Montana tribes will be the first to own a hydroelectric dam, and the change in ownership is likely to have impacts far beyond the state level. The three tribes of the Flathead Reservation could shape public perception of tribal energy development in the process.http://hcne.ws/1b0F0el
THREE GIANT CROSSES - NICHOLAS COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA
The search for religious liberty was one of the principal factors that led pioneer settlers, especially the Scotch-Irish and German, to West Virginia.
—West Virginia: A Guide to the Mountain State (WPA, 1941)
West Virginian Nic Persinger turned to Field Assignment #3: History and #5: Architecture in his trusted #AmericanGuideWeek Field Manual and sends word of three giant crosses seen in the Nicholas County sky:
Growing up in the hills of West Virginia, many of my memories of traveling the state are lined with the sight of three giant crosses gracing the hilltops along the way to and from. These crosses scattered all over Appalachia and the rest of the U.S. are because of one man’s vision from God.
Coal tycoon turned devout fanatic, Bernard Coffindaffer received a “genuine, marvelous, glorious vision” from the Lord while recovering from open heart surgery in 1984. For the final nine years of his life that followed, he spent roughly $3,000,000 constructing and erecting these three crosses as a silent reminder of Jesus Christ and, what he thought would be, His soon coming return. Each piece of land used for Coffindaffer’s mission was forever deemed “Holy Land” by him and his followers once the crosses were blessed. The use of the land was simply on a permission basis to Coffindaffer from the land owner.
Throughout his calling, he was met with praise and criticism locally and nationally. Whether driven by divine insanity or the Holy Spirit, he never stopped. However in 1993, after assembling almost 2,000 sets of crosses in 29 states and having cents left in his bank account, Bernard Coffindaffer died of a heart attack at the age of 68. His legacy left for what or who ever was coming next.
Nowadays few Coffindaffers are left in Nicholas County, where I grew up. Even fewer are the reminders of this point man for God’s existence besides his U.S. Army gravestone. No plaques, no statues, and no mention of the Coffindaffer in conversation. Only his crosses remain as we drive to and from counting them along the way.
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Nic Persinger is a southern artist who lives in Morgantown, West Virginia. He studied photography at the Corcoran College of Art & Design in Washington, D.C. His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and has been published in magazines and artist books. Through medium format color photographs, Persinger documents the back roads of the rural South, ever mindful of the stories he grew up hearing from family and friends in the small, tightly-knit town of Richwood, West Virginia.
“Who ya gonna call?”
Although this unusual tool might resemble the funky-looking proton pack used by the Ghostbusters team to dissipate ghosts in the 1984 movie, it actually has another purpose. BLM staff use the resist-o-graph to learn more about what’s going on inside a tree. For recreation managers, that’s especially important because although a tree can look great from the exterior, what’s going on inside could be a recipe for disaster.
Trees are an important element of each recreation site for the BLM’s Coeur d’ Alene Field Office. The plentiful trees offer shady spots for afternoon family picnics and add to the beauty of these lake-based sites. But stresses such as windstorms, ice or lightning as well as infestations from bugs and disease can take a toll on the integrity of the trees, turning this natural beauty into a public hazard.
BLM chooses an individual tree, as part of a sample group of trees, to test and then uses the tool to bore into it using a micro-sized drill bit. As the bit moves through the interior, the resistance caused by solid wood or the lack thereof is charted onto graph paper. The graph provides the scientist on-the-spot knowledge of gaps or hollows in the core that could mean the tree is potentially unstable. This information is then reviewed to determine if action needs to be taken to ensure the safest situation for the nearby recreating public.
FLORA and FAUNA - MOJAVE DESERT, NEVADA
Still so much good stuff from American Guide Week to share. Corinne checks in from Nevada and- AHHHHHHH baby bobcats! baby rabbits! skeptical-faced desert tortoise!
Here’s just a small sampling of the diversity and beauty found in the Mojave Desert for the American Guide week assignment flora and fauna. And representing Nevada! As a wildlife biologist, I’m outside in all types of weather and terrain, and that means I’m lucky enough to observe the wildflowers in the spring, the elusive desert tortoise, and many a sunrise and sunset across the wide open desert.
People may think of the desert as a barren, boring area, but it’s anything but! This spring in Nevada, I got rained and hailed on, saw an incredible array of wildflowers, spotted a Gila monster, many tortoises, and so many tiny animals (including but not limited to the bobcats and jackrabbits pictured above).
Working outside has given me a great appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Mojave and the rest of our open spaces; and all of the hard work that goes into making sure that these ecosystems stay healthy and can be enjoyed by future generations. Desert landscapes do have lower diversity than other types of habitat, but the plants and animals that have adapted to thrive there are incredibly unique. Don’t forget about the deserts of the American southwest when you are planning an adventure in the great outdoors!
species pictured: bobcat kittens, schinia ligeae moth on a mojave aster, juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit, western pygmy blue butterfly, and mojave desert tortoise
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Corinne is from New England but has been working and adventuring around the southwest for about three years. She’s a wildlife biologist, so her work revolves around hiking, camping, and studying rare wildlife. When she’s not living and working out in the desert, she’s road tripping to visit museums, mountains, and anywhere there is Water. Follow her on Tumblr on c-quoia.tumblr.com.
The California School Immunization Law requires that children receive certain immunizations in order to attend elementary and secondary schools, as well as other care centers. However, there are exemptions to the immunization requirements. One of these is a personal belief exemption, whereby parents/guardians can skip the immunizations for their children if they claim it is contrary to their beliefs.
California keeps records of these immunizations and the reasons for any exemptions. In this post, I’ve mapped the rates (as percentages) of personal belief exemptions for kindergarten students by county. I’ve also included the cities where at least 30% of students are not vaccinated due to parents’ personal beliefs.