Monday, September 5, 2011

Editor's Notes

Dick Worm

An article in this newsletter describe a near "melt down" during Project AWARE. Since over $100 of White Pine Group funds were at stake, I felt the saga was worth presenting to our membership.

Cabins #9 and #10 have again been reserved at Backbone State Park for the Backbone Cabin Outing, January 27-29, 2012. Two double-bed bedrooms, 2 futons, a single bed and floor space can accommodate a suggested 11 folks in each cabin. Cost/adult is $30, 2 nights; $20, one night, and $4 each for 5 provided meals. Earliest reservations get accommodation priority. More in Winter newsletter, but reservations are welcome now.

Alaine Jamison e-mailed a listing of "Eleven easy ways to BUY AMERICAN in 2011." To be e-mailed a copy, you can contact me.

Sierra Club Calendars are sold at the Turkey Dinner but can be ordered anytime from me for a 10% member discount, given below; but even cheaper at the Dinner because our Treasurer doesn't like to mess with loose change.. "Engagement" with a different scenic photo for each month: $12.55 ($12 at the Dinner.) "Wall" with a monthly photo (November's Daniel Creek in Georgia is ESPECIALLY unique): $11.65 ($11 at the Dinner.)

An August Open House at Backbone State Park showcased a new interpretive plan for public programs, updated trails, and new signs. Maybe we can see the plan during the Cabin Outing.

The Mines of Spain is accepting donations for a 52-acre addition from the Bottoms Farm on the west side south of Catfish Creek. (Mines of Spain, 8991 Bellevue Heights, Dubuque, IA 52003.) $319,000 was the cost. Additions are also possible for Whitewater Canyon upstream and for White Pine Hollow westward into Delaware County. YES!

Re: Letters to the Editor

March 16, 2011

To: Richard Worm - The White Pine Needle Editor
Bellevue, IA

Dear Dick:

This is in response to your editorial comment in the last White Pine Needle. I would appreciate it if you would publish it in the next newsletter.

Dick Worm in his editorial in the 2011 Spring/Summer White Pine Needle stated: "while abortion is not the best way to curb unwanted and unneeded births, responsible family planning and pregnancy preventions ARE." No. It is not a good, let alone the best way to kill unborn children. There is no"good" way. Also what is meant by the word "unneeded"? However it is defined the issue of "need" is not relevant to the issue of preserving or terminating human life.

Yes, I am pro-life and like a lot of pro-life people I am also concerned with children after they are born and also the natural environment. While I have not hiked through a lot of God's beautiful natural environment I have in my own small way tried to help preserve it. However, as important as I believe this is, I believe protecting both the born and pre-born is more important.

I have often observed the hypocrisy of those who weep at the sight of baby seals being slaughtered while human children are literally torn apart, sometimes even up to the time of birth. I submit that if pregnant women were given an ultrasound just prior to an abortion most would not go through with it. Humans are not just the top of the food chain. I believe they have an immortal soul and are more like God than a baby seal. If we are concerned with the condition of the natural environment then we should be consistent and be concerned with the state of all of creation, especially human beings.

David W. Leifker
Hazel Green, WI


Excerpted newspaper articles in response to the above

Parts of Texas abortion law struck down
Des Moines Register 08/31/2011-- Associated Press

Austin, Texas -- A federal judge on Tuesday struck down a key provision of Texas' new law requiring a doctor to perform a sonogram before an abortion, ruling that the measure violates the free speech rights of both doctors and patients.

...

Sparks rules such disclosure is an attempt by the state to "permanently brand women who choose to get an abortion."


America's Churches can Help Change the World.
With humanity's future at risk, religious leaders need to step up to the pulpit.
USA Today 03/14/2011 -- Oliver Thomas

Consider the issues that most threaten humanity's common future: global terrorism, climate change, overpopulation, and the political and social unrest caused by economic disparity. These problems transcend national boundaries and beg for international solutions. Yet political leaders have generally been unwilling or unable to find solutions.

...

Despite the biblical command to give 10% of our income back to God (read "to charity"), for example, the average church member gives 3%. We complain about the record heat as our air conditioners run full blast and continue having as many children as we want--sometimes at the encouragement of our religious leaders--despite the impact on the environment. Our elected officials even give us tax breaks for crowding the planet.


Newsletter Editor Dick Worm's response

While I could take issue with way too many of the comments made in that letter, as a contributing member of Planned Parenthood, Negative Population Growth, The Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth), and NARAL Pro-Choice America, I'd not be able to focus on where to begin. So, I will TRY to limit myself here to a few comments related to the one question the new member writer directly asked, "...what was meant by the word 'unneeded'?" in the sentence suggesting population control on a finite planet.

The Sierra Club's Global Population and Environment Program recognizes a need to protect and promote reproductive health and rights and to foster sustainable communities and a healthy planet. "With our planet approaching 7 billions people--a marker we're slated to reach this October--the time is now to bring population, voluntary family planning, education for women and girls, and other environmental and reproductive issues to the forefront." (Quoted from the "One Voice Summit & Population and Environment Fellowship Program: Sierra Club e-mail, Sept. 1, 2011. In includes a Link to the club's "2011 Mid-Year Population Report". I could forward the e-mail to anyone asking to receive it.)

A Sierra Club sticker reads, "Your Family: Plan It for the Planet." HOWEVER, if your PLAN is to pop out 19 children like the Duggar Family (Google "Duggars" for their irresponsible and environmentally immoral story) then your PLAN might not pass muster with the Sierra Club and all the other conservation organizations that recognize the threat of a truly "unneeded" additional billions consumers of natural resources on this planet.

Unemployment of 9% in the USA is small change compared to rates in many other nations. Crowds stand aimlessly along trashy streets in Kenya and Kathmandu, Nepal. NBC-TV reports 29,000 under age of five have died this year due to famine. Convince me those suffering existences were "needed"? Place a luxury tax on the number of children over a family's replacement number of two. ETC.

Program/Meetings (Autumn 2011)

September 27
October 25
November 22
Go ahead--mark your calendar and come on out!
Presenters put together programs to educate and entertain. Explore & Enjoy these unique places (before they all wash away.)

These 4th Tuesday Program/Meetings will now take place at a slightly new location: the former parsonage for St. Peter Lutheran Church, 3200 Asbury Road, Dubuque. The meeting room is on the lower level of the red brick home to the right as you enter the parking lot from Asbury Road. Go on down and around behind the red brick home to park. Contact Jim Fahrion for meeting location details. Meetings begin with the program at 7 PM. Attendees may leave before the usually brief EXCOM business meeting which usually begins by 8:15. No meeting in December.

September 27, 7 PM
Arkansas Ozarks and Blanchard Springs Caverns
Charlie Winterwood explored and enjoyed this part of northern Arkansas near the Buffalo River in late March 2011.

October 25, 7 PM
Vermont's Smuggler's Notch, Mt. Mansfield, Camel's Hump, Lake Champlain, and some covered bridges and waterfalls
In mid-June of 2011, Dick and Jane Worm explored and enjoyed a portion of northern Vermont, before Hurricane Irene. :-/ Two perfect days allowed Dick to hike from east to west over the top of Vermont's highest point, 4,393 foot Mt. Mansfield, and to hike a loop over the top of the 4,083 Camel's Hump. Both required a rocky climb of over 2000 feet and included a section of Vermont's state-length Long Trail. Ever dreamt of President Chester A. Arthur's birthplace?

November 22, 7 PM
Mount Sneffels and The Arrowhead
During a western loop from July 27 to August 17, Dick Worm managed to reach the top of another of Colorado's Fourteeners, the 14,150 foot Mount Sneffels near Ouray, CO. The drive to the trailhead in a little Ford Focus was about as exciting as the hike, going up in the dark and then actually SEEING that Forest Service "C" Road on the way back down.

"The Arrowhead" has been on Dick's bucket list since seeing it during five different backpack trips in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. Dick was satisfied to get within about 50 feet of it from the side on its narrow ridge at 10,579 feet via the 6800 foot Hell Roaring Lake Trailhead, Hell Roaring Lake (7407 feet) and Clarice Lake (8200 feet). That Arrowhead ridge provided a spectacular view down to the far side's Cramer Lakes Basin. Rock climbers can somehow get on top of The Arrowhead as well as upon the nearby, more popular, Finger of Fate (on which two climbers unknowingly "posed" for photographs from Clarice Lake.) The three-night layover camp at Clarice Lake gave time for a look down upon still icy Profile Lake from another jagged ridge and a second day-hike climb to a string of four scenic, glacial lakes stair-stepping down from Sevy Peak. The crumbling, jagged ridges of the Sawtooths are yet another of nature's wonders well worth experiencing.

White Pine 2011 Group Outings

Outing participants are expected to sign a liability waiver, a copy of which can be previewed at http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/chapter/forms/ . RSVP to Outings Chair Jim Fahrion, Editor Dick Worm, or the designated Outing contact person for details and participation plans. Outings often include options. Explore & Enjoy with us as YOU like!

September 11 (Sunday)
Sinapee Trail/Cemetery Overlook, Sunset/Moonrise Hike
This Mississippi River bluff trailhead and hike is a short way north of Dubuque on the Wisconsin side of the river. Meet at the Paddle Wheel Entrance of the Mississippi Center of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium at 4:30 PM. A carpool and/or caravan to the trailhead will be organized with departure around 5 PM. Bring a dinner (sandwich) and beverage. Stay as long as you like to watch the sky change as the sun sets and a near full moon rises. Bring a light source if staying until dark. Dress accordingly for evening cooling. CONTACT: Charlie Winterwood or Dick Worm.

September 24 (Saturday)
"350" Bike Ride and Rally
A goal has been set to hold CO2 global warming emissions to 350 ppm. This event will showcase some of the pros and cons in Dubuque of such efforts. Bicyclers should meet at 10 AM at the free city parking lot on East 5th St. behind McGraw-Hill, a LEED-certified building in the port of Dubuque (501 Bell St.) The bike route will proceed under the railroad tracks by Star Brewery and the Shot Tower; on to The Historic Millwork District; to Kerper and past the City Garage Superfund site; past Alliant Power Plant; past Bee Branch discharge into the Mississippi; to MSC Solar; to the flood wall past Kerper industrial; to the rally at AY McDonald Park (The Council Circle) at what was the Hawthorne Street Boat Ramp. Non-bikers can meet there around 11 AM for the "350" Rally that may include a food vendor and music. Event may wind down by 1 PM. Details may change so CONTACT Charlie Winterwood or the Green Dubuque Facebook page. Creative displays of "350" in lawns and windows are encouraged in the days leading up to the event.

October 16 (Sunday)
Effigy Mounds Fall Color Hike
Meet in Dubuque at 11:30 AM at the south end of the Asbury Hy-Vee Parking lot (off Northwest arterial) across from Culver's. Meet at Effigy Mounds Visitor Center at 1 PM (or whenever the Dubuque folks arrive) just north of McGregor/Marquette on IA Rt 76. Plan on a 3-hour stay. Bring a snack and a beverage; dress accordingly. CONTACT: Jim Fahrion.

October 29 (Saturday)
Turkey Dinner Fundraiser
Daytime activity beginning at 10:30 AM at Dick and Jane Worm's Faraway Farm. The dinner social hour begins at 5:30 PM at 10th & Locust's 1st Congregational Church in Dubuque. This is our ONLY official group fundraiser, and we take no allotments from the Iowa Chapter or National dues. Please plan to attend or contribute. Thanks!

November 19 (Saturday)
White Pine Hollow Hike
Meet at 9 AM in Dubuque at the south end of Asbury Hy-Vee off Northwest Arterial across from Culver's. OR meet at the south entrance to White Pine Hollow at 10 AM via the second turn to the right west of Luxemburg on IA Rt 3. Hike will visit the Yew Ridge Cave (bring a light for even the shortest of entry) and the "waterfall" site. Wear sturdy shoes; bring lunch. Explore and Enjoy our group's namesake. CONTACT: Gary Thompson.

December 2-3 (Friday - Saturday)
Minnesota's Forestville/Mystery Cave and Lake Louise State Parks camping and hikes
Camping is in Loop B at Forestville/Mystery Cave Park on MN Rt 12 west-southwest of US Hwy 52 from Preston, MN or west of US 63 north from New Hampton and Chester, IA, then east from the south edge of Spring Valley, MN. Hikes Friday will begin from the campground about 1 PM. Campers can arrive anytime Friday. Vault toilets. Bring your own camping gear, food, and water. Saturday hikes and exploration of the confluence of the Little Iowa and Upper Iowa Rivers will begin at 10 AM at Lake Louise State Park, about 1.5 miles north of LeRoy, MN, via County Rd 14. (LeRoy is beyond the north end of Howard County Road V10 north from IA Rt 9 about 2 miles east of Riceville.) Meet at the Shelter on the north side of Lake Louise near the dam at the south east end of the lake. CONTACT: Dick Worm. (Check http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ )

Project AWARE and Saga of the Ice Cream's Near Tragedy

DNR's River Clean-up: Little Turkey, Turkey, and Volga Rivers
July 9-16, 2011

At our February White Pine EXCOM meeting, the idea of providing ice cream at one dinner during this year's Project AWARE was brought up due to enjoyment of ice cream at last year's AWARE on the Nishnabotna River. One evening it was provided and hand-dipped by a long-time AWARE participant from that area and another evening by a sponsoring company that had a Schwan's truck come and open up a lot of boxes of ice cream treats. Those were some pretty hot evenings, so the unexpected ice cream extras really hit the spot.

Brian Soenen, Project AWARE director, was contacted about providing ice cream as a White Pine Group in-kind contribution and he thought that sounded great. So, since this year's Project AWARE was located within our Sierra Group's northeast Iowa membership region, our EXCOM agreed to dedicate $100 to the cause: $75 toward an AWARE sponsorship contribution and $25 toward ice cream.

Since this was to be my 6th year of enjoying a full week of AWARE, I easily justified adding to the Group contribution so that a $125 contribution could be recognized as a River Rescue level "sponsorship", getting our Sierra Group name onto this year's AWARE t-shirt. :-) In addition, two other Sierra members added to the contribution to help cover the eventual total of $119.48 worth of ice cream and dry ice.

Jackie Gautsch, AWARE staff organizer, was consulted closer to the AWARE date to determine a "best" location for the ice cream provision related to menu compatibility. Motor Mill on Thursday was selected due to being more "remote" and to add some zest to that night's dessert of Rice Krispie bars. Elkader was Googled and Wilke's grocery store was contacted as a potential source of ice cream and dry ice; but Wilke's directed us to the R&R Dairy, a home operation in Elkader, that has BULK ice cream, dippers, and coolers!!! What a find!

Since Motor Mill was to have the largest dinner attendance during the week due to over 80 Upward Bound youth arriving from the University of Iowa that evening, we settled on providing five 3-gallon tubs of ice cream. R&R suggested there would be 70-80 scoops per 3-gallon tub and Jackie's reference suggested there would be 48 servings per 3-gallon tub. I, being an ice cream glutton, wanted a "serving" to be two scoops, so we figured that 80 scoops per tub would equal about 40 servings per tub which was pretty close to 48 servings per tub each! Whew!!! For flavors, besides the regular vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, Jackie suggested cookies & cream and mint chocolate chip. Cookies & cream went fastest!

R&R later phoned with the news that the owners would be away all day Thursday due to a medical appointment, but that a friend would be at their home and have the ice cream packed in coolers ready to be picked up anytime between 3 and 5 PM. An AWARE van driver would pick up the ice cream and the location of the R&R was passed along. These logistics were working out far easier than we ever expected! All that Jim Fahrion and I would have to do was dip ice cream! Ha-Ha.

Thursday evening's AWARE dinner began being served at 5:45 PM rather than 6 PM due to the large number to be served; and, due to an unexpected shuttle run for folks with cars at the Osbourne Nature Center, the shuttle driver did not even PICK UP the ice cream at R&R Dairy in Elkader until well after 6:15 PM. The R&R helper waiting patiently had even phoned my home wondering if the ice cream was to ever be picked up... a call reported and discovered later via a message left by my wife on my cell phone.

So, the ice cream did not arrive at Motor Mill until 6:45 PM, an hour and 15 minutes later than the 5:30 PM expected arrival time and well after most of the over 210 people there that evening for dinner had eaten their Rice Krispie bar, washed their dishes, and were on their way to the 7 PM evening programs. BIG UGH! Except for the half-consumed cookies & cream, due to many Upward Bound youth stopping by rather than rushing to programs, we were left with the barely scratched surfaces of 5 tubs of ice cream in coolers, now barren of any remaining ice.

What to do??! I happened to have Wilke's grocery store's phone number with me. So, due to the miracle of being able to make phone contact with Wilke's from Motor Mill via my aged cell phone, a very weak signal, and a failing cell phone battery, a cooperative and patient Wilke's employee answered four of the "lost" phone calls and we made headway in my request for freezer space, which WAS available, for storage of the ice cream for use at Friday night's dinner at Osborne. But, how would the ice cream get there?

Tours of the Mill were being given as part of the evening programming. I scurried there to see if our Sierra member, writer and photographer Larry Stone, might be there to let me borrow his car. However, a Motor Mill Restoration Tour fellow, noting my wild-eyed desperation as I searched for Larry or ANY vehicle to commandeer, loaned to me his truck! So, I sped off with the ice cream to the upstairs freezer in Wilke's grocery store, with the help of a nice young man there, by 8:15 PM just before the ice cream melted and well before the store's 9 PM closing time.

I had my own car available Friday evening at Osborne Nature Center so was easily able to get the refrozen, but still perfect, ice cream from Elkader ready to go BEFORE the serving of dinner began and in line just past the caterer's very appropriate strawberry shortcake dessert! Whew!

We were able to serve everyone desiring ice cream and got down to the very last dip of the final (chocolate) tub to be emptied. Jackie and another AWARE staff member even dipped ice cream for a while toward the end so that Jim and I could get our own dinner and have ice cream scooped for us onto our strawberry shortcake! I was then also able to return the two coolers and ice cream dippers to R&R soon after dinner--during a heavy rainstorm that had cooperatively waited for the outdoor dinner hour to end.

We love these little adventures! By the way, I found out later from Larry Stone that the Motor Mill's, Roger, I think, who loaned me his truck, s the mayor of Elkader! Lucky I didn't get stopped for driving the mayor's "stolen" truck!!! Oh, boy!

Some of the repeat folks who DID get ice cream Thursday evening were quite surprised and pleased to see the ice cream available again on Friday evening after an even hotter day on the river than was Thursday! Great planning, they figured! :-) Yup! A perfect "plan" that went awry then had a Plan B develop that worked out so very well! THAT sort of "it" also happens!

Lynette of the AWARE staff may have taken a photo of the ice cream serving operation Friday evening. I was busy dipping and failed to think about such. ME!!! Forget to take a photo!!! Give me a break! I later did take a photo of the empty serving table and the empty cart next to it over which had been draped our Sierra Club banner.

See Ginger's e-mail below. She is a Sierra Club member from the Des Moines area.


Sent: Monday, July 18, 2011 11:06 AM
Subject: Ice cream


Dick: Thanks for the wonderful ice cream at Project AWARE. I really enjoyed it and heard many good comments.


I didn't stop to ask about the details. Was it just White Pine Group who provided it? I saw Jim helping you but don't know his last name. I'm glad you had the big Sierra Club sign there; great PR for the club.


Thanks again.
Ginger


The 2011 Project AWARE will be the subject of the program at a Spring White Pine Group meeting preceding the 2012 Project AWARE. Mark April 24 and May 22 as options. See the 2011 t-shirt!!! :-)

Bag It

Saturdays, September 17 and October 15, 10 AM: The Bag It movie returns to Mindframe Theater in Dubuque (555 JFK Road behind Kennedy Mall.)  Free admission thanks to the co-sponsors, including our Sierra White Pine Group that contributed $100 toward the $300 screening fee. To receive and share a movie poster by e-mail contact Beverly.Wagner@loras.edu or Mbalek@cityofdubuque.org .

"Is your life too plastic?"

Traditional Tukey Dinner

The public is welcome (reservations required--due Thursday October 27, 2011.)

5:30 PM
Social Time: crackers/cider, Sierra Club Calendar sales, photo displays of outing events

6:15 PM
Buffet-style traditional turkey dinner

7:00 PM
Welcome, introductions, door prize drawings (Donations of door prizes are welcome.)

7:30 PM
Program: "Our Iowa Home" introduced by Bob Dunn, captures the mosaic of Iowa.

This visual and musical exploration of the state of Iowa focuses on Iowa's rolling prairie landscape, river valleys, fertile farmland, wildlife, and prairie flowers. It features the nature photography of renowned Iowa photographer, Carl Kurtz of St. Anthony, Iowa, and original music by Dubuque's own Bob Dunn and Lou Fautsch of "Unstrung Heroes" fame. Some songs included in this "geography lesson" of Iowa are "Prairie Sky", "Bend in the River", "Winterwood", "Back to the Hollow", and "Loess Hills Trail". Can you name all 99 counties of Iowa? (Lou Fautsch has also produced "Ticket to Dubuque" with Songs of Dubuque and the Heartland.) Come, relax, and enjoy sights and sounds that describe "Our Iowa Home".

8:30 PM
Clean-up, dish washing.drying (VOLUNTEERS WELCOME), calendar sales, displays.

Saturday Daytime activities at Dick and Jane Worm's Echo Hills/Echo Valley Pond/Faraway Farm south of Dubuque are offered in conjunction with the dinner. Activities beginning at 10:30 AM in this 150-acre conservation area "wilderness" may include Mississippi River bluff, woodland, and prairie hikes; pond fishing and canoeing; campfire; a nature scavenger hunt; and pumpkin carving. RSVP to Dick Worm for more specific details and directions.

Your attendance, donations, and VOLUNTEER contributions increase the level of fund-raising success.

White Pine Group EXCOM 2011

Charlie Winterwood, Chair
Jim Fahrion, Outings
Dick Worm, Newsletter/Membership
Barb Cooey
Gary Thompson

Appointed officers:
Secretary/Turkey Dinner Fundraiser: Jane Worm
Treasurer: Mike Muir
Conservation: Gretel Winterwood
Publicity: Carol Thompson
Webmaster: Todd Michaels (Local help wanted!)

2012 EXCOM Election

The EXCOM 2-year terms for Jim Fahrion and Barb Cooey will expire prior to our January 2012 meeting. Barb is spending much of 2011 and 2012 in Alaska, so will not be seeking re-election.

Consider serving our local Sierra Club group by offering to have your name on the ballot to be included in the winter 2011-12 newsletter. Help us as we Explore, Enjoy, and Protect our planet's increasingly vulnerable life-supporting systems.

Spring/Summer Outing Reports

To "Explore and Enjoy" are significant aspects of an active Sierra Club membership. Our group offers outings to foster aesthetic explorations that serve as motivators urging us to also "Protect".

The March 13 Keough Indian Mounds Hike took participants back to the days when the Earth's human inhabitants lived much closer to their natural surroundings.

The natural, vivid beauty of slopes of wildflowers in Mississippi Palisades State Park were admired on April 30 by the 14 folks on that early springtime hike. To try to protect that environment, participants also pulled lots of invading garlic mustard along the trail.

30 folks signed in to help with our group's hosting of the American Rivers Catfish Creek Clean-Up in the Mimes of Spain on May 14. Trails and roadsides were included due to the turnout enhanced by college youth and Dubuque's Sustainability Challenge Game. 160 nickel deposit containers were cleaned and redeemed. 181 no-deposit containers were cleaned and recycled. 32 bags of trash, 10 tires, half of a TV set, a kitchen sink, and a huge wooden power line spool were other "collectibles". Appreciation goes to Wayne Buchholtz of the Mines of Spain for providing canoes and Dean Mattoon of city engineering for provision of a lunch delivered by Hy-Vee.

One report about the early June Volga River float trip said all went well with only gnats and one, name withheld, spill at the end causing minor consternation! Water level was good and Volga River SRA ranger was great help.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Editorial Comment

Dick Worm

I am a dues-paying member of most of the mainstream environmental-conservation organizations that exist, be they national or local; about 36, according to my contribution notebook. So, one can easily imagine the heat radiating from my computer lately with all the pleas for support, be it monetary or for a letter, e-mail, or petition regarding the current legislative debacle in Iowa and Washington, D.C., as the purging and misdirection go on.

We DO need to get the spending under control but what got us into this economic mess? Mostly the wealthy with a distaste for taxation and paying fair salaries and the ploy of Weapons of Mass Destruction (and our enemy on THAT front is winning--as our economy is being decimated as we fight roadside and suicidal will-o-the-wisps as well as our nation's idiotic lust for illegal drugs.)

Anyway, we would cut education and lament our low standing in the world--made obvious by the mindless rhetoric coming from the mouths of some of our politicians and their ditto-heads. I seldom agree with George Will, but his "Flaky Faction Foils Republicans" column in the March 7 Dubuque Telegraph-Herald was right on regarding the "careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons." Take THAT, EIB network.

While abortion is not the best way to curb unwanted and unneeded births, responsible family planning and pregnancy prevention ARE. Where are the Right-To-Lifers for the world's abused, starving, sickened, and jobless and the wildlife being exterminated to make way for "human" overpopulation and egotistical greed? Stay on top of it all!

Dubuque's Sustainable Challenge Game

Register for the Sustainable 7 Game after March 17 at http://www.dubuque2.org/ and attribute your game play to the Sierra Club and you and the club could both win big>

Each week, complete 7 sustainable tasks and take part in at least one weekly event listed in the Telegraph-Herald or on-line with Dubuque 2 to become prize eligible. Play on!

Single-Use Plastic Bags

In September 2010, the Dubuque Environmental Stewardship Advisory Commission voted to recommend that Dubuque encourage retailers not to use petroleum-based plastic bags at the checkout and that the city adopt a policy of eliminating/minimizing the use of plastic bags through various incentives, with the ultimate goal of eliminating retail bags by 2014.

On September 7, 2010, the Dubuque City Council voted to approve eliminating the use of plastic bags by 2014 and directed city staff to work out a plan for achieving this.

City staff conducted research and met with grocers and retailers. Options are now being explored. During a March 6, 2011 meeting, the staff will share with local community environmental "stakeholder" organizations the research on what other communities have done and the retailers' perspective and will seek further insight for plastic bag reduction.

Public understanding and cooperation will be needed. To assist on that front:

Bag It, the movie; free showing
Mindframe Theater, 555 JFK Road (behind Kennedy Mall)
Mark your calendars and plan to attend one of two FREE showings of the movie Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? (65 min.) The film takes an in-depth look at our cultural love affair with plastics, especially plastic bags, asking such questions as: Are plastic bags really necessary? What are plastic bags made from? What happens to plastic bags after they are discarded? (See the synopsis below.) It will be shown at Mindframe Theater, 555 JFK Rd. on two consecutive Saturdays, March 26 and April 2. Doors open at 9:30 AM with the movie rolling in at 10:00 AM.

Admission is first come, first served, and FREE through the generosity of several local co-sponsors: Mindframe Theater; Wahlert High School's SAVE Club (Students Against Violating the Earth); the Inter-Congregational Ecological Working Group; Green Dubuque; the White Pine Group of Sierra Club; Keep Dubuque County Clean & Green; and Dubuque County Conservation Society. Attendance at either of these showings qualifies as an entry in Dubuque's Sustainability Challenge Game (visit http://www.dubuque2.org/ for details). Also, thanks to Green Dubuque, one rain barrel will be given away as a door prize at each showing.

Synopsis
Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes, disposable bags that they throw away without much thought. But where is "away"? Where do the bags and other plastics end up, and at what cost to the environment, marine life and human health? Bag It follows "everyman" Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Jeb is not a radical environmentalist, but an average American who decides to take a closer look at our cultural love affair with plastics. Jeb's journey in this documentary film starts with simple questions. What he learns quickly grows far beyond plastic bags.

Bag It focuses on plastic as it relates to our society's culture of convenience, our consumption of unnecessary, disposable products and packaging, and our throw away mentality when there really is no more "away".

You make every day Earth Day when you support environmentally conscious products & services.

Program/Meetings

March 22, 2011
April 28, 2011
May 24, 2011

Mark your calendar and come on out! Presenters put together programs to educate and entertain. Explore and Enjoy with them.

White Pine Group Program/Meetings are held at St. Peter Lutheran Church, 3200 Asbury Road, Dubuque. The meeting room is a spacious lounge immediately inside the main entrance. No steps, so easily accessible. Meetings begin with the Program at 7 PM. An EXCOM business meeting follows. Meetings are on the 4th Tuesday. (None in June, July, and December; August has a picnic meeting.)

March 22
Hawaii
Jim and Loretta Fahrion visited Hawaii in early February 2011; Oahu's Pearl Harbor and Polynesian Culture Center; Maui's Road to Hana, Haleakala Volcano before the clouds moved in, and the green Iao Valley; Big Island's Volcanos National Park and Northeast and Kona Coasts.

April 26
Mount Whitney
On August 11, 2010, from 3:15 AM until 7:45 PM, Dick Worm did the 22-mile round trip to the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Lower 48 at 14,497 feet, ascending 6137 feet along the way. Not often you'll "see a pig" near 14,000 feet... in the U.S., anyway. The Whitney Portal Route up from Lone Pine, CA, is within the John Muir Wilderness. John Muir's (Sierra) birthday is April 21. A "belated" birthday cake will help us celebrate the occasion--as well as Earth Day, April 22.

May 24
Namekagon River, Wisconsin
From October 16-20, Dick Worm canoed Wisconsin's Namekagon River, part of the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. Holly Johnson, of the Eagle View (Quad City) Sierra Club Group, also canoed the 28.5 miles from Hayward to the Namekagon Visitor Center in Trego and provided a shuttle ride. Dick, then, soloed the 39.5 miles on to Riverside Landing on the St. Croix River. Not often you'll "see Big Foot" along the Namekagon. What a "fun guy". Other "observations" and fungi complete the story of this pleasant trip.

August 27
Saturday Picnic and Autumn Planning
--at Dick and Jane Worm's Faraway Farm/Echo Valley Pond in Echo Hills, along the Mississippi River. Morning hike and fishing options at 9 AM. Potluck picnic grills will be fired up at 12 noon. Afternoon hikes, swimming, Autumn Olive and honeysuckle eradication, as well as Friday and/or Saturday night camping, fires, and night hikes are other options. Bring your own beverages and all the regular outdoor picnic and camping supplies for being in the woods in August! Camp on pond's dam or at more remote bluff sites. RSVP to Dick or Jane Worm.


Other Events of Interest
What are calendars for? Mess 'em up!

Saturday March 19 Environmental Film Fest 6
Olin Hall, 733 35th St., Augustana College, Rock Island
10 AM - 6 PM. Free movies:
10:30 Carbon Nation
12:15 Living Downstream
1:50 Bag It
3:20 Tapped (water)
4:50 Truck Farm
Healthy snacks all day. Kathryn Allen, Eagle View Group/Sierra Club.

Sunday March 20 "Salute to Songbirds: Exhibit Open House
Program, 1PM; bird hike after; Swiss Valley

Wednesday March 23 "Sustainability Expo"
11 AM - 1 PM
Alumni Hall Ballroom, Loras College, Dubuque

Saturday April 16 Port of Dubuque Earth Day Clean-Up
10 AM - Noon, Ice Harbor park, gear provided, snacks and refreshments afterward, RSVP contact: Vicky Sutter

Friday - Wednesday May 6-11 Superior Hiking Trail Association Programs
Programs Saturday; then hikes (Eagle Mountain, MN highest; Caribou Rock Trail). Hike-in camp at Benson Lake in Crosby-Manitou State Park. Dick Worm.

White Pine 2011 Outings

Outing participants are expected to sign a liability waiver, a copy of which can be previewed at http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/chapter/forms/ . RSVP to Outings Chair Jim Fahrion, Editor Dick Worm, or the designated Outing contact person for details and participation plans. Outings often include options. Explore & Enjoy as YOU like!

March 13 (Sunday)
Keough Indian Mounds Hike (postponed from December 11)
Charlie Winterwood will lead this short hike located between East Dubuque and Galena. Meet in Dubuque at 1 PM at the north end of the Hy-Vee parking lot off South Locust St. to carpool to the site. Contact: Charlie.

April 30 (Saturday)
Mississippi Palisades Spring Wildflower Hike
Charlie Winterwood will lead this State Park hike near Savanna, Illinois. Meet in Dubuque in at 9 AM, again at the north end of the Hy-Vee parking lot off South Locust to carpool to the site. Contact: Charlie.

May 14 (Saturday)
National Rivers, Catfish Creek Clean-up
Begin 9 AM at the canoe launch in the Mines of Spain. Canoe and kayak use and shoreline and road/parking lot walks will take place. May expand the area covered as participation level deems. Bring your own gloves. Walkers should wear long pants (nettles) and sturdy shoes. Insect repellent is advisable.

This will be an event of "Dubuque's Sustainability Challenge Game" so participation will be greater and the city will provide a lunch following the clean-up. An RSVP IS NECESSARY for the lunch count and if you wish to have a canoe provided for your use. Contact: Jim Fahrion.

June 3-5 (Friday night - Sunday)
Volga River Canoe/Kayak Outing
Optional camping Friday night at the Volga River State Recreation Area just northeast of Fayette. Otherwise meet by 10 AM on Saturday at the camping area where decisions regarding the river sections to float will be made for Saturday and Sunday.

Canoe options include M Ave. to Volga River State Recreation Area (12.1 miles); on to Heron Road totals 14.4 miles; and on to Wadena totals 21.4 miles. Wadena to Birch Road is not described in "Paddling Iowa". Birch Road to Volga City is 2.5 miles; and then another 6.8 miles to Osborne. (Osborne to Littleport is a scenic 9.4 miles and is the stretch that Project AWARE will clean up on Saturday, July 16.) Littleport on to Garber is about 10 miles.

Bring your own river and camping food but Dutch Oven creations by Bill may very well be available at breakfasts and dinner. RSVP contact: Bill Jamison.

Speaking of Bill Jamison and Dutch Ovens, Bill was asked by NICC to offer a class on Dutch Oven Cooking. The class is scheduled twice at Swiss Valley PARK... on the north side of Swiss Valley Road (at the picnic area, not at the Nature Center) from 10-12 on April 30 and May 21. Cost is $15. Register via NICC by phoning 563-556-5110. The class will include: How to Choose a Dutch Oven (types will be described) and How to Season, Cook with, and Store a Dutch Oven. Wood heat will also be given attention. Check details with Bill. WHAT'S COOKIN' WITH BILL!

July 9-16 (Saturday - Sunday)
Project AWARE on the Little Turkey, Turkey, and Volga Rivers
For details, go to http://www.iowaprojectaware.com/ . Camping will be at Gouldsburg Park (2), Gilbertson Conservation Education Area (2), Elkader City Park, Motor Mill, and Osborne Outdoor Education Center Park. Evening programs may include our own Larry Stone. (Check his website at http://www.larrystonesiowa.com/ .)

Our region's popular "Big Blue Sky" may perform in Elkader. Our White Pine Group will be a "River Rescue" level sponsor donating $125 ($75 plus a donor's $50) and will provide ice cream as an in-kind, hot weather treat contribution one evening. Anyone wish to help with that? Contact: Dick Worm.

Other Events of Note
Natural Gait Cave Concerts
May 21, Celtic, "Switchback"
June 11, Big Blue Sky
July 30, Sawtooth Bluegrass Band
August 19, Switchback
http://www.thenaturalgait.com/

Live Eagle Nest Camera, 24/7
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/decorah-eagles/
or
http://www.luther.edu/eaglecam/stream/
ENJOY!!!

Earth Jam with the Banana Slug String Band!

White Pine Group/Sierra Club display

A free family event! The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, Keep Dubuque County Clean & Green, and E. B. Lyons Interpretive Center are sponsoring the 2011 Earth Jam featuring the entertaining and conservation oriented songs by the 2-person Banana Slug String Band.

The Earth Jam will begin at the Mines of Spain's E. B. Lyons Interpretive Center at 5:30 PM on Friday, April 15. Displays and children's activities will be from 5:30 PM to 6:45 PM. The Banana Slug String Band will perform at 7 PM.

The purpose of the Earth Jam is to educate, inspire, and have entire families participate in making responsible decisions for planet Earth. The event will educate the public through booths and hands-on children's activities. The Banana Slug String band will present environmental message through high energy songs and musical performances! Community environmental partners, including the White Pine Group of the Sierra Club, will provide the displays and activities.

I will check on some children's activities for April 15. I also have collected some recycled bags; from the Phillipines I have one made from newspaper (which was promoted through Sierra magazine) and one made from juice box wrappers which are folded. I have a purse from Uganda made from colorful rolled paper and a woven purse Bill brought from Tanzania. From a woman in Monticello, I have 2 purses and a rug made by crocheting yarn with strips of the traditional plastic trash bags. My students have made purses and shopping bags from juice wrappers and could make up a couple to give away as a required service project.

Western Loop Plans

July 27 - August 17 or 18

Any parts are open for participation. Check with Dick Worm for more detail about the following ways to Explore and Enjoy.


Colorado
July 27 - 31 or August 1

Creede Repertory Theater--July 28, 29, 30 ("Unnecessary Farce", "I Capture the Castle", "Boomtown Comedy Improv", "How to Succeed in Business", and "Road to Mecca"); acclimatization/scenic hikes on July 29 and forenoon of July 30, with a July 31 or August 1 attempt to scale Fourteener Mount Sneffels (14,150 ft) near Ouray. (Anyone not going to California would leave after Sneffels.)


California Sierras
August 1 - 9 or 10

Leave from Colorado August 1 for a John Muir Trail backpack trek August 3 - 9/10. A permit has been obtained for 8 people to backpack from Devil's Postpile National Monument northwestward to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, with a side trip to the Minarets in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Californians are also being invited to do this portion of the Western Lop. More details can be provided.

However, a lottery drawing has also been submitted for 6 people for a JMT trek from Whitney Portal northward to Onion Valley and, if drawn, would receive primary consideration, leaving the other permit available. Although I day-hiked the Whitney Portal route to Mount Whitney and back last summer (attend the program at the April 26 meeting for that and other JMT details), my cohort for these JMT trips did not, and the only option still available this summer was the Whitney Portal entry permit by lottery. This southernmost section of the John Muir Trail includes the JMT's highest pass, Forester Pass (13,180 feet). The lottery drawing is sometime around March 15.


Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains
August 10 - 17

--To try again for my now bucket-listed "The Arrowhead". This could extend to August 18 or no later than a noon August 19 return to Iowa. Bill Jamison is considering this Idaho option if he gets a travel companion(s).

Meet August 12 near Stanley, ID to backpack from a 6760 ft. trailhead to Hell Roaring Lake (7407 feet) and then ascend a steep, unofficial trail to scenic Clarice Lake (8180 ft.) to base camp two or no more than four nights, for me anyway, depending on conditions to reach "The Arrowhead".

One day-hike/scramble option during the potential August 13, 14, and 15 stay WILL BE "The Arrowhead" (10,579 ft.), passing the ominous "Finger of Fate" spire before the near vertical, ought-to-be-awesome view of the Cramer Lakes Basin, 2200 feet below.

Other treks from relatively small Clarice Lake (so its island is an easy swim away) may include views of Profile Lake, Mount Cramer (10,716 ft), Sevy Peak and other peaks, lakes and waterfalls. Exit via the same route on August 16 to begin the drive homeward, arriving late on August 17, at the earliest.

Other options for some folks may include only a day-hike to Clarice Lake skipping The Arrowhead and backpacking on to Imogene Lake from Hell Roaring to possibly camp on an "island" to enjoy an easier day-hike up a lake- and waterfall-strewn valley, apparently popular for fishing.

Iowa Environmental Council

From Iowa Environmental Council's web site:

You can open this as a PDF file at http://www.iaenvironment.org/documents/ENews_03_2011.pdf

If Enacted, Bill Would Cripple Iowa's Air Quality Program

To cover budget shortfalls and keep a federally mandated state air quality program operating, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has recommended increasing emissions fees charged to all facilities that are major sources of air pollution, but lawmakers have introduced a bill in an attempt to block that from happening.

House File 402 would cap the per-ton emissions fees charged to big emitters of air pollutants under Title V of the federal Clear Air Act at their current rate. The bill also forbids the use of some potential sources of revenue that could help offset the emissions-based loss of income, such as charging fees for new-construction permits.

Currently, fees are based on the first 4,000 tons of emissions for each covered pollutant and are used to cover the cost of operating this air program at the DNR. A process to revise the fee system was approved by the Environmental Protection Commission in January and is underway at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Lee Searles, air quality program director for the non-profit Iowa Environmental Council, said the impacts of HF 402 would be felt as soon as July and could result in the loss of 23 jobs that are high-quality professional jobs in engineering, permit review, monitor evaluation and analysis, small business support, and community support services.

"Business and industry interests in Iowa seem to support House File 402, even though it would probably make Iowa's air quality programs fall out of compliance with federal Clean Air Act requirements. That could lead to a loss of our state-friendly program and its replacement by federal agency authority," said Searles.

Action Alert: e-mail to your legislators, asking them to vote "NO" on this bill.
For Questions: Lee Searles, 515-244-1194 ext 204, searles@iaenvironment.org


Question for Governor Branstad: "Why Transfer Department of Natural Resource's Water Quality Programs to the Iowa Department of Agriculture?"

The Iowa Environmental Council is opposing measures to move Iowa‘s water quality programs from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Legislators say these Senate and House bills have come at the request of the Governor and say this is because water quality programming can be done "more efficiently" if given to the Secretary of Agriculture.

"I have seen no study or assessment that shows this move will create efficiencies, save money or continue to provide protections for our water quality," said Marian Riggs Gelb, executive director for the Iowa Environmental Council.

Riggs Gelb also noted that no other U.S. Governor has abdicated his or her water quality protection responsibilities to an elected official.

"Why does Governor Branstad want to do this? Where is the explanation or study or data that demonstrates the efficiencies? I think the public would like to have the answers to these questions," said Riggs Gelb.

Rules previous promulgated under the DNR programs being transferred would have to be reviewed and possibly rescinded and their rule making processes begun again by IDALS--processes that could take years and cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. Additional staff would have to be added to IDALS as they do not currently have the expertise on staff to conduct the programs.

Bill numbers are currently being assigned to these study bills, which passed out of Senate and House Committees last week. Sign up to receive Action Alerts on this and other bills at the Council's Action Alert center where we make it easy for you to contact your elected officials.


Proposed Legislation Fast Tracks New Nuclear in Iowa

The Iowa House and Senate are moving quickly on legislation to promote new nuclear power in Iowa. Identical bill language has been introduced in the House (HSB 124) and Senate (SSB 1144). The legislation would require MidAmerican Energy to submit an application to build a new nuclear reactor and would provide extensive special treatment for nuclear power, including the following partial list:
  • Allows MidAmerican to raise rates to pay for the plant during the application and construction process;
  • Exempts nuclear power from the "reasonable alternative" planning and review process that applies to all other forms of electrical generation;
  • Allows MidAmerican to keep all the money it gets from increased rates, even if the company never builds the plant;
  • Constrains how the regulators at the Iowa Utilities Board, and the courts, can review MidAmerican's proposed nuclear plant.
One of the concerns about this legislation is that it creates such favorable policy for new nuclear power that it will disadvantage clean energy, including wind, solar, and energy efficiency. Iowa has made great progress realizing the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy in recent years, but there remains great untapped potential, if we can stay focused and advance the right mix of energy policy.

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

March 3, 2011

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
http://www.nirs.org/

In this era of Congressional budget-slashing, with programs that actually benefit real people on the chopping block, we think it's time to step up the demands:

Tell Congress, and our Iowa Legislators, not only must it oppose new taxpayer subsidies for new reactor construction, but Congress must cut the existing program to zero!

And the good news today is that the American people agree! According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News public opinion poll released this morning, cutting subsidies for new reactors is the single most popular possible budget cut, with 57% finding such cuts either completely or mostly acceptable.

The existing Department of Energy loan "guarantee" program has $10.2 Billion in unspent money for new reactor construction and another $2 Billion for uranium enrichment plants. Why should Congress be cutting programs like legal services for the poor, public broadcasting, college loans, and dozens of other programs when that money is sitting there and should never be used anyway?

In the sometimes make-believe world of Congressional budgeting, that funding actually only shows up as $120 million--but that's still a lot of money that could be spent on much more important things. The reality is, since these nuclear loan "guarantees" are actual loans from the federal treasury--make-believe budgeting or not--that's more than $12 Billion that would be going out the door, with far too much risk that it would never be seen again. And, of course, President Obama (what is he thinking?) wants to increase the nuclear loan program by another $36 Billion in next year's budget!

National Club Election Coming This Spring

One candidate is from the Upper Midwest.

The annual election for the Club's Board of Directors is now underway. The Sierra Club is unique among major national environmental organizations in its emphasis on democratic election of leaders. Those eligible to vote in the national Sierra Club election will receive in the mail (or by Internet if you chose the electronic delivery option) your national Sierra Club ballot. This will include information on the candidates and where you can find additional information on the Club's website.

The Sierra Club is a democratically structured organization at all levels. The Club requires the regular flow of views on policy and priorities from its grass roots membership in order to function well. Generally, voting has now dropped to about 10% of those receiving a ballot. This is an alarming trend for democracy within the Club. It is also discouraging considering the major commitment the Club makes in financial, staff, and volunteer resources to provide the opportunity for all members to vote each year.

Steve Krieg,
Chief Inspector of Election
Tuesday February 15, 2011

White Pine Group EXCOM, 2011

Charlie Winterwood, Chair
Jim Fahrion, Outings
Dick Worm, Newsletter/Membership
Barb Cooey
Gary Thompson

Appointed Officers:
Secretary/Turkey Dinner Fundraiser: Jane Worm
Treasurer: Mike Muir
Conservation: Gretel Winterwood
Publicity: Carol Thompson
Webmaster: Todd Michaels (Local help wanted!)

2011 EXCOM Election

Candidates Charlie, Dick, and Gary were... uhmm, overwhelmingly elected. No write-in could muster any votes. We thank Bill Jamison for his terms of service to the EXCOM and his continuing assistance with outings. Consider offering your voice this December when yet another EXCOM election will be the center of heated controversy and tummy turning excitement as one candidate after one candidate are sought from among the minions.

Winter Outing Reports

To "Explore and Enjoy" ought to be significant aspects of active Sierra Club membership. Our group offers outings to foster aesthetics. Reports describe what might also encourage actions to "Protect".

Backbone Cabin Outing
January 28-30
18 participants including more than the usual number of 2-night stays; and contributions of clementines by Holly, "health food" dessert by Buck, grapes by David, and homemade bread by John, that were recorded, helped create an outing profit of $117.90 . Another $20 general donation from an expiring member raised the recent income to $137.90 . THANKS--it's going toward the Bag It movie screening fee and a sponsorship contribution to Project Aware.

Whitewater Canyon Outing
February 12
Deep, clumpy snow and a cool breeze didn't keep over 16 folks away... and the clusters of ghostly stalactites of ice near one cave's entrance added some haunting mystique to the snowshoe and x-country ski trekking.

Some Coming Events of Note

Bag It: The Movie
Saturdays, March 26 and April 2
10 AM
Mindframe Theater, Dubuque
Our White Pine Group contributed $100 toward the $300 screening fee.

Earth Jam and Banana Slug String Band
Friday, April 15
5:30 PM activity, 7 PM band performance
Lyons Center, Mines of Spain

We will have a display and activity. Come/Enjoy!

Earth Day
April 22
Do some good for the environment this Good Friday. Make an Earth Day resolution sustaining Mother Earth.