The Morning Report

Monday, September 29, 2014

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Golden Gate National Recreation Area (CA)
Man Arrested For Attempted Homicide

On the evening of August 24th, rangers received a report via 911 that a serious assault had just occurred on Muir Beach and that the assailant was still in the area and possibly armed with an ax. 

Rangers, Park Police officers, Marin County deputies, and EMS personnel responded. The victim was found, treated at the scene, and taken to a local hospital.

A tactical ground team located and took the assailant into custody without incident on the southern end of Muir Beach.  The ax was found immediately adjacent to him and collected as evidence.  He was transported to the local county jail, where he was charged with attempted homicide. He remains at the local county jail with bail set at $500,000. 

Rangers and Golden Gate PSU members are conducting the investigation in cooperation with the Marin County District Attorney’s Office.

[Submitted by Chad Marin, Deputy Chief, Law Enforcement and Emergency Services]


Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (KY,TN)
Two Convicted For Theft Of Government Property

During the federal government shutdown last October, a National Park Service facility on the Kentucky side of the park was burglarized, with thousands of dollars of equipment stolen.   During that same time period, Kentucky state facilities in the area were also burglarized. 

Park rangers began a joint investigation with the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Kentucky State Police.  Several of the stolen items were found in a local pawn shop, which ultimately led to the arrest of two suspects – Andy Anderson and Jeremy Coffey.

The collaborative investigation resulted in Anderson confessing to his involvement in the crimes and accepting a plea deal with the state of Kentucky, resulting in a sentence of 18 years in prison and five years of probation. Coffey eventually pled guilty and has been sentenced to a prison term of 15 years.  Both men had extensive criminal histories, which factored into determination of the length of their sentences.

[Submitted by Noel Mays, Park Ranger]


NEWS AND NOTES



Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site (GA)
Fourth Annual Legacy Campout Held

Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site and its partner organizations – the Greening Youth Foundation, the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and REI – jointly hosted the park’s Fourth Annual Legacy Campout on Friday, September 19th, and Saturday, September 20th. This event was held on park grounds at the Visitor Center Pavilion located at 450 Auburn Avenue.

The Legacy Campout was a free event that offered a unique forum for local youth to have an opportunity to be exposed to outdoor recreation and its links to a healthy lifestyle.

“The campout goal was to have youth participate in activities to express their ideas, thoughts and concerns about current social issues within the context of fulfilling Dr. King’s dream for our nation and world,” said Superintendent Judy Forte.

The theme for this event was “On the Road to Centennial.” This event helped to share the park’s upcoming goals for the centennial with the community.

One of the signature activities at the campout was a special time capsule created by the youth in attendance that will be stored in the historic home of Dr. King and opened in 2016.

“We are excited that we partner annually with the National Park Service to offer this opportunity which brings together students from the Metro Atlanta High Schools and other local youth based organizations to experience camping in an urban environment,” said Angelou Ezeilo, founder and CEO of the Greening Youth Foundation.

The keynote speaker for this event was Stevie Baggs, graduate of Bethune-Cookman University, professional NFL and CFL football player, and motivational speaker. He has authored a book called More Than Just A Game and speaks all over the nation to youth about leadership.

Additional remarks were given by Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin, Deputy Regional Director Cherie Shepard, Superintendent Judy Forte, Greening Youth Foundation founder and CEO Angelou Ezeilo, REI Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market Coordinator Nicole Warren- Miller, and Rosalind McGinnis of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Participants told stories around the campfire, conducted camping games and an assortment of camping activities, pitched tents, and held live demonstrations preparing camping food and snacks. They also watched the award winning movie “The Butler” and held a facilitated discussion focusing on relevant current day social issues and topics brought out in the film.

On Saturday morning, the youth participated in a yoga class and conducted community service. They held a cleanup march in the King Historic Preservation District of Auburn Avenue.  They created chants and cheers about cleaning their community while picking up over 100 pounds of trash and litter.

The event ended with a “Legacy Circle” in which  youth shared their true feelings about the impacts of the campout and the expectations and charge they have to continue to fulfill the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. every day.

[Submitted by Linda Byers]


Natural Resource Stewardship and Science
Waiver Form Issued For Attendance At Two Conferences

Next year, there will be two conferences occurring back to back in both time and place – the “Science for Parks, Parks for Science” Summit (Berkeley, California, March 25-27, 2015) and the George Wright Society Conference (Oakland, CA, March 29-April 2, 2015).

There is a great deal of interest in both events and there could be overlap in attendance. Organizers for both events are also working together to promote integration and complementary activities.

The conference guidance that was issued in August, 2013, is still in effect, which means that approval needs to be obtained from the Department of the Interior for NPS attendance at both conferences. The Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate has offered to prepare the conference approval package that is needed to gain this approval.

A key component of the approval package is the conference attendee worksheet. Attendee names and travel costs broken down by category must be reported on this worksheet.  To facilitate completion of the approval package, the directorate is requesting your help in determining who is planning to attend either one or both of these conferences, regardless of whether travel expenses are incurred.

To do this and to ensure that the directorate can advance waiver packages as soon as possible, your help is needed to request all staff who are planning to attend one or both events to click on and complete this form by close of business on Friday, October 10th (the deadline has been extended). Please note that this form does not replace the need to register for the conferences via the host websites.

As soon as the directorate receives word back from the Department regarding decisions on conference attendance, staff who have filled out the form will be notified. Although approval may be gained for NPS participation in both conferences, the total number of desired participants may outnumber the total number approved to attend, as has happened in the past.

Please assist by completing this form, which is very important in the directorate’s efforts to prepare accurate waiver packages. Please note that completion of this form does not indicate approval to attend the conference(s).  

For more information, please contact Kassandra Hardy, kassandra_hardy@nps.gov or 970-294-1319.

[Submitted by Kass Hardy]


Park Facility Management Division
My Green Parks Video Challenge Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 My Green Parks video contest. The video challenge encourages parks, regions and programs to develop a short (3-5 minute) video sharing their ‘green’ accomplishments.  Several parks submitted great videos sharing a multitude of sustainability initiatives and successes.  Each highlighted some of the creative ways staff across the country are meeting Green Parks Plan goals.

This year’s winners are from Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve and Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Both entries showcase sustainability projects and initiatives worth sharing with park staff across the service, with NPS partners, and with the general public. In the videos, you will hear staff describe the many conservation measures and sustainability initiatives taking place at their parks.

In one, Facility Manager Dwayne Moates shares the many ways park staff are working to ‘green up’ Craters of the Moon—including enacting conservation measures like installing energy efficient windows, doors, weather stripping and insulation. Other highlights are the 50 kilowatt-hour photovoltaic (PV) array which produces 40% of all electricity used at the park, a 30 percent reduction in water consumption through native landscaping, and staff use of electric vehicles and bicycles to help cut transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. 

In the other video, Golden Gate features energy conservation measures taken by the park, ‘green’ transportation initiatives, and waste reduction projects. Chief of Interpretation, Michele Gee, highlights a number of initiatives—including the Fort Mason and Alcatraz Island PV systems.  Fort Mason’s PV system generates over 66 megawatt-hours of electricity; Alcatraz Island’s PV system saves over 33,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.  Additionally, the video describes the park’s Adopt-a-Charger alternative transportation program, and outlines successful ‘green’ partnerships—both of which encourage sustainable practices and reduce the carbon footprint.

My Green Parks videos will be featured at workshops and conferences, and are posted to park and public websites as well as the My Green Parks intranet site.  I sincerely hope they will open up new opportunities to educate the public and NPS staff about how we all can conserve energy and integrate sustainability into our daily lives and operations.

The My Green Parks Video Contest tells great stories of sustainability that are happening every day in our parks and regions.  I am always excited to hear about how NPS employees conserve energy, reduce waste, and decrease their carbon emissions every day. To view all of the videos, including the contest winners, please visit the My Green Parks website Bulletin Board by clicking "More Information" below.

[Submitted by Ryan Michelle Scavo, ryan_scavo@nps.gov, 202-617-7451]

 More Information...
Mammoth Cave National Park (KY)
Lora Peppers Returns To Mammoth Cave As Chief Ranger

Lora Peppers already feels at home at Mammoth Cave National Park even though she assumed her new post as chief ranger only in May.  Why?  Peppers grew up in the hills and hollows of Edmonson County, and is pleased to be back home again.

“Lora’s first job was here at Mammoth Cave as a student aid working with the cave guides,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead, herself a native of the Mammoth Cave region.  “She quickly switched to law enforcement and moved up in the ranks as she transferred from park to park over the span of her career.  Now Lora has returned as the park’s top law enforcement officer, and to enjoy the landscapes and people she grew up with.”

Born in Tampa, Florida, Peppers’ family came to Edmonson County, Kentucky, when she was in second grade.  In 1985, she graduated from Edmonson County High School and started working at the park the same year.  She attended Western Kentucky University, working summers at Mammoth Cave, and earned a bachelor of science degree in park management (1990).

“At that time the Park Service offered a co-operative education program to college students, which led to full-time employment,” said Peppers.  “I already had a taste of law enforcement at Mammoth Cave thanks to a detail with that division.  My first permanent position was at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1990, and I received my federal law enforcement commission while I was there.”

After graduating (1991) from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, Peppers was stationed at Fort Matanzas, a unit of Castillo de San Marcos.  In 1992, she transferred to the Shark Valley District of Everglades National Park, and moved to the Flamingo District in 1994.

“My work at Flamingo as a backcountry ranger was fascinating,” said Peppers.  “I tracked manatees, monitored archaeological sites, and tagged crocodiles and alligators.  I found the first crocodile nest to be seen on East Cape Sable in 100 years.”

She left the Everglade swamps for Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1997 to deal with bears and Cades Cove crowds.  In 1999, Peppers transferred to Shenandoah National Park as a patrol ranger, took a one-year detail as an investigator, and accepted the post of Central District ranger in 2001.

As the chief ranger at Mammoth Cave, Peppers oversees all law enforcement, emergency services and response, and search and rescue.

“Out of all the responsibilities that fall within the Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Division, the one I am most passionate about is resource protection,” said Peppers.  “The resources – that is, the caves, river, and forest habitats – are what attract visitors to Mammoth Cave.  To damage or take from that resource diminishes a visitor’s experience, as well as their appreciation for the park and surrounding area.”

While at Shenandoah National Park, Peppers married Greg Roth, who is now a retired ranger.  They have two golden retrievers, Deuce and Cooper.  When not on the job, Peppers enjoys traveling and quilting.

“It’s great to be back home,” said Peppers.  “I feel like I have a built-in support system.  I look forward to making new acquaintances and renewing old friendships.”

[Submitted by Vickie Carson]


United States Park Police
Two From DOI Complete Executive Leader Course

Kristen Oleyte, the Department of the Interior's senior advisor to the United States Pacific Command, and Rob MacLean, acting chief of the United States Park Police, completed the Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security on August 14th.

The program’s goal is to enhance senior leaders’ capacity to develop policies and strategies while strengthening working relationships across the jurisdictional boundaries of regions, agencies, local-state-tribal-federal governments and the private sector. Students study the interdisciplinary concepts that comprise homeland security.

Participants met for four one-week intensive sessions over a nine-month period at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California. The 31 participants represented a snapshot of homeland security across the country and include professionals from the Department of Homeland Security and agencies within it, as well as emergency management, the military, law enforcement, fire safety, state and municipal governments, public health, and the private sector.

The Executive Leaders Program is part of a series of graduate and executive level education programs sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness Directorate, FEMA, and developed and conducted by the NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

[Submitted by Sergeant Lelani Woods, Public Information Officer]


Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs
Weekly Legislative Activities Report

The Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs puts out weekly reports on hearings, new legislation and other activities on the Hill. This report covers activities in Congress for the week ending September 26th.

NOTE: The House and Senate will be out of session until November 12th.  The next weekly report will be issued on November 7th.

In order to obtain the full text of any of the bills that appear below, click on the following link: http://thomas.loc.gov/ . That will take you to Thomas, the Library of Congress legislative tracking system. Enter the bill number in the “Search Bill Text” block, being sure to also click on the “Bill Number” option below the block.

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New Public Laws

On September 19th, President Obama signed into law H.J. Res. 124 (Rogers, R-KY-5), making continuing appropriations, and for other purposes.  The act provides funding for Federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior, through December 11, 2014.  It is P.L. 113-164. 

Floor Action

Nothing to report. 

Committee Activity

Nothing to report.

New Bills Introduced     

The following new bill of interest to the NPS was introduced:

  • H.R. 5677 (LaMalfa, R-CA-1), to implement reforms to the Federal land management agency fire programs in order to address the complexities of 21st century wildfires in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.

Upcoming Committee Activity

Nothing to report.

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For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at http://www.nps.gov/legal/

[Submitted by Andrea Dekoter]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park (VA)
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park has issued an announcement for a protection ranger.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.  Government housing may be available.

It closes on October 14th.
 More Information...