Bluegrass Natural Remedies is Proud to Announce Exciting New Partnership with the Dixie Botanicals Brand

http://www.bluegrassnaturalremedies.com a leading cannabis company, announced that it is now the wholesale representative of Dixie Botanicals in both Michigan and Kentucky.

Grand Rapids (PRWEB) July 23, 2013

Bluegrass Natural Remedies, a subsidiary of Grand Rapids Compounding & Recycling has forged a relationship with Dixie Botanicals, a company that offers innovative hemp oil products to health conscious consumers. Bluegrass Natural Remedies has negotiated a distribution contract for Dixie Botanicals health and wellness lines of products. The company will sell these non-psychotropic hemp oil based products to retail stores throughout Michigan and Kentucky.

“Dixie Botanicals brings the power of hemp to health-conscious consumers through their line of innovative products,” said Joe Brown, a cannabis thought leader and owner of Grand Rapids Compounding and Recycling. “Dixie Botanicals offers legal products with naturally occurring Cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp. These products provide overwhelming evidence of significant health and wellness benefits.”

There is a growing population across the United States who rely heavily on botanical herbs and supplements to provide them with support for their overall wellness. These individuals turn to hemp oil based supplements and remedies because the side effects associated with prescription pain killers or opiates are too much for them to handle and can cause further complications. “Dixie Botanicals will be a great support to the marijuana community, health and wellness aficionados and naturopathic and homeopathic practitioners in their production of botanical supplements,” noted Joe Brown.

Dixie Botanicals manufactures its over-the-counter wellness products using naturally-occurring Cannabidiol (CBD) from industrial hemp. The hemp oil is derived from the stalk of a specific cultivar of the plant. Consumer benefits from Dixie Botanicals include: promoting overall wellness, easing anxiety due to stress and supporting muscle relief.

Bluegrass Natural Remedies is pleased to offer hemp oil wellness products in the state of Kentucky and intends to promote the restoration of Louisville, Kentucky as the hemp capital of the country. After Kentucky Senate Bill 50, a recent piece of hemp legislation endorsed by Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell was passed, industrial hemp is now legal at the state level.

With aspirations of fifty vendors in Michigan and fifty vendors in Kentucky, Bluegrass Natural Remedies is pushing for medicine that has historically rich roots. "After all, it’s what the ancients trusted," said Brown. Bluegrass Natural Remedies will also offer a variety of natural holistic herbal remedies.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Disclosure
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products and statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Corporate Contact: Director, Joe Brown (616) 337-0238, http://www.bluegrassnaturalremedies.com    Your title, Joe Brown and contact phone and website URL.

 

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UK study shows small market for hemp

By RONNIE ELLIS CNHI News Service

FRANKFORT — A University of Kentucky study concludes there is a growing but relatively small market for hemp which could offer some farmers an opportunity to grow a niche product.
But Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, hemp’s biggest booster in Kentucky, says the crop’s potential is greater if it can be produced to manufacture interior automobile components.
The study was commissioned by the Kentucky Hemp Commission on which Comer is a member after passage of legislation sponsored by Republican Sen. Paul Hornback, a Shelby County farmer, in the 2013 General Assembly.

Senate Bill 50 provides a regulatory framework for hemp cultivation if the federal government lifts its ban. (Hemp is a biological cousin of marijuana but contains much lower levels of THC, the chemical which produces the marijuana smoker’s high).

SB 50 was opposed by law enforcement agencies and Gov. Steve Beshear, fearing cultivation will complicate marijuana enforcement and eradication efforts. After the House, which originally opposed the bill passed it on the last day of the session, Beshear allowed it to become law without his signature.

About 30 countries, including Canada, European countries and China, the largest producer and user of hemp, grow it. Increasingly, domestic importers of legal hemp products have called for an end to the federal ban.

Comer and Hornback say it would offer farmers an alternative crop and make Kentucky a leader in a growing market.
“Realistically, I think it may be another option for some farmers but it’s not going to be a major agricultural panacea,” said Dr. Leigh Maynard, chairman of the UK Department of Agricultural Economics which conducted the study.

Maynard said the study indicates hemp grown for pressing into oil used in food and cosmetics might be as profitable as corn under ideal conditions, with both yielding about $200 to $300 per acre. But presently, Maynard said, there isn’t much potential for growing hemp for fiber products.

“It does not appear that anticipated hemp returns will be large enough to entice Kentucky grain growers to shift out of grain production,” the study says, “except at the highest assumed prices for a hemp seed only enterprise.”

But it goes on to say lower grain prices or higher than expected hemp yields or prices would alter that equation. It also says hemp is subject to “price volatility” as well as market manipulation by the world’s dominant producer, China.

Comer said he isn’t discouraged by the conclusions.

“It’s about what I expected,” said Comer. “There’s just nothing out there to compare it to in trying to determine a market.”

Comer said had similar studies been conducted on the potential of soybeans 15 or 20 years ago, “they would never have predicted where soybean prices are today.”
He sees opportunity in using hemp fiber to manufacture automobile interior components, stronger and lighter than plastic and recyclable. He said Mercedes and BMW are already using hemp products for interior dashboards and door panels and it could be boon in Kentucky which has three major auto manufacturers and many parts suppliers.
If a hemp processing facility were to locate in Kentucky to supply auto manufacturers, Comer said, “The sky is the limit.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom McKee, a Harrison County farmer who is also on the Hemp Commission, originally held up Hornback’s bill in committee at the direction of House leadership but eventually voted for it. He had not seen the UK report.

“I’ll be anxious to look at it,” McKee said, “but I still think a research component is needed. I hope there is a potential market, but I don’t want farmers taking a chance on something that might not work out.”
Maynard said hemp represents “another tool in (farmers’) toolboxes,” a crop which might be sold to a niche market.

He said Kentucky possesses two of three critical components needed for a successful hemp market: it has farmers and a market, which though small is growing. But it lacks the “first line processors” which could buy from farmers and then sell to those who produce consumer products.

Even if a processing facility is located in Kentucky, Maynard said, it probably won’t produce a lot of jobs, perhaps 25 to 50.

He also said Kentucky will face competition if the federal ban is lifted, not only from Canada, but from eight other states which have passed legislation similar to Kentucky’s.

Maynard said Kentucky, which was the dominant U.S. hemp producer in the 1830s and 1840s, offers promising conditions to grow hemp, but it needs first to develop seed varieties which will prosper here.

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at [email protected] Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

CONTINUE READING…

Henry Ford’s Car Made From Hemp – and those Responsible for the Prohibition of Hemp and Marijuana

Henry Ford demonstrates the strength of his car "grown" from a combination of hemp and other annual crops, and designed to run on hemp fuel, by smashing it with a crowbar. (Popular Mechanics, 1941)

By markthshark / Daily Kos

I must admit, when I first read about Henry Ford’s automobile made solely from hemp products the first image that popped into my head was of Cheech & Chong’s van made of marijuana (complete with Thai sticks for bumpers) from the 1978 movie titled “Up in Smoke.”

Strangely, my life was never quite the same after that movie came out. But that’s a whole ‘nuther story. lol (more about Henry Ford’s hemp car later)

A new theory has been posited about the origin of the prohibition of hemp in America. Like many other people, I had always subscribed to the conventional theory that it was the dirty deeds of turn of the [20th] century oligarchs like William Randolf Hearst and the DuPont family who were mainly (or at least financially) responsible for the demise of the hemp industry — due to the threat hemp posed to their respective commodity empires — i.e., lumber and paper, and textiles and chemicals. (link to DuPont company history here)

Turns out, that accepted theory may no longer be acceptable.

The history of the hemp plant and it’s truncated industry in the United States has been long and storied. Hemp’s nearly limitless industrial versatility was once widely thought to be America’s new economic engine for growth. In fact, the magazine Popular Mechanics even dubbed the hemp plant, America’s “New Billion Dollar Crop” in a cover story from an issue back in 1938.

Hmm, I wonder what that billion dollar crop would be worth in today’s standard, factoring in, of course, innovation, financial investments, and a steady progression of applicable technological advances since the early 20th Century.

So, what the hell happened?

From the Popular Mechanics article: (via the Northern Wisconsin Chapter of NORML)

American farmers are promised a new cash crop with an annual value of several hundred million dollars, all because a machine has been invented which solves a problem more than 6,000 years old. It is hemp, a crop that will not compete with other American products. Instead, it will displace imports of raw material and manufactured products produced by underpaid coolie and peasant labor and it will provide thousands of jobs for American workers throughout the land.

The machine which makes this possible is designed for removing the fiber-bearing cortex from the rest of the stalk, making hemp fiber available for use without prohibitive amounts of human labor.

Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the woody “hurds” remaining after the fiber has been removed contain more than seventy-seven per cent cellulose, and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane.

NW Wisc. NORML

NW Wisc. NORML

But just how easy is the crop grown?

From the farmers’ point of view, hemp is an easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on any land that will grow corn, wheat, or oats. It can be grown in any state of the union. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year’s crop. The dense shock of leaves, eight to twelve feet above the ground, chokes out weeds. Two successive crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned because of Canadian thistles or quack grass.

So, basically (and illogically, imo) hemp prohibition came about in the U.S. despite the plant’s well-documented eco-friendly, versatility; its wide availability, and its relatively simple, inexpensive growth and production processes. Go figure.

From Alternet:

For farmers, an alternative to taking land out of production and destroying “surplus” commodities would have been to plant crops they could market profitably. Thanks to advances in chemistry, there was at this time a rising “chemurgy” movement that Morgenthau, a farm expert, would certainly have known about. Chemurgy involves growing crops not for food but for transformation into various industrial products—plastics, coatings, thread, etc. As Dave West puts it, chemurgy is based on “the idea that anything you can make from a hydrocarbon you can make from a carbohydrate… Rayon from plants instead of nylon from petroleum.” Henry Ford was a leading proponent of chemurgy. Ford had his workers build a car out of hemp-based products and arranged for a promotional photo of himself, in an overcoat and hat, bashing the rear fender with a sledgehammer to show how strong the material was. (my emphasis)

Simply amazing

But on to the new theory…

During the FDR administration, in 1937, a racist, Harry Anslinger, was the longtime commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He was widely considered the prime mover behind marijuana prohibition. But during the congressional debate on the subject, Anslinger was just one witness in a strange show trial.

He testified that marijuana induces homicidal mania and so forth, but it was not Anslinger who designed the complicated prohibitive-tax strategy. That maneuver was thought up by the Treasury Department’s top lawyer, Herman Oliphant. Nor was Anslinger called back to refute William Woodward of the American Medical Association, who argued that a federal prohibition was uncalled for.

Note: it’s important to explain the reason I called Anslinger a racist. He was infamous for his misguided disgusting and bigoted quotes of the era. Why FDR ever picked this guy is beyond me. But they are what they are. And he was what he was.

anslinger“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” said Anslinger. “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is the effect it has on the degenerative races.”

To make sure no one missed his point, Anslinger went on to offer a profile of the average marijuana toker.

“Most are Negroes, Hispanics. Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from smoking marijuana. This marijuana makes White women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

from Common Sense for Drug Policy

As it turns out, it was Congressman Fred Vinson of Kentucky who dealt with Woodward, subjecting him to a snide, relentless grilling.

In the transcript of the hearing, Vinson comes across as an effective prosecutor committed to getting the prohibitive-tax bill enacted, while Anslinger seems like a carnival pitch man—yowza, yowza, yowza. Both men were carrying water for the Treasury Department, which had drafted the prohibition bill and was asking Congress to impose it on the nation.When the final curtain fell in my imaginary drama, the actual villain seemed to be Vinson, not Anslinger. As I was mulling over the implications, Dave West referred me to his eye-opening essay, “Low, Dishonest Decade,” published in 1999. West, who has a PhD in plant breeding and genetics, spent most of his career as a geneticist/breeder of “corporate maize” (his term). He pioneered the application of molecular markers incrop breeding.

In his essay, West argues that Anslinger did not push through federal legislation to enact prohibition with backing from Hearst, DuPont and Andrew Mellon. (the DuPont’s banker, Republican Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1933, and the man who appointed Anslinger to run the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930)

However…

A conspiracy involving Hearst, Du Pont and Mellon was posited by Jack Herer, the man who in the 1980s discovered the suppressed history of hemp, its multiple uses and its economic potential. Herer shared his findings in a collage of documentation called The Emperor Wears no Clothes. Herer’s admirers should be open-minded about West’s take on the federal prohibition. Herer’s revelations and accomplishments are of an order of magnitude that won’t be reduced if his theory of three rich Republicans masterminding prohibition doesn’t pan out.

Alternatively, West suggests a leadership role in the prohibition of hemp for Henry Morgenthau, Jr., FDR’s secretary of the Treasury from 1934 to 1945. (After FDR died, Harry Truman replaced Morgenthau with the above-mentioned Fred Vinson.)

Morgenthau was well aware of the Nazi threat and the strong isolationist sentiment that could keep the administration from intervening on behalf of European Jews. He was tracking the expanding network of Nazi front groups in this country, and the German-American Bund. There were German-American hemp farmers in contact with Henry Ford, a leading anti-Semite. Morgenthau must have suspected they were associated with the Bund and wanted to keep tabs on them. As secretary of the treasury, Morgenthau was in charge of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which had law-enforcement and domestic-surveillance capabilities. Its commissioner, Harry Anslinger, was an ambitious bureaucrat out to maximize his agency’s power. West’s theory is that Morgenthau orchestrated the federal prohibition and that Anslinger’s railing against marijuana was part of the play.

It is logical that the head honcho called the shots. In an interview in 1970, Anslinger himself told David Musto that Morgenthau wanted the ban in response to pressure from law enforcement in several states. But Morgenthau never wanted those reasons to become public information. The Treasury Department oversaw the entire process, according to the transcript of a congressional hearing on prohibition.

In a paper on the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act that ran in the Archives of General Psychiatry (and was reprinted by Tod Mikuriya in Marijuana Medical Papers), Musto wrote, “The hearings before the House were held in late April and early May. They were curious events. The Treasury’s presentation to Congress has been adequately described many times, although no retelling has equaled reading the original transcript.”

Herbert Levy’s 2010 biography of Morgenthau Henry Morgenthau, Jr.: The Remarkable Life of FDR’s Secretary of the Treasury by Herbert Levy (Skyhorse Publishing, 2010) seems to indicate at least indirect support for West’s hypothesis regarding Morgenthau as the prime motivator behind the federal ban on hemp and marijuana that stills stands to this day.

To me, this is sheer madness. Hemp (and all its byproducts) has the potential to be the biggest driver of a boom economy we’ve seen in this country in decades, if not centuries. Every aspect of its versatility is far superior to the corresponding alternatives were using now. Industrialized, together, — hemp and its intoxicating cousin marijuana — could improve our lives in many, many ways, potentially creating millions of jobs as well.

And the life improvements also pertain to recreational use:

Marijuana-vs-Cocaine-600x514

What a waste

CONTINUE READING…

Feds: California teen alleges captivity, sexual abuse on marijuana ‘farm’

By Natalia Perez-Segnini, CNN

updated 11:18 AM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013

What began as an investigation into a suspected marijuana-growing farm in Northern California has led to <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/30/justice/california-teen-slave'>allegations of a 15-year-old girl being held captive</a> in a coffinlike metal box and sexually abused. Authorities said the girl sometimes was held in a metal toolbox 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high at the farm, where she worked trimming marijuana plants, in Lake County, north of San Francisco. She told authorities that two men "put her in the box to 'teach' her because they had a 'point to prove,' " according to a criminal complaint.

(CNN) — Two Northern California men are due in federal court Wednesday in what began as another big pot-growing drug bust but what has become a horrifying story of one teenager’s alleged torment, captivity and sexual abuse.

The criminal complaint against the two men — Ryan Balletto, 30, and Patrick Pearmain, 24 — outlines the allegations of a 15-year-old girl’s ordeal of being held in a coffin-like box for hours on end at a marijuana-growing "farm" where she worked trimming plants.

Balletto and Pearmain were criminally charged in federal court earlier this month — and are in custody without bail — with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants and with using a minor in a drug operation. Additionally Pearmain faces state charges of kidnapping to commit robbery or rape and unlawful sex with a minor. Balletto faces state charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.

Efforts Tuesday to reach attorneys for the two men were not successful.

The girl sometimes was held in a metal toolbox 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet high, authorities said. According to the criminal complaint, she told authorities that the men "put her in the box to ‘teach’ her because they had a ‘point to prove.’"

The girl referred to the marijuana operation as a "mission" and said the men locked her in the box to protect the operation, according to the complaint.

"Specifically, they did not want (the girl) to ‘ruin the mission’ or ‘go off and say something about the mission,’" the complaint stated.

Abused but alive

The box was hoisted at an angle to allow a hose to be inserted "to wash her off and rinse human waste from the inside of the box without letting her out," the complaint said.

Federal authorities declined to comment Tuesday on the whereabouts or current condition of the girl.

But a psychologist who had read about the case told CNN that he was shocked by the details and that he believes the girl will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"She is no different from, say, a POW … She was in a box. She’s going to need a lot of therapeutic treatment," said California-based clinical psychologist Mark Burdick, who is not involved in the case.

"This is obviously a very traumatic situation for her…It is cruel, cruel and unusual punishment for a 15-year-old girl, and she will undoubtedly need a structured therapeutic environment for what could be years," Burdick said.

According to the criminal complaint, federal agents began a suspected narcotics investigation in late 2011, and Balletto was one of the individuals suspected. Last August, agents identified land that he had bought in Lake County, California, north of San Francisco.

During a surveillance flyover of that land in April, a Lake County detective spotted two greenhouses that appeared to be full of marijuana plants.

Meanwhile, also in April, the Los Angeles Police Department "requested urgent assistance of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department regarding a missing juvenile from the Los Angeles area," the complaint stated.

The minor was traced from a cell phone call to a hotel in Sacramento, where she was found with Pearmain on April 30, the complaint said. He was immediately taken into custody, and the girl was placed in protective custody.

Authorities said they also found a black notebook in Pearmain’s possession with a script apparently for the girl to read from if confronted by police.

Balletto was taken into custody on May 1 when he was found in a trailer on the property that had been under surveillance.

According to the complaint, the minor said she worked for Balletto by trimming the marijuana plants on what she referred to as the "farm."

The girl then went on to describe an ordeal of being held in the box twice "for a total of approximately three days," according to the complaint. She said both men "engaged in multiple sex acts with her," and Balletto "told her she was a ‘trooper’ because she didn’t scream in the box," the complaint said.

"A poem signed by (the girl) found in Balletto’s trailer described her life as being locked inside a box with holes in it," the complaint added.

At the property, authorities found the two greenhouses with 970 individually potted and irrigated marijuana plants, according to the complaint. Authorities later found a third greenhouse with an additional 346 plants.

Authorities also uncovered a stash of weapons including, assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, loaded magazines, night-vision scopes, ballistic face masks and gas masks, body armor and a large cache of assorted ammunition, according to the complaint.

The Northern District of California U.S. attorney’s office said a search of Balletto’s residence uncovered even more weapons, including several sniper rifles and additional assault rifles.

Lake County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Chris Chwialkowski said the stash was one of the largest collection of weapons seized in his department’s history.

Tatum King, acting special agent in charge of investigations for the Homeland Security office in San Francisco, which mounted the federal narcotics investigation, said, "The criminal groups involved in growing and trafficking marijuana have repeatedly shown they have no qualms about using violence and intimidation against those who get in their way.

"In this case the alleged victim was only 15 years old."

CONTINUE TO STORY – PICTURES….

Daniel Chong, forgotten in DEA cell, settles suit for $4.1 million

By Stan Wilson, CNN

updated 3:11 PM EDT, Wed July 31, 2013

San Diego (CNN) — A University of California San Diego student left unmonitored in a holding cell for five days by the Drug Enforcement Administration has settled a lawsuit for $4.1 million, his attorney said.

"This was a mistake of unbelievable and unimaginable proportions," attorney Julia Yoo said on Tuesday.

Daniel Chong, 25, drank his own urine to survive and even wrote a farewell note to his mother before authorities discovered him severely dehydrated after a 2012 drug raid in San Diego.

He was held in a 5-by-10-foot cell with no windows but a peephole through the door. It had thick concrete walls and was situated in a narrow hallway with four other cells, isolated from the rest of the DEA facility, said Eugene Iredale, another of Chong’s attorneys.

There was no toilet, only a metal bench on which he stood in a futile attempt to set off the sprinkler system with his cuffed hands, Chong told CNN affiliate KSWB.

He kicked the door and yelled, anything to get someone’s attention, the station reported.

"I was screaming. I was completely insane," he told KWSB.

One matter still unclear is why no one heard him. Chong told the San Diego Union-Tribune last year that he heard footsteps, muffled voices and the opening and closing of cell doors, even from the cell adjacent to his. Yet no one responded to the ruckus coming from inside his cell.

Chong was detained on the morning of April 21, 2012, when DEA agents raided a house they suspected was being used to distribute MDMA, commonly known as "ecstasy."

A multiagency narcotics task force, including state agents, detained nine people and seized about 18,000 ecstasy pills, marijuana, prescription medications, hallucinogenic mushrooms, several guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition from the house, according to the DEA.

It wasn’t until the afternoon of Wednesday, April 25, that an agent opened the steel door to Chong’s cell and found the handcuffed student, Iredale said last year.

Student drank urine to survive DEA cell

2012: Student feared death, dehydration

Upon his release, Mr. Chong told CNN affiliate KNSD that he was visiting a friend and knew nothing about the presence of drugs and guns. He was never formally arrested or charged, the DEA said.

While detained, Chong had given up and accepted death, using a shard of glass from his glasses to carve "Sorry Mom" onto his arm as a farewell message, Yoo said. Chong lost 15 pounds and suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder, she said.

"He’s the strongest person I have ever met," Yoo said. "As a result of his case, it’s one of the primary reasons the DEA placed a nationwide policy that calls on each agent at satellite offices to check on the well-being of prisoners in their cells on a daily basis," Yoo said.

A DEA spokeswoman declined to comment extensively about the settlement and told CNN that a review of DEA procedures was conducted and submitted to the inspector general’s office at the Department of Justice. She also referred CNN to a previous statement.

"I am deeply troubled by the incident that occurred here," said DEA San Diego Special Agent in Charge William R. Sherman shortly after the incident. "I extend my deepest apologies to the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to."

Since the incident, Chong has returned to complete his undergraduate degree at UC San Diego, Yoo said. "He changed his major from engineering to economics and wants to finish school, pursue his career and help take care of his mother."

CONTINUE THRU THIS LINK TO VIDEO…

MCNP needs public input for document

As anniversary dates approach, officials hope to ensure park’s continued vitality

By ROBYN L. MINOR The Daily News [email protected]/783-3249 | 0 comments

 

With thousands of visitors each year and millions of dollars in economic impact, Mammoth Cave National Park plays a big role in the economic vitality of the region.

Park administrators want to make sure that continues and are seeking public input for a foundation document about the park’s future.

“This is the very beginning of putting together a general management plan,” Superintendent Sarah Craighead said. “We are really revisiting the mission of the park – what are the stories that we should be telling the American public? What are the threats and what are the opportunities? What this is not is an implementation or an action plan. It may suggest future planning that we might need to do. For instance, someone in saying the conservation corps buildings are important and need care may spur us to remember to do planning about how to care for them.”

Craighead said the foundation document is a building block of strategic thoughts for plans. All national parks are coming up with the foundation plans in advance of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016. The same year is also the 75th anniversary of Mammoth Cave National Park and the 200-year anniversary of the cave offering tours to the public. Mammoth Cave was part of a series of show caves in the region before becoming a national park.

Cave administrators are asking the public to help formulate the plan. They are asking:

•What is most important about Mammoth Cave National Park?

•What should the American people know about Mammoth Cave National Park? What are its most important stories?

•What are the greatest threats to Mammoth Cave National Park?

•What opportunities for visitor experiences, recreation, or resource protection efforts would you like to see at Mammoth Cave National Park?

So far, no one has commented for the document.

“Typically what we will find is that people will look at the questions and consider them for a few days before making any comments,” Craighead said. “Generally, when we look at public comments, we will categorize them into (those that) are pertinent to this plan, and we can look at them in context. And others … we might hold onto them for future action plans.

“We are looking for anybody’s thoughts on this,” she said. “And we are more than happy to have as many comments as possible.”

Written comments may be submitted until July 29 through the NPS planning website at parkplanning.nps.gov/MACA.

— Robyn L. Minor covers business, environment, transportation and other issues for the Daily News. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/bowserminor or visit bgdailynews.com.

CONTINUE READING…

Obama Falls Short in Blunting Mountaintop Removal

By ERIC PIANIN, The Fiscal Times

July 11, 2013

During his 2008 campaign, President Obama pledged to rein in the coal industry’s efficient but destructive practice of mining huge seams of coal by “simply blowing the tops off mountains” and dumping the debris into valleys and streams below.

Over the past several decades,  coal companies have destroyed forests, brought down more than 500 mountains, polluted water, jeopardized public health and disrupted scores of communities through so-called mountain top removal.  Environmentalists who have studied the geological carnage left by all this blasting and earth removal refer to it as “surface mining on steroids.”

Today’s environmental cause célèbre is the growing  opposition to the energy industry’s highly destructive horizontal drilling and fracking for natural gas – the subject of  activist Josh Fox’s documentary “Gasland II” that made its debut on HBO Monday night.

 

But the damage done by mountaintop removal to the topography and ecology of Appalachia – which literally relegates once majestic mountain peaks to flat, sterile moonscapes – has led to many protests over the years and hundreds of lawsuits.

“The stated goal of the Clean Water Act is to protect the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the water of the United States,” Joe Lovett, executive director of the Appalachian Mountain Advocates, an environmental watchdog group, once testified. “It does not take a PhD in biology to see that blowing up the mountains and forests is bad for the environment.”

Industry officials say mountaintop removal mining gathers coal that wouldn’t be cost effective to mine through traditional underground methods. They say mountaintop removal provides jobs in some of America’s poorest areas, and that mining companies rebuild the hills or create areas where new highways, shopping centers, golf courses or airports can be built.

FROM HIGH HOPES TO LOW EXPECTATIONS
Environmentalists once had high hopes the Obama administration would sharply curb or stop mountaintop removal.  But administration victories have been few and far between.

And environmental groups that have battled the coal industry’s worst mining and reclamation practices for years are dubious Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency can do much more than slow the issuance of surface mining permits by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state agencies.

The states and the Army Corps were granted authority to issue mining permits under two sections of the Clean Water Act.  Critics say they have been too cozy with the mining industry for decades and are lax in their review of permit applications.

“The Obama administration has done some good things and taken some important small steps forward, but they fall far short of what we think he promised – which was to do whatever was needed to protect communities and people from the adverse effects of mountaintop removal,” said Jennifer Chavez, a lawyer with the environmental group Earthjustice. “What is needed is to stop the practice entirely.”

One of the administration’s few big victories came in April when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the EPA’s right to veto a permit granted by the Army Corps for the Spruce Mine, a notorious project that would have allowed Arch Coal to destroy 3,000 acres of mountaintops and let toxic waste flow into six miles of pristine mountain streams in West Virginia.  Lovett hailed the decision and declared: “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has literally overseen the destruction of Central Appalachia, and EPA oversight is needed to stop it.” 

INDUSTRIAL POWER
The mining industry and its allies have effectively blocked the crux of the administration’s anti-mountaintop removal initiatives – a series of memoranda announced in June 2009 that give guidance on how to reduce the adverse environmental impact of mountain top removal in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The idea was to force the Army Corps and state officials to give added weight to scientific evidence – including the effects of the debris or “valley fill” on downstream aquatic life — before granting permits.

Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House environmental council, said at the time that strict safeguards in the agreement made good on Obama’s pledge to limit the damage from mountaintop-removal mining while providing coal for the nation’s utilities. The coal industry successfully challenged the new policies in federal court, and that ruling is on appeal before the federal appellate court in the District of Columbia. Even if the Obama administration prevails, many believe the long-term impact of those rules could be modest.

“There are still scores of mines going forward that were either recently issued permits or just continuing operations, and many miles of streams still being buried,” noted Chavez of Earthjustice.

So if the Obama administration can’t stop mountaintop removal, who or what can?

Possibly, a bad economy and dramatic changes underway in the energy industry. The domestic market for coal to produce electricity has been shrinking for years, a victim of new clean air rules and other market forces.

Many utility companies have shifted from carbon spewing boilers to clean-burning natural gas facilities to take advantage of the cheaper cost of gas at the time and to prepare for the day when coal-fired power plants are phased out.

Things could get a lot worse for the coal industry if Obama prevails in implementing his recently announced climate-change agenda, which calls for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. That approach would be partly achieved by cutting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Energy analysts say the new rules, combined with environmental standards now being implemented, could push about a third of the U.S. coal fired fleet into retirement, according to the Wall Street Journal. Last year, U.S. utilities burned 825 million tons of coal, down sharply from the one billion tons of coal burned in 2007.

Some of the nation’s largest coal companies have reported sharply declining profits and a few have filed for bankruptcy. Just last month, West Virginia billionaire Jim Justice, who made his fortune in coal and agriculture, acknowledged that his coal operations in Appalachia are struggling. Business owners have filed at least nine lawsuits since late 2011 claiming they are not being paid for work at Justice’s mines.

"The coal business is terrible, it’s just terrible and we’re doing everything in our power to stay open and keep people working," Justice told the Associated Press.  "We’re one of the few [companies] that are even still working, trying to employ people and pay taxes."

Some industry officials blame overly zealous government regulators including the EPA for their problems. In congressional testimony in March, Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, complained that the increasingly challenging and time-consuming permit process is hurting many companies and driving away potential investors.

“While the United States has one of the world’s greatest mineral repositories, our ability to get these minerals into the supply chain to help meet more of America’s needs is threatened,” he said. “The U.S. has one of the longest permitting processes in the world for mining projects.” 

The coal industry is now increasing its exports to China, India and Europe.

Sen. Joseph Manchin, D-W.Va., a former governor who has strongly supported the coal industry and its practices, warned this week that Obama’s global warming initiative “stops coal production as we know it, whether it’s on top or underneath the mountain.”

“I don’t think it’s a sound policy for our nation,” Manchin told The Fiscal Times.  “We all agree we have to use coal in our portfolio up to 2040. That’s making it much more costly and economically almost impossible for anyone to build a new coal fired plant or upgrade an existing coal fired power plant.”

CONTINUE READING…

Bomb risk awaits bidders on New Hampshire tax militants’ land

Tax Militants Auction660.jpg

CONORD, N.H. –  Federal officials preparing to sell the New Hampshire compound of a tax-evading couple convicted of amassing an arsenal of weapons can’t guarantee that explosives and other booby traps aren’t hidden on the 103-acre spread.

In fact, they will openly warn bidders that land mines might be planted throughout Ed and Elaine Brown’s bucolic property in the small town of Plainfield. And they say prospective buyers won’t be allowed on the grounds until they submit a winning bid that frees the government of liability for dismemberment or death.

"It’s going to be a very interesting sale," said Chief U.S. Deputy Marshal Brenda Mikelson, who’s in charge of the auction.

The Browns, who do not recognize the federal government’s authority to tax its citizens, were in a nine-month standoff with authorities in 2007 after they were sentenced to five years in prison for tax evasion. U.S. marshals posing as supporters arrested them peacefully.

They were convicted in 2009 of amassing weapons, explosives and booby traps and of plotting to kill federal agents who came to arrest them.

Ed and Elaine Brown, now in their 70s, are serving sentences of 37 and 35 years respectively.

Mikelson said she has contacted numerous federal agencies that have explosive detection equipment and dogs, and none could ensure a clean sweep of the property, which is set back from the road and includes acres of storm-damaged trees and other natural debris.

"With the size of the property, there’s no way to search it and have any guarantees," Mikelson said.

However, the hilltop house and the grounds up to the tree line have been searched extensively and are deemed free of improvised explosive devices and other booby traps, Mikelson said.

Federal marshals say they are still hammering out the language of the disclaimer and the auction won’t take place before September.

Also being auctioned is Elaine Brown’s dental office in West Lebanon in the heart of the retail hub of New Hampshire’s Upper Valley region.

That commercial property has its own set of complications involving the disposal of patient records to protect their privacy, but it isn’t considered potentially dangerous.

By federal court order, the properties must be sold as is. Minimum bid for the Plainfield compound is $250,000, while the Lebanon office must sell for at least $507,500.

The court has ruled that the Browns and any heirs have no claims to the properties or any assets from their sale.

While the Browns kept federal marshals at bay, they welcomed a parade of anti-tax and anti-government supporters including Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were killed along with a deputy U.S. marshal in a 1992 shootout on Weaver’s property in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Mikelson cited those sympathizers as another reason not to open the property to bidders and gawkers.

"They had a lot of supporters," Mikelson. "We’re trying to maintain safety for all."

If the properties sell, the first entities to be paid would be the municipalities of Plainfield and Lebanon, which are owed back property taxes.

Attorney Shawn Tanguay, who represents Lebanon, said that the city as of mid-July was owed roughly $211,500 in taxes, interest and penalties. Plainfield tax collector Michelle Marsh says the town is owed $152,550 on the Browns’ property there.

"We’re all sort of waiting with bated breath to get this settled," Tanguay said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/20/bomb-risk-awaits-bidders-on-new-hampshire-tax-militants-land/#ixzz2ZcTQlBgl

Bomb risk awaits bidders on New Hampshire tax militants’ land

Tax Militants Auction660.jpg

CONORD, N.H. –  Federal officials preparing to sell the New Hampshire compound of a tax-evading couple convicted of amassing an arsenal of weapons can’t guarantee that explosives and other booby traps aren’t hidden on the 103-acre spread.

In fact, they will openly warn bidders that land mines might be planted throughout Ed and Elaine Brown’s bucolic property in the small town of Plainfield. And they say prospective buyers won’t be allowed on the grounds until they submit a winning bid that frees the government of liability for dismemberment or death.

"It’s going to be a very interesting sale," said Chief U.S. Deputy Marshal Brenda Mikelson, who’s in charge of the auction.

The Browns, who do not recognize the federal government’s authority to tax its citizens, were in a nine-month standoff with authorities in 2007 after they were sentenced to five years in prison for tax evasion. U.S. marshals posing as supporters arrested them peacefully.

They were convicted in 2009 of amassing weapons, explosives and booby traps and of plotting to kill federal agents who came to arrest them.

Ed and Elaine Brown, now in their 70s, are serving sentences of 37 and 35 years respectively.

Mikelson said she has contacted numerous federal agencies that have explosive detection equipment and dogs, and none could ensure a clean sweep of the property, which is set back from the road and includes acres of storm-damaged trees and other natural debris.

"With the size of the property, there’s no way to search it and have any guarantees," Mikelson said.

However, the hilltop house and the grounds up to the tree line have been searched extensively and are deemed free of improvised explosive devices and other booby traps, Mikelson said.

Federal marshals say they are still hammering out the language of the disclaimer and the auction won’t take place before September.

Also being auctioned is Elaine Brown’s dental office in West Lebanon in the heart of the retail hub of New Hampshire’s Upper Valley region.

That commercial property has its own set of complications involving the disposal of patient records to protect their privacy, but it isn’t considered potentially dangerous.

By federal court order, the properties must be sold as is. Minimum bid for the Plainfield compound is $250,000, while the Lebanon office must sell for at least $507,500.

The court has ruled that the Browns and any heirs have no claims to the properties or any assets from their sale.

While the Browns kept federal marshals at bay, they welcomed a parade of anti-tax and anti-government supporters including Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were killed along with a deputy U.S. marshal in a 1992 shootout on Weaver’s property in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Mikelson cited those sympathizers as another reason not to open the property to bidders and gawkers.

"They had a lot of supporters," Mikelson. "We’re trying to maintain safety for all."

If the properties sell, the first entities to be paid would be the municipalities of Plainfield and Lebanon, which are owed back property taxes.

Attorney Shawn Tanguay, who represents Lebanon, said that the city as of mid-July was owed roughly $211,500 in taxes, interest and penalties. Plainfield tax collector Michelle Marsh says the town is owed $152,550 on the Browns’ property there.

"We’re all sort of waiting with bated breath to get this settled," Tanguay said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/20/bomb-risk-awaits-bidders-on-new-hampshire-tax-militants-land/#ixzz2ZcTQlBgl

Furry intruder caught on camera (HERE’S THE BEARS!)

 

OHIO COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – A furry intruder was caught on camera in Western Kentucky.

A family went outside and found a black bear raiding their deer-feeder.

Wildlife officials suspect the young bear was either forced out of its territory in eastern Kentucky or Tennessee by another black bear and is wandering around trying to find a girlfriend.

In June, there was a bear sighting near Mammoth Cave and on July 12 five people in Daviess County reported they saw a bear near Masonville.

Experts said the bear appears to be a small and estimate he weighs between 100 and 150 pounds.

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