Tag Archives: New Mexico

Herping: A Nature Activity That’s Tipping the “Scales”


Herping: A Nature Activity That’s Tipping the “Scales”

by Amy Lignor


There are a million lists put out daily, it seems, that tell you all about the most popular sports, hobbies and activities in the U.S. Well, there just so happens to be one that’s climbing up the charts, tipping the scales (literally) when it comes to finding, photographing and spending time with a creature of nature. Move over birdwatchers, THIS is herping.


reptiles, amphibians, herpetologists, New Mexico, Florida, discover, hobbies, tips & info, herping
Green anoles mating

There are even herping shows for herping enthusiasts being held more and more across the U.S., where any and all can attend the event to see the largest variety of reptiles and amphibians in one place at one time. There are actual laws in place where this hobby is concerned as well, and even lists and documents about how to be a herper, where to go, and how much fun you will have.


First, it’s important to note that when it comes to choosing herping as your outdoor activity, the habitat of these particular animals tends to be fragile. In fact, many things that humans can do that seem to be of no danger whatsoever to other species can be detrimental to these creatures. Depending on where you choose to travel to practice herping, conditions do change. Cold winters are a poor time to ever try herping, considering that a high percentage of these creatures are dormant when the snow flies. And when it comes to the weather, especially if the Southwest is your choice of where to herp, rain, or lack of it, definitely affects the activity of these desert animals. The phase of the moon also changes when and where to herp because these nocturnal species can be influenced highly by a half or full moon.


When it comes to photographing these creatures, state parks can be the greatest places to do so. There, you can find extremely hard to locate reptiles in their own habitats. Unfortunately, if you are driving through those parks at night, very slowly, you can be suspected of illegally collecting the animals for captivity. But if you tell the personnel at the park what you want to do, chances are they will simply allow you to take your pictures.


If looking for the best two states for herping, New Mexico is one and Florida is the other. When it comes to Florida, herping enthusiasts have everything to choose from: the Sweet lands, the Keys and the Florida Everglades.


The Everglades is a whole lot of fun to spot reptiles and amphibians, especially when you consider that through the Glades run two main roads, Alligator Alley and the Tamiami Trail. There is both good and bad brought by these roads. Once easy to cruise, they are now known for heavy traffic that continues to take a toll on all wildlife attempting to cross them. But when it comes to the outer fringes of the roads, everything from water snakes to racers to the coolest reptile you can think of can be spotted. And the road SR 9336 is perfect to drive at night during the warmer months to spot mud turtles, corn snakes, eastern diamondbacks, as well as Burmese pythons. Just watch out for those water moccasins which may be waiting in that tall grass.


In New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment offers over 120 species of reptiles and amphibians. Among this number is four species of horned lizards and over 45 snakes. Herping is absolutely free and is extremely stunning in this desert paradise. From spotting the bright green and yellow collared lizard sunning itself on a fence to perhaps (if you’re lucky) sighting that Gila monster traveling along the desert trail (don’t touch, by the way), you have a ton of chances to see the coolest of the cool.


You know it’s an activity that’s growing exponentially when you note that there is an association representing herping called, The North American Field Herping Association. Dedicated to bringing together amateur, private and professional herpetologists from Canada, the United States and Mexico, they strive to educate one and all on how best to conserve and manage native North American reptiles and amphibians.


In other words, jump on the herping bandwagon now and hit the most awesome trails in America.


Image Source

Source:  Baret News

While Chasing the Red, White & Blue You Can Chase Aliens Too!


While Chasing the Red, White & Blue You Can Chase Aliens Too!

by Amy Lignor


There are moments in history that made various locations memorable, for one reason or another. And in a small town, in the blistering heat of New Mexico, one incident – THE incident, if you will – occurred in 1947 and changed that small town into a
July 1947, Roswell, New Mexico, UFO Festival, Don Burleson, Larry Holcombe, Stanton Friedman, cover-up, the place to bestrange little mecca. This incident still brings thousands of visitors every year to “see” if friends of the ones who crashed there in 1947, will somehow pick the July 4th weekend to come back and claim their missing…relatives?

Yes, it was night. Out in the desert, it’s more than dark. Yet one evening in July, 1947, a part of the sky lit up like a heavenly beam was cast upon the Earth for a split second. Then…the mystery began. An object no one could ever quite put their finger on crash landed on a ranch located thirty miles north of tiny Roswell, New Mexico.


The Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) issued a statement (without thinking…or had they planned it all along?) claiming to have recovered a “flying disk.” An article ran on the front page of the Roswell Daily Record, and the very next day, RAAF reversed its statement. They said no “flying disk” had crashed, it was nothing more than a weather balloon, they said. Therefore…move along, folks. Nothin to see here.


Well, as we all know, that revised statement made another bright light appear in a great many peoples’ imaginations. There was somethin to see there, they thought, believing that a cover-up of presidential proportions was being made in regards to Roswell, New Mexico. And this incident, this one moment in time, has continued to be a topic of heated controversy and debate more than 60 years later.


Now…each year there are more and more speakers who come to the UFO Festival in Roswell (June 30th – July 3rd), and with each year, these speakers bring new facts to light regarding the “truth.” There was a UFO crash, they say, and there were small ‘creatures’ that needed to be covered-up and transported out of Roswell as fast as possible.


This weekend the UFO Festival is busy. Thousands have come to town in order to get in on an alien costume festival, an alien chase that brings in thousands of attendees, as well as a full schedule of speakers offering ‘new data’ being released about an incident that is not leaving imaginations anytime soon.


All year in the town of Roswell hotels have been built for the many that have been booking since last year to make sure they do not miss any “new” news. New restaurants, new vendors, a slew of entertainment acts – people have flocked this weekend to Roswell, enthusiasts as well as skeptics, in order to join in on the celebration of one of the most well-known incidents in the history of the world.


Among the authors and speakers are Don Burleson, who will be discussing “Alien DNA: Some Reasonable Conjectures;” Yvonne Smith, speaking about UFO Abduction Experiences; as well as an entire panel who will each address their own personal abduction experiences and the information/data they have attained over time.


Larry Holcombe will talk about, “The Presidents and UFOs,” offering up new evidence that supports Roswell as being an Extraterrestrial Event that the inner core of Washington, D.C. knew about back in the 1940’s. Ken Johnston will speak about the Moon Apollo Archives, and Stanton Friedman will “Debunk the UFO Debunkers.”


Every detail of the Roswell cover-up will be discussed, and the list of fun activities for children and adults is never-ending. Foods, crafts, collectibles, UFO books and items – the list goes on forever as to what very cool gifts and information can be attained in Roswell, NM over the weekend. So while you’re considering where the best place would be to watch an amazing fireworks show, take into consideration the “one” place on the planet where you can see the lights while chasing those hard-to-get aliens from outer space.

July 1947, Roswell, New Mexico, UFO Festival, Don Burleson, Larry Holcombe, Stanton Friedman, cover-up, the place to be

Source:  Baret News

A Canine Debate Turns into a War


A Canine Debate Turns into a War

by Amy Lignor


New Mexico was heralded (not too long ago, by the way) when they chose to reintroduce the wolf into the wild. Fans of the wolf, and everyone from U.S. Fish & Wildlife to the WWF chimed in with praise when it came to helping a species that was once being helped in the Rocky Mountains, only to end up being marked for death once again. But now, New Mexico is at the top of the list when it comes to anger and backlash.


Mexican grey wold, Guardian, trapping, ill-managed government, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New MexicoIn January, The Center for Biological Diversity reported that only 97 wolves were counted in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, down from the previous year’s total of 110. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like much to some, but keep reading. Michael Robinson of the Center stated that Mexican wolves were “unfairly penalized because ranchers are not required to eliminate the lure of carrion.” And now, what’s worse, is that the feds have gone and green-lighted wolf trapping in New Mexico


It is in Silver City, N.M., where an endangered Mexican gray wolf roaming the Gila National Forest has been ordered to be removed from the wild; punishment for killing cattle. This is one of, if not the last – I’ll repeat, last – alpha male of the Luna pack. Removing this two-year-old alpha male would further reduce the already barely discernable wolf population. It also turns out that this alpha wolf has a mate who may be pregnant, which is yet another reason the wolf should be left alone and allowed to stay in the wild and “help raise his pups.”

In essence, because of a completely ill-managed government, the Mexican wolf is racing to extinction instead of recovery. The government’s answer to this? The same ridiculousness as always. Trapping is to commence after the wolf’s mate heads into a den to give birth, or after May 15, which is the last possible date for whelping (giving birth), in order to avoid bringing any harm to her. But with the data already known, even with humans feeding the female, pups born will be less likely to survive if the father is removed.


Known by the government as M1396, the alpha male’s name is Guardian. He originated in the Fox Mountain pack – a pack that has suffered continuously from government trapping, including Guardian’s own brother and the pack’s alpha female back in 2012. (The female died just recently after years of poor captivity.)


The reason for what looks to be Guardian’s ultimate demise is that he and his mate were drawn to cattle by the remains of cows. These already dead cows did not die because of wolf attacks, however, they died from other causes. Going against the recommendations of scientists, and doing a complete 360 when it comes to upholding the regulation set in place to successfully reintroduce the wolf into the wild, owners of livestock in the Southwest are NOT required to prevent wolf scavenging by removing the carcasses of non-wolf-killed animals.


New Mexico officials did notify the federal government last week that they will bring a lawsuit to block the planned release of more Mexican gray wolves without the state’s approval. The state department last year denied the federal agency’s application to release wolves into the wild. But the Fish and Wildlife Service announced it planned to release a pack of wolves this year.


Between the state department, the feds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the ranchers who want to trap or “point and shoot” to get the wolves off their land, the Mexican gray wolf is now worse off than ever before. This canine debate now seems to include all people from every organization – some that have lobbyists on Capitol Hill working for their own benefits. Strange thing is…as these departments of power fight and haggle, the wolf is being overlooked completely. In the end, while everyone fights their war, a female wolf will lose her mate and watch her pups most likely die after their father is taken away for no good reason.


If you roll your eyes at that statement, just change the word “wolf” to “child” and you’ll (hopefully) get the point.

Source:  Baret News

The Need for “Smokey” is on HIGH


The Need for “Smokey” is on HIGH

by Amy Lignor


It was an American black bear cub that became the beloved and well-known icon, Smokey the Bear. Caught in what became the horrific Capitan Gap fire of 1950, the cub was in line to lose his life at the hands of a wildfire Smokey the Bear, Capitan Gap fire of 1950, New Mexico, wildfires, United States Forest Servicethat burned 17,000 acres in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. Smokey not only became an adorable icon, but he also spoke the necessary words that it seems some people have forgotten.


Yes, it is quite true that there are controlled burns put on by state governments. These controlled burns are categorized as “good” fire ecology that actually help nurture the land and regrow crops and forestry. Another category is “natural” wildfires set by fierce storms and lightning bolts. But when it comes to the care human beings take to prevent wildfires, knowledge of the rules has become lax.


Less than one year ago, a recorded $243 million dollars was spent in only one state (Washington), in only one week, to battle two massive wildfire that had gone astray. In just the beginning of this month, New Mexico has seen two extremely large fires that took days to stop. With the dangerous recipe of low moisture, persistent drought, high winds and warm weather, fire officials have elevated the fire danger. Even Smokey Bear’s district is experiencing constant conditions that warrant the “HIGH” rating.


When it comes to the future outlook for 2016 (April-July), significant wildland fires are forecasted everywhere from the southern Plains to the Upper Midwest; the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina; and even going so far as the Hawaiian Islands and south central Alaska, which are now both rated in the “HIGH” danger forecast.


The United States Forest Service’s most recent study of fires shows how frequent and absolutely avoidable fires can be. More than 75,000 wildfires are reported in the United States on an annual basis, burning an average of over seven million acres a year. Every state has its own risk and yet still, after all this time, 9 out of 10 wildfires are still being caused by humans.


Improperly doused or misplaced fires are one of the leading causes, but the ways to stop them from ever occurring are quite easy. Before starting a fire, make sure you check your area’s surroundings so that conditions are secure for an open flame. Campfires should be surrounded by rocks or stones and be located a minimum of 10 feet away from any combustible materials while burning firewood and no other substances. It is also an absolute must to keep a shovel and supply of water nearby to completely extinguish the flame with sufficient water and then cover it with dirt before walking away.


Fireworks are also a big cause of a wildfire beginning and racing out of control. Before using any type of firework, and laws are different in every state and county on what you are legally allowed to use, always remember that fireworks in any forested area is unlawful. Celebrating the 4th can only be done on flat surfaces that are absent of any and all grasses or trees.


Every homeowner wishes to keep their homes neat and clean. Yet, by not following the facts Smokey gave, the danger of yard waste burning has grown higher with each year. An easier solution would be to bag and haul waste to the landfill. Winds can quite easily turn a yard waste burning into a day where you and perhaps your neighbors lose their entire homes.


And when it comes to the smokers out there, always remember to dispose of the still-flaming cigarettes into a non-dangerous spot where fires cannot be started. Make sure to look down; throwing cigarettes into a pile of dry leaves is a huge no. Ashtrays were made for a reason; throwing a cigarette out of a car window should never be done.


In other words, keeping the planet clean and safe is all about the people making wiser choices. Since the world seems to be forgetting that lovable black bear, it is time to re-educate ourselves on exactly what Smokey has to say.

Source:  Baret News

Without Stewart…The News (And Laughter) Must Go On


Without Stewart…The News (And Laughter) Must Go On

by Amy Lignor


Yes, Comedy Central is still a fine station. “The Daily Show…” is also okay. Trevor Noah, the new host of the show, is trying his absolute best. But, let’s face it, asking Noah or anyone else to do the job is like asking that ridiculous comedian to truly BE Colonel Sanders and understand the concept of why Kentucky Fried Chicken seriously rules!

It is heartbreaking not seeing Jon Stewart’s requisite “quilt of looks” as he tells the rest of us the dumbest – yet truest news each and every day. His laughter as he brought the headlines to our attention is greatly missed. But…it is a fact that when it comes to news, the dumbest of the dumb must still be shared. (Just imagine Stewart’s grin while reading)


For those who are unaware, the large state of New Mexico has had some interesting news in the last couple of weeks. First, a van was transporting five inmates between jails that are 170 miles apart. The story is a bit fuzzy but, supposedly, the police stopped to get gas or something at a mini-mart, and when they reached their destination 170 miles later they found out that only three inmates were still on board. Thankfully, the bad guys got re-caught, but…did the cops include themselves when they did the count, or is five just a really high number in the dry, lonely desert? Hmmm.


One other New Mexico tidbit comes from Roswell AND has to do with a UFO. The silver decorative UFO that was attached to the side of the Roswell UFO Museum was taken down for repairs after a strange and hardly-ever-seen snowstorm hit the town and damaged it this past winter. The UFO was in the back of the building under an awning being repaired when three men pulled up, lifted the UFO, put it in the back of their truck and drove away. The UFO was found shattered into pieces along a main highway the next day. No arrests have been made. The perpetrators and their crime was caught by a trusty security camera. Is it important to say that the actual police department is just a couple of feet away across the road? Probably not.


More fun headlines are out there. News comes in the form of a Mascot party held in University City at the Palestra; the University of Pennsylvania. Really furry friends, this includes the NBC10 (local) Peacock, broke out their dance moves to break a Guinness World Record. Great video is available and money was raised for childhood cancer.


In Suffolk County, New York, Girl Scouts proved to one and all that they were the “smart cookies” when it came to selling those thin mints that everyone loves. They took a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio who was eating Trefoils at the Oscar ceremony and made it into a poster to attract more customers. Talk about star power, these scouts proved they will one day leave their badges behind and be entrepreneurs on “Shark Tank.”


In Arizona, there is a sign on the road from Nogales to Tucson that lists miles to go in kilometers, just to make all those students (including me) who despised the metric system in high school must do math while driving. When you think about signs that should be changed, however, the worst are those found all across the country where someone had no idea how to spell the word: SCHOOL. Look them up. Everything from SKOOL to SCOOL to SCHOL has been painted on America’s roads…which is actually far more scary than funny.


In North Carolina a man was arrested for not returning a VHS tape that he’d obviously really loved, considering he’d had it for the past fourteen years. Police pulled his car over for a busted taillight and when the officers pulled up his license they found the warrant issued in 2002. The charge? Failure to return hired property. No movie is worth all this silliness.


And let’s not forget a past headline featuring an alligator that was thrown through a drive-up window in Florida. Gator is fine, thankfully. But not only must you feel upset for the poor gator because he probably thought his loved ones had become part of the menu, but also because he had to be in a fast food joint smelling that crap instead of having a lovely jungle dinner with his female counterpart.

Girl Scouts, Arizona, North Carolina
Television host Jon Stewart reacts during a taping of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” in New York, on Wednesday Nov. 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Brad Barket)

With all the tragedy in this world today, it is becoming clearer that Jon Stewart’s ability and talent to make us all laugh was and is necessary. Humor has a way of making the brighter spots in life rise above the hideous crimes people are choosing to commit in this day and age. So, as the politics and painful news continues, here’s some advice. Take a moment to laugh at least once a day. We all need it.


Source:  Baret News

Beauty Takes to the Skies at the International Balloon Festival


Beauty Takes to the Skies at the International Balloon Festival

~ by Amy Lignor


The World’s Premiere Hot Air Balloon Event is gearing up in Albuquerque once again, and the news for this global occasion (October 3rd-11th) is everywhere. People from all corners of the world are already setting up at the place: “Where Dreams Take Flight.”

No, this is not a New Mexico event, although the culture, beauty and history of the area is a part of the Fiesta. For those who have not yet attended this unforgettable annual meet, it will be interesting to learn that this actually started out as a far smaller Balloon Fiesta back in 1972. What began as a simple conversation to highlight the 50th birthday celebration of a local radio show, grew into an event that all cultures, communities and countries rush to attend.

Hot Air Balloons, Albuquerque, New Mexico, "Where Dreams Take Flight", Fiesta, Mass Ascension, Balloon Rides

Up until this point in time, the largest gathering of hot air balloons ever seen in the world had been only nineteen in England. Bad weather, unfortunately, turned the first Fiesta’s twenty-one scheduled balloons into a gathering of only thirteen, not beating the record. But here is where balloonists competed in races. Balloons with the likeness of the Warner Bros. character, the “coyote” competed against each other, with the one coyote that landed closest to the Roadrunner coming away the winner. Don Piccard, a name that is literally a dynasty when it comes to aviation, won that first race back in 1972. Today, however, the Fiesta has grown monumental. Not only are the coyote and the roadrunner still able to be seen, but every character you could possibly think of has joined them. From Darth Vader to Tweety, there are so many characters, shapes and colors of balloons that Albuquerque finds itself injected with a whole new energy.


The Mass Ascension is what boggles the mind, and can be seen on T.V. news programs everywhere you look. During the Mass Ascension, a launch of all the balloons attending create the most spectacular display of sound and color that the entire field of aviation has ever seen. Launching in two separate waves, the balloons lift into the sky at 7:00 AM, with one balloon flying the American flag while The Star Spangled Banner plays, in the lead.


There are many other things to behold during the events. The Special Shape Rodeo, which began in 1989, has become the most popular over time. These Special Shape Rodeo balloons launch in the afternoons and create not only huge crowds, but massive traffic jams. But it really doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in the car when you get to see these incredible creations decorate the world up above you. Twenty-eight shapes participated in the first event, but the Special Shape Rodeo has grown and grown each and every year, with a ridiculous 108 balloons in 1996 (expected this time around: 125). They also glow from the field in the evenings, moments that have earned the title: Special Shape Glowdeo. Just staring at these huge balloons glowing en mass is an experience that lives with you for all time. And above, after the skies have grown even darker, an after-glow fireworks show commences.


For those who want nothing more than to actually get in that basket and soar, the company Rainbow Ryders offers Official Balloon Rides for the Fiesta. As the official ride concession for this, the largest ballooning event in the world, they are the only authorized company to take off from Balloon Fiesta Park. But calling now and reserving a seat in your incredible balloon that should be done now. (First class seats to a world you have never seen before: www.rainbowryders.com).


People from all nations and backgrounds have already begun to assemble in Albuquerque, as well as the hundreds of artisans, musical guests, chefs supplying the absolute best in food, and the list goes on and on, are already setting up. So if you are among those that seek adventure; look for that ultimate excitement, the only “must” you have on your list is to attend the Fiesta. Watching these unforgettable balloons take flight, and even hitching a ride, cannot be found anywhere else on the planet!


For more information: http://www.balloonfiesta.com/#

Hot Air Balloons, Albuquerque, New Mexico, "Where Dreams Take Flight", Fiesta, Mass Ascension, Balloon Rides

Source:  Baret News

The Waters Run Dark for the Olympics


The Waters Run Dark for the Olympics

~ Amy Lignor


The argument between the EPA and various governing bodies from the state of Colorado to the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah – you name it – has been taking over the headlines. This came about because of an EPA project to open up an old gold mine in Colorado, releasing horrific water filled with leads and poisonous chemicals out into the creeks which now has the Animas River, as

An woman dropping her tea-cup in horror upon discovering the monstrous contents of a magnified drop of Thames water; revealing the impurity of London drinking water. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828.
An woman dropping her tea-cup in horror upon discovering the monstrous contents of a magnified drop of Thames water; revealing the impurity of London drinking water. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828.

well as many others in trouble, and the Native American community up in arms. This is one “dirty water” accident that will take who knows how long to clean up…even though the ones in “charge” stated at the beginning that it was basically not a problem and would be a “non-issue” in a jiffy.


Well, now, dirty water headlines are reaching even further. Although the debate regarding the water quality in Rio where the Olympics will be held next year, has been stated before, things have escalated. In fact, just this week, the head of swimming’s governing body said dirty water in Rio “is not a big problem.” Athletes even shrugged off the reality of competing in water that could make them extremely ill. Can’t blame the athletes, really. The Olympic dream is huge.


You can blame the International Olympic Committee that, at the beginning, was “shrugging off” the reality that the water in Rio is disgusting, and will make people sick. Now, the IOC said on Sunday that it will order testing for viruses that cause diseases in the sewage-polluted waters where athletes will compete. This is a change in their original statement, considering that before all this hubbub was raised, the Committee and the local Olympic organizers in Rio said they would test the waters, but only for bacteria. (Apparently, Brazil’s mandates regarding testing for water safety only require them to do that.)


From the Associated Press to the beloved Mike & Mike (sports program) running in the U.S. – where they actually challenged IOC Committee members to swim in the horrific water with their families, and send Mike & Mike pictures, because they wanted to see if they would do it – everyone is up in arms about this mess. High counts of viruses that are linked to human refuse were found in the waters of Rio where Olympic athletes will be competing. Thus, the Committee was basically told by the World Health Organization (WHO) that testing of the waters needed to be expanded to include much more than just bacteria testing. Viral testing is now necessary. It was the International Sailing Federation that first announced they would even do their own independent tests for viruses if the IOC did not comply. (They are still moving ahead with their own tests.)


The Associated Press did a five-month test that focused on the waters at each of the venues where athletes will have to have direct contact with substances that may hold very high levels of viruses from the sewage. After they were through with these initial tests, they could not find one – not even one – venue safe for swimming or boating. When you have findings that show any person, athlete or not, that ingests only three teaspoons of this water would have a 99% chance of being infected by a virus, then you know Rio is going to be under massive scrutiny; and should be.


It was already known that in Rio, a majority of sewage goes completely untended and ends up flowing down ditches and streams, carrying everything from the waste of households to dead animals into the Olympic waters.


This is an issue that could literally, if not corrected, cause many to boycott the games in order to keep their athletes healthy. Visitors will cancel trips, money will be lost… In other words, if Rio wants a success, they will have to put in the time and money necessary to make the waters clean.


cc.large Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London


Source:  Baret News Wire

Nature Takes a Hit From its Own Protectors


Nature Takes a Hit From its Own Protectors

~ Amy Lignor


The EPA makes mistakes? Don’t be silly… Oh, wait, what’s that people are seeing out their windows in Colorado and now New Mexico? It looks almost like the sun is setting over the river, sending a burning shade of orange onto the glassy water in the heat of…wait. That is the water?


Yup. People are looking out their windows and seeing what was once a river turned into a long swath of orange goo. It looks about as disgusting as any landscape (Chernobyl, anyone?) could get. However, there is an even worse part. The goo that is traveling around houses, through neighborhoods, and affecting farms just happens to contain poisons. Lead. Arsenic. You name it, it’s in there. And the EPA – the lovers and protectors of nature – can be blamed for every single drop.

Dan Bender, with the La Plata County Sheriff's Office, takes a water sample from the Animas River near Durango, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that a cleanup team was working with heavy equipment Wednesday to secure an entrance to the Gold King Mine. Workers instead released an estimated 1 million gallons of mine waste into Cement Creek, which flows into the Animas River. (Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald via AP)
Dan Bender, with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, takes a water sample from the Animas River near Durango, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that a cleanup team was working with heavy equipment Wednesday to secure an entrance to the Gold King Mine. Workers instead released an estimated 1 million gallons of mine waste into Cement Creek, which flows into the Animas River. (Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald via AP)

It all started in Denver, Colorado, when this first sight of disgusting, thick orange muck appeared from a million-gallon mine waste spill, which then headed down the river to quiet New Mexico. People and neighborhoods were told to take precautions BUT that there was no threat to drinking water whatsoever…yet. Downstream, other officials came out and said to completely avoid the Animas River (David Ostrander, Director of the EPA’s emergency response program/Denver.)


The EPA clean-up team was on-site at an old gold mine (Gold King Mine in SW Colorado) working to secure an entrance into the old site when their heavy equipment suddenly brought something else to light. A mine bulwark broke as they were working away and sent a huge torrent of waste downstream that raised the water level three feet in Cement Creek. An estimated 1 million gallons of mine waste was delivered into the creek that runs into the Animas River, which then continues to meet up with the San Juan River in New Mexico and the Colorado River in Utah.


It was initially said that the goo was acidic and could be a skin irritant, but then the EPA began its testing and found a list of harmful contaminants in the goo; from iron and copper to arsenic and more.


New Mexico’s Governor, Susana Martinez, said the EPA waited too long to tell her about the problem. Apparently she was not informed until almost a full 24-hours after the incident occurred. Health officials have warned those avid rafters out there that they need to avoid the water (this was not exactly listened to; Google will show you the rafters paddling around in a very gross orange river.)


Durango, Colorado, stopped pumping water out of the Animas River in order to avoid any of the awful waste ending up in the city reservoir, telling everyone, including pet owners and livestock owners to keep their animals out of the Animas until something can be figured out.


In Farmington, New Mexico (NW corner of the state), officials of the city stopped all water-supply intake pumps to avoid contamination and told citizens to stay far away from the river until the horrible color had passed. And although the EPA first stated there would be no harm to people seeing as that the waste was filled with only zinc and copper, it has turned out that the orange goo brings far more problems and a great deal more to worry about.


Fish have been contained in cages from the Animas River and will be monitored to see what any long-standing issues might be for surrounding wildlife. As far as human beings are concerned, this is a game of wait and see as the thick, disgusting orange river continues to flow.


Source:  Baret News

Steampunk Looking to Take Over the Retail World


Steampunk Looking to Take Over the Retail World

By Cindy Haynes


There is fashion that goes in and out of style depending on the decade, but “Steampunk” has hit the U.S.A. in the past year with a tremendous force. Whether this sudden love of steampunk fashion comes from being in a world where the Game of Thrones is ‘the’ show to watch, who Steampunk_outfit_maskknows? Perhaps it’s the world of science fiction that has come back so strongly, with Star Wars being the one thing that every person in the world is waiting impatiently to see this Christmas. Maybe it even comes from the dystopian age that’s taking over in literature (“The Maze Runner” trilogy which became bestsellers and went directly to the movies). But whatever it is, this style that is all-encompassing, including fantasy, technology, and designs inspired by 19th-century steam-powered machinery, is cropping up from NYC to L.A. to all places in between. Even the well-know, yet diminutive town, of Roswell, NM recently held their Cosmicon and the theme of the entire event was “Steampunk.”


For those who are unaware, steampunk came about from taking history and combining it with industrial technology. Take the Victorian era in Britain, the Wild West persona of America, and combine it with the industrial and artistic. (H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are two that wrote about this fashion and frame of mind better than anyone).


The Game of Thrones comes into play when talking about the elements of fantasy, history and horror, used to create the hybrid fashion.


Confused yet? Understood. Just walking down the streets of Roswell this past July 4th weekend, the steampunk fashions were more than interesting to admire. There are no set guidelines to what some would consider costumes, yet are used as everyday clothing by the steampunk lovers. Modern clothing is simply altered, adding Victorian bustles, corsets, and petticoats; to suits with waistcoats or top hats for the males. There is always at least one period piece in the ensemble whether choosing a big, bold pocket watch or perhaps aviator goggles. And, of course, even with the ‘past’ there is no eliminating the ‘must-have’ accessory. Cell phones are incorporated into any steampunk fashion, although they are dressed up to match the rest of the outfit, appearing as Victorian-made objects. There were even those in Roswell who added post-apocalyptic elements, such as gas masks, to their creations.


Aristocratic, romantic, apocalyptic, industrial clothing… There’s a mouthful.


You may think (wish or hope) that steampunk fashion will go out of style as quickly as it has come in. But steampunk clothing companies are actually in existence: “Kato” was the first. And predictions in 2013, were (with sources being social media, blogs, and general news), that steampunk would actually become a major trend that would take over all facets of the retail industry completely. Were the predictors right? Fact: Prada, Chanel, Dior, and other large fashion names, have introduced steampunk styles of their own.

Seems that America will be taking avant-garde to a whole new level, as the Steampunk culture takes over and proves that it is most definitely here to stay.

fashion, Steampunk, U.S.A, Style, steam-powered machinery, The Game of Thrones, Roswell, New Mexico, Kato, American culture


Source:  Baret News Wire

Little Green Men Aren’t the Only Things Calling YOU!

Little Green Men Aren’t the Only Things Calling YOU!

~Samantha Lewis

Roswell, NM – the home of the little green men. Right? Yes. But that is most definitely not the whole picture when it comes to this incredible area that works extremely hard to conserve wetlands, protect wildlife, and allow families to have a whole lot of fun.


images (2)The name is Bitter Lake. And although the title may sound a bit on the ‘sinister’ side, the Bitter Lake National Refuge located in Roswell, NM is one of the most amazing places a person can visit. Not only can people see and fall in love with the area, but dogs can also explore with their masters and mistresses.


Bitter Lake represents all different areas of ecology; from helping and protecting endangered species, to providing annual events that teach all about wetland conservation. Everyone knows how important wetland conservation is for this earth. And by protecting and preserving areas where water exists; such as swamps, marshes and bogs, the world’s ecosystems and the species that thrive in those habitats will remain healthy.


For those unaware, however, more than three billion people reply on inland freshwater wetlands for their very survival. These people also utilize rice to feed their families which is a crop that is grown in natural and artificial wetlands. Therefore, their lives and livelihoods count on our ecosystems to work and work well.


In 1947 a UFO supposedly crashed on this planet. There was a big mystery that still remains one of the most talked about cover-ups in America’s images (1) history. But it was actually ten years before that incident when something even more incredible happened in Roswell, NM that calls out to tourists right now. The stunning area where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Southern Plains is a biologically significant wetland area of the Pecos River watershed system. In 1937, this became Bitter Lake, and at that time was created for the main purpose of providing a safe winter habitat for migratory birds. Now, the Refuge plays a crucial role in the conservation of wetlands in short supply in the desert southwest.


Over time, the Refuge has become far more. In 2014, this wetland area is actually the home to many wildlife species, including some of the state’s most rare and unusual creatures, such as the least shrew, Noel’s amphipod, least tern and Roswell spring snail. And when it comes to birds, Bitter Lake is one of those special habitats that supports over 350 different species of birds and the activity and sightings of new species never seems to end. Records of bird activity are kept year-round, and when it comes to the springtime, songbirds are making the most noise at Bitter Lake. Marsh and shorebirds frequent the location when the heat of summer hits the Southwest, and in the autumn a slew of raptors come to town. And although many believe that the hot desert doesn’t actually see winter, it does. And when the cooler temperatures hit, Bitter Lake becomes the home for the waterfowl species. It has even been recorded that species like the stunning Sandhill Crane can number into the thousands during the wintertime – which is far more than the number of little green men that apparently met up with Roswell on a bad flight.


The people of Roswell and the friends who support Bitter Lake also love to celebrate the holiday season with many events. Coming up at the end of November, the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge Special Holiday Program is incredibly awesome. The entire family comes and is mesmerized by the migrating cranes as they fill the sky.


imagesAnd when it comes to children, at the beginning of December the Bitter Lake Refuge hosts a Youth Pheasant Hunt that kids absolutely love to be a part of. For the avid adult hunter out there, the 2014-2015 hunting season at Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge is in full swing. The ‘hunt’ has begun, and running through February 15, 2015 hunters of deer, feral hog, pheasant, quail, rabbit – you name it – are welcome to come and chase their most-wanted prey.


In other words, there is a place out there in the desert that is doing amazing work by providing wetland conservation and protecting species from across the country. And it, perhaps along with those little green men from long ago, is calling out to YOU to come and enjoy the holiday season!


Read More about Bitter Lake!

SOURCE:  Baret News Wire