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Memorial Day USA — Remember!

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Remember …

FRISCO — Far from being just a day for cookouts and picnics, Memorial Day is somber remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price throughout the course of our country’s history. And the toll is high — as many as 848,000 combat deaths and up to 1.3 million counting other war related causes.

The U.S. Civil War remains the country’s costliest in terms of lives lost, claiming 625,000 casualties, with men dying at the rate of 599 per day. The U.S. suffered about 405,000 casualties in bloody World War II, with about 416 deaths per day, followed by World War I (116,000 deaths), The Vietnam War (58,000 deaths), The Korean War (36,000 deaths) and the Revolutionary War (25,000 deaths).

The U.S. Naval Department maintains an online library with detailed information about U.S. military casualties throughout the country’s history.

Along with the incalculable loss ans suffering of the families of those casualties, there’s also a huge economic cost associated with that loss of life. By some estimates, the deaths in the Iran and Afghanistan campaigns cost the U.S. economy about $44.6 billion, according to a Harvard study. And since the government decided to finance those military actions almost exclusively with borrowed money, the total cost may reach an estimated $4 to $6 trillion. Continue reading

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Colorado: Gov. Hickenlooper temporarily blocks death penalty for convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap

Executive order cites concerns about Colorado’s capital punishment system

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Convicted murderer Nathan J. Dunlap got a temporary reprieve from the death penalty, as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper exercised his authority to make a final review of the death sentence.

Dunlap, then 19, killed five people at a Chuck E Cheese restaurant in Aurora in 1993.

Hickenlooper cited concerns about possible flaws in the administration of Colorado’s death penalty, as well as a national and international trend toward abolishing the death penalty, as reasons for his decision. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Scientists slam feds on possible wolf de-listing

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Wolves are recovered in Yellowstone, but a possible plan to take them off the Endangered Species List is highly controversial. Photo courtesy Yellowstone NP.

Leaked plan doesn’t live up to intent of Endangered Species Act

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A group of prominent scientists with expertise in wolf biology is taking issue with a draft plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List. The document was leaked a few weeks ago, eliciting widespread criticism from wildlife advocates.

Federal wildlife agencies are under intense pressure from states to turn over wolf management. Congress has already set the stage for political interference in the wolf recovery process, and that step has put the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service at the edge of a very slippery slope. Any proposal to de-list wolves is likely to face significant opposition and legal challenges from conservation advocates. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Wildlife advocates howling mad about draft federal plan to take wolves off the Endangered Species List

Wolves may not be in danger of extinction, but are they recovered?

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The current legal status of wolves in the U.S.

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A gray wolf follows a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy NPS/Doug Smith.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —An oft-discussed proposal to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species List has progressed to the point that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a fairly detailed draft version of the plan. The draft rule proposes removing all protections for wolves in 29 eastern states but maintaining endangered status for the Mexican wolf by listing it as a subspecies.

“We propose these actions because the best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the currently listed entity is not a valid species under the Act and that the Mexican wolf (C. l. baileyi) is an endangered subspecies,” the agency wrote in the draft. Continue reading

Morning photo: Saturday sunrise

Brilliant April light

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Constant diversions through the Roberts Tunnel have left Dillon Reservoir quite low.

FRISCO — Sunrise is getting to be pretty early these days, and it was a bit of a battle to get up and out the door Saturday morning, especially after a week of getting up before dawn to fix breakfast for our high-schooler, who has to be at the bus stop by 7:05 a.m. Not sure who thought up the school schedule locally, but it’s wrong, kind of like cruel and unusual punishment for teenager. But I did manage to scoot from our home in Frisco to nearby Heaton Bay to grap a few sunrise snapshots, and was happy, in the end, that I did, as I was treated to a glorious sunrise. Here are some the best shots from Saturday morning. Continue reading

Letter shows bipartisan agreement on climate change

U.S. must help address global warming risks in vulnerable nations

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By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Debate about climate change has often been framed in a partisan context, at least in the U.S., but a recent statment by a nonpartisan security think tank points at finding common ground around the issue based on national security concerns.

A recent open letter from the Partnership for a Secure America starkly outlines the national security threats of climate change, stressing  the urgent need for action to prevent disastrous impacts on U.S. interests. Mobilizing public and private support for international mitigation and adaptation projects in vulnerable communities must be a priority, according to the letter.

The group’s members are hardly wild-eyed environmental radicals; Instead, the letter was signed by seventeen former Senators and Congress members, nine retired generals and admirals, both the Chair and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, and Cabinet and Cabinet-level officials from the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and both Bush administrations. Continue reading

National Parks facing big hit from budget standoff

Staffing, hours could be cut drastically

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Arches National Park. Photo courtesy NPS/Jacob W Frank.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO —Failure to develop a long-term budget deal would hit the National Park Service hard, as the agency would be forced to slash staff, cut park hours and reduce other key services expected by visitors, according to documents obtained by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

“This is very troubling and it has the potential to turn already budget–strapped national parks into ghost towns,” said CNPSR Chair Maureen Finnerty, former superintendent of Everglades National Park. “This would be devastating for America’s national parks, for the nearly 300 million Americans who visit them, and for the irreplaceable natural and cultural resources the parks were established to protect,” Finnerty said. Continue reading

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