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Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, June 5th, 2017.

Liz Writes Life 5-30-17

Liz Writes Life

May 30, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

For those who don’t know, today is the real Memorial Day. Yep, that’s right, at least for me. Originally, Memorial Day was May 30th, but not for long. I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Time for recollection — sometime in the 1960s, I remember my Dad picking a large bunch of fragrant, lavender lilac blossoms. It was a Saturday and I had gone with him up to the Sullivan ranch that he leased for his Hereford cattle herd. It is up Wildcat Creek near Callahan. The dry hillside yard in front of the old white vacant Victorian Sullivan house boasted huge lilac bushes in full bloom.

Now, my Dad wasn’t much on flowers, so I guess that’s one reason why I recall this day. It was also fairly warm and I think I was allowed to ride the entire trip to our home in Etna in the back of his pickup. Yep, a real treat with the wind blowing against my face, sitting with several dogs – their tongues hanging out! Oops, a no-no nowadays. But, you gotta understand that my Dad never drove very fast at that stage of his life even on Hwy 3.

Then, I remember being at my Grandma Dillman’s home on Wagner Way in Etna and I think a batch of giant red peonies were also picked. What is odd, as childhood memories go, I don’t recall going to the Etna Cemetery to place the flowers. My Grandpa George Dillman was buried there, along with my Dad’s siblings: Bob, Con and Clista Dillman. Hum, a bit of melancholy nostalgia with question marks.

For quite a few years, I have been putting fabric flowers on family and friends’ graves. Now, my Grandma Dillman, Dad, Mom, more of Dad’s siblings and a lot of Fowler relatives are resting there as well. I buy 25 flowers and try to make them stretch as my way to remember my family. This year, I chose the color red and also red, white and blue. They are stunning!

Our cemeteries are beautiful in Scott Valley. The American Legion Perry Harris Post #260 places hundreds of American flags on veterans’ graves. Thank you to all who take care of our cemeteries and those who remember to place flowers, whether they are fabric or real.

Because Memorial Day seems to have sort of lost its real significance, I decided to look it up on the Internet.

Apparently, placing flowers on graves of loved ones has been done since ancient times. But, it was the huge loss of over 600,000 soldiers in the American Civil War that affected nearly every family and community in the USA. It was first known as Decoration Days and specifically honored soldiers, who had died. In some rural mountain areas of American South, extended families still hold family reunions, religious services and or picnic dinners to honor their soldiers.

Following the assassination, in April 1865, of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, commemorating an honored loved one seemed to take on a new cultural significance. Women took the leadership role of establishing a formal practice of decorating graves; and many African Americans — those former slaves — gave huge significance to the observance of Decoration Day after the Civil War.

By 1882, the name had gradually changed to Memorial Day. But, believe it or not, Memorial Day was not declared the official name by federal law until 1967. A few years later, another congressional law took effect in 1971 changing the day from May 30th to the last Monday in May to create a three-day holiday.

Because of that Memorial Day in my early years, I still watch to see if the lilacs and red peonies will be blooming on May 30th. Once again, this year, the lilacs were way ahead of schedule and were about to pop open at my house, when that cold frost killed them on May 7th. My peonies actually started blooming in mid-May and the blooms on one bush are falling down. Nope, didn’t happen this year, but I have a nice memory.

Garden

It took all last week to finish planting the garden. We got the first crop of corn in, along with cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, sunflowers, pumpkins, spinach, radishes, bok choy and another Chinese-type cabbage. The green beans were planted two weeks ago. Oh, I ate several snow peas – raw — and pulled two bunching onions for a dinner, cuz I ran out of onions.

My eyes were bigger than my energy level, as I purchased more flower plants than I normally do. I planted a garden corner of alyssum, ice plants, zinnia, vinca, begonias and transplanted several cosmos for the back. The Shasta daisies are starting to bloom there. Hoping for a pretty spot!

Weekend

Larry Alexander tells me there will be two huge sales during the Scott Valley-wide Yard Sale weekend. (We are having one too! Want an old cider press?) An auction of antiques and collectables will be at The REC in Fort Jones at 1 p.m. on Sat. June 3rd. On Sun. June 4th, a ranchers, farmers and construction equipment auction will be held at the old Marlahan Ranch, now called, Clary Rose Farm, at 1 p.m.

On Friday, June 9th a Community Fire Season Preparedness meeting will be held at The REC at 5 p.m. with a complimentary barbecue followed by speakers sharing vital fire info.

POW

Speakers for the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting on Thurs. June 1st will be Siskiyou Co. Supervisors Lisa Nixon, from Dist. 4, and Ray Haupt, Dist. 5, Erin Ryan from Congressman LaMalfa’s office and Richard Marshall, President of Siskiyou Water Users. It will be held at the Fort Jones Community Center at 7 p.m. Bring a dessert to share as we eat before, during and after.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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Hearing lambasts “sue and settle” agreements

Agriculture, Clean Water ACT - EPA, Lawsuits

Western Livestock Journal

wlj, 06-05-2017 » Page 1

Hearing lambasts “sue and settle” agreements

— Cost to taxpayers staggering

Cozy consent decrees between environmental groups and agencies could become a thing of the past if a recent hearing on Capitol Hill is any indication. On May 24, a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing examined abusive “sue and settle” tactics, their effects, and how to put a stop to them.

There to explain “sue and settle” to the committee were several witnesses from the private sector, including an Idaho rancher; a Colorado property rights attorney; an environmental attorney; and a representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, William Kovacs.

The “sue and settle” phenomenon happens under the “citizen suit” provisions of environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Environmental groups sue agencies, usually on procedural errors such as missed deadlines. Often, the agencies then voluntarily agree to consent decrees instead of going to trial.

Those settlements can result in new federal regulations that lack public vetting and analysis, because they often include abbreviated deadlines for agency decisions, Kovacs said. They can also result in the denial of federal permits or the imposition of permit conditions on private parties such as ranchers. They can bind an agency to future actions, and sometimes even bind future administrations.

The only parties than can enforce a consent decree are the interest group, the agency, or the court, Kovacs explained. The public is completely left out of the process. Even parties that intervene to defend against environmental groups are most often left out of the settlement.

Cozy—and costly

Furthermore, there doesn’t always appear to be an adversarial relationship between the interest groups and the agencies, Kovacs argued. For example, he said between 2009 and 2012 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chose not to defend itself in over 60 Clean Air Act lawsuits from advocacy groups. These cases resulted in settlement agreements—and EPA ultimately published more than 100 new regulations.

The cost to Americans is staggering. According to a 2013 Chamber report, the 10 most costly regulations from sue-and-settle agreements (all EPA water and air regulations) cost the economy in excess of $100 billion annually. Kovacs noted that, between 2013 and 2016, settlements and new regulations only increased.

Setting the agenda Ironically, the shorter deadlines imposed by consent decrees are usually the result of deadlines already missed by the agency, Kovacs said.

“Here’s how the problem starts,” Kovacs explained. “An agency like the EPA misses somewhere between 84 percent and 96 percent of its deadlines. And once a deadline is missed, the interest group can sue the agency.”

And since EPA misses virtually all of its deadlines, he went on to say interest groups can cherry-pick which rules out of hundreds of rules they want to advance. “It’s through this selection process that the interest groups establish the priorities of the agency,” he said.

Creating log-jams

Another witness at the hearing, Colorado attorney Kent Holsinger, also pointed out how environmental groups are sometimes creating the very “log-jams” that open the door for litigation. For example, by petitioning to list hundreds of species at a time under the ESA, certain groups have made it impossible for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to meet its ESA-imposed deadlines. The groups then litigate those missed deadlines, forcing the agency to divert resources into the courtroom and miss even more deadlines.

The staggering number of ESA lawsuits brought by a few environmental groups over the years finally resulted in the infamous 2011 “mega-settlements” that gave USFWS shortened deadlines on over 1,000 species listing decisions. The result, Holsinger said, has been numerous listings and critical habitat designations that haven’t been properly analyzed by the agency or vetted by the public.

Ranching in the crosshairs

Witness Darcy Helmick, an Idaho rancher and representative of Simplot Land & Livestock, gave several examples of how interest groups use missed agency deadlines and settlements to target the livestock industry. In one case on Idaho’s Jarbidge Resource Area, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), anti-grazing litigators had sued to prevent BLM from renewing a large number of grazing permits. That lawsuit resulted in a settlement agreement wherein BLM was to perform environmental reviews within a certain timeline before renewing the permits.

But then the special interest group sued BLM again on a separate matter, making it impossible for the field office to accomplish its environmental reviews in time. Over 2,000 pairs of cattle had to be removed for over 80 days until a judge issued an order allowing them back on.

Taxpayers funding the problem

Several of the witnesses noted that interest groups are benefiting nicely from attorney fees awarded in settlement agreements. Holsinger pointed to a 2012 House Committee on Natural Resources investigation that showed that, between 2008 and 2012, the federal government paid more than $15 million in attorney fees on ESA-related lawsuits alone.

“Unfortunately,” Holsinger noted, “the true cost of ‘sue and settle’ is impossible to ascertain as neither the agencies nor the Department of Justice seem to keep track.”

Holsinger also pointed out that many of the groups that use “sue and settle” receive extensive government grants. For example, WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups party to the 2011 ESA mega-settlements, received $800,104 in government grants—just in 2016.

Legislation needed

Though things could be different under the Trump administration (EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stated in March 2017 that the EPA intended to end the practice of ‘sue and settle’), the problem reaches beyond the EPA and beyond this administration, the witnesses noted.

“Legislation is needed, because the [sue and settle] practice can be repetitive in the future,” said Kovacs.

One bill, H.R. 1525, the Stop Taxpayer Funded Settlements Act, would prevent attorney fees from being awarded in settlements regarding the Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, or the ESA.

Several witnesses also pointed to H.R. 469, the Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2017 (Senate companion bill S. 119). The bill would require the defending agency to provide a 60-day notice to the public on consent decrees so the public can provide comments. The agency would then be required to provide a summary of those comments to the court for review. Additionally, interested parties such as ranchers would be granted the right to intervene and participate in the consent decree if they could establish their rights weren’t being adequately protected by the defending agency.

“We are not trying to change any of the law in terms of how the process goes or the discretion of the agencies,” said Kovacs. “What we’re trying to do with H.R. 469 is bring transparency to the process.”— Theodora Johnson, WLJ correspondent

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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California Cattleman’s Assoc. led charge to stop Wild & Scenic Rivers expansion

Agriculture - California, cattle, State gov

CCA Defeats Legislation to Expand Wild & Scenic Rivers

CCA and a diverse coalition of agricultural and business groups held legislation in the California State Assembly late Thursday night that sought to expand protections for rivers designated as wild and scenic under the California Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. Specifically, AB 975 by Assembly member Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), which proposed to increase designated  areas currently confined to the river to also include land 1/4 mile on each side of the river. Land use activities such as grazing and permitted water rights within the 1/4 mile could have been severely impacted.

CCA’s and the coalition’s strong opposition to the bill blocked the author from obtaining the 41 votes necessary to advance the legislation to the Senate. Today is the last day for Assembly bills to be sent to the Senate and Senate bills to be sent to the Assembly or otherwise be ineligible to be heard for the rest of the calendar year. The Assembly will not meet again until Monday and therefore the legislation is effectively dead for 2017.

CCA appreciates all those members of the Assembly who held firm in their opposition to AB 975. CCA also appreciates ranchers who responded to the two CCA action alerts issued over the last two weeks to contact their Assembly members to oppose the legislation – it made a difference. Don’t hesitate to contact Justin Oldfield in the CCA office for more information.

Elizabeth Nielsen

Natural Resources Policy Specialist

County of Siskiyou

1312 Fairlane

Yreka, CA 96097

o: (530) 842-8012

c: (530) 598-2776

 

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Siskiyou Sheriff’s Office Identifies Victim in Hornbrook Murder Case

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

June 5, 2017

 

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has identified the victim in the Hornbrook-area murder case reported on Friday, June 2, 2017.  The SCSO’s Chief Deputy Coroner has identified the victim as Mr. David Ralph Casper, 60, of Hornbrook.

On Friday, June 2, 2017, at 1:46 a.m., the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received a call from a citizen reporting a man had been shot at a residence in the 100 block of Wagon Road, in the Hornbrook area.  Deputies responded and found a victim (Mr. Casper) at the scene injured and in medical distress. Emergency medical response personnel were summoned and the victim was treated but tragically, the victim could not be revived and he was pronounced dead at the scene.  The SCSO’s Major Crimes Unit (MCU) responded to the scene and conducted a comprehensive crime scene investigation.  The MCU includes detectives and a forensic technician.

After the preliminary investigation at the scene by field deputies and MCU detectives, Mr. Martin Todd Linville, 49, of Hornbrook, was arrested for murder.  Mr. Linville was transported to the Siskiyou County Jail in Yreka, where he was booked for murder charges.  He is scheduled for arraignment this week in the Siskiyou County Superior Court.

In California, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.  First-degree murder includes the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, with premeditation and deliberation.

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “An autopsy will be scheduled this week.  On behalf of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the family, friends, and associates of the victim, Mr. Casper.  This case is still under investigation and anyone with information about this case is urged to contact Detective Sergeant James Randall of the MCU at the 24-hour SCSO Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.”

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