The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Breaking News

World, nation, state

May 12, 2014

Utah protesters find no BLM showdown

BLANDING, Utah — The ATVs kicked up sprays of dirt, their riders waving American flags and protest signs as they rumbled along a disputed canyon trail that federal officials had closed to motorized vehicles.

Their message Saturday was clear amid the dust: This was the latest challenge by citizens saying they are defending state and local rights against an increasingly arrogant federal government that has overstepped its role in small communities such as Blanding.

The protagonist this time wasn’t a private rancher like Cliven Bundy, who prevailed in a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada. This protest was the brainchild of a public official, San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, who contends that this town of 3,500 residents has tried hard to compromise with the bureau to reopen scenic Recapture Canyon to all-terrain vehicles.

BLM officials banned the vehicles to protect archaeological sites, a move residents say has cheated them out of a prime recreational area.

Unlike in the Bundy incident, no guns were brandished here, but the words were volatile. “If you make a rule that I have to lick your boots,” Lyman said of federal officials, “I’m just not going to do that.”

On Saturday, a dozen sheriff’s deputies watched the protest from horseback. BLM officials were not so visible. “They were here, but they didn’t wear their uniforms,” Sheriff Rick Eldredge said. “They didn’t want a clash.”

Antigovernment attitudes in the West have a long and virulent history, and recent public dialogue has remained marked by a threatening tone that prompted past BLM directors to travel with armed security.

More than 50 political leaders from nine states recently convened in Salt Lake City to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-, timber- and mineral-rich lands away from federal officials.

Six Western states are studying the feasibility of taking over federal land within their borders.

Many longtime BLM agents have adopted the habit of parking their trucks nose-out. “Sometimes we need to get out of a place pretty fast,” one said.

In Utah, some high-profile lawmakers have led the criticism against Washington.

“The federal government has done a pathetic job of reaching out and building local relationships. You can’t just show up with guns blazing and expect to win the hearts and minds of the public,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz , R-Utah, whose district includes Recapture Canyon.

He mentioned that federal Homeland Security officials recently drove an armored tank in a local parade: “People were outraged. The way most see it, they just came in flexing their muscles, showing they had all this armor. The federals need a little more Andy Griffith and a lot less Rambo.”

So Utah, he says, is fighting back.

In rural Kane County, local officials have torn down signs on BLM land and told local BLM managers that they do not recognize U.S. government authority over public land there.

Ranchers in the state’s western reaches — supported by local and state officials — have threatened to round up wild horses even though it’s against federal law, saying the herds are crowding out grazing cattle.

Last summer the state Legislature authorized a $3-million fund so there would be ready cash to sue the federal government regarding federal land mandates.

It also approved $500,000 to fund a study looking at how the state might wrest control of 30 million acres of public land within Utah.

Former BLM Director Patrick Shea, who led the agency from 1997 to 1999, said the threat of violence always accompanied him on business trips out West. “Whenever I went to southern Utah and some other states, I had security people with me — it wasn’t because of me as an individual but because of the office I headed,” he said.

The situation now, he said, is far worse. He blamed what he called small-town leaders looking for easy votes and seething citizen militias.

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

    July 24, 2014

  • UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children’s clothing scattered in the courtyard.

    July 24, 2014

  • Air Algerie jet with 116 on board crashes in Mali

    An Air Algerie jetliner carrying 116 people crashed Thursday in a rainstorm over restive Mali, and its wreckage was found near the border of neighboring Burkina Faso — the third major international aviation disaster in a week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Troubled childhoods may prompt men to volunteer for military service

    In the era of the all-volunteer U.S. military, men who served are more than twice as likely as those who never did to have been sexually abused as children and to have grown up around domestic violence and substance abuse, a new study has found.

    July 24, 2014

  • As poverty continues to rise, fewer Ohioans are receiving state aid

    The number of Ohioans receiving public assistance continues to drop even while poverty increases, raising questions about how the state helps the poor.

    July 24, 2014

  • ’Saltwater’ from fracking spill much different from ocean water

    In early July, a million gallons of salty drilling waste spilled from a pipeline onto a steep hillside in western North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation. The waste — a byproduct of oil and gas production — has now reached a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, which provides drinking water to the reservation.

    July 24, 2014

  • 40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

    Victims of the Malaysian jetliner shot down over Ukraine returned at last Wednesday to Dutch soil in 40 wooden coffins, solemnly and gently carried to 40 identical hearses, flags at half-staff flapping in the wind.

    July 23, 2014

  • U.S. pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis.

    July 23, 2014

  • GROUNDED U.S., other countries ban flights to and from Israel

    A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on all flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine.

    July 23, 2014

  • REPORT: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California. In Pennsylvania, a doctor was removed from clinical work after complaining that on-call doctors were refusing to go to a VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre.

    July 22, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video