Saturday, June 16, 2012

Four NMSU athletes qualify for the championship round

After three go rounds involving 375 student athletes, NMSU has four athletes who have qualified for tonight's Championship Round:

Dixie Richards, GT 12th
Trenton Montero, Bulls 12th
Bo Simpson, CR 10th
Cooper DeWitt, SB 1st

The Westerner's Radio Theater #035

Ranch Radio brings you the May 1, 1936 broadcast of The Light Crust Doughboys and the July 24, 1952 broadcast of The Cisco Kid.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Feds trying to dismiss lawsuit on artifacts raid

Dr. and Mrs. Redd
Federal agents drove a Utah doctor to suicide after interrogating him and searching his house for an ancient artifact they never found, his family's lawyers argued Thursday in a wrongful-death case against the government. The U.S. Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart to throw out the lawsuit, saying federal agencies were protected by immunity in the most sweeping investigation into the trafficking of American Indian artifacts allegedly taken from federal and tribal lands. In 2009, federal agents swept up 26 defendants in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Dr. James Redd, 60, killed himself a day after his arrest by rigging a garden hose from his tailpipe to his Jeep. His family says he never dealt in artifacts, but he was charged together with his wife and a daughter. Months later, Jeanne and Jericca Redd were sentenced to probation on trafficking charges. At issue Thursday was the work of a government operative who was given more than $335,000 to make deals with people later accused of digging, selling and collecting artifacts from federal and tribal lands. Lawyers for the Redd family argued that federal agents coached the informant — grocery chain CEO-turned-artifacts dealer Dan Gardiner — to offer more money than any artifact was worth to make offenses a felony instead of misdemeanor. The Redds were accused of acquiring a bird effigy pendant in a trade with Gardiner for another set of artifacts. Family lawyers argued the pendant wasn't worth $1,000 — making the transaction a felony — and that the government was never able to identify the pendant from 812 boxes of confiscated artifacts from the Redd's house in Blanding, Utah. They also said the government couldn't find the artifacts Jeanne Redd traded for the pendant. The family is asserting the government agents manufactured evidence, used excessive force, abused their powers and illegal confiscated the family's personal belongings. They're demanding the government return family photos, Dr. Redd's personal diary, banking records, a telephone, three digital cameras and other items. "They took everything in the house except for furniture and clothes," said Shandor Badaruddin, a lawyer from Missoula, Mont, who represents Mrs. Redd and five daughters...more

Forest chief says wildfires show urgency for restoration

As firefighters battle blazes in New Mexico and Colorado that have forced evacuations and destroyed hundreds of structures, the U.S. Forest Service chief is renewing his call to restore forests to a more natural state, where fire was a part of the landscape. Experts say a combination of decades of vigorous fire suppression and the waning of the timber industry over environmental concerns has left many forests a tangled, overgrown mess, subject to the kind of superfires that are now regularly consuming hundreds of homes and millions of acres. The Forest Service is on a mission to set the clock back to zero and the urgency couldn’t be greater, Tom Tidwell said. The plan calls for accelerating restoration programs - everything from prescribed fire and mechanical thinning - by 20 percent each year in key areas that are facing the greatest danger of a catastrophic fire. This year’s target: 4 million acres. The budget: About $1 billion. “We need to understand the conditions we’re facing today,” Mr. Tidwell said. “They’re different than what we used to deal with. We’re seeing erratic fire behavior, more erratic weather.” With more natural fires, experts contend the forest has a better chance of recovering. Severe fires tend to sterilize the soil, destroy any banks of seeds stored in the ground and leave mountainsides primed for erosion. The accelerated restoration effort is focused on several landscape-scale projects, the largest of which is a 20-year plan that calls for restoring 2.4 million acres across four forests in northern Arizona. The Forest Service recently awarded a contract to start thinning the first 300,000 acres. A similar project is planned in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico, where a historic fire ripped through 244 square miles and threatened one of the national’s premier nuclear laboratories just last summer...more

What's So Great About Red Slurry?

So what is the red stuff falling out of the planes? How does it work? The phosphorous mixture helps to create containment lines by coating vegetation in front of the fire. When the fire interacts with the retardant, a chemical reaction occurs which creates only carbon and water—preventing flammable combustion. Bernie Post is a technical representative for Ontario, California based Phos-Chek. The company produces retardant, gel, and foam used in fighting fires. Post says the retardant mixture is safe, but remains a chemical product. “It’s phosphorus, and if you get a lot of it on your hands, you need to wash if off and you should probably put some lotion on your hands because it’s a salt and it will dry our skin out.” But why is it red? Is it because of the chemical make up of the slurry? Nope. Post says red dye is added to the mixture so fire fighters on the ground can see where the retardant has dropped. Without it, the mixture would be almost invisible. Post says water is mixed with the retardant simply for use as a carrier. Once the slurry coats the vegetation, the water evaporates and the mixture stays. If a large rain storm occurs, the slurry washes away leaving behind fertilizer that actually helps restore the land around the fire...more

Song Of The Day #858

Ranch Radio continues today looking at the country and pop charts. Sitting at #1 on the 1945 country charts was You Two Timed Me One Time Too Often. And at #1 on the pop charts was the Andrews Sisters singing about something that can darn sure lead to two timing: Rum and Coca Cola.

FYI: How Do Firefighters Tackle a Voracious, Out-of-Control Fire?

Containment starts with establishing an anchor point. Every fire starts out small, and usually by the time it’s big, fire crews have a base point to work from. Then crews start cutting fire lines — like breaking trail in the woods, Harvey says. Firefighters say they have one foot in black and one in green, for burned versus fresh fuel. “You put a barrier between black fuel and green fuel, and you cut a trail between the two, so the fire will stop by the time it hits that trail,” he says. Firefighters use axes and pulaskis — ax-pick hybrids invented for wildland firefighting in 1911 — to chop and dig. Once the lines are established, firefighters enter the hot zone and “mop up,” extinguishing hundreds or thousands of blazes in the burned area to prevent any embers from reigniting the blaze farther afield. “Once those are mopped up, I start to feel as an incident commander that that line is solid and secured. That’s when I start to add that line to my containment percentage,” Harvey says. The ultimate goal is to cut off the fire’s fuel supply. Fires need heat, oxygen and fuel, and on the scale of thousands of acres, fuel is the only leg of that triangle firefighters can control. In a Type 1 incident like the High Park Fire — the worst, most complicated kind — crews bring in aerial tankers, helicopters, engines and trucks, and heavy ground-moving equipment. Black Hawks and tankers will drop water and slurry to cool the fire and knock the flames down, literally shortening their height, so ground crews can safely approach. That’s a direct-line strategy, explains Greg Poncin, Type 1 incident commander in the Northern Rockies region, based in Kalispell, Mont. But sometimes, as was the case for a while Thursday, helicopters and planes can’t even take off because of the smoke. In that case, there’s another key strategy: An indirect attack. Crews set deliberate fires in the path of the monster, destroying its fuel supply before it arrives and taking advantage of its enormous convection columns, in which warm air is pushed up and cool air is drawn in. This in-draft can widen a fire line — firefighters may set a fire near a road, for instance, and use the road as a fire break. All the while, satellites, airplanes and helicopters are watching from above to help predict the fire’s potential path. The imaging spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite captures the scene, and NASA can even use unmanned aircraft to collect imagery and data that can be viewed in Google Earth. Infrared-equipped satellites and aircraft provide a heat signature, so firefighters can determine the weakest and strongest parts of the beast. Harvey says infrared mapping technology is still relatively new to wildland firefighting, and its ability to monitor the most voracious sections has been invaluable for strategists. And today’s advanced helicopters can lift more water, fly in more dangerous conditions and arrive on scene more quickly, he says...more

Screaming Trees

Dan Gibbs keeps dead beetles in the back of his beat-up Chevy Silverado. He has a wooden block with beetles impaled on it, each insect about the size of a grain of rice. He’s got vials of embalmed beetles and their larvae. He carries around pieces of wood that show what those tiny beetles do to a mature lodgepole pine: They drill deep into the trunk and infect the tree with a fatal fungus that stains its wood blue. Gibbs isn’t a scientist. He’s a commissioner for Summit County, a high-altitude slice of Colorado that’s gaining fame as a ground zero, of sorts, for an epidemic that has devastated pine forests across North America. Twenty years ago, the mountainsides around Dillon were a lush green; these days, they’re gray with needle-less trees. The pine-beetle epidemic provides perhaps the most visual evidence of climate change in the United States. But that evidence, while arresting, remains circumstantial. Scientific studies linking the factors that drove the epidemic to rising global temperatures haven’t convinced everyone, let alone prompted people here to forsake fossil fuels. It isn’t just the dead trees. Here, near the headwaters of the Colorado River, the snow is melting earlier—and there’s less of it. Summers are drier. Threats of wildfire and water shortages have grown, changing lives and livelihoods in Colorado and across the West. Still, it’s not simple to draw a bright line from observable phenomena to climate change. For some policymakers, the lack of clarity is frustrating. Mounting evidence that the planet is warming and that human activity is to blame hasn’t generated any sort of political momentum for action, even as, in places like Dillon, forests are dying in plain sight...more

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Locals say sagebrush lizard ruling a win for Eddy County

Emails and phone calls across southeastern New Mexico were burning up the lines Wednesday as unofficial word spread that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was not going to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as an endangered species. Finally, by mid-morning it was official. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar formally announced the decision against the listing and the mood in Carlsbad and Eddy County seemed predominately celebratory. Rancher and Eddy County Commissioner Lewis Derrick, who led the charge against the listing on behalf of Eddy County and his constituents, said he is pleased with Fish and Wildlife's decision. "It's a good decision," Derrick said. "We are already doing things through the Candidate Conservation Agreements we have in place. We have the science on our side. Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties, along with West Texas counties, private and federal landowners and the oil and gas industry worked together for the past 18 months to show the federal government the science and that we are protecting the lizard." Asked if he thinks environmental groups pushing for listing the lizard as an endangered species will file a lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service, Derrick replied, "I hope the environmental crowd don't sue, but they could. If they do, we have the science on our side and we can intervene if they do." Eddy County Commission Chairwoman Roxanne Lara said that Fish and Wildlife's decision shows that when local governments are involved in the process and voice the concerns of the residents and stakeholders, the federal authorities will listen to that voice. "The Candidate Conservation Agreements brought together government agencies, ranchers and oil and gas producers to successfully collaborate on a plan to protect the species and to protect the local economy simultaneously," Lara said. "Since the proposed listing, another collaboration has taken place, this time, with Sens. Bingaman and Udall and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) joining the table to voice the local concerns," she said. "Collaboration is key to good decisions and I'm so proud of all the people that worked hard to get to this day."...more

The article quotes Senator Tom Udall:

"Today's decision is unprecedented in the history of the Endangered Species Act," Udall said. "It represents a potential breakthrough in maximizing ecosystem preservation and minimizing conflict. "It's the result of months of collaboration and serves as a testament to the positive efforts of New Mexico Land agencies, ranchers and oil and gas producers who reached a compact that simultaneously protects the local economy and the lizard," Udall said. "The end result proves that over-heated political rhetoric and conflict are not the most effective way to resolve disputes over conservation.."
Here's how I interpret Udall's remarks:  "See, this proves there is no reason to amend or change in anyway the Endangered Species Act.  Don't listen to Steve Pearce and others who are critical of the Act, just calm down and work with me and everything will be fine."

Udall is also quoted as saying, "I hope it will serve as a model for future agreements."

Pardon me for being a skeptic.  

I think it will serve as a model for when:

° A listing will have a definitely negative impact on the oil & gas industry
° It's a Presidential election year and gas prices are a hot issue
° The species occurs in a swing state, and
° The swing state has a hotly contested race for the Senate which could determine which party controls that body

Having said that, congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make this a favorable outcome.

Judge: Sheep can't graze on disputed Idaho ground

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that ranchers won't be able to turn out domestic sheep on disputed grazing ground in western Idaho's Payette National Forest. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill's preliminary injunction, delivered swiftly in his Boise courtroom, is a victory for environmentalists aiming to protect bighorn sheep from diseases transmitted by their domestic cousins. At issue was the U.S. Forest Service's decision to keep open three grazing allotments totaling 7,700 acres that had originally been due to be shuttered in 2012. In March, the Forest Service cited 2011 congressional legislation by Idaho U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson aiming to keep the allotments open for at least another year. But environmentalists including The Wilderness Society and Western Watersheds Project successfully argued the Forest Service had misinterpreted Simpson's measure, a rider in the agency's budget, to the peril of wild sheep. "The Forest Service was cherry picking its interpretation of the rider language," said Jon Marvel, director of Western Watersheds Project, in a statement lauding Winmill's decision...more

Ranchers see change in attitude from federal FWS

Richard and Susie Snedden are hoping for a thaw in what until now has been a frigid relationship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a plan to manage the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge that borders their cattle ranch southeast of Maricopa. Four years in the making, the plan envisions spending $6.7 million (not including the cost of personnel) to enhance the habitat of the endangered California condor. “The first meeting (in 2008) was a pretty hostile deal,” said Richard Snedden. “I didn’t see any disrespect this time.” Prior meetings between the USFWS and property owners were filled with rancor, but this time around the give-and-take was much more amiable because, ranchers say, there has been a change in command at Fish and Wildlife. “The attitude is exceptionally good compared to what we’re used to,” said Art Steinbeck, a rancher who lives “in the middle of that refuge” and formerly grazed cattle there. The Sneddens, who share 13 miles of common border with Bitter Creek, have a few objections to the management plan rolled out May 17 during an open house in Taft. Concerns include use of prescribed burning, introduction of elk and antelope and pending agreements between USFWS and the Bureau of Land Management that would impinge on more than 5,000 acres of Snedden ranch property.

Montana property owners sue Forest Service for prescribed burn fire

Three families whose property inadvertently burned when a prescribed fire by the Helena National Forest raced out of control in 2010 are suing the federal government, saying they should be compensated for the “negligent and wrongful acts and omissions” of Forest Service employees. Plaintiffs Darrell and Linda Holmquist, Randy and Brandon Henry and Kent Taylor filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Helena this week. They allege that when the Forest Service ignited the Davis prescribed fire southeast of Lincoln on Aug. 25, 2010, it grew out of control, causing the “total destruction” of their property, which surrounded the fire area. They also allege that the Forest Service failed to use reasonable judgment by not notifying nearby landowners or local firefighters about their plans to ignite the fire. “The Davis Fire took place under extreme weather conditions consisting of gusty winds and very warm temperatures. In fact, the prescribed fire was set during a fire weather warning,” John Heenan, the attorney for the families, wrote in the lawsuit. “The Forest Service failed to follow its own guidelines for proper prescribed fire implementation in starting the Davis Fire. “… Had the Forest Service notified Plaintiffs, they would have been able to take measures to protect their properties and/or ensured that the Forest Service took measures to do so.” The Holmquists own 59 acres near the fire, which burned in the Stemple Pass area. The Henrys own 95 acres, and Taylor owns 142 acres. They noted that under Montana law, had the Forest Service been a private citizen, it would be liable for damages caused by setting or leaving a fire that spreads and harms someone else’s property...more

Oregon ranchers stand trial in grass fire case

Trial opened Tuesday in U.S. District Court for two Harney County ranchers charged with deliberately setting fires on federal grazing land between 2001 and 2006. Steven Hammond and his father, Dwight Lincoln Hammond Jr., of Hammond Ranch near Frenchglen were admonished in 1999 by a federal range manager about carelessly setting fires to improve grazing conditions, according to U.S. Attorney Frank Papagni Jr. of Eugene. Two years later, Papagni alleged, the Hammonds set a fire to scare away deer hunters. Finally, in August 2006, the father and son set an illegal burn that threatened to overrun a BLM brush engine and its crew, the prosecutor explained. Firefighter Lance Okeson confronted Dwight Hammond at the scene: "Don't be doing this; you're lighting us in,'" Papagni told jurors. A federal indictment charges the pair with nine counts, including conspiracy and setting illegal fires on federal grazing land, fires that coincided or contributed to the Hardie Hammond, Lower Bridge Creek and Krumbo Butte fires. Defense lawyers in turns explaining that the government built its case on suspicion and error. Lightning in most cases caused the fires the government claims the Hammonds set, said Steven Hammond's attorney, Lawrence Matasar of Portland. Hammond cattle were endangered by some fires and the Hammonds' presence is explained by their need to move their cattle out harm's way, said attorney Marc Blackman of Portland, representing Dwight Hammond...more

More cattle found slaughtered in Rogers County

The investigation into stolen and slaughtered cattle in Rogers County continues to grow. It's a story 2NEWS first broke less than two weeks ago, when a third cow was found butchered near the Rogers County town of Chelsea. Now two more animals have been killed. For the second time in a year, rancher Joe Bickford has been victimized by cattle rustlers. This time four cows were stolen. "Year before we lost five cows and four calves up there," Bickford said. "This time they took the gate open in the back and you can see where they ran through to the other property." Bickford says the combined loss for both thefts is $16,000. He says it is a big loss for a rancher. "I'm very disgusted and disappointed," Bickford said. "It eats at me." In what appears to be an unrelated case, a rancher near Chelsea found two of his cattle slaughtered on his property Monday. It's the fourth such attack in that same area less than two months. In late May, Chelsea rancher Rob Bacon found one his 600 pound calves butchered on a county road next to his property. Just like with the other crimes, the calf had been skillfully butchered -- the meat was stolen while the remains and hide were left behind...more

Oklahoma Rancher in Russia Threatens U.S. Beef Exports

Anthony Stidham, a 48-year-old third-generation rancher from Oklahoma, is at the forefront of President Vladimir Putin’s plan to cut Russia’s $3 billion annual bill as the world’s biggest beef importer. At the country’s largest beef farm about 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of Moscow, Stidham is passing on cattle- rearing skills to locals in a drive toward self-sufficiency that’s already involved shipping in about 60,000 Aberdeen Angus cattle from the U.S. and Australia. With incomes rising and beef sales set to increase, Russia has been cutting import quotas to revive a cattle-breeding tradition decimated under the rule of dictator Joseph Stalin. Putin wants the country to meet 85 percent of its meat and poultry needs by 2020, threatening to curtail sales by Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) of Springdale, Arkansas, and Brasil Foods SA. “There’s no place in the U.S., Australia or anywhere in the world that will have cattle as good as what they are putting together here,” said Stidham, recruited from Ada, Oklahoma, after answering an advertisement in a farming publication. At least 30 steakhouses have sprung up in Moscow since 2004, according to the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers, attracted by a growing middle class and average wages that have tripled. A ribeye steak at Goodman, Russia’s largest steakhouse chain, costs 1,480 rubles ($45)...more

Song Of The Day #857

Ranch Radio continues with our look at both country and pop charts. Again from 1944, Red Foley is #2 on the country side with Smoke On The Water. On the pop side there is a war going on, but they still have time to Boogie Woogie by Tommy Dorsey.

Officials move to quash Little Bear Fire rumors

Gov. Susanna Martinez and Forest Service officials addressed local concerns regarding the purported mishandling of the Little Bear Fire during its early days at a briefing this morning at the Ruidoso Fire Station on White Mountain Drive. Learning the facts regarding the fire before speaking to friends, neighbors or acquaintances would help prevent "the agony of learning that your house is gone, and later learning that it's not," Martinez said. A great deal of misinformation had made its way throughout the community, and that needed to stop, she said. Tudor later addressed specific concerns, including Congressman Steve Pearce's remarks that forest service officials had been slow to get water on the blaze. "The question has come up, why wasn't water used, why wasn't a bucket drop used," he said. Because of the elevation of the fire, 10,500 feet above sea level, helicopters were unable to respond with standard equipment, he said. A helicopter had been sent up to the fire within hours of its detection to shuttle the Sacramento Hotshots up to the slopes to begin suppression, he added. "Water was never denied on the fire, it was never rejected on the fire, it just had to be taken in a different manner because of the altitude," he said. "At that altitude it's really difficult to get equipment off the ground and safely carry it." The judgment call on safety was left in the hands of the experts, the pilots, he said. "They tried to get off the ground and they just couldn't do it. Quite frankly, we've had some tough weather days up there." Smaller, specialized tanks, called Blivets, had quickly been ordered and equipped on helicopters to enable them to begin dumping water, drawn from Alto and Mescalero lakes, onto the fire, he said. "The forest service, all along, has been in full suppression of the incident," he said. The policy of New Mexico foresters is to "fully suppress all fires," he added...more

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Park officials looking into hiker's encounter with wolf

A man hiking in Yellowstone National Park encountered a female wolf outside a den and sprayed the animal with pepper spray before fleeing the scene. Yellowstone Park officials confirmed Tuesday that the man, whose name was not released, encountered a female wolf in the Hayden Valley. While park officials continue to investigate the incident, a spokesman said Tuesday that the man was hiking when he came across the wolf outside a den. “There was no wolf attack,” park spokesman Al Nash said. “However, a visitor apparently had some sort of encounter with a wolf. The wolf did not attack him. He was not injured by a wolf.” The wolf allegedly gave a warning bark, which the man interpreted as a growl. He sprayed the wolf with pepper spray — a deterrent most often used in bear encounters. The hiker heard the wolf yipping as a result of the spray as he fled. Park officials said the man jumped into the Yellowstone River, believing the wolf might pursue him. He apparently lost his backpack as he was washed downriver and was treated by park rangers for hypothermia....more

So all Little Red Riding Hood needed was a can of pepper spray!

The Wounded West...and Congress finally acts, pitifully

President Obama has signed a bill authorizing the Forest Service to contract for seven new large air tankers.

Two pilots die, homes burned, the West is on fire...and then and only then does Congress act.

This is only a band aid on a decades old, festering wound in the West.  A wound inflicted on us by the enviros and the courts and the Congress has stood by and done nothing.  A wound on the earth that will not heal until Congress revises the statutes to allow scientific management to occur on these lands.

A Wounded West...what a shame.

New Mexico: Rare Plague Surfacing in More Affluent Areas

Although the plague is typically considered a remnant of the Middle Ages, when unsanitary conditions and rodent infestations prevailed amid the squalor of poverty, this rare but deadly disease appears to be spreading through wealthier communities in New Mexico, researchers report. Why the plague is popping up in affluent neighborhoods isn't completely clear, the experts added. "Where human plague cases occur is linked to where people live and how people interact with their environment," noted lead researcher Anna Schotthoefer, from the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin. "These factors may change over time, necessitating periodic reassessments of the factors that put people at risk." This latest study confirms previous reports that living within or close to the natural environments that support plague is a risk factor for human plague, Schotthoefer said. About 11 cases of plague a year have occurred in the United States since 1976, with most cases found in New Mexico. Plague has also been reported in a handful of other states. Although many cases were in areas where the habitat supports rodents and fleas, the researchers also found cases occurring in more upper-class neighborhoods. In the 1980s, most cases occurred where housing conditions were poor, but more recently cases have been reported in affluent areas of Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the investigators found. "The shift from poorer to more affluent regions of New Mexico was a surprise, and suggests that homeowners in these newly developed areas should be educated about the risks of plague," Schotthoefer said...more

Pearce statement on lizard decision

Today, Congressman Steve Pearce released the following statement regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement that the dunes sagebrush lizard will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act:

“For nearly two years, New Mexicans have fought against the unnecessary listing of the lizard,” said Pearce. “They have demanded that the government base its decision on accurate science and the local protections already in place to conserve the lizard.  While it was a long and emotional process, in the end, Washington listened, and the lizard will not be listed. This is a huge victory for the people who have tirelessly fought to save regional jobs and our way of life. I extend my gratitude to the New Mexicans who came to the table, and through good faith efforts, voluntarily protected the lizard’s habitat.” “On both sides of the state line—in Texas and New Mexico—local and state officials, private stakeholders and conservationists put millions of dollars and acres into this balanced approach that saves both the lizard and our jobs,” Pearce continued. “The conservation agreements in place to conserve the lizard are undoubtedly some of the most successful ever. The willingness of New Mexicans and Texans to conserve the habitat and species serves as a fine example of what we can do when the federal government takes input from all sides, and tries to find common ground. I am proud of the hard work that went into this effective and efficient solution, and I am pleased with today’s outcome. Personally, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the regional offices of the BLM and FWS.  While we had our disagreements during this process, I hope this effort has re-enforced a strong working relationship.”

Song Of The Day #856

Ranch Radio missed yesterday, making this a short week, so we'll try a little experiment. We're gonna look at both the country and pop charts, this time for 1944.  Those were the war years and the #1 Country song and the #2 pop song were about going away and being separated.  Here's Al Dexter with So Long Pal and the Andrews Sister with Shoo Shoo Baby.

Pray to be sold at auction

If the price is right, the Paradise Valley hamlet of Pray will have a new owner by nightfall on June 27. The five-acre townsite, which includes two commercial buildings — one with an apartment — will be offered at auction that evening beginning at 6:30. “It sells with the owner’s approval of the final bid,” said Jayson Shobe, of Shobe Auction & Realty of Lewistown. The Park County town is three miles north of Chico Hot Springs along Highway 540. It has been advertised for sale for several months at a price of $1.4 million. In an interview in February, owner Barbara Walker said she would consider an auction if the property didn’t sell as listed. The auction will be handled jointly by Mason & Morse Ranch Co. of Glenwood, Colo., and United Country-Shobe Auction & Realty and will take place in Pray. Shobe said Tuesday that people from across the country have made inquiries about Pray, which is just 30 miles from Yellowstone Park. “I would say we’ve had a very encouraging amount of interest,” he said. “Who knows, the sale price could go higher than the $1.4 million.” Pray comes on the market with few restrictions for new owners, he said. “There is no zoning. There are no covenants,” he said...more

Yup, I'd turn that old store into nice horse barn, build an arena, and rope during the summer months.  I can see it now...

Homeland Security Warns of Terrorist Wildfire Attacks

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and fusion centers around the country are warning that terrorists are interested in using fire as a weapon, particularly in the form of large-scale wildfires near densely populated areas.  A newly released DHS report states that for more than a decade “international terrorist groups and associated individuals have expressed interest in using fire as a tactic against the Homeland to cause economic loss, fear, resource depletion, and humanitarian hardship.”  The report notes that the tactical use of fire as a weapon is “inexpensive and requires limited technical expertise” and “materials needed to use fire as a weapon are common and easily obtainable, making preoperational activities difficult to detect and plot disruption and apprehension challenging for law enforcement.” Though law enforcement has been warning of the use of fire as a weapon for years, the recent fervor over wildfires as a potential terrorist tactic is largely due to Inspire magazine, a slick online publication that is reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  The most recent issue of Inspire featured multiple articles on the use of wildfire as a weapon in jihad, including a complete guide on creating an “ember bomb” that would likely have a “high failure rate when manufactured and utilized by untrained or inexperienced personnel” according to the DHS report.  The FBI has also separately warned about the latest issue of Inspire, which “instructs the audience to look for two necessary factors for a successful wildfire, which are dryness and high winds to help spread the fire. Specific fire conditions that are likely to spread fire quickly are Pinewood, crownfires (where the trees and branches are close together), and steep slope fires (fire spreads faster going up a slope).”  California and Montana are specifically listed in Inspire as potential targets...more

Sand dunes lizard does not merit protected lists, U.S. finds

The federal government will not place the dunes sagebrush lizard, a sand-dwelling reptile of the West Texas oil patch, on the lists of species requiring special protection, officials said Wednesday. The decision comes two years after the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the lizard as endangered because increased oil and gas activity in the Permian Basin left it without enough habitat...more

Crews, DC-10 continue to fight Little Bear Ruidoso fire

At least 234 structures have burned in the very big Little Bear Fire in the Lincoln National Forest. Officials say 224 residential structures have burned and 10 outbuildings have been destroyed. Teams were on the ground Tuesday surveying the damage which means that number will likely grow. Governor Susana Martinez has declared a state of emergency in Lincoln County, freeing up emergency funding and making additional state resources available for the community and for the firefight. Nearly 1,000 people fighting this fire and a DC-10 jetliner that can lay down 12,000 foot path of retardant has arrived from Arizona. Officials say 36,000 acres have burned, which has not changed from Tuesday morning. They also say anywhere from 154 to 175 structures have been destroyed. Those structures include homes, barns even dog houses. Approximately 200 homes have been evacuated, mainly north of Ruidoso. The town of Ruidoso is fine...more

North Dakota Drills Its Way Out Of Property Taxes

One state has found a solution to job and economic growth so successful it may eliminate one of the most onerous of taxes. It turns out that, yes, we can drill our way out of our problems. On Tuesday in North Dakota, a state flush with revenues from oil produced from the Bakken Shale formation it sits astride, voters were deciding whether theirs will become the first and only state not to have a property tax. If it passes (polls didn't close until after our press time), it ll be the first time a state has eliminated a major tax since 1980. That was when oil-rich Alaska dropped its state income tax as crude gushed from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska's North Slope. If you can see a pattern here, you're way ahead of President Obama. His argument is that we can't drill our way out of high energy prices let alone out of debt and the need for higher taxes. But it's about to be exposed once again as the self-serving falsehood it is. Shattering the myth of "peak oil," as Professor Mark J. Perry reports at his Carpe Diem blog, North Dakota pumped another record amount of oil during the month of March at a rate of 575,490 barrels per day. In so doing, it replaced California as the nation's No. 3 oil-producing state, behind Texas and Alaska. At its current rate of production growth, North Dakota will likely top Alaska sometime this year...more

EDITORIAL: Getting burned by biofuels

When individuals attempt to solve a problem and end up creating unforeseen troubles, it’s called the law of unintended consequences. When government does it, it’s called the law of the land. In its zeal for regulation, the federal leviathan has invented a market for something called renewable-fuel credits and, not surprisingly, it’s filled with fraud. Businesses are getting swindled and Uncle Sam’s unsympathetic response is “heads I win, tails you lose.” The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implement a Renewable Fuel Standard forcing fuel refiners to dilute their petroleum products with vegetable oil, corn, algae and animal fat so companies that label themselves “green” would reap a financial windfall. Refiners who can’t make those substances on their own are allowed to buy renewable-fuel credits to meet their federal quota. Each credit carries a 38-digit renewable identification number (RIN) as proof of purchase. The credits can be traded. As this is an entirely artificial market that serves no purpose other than to make politicians and their political donors happy, it’s rife with fraud. Since November, the EPA has claimed 140 million invalid RINs have been sold. The agency alleges 48 million bogus credits came from Absolute Fuels of Texas, netting about $62 million. Another 32 million were purportedly sold by Clean Green Fuel LLC in Maryland for $9 million, and 60 million were marketed by Green Diesel of Texas, worth $84 million. House Republicans expect the scam to hit at least 300 million fake credits. “Unfortunately, the production of and trade in fraudulent or invalid RINs has developed into a large and growing problem,” wrote House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, and three other committee members in a May 24 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “And EPA’s efforts to address the problem so far appear ineffective, and in some respects have harmed the renewable-fuels marketplace.”...more

Farm Bill 'Reform' Stuffed With Pork

 by Debra Saunders

Every once in a while, Democrats and Republicans can work together. Witness Thursday's 90-8 vote to bring a "bipartisan reform" farm bill before the Senate. In the expectation that the bill will garner the necessary 60 votes, the House Agriculture Committee has changed its schedule to allow a floor debate on the measure in July. The White House applauded. This is Washington's version of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

There's just one little problem. Somehow, whenever the two parties work together, they end up spending a lot of other people's money. The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, co-authored by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., would be a 10-year, $969 billion package.

Stabenow boasts that her bill would produce $23.6 billion in savings from what Washington would spend under current law. "We examined every agriculture program to see what was working and what wasn't," said she. That's all she could squeeze out of a $969 billion package? President Barack Obama proposed shaving $32 billion from that pot. The GOP House budget calls for a reduction of almost $180 billion over 10 years.

 While Stabenow and company have been patting themselves on the back for ferreting out wasteful spending, the Congressional Budget Office has reported that their farm bill would "make popcorn an eligible crop for program benefits."

Popcorn? As Paige explained it, there's a way you can tell this so-called reform is a weasel. "You can tell," she said, "because no one's screaming."

Coaching is a labor of love in college rodeo

Casper College rodeo coach Tom Parker delivered a handful of $20 bills to roughstock riders Justin Moldaschel and Zach Phillips during Saturday's College National Finals Rodeo contestant check-in at the Casper Events Center."That's the part these guys like," Parker said with a wry grin.Per diems. Mileage reimbursements. Cash prizes.Clearly the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association isn't sanctioned by the NCAA.In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more efficiently run club sport in college athletics.Those in the know give much of the credit to coaches like Parker, now in his 22nd year with the Thunderbirds."The role of the coach is to make sure we have everything we need to succeed," Phillips said. For Parker that means, but is not limited to...more

CNFR: Barrel racers rise early for a fast start

Quincy Freeman's day began at 4 a.m. Tuesday, three hours before she was scheduled to compete in the second go-round of barrel racing at the College National Finals Rodeo. With slack at 7 a.m. Monday and Tuesday to handle the number of contestants at the CNFR, there are more than 370 cowboys and cowgirls competing this year, the day starts early. That's especially true for the barrel racers, whose event is first. "I have to get up at four o'clock, and then I have to feed my horse and give him any medicine he might need, because that takes at least an hour to kick in," the Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo junior said. "Barrel racers are really the ones that have to wake up early. Those other contestants can just sleep in."...more

Feds: Horse operation was a front for cartel money laundering; Okla. ranch, NM track raided

In the stables at a prominent quarter horse track in New Mexico, workers quietly nicknamed Jose Trevino Morales’s stables as the “Zetas’ stables” and say they often saw people show up with bags of cash to buy the horses. On Tuesday, authorities raided those stables and a horse ranch in Oklahoma accusing Trevino and others of running a sophisticated money-laundering operation connected to one of Mexico’s most powerful and ruthless drug cartels. Federal authorities accuse Trevino’s older brother, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a key figure in the Zetas drug operation, of setting up the horse operation that the younger brother ran from the sprawling ranch near Lexington, Okla., south of Oklahoma City. Millions of dollars went through the operation, which bought, trained, bred and raced quarter horses throughout the southwest United States, including the famed Ruidoso Downs track in New Mexico. Jose Trevino, his wife and five others were arrested. Seven others, including another Trevino brother, were charged but remain at large. “This case is a prime example of the ability of Mexican drug cartels to establish footholds in legitimate U.S. industries and highlights the serious threat money laundering causes to our financial system,” said Richard Weber, the chief of the IRS’ criminal investigation unit...more

A Drug Family in the Winner’s Circle

Newcomers rarely make it into the winner’s circle at the All American Futurity, considered the Kentucky Derby of quarter horse racing. Yet in September 2010, a beaming band of men waving Mexican flags and miniature piñatas swept into Ruidoso, N.M., to claim the million-dollar prize with a long-shot colt named Mr. Piloto. Leading the revelry at the track was Mr. Piloto’s owner, José Treviño Morales, 45, a self-described brick mason who had grown up poor in Mexico. Across the border, Ramiro Villarreal, an affable associate who had helped acquire the winning colt, celebrated at a bar with friends. As for the man who made the whole day possible, Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales, he was living on the run, one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the world. Using Miguel Ángel Treviño’s cash, José Treviño’s legal residency and Mr. Villarreal’s eye for a good horse, Tremor bought a sprawling ranch in Oklahoma and an estimated 300 stallions and mares. The Treviño brothers might have kept their operation quiet, given the criminal connection, but their passion for horses and winning apparently proved too tempting. In the short span of three years, Tremor won three of the industry’s biggest races, with prizes totaling some $2.5 million. The affidavit said the Zetas funneled about $1 million a month into buying quarter horses in the United States. The authorities were tipped off to Tremor’s activities in January 2010, when the Zetas paid more than $1 million in a single day for two broodmares, the affidavit said. The Treviño brothers devised an elaborate scheme in which Mexican businessmen paid for the horses — some of them worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — from their own bank accounts so the purchases would appear legitimate, according to the affidavit. The Zetas would later reimburse the businessmen, and the horses’ ownership would be transferred to Tremor. The brothers’ activities on either side of the border made for a stark contrast. One week in May began with the authorities pointing fingers at Miguel Ángel Treviño for dumping the bodies of 49 people — without heads, hands or feet — in garbage bags along a busy highway in northern Mexico. The week concluded with José Treviño fielding four Tremor horses in a prestigious race at Los Alamitos Race Course, near Los Angeles.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Little Bear Fire - 175 structures burned, $11.5 million in damage... so far

Damage assessment update from Lincoln County Assessor Paul Baca – 175 structures destroyed, total value estimate: $11.5 million; assessment is not complete. Summary: Yesterday's break in the weather allowed firefighters to make significant progress. However, firefighters are not lulled into complacency, because the fire is still active and there is strong potential for extreme fire behavior. Crews will use yesterday's progress as a basis for continued progress today. Today, crews will continue working on the west end of the fire, using and improving the trail network as containment line. On the northwest flank, firefighters will protect structures, and continue building line into Nogal Canyon. On the north end crews will hold and improve fireline west from NM 37, while assessing preparation work along the dozer line for possible burnout. On the east and southeast sides firefighters will patrol and mop up along the completed dozer line. Along the southern flank line crews will continue line preparation along NM 532, moving west and burning out as they go. On the southwest corner firefighters will continue contingency line construction and burnout to the line...more


The NMSU rodeo team started the first round of the CNFR with a bang!!!

Cooper R. DeWitt 2nd in the saddle bronc riding 78.5

Trenton G. Montero 10th in the bareback riding 72.0

Cody J. Mirabal and Reno Eddy 12th in the team roping 7.5

Nicole Sweazea 9th in the breakaway 2.9

Brandi A. Pfeifer split 1st in the goat tying 6.6

Dixie L. Richards split 6th in the goat typing 6.8

Alan Jackson Interview: 'Thirty Miles West' Album Captures Singer's Heartbreak and Triumph

There's a tune on Alan Jackson's new album, Thirty Miles West, that the father of three wrote for his daughters titled "Her Life's a Song." In a broader sense, the same could be said for Alan himself. Over the last two decades, his life has been one hit song after another as he's both celebrated life's sweetest moments and tried to make sense of tragedy by strapping on a guitar and pouring out his heart in a song. The Georgia-born entertainer once again sets his life to music on Thirty Miles West, a 13-song set that includes such uptempo tunes as "Dixie Highway," which features his pal Zac Brown, and the poignant "When I Saw You Leaving (For Nisey)," a love song to his wife Denise that shares his feelings about her battle with cancer. For Alan Jackson, the adage "write you know" remains the key to his songwriting career and, indeed, to his success. "I don't feel like I've tried to change my style of writing to fit in with anything different," Alan tells The Boot. "I'm still writing about things that [are] going on in life. You just write about things that happen. With this album I wrote a song about Denise going through her cancer." Alan is grateful for the accolades, but nothing is more important to him than family, and his world was rocked when he got the news that Denise had cancer. He chronicles those emotions in "When I Saw You Leaving (For Nisey)," the closing track on the album. "It's a scary word, cancer," Alan says quietly. "That song just came out of all of that. I never mentioned it until I had the cut done and then I played it for her. She cried ... I don't think she likes to listen to it on the album much."...more

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ruling on dunes sagebrush lizard likely on Thursday

A day of decision is finally near for the West's most-publicized reptile. The Obama administration probably will announce Thursday if the dunes sagebrush lizard will be listed as an endangered species, said Tom Buckley, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque. An occupant of wind-swept dunes in oil country, the lizard exists only in four counties of southeastern New Mexico and four others in West Texas. Buckley said today the announcement on the lizard's status probably would be made in Washington. He expects either Interior Secretary Ken Salazar or Daniel Ashe, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, to make the finding public. Debate over whether the lizard should receive federal protection has raged for 18 months. Ashe in December postponed his scheduled ruling on lizard, saying he wanted another six months to consider scientific data. Numerous Republicans in Congress, especially Rep. Steve Pearce of New Mexico, have argued against endangered status for the lizard. Pearce said thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industry would be in jeopardy if the lizard were listed...more

Pearce vs. Forest Service continued

NM Watchdog is now covering the dust up between Congressman Pearce and the Forest Service.

There are also some interesting comments on my post Pearce expresses outrage, blame at Forest Service for Little Bear Fire.

The real problem here is decades of poor management by the Forest Service, as Pearce recently wrote:

It does not have to be this way. The biggest hindrance is the U.S. Forest Service bureaucracy in Washington, which caters to extreme interest groups that stop responsible forest management. Because the Forest Service refuses to permit logging in our forests, they are overcrowded with trees that go up in flames during droughts, and invite massive conflagrations like we see in the Gila. It would be far easier to thin the forest conscientiously in advance than resort to emergency fire suppression, which risks lives and property. Special interest groups claim that we must lock up our forests, and tie the hands of local Forest Service administrators by threatening lawsuits every time a responsible forest management policy is proposed. This must stop. Not only do these policies lead to massive destruction of our forests and private dwellings within the forests. The environmental degradation these groups claim to want to avoid occurs on a massive scale through air pollution and the total destruction of habitat, endangered species, and everything else in the fire’s path.

Examples of this abound. Just four days ago there was this:

Federal judge halts eastern Idaho logging project
A federal judge has halted a 7,000-acre eastern Idaho logging project in potential lynx habitat near Yellowstone National Park after finding the U.S. Forest Service failed to follow federal laws intended to safeguard the environment. "We're thrilled," said Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. "This is going to protect a lot of habitat that is very important to the recovery of lynx."...

In this case the enviros used two of their favorite tools, NEPA & ESA. Other favorites are the CWA and Native American claims.

Nothing will change until the laws are changed.  You will see administrative tweaks every 4-8 years, but no significant change.

Keep that in mind as you head to the polls this fall.  Only Congress can change the law and they must have a President who will sign it.

Public Meetings on Little Bear Fire TODAY Capitan & Ruidoso

Community meetings will be conducted in the main gymnasium of Ruidoso High School, 125 Warrior Road at 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

A community meeting will also be conducted at the fairgrounds in Capitan at 7:00 p.m.

A community meeting will be conducted on the Mescalero Apache Reservation at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, in the Inn of the Mountain Gods.

Wanda Evans 1924-2012

Wanda Ruth (Giblin) Evans, from Cuchillo, NM, 87 passed away June 7, 2012 in Albuquerque, NM due to heart complications.

The family will be having a memorial honoring this special lady’s life on June 23, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Caballo Church in Caballo,NM.

Cards may be sent to the
Wanda Evans Family
HC 30 Box 32
Chuchillo, NM 87901-9603

Wanda was born July 19, 1924 to Charles and Lola Giblin, in Peoria, Arizona. Wanda graduated from Glendale High School in Glendale, AZ in 1942. After graduating high school Wanda worked as a receptionist/nurse’s assistant for a local doctor. On April 9, 1943 she married Arthur H. Evans at the family ranch north of Phoenix, AZ. They lived on the family ranch( the T ranch) until Art joined the navy and they moved to San Diego where she worked in the CocaCola Factory during WWII. After leaving San Diego they returned to the Phoenix area and the family ranch where she continued on as a hard working rancher’s wife and mother. On July 2 of 1953, Art and Wanda moved their family to the Ladder Ranch near Hillsboro, NM. For the next 28 years through 3 owners Wanda helped Art run the Ladder Ranch, manning communications, running parts service, maintaining the owners house, driving the school bus for all the kids at headquarters, and cooking countless meals for the crew of cowboys, her family, and everyone who showed up on her doorstep. In 1981 they moved to Roswell to continue working for Diamond A Cattle company at South Springs farm/ feedlot and ranch, where Art continued on as a general manager overseeing ranches in NM and Texas. In 1992 Art and Wanda retired from working for the Andersons and moved to Cuchillo where Art was hired as a consultant for Ted Turner who had purchased the Ladder Ranch.
During her life Wanda was a talented seamstress, sewing many of the family’s western clothing items, often creating her own patterns. Wanda was an excellent cook and prepared many a meal for her family and others. While in Roswell she took classes and learned ceramics, painting, piano, and silversmithing. Art and Wanda loved to dance, and danced every chance they got.
Wanda started hosting Sunday school classes in the living room at the Ladder Headquarters, in 1955. The small group headed down Animas creek where she met with other local families at the Heath residence, later the group moved to the Caballo School house to meet. During that time Wanda helped raised money to help build the Caballo Church. Wanda was a founding member of the Chamiza Cowbelles, active in Farm Bureau at the local and state level, Cattle Growers and Wool Growers Associations of New Mexico. Wanda served as a chairman of the Cotton Extravaganza, a Farm Bureau hosted sewing contest and as a participant in the same contest where she took home awards for her seamstress skills. Wanda also helped to host the “Lamb Booth” at the NM State Fair hosted by NM Wool Growers for several years. She helped to host Brangus sales that were hosted by Diamond A Cattle Company while in Roswell.
Wanda is survived by her husband of 69 years, Arthur Hayden Evans. Children April(Ray) Romero - Cuchillo, NM; Mikel(Cathy) Evans - Albuquerque, NM and Fran Evans daughter-in-law -Las Cruces, NM, Grandchildren; Anita Evans- Las Cruces, Daniel (Ami) Evans- Deming; Kristy(Cody) Cummings-Cuchillo;Cheyenne(Tony) Squieri - Mesa, AZ; Cassidy Evans & Shaun Baker - Mesa, AZ; Mikel Cody Evans- Santa Fe; Rachel Evans- Guthrie, Ok; Great Grandchildren: Riley Walker- Las Cruces; Jacob and Erik Evans- Deming; Shayly Cummings-Cuchillo; Jaxon Baker- Mesa, AZ; Siblings –Donald Ray(Billie) Giblin-Sedona , AZ; Posey Giblin(sister-in-law)-Glendale, AZ; Richard(Helen)Evans- Gilbert, AZ; Raymond(Marlene) Evans-Yuma, AZ, Ruth Cordes-Greer, AZ; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her father Charles Giblin, mother; Lola Giblin, Children; Hayden Evans, siblings; brother James Giblin, sister Inez Bennett, brother Van L. Giblin, and sister Eunice Ekiss.
The family will be having a memorial honoring this special lady’s life on June 23, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Caballo Church in Caballo,NM.

"HOME ALONE" by RL Posey

During the summer when I was 14 or 15, my parents had to go somewhere and left my brother, John, and me HOME ALONE.

If either John or I ever knew where they went or why, we have long ago forgotten it.

At one time I could remember how long they were gone, probably 3 or 4 days, but now I can no longer remember that.

I do remember that Mother cooked a big pan of biscuits and a pot of pinto beans for us, our main staples.

John and I had to milk the cows and take care of the milk. In addition, we had to take care of the pigs and chickens, cut and carry in the firewood for the cook stove, to heat the beans, and work in the fields.

I remember while we were hoeing the weeds from the cabbage or carrots in the field, the first day or so while the folks were gone, some boys from Mayhill came up and wanted to play.

John was ready to play with them, but I had to put a stop to that as we had the responsibility of getting the work done.

That was an experience that I have never forgotten and have often wondered in the years past, what would happen now if someone left two teen-aged children Home Alone.  The "Do Gooders" would probably file a child abandonment charges against the parents.

Even today young people that live on farms or ranches have responsibilities that most young peole in towns don't have and have learned to "Get The Job Done" without supervision.

That was my first experience that I can remember of being charged with a responsibility, and expected to get The Job done.

I learned a very valuable lesson from that experience, "When Charged With A Responsibility", accomplish the task to the best of your ability.

R L Posey
June 11, 2012

Group alleges political meddling in wolf program

The effort to return the Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest has been fraught with legal disputes, illegal shootings, livestock deaths and emotion. Now a watchdog group is questioning the integrity of key scientific findings related to the endangered animal's recovery. Public Employees of Environmental Responsibility filed a complaint this week with the U.S. Department of Interior, alleging that the number of wolves required for recovery have been altered due to political meddling. The group also contends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suspended recovery planning in May in response to political pressure that followed the release of confidential documents to politicians and advocacy groups and concerns voiced by officials in Utah and Colorado about expanding the wolf recovery area to their states. Jeff Ruch, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based group, called the science behind Mexican gray wolf recovery a "political football." "The time for political negotiation comes after the scientific work is done," Ruch said. "In this instance, Obama officials are attempting to improperly pre-negotiate the science to accommodate political partners."...more

And this from the PEER press release

In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) concluded that the Mexican wolf “is not thriving” due to lack of an up-to-date management plan, illegal shooting; and genetic inbreeding. The cumulative impacts of these factors “threaten the population with failure.” The agency then convened eight experts to serve on a special Science and Planning Subgroup of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team. Through the next two years, this scientific subgroup unanimously concluded that Mexican wolf recovery required three populations of 200-350 wolves connected by corridors. They also found the best suitable habitat for reintroduction included southern Colorado and southern Utah. The political pushback within the FWS and from affected states against these scientific findings has been unrelenting, including –

Pressure to lower the number of wolves needed or jettison a numeric threshold altogether, as in this FWS email to the scientists (“he” refers to the Southwest Regional Director):

“You should not feel undo [sic] pressure at this point to accommodate, per se, but you should recognize that this is his way of telling you (at least at this point) what information he would like to see.”

Demands to exclude Utah and other states from suitable habitat; and

Attempts to prevent the science subgroup from issuing final Mexican wolf recovery criteria.

No doubt the USFWS is looking at this for expanding the recovery area:

These Hometown Hero ranchers keep abandoned horses alive and happy

The cost of owning a horse continues to increase as the price of feed for the animals creeps up. That's one reason why Walkin' N Circles Ranch says they've seen a spike in owner surrenders. In fact, the horse rescue organization says they're at capacity right now, caring for 90 horses that have been mistreated or starved. In this week's Hometown Heroes, meet the ranch hands and volunteers that keep these horses alive. For a decade, Walkin' N Circles Ranch, a non-profit organization, has been rescuing horses. Executive Director Charles Graham said, "We have horses that come in that have been starved for over a year and you don't know if they're going to live until the next morning." Horses like Hitch - as in hitch-hiker. He was picked up on a highway after being dumped, emaciated, with a huge growth on his chest. Walkin' N Circles Ranch took him in to try and revive him. Graham says Hitch weighed just 275 pounds. He should have been closer to 600. "Probably that they couldn't afford to feed him or couldn't afford the medical attention that he needed. So instead of taking him someplace and having it done, they just dumped him," said Graham. When asked if he's seen a lot here, he said, "absolutely, absolutely."...more

Horses abandoned and starving, thanks to the do-gooders.