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GATHERING IN THE WEST | Hungry grasshoppers threaten the routes; New Mexico Offers Job Bonuses New

MONTANA

Stimulated by drought, grasshoppers threaten rangelands

BILLINGS – A severe drought in the western United States dries up rivers, starts wildfires and forces farmers to search for water. Next: an invasion of voracious locusts.

Federal agriculture officials are launching what could become their biggest grasshopper destruction campaign since the 1980s amid an outbreak of drought-loving insects that cattle ranchers fear will strip public ranges and private.

Grasshoppers thrive in hot, dry weather, and populations were already on the rise last year, paving the way for an even larger epidemic in 2021. Such outbreaks could become more frequent as climate change alters patterns of disease. precipitation, the scientists said.

To lessen the economic damage from grasshoppers, the United States Department of Agriculture began aerial spraying of the pesticide diflubenzuron in late June to kill grasshopper nymphs before they become adults. About 3,000 square miles of Montana is expected to be sprayed, about double the size of Rhode Island.

The scale of the program has alarmed environmentalists who say the widespread spraying will kill many insects, including spiders and other grasshopper predators as well as ailing species such as monarch butterflies. They also fear pesticides could ruin organic farms adjacent to spray areas.

A typical infestation can wipe out 20% of range fodder and have an impact of $ 900 million, according to a 2012 University of Wyoming study cited by federal officials.

Drought benefits grasshoppers in part because it reduces the exposure of grasshopper eggs to deadly pests that need moisture, said Chelse Prather, an insect ecologist at the University of Dayton.

This year’s outbreak will peak in about two months, Prather said, when the insects grow to 2 to 3 inches in length and become so widespread that they will begin to eat more plant material than livestock.

NEW MEXICO

State job seekers can get a federal bonus of $ 1,000

SANTA FE – Federal relief funds will be used to provide back-to-work bonuses of up to $ 1,000 to New Mexico residents who find employment in the coming weeks and stop receiving insurance benefits- unemployment, state labor officials said on July 2.

New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s program aims to encourage a return to work before federal unemployment supplements expire in early September.

New child support payments gradually drop from $ 1,000 to $ 400 by the end of July, providing a larger payment sooner a job is secure. The federal supplement provides an additional $ 300 per week in addition to state unemployment benefits.

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Some companies have complained that the increase in federal assistance for the unemployed – especially the additional $ 300 per week benefit, intended to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic – has discouraged people from seeking employment. But other factors have also reportedly contributed to the shortage of people re-seeking work, ranging from difficulty arranging or paying for childcare services to lingering fears of COVID-19.

In response to criticism of the length of extended unemployment benefits, dozens of states began to drop extended federal aid in June.

More than 70,000 New Mexico residents receive unemployment insurance. On July 1, state health officials lifted the latest restrictions on business occupancy and public gatherings, opening up the economy as vaccination rates exceed 62%.

The Department of Workforce Solutions says it expects up to 15,000 people to take advantage of the return-to-work program at a total cost of up to $ 10.1 million.

Recall petition begins against Cowboys for Trump founder

SANTA FE – A political committee has started circulating a petition to remove Cowboys or Trump founder Couy Griffin from his public service as commissioner in Otero County.

The Couy Griffin Recall Committee said on July 1 in a press release that it had started collecting signatures in a bid to schedule a recall election.

The petition alleges Griffin neglected and abused his post as county commissioner while skipping public meetings and promoting a support group for President Donald Trump that Griffin treated like a for-profit business.

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Griffin, elected in 2018, says the allegations in the petition are frivolous and without merit. Separately, Griffin faces federal charges in connection with the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6, where he appeared on an outdoor patio and attempted to lead a prayer.

The recall committee is due to collect approximately 1,540 signatures from registered voters in the Griffin district to trigger a vote on whether Griffin remains in office until 2022.

Otero County Clerk Robyn Holmes said a successful petition would put the question on the November general election ballot for local and non-partisan races.

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IDAHO

Orthwestern Band of Shoshone sues Idaho over hunting rights

BOISE – The Northwestern Shoshone Nation Band is suing Idaho Governor Brad Little and state wildlife officials in federal court, claiming the state wrongly denied hunting rights to the tribe secured by the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Idaho in June, asks a judge to declare the Northwest Band protected under the treaty. State attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At first glance, the legal matter might boil down to whether any of the Native American leaders who signed the treaty represented the Northwestern Band along with other bands of the Shoshone Nation, and whether the Northwestern Band itself remained a cohesive unit at the time. since.

But at the heart of the dispute is a dilemma faced by many Native American governments across the United States who sometimes find themselves at odds with game wardens, mining companies, water users, or other groups as ‘They are trying to preserve their use of the land promised to them. in treaties signed centuries ago.

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Today, the Northwestern Band has no reserve land and its tribal offices are in Brigham City, Utah. Historically, band members spent time fishing near what is now Salmon, Idaho, hunted big game in western Wyoming, and hunted and congregated in southern Idaho and the ‘Utah. Winters were often spent in Southeast Idaho.

According to the lawsuit, the state of Idaho does not recognize that the Northwestern bands of the Shoshone Nation were part of the Fort Bridger Treaty and does not believe that members of the government-recognized Northwest Band federal have the right to hunt on unoccupied land. in accordance with the treaty.

In 1997, two brothers and tribesmen of the Northwestern Band were convicted of off-season hunting in Idaho, despite having hunting badges issued by the Northwestern Band. Shane and Wayde Warner appealed their convictions, claiming Treaty rights at Fort Bridger.

WYOMING

Drunk and messy Yellowstone tourist gets 60 days in jail

JACKSON – A tourist in Yellowstone National Park was sentenced to 60 days in jail and banned from entering the park for five years after pleading guilty to disorderly driving and other charges involving unrest that erupted when a guide brought down refused to take tourist’s group in kayak because the group was too drunk to go.

Prosecutors said Kyle Campbell, 31, of Fairmont, Indiana, made threatening comments and kicked park officers as he resisted arrest in the incident.

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Campbell was sentenced on June 23 by US trial judge Mark L. Carman in Mammoth. Campbell also faces five years of unsupervised probation and has been ordered to pay more than $ 1,550 in fines, according to a statement by Acting US Attorney Bob Murray that was reported by the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

“We understand that people are eager to get out this summer and enjoy our national parks; however, this type of behavior is unacceptable,” Murray said.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion