VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (AP) — The National Park Service has called off its plan to deploy silencer-equipped sharpshooters this winter to cull the nearly 1,300 deer overtaking Valley Forge. Read more
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Noel Smith had moved his wife and teenage daughter to one of California’s most far-flung regions five months ago, a landscape of rolling mountains, rivers and wide valleys near the Oregon border. Read more
LONGBOAT KEY, Fla. (AP) — Kip O’Neill is worried that peacocks will ruin her family’s Christmas. Her Gulf coast neighborhood is overrun with them: large, regal, noisy, messy birds. Some mornings, O’Neill finds 30 of them on her roof. Read more
For centuries, society has been slowly drifting down a broad river of change, but speed is picking up, and we have now entered the rapids. Even Christmas is not immune to these changes. It has become just a “holiday” to the world—and, sadly, even to some Christians. Read more
A story of a lost hiker is nothing new in the NPS Morning Report. What’s interesting about this one in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is that the lost hikers were in cell phone contact with rangers, and they didn’t bother following the searchers’ instructions.
Personnel searched for approximately six hours without luck. The rain did not turn to snow, and plans were made to continue the search at first light the next day. Additional personnel were called in and the search resumed early on Saturday morning. Further phone contact helped them to finally locate the trio in mid-afternoon. Search efforts were hampered by the men continuing to move after being told to stay in one position so that searchers could find them. Tommy Barnes was IC. There were no injuries to either hikers or searchers.
Information from: WBNS-TV,
Ed’s Public Safety, a dealer that which calls itself “Georgia’s #1 GLOCK Dealer and GLOCK Law Enforcement Distributor”, has published photos of the Glock 22 Gen4. I am sure Glock’s PR people are pretty annoyed right about now!
So just to summarize all the point about the Glock Gen4 …
- Initially Glock 17 (9mm) and Glock 22 (.40 S&W) will be available. Compact models will follow later in 2010.
- Features duel recoil spring which should increase reliability.
- Features Swappable backstraps.
- Magazine release swappable between left and right.
- Old magazines still work, but only when mag release is on left side.
- Gen4 slide is clearly marked as “Gen4″.
- Retail price for G17 and G22 Gen4 is about $700 (actual prices will be lower than this).
- Glock will cease sales of the 3rd Generation and RTF models.
After a tragic accident on Mount Hood left a number of climbers dead, authorities in Oregon are suggesting that satellite locator beacons be required for anyone mounting an assault the peak. Read more
The bodies of Brian Hall and Jerry “Nikko” Cooke — two of the three climbers who went missing on Oregon’s imposing Mt. Hood in December, have yet to be found. The remains of their climbing companion, Kelly James, were located in part by tracing cell phone signals he’d made, but only days later. He was found dead in a snow cave near the summit.
Among the many lamentations issued over those tragic deaths was this one: if only they’d been carrying a Mountain Locator Unit — a device that can be rented for a few bucks — they might have had a chance.
The incident inspired a bill in the Oregon legislature that would make carrying such a device mandatory. Its sponsors now have a powerful real-life advertisement for their mission: A group of climbers — and a black Labrador named Velvet — encountered trouble midway up Mt. Hood over the holiday weekend, and this time had precisely the opposite outcome.
Rescuers gave high praise today to Velvet for keeping the three climbers who spent the longest time on the mountain warm and alive. But they are also making no bones about what they consider the key to the happy ending: they attribute the smooth rescue, in large part, to the locator beacons the climbers carried.
“We were able to really focus all our resources here in one area,” Steve Rollins of Portland Mountain Rescue, told The Oregonian, “instead of looking all over the mountain.”
The devices are not rocket science, of course — nor are they foolproof. From the same article:
The Mt. Hood Locator Unit came into being after a hiking tragedy in May 1986 claimed the lives of nine students and staff from the Oregon Episcopal School who were trapped by bad weather during an annual hike.
The M.L.U. is an electronic device like those trackers would put on a bear or other animal, said Jacob Deck, a technician at the Mountain Shop in Portland.
It sends a radio signal that search teams can use to triangulate the rough coordinates of lost climbers — and Monday it helped guide rescuers to the three climbers and their dog holed up in the White River Canyon area.
The device is sewn into a thick strap and worn across the torso or inside a backpack. When activated, it sends out a radio signal. Searchers on Mt. Hood are equipped with special receivers programmed to pick up the signal, which can extend as far as five miles but is affected by natural obstructions such as cliffs.
“It’s pretty much line of sight,” said [Rollins]. “If we can see it, we can receive it.”
But someone still has to call authorities to alert them of the missing person, or no one will look for the signal, Rollins said.
“Activating a mountain locator unit does not activate a rescue for you,” he said. “And it certainly doesn’t guarantee that we can get to you.”
And it’s that last bit that makes many veteran climbers — for whom the sport, in any case, is all about freedom and adventure and escaping the tethers of life’s myriad have-tos and no-you-can’ts — cringe at the idea of making the beacons mandatory. There are no guarantees in life, they say — and legislation won’t change that.
No state currently requires climbers to carry any sort of locator. But Rep. John Lim, the chief sponsor of the Oregon bill insists that the three climbers who died in December might be alive today had they carried the devices.
Mr. Lim’s rationale is twofold: first, he told the A.P., carrying a beacon shouldn’t be that big a deal, and second, searching for lost climbers is expensive and, often enough, tragic. “It will send a strong message to climbers: this may save your life and spare your loved ones misery,” he said.
The Associated Press quoted a number of climbers — including representatives of search-and-rescue groups — in an article today on the pending bill:
Jim Whittaker, the first American to conquer Mount Everest, said it’s fine for individual climbers to make a decision to carry a locator, but imposing the requirement would take a lot away from the mystique of climbing.
“If you take all of the risk out of life, you lose a lot. You’re removing a personal liberty from somebody who wants to go and explore without having a safety net,” Whittaker said by cell phone from Idaho, where he was on a climbing trip. “You want to go into the wild and enjoy nature and not be followed.”
Charley Shimanski of the Mountain Rescue Association, which represents 100 search-and-rescue groups in the U.S. and Canada, said he worries that relying on electronic beacons could give climbers a false sense of security.
“They might think, `I’ve got this gizmo that tells everybody where I am, so I can take greater risks,’ ” Shimanski said in a phone interview from Evergreen, Colo.
He called Lim’s bill an “overreaction” to the December deaths. Even if they had locators, the climbers would have likely died because conditions were so perilous, he contended.
Indeed, there are a host of other devices that have their own pros and cons — why not legislate those, too? Avalanche transceivers, for instance, both send and receive signals, making it easier for separated climbers to find each other, as well as searchers to locate lost climbers. But their range is limited. Then there are the ever more ubiquitous global positioning devices, which could help climbers navigate their own way off the mountain, but don’t transmit a signal.
How about cell phones — should they be required equipment?
It is also worth noting, as the article does, that missing mountain climbers accounted for only 3.4 percent of all search-and-rescue missions mounted in Oregon in 2005. Apparently hunters, mushroom pickers or others frolicking in the wild account for the better part of the state’s rescue resources.
Still, Jerry Krummel, another Oregon lawmaker who supports the legislation, said climbers who oppose requiring locator units “are being a little bit selfish.”
“Those rescuers are putting their lives on the line,” he told The A.P. “I want to give them all the tools they need to help them save lives. This bill does that.”
A YOUNG climber clung to an ice-covered cliff by his fingertips for six hours before he was rescued at the weekend. The 23-year-old was only saved after a mountain rescuer was lowered more than 300ft down the rockface to help him to safety. The experienced climber was yesterday recovering from frostbite to his fingers after his overnight ordeal in temperatures as low as -8C on the cliff face. Read more