San Juan National Forest – CLOSED #PrayforRain

Due to wildfires, drought, and several other variables, the San Juan National Forest is said to be closed to the public and others beginning June 12th. I’m one who continually encourages others to take care of the wild outdoors. It looks like this summer that will mean staying away from it. –PRAY FOR RAIN!

This area covers nearly 2-million acres and is vital to the rural areas economy. The hit of the 416 fire has been devastating to the forest and to the city of Durango. Additional fires and now Forest closure will add further impact to Southwest Colorado.

San Juan National Forest to Implement Forest-Wide Closure Order

2000px-ForestServiceLogoOfficial.svgDURANGO, CO – The San Juan National Forest (SJNF) is planning to implement forest-wide Stage 3 fire closure this week, which will prohibit most entry into the forest. The purpose of the closure is to protect natural resources and public safety due to the danger of wildland fire. Fire danger on the SJNF remains very high due to exceptional drought and fuel conditions. The closure order is expected to be signed Tuesday, June 12, 2018, and remain in effect until the forest receives sufficient moisture to improve conditions.

The closure order will prohibit entry into the San Juan National Forest, including entry by the general public, most administrative entry by Forest Service employees, and most uses authorized under Forest Service permits and contracts. This means that forest campgrounds, day use areas, roads, and trails will be closed, including wilderness areas and that hiking, dispersed camping, and other recreational activities are prohibited. Exemptions might be granted on a case-by-case basis with a written authorization from the Fores Service, which would include specific requirements for fire prevention. Exemptions must be requested from appropriate District Range (below). Federal, state or local officers conducting specific duties are exempt. The McPhee Recreation Area Complex boat ramp and marina will likely remain open but no shoreline use will be allowed.

The SJNF covers 1.8 million acres with the Dolores Ranger District, the Columbine Ranger District, and the Pagosa Ranger District across nine counties in southwestern Colorado. County and state roads and U.S. highways that cross Forest Service lands will not be affected by this order. On-going road closures due to the 416 Fire will continue to be managed by the La Plata County Sherriff. Businesses in local communities will remain open for business during the Forest closure at their discretion.

SanJuanNF FB

San Juan National Forest Supervisor, Kara Chadwich, wants concerned citizens to know that instituting a forest closure is an extremely difficult decision, and she is aware that the closure will affect a great many people, businesses, partner agencies, forest management activities, and the public. Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to implement restrictions and closures, including fuel monsters, current and predicted weather, values at risk from wildfire, fire activity levels, and available firefighting resources. The SJNF implemented Stage 1 fire restrictions on May 1, then Stage 2 fire restrictions on June 1, but conditions continued to worsed. “The indices our fire team uses to predict fire danger are at historic levels well before we can expect any significant moisture from the seasonal monsoons,” SJNF Forest Fire Staff Officer, Richard Bustamante said. “Under current condidtions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property.

Violating Stage 3 fire restrictions or going into a closed area carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, and is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for and organization, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

The signed closure order will be posted on the San Juan National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/sanjuan/home . This release was found on, and you can follow @SanJuanNF on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:
San Juan National Forest Supervisor’s Office – 970-247-4874
Dolores Ranger District – 970-882-7296
Columbine Ranger District – 970-884-2512
Pagosa Ranger District – 970-264-2268

To report a fire on federal lands, please contact the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 970-385-1324.

This press release was provided by @SanJuanNF on their Facebook page.

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Bear Cautions to Memorial Day Campers

I hope many of you are going to be out camping as you also remember the fallen this Memorial Day weekend. While you’re out remember to be safe and bear aware.

Department cautions campers to be aware of increased bear activity in the Jemez Mountains

nmdgf-logo-color_originalJEMEZ – Due to multiple sightings of bear cubs by campers in the area of Forest Road 376 in the Jemez Mountains, recreationists are reminded to keep a clean camp and be bear aware during the long weekend.

According to Tristanna Bickford, communications director, “some may view this as a unique opportunity to view young wildlife; however, it is very important for people to not attempt to approach these bears for any reason and to maintain a safe distance.”

Also read: Bear Adventures

The department strongly urges you to avoid getting between the mother and her cubs. Bickford continues, “Always be aware that the mother is likely in the area. Approaching wildlife is dangerous and getting into the personal space of any wild animal is a bad idea.” The department will have extra staff in the area to ensure safety of the public and wellbeing of the bears.

bear-cubs-5806_crop-NMDGFThe state has experienced less than average precipitation for this time of the year, which means that bears may be in search of other food sources, said Rick Winslow, cougar and bear biologist with the department.

“Droughts historically have led to a lot of bear conflicts, not only at camping and picnic sites, but also in more populated areas,” said Winslow.

Due to the recent increased bear activity, people should be even more diligent about keeping campsites clean and paying attention to their surroundings when visiting bear country.

The department offers the following suggestions if you plan on spending the long weekend camping in this area and other areas where bears may be present:

  • Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 6 feet out from the tree trunk.
  • Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
  • Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site, 100 yards is recommended.
  • Never feed bears.

If you encounter a bear:

  • Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
  • Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
  • If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.

If you are experiencing a persistent problem with bears, please contact your regional Game & Fish office or contact your local law enforcement for immediate assistance. Visit the department’s website to find contact information: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us for more information about living with bears in New Mexico please consult Keeping Bears Alive and Yourself Safe.


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Mussel-Free Colorado Act signed into law by Gov. Hickenlooper

I spent multiple years working for Colorado Parks and Wildlife doing education and inspection for Aquatic Nuisance Species. This is an effort to preserve our clean waters and native fish. It’s good news to see the new law signed by Governor John Hickenlooper.

Governor John Hickenlooper signs Mussel-Free Colorado Act into law

CPW_SiteLogoDENVER, Colo. – On Tuesday, April 24, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Mussel-Free Colorado Act into law in a short ceremony at the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver. The new law provides a stable funding source of $2.4 million for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Program for 2019 and beyond.

In February, the House passed the bill 44 – 20. The bill passed the Senate 24 – 10 in March.

“This is a huge win for protecting Colorado’s water,” said CPW Director Bob Broscheid. “Stable funding for the ANS program means a stable future for Colorado.”

The law requires Colorado residents to purchase a $25 ANS stamp for their boat. Non-residents must purchase a $50 stamp. The new law also:

  • Continues Tier 2 Severance Tax appropriations, when available, to cover the remainder of the $4.5 – $5 million annual cost of ANS program implementation
  • Increases fines for ANS-related violations. The fine for unlawful boat launches without inspection will be raised from $50 to $100. The fine for knowing importation of ANS into the state will be raised from $150 to $500 for a first offense.
  • Allows CPW to charge labor/costs incurred to store and decontaminate intercepted vessels.
  • Encourages federal partners to take responsibility for ANS inspection funding at their reservoirs.

CPW-Gov-HickenlooperWhy do we need a mussel-free Colorado?

Zebra and quagga mussels are not native to the nation’s rivers, lakes and reservoirs and are considered our most serious invasive species threat. Adult infestations harm aquatic ecosystems and fisheries by disrupting the food web and outcompeting native species. They cause enormous problems for water infrastructure used for municipal, agriculture and industrial purposes by attaching to, clogging and impairing water storage, treatment and distribution systems.


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Eradicating an adult mussel infestation in an open water body is nearly impossible. Controlling infestations becomes a permanent and expensive part of normal operations post invasion. Colorado has implemented an effective prevention program to stop mussel introduction by inspecting and decontaminating watercraft before they enter our waters and ensuring that users clean, drain and dry their own watercraft in between each use.

Almost all the states east of Colorado have a zebra or quagga mussel infestation. A mandatory watercraft inspection and decontamination program, coupled with monitoring and education, is the best approach to keep Colorado free of the invasive mussels and other ANS.

In 2017, Colorado inspectors intercepted 26 boats infested with adult mussels coming in from out of state – a new record. Colorado has intercepted more than 145 boats infested with adult mussels since the ANS Program began in 2008. The number of infested boats increase each year and there have already been six infested boats intercepted in 2018.



Colorado’s ANS Program was in Jeopardy

The Colorado ANS Program was authorized by the Colorado Legislature in 2008 utilizing severance tax funds. CPW has leveraged those funds with federal and local grants to fund the ANS Program since inception. However, severance tax is a fluctuating source and federal funds have been reduced in recent years. The Mussel-Free Colorado Act is essential to providing a stable base of funding for the ANS Program to be leveraged with other dollars for the continued protection of water infrastructure, natural resources and maintaining recreational access to lakes and reservoirs. This funding source is critical to protecting our waters and water infrastructure from irreversible invasion.

For more information about CPW’s ANS Program and the Mussel-Free Colorado Act, visit http://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/Pages/ISP-ANS.aspx.

CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.


NEW RULES for Aquatic Invasive Species Control – New Mexico

While I often volunteer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife(CPW), I used to work for them at Navajo Lake, which extends into New Mexico. In fact, the majority of this lake is in New Mexico. I educated boaters about aquatic nuisance species, also known as ANS or AIS (aquatic invasive species). At the time our southern neighbors didn’t have a program to protect our uninfected waters.

While boaters were receptive to the education process, at our particular lake, they questioned, “What are they doing about those who are launching on the other end? Are they being inspected?”

They indeed were not performing education or inspection at the time so I encouraged boaters to learn and then educate their friends. Knowledge is power and this way we could all keep the waters free of the invasive species.

Gradually, New Mexico Department of Fish and Game has come on board in education, inspection, and enforcement of rules for boaters. This is great news, as they mention, Colorado and New Mexico are only two of six states that remain free of zebra and quagga mussel infestations. Learn more by reading their release below.

New rules to battle aquatic invasive species now in effect

nmdgf-logo-color_originalSANTA FE – New rules to combat the spread of aquatic invasive species in New Mexico went into effect July 11.

Changes include:

  • Watercraft owners are required to stop at an inspection station whenever one is set up and in operation.
  • Mandatory inspection and, if necessary, decontamination is required of all out-of-state registered watercraft or watercraft re-entering the state of New Mexico.
  • All boaters are required to “pull the plug” and completely drain watercraft when transporting on a New Mexico roadway.

“The boating public’s cooperation is essential in our fight to prevent destructive invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels from infecting our waterways,” said James Dominguez, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. “These changes will help our watercraft inspectors and law enforcement personnel as they conduct watercraft inspections at our water bodies.”Aquatic-Aliens-New-Mexico-Clean-Drain-Dry-NMDGF

New Mexico is one of only six western states that remain free of zebra or quagga mussel infestation but is surrounded by states where the invasive species have been found. The mussels can attach to boats and grow quickly, leading to encrusted equipment and clogged water pipes. Their spread also poses a risk to our native aquatic wildlife, hydroelectric power systems and surface water delivery lines used for municipalities and agriculture.

Inspectors are stationed at various lakes and reservoirs throughout the state to ensure that watercraft is completely clean, drained and dry before launching. Boaters can help by adopting these measures on their own.

For more information about the battle against aquatic invasive species, please visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us/ais and www.facebook.com/aquaticaliens or contact the department’s Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, James Dominguez, (505) 476-8163, or james.dominguez@state.nm.us.


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Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

Boat inspections prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

nmdgf-logo-color_originalSANTA FE –Boaters will encounter inspection stations at New Mexico lakes this summer as the battle to keep aquatic invasive species out of the state’s waters continues.

“The boating public’s cooperation has been essential in our fight to prevent destructive invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels from infecting our waterways,” said James Dominiguez, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Largely due to mandatory inspection stations, New Mexico remains free of zebra or quagga mussel infestation but is surrounded by states where the invasive species have taken root. The mussels can attach to boats and grow quickly, leading to encrusted equipment and clogged water pipes. Their spread also poses a risk to our native aquatic wildlife, hydroelectric power systems and surface water delivery lines used for municipalities and agriculture. Mandatory boat inspections are one way the state is working to educate the public and keep the invasive mussels out.

All boats are required to stop for inspection when check stations are in operation. All out-of-state boats or any boats re-entering the state must obtain an inspection prior to being launched or exposed to any water body in the state. The department, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and New Mexico State Parks, are manning inspection stations at most lakes this summer, including Navajo Lake, Elephant Butte, Ute, Bluewater and Conchas lakes.

Boaters are required to have their boats’ drain plugs pulled while trailered to allow water to drain. Keeping boats and related equipment clean, drained and dry is a primary means of combatting the spread of invasive mussels.

For more information on boat inspection locations and how you can help keep the state free of aquatic invasive species, please visit http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/fishing/fishing-regulations/aquatic-invasive-species/.

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Social Media, Depression and Steps Toward Suicide Prevention

Note: At times it’s difficult to think of headlines for blog posts. This one became particularly arduous for me. At the suggestion of a friend the title has been updated. ~Sincerely, Mia

I scrolled through the timeline on the FB and saw something that a friend had posted about some guy and his wife. The next post below his mentioned the guy and his wife as well.  I had no idea what they were talking about. The thought, “I used to know all about what was going on in the news” ran through my mind. I contemplated social media and my former experiences with it. You see, I used to manage social media for an organization. I don’t have to do that anymore, so I’m not required to be on these sites every day. What a blessing.

Listen to this topic on Armed Lutheran Radio
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I pondered why I don’t scroll through social media news feeds much anymore. Then I realized that the politics of last year’s Presidential election had a lot to do with this. The posts about the election were very negative. They caused me to have feelings of frustration and anxiety.

I really pulled back from scrolling through and only share on occasion. I pop in to share inspiration, news, reviews and press releases about wildlife, conservation, shooting sports and other aspects of my niche.

I remember, last fall, I had the impression that once the Presidential election was over feeds and timelines would go back to normal. All the negativity and bad news would go away.

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Low and behold, now we have President Trump, and we have the left screaming and crying, and the right is jumping up and down. Most of what’s going on in the news isn’t good news. It’s definitely not happy. If I even attempt to scroll through the timeline, it’s not going to be uplifting. Since that’s what I see on social media feeds it’s why I don’t go there too often anymore.

Thinking about these things also gets me thinking about a press conference I attended last winter while I was at SHOT Show. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in conjunction with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) put on a suicide prevention seminar. There were interesting statistics in the presentation and on the literature they handed out.

If you’re following me, then you most likely know of, use or would like to use firearms. You also know that there are people attempting to take away our right to own guns.

The AFSP in conjunction with the NSSF shared, “Of all firearms related deaths in 2015 almost two-thirds were suicide deaths according to the 2015 Fatal Injury Report, Center for Disease Control and Prevention.” Anti-gun folks are portraying that this number of gun deaths are of murder or mass shootings. Those numbers they’re publishing are misleading, and there we go with misleading headlines in news and social media feeds. Also in the AFSP/NSSF report, they say that of all suicide deaths of suicide in the US nearly 50% of suicides are by firearm.

“certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals”

Other additional points the AFSP/NSSF cited in their reports about suicide are that “more than 50 research studies worldwide have found that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals.” They maintain “the magnitude of the increase is related to the duration and prominence of news coverage.”

We’ve got to get rid of this bad news in the social timelines.

 

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The AFSP/NSSF set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate by 20% by 2025. That’s outstanding, and it’s a great thing to hear that they are doing something positive, not just for the firearms industry but to save lives.

 

That’s good news! What other good news do you have for everyone?

I don’t want to just drop that there and leave. I also want to share some tips they gave. One thing they shared are some helpful sidebars. One sidebar is warning signs of suicide. Even though we are not licensed psychologists, the AFSP and NSSF indicate that we should all know these signs.

  • Talking about or wanting to die.
  • Looking for a way to kill one’s self.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing their use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or sleeping too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge on others.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

They say, “The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide, but they may not be what causes the suicide.” If you think someone you know may be at risk, here is what they suggest we can do.

  • If you or someone exhibits warning signs of suicide, do not leave that person alone.
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs and sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Call the US Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

All of this is information is really helpful for us to be aware of what causes depression or anxiety in ourselves or others. That’s important in this day and age because a lot of people have become so self-focused that they forget about others, they’re mean, they’re hateful. As you head out on your day, think of 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Do everything in Love.”


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Carroll Wins Gold at World Cup – First of Career

I don’t know about you, but I always like to hear of a first timer scoring a win!

Carroll Wins Gold at World Cup

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (March 19, 2017) – Ashley Carroll claimed the first World Cup medal of her career when she won gold today in Women’s Trap at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico.Ashley-Carrol-Team-USA-fly-fishing-World-Cup

Carroll (Solvang, California) secured her spot in just the second Final of her career in the sixth position today, following a grueling 11-person shootoff. Following the new ISSF Finals rules, Carroll was perfect in the Final until the 20th target. Eventual silver medalist Natalie Rooney of New Zealand was neck and neck with Carroll until she dropped a pair of targets in the final five, whereas Carroll hit all five targets in the final pass to send the gold-medal decision to a shootoff.

Once in the shootoff, Rooney dropped the first target and Carroll hit it to win gold. Alessandra Perilli of San Marino won bronze.

Today’s win is just the second international medal of Carroll’s career as she also won gold at the CAT Games in 2014. The 42 targets hit by Carroll and Rooney in the Final bested the World Record of 40 set by Penny Smith at the previous World Cup in New Delhi, India.

“It actually feels great to win my first World Cup Gold medal in front of them,” Carrol said. “We live in California so it’s quite easy to come here in Mexico. It’s been great to feel their support and my teammates’ support all along the qualification round and through the Final match.”

Carroll’s Trap teammates nearly joined her in the Final as Kayle Browning (Wooster, Arkansas) was also a part of the 11-person shootoff, but would finish in eighth place overall (70/75 targets). Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) finished just one target out of a potential shootoff berth with 69 targets in 13th place.

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At the conclusion of the first day of competition (75 targets) in Men’s Trap, Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) and Dale Royer (Jackson, Montana) are currently tied at 73 targets. Roe Reynolds (Quitman, Arkansas) has 67 targets. Competitors will shoot an additional 50 targets tomorrow with Finals commencing tomorrow afternoon.

 

For complete results from the Women’s Trap competition: http://www.issf-sports.org/competitions/results/detail.ashx?cshipid=1901&resultkey=3b3b303b545237353b303b463b493b313b303b30.

For complete results and a schedule from this World Cup: http://www.issf-sports.org/competitions/venue.ashx?cshipid=1901.

*Thanks to the ISSF for photos and editorial support on this story.

Winchester small logoWinchester Ammunition is a Proud Sponsor of the USA Shooting Shotgun Team: WinchesterÆ Ammunition has been the exclusive ammunition sponsor and supplier of the USA Shooting Shotgun Team since 1999. Members of the past two shotgun teams brought home a combined six medals from London and Beijing using Winchester AA International Target loads. Winchester is an industry leader in advancing and supporting conservation, hunter education and our country’s proud shooting sports heritage. For more information about Winchester and its complete line of products, visit winchester.com.About USA Shooting:
USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. USA Shooting’s mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S. and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country. Check us out on the web at usashooting.org and on Twitter at twitter.com/USAShooting.


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VOTE! Olympic Gold Medalist Ginny Thrasher an AAU James E. Sullivan Award Semifinalist

Olympic Gold Medalist Ginny Thrasher an AAU James E. Sullivan Award Semifinalist; Public Vote Opportunity Continues thru March 13
Olympic champion Ginny Thrasher is one of 18 amateur athletes selected as a semifinalist for the 2016 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) James E. Sullivan Award.

Family, friends, fans and the shooting sports community can now come together to help try and move Thrasher to one of six AAU Sullivan Award Finalists.  Olympic rifle legend Lones Wigger was an AAU Sullivan Award Finalist in 1982.  With just two clicks and no e-mail information to leave behind, you can vote daily now through Monday at https://aausullivan.secure-platform.com/a/gallery?roundId=1

Known as the “Oscar” of sports awards and older than The Heisman, the AAU Sullivan Award honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. This honor places Thrasher among the best that amateur athletics has to offer, and her inclusion with this elite class of athletes, once again reiterates how truly special her year was in 2016.

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Through process, Thrasher has reached unprecedented success.  Her historic run began at the 2016 NCAA Rifle Championships where she became the first freshman rifle shooter ever to win both individual titles in air and smallbore while leading WVU to their fourth-straight, and 18th overall, NCAA team title.

Success didn’t end there for the 19-year-old, however. She went to Olympic Team Trials three weeks later and pulled out a decisive victory in the Three-Position event over a seasoned and talented field. She earned a nine-point win having never competed in the event internationally.

With a Finals performance for the ages, Thrasher won the first golden medal of the 2016 Olympic Games for Team USA.  In winning the Women’s 10-meter Air Rifle event Saturday morning, the spotlight was glowing greater on the shooting sports and USA Shooting than any other time in history.

From NCAA Champion to Olympian, to Olympic gold medalist, it was quite a 2016 for Thrasher.

The AAU Sullivan Award has been presented annually since 1930 to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. Representatives from the AAU created the Sullivan Award with the intent to recognize contributions and achievements across the country of amateur athletes. World renowned golfer Bobby Jones, co-founder of The Masters, received the inaugural award in 1930 and swimmer Anne Curtis became the first female to accept the award in 1944. Other notable athletes to win include famed Olympians Mark Spitz (1971), Carl Lewis (1981), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1986) and Michael Phelps (2003). Former UCLA basketball star Bill Walton (1973), University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning (1997), Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott (2015) and UConn Forward, Breanna Stewart (2016) have also earned the prestigious honor.

 

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Based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, and the ideals of amateurism, the AAU Sullivan Award goes far beyond athletic accomplishments and honors those who have shown strong moral character. 

After a first round of voting, six finalists will be announced and proceed to a second round of voting.  Six finalists will be part of the AAU James E. Sullivan Award Ceremony that will take place on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at the New York Athletic Club.

The other semifinalists for the 2016 AAU James E. Sullivan Award are: 

Aly Raisman (gymnastics), Ashleigh Johnson (water polo), Brianna Turner (basketball), Deshaun Watson (football), Helen Maroulis (wrestling), Jackie Galloway (taekwondo), Kayla Harrison (judo), Kyle Lewis (baseball), Kyle Snyder (wrestling), Lauren Carlini (volleyball), Laurie Hernandez (gymnastics), Lonzo Ball (basketball), Malik Monk (basketball), Matt Centrowitz Jr (track & field), Maverick McNealy (golf), Steele Johnson (diving) and Vashti Cunningham (track & field).

The AAU

The AAU was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sports. During its early years, the AAU served as a leader in international sport representing the U.S. in the international sports federations. The AAU worked closely with the Olympic movement to prepare athletes for the Olympic games. After the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, the AAU has focused its efforts into providing sports programs for all participants of all ages beginning at the grass roots level. The philosophy of “Sports for All, Forever,” is shared by over 670,000 participants and over 100,000 volunteers.

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Remington Responds to Misrepresentation by 60 Minutes

REMINGTON RESPONDS TO 60 MINUTES

remington-outdoor-company-rocOn February 19, 2017, 60 Minutes broadcast a segment about Remington Arms Company, LLC and two tragic incidents which occurred in 2011.  In narrating the details related to each incident, 60 Minutes omitted and misrepresented key facts which would have allowed the viewer to have an accurate and complete understanding about each.  For example, 60 Minutes knew but did not disclose that both of the rifles in question were examined and tested by forensic scientists employed by each state’s crime lab and were found to be in proper working order.  Remington provides this response to offer a more complete record of the relevant facts and a comprehensive overview of the incidents described in the story, and the recall which was at the center of the story.

The 60 Minutes segment showcased two separate incidents which it alleged stemmed from issues related to the rifles’ trigger mechanisms.  Although Remington shared voluminous information and spent hours providing background information to 60 Minutes related to the recall and the two incidents, 60 Minutes failed to offer its viewers critical facts and content core to each incident.  It is imperative that 60 Minutes viewers, our customers and the public, have accurate and complete information related to these two incidents as well as to the recall of Model 700 rifles with X-Mark Pro (“XMP”) triggers and the settlement of the Pollard v. Remington class action lawsuit.

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Remington stands behind the safety and reliability of its products and vehemently denies allegations by 60 Minutes and others that there is any design defect in another trigger mechanism, the Walker trigger mechanism.  Remington made a commercial decision to put an end to the expense and uncertainty of protracted litigation, and agreed to settle the Pollard class action on terms which are in the best interests of Remington and its valued customers.

Separately, after Remington’s own investigation determined that there was a possible assembly error affecting some XMP triggers, in April 2014 the company immediately and voluntarily issued an international recall on all Remington products with XMP trigger mechanisms manufactured from May 1, 2006 to April 9, 2014 and broadly promoted and advertised the recall.  Under the recall program, over 350,000 XMP trigger mechanisms have been replaced.  Firearm safety remains our number one priority.

Remington was first contacted by a 60 Minutes producer in October 2016 advising that CBS was “working on a [60 Minutes segment] in regards to the XMP recall and the pending Pollard Class Action Settlement.”  The 60 Minutes producers, representing that CBS was interested in airing “a complete, well-rounded, and accurate report,” asked Remington to provide background information about Model 700 rifles and about two independent incidents involving Model 700 rifles.  Given this representation and with the hope that 60 Minutes was truly interested in producing a balanced and accurate report, Remington sent 60 Minutes numerous records and information on those topics, and it also directed CBS to specific, readily available public records related to the topics chosen as the focus by 60 Minutes.

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It is distressing that most of the information Remington provided to 60 Minutes was not included or ever referenced in its February 19, 2017 Remington segment.  To set the record straight and to provide Remington’s valued customers and viewers of the 60 Minutes segment with a complete and accurate understanding of several of the matters presented in the segment, Remington provides below a listing of information either in 60 Minutes’ possession or readily available to it in public records before it aired its segment.  This material puts the 60 Minutes’ segment in context and exposes 60 Minutes’ pre-determined viewpoint and intentional omission of key facts that would have reflected balanced reporting of the circumstances of those tragic incidents.

Topic 1:  The Stringer Incident

60 Minutes presented the tragic story from Mississippi of then 15-year-old Zachary Stringer shooting and killing his 11-year-old brother with a Model 700 rifle in June of 2011.  60 Minutes represented that Zachary was convicted in the shooting death of his brother with a Remington rifle even though Zachary “insisted it went off by itself.”  Leslie Stahl then suggested that the rifle fired because of a potential manufacturing defect (excess bonding agent) which prompted Remington in April of 2014 to voluntarily recall all Model 700 rifles with XMP trigger mechanisms.  Remington had previously explained to the 60 Minutes producers that to be subject to the recall condition of a potential unintentional discharge caused by excess bonding agent on the blocker screw, the excess bonding agent had to be of a certain consistency and the rifle had to be being used in certain cold weather conditions.  The rifle was indisputably not being used in cold weather conditions when it was being handled by Zachary Stringer inside his home in Mississippi in June of 2011.

When 60 Minutes told Remington before the segment aired that it intended to address the Stringer tragedy, Remington sent 60 Minutes the following materials:  (1) the Mississippi Supreme Court decision affirming the manslaughter conviction of Zachary Stringer; and (2) the transcript of the trial testimony of the forensic scientist from the Mississippi Crime Lab who had examined and tested the rifle.  The Supreme Court decision set out in great detail the facts of the incident and the trial transcript of the forensic scientist’s testimony detailed her examination and testing of the rifle conducted after the shooting.  CBS withheld the following facts from these materials in its possession:

  • According to the Supreme Court decision, Zachary gave law enforcement officers three conflicting and inconsistent accounts of how the shooting occurred.  In his initial handwritten statement given to officers in the presence of his parents two days after the shooting, Zachary claimed his brother had shot himself while the two of them were home alone.  Zachary later admitted that immediately after he shot his brother, he put his Remington rifle back in his closet.  He then retrieved his brother’s shotgun, “fired a round into the woods, and placed the shotgun between [his brother’s] legs” in an effort “to make it look like an accident.”
  • In Zachary’s second statement, given almost two months after the first statement and in the presence of his attorney, he claimed that after his brother shot the family dog with a dart gun, Zachary retrieved his Remington rifle from his bedroom.  Without checking the rifle’s action, Zachary claimed the rifle fired as he got up from the couch in the living room.
  • In Zachary’s third statement (given a week after his second statement), he claimed his brother was pestering him and pretending to shoot him with the dart gun.  At that point, Zachary said he threatened to shoot his brother if he continued to pester him, and he loaded a round in the chamber of his Remington rifle.  Zachary claimed the shooting that followed was accidental.
  • As shown by Mississippi Supreme Court decision and the trial transcript provided to 60 Minutes, the rifle was examined and tested after the incident by a forensic scientist from the Mississippi Crime Laboratory.  As the transcript of testimony from the trial shows, the forensic scientist performed functional-reliability tests on the rifle, including drop and impact tests, and the rifle did not accidentally discharge and was determined to be “in good working order.”

In sum, the following materials were not referenced or acknowledged by 60 Minutes although they were provided to 60 Minutes and are linked herein:  (1) the opinion by the Mississippi Supreme Court; and (2) the transcript of trial testimony of firearms examiner for the Mississippi Crime Lab.
Topic 2:  The North Carolina Incident

60 Minutes also reported on a shooting incident occurring on December 23, 2011, in Columbus County, North Carolina.  One woman was killed and two others injured by a single bullet discharged from the bedroom inside a neighbor’s house across the street.  The 23-year-old neighbor and owner of the Remington rifle claimed he was retrieving the rifle (which was in a gun case) from his bedroom closet.  Thinking the rifle was unloaded, the neighbor pulled the rifle from the case with his right hand while holding a cell phone in his left hand.  As he pulled the rifle out of the case, it discharged.  The bullet traveled through his bedroom window and across the street where it struck the three women as they were walking to their car.

60 Minutes suggested that the rifle fired without the trigger being pulled because of the potential manufacturing defect which prompted the April 2014 XMP trigger recall.  When 60 Minutes told Remington that the segment might include the North Carolina incident, Remington sent the 60 Minutes producers the following materials (none of which were referenced or acknowledged by 60 Minutes in the segment):  (1) the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s report on its examination and testing of the rifle in question; (2) the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report on its separate examination of the rifle; (3) the initial report and the subsequent deposition transcript of the firearms expert hired by the attorneys for the women’s families in their subsequent lawsuit against Remington; (4) the transcript of the recorded statement given to local law enforcement on the day of the incident by the neighbor who was handling the rifle; and (5) an e-mail string between the attorneys representing the families of the women regarding their expert’s findings on examining the rifle.  In addition, 60 Minutes had knowledge of, and access to, the Mecklenburg County court file which included the complete transcript of the deposition of the neighbor.  In airing the portion of its segment concerning the North Carolina incident, 60 Minutes withheld and omitted the following facts:

  • On the day of the incident, the neighbor told law enforcement that the rifle fired because “I must have bumped the trigger.”
  • The neighbor testified at his deposition that he thought the rifle was unloaded at the time of the incident.
  • The NCSBI examined the rifle and found it to be functioning properly.
  • The FBI examined the rifle at its Quantico, VA laboratory and found it to be functioning normally.
  • In his initial report of March 31, 2014, the firearms expert hired by the family’s attorneys stated that, based on his examination and testing of the rifle, it “displayed no conditional nor configurational defects that would cause it to fire in the absence of a depressed trigger.”
  • In an e-mail string between the family’s attorneys, they reported that their firearms expert found the rifle to be “within factory specs with no visible defects.”
  • In his deposition of May 14, 2015, the expert hired by the family’s attorneys testified to the following:  (A) his opinion that at the time of the shooting the man handling the rifle did not know it was loaded; (B) the rifle’s safety was in the “OFF” or “FIRE” position at the time of the incident; (C) if the safety had been engaged in the “ON” or “SAFE” position, the rifle would not have fired under any circumstances; (D) during his inspection of the rifle, he never found any excess bonding agent (Loctite) to be in any way interfering with the safe operation of the rifle; and (E) that in the usage of the rifle before the incident and in the multitude of tests performed on the rifle after the incident, the only way the rifle could be made to discharge was by pulling the trigger.

The materials provided to 60 Minutes by Remington and linked herein included the following:  (1) the NCSBI report; (2) the FBI report; (3) the statement of the gunhandler given to law enforcement on the day of the shooting; (4) the transcript of deposition of the expert witness hired by the plaintiffs’ attorneys; (5) the initial March 31, 2014 report of the plaintiffs’ expert; and (6) an e-mail string between plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Topic 3:  Verdicts in 2008 and 2011

60 Minutes also made reference to a 1994 verdict against Remington in a case involving a Model 700 rifle with a Walker trigger mechanism (the Collins case).  60 Minutes did not disclose that in the only two injury cases tried to verdict since the Collins case involving Remington trigger mechanisms containing the connector component, both juries returned verdicts in Remington’s favor finding that the Remington trigger mechanisms were not defective.  Both of these verdicts were provided to 60 Minutes before the segment aired, and 60 Minutes intentionally failed to disclose these verdicts to its viewers.  The verdicts provided to 60 Minutes are linked herein:  (1) the 2008 jury verdict in Williams v. Remington; and (2) the 2011 jury verdict in Hull v. Remington.

Conclusion

For decades, Remington bolt-action rifles have been a favorite of millions of American hunters, target shooters, law enforcement and military personnel.  Remington continues to stand behind the safety and reliability of its firearms.  That is certainly true for its bolt-action centerfire rifles, including the Model 700, which has earned its reputation among millions of satisfied users as America’s most popular, reliable and trusted bolt-action rifle.


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They’re Taking Our Guns – Do Something About it

It’s a common phrase in our industry lately, “They’re trying to take our guns.” Just about everyone is on social media nowadays, and those who aren’t are at least on smartphones following the insane politics in the United States. This week, I’ve been having technical issues with my computer (Yes. It’s a Mac), but the little news I’ve seen shows this post about Apple taking away the realistic looking gun (pistol) emoji and replacing it with a squirt gun.

Apple-emoji-change-pistol-diversity


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emoji-pistol

People are screaming about it on all social media outlets. So, I see these posts, and you probably see them too. My question is, what are you doing about it?

My suggestion is that YOU need to start speaking up. Reach out, in this case to Apple. Here is a link to their press release regarding their emoji changes – http://ow.ly/smXL302QVbC . It includes their contact information. How about letting them know how you feel.

In the instance of real-life firearms grabs, YOU need to reach out to your local legislators. Do you know how to contact them? You can find information on that by clicking here.


“Spend more time with your family and friends, whether it be outside, hunting, at the shooting range, or around the table savoring all life has to offer.”


It is, of course, nice that every one is sharing news on social media. These are great outlets to keep in touch with our friends and also let them know what’s going on, but we all need to do more. We need to make sure the right people hear our voices.

The Presidential election is the highlight of the news, and of course, it’s very important. Something even more important is what’s close to home. If firearms are your passion, they’re close to home you need to contact your local governors, senators, representatives and other officials. Let them know how you feel and why.

In the case of Apple, I informed them of my thoughts. Remember, I’ve been having technical issues with my computer. I used to love the products offered by Apple, but with continued technical trouble, I’m beginning to see “the other side”. Now, instead of upping their technology game, they see it fitting to change an image of realistic thing into a toy

I am a certified firearms instructor, mom, and mentor. The number one thing educated people know is that guns are not toys, so why would Apple present a gun as a toy, and not at least give the option of the symbol of a realistic item? If Apple’s worried about offending people, THEY HAVE.

I’m offended that Apple has not taken the time to educate themselves. I’d like their crew to come take shooting classes and learn about that which they don’t understand. What I would like even more is that Apple PLEASE START IMPROVING THE TECHNOLOGY IN THEIR PRODUCTS.

On that note, please start having your voice heard. I’m headed back to finish restoring my MacBook, made by Apple, which has taken a emoji-poop.


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