Your West Valley News: Local news from Phoenix's West Valley communities - Sun City West, Sun City Grand, Surprise, Glendale, Peoria, El Mirage, Youngtown

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  • Water tops golf course priority list

    Some Sun City residents want changes at the South Golf Course.“How long do we have to wait to improve the pro shop and shack? Consider the South be moved to priority,” Sun Citian Karen Scheuerman said at a recent meeting.But the Recreation Centers of Sun City board has other priorities for courses, including a water conservation project.“The next course scheduled for renovation and irrigation work is Riverview at a cost of approximately $5.3 million which will begin in December 2014,” said Joelyn Higgins, marketing coordinator for the Recreation Centers of Sun City.Renovations to the South Pro Shop are now in the Long Range Plan for 2020.In 2013, the South Course maintenance building was replaced following a 2011 fire. Insurance covered the $600,000 job.

  • Cactus vs. Ironwood Baseball

    Ironwood defeats Cactus 8-7 Thursday, April 17, 2014. Photos by Jarod Opperman/West Valley Preps

  • West Valley Pops concert supports food bank

    If you attended the West Valley Pops concert on March 30 at the Valley Vista Performing Arts Center in Surprise, you contributed to the record 3,200 pounds of food for the Valley View Community Food Bank.The food bank and the band thank you for attending.You also were witness to the first in a series of concerts that will be hard to top.One of the fall concerts will have a theme called, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.”Dan Reed will return for the new season.The energy from the audience and the band was outstanding this year.

  • Installation of new traffic signal in Sun City to begin

    SUNCITY, Ariz. – A contractor with the Maricopa County Department will begin work on a project at Del Webb Boulevard and Hutton Drive that will feature installation of a new traffic signal. Emergency pre-emption equipment for fire trucks, pole-mounted devices for measuring and managing traffic, repaving the intersection road surface and adding ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps.The new signal will be added two  blocks south of an existing one at Bell Road and Del Webb Boulevard.MCDOT officials stated in a prepared release that the improvements are needed to improve traffic flow at a spot where vehicles frequently bunch up and enhance safety. Drivers often face the challenge of crossing traffic when turning left off Del Webb Boulevard onto Hutton Drive, especially during fall, winter and spring months when the Sun City population increases.The entire project is expected to be finished by late June.During work, traffic lane restrictions and temporary closures of Hutton Drive can be expected. Pineaire Drive and Loma Blanca Drive can be used as alternate routes.Access will be maintained for residents, businesses and emergency vehicles at all times.

  • Color Dash comes to Peoria

    A Color Dash will take place 10 a.m. May 3 at the Peoria Sport Complex.The family-friendly event features a 5k run/walk.“The dash is not timed — it’s more about sharing memories, laughing and getting colored like a bag of Skittles than competing,” said Bridget Binsbacher, executive director of Peoria Diamond Club.As participants run, walk (or even crawl) the course, Dasher-Splasher volunteers will splash them with special colorful dust. Results — a white T-shirted community of do-gooders, turned into a rainbow of colorful faces.All proceeds will benefit the Peoria Diamond Club in support of their mission to raise funds for youth charities and organizations.The registration fee for the event is $45 per individual, $35 per team member and $85 for family of three plus $15 for each family member after that; children 5 and under are free. Register at:

  • Dietitian offers tips for diabetics

    Sun Health will host a seminar on nutritional strategies for diabetics.The session will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday in the Community Room at Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing, 14719 W. Grand Ave., Surprise.Tracy Garrett, Sun Health registered dietitian, will introduce some of the strategies that can help you feel better today and prevent long-term diabetic complications in the future.To register, call 623-455-5633 or visit and click “Community Education” at the top of the page.

  • Congressional committees probing Arizona's VA care

    PHOENIX (AP) — U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both R-Ariz., say congressional committees are investigating allegations that up to 40 Arizona veterans died while awaiting medical appointments. The two Republican senators from Arizona held a news conference Friday across the street from the Phoenix VA Medical Center. Last week, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs said the panel's investigators concluded as many as 40 Arizona veteran deaths could be related to VA delays in providing them medical care. Some veterans say wait times now average 55 days. Flake says the Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs also is investigating the complaints about Arizona VA facilities. Phoenix VA Health Care System officials say they've asked for an external review by the Inspector General and will address any problems quickly.

  • Unemployment rates fall in 21 US states last month

    WASHINGTON (AP) — More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring has improved for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery. The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates dropped in 21 states, rose in 17 and were unchanged in the remaining 12. Meanwhile, hiring increased in 34 states and fell in 16. The unemployment rate varies from as low as 2.6 percent in North Dakota to as much as 8.7 percent in Rhode Island. South Carolina has experienced the sharpest rate decline over 12 months to 5.5 percent from 8 percent. The rate nationwide stayed at 6.7 percent in March for the second straight month. That national rate stayed flat because someone was hired for almost every person who entered the job market last month. Employers added 192,000 jobs nationwide in March, close to the average monthly gains of the past two years. Ohio experienced the largest month-to-month drop in its unemployment rate: 0.4 percentage points to 6.1 percent. That steep drop occurred because the state added 12,000 jobs last month, while the total number of people in its job market fell 11,200 to 5.75 million. Unemployment rates can fall when people leave the job market, as well as when employers hire. North Carolina reported the second largest year-over-year drop in the unemployment rate: a 2.2 percentage point decrease to 6.3 percent. Part of that decline came from the loss unemployment benefits for jobless workers. Because those workers needed to look for jobs in order to receive benefits, the loss of the jobless aid likely caused them to give up their hunts and no longer be counted as unemployed. Several states continue to lag the gains made across the country. Unemployment remains elevated in Nevada (8.5 percent), Illinois (8.4 percent), California (8.1 percent) and Kentucky (7.9 percent).

  • US puts off decision on Keystone XL pipeline

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely. In a surprise announcement Friday as Washington was winding down for Easter, the State Department said federal agencies will have more time to weigh in on the politically fraught decision — but declined to say how much longer. Officials said the decision will have to wait for the dust to settle in Nebraska, where a judge in February overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline's path through the state. Nebraska's Supreme Court isn't expected to hear an appeal to that ruling until September or October, and there could be more legal maneuvering after the high court rules. So President Barack Obama will almost surely have until after the November congressional elections to make the final call about whether the pipeline carrying oil from Canada should be built. Approving the pipeline before the election would rankle Obama's allies and donors in the environmental community, but nixing it could be politically damaging to vulnerable Democrats running this year in conservative-leaning areas. "This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable," said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, who faces a difficult re-election in oil-rich Louisiana. Landrieu said Obama was signaling that a small minority can tie up the process in the courts, sacrificing 42,000 jobs and billions in economic activity. In an ironic show of bipartisanship, Republicans joined Landrieu and other Democrats like Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska in immediately condemning the announcement — the latest in a string of delays in a review process that has dragged on for more than five years. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Obama of kowtowing to "radical activists" from the environmental community, while House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the decision "shameful" and said there were no credible reasons for further delay. "This job-creating project has cleared every environmental hurdle and overwhelmingly passed the test of public opinion, yet it's been blocked for more than 2,000 days," Boehner said in a statement. But environmental groups fighting the pipeline hailed the delay, arguing that it shows the State Department is taking the arguments against the pipeline seriously. "This is definitely great news," said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president for the League of Conservation Voters. "We are very confident as they continue to examine the issues with the lack of legal route in Nebraska and the terrible climate impacts, at the end of the day the pipeline will be rejected." Keystone XL would carry oil from western Canada's tar sands to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. The project requires State Department approval because it crosses an international border. The State Department vowed to move forward with other aspects of its review even while the situation in Nebraska remains in limbo. "The agency consultation process is not starting over," the State Department said in a statement. State Department officials said other U.S. agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, won't be notified of their new deadline for comment until the legal situation in Nebraska becomes clearer. Driving the delay is a concern that the legal wrangling could lead to a change in the pipeline's route that would affect agencies' assessments, said the officials, who weren't authorized to comment by name and demanded anonymity. The White House has insisted that Secretary of State John Kerry is in charge of the process, which involves a determination about whether the pipeline is in America's national interest. But Obama is widely expected to make the final call. In a nod to environmentalists' concerns, Obama has said the pipeline will be deemed not in the U.S. interest if it contributes significantly to increasing carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change. Environmentalists argue that the oil that's pulled out of Canada's tar sands is among the dirtiest on the planet. The White House declined to comment on the State Department's announcement, which came on Friday afternoon, when many Americans were observing Good Friday. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, accused the administration of "a stunning act of political cowardice" by waiting until most Americans would be too busy preparing for Easter or observing Passover to notice the delay. Obama and environmental groups dispute the notion that the pipeline would create many permanent jobs or have a substantial economic impact, but Obama has refused to say whether he will nix it. The 1,179-mile pipeline would travel through Montana and South Dakota to a hub in Nebraska, where it would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to refineries in Texas. This isn't the first time that machinations in Nebraska have delayed a Keystone XL decision. The pipeline's initial route had to be redrawn to address concerns that it would threaten the Nebraska Sandhills, a region of grass-covered dunes used as ranchland. "We are disappointed that politics continue to delay a decision on Keystone XL," said Jason MacDonald, a spokesman for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The pipeline project has become a proxy for a larger battle between environmental activists and energy advocates over climate change and the future of American energy — much to the dismay of Calgary-based TransCanada Corp., which has proposed the pipeline. The company's CEO, Russ Girling, said the company was "extremely disappointed and frustrated" with the latest delay. Environmentalists' hopes that Obama would reject the pipeline were dealt a blow in January when the State Department, in a highly anticipated environmental report, said that building the pipeline would not significantly boost emissions because the oil was likely to find its way to market one way or another. The State Department concluded that transporting the oil by rail or truck would have an even worse environmental affect than building the pipeline.

  • Wyatt Earp gun sells for $225K at auction

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A gun thought to have been carried by Wyatt Earp during the famous O.K. Corral shootout in Tombstone has sold for $225,000. A telephone bidder in New Mexico made the winning bid for the Colt .45 revolver Thursday night. J. Levine Auction & Appraisal officials said an auction of numerous items related to Earp and his family in Scottsdale, Ariz., brought in more than $445,000. The auction house initially valued the Colt between $100,000 and $150,000. The items belonged to the estate of Glenn Boyer, an author of several books on Earp. Boyer died in February 2013. Some have questioned the items' authenticity while others say Boyer was a credible researcher. A Chandler man spent $150,000 on a shotgun owned by Earp, a family archive and other items.

  • Hospital visits fell after seniors secured drug coverage

    Eleven years ago Bob Bennett, then a Republican senator from Utah, made a fiscal sales pitch for including prescription drugs in Medicare coverage for seniors.“Medicare says if you go to the hospital and run up a bill of however many tens of thousands of dollars to stay that many days, we will pay for it,” he said in June 2003. “But if you take the pill that makes the hospital visit unnecessary, we will not. That clearly doesn’t make sense.”Researchers at the University of Illinois and the Johns Hopkins University have made the broadest test yet of Medicare Part D prescription drug program’s promise — that covering drugs would keep seniors out of the hospital.Comparing national records from before and after 2006, when Part D kicked in, they found that drug coverage was associated with an 8 percent drop in hospital admissions and nearly as much in hospital-cost savings — an amount they calculate to be $1.5 billion a year.But here’s what they didn’t find: any difference in death rates between the seniors who had access to drugs under Part D and those who didn’t. They thought broader drug coverage might reduce mortality.“It’s somewhat surprising that we didn’t see a mortality effect, given that we did see decreases in hospitalization,” co-author Robert Kaestner, an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in an interview.

  • Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

    ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday. The quake was felt strongly in the resort city. "There is a crisis of panic," said Alicia Dominguez, who answered the phone at the civil protection office. "It's mainly the tourists who are shaken." Civil protection officials were patrolling the city to check for damage and casualties. The quake struck 170 miles southwest of Mexico City, which shook for at least 30 seconds as people were enjoying a day off. People fled high rises and took to the streets, where some were seen in bathrobes and pajamas talking to relatives on their cellphones. "I started to hear the walls creak and I said, 'Let's go,'" said Rodolfo Duarte, 32, who fled his third-floor apartment. "This is really strong," said Gabriel Alejandro Hernandez Chavez, 45, an apartment building guard in central Mexico City. "And I'm accustomed to earthquakes." The USGS initially calculated the quake's magnitude at 7.5, but later downgraded it to 7.2. It said the quake was , the quake's center was 15 miles deep. Federal civil protection officials said the quake was felt across at least a half-dozen states. "There are some broken windows, but so far we have no dead or injured," said Ricardo de la Cruz, director general of the Civil Protection Agency. Mexico City is vulnerable even to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds that quiver as quake waves hit. The magnitude-8.1 quake in 1985 that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City was centered 250 miles away on the Pacific Coast.

  • ‘Heaven Is for Real’ heartfelt but dull

    Continuing the recent trend of faith-based films, including “Noah” and “Son of God,” ‘’Heaven Is for Real” is a sweet tale based on a 4-year-old boy’s account of his trip to heaven that’s likely to please the devout, but won’t entice religious cynics.There’s little doubt the T.D. Jakes-produced adaptation of Todd Burpo’s Christian non-fiction best-seller will have a built-in audience, especially on Easter weekend.After undergoing harrowing surgery for a ruptured appendix, young Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) begins recalling his journey for his family: Angels carried him to heaven where he met Jesus (played by Mike Mohrhardt, whose face we never quite see), as well as God, Colton’s great-grandfather and the miscarried sister he never knew he had.Such talk frightens his older sister (Lane Styles) and worries his pastor father, Todd (Greg Kinnear), and mother, Sonja (Kelly Reilly).As Colton becomes more verbal about his supposed encounter, the local paper in the small Nebraska town starts reporting the story. This leads some members of Todd’s congregation (Thomas Haden Church and Margo Martindale) to turn against the Burpo family.Though Todd sticks up for his son, his faith is also tested. “We ask these kids to believe this stuff,” he says to his wife, “but I don’t even know if I believe it myself.”

  • Summer Movie Fun for kids returns to Harkins

    Harkins Theatres’ annual kid’s movie program, Summer Movie Fun, kicks off May 26.Season tickets are on sale at the box office. Season tickets are $7 for all 10 movies -- that’s 70 cents per movie. Individual tickets can be purchased on the day of show for $2 each. Doors open at 9 a.m., and all shows begin at 9:45 a.m. The program runs through Aug. 1.This summer’s roster of movies is: “Escape from Planet Earth,” “Epic,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” “The Smurfs 2,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Turbo,” “The Croods,” “Horton Hears a Who,” “Lego Movie” and “Free Birds.”Participating theaters are:Arrowhead Fountains 18Park West 14    

  • Desert Foothills Theater presents ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

    Desert Foothills Theater, a division of the Foothills Community Foundation, presents a special youth theater production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” running May 2 through 11 at the FCF-Holland Cabaret Theater, 34250 N. 60th St., Building B, in north Scottsdale.Directed by Amy Serafin, the DFT production of William Shakespeare’s comedy follows the (mis)adventures of assorted royals, wood spirits and actors over the course of one long night in a mysterious forest.“This is not your musty, dusty Shakespeare,” Serafinsaid. “It’s the timeless tale re-imagined, re-thought and re-envisioned for today’s audience. It’s a fresh new take, brought to life by an exciting and energetic young cast and crew who challenge you to put aside your notions of what it means to be a ‘classic.’”Performances are May 2 and 9 at 7 p.m.; May 3 at 2 p.m.; May 10 at 7 p.m.; and May 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $21 for adults and $11 to $16 for youth and students. A special 2 p.m. performance featuring a Q&A after the show will take place May 4. Purchase tickets before midnight Friday and receive an early-purchase discount.Group sale discounts available for groups of 10 or more. Visit or call 480-488-1981.

  • iPhone edges Samsung in smartphone study

    New York • Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year’s model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds.The S5 scored well given its water resistance and a sturdy back panel made of plastic, according to SquareTrade, a provider of extended protection plans. The iPhone 5s won points for being just 4 inches diagonally, compared with about 5 inches for the Android phones. That makes the iPhone easier to grip and thus less likely to slip out of one’s hands.Nonetheless, all the smartphones tested had a medium risk of breakage, and differences between the various phones weren’t major.SquareTrade evaluated the phones based on such criteria as size, weight, grip and the quality of the front and back panels. The company measured how far the phones slide when pushed across a table on their backs and how well they withstand drops from 4 feet and being dunked in water for 10 seconds. Robots were used to ensure consistency.SquareTrade provided The Associated Press with the results ahead of this week’s announcement.The S5 scored a 6 on a 10-point durability scale, with 10 having the highest risk. The new HTC One phone scored a 6.5, while Google’s Nexus 5 had a 7. The iPhone 5s was at 5.5.

  • Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

    NEW YORK (AP) — Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business. In the past six years, airlines have overhauled the way they operate to adjust to this new reality. They've shown more discipline by offering fewer seats, which ensures airfares are high enough to cover costs. Unprofitable routes have been eliminated. And every expense has been scrutinized. These changes, along with high oil prices, have created an insurmountable roadblock to startup airlines that hope to undercut established carriers. "Traditionally, it was too easy to start an airline and too difficult to kill one off," says Jamie Baker, an airline analyst with JPMorgan Chase. No more. A decade ago, airlines were paying just $1.42 a gallon for fuel, when adjusted for inflation. Last year, they paid an average of $3.03 a gallon, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Fuel now accounts for more than a third of airlines' expenses, overtaking salaries, wages and benefits as the single biggest line item. U.S. carriers burned through 16 billion gallons of jet fuel last year at cost of $48.4 billion. That's up nearly $23 billion from 10 years ago — when the airlines consumed 2 billion more gallons of fuel. So why is this good? High oil prices forced the major airlines to do business differently. They grounded older, gas-guzzling jets. Then they charged extra for checking baggage and raised other fees. More passengers were packed into planes and mergers helped push airfares higher. The average cost of a roundtrip domestic ticket — including baggage and reservation change fees — grew to $378.62 from $351.48 in the last five years, when adjusted for inflation. All of that has them on pace for a fifth consecutive year of profits. A big reason for the streak: The majors aren't facing the myriad of fly-by-night start-ups that disrupted their business in the past. Low-cost carriers like PeopleExpress and ValueJet used to be able to enter markets, charge a lot less to fly and push the established carriers out. 'An equalizer' Now — since fuel is such a great expense — that doesn't happen anymore, said Scott Kirby, president of American Airlines, at a recent aviation symposium in Phoenix. "It's an equalizer," Kirby said. Skybus Airlines launched in May 2007 promising to sell at least 10 seats on each of its flights for $10. By the following April, a spike in fuel prices proved fatal and the airline shut down operations overnight. Without that competition, legacy carriers have avoided fare wars and kept ticket prices high. "This represents the longest post-deregulation stretch that nobody has started a new airline in the United States," Baker says. Virgin America was the last major new U.S. carrier. But since it started flying in August 2007, the San Francisco-based airline has lost hundreds of millions of dollars. It didn't post its first annual profit until last year and that was only after it stopped its rapid expansion. Efficiency in the skies Jeff Knittel, president of transportation and international finance at CIT, which leases planes to airlines, says the high fuel costs has created a financial discipline among carriers that has made them look closely at every expense — in the air and on the ground. As part of their quest to reduce fuel consumption, airlines have replaced drink carts with new, lighter ones. Planes now taxi with only one engine running. And wingtips have been redesigned to reduce drag. "It has forced efficiency throughout the entire organization," Knittel says. High oil prices have also caused lenders to take a closer look at business models. In the past, they just considered the collateral — the airplane — that they were lending against. "It makes the merits of the airlines matter more than they have in the past," says Hunter Keay, an airline analyst with Wolfe Research. Airlines are only expanding to cities where they know they can make money, limiting competition and keeping everybody's flights profitable. Instead of fighting to become the largest airline in a city, airlines are now making rational decisions based on profitability. "The only universal disciplinarian across the entire global airline industry is high oil prices," Keay says. "It makes even the bad actors make hard choices."

  • Extended car warranties are expensive gamble

    Looking for an easy way to save hundreds on your next new car and simplify the buying process at the same time? Skip the extended warranty, says Consumer Reports.The dealer will probably try hard to sell you one, telling horror stories about the thousands of dollars it can cost to replace an engine or transmission. But the odds are you’ll never need the coverage, and even if you do, the money you’ll save in repairs won’t come close to what you paid for the added warranty.A recent Consumer Reports survey found that 55 percent of owners who purchased an extended warranty hadn’t used it for repairs during the lifetime of the policy, even though the median price paid for the coverage was just over $1,200. And, on average, those who did use it spent hundreds more for the coverage than they saved in repair costs.Among survey participants who used their policy, the median out-of-pocket savings on repairs covered by extended warranties for all brands was $837. Based on a $1,214 average initial cost, that works out to a net loss of more than $375. Factoring those who didn’t use their policy, the median savings was zero. And that may have something to do with why satisfaction with automobile extended warranties is among the lower Rated of all products and services surveyed by Consumer Reports, and why only about a quarter of respondents said they would definitely get it again.Conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center in late 2013, the survey included responses from more than 12,000 Consumer Reports subscribers who purchased an extended warranty. The survey covers vehicles built during model years 2006 to 2010. Consumer Reports targeted those years to focus on vehicles that are typically no longer covered by a traditional three-year new-car factory warranty.RELIABILITY AND SATISFACTION

Featured columns

  • Find C.L.U.E. before buying house

    We all know about the standard safeguards that are supposed protect you when buying a home, like the seller’s disclosure form and home inspections.But a tool you may not know about is the comprehensive loss underwriting exchange, or C.L.U.E. report (’s like CarFax for your house.  And while it may not give you an exact history of the home you want to buy, it can give you a good idea of what questions to ask.The report includes information about any insurance claims on a house and description of what was covered for the last seven years.For example, if a claim was paid out for a flood, you might want have your inspector concentrate on mold issues.

  • OPINION: Nevada case shows might over right

    A series of controversial issues are intersecting at an event taking place in the Gold Butte National Conservation area of Nevada. Located 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas and 47 miles southwest of St. George, Utah in the Virgin Valley, this remote, rugged section of the Mojave Desert is home to the Virgin River.There lies a 150-acre ranch situated between Bunkerville and Mesquite Nev., belonging to 68-year-old Cliven Bundy, father of 14. Bundy says he is the last of 53 ranchers that were once there and all but he were driven out of business by the Bureau of Land Management.Bundy and his ancestors have been ranching in this valley since 1877, 15 years after the Homestead Act was passed.  The open range where Bundy’s 900 cattle roam is a 600,000-acre parcel of land controlled by the BLM. Twenty years ago Bundy refused to pay the fees imposed by the BLM for grazing, taking them to court and challenging their right to subsume the rights his family acquired in the years of occupying and improving the land. He contends he owes only the state of Nevada the fees because in his view this is rightfully state land not federal land.The BLM contends he owes more than $1 million in back fees. In a move that would make Agenda 21 advocates happy, the BLM ruled in 1998 that approximately 187,000 acres of the 600,000 acres were to be denied access to his cattle in order to protect the desert tortoise, which was declared an endangered species.Bundy contended that his cattle kept the threat of brush fires low because of their foraging and that cow dung was eaten by the tortoise due to its content of protein. In 2013 the BLM won once again in federal court and an order was issued that allowed the BLM to confiscate Bundy’s trespass cattle in payment of his back fees. The BLM claims that Bundy is also liable for the cost of rounding up his cattle which is estimated at $3 million.The BLM recently started rounding up the cattle.  

  • Personal info can be removed from hard drive

    Several times I have written about donating used computers to StRUT (Students Recycling Used Technology). We have always recommended removing personal information from your hard drive by formatting it. Since I have had questions about how to format a hard drive, this week’s lesson is on how to do it.First, we need to explain about the absolute security of formatting as a means of destroying information recorded on the hard drive. Formatting is a quick way to destroy recorded information but it is not absolutely secure.It is possible for a highly skilled technician or the CIA to recover information from a hard drive after it has been formatted. However, as a practical matter formatting is safe for the average user to get rid of recorded data.Before we begin, let us look at what formatting is. A hard drive is made up of a stack of magnetic disks enclosed in a sealed chamber. Above each magnetic surface of each disk in the stack are read/write heads that are very close to the magnetic surface. These read/write heads are activated in a way that data is recorded or read as a result of program action in the computer. Before data can be recorded on the disks, they must be prepared in a way that programs can know where to record data and retrieve it when it is needed later on. The preparation of the magnetic surface is called formatting. Formatting arranges for data to be recorded in tracks, literally hundreds of tracks on each magnetic surface. Within each track are markers to indicate where data is to be recorded. Reformatting essentially arranges the tracks and markers to indicate to the computer that there is no data recorded there in preparation for receiving new data when the disk is used again.Before starting, think about what information on your drive that you want to keep or transfer to archival storage. You need to copy that information to a secure storage device. Today, that is probably a flash drive. A 32GB flash drive can be purchased for about $25, sometimes less.The most critical data files in Windows are kept in Documents Folder(s). But, you probably want to keep your Email address book and Favorites file.

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