CVIndependent

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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Community Voices

28 Oct 2013
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“Litter, and it will hurt. It hurts the community, and the fines will hurt when you get caught. Half of the litter is accidental, from things blown off trucks and such, but the other half doesn't reflect positively on the community.” —Walt Thompson I have a message for the person who intentionally dumps trash and unwanted items into the desert. You are a total jackass. It does not matter whether you dump in a neighborhood or an open space. Shame on you, as you are responsible for: • Environmental degradation. Bringing in hazardous waste, plastics, plastic bags, diapers, clothes, tires and commercial waste is not conducive to a healthy ecosystem. Waste gets into waterways; it damages vegetation; animals and birds eat it; it attracts rodents and crickets. “Dump sites containing waste tires provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can multiply 100 times faster than normal during our warmer…
08 Oct 2013
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A Los Angeles Times headline from August sums it up: “Killer bee season underway with a vengeance.” Whoa, and not just because of the cliché. So far this year, the list of killer-bee victims in the U.S. begins with a confirmed fatality, 62-year-old Larry Goodwin, who got stung more than 1,000 times by a Texas swarm that was estimated to total more than 40,000 bees. In Arizona, “a massive black mass of bees”—whoa, and not just because of the massive repetition—attacked several people and horses in a Phoenix suburb. Other Arizona swarms killed four dogs in Tucson, and maybe (not confirmed) killed a mountain climber and his dog in the Santa Rita range. A woman who witnessed an attack on an Arizona landscaper who was using a Weedeater in her yard reported: “I saw (him) throw his equipment into the air; his sunglasses fell off; and all I saw was…
30 Aug 2013
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One official calls Interstate 70 through Colorado’s Rockies “the Berlin Wall for wildlife.” Animals killed there include cougars, bears, moose, elk, two of the state’s reintroduced Canada lynx, and Colorado’s first recorded wolf in more than 70 years, who had wandered all the way from Yellowstone—only to be struck by a car. The amount and diversity of roadkill reflects the area’s value to wildlife and helped inspire a recent international competition to design a wildlife highway crossing over I-70 at Vail Pass. Now, a newly formed coalition of engineers and conservationists, calling itself the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Bridge Company, wants to build the crossing. It envisions a revolutionary design to add to a growing number of highway wildlife crossings across the country—including some right here in California. Each is changing the way we think about roads and promising big benefits for both motorists and wildlife. The crossings reflect a national…
13 Aug 2013
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When the Gang of Eight authoring the Senate immigration reform bill, which would be the first major overhaul since the 1980s, recently announced a new provision to create a “human wall” at the U.S.-Mexico border, tensions rose in D.C. The move would double the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents and funnel more than $46 billion to border security in the Southwest. Since then, Arizona Sen. John McCain has said that the plans for a human wall might need to be tweaked, but an increase in border enforcement will continue to be central to the debate over this bill. As deliberations continue, a new study for the American Sociological Review puts a new spin on the fundamental question of why there are so many (around 11 million) undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to begin with. According to the new research, the danger of arrest and punishment at the border is…
18 Jul 2013
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A modest metal building sits behind a chain-link fence in the industrial quarter of Prescott, Ariz., with only a small sign to identify it: Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew. By now, the story is well known: 19 of 20 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were fighting to save the town of Yarnell, Ariz., when they were hit by what might best be called a fire hurricane on June 30 Just a week and a half earlier, these men had inserted themselves between hundreds of homes north of Prescott and a ferocious wildfire that swept over the very mountain for which the hotshot crew takes its name. Thanks to their efforts and the help of additional firefighters, ground and aerial equipment, homes and citizens were spared. Many of us who live in Prescott have had numerous occasions across the years to offer thanks to the men of the Granite Mountain…
09 Jul 2013
"Liberace died as a direct result of having AIDS, the Riverside County coroner said Monday afternoon, contradicting statements by the entertainer’s family and the death certificate signed by his physician." —Los Angeles Times, Feb. 10, 1987. Millions of viewers have tuned in to see HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, since it premiered in May. Most peopled watched the film to see the tale of Liberace and his lover, Scott Thorson. But I watched to see if my great uncle Raymond Carrillo—the coroner referenced in the aforementioned Los Angeles Times article—would appear in the film. Carrillo was the coroner for Riverside County when Władziu Valentino Liberace, known professionally only as Liberace, died at his Palm Springs home on Feb. 4, 1987. After the entertainer died, his personal physician, Ronald Daniels, determined he died of cardiac arrest, and his body was sent to a Los Angeles funeral…
01 Jul 2013
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What would it take to have a comprehensive, supportive advocate for arts, culture and creative enterprises in the Coachella Valley? An accurate, up-to-date and smartphone-accessible calendar of all those kinds of events? Expanded opportunities to attract cultural tourists to the valley? A marketplace for local creative talent? A way for young students to learn about engaging, well-paying creative jobs here at home? At artsOasis, we’re working on all of these. ArtsOasis emerged from conversations begun six years ago, in July 2007, among dozens of people who saw the need for some kind of intermediary to “promote, network, educate and advocate” for the creative community and economy of the Coachella Valley. The first task was to convince civic and business leaders that there even is such a thing as a “creative economy.” But that was accomplished when the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP), our regional economic development agency, included “Creative Arts…
07 Jun 2013
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This spring, the Gulf of California’s shores near the mouth of the Colorado River were littered with dead bodies. They weren’t casualties of the drug trade; instead, they were victims of another international market—the Asian desire for wildlife. Chinese demand for the swim bladders of the giant totoaba fish, thought to aid fertility, inspired the poaching of hundreds of the rare fish. The single organ was removed; the carcasses were left to rot. The totoaba, which can reach 6 feet long and weigh more than 200 pounds, has been protected since the ’70s by both the Mexican and U.S. governments. But with one totoaba bladder bringing more than $10,000 on the Asian market, there's major incentive to catch the fish illegally. Poachers turned to totoaba after a similar species of fish in China was eaten nearly to extinction, says Jill Birchell, a special agent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife…
28 May 2013
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Cochise Stronghold rises abruptly from the desert outside Tombstone, Ariz., a craggy nest of pink granite spires and domes. Rock-climbers like me flock to the area for its tall, coarse slabs, weird rock formations, epic sunsets and remote backcountry feel. Although it’s never happened to me, many climbers I know have encountered tattered backpacks, energy bars with Spanish wrappers, clothing or migrants themselves, a group drawn similarly drawn to Cochise’s inaccessibility—but for obviously different reasons. Increasingly, immigrants aren’t making it beyond secluded border areas like Cochise: New statistics released by the U.S. Border Patrol show that while fewer people are sneaking over the border than a decade ago, more are dying in the process. According to the National Foundation for American Policy, someone attempting to enter the U.S. illegally today is eight times more likely to die than approximately 10 years ago. In the 1990s, stepped-up enforcement in border cities…
24 May 2013
For more than a century, monopoly electric utilities have nurtured the West. They fed the mines and the mills, and now deliver the juice to our thirsty digital devices and air conditioners. Now, it appears as if the offspring is offing its mother, as rooftop solar slowly strangles utilities. While the green media has gleefully spread word of this apparent matricide, it was first spawned by a report right out of the utility industry itself, and then bolstered by a prominent utility executive, lending it credence. The concern from the industry is fairly straightforward: If customers produce their own energy, they won’t need to buy it from the utility, and revenues will drop. And if those consumers produce more energy than they use, they become competitors, lower the price of electricity and take another bite out of the utilities’ bottom line—until we just don’t need the utilities anymore at all.…