Posts tagged Ron Baird
This former Colorafo State Forrest Service writer tells the truth about what is really happening to our environment in C1Ns Terra Infirma by Ron Baird.
Release of More Mexican Gray Wolves to Wild Needed to Stop Genetic Inbreeding
This Week Marks Four Years Since Last Release of Captive-bred Wolf
SILVER CITY, N.M.— To mark this week’s four-year anniversary of the last release of a Mexican gray wolf into the southwestern wilderness, the Center for Biological Diversity has called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to dramatically increase the number of wolves in the wild. This is needed to stave off genetic inbreeding, which scientists say may now be limiting the size and health of some wolf litters.
Under pressure from the livestock industry, the Service has ceased releasing captive-bred wolves into the wild in recent years. Unfortunately this means there’s little genetic diversity flowing into the fledgling wild wolf population, which compromises the ability of the 58 wolves in Arizona and New Mexico to grow healthily and sustainably.
“By starving the wild wolf population of new animals, the Fish and Wildlife Service is stacking the odds against their recovery,” said the Center’s wolf specialist, Michael Robinson. “Resuming the release of wolves into the wild is absolutely essential to overcoming inbreeding and ensuring the success of this wolf recovery program.”
All Mexican wolves in the world today stem from just seven animals captured alive from the wild in Mexico and the United States, the last one in 1980. After reintroduction of the wolves to Arizona and New Mexico began in 1998, the Fish and Wildlife Service had many of the most genetically valuable wolves shot or trapped on behalf of the livestock industry. Consequently the captive population will have to jump-start the wild population again.
“Too many wolves have been taken out of the wild, both by the government and by poachers. That’s a tragedy, and it puts the Mexican wolf’s future in jeopardy,” said Robinson.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Twenty seconds in a young man’s life has followed him like the shadow of a curse for 27 years. Did he crack under pressure or was it simply good reflexes? Aaron Hemingway still doesn’t know and nobody ever told him because the Army had buried it in a black hole.
But in an ironic twist of karma, it was those close to Aaron who paid the price. He sometimes questioned whether the two were connected, but after his 14-year-old daughter was taken hostage by a murder suspect and then watched three men die in her bloody rescue, that was pretty much the end of the argument Aaron, a former Denver cop and newspaper reporter.
So he became a recluse, avoiding people he cared about to protect them. But after three years of that, he was ready to eat his gun. Then an old friend called and offered him a temporary job as a small town deputy marshal. Knowing what was at risk, he nevertheless took the job.
Surprisingly, things seemed to be going well, including his handling of a couple of situations that were ripe for disaster. Then, in an unprovoked but not random attack, his dog was killed and his women friend was left in a coma with a gunshot wound to the head.
Aaron discovered the identity of the man behind the attack and, breaking a vow he made after Vietnam to never kill again unless in self-defense or to protect the innocent, he swore vengeance against the man. He only saw three outcomes: he would be killed, he would succeed and be arrested or he would get away with murder. In the Malpais lava fields of western New Mexico, he found that things are not always that simple.
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I have had some experience covering Forrest fires. They now call them wild land fire, but I prefer forest fires when they are in the trees. In the 80′s I covered the Black Tiger Fire which destroyed over 40 beautiful homes up on sugar loaf. I covered the Yellow Stone park fire and most shockingly the Storm King Fire near Aspen where 13 smoke jumpers lost their lives. So I knew just how rapidly a fast moving forest fire could kill people.
When the ferociousness flames of the Four Mile Fire hit on Sunday morning Labor Day weekend 2010, I new we were in big trouble. I was up on flagstaff Mountain when it started, talking with a city of boulder Parks open space officer. I could hear all the radio traffic coming in to his truck radio. He had about 7 channels going. The most frightening ones were all of the fire crew channels.
It was bad. People were running for their lives. Fire crews were running for their lives. And the fire was running right up the mountain buring everything in its path. The fire had started at about 10:30am, but by noon I knew we had lost over 100 homes and the winds were still blowing. I got out my laptop and started to write.
The fire had crested Sunshine Canyon road and was on the move down the other side. As a reporter I started reporting what I heard and saw from Flagstaff. Boulder OEM hadn’t opened yet, and I could not get any assistance or information officially on the fire. I decided, to hell with it and not wait. First why wait? Secondly this fire was a potential killer.
I sat in the Boulder Channel 1 TV production truck and then did our first video from Flagstaff with the fire as a back drop at 11:30. Donna Marek, one of our reporters wrote the first story at 11:10. She was talking with fire crews from Downtown Boulder. Ron Baird our news editor called me on my cell and had the first report from the city at 11:40 . He filed the second story.
Ron Donna and I talked about how serious this was. It was decided that I should post the life threatening stories based on what I heard on the radio and let resident know this was a fire storm and get the hell off the mountain. Before I did, I talked with Patrick Vonkeyserling, the city PIO. He told me he couldn’t confirm anything, but it was really really bad and that if i could use social Media: ie Twitter and our on line news paper, it would help get the word out to people up on sunshine.
With that I started posting stories and updates: ”People are running for their lives” “We are going to burn to death” “3 feared missing dead” “possible corpses found near burned out Car” Over 30 updates in the first 3 hours.
The idea was to shock people into leaving their homes and not wait. People from Sunshine and the surrounding area started to tweet and call me. “should we leave?” were the questions. “Yes I replied , get out now”. People on twitter said don’t listen to us, that we were fear mongering. To witch I replied get out now or burn to death in your homes. Ron Baird called me and said.
“fuck the people on twitter just keep reporting what is going on.”
In the aftermath of Four Mile Fire , the Four Mile fire chief thanked me for our aggressive coverage early on. You helped us evacuate people he told me one day over coffee at Great Harvest Bread.
But I had taken a lot of flack from the Twitter community following the fire. At the time I was really upset by their reaction, but now I realize they were just upset viewers and readers who had no idea or access to what was really happening up in Fourmile. I did. I had a direct line to dispatch, OEM, Sheriffs, the Forrest service and I was sitting in a city open space truck taking it all in from a vantage point. I never should have paid any attention to twitter.
During the days of the fire, Boulder chief, Larry Donner told me that the fire was moving up to 40 miles per hour early on and was spreading embers the size of house shingles 1 mile in front of the flames. He said most people go into denial and under react and that’s when they get killed. He also told me it was good that I scared the hell out of everybody and made them move during the early stages.
He said, as did the Sunshine chief , the people on twitter were wrong to criticize you. “You did the right thing even though there were no deaths. “You scared people into action and that is what’s needed in a fast moving wild land fire. But criticism comes with the territory.” he said.
The sheriff was criticized for cutting the power all over the mountain area. He wanted people uncomfortable and he wanted them to get out! The truth is it is a damn wonder people didn’t lose their lives in that fire. Yep, we caused fear and shock in our reporting. We intended to. Hopefully, we helped save some lives. The alternaticve to agressive evacuations is what happened at the North Fork Fire. In hind sight we’d report it the same all over again.
I had apologized to the twitter people for a week. But it did no good. They had their minds made up. We did our jobs at Boulder channel 1. Thanks from the fire departments was icing on the cake.
Interesting Ron Baird who is a seasoned editor and Donna Marek a seasoned reporter, kept telling me. “Don’t listen to Twitter, they don’t know what you know. Just keep telling the story as it unfolds.”
Jann Scott’s Journal
from Boulder Colorado