Monday, January 11, 2016

Harney County official going to D.C. to talk land issue

For Harney County Judge Steve Grasty, this is all personal -- not just for his community, but his family. Grasty was emotional Friday when he told NewsChannel 21 how his wife recently asked him for a refresher on how to shoot her pistol, because she's so frightened with what's going on. The county judge (not a court judge, but actually the title for the head county commissioner in many rural counties) said nothing makes him more angry than that. He's fed up with the Bundys -- but also fed up with federal land management. So Grasty is flying to Washington, D.C., next week to try to get the ball rolling on some changes. With no end in sight, Grasty is vowing to do the one thing he know he can: He's flying to the nation's capital. He said although Harney County is fed up with these outsiders, many feel they bring valid points: Government is too intrusive and lands are not being managed properly. "I've spent 17 years as county judge and we haven't gotten there," Grasty said. "And it deeply saddens me an armed militia is what it takes to get the focus." Next week, Grasty plans to meet with lawmakers and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. He said he's outlined specific changes he hopes will bring more local control to these lands, which are vastly under federal authority. One other community frustration: land managers never last long: "Many times we see a turnover in the second or third year, and we never build relationships."...more

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