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Browsing the blog archives for December, 2014.

Klamath National Forest packers will participate in Rose Bowl Parade

Forestry & USFS

Yreka, CA –U.S. Forest Service rangers, firefighters and volunteers will participate in the 126th annual Rose Parade in Pasadena on January 1st. This year the Forest Service celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act while highlighting the historic role of packers in supporting wildland firefighters and other backcountry operations, as well as acknowledging the outstanding contributions made by National Forest volunteers. The last time the Forest Service participated in the Rose parade was a decade ago when the agency celebrated its centennial.

Six employees from the Klamath National Forest will be participating in support roles for the Forest Service Parade entry. The all mule equestrian entry will include an entourage of Forest Service Rangers and Smokey Bear riding atop an authentic 19th century wagon, anchored by three mule pack strings, a mounted color guard and a fire crew that will walk alongside.

Ellen Andrews, Dan Hendrickson and Emily Tornroos from the Salmon Scott Ranger District and Allen Schroeder from the Happy Camp Oak Knoll Ranger District will be working as part of the team supporting the mules and the packers. Kerry Greene and Togan Capozza from the Klamath Supervisor’s Office will be on hand to greet the public and answer questions at the Forest Service booths pre and post parade.

The Forest Service parade entry is unique in that these mules are working pack animals, having come off the frontlines of supporting wildfires across Northern California and the Klamath National Forest for several months this last summer and fall. The mules are used for long treks into wilderness areas to resupply firefighters and wilderness rangers.

“The Klamath National Forest is proud to be supporting the Forest Service Rose Parade Entry this year.” said Forest Supervisor Patty Grantham. The entry represents the nearly 35,000 Forest Service Employees and tens of thousands of volunteers who make up our workforce nationwide. “This year I am particularly proud of our employees, volunteers and partners contributions during one of the most harrowing fire seasons experienced on the Klamath National Forest and in Siskiyou County in history.”

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Obama readies 2,375 new regs; sets record with 468,500 Federal Register pages

CORRUPTION, Federal gov & land grabs

PNP comment: Oh boy, I feel like a criminal already! Guess I better check out all the new laws in California that will likely make me a criminal too. Time for the State of Jefferson! — Editor Liz Bowen

The pace of agencies issuing new rules and regulations has hit a record high under President Obama, whose administration’s rules have filled 468,500 pages in the Federal Register.

And, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the president is poised to unleash another 2,375 new rules on American businesses without first giving Congress an up or down vote.

CEI’s Clyde Wayne Crews, vice president for policy, told Secrets Wednesday that of the top six biggest Federal Register page tallies since 2002, the Obama administration owns five. This year, he said, the Federal Register ended up printing 79,066 pages — 78,978 when blank pages are removed.

The Federal Register is a daily publication of federal issues proposed and final administrative regulations of federal agencies.

Read more on WashingtonExaminer.com

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VA facing new congressional crackdown after Colorado hospital boondoggle

Federal gov & land grabs, Veterans & soldiers

A congressional battle is brewing over the Department of Veterans Affairs’ admitted mismanagement of construction projects across the country — including an over-budget, billion-dollar hospital in Colorado that was, briefly, abandoned by the contractor.

“VA construction managers couldn’t lead starving troops to a chow hall,” Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman said in a recent statement.

Coffman, an Army and Marine Corps combat veteran, plans to introduce legislation stripping the VA of its authority to manage construction projects, and putting the Army Corps of Engineers in charge instead.

The Republican congressman’s district includes the location of the troubled VA hospital project in Aurora, Colo. — the latest black eye for the agency following the scandal over secret waiting lists.

The VA’s original design in 2005 was estimated to cost $328 million. By 2008, design changes led Congress to authorize $568 million for the project. By 2010, Congress increased the authorization to $800 million.

With most of that money already spent, the hospital is still only half-finished, leaving area veterans frustrated and angry.

“It makes no sense to me why the VA is managing the project,” one veteran named Mark said while entering the aging Denver hospital which the Aurora project is supposed to replace. “I am one of the many hundreds of thousands who need a better facility to get treatment quicker.”

With costs soaring and the VA falling behind on payments to general contractor Kiewit-Turner, the company sued.

In December, the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals agreed with the company’s assessment that the project could not be completed for less than $1 billion — and let it out of its contract.

Kiewit-Turner then initially walked off the half-finished project, leaving 1,400 workers out of a job.

In a visit to Colorado to negotiate a deal to bring workers back, VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson admitted the agency was at fault. “I apologize to veterans here in Colorado. I apologize to the taxpayers. We have let you down,” he said.

Coffman maintains, “It’s not isolated to Aurora, Colorado. Every major construction project that the [VA] has right now is hundreds of millions of dollars over-budget and years behind schedule.”

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office said that VA hospital construction projects in several cities were, on average, $300 million over-budget and three years behind schedule.

MORE

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/31/rep-moves-to-crack-down-on-va-projects-after-colorado-hospital-boondoggle/?intcmp=latestnews

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State, local governments face massive, growing budget gaps in 2015 and beyond

Federal gov & land grabs, State gov

Watchdog.org

By   /   December 31, 2014

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

As the calendar flips to 2015, fiscal pressures will continue to tax the budgets of state and local governments.

And that could mean higher taxes for many Americans.

Projections released this month by the Government Accountability Office show that state and local governments will see current gaps between revenues and expenditures continue to widen in 2015 and beyond. In aggregate, those governments are already underwater, and the amount of red ink will continue to grow over the next 50 years, unless changes are made, the GAO says.

Closing the gap will require aggregate budget cuts or tax increases of 18 percent.

MORE

http://watchdog.org/188695/state-local-budget-gaps/

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EPA’s fibs in its war on coal

Clean Water ACT - EPA, CORRUPTION, Federal gov & land grabs

Washington Times.com

By Dennis Mitchell and Willie Soon – –

Monday, December 29, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION

Without affordable, reliable energy, life is short and brutal. Visit any place where families struggle to live without cheap electricity, and you will be horrified at the suffering. Without rational stewardship of natural resources, life is on a pathway to destruction. Visit any part of the world where carelessness rules resource utilization, and you will witness a ticking time bomb of misery.
These issues are complex and make it difficult for anyone, expert or not, to see the best path. In contrast, there are plenty of signs that will let you know who is and who isn’t being straight with you. How does the average citizen see clearly when, in fact, the experts are so divided on the complex and confusing issues? You gauge it the same way you choose the people and businesses you deal with on a daily basis.
Most disturbing about the war on coal are the levels and persistence of deception. The trendy, hip, cool approach has been to rush into “renewable energy” sources and shut down traditional sources of energy based on a huge deception called “consensus science.” The infamous “97 percent of all scientists agree” that has been pounded into our memories by President Obama’s campaign is, in fact, a well-funded and perniciously propagated deception. It’s one of many unethical tricks to get folks going along with nonsensical non-science. However, the dirty little secret about “renewables” is there is no magic fix for the nearly insurmountable barriers of storage and distribution of energy. Despite decades of engineering efforts and subsidies, hoped-for success is as elusive as it was during the first giddy green rush.
Here is a list of the falsehoods that just one agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, has been foisting on the American public to help add rainbows to its unicorn-filled coloring book:
The first fib is that the carbon dioxide regulations shutting down U.S. coal-fired power plants will have a measurable effect on carbon dioxide worldwide. In reality, China’s carbon dioxide increases alone will neutralize any advantage. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, each moderate volcanic eruption will negate decades worth of carbon dioxide reductions. The reality is all these radical proposals for carbon dioxide emission cuts cannot and will not lead to any major global temperature change.
The second deception is that new mercury rules, which are tied to U.S. coal-fired power plants, will save 17,000 lives per year. This is a curious claim by the EPA, especially since there is no record of a single documented death from airborne environmental mercury. U.S. power plants release about 42 tons of mercury into the air per year, but volcanoes spew about 10,000 tons per year. If we shut down all coal-electricity generation in the nation, it would barely amount to a 3 percent reduction of mercury in Florida. The Gulf of Mexico, just by being here, contributes about 40 percent of airborne mercury, as it has for several million years. There is zero correlation between airborne mercury and the organic mercury found in some fish.
The EPA has composed a list of 187 “hazardous air pollutants.” On the question of which is responsible for more carbon dioxide and mercury — the United States or Mother Nature — you can decide.
The third tall tale is we can replace all coal-fired power plants with nuclear and renewables by 2030 at virtually no economic impact because of the savings from fuel, health and other environmental issues. One small problem: This claim requires building more than 1,000 nuclear power plants to replace the loss of coal, and the massive economic losses that utilities would face would have to be absorbed by taxpayers. Does anyone really think the EPA would allow the construction of 1,000 nuclear plants in the next 15 years?
The only jobs created by the EPA’s unlawful rule-making would be to the agency’s own employee rolls from about 20,000 to more than 250,000.
Remember, all wind and solar energy must have fossil fuel or nuclear backup because “renewables” have a proven record of unreliable delivery. The U.N. climate conference in Peru this month produced the largest carbon footprint of any U.N. climate conference thus far because it was powered by diesel generators, owing to the organizers’ genuine concern about the reliability of solar panels.
Twenty years ago, renewable zealots convinced Congress that 10 years of taxpayer assistance would be plenty to have a viable competitor for traditional energy. Ask Germany and Spain how that national commitment to renewables has worked out over the past 15 years. Spain’s economy is in a shambles. Germany is shutting down most of its offshore wind program and building coal-fired power plants as fast as possible to ward off financial disaster.
Tyrannical shoving of immature technologies down the throats of the taxpayer, without regard to the consequences, is outrageous. Energy costs from traditional sources have been artificially, and substantially, raised. These are non-market-based increases in the cost of living, and no one suffers more than the poor. The deception about all of the “free energy” has become nothing less than a war on carbon dioxide, gas of life. There has been no greater deception than the panacea of renewable energy, the holy grail of the EPA and the climate alarmist community.
• Dennis Mitchell is a qualified environmental professional and certified public accountant based in Laurel Hill, Florida. Willie Soon is a solar and Earth scientist based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/29/dennis-mitchell-and-willie-soon-epa-coal-war-decei/#ixzz3NPuNsBAE
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Cliven Bundy taunts feds by enjoying the ‘freedoms’ to graze his cattle on disputed land

Agriculture, Bundy Battle - Nevada, Bureau of Land Management, cattle, Constitution, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, State gov

– The Washington Times – Monday, December 29, 2014

Unbowed and unapologetic, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is still running his cattle on disputed grazing land eight months after his highly publicized standoff over public lands, but that doesn’t mean his feud with the federal government is over.

In a tense confrontation that generated international headlines, the 68-year-old Mr. Bundy won that round last spring: Bureau of Land Management officials agreed to leave the property and release his impounded cattle after hundreds of armed supporters descended on the Southern Nevada ranch in April. He says he hasn’t seen any sign of federal agents since.

“[W]e’ve really enjoyed some liberty and freedoms out here,” Mr. Bundy told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last month.

“Since the standoff, we haven’t seen one BLM vehicle on any of these country roads around this ranch. We haven’t seen one BLM ranger. We haven’t seen one [National] Park Service ranger. We haven’t really seen any undercover-type people,” he said. “We haven’t seen snipers on top of our hills. We haven’t seen high-tech communication equipment. We haven’t seen any of those things.”

Still, the victory came at a high cost. Mr. Bundy, a newcomer to the media spotlight, was vilified in the media and lost the backing of many prominent conservatives after he said at an April press conference that black Americans may have been better off under slavery than on welfare, comments critics denounced as racist.

His legal battle with the BLM over grazing rights, one that has resonated across the region, is ongoing. Mr. Bundy has refused to pay $1.2 million in grazing fees to the BLM, arguing that the land belongs to the state, not the federal government. The land rights issue is particularly heated in Nevada, where 85 percent of the land within the state’s borders is federally owned.

The BLM did not respond to a request for comment on the status of its dispute with Mr. Bundy at deadline.

Meanwhile, the FBI is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation into possible weapons violations and intimidation tactics against federal agents that occurred during the standoff at the Bunkerville ranch.

And Mr. Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, says the federal government is treating him as a “domestic terrorist,” which is what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Cliven Bundy and his supporters at the height of the April standoff.

Ammon Bundy said he was detained and questioned Nov. 1 by the Transportation Security Administration when he and his daughter tried to board a flight from Phoenix to Salt Lake City.

He followed up by having a background check conducted at Cabela’s, a federally licensed firearms dealer, which came up as “delayed.” A day later, the FBI lifted the “delayed” status, enabling him to buy a gun, he said in a post on the Bundy Ranch website.

Undeterred

None of this has apparently deterred the Bundy family patriarch, who remains as committed as ever to fighting what he sees as federal overreach on public lands. His latest skirmish comes over the BLM’s proposed Resource Management Plan update in Southern Nevada, which would place additional limits on federal lands by expanding what are known as “Areas of Critical Environmental Concern” (ACECs).

Mr. Bundy views the plan, which was released Oct. 9, as an effort by the BLM to retaliate against him and his family. He has urged his supporters to attend public meetings and send in comments on the proposal, which would affect 3.1 million acres of public land, by the Jan. 7 deadline.

“This is a direct assault on the state of Nevada. It is also a deliberate retaliation against the people for standing against the horrific action of several federal agencies at the Bundy ranch,” the Bundy family said in a blog post.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/29/rancher-cliven-bundy-still-grazing-his-cattle-on-d/#ixzz3NPsD01aX
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

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OREGON SHERIFF GIL GILBERTSON CONTINUES STAND AGAINST U.S. FOREST SERVICE

American Lands Council, Constitution, Federal gov & land grabs, Forestry & USFS, Sheriff Gil Gilbertson, Sheriff Jon Lopey, Sheriffs

News with Views.com

 

By Sarah Foster
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
November 23, 2011
© 2011 NewsWithViews.com

Josephine County, Ore. — Two months ago Gil Gilbertson, the sheriff of this rural county in southern Oregon, drafted a 10-page report exploring the origins and extent of federal power within a state and emailed his findings to various parties, asking for comment.

Since the report was in rough-draft form he was somewhat surprised that it went viral, but it shows there are a lot of people hungry for information about how much power (particularly law-enforcement power) the federal government actually wields within a state, where that power comes from, and the limits to that power.

Gilbertson continued his research and recently completed a 13-page revised and updated version, retitled: Unraveling Federal Jurisdiction within a State. It is highly footnoted with references to statutes and court decisions.

This a “must read” for anyone concerned about infringements against the 10th Amendment and federal encroachments in general – like road closures, Wild Lands and Monument designations, mining and other resource uses. In other words, this is for anyone and everybody with an interest – no matter how casual — in accessing the public lands, either as a “resource user” (a rancher or miner) or simply a casual vacationer who enjoys weekend camping.

“If you’d told me two years ago that I would be writing such a document, I would have probably walked away from you shaking my head,” the sheriff notes in the introduction.

“This paper is a result of a clash with the federal [U.S. Forest Service] law enforcement in this county, from citizens complaining of what can only be described as harassment and violations of their rights,” he explains. “The first time I approached the USFS the door closed regarding any discussion. The USFS advised me to file a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. “

Eventually Gilbertson was able to discuss the issue with the Forest Service. “Most of my questions were answered except for one: Where does the USFS’s authority come from? (bold-face in original). The answer(s) were surprising.”

Finding the answer is one of five tasks he set himself, which he lists as follows:

1. Identify true jurisdictional authority of the Federal Government
2. Examine and expose how the reserved powers of the States are usurped by federal agencies writing and enforcing their self-imposed codes and regulations
3. Examine how the health, safety, and welfare of the Citizens within the State are undermined
4. Provide a positive and equitable solution
5. Coordinate with like-minded Sheriffs to take a formal stance on these issues.

Mission Creep

To sum up his conclusions regarding federal authority in a very small nutshell: the original idea was for the federal government to hold public lands within a state in trust, with the intention being for eventual disposal. Gilbertson writes:

“The public lands (out West) were considered by many as the ‘problem lands.’ However, the approved procedure, since the passage of the Resolutions of October 1780, was that the central government held the lands in trust. Upon a state being admitted to the Union, the federal government had the trust authority and obligation to dispose of the lands for expansion, exploration, occupancy, and production by setters.

“Slowly, over the years many of these ‘public lands’ held in trust seemingly became more desirable to retain, rather than for disposal. Newly formed federal regulatory agencies worked their way into existence, each taking an increasingly expanding role (enter ‘mission creep’). By 1976 complete and total disregard for the trust obligation to dispose of public land was made clear in the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), which states: ‘…that it is the policy of the United States that the public lands be retained in Federal ownership.’”

Sheriff Gilbertson talked with NWV about his report, expanding on his views about the division of power between federal and state governments.

[Book predicts the safest place in America to ride out the coming apocalypse is Josephine County, Oregon]

He strongly questions the legality and constitutionality of executive orders and various regulations, as well as laws like FLPMA, observing that Congress has the sole authority to make law, not the president, not the agencies. Not surprisingly he takes sharp issue with President Obama who has declared he’ll “circumvent the Constitution” through the use of executive orders.

“The Constitution is clear on who has police and legislative powers. Those executive orders are not law,” said Gilbertson.

And while FLPMA is a congressionally passed statute, it delegates undue powers to the agencies. “Congress cannot give an agency the ability to write rules and regulations and enforce them as if they were law,” he said. “Congress has to do that. These agencies write their own rules and regulations as they go along and enforce these as law.”

“The big issue, as I see it,” he continued, “is that all these things combine. You have DEQ, EPA, all these federal entities. And as all these federal agencies evolved over the years, there’s been mission creep. They decided, well, we need to fix this; this gives us more powers, and so forth, so we’ll just write down more rules and regulations. They were allowed to get away with it for whatever reason, and now they enforce those as laws. But it’s clearly stated that that can’t be done — I spelled that out in my document,” he said.

Moreover, “Forest reserves were not federal enclaves subject to the doctrine of exclusive legislative jurisdiction of the United States. Local peace officers were to exercise civil and criminal process over these lands. Forest Service rangers were not law enforcement officers unless designated as such by state authority.”

The federal government sees it otherwise, so in addition to expanding claims for general regulatory power agencies like the Forest Service are attempting to extend the reach of law enforcement authority – a matter that adds to Gilbertson’s concerns.

“The U.S. Forest Service and BLM are really stepping outside their authority in that the Constitution does not give them that,” he observed. “The Tenth Amendment clearly reserves police rights to the states.”

Law Enforcement Power Grab

Sheriffs in other counties have taken note of this development. In his report Gilbertson refers to a one-page position paper by the Western States Sheriffs’ Association that concurs with his observations, and in fact grew from his earlier one. He writes, quoting from the WSSA statement:

“The USFS recently sent out a communication dated July 15, 2011, titled Federal Register publication of Final Proposed Rules [Title 36] 262, 261, and 212 purportedly to clarify and expand their authority.

On Sept. 21, the Western States Sheriffs Association responded with a position paper to this USFS publication by writing: “The membership of the Western States Sheriffs Association has reviewed the proposed rule changes and believes they exhibit the following: (1) an absolute disregard for the sovereignty of the individual States, (2) a disregard for the authority of the Office of Sheriff, and (3) A continued inability of the Forest Service to understand the mission and function of its Law Enforcement component.”

Additionally, “This effort is viewed as an unnecessary and unauthorized expansion of federal police powers. The ultimate legal and constitutional authority for the protection of the public and the land within an individual county is vested in the Office of Sheriff. The Roles and responsibilities for the Office of Sheriff are well enumerated within the laws of each State, and the Sheriff possesses the authority to extend enforcement powers as appropriate.

“It is the position of this committee that the membership of the Western States Sheriffs’ Association utilizes all appropriate methods and resources to oppose this effort.”

Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations deals with the U.S. Forest Service. Section 212 is about Travel Management within the national forests.

NWV contacted Dave Brown, Sheriff of Skamania County, Wash., for additional information. Sheriff Brown is the chair of the Public Lands Committee of the WSSA that drafted the Position Paper. He said he hoped to have it adopted by the association at its annual meeting.

“It has not been adopted, but my hope is that it will be at our spring conference next March when it’s presented to the entire membership,” Brown said.

Brown said his committee relied for background on the first report Gilbertson sent out in mid-September. His further observations to NWV were particularly chilling.

“Essentially they are nationalizing their ability to do law enforcement. Right now the ability for them to enforce is based on … rules that are made at the district ranger’s office or the forest supervisor’s office,” he said. “They want to take that authority away from local rangers and forest supervisors and basically put it into their back pocket to do consistent enforcement nationally.”

A National Police Force in the Making

And this is about more than simply the road closures which are going on in all the national forests. As Brown sees it, these new provisions spell the way to a national police force. The new rules will give the federal law enforcement the authority to enforce state laws on county roads across national forest land and on roads outside the national forests.

Asked if they’d be enforcing all laws and ordinances on land outside the national forests, Brown said, “no – They would essentially be enforcing those state traffic laws that we would currently enforce and some drug enforcement laws, abandoned property issues, things like that.” “Most people don’t follow this or pay attention to it, but if we don’t [the federal government] will have everything they want to basically create a national police force,” he said.

Which is why the proposal has created a “firestorm” among western sheriffs. “We recognize it as them kicking us in the face and saying, ‘We don’t really care about you being the sheriff: we are going to give ourselves this authority,’” Brown said.

Corralling Runaway Government

The question for concerned Americans is how to stop the train, something easier said than done, though not necessarily impossible. “The real solution is to encourage Congress to comply with, and enforce the Constitution with the intent and guidance as written,” Gilbertson writes. “The PEOPLE vested the authority in Congress to accomplish this task. Put law enforcement aback where it belongs, within the several states. “It is my hope this letter [report] will serve as an awakening to the public and for elected officials to exercise the proper conduct to stop this runaway government. It is also my hope that Sheriffs throughout the United States will join to bring our Republic form of government back to the people.”

NOTE: Josephine County is on the California-Oregon state line across from Siskiyou County, a county that ranchers, farmers, miners and their allies are calling “ground zero” in the intensifying battle over land use and access to public lands. Siskiyou County is where the federal government, in lockstep with local environmentalists, seeks to remove three clean hydro-power dams on the Klamath River – an action that will wipe out what’s left of the once vibrant ranching and farming communities. A fourth dam, in Klamath County, Ore., is also slated for demolition.

On Oct. 22, eight brave sheriffs – seven from northern California and one from central Oregon — put their careers in law enforcement on the line by addressing an audience of nearly 1,000 people at a rally in Yreka, the county seat of Siskiyou County. The event was sponsored by Support Rural America and other groups; the panel was introduced and chaired by Jon Lopey, Sheriff of Siskiyou County.

“By their testimony these fine sheriffs’ verbally documented the assault on sovereignty and the abridgement of individual rights … that they have personally witnessed,” says retired Sheriff Jim R. Schwiesow in a recent NewsWithViews column.

Sheriff Gilbertson was not among the eight panelists. He and his wife had made vacation plans and reservations over a year ago and it was not possible to change these. But although not able to attend in person, his report on federal jurisdiction speaks eloquently for him.

The event was videotaped and posted at ConstitutionalSheriffs.com.

Contact Sheriff Gil Gilbertson

Earlier Story

1 – Sarah Foster: Oregon Sheriff Stands Up Against the U.S. Forest Service: July 2, 2011

Archive of articles by Sheriff Gilbertson

1 – Unraveling Federal Jurisdiction within a State, Nov. 8, 2011
2 – Federal Jurisdiction Within a State: Posted by US-Observer, Oct. 8, 2011 (10 pages)
3 – Sheriff Wants Holders of Concealed Weapon Permits to Remain Private: 11-28-08
4 – Sheriff Seeking Stable Funding for His Office: 7-22-08
5 – Introducing Sheriff Gil Gilbertson 10-30-07

For More Information

1 – Public Lands Committee, WSSA: Position Paper: Re. Proposed Rules Changes by the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement: Sept. 21, 2011

© 2011 NWV – All Rights Reserved

http://newswithviews.com/NWV-News/news287.htm

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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Alaska: Kincaid Park moose hunt proposed to enhance safety for skiers, runners, bikers

Wildlife

Alaska Dispatch News

Rick Sinnott

Moose have long felt at ease in Anchorage’s Kincaid Park because it was far from the madding crowd. But the bustle of civilization has overrun the 1,550-acre park, once semi-isolated on the western tip of Alaska’s largest city. Nowadays the park crawls with people most of the year.

Moose are no longer as welcome as they used to be, due to an upsurge of mostly defensive attacks on bikers, skiers and hikers over the last couple of years. Some park users have pulled a shotgun out of their vehicle or a handgun out of their waistband and stopped the troublemaker in its tracks.

Taking a different tack, Ira Edwards has asked the Alaska Board of Game to authorize a Kincaid Park moose hunt.

Bumps, bruises, stitches, concussion

Edwards was skiing in Kincaid Park in April 2013 when a cow moose stomped him, breaking a pole and both skis on his Nordic sit ski. The attack left him bumped and bruised.

The same week, a man and his dog were charged in a different part of the park. The moose chased both off the trail. The man fell against a tree and ended up with a concussion and stitches.

In June 2013, a woman walking with her husband on the Mize Loop was kicked in the head, neck and back by a cow moose with a young calf.

A few months later, two well-publicized skirmishes in Kincaid Park galvanized both Edwards and public opinion. A bull was shot in September by an off-duty police officer during a middle school cross-country race when the animal charged toward a pack of runners. Less than a month later, a biker let his dog off leash on Mize Loop and was charged by a cow protecting two calves. He shot at the moose multiple times with a 9mm handgun, hitting it three times. Police later dispatched the wounded animal.

Moose gravitate to packed ski trails when the snow is deep. Ski coaches, racers and their parents have long complained about moose on Kincaid’s trails. Edwards recalls skiing under a moose standing on a trail during a high school race 22 years ago.

He insists there is no shortage of moose in the park: “If you want to show a visitor a moose, you take them to Kincaid.” He likes watching moose and enjoys photographing bulls. However, according to Edwards, “Every time we have an event at Kincaid there’s a moose in the way.”

By reducing the number of moose in the park and by shooting more aggressive cows, he hopes to make the park safer for people.

Planning a hunt in the park

Edwards has modeled his proposal on a cow moose hunt that has been conducted successfully in the upper Campbell Creek drainage since 2005. That hunt is better known as the “Hillside hunt.” Edwards was among the first batch of permit winners.

MORE

http://www.adn.com/article/20141228/kincaid-park-moose-hunt-proposed-enhance-safety-skiers-runners-bikers

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About Utah: Jen Seelig came to Utah and made history

Politicians & agencies

Published: Sunday, Dec. 28 2014 9:47 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — American history is full of examples that public office is open to anyone, from anywhere. Look at Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln, or Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Or, closer to home, look at Jennifer Seelig.

Want improbable? When she was freshly graduated from the University of Louisville in her home state of Kentucky in 1993, Seelig was talked into coming to live in Salt Lake by her boyfriend at the time. She promised herself she’d give Utah a year. So far she’s exceeded that by two decades, during which time she’s served four terms as a member of the House of Representatives and the first female minority leader in the House’s 163-year history.

As Seelig says, “Crazy, right?”

Crazier yet, when she arrived in Utah she had no experience or interest in government. She was an English literature major at Louisville. Before the Utah detour, her plan was to go to graduate school at Duke and become a writer or publisher.

But something unexpected happened after she took a job as a receptionist at the Salt Lake City Council office.

She became fascinated with public policy and politics.

She switched her graduate school major at the University of Utah to public administration and became a Democratic Party delegate in House District 23, the Rose Park section of Salt Lake City where she lives.

When the incumbent House rep in that district, Duane Bourdeaux, announced he was retiring in 2006, the party asked Seelig if she’d run in his place.

She said no thanks. They asked again. She said no thanks again. Seven times they asked. Six times she said no thanks.

“So that’s how I got into politics,” Seelig said as she sat down with the Deseret News to talk about her eventful time in Utah House politics. Her run is almost over. Dec. 31 will be her last day in office. After that she plans to return to the University of Utah and complete the doctorate she was working on when she was first elected to the House.

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http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865618572/Jen-Seelig-came-to-Utah-and-made-history.html

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Sheep producer ponders wolf impacts

Agriculture, cattle, Wolves

Matthew Weaver
Capital Press

December 26-2014

Lamont, Wash., sheep producer and Whitman County commissioner Art Swannack estimates roughly $5,000-$6,000 in losses to his operation due to recent wolf kills. Swannack is concerned about potential impacts to his farm and his neighbors during the winter calving and lambing season with less wild prey for wolves in the area.

LAMONT, Wash. — Sheep producer Art Swannack says the secret to dealing with wolves killing livestock is documentation.
“It’s kind of bureaucratic, but if you don’t document it, you don’t have anything to show that you had a problem,” he said.
Swannack, also a Whitman County commissioner, served on the 4-year wolf working group that helped develop the wolf management plan for the state.
Now he’s using that knowledge first-hand.
Swannack estimates he’s lost four sheep to wolves, one confirmed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, one considered likely and two missing. He’s also missing a guard dog. He keeps a flock of 1,200 sheep near Lamont, Wash.
Swannack’s sheep were grazing a 300-acre field of wheat stubble with portable electric fence surrounding it. The sheep got out Dec. 5 when the fence shorted out due to rain and ice, and moved into a neighbor’s stubble field, where wolves likely killed one ewe. Swannack fixed the fence, but a portable post popped out when rain made the ground soft 10 days later, and wolves killed to three more.
It was the first time Swannack is aware of wolves in the area.
“We’ve had coyotes forever, but coyotes are always around,” he said.
Neighbors and friends say they’ve spotted wolves near Lamont, Ritzville and Sprague, including a pair — a large gray wolf and a black wolf. Some calves have disappeared recently, increasing suspicions that wolves are involved, Swannack said.
“We haven’t seen anything else, but it makes you suspicious when you have three animals killed and there’s nothing left within 24 hours,” he said. Coyotes typically leave half a carcass the first few days, he noted.
Joey McCanna, private lands and wildlife conflict supervisor for the fish and wildlife department in St. John, Wash., hopes to verify the wolf pair sighting and set out more cameras.
“We’re still trying to find a good location where there’s a lot of activity from a wolf or possibly multiple wolves,” he said. “The more sightings we get from people and the quicker they get them to us, the better.”
Reports should be made to the Spokane office at 509-892-1001 or online, he said.
A dead lamb found Dec. 20 was determined to be a coyote depredation, McCanna said.
The department installed Foxlights around the pasture and near the Swannacks’ home. Foxlights, which are battery-powered, give the impression that somebody is patrolling the area with a flashlight.
“Between the electric fence and the Foxlights, we haven’t had any wolves come into the sheep to kill, but the fence isn’t 3 feet tall,” he said.
The Swannacks added guard dogs, are replacing some fencing and adding night penning, and will continue monitoring.
Swannack estimated his total cost to be roughly $6,000, putting the cost of replacing his pregnant ewes at $600 each and a guard dog at several thousand dollars, plus time and labor.
Swannack is concerned about county residents whose cattle will be calving during January and February. Most deer have moved south for the winter, leaving little wildlife and plenty of livestock for the wolves, he said. The department may add fladry — a string of flags — during lambing, he said, but fladry can be good for two to 60 days, depending on how the wolves react to it.
Swannack said the state needs to begin making decisions about management as wolf problems increase. He hopes to see the wolves delisted as an endangered species to allow ranchers more management options.
Swannack said wolves weren’t originally envisioned to be living in the private pasture grounds of Whitman and Adams counties.
“Ideally, I’d like to not have any more problems. I don’t think that’s realistic, I expect once in a while I’ll have a problem,” he said. “But continuing, ongoing problems with wolves aren’t acceptable.”

http://www.timberwolfinformation.org/wa-sheep-producer-ponders-wolf-impacts/

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