Monday, January 16, 2012

Turkey Dinner Fundraiser Report

At least 86 meals were served at the October 29 Turkey Dinner Fundraiser. Additional donations ranging up to $100 totaled $245. Calendar sales also contributed to the income. Total income by that night was $1150. Submitted expenses for food and church social room/kitchen rental came to $200. With the calendar bill paid and the $131.73 balance before the dinner, the treasury after the dinner was $915.85. Additional calendar sales and contributions have since then raised the current balance to $1027.85. Thanks to all who helped make the Fundraiser another success. You know who you are!

In kind contributions that WE KNOW of included: Cooked Turkeys by Jane Worm and Winterwoods; Desserts by Mike Muir, Ellen O'Connell, Ann Ernst, Howard Higley, Sheila Schultz, Ruth Scharnau, Becky Reisch, Butchie Thompson, Dave Hansen, and Clayton Pederson; Door Prizes by Dick and Jane Worm, Margreet Ryan, Barb Cooey, Jack Rolling; Dressing by Jane Worm using Leslie and Kevin Kane's recipe; Mashed Potatoes by Alaine Jamison and Jane Worm; Friday set-up by Dick and Jane Worm, Jim Fahrion, and the Wayne McDermott family; and Saturday early help by Becky Reisch. Kitchen and Clean-up help by several volunteers also smoothed out the operation. Wayne and Aaron McDermott even helped clear the Faraway Farm river access trail on Saturday following the Friday night camp-out, before the Mississippi Trails Hiking Club arrived. :)

Additional support came from Lee and Carol McClenahan, James Ryan, and Ron Myrom. A later calendar order from Mary and Fritz Kruger of Manchester came with this note: "Sorry we missed the Turkey Dinner. Hope it was a success! Here is our donation for this year--and if there are any calendars left, send us one. We'll try to get in on one of the outings in 2012! We enjoy the newsletter!" (Editor: Our White Pine Sierra Group EXCOM really appreciates member feedback.)

Door prize recipients: Kathy McDermott whose entry was 422 for the 425 black and orange M&M's in the full jar then awarded to her... along with black and orange balloons :) . Aaron McDermott selected a sleeved blanket for his Bird Quiz entry. Ruth Scharnau's # was drawn for the Sierra Calendar. Prize selections were: Mystique blanket, Berna Davis; Walking stick, Janette Ramson; Sierra game, Bart Blake; Walking stick, Tom Welu; "Listen to the Land" book, Betty Streets; Compass, Larry Troester; Thermos, G. Wiederholt; Cap, Joe Garrity; Coozie, Tom Streets; and Duffel bag, Jan Ellen Zweibohmer.

Again, a BIG THANKS to all the Dinner attendees and contributors! The "Our Iowa Home" program introduced by Bob Dunne made us all feel right at home with all the camaraderie that evening!

Sierra Calendar sales? YES, 2 Wall and 5 Engagement 2012 calendars do remain. Any request with any $ contribution will be honored as the supply lasts! Come to Backbone Cabin Outing and ask for any calendar still remaining then, free. :)

Another Coal Plant Shuts Down

Pam Mackey-Taylor
Iowa Chapter, Sierra Club

John Deere Dubuque Works, a farm implement manufacturer in Dubuque, Iowa, has ceased burning coal.

In an order from the Iowa Utilities Board, the IUB stated that the plant's annual net generation was 31,496 MWh.

In a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board on December 22, 2011, John Deere stated it was ceasing the "use of coal-fired generation for several reasons including implications of the proposed MACT standards" that are to control the release of mercury and other hazardous pollutants.

Sinapee Cemetery/Chigger Outing 9/11/11

You wish you had explored?

From: Jim Fahrion
Sent: Tuesday, 9/13, 2011 6:55 PM
To: Gary & Butchie Thompson; Richard Worm; Dave Hansen
Subject: Latest count

Gary, we lost count after counting 132 chigger bites, so I've got your 100 beat.

- Itchy Jim

From: Richard Worm
Sent: Tuesday, 9/13, 2011 10:09 PM
To: Jim Fahrion
CC: Charles Winterwood; Margarite Reynolds; Dave Hansen; Gary & Butchie Thompson
Subject: RE: Latest count

I have no chigger bites at all! I had that blanket to sit on and had lightly sprayed my ankles, arms, shirt around my waist, and sides of my head and cap with Deep Woods OFF... maybe that helped. (I hate ticks so always try to think to take such precautions in the woods. I'm crawling around out here a lot lately in my prairie areas cutting down Autumn Olive so wanna be protected as best I can.)

Was wondering of Winterwoods and Margarite had any chigger issues, or if it was just an attack of those sitting around on the ground waiting for the sunset. Butchie and Gary were at the KDCCG meeting at 6 PM this evening--and Butchie had also been attacked--and I thought Gary said he had counted 150 spots on his chest, armpits and waist area. But who's counting... :) ?

What does a chigger look like? They must be tinier than ticks. I can recall having chigger attacks only two times in my life.

Chiggerless, this time,
- Dick

On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 8:02 AM, Margarite Reynolds wrote:

Hi, all. No chigger bites--I suppose I'd know by now. I don't think I'd even heard of chiggers till Dick's email. Have been reading about them online this morning. Not pleasant. Here is one website that was "interesting":

Wonder if it was something to do with time of day. I also do remember for some reason deciding to perch on the fence instead of sitting on the ground. But surely they can jump around...

Hope you all feel better soon.

- Margarite

From: Thompsons
Sent: Wednesday, 9/14, 2011 11:57 AM
To: Margarite Reynolds
CC: Jim Fahrion; Richard Worm; Charles Winterwood; Dave Hansen

Excellent chigger article, although it did creep me out a bit knowing hundreds of them were crawling all over us!

Despite the mites it was a beautiful and fun evening.

- Butchie

Winter 2012 White Pine Outings

Please mark your calendars

Outing participants are to sign a liability waiver, a copy of which can be previewed at . RSVP to the designated Outing CONTACT no later than the night before the outing begins for updates and participation plans. Occasionally, an outing may be revised or canceled depending on the nature and number of RSVPs. Many Outings include options. Explore & Enjoy as YOU like! :)

January 27-29
Backbone State Park Cabin Outing
RSVP: Dick Worm

Reservations are required for this outing by no later than Tuesday January 24, at or after our Group Program/Meeting.

Two 2-story heated cabins (#9 and #10), each with shower and restrooms, are reserved from Friday 4 PM through Sunday 11 AM. One double-bed bedroom, one two-person futon, and four "floor spaces" are still available for at least 10 more participants for both nights and a single bed for Friday night. (Suggested total capacity is 22.)

Lodging cost is $20/person for one night; $30/person for both nights. Five RSVP meals are provided in Cabin #9 at $4/meal beginning with dinner Friday and ending with Sunday breakfast. X-country ski, snowshoe, hiking, and crevice slide treks are planned. Indoor table games and general camaraderie fill the other times amazingly well. Day-Use is available at $5/person and $4/meal.

To receive a complete listing of logistics and activity options by e-mail, mail, or phone, contact Dick Worm. Join the fun--an Iowa WINTER has now arrived!

February 11 (Saturday)
Yellow River State Forest Outing
RSVP: Jim Fahrion

X-country ski, snowshoe, and hiking options will be organized at this premier location in our Northeast Iowa Sierra Club Group area.

To carpool from Dubuque, meet at the south end of the Asbury Hy-Vee at 9 AM. Otherwise, meet at the State Forest headquarters parking lot on County Road B-25 between IA Route 76 and Harper's Ferry at 10:30 AM. Bring a day-pack, lunch, and beverage, and the outing will last as long as participants wish to stay.

See natural gait trails, cabin day-use, and overnight stay options:

February 10, 11, 12
Natural Gait Cabin Overnight Bargain offer for Yellow River State Forest Outing!!
Contact: Dick Worm

Dick has wanted to stay in one of the Natural Gait cabin facilities next to a unit of the Yellow River State Forest. So when a "Buy One Night, Get One Free" Cyber Monday offer was in a Natural Gait e-mail, he took it for the already scheduled Yellow River State Forest Outing weekend. So, here's the deal:

The Upper Gait cabin available that Feb. 10-12 weekend happened to be the Lofty Haven, which best fits "privacy" needs with two bedrooms on the main level and a ladder access loft with one more double bed (and four twin beds.) Sleeping accommodations limit is 10. The Lofty Haven is located next to the lodge/horse riding arena and loftily above the Shower House/Laundry and Mercantile Gift Shop, not up the hill with the other cabins and campground. Check-in is after 2 PM Friday with check-out by 11 AM Sunday. Directions to Lofty Haven:

The Lofty Haven is fully stocked with a complete kitchen (range/oven, refrigerator, microwave, utensils, coffee pot, cookware), vaulted living room with a couch and recliner, wood burning stove, full bath (whirlpool tub, sink, toilet), towels and linens (pillows). Just bring your own food.

Three couples (or six individuals) can stay for both Friday and Saturday nights at a cost of $35/person. A single night stay will be $25. Additional overnight participants could stay if lofty folks were willing to share (ear plugs?) the loft's five bed space. If participation could be arranged for more than 6 occupants, the cost of overnight stays would be reduced accordingly. If fewer than 6 people stay overnight, the above rates will stay the same and Dick will cover the rest. (He says it's worth giving this cabin stay a shot even if he might be the ONLY overnight participant! That would not be a first. :-/ )

A $10.00/person Lofty Haven & Trail Access fee for those not staying overnight would cover SF and Natural Gait trail access & warming, restroom, and meal location comfort. Food and beverage would be "bring-your-own", but some snacks and card tables and chairs for games and meals, if needed, will be provided like at the Backbone Cabin Outing. If figuring gets too complicated, and "profit" will go to the White Pine Group treasury.

March 17 (Saturday)
Swiss Valley Nature Center/Park Service Project and Bluebird Program
RSVP: Dick Worm for project details closer to the date of this outing.

Either come to Dubuque County's Swiss Valley Park at 8 AM for a 2-hour service project and then attend the Bluebird Program including making your own bluebird house; or attend the 10 AM Bluebird Program, bring your own lunch, and stay for a 1-3 PM Service Project--or do it all from 8 AM-3 PM.

Registration is required for the Bluebird Program and house building: (563) 556-6745. The Service Projects may involve trail work and/or sign placement... or snowshoeing?

Group Programs/Meetings

Our Group's 4th Tuesday Program/Meetings take place in the former parsonage of St. Peter Lutheran Church, 3200 Asbury Road, Dubuque.

The large meeting room is at the back of that red brick home to the right as you enter the church parking lot from Asbury Road. The meeting room door is to the left of the big window of the meeting room. No steps, so easily accessible.

Programs begin at 7 PM. A brief EXCOM session follows the program. The general public is always welcome.

Mark your Sierra Calendar and catch a program.

Tuesday, January 24
"Alberta Tar Sands"
Raki Giannokouros of Green Dubuque

Tuesday, February 28
"Eagle Point Scholar"
Will include local aspects.

Tuesday, March 27
"Bishop Pass and Piute Pass Access to the John Muir Trail in California's Sierra Mountains"
August, 2010
11,972 ft and 11, 423 ft
Dick Worm

Other Events

January 29 (Sunday)
"The Wild Brazil" by Dr. Jim Pease
Head for the Swiss Valley Nature Center after the Backbone Cabin Outing for this 1 PM Dubuque County Conservation Society's FRIENDS program, featuring the remarkable biodiversity of northeast Brazil, the Amazon, and the Pantanal wetland.

Sunday Progams, Mines of Spain

E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center
1 PM

January 22
"A Wildlife Photo Safari in Tanzania", Alice and John Butler
The Serengeti Plain's "Great Migration" and a Masai village.

February 12
"An Organic Approach to Sustainable Farming"

February 26
"Forest Gliders--A Glimpse into the World of Flying Squirrels"

March 11
"Geology of Northeast Iowa"

March 25
to be determined
office: (563) 556-0620

Hunting at the Mines of Spain: Public Meeting

Monday January 30, 6:30 PM
EB Lyons Center

The DNR will discuss and gather input on a proposal to discontinue shotgun hunting in Mines of Spain.

Archery hunting for deer, turkey, and all other legal species would continue. Since 1991, hunting has been allowed in the park during specific seasons and has helped manage and control the deer population of the area.

While the deer population has steadily decreased, park use for other activities has increased, including winter hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, bird watching, photography, and other winter activities. The park hosts more than 250,000 visitors annually.

Location: just south of Dubuque, off Hwy 52 South

Written comments will also be accepted:
8991 Bellevue Heights
Dubuque, IA 52002-9214

Or, via e-mail:

Nature Centers

Hurstville Interpretive Center
Jackson County
(563) 652-3783

Osborne Nature Center
Clayton County, Hwy 13, South of Elkader
(563) 245-1516

Summer 2012 Loco Folks Trip Previews

Dick Worm is planning a couple of summer Loco Folks backpack trips. Fellow travelers are welcome! Check with Dick for details.

July 20-30: Backpack, July 22-28. Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness, Montana, on continental divide.

7 days on John Muir Trail in California. Travel date options dependent on permit success may be: 08/26-09/07; 09/09-21 (priority), 09/16-28. Que Sera!

Keystone XL Emergency--Risking the Wild

Dick Worm, Needle Editor

I received the following e-mail from an acquaintance who worked at the John Deere plant in Dubuque and still has citizenship in Canada. It was sent as a reply to a Wilderness Society item I e-mailed to him about the Keystone XL pipeline.

Plan to attend our Sierra program on January 24 for additional viewpoints and concerns related to the extraction and refining of this oil, dating back to 1978. I'll bring the June 2008 Canadian Geographic magazine to the meeting.

The oil-sand extraction article was title "Scar Sands" and describes five ways to begin to reduce the environmental imprint: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), dry tailings instead of wet, reducing overall water usage, clamping down on acidifying emissions, and establishing large areas of boreal forest to be off-limits. Is all that a "fat chance" in today's politically charged energy domain?

The Wilderness Society message dated December 19, 2011 included the following:
The Keystone XL pipeline is probably the single most environmentally destructive project in North America threatening millions of trees and thousands of miles of rivers, lakes and streams as it snakes its way across the nation's heartland.

This rider abets clear-cutting the forests, strip-mining the tar sands, clearing a right-of-way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and emitting massive amounts of carbon pollution, all so that a Canadian oil company can get a higher price on the world market for oil than it is currently getting from North America alone. The fact that the payroll tax cut for American families has been held hostage to this environmental train wreck is unbelievable.

If this pipeline gets approved, it will foster climate change conditions that will threaten every aspect of America's wild places. Our national forests, already threatened by climate-related fire and beetle infestations, will become dangerously stressed. Iconic places like Glacier National Park will lose its namesake glaciers, and places like Acadia and the Everglades will be even more threatened by rising seas.

The President still has the discretion to turn down Keystone XL. If he does, he will be siding with millions of Americans that have a right to clean air, safe drinking water, a safe climate and a clean energy alternative to digging more holes that we can't get out of.

Subject: Re: Keystone XL Emergency--Risking the Wild

Well, this issue gives me mixed feelings.

On the plus side, it does make jobs, and good paying jobs, to a lot of people. It provides a market for Deere and Hitachi as they supply some of the machines used to mine the tar sands, and to build the pipelines. And that helps support my pension.

The oils extracted supply the fuel and lubricants for those machines, and all our cars and trucks, asphalt for the roads you drive on, etc.

As to the pipeline to the gulf: I don't understand the reasoning. The oil from the tar sands is very heavy (viscous) and take extraordinary means to make it flow through pipes. That long pipeline will probably have to be heated all the way. Seems to me it would be better to build the refinery in Alberta and pipe the finished products. Maybe that is what they're doing, to some extent.

The actual strip mining operation IS making a huge mess of the tundra. But the oil is there; near the surface, instead of deep in the ground like in ND, TX, OK, etc.

What would you do? I think we need to reduce our total consumption of oil by developing other sources of energy. And by driving the most fuel efficient cars we can.

I'll bring you a copy of Canadian Geographic magazine that covers the Tar Sands operation.

- Wayne Collins

More on the Energy Front

From: Congressman Bruce Braley
Subject: Clean Energy for Iowa
December 22, 2011

I am writing to give an update on the work I have been doing this Congress to promote Iowa's wind industry, which is a major growth area for the state.

Iowa is first in the nation in per-capita wind energy production, and second nationally in total annual wind energy production in megawatt-hours. According to the Iowa Wind Energy Association, the Iowa wind energy industry already employs over 3000 full-time workers. That number could grow with a more certain investment climate for the wind energy.

In November, I introduced the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act. This bill will extend the wind energy production tax credit or another four years. Without Congressional action, the existing wind energy production tax credit will expire at the end of 2012.

Additionally, I sent a letter to House Leadership asking that the wind tax credit be passed in time so that investment in Iowa's wind energy sector won't slow down. The earlier this extension takes place, the more certainty there is for those who want to invest in wind and its future. I will continue to work to get this extension passed sooner rather than later.

Wind is a clean, renewable energy source that can also help improve Iowa's economy, and I will continue working to expand the use of wind energy in America.


Bruce Braley,
Member of Congress

National Club Election Coming This Spring

Steve Krieg, Chief Inspector of the Election

The annual election for the Club's Board of Directors is now underway. In early March those eligible to vote will be receiving their National Club ballot in the mail or via the Internet if they selected the electronic option. This will include information on the candidates and where you can find additional information on the Club's web site.

The Sierra Club is unique among major national environmental organizations in its emphasis on democratic election of leaders. Some 25,000 members have signed up to receive voting materials via e-mail, thus saving the Club funds in printing and mailing this material to them. But only about 10% of the membership votes. This is troubling.

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 grassroots membership in order to function well. Yearly participation in elections at all Club levels is a major membership obligation. Your Board of Directors is required to stand for election by the membership. This Board sets Club policy and budgets at the national level and works closely with the Executive Director and staff to operate the Club. Voting for candidates who express your views on how the Club should grow and change is both a privilege and responsibility of membership.

Members frequently state that they don't know the candidates and find it difficult to vote without learning more. You can learn more by asking questions of your group leadership. Also, visit the Club's election web site:

This site provides links to additional information about candidate, and their views on a variety of issues facing the Club and the environment. You should use your own judgment by taking several minutes to read the ballot statement of each candidate. Then make your choice and cast your vote. Even if you receive your election materials in the mail, please go to the user-friendly Internet voting site to save time and postage. If necessary, you will find the ballot is quite straightforward and easy to mark and mail.

White Pine Group EXCOM Election Ballot

The terms of two of our Group's EXCOM members expire at the end of this year (Jim Fahrion and Barb Cooey.) So for 2012, an even-numbered year, we are to elect two EXCOM members. The following members have graciously agreed to have their names placed on the ballot. No one else rose to the occasion :( so a space for a write-in is also included since our By-Laws indicate we are to have an actual "election" with at least one more candidate than positions available.

Program, outing, and operational ideas are also welcome! Jot some down as they may help stimulate new thinking and an increase in active participation.

While we would enjoy an increase in involvement, THANKS for being a values member supporting "the cause". We wish to meet more members in 2012.

Mail the below ballot and suggestions for Group programs and Outings to Charlie Winterwood no later than January 20, 2012. VOTE FOR TWO.

Option: Bring ballot to January 24 meeting.



_____ Jim Fahrion: Current EXCOM member is a retired instrumental music teacher who enjoys hiking, kayaking and canoeing (such as several Project AWARE River Clean-up trips), skiing, and most anything outdoors. Jim is a member of the Ski Patrol at Sundown, has been on several National Sierra Club Service Trips, and provides programs for our Group meetings.

 _____ Jane Worm: Serves as the appointed Turkey Dinner Fundraiser coordinator and Secretary for our Group. At the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, Jane is the volunteer Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, leads tours, and greets every Wednesday and Friday and has received recognition as Volunteer of the Year. AND, she attends our Group meetings! :)

_____ Write-In: ____________________________________________________

Ideas for Programs and Outings and/or other comments about Group activity/participation: (What sorts of things might inspire participation?)


White Pine Group EXCOM, 2011

Charlie Winterwood

Jim Fahrion

Dick Worm

Barb Cooey
Gary Thompson

Appointed Officers

Secretary/Turkey Dinner Fundraiser
Jane Worm

Mike Muir

Gretel Winterwood

Carol Thompson

Todd Michaels


This 2011-2012 Winter Needle is being mailed to about 392 members at 346 membership locations: 140 in the 52001, 02, 03 Dubuque area and 62 in the 52101 Decorah area.

Printing and mailing cost is about $280 for each of our three annual newsletters. Is it worth it? The EXCOM has kept it going, for now anyway, as long as Turkey Dinner attendance and donations continue. Just $5/member would be nearly $2000.

The Winter Needle is now for January/February/March.

Autumn 2011 Outing Reports

To "Explore and Enjoy" are significant aspects of an active Sierra Club membership. Our Group offers outings to foster camaraderie and explorations serving as motivators for us to also "Protect."

The September 11 early evening hike to the Sinapee Cemetery Overlook did offer a great sunset view across the Mississippi. However, the later chigger bite count comparisons dramatically added even more to the event's memorability for those who were afflicted. :-/

The October 16 trip to Effigy Mounds was canceled due to no RSVPs, but was shifted to Swiss Valley Park for the few who arrived without an RSVP at the Dubuque meeting location. It is important to RSVP when an outing is far away from the home of an outing leader, but also for phoning in case a last minute change has to occur for any reason.

The November 19 hike at White Pine Hollow took 22 participants down and up some awesome slopes past a "rock garden" of huge blocks of cliff-face boulders to a remote waterfall setting in a sheer-walled gorge! Wow!

The December 2-3 trip to Minnesota's Forestville and Lake Louise State Parks was a solitary event for the leader and his granddaughter's "Flat Cassandra", but Forestville's Friday night sunset from Maple Ridge, starlit camping and campfire, and the Saturday morning visit of the historic town site and the Rock Slumps and Ravine Trails loop hike were very pleasant. PM wet snowfall limited the Lake Louise hike to the lake area and Howard Co. photo ops at Lidtke Mill and Hayden Prairie.