Why?

This blog is to help you in preparing for an emergency. It also contains other information that you might find spiritually up-lifting. This is not an official website of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". This site is maintained by Barry McCann (barry@mail.com)

Monday, April 20, 2015

California drought water-use rules could force 36% reduction on Beverly Hills

Officials introduce proposals for different cities and counties, backed up with heavy potential fines, in order to meet governor’s executive order Billionaire-studded Beverly Hills will be ordered to cut water usage by 36% under a tough new mandate proposed by regulators on Saturday to try to help parched California cope with its extreme drought.

Los Angeles will have to reduce usage by 16%; the more environmentally conscious San Francisco will only have to reduce its water consumption by 8% after doing more in the last year to cut use voluntarily, according to the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).

The framework of new emergency water conservation regulations was announced on Saturday as the proposed outline of efforts to conform with Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order, issued on 1 April, that California must cut water use in urban areas by 25% in the next year. Emergency regulations for agriculture in the state are still under discussion.

On Saturday a table of targets – backed up with heavy potential fines for water companies – was issued to cover different cities and counties.

The framework will be open for comments before a further draft is drawn up and then the final version of the regulations is issued next month. Reductions will then have to be achieved by the end of February 2016.

“We don’t know when it [the drought] will end,” Felicia Marcus, chair of the SWRCB, said on Saturday. “Californians need to step up; we don’t even know if it will rain or snow much in the next year.”

California is suffering from a prolonged drought, with two-thirds of the state in extreme drought conditions and 41% suffering from the most serious classification issued by state authorities – “exceptional drought”.

The new proposals are likely to provoke opposition from urban water supply companies, which will be fined $10,000 a day if they fail to achieve the cuts.

After four years of drought, the state has warned Californians that they need to make “real lifestyle changes”.



Officials introduce proposals for different cities and counties, backed up with heavy potential fines, in order to meet governor’s executive order Billionaire-studded Beverly Hills will be ordered to cut water usage by 36% under a tough new mandate proposed by regulators on Saturday to try to help parched California cope with its extreme drought.

Los Angeles will have to reduce usage by 16%; the more environmentally conscious San Francisco will only have to reduce its water consumption by 8% after doing more in the last year to cut use voluntarily, according to the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).

The framework of new emergency water conservation regulations was announced on Saturday as the proposed outline of efforts to conform with Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order, issued on 1 April, that California must cut water use in urban areas by 25% in the next year. Emergency regulations for agriculture in the state are still under discussion.

On Saturday a table of targets – backed up with heavy potential fines for water companies – was issued to cover different cities and counties.

The framework will be open for comments before a further draft is drawn up and then the final version of the regulations is issued next month. Reductions will then have to be achieved by the end of February 2016.

“We don’t know when it [the drought] will end,” Felicia Marcus, chair of the SWRCB, said on Saturday. “Californians need to step up; we don’t even know if it will rain or snow much in the next year.”

California is suffering from a prolonged drought, with two-thirds of the state in extreme drought conditions and 41% suffering from the most serious classification issued by state authorities – “exceptional drought”.

The new proposals are likely to provoke opposition from urban water supply companies, which will be fined $10,000 a day if they fail to achieve the cuts.

After four years of drought, the state has warned Californians that they need to make “real lifestyle changes”.

A plan to voluntarily cut water use across the state by 20% failed, with most areas falling far short and some areas, particularly in southern California, increasing water consumption, Governor Brown said earlier this month, saying he had therefore been forced to issue an executive order. The state only managed to achieve a 9% reduction in water consumption.

Under the new proposed mandate, Beverly Hills is given the most dramatic reduction level, of 36%. Also included at that level are San Bernadino County, Coachella Valley, Modesto and Tahoe City. Not far behind, Newport Beach, Sacramento County and the city of San Bernadino would be told to cut water use by 32%.

Fresno, Burbank and Sonoma must slash water use by 28% under the latest proposal, with Napa and Palo Alto being told to reduce by 24%. At the lowest end of the spectrum, San Francisco and Santa Cruz will be required to cut water use by 8%.

San Diego and Santa Barbara will have to cut water consumption by 16% and San Jose by 20% if the framework ends up being mandated as outlined.

Under the proposals, householders would not be able to use hosepipes without shut-off mechanisms. Although hosepipes would not be banned outright, hosing sidewalks for cleanliness with potable water would be banned and only drip or micro-spray sprinklers allowed.

Restaurant and café-goers will only be given glasses of tap water upon request, not automatically upon sitting down. Many establishments have been doing so voluntarily.

The water restrictions will not be imposed on individual city and county authorities but on the water supply companies that services them.

The state is also encouraging people to recycle water from washing machines to flush toilets or water lawns.

A plan to voluntarily cut water use across the state by 20% failed, with most areas falling far short and some areas, particularly in southern California, increasing water consumption, Governor Brown said earlier this month, saying he had therefore been forced to issue an executive order. The state only managed to achieve a 9% reduction in water consumption.

Under the new proposed mandate, Beverly Hills is given the most dramatic reduction level, of 36%. Also included at that level are San Bernadino County, Coachella Valley, Modesto and Tahoe City. Not far behind, Newport Beach, Sacramento County and the city of San Bernadino would be told to cut water use by 32%.

Fresno, Burbank and Sonoma must slash water use by 28% under the latest proposal, with Napa and Palo Alto being told to reduce by 24%. At the lowest end of the spectrum, San Francisco and Santa Cruz will be required to cut water use by 8%.

San Diego and Santa Barbara will have to cut water consumption by 16% and San Jose by 20% if the framework ends up being mandated as outlined.

Under the proposals, householders would not be able to use hosepipes without shut-off mechanisms. Although hosepipes would not be banned outright, hosing sidewalks for cleanliness with potable water would be banned and only drip or micro-spray sprinklers allowed.

Restaurant and café-goers will only be given glasses of tap water upon request, not automatically upon sitting down. Many establishments have been doing so voluntarily.

The water restrictions will not be imposed on individual city and county authorities but on the water supply companies that services them.

The state is also encouraging people to recycle water from washing machines to flush toilets or water lawns.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dry Wells Plague California as Drought Has Water Tables Plunging

Near California’s Success Lake, more than 1,000 water wells have failed. Farmers are spending $750,000 to drill 1,800 feet down to keep fields from going fallow. Makeshift showers have sprouted near the church parking lot.
“The conditions are like a third-world country,” said Andrew Lockman, a manager at the Office of Emergency Services in Tulare County, in the heart of the state’s agricultural Central Valley about 175 miles (282 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.
As California enters the fourth year of a record drought, its residents and $43 billion agriculture industry have drawn groundwater so low that it’s beyond the reach of existing wells. That’s left thousands with dry taps and pushed farmers to dig deeper as Governor Jerry Brown, a 77-year-old Democrat, orders the first mandatory water rationing in state history.
“The demand we’re placing on the aquifer and the deep bedrock drilling, which is going on at an alarmingly fast pace, is really scary,” said Tricia Blattler, executive director of the Tulare County Farm Bureau. “Folks are really concerned we’re not going to be able find water in the groundwater system much longer. We are tapping it way too quickly.”
Nowhere has lack of rain been felt more than in Tulare County, in a valley dotted with dairy farms and walnut orchards at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. With 458,000 residents, it’s home to 1,013 dry wells, accounting for more than half of those that have failed in the state since January 2014.

Tulare Dust

Outside Porterville, in a dusty, unincorporated hamlet populated by many Latino citrus-farm workers, some residents use donated bottled water to drink and cook. About 40 people a day wash in the 26 showers set up in trailers next to the parking lot of Iglesia Emmanuel church. They lug nonpotable water home from county tanks for their toilets.
Annette Clonts began bathing at friends’ homes or sneaking middle-of-the-night showers at Lake Success’s recreation area after the well near her trailer ran low two years ago. When the lake showers started sputtering in November, she turned to those at the church.
“When you’re 400 yards from the lake and you have no water, you’re in trouble,” said Clonts, a 57-year-old retired cook.
The family of Angelica Gallegos, a 39-year-old Porterville resident, loads two barrels in a truck and drives to a fire station twice a week to stock up on water from a county tank. That keeps the toilet running at her mobile home.
Her expenses are up from buying paper plates, cups, wipes and napkins, said Gallegos, a supervisor at an orange-packing facility.
“We’ve got to find a way to survive, to hold on,” said Gallegos, who lives with her husband and two daughters. “Right now, we don’t have the money to drill a deeper well. You’re talking about $15,000.”

Digging Deeper

That’s the starting price for residential wells, which range from 30 to 150 feet (9 to 46 meters) and can cost as much as $45,000, said Blattler, the official with the county’s farm bureau. Agricultural wells, which are about 1,000 to 1,800 feet, run $250,000 to $750,000, she said. There are so many customers, they’ll have to wait as long as two years.
On top of the failed wells, for the second year in a row the federal government isn’t supplying Tulare and Fresno counties with their typical share from the network of dams, reservoirs and canals spanning the state. That usually covers more than 50 percent of the water used by small towns and farmers, Blattler said.
Buying water from farmers who have rights to tap rivers is becoming more expensive as supplies run low, making wells the only source for many farms.
Tulare County issued 1,400 construction permits for wells last year, almost triple the 501 issued in 2013, according to county data. Permits doubled last year in neighboring Fresno County.
Local drillers and pump installers are being inundated with calls, creating lengthy wait lists. Business has doubled since 2012 at Kaweah Pump Inc., a well-drilling company in the Tulare County city of Visalia, said owner Bill Gargan, who’s had to hire 12 more people to keep up with demand. The company has a list with 42 drilling and about 200 pump jobs, he said. Gargan said his business has been operating 12 to 18-hour days, sometimes seven days a week.
“It will probably take us six months to get all those finished,” Gargan said. “They keep coming every day.”
Eric Borba, a 53-year-old dairy farmer in Porterville, said he’s been waiting since November to have a pump installed in a well he put in last year. Six of about 30 wells on his property aren’t pumping.
He said he may have to close the farm, which his grandfather started almost a century ago.
“At some point we don’t have an option,” Borba said. “With no water, you can’t do anything.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

The more they collect the deeper the debt...$1,477,901,000,000+:Tax-Day Tax Record

$100 Bills
(CNSNews.com) - The federal government has set an all-time record for the amount of inflation-adjusted tax revenue brought into the federal Treasury from the beginning of the fiscal year through the April 15 tax-filing deadline.
As of the close of business on April 14, the Treasury had brought in a record $1,477,901,000,000 since fiscal 2015 started on Oct. 1, 2014, according the Daily Treasury Statement released this afternoon.
We won't know how much additional tax revenue the Treasury hauled in today until it releases its next daily statement tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. But every dollar of it will add to the new record.
Tax-Day Tax Filing Record-Chart
Despite this record flow of tax revenue, the federal government ran a deficit of $439.47 billion in October through March, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement that was released Monday afternoon.
In fiscal 2014, in constant 2015 dollars, the Treasury collected $1,416,555,440,000 in taxes from the beginning of the fiscal year through the close of business on April 15. Up until then, that was the record federal tax haul through April 15. This year’s total of $1,477,901,000,000 through April 14, already surpasses last year’s record through April 15 by $61,345,560,000—or 4.3 percent.
In fiscal 2009, the year President Barack Obama took office, the Treasury brought in $1,249,523,180,000 in constant 2015 dollars through April 15. Since then real tax federal tax revenue collected through April 15 has increased by $228,377,820,000—or 18.3 percent.
CNSNews.com determined the amount of real tax revenue collected each year through April 15 by taking the “total” federal tax deposits reported on the Daily Treasury Statement for April 15 (or for the next business day if April 15 fell on a weekend) and then converting it to 2015 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.
Of the $1,477,901,000,000 in tax revenues the Treasury brought in in this fiscal year through the close of business yesterday, $1,223,936,000,000 came in income and employment taxes withheld from workers’ paychecks. Another $36,054,000,000 came from individual income taxes that were paid directly. $166,553,000,000 came from corporate income taxes. $41,970,000,000 came from excise taxes. $5,006,000,000 came from unemployment taxes. $3,510,000,000 came from railroad retirement taxes. And $872,000,000 came from estate taxes, gift taxes, and other miscellaneous taxes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The startling projections of a quake in Salt Lake City: What you need to know...


SALT LAKE CITY — It’s 2 a.m. on an April Thursday.
Along the Wasatch Front, most of the more than 2 million Utahns who live here are sleeping, at home in suburban homes or aging apartments, even as thousands of others are working graveyard shifts in hospitals or other businesses.
Then it happens. The world erupts in shaking so violent, those standing are knocked to the ground. Picture frames are hurled from walls, furniture tumbles across rooms, televisions crash down.
The land cracks, shifts and, in some areas, lifts into jagged ledges. Highways fracture. Power lines snap. Water and gas lines sever; fires roar to life. Buildings and homes crumble.
The largest earthquake to hit Utah in modern times has just struck. Its magnitude: 7.0.
"A 7.0 earthquake would be absolutely devastating, wherever it hits, in its effect on people, infrastructure — all of the things we take for granted and that we rely on every day," said Joe Dougherty, spokesman for the Utah Division of Emergency Management.
Under this scenario, the quake's epicenter hits Salt Lake County, and it ruptures along the Wasatch Fault, which runs 240 miles halfway through the state, from northern to central Utah. About 80 percent of the state’s soon-to-be 3 million people live and work in the region.
Residents from Brigham City to Nephi, and Grantsville to Kamas feel the quake, but those in Salt Lake County see the most devastation.
Minutes later, the shaking stops, but the state’s problems have just begun.
In the dusty, fiery aftermath, sirens sound. The state's roughly 10,000 firefighters, police and paramedics are following emergency protocol: They're tending to their families first, then they will assemble. But emergency managers expect only 60 percent of the region's first responders will be immediately onhand, so those 6,000 or so will face a daunting task.
If the quake hits at 2 a.m., while many sleep in unstable homes and structures, 2,487 are projected to die and more than 36,000 will be injured. If the quake strikes at midday, 1,968 would be dead, and 28,000 injured. If it comes during the 5 p.m. commute, 2,100 would be dead and 29,000 injured, according to modeling designed to identify the problems and prepare to find solutions.
In all, roughly 86,000 are expected to lose their homes.
The region’s main arteries — utilities, highways, communication — would be severed, and won’t be restored for weeks and, in some areas, even months to come. How likely is it to happen? The main water line for Salt Lake City crosses the fault line 19 times.
Federal loss-estimation software tells the Utah Division of Emergency Management that this scenario would be reality if a 7.0-magnitutde earthquake struck Salt Lake County, and scientists say geographical records show while such an event is rare, it’s not only possible, but plausible.
Expecting the Worst
The loss and challenge brought by a 7.0 quake stokes a yearly effort that urges Utahns to realize and prepare for such in event, Dougherty said.
More than 700,000 Utahns plan to participate in the annual earthquake drill, the Great Utah ShakeOut, on Thursday morning. Its twofold goal is to help people and organizations get prepared and learn how to protect themselves.
"We really want to have a culture of preparedness," Dougherty said. "Mental and physical readiness comes from doing things that get you prepared so that you have a game plan, and having that game plan gives people so much comfort, especially if they've practiced it."
Dougherty said large earthquakes are possible throughout Utah because the state sits on top of a "seismic zone," which includes the Wasatch Fault as well as the West Valley Fault, the Hurricane Fault, the Cache Valley Fault, as well as others beneath the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake.
“We have these sleeping giants everywhere,” Dougherty said.
Keith Koper, director of the University of Utah seismograph stations, said earthquakes don’t occur like clockwork and many geological variables influence their likelihood, but the reality is that it could happen anytime.
Koper said the matter is troubling because geological records can only reveal so much, and scientists simply don’t have the capability to accurately predict when or where the next earthquake will occur. But rock records do show that they have happened in the past, and nothing is preventing ongoing tectonic activity.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” Koper said. “We know it’s going to happen at some point, but the problem is we don’t know if it’s going to be next year, in 10 years, 100 years, or 500 years.”
But those geological records show the Wasatch fault has a major earthquake every 350 to 400 years, Dougherty said. The region’s last? About 350 years ago.
So that’s why Bob Carey, operations chief for the Utah Division of Emergency Management, lives and breathes earthquake emergency preparedness.
“There’s a big one — that 7.0 — lurking out there; the rock record shows us that,” Carey said.
If a severe earthquake hits in the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch fault, it would cause the worst structural and economical devastation, with greatest loss of life, injury and housing displacement, Carey said. The shaking would result in hazardous material spills, numerous landslides, scarps (ledges that could be almost 10 feet high), and even fluid-like land activity, or liquefaction, in areas near water tables, Koper said.
Hundreds of aftershocks would also impact the area, including a 6.0-magnitute earthquake that’s expected within a day of the initial shock, Carey said.
In the scenario, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s loss-estimation software, HAZUS, considers 12 counties — from Box Elder, Cache and Rich in the north, to as far south as Juab, Utah and Wasatch—which are all expected to be directly impacted if a quake’s epicenter strikes Salt Lake County.
Such an event would “definitely be an economic killer,” Carey said. The state would incur about $32 billion in structural loss and the subsequent economic fallout.
“Recovery is going to be excruciatingly slow,” he said. “It’s stunning. It’s so big; you almost don’t know where to start. “
Buildings
Of the 757,400 buildings in the region, about 182,000 will be moderately, extensively or completely damaged — 24 percent of all buildings across all 12 counties. Of those buildings, more than 55,000 will be damaged beyond repair, according to HAZUS.
During the past decade, city, county and state funding has helped retrofit several government buildings in Salt Lake County, including the state Capitol and the Salt Lake County Emergency Center, to protect against earthquake damage, said Jeff Graviet, Salt Lake County Emergency Services director.
Laws passed in 1975 require all newly built buildings to be engineered for earthquake safety, but brick or concrete buildings built before then are considered unreinforced masonry structures, which are especially susceptible to damage, and especially dangerous if they’re multiple stories, Carey said. Those are the structures that are most likely to collapse.
“If you look around downtown Salt Lake City, you’ve got these four- or five-story unreinforced masonry apartments all over the place,” Carey said. “You could very well see loss of life there.”
Graviet said no legislation is in place requiring businesses or homeowners to retrofit those susceptible buildings, and it's up to the owners to absorb the expense if they choose to invest in protection. Salt Lake City leaders launched a "Fix the Bricks" initiative in 2012 to encourage those owners to invest in reinforcement, but Dougherty said almost 50,000 buildings in Salt Lake County are still considered unreinforced masonry.
Utilities
Rocky Mountain Power is expected to shut down the entire region’s power grid for the first 24 to 48 hours after a major earthquake for safety evaluation, Carey said, so the first couple of days will be spent completely without power.
Dougherty said if the quake hits in the middle of winter, thousands of Utahns will be immediately seeking shelter and warmth, so emergency managers will be scrambling to set up warming stations wherever possible. He said families are encouraged to store generators in their home to help stay warm after the initial shock.
After one week, 75 percent of households are expected to have power, but it will likely be spotty due to aftershocks, Carey said.
While he said power could be “hit and miss” for some time, it will be a problem that will be much quicker to repair than damage to potable water and sewer infrastructure.
“We’re pretty much certain that nobody’s going to have water for a long time,” Carey said. “It’s going to be a very prevalent problem.”
While damage will be worse near the quake’s epicenter, it will still propagate throughout the region, because it only takes “inches” of movement to shear sewer pipes and other utility pipes, Dougherty said. Even worse would be damage to a dam — in Salt Lake County’s case, Mountain Dell Dam — which would result in a devastating flood.
For potable and wastewater, HAZUS predicts more than 17,000 leaks and 10,000 breaks across the region’s infrastructure. Carey said Salt Lake County would likely be experiencing 95 percent outages, while about 62 percent of households throughout the entire region will be without potable water. But even after 90 days, HAZUS predicts more than 40 percent of the region’s households still won’t have potable water.
“Imagine multiple water main breaks in every city that’s affected,” Dougherty said. “It would be widespread.”
Randy Bullough, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities water distribution and maintenance manager, said because of that widespread damage, every water district in the region will be competing for the same repair materials, and “there just may not be enough inventory to go around.”
“This is going to take years to get it back to where people are used to it,” Carey said.
In the meantime, water will be prioritized for emergency operations, and emergency managers will be seeking the help of the private sector—Target, Wal-Mart and other large suppliers—for bottled water, he said.
Lack of water flow will not only impact households, but also cripple businesses and debilitate hospitals, Carey said.
Transportation
Power outages mean fuel will be mostly inaccessible for the first 24 to 48 hours, Carey said, because most stations rely on electricity to pump gas. Then, fuel will be prioritized for emergency operations, even though people will be scrambling to stock up, he said, so it will become more scarce for weeks , and prices will inflate.
But even with a full tank of gas, travel could be difficult for weeks, if not months to come.
Carey said state emergency managers are expecting all canyon roads — Weber, Parleys, Provo — to be inaccessible due to landslides and rock fall. All highways and freeways are also likely to be shut down, he said, because the Interstate 15 and 80 interchange, often called the Spaghetti Bowl, is a major weak point in the state’s transportation system.
“All you need is one small problem at the Spaghetti Bowl, and that shuts off all freeways,” Carey said. “You don’t need too much damage, just strategic damage, and everything shuts down.”
He said they’d be completely closed for a month at the very least for safety inspection. If segments need to be rebuilt, access will start to revive within the year, but it could take years before it’s finished.
Carey said emergency managers are also planning on all bridges that cross the Jordan River to fail, due to the area’s liquefaction potential.
“So the valley will be cut right in half,” he said.
Plus, damage to various road segments throughout the region may take up to a year or more to complete, he said, so travel will be limited to likely state roads, like State Street and Redwood Road.
That means traffic will be chaotic for the first few days, Carey said. The mess of blocked roads will cause severe congestion on whatever roads are functional, widespread power outages will cause four-way stops at every single intersection, and people everywhere will be jumping into their cars to flee to areas with more services or even reunite with their families, because commuters who travel across counties will find themselves separated from their loved ones, he said.
As for the airport, Carey said it will be initially closed because it’s located in a high liquefaction zone. If it’s not closed for damage, it will be for inspection, which could take weeks or a month before at the very least one runway could be open for commerce, he said.
In the meantime, emergency managers will request the Federal Aviation Administration to close the airspace to all air traffic and turn the control of that airspace over to the Air Operations Branch in the state Emergency Operations Center, based beneath the state Capitol, which will be utilizing the National Guard and the Civil Air Patrol to respond to the crisis, Carey said.
Depending on damage, he said, it could take years before the airport is back to normal.
Communication
Whether due to damage or overload, cellphones, landlines and Internet will go down initially. Reboot will follow the same model as power, but, Carey said, for the first few days after the quake, people will only be able to send texts or emails, because cellphone companies will be prioritizing communication for emergency personnel.
In the meantime, Utah’s lifeline for safety information will be radio, where KSL is federally charged to broadcast the emergency alert system. Media personnel will be coordinating with the Emergency Operations Center for that information, which has an array of communication devices, from high-powered radio, to satellite telephone to collect and distribute information from city, county and federal levels.
“We will help (state officials) get the word out to people what areas to avoid, what roads are closed, where they can go for water, and where they can go for help,” said John Dehnel, Bonneville Radio director of engineering.
As power is available — through generators and restoration — KSL will broadcast online, on radio and on television, Dehnel said, and when reporters tell the stories of fellow struggling Utahns, it will create a network of support that tells people they aren’t alone, he said.
Shelter and care
After the initial shock, Carey said of the 36,000 injured, 9,300 are projected to have life-threatening injuries or require hospitalization, but even in perfect running conditions, only 6,600 hospital beds will be available. The day of the quake, it is predicted only 2,500 beds will be usable, he said.
Plus, Carey said, about 53,000 Utahns will be seeking shelter out of the 86,000 displaced, since many will be staying with friends or family. But the state is only equipped to offer about 8,000 cots.
“That’s when we start looking for help,” he said.
Jan Buttrey, Utah Hospital Association disaster preparedness consultant, said the first few days after an earthquake will be trying, and hospital staff will be “doing the best they can with what they’ve got." However, plans are in place to maximize bed availability through a coalition with extended care facilities.
"We're making sure that the nursing facilities are as prepared as they can be so they'll be available if the hospitals aren't," she said.
She said outside help from federal disaster medical treatment teams probably won’t arrive for about three days. So in the meantime, hospitals will be evacuating if need be — depending on damage — setting up tents in parking lots, establishing stations in nearby buildings, and creating “casualty collection points” for people who have minor injuries so beds can be reserved for the critically injured.
But the reality that emergency care will be extremely shorthanded means able-bodied residents need to be prepared to care for themselves and their families for the first few days, Buttrey said. That’s why it’s highly encouraged that neighborhoods form Community Emergency Response Teams, which many cities offer training for, she said.
“The best thing that you can do is to be able to do is take care of yourself and your own,” Buttrey said.
The American Red Cross will team with emergency responders to help with food, water and housing. Locally, it has 19 paid staff and about 1,000 volunteers. Support will come from other states as well.
As for shelter, Carey said any place with shower and kitchen facilities — schools, churches — will be turned into refugee centers, but the state will be relying on humanitarian groups to get Utahns the help they need.
Dougherty said emergency managers will also be relying on all of the state’s religious organizations for help assessing damages and needs of people.
“Obviously the LDS Church in Utah has a huge presence and a pretty good structure for communicating to church members at stake and ward levels,” Dougherty said. “It’s going to be a huge partnership.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

CA DELTA WATER MYSTERIOUSLY MISSING

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — As California struggles with a devastating drought, huge amounts of water are mysteriously vanishing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — and the prime suspects are farmers whose families have tilled fertile soil there for generations.
A state investigation was launched following complaints from two large agencies that supply water to arid farmland in the Central Valley and to millions of residents as far south as San Diego.
Delta farmers don't deny using as much water as they need. But they say they're not stealing it because their history of living at the water's edge gives them that right. Still, they have been asked to report how much water they're pumping and to prove their legal rights to it.
At issue is California's century-old water rights system that has been based on self-reporting and little oversight, historically giving senior water rights holders the ability to use as much water as they need, even in drought. Gov. Jerry Brown has said that if drought continues this system built into California's legal framework will probably need to be examined.
(AP) In this photo taken Friday March 27, 2015, low-flow water emitter sits on some of...
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Delta farmer Rudy Mussi says he has senior water rights, putting him in line ahead of those with lower ranking, or junior, water rights.
"If there's surplus water, hey, I don't mind sharing it," Mussi said. "I don't want anybody with junior water rights leapfrogging my senior water rights just because they have more money and more political clout."
The fight pitting farmer against farmer is playing out in the Delta, the hub of the state's water system. With no indication of the drought easing, heightened attention is being placed on dwindling water throughout the state, which produces nearly half of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the U.S.

A large inland estuary east of San Francisco, the Delta is fed by rivers of freshwater flowing down from the Sierra Nevada and northern mountain ranges. Located at sea level, it consists of large tracts of farmland separated by rivers that are subject to tidal ebbs and flows.
Most of the freshwater washes out to the Pacific Ocean through the San Francisco Bay. Some is pumped — or diverted — by Delta farmers to irrigate their crops, and some is sent south though canals to Central Valley farmers and to 25 million people statewide.
(AP) In this photo taken Friday March 27, 2015, farmer Rudy Mussi poses at one of his...
The drought now in its fourth year has put Delta water under close scrutiny. Twice last year state officials feared salty bay water was backing up into the Delta, threatening water quality. There was not enough fresh water to keep out saltwater.
In June, the state released water stored for farmers and communities from Lake Oroville to combat the saltwater intrusion.
Nancy Vogel, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Water Resources, said "thousands of acre-feet of water a day for a couple of weeks" were released into the Delta. An acre-foot is roughly enough water to supply a household of four for a year.
The fact that the state had to resort to using so much from storage raised questions about where the water was going. That in turn prompted a joint letter by the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation calling for an investigation into how much water Delta farmers are taking — and whether the amount exceeds their rights to it.
"We don't know if there were illegal diversions going on at this time," said Vogel, leaving it up to officials at the State Water Resources Control Board to determine. "Right now, a large information gap exists."
(AP) In this photo taken Friday March 27, 2015, farmer Rudy Mussi poses at one of his...
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Some 450 farmers who hold 1,061 water rights in the Delta and the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds were told to report their water diversions, and Katherine Mrowka, state water board enforcement manager, said a vast majority responded.
State officials are sorting through the information that will help them determine whether any are exceeding their water rights and who should be subject to restrictions.
"In this drought period, water accounting is more important to ensure that the water is being used for its intended purpose," said U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Louis Moore.
Mussi, a second-generation Delta farmer whose family grows tomatoes, wheat, corn, grapes and almonds on 4,500 acres west of Stockton, said Central Valley farmers have long known that in dry years they would get little or no water from state and federal water projects and would need to rely heavily on groundwater.
"All of a sudden they're trying to turn their water into a permanent system and ours temporary," Mussi said. "It's just not going to work."
Shawn Coburn farms 1,500 acres along the San Joaquin River in Firebaugh about 100 miles south of the Delta. As a senior rights holder, he figures he will receive 45 percent or less of the water he expected from the federal water project. On another 1,500 acres where he is a junior water rights holder, he will receive no surface water for a second consecutive year.
"I don't like to pick on other farmers, even if it wasn't a drought year," said Coburn. "The only difference is I don't have a pipe in the Delta I can suck willy-nilly whenever I want."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Is College A Waste Of Time And Money?

GraduationAre you thinking of going to college?  If so, please consider that decision very carefully.  You probably have lots of people telling you that an "education" is the key to your future and that you will never be able to get a "good job" unless you go to college.  And it is true that those that go to college do earn more on average than those that do not.  However, there is also a downside.  At most U.S. colleges, the quality of the education that you will receive is a joke, the goal of most colleges is to extract as much money from you and your parents as they possibly can, and there is a very good chance that there will not be a "good job" waiting for you once you graduate.  And unless you have someone that is willing to pay your tuition bills, you will probably be facing a lifetime of crippling student loan debt payments once you get out into the real world.  So is college a waste of time and money?  In the end, it really pays to listen to both sides of the debate.
Personally, I spent eight years at U.S. public universities, and I really enjoyed those times.
But would I trade my degrees today for the time and money that I spent to get them?
Absolutely.
Right now, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on their student loans, and more than 124 billion dollars of that total is more than 90 days delinquent.
It is a student loan debt bubble unlike anything that we have ever seen before, and now even those that make their living from this system are urging reform.  For example, consider what a law professor at the University of Tennessee recently wrote for the Wall Street Journal...

In the field of higher education, reality is outrunning parody. A recent feature on the satire website the Onion proclaimed, "30-Year-Old Has Earned $11 More Than He Would Have Without College Education." Allowing for tuition, interest on student loans, and four years of foregone income while in school, the fictional student "Patrick Moorhouse" wasn't much better off. His years of stress and study, the article japed, "have been more or less a financial wash."

"Patrick" shouldn't feel too bad. Many college graduates would be happy to be $11 ahead instead of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, behind. The credit-driven higher education bubble of the past several decades has left legions of students deep in debt without improving their job prospects. To make college a good value again, today's parents and students need to be skeptical, frugal and demanding.

When a lot of young Americans graduate from college and can't find a decent job, they are told that if they really want to "be successful" that what they really need is a graduate degree.
That means more years of education, and in most cases, even more debt.
But by the time many of these young achievers get through college and graduate school, the debt loads can be absolutely overwhelming...

The typical debt load of borrowers leaving school with a master's, medical, law or doctoral degree jumped an inflation-adjusted 43% between 2004 and 2012, according to a new report by the New America Foundation, a left-leaning Washington think tank. That translated into a median debt load—the point at which half of borrowers owed more and half owed less—of $57,600 in 2012.

The increases were sharper for those pursuing advanced degrees in the social sciences and humanities, versus professional degrees such as M.B.A.s or medical degrees that tend to yield greater long-term returns. The typical debt load of those earning a master's in education showed some of the largest increases, rising 66% to $50,879. It climbed 54% to $58,539 for those earning a master of arts.

In particular, many are questioning the value of a law school education these days.  Law schools are aggressively recruiting students even though they know that there are way, way too many lawyers already.  There is no way that the legal field can produce enough jobs for the huge flood of new law school graduates that are hitting the streets each year.
The criticism has become so harsh that even mainstream news outlets are writing about this.  For instance, the following comes from a recent CNN article...
For the past three years, the media has picked up the attacks with relish. The New York Times, in an article on a graduate with $250,000 in loans, put it this way: "Is Law School a Losing Game?" Referring to the graduate, the Times wrote, "His secret, if that's the right word, is to pretty much ignore all the calls and letters that he receives every day from the dozen or so creditors now hounding him for cash," writes the author. Or consider this blunt headline from a recent Business Insider article: "'I Consider Law School A Waste Of My Life And An Extraordinary Waste Of Money.'" Even though the graduate profiled in the piece had a degree from a Top 20 law school, he's now bitterly mired in debt. "Because I went to law school, I don't see myself having a family, earning a comfortable wage, or having an enjoyable lifestyle," he writes. "I wouldn't wish my law school experience on my enemy."
In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt, and the average debt level has been steadily rising.  In fact, one study found that "70 percent of the class of 2013 is graduating with college-related debt – averaging $35,200 – including federal, state and private loans, as well as debt owed to family and accumulated through credit cards."
That would be bad enough if most of these students were getting decent jobs that enabled them to service that debt.
But unfortunately, that is often not the case.  It has been estimated that about half of all recent college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.
Could you imagine that?
Could you imagine investing four or five years and tens of thousands of dollars in a college degree and then working a job that does not even require a degree?
And the really sick thing is that the quality of the education that most college students are receiving is quite pathetic.
Recently, a film crew went down to American University and asked students some really basic questions about our country.  The results were absolutely stunning...
When asked if they could name a SINGLE U.S. senator, the students blanked. Also, very few knew that each state has two senators. The guesses were all over the map, with some crediting each state with twelve, thirteen, and five senators.
I have posted the YouTube video below.  How in the world is it possible that college students in America cannot name a single U.S. senator?...
These are the leaders of tomorrow?
That is a frightening thought.
If parents only knew what their children were being taught at college, in most instances they would be absolutely horrified.
The following is a list of actual college courses that have been taught at U.S. colleges in recent years...
That last one is my favorite.
The truth is that many of these colleges don't really care if  your sons and daughters learn much at all.  They just want the money to keep rolling in.
And our college students are discovering that when they do graduate that they are woefully unprepared for life on the outside.  In fact, one survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the "real world" while they were still in college.
In America today, there are more than 300,000 waitresses that have college degrees, and close to three out of every ten adults in the United States under the age of 35 are still living at home with Mom and Dad.
Our system of higher education is not working, and it is crippling an entire generation of Americans.
So what do you think?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

How to Clean A Wood Stove

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Burning a wood stove is a must for many who live a self-reliant lifestyle in Northern climates. Generating enough heat via solar or wind to power a large enough furnace that would be required to combat the cold winters is not within the financial grasp of most folks. If firewood is available in your area a wood stove offers an affordable way to heat your home without running up a bill or being connected to the grid. A wood stove can also be an excellent source of emergency heat for winter time power outages or for that ‘just in case’ moment. Not only can they heat a home or bug out location but one can use even your average wood stove to cook on (click here to learn how).
Along with owning a wood stove comes maintaining it to keep it safe, and a big part of maintaining a wood burning stove is cleaning it. If wood stoves and their chimney’s aren’t cleaned periodically a dangerous smoke residue called creosote can build up in the stove and in the chimney, this build up is the primary cause of almost all chimney fires. Regular cleaning and good burning practices can greatly reduce the risk of chimney fires.
Here is a quick run down on how to clean out a free standing wood stove with a pipe chimney – most of this can be adapted to many types of stoves, but remember to reference your owners manual for cleaning and maintenance specifics if one came with your stove – yes, most modern EPA approved wood stoves have a manual. Also keep in mind if you have a very large brick or stone chimney its going to require some extra work and safety precautions on your part.
Let the fire go out.
Let the stove go out – for like a day. IMPORTANT: Stove should be cold to the touch, the fire box may still be a little warm but the stove and chimney should be cold. If you have a back up source of heat, now is a good time to run it, just until you get the stove going again. Once stove cleaning becomes routine, this chore should only take an hour to two of time.
Wood stoves vary in the time they need to be cleaned, it all depends on what is being burned (ex: seasoned hardwood burns better than something that is still a little green and typically it burns more cleanly than pine) and how (small hot fires burn more cleanly than big fires burning slowly). Plus there are creosote busting powders that can be added to your fire on a regular bases to extend times between cleaning. Also opening the stove up and allowing it to get real hot for about 45 minutes twice a day will help get rid of creosote before it builds up and extends times between cleanings. In the end they ALL need to be cleaned, some more frequently than others. We clean ours out about once a month in the winter time, sometimes more often, as our chimney is a tad prone to fires.
First – Shovel out the fire box. 
Fire box cleaning
Get rid of all the ash and debris in the fire box. It’s a good idea to use a metal can like the one I have pictured. If there is some hot coals left over it will melt a plastic bucket or start a cardboard box on fire. Take all of the ashes in the metal can outside and set it on the bare ground some where away from any dwelling. Important note: DO NOT set the ash bucket in a garage or on a deck or in the garbage – if there is even one hot coal in there you could run of the risk of starting a fire.
Once the ash has set for a few days it can be dumped or re-purposed. If you have a vegetable garden and it has slightly acidic soil – wood stove ash would be beneficial to it by increasing the pH (lower being acidic and higher being more alkaline) and adding nutrients. If the wood that was being burned was hardwood, the ash can also be used for making lye.fsd
Mark the indoor section of the chimney for dis-assembly. 
Marks
stove taken apart
This is a little trick we learned over time to make reassembly easier and quicker since the chimney pipe is held together with little screws. It fits back together in a particular way with little screws holding it together so once marked, all one has to do is line up the white lines and pop the screws back in place. The white maker tends to burn off so it must be reapplied each time. A silver sharpie or chalk will also work.
Once the chimney pipe is removed don’t forget to look down into the stove and clear any creosote build-up near or around the opening.
Clean out the creosote from the stove and indoor chimney. 
Dangerous creosote build up. Chimney fire waiting to happen.
Dangerous creosote build up. Chimney fire waiting to happen.
Chimney Brush
Poly chimney brush – they also make a wire brush which may be more effective with stone or brick….

Using a chimney brush and rod like the one I have pictured, scrub out the chimney pipe. This can be done by using a garbage bag like I have pictured to catch the all the little chunks of creosote greatly reducing the mess made in the house. If there are any bends in the chimney pipe examine them closely as that is where creosote likes to build up – clean them out thoroughly.
Add the removed creosote to another metal can or add it to the ash can if there are no plans for re-purposing it. Look down into the stove from where the chimney was removed, if there is creosote build up there, clean that out too then reassemble the chimney. TIP: Brushes come in 6 inch and 8 inch size measure your chimney pipe before you buy a brush. 

Clean the glass on the stove door.
Window cleaning
Glass Cleaner
All images © Stephanie Dayle 2014 unless otherwise noted.

If your stoves has a glass window on the door this is the best time to clean the glass on it. Creosote can be cleaned off of glass by using a diluted lye solution OR a commercial wood stove glass spray which just happens to be diluted lye, but the mixing is all done for you so there is no guess work. Either way use a mask, keep the kids away and try not to breathe the stuff in.  Simply lay down a couple of layers of newspaper to catch drips, spray on – let sit for a few minutes – then wipe off with scrubber sponge. Repeat until clean.

Clean the tray off.
Tray cleaning
© Stephanie Dayle 2014

The tray on the front of the stove that catches the coals that try to fall out when wood is being added, the one that is so tempting to use a duster or little broom on? Now is the perfect time to clean that off while not lighting the duster or broom on fire.

Remove any dust or ash build up.
IMG_4331
All images © Stephanie Dayle unless otherwise noted.
Using a shop vac or a regular house vacuum remove any dust or ash build up. A dry cloth or dust broom can also easily be used but a vacuum is the easiest way to go.

Clean out the outdoor chimney.
end cap
Looking up chimney
Important note: First stand out of the way of falling debris and carefully remove the access door or cap as pictured – this will provide access to the rest of the chimney. Again, using your chimney brush clean out any visible creosote from the chimney by adding extensions to your chimney brush rod. Once cleaned, reapply the access door, and disassemble your chimney brush for easy storage.
extention rod
Chimney cleaning brush rod – please note the threading for adding additional extensions.
We usually add the recently removed creosote to our fire pit in the yard – it will burn up in a hot fire leaving nothing but powdery ash that can then be added to a garden. If that is not an option for you the creosote can be buried or thrown out once completely cooled.

Put everything back together and get a fire going.
Once the chimney indoors and out, stove and accessories are put back together you can get a worry free fire going as soon as possible. Keep in mind a freshly cleaned stove will draft (breathe) a little differently than it did two hours ago – so it may be tricky to start.
End product is a clean, safe, well burning stove.

Clean Stove