Sunday, June 12, 2011

Two Left Feet And A Broken Heart

Yesterday was a chaotic day yet it shouldn't have been. Already suffering the symptoms of sleep deprivation I tried to find anyone who could help kick start the trailer and barn renovation before going to pick my grand-children up and heading out to buy more tomato plants.

Back at my bosses I walked into the shed and fell. It wasn't a simple fall, but something more resembling a three stooges act ~ with one person. Not being able to fall for the boxes of belongings I hit one box, then spun around and hit another box. Trying to correct myself I hit the corner of the work bench, pulling the muscles in my back and groin. That sent me flying into a door head first twisting my ankle.

I came to rest more than a little dazed, bruised and hurting. Poor Rio was so terrified as I started to fall she fled and hide under the pillows on the bed.

A friend later asked me what I tripped on, and I had to honestly answer.. I think I tripped over my own feet, no matter how embarrassing it was to admit such. I feel like I am 100 years old.

Time, I just can't get over how difficult it is trying to get into a home before winter arrives. I can't come up with an adequate building fund to hire a contractor, and cannot make Robert and Sylvia Huckins return the fund they stole. If there was any method to stop time I certainly would do so - it's become my mortal enemy.

The weather is simply fabulous but the heat of the summer is upon us. It's gone from comfortable to scorching, or at least scorching for these mountains.

Still the Wallow Fire Burns with so little containment.

Wallow Fire Destroys Residences

By Jon Johnson
Assistant Editor
Published on Sunday, June 12, 2011 9:20 AM MST

In addition to scorching the forests, jeopardizing mountain towns and choking the air in several states, the Wallow Fire in Greenlee and Apache counties is threatening to affect even more people hundreds of miles away by damaging electrical transmission lines.

The blaze continued its trek toward becoming the largest in Arizona's recorded history Friday and was listed as having burned nearly 410,000 acres. With only 5 percent containment, the fire is likely to surpass the Rodeo-Chediski Fire that burned nearly 469,000 acres in 2002. Both fires were human-caused and fueled by high winds during a dry summer.

As of noon on Friday, the Wallow Fire had destroyed 29 residences and damaged five others. A total of 24 non-residential and one truck has also been destroyed.

According to the United States Forest Service, 5,242 other residences were threatened. The towns of Eager, Springerville, Sunrise, Greer, Blue River, Alpine, Nutrioso and numerous other subdivisions in the White Mountains have been evacuated. About 3,137 personnel are fighting the fire, including 19 hotshot crews and 45 hand crews. The crews are fighting the fire with the assistance of 221 engines, 66 watertenders, 17 dozers and 14 helicopters.

The newest complication from the fire is the possible destruction of electrical power lines that supply energy to hundreds of thousands of customers.

Tucson Electric Power is looking at purchasing power from other utilities to avoid rolling blackouts if its transmission lines from the Springerville Generating Station are damaged.

El Paso Electric is also preparing contingency plans that includes rolling blackouts if its transmission lines in the area are damaged. The electric company's lines serve nearly 400,000 people in New Mexico and Texas.

Towns in the heart of the fire, including Greer and Sunrise, were without power, according to Navopache Electric, which services the area.

The Wallow Fire in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and the Horseshoe Two Fire and the Murphy Complex fires in the Coronado National Forest have rekindled the debate over why such devastating fires are occurring in the forests. The Horseshoe Two Fire southeast of Willcox has burned nearly 130,000 acres and was listed at being 40 percent contained as of Friday. The Murphy Complex Fire near Rio Rico has burned about 68,000 acres and was listed at being 75 percent contained.
It get's me so upset when I look around at the natural disasters that turn lives upside down bringing death or destruction, events that cannot be helped. And then I watch human beings deliberately set out to destroy lives in deliberate acts. Those acts that are man's inhumanity towards other human beings if they be in the same neighborhood, or at the other side of the world. We wage wars motivated by deception, we have compassion for one culture but not another, we allow our communities to be havens for people who mean nothing but harm. Compassion and caring often seem illusive in a nation where 75% of the population claim Christ. That is beyond sad.

How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalms 82:2-4

And the floods, just keep on flooding:

Midwesterner's Brace For New Missouri River Flooding

MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (Reuters) - For flood-weary residents and sandbag crews in the Midwest, Sunday was largely a day of rest.

Or, was it just the calm before the storm?

To be sure, there were some efforts up and down the Missouri River on Sunday to protect towns, homes and rail lines against the arrival of floodwaters.

But for the most part, the situation was quiet in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.

"Waiting. Just waiting," said Terry Compton, who was working her shift at the local convenience store. She knows the water is coming. The only question was when.

Residents have been shoring up levees along the Missouri River from Montana through Missouri as federal officials widen flood gates to allow record, or near-record water releases to ease pressure on six major reservoirs swollen by heavy rains and melting snow.

Six dams between Fort Peck in Montana and Gavins Point on the South Dakota-Nebraska border were at peak releases or were expected to reach them within days, and dam operators plan to maintain them at least until mid-August.

On Sunday, releases at Fort Peck Dam were set to increase to 65,000 cubic feet per second, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The higher releases stemmed from in-flows at the dam well above previously forecast levels and the need to balance flood storage between Fort Peck and Garrison, the Corps said.

The Fort Peck releases were not expected to affect planned peak releases at the five other Missouri River dams, the agency said.

Predicted heavy rains failed to materialize overnight in Missouri Valley, so the streets were dry. The city's public swimming pool, surrounded by sandbags, was open on Saturday.

Downtown traffic was thin on Sunday, though Union Pacific Railroad personnel continued working to bolster rail beds with rock.

City employees who stopped for coffee seemed unwilling to discuss anything related to sandbags, water or river levels.

"You can come by tomorrow," said one municipal worker who declined to give his name. "We'll get our update then."

Interstate 29 just north of Omaha remained shut down, and the closure could extend up to Missouri Valley next week. Transportation officials have already erected signs and barricade arms to halt traffic when the time comes.

Officials say the dam releases from up north will bring a deluge by midweek.

Meanwhile, in Blair, Nebraska, just west of Missouri Valley, the river was showing signs of quickly expanding to the east. Farmland that had been dry just days ago was underwater.

A center pivot, a metal irrigation system that sprays crops with groundwater, was submerged itself in Blair. A white pickup truck was stranded and filled nearly to the top with water.

Some farmers had dug up planted crops, using the soil to build berms around homes and equipment sheds.

The McDonald's restaurant in Missouri Valley has not opened its drive-through for days. The eatery is surrounded by sandbags and tractor tires.

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, volunteers filled a half-million sandbags on Saturday. And, across the river in Omaha, they bolstered the levees to protect a water treatment plant.

In Hamburg, Iowa, the Army Corps of Engineers worked "feverishly" to complete a secondary levee around the city by Wednesday, said Mike Crecelius, emergency management director in Fremont County.

He said the town expected to feel the effects of peak releases from Gavins Point by Friday, if current timings hold.

Loving-kindness and compassion are the basis for wise, powerful, sometimes gentle, and sometimes fierce actions that can really make a difference -- in our own lives and those of others.~ Sharon Salzberg