Friday, November 16, 2012

organic farming and teaching in the Sacramento Valley

California's Radioactive Waste Shipped To Idaho Landfill By Air Force

By Katharine Mieszkowski and Matt Smith

After California regulators refused to allow the U.S. Air Force to label residue from radioactive aircraft instruments as "naturally occurring" - declaring it unsuitable for a Bakersfield-area dump - the military turned to Idaho with the same story.

There, military officials met with success. The Air Force is now sending radioactive waste from Sacramento County's McClellan Air Force Base to a Grand View, Idaho, hazardous waste landfill.

This solution involved a bit of legal semantics rejected in California despite 10 months of Air Force lobbying: The military claimed radium dust left over from glow-in-the-dark aircraft instruments actually was naturally occurring, putting it the same relatively lax regulatory category as mine tailings, according to government memos obtained by California Watch through a public records request.

Larry Morgan, a health physicist with the California Department of Public Health, disagreed with that characterization. Radioactive paint does not "meet the definition" of naturally occurring waste, he wrote in a September 2011 memo.

The Idaho facility's permit allows it to accept materials defined as natural without notifying state regulators, leaving the state's hazardous waste manager in the dark.

Visit The Bay Citizen to read the rest of this story.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

California's Iraq and Afghanistan war dead remembered

Veterans Day is particularly poignant for the families and friends of California's more than 700 who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Chase Marta

 Chase Marta, 24, of Yuba City was one of more than 40 California service members who have died in the line of duty since last Veterans Day. He was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. (Handout)

They came from Walker Basin, a speck of a community at the edge of the Sequoia National Forest. From the farm town of Reedley, where a barber gives boys joining the military free haircuts before they ship out.
They came from San Francisco. Los Angeles. San Diego.

When they died, photos went up on post office walls in their hometowns. On Veterans Day, there are parades and charity golf tournaments. Buddies gather at graves to drink to the ones who are gone.
In the 11 years since the wars began in Iraq and Afghanistan, 725 service members from California have been killed.

As all veterans are honored, the fallen are remembered

Many died young — 41% were not yet 22. Sixty-three were still teenagers.

They were fun-loving singles. Forty-seven were engaged. They were married, leaving behind 307 wives and husbands. They had children — 432 sons and daughters.

Forty of their obituaries noted that the Sept. 11 attacks spurred them to join up. Some were in elementary school when they watched the Twin Towers fall.

The scope of their loss can't be measured at one point in time. Life moves on, the wars are winding down. But towns, families and individual lives continue to be shaped by their absence.

Lately, 9-year-old Naomi Izabella Johnson has been asking a lot of questions about her father, Allen Johnson, a Special Forces medical sergeant from Los Molinos who was killed on foot-combat patrol in Khanaqin, Afghanistan, in 2005.

What was his favorite color? School subject? Animal? Book? Did he like mashed potatoes?
"It helps me for when I try to imagine him," she said.

Two months ago, her 10-year-old brother, Joshua, started crying inconsolably.

"What's wrong?" his mother, Eunice Johnson, recalled asking.

"I'm starting to forget — sometimes I can't see Daddy's face."

In Yuba City, Taylor Silva, 21, has been spending some time alone. Last week marked six months since her fiance, Chase Marta, 24, was killed by a roadside bomb in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan. He was one of more than 40 California service members to have died in the line of duty since last Veterans Day.
"I know his family and best friend have it just as hard. But we're all being a little quiet to each other because we're all a reminder to each other. His mom can't see me without crying," Silva said.

Seventeen women from California have been killed in the wars.

Hannah Gunterman McKinney of Redlands had told her father that the Army wouldn't send a new mother to Iraq. But she was deployed when her son, Todd Avery Gunterman, was just 1. Ten months later, in 2006, she was run over by a Humvee in Taji, north of Baghdad. She was 20.

She had joined the military as a way to earn money to go to fashion school. She reenlisted because she was a single mother and wanted to give her son financial stability. Now her parents are raising Todd Avery.,0,6194922.story

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles