12/31/21

As Montana cannabis sales begin for all adults Republicans drag feet on expungements

The new year on the Gregorian calendar brings legal cannabis for all cash-paying adults over 21 in Montana. 

Purchased flower of no more than 35% THC plus edibles, tinctures, vaporizer cartridges, concentrates and topicals produced only in Montana will be placed in reusable "exit bags” to prevent children and potentially triggered Republicans from seeing what's inside. Patients in the state's therapeutic cannabis program are exempt from the 100mg of THC cap in edibles. 

All product will be tested in Montana-based labs for bacteria, mold, heavy metals, potency and other compounds. Rigs and CBD products purchased at the dispensaries can be manufactured outside of Montana. In the short term demand for product is expected to far exceed supplies. 

Green counties tend to be in Democratic western Montana while red counties where sales are forbidden tend to be in the Republican east. Go figure. But, despite Republicans messing with the wills of voters the Apsáalooke Nation will wean itself from coal and move forward on building a cannabis industry.
Possession of more than 1 but less than 2 ounces of marijuana is now a civil infraction, a designation lower than a misdemeanor that carries a sentence of community service or a fine. Possession of 2 or more ounces of cannabis, or 16 grams of marijuana concentrate, remains a felony. For example, the former cut-off between a misdemeanor and a felony was 60 grams, but under the new law that limit is 2 ounces; 60 grams equates to 2.12 ounces. Additionally, it was previously a felony to distribute cannabis in any fashion, but new laws allow a person to "gift" up to 1 ounce to someone else. Consequently, a felony distribution charge could be expunged if details in the case show the cannabis was gifted, but not if it was sold. [Expungement process off to a slow start for former cannabis convictions]
Democratic Montana Senator Jon Tester has been a veterans advocate since before he even went to Congress. His VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act directs the VA to begin clinical trials to test the effects of cannabis as therapy for chronic pain and to treat the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress.

Learn more about that linked here.

12/29/21

It's official: legal cannabis for all adults and war for water underway in New Mexico

The Cannabis Regulation Act was signed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and became effective June 29, 2021. On Tuesday the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department's Cannabis Control Division announced that the rules for businesses to manufacture, sell and transport are now in effect. Sales are expected to start by April 1 and more than 300 applications for licenses have been submitted. 

Here in the Land of Enchantment supporters are lauding cannabis legalization as a way to diversify New Mexico’s economy, bring in tax income and address inequities left by the war on drugs while balancing the state's water crisis with growers who must prove they have valid and sufficient water rights. But groundwater is notoriously corrosive in much of New Mexico while prolonged drought bleeds supplies to critical and coveted acequia rights can literally be to die for. 

In September, Bureau of Indian Affairs officers confiscated nine, yes nine, cannabis plants from a home garden on the Picuris Pueblo that was tended by a local resident who is enrolled in New Mexico's therapeutic cannabis program but is not a member of one of 23 federally recognized tribal entities in the state. Picuris has been battling with irrigators in the Mora Valley for water since 1820 when the first diversion from the Rio Pueblo de Taos, a tributary of the Rio Grande, became an acequia into the Mora, a tributary of the Canadian and Arkansas Rivers.

The New Mexico Department of Health will continue to maintain the patient registry for the therapeutic cannabis program while ensuring sales remain tax-free. 

12/23/21

USAF trying to clean up after decades of environmental disasters

In 2018 it was revealed per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS have been spewing from Cannon Air Force Base, home of the plane that dropped a Massive Ordnance Air Blast or 'Mother of all Bombs' on Afghanistan. 

An area dairy operator has been dumping milk and destroyed some of his herd because area wells were contaminated with "forever chemicals." If Highland Dairy owner Art Schaap chooses to replace his herd he is not currently covered under the US Department of Agriculture's Dairy Indemnity Payment Program but help is on the way.
U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger-Fernández, a New Mexico Democrat, was one of those pushing for the USDA to change the rule. She said the Air Force has given intermediary support for water filters designed to remove PFAS from water supplies, but “we are still a long way away from the treatment plant the Air Force is in the process of building.” [Dairy farmers facing PFAS contamination now eligible for payment for their cattle]
According to the Environmental Working Group the Department of Defense has not fully briefed farmers about the likely pollution of surface and groundwater near some 36 of 126 military bases with the highest parts per trillion of PFAS contamination.
PFAS levels detected at seven of these bases are among the highest detected by the DOD, according to its own records, and they are surrounded by farms. PFAS levels at the bases range from hundreds of thousands to more than a million parts per trillion, or ppt. These bases include Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, with 329,000 ppt of the two notorious PFAS known as PFOA and PFOS, Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, with 551,000 ppt of PFOA and PFOS, Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, with 453,000 ppt of PFOA and PFOS, and Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in New York, with 1,310,000 ppt PFOA and PFOS. [Forever chemicals from military bases may be lurking in agricultural water supplies]
Officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base say nine private drinking water wells in Box Elder tested above the US Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level for two chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, compounds in a foam used to fight petroleum-based fires at a site where pit fires are common. The Cheyenne River is already a toxic waste dump.

12/22/21

Today's intersection: range fires increase as windbreaks age out

The grassland fire danger index will be in the extreme category again Wednesday and Thursday for Republican counties throughout the High Plains where desertification driven by overgrazing and poor land management practices has turned parts of the region into scorched earth.

Ag producers have destroyed shelter belts to plant industrial crops that deplete aquifers and now drought is blowing toxin-laden silt into downwind states. In Kansas alone recent wildfires blazed across some 400,000 acres during what meteorologists are now calling a derecho that traversed some 1500 miles beginning on the Front Range in Colorado. Record high winds fanned fires some forty miles wide consuming power lines, fences and domestic livestock.
Bob Atchison, coordinator of the Kansas Forest Service’s rural forestry program, said the Great Plains Initiative 2 is a continuation of an inventory of windbreaks in Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas that first began in 2008 and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. The most recent inventory of windbreaks in the Great Plains – completed in 2019 – indicates windbreaks throughout the region are deteriorating. To illustrate the importance of windbreaks, Atchison pointed to the fact that Kansas has 2.5 million acres of cropland where the soils are particularly susceptible to erosion, many of these in southwest and south-central Kansas. [Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service]
The forestry division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department is now taking orders for native seedlings delivered in the Spring to plant for reforestation, erosion control, windbreaks, streambank restoration, and wildlife habitat improvement.

12/15/21

Kinney, Elkton boy win Butte County cannabis grow/ops

In 2018 after being frustrated with the inability of activists and advocates to herd the booze-soaked, ecocidal South Dakota Legislature and the Republican Party apparatchiks in Pierre into the corral of cannabis common sense an interested party reached out to Matt Kinney, a Spearditch-based attorney who specializes in the defense of clients caught up in the morass of cannabis law in my home state. In 2015 he represented former Butte County State's Attorney Heather Plunkett after she was railroaded into dismissal by then-Attorney General Marty Jackley. 

Cal Reilly attended St. Mary's and graduated from Brookings High School but his late father was Elkton High School's Superintendent.

Located off of Helmer Road outside of Belle Fourche, Black Hills Bud, LLC, submitted two applications - one for a dispensary facility license and one for a cultivation facility license. Calvin Reilly is listed as the registered agent on the business’ articles of organization. With a principal address listed off of Ridge Road near Belle Fourche, Center of the Nation Cultivation, LLC, applied for two licenses – one for a production manufacturing facility license and one for a cultivation facility license. Matthew Kinney, of Spearfish, is named as the company’s registered agent. [Black Hills Pioneer]

Heather Plunkett had been a Republican who once served as county vice-chair elected by the central committee of Butte County GOP per the bylaws. She is the daughter of Mike Messmer, a principal in Meade County Republican politics and was appointed State's Attorney in 2010 by scandal-ridden Governor Mike Rounds. She had previously pleaded guilty to one count of possession of cannabis less than 2 ounces, possession of paraphernalia and ingesting a substance other than alcohol. She received a suspended jail sentence, underwent periodic substance evaluations, was on probation for a year and was ordered to pay $861 in fees and fines for exercising her cannabis rights in defiance of South Dakota law. Her husband Ryan pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and received a suspended jail sentence.

Plunkett told interested party cannabis helped to curb her alcohol use after learning the number of problem drinkers in the legal profession is more than double that of the general population. She has not renewed her law license but now she and her family live in Colorado.

12/11/21

Extreme white wing signals more violence as climate disruptions wreak havoc in Mountain West

Recall that during the second Obama term a group of armed thugs, including a retired Air Force master sergeant from South Dakota allied with mormon Cliven Bundy, occupied and ransacked not a courthouse but a national wildlife refuge in none other than Harney County, Oregon. 

Today, Montana Republicans are wielding the power of government to stifle free enterprise in a state where freedom is paramount. Now Realtors in Montana are capitalizing on racist paranoia amid Trump’s calls for the End Times. It’s dystopian fantasy run amok.
American Prairie, formerly known as “American Prairie Reserve,” has purchased thousands of acres throughout Montana and has had grazing leases that have been tied to the lands for years. That’s why when it came to renewing those leases through the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management, the organization wasn’t expecting the furor that came from state leaders. When the BLM’s own assessment determined that no significant harm would come from the grazing or leases, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, along with the leaders from the state’s department of agriculture and the Wildlife, Fish and Parks as well as Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, objected, urging the federal leaders to reconsider and hold more public meetings. Finally, Gianforte criticizes the BLM in a September letter for holding a public hearing session via remote meeting “in the middle of a summer afternoon when the vast majority of those affected were trying to wrest their livelihoods from a devastating drought.” [Gianforte, Knudsen try to stop American Prairie’s bison through political pressure]
The Ridiculous Right brands Black Lives Matter and Native American protesters unemployed slackers but a horde of Huns that takes over a federal facility to wait out the End Days and terrorizes Congress are called patriots. 

Herr Trump's first Interior secretary blamed wildfires in the West on those he called “radical environmentalists” despite most acres burned occur on private ranch land in Republican counties. On the final day of Trump’s presidency his last Interior secretary even restored a grazing permit to the Hammond Ranch whose prescriptive burn escaped onto federal land. Only a tiny fraction of public lands offered by the Trump Organization to the extractive industries were even leased yet Republicans see the Biden White House as hostile to their causes especially after the Hammonds' grazing permits were again rescinded.
The vast rangelands of the American West have been the site of competition and conflict for hundreds of years. And drought has been an integral part of that landscape for centuries. But going forward, the climate emergency threatens conditions completely foreign to modern agricultural producers in western North America; the federal measures needed to mitigate their devastation may conspire to heighten the risk of conflict over federal management of the region’s most vital resource. In an era in which an increasing portion of the American public views violence as a legitimate means of resolving political disputes, the risk of land-centered enmity motivating conflict cannot be ruled out. As extreme drought withers livelihoods and the federal government moves to limit the suffering in an equitable manner, the chance that dismay and anger escalate into violence grows. [Federal Intervention, Conflict and Drought in the American West]
Only 3 percent of the Earth's surface remains untouched by human development and a sixth mass extinction is underway. Putting the country on the path of protecting at least 30 percent of its land and 30 percent of its ocean areas by 2030 (30x30) is imperative to preserving public lands and moving the US Forest Service from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior would be just one step toward that goal. 
Chris Bugbee, a field ecologist for the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, has spent the last year and a half assessing the health of critical habitats in Arizona and New Mexico. He and his team of three have traveled hundreds of miles and produced reams of reports cataloging critical habitat ruined by cattle: widened streams, cow pies leading to algae blooms and oxygen-starved water, and forests with no new trees because sprouting trees are browsed to nubs. [In Arizona's riparian areas, cattle compete with imperiled species for fragile resources]

Learn more about the successes of the Yellowstone to Yukon at the Missoulian.

12/10/21

Lee stock soaring after rejecting takeover bid




In March of 2017 Lee Enterprises was trading at $2.58. Friday morning it's almost $30. 

This blog has argued that the Gannett Company should have bought Lee Enterprises which owns the Rapid City Journal and 45 other daily newspapers. It was my rant then that Lee Newspapers of Montana would survive as part of a Bismarck Tribune, Rapid City Journal, Casper Star-Trib marriage and not become part of a Gannett takeover.
The board of directors at Lee Enterprises, which owns the Post-Dispatch, on Thursday unanimously rejected a New York hedge fund’s unsolicited offer to buy the company. Lee Chairman Mary Junck said Alden Global Capital’s $24-per-share offer grossly undervalued Lee and failed to recognize the strength of its business, especially its growing digital news platform. “We remain confident in our ability to create significant value as an independent company,” Junck said in a news release. Praetorian President Harris Kupperman, who said in a filing he owns 7.3% of Lee, predicted that if the company’s digital news business continues at its current pace, shares could soon be worth a few hundred dollars each. [Post-Dispatch owner rejects purchase offer from hedge fund Alden]

12/9/21

As Republicans feign moving against meat packers Koch driving spikes in fertilizer costs

In red states like South Dakota freedom equals the right to pollute. 

Recall Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling or MCOOL was repealed during the second Obama term to shield American commodities from scrutiny because every ag product, meats both wild and domestic not grown organically in the United States is contaminated with atrazine, neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba, DDT, mercury, lead, cadmium, PFAS, E. coli, Imazalil plus other toxins and pathogens. 

Now Republican candidates risk biting the hands that feed them. Meat packer Cargill has given big bucks to Republican senators like John Thune and Mike Rounds and to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Rounds says he wants a federal investigation into allegations of antitrust violations by packers and for MCOOL to be reinstated.

Former Governor Rounds was elected to the US Senate with cash from the Kochs’ National Federation of Independent Business. The so-called “Americans for Prosperity” is a Koch-soaked dark money group with an agent in Sioux Falls. South Dakota's GOP legislators and candidates enjoy millions in lobbyist benefits from the Kochs and their American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.

Koch Industries' relationship with the late Republican Kansas Senator Bob Dole not only helped to delegitimize the issue of oil theft it allowed the company to build an ecoterrorism empire. Charles Koch was a member of the John Birch Society and Koch Industries has given loads of cash to Mike Rounds, Howdy Doody Dusty Johnson and John Thune.

Today Koch is one of four corporations that control the production and sale of nitrogen-based fertilizer in the US. The others are Yara-USA, CF Industries and Nutrien so the Family Farm Action Alliance, a 501c3 non-profit group has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the reasons behind the avaricious rises in fertilizer prices

The United States gets much of its nitrogen fertilizer from Belarus through the Persian Gulf but a Trump era tariff and Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico slowed the movement of product to markets up and down the Mississippi River. Nitrogen fertilizer is normally applied to subsidized corn then ends right back up in the Gulf of Mexico where it kills whole ecosystems.
Ammonia prices have skyrocketed in the Midwest, with Koch announcing new levels as high as $1,100 per short ton (t) free-on-board (FOB) at its Corn Belt terminals and plants -- a near two-fold increase on prices of $650 to $680 in the Midwest seen at the end September. CF and other producers and sellers in the region followed Koch, with CF setting a new price in the Northern Plains and Iowa of $1,200/t FOB for overpull delivery volumes. [Global, Domestic Fertilizer Prices Continue to Rise]
Learn how the Republican Party has become the John Birch Society linked here.

12/8/21

Progressive Santa Fe not immune to hysteria over CRT



Critical race theory is a framework usually studied at the university level and describes how systemic racism in the United States enforces racial inequalities so no lawyer practices in the United States until they learn how the court favors white privilege. 

New Mexico endures multitudinous symbols of conquest, genocide and colonization. The Royal Road of the Interior that extended 1600 miles from Mexico City to Santa Fe was established some 400 years ago by Spanish Conquistador Juan de Oñate, infamous for the 1599 Acoma Massacre.

Today, after consultations with stakeholders New Mexico's Public Education Department hopes to provide instruction that is relevant to English language learners and Indigenous students alike by adding ethnic, cultural and identity curricula to the state's social studies standards by emphasizing tribal sovereignty, social justice and sustainable futures. 

The Santa Fe School Board has submitted written comments in favor of adopting the proposals despite New Mexico Republican Party falsehoods associating the standards with CRT. 

Indigenous American intellectuals insist the proposed standards are crucial to providing education to propel Native children beyond colonialization.
So what does the Cultural Affairs Department do with a defunct multi-million dollar museum building sitting in the middle of nowhere? “Obviously the best would be to find another state agency that could put it to good use. If that’s not possible, we’ll actually go out to the public and see if there’s anybody interested in the public in that particular site,” Cultural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Debra Garcia y Griego said. [Middle of Nowhere: New Mexico’s Multi-Million Dollar Blunder]
The extreme white wing of the Republican Party wants a not so civil war over CRT because oligarchs fear an admission of guilt implies liability and they will be compelled to pay reparations to Indigenous and to the descendants of enslaved people. 

ip photo: the New Deal mural entitled “Indian Bear Dance” was painted by Boris Deutsch in 1938 and is installed in the United States Post Office in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

12/6/21

Interest in geothermal energy heating up in Mountain West



In September the US Department of Energy awarded $12 million to seven projects intended to accelerate development of geothermal potential including $2 million to the University of New Mexico and $1.5 million to Montana State University. 

Geothermal mining has been a topic of keen interest in Montana for decades.

Last month the Bureau of Land Management sold a geothermal lease in Hidalgo County, New Mexico despite a 2016 blowout near a $43 million geothermal electricity plant erected by Cyrq Energy in 2013 when Republican Susana Martinez was governor.

Naming a dark matter lab 5000 feet below Lead after a lecherous, usurious Republican billionaire sticks in plenty of craws in South Dakota yet real science is getting done there. The Homestake Mine represents 8000 feet closer to the geothermal potential capable of powering much of the region. New Mexico's Sandia Labs, Los Alamos National Laboratory, South Dakota School of Mines and others are collaborating on exploring that limitless potential.
Picture this: you’re standing in a drift, 4,100 feet below the Black Hills of South Dakota. The drift you’re imagining is a research testbed on the 4100 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) and home base for the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Collab, a research group interested in extracting renewable energy from Earth’s deep, hot rocks. [To advance geothermal systems, EGS Collab maps the hidden fractures behind a wall of rock]
Colorado could tap orphaned oil and gas wells to supply hot water for electricity generation according to KUNC.

Learn more about the Cyrq Energy lesson at Searchlight New Mexico.

12/4/21

South Dakota-based company likely responsible for destructive Montana wildfire

Utilities are not your friends. 

Recall that in 2009 Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based NorthWestern Energy was responsible for a gas explosion in Bozeman, Montana that destroyed several businesses and killed one person. 

The company reported Wednesday morning that the devastating decrease in the Madison River flow that killed native trout was due to its negligence at the Hebgen Dam. 

In 2012 the fast-moving Ash Creek Fire burned bridges on US212 near Ashland and Lame Deer, Montana while another blaze nearby on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, the Coal Seam Fire spread to some 700 acres. In 2017 wildland fires on private ranch land in southeastern Montana dwarfed those on public ground in the western part of the state. The Sartin Draw Fire near Broadus and the Battle Complex near Birney burned at least 100,000 and 185,000 acres respectively, decades of invasive grasses and poor stewardship to blame. Last year the nearly 50,000 acre Huff Fire burned through the white supremacist town of Jordan, known as the home of the Montana Freemen. The Bobcat fire near Roundup in Musselshell County was over 41 square miles in size. 

Today, central Montana is ablaze again because it’s overrun with dry invasive cheatgrass but as a Republican stronghold it avoids criticism from Republicans. The West Wind Fire is about 60% contained.
Crews continue to secure lines around the perimeter and extinguish any hot spots. Initial assessments show the blaze destroyed 25 primary residences, 18 secondary structures and 6 commercial properties. A NorthWestern Energy spokesperson said late Thursday that the utility is helping investigate the possibility that a strong wind event downed a line southwest of Denton and started the West Wind fire. [Montana Public Radio]
The Big Stone Power Plant in northeastern South Dakota is owned by Otter Tail Power, Montana-Dakota Utilities and NorthWestern Energy. This monster burns 3,500 tons of subbituminous coal every hour so those companies spend millions every year greasing Republican politicians and poisoning waterways. 

NorthWestern Energy is expected to be sued once again for its undying commitment to moral hazard.

11/30/21

TIF planned for former Costner property

Lawrence County is known to have been inhabited by humans for at least 12,000 years before white Republicans besmirched it then turned it into the Nazi enclave and cultural wasteland it is today. Deadwood gambling was legalized with a promise to preserve all the history in the Gulch hence archaeologists still unearth Chinese opium pipes there. 

In 1994 after the success of Dances With Wolves actor Kevin Costner purchased a 240-acre parcel in Spearditch Canyon from Homestake Mining Company and traded it to the US Forest Service for 900 acres just north of Deadwood and east of the Preacher Smith Monument some of it straddling Whitewood Creek. Costner was ostracized afterwards by the tribal nations signatory to the Fort Laramie Treaty so he funded Tatanka: Story of the Bison, home to several magnificent bronze sculptures.

Homestake dumped cyanide and other toxins into Whitewood Creek for a hundred years so the waterway was named a Superfund site in 1981. And, before selling to Canadian miner Barrick, Homestake and Costner restored some of it in 1994 and the stream was taken off the Superfund list in 1996 when the deal with Costner was settled. It was euphemistically known to locals as the Un-Dunbar property until Costner sold it last year. 

How the water is even drinkable downstream in the town of Whitewood remains a mystery as mill slag and mine tailings still litter the creek into the Belle Fourche River, the Missouri and even to where the plume of heavy metal oxides can be detected in the Gulf of Mexico.

But, with help from former HMC land manager, now Sturgis real estate broker, Denny McKay former US Senator Tom Daschle sold out the people of South Dakota and the tribal nations trapped within its borders by drafting legislation holding Barrick harmless for all of it. 

The property has since been annexed by the City of Deadwood.
Monday, the Deadwood City Commission approved a project plan for and resolution to create Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) #14, a $12.5 million TIF request that grew from an original $10.5 million in order to pave the way for an eventual turning lane into the development, estimated to cost $2 million. Commissioner Gary Todd was the sole dissenting vote on Monday’s approval. The Deadwood City Commission June 21 approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TRD, LLC for the Preacher Smith Property, also known as The Ridge development, for a proposed annual appropriation TIF of $10.5 million. [$12.5M Preacher Smith/The Ridge TIF approved with $2M for turning lane]
ip photo: an ancient window perforates the Whitewood Canyon limestone. Click on it for a better look.

11/29/21

New Mexicans anxious to return to the rails


A visitor looks over part of downtown Albuquerque from the Rio Metro depot

Beginning in 2003 the State of New Mexico bought the track bed that Amtrak's Southwest Chief uses from just north of Lamy to Behlen south of Albuquerque from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway when the Rail Runner was being built. BNSF owns virtually all the rail rights of way in New Mexico.
After being shut down for nearly a year, the New Mexico Rail Runner is releasing a new advertisement, with the hopes of attracting more passengers. The train runs along a 100-mile corridor, with 15 stations from Santa Fe to Belen. In April 2020, the Rail Runner took a big hit due to the pandemic as the train system suspended service for nearly a year. The train started running again in March, and after eight months of service, officials say ridership is at about 50% of what it was pre-pandemic. [New ad campaign hopes to attract more Rail Runner passengers]
In 2020 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin and two other New Mexico celebrities purchased the Santa Fe Southern Railroad and the depot in Lamy. SFSR was featured in the Breaking Bad episode, Dead Freight.
Sky Railway will offer a number of themed adventures along its 18 miles of track between Santa Fe and Lamy to the south where the holiday season experience kicks off with a trip through Santa’s wonderland at the Lamy station. Heading the creative team, is Santa Fe arts enthusiast and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. The train cars’ elaborate exteriors showcase six months of work from local muralist Joerael Numina. Sky Railway launches its first adventure rides on December 3. [Santa Fe Southern Railroad turned holiday experience]
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Rio Metro Transportation District, which operates the New Mexico Rail Runner, are laying new ties along a 31-mile stretch of track south of Raton Pass, replacing some 12 miles of bolted rail with welded rail between Lamy and Los Cerrillos and completing installation of a Positive Train Control system.
Business owners feel the city isn’t putting its best foot forward to welcome thousands of people into downtown and they want to change that. For decades, Albuquerque has been a stop for train passengers along the southwest. Albuquerque is now a service stop for Amtrak with passengers having layovers in the city for nearly an hour, according to Amtrak. “The downtown Amtrak train and Greyhound bus station are both leased to these companies by the City of Albuquerque. The city has met with local businesses downtown regarding a kiosk at this location and will look at ways to support them as they work with the tenants,” said Johnny Chandler, a spokesperson with Albuquerque’s Planning Department. [Downtown business owners see missed tourism opportunity at Amtrak station]
ip photo: the Rio Metro depot in downtown Albuquerque

11/28/21

Shantel Krebs back in the news

Peckerville native, Shantel Swedlund, now Krebs, was Miss South Dakota 1997 and competed in the 1998 Miss America Pageant.

Until 2007 Krebs' husband was an anchor for KSFY teevee where he was witness to Republican now-Governor Kristi Noem's extramarital dalliances and to the affair his co-anchor Nancy Naeve was having with Republican South Dakota Senator John Thune. In her 2010 phone interview with interested party Krebs said KELO teevee buried the stories replete with first person accounts of public intimate contact between Noem and her paramour

Krebs hated Noem, an amateur now-turned professional catwalk contestant, supported Chris Nelson in 2010 and gleefully gave up names of people to call who also knew about Noem’s infidelities. 

Mitch Krebs went on to work for Republican Governor Mike Rounds.

Neal Tapio told an interested party via Facebook Messenger that he was urged by the chair of the South Dakota Republican Party to get into the 2018 US House primary to siphon votes from then-Secretary of State Krebs so Dusty Johnson had smooth sailing to the nomination. After Krebs lost and was driven from South Dakota politics she was elected Chair of the Miss America Organization Board of Directors in 2019 and is now CEO. The Pageant experienced its own #MeToo scandal in late 2017 forcing several executives to resign. 

Mrs. Noem has never supported the Violence Against Women Act and if her abusers were Democrats she'd be singing like a cardinal. Anyone who believes she's never been a victim of sexual harassment or unwanted touching is delusional.

In its 100th year, the iconic spectacle will air entirely on NBC’s Peacock streaming platform in December.
“We look forward to entering the streaming world with Peacock this year to help introduce our 51 outstanding individuals to a younger, broader audience and showcase their unique personal stories,” Shantel Krebs, a former Miss South Dakota and current chief executive of the Miss America organization, said in a statement. The event, which started as a beachside beauty pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1921, awards millions of dollars in college scholarships to its winners. ['Miss America' pageant moves from mainstream TV to streaming]
Kristi Noem is a MILF. She has since been fingered for a fling with Trump henchman, Corey Lewandowski. Is she compliant, infidelitous, simply jaded or all the above?

Krebs' brother, Shurald Swedlund, a member of Jehovah's Witnesses, lived in Spearditch where in the 90s and early 2000s an interested party did much of the work on some of his properties.

11/26/21

ACLU, immigrant groups file suits after ICE, New Mexico mayor stoke racial tensions


Republicans: cops on horseback whipping refugees are heroes. 

Also Republicans: cops who defended the Capitol during Donald Trump's attempted coup are traitors. 

After being brutalized by riders on horseback in Texas some fifty Haitian asylum seekers are subjected to dire circumstances and denied access to legal counsel while detained at a private prison complex contracted in Estancia, New Mexico by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the US Marshals Service. 

In May, the ACLU and several other immigrants rights groups filed suit after refugees on a hunger strike were attacked by guards using chemical weapons. 

Tens of thousands of long-suffering Haitians have made the nightmare journey through Central America only to end up in facilities like the one owned by Tennessee-based CoreCivic in Torrance County that received a rating of noncompliance in July. ICE refuses to respond to allegations of human rights abuses and it's unknown if CoreCivic will face any consequences for its failures to meet even basic human needs. 

Now, the ACLU is threatening a lawsuit naming the Estancia board of trustees after Mayor Nathan Dial proclaimed that people need to be “legally armed” to enter town meetings.
Asylum is the legal right of people to seek protection from persecution in their home countries. To seek asylum in the United States, a claimant must show persecution based on race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social or political group. That definition has typically worked against Haitian migrants who, according to immigrant-rights advocates, suffer from a historical prejudice that they are “economic migrants” — and not asylum seekers. [Searchlight New Mexico]
An eventual confrontation between second term New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas and a self-styled militia group is about to come to a head. After a 2019 shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas AG Balderas asked the NM Legislature for funding to form a "special investigative unit to guard against hate crimes and terrorism." Enabled by spiteful, vindictive bombast from Herr Trump the hate group New Mexico Civil Guard has abandoned lawful protest and started shooting protesters. Balderas' office has also been investigating predator priests. 

ip photo: a mosaic celebrating Spanish conquest adorns a Torrance County building.

11/23/21

Noem, Gordon will use some socialism to prop up Wyoming Black Hills donor

Hulett, Wyoming Republican Jim Neiman waited until Donald Trump was forced from the White House then shuttered his sawmill in Hill City, South Dakota and blamed the Forest Service. 

In September Wyofile ran an article on how the Neimans became a timber industry monopoly in the Black Hills then logged it into the dirt. But, as Neiman threatens to close his sawmill in Spearditch other timber harvesters are converting the kilns that dry lumber to biochar production.

One need look no further than the Black Hills National Forest for how politics has completely altered a landscape but there are plenty other public lands examples that illustrate the red state, blue state divide. Here in New Mexico public comments on the upcoming forest plan will look way different than how they’ll read in my home state of South Dakota and in the Wyoming Black Hills. 

A century and a half of domestic livestock grazing and care less land management practices created an unnatural overstory best controlled by the mountain pine beetle, prescribed fires and periodic wildfires. Native Douglas fir and lodgepole pine are virtually extirpated from the Hills but the BHNF is trying to restore native limber pine (Pinus flexilis) in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve.
 
Ponderosa pine only reached the Black Hills about four thousand years ago and as many readers are aware the first US Forest Service timber sale took place near Nemo but only after nearly all the old growth of every native tree species had already been cleared for mine timbers, railroad ties and construction. So, Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is correct when she said the Black Hills National Forest has been poorly managed. I maintain that has been happening since 1899 and Forest Service Case Number One.
The infrastructure plan also includes money to help states cope with impacts of climate change, cyber attacks and extreme weather events. South Dakota would get $19.6 million over five years to help with wildfires. [KELO teevee]
Translation: more logging for Jim Neiman.
Wyoming will receive about $4,400 per capita in the infrastructure package, second only to Alaska. [Wyofile]
ip photo: a two track road remains on the Jasper Fire zone in a landscape that more resembles a pre-settlement Black Hills.

11/19/21

Picuris Pueblo bust could have implications for Oglala Lakota Nation's cannabis initiative

The Trump Justice Department overturned an Obama-era cannabis directive and killed the White House Tribal Nations Summit because Donald Trump despises Indigenous Americans after losing court cases to tribal nations who built casinos that competed with his.

In September, Bureau of Indian Affairs officers confiscated nine, yes nine, cannabis plants from a home garden on the Picuris Pueblo that was tended by a local resident who is enrolled in New Mexico's therapeutic cannabis program but is not a member of one of 23 federally recognized tribal entities in the state. He has not been charged. 
The raid has cast a shadow over cannabis as an economic development opportunity for Indigenous communities, as tribal governments at Picuris Pueblo and at least one other reservation pursue agreements with New Mexico that would allow them to open marijuana businesses. In South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux in early 2020 became the only tribe to set up a cannabis market without similar state regulations, endorsing medical and recreational use in a referendum at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Months later, a statewide vote legalized marijuana in South Dakota, with a challenge from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration now pending at the state Supreme Court. [Morgan Lee, Associated Press]
Consultants from the industry are traveling to the Oglala Lakota Nation and other tribal communities to advise on cultivation and marketing including Indigenous firebrand, Dineh Benally, who with help from a Chinese syndicate had been growing cannabis on the Navajo Nation. Despite being banned from conducting business on the Pine Ridge Benally gave a February 6, 2020 presentation to tribal members on behalf of the Palliation Collaborative. 

Since then, the Republican-glutted South Dakota Legislature has modified its stand on simple possession giving tribes further incentives to build the industry even as legal cannabis for all adults remains in legal limbo and the Isanti Dakota Oyate or Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation blazes forward with its therapeutic cannabis initiative. 

Some tribal leaders, including Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chair Harold Frazier, are frustrated with what they say is the Biden Administration’s glacial pace of health care improvement in Indian Country.

The US House has passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 or MORE Act which removes cannabis from Schedule 1 but legalization remains in the hands of the states. The bill's lead sponsor in the Senate was now-Vice President Kamala Harris.

A 1986 amendment to federal law allows tribes to acquire off-reservation land to serve the needs of its people so the Oglala Lakota Oyate bought property on I-90 just outside Badlands National Park. 

Retail cannabis sales in New Mexico are scheduled to begin in April, 2022.


11/17/21

Epstein's New Mexico ranch likely to go to auction

In a 2016 deposition Virginia Giuffre told a court that when she was sixteen Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam, Ghislane Maxwell aided and abetted her rapes by Democratic former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and others. Richardson has denied the charges although he's admitted having "limited" contact with Epstein who later died in police custody under suspicious circumstances. 

Before his death Epstein had said he had longstanding ties with Richardson, reportedly a guest of honor at the isolated Zorro Ranch outside of Stanley, New Mexico that Epstein purchased in 1993. The former governor reportedly appears in Epstein’s “little black book” of contacts as do other powerful men like former President Bill Clinton, Britain's Prince Andrew, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and probably South Dakota’s richest man, Denny Sanford, who is being probed for possession of child pornography.

Giuffre went on to work at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. 

Jury selection has begun in Maxwell's trial on charges that she recruited and groomed girls as young as fourteen to engage in sex acts. Tied up in a court battle in Santa Fe Epstein's New Mexico ranch has been languishing on the market for $27.5 million.
"It is just kind of disgusting, the realization about what occurred in that building,” said New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia-Richard. "For some reason, it's a mystery of why it's taken so long,” said New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. The mystery lies in a religious nonprofit that claimed it owned Epstein's ranch. "I firmly believe that a law enforcement agency at the federal level has to be involved and that all of these transactions need to be reviewed by a court judge so that there be integrity and reliability in this process,” Balderas said. [Epstein victims might not see a dime from sale of New Mexico estate]

11/15/21

Spiking fertilizer costs could reduce nitrogen pollution, slow death of Gulf



Nitrogen fertilizer is normally applied to subsidized corn then ends up in the Gulf of Mexico where it kills whole ecosystems. 

The United States gets most of its nitrogen fertilizer from the Persian Gulf but a Trump era tariff and Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico slowed the movement of product to markets up and down the Mississippi River. Anhydrous is selling for $1,113/ton increasing 38% from just last month. 

High natural gas prices are contributing to the price spike so some utilities want to raise rates exacerbating a rise in inflation. According to Creighton University's Ernie Goss rising interest rates and inflation are already affecting the supply chain but those conditions seem like a problem only for those of us who aren’t billionaires. That land-locked states have higher inflation rates should come as little surprise as transportation costs mount but as fuel prices increase emissions should decrease reducing the rise in greenhouse gases. 

In 2015 under President Obama the US Environmental Protection Agency moved to more closely identify the sources of non-point pollution. Despite a judge's ruling EPA went forward with a new federal rule protecting small streams, tributaries and wetlands. The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) legislation sought to give authority to the EPA to use some teeth to enforce the rights of people downstream to have clean water even from some sources that the US Geological Survey has already identified as impaired. 

Today, President Joe Biden has established a task force to determine the social costs of carbon and has required federal agencies to immediately begin applying their findings in their regulatory actions and other decision-making. The re-registration of some agricultural herbicides is on the EPA's agenda so are biofuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard. 

Ethanol profit margins are at near record levels but raising subsidized corn for ethanol is a major contributor to the dead zone in the Gulf.


ip photo: a farmstead fades from the Coteau des Prairies near the South Dakota/Minnesota border.

11/14/21

Colorado firm peddling geoengineering package to northern New Mexico

Update, 26 November: after criticism for not consulting with pueblos the application was withdrawn. Colorado has been conducting geoengineering experiments for some twenty years now it’s the driest since 1872.

Exhaust gases from aircraft are indeed mostly water vapor that become visible as a function of the dew point then often form cirrus clouds at higher altitudes and alter microclimates. 

But, in the name of geoengineering or albedo modification the US Air Force routinely sprays into the atmosphere an aerosol cocktail of silver iodide, lead iodide, aluminum oxide, barium, frozen carbon dioxide, common salt, soot from burning hazardous waste in pits and concocted at some of its bases.

So, in parts of the Southwest some authorities are so fearful of deficits in water supplies they're entertaining Durango, Colorado-based Western Weather Consultants' pitch to acquire a “weather control and precipitation enhancement license" from the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission. WWC has been shooting stuff, including silver iodide, from the ground into the atmosphere over Colorado for some twenty years.
“I like to think of it like a big bunsen burner,” said 82-year-old WWC Manager Larry Hjermstad. Weather modification grew out of experiments during World War II that looked at fog particles. From 1947 to 1952, the armed services established Project Cirrus to investigate how this might be incorporated into military applications. [Cloud seeding operation planned for Northern New Mexico]
ip photo: a contrail disperses water vapor and unburned gases over Santa Fe County.

11/12/21

Yellowstone closer to removing war criminal's name from park peak


In 2015 Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US National Park Service succeeded in what Alaskans asked of Congress after urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak to Denali, an Athabascan name meaning “the high one." 

California has finally changed the name of its famous Squaw Valley Ski Resort to Palisades Tahoe. 

Colorado is renaming Chinaman Gulch, Negro Creek, Negro Mesa, Negro Basin, Negro Draw and Squaw Mountain. 

In my home state tribal leaders are moving to change the name of a South Dakota state park named for a war criminal after successfully lobbying to rename that state's highest point.

But Senators Cynthia Lummis and co-sponsor John Barrasso have introduced a bill to permanently cancel Indigenous culture by blocking the name Bear's Lodge or Mahto Tipila from Devils Tower National Monument in the Wyoming Black Hills. With Democrats controlling the White House, both chambers of Congress and after a tribal member has become Interior Secretary with Park Service oversight the Wyoming Republicans' bill is likely doomed. 

President Joe Biden has nominated Charles "Chuck" F. Sams III, a citizen of the Cayuse and Walla Walla now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, to lead the National Park Service.

The Hayden Valley in Yellowstone National Park memorializes Ferdinand V. Hayden who advocated for the extermination of Indigenous people and Mount Doane is named for Lieutenant Gustavus Doane who led a massacre of the Piikani, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. But local opposition has been able to obstruct name changes so far and the Wyoming Board on Geographic Names is notoriously slow in removing offensive designations from geographical features.

Doane Peak is in the Teton Range, Mount Doane is in the Absaroka Range.
Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said much of the delay has been ensuring the Park Service has a “comprehensive engagement” with the more than two dozen tribes associated with the park. In an interview last week, Sholly said he is open to the idea of changing the name of Mount Doane. The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association and the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council submitted a petition to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names in September 2017 that formally requested the two name changes; the groups represent leaders from 26 different tribes, including the Eastern Shoshone Tribal Council and the Northern Arapaho Tribal Council of Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation. The tribes’ petition called the namesake of Mount Doane, Gustavus C. Doane, “a war criminal” and accused Hayden Valley namesake Ferdinand Hayden of being a racist who advocated for genocide of Native Americans. As for the potential name changes to Mount Doane and Hayden Valley, that decision will ultimately rest with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a panel made up of representatives from various federal agencies. [Powell (Wyoming) Tribune]

ip photo: a peak dwarfs US 20 just south of Yellowstone National Park.

11/11/21

Pueblos on front line of Rio Grande runoff deficits

Watersheds in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico provide between 50-75% of the water found in the Rio Grande but irrigators in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas take at least 80% of that from the 1,885 mile long river.
 
The ancient waterway is also a major source of supplies for some six million people and cities like Albuquerque and El Paso. But because of fire suppression efforts tree canopies in dense conifer forests intercept much of the winter snowpack hydrologists are predicting New Mexico could lose more than 70% of its runoff by the end of the century.

A compact limits Colorado to 100,00 acre feet and New Mexico to 200,000 acre feet each year. An acre foot is almost 326,000 gallons.  

At least fifteen native fish species and their aquatic habitat once found in the southern portion of the Rio Grande are now gone because the river dries up every year. Invasive species like Russian olives, Siberian elms and tamarisk, or saltcedar are crowding out the native cottonwoods and willows but just north of Albuquerque the Sandia Pueblo has turned to domestic goats to control invasives. The Santa Ana, Isleta and Cochiti Pueblos are considering similar actions along their portions of the Rio Grande.
Up until 1973, regular flooding on the Rio Grande helped keep the bosque ecosystem healthy and the invasive plants under control. The floodwaters spread tree seeds to higher ground and added nutrients to the soil, while clearing weeds away. But over the past half-century, after the Cochiti Dam and other infrastructure projects were built to manage the Rio Grande, the regular flooding ended. The 2012 Romero Fire, for example, started west of the Sandia Pueblo’s border but ended up blasting through tribal grasslands and ravaging over 300 acres of the bosque. Goats were originally introduced by Spanish colonizers, but they have been harmoniously integrated into the ecosystem and agricultural lifestyle of the mid-Rio Grande pueblos for over 300 years. Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuart Paisano (Sandia) said that when he was growing up, elders would tell him stories about how to use the bosque sustainably. [High Country News]
A lawsuit that could settle a river allocation dispute between New Mexico and Texas is being heard by a senior judge for the 8th District Court of Appeals and is expected to go before the Supreme Court of the United States. 

The headwaters of the Pecos River are in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range and Santa Fe National Forest. That waterway is also at risk to anthropogenic climate changes.


ip photo: a burl grows on a cottonwood in the Rio Grande bosque just north of the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.

11/10/21

Hate group representing South Dakota pedophilia cult in anti-vax lawsuit

Joe Biden or not the Roman Catholic Church believes their pederastic officiants can transubstantiate bread and wine into the body and blood of a Jew who has been dead for some 2000 years then offer that to a Mass. How is that even normal? 

Despite urging from the primate of the Church of of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers to get inoculated during a pandemic a Sioux Falls, South Dakota school district with ties to the sect has joined a lawsuit against the Biden administration's vaccine or testing/masking mandate. Representing the Diocese of Sioux Falls pro bono is the Alliance Defending Freedom, identified as a hate group in 2016 by the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

In Sioux Falls cleric Don DeGrood replaced Paul Swain to lord over some of the slush fund that buys silence from Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg and South Dakota's depraved legislature.
The lawsuit was filed by the school district, rather than the diocese itself, since it's the only entity in the diocese with 100 or more employees, the FAQ says. The school board made its decision "under the pastoral leadership" of Bishop Donald DeGrood, Board President Kyle Groos said in a letter to parents and employees. [Bill Janklow's idea of public radio]
In South Dakota at least thirty two members of the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers have been credibly accused of preying on children and vulnerable adults but don't expect Joe Boever's killer, incel and former altar boy Ravnsborg to take on both South Dakota Dioceses

Marcin Garbacz had been bleeding the beast, though. When it was the bishopric of Bob Gruss, Garbacz liberated at least $260,000 from the Rapid City Diocese. A former South Dakota priest who is already in prison, Garbacz has now pleaded guilty to a sex charge after he secretly shot videos of a teenage boy in the shower.

ip photo. 

11/9/21

Biden BLM slashing oil and gas leases to protect sage grouse


Former Vice-President Joe Biden campaigned on ending new oil and gas drilling on federal properties so those who would preserve habitat for the greater sage grouse and other threatened species contend a complete end to leases isn't coming fast enough. 

Frustrations are mounting after a judge in Louisiana ordered the Biden Administration to resume leasing even as now President Biden pledged to curb emissions during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Extracting oil and gas from public lands releases about 20 percent of energy-related US greenhouse gas emissions so the Department of the Interior and Bureau of Land Management intend to scale back leases to the industry in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and other states. According to Interior the social costs of emissions from oil and gas production on public parcels exceeds $4 billion annually. 

In my home state of South Dakota there are at least ten species of native wildlife that are 100% sage steppe dependent including the greater sage grouse whose numbers have dwindled to below a hundred individuals there. To reduce the impacts on sage grouse habitat in Wyoming the BLM will offer 195 lease parcels instead of the proposed 264.
Conservation groups say the BLM’s decision to defer Wyoming leases appears to be an attempt to return to the collaborative stakeholder process set forth in the 2015 sage grouse management plans. About 5 million acres of federal oil and gas are currently under lease and available for development in Wyoming, according to a 2021 Conservation Economics Institute report. The Natural Resources Defense Council funded the CEI study, which was endorsed by various conservation groups, including Wyoming’s Powder River Basin Resource Council. [Dustin Bleizeffer, WyoFile]
In an era when western states are scrambling to preserve habitat for bison, wapiti, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, deer, the threatened greater sage grouse and all the other wildlife at risk to the Republican Party how is running nurseries for introduced species like feral horses and burros either conservative or sustainable? 

Learn more about how prescribed fire, removing conifers and clearing cheatgrass sustains sage grouse populations linked here

ip photo: a moose and her calf browse in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

11/8/21

Census undercount short-changes Indian Country

Since at least 1851 treaties that served as constitutions for American Indigenous were broken and are still being rewritten for political expediency. Despite the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples American Indians are subject to at least four overlapping jurisdictions making tribes the most regulated people in the US without representatives serving in Congress. 

Today, attorneys are gathering evidence that the Trump Organization committed crimes against humanity in all of Indian Country not only by slow-walking resources to reservations during a pandemic but by undercounting Indigenous populations during the 2020 Census. Trump killed the White House Tribal Nations Summit because he loathes Native Americans.
“I thought they were congratulating themselves for a lot of work that Native orgs (organizations) had been doing,“ Native American Voter Alliance (NAVA) Education Project director Ahtza Dawn Chavez, said. “And you know, we still have an undercount in the country, especially in New Mexico.” “We know that the 2020 census was grossly underfunded due to the administration that was leading the census,” Chavez said. She said when coalition members saw the resulting data, “they commented that they’re off by hundreds in some communities, and then like on the Navajo nation by thousands, tens of thousands in terms of an undercount.” “And when you think about in the state of New Mexico, even just a 1 percent undercount of the population with all of the tribes that we have in the state, that's about a $43 million loss left on the table – just for a 1 percent undercount,” Chavez said. The states with the highest American Indian and Alaska Native alone are: Alaska (15.2 percent), New Mexico (10 percent), South Dakota (8.8 percent), Oklahoma (8.4 percent), and Montana (6.2 percent). [Indian Country Today Media]
Learn more about the investigations of ethnic cleansing and genocide perpetrated by the Trump White House linked here.

ip photo: a tiny pueblo dancer moves to the beat of drummers during the 2012 Santa Fe Indian Market.

11/7/21

New Mexico governor, Energy Department sideways on nuclear waste disposal

Democratic New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is at odds with the US Department of Energy who seems to believe transporting diluted nuclear waste over and over America's highways is completely harmless. 

A nuclear waste dump would make southeast New Mexico a sacrifice zone that amounts to “nuclear colonialism," according to Leona Morgan, a Dine woman and organizer with the Nuclear Issues Study Group.
Santa Fe-area activists and residents have been sounding the alarm that more nuclear waste shipments will soon be traveling through the county on their way to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant—the nation’s only long-term storage facility for transuranic radioactive waste, located near Carlsbad. While the US Department of Energy is not exactly forthcoming about the future, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says such expansion would be limited to the capacity of state vehicle inspections. Her “biggest concern,” Nora Meyers Sackett, the spokeswoman, says, is that the US Department of Energy “continues to prioritize shipments from other states to...WIPP while failing to expedite cleanup of waste at Los Alamos” National Laboratory. Under the “dilute and dispose” plan, surplus plutonium would be transported from the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, to LANL, where it would be turned into an oxide powder. The powder would then be shipped to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, where it would be further diluted before returning to New Mexico. [Santa Fe Reporter]

11/6/21

COVID, SAD, suicide, homelessness, brain drain and burnout: South Dakota still failing to thrive

Here are few snippets from a morning trip through the South Dakota media merry-go-round.
Seven COVID-19 deaths reported in South Dakota Friday, raising the total to 2267.Statewide, active cases increase by 75 to 5857. Total cases are up by 431 to 156,995. There are 148,871 recovered cases. Current hospitalizations increase by 14 to 187. [Seven COVID-19 Deaths Reported In South Dakota Friday; Active Cases Climb Statewide]
Dr. Stephen Manlove, a psychiatrist in the Rapid City area, talked about how SAD develops and how it can be effectively treated. “For some people, that decrease in full spectrum light causes depression and so we see an increase in depression around this time of year,” he explains. There are treatments available though for those who battle symptoms like overeating, oversleeping, and loss of interest and focus in activities. [As daylight dwindles, Seasonal Affective Disorder emerges]
”Suicide has been an issue that the VA has focused on for many, many years,” said Meagan Gorman, mental health administrative officer for the Black Hills VA. “I personally have known of it for more than 10 years. We’re [not] getting away from it. We’re going to focus on keeping our veterans safe.” [Black Hills VA working to prevent suicide]
Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender’s new initiatives regarding panhandling and homelessness have been met with mixed responses from the public. As the cold sets in throughout the Black Hills, people have already started “dressing” the Presidential statues downtown with warm clothing for those in need to take. [Allender Defends New Rapid City Homelessness Initiatives]
The U.S. Senate Joint Committee on the Economy found that South Dakota suffers the most from highly educated people leaving the state. This phenomenon has come to be known as ‘brain drain.’ [South Dakota one of the worst-affected states in terms of ‘brain drain’]