more

Cutting back on antibiotics use poses hurdles for hog farmers

The Obama administration would like to see more hog farmers raising hogs the way the Hilleman brothers do - using fewer antibiotics. But raising hogs with fewer antibiotics has its challenges, the brothers say. One big one: Some of the black Berkshire hogs grunting and rooting around the Hillemans' barns are likely to get sick and die before they're ready for market. That's because it's sometimes impractical to treat them, the brothers say. Randy, Mark and Tom Hilleman raise the hogs for a local cooperative, Eden Farms, that markets Berkshire pork to high-end restaurants. Farmers who raise Eden Farms pork earn a premium price for the pigs, because the Berkshires are valued by chefs at high-end restaurants because of the hogs' fatter, darker meat. But farmers who supply Eden Farms cannot use antibiotics for growth promotion, a common practice on conventional farms, and they cannot use the drugs at all if the hogs are within 100 days - more than three months - of going to slaughter. The Food and Drug Administration this summer proposed to phase out the use of antibiotics as growth promotion but still allow drugs to be added to feed or water for purposes of preventing specific diseases, a practice Eden Farms allows for young pigs. The administration is concerned that the overuse of antibiotics in livestock is contributing to the problem of drug-resistant diseases in humans...more

Song Of The Day #388

Ranch Radio will head west this week. To start things off will be Gene Autry's 1939 recording of Be Honest With Me.

Widow of Slain Rancher Reflects on Border Debate

Sue Krentz is a conflicted woman, coping with the complicated reality of life near the Mexican border. She hears calls for the humanitarian treatment of migrants at her church, and her family has long shown compassion to those who cross their ranch, providing water and other aid before calling the Border Patrol. But it pains her deeply to know there was no similar compassion from whomever Rob Krentz, 58, encountered on March 27. That day her husband of 33 years was shot to death on their ranch northeast of Douglas as he made his rounds. No one has been charged for the crime. Krentz supports S.B. 1070 and had long backed such legislation, but she believes the main responsibility for fixing border problems lies with the U.S. and Mexican governments, the latter by doing more to help its own people support themselves in their own country. A lifelong Catholic, Krentz has turned to Mary and a daily 4 a.m. rosary “to get me through this.” But she chafes when her pastor at St. Luke’s preaches about the Christian responsibility to honor the human dignity of every person, no matter their legal status. “Where’s my human dignity? Where was Rob’s?” she asks...more

Border Sheriffs: Security Impossible Without More Federal Help

A recent gathering of law enforcement officers highlighted the growing divide between the federal government and local authorities on issues of border security. Sheriffs in the southwest say that violence from the Mexican drug wars already has spilled over to the United States, despite Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s recent statements to the contrary. Sheriff Arvin R. West pointed to a place on the map along the southern U.S. border where he serves in Hudspeth County, Texas. Here, he said, between Interstate 10 and the Rio Grande, a population hangs by a desperate thread. The sheriff calls it “Almost America,” full of people who believe they’ve been left to fend for themselves in the face of encroaching violence from Mexico. Federal agents provide little protection for the swath of land running between the highway and the river, West said. Nobody said that life along the U.S.-Mexican border was pretty. But local sheriffs there will say that it's downright ugly — more violent and dangerous than the federal government will admit. They have the community scars and pictures to prove it. They brought the latter to a law enforcement conference last week in suburban Washington D.C. The sheriffs, along with a longtime Border Patrol agent and a West Coast gang expert, held nothing back as they spoke to fellow lawmen. Mexican drug cartels have a military arsenal, and they're stocking weapons in the United States, said Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, whose jurisdiction covers 1,000 square miles near the southern most tip of Texas...more

Monday, August 23, 2010

23,000 Workers affected by Gulf oil drill ban

A six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico would directly put more than 9,000 people out of work and indirectly affect another 14,000 jobs, according to a memo from the nation's top drilling regulator. The federal document, which weighed the economic impact and alternatives to the ban, was sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on July 10 by Michael Bromwich. Salazar issued a moratorium in June, but it was struck down by a federal judge in New Orleans after oil and gas drilling interests said it wasn't justified following the Gulf oil spill. The Obama administration issued a new moratorium July 12 — two days after the memo — that stressed new evidence of safety concerns. The White House hopes the revised ban will pass muster with the courts. Some energy experts, engineering consultants and Gulf Coast leaders have joined Big Oil to ask Salazar to change his mind. Drilling was safe before the BP spill, they said, and Gulf communities that depend on the industry were suffering unfairly...more

'Problem Wolves' Spur NM Suit

Ranchers and two southern New Mexico counties sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in federal court Friday for changing a policy about capturing cow-killing Mexican wolves without first conducting a study on the change's impact on humans. The lawsuit says that rules governing the federally-managed wolf reintroduction effort, launched in 1998, provided for the removal of wolves that prey on livestock in the recovery area of southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico. But since last year, Fish and Wildlife, in an effort to bolster the population of wild wolves, has stopped adhering to a 2005 standard operating procedure, known as SOP 13, that called for the removal or killing of wolves that preyed on three or more cattle in a one-year period. The lawsuit says that the rule about removing "problem wolves" is being ignored, and that a change in the policy requires an environmental study on the impact of the change under the National Environmental Policy Act...more

Oregon wolf hazing experiment tries to keep the predators away from cattle

Jason Cunningham studies the muddy trail ahead for wolf tracks as his horse lopes through a northeastern Oregon mountain canyon. An actual encounter with a wolf is rare in these mountains, even though the 30-year-old range rider knows from radio telemetry that more than a dozen wolves are nearby. He sees their tracks daily and often hears their mournful howls. "We're chasing a ghost with tracks," quips the bearded Cunningham as he reins in Drifty , his 10-year-old bay gelding, near the burbling waters of Big Sheep Creek. His panting Catahoula dog, Iris , throws herself down at the horse's feet. Cunningham's range riding job is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 530,000-member Defenders of Wildlife environmental group. He's a hazer on horseback, discouraging wolves from dining on Oregon ranchers' beef -- no shooting allowed. He often pounds a saddle for 30 miles a day, changing horses at noon to keep his three horses fresh, then sometimes switching to an ATV for nighttime patrol because wolves tend to be more active after dark...more

Montana meeting shows monument opposition mounting

Mistrust of the purported plans by the Interior Department to create a grasslands national monument — possibly with bison — on Montana's open plains was expressed by speaker after speaker at a meeting here Friday. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg, a Republican, said. "I don't trust 'em." The meeting drew just more than 200 people, who filled the bleachers in the gymnasium. They heard speeches from a panel of county commissioners and people with ranching interests, who said they oppose a monument designation and urged the crowd to get informed — and ready for battle. Seven of the eight people on Rehberg's panel spoke against the idea, but Sean Gerrity, president of the American Prairie Foundation, withheld judgment. APF runs a growing private grassland preserve in northeastern Montana, where genetically pure bison roam. Martha Kauffman, Bozeman-based managing director of the Northern Great Plains Program for WWF, said the group isn't in collusion with government land managers, as some people have suggested. Kauffman told the crowd that Western Montana has received most of the conservation focus in Montana, while the eastern part of the state is overlooked. "We like it that way," somebody in the crowd shouted...more

Livestock sale nets $286,000

With Tell Runyan and his steer projected on the big screen, auctioneer Tommy Williams is looking to make a deal. A chant of, “Do I have 51? Do I have 51?” echoes through the Curry County Events Center. Hearing none, Williams declares, “I just sold that steer for $5,000.” The sale was the first of 107 at the Curry County Junior Livestock sale, with sales totaling $286.764.30. That’s up from last year’s total of $254,000 between 112 animals. Proceeds from the animal sales go to the youth that raised the animals. Any profits they keep after the expenses of feeding and raising the animal are put into savings or rolled into next year’s projects. Prior to the sale, a free barbecue dinner is served. During the dinner, the youth bring refreshments and promote their animals. If their animal is purchased, it’s customary to make some sort of gift basket for the buyer. A box full of bread, apples, lemons and even a pineapple went to Joe Rhodes, who went in on a purchase with Bender GM and Public Land Commissioner candidate and Roosevelt County rancher Matt Rush. Rhodes, well-known as “Papa Joe” from Joe’s Boot Shop, said the sale is a good-faith transaction. “(It’s) because they’re my customers,” Rhodes said, before motioning jokingly toward auctioneer assistant Wayne Kinman, who propped himself up with a cane as he looked for bidders. “He’ll make you bid. He’s got a stick.”...more

BLM Raids Dalton Wilson’s Ranch After Judge Sandoval’s Acquittal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 21, 2010

(AUSTIN, NV) Just a year after being acquitted of an alleged criminal trespass by then Federal District Court Judge Brian Sandavol in a case brought by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Dalton Wilson drove home to his ranch last week to find the road blocked by BLM employees under order of Federal Judge Edward C. Reed. “I was by myself and they were packing guns. I don’t trust the BLM not to provoke an ‘incident’ as an excuse to hall me off in leg chains or worse. I went back to Austin and reported the incident to the Sheriff instead,” said Wilson.
Last year Wilson successfully defended his claim to 80 acres of land in Lander Co. Nevada before Judge Sandoval, defeating the BLM’s criminal trespass charge. “The BLM was trying to throw me in jail for living on a ranch which I bought from my predecessors in 1981. This land has been farmed and lived on continually for 100 years, property taxes have been paid on it and my predecessors applied for a patent to it in 1917. They received a patent for the adjoining 80 acres but it appears the patent and survey is missing from the official BLM record on this property,” Wilson commented.
The 73 year-old Wilson, who lives alone on his remote ranch surviving only on his social security check, has been in a David and Goliath battle for over ten years to protect his ranch from BLM bureaucrats intent on destroying his ranch. In a sad moment of Nevada history, Wilson was notified that the BLM raided his ranch, removed his personal belongings from his house and his livestock from his property.
The BLM, rather than merely appealing Sandoval’s acquittal, in an unusual move, brought a civil trespass charge against Wilson instead, raising the issue of double jeopardy.
“This is the strangest case I have ever seen,” remarked Ramona Morrison, NLSA Director, who has been following the case closely. “Wilson, after being acquitted and after repeated pleas to Judge Reed in this new case for a jury trial has never even been allowed a hearing before the Judge. Judge Reed has never ruled on the facts or law of this case and in fact is ignoring an Order from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals directing him to resolve the claims of the parties and to try this case.”
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a Mandate which is a stay until the claims have been litigated by the lower court and Judge Reed.
Don Alt, NLSA President, noted, “Reed seems to be acting in contemptuous disregard to the higher Court’s Order and Mandate and has issued what is tantamount to an edict from the bench allowing the BLM to forcibly interfere with Wilson’s property without due process of law.”
Reed’s order opened the door to the BLM to violate its own laws including the Federal Land Policy and Management Act when they physically blocked Wilson’s access to his home and the adjoining 80 acres on which there is no question of title.
“Dalton Wilson is only doing what the law clearly allows him to do and is being punished because he had the nerve to stand up for his Constitutionally protected rights,” said Morrison. “I am especially curious to know why Sheriff Unger allowed the federal government bureaucrats to conduct an unlawful law enforcement in violation of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act as well as the Nevada Constitution and law.”
According to Wilson when he asked Sandoval during one of his recent campaign stops for Governor about the government’s new civil case, Sandoval’s reply was, “The government doesn’t like to lose”.
# # # # #
9732 State Route 445, #305  Sparks, Nevada 89436  775.577.9048
Contact: Dalton Wilson, 775.934.2281
Don Alt, Chairman, 775.577.9048
Ramona Morrison, Director, 775.722.2517

Wallowa County cowboys race to build rockjacks in one-of-a-kind competition

A rockjack is a wooden cage of split tamarack posts laden with 300 pounds of rocks. It anchors a fence where the rocky ground is too bulletproof to sink a post. Rockjacks are built 30 feet apart and joined by four stands of barbed wire. Wooden "stays," or slats, every eight or 10 feet keep the wire separated. "The idea of a rockjack is, if an elk hits a fence, they'll tip up and fall back down," explains veteran rockjack builder Casey Tipett, who ranches near Enterprise. In celebration of this curious cow country artifact, the Ranch Rodeo at the county fairgrounds in Enterprise offers the World Championship Rockjack Building today. The noon event qualifies as the world championship because it's the only one of its kind on the planet and only the second one ever held here, organizers say. End-of-summer ranch life in Wallowa County sometimes seems dominated by rockjacks. Cattle are on summer range, and ranchers finally have time to fix fences in the empty landscape -- essentially basalt canyons "with a little layer of dust on them and a little grass growing out of the dust," Nash says. A single packhorse can carry enough split tamarack rails for two rockjacks and eight stays, he says. Rocks are less of a problem: "You don't have to search hard for them, they are there."...more

Song Of The Day #387

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio, where we bring you a tune to get your heart started for the week.

Today's selection is Choo Choo Ch' Boogie by Asleep At The Wheel.

It's on their Swingin' Best of CD.


Drug traffickers, Mexican police battle within yards of U.S. border

A "major gunbattle" between drug traffickers and Mexican federal police broke out Saturday evening in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just 30 yards from the U.S. border at El Paso, Texas, causing U.S. authorities to cordon off a section of the city, according to a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman. Three police officers were injured and one armed suspect was killed, federal police spokesman Ramon Salinas said. First reports of gunshots came in from border agents around 7 p.m. (9 p.m. ET), U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero told CNN. "The gunbattle is still going on right now," Cordero said 30 minutes after the incident began, just south of the University of Texas at El Paso. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries on the U.S. side of the border, Cordero said. U.S. authorities blocked off a section of Paisano Street, which runs parallel to the Rio Grande. The incident comes less than two months after shots fired from a gunbattle originating in Juarez crossed into El Paso and hit City Hall, damaging the building...more

Bullet from Mexico shootout may have struck Texas university building

A bullet that flew through a building at the University of Texas at El Paso may have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border during a shootout between drug traffickers and Mexican federal police, authorities said. University President Diana Natalicio said Sunday a bullet struck Bell Hall sometime Saturday evening. No injuries were reported at the building. Natalicio said campus police determined a bullet went through the glass panel of the building's door and lodged in an office door frame. "This appears to be the only stray bullet to have struck the campus," Natalicio said. "There is no evidence to suggest that UTEP was specifically targeted." Natalicio said the university will consult with law enforcement and government officials about possible further security precautions...more

Neighbors Living Near Border React to Gunfire

El Pasoans living on the border are looking nervously at their neighbors in Juarez tonight. They're wondering when the next gun battle will send them ducking for cover. Jesus Delgado has lived in his home on Portifio Diaz street for 38 years and he says he is the most scared he's ever been for himself and his family. "I have grandchildren coming every weekend. It's becoming a concern now. I'll try to keep them out of my backyard and keep them inside," says Delgado who enjoys family barbecues in his front yard every Sunday. Arlene Contreras has a message for those committing crimes in Juarez. "You've taken a one time family environment to now where people are afraid to come out of their homes and you're wrong to do that to that neighborhood, to your country and to mine."...more