Thursday, May 26, 2016

"Disgraceful"...really? No, it is criminal.

You might have already heard about the University of Oregon's Lambda Chi Alpha's frat party at Lake Shasta on Slaughterhouse Island that allegedly 1,000 students attended. The party is not the problem, it was the aftermath left behind.

Students left trash, tents, a cooler with the Greek letters (Lambda Chi Alpha), U of O flip flops, feces, used tampons and condoms, and etc. on the island. Their university officials called it "disgraceful" and that they do not support the event. The national Lambda Alpha Chi fraternity has "suspended" the U of O chapter. Really? Suspended. Disgraceful. Sorry if  I offend anyone here but this was way beyond disgraceful and I believe those students should foot the $10,000 cleanup that taxpayers are now left with. One comment I read from a reader on the Huffington Post website regarding this story stated that $10,000 seemed too much for the clean up. I kindly replied to her post explaining that this cleanup was on an island. Boats had to be used to transport workers and the trash they collected. Workers also had to be paid for their time. But more importantly, is that the cleanup of human feces, menstrual blood, and semen is nasty. Proper suiting up and protection is needed for those having to clean this up, as human carry nasty bugs that workers who do this type of cleanup (my son being one) must protect themselves against. Disposal of hundreds of dollars of tents, camping gear, and other equipment along with disposal of human waste is not cheap.

This was posted on Facebook by an individual, and these pictures are worth a thousand words.

I am sure that the university and the national fraternity are both counting on the public 'forgetting' about this incident, and letting it just blow-over. I hope that this is not what is actually going to happen, because such mentality simply allows such horrible behavior from students.  Such disrespect for our public lands from these students is not only appalling, but it is unforgivable. Animals don't leave behind scenes like this, and sorry if I offend, but I blame the parents who never bothered to teach their children respect and consideration for our land or how to behave as decent adults.

I see these pictures and I can only image that these kids were the typical "entitled" youth I saw at my university everyday.  No respect. No accountability. No common sense. I feel sad when I see these pictures, as there is no excuse at all for such behavior and disrespect towards our Mother Earth. She provides for us, and we should protect her. Children need to know that when they use public lands, they must leave it cleaner than they found it. Parents need to teach their children how to be stewards of the land. Had this been one of my own, they would be spending their summer volunteering at Lake Shasta cleaning up after other campers and people visiting the lake. It would be a summer well-spent and one that would teach to think twice next time they find their self in such a situation. Teach your kids to be leaders - not followers.

I was also raised by a father who taught all his children how to respect the land and care for Mother Earth. We always cleaned up after ourselves. I have camped as an adult many times, and never have I seen anyone in a campground or national forest leave such trash and filth behind.  I don't feel that calling this situation a "disgrace" is even close. I for one, will not easily forget this situation and I hope that the U of O takes action against these criminals. Littering is illegal and I think they should take the time to prosecute those involved.

Here is the law from the Penal Code...


Penal Code

PART 1. OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS [25 - 680].  ( Part 1 enacted 1872. )
TITLE 10. OF CRIMES AGAINST THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY [369a - 402c] (Title 10 enacted 1872. )

(a) It is unlawful to litter or cause to be littered in or upon public or private property. A person, firm, or corporation violating this section is guilty of an infraction.
(b) This section does not restrict a private owner in the use of his or her own property, unless the littering of waste matter on the property creates a public health and safety hazard, a public nuisance, or a fire hazard, as determined by a local health department, local fire department or district providing fire protection services, or the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in which case this section applies.
(c) As used in this section, “litter” means the discarding, dropping, or scattering of small quantities of waste matter ordinarily carried on or about the person, including, but not limited to, beverage containers and closures, packaging, wrappers, wastepaper, newspapers, and magazines, in a place other than a place or container for the proper disposal thereof, and including waste matter that escapes or is allowed to escape from a container, receptacle, or package.
(d) A person, firm, or corporation convicted of a violation of this section shall be punished by a mandatory fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) upon a first conviction, by a mandatory fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500) upon a second conviction, and by a mandatory fine of not less than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) nor more than three thousand dollars ($3,000) upon a third or subsequent conviction.
(e) The court may, in addition to the fine imposed upon a conviction, require as a condition of probation, in addition to any other condition of probation, that any person convicted of a violation of this section pick up litter at a time and place within the jurisdiction of the court for not less than eight hours.
(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 416, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 2007.) From
For more on this story see Huffington Post 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sierra May!

Last March, meteorologists reported that the El Niño ocean surface temperatures were changing rapidly and that El Niño weather patterns were weakening,  and also by next Fall we may experience the opposite of El Niño weather, called La  Niña. 

Today, while driving from Reno, Nevada to California on Interstate 80, we encountered a May snow storm that dumped snow in the high Sierra and delivered cold temperatures as well as near-white-out conditions. High wind conditions slammed snow onto us and fellow travelers, causing slower traffic conditions, and Amber Alert Message Board warnings to carry chains.

2015 was reportedly the warmest year on record (since humans started recording temperatures), and this year seems to be basking in the El Niño's complex weather patterns...hence, snow in May.

Many friends and acquaintances have recently mentioned that they are "ready for the summer", however, I personally like cooler temperatures, rain, and snow storms. In the wake of severe drought conditions in the western United States, which we are not out of the woods by any means, even with May snow, I would think people would be more concerned about precipitation levels than "summer fun".
U.S. Drought Monitor forCalifornia
Graphic: David Simeral, Western Regional Climate Center.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln in partnership with national and federal agencies have a drought monitoring website at that shows current conditions of drought throughout the United States. In the eleven most western states, over 43 million people reside in some level of drought, and to date California is the hardest hit. California literally represents all levels of drought conditions, from no drought to exceptional drought (D4) conditions. As of today, California's drought map developed by David Simeral of the Western Regional Climate Center depicts the severity. Nevada is close with up to Extreme Drought (D3) conditions.

We do not know what the next few years will offer in the way of precipitation, and today's snow was welcomed. I feel that any amount of precip equates to the proverbial drop-in-the-bucket, and every drop matters to Californians and Nevadans alike. I hope that those 43 million people realize that despite the wonderful snow pack we received this past winter, we still need to conserve our water, and find ways to reduce our water usage. My husband and I decided to eliminate the waste of water on ornamental lawns at our place in Reno, for a natural landscape with drought-resistant plants. Not only a huge improvement of the house's curb appeal, but our water usage is much less. Win-win for us!

Our house before we moved into it in 2013.

After adding a walkway, repairing driveway and sidewalk, and installing natural landscaping, 2016.

I am all for a little "summer fun", but I am so grateful for today's precipitation in the form of rain and snow over the Sierra Nevada.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Finally...graduation is here!

As I walked to the Paul Laxalt Mineral Engineering building on campus to take my final Final exam as an undergraduate, I pondered how many times I made this same walk the past two years, and how time has flown by.  The Final was at 8AM for Environmental Geochemistry, which is basically the chemistry that involves groundwater and the hydrologic cycle. Tough class with an amazing professor, Dr. Simon Poulson.  The day was beautiful, as I walked north from the parking lot south of the Alumni building. White lawn chairs were being placed for the graduation ceremonies on May 13 and 14 on the quadrangle.  The grassy quadrangle at University of Nevada, Reno is lined with old elm trees that were planted in 1908. The quad itself was labeled as a "Jeffersonian academic village" by the National Register for Historic Places. The lawn is today called the "Mother Quad", a once-forbidden area for undergrads back in the late 1800s, fortunately, everyone can use Mother Quad nowadays.

Taking the Final was as nerve-racking as any other Final exam, however this one was special because I knew it was my last as an undergrad. Walking out of the classroom after turning in my Final packet, I realized that all I had left was to walk and receive my diploma (actually its a rolled up piece of paper saying it is an IOU for a degree from UNR to be mailed in June).

What a feeling!

How I got here to this place, to this time has been along and amazing journey. One that I have to admit was peppered with doubt, fear, frustration, success, happiness, and strength. It was not a journey I took alone. I was supported and uplifted by so many people who encouraged me when I wanted to throw-in-the-towel, or when I doubted myself. People like my mom and dad, who never gave up on me and who always told me how proud they were of me and what I was doing. My mom was there in the audience when they called my name and as I walked across the stage. My dad was in Heaven looking down and rooting me on. I carried some of his ashes in a blue crystal heart pendant as I walked because it was one of his dreams to go to college. I wore this necklace a lot at school, and especially when I needed his strength.

My mom and dad in 1952.

My sister has always been supportive of my goals as well as my two children. My professors and research professors endlessly gave of their knowledge to drive and encourage me to ask the important questions.
My sister, Rosie and I at graduation...yay my hair is blue!

My friends were all full of encouragement and support. Sometimes offering a swift kick in the butt if I needed it (occasionally I did). I might have physically walked alone at graduation, but I walked with so many people who were by my side in spirit.

Thanks to...
   Professor Eva Mo, Professor Garry Hayes, Professor Noah Hughes, Dr. Susan Kerr, Dr. Stacia Gordon, Dr. Angela Smilanich, Dr. John McCormack, Dr. Paula Noble, all my professors at UNR (you ALL were the best!!!), Rick Kauffman (my research buddy), Mike St. Clair (someone I could always vent to), Dustin Holcomb (great study buddy and fellow IPA connoisseur), and all my classmates and study groups, my family, my friends (Teresa and Kathy especially),  and to my Heavenly Father who never let me forget how blessed I am.