Friday, March 27, 2020

Isolation Travels To San Juan, 3-27-2020

Spring in San Juan:  Sun, Snow, Rain, Wind, and Tourists

News Affecting the West

~~ Broken Arm Slows Down Newsletter.
        On Feb. 18, while moving boxes, I missed the bottom step and fell, breaking my right arm, upper humerus.  A week ago I finally healed enough that I could use my keyboard again, but I'm not back to normal. Hence the lack of a Bear Essentials newsletter for over a month.  We are also in the process of selling our home, and moving to a smaller property, so things have been very hectic.  There are things still happening in the county.  Hope you are subscribing to the San Juan Record and staying informed.  Other state and national news outlets may not have the "full" story.  

~~ San Juan Record

~~Culture Displacement and Appropriation Impacts Bluff

~~ Catch up on the Canyon Zephyr 

-- Mellor Willie Co-founder of 7 Gen Leaders Political Pac







~~ Catch up on Bill Keshlear's MONUMENTAL DIVIDE

~~ Blanding Continues to Pull Together in Crisis

      Despite what outside sources may promote in the media, Blanding has for several years encouraged a cooperative approach to solving problems thanks to social media.  For example, a few weeks ago, our visiting son and family, lost a little lamb.  A Navajo worker on his way home happened to notice it, and seeing it had a collar, picked up the friendly little critter, and when he got home called the police.  
     About that same time our family noticed that Jacob was missing, and everyone joined in a search party to find the little lost lamb.  I posted the info on several Facebook sites, and within minutes a neighbor let us know that the police had it.  In less than an hour, the friendly wandering lamb was back home.  That's how networking happens in Blanding.  People keep track of their neighbors, and help out and even when you don't know them, you do the right thing.  That's what this young man did. 

Here is a list of local Facebook Groups which also help our community to function and help to unite all cultures, races, ages. Monticello has similar social media groups as well.  Many are open to the general public, others require a request to join. 

1.  Both Blanding Calendar  and Blanding Bulletin are set up to help notify citizens of events happening in the community.  

2.  Probably Blanding's 24/7 Yard Sale has united more people than any other site.   You'll find yourself buying and selling to folks you never knew before and new connections and friendships are initiated.  Just today (3/27/2020) this site sent out a notice that " Sara Lee and Packard Wholesale have donated about 700 loaves of bread, bagels and buns"  They were gone in 2 hrs...so it pays to pay attention.  

3. Good News Blanding has over 1000 members and is designed to promote those things of good report.  There's too much negativity in the world and in some people brains, so the site is designed to combat that.  Guidelines state: This Group is for sharing Good News happening in and around Blanding or accomplishments far and near of those with Blanding ties.

Post should be items that are timeless. Please DO NOT post items that should go on a calendar/ tryouts/ auditions/ADS, etc. It is not about memes, political views, or advertising, or debate and complaints.

This site is about being cheerleaders for good in the world and recognizing those events, people, and successes as we celebrate together.

4. One of the newest groups to emerge because of the Contra Virus impact, is Blanding Stone Soup.  Just started a few weeks ago, there are already over 400 people committed to helping their neighbors.  Started by a savvy social worker.  The premise of the group is this: 

"Stone soup is one of my favorite children's fables

It's about a village that was in the middle of a horrible famine. Everyone was hoarding and hiding the food that they had but it wasn't enough and they were all starving.

One day a man got a big pot and put it on a fire in the town square. He filled it with water and placed a stone from the river in it.

When he was asked what he was making he said stone soup and invited people to have some when it was ready.

One by one the villagers donated something they had hidden away that may make the soup even better. One had an onion, one a carrot, one a cabbage, one a piece of roast.... till the pot was completely full. They learned that by sharing what they had, they all had more and no one was hungry.

My sister had this great idea that got me thinking, none of us have everything but we all have something. Maybe you can babysit for someone who has to work, maybe you can pick up someone's groceries so an at risk person doesn't have to go in pubic or maybe you have extra goods that you aren't going to use or some knowledge that could help someone. This is the place to give as well as ask for help. This is a place for friends and neighbors to check in.

There are a few rules though:

No asking for money allowed. (as in "please pay my rent". Also this is not a selling group. You Can offer to pay for something that you are looking for and Trades are encouraged.)

No politics
No fighting
No judging
No spreading panic
No exceptions!

Jokes, songs, uplifting quotes or memes and all kinds of support and compassion are welcome and encouraged.
Please invite your local friends who should be here and who have the same spirit of community and pulling together.



5.  There are also lots of specialty groups and clubs in Blanding like the Blanding Book Group (which is self quarantined until further notice...however, a few have posted reviews of books on site. I'll focus on more of those next time.  
Both the Edge of the Cedars Museum, and the Wilcox family at 300 W. 100 S. have Free libraries where you can pick up books to read.  (There are also lots of books on our corner and other things that people have discarded, which are free for the taking. )

~~ Leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Encourages all to Fast this Sunday With Offerings to Bless Others Worldwide. 














~~ First Case of Covid- 19 in San Juan County confirmed 3/27/2020

~~ Corona Virus Cases on the Navajo Reservation


~~ Now is Not a Good Time For Tourists to Visit Bears Ears  

Ironic that Josh Ewing is the source of this article. 

~~Rural Areas Targets of Social distancing.  High Country News

~~Podmore has hard time finding balance and objectivity in covering news: 

~~ Dangers of Self Isolating on Public Lands

   

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Discovering Truth Takes Time and Investigation -- 2/15/2020

County Commission Meeting Tues. Feb. 18

Agenda: Citizens are always invited and encouraged to attend
February 18, 2020
1. Opening: Invocation 2. Public Comments
a. *CITIZENS COMMENTS: Anyone wishing to address the Board of San Juan County Commissioners on a non-agenda item is invited to do so during the citizens comments period in the meeting. Comments or presentations are limited to three (3) minutes, if requested, the Commission Chair may at their sole discretion extend the comment time. PROCEDURE: Please complete the request form (available at the door) and hand it to the Commission Clerk, as you enter the meeting. Thank you for helping us provide an orderly productive meeting. 3. Consent Agenda (Routine Matters) Mack McDonald, San Juan County Administrator
a. Meeting Minutes
b. Check Registers
c. County Seat Contract Ratification
d. Host Compliance, LLC Amendment (a.k.a Bear Cloud Software)
e. 2020 Census Boundary Approval
f. Beer License Renewal 4. Recognitions, Presentations and Informational Items:
a. Notice of Cancelation of March 3, 2020 Commission Meeting, Mack McDonald, San Juan County Administrator
B. Natural History Museum Utah Marker Location Support Letter, Natalie Randall, San Juan County Economic Development and Visitor Services Director
C. Proposed Revisions to Grazing Provisions Support Letter, Nick Sandberg, San Juan County Planning
D. Goosenecks State Park Campground and Trail System Support Letter to BLM, Nick Sandberg, San Juan County Planning 5. Business/Action
a. Bluff Interlocal Agreement, Mack McDonald, San Juan County Administrator
b. TB Prevention and Control Agreement, Kirk Benge, San Juan County Public Health Director
c. AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING THE RULES, PROCEDURES, AND BYLAWS FOR THE SAN JUAN COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION. Walter Bird, San Juan County Planning and Zoning Director
d. Planning Commission Recommended Revised San Juan County Spanish Valley Zoning Map, Walter Bird, San Juan County Planning and Zoning Director
e. Spanish Valley Special Service District Loan, Mack McDonald, San Juan County Administrator
f. West Mountain Irrigation Company request for support regarding the West Mountain Irrigation Companys application to the U.S. Forest Service for a Special Use Permit allowing the Company to maintain and protect the final steep one-mile section of the Allen Canyon Access Road (FS Road 5215) and Letter Approval, Mack McDonald, San Juan County Administrator
g. A RESOLUTION ENCOURAGING THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT (BLM) AND FOREST SERVICES CONTINUED PROTECTIONS AGAINST MINERAL DEVELOPMENT AND LEASING IN AREAS THAT WERE TAKEN OUT OF BEARS EARS NATIONAL MONUMENT. Mack McDonald, San Juan County Administrator
h. AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING AN UPDATED SAN JUAN COUNTY PURCHASING POLICY Mack McDonald, San Juan County Administrator
i. AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE SAN JUAN COUNTY PERSONNEL POLICY SECTION 11, REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSE RELATED TO TRAVEL, TRAVEL EXPENSES, USE OF PERSONAL VEHICLES, USE OF COUNTY VEHICLES, LODGING, PER DIEM AND ADVANCE PAYMENTS BY THE ENTITLED BOARD OF SAN JUAN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS Mack McDonald, San Juan County Administrator. 6. Public Lands Updates, Nick Sandberg, San Juan County Planning 7. Commissioner Comments
===========================

Who's Reading Bear Essentials?  An Observation and Question

Bear Essentials has been published for nearly four years now, with 26,769 hits, or readers who take time to read at least a few articles and follow the links. That isn't an overwhelming amount in the world of sensationalized mass media, but at least enough that it's worth rounding up the news that impacts San Juan County every week or two.   

I've noticed on the stats map, however, that usually page visitors come only from the United States.  However, any time  I post anything related to Uranium, the stats map lights up world-wide.  A few weeks ago when I ran on article on Energy Fuels and the White Mesa Mill,  these stats accumulated showing what countries readers came from that particular day. Note that there were twice as many hits from Russia, as from the United States.   Why??


Russia
50
United States
25
France
15
Philippines
3
Unknown Region
2
Ukraine
2
India
1
Netherlands
1
Pakistan
1
Sweden
1


Why would nations worldwide care about our little town, and the fact that we support the only Uranium processing plant in the Nation?     Russian Tolling Farms are one possibility:     Not only fuel for thought, but fuel for the future?  

~~ Federal Agencies Sign Management Plan for Bears Ears National Monument

Lance Porter: "Existing 2008 Resource Management Plan continues to provide the appropriate framework to manage the public lands.  Livestock grazing was outlined in the proclamation that created Bears Ears and grazing will continue. Porter said that several specific areas in Butler, Comb, and Arch canyons will be unavailable to grazing.

The plans specifically prohibit commercial logging on BLM-administered lands. Forest Service-administered lands will also be unsuitable for timber production within the monument. The plan allows the option to use a variety of vegetation treatment tools, but the BLM shared that no chaining has occurred in more than 30 years and none is likely to occur except under very unusual circumstances.

The BLM states that any vegetation treatments within the monument would use the least impactful method as possible. Popular local uses, such as firewood collection, grazing, and Native American traditional and ceremonial uses will continue to take place.  


~~ Senate Acquits Trump: Mitt Romney's Loyalty Questioned: Censor resolution

The sponsor of the censure resolution, Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, said he didn’t want Utah’s relationship with Trump to be “damaged by the actions of Sen. Romney.” Lyman attended the House leadership meeting with Romney. “I wanted to send a message that Utah supports President Trump,” Lyman said. “I didn’t want that message to be lost.”
In an earlier Des. News article: Mike Lee, senior senator from Utah explained how "an aggressively deteriorating balance of power and the creation of what he called a “4th branch” of unaccountable bureaucrats has led to the partisan rancor fueling the impeachment by the House.". . ."Lee began his speech defining the constitutional powers of the separate branches of government and invoked the federalism debate to argue that power has been taken from American people and centralized in the executive branch.  Trump is “a serious threat,” Lee said, to those that have been empowered by this phenomenon, alluding to what he has previously described as a “deep state.”    Related Article Contrasting Senator Lee and Sen. Romney

~~ Reflections on State of the Union Speech

"President Washington himself declared of partisan politics, “One of the expedients of a [political] party is to acquire influence within particular districts, to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.”

Fact Checking Trump's Claims

~~ Plusses and Pitfalls of Change in San Juan County


"A Word to the Exhausted Majority
The fact is that the rolling Bears Ears controversy has, among other things, enormously complicated the normal operation of local government in San Juan County. This is clear in Bluff’s absurd new town boundaries, in the “Make It Monumental” controversy, and, yes, in the school board’s struggle to find a sound basis from which to set tax-subsidy policy. Current conditions are unfair both to local government actors and also to the private parties impacted by policy-making dilemma and paralysis." Stacy Young  Read more

~~ Bluff, the Epicenter of Change in the New West?


By Bill Keshlear

Larry Echo Hawk, who serves as an advisor to Herbert, and Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, presented a $500,000 funding request to a House appropriations subcommittee.

Recap of  Westwater's  50 year History of Progress: (Written 2010)

"Over the past fifty years Blanding City has participated in many meetings and invested hundreds of hours to identify resources and    to    rally support   to    develop     suitable   housing   and utilities   for   Westwater   residents.   Because   of   the   costly   engineering   needed   to   adapt   the   Westwater terrain   for   this   purpose,   initial   efforts   focused   on   finding   alternative   building   sites   to   which   Westwater residents   could   move.

 Previous activities: "In the mid-1960s community leaders initiated a program to alleviate poverty. Many meetings were held with active Westwater       community              participation. .              One outcome of these efforts was the building of  at least fifteen USDA financed subsidized homes. This program effort lasted two and a half years.  

--In 1968 a Work Incentive Program (WIN) was initiated through Work Force Services and over the next two and a half years ,   approximately   fifteen   additional   homes   were  constructed   in     collaboration  with    UNDC.   (Utah   Navajo   Development    Council)
--In 1971 what became the Utah Navajo Trust  Fund  (UNTF)   entered   the   equation   and   over  the next    decade   about  35   more   subsidized   homes  were  constructed   and   again   financed  by  USDA. These  combined   early   efforts   resulted   in  well  over  50   subsidized  homes  being  built." 

--" In 1997, working  with  UNTF  and  Blue  Mountain  Diné, the   City  annexed  the   area  by the  Chapter  house   (on  the   east  side  of   town)  as  part  of  a    Planned   Unit  Development (PUD). This  was  a  Zion Bank issued  tax  credit project  constructed  through  Gaddis  Investments  as   a   501 C 3  with  a  UNTF management   contract. The   project  consists  of  20 homes  that  can  still  be   rented   at   a  subsidy – based  on   family  size   and   income.

--This    project   specifically   targeted   Westwater   residents, who   wanted  to   move   into   town   to   take advantage    of    modern   conveniences.   Additionally,  four   multi-family   subsidized   units   have  been developed:  Kigalia I,  Kigalia II,  Juniper  Village,  and   Baus            Butte,   to   serve    our   community   at   large. 

--After  over  forty  years   of    trying   to   solve   the   housing   needs    of   Westwater   residents   within   the  Blanding    community,  it   was   evident   that   some    still   preferred   a   solution   on  the  Navajo   Nation’s 120 acres   across  the   canyon  from    the   City.   In  2004   the    City  and   County   collaborated   to   create   a   plan   that   would   extend  Center   Street   across   Westwater  Canyon   with   City   utilities   delivered  to   Westwater."


~~   Governor   Prioritizes  Plan   to   Bring   Water  and    Power  to   Westwater.  



~~   Leland  Pollock, Black  Hat  Sagebrush  Rebel             by  Majorie Haum


~~  Federal   Agencies  Sign Off    Management    Plan   for   Bears   Ears   Monument


~~ Trump  Moves  Ahead  on  Shrinking  Utah  National  Monuments







~~   Energy  Fuels   Lays  of   30% of  Workers  Nation wide --   White  Mesa   Mill  only  had a 12%  Reduction  

~~ New  Expert   on   Sage Grouse  in   the    American  West

~~  Ozone  Pollution  Levels  High  in  Some   National  Parks





Thursday, January 23, 2020

Campaigns and Candidates Active ~~ January 23/2020

No Rest in the West


Kelly Pehrson Serving as Interim State Agriculture/Food Commission  

Former State Ag Commissioner Running For Dist. 1 Congressman


Kelly Pehrson wrote: "One of the ways we can help [protect Rural America] is to make sure good people get put in Congress. Kerry Gibson is running in District 1 in Utah, Rob Bishop's seat. I know that is not San Juan County’s district but he can help more than you know. Some of you may remember him, he spoke at the Bears Ears rally we had at the courthouse just after Pres. Obama declared it in 2016. He loves rural Utah. He loves San Juan County. He will fight for us. He has been my boss the last 9 months as the Commissioner of Agriculture and Food. He has been a legislator, Weber County Commissioner, 3rd generation dairy farmer, and a strong advocate for rural issues. He could use some donations to help him win the election. His website is GibsonforCongress.com. " 

~~

Thank you to all who talked the talk, and then walked the walk!!  

State Representative Explains Problems with Utah's Recently Passed Tax Law

San Juan county pays the highest taxes, yet has the highest percent of uninsured people in the state, at 17%.  The highest county per capita personal income in the State was Summit County (Park City) with a high of $131,606, Grand county per capita income was $50,010, second highest! yet substantially behind Summit county! San Juan's average income in 2018 was at the very bottom of all counties, at $26,638. Our county residents can't afford to pay more taxes. (Information on 2020 Economic Report to the Governor. p. 43.)

Shannon Brooks and Rep. Phil Lyman add their signatures to the growing list of
Utah Citizens upset with taxation ad infinitum enacted with little regard for 
rural Utah and lower income citizenry. 

  Utah County Law Firm Takes on SJ County Clerk's Case

"The case was referred to Grand County for investigation. Then-Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald ultimately declined to prosecute. Fitzgerald said that no criminal statute or election code directly applied to the incident. The attorney believed the issue to be more with a lack of professional knowledge than ill-intent on the part of the clerk.the case was referred to Grand County for investigation. Then-Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald ultimately declined to prosecute. Fitzgerald said that no criminal statute or election code directly applied to the incident. The attorney believed the issue to be more with a lack of professional knowledge than ill-intent on the part of the clerk."













~~ Snow Pack in SE Utah at 190% of Normal

~~ First Nations Chief Blasts 'Condescending' UN Anti-racism Directive Calling for Pipeline Closure

~~ Exploring Nuclear Energy Makes Sense for South Utah Cities

~~ Rich States vs Poor States  Utah Ranks 5th

~~ Texas, World's 3rd Largest Producer of Oil

"The United States is pumping more oil than ever before, making it less reliant on the turbulent Middle East for imports."

~~ A Bit of Satire Concerning the Aftermath of David's Choice of Weapons


~~ Crime Down 91% in Yuma Because of Border Fence


~~ Training in Blanding Sat. Jan. 25 on Off Road Protection and Education

    Banding in Blanding! 
      120 W. Center Slavens Castle House -- 9 AM.    30 min-1 hr.



~~ Sand Flats Area Near Moab Considered for Oil and Gas Lease.


~~ Organizer of State Tax Referendum Drive Optimistic that it will Make the Ballot

"The legislation, opposed by Democrats in the Legislature and enough Republicans that it fell short of the two-thirds majorities needed in the House and Senate to prevent a referendum, raises state sales taxes on food from the current 1.75% to the full 4.85% state rate, and adds sales taxes to wholesale gas prices as well as some services." Des. News Jan. 21.

~~ Top Six Oil Producing States

"In 2019 Investopedia states: "1. The United States is the top oil-producing country in the world, with an average of 17.87 million b/d, which accounts for 18% of the world's production. This is up from the 15.6 million b/d in 2017. The U.S. has held the top spot for the past six years.

The U.S. overtook Russia in 2012 for the No. 2 spot and surpassed former leader Saudi Arabia in 2013 to become the world's top oil producer. Much of the increased U.S. production is attributable to fracking in the shale formations in Texas and North Dakota. The U.S. has been a net exporter of oil (i.e., exports exceed imports) since early 2011. " It didn't break it down into how much is produced per state.














~~White Mesa Mill Lays off 30% of Their Workers 

Rep. John Curtis stated, "“This mill has provided families with good incomes and generated tax dollars to help the local infrastructure… Rural Utahns deserve the same quality of life that their urban friends have, including access to broadband, quality medical care, and good paying jobs. I will continue to work in Congress to bring these vital services to rural Utah. While it has been a difficult week for many in San Juan County, I know the community will be resilient and persevere.”

~~ Media Manipulation of Washington State Representative Matt Shea


~~ How Off-Road Trails Get Designated --- or Not!


~~  Moab Groups Campaign to Oust BLM Director Pendley

"Pendley’s tenure at the department has been controversial in the west, where he has long been known for campaigning against the federal control of public lands as an attorney and the president of the board of directors for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a “non-profit, public interest law firm, focused on defending the constitution, protecting property rights, and advancing economic liberty,” according to its website."

~~UN's Plan for "Climate Refugees!  

Thursday, January 16, 2020

January Chill Brings Changes, Chagrin, and Citizen Action




News in the West

~~ Bluff Balloon Festival | Jan. 17 - 19 starting at 7:00 AM

Learn more about this Gov. Candidate by attending this meeting

~~ Diné turning Hogans into Cash on Airbnb

      (Be sure to read the comments after the article.  Many Dine' have concerns about this; similar to the concerns about tourists tramping all over "sacred" lands in Bears Ears landscapes.)

~~ Is Renewable Energy Viable or Dammed?  High Country News


Utah's Unpopular Tax Bill Facing Possibility of Referendum vote: 
Have you signed?   14 counties have secured with enough signatures, but the combined effort must reach  116,000 signatures statewide.  To Sign: contact Logan Monson in Blanding, Kim Henderson in Monticello, Kelly and Cricket Green in La Sal, and Cassie Patterson in Moab.















~~ Salt Lake Trib. via Zac Podmore Attacks Sutherland Institute The lack of balance in Podmore's reporting results in lopsided news, i.e. fake news. No listing included in the article of " Non-profits" and foundations who dump tens of thousands into support FOR Bears Ears enlarged. One such donor is the Wyss Foundation: 


Canyon Zephyr editor, Jim Stiles noted: "I've been perusing Guidestar this afternoon, looking at non-profits like the "Conservation Lands Foundation," whose chair is Mr Wyss...CLF gave $130,000 to Utah Dine' Bikeyah in 2018. And another $100,000 to Friends of Cedar Mesa. Mr.Podmore surely knows this because until recently his wife was assistant director of FCM. Cold scrutiny of groups like Sutherland is fair and necessary. But The Tribune KNOWS what resides on the other side of the coin, and so surely does Podmore. And they say nothing. Yet Podmore wasn't always like this. In an email to me three years ago, Podmore wrote, ""You make the best case against alliances between conservationists and the recreation industry that I've heard in a while. I agree with you. Silence about the destructive nature of industrial tourism is poisoning greater conservation movement, and like you've written time and again, it often threatens wild places more than extractive industry." I agree. "Silence is poisoning the greater environmental movement."

~~ Bad Forest management, Cause of California Fires

~~ Native Tribes Impacted Negatively Because of Kayenta Coal Mine Closure

~~  The Temper Tantrum that Never Ends: Environmentalists Using Tribes 

~~ Natural Resources Chair, Grijalva Opposes BLM Move to Colorado -- "because it's Racist" 

~~ The Irony of Wind Turbine Blades;  They take forever to Disintegrate


~~ Pork IndustryTakes Issue with Impossible Sausage Labeling

~~ Who Cares About Protecting US Citizens! Trump's Border Wall Compromises Fish!    More Non-human Rights Protection: High Country News

~~ Borden Dairy Co, Files for Bankruptcy.  "Borden Dairy Co., which was founded in 1857, announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of Delaware. This comes not long after Dean Foods announced it was filing for bankruptcy in November.. . ."