Video: Backlash as BLM Backhoes move to Bury Bundy’s Killed Cattle

Video: Backlash as BLM Backhoes move to Bury Bundy’s Killed Cattle

This is very disturbing. Watch the whole video in it’s entirety and listen to what happened first hand. FYI The BLM blocked the roads and banned photography because they rounded up all the Bundy cattle and left their calves to die. The calves are quickly dying and they were bringing in backhoes to secretly bury the cattle. These protesters were trying to find out why the backhoes were being brought in.

Also, this is not as black and white as the liberal media has reported. Yes, Bundy quit paying grazing fees, but that was because he has a legally binding allotment going back to the 1880’s BEFORE the BLM… Their role, he argues was to manage well the land and he was to pay a monthly fee, but when they closed 600,000 acres of his allotment to protect the desert tortoise and put his 51 ranching neighbors out of business he thought he shouldn’t have to pay for their “poor management.” They were managing him into bankruptcy.

If a new rancher who never had a legal allotment grazed without paying fees, they would have a case, but this is a civil court case, not something that federal agents with tazers, helicopters and German Shepherds should be involved in.

Meanwhile Iron County, Utah ranchers are being “managed out of business” by the BLM because they allow 1200 wild horses and burros to wreak havoc on the forage that ranchers have paid a fee to have access to for their cattle. The BLM’s own regulations say they are to allow no more that 300 wild horses and burros to roam this desert range land but they refuse to manage the herd properly. The goal… to put Utah ranchers out of business to and acquire more “federal lands”.

Last week the BLM opined again that they had no money to manage the herds in Utah after Iron County Commissioners sent an ultimatum to the BLM asking why they can afford to spend $2 million on the NV ranchers’ dispute but thy can’t afford to manage their own programs. They went on to warn that non-action would result in Iron County doing their own Emergency Wild Horse Roundup to protect range lands for ranchers.

Range War Brewing Near Utah Border

bundyagentsThis weekend the federal government contracted cowboys to start seizing a Nevada ranchers cattle and arrived with dozens of armed agents, SUVs and helicopters. Lifelong rancher Cliven Bundy, 66, his father & grandfather had grazed cattle on BLM land for decades, but in 1998 the BLM decided that 600,000 acres called Gold Butte, near the Utah border would be designated to protect the endangered desert tortoise.  Grazing would no longer be permitted.

Federal agents surrounded his 150 acre ranch this weekend and his son was arrested. Bundy’s wife stated: “They’ve been bringing in men and equipment and setting up a compound. They got helicopters flying low. They got snipers around the ranch. We’re not pointing guns at anyone but we’re sure getting a lot of guns pointed at us.”  Bundy is worried the BLM might try to turn the situation into another Waco or Ruby Ridge.

The trouble began in 1993 when Bundy stopped paying grazing fees because he said his Mormon ancestors worked the land since the 1880’s giving him land rights. “We own this land, not the feds.” He is willing to pay grazing fees but only to Clark County, not the BLM. “Years ago I used to have 52 neighboring ranchers. I’m the last man standing. How come? Because BLM regulated these people off the land and out of business.”

Iron County Emergency Wild Horse Round-up

feral horsesIn spite of warnings from the BLM this weekend, the Iron County Commission is still planning its Emergency Wild Horse Roundup. This falls only days after Iron County Commissioners wrote a letter to the BLM asking why they are spending $2 million dollars on the action against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy when they are claiming they don’t have any money to properly manage the feral horses and burros that are ravaging the range shared by cattle allowed on BLM land under grazing permits.

The Utah office of the BLM has estimated 1,200 horses are spread over several management units when the BLM’s own plan only allows 300 horses. The BLM sells permits to 40-50 ranchers allowing them to graze an allotted number of cattle, but after they paid for these permits the BLM came back and asked them to reduce the cattle grazing by 50 percent. This enraged many ranchers because they were already forced to cut their cattle numbers by 50 percent a few years earlier.

“The suggestion of another cut is totally unpalatable for ranchers” said Iron County Commission Chair Dave Miller, who believes the BLM should not be rounding up a private rancher’s cattle, they should be rounding up the excess population of wild horses they have stewardship over.

2014 Dinosaur National Monument Spring Opening & Camp Schedule

dnm raftWarmer weather and longer days invite visitors to enjoy the monument’s diverse resources

COLORADO/UTAH – “With the arrival of spring, Dinosaur National Monument will offer expanded services for visitors. We are seeing more people enjoying the monument everyday with the warmer weather and we are looking forward to a busy season ahead,” announced acting monument superintendent, Mark Foust.

On the Utah side of the monument, the Quarry Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The visitor center features exhibits, a film, sales outlet for the Intermountain Natural History Association, and also serves as the departure point for car caravans to the Quarry Exhibit Hall with the wall of dinosaur fossils and exhibits about dinosaurs. Caravans leave from the visitor center at scheduled times throughout the day. Starting May 3, a shuttle will transport visitors between the visitor center and exhibit hall on Saturdays and Sundays. Beginning May 17, the shuttle will run daily through September 7. For more information on seeing the dinosaur fossils, please visit the monument website or call (435) 781-7700.

The Split Mountain Group and Green River campgrounds will begin offering water starting Friday, April 4, 2014 and camping fees will be charged. For the Green River Campground, the fee is $12.00 per night, per site. The Split Mountain Group Campground has four group sites that can each accommodate up to 25 people and six vehicles. The fee for Split Mountain is $25.00 per site, per night. Reservations are accepted for sites at Split Mountain and Green River Campgrounds through the online system managed by or by calling 1 (877) 444-6777 (10:00 AM – Midnight, EST). Split Mountain and Green River Campgrounds are located approximately four miles east of the Quarry Visitor Center on the Cub Creek road. More information on camping in the monument can be found at

On the Colorado side of the monument, the Harpers Corner Road will open on Friday, April 4 for the season. The Harpers Corner Road is a scenic 32-mile one way drive that leaves U.S. Highway 40 two miles east of Dinosaur, Colorado. The Canyon Visitor Center which is located at the start of the Harpers Corner Road will open on weekends starting April 12 and daily beginning on May 10.

The Gates of Lodore Campground, located 106 miles north of the Canyon Visitor Center on the Green River, and the Deerlodge Park Campground, located 53 miles east of the Canyon Visitor Center on the Yampa River, will have water available starting May 3, 2014. On May 16, 2014, water will be available at the Echo Park Campground, located 38 miles north of the Canyon Visitor Center. Once the water is turned on, camping fees at all three campgrounds will be $8.00 per site, per night.

Summary of Campground Information
Campground Location Dates Nightly Fee Sites Reservations / Other Information
Green River 4 miles east of Quarry Visitor Center Open April 4 – October 5, 2014 $12 80 B loop sites are available on for peak season;All other sites are first come, first served
Split Mountain Group 4 miles east of Quarry Visitor Center Open all year, water available April 4 – Oct. 5, 2014; group campground in summer, open to everyone in off season $25 4 Available on for peak season
Rainbow Park 28 miles from the Quarry Visitor Center Open all year, road may be impassable in winter or after rain Free 4 First-come, first-served; tent camping only; no water
Echo Park 38 miles north of the Canyon Visitor Center Open when road to Echo Park is passable, water available May 16 – Sept. 21, 2014 $8.00 for regular & walk-in sites;$15.00 for group site 22 including 1 group site First-come, first-served
Deerlodge Park 53 miles east of the Canyon Visitor Center Open all year, road may be impassable in winter, water available May 3 – July 27, 2014 $8.00 7 First-come, first-served; tent camping only
Gates of Lodore north end of monument,106 miles north of the Canyon Visitor Center Open all year, road may be impassable in winter, water available May 3 – Oct. 13, 2014 $8.00 17 first-come, first-served

Scheduled opening dates are subject to change dependent on weather.

Entrance fees for Dinosaur National Monument are as follows: $10 per vehicle, valid for up to seven days; $5 per person for someone on a motorcycle or bicycle. Frequent visitors to the monument may want to purchase a Dinosaur Annual Pass for $20.00, which is great value for those who come often or bring family and friends when visiting the area. For more information, visit the fees and reservation section of the park website ( which also includes rates for commercial and non-commercial groups and how school groups can request an academic fee waiver.

Remember that Dinosaur’s weather is unpredictable and can change rapidly. Visitors should always be prepared for a range of conditions. Wildlife, like deer, elk and bighorn sheep, may be seen along the rivers. Please be alert for animals crossing the roads, particularly at dawn and dusk. For more information on Dinosaur National Monument, call us at (435) 781-7700. You can also find us on facebook or follow DinosaurNPS on twitter.

Cold Water Dangers Deserve Respect

fishingIt’s been 5 years since I read what I wrote immediately after our river trauma. Many people have asked if I would reprint our experience. Looking back on what could be categorized as a nightmare, it seems to me surviving this event has taught me foundational lessons in humanity and a gratitude for life I might have otherwise never felt. I am grateful for hard things, they refine us.

Lori Burchinal, Kat Shoemaker, and Joni Crane decided late Friday, June 26th, 2009 to go fishing.  They got a late start on what appeared to be a calm evening, put a dory into the Green River at around 5 p.m. at the base of the Flaming Gorge Dam and here’s what happened:

At the Flaming Gorge Lodge, we ran into some people Kat and Lori knew, who wanted to shuttle with us (Chris and Bobby from California). We loaded their 2-man pontoon boat onto our fiberglass dory and shuttled ourselves down to the river.

Fishing that day was fantastic until around 8 p.m. when we were approaching Mother in Law Rapids. A storm came through the canyon without any warning. Thunder roared, lightening flashed, and rain pelted us hard. We all lost our fishing hats that were strapped under our chins when the wind came from behind and swept us sideways in the river.  Kat tried to keep control of the dory in the storm. It was like the ocean, and in only seconds the wind and waves blew the dory head-on into the “Can Opener”, a rock that did just that to our boat. Our fiberglass dory is still wrapped around it three days later.

The force of the current shoved us straight up the rock until almost the entire boat was vertical and out of the water and then we tipped sideways to the right. Lori, who had been riding in the front of the boat, was putting a fly on her line when it happened. She grabbed the high side of the dory, but finally had to let go and struggled swimming in the river until she made her way to the remote side of the river. Kat and I were pinned under the boat against the rock with the force of the river keeping us underwater and drowning. It took everything I had to roll to the right, off the edge of the rock to free myself.

I knew I would drown if I fought the current. I could see Lori making her way to the remote side of the river. The water was around 43 degrees according to Daggett County Rescuers. It was so cold that immediately the wind is knocked out of you, and you begin to stiffen up and loose use of your limbs. I remembered learning not to fight the current and to preserve my energy, so I just started to float in the fast current and tried to catch my breath.

That is when I started looking for Kat.  About 200 yards away I saw Kat roll around the rock just like I had, but noticed she was not swimming or looking at me while I was yelling for her. She was just floating down the river in a daze. I knew something was wrong with her when I saw she wasn’t trying to help herself.  She was in shock, not coherent, her face was white and her lips were blue. I wanted to swim for my life but realized she needed help and I decided to swim to her, but was afraid at first the she was going to pull me under.

I swam to her and turned her around and grabbed the back of her life vest. I told her to float on her back and I would pull her to shore. Then I saw how far away the shore was and was sure I was going to miss it at the rate the current was pulling us downstream. My heart sunk when I realized I could not make the beach fast enough if I was pulling Kat and felt that we would be in the river a long time until we made it to another beach.

At that point I made a decision not to look at the shore while I swam or I felt I would lose hope, I backstroked hard with my right arm and held Kat’s life vest with my left. I prayed out loud that God would move the shore closer to me. Immediately I was overcome by a warm comforting feeling and heard a voice repeat a scripture verse I had learned in my youth, “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” I knew immediately that I was in God’s hands and he would help me. As I swam I had the most bizarre thought… “If God’s going to move the shore closer to me, it would be impolite of me to watch,” so I swam as hard as I could without looking toward the shore. I know it’s weird; I just swam as hard as humanly possible for an old lady of forty-six.

I have no idea how long it took, but I suddenly felt rocks under my feet. I pulled Kat halfway out of the water and then just sat there stunned. Lori and I met up and decided I should stay with Kat and she would run along the bank looking for the guys behind us. I stayed with Kat and made more attempts to pull her out of the water entirely. She couldn’t move and we knew she had hypothermia and was in shock.

Lori couldn’t find the other boat so she came back to help me move Kat to dry ground under a tree, it was raining. When I looked down at Lori’s hand she had a huge fishing hook through her middle finger. We knew Kat was in bad shape and Lori couldn’t help move Kat with a huge hook in her finger, so like the Bering Sea Crab Fisherwoman she is, Lori took her forceps that were still attached to her fishing vest, and after four attempts, was able to yank it out of her own finger. We slowly pulled Kat up rocky slope and completely out of the water.

We were exhausted, wet, hypothermic and trying to think clearly and it was hard to focus. We began peeling off our wet life-jackets and coats, that’s when we saw the pontoon boat. Chris and Bobby floated past the rock, taking in the fact that our dory was smashed around it and we were not in it. We could see them pale and desperately scanning the shorelines looking for us. We began yelling but they couldn’t hear us, we were hoarse. Finally out of desperation Lori did her ear piercing whistle. They heard that and rowed hard against the current to reach our shoreline.

Both of them jumped off and ran over to assess the situation with us. They stayed calm and helped immediately offering us a fleece and a jacket when they saw that Kat was so bad off.  Lori and I were adamant that they not take Kat onto the pontoon and float her to Little Hole in a rainstorm. It was still an hour long float and she was already hypothermic. The guys had a lighter, 2 ½ bottles of Gatorade, a cooler with a few pieces of bread and peanut butter, and a first aid kit with an emergency foil blanket.

They collected wood while Lori built a life saving fire. Chris suggested we heat up the Gatorade and then drink it to warm ourselves. They reluctantly left us when we refused to put Kat on the pontoon. We assured them she would be better off if we could warm her while they went for help. The other option was to put her on the pontoon in a storm and have her freeze even more for the hour float to Little Hole and then wait for help.

I could tell they felt terrible leaving us but Lori and I were sure it was the best plan. As soon as they left, we gathered more wood. It was so close to dark that we worried we would not be able to find more in the dark. I told Lori we needed to get our wet clothes off but she didn’t really like that idea. It only took a few minutes of thinking about it before she and I realized we couldn’t help Kat if we both remained hypothermic too.

I took off my soaked Capri’s and immediately started to warm up. This was enough to convince Lori that it wasn’t that terrible of an idea.  The second we started to warm up we started thinking better. Kat was in shock, shaking uncontrollably and not able to breathe or get in a comfortable position.  Kat had aspirated, (had water in her lungs), we did not know this until we were in the hospital. Lori and I both remembered our Red Cross First Aid Training and turned Kat so her head was on a downhill slope.

We took off her wet shirt and jacket and put on the fleece and hooded rain jacket that the guys had left. We tightened the hood around her face to keep in her body heat. Then we broke out THE FOIL BLANKET, yes that is in bold, because who would have thought that tiny little blanket would save us? But it did.  We laid Kat by the fire and rolled her into Recovery Position on her side (I remembered that from CERT training). We tucked in the blanket along her backside and then stood up on either side of her holding up the foil blanket to reflect the fire’s heat onto all three of us. I am totally amazed at how much heat that provided all of us.

For about four hours we prayed together, sang together, and huddled under the foil blanket when it began to rain again. We put our clothes on branches and held them over the fire and would dress in warm clothes as we dried each item. We took shifts keeping Kat’s breathing pattern calm and lied to her. We told her that it was a proven fact that a person couldn’t go into shock if they laughed. Of course this was a lie, but every time she laughed she would exhale and her shaking would subside. So we lied. It worked.

By midnight we had all our clothes dry and Kat was feeling well enough to sit up on the cooler, she had color in her lips finally and was able to drink warmed Gatorade. We made plans on what we would do if we saw a bear and prayed and prayed and prayed. We said Mormon prayers and Catholic prayers for Kat. I think Kat was surprised that Mormon girls knew the Lord’s Prayer. I know that God was with us the whole time. We knew he had sent Chris and Bobby with exactly the things we needed to stay alive. Kat’s dog was with us the whole time too, which was comforting after the sun went down. Occasionally we would hear deep loud noises coming from the boat that was still stuck out on the rock, it was eerie. From time to time it rained and we built the fire bigger so the rain wouldn’t put it out and we all huddled under the foil blanket until the rain stopped.

I think it was about 12:30 when we saw the Gorge walls start lighting up and Daggett County Search and Rescue found us. We heard the water on the river begin to lower at around midnight, so being on the river wasn’t as hazardous. They took care of Kat,  put her on oxygen, and it took a while to assess her condition and to get her into the first rescue dory. It had a heater in the floor for Kat. They left and a few minutes later Lori and I left with two other rescuers in a second dory. As we began the hour long ride down the river, the flashlight batteries our rescuers were using to spot the rocks dimmed and it was scary. The other boat was so far ahead they couldn’t give us any light. As Ben Somsen rowed in the black moonless night the guide had to turn off the flashlight to preserve the batteries. They knew the Green so well that they navigated rocks, turns and rapids from sound and memory and I also believe some divine intervention.

I don’t believe many people have ever maneuvered the Green in total blackness with just the stars guiding them. As the flashlights shined on the banks we saw deer and a cougar and many other eyes that we couldn’t identify. The outline of the Gorge with a million stars was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. However, in the middle of all this beauty, I had a sudden moment of clarity when I thought, “What kind of idiot survives a boat crash in broad daylight on a raging river and then gets back into the same kind of boat, on the same river, in the dark? This time we are doing the river by Braille method.”

I was really brave all day until that thought came into my head. That’s when I just started bawling my head off like a big baby. Every time we bumped a little rock, or could hear more rapids, I just wanted to die. It was like being in a nightmare and then realizing it wasn’t a dream, it was all real.

We had warmed up by the fire but when we got to Little Hole an hour later the ambulance had left with Kat. Responders realized Lori & I were both hypothermic and I was in a daze, they summoned the ambulance back and loaded Lori and I in with Kat. Lori is a rock. She is a strong woman and fun to have around in a traumatic situation. Kat had water in her lungs and they said at the point that we started warming her up that her core temperature was probably about 86 or 87 degrees. I can’t remember ever feeling cold out there.

On the way down the mountain the EMT’s placed heat packs under our feet, behind our knees and in our armpits and then wrapped us like mummies. Kat was being cared for on a gurney by an EMT while another held Lori and I in an upright mummified position as we took curve after curve and couldn’t use our hands for balance. Halfway down the mountain our EMT climbed into the cab through the window and traded duties with her husband. We could hear her vomiting at which point we were told that during the hour long drive they had cranked temp in the vehicle somewhere between 90 and 100 degrees. Of course they were car sick. It wasn’t until we got into Vernal that I could feel the heat on my cheek for a nanosecond. I never even noticed the warmth.

We got released at 5 a.m. Saturday morning, after getting shots in the bottom for pain they said we should be expecting soon. I am so glad to be alive! Being all doped up and all and still in shock, Lori, Kat, and I went back up to the Lodge Saturday afternoon for those pork medallions we had been craving all day Friday. We found Zach, Kat’s dog, who had been so protective of us. Bruno from Dutch John Conoco had taken care of him while we were in the hospital. He was sure glad to see Kat! It looked like the whole thing traumatized him too. He fell asleep in the back of my convertible while we ate dinner. During dinner, all of our pain and muscle relaxing shots wore off, and Kat noticed a huge egg on her head which might have explained more of her trauma. We sat with friends and didn’t talk too much, I think we all just needed to hang out, and we still felt like it was a bad dream.

After getting back home that night we received calls asking us to come back in for airway treatments, it seems that all that time by the fire on the mountain also gave us a good dose of smoke inhalation which they wanted to treat quickly.

As for myself, I wasn’t able to really get any sleep until after church on Sunday. Each time I doze off, I feel rain drops hitting my hands. When I talked to Lori about it Monday, she said that she remembers getting under the foil tarp while it was raining and realizing how cold I was. She said I am remembering the rain because it was hitting my hand during the hardest part of the night when all was quiet and we listened to the boat groaning on the rock. I guess your mind remembers what your body wants to forget.

It’s Monday now and Kat and Lori are reliving the whole thing at night and not sleeping well either. I think today it has finally hit us that this was a lot bigger deal than we thought.

For those of you, who think the Green is a mild warm raft ride like it normally is this time of year, consider this: the volume of water they are letting out daily now is higher, the water then has less time to warm. The water they are letting in is from the bottom of the dam and it was 43 degrees on a sunny warm day. Even without a storm and a crash, just falling in the water on a bright sunny day and swimming to shore, you can be hypothermic by the time you hit the beach. Also the water was so cold that the second you hit the water your muscles tighten up and make it hard to swim, and the cold knocks the wind out of you. Take that leisure trip later this summer please, when the water is warmer.

Our advice to all: NEVER go on the Green without a life vest, and ALWAYS have A LIGHTER, A PHONE, AND A FOIL BLANKET in a Ziploc bag attached to you somehow! Be nice to your friends too, you never know how much you may need to rely on them someday.

My most sincere thanks go out to:

Bruno Niccoli, Daggett County Search and Rescue; David Jones EMT, Daggett County Search and Rescue; Ben Somson, Daggett County Search and Rescue; Chris Harvey, Daggett County Search and Rescue; Bill and Patty Schwartz, Ambulance; Phil Lopez, Ambulance; Christy Jones, Ambulance; Rick Ellsworth, Sherriff; Gerad Hayes, State Parks; Jack Lytle, DNR; Travis Hawkins, LEO Forest Service; all the volunteers in Dutch John who showed up to help out of the goodness of their hearts; and staff at Ashley Valley Regional Medical Center.

Former UHS Coach Loses Home in North Dakota

Williston, ND – Former Uintah High School Teacher and Coach Eric Pye and Kathleen Warnberg were jolted awake Wednesday when their fifty foot fifth wheel exploded and left them staring into a sizzling hole in the upper bedroom that quickly engulfed their entire Williston, North Dakota residence, their personal belongings and sadly even their two precious cats.

An explosion in Williston, ND left a former Uintah High School Coach and a Vernal Dental Assistant homeless when their 50 foot 5th-wheel and home of five years exploded.

An explosion in Williston, ND left a former Uintah High School Coach and a Vernal Dental Assistant homeless when their 50 foot 5th-wheel and home of five years exploded.

At about 1:30 am we were sound asleep; there was a huge explosion,” Kathy shudders, “It’s been so cold here, down to -30 degrees at night, so we’ve been putting a propane heater under the front of the 5th wheel.” She takes a deep breathe, “We ran out the door in our pajamas, the dogs ran out behind us but we had no time, we couldn’t find the cats.

Pye & Warnberg are former residents of Vernal and still have family and friends in the Uintah Basin. Eric Pye taught Health and American History at Uintah High School. He also coached tennis, football, girl’s volleyball and boy’s basketball. Kathy Warnberg worked as a Dental Assistant for Dr. Jason Monfredi in Vernal, Utah.

According to Warnberg, “It took 25 minutes for the Volunteer Fire Department to arrive; we are renting three acres in a rural area. It’s been so cold, and the roads were treacherous, so it took some time for responders to get to us. By the time they arrived the fifth wheel was gone.” Warnberg elaborated that they were extremely fortunate that earlier evening high winds had died down. Fire fighters broke down side-walls on outbuildings hoping to save the structures and it worked. “The fire melted the side of our Dodge Ram pickup but the truck is still usable.”

About five years ago, like so many in Utah’s Uintah Basin, they decided to take a chance on the booming economy in North Dakota. Their growing business was the sale of manufactured homes for oil field man camps and private owners.

As we speak Kathy chokes up, “With wind-chill it’s -28 degrees today and Eric is outside sifting through the ashes looking for memorabilia and personal belongings that may have survived, you don’t realize what you have lost until it’s gone.

I ask Kathy what the hardest part of this has been and what her greatest needs are, her response is humbling: “It’s hard to accept things from people; we have always been the givers. We can get through this. We have our work, we do our part and never expect anything back, but our kids are telling us we need to accept help if it’s offered.”

If you would like to help, Kathy says the easiest thing would be gift cards. In Williston they have access to Wal-Mart, Maurice’s, Penny’s, Sinclair Gas, Albertson’s Grocery and True Value. If you would like to send gift cards or make a donation to help them out, you can mail small items to:

Eric Pye & Kathleen Warnberg
P.O. Box 2573
Williston, ND 58801

A physical address for larger shipments is:
Eric Pye
5792 128th Dr. NW
Epping, ND 58843

Eric Pye has two sons living in the Vernal area, one drives for UPS and the other works for Anadarko. Kathy’s daughter, Bree Pye posted this note on her Facebook page, “It would be much appreciated if anybody could help them out with warm jackets, beanies, insulated coveralls, socks, boots or anything at all. It has been nearly thirty below zero in Williston for the past week and they are in dire need of warm clothing.”

Count My Vote “LESS”

ballotLet’s look at this quote – Taylor Morgan, an executive director of Count My Vote, “I don’t see how more Utah voters participating in elections is a threat to anyone,” he said. “More Utah voters participating in elections is a positive thing for our state.”

But I disagree with his premise and here are the three main reasons.

1. Currently the average citizen can potentially vote up to 4 times during a typical Utah Election cycle.

1st – You can show up to your neighborhood elections and vote for someone who represents your political perspective or get elected yourself as a delegate.
2nd – You can vote again if you get elected as a delegate and your vote helps to vet the candidates that will ultimately appear on the Primary Ballot
3rd – You can vote a third time at the Primary election and
4th – You can vote in the General Election.

If the Ballot Initiative passes: All Utahns will lose 50% of their potential votes and influence in Utah races.

The argument that the supporters of the initiative make is that low voter turnout in Utah is due to VOTER APATHY – I don’t believe this. WHY?

2. In a state that predominately supports a specific party, voter’s use what I would term more as VOTER EFFICIENCY. It is highly likely that in a heavily republican neighborhood, my favorite republican is going to win in most cases, by a landslide.

The only time voter turnout surges is in races like the Mia Love vs. Jim Matheson race, where the district is up for grabs and the polls are neck and neck, people who otherwise would have stayed home feel more pressure and urgency to get out and vote. Such is proven by record turnout in the last six years in specific races that were termed “too close to call”

3. Hard Evidence: I don’t believe their argument because this has been done before in Utah and the result was even lower voter turnout.

A direct primary system was tried from 1937 to 1947. Utah State Senate President Herbert Maw, a Democrat, lost a bid for the U.S. Senate and a shot at Utah Governor because the majority of Democratic convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. Knowing he had legislative power in the Senate, Maw convinced his colleagues to move to an open primary. They did, and the change facilitated his win of the Utah Governor’s seat.

After nine years of this new system, in 1946, voter turnout was at a new low of only ten percent. An Editorial in the Deseret News of August 22nd stated, “The small vote, which has become characteristic of our primaries and runoffs, makes it possible for political machines to select the candidates. Often these candidates do not adequately represent the party whose standard they bear.”

The editorial then went on to describe the position their paper held of the best solution:

“…a simple combination of the primary and convention system does seem to have the most advantages with the fewest disadvantages.”

“Supposing delegates at cottage meetings conducted under strict rules set out in the law itself, would gather in a party convention and select two candidates for each office. Then the voters at large could select the parties’ candidates in a direct primary.”“Such a system would place the responsibility for two good nomination candidates directly on the party itself without depriving the public of selecting the particular candidates who are to appear on the parties’ tickets at the general election.”

So knowing this go back and read Mr. Morgan’s statement and decide for yourself if it passes the smell test. I smell a huge FAIL!

Bias Alert! Hawaii Media Monopoly assists with Grand Theft Aloha-State

I received a cry for help this week from conservatives in Hawaii – please get this to national media outlets that can “fairly” inform Islanders and free them from their Media Monopoly.

“Can you please help us in Hawaii? We are battling a same-sex marriage bill – 5th day of public hearing. Senators sleeping through our testimony. Reps posting insulting remarks on Facebook during our testimony. Our people escorted out of the hearing for simply nodding in agreement with a speaker. Our local media is ignoring the abuse of power & our rally of 7,000 supporters & thousands of testimonies submitted against this bill. A brilliant 25 year old girl is leading the local coalitions, Annora Ng.  I met you at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, please do what you can to help us.”

So from Guest Columnist – Annora Ng:

In an effort to expedite controversial legislation ahead of the 2014 elections, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has called the state’s Legislature into special session to buttress his lowest ever approval ratings.

Liberal democrats that control both chambers of Hawaii’s Legislature have utilized the special session and procedural shortcuts to railroad same-sex marriage into law.  Under a regular session of Hawaii’s part-time Legislature, legislation would have been subjected to a total of four committee hearings over more than a hundred calendar days.  The special session, used to suppress public input and vetting, is completing its eighth day after only two public hearings.

A coalition of groups including moderate Democrats and minority Republicans stand in opposition and in defense of popular public opinion (as indicated in public testimony and recent official and unofficial polls).  This coalition represents groups that are opposed to same-sex marriage and individuals who might otherwise support same-sex marriage but object to the abridgment of the democratic process.

To counter the wildly unpopular legislation, liberal Democrats have utilized procedural shortcuts and inconsistencies to systematically disenfranchise testifiers and cherry-pick testimony to skew the weight of testimony.

  • Senate Democrats reduced speaking times from two to one minute per testifier.
  • In response to mountains of testimony, Senate Democrats also cut off testimony after a little more than eleven hours.  More than ONE THOUSAND waiting testifiers who took off from work were turned away by Sen. Clayton Hee in the ultimate gesture of irrelevance and un-importance.
  • Rather than accepting testimony as part and parcel of the democratic process, both Sen. Clayton Hee and Rep. Karl Rhoads took opportunities to belittle and berate testifiers that had to wait in excess of five days to deliver their testimony.
  • While liberal Democrats in the House attempted to cast a different image, public testimony was influenced via a wide variety of rule changes that systematically disenfranchised voters in opposition of the proposed same-sex marriage legislation.  After allowing several same-sex marriage advocates to testify in proxy of friends or family that could not be present at the hearing – opponents of same sex marriage were denied this same privilege.  Testifiers that had paid more than $200 in airfare flew back to their neighbor island homes from Honolulu, never able to deliver their testimony.  Working class families that could not afford any more vacation time went back to work without having delivered any of their testimony.
  • In the ultimate show of disrespect, elected officials utilized the hearing to catch up on their seat.  A testifier used part of his testimony to arouse a slumbering Senator Malama Solomon by saying “Hey Aunty, wake up!”

The legislation in question, titled “Relating to Equal Rights” also contained many other equally unpopular provisions.  One of the bill’s provisions would waive the domicile requirements for a same-sex couple to obtain a divorce in the State of Hawaii while still requiring at least one person for an opposite-sex marriage.  The bill would also have granted Native Hawaiian rights and privileges to a child of a same-sex couple that may not biologically have an ounce of Native Hawaiian blood.

Misrepresentations and inaccuracies by the state’s media outlets have continued to color the discussion in hopes of showing any support for the bill.  Conservative estimates show that roughly 70% of Hawaii’s residents believe the people should decide on the issue of same-sex marriage, rather than elected officials that have forgotten their obligation to their constituents.  However, Hawaii’s lone newspaper and three television newscasts have featured lop-sided coverage by allocating most time and headlines to proponents of the legislation.  In a notable pattern, Hawaii News Now reporter Mileka Lincoln proudly and frequently features her classmate, Rep. Chris Lee, a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage in her almost daily segments reporting on the special session.  Opponents demonstrating at the State Capitol have been reported as a “mix of same-sex supporters and opponents”.  As of this moment, the Star-Advertiser also misrepresents the current draft of the bill as containing an exemption from the public accommodations clause, seeming to curry more favor for the unpopular legislation.

Intense debate focused around how concessions to churches would be accommodated under Hawaii’s liberal public accommodations clause.  Because the law is vague enough to pronounce every church as a ‘place of public accommodation’, moderates seeking to strike a balance in the law attempted to ensure the continued free exercise of religion by exempting churches and their facilities from the public accommodation’s clause for purposes of the solemnization and celebration of marriage.  Hawaii’s Governor Neil Abercrombie solidified this by stating, “A religious organization remains subject to the public accommodations code if the organization allows the public to use a facility run by a religious organization, such as a meeting room.”  Liberal democrats, loyal to the wildly unpopular governor, continue to insist that churches must be held to the public accommodations clause, even if it should mean they have to sanction a same-sex marriage against their beliefs.  Rather than striking a clear balance between the rights of minority Christians and the LGBT community, Attorney General stated clearly that Hawaii’s liberal courts would have to decide the matter.

Despite the systematic disenfranchisement of testifiers, estimates based on in-person testimony to the House Committees on Judiciary and Finance show that roughly 87% of the people of Hawaii oppose passage of same-sex marriage legislation during the special session.  The message of the testifiers was clear: “Let the people decide” and “kill the bill”.  Liberal democrats, bent on passage of same-sex marriage regardless of the opposition quickly amended the bill and shuttled it to its second reading before the full House of Representatives without a second thought.

Opposition to Senate Bill 1 (SB1) shows no sign of abating and has the special session continues and liberal Democrats attempt to forge a path for same-sex marriage without the support of their constituents.  On Wednesday, demonstrators in the outdoor rotunda of Hawaii’s State Capitol Building have chanted outside of the House chambers to make their intent clear: “Let the people vote”.  The alarming trend however, is that Hawaii’s senators and representatives do not want to let people vote because (in the words of a testifier at the House committee hearings) “we don’t trust them to do the right thing.”  House Speaker Joseph Souki has even resorted to cutting the live feed of Wednesday’s House proceedings in an effort to keep the work in the “People’s House” cloaked under a veil of secrecy.

Despite the callous disregard for the will of the people, Governor Neil Abercrombie proclaimed to Civil Beat and Huffington Post Hawaii that “Democracy is Taking Place”.

Missionary Mom 101

They send the missionaries a handbook, I think they ought to send one to parents too!

Missionary Mom 101

First things first! Even before shopping… The best way to keep up-to-speed on what is going on in your missionary’s specific mission area is to join their email group at

Join the Missionary Moms group for your Missionary’s area and keep surmised of events and occurrences in their region. I recently was able to hear about an earthquake, a mission conference, what to buy in the U.S. and what is better to purchase after arrival, shipping advice and transfer plans before I ever got the email from my daughter. The friendships and advice can begin as early as their mission call. The group has been a life saver for me.

Set up an account at and read up on different ways to correspond and send care packages for the area you missionary is heading. Also know they offer free letter delivery daily at the Provo MTC.

I also wished to tell the Moms whose children just entered the MTC that Post Mart in Provo will deliver to the MTC Mon-Sat – same day service if the package is to them by 10:30 am and it only costs $3. Mine was larger than a boot box. I live in Vernal and the packages I had previously sent had cost upwards of $20 until I heard this. Someone is always going to Provo, so have them drop off your box and save a little.

ADDRESS: 2250 N. University Pkwy , #48
Provo, UT 84604
PHONE: (801) 373-5900
FAX: (801) 373-5999

I am feeling tons of empathy for those of you who just sent your kids into the MTC. It has taken me 8 weeks to stop feeling so blue. Here is a blog post that I wrote a few days before my daughter left for the MTC. I hope it helps some of you. Many of you have already learned this lesson, but I had not.

One way to prepare for what your children are going to experience and to anticipate their needs, is to follow blogs of other missionaries serving in their mission. This is becoming a routine practice. Sister Snow was kind enough to help me form a list of all the missionaries who are keeping blogs and currently serving in the Tokyo Mission. Reading them can ease your worries, lift your spirits and built your testimonies. Here is a link to my list of Tokyo Blogs.

Next, know they are in great hands medically… a week before my daughter left we received a hospital bill, when I called Missionary Medical they detailed the reason, the plans, the diagnosis, the follow up plans and then those who saw my daughter called me personally later in the week. They gave her the best counseling, advice and care and she was able to continue on to Tokyo. She is adjusting fine and all is well.

(This may vary depending on the mission, check first)  Phone cards are unreliable and with the large number of missionaries descending on airports a phone isn’t always available. I am sorry but I can’t recall which sister told me to get a disposable phone and add minutes to it, but thank you. It was a lifesaver! Oct 28 all the Tokyo bound missionaries arrived at the bus outside the MTC at 5 am only to find they were supposed to have left at 4 am. Therefore had no time before departing. I was distraught all day thinking I would not hear from her. At noon as they arrived in Los Angeles I was able to spend over an hour with her on her prepaid phone. It was wonderful, we took a break and she loaned the phone to others whose phone cards did not work or couldn’t access a phone in the airport. Her MTC branch president had told her there is currently No Policy so he was okay with it. There was also no stated policy on which family members she could call so she also took a moment to call her sister as well. The advice was greatly appreciated and such a blessing.

Hope this is of help to many of you  – Joni Crane, Vernal, Utah


Protect Our Neighborhood Elections Releases Report

CMV report

Protect our Neighborhood Elections:

 Report on Public Hearings for CMV 10/16/13 & 10/17/2013

  • Logan 5 CMV supporters more than 20 neighborhood elections supporters
  • Provo 3-5 CMV supporters more than 40 neighborhood elections supporters
  • SLC 4-6 CMV supporters more than 50 neighborhood elections supporters
  • Vernal 0 CMV supporters more than 25 neighborhood elections supporters
  • Ephraim 1 CMV supporter more than 20 neighborhood elections supporters
  • Price 1-3 CMV supporters more than 15 neighborhood elections supporters
  • Cedar City 3 CMV supporters more than 40 neighborhood elections supporters

We had excellent press coverage.  Our information is that most reporters from all but two papers did not know about the public meetings locally.  None of the radio stations and only one TV station knew before we informed them. Here are links to a number of stories.

Count My Vote (CMV) made a one hour whistle stop visit and presentation to the rural voters of the Uintah Basin on Thursday. A public hearing was held at noon at the Uintah County Library. Twenty nine attendees were surprised that the bulk of what was touted as an opportunity for public comment was in fact spent with a young presenter, Mr. Shea, telling attendees to be patient, while he maneuvered through a power point presentation which laid out a questionable series of opinions intertwined with unsubstantiated facts.CMV Vernal

Right out of the gate Ellen Keiver of the Uintah County Republican Party Central Committee asked Shea if he could clarify before commencing if he was a paid presenter. Shea confirmed his employment by CMV but qualified it by saying he was also passionate about the issue.

The entire presentation was based on the opinions of only one think tank and a polling company’s responses to surveys of Utah Republicans, which none of the Republicans in the room, when asked, had ever received an invitation to participate.

Shea took a moment to dissuade attendees from recording the event since in his words, “the entire power point presentation could be found easily online.” But when a Mrs. Ruppe of Vernal immediately tried to access the information she found it was not available on the organization’s website as mentioned. After the meeting, a very truncated version was found on a page entitled “Why Change?”, which was accessed through a drop-down menu on the site’s home page.

Much head-nodding confirmed agreement when rural voters were told that the mission of CMV is to increase voter participation in Utah. However, it was the current caucus system that was lauded by the group for facilitating contact between candidates and delegates, for negating the “flyover country” effect and because delegates are elected by their neighbors.

The CMV presenter then began opining that the caucus system limits contact between the candidates and other voters; that candidates are elected by caucus attendees; that the system is influenced by finances and does not represent rural voters well; and that the system is unfair to families, mothers, firefighters and service members who might not be able to attend caucus meetings.  Attendees to the this public hearing were visibly antagonized.

Citizens asked for sources to corroborate the group’s claims. Attendees with data & historical documentation presented counter arguments and it was at this point that the presenter nervously grinned and stated, “I didn’t know I would need to wear Kevlar today.” Basin voters quickly reassured Shea that although they didn’t take kindly to his message, they were still a hospitable group with a sense of humor.

Shea then posited that caucus attendees do not reflect the values of the state population. As proof they cited a 2010 poll that K-12 education was the number one concern of Utahns, but that Utah GOP delegates on average ranked education as 22nd adding that it was not one of the top five issues in 2012. The claim was also made that last year the Utah Republican party spent $6.5 million on the caucus system. The case was also made that the voter participation has gone down since the caucus system was implemented.

The caucus system was described as antiquated, unfair, restrictive and the least accountable system. The point was also raised that women are underrepresented in caucuses.

Joni Crane, a member of the GOP State Executive Committee and the former chairwoman of the Uintah County Republican Party commented that it seemed a bit hypocritical that their group would profess to want more input from women and then schedule their public hearing at noon on a weekday during UEA Week, knowing full well that the UEA supports the caucus system and has a vast membership of women.

Crane also raised the issue that a direct primary system was tried from 1937 to 1947. Utah State Senate President Herbert Maw, a Democrat, lost a bid for the U.S. Senate and a shot at Utah Governor because the majority of Democratic convention delegates disagreed with his legislative voting record. Knowing he had legislative power in the Senate, Maw convinced his colleagues to move to an open primary. They did, and the change facilitated his win of the Utah Governor’s seat.

After nine years of this new system, in 1946, voter turnout was at a new low of only ten percent. An Editorial in the Deseret News of August 22nd stated, “The small vote, which has become characteristic of our primaries and runoffs, makes it possible for political machines to select the candidates. Often these candidates do not adequately represent the party whose standard they bear.”

The editorial then went on to describe the position their paper held of the best solution:

…a simple combination of the primary and convention system does seem to have the most advantages with the fewest disadvantages.”

“Supposing delegates at cottage meetings conducted under strict rules set out in the law itself, would gather in a party convention and select two candidates for each office. Then the voters at large could select the parties’ candidates in a direct primary.”

“Such a system would place the responsibility for two good nomination candidates directly on the party itself without depriving the public of selecting the particular candidates who are to appear on the parties’ tickets at the general election.”

Steve Evans, President of the Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce commented that “The actual name ‘Count My Vote’ is in itself, disingenuous. In fact caucus attendees votes are counted more frequently; at their neighborhood elections, at the Primary and at the General election. Your initiative would allow people to run on any ticket, regardless of their stand on the issues, simply by obtaining the signatures of two percent of the party members in their district.”

Uintah County Republican Party Chairman, Duane Shepherd commented that “the county has a vested interest in the party, and should Count My Vote’s initiative become law, the Uintah Basin will become irrelevant. We would not have the ability to elect grass roots candidates…. Only those wealthy enough or with support of Special Interest Groups could get elected under this new proposal.”

Thomas Winterton, Chairman of the Duchesne County Republican Party noted that “Utah is routinely recognized as one of the most well managed states in the U.S. Why would we want to do away with a system that elected us the very legislators who manage our state so well?”

Many of the people in attendance expressed concern about those behind this movement, and were told that CMV supporters included Gail Miller, Norma Matheson, Lavar Webb, Kirk Jowers and former Governor Mike Leavitt.

One attendee made the case that candidates would no longer come to rural counties, attend Lincoln Day Dinners or Conventions and would no longer seek input from rural citizens because there would be enough voters on the Wasatch Front to get them elected. So it came as no surprise when Shea named all the Wasatch Front Media Outlets who supported CMV. The primary beneficiaries would be the media outlets who would benefit from campaign advertising money in the millions.

It was at this point a very quiet woman seated beside her daughter, dejectedly stood with tears in her eyes and expressed, “President Obama’s unwillingness to empathize at all with the concerns of every day Americans, and the Count My Vote initiative to strip delegates of their power to nominate their parties’ candidates, leaves me feeling completely insignificant. At first it was distant liberties we were losing, but now even our smallest liberties are just drifting away.”

A young mother, holding a sleeping baby, commented that from her observation, a lack of voter participation is due to a lack of education, and the system proposed by CMV would not increase participation. A former Uintah County Commissioner noted that during the last election, caucus meetings enjoyed a huge turnout.

Lincoln Brown, of The Lincoln Brown Show commented, “During the 2012 Republican Convention some candidates considered by many to be fringe candidates were eliminated, and Orrin Hatch was forced to a primary. This is the accountability that is inherent in the caucus system and will disappear with a direct primary.”

The Utah Republican Party’s Caucus Committee has been refining proposals over the last year aimed at improving the caucus experience and taking advantage of new technologies that can be implemented to make attendance more accessible. They are planning a roll-out meeting on October 26th at the old Territorial State House in Fillmore.

For more information or to volunteer please contact the Protect our Neighborhood Elections campaign at or call James Humphreys at 801.589.0583 and he will assist you in finding the right person to help with your request.