Climate change impacts Wyoming

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Cheek numbing, eye watering winds whip across the plains of the Laramie Basin, Wyoming. The ground is yellow brown with patches of recalcitrant snow. Sheep Mountain is losing its winter coat. All normal affairs for March. The March edition of the Wyoming Basin Outlook Report also reports, based on February accumulations, that Snow Water Equivalent is at 99% of average.

The SWE is a measure of the snow pack that feeds the streams, rivers and reservoirs that Wyoming, Nebraska and other states depend upon for water. Current averages are compared to the average SWE for 1971-2000. In recent years, snow pack in this region has been anything but normal.

The Outlook Reports are issued January to June. Since March 2000, only five of 46 months have been above normal. While many of the winter months have been near normal, June’s snow pack is far below average. Even in 2006, the wettest year of the last eight years, June snow pack was only 37% of the average.

In an e-mail interview with Wikinews, Lee Hackleman, Water Supply Specialist, said

The snowpack is melting out several weeks earlier than average. The higher temperatures in the spring are responsible for this. There seems to be a significant drop in the amount of runoff that we are able to retain in our reservoirs, a lot of runoff seems to be soaking into the ground. We do not have the June flood events any more. We use to [sic] be cool then hot, not cool warm then hot.

In a phone interview with Wikinews, Myra Wilensky of the National Wildlife Federation in nearby Colorado, also commented on changing snow patterns.

In the west, nothing is ever clockwork, the patterns shift, a good amount of snowfall in the season and then a quick warm up. We don’t get the prolonged snowpack that we used to have. May have a really wet snow year, then really dry with rain.

Can’t count on getting estimated amount of snow anymore. March and November have historically been our snowiest months, but this year it’s been a fairly dry in March and November. Winter is shorter now.

This is part of a general increase in temperature in the region. An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cited by the National Wildlife Federation estimates that the temperature will rise almost 7 degrees (F) by 2100.

This will likely cause most, if not all, of the state’s glaciers to disappear. Wildfires may increase, droughts could get worse and rains–when they do come–will likely come in more severe downpours that may cause more flash flooding. Warmer temperatures also mean less snowpack in the mountains, leading to more winter runoff and reduced summer flows in many Wyoming streams.

The NWF’s main concern is the fate of the wildlife in the region, particularly how the impact of pine bark beetles. Warmer winters have led to mass infestations in Western lodge pole pine forests and The New York Times reports that they are now moving on to white bark pines in Yellowstone particularly impacting grizzly bears there. In turn, the grizzlies are shifting to feeding on Canadian thistle, an invasive species that might be choking out native plants.

Changing weather patterns have also affected large migratory animals.

This year winter came late. When the heavy snows hit, the mule deer and the elk were spread out, had to be fed. Feeding isn’t newsworthy, happened before like in 1982 but it wasn’t as successful this year because they were so spread out.

Water for people has also become a major issue in the region.

There is a much greater concern for water rights than there used to be. There is not enough late season water to satisfy everyone all the time.

Kansas has long fought Wyoming over water rights issues. And Montana is currently suing Wyoming, claiming that the Yellowstone River Compact signed in 1950 gives rights to both surface and ground water, while Wyoming disagrees. On February 18, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the lawsuit.

Wyoming officials say they are adhering to the compact and that the drought has meant less water for both states.

But Montana says Wyoming is storing more water in reservoirs than the compact permits and allowing excessive pumping of groundwater reserves that feed into the two rivers.

Those “groundwater” reserves are tapped by some Wyoming farmers to irrigate their fields. Energy companies discharge large volumes of groundwater during production of coal-bed methane, a type of natural gas prevalent in northern Wyoming.

Authorities do not see this fight over increasingly limited water resources going away anytime soon.

Everyone is going to have to learn to get by with less.
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Strongest earthquake in 40 years hits Southeast Asia

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Indian Ocean – The death toll continues to grow and millions face a homeless life in the new year as coastal communities in south Asia struggle against continued aftershocks and flooding caused by the largest earthquake to strike the planet in more than a generation.

The magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake struck off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia on December 26, 2004, at 00:58:50 UTC (or 07:58:50 local time in Jakarta and Bangkok).

The earthquake was the strongest in the world since the 9.2-magnitude Good Friday Earthquake which struck Alaska, USA in 1964, and the fourth largest since 1900. More than 140,000 deaths[1] were caused by resulting tsunami, which in Thailand were up to 10 meters (33 feet) tall, and struck within three hours of the initial event.

Multiple tsunamis struck and ravaged coastal regions all over the Indian Ocean, devastating regions including the Indonesian province of Aceh, the coast of Sri Lanka, coastal areas of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the resort island of Phuket, Thailand, and even as far away as Somalia, 4,100 km (2,500 mi) west of the epicenter.

While the earthquake and the tsunamis are no longer ongoing (other than aftershocks), the humanitarian and economic crisis generated by the disaster is still ongoing. This report will attempt to cover the crisis as it continues to develop.

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New book Blown for Good reveals details inside Scientology headquarters

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A new book released today by author Marc Headley, Blown for Good, reveals details inside Scientology headquarters at the organization’s “Gold Base“, located near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s International Management Headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

While an employee of the Scientology headquarters located in Riverside County, California, Headley had the experience of practicing Scientology counseling services called “auditing” with Scientologist Tom Cruise, shortly after the actor had completed work on the film Days of Thunder. In 1990, Cruise was training to become proficient in the Scientology auditing techniques, and Headley was selected to become the actor’s auditing partner. Though a young actor at the age of 28, Cruise was already known for his work on films including Top Gun and Born on the Fourth of July. Headley writes in the book that he was chosen to work with Cruise because he had not yet progressed in Scientology levels, and because he was seen as a low security risk due to his young age at the time. Headley writes that he worked with Cruise for hours and hours each day, for a period of three weeks, on Scientology techniques called “Training Routines“.

The book provides details of what life was like for the author inside the organization’s headquarters. The inner flap of the book includes a map of the “International Headquarters of Scientology; Gilman Hot Springs, California”. Headley writes that under the direction of Scientology leader David Miscavige, employees who signed billion-year contracts routinely put in 100-hour weeks of work for minimal pay. According to Headley, possible discipline faced by the Scientology employees for perceived mistakes included being separated from family as part of the Scientology policy of “disconnection“, being declared a “suppressive person“, or being sent to the “Rehabilitation Project Force“, a program where Scientologists were assigned harsh labor.

Headley’s tasks while working at the Scientology compound Gold Base included dealing with audiovisual equipment used for organization presentations and speeches by Miscavige, and supervising production of thousands of audiotapes of lectures given by Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard. From 1989 to 2005 Headley worked at the Scientology film production studio on scripts for movies which would be used to instruct new members of the organization on its practices. He faced repercussions from Miscavige if he could not meet production quotas. Headley asserts that he was physically abused by Miscavige, a claim made previously by other former Scientology officials in a series of investigative articles published in the St. Petersburg Times.

The book gives background on a 9-minute long video of Tom Cruise, leaked to the Internet in January 2008, that featured the actor discussing his views on Scientology. The Church of Scientology‘s attempts to remove the leaked video from the Internet motivated the group Anonymous to focus its efforts against the organization. Headley writes that initially the promotional video about Cruise was supposed to feature celebrities including Will Smith speaking about the actor, but Miscavige instead insisted Cruise should simply talk about himself.

Headley describes a form of Miscavige’s management previously related in the St. Petersburg Times, where the Scientology leader made his staff play musical chairs to the Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody“. Miscavige told 70 Scientology executives that they were to compete for chairs, and that only the last individual left after several rounds would remain at the compound, while the other executives would be assigned to remote locations. After a dramatic competition with multiple staffers in tears that they would be separated from their families, Miscavige stated no one would be removed from the compound.

In 2005, Headley left the Scientology compound in Hemet on a motorcycle, and fell off his vehicle after being chased by Scientology security guards. Riverside County police helped Headley escape from the Scientology security. Headley traveled to Kansas City to meet his father. He was later joined by his wife Claire who had also worked at the Gold Base compound.

I have never read about behavior like this in my life, I can’t imagine it. It’s really weird.

Headley filed suit against Scientology in January 2009. In the legal case, he asserts that Scientology violated United States labor law with regard to his treatment while an employee of the organization. Headley and his lawyer Barry Van Sickle succeeded against attempts by the organization to get the suit dismissed. Headley’s lawsuit is set to begin in U.S. federal court in November 2010.

Headley’s story provides a damning account of life working for Scientology leader David Miscavige at the secretive desert base.

American talk radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou discussed the book Wednesday on their program The John and Ken Show on KFI. “This is, the Scientology cult, is I guarantee you, a thousand times more bizarre than you could have ever imagined. And what these celebrities do, like Tom Cruise, is a thousand times more strange than you could ever imagine. I have never read about behavior like this in my life, I can’t imagine it. It’s really weird,” commented one of the hosts about material revealed by Headley in the book. Headley writes in the book that he started to question his involvement in Scientology when secretly listening to The John and Ken Show and watching Conan O’Brien make fun of Scientology celebrities. The National Enquirer reported on the release of Blown for Good, calling it an “explosive new book”.

The book was reviewed Wednesday by the Editor in chief of The Village Voice, Tony Ortega, who characterized it as a “remarkable account”. “Headley’s book also provides stunning material that has rarely been collected in one place, even with the Internet’s deep resources on L. Ron Hubbard’s strange creation. Headley’s story provides a damning account of life working for Scientology leader David Miscavige at the secretive desert base”, wrote Ortega in the review. He commented, “Perhaps the best service that Headley provides with Blown for Good is giving non-Scientologists the sense of what it’s really like to work, day in and day out, in such a strange organization, from the lowliest laborer mucking out excrement in a Gold Base pond (Headley says shit was coming out of his ears and pores for days) to what kind of luxuries the celebrities and high-ranking members enjoy.”

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Solid Plastic Lockers For Water Park Design

By Patricia Holland

Solid plastic lockers are ideal for water park design. Their rugged construction makes them ideal for the constant stress of heavy traffic areas. They are made from a solid surface plastic material called HDPE. HDPE is a nonabsorbent material that blocks odor and resists bacterial buildup. It is far superior to metal when it comes to maintaining a sanitary locker room environment for children and senior adults.

Water park design themes are easily supported by solid plastic colors that come in any of 31 available color options. All colors are solid, so lockers never have to be repainted. Additional customization can be made to end panels and tops to enhance the lockers’ decorative impact.

Park planners must always take into account that people of all ages will be visiting the park. These people will need different sized lockers to store shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, and other garments without excessive folding or wrinkling. Garments should be protected against moisture buildup in a high humidity environment. Solid plastic lockers accommodate both requirements much more effectively than metal.

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Sizes range from 24 inches to 72 inches in height. This makes it possible for people of all ages to store clothing, shoes, and headgear without wrinkling. HDPE’s nonporous nature makes it highly resistant to humidity which offers additional protection for clothing. Unlike metal, it never rusts through to allow moisture to seep into the locker interior.

Solid plastic lockers come in vertical locker and bench locker designs that accommodate any water park design’s accessibility requirements. Persons with limited mobility often come to theme parks that offer special attractions for people with physical challenges. Bench lockers are the ideal storage compartments for individuals in wheelchairs because they are low enough to the ground that clothing and shoes can be stored without having to reach upwards.

In addition to convenience, solid plastic lockers for water park design should also offer visitors secure storage for valuables. Because people will need to store purses, wallets, and valuable jewelry along with their clothing, lockers must offer maximum security storage in areas where theft may be a problem. While the standard door lock is a stainless steel hasp made for a padlock, lockers can be custom ordered with built in combination locks, key locks or even coin-operated combination locks.

Return on investment comes through long-term durability and vandal resistance. Basic facilities represent a segment of water park design that do not drive direct revenue streams the way paid attractions do. However, ROI is nonetheless tangibly quantifiable when we look at money saved on repair and replacement costs.

A locker that is hard to scratch or dent does not cost much to fix. Impact resistance makes it hard to even deliberately damage these storage units. The common problems of broken doors and dents that plague metal lockers are eliminated when we use HDPE. Also, graffiti, which is a common mischievous act of the young, can easily be wiped off with ordinary cleaners with no damage to the unit.

It is wise to invest solid plastic lockers that will last for 20 years with virtually no repair costs to consider and a 20-year warranty to ensure quality performance.

About the Author: XPB Locker. Read more about Solid Plastic Lockers for Water Park Design.plastic lockers.solid plastic locker.


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Two UK sailors killed in submarine accident

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed in a news release, March 21, 2007, that two Royal Navy crew members had been killed in an accident aboard nuclear submarine HMS Tireless earlier in the day. The next of kin for both men have been informed.

Another submariner had been injured and was airlifted to a United States military hospital for treatment. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.

The accident occurred at 4:20 a.m., March 21, on board HMS Tireless, a Trafalgar class submarine, during a joint US-UK exercise in the Arctic.

The MoD suggested that the accident involved a piece of air-purification equipment in the forward section of the submarine. The submarine was not in danger and its nuclear reactor was unaffected. HMS Tireless is a hunter-killer submarine and does not carry nuclear missiles.

HMS Tireless was submerged under the ice cap at the time of the incident. The crew brought the submarine to surface quickly through the ice.

The Tireless was fitted, in 2001, with an update to the piece of air-purification machinery thought to have failed. As a precaution, the MoD is restricting its use on other boats until safety checks have been carried out.

“I very much regret that this incident has occurred and my thoughts go out to the family and friends of the men who have lost their lives,” said Admiral Sir James Burnell-Nugent, Commander-in-Chief Fleet.

He added, “I also wish to pay tribute to the crew of HMS Tireless that this incident has been dealt with and contained so professionally.”

It was not stated what the official cause of death was.

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New York Times to start charging for access to web news

Friday, March 18, 2011

The challenge now is to put a price on our work without walling ourselves off from the global network …

The New York Times announced on Thursday that it will start charging for full access to, its online version. Beginning March 28, U.S. visitors who do not subscribe to the print edition will be allowed access to 20 articles a month. A digital subscription to the website will be required to read additional content.

The fee plan for Canadians is already in effect, allowing the NYT to “fine-tune the customer experience”, according to the announcement.

Unlimited access to articles will continue to be free for those users reaching the Times through links from search engines, blogs, and social media like Facebook and Twitter. The home page and individual section front pages will continue be freely accessible.

The NYT unsuccessfully tried a pay wall six years ago. Due to declining profits and readership of its print edition, it is ready to try again.

According to comScore, a marketing research company that measures online traffic, had 31.4 million individual visitors in February. It is the most-read newspaper site in the world, reported The Guardian.

“The challenge now is to put a price on our work without walling ourselves off from the global network, to make sure we continue to engage with the widest possible audience”, wrote Arthur Sulzberger Jr., NYT company chairman.

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Australian refugee contractor accused of breaching its duty of care

Friday, December 30, 2005

The Australian Centre for Languages, a company which has a multi-million dollar contract with the Australian government to provide refugee services, has been accused of breaching its duty of care following the death of a chronically ill child and allegations of failing to provide three women in their care with food.

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Contact Commercial Landlord Services In Chicago You Can Trust

byAlma Abell

Whether you’re a landlord renting to tenants or a tenant renting a space, disputes are bound to happen and it’s important to get commercial landlord services in Chicago that can be trusted. Disputes can be over the safety of the area, receiving a security deposit back, or the eviction of a tenant for not fulfilling the terms of their lease. Getting the support of an experienced law office can reduce the chance of paying fraudulent damages or of being evicted for a false reason. An experienced law firm will have the in-depth knowledge an organization or individual needs when it involves tenant issues.

Evicting a tenant from their home or business location requires careful planning, and legal steps must be taken. An individual renting a home must be given proper notification, and a landlord cannot shut off the utilities to a home to force a tenant to leave. Expert commercial landlord services in Chicago will help an owner understand the proper procedure to follow so they’re not sued by their tenants. If a family needs help to remain in their home, an attorney will provide the defense they need even if they’re having difficulty paying the rent.

When a business finds a perfect location, they should have an attorney review the lease agreement. A business owner doesn’t want to find out they’ve been evicted after their customers know exactly where they’re located and the have to spend more time looking for a new space. Relocating a business could cost them thousands of dollars in lost sales. However, an experienced commercial tenant eviction attorney can provide the defense they need because of an eviction notice. Tenants are often afraid to speak up for their rights because they feel they have no options but to move. This is not the case in many situations.

Starr, Bejgiert, Zink & Rowells have over 80 years of combined experience focused on landlord-tenant litigation under the Chicago Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, as well as Illinois laws, building code violation hearings, zoning matters, real estate matters, and much more. When you have a question about a tenant or landlord situation, contact them for the legal information you need.

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green Party candidate Gordon Kubanek, Nepean Carleton

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gordon Kubanek is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Nepean-Carleton riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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Congressman Cunningham admits taking bribes

Monday, November 28, 2005

U.S. Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (RCA) pled guilty today to conspiring to take bribes in exchange for using his influence as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to help a defense contractor get business. In total he pled guilty to one count of income tax evasion and four counts of conspiracy, namely mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery of public official and accepting bribes. U.S. District judge Larry A. Burns scheduled Cunnigham to be sentenced on February 27. He is facing up to 10 years in prison and nearly $500,000 in fines, as well as forfeiture of unspecified amounts of cash and property.

In the court hearing, Cunningham admitted to accepting “bribes in exchange for performance of official duties” between “the year 2000 and June of 2005”, taking “both cash payments and payments in kind” and following up by “trying to influence the Defense Department”.

The federal investigation against Cunningham was triggered by his sale of his California residence to defense contractor Mitchell Wade in late 2003. However, Wade never moved in and sold the house at a $700,000 loss three quarters of a year later. At the same time Wade’s company MZM won tens of millions of dollars in defense contracts. Subsequent investigations discovered more questionable business transactions, including interactions with the defense contractor ADCS. In his plea agreement he testified that, among other charges, he “demanded, sought and received at least $2.4 million in illicit payments and benefits from his co-conspirators in various forms, including cash, checks, meals, travel, lodging, furnishings, antiques, rugs, yacht club fees, boat repairs and improvements, moving expenses, cars and boats.”

Cunningham announced his resignation after the hearing. In a written statement released by his law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP he declared “The truth is — I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, and most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.”

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