Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Westerner's Radio Theater #030

Ranch Radio has two radio programs for you today.  First up is Checkerboard Fun Fest starring Eddy Arnold, followed by a 1950 broadcast of Hashknife Hartley.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Rabies outbreak spreads in New Mexico

In spite of an aggressive rabies vaccination campaign in southern New Mexico, reports of new cases continue to filter in from across the state, most recently in Curry and Mora counties, raising the number of confirmed cases this year to 32. In what has been termed the worst rabies outbreak in New Mexico in many years, pet and livestock owners in southern regions of the state were warned to be on the outlook for infected animals after 30 confirmed cases of the disease were discovered in Eddy County between Jan. and Mar. this year, mostly in skunks and foxes. While the program is being credited with helping to curb the outbreak there, the Mora County incident reported in April and the latest Eddy County incident this month may be an indication the threat of rabies is more widespread and growing. In Carlsbad earlier this year there were reports of a fox chasing residents down a street and multiple incidents where either foxes or skunks had ventured into incorporated areas and had bitten dogs. At least a dozen people have undergone rabies treatment this year as a result of exposure. In addition, New Mexico Extension agent Woods Houghton reported one cow was being observed for signs of rabies infection and said there was a confirmed case of rabies in a single horse last year. “I have cautioned horse and livestock owners to be on the watch for early signs of rabies infection. The problem we have on a farm or ranch is the chance for human exposure as ranch hands regularly work with these animals. While we think of rabies as something our pets can easily contract, the truth is it can happen with farm animals as well,” Houghton said. Another case of rabies may have occurred in a cow last year but the rancher buried the animal before health officials could arrive for testing in an effort to prevent predators from feeding on the contaminated carcass...more

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Proposed wildfire law addresses forest fuel loads

U. S. Congressman Paul Gosar is fixing to introduce one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation to address management of public lands in years. Entitled the Catastrophic Wildfire Protection Act of 2012, it would allow for the designation of "at-risk forest" lands, on which federal land managers would be required to implement "wildfire prevention projects." Those projects would sidestep many of the regulatory steps currently required under the National Environmental Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, and allow logging and grazing as a means of reducing fuel loads. The law is a direct response to Arizona's Wallow and Rodeo-Chediski and New Mexico's Las Conches fires that have burned hundreds of thousands of acres and the growing disenchantment with the federal government's response to prevent future fires. According to Gosar, the bill has 18 co-sponsors and will be introduced next week. It affects only lands managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management...more

So, if the high fuel load is in a Park or a Wildlife Refuge, the public has to accept the risk?

Still, sounds like a good bill.

Obama's Soros-Controlled Energy Council

...But to expedite this natural gas boom, President Obama recently decided to form an interagency natural gas council run by Cecilia Muñoz, a former community organizer with La Raza and White House bureaucrat with deep ties to George Soros, the billionaire investor who made his fortune in currency trading throughout the world while bankrolling liberal political efforts. Muñoz formerly led the Open Society Institute and the Center for Community Change, two organizations which are directly connected to Soros,, ACORN, and other fringe groups with a long record of opposing the development of America's oil and coal resources. If having a new council run by the far left was not enough, President Obama continues to support major Democratic donors such as Soros by picking winners and losers in the energy industry. One example of this government intervention is a package of risky subsidies inside a bill known as the NAT GAS Act. This legislation attempts to artificially encourage a transition to more natural gas usage by offering tax credits for natural gas vehicles, fueling stations, and storage facilities. As we all saw with the collapse of inefficient companies like Solyndra, when private investors are not willing to fund a new project, politically connected firms try to force taxpayers to fund their schemes. But if natural gas is an already cheap and abundant source of energy, why would we subsidize it? The answer may be that the Soros Fund Management, which is Soros' investment vehicle, owns more than $90 million of shares in a Vancouver, British Columbia company which produces the same natural gas-powered engines which the act would encourage the use of. Soros has personally donated $5,000 to the act's co-sponsor, Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, and his family donated $121,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, while the lead sponsor of the act, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, was chairman. This is in addition to the countless (and often untraceable) millions of dollars Soros pours into Democratic campaigns through the activities of his non-profit organizations and political committees...more

Documents Raise Serious Questions about Inspector General’s Investigation into Drilling Moratorium Report

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) today sent a letter to Department of the Interior’s Acting Inspector General Mary Kendall expressing deep concern with the thoroughness of the Office of Inspector General’s (IG) investigation into whether an Obama Administration report that recommended a six-month drilling moratorium was intentionally edited to incorrectly state the views of peer reviewers, and with the IG’s explanation for refusing to comply with a Congressional subpoena for further information. Chairman Hastings today also released documents the Committee has received to date from the Interior Department and the Office of Inspector General. This includes emails from the IG’s lead investigators that details how they were not able to obtain all DOI documents that may have been relevant to their investigation or interview White House staff involved in the editing of the report. Chairman Hastings has already requested additional emails from the IG’s office so that the Committee can continue to look into this matter. Click here to view documents.“The IG report is being used by the Obama Administration and others as a defense that this matter has already been investigated and resolved. These emails contradict that claim and raise new questions on whether the IG’sinvestigation was as thorough and complete as it should have been,” said Chairman Hastings. “To date, the Interior Department has never had to disclose documents to the IG or to Congress. Despite the President’s pledge of transparency, this Administration has not answered questions by anyone on how this decision was made that forced thousands of Americans out of work and cost millions of dollars in lost economic activity.”...Press Release

Salt Lake Tribune whines again at Senator Lee

From their 5/9 Editorial Protecting our land:

Lee a conservation party pooper
At least Sen. Mike Lee was honorable enough not to try to claim credit for one of the last and best accomplishments of the statesman he ousted from office two years ago. No, rather than celebrate the opening of two new federal conservation areas in Utah’s Washington County Monday, the Republican senator was back in Washington, D.C., rudely denigrating the carefully crafted Washington County Lands Bill of 2009 that made them possible. Lee, joined by Sen. Orrin Hatch, has proposed a bill that would not allow the federal government to apply national park, monument or recreation/conservation area status — on land that the federal government owns — without the approval of the affected state’s legislature. In some states, that might not be a problem. In others — particularly Utah — the overwhelming influence the extractive industries have over state legislative bodies would make it nearly impossible to grant proper levels of federal protection to another acre of land. Which is, clearly, the point. The bill is not only a bad idea, it amounts to a gratuitous slap at former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett. It was Republican Bennett, along with Democrat Rep. Jim Matheson, who painstakingly worked out the bill that increased levels of federal protection for some lands while allowing other parcels near cities to be sold for development. It is a success that other Utah counties are seeking to copy...

 So Lee is a "conservation party pooper" and is "rudely denigrating" and taking a "gratuitous slap" at Bennett, all because he wants to involve states in land use decisions that have significant impacts on the residents of that state.

What a leap by the editors to take a shot at Lee.  Since Hatch is working on the bill too, why isn't he also "rudely denigrating" Bennett?  And even if this were accurate, how do you denigrate someone without being rude?  Are they laying off Hatch because of the challenge to him by a conservative?  Of course they are.

And then throw in the 17th amendment in an editorial on land designations?  Another leap.

Truth is, its the Tribune that is "rudely denigrating" and taking a "gratuitous slap" at the people of Utah.

 But, in an age when compromise and consensus are perceived as signs of weakness, Bennett’s reward was to be ousted from office at the 2010 Utah Republican State Convention.

No sir, can't let democracy get in the way of their precious wilderness.

What a petty whine by the editors. 

I hereby present the Salt Lake Tribune The Westerner's "Whine Connoisseur of  The Week" award.

P.S.  I tried to read the Lee-Hatch bill (S. 2473), but the text is not ready from the GPO.  Wonder what the SLT was reading?

Bison advocates claim early start to hazing puts calves at risk

A sign beside the highway heading north out of West Yellowstone flashed, “Animals on roadway – next 10 miles.” It was a clue that Wednesday morning was the start of Montana’s spring ritual of hazing bison back into Yellowstone National Park. “It’s happening a little earlier this year because everything is greening up faster,” said Montana Department of Livestock rider Jeff Mount as he and five other riders waited for their cue near the South Fork of the Madison River south of Horse Butte. The occasional beat of helicopter blades served as another clue as a state helicopter flew a low, random pattern around the Horse Butte peninsula. The pilot was looking for bison sheltering the trees, and after chasing them out, he radioed their locations to the riders. Every winter, bison migrate around 10 miles outside the park to drop their calves in about 100 square miles of lush, mostly-flat lands between the park boundary and Hebgen Lake. Calves are usually born in late April and May. Every spring, the DOL — in cooperation with the park, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service — forces the bison back into the park, usually by May 15...more

Montana judge blocks transfer of Yellowstone bison

A Montana judge on Wednesday halted further transfers of Yellowstone National Park bison, dealing a significant blow to a government-sponsored conservation effort struggling to overcome livestock industry opposition. The order from Judge John McKeon in Blaine County has the immediate effect of blocking the pending move of several dozen Yellowstone bison to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. McKeon said the animals must remain on the Fort Peck Reservation, where about 60 bison were transferred in March by state and tribal officials. More broadly, the order blocks state wildlife officials from arranging future transfers of Yellowstone bison while a lawsuit against the program from ranchers and property rights groups is pending. The relocations are part of an attempt to curb the periodic slaughter of bison leaving the park. But many ranchers fear the bison could spread disease and compete with cattle for grazing. In his order for a preliminary injunction, McKeon said the potential injury to the plaintiffs in the case outweighed whatever damage the state might suffer if the bison program is put on hold...more

Song Of The Day #832

Ranch Radio continues meanderin' across the musical landscape this week. I've always liked Ricky Skaggs' cover of the old Merle Travis song Sweet Temptation, so here it is. The tune was on his 1979 LP titled Sweet Temptation and is now available on a CD by the same name.

Western states' sovereignty in danger?

...Nick Dranias of the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute says the fight has now expanded. "The Federal Bureau of Land Management has filed an objection to a certificate of adequate water supply for a development in southeastern Arizona, claiming that they have superior water rights over the San Pedro River Valley, the major watershed for most of southeastern Arizona," he reports. That throws into question the longtime national policy of the federal government deferring to state laws and state sovereignty when it comes to water rights. Dranias believes it is all about environmental extremism. "The federal government has a riparian, ecological area, and they want to use as much water as they can to maintain this area," he says. The center for constitutional government adds that it is essential for the Goldwater Institute to prevail in its efforts to vindicate Tombstone, Arizona, because if Tombstone fails, the floodgates of federal overreach will "wash away what little sovereignty the Western states will enjoy."...more

Forest Service Demands $80,000 to Turn Over Public Records to Non-profit Group

Transparency in the Obama Administration has a price. The U.S. Forest Service wants $78,935.80 before it will share public records the Goldwater Institute has requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Not only is the U.S. Forest Service blocking emergency repairs to the City of Tombstone’s Huachuca Mountain water supply, it is now hiding the documents that might explain its outrageous conduct. In a showdown with the “town too tough to die,” the U.S. Forest Service blocked Tombstone from repairing its mountain spring aqueduct after it was destroyed in the 2011 Monument Fire. The Forest Service is threatening the lives and properties of Tombstone residents and tourists due to the loss of adequate fire suppression capabilities and safe drinking water. Now the U.S. Forest Service is punishing the Goldwater Institute for daring to file a public interest lawsuit against the federal government to restore that water supply. In demanding nearly $80,000 before turning over public records, the Forest Service has deemed the Institute’s lawsuit as proof of a “commercial interest” that disqualifies the non-profit Institute from securing a fee waiver under the Freedom of Information Act. “We just want to know why,” said Nick Dranias, the Goldwater Institute’s constitutional policy director. “If there is a reason for the Forest Service to threaten the lives and properties of Tombstone residents, the federal government should tell us what it is.”...Press Release

Snowbowl owners file suit seeking $270,000

Owners of the Arizona Snowbowl ski report have asked a federal appeals court to award them nearly $270,000 in attorney’s fees over a lawsuit with the Navajo nation, the Associated Press reported. Attorney Howard Shanker first filed a suit against the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of a coalition of Navajos and environmental groups seeking to stop the ski resort’s plan to use reclaimed wastewater to make artificial snow. The suit claimed the Forest Service wasn’t considering the health impacts of using the treated wastewater. Shanker lost in the U.S. District Court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court also didn’t agree to hear the case. AP

Forest Service demolishes road, leaves families stranded - video

MOUNTAIN REST, S.C. -- A scenic mountaintop, more than 100 acres of family property, is virtually landlocked after the US Forest Service demolished the logging roads that provided access. The Rankin and Fowler families own more than 100 acres of land near Mountain Rest. Some of it has been in their families for more than 70 years. This week the Forest Service determined that the old logging roads leading into that land were "illegal" and demolished them. The owners say the government went too far. "These roads are not hurting the forest system, this is not about that. They're overstepping their bounds. They have a history of it," said Doug Rankin. The families said they used those roads well before the government bought the nearby land and, therefore, they still have a right to use them. The government will allow an internal "title claim" process to determine if the access will be reopened.

The WSPA-TV news report:

Yellowstone grizzly bears more dangerous than Glacier's grizzlies

Hikers and hunters beware--a report shows that grizzlies in the Yellowstone region are far more dangerous and deadly than grizzlies in Glacier Park and the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). The report on Bear/Human Conflicts by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service grizzly bear coordinator Chris Servheen shows that in 2011, only 17 people got charged by grizzlies in Glacier/NCDE, where the griz population stands at 1,000. Yellowstone is home to just 600 grizzlies, but an astonishing 62 people got charged by grizzlies. A total of 83 people got charged, and 29 were hunters, while 28 were hikers. Grizzlies killed two hikers in Yellowstone Park in 2011. In 2010, a grizzly killed one hiker just outside Yellowstone's East Entrance. At a U.S. Forest Service campground just outside Yellowstone's NE entrance, a griz ripped into a tent at night, killed a camper, and devoured him. Compared to Glacier's grizzlies, Yellowstone grizzlies are meat-eaters. A paper in Yellowstone Science showed that the diet of Glacier's grizzlies is 3% meat, and 97% vegetation. The diet of adult male grizzlies in Yellowstone is 80% meat, 20% vegetation. Female grizzlies are 40/60...more

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Lawsuit Challenges Old-growth Logging Near Grand Canyon

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging a 25,000-acre timber sale on the Kaibab National Forest near Grand Canyon’s north rim. Approved in January, this is the U.S. Forest Service’s fifth attempt to sell old-growth trees and forests in the Jacob Ryan project since 2003. Center appeals blocked two earlier attempts; the Forest Service voluntarily withdrew two others...more

Endangered-species truce faces big test from little sand dunes lizard

It wasn’t too hard for the Fish and Wildlife Service to decide the fate of 92 freshwater snails, or 17 dragonflies, or indeed more than 500 species over the past year. But when it comes to the dunes sagebrush lizard, trouble looms. The small spiny reptile seeks refuge from the hot sun and potential predators in the shinnery oak dunes of southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. Ranchers have been clearing the oak shrubs, and oil and gas companies are drilling in the dunes. If the lizard is designated as an endangered species, some of those activities could be in jeopardy. The lizard’s future is among the first in a series of wrenching tests threatening what has been a year-long cease-fire in the fight over endangered-species listings. Since two environmental groups reached landmark settlement agreements last year with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the government has resolved dozens of long-standing cases. State and industry officials who spent years largely resisting conservation efforts are now scrambling to protect imperiled species in the hopes of keeping them off the federal endangered-species list. But now the Obama administration must decide whether to provide federal protection to a handful of animals that share their habitat with oil and gas rigs, cattle and wind turbines. And groups on both sides of the debate are skeptical of whether federal officials can make fair decisions — several of which will have ramifications for swing states in the West — in a presidential election year. “Clearly the notion that there’s a truce is very fragile,” said Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark, who headed the Fish and Wildlife Service under President Bill Clinton. According to last year’s settlements, WildEarth Guardians agreed to curtail its petitions and lawsuits aimed at the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Center for Biological Diversity agreed to space out its litigation, in exchange for a commitment that the agency will issue protection decisions for 841 plants and animals...more

Interior secretary to tour local energy development

On Wednesday, May 9, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe will visit ongoing oil and gas development operations outside Midland, Texas, and meet with oil and gas industry representatives to discuss energy development and wildlife conservation efforts underway in the Permian Basin. In February, FWS signed an agreement with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts that allows landowners – oil and gas companies and ranchers – to enter into voluntary conservation of the dunes sagebrush lizard. Oil and gas operators including ConocoPhillips, Chevron, XTO Energy Inc, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil , Sandridge and BOPCO are participating, along with 19 Texas ranchers, and have enrolled approximately 70 percent of the habitat area in Texas. The plan was developed locally in collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M University, the Texas Oil and Gas Association, other state and county government agencies, local landowners, representatives from the ranching community, and oil and gas operators and development companies in the area. Similar voluntary conservation of the dunes sagebrush lizard also are underway in New Mexico, where 29 oil and gas companies and 39 ranchers participate in a similar program to protect lizard habitat while continuing to develop oil and gas resources. These conservation efforts encompass more than 95 percent of the habitat area in New Mexico to date, with no known adverse impacts on energy development in the region...more

Utah says its road claims are about families, not wilderness

Utah officials in the midst of filing lawsuits to win thousands of disputed roads over federal lands said Tuesday that their quest is about protecting families, not paving wilderness. State and county officials are using an old congressional act granting local control of roads in continuous use for at least 10 years — a grant that Congress stopped making in 1976, leaving the state to prove that thousands of segments were in use before that time. It’s a case in which time is running out, partly because witnesses who can vouch for any historic use are dying. Utah Chief Deputy Attorney General John Swallow said at a news conference that the roads — in 25,000 segments crossing 45,000 miles — are important for family recreation and hunting, economic access to water and minerals, and desert safety. He disputed environmentalists’ charge that many of the roads aren’t roads at all, but rather single-use Jeep trails on dry creek beds that could never pass as the "highways" mentioned in law. "We will not be paving deer trails," Swallow said, but merely maintaining historic uses. State officials acknowledged that a few roads may prove to be mistakes, just as SUWA has said it has no issue with some others. But Swallow said the state, facing a June statute of limitations for filing these lawsuits, couldn’t wait to negotiate. "We are forced to take our legal remedy," he said, "and go to court."...more

Siskiyou County orders study of wolves

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors ordered staff Tuesday to do more research into a proposed law that would ban wolves and allow ranchers to kill the ones that do show up. The ordinance, written by Leo Bergeron, a rancher and president of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, would declare wolves to be "injurious, detrimental" and an "imminent danger to individuals, families and the lives of others." It would also presumably allow the shooting of California's only wolf, the first of his species in the state in almost 90 years. The supervisors asked the county's natural resources policy adviser to put together a study committee on wolf kills and report back to the board later with various options. Link

Song Of The Day #831

As Ranch Radio meanders this week, we head into cajun country with Tourne Tourne Baby Creole by the Delta Sisters.  A beautiful waltz...all four minutes of it.

New Natural Gas Drilling OK'd in Utah

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday announced the approval of a major natural gas drilling project in Utah that the Obama administration says will support more than 4,000 jobs during its development while safeguarding critical wildlife habitat and air quality. During an appearance outside Salt Lake City, Salazar said Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum (APC) would be allowed to develop up to 3,675 new gas wells over the next decade in eastern Utah. "It will help power the American economy," Salazar said. The move comes at a time when the Obama administration is under fire from critics who say his energy plan falls short and is hurting job growth and the economy with undue opposition to new drilling. The administration says the attacks are political rhetoric. Anadarko agreed not to drill along the high cliffs of the White River, the last major free-flowing river on the Colorado Plateau. It also agreed to buy 640 acres of private land along the river for conservation, said Steve Bloch, staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, which worked with the Interior Department, along with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, to reduce the project's impact...more

Do you remember the greatest play in baseball history? video

Cattle prices jump as ranchers begin rebuilding

A cow runs circles in a small pen, her baby close by her side. Ranchers, their brows wrinkled, scribble in a glossy catalog while high on a podium the auctioneer slams his gavel, taking bids as the price of the pair rises rapidly. The high-profile auction at the Neches River Ranch gave cattlemen a good indication of how long it might take to rebuild after Texas’ devastating drought and what it might cost them. “Since we’ve gotten rain and everything, the price has really jumped up,” said John Dixon, a rancher near Elkhart, who with a slight nod of his head bought a $7,000 cow. “They sold at a pretty good level all the way through.” Last year’s historic drought forced ranchers to cut their herds because they had no grass and couldn’t afford high hay prices. Hundreds of thousands of cattle were slaughtered or sent out of the state, leaving Texas, the largest livestock producer in the nation, with its smallest herd since the 1950s. Then, after a year of record-breaking heat and an almost complete lack of rain, winter rains broke records. Ponds filled. The grass turned green. Ranchers began looking for cattle, and many – along with analysts, feedlots and livestock dealers – kept a close eye on the GeneTrust auction held in the rolling hills of East Texas on a ranch owned by the Cavenders, a family more often known for selling boots and hats in western stores than cattle genetics. Jason Cleere, a rancher and beef cattle specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension at Texas A&M University, believes that while ranchers are restocking, they remain cautious. The rains have slowed significantly in the past month, and many ranchers are heeding climatologists’ warnings that the next decade in Texas will be relatively dry. They’re keeping herds small so they’re better prepared for the next, inevitable, dry spell. With cattle prices high, cash reserves low, the weather uncertain and calves taking nine months to be born and several years to be ready for slaughter, many estimate the beef industry may need five years to fully recover...more

Ancient DNA sheds light on spread of European farming

Analyzing DNA from four ancient skeletons and comparing it with thousands of genetic samples from living humans, a group of Scandinavian scientists reported that agriculture initially spread through Europe because farmers expanded their territory northward, not because the more primitive foragers already living there adopted it on their own. The genetic profiles of three Neolithic hunter-gatherers and one farmer who lived in the same region of modern-day Sweden about 5,000 years ago were quite different — a fact that could help resolve a decades-old battle among archaeologists over the origins of European agriculture, said study leader Mattias Jakobsson, a population geneticist at Uppsala University in Sweden. The hunter-gatherers, from the island of Gotland, bore a distinct genetic resemblance to people alive today in Europe's extreme north, said Jakobsson, who reported his findings in Friday's edition of the journal Science. The farmer, excavated from a large stone burial structure in the mainland parish of Gokhem, about 250 miles away, had DNA more like that of modern people in southern Europe. "People have known for some time that agriculture spread from the Middle East to Eastern Europe and northward and westward," Jakobsson said. "But it's been difficult to determine if people migrated and brought farming with them, or if local hunter-gatherers changed their practices." The study joins a growing body of work, assembled over the last decade, that aims to settle lingering debates over early human history by examining ancient DNA. One such controversy is how agriculture, which emerged 11,000 years ago in the Middle East, spread through Europe over the course of several thousand years. It's a subject that has fascinated archaeologists for decades because the shift to farming fueled "the storing of goods and the beginning of money and all of that stuff," said population geneticist Joachim Burger of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, who wasn't involved in the new study. "It's the origin of our civilization." While artifacts like pottery and stone tools make clear that some ancient people were hunter-gatherers and some were farmers, scientists haven't been able to say with certainty whether the migration of people or the spread of ideas pushed farming practices north...more

Cowboys in the pink to start latest Rancheros ride

Cowboys in pink shirts took over the streets of Solvang on Saturday afternoon during the 82nd annual Rancheros Visitadores ride from Alisal Road to Old Mission Santa Inés for a blessing before their weeklong event. “This group of men has so much camaraderie and this is the first year all of them are wearing the same shirt to support breast cancer awareness,” said Linda Peckham of Solvang who was waiting to watch her husband John ride by. The 700 men donated $30,000 to the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara and Peckham said she couldn’t be prouder to be the wife of a Ranchero. Wearing pink is part of the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” national campaign that was started in 2004 by entrepreneur Terry Wheatley, a breast cancer survivor, and Karl Stressman, then an employee of Wrangler and now commissioner of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PCRA). With Wrangler as their primary sponsor, the pair has brought the campaign to rodeos and Western events across the U.S. and Canada to focus attention on the need for a cure. Along the way, the drive has raised more than $12 million for breast cancer charities. The Rancheros Visitadores, or the “Visiting Ranchers,” is a men’s social club founded in 1930 to commemorate traditional rides that once were made from ranch to ranch. Members have included dignitaries such as former President Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Gene Autry and Walt Disney. Members also come from many states and several foreign countries. Each year after the Kentucky Derby broadcast, the Rancheros ride on horseback, in carriages and wagons from Jackson Camp to the mission for the blessing and then move on to Janeway Camp, property they own near Lake Cachuma. “Being a rancher is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle. This ride every year is just a way for us to get together and have some fun,” said Allen Capurro, a Ranchero from Morristown, Ariz...more

Water jihads and Moe Howard haircuts

by Chris Bennett

...The flood story, in some form, ranges across religions and cultures. Trek into the bowels of the Amazon and find the latest undiscovered tribe. They may not have clothes or be able to count past three. They may have no alphabet and hunt with sticks. They may hold no concept of hygiene and may be sporting Moe Howard haircuts — but they’ll sure have a whopping good flood story.

Almost from the dawn of time, water cataclysm has been based on too much of a good thing. Throw that archetype out the window and prepare for historical change — the barren age is upon us. For 20 years, watchdog groups and government organizations have warned that the glass is half-empty and water wars are coming. Even if only a portion of their statistics pan out regarding pending shortages, the outlook is alarming.

A 2011 National Intelligence Estimate report on water security, requested by the U.S. Department of State, said that the use of water as a weapon of war, or a means of terrorism will be increasingly likely beyond 2022. And what locations did the report specify? You guessed it: North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. (Arabian dictators are scrambling to update “Reasons to attack neighbor” lists: border disputes, jihad, Jews, oil ... and now water.)

The UN projects that 30 countries will be “water scarce” by 2025. Eighteen of the 30 are located in the Middle East or North Africa, including the usual suspects: Egypt, Israel, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. Piling on, the UN also predicts that over the next 20 years, the world’s per capita water supply will drop by a depressing third — with the worst strain in the above regions.

PLoS ONE, in a recent report, found that water scarcity affects 2.7 billion people for at least one month per year. The numbers are alarming — and climbing. Skeptics may scoff, but very soon at a minimum, water scarcity will be threatening the failure of failing states.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Suggestions in changing Wildlife Services range from new practices to outright bans

Like many ranchers, Bill Jensen drives a pickup, shoots a high-powered rifle and loves to talk about sheep, cattle and the outdoors. But unlike many ranchers, he no longer relies on the federal government for predator control. Nor does the Marin County rancher have a choice. Ten years ago Marin, known for its environmental activism, halted lethal federal control and launched a program emphasizing nonlethal methods. Jensen, initially skeptical, has turned the program into a success with miles of electric fencing. "We've pretty much learned how to control coyotes on our own," said Jensen, whose losses to coyotes have declined 60 percent to 70 percent – from about 50 lambs a year when a federal trapper worked there to 15 to 20 today. "Anything that can help you 24 hours a day, like electric fencing, is a good thing." What's happening in Marin County shows that ranchers can co-exist with predators without lethal federal control. It is part of a broader and varied spirit of reform aimed at finding new, less destructive ways to live with predators and other wildlife. The target of that effort – a little-known division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture called Wildlife Services – has long specialized in destroying animals considered to be a threat to agriculture, the public and the environment...more

The above is part 3 of a three part series at the Sacramento Bee.  For full coverage go here.

Here's a video of the interview with the rancher.


Historic Pinole: Gunfight Between Chilean Desperado and Rancher

This week's Historic Pinole reads like a crime drama involving a gang of outlaws and a rancher. It also reads like slapstick comedy, with wayward gunshots and some choice dialogue that belongs in a spaghetti Western movie. The headlines above the article are about Civil War battles far away, but a Sacramento newspaper judged this event worthy of reporting. We can only guess the exact location of the ranch in question and the rancher's first name. Neither are mentioned. The article is from the June 29, 1864 editon of the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper, which relayed an account from the Oakland News. We post it with the original spelling and punctuation, but we've changed the spacing to make it easier on the eyes. As always, the vocabulary adds entertainment value...more

Closed road in Little Belts spurs fight for public access

A rancher closed a dirt road in the Little Belt Mountains that the Montana Attorney General's office says is public, blocking access to federal lands and prompting a warning to Meagher County commissioners to reopen it. The Montana Attorney General's office says it's prepared to bring litigation if Meagher County doesn't reopen Tenderfoot Creek Road, which provides access to private, state and federal forestlands in the tributary of the Smith River north of White Sulphur Springs. Rancher Howard Zehntner, who locked the gate, isn't budging. He questions the state's contention the Tenderfoot is a public county road. He describes it as a "horse and buggy" trail unsuitable for safe travel. The road doesn't extend as far as the state says it does, he says. "I told the Forest Service if they wanted to take care of it 24 hours, we'll unlock it," Zehntner said. "Until they prove anything to us that there needs to be a road down there, it's going to be locked." "The county's inaction poses serious problems for the long-term management plan of the area, which is to consolidate public ownership through land exchanges with the Bair Ranch Foundation," Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Anders wrote in an April 24 letter to Meagher County Attorney Kimberly Deschene. The Forest Service, in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and The Tenderfoot Trust, is in the process of purchasing 8,200 acres of private land in the area from the Bear Ranch Foundation. To date, money from the Land and Conservation Fund has been used to purchase 3,120 acres including $2 million appropriated last month. "To purchase these lands for public use, we need to certainly provide reasonable public access to those lands," said Bob Dennee, a lands program manager for the Forest Service...more

The LWCF causing more to have those federal funds.
The foundations should purchase access and maintain the road.

Otero Mesa commentary: A plea from a young Apache girl

Twyla Rayne
I am an Apache Indian from the Mescalero reservation. Otero Mesa is more than just a place to me, it's a sanctuary. It is a place of peace, understanding and reliability not only for me, but for animals of all sorts, as far as spirits go. I felt spiritually reborn when I visited Otero Mesa and I am concerned for its spiritual well-being. Like a seed it needs care, patience and time. It needs nutrition. For it to be completely pure it needs natural resources to be as providing as possible. It still feeds on its instinctive well-being. Who are we to contaminate that? My dream is to keep it pure of bad spirit, unwanted corruption and contamination, and for its natural elements to remain. It was not only a stronghold Apache fortress, but a place of spiritual renewal and visionary aspects, as well as a place of mental sanity. I can feel it just looking at pictures and remembering the present smells, sights and calming sensations of the neutral atmosphere...more

The author, Twila Rayne, is a direct descendant of the great Apache warrior Cochise, whom I'm sure would just puke if he were to read this.

Good enuff for gov't work

Song Of The Day #830

Ranch Radio will be meandering all over the musical landscape this week. Today's tune is Easy Come Easy Go by Johnny Rodriquez and was on his first album, circa 1973.

Hobbs get major research site, Las Cruces gets NMWA

Gov. Susana Martinez and a group of investors announced Tuesday that a city in the heart of southeastern New Mexico’s oil and gas country will be the site of a new $1 billion scientific ghost town where researchers will be able to test everything from renewable energy innovations to intelligent traffic systems and next-generation wireless networks. Pegasus Holdings and its New Mexico subsidiary, CITE Development, had narrowed the list of potential sites to two last month. Officials announced during Tuesday’s news conference that Hobbs beat out a location near Las Cruces. Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb said the unique research and development will be a key for diversifying the economy. “It brings so many great opportunities and puts us on a world stage,” he told The Associated Press before the announcement. Not far from the Texas border, the community has been growing and local leaders have been pushing to expand the area’s reputation to include economic development ventures beyond the staple of oil and gas. The city currently has two non-stop flights from Houston each day and is working on getting daily service to Albuquerque and Denver. Cobb said discussions for the new flights have just started but having the research center may bolster efforts to connect Hobbs to more cities. The investors developing the Center for Innovation, Technology and Testing — or CITE — were looking for open spaces. Another plus was the proximity to federal research facilities like White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico and Los Alamos and Sandia national labs. Bob Brumley, senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings, said 16 communities had expressed an interest in securing the project...more

On Pegasus & Monuments

Most are familiar with Pegasus Global Holdings' proposal to build a $1 billion unoccupied city they call the Center for Innovation, Testing & Evaluation (CITE).  According to Todd Dickson's article in the Bulletin they are looking at locating this facility near either Las Cruces or Hobbs.

The "ghost town" would be modeled as a "medium-sized American city, including its urban, suburban, and rural areas" and serve as a testing facility for all kinds of "next-generation innovations and technologies." Pegasus says the project would provide 350 full-time jobs and up to 3200 "indirect" jobs during construction.

Now let's pretend you're the CEO of Pegasus charged with selecting a site for this project. Dickson reports you want the land and regulatory issues resolved so you can start construction by the end of June.

On the one hand, you 1,000 acres of state land near Hobbs, with the rest being located on private property.

On the other, you have 15,000 acres of state land near Las Cruces, with the rest being federal lands.  And oh yes, some of those lands are in the 600,000 acre National Monument being proposed by the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and backed by the Mayor, County Commissioners, the Green Chamber of Commerce and others.  The monument would be created by Presidential Proclamation and nobody knows what language would be in the proclamation, how that language would affect your project, or if or when the President would act.

Now, Mr. or Mrs. CEO, which site would you pick?

Monday, May 07, 2012

US should return stolen land to Indian tribes, says United Nations

A United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step toward combatting continuing and systemic racial discrimination. James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by Indian tribes. Anaya said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and "numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination". "It's a racial discrimination that they feel is both systemic and also specific instances of ongoing discrimination that is felt at the individual level," he said. Anaya said racism extended from the broad relationship between federal or state governments and tribes down to local issues such as education. Close to a million people live on the US's 310 Native American reservations. Some tribes have done well from a boom in casinos on reservations but most have not. Anaya visited an Oglala Sioux reservation where the per capita income is around $7,000 a year, less than one-sixth of the national average, and life expectancy is about 50 years. The two Sioux reservations in South Dakota – Rosebud and Pine Ridge – have some of the country's poorest living conditions, including mass unemployment and the highest suicide rate in the western hemisphere with an epidemic of teenagers killing themselves. Anaya said Rosebud is an example where returning land taken by the US government could improve a tribe's fortunes as well as contribute to a "process of reconciliation". Anaya said he would reserve detailed recommendations on a plan for land restoration until he presents his final report to the UN human rights council in September. Anaya said he had received "exemplary cooperation" from the Obama administration but he declined to speculate on why no members of Congress would meet him...more


Utah counties file lawsuits against BLM over RS2477 roads

By this time next week, 22 of Utah's 29 counties will have filed lawsuits against the Interior Department and the Bureau of Land Management, seeking title to thousands of miles of contested roads that cross federally managed lands. Beaver, Box Elder, Carbon, Duchesne, Emery, Piute, Rich, Sanpete, Utah and Wayne counties had all filed individual lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City as of Friday night. The state of Utah is listed as a plaintiff in each of the suits as well, and expects to join the remaining 12 county lawsuits that should be filed Monday and Tuesday, according to Utah's chief deputy attorney general John Swallow. "We're trying to protect the roads that Utahns have used for decades," Swallow said. "If we don't file these lawsuits, we can't even protect the roads, and so the federal government can actually close down the roads and obliterate our rights to use those roads." The state said in December that it would seek quiet title to 19,000 segments of so-called RS2477 roads in 22 counties. The RS2477 issue — under contention in the courts for more than a decade — epitomizes the public lands fight involving environmentalists, counties, industry, ranchers and shared-access advocates. The dispute involves rights-of-way access granted by the federal government in 1866 for the development of transportation systems. Although the congressional act establishing those rights was later withdrawn in 1976 with a new federal land planning act, the access rights of local government were supposed to stay intact. Duchesne County Commissioner Kent Peatross said he's always believed "we don't need a road down every canyon and ridge." "But we need access that allows the general population to experience the public lands in a reasonable manner," he said. "Not everyone can walk, not everyone has a horse, and so a vehicle is the easiest and most common way to do that."...more

Salazar Activates First Solar Power Project on U.S. Land

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar activated today a 50-megawatt power plant that was developed by First Solar Inc. (FSLR) (FSLR) and is the the first on U.S. public land. The Silver State North project in Nevada’s Ivanpah Valley, south of Las Vegas, is owned by Enbridge Inc. (ENB), Canada’s largest oil-pipeline company, and generates enough electricity for about 9,000 homes, according to a statement today. The U.S. Interior Department has approved 29 wind, solar and geothermal projects on public land since 2009 as part of President Barack Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, Salazar said. With Silver State, the U.S. is on pace to install 10,000 megawatts of non-hydroelectric renewable power capacity by this year, three years earlier than mandated by Congress...more

Idaho farmers: We need immigrant workers

Jim Little of Emmett says the government is making it too difficult for Idaho farmers to follow the rules and employ legal immigrants rather than border jumpers. “It seems like they take great joy in piling on minutia and things we have to do,” said Little, who grows grain and hay and is the brother of Lt. Gov. Brad Little. There’s widespread frustration among farmers in Idaho and across the country over the H-2A visa program for seasonal agriculture workers. The foreign workers are eager to do physical labor Americans won’t, they say. A bipartisan group of six U.S. senators from Idaho, Florida, Ohio, Colorado and Wyoming wrote the Department of Labor to express concerns with the system “and its serious implication on producers and our nation’s food supply.” Frustration over the visa program helped drive Little’s daughter, Rochelle Oxarango, and her husband mostly out of the Idaho sheep-ranching business. “We needed four new workers from Peru. I started the paperwork in July and our workers didn’t arrive until February,” Oxarango said in an interview. “It’s really hard to depend on a program that takes that long to get workers here. We had to sell most of our sheep last year and this was one of the driving factors. It was just getting too hard to manage the labor situation.” Employers say that to use the program, they must deal with complicated paperwork and go through multiple federal agencies: the Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. The recent letter from the six senators, including Idaho’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, cited “numerous cases in which unnecessary administrative delays resulted in not having enough labor to perform needed work.”...more

Montana FWP proposes wolf-trapping season

State wildlife managers want to substantially liberalize the 2012-13 wolf-hunting season in another attempt to decrease pack numbers in Montana. Trapping wolves, allowing the taking of up to three wolves, using electronic calls, lengthening the hunt and eliminating quotas are among the proposals to be introduced at Thursday’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting. FWP officials say they hope the changes will eventually lower the number of wolves in Montana from the minimum known population of 653 to 425. This will be the third wolf-hunting season in Montana; trapping was not allowed in the earlier hunts. In documents supporting the changes, FWP notes that it believes the proposed framework will increase opportunities for hunters and trappers while furthering the state’s understanding of how best to manage the species. The department adds that despite extending the season closure to Feb. 15 this year, it still didn’t meet the quota of 220 wolves; only 166 were killed. FWP notes that its models show that taking up to 377 wolves wouldn’t drop the population below the short-term goal of 425...more

Writer focuses on unsung cowboy heroes

Many young boys grow up idolizing cowboys, but one local rancher is still inspired by them and uses his writing to motivate others through their stories. Jim Olson is a cowboy, author, promoter and poet. Born in Buckeye, he moved to New Mexico at age 6 and lived there until he moved back to Arizona in 1993. He currently resides in Stanfield. As a youth, he learned to ride young colts, tend to cattle and drive heavy farm equipment. After many years, he opened a welding business, building horse corrals and other livestock handling equipment in New Mexico. Upon selling the welding business, he moved into real estate where he sold ranches and horse property across Arizona. Along the way he evolved into real estate development where he bought, fixed up and ran several working cattle ranches and horse properties. He also started a real estate brokerage company, which specialized in Arizona ranch properties. It was during the real estate recession that Olson discovered his hidden passion for writing. A friend of Olson’s owned a magazine and requested he do an article on real estate. Never having written anything before, Olson cautiously agreed, but had his own ideas about the article’s subject. “I didn’t want to write a real estate article. Instead, I had an idea to write a little biography on rodeo legend, Dale Smith,” Olson said. “After it was finished, I just set it on my friend’s desk, didn’t say a word and left. Three weeks later, the article was published.” To his surprise, Olson received several encouraging calls about the article, as did his friend. From that single story, an entire career and way of life was born for the author. Olson began writing a monthly cowboy column in exchange for ad space for his real estate business. Soon, he was approached by another publication to run the same articles in their magazine. Currently, his monthly column appears in more than 25 Southwestern publications and some national publications. Jim has three books published and is constantly working on new projects...more

At least 23 people killed in Mexican border city as victims hanged, decapitated

The bodies of 23 people were found hanging from a bridge or decapitated and dumped near city hall Friday in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, where drug cartels are fighting a bloody and escalating turf war. Authorities found nine of the victims, including four women, hanging from an overpass leading to a main highway, said a Tamaulipas state official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to provide information on the case. Hours later, police found 14 human heads inside coolers outside city hall along with a threatening note. The 14 bodies were found in black plastic bags inside a car abandoned near an international bridge, the official said. The official didn't release the contents of the note, or give a motive for the killings. But the city across the border from Laredo, Texas has recently been torn by a renewed turf war between the Zetas cartel, a gang of former Mexican special-forces soldiers, and the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which has joined forces with the Gulf cartel, former allies of the Zetas. Local media published photos of the nine bloodied bodies, some with duct tape wrapped around their faces, hanging from the overpass along with a message threatening the Gulf cartel. Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire met with Tamaulipas Gov. Egidio Torre Cantu on Friday and agreed to send more federal forces to the state, according to a statement from Poire's office...more

 Mexico is sending federal forces to the border.  Of course the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance wants either a quarter of a million acres of Wilderness or over half a million acres of National Monuments on our southern border - one of which prohibits law enforcement while the other severely restricts it.

Go ahead and surround our community with these environmental designations.  You can see below how that is working out for Tombstone, Ariz. 

Obama Administration vs. Tombstone

by Eric Burns

The latest chapter in the Obama administration’s war against state sovereignty and the state of Arizona pits the town of Tombstone against the United States Forest Service. Tombstone is suing the U.S. Forest Service over that agency’s refusal to allow city officials to repair damaged water transport infrastructure in the nearby Huachuca mountains. The Forest Service’s refusal to allow city workers access to damaged reservoirs, pipelines, and pumping stations, has cut Tombstone off from 50 to 80 percent of its water supply; leaving town residents and tourists dependent on two wells for water, and the town acutely vulnerable to fire. In addition, the water in one well is contaminated with arsenic.
    Tombstone is a desert town of 1500 residents located in southern Arizona about 70 miles southeast of Tucson in the shadow of 9466 ft. Miller Peak, which is in the Coronado National Forest. Americans associate Tombstone with the October 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral; and the resulting tourist trade has supported the town fairly well. Tombstone has survived the closing of local silver mines and a number of fires, thereby becoming known as “The town too tough to die.” Now, however, that proud title is being severely tested, by our own federal government.
    Tombstone is supplied with water from 24 springs, located in the Huachuca Mountains on and around Miller Peak. However, nearly a year ago, from May through July 2011, the Monument fire destroyed at least 18,580 acres (640 acres equals one square mile) of forest and vegetation in the Huachuca Mountains, including the Miller Peak Wilderness area. Torrential rains followed soon after the fire, and the resulting mud slides pushed boulders “the size of Volkswagens” down on vital pumping stations, pipes, and other infrastructure. Some water pipes remain buried under twelve feet of mud, while others are without support, ominously hanging in the air, as the ground underneath has been washed away. In August 2011, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer declared a state of emergency in Tombstone, authorizing $50,000 in state funds to help cover engineering and repair costs for Tombstone’s water system. Since many of the pipelines are in areas designated as “wilderness,” the U.S. Forest Service won’t allow access for the mechanized equipment needed to fix the pipelines. Huge boulders, downed trees, and enormous piles of dirt and gravel must be moved, to build the structures that will protect the water lines against future natural disasters. However, these obstacles can’t be moved with the hand tools and horse teams that the Forest Service demands the city use.
As of January 2012, Forest Service officials had granted permits to repair infrastructure for only 2 of the 24 springs that supply Tombstone; and city manager George Barnes said “the city was told that the requests for the remaining permits would take a lot longer” to approve. Meanwhile, the state’s emergency funds are being wasted, as rented vehicles and equipment are sitting idle, and several pieces of heavy equipment have been vandalized, with the city required to pay for their repair. In addition, Tombstone has only a two day supply of water on hand, making the town particularly vulnerable to fire.
    The Obama administration and the U.S. Forest Service are clearly attempting to regulate the state of Arizona in violation of the Constitution and impose an arbitrary, draconian environmentalist agenda on the land use rights of Americans. In addition, gold prospectors on western federal lands are routinely harassed by over-zealous park rangers, and ranchers have been pressured to surrender access and water rights. The Forest Service cites The Wilderness Act of 1964, which defines “Wilderness” as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean…an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation…with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable.”  Under “Prohibition of Certain Uses,” this act states, “[S]ubject to existing private rights, there shall be no…permanent road within any Wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the Administration of the area…(including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area) there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment…no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area.” However, the Forest Service has gone beyond the Wilderness Act and threatened Arizona’s sovereignty and Tombstone’s very existence.
    On behalf of Tombstone, the Goldwater Institute has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that would allow city officials to go into the Huachuca Mountains and repair the damaged water transport infrastructure. Tombstone’s case is supported by the Tenth Amendment and by the fact that the city’s water rights were vested long before the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the concomitant Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984. The Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” and implicitly embodies “a policy against impairing the states’ integrity or ability to function.”
    In Tombstone’s “Memorandum in support of motion for preliminary injunction,” the Goldwater Institute clearly shows that the city satisfies the four requirements for granting a preliminary injunction. In addition, this document gives numerous examples of how the Forest Service’s refusal to allow Tombstone officials access to the Miller Peak Wilderness area, and their inexcusable stonewalling of the permit issuing process, has not only seriously compromised Arizona’s integrity and Tombstone’s ability to function, but has put the town’s very existence in jeopardy. The requirements for the court granting Tombstone a preliminary injunction include, “whether the plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,” and “whether an injunction is in the public interest.” [1]
    The Forest Service’s refusal to allow Tombstone officials access to the damaged water supply infrastructure constitutes unlawful “commandeering” of the city’s water supply, and this commandeering “is certain to cause irreparable harm.” This is because “irreparable injury includes the impairment or threatened loss of rights or interests in real property,” “impairment of sovereign interests without notice or opportunity to be heard,” and “harm or threats of harm to public health and safety.” The Goldwater Institute explains that water rights are “real property interests” in Arizona and that Tombstone holds “title to water rights and water structure and pipeline right of way easements,” pursuant to a Congressional Act of July 26, 1866. By this Act, the Federal government is obligated to “protect the rights of individual possessors of water; and to recognize local customs, laws, and state court decisions.” Indeed, in 1907, Gifford Pinchot (a well-known “progressive”) wrote in the U.S. Forest Service’s book, “Use of National Forests,” “The creation of a National forest has no effect whatever on the laws that govern the appropriation of water. This is a matter governed entirely by state and territorial laws.
    In addition, the Forest Service recognized Tombstone’s vested water rights in 1916, and in 1962 granted the city a special use permit to maintain and repair its water delivery infrastructure. The Goldwater Institute further explains that the city’s “health and safety interest is not offset by any bona fide environmental interest.” This is because “Any environmental footprint from the work Tombstone seeks to perform will be washed away in the next monsoon,” and that “Even if there were a lasting footprint, environmental interests are not better served by requiring Tombstone to build only temporary structures with hand tools. Those structures will be washed away in the next monsoon. Given the inevitability of seasonal monsoons and periodic flood events in the Huachuca Mountains, it makes no sense to force  repair and rebuild temporary structures ad infinitum with the continuous ground displacement that entails.” [2]
    Nevertheless, in 2011-2012, the Forest Service has chosen to ignore not only Pinchot’s (the Forest Service’s first Chief Forester) comment, but the above-mentioned July 1866 Congressional Act and a large body of federal and state case law. By their refusal to allow Tombstone officials access to the city’s water delivery infrastructure, the U.S. Forest Service has violated Arizona’s state sovereignty, directly regulating the state through a political subdivision (Tombstone), in violation of a Tenth Amendment corollary that the Constitution “confers upon Congress the power to regulate individuals, not states.” In addition, the Forest Service has illegally commandeered not only the town’s physical water system, and the authority of Governor Jan Brewer, but Tombstone’s integrity and ability to function.[3] Americans can only hope that the Federal District court will rule against the U.S. Forest Service and order them to allow Tombstone to repair vital water delivery infrastructure as soon as possible, ensuring that the town will continue to exist.

[1] Goldwater Institute, “City of Tombstone’s Memorandum in Support of Motion for preliminary injunction,” p. 5-6; at
[2] Ibid., p. 11
[3] Printz v. United States 521 U.S. 898, 920 (1997), as cited by Goldwater Institute, Ibid., p. 15; Goldwater Institute, “Tombstone’s reply in support of motion to extend time by severing and continuing consideration of Tenth Amendment issues,” p. 8-12, at

Eric Burns is an educator and writer, who resides in the Baltimore-Washington area.  

This article was originally posted at Front Page Magazine.

Its time to ask:  Who's gonna be our Huckleberry?

Song Of The Day #830

It's Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and we'll get your foot tappin' with Fiddle Diddle Boogie by the Davis Sisters.

Roswell Hosts Country's Best Fiddle Players

/PRNewswire/ -- MainStreet Roswell, Roswell Parks and Recreation, and Roswell Lodgers Tax are presenting the MainStreet Roswell Fiddle and Griddle Festival June 8-9, 2012.  What a wonderful way to celebrate the Centennial of our Great State.  The Country's best fiddle players will compete in a two day event for $20,000 in prize money.  This festival will feature local talent as well as musicians from far and wide.  Multiple stages will be set up around the downtown area.  Main Street will be closed from 2nd to 5th Streets on Friday and Saturday.  Third, Fourth and Fifth Streets will be filled with activities as well. Artisans and crafters will be displaying their wares down the middle of Main Street.  Our MainStreet Roswell merchants will be joining the festivities on the sidewalks as well as welcoming our visitors into their stores.  Local flavor will abound with the many food selections including fork tender BBQ Brisket dinners or sandwiches on Restaurant Row.  Activities and entertainment will be provided by local 4-H groups, non-profits, bands, street entertainers, a children's area with flintstone powered toys, stick horses and more to expend some of their never ending energy.  Transportation by covered wagon will be provided from the parking areas by the Lions Club  There will be a Street Dance on Main Street on Friday night and jam sessions by the contestants.  Not only will you be able to hear some of the greatest fiddle players, there will be groups playing on the various stages during the day.
Fiddle Competition MC: Ron Sowell, Music Director for NPR's Mountain Stage.  The renowned Flying J Wranglers will be making a guest appearance at noon on Saturday.  Saturday night will feature a band and the finalists of the Fiddle Contest will also entertain. Also featured is a BBQ Contest with $8,000 in prize money.  The BBQ contest will begin early Saturday morning.  The aroma of smoked meats and BBQ Sauce will permeate the air.  The great chefs will be more than willing to share their secrets and techniques and are sure to have great hints for your summer backyard BBQing. Information and applications are available online at for Fiddle contestants, vendors and BBQrs.  

Press Release

Read more here:

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The countdown to emancipation

 by Julie Carter

It’s a burden he has had to endure – his life chronicled for publication as he grew to manhood.

His mother is a writer so, of course, she has frequently penned his adventures in the process we call “growing up.” Now, another milestone has arrived.

My son is part of the high school graduating class of 2012. There are hundreds of thousands of them across the country, but for him in a small rural school, there are only four others that will stand next to him in a cap and gown this month. It is a fitting close to this chapter in the life of a country boy.

Once he was the little boy with holes in the knees of his jeans, scuffed-up boots and a more than well-worn cowboy hat. He is now 6’ 5” and about to step out of his cowboy comfort zone that was at the end of a dirt road. It is there he learned to ride, rope, weld, and hunt along with manners, respect and the value of hard work.

Like most his age, he has counted the months that turned into weeks and now days until they hand him a diploma and release him into life. He harbors both excitement and trepidation for the unknown. His dreams are as big as he is but the logistics of getting there are sometimes overwhelming.

It seems only yesterday he wandered by as a 5-year old, leaned over and planted his elbows on my desk, cupped his face in his hands and said, “Mom, do you think it’s time for a raise in my alangance?”

“Alangance? What is that?” I asked, knowing he meant “allowance” and amused because he wanted a raise for something he didn’t have in the first place.

Gesturing with his hand he said, “Well, you know. It’s money.” Anyone who has raised a child, and more pointedly a teenager, recognizes the emerging pattern for the years ahead.

In elementary school, he came home upset because some kids told him he was “too cowboy.” He thought he should be offended until I explained to him the honor that came with the title and even if they didn’t know it, they had paid him a great compliment.

In junior high, his life became about sports, hunting, and he transitioned from 4-H to FFA. He quickly learned that the county fair was a good place to meet girls and annually he fell in love with all the reasons to be there – his show animals and the pretty distractions.

High school brought, besides a driver’s license and summer jobs, intensity to his maturing athletic abilities. With that came a mountain of sweaty football and basketball uniforms, never-ending game schedules and the highs and lows of competition. He proudly wore the blue and gold of FFA and never realized how much that part of his life was shaping him for adulthood.  His life moved from season to season without much thought to it ever being any different.

And while I still see glimpses of that little boy in moments he doesn’t even realize, mostly what I see before me is a young man who has retained his hard-headed determination to push forward in life. That will serve him well when he is on the right road and work against him when he takes a wrong turn. Isn’t that what growing up is all about?

He’s the last of the brood to leave the nest so it’s not a new journey for me, but nonetheless, it brings with it the usual reminiscing of those days that brought us to now. And in that, I recognize the inevitable seasons of life and anticipate for him those yet to come.

Julie can be reached for comment at

Edwina McCauley Manning

The Completed Circle
Edwina McCauley Manning
The other Manning called home Monday, April 30, 2012
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            I knew Wina before I knew Edwina McCauley Manning.
First surviving child of Mary Effie Wilmeth McCauley and Halpin McCauley, Wina was the elder of the first cousins of my life. Never loud, never calling attention to herself, Wina was one of my favorites. 
The fun memories were perhaps the first … the house at the mouth of the Mangus, the family gatherings, the ties to Grandma and Grandpa, and that little guttural laugh that was hers.
In retrospect, she got the laugh with its mannerism from Uncle Hap. I think she was most like him of the kids. The nearest thing I ever heard that even resembled an expletive from her was how she would start a sentence if she disagreed or had a strong opinion about something.
“Well, now I’ll tell you what …” she would say. The last times I saw her I would be smiling at her waiting for the outpouring of logic that would come next. Then she would laugh.
Wina married Dick Manning at the little white Presbyterian Church at Cliff, New Mexico. It was the same little church we all knew as kids. It was where we went to witness important events in our lives.
            We celebrated baptism and weddings and gathered for funerals. By the time the latter accelerated, though, Dick and Wina, Uncle Hap and Aunt Mary, and most of that McCauley clan had dispersed to Deming and elsewhere. The whole relationship with them would never be quite the same except when we were with Grandpa and Grandma. They kept us together.
            Dick was Dick. He became an outright cult hero to a wide swath of defenders of the American West. People either loved Dick or they didn’t.
            Dick never really worked for anybody but himself. He was so independent I think he’d change positions in an argument just to keep it provocative, keep it insightful, and to extract logic that nobody quite understood.
He gravitated to the other dynamic elder male in the clan, my uncle, Howard Wilmeth. It was he who formed a similar bookend of cult hero worship among his own peers. Together, they formed a huge block of attention, and the intrigue and the esoteric ramblings that emanated were profound.
It was during those mighty discussions they either enjoined allegiance or antagonism. It remains that way to this day.
            Dick was Dick and … Wina was always there.
            By the time we gathered to honor Dick at his funeral, the little white Presbyterian Church had moved up on the point just south and west from its original site. If attendance didn’t match the biggest of recent year services, the states of vehicle origin did. Plates from nearly every western state and even a Canuck from the wild rose country had responded to the loss of a revered one of their own.
            “Where are all these people from?” the locals asked. “And, who are they?”
            ‘They’ had come from across the sage brush battlegrounds to honor Dick. They had come with ties, and wild rags, and different styles of hats that were all removed to reveal white foreheads …Westerners!
Representing him … representing both of them was Wina. She sat there stoic and clear eyed while other … grown men …were overcome with emotion.
            Her Place
            In time, Wina may well become more mysterious than Dick to those who thought they knew them best. There are many stories yet to be concluded.
Their life had so many twists and turns that it took them both to hold it together. Dick could not have done it alone. Wina may have tried.
            Wina was the flex that disallowed that life to fly apart like a coiled spring. When they had debt fighting legal battles, she hunkered down and made it work. When times were good, she remained level headed and staunchly conservative and thrifty.
It was never about her, but it could be described as always about them.
I have memories that could suggest the grander story, but two stories stand as markers of the real Wina. The first was when we still hunted as a family.
For years, we would gather at the mouth of the Mangus. Long before sunup the house would be lit up and voices could be heard inside.  Hap would be holding court around the breakfast table and discussions would spill out of the kitchen in every direction.
Often, we would draw to assign hunters to different vehicles.  Hap would normally describe where the best ‘hunts’ could be expected. That logic would come from where he had seen a deer yesterday or where he had killed one 40 years ago.
We would then climb aboard and scatter to those great places that exist so vividly in memory. I was lucky when I was teamed with Wina.
Some time in the middle ‘60s she had come into the possession of a brand new Winchester Model 100 .308. She was so proud of that rifle. We were all infatuated with it. There she would be without any gear to speak of, but she’d be holding that neat little rifle.
On one of those hunts, Wina’s character was clearly revealed. We crossed the river at the mouth of Road Canyon and walked from there. We had a lunch, but, as usual, we never took water. We would drink if we found water. If we didn’t … we didn’t.
All morning we hunted. We saw deer, but nobody got a shot. We ate lunch on a slope in the Moonhull drainage just over the saddle from the head of Cherokee. Wina was asked how she was doing.
“Do you think you are up to rimming out and hunting on west before we turn back?”
“Sure,” was the short answer.
            As we spread out, I watched her climb out through a rocky chute as tough as anything anybody faced. Shortly, she and I both heard rocks rolling and the sound of a deer leaving. The deer, a buck, ran to a point and looked directly back at her.
I know she saw the deer, but she never raised her rifle. When the deer finally left, she watched its departure, and, then, continued her methodical climb up the steep chute. Nothing was ever said, but, she had no intention of killing that deer.
In fact, I don’t think I ever heard that rifle discharged. But, if you wanted to go hunt a deer … hunt it in the toughest of all conditions … there Wina would be holding her little .308. I wonder now if the gun was even loaded. She hunted … just to hunt.
The other memory is similar. Kathy and I had come home from California, and, for reasons I don’t remember, we diverted from Springerville and drove east on 60. We stopped in Quemado to eat. We walked into one of Quemado’s finest and there sat Dick and Wina.
“Well, lookee’ here,” was our remark. “What are you guys doing?”
“Waiting for you!” was Dick’s counter. “Where the heck have you been?”
After greetings, we sat down and had the best visit. All four of us were at good places in our lives.
“Seriously, though, why are you in Quemado?” I asked.
“We’re hauling gold,” Wina responded. “It’s right here.”
With that, she disappeared from sight under the table and came back up straining holding the biggest gold ingot you could imagine. She dumped it with a thud in the middle of the table.
“Yea, I’d say …”
Kathy and I looked around to see who might be watching this crazy scene playing out at the corner table. Wina and Dick were nonchalant.
It turned out they were making ‘a run’ to Canada to sell the gold they had recovered, refined, and poured at their mine in Mogollon.
“They like the purity of our gold,” Dick explained about the buyer. “They always give us the best price.”
“What do you want to eat,” he continued as unpretentious as if the gold had been salt and pepper shakers. “Let’s order!”
We ate. We laughed and we talked, and hugged when we parted.
Some things are planned … other things just happen.
And, now
Granddaughter, daughter, sister, wife, mother, and … on now to great grandmother, Edwina Manning has run the race … fought the good fight … and is cherished in our memory.
Dick had the spotlight … Wina had Dick … and Dirk … and Kim … and the admiration of all who knew her. This circle has concluded, and that is comforting and reassuring.
Kim, Dirk … Darlene, Darrell, all the family … God bless you.
And, to Wina from your primos …adios, prima nuestra … gracias por todos los recuerdos … nos veremas pronto …”

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “Well, now I’ll tell you what … we’ll miss her.”

THE WESTERNER SEZ...I missed the funeral because of a Congressional Forum on the proposal to lock up 600,000 acres around Dona Ana Co. in National Monuments.  This environmental junk is costing me way too much.