9 Sep 2009, 10:40pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Calif. to return foreign food amid backlash

The Associated Press, Fresno Bee, Sep. 05, 2009 [here]

FRESNO, Calif. — The state of California is returning macaroni from Mexico and carrots from China in response to a foreign food flap.

The California Department of Social Services began distributing emergency rations earlier this week in response to a Central Valley water shortage.

Local leaders began protesting after they noticed the state was giving away foreign-produced food. U.S. Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno fired off a letter accusing the department of not supporting local farms and farmworkers.

Lizelda Lopez, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services, blamed a contractor for not following instructions to buy food from the United States.

Lopez says about four percent of more than $3 million worth of food came from foreign countries.

(earlier) Foreign food at Valley giveaway protested

The governor’s food giveaway to struggling families on Fresno County’s west side — widely known as America’s breadbasket — has included imported products such as Chinese carrots and Mexican macaroni, embarrassed officials admitted Friday.

A political flap erupted this week after officials discovered the imports, prompting a letter of protest from at least one member of Congress.

Local leaders say it’s bad enough that thousands of farm town residents are living off state-funded food donations, thanks to the water shortage and a foundering economy. But the foreign-produced food adds insult to injury, they say.

7 Sep 2009, 9:57pm
Latest Fire News
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L.A.’s nature haven, reduced to wasteland

Residents mourn the loss of trails, campgrounds, picnic areas and lookout towers in Angeles National Forest. The Station fire has burned about a quarter of the forest, closing it indefinitely.

By Joe Mozingo, LA Times, September 6, 2009 [here]

The relentless Station fire has scoured nearly 242 square miles of the Angeles National Forest, burning through not just picnic areas and campgrounds, but the raw, solitary beauty that has long been a refuge for a sprawling city.

Ridge after ridge is a ghostly gray, laid bare of vegetation from the plunging foothill canyons to the Mojave Desert. Only scattered islands of trees are un-charred — in the deepest draws and in remote, rocky cornices on a few high ridges.

“What I saw was a pretty complete burn,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Stanton Florea.

The 154,000 acres burned as of Saturday constitute about a quarter of the national forest.

The area’s proximity to the urban heart of Los Angeles — and its easy access via the Angeles Crest Highway and dozens of trails switchbacking out of the foothills — makes it one of the most heavily used parts of a forest visited by 3 million to 5 million people every year.

“This is the playground of L.A.,” Florea said. “More than 70% of the open space in L.A. County is in the Angeles National Forest.”

The Station fire, the largest in the modern history of Los Angeles County, has been devastating on many levels, most notably claiming the lives of two firefighters and destroying 76 homes. Authorities said the cause was arson and have launched a homicide investigation.

With 49% containment Saturday, fire officials said they had controlled the last hot spots on the western edge, including Little Tujunga and Pacoima canyons.

But the battle wore on in the east, the fire belching out yet another ominous smoke plume as it burned into the roadless San Gabriel Wilderness Area, where bighorn sheep sometimes roam on exposed ridges up to 8,000 feet high, less than 25 miles from the downtown skyscrapers.

Ground crews cut fire lines in the remote area, and a DC-10 dropped retardant on the flame front, officials said. By nightfall, the fire had burned northeast and was five to eight miles from the town of Juniper Hills about 20 miles south of Palmdale. But no evacuations were ordered Saturday. … [more]

7 Sep 2009, 7:53pm
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‘Green Jobs Czar’ Van Jones resigns

WND’s 5-month series of exposés leads to White House’s 1st casualty

WorldNetDaily, September 06, 2009 [here]

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones quit late last night after pressure mounted over his extremist history first exposed in WND.

The last straw for Jones was being caught on tape in an expletive-packed rant, directly attacking Republicans in the Senate who he said abused their majority position in the past to push legislation through. He admitted after the statements were released that the comments were “inappropriate” and “offensive.”

“They do not reflect the experience I have had since joining the administration,” Jones said in the statement.

Jones was also linked late last week to efforts suggesting a government role in the Sept. 11 terror attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans.

When the White House press corps grilled White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about Jones on Friday, a reporter asked how the administration could reject “conspiracy theories” about his birth certificate while employing someone who previously charged the U.S. government with masterminding Sept. 11. … [more]

Note: Hiring a self-avowed communist and anti-American revolutionary, with no background or qualifications in environmental science, as “Green Jobs Czar” says something about the Obama Administration’s commitment to true environmental stewardship.

7 Sep 2009, 3:57pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Wolves kill 120 sheep near Dillon, MT

The Spokesman-Review, August 28, 2009 [here]

DILLON, Mont. — Wolves killed 122 buck sheep in a pasture south of Dillon earlier this month, surpassing the number of sheep killed by wolves in the entire state in 2008, state wolf managers said.

The dead sheep were found on the Rebish/Konen Livestock Ranch on Aug. 16.

“This is one of the most significant losses that I’ve seen,” said Carolyn Sime, the statewide wolf coordinator for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Wolves killed 111 sheep in Montana last year.

Suzanne Stone with Defenders of Wildlife, a group that supports the restoration of wolf populations, said this is the first time she’s heard of such a mass killing.

“I’ve heard of bears or mountain lions doing that, but what usually happens is the sheep panic and jump on top of one another or fall into a ditch and suffocate,” Stone said. “I’ve never heard of any situation where wolves killed so much livestock in a short period of time.”

Kathy Konen says the sheep were killed, but their carcasses were almost all intact.

Jon Konen said: “I had tears in my eyes, not only for myself but for what my stock had to go through. They were running, getting chewed on, bit and piled into a corner. They were bit on the neck, on the back, on the back of the hind leg. They’d cripple them, then rip their sides open.”

Federal trappers confirmed 82 bucks were killed by wolves while 40 carcasses were classified as probable kills, including some that had been eaten by bears.

In July, the Konens lost 26 sheep to wolves in the same pasture.

After that attack, FWP authorized federal trappers to remove three wolves that had been observed in the area.

Federal trappers shot two wolves, killing one and possibly mortally wounding the other, and were searching for a third. After the second attack, trappers shot an uncollared wolf in the Centennial pack, but declined the Konens’ request to kill two radio-collared adults and five pups born this spring.

“They’ve done enough damage to say that they need to be eliminated,” Kathy Konen said. “We have cows and sheep there right next to where the sheep were killed.”

State officials say the pups are too young to have been involved and too young to be left on their own.

Trappers are still looking for the third wolf they were authorized to kill after the July attack.

The Konens have applied to the Montana Livestock Loss Program to get reimbursement for the sheep. The program pays up to $350 for buck sheep and can reimburse more if a rancher can show the animals were worth more.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy has scheduled a hearing Monday in Missoula in a request by animal rights and wildlife groups to halt planned wolf hunts in Montana and Idaho while a lawsuit is pending seeking to restore federal protections for the wolves in those states.

  • For the benefit of the interested general public, W.I.S.E. herein presents news clippings from other media outlets. Please be advised: a posting here does not necessarily constitute or imply W.I.S.E. agreement with or endorsement of any of the content or sources.
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