Owner of Mike’s Rock Shop dies at 69 years old


January 8, 2015

Written by: Sheree Krider

 

Vicky3

Victoria Fontana, owner of Mike’s Rock Shop in Barren County Kentucky died Sunday, January 4th at her home in Cave City.

Born March 20, 1946 she was 69 years old at the time of death.

“Vicky” was a model citizen and will be missed by all those in Cave City, Barren County and surrounding areas.  It was a sorrowful wake up call for everyone in the area.

Known for her loving and caring nature for all those around her ‘HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY THAT I LOVE YOU” was written in her memorial which was held Wednesday at Patton Funeral Home in Park City, Kentucky.

She was the Widow of Mike Fontana who passed away some years ago and she had diligently carried on at the “Rock Shop” since his death.  The future of the “Rock Shop” is unknown at this time but is expected to remain open in the interim.

She is to be laid to rest in Columbus, Indiana at an undisclosed location.

May she rest in peace.

smk

Mountain lion killed in Kentucky


Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal 8:45 a.m. EST December 17, 2014

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A Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife officer killed a mountain lion on a Bourbon County farm on Monday, marking the first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Kentucky since before the Civil War, said Mark Marraccini, a spokesman for the agency.

Marraccini said a farmer spotted the cat in a tree and alerted the department. When the officer responded, he found the animal had been trapped in different tree by a barking dog and decided it was best to “dispatch it.”

Mountain lions were once native to Kentucky but they were killed off here more than a century ago, Marraccini said.

Mountain lions are the largest cats found in North America and can measure up to eight feet from nose to tail and weigh up to 180 pounds. Also known as cougars, pumas, panthers and catamounts, the cats are considered top-line predators because no other species feed on them.

Marraccini said the wildlife officer shot the cat because it was about 5:30 p.m. and getting dark and he feared that it would slip away in darkness and threaten people in the nearby city of Paris.

“If that cat had left that tree, it would have disappeared into the brush and it was a fairly populated area,” said Marraccini, who said it would have taken several hours and dark before a state veterinarian could retrieve the tranquilizer from her safe and get it to the scene had officials taken that route.

“It sounds good but it’s pretty impractical,” said Marraccini, who said the officer who shot the cat made the right call.

“That’s the way the officers deemed to handle it and I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be handled that way,” he said.

Marraccini said a state veterinarian will conduct a necropsy on the cat Tuesday to determine if it is a wild cat or a former pet that was either released or escaped.

According to the Cougar Network, the cat is mostly confined to the western United States but is advancing east. For years, the Mississippi River has been thought to be a barrier to the mountain lion’s eastern expansion. But its clear they have been getting close to Kentucky.

They have colonized in South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, said Amy Rodrigues, a staff biologist for the Mountain Lion Foundation, and there have been sightings in recent years in Indiana and even downtown Chicago.

Rodrigues said that mountain lions each need more than 100 square miles to survive and many of the animals being killed as they expand east are young males under the age of two that have been kicked out by their mothers. They often travel east looking for deer, water and female cougars.

But Rodrigues said states that kill the animals when they enter are wrong for doing it and that the animals shouldn’t cause fear. “If you’re a deer, they’re a little dangerous. If you’re a human, not so much,” she said. “Attacks on people are not that common. There have only been 22 deaths in the last 120 years.”

She said people are at greater risk of dying from bee stings and lightning strikes than they are from cougar attacks.

They get a bad rap because “they are large animals with sharp teeth,” Rodrigues said.

She added the presence of mountain lions in an ecosystem adds to biological diversity, which she said helps the environment recover from natural disaster and diseases that affect the fauna in a region.

Mark Dowling, a director of the Cougar Network, which advocates for the use of science to understand the animals, said the population was being pushed further and further west until the 1960s when a number of western and midwestern states began to classify them as game animals rather than vermin, and limiting people’s right to kill them.

Since then, he said, the cats have been slowly reclaiming their old turf.

Marraccini said there is no official protocol about how to handle more mountain lions if they are found in Kentucky but he doubts that they will be allowed to colonize here like they have in many western states.

“Every one of them is handled on it’s own,” said Marraccini.

Marraccini said that people and legislators probably would be opposed to allowing the cats to stay in the state. “When you have a population essentially that has had generations and generations and generations that have not had top-line predators, you think about it. You going to let your kids wait for the school bus in the dark? …”

“From a wildlife diversity perspective, it would be a neat thing but from a social aspect, probably not,” he said.

Dowling wouldn’t take a position on whether the cat should have been killed but said that most states that have had the cats moving through them have just left the cats alone. In fact, he said he can’t think of a state wildlife agency that shoots them on sight but he noted that South Dakota will shoot them when they enter a city.

But he said human attacks are few and far between, even in California where there are thousands of the cats, some of them living within large cities like Los Angeles.

“It’s very, very rare for them to show any aggression toward humans,” he said. “They, in fact, have a fear of people.”

Animals like the mountain lion once near extinction or limited in their range are rebounding across the country. The first gray wolf confirmed in Kentucky in generations was shot by a hunter a year and a half ago near Munfordville.

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What Is Fracking and Why Should It Be Banned?


 

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The case to ban fracking grows stronger every day. Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing. It’s a water-intensive process where millions of gallons of fluid — a mix of water, sand, and chemicals, including ones known to cause cancer — are injected underground at high pressure to fracture the rock surrounding an oil or gas well. This releases extra oil and gas from the rock, so it can flow into the well.

But the process of fracking introduces additional industrial activity into communities beyond the well. Clearing land to build new access roads and new well sites, drilling and encasing the well, fracking the well and generating the waste, trucking in heavy equipment and materials and trucking out the vast amounts of toxic waste — all of these steps contribute to air and water pollution risks and devaluation of land that are turning our communities into sacrifice zones. Fracking threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend. That’s why over 250 communities in the U.S. have passed resolutions to stop fracking, and why Vermont, France and Bulgaria have stopped it.

Why a Ban? Can Regulations Make Fracking Safe?

Ban Fracking in Your Area

No. Fracking is inherently unsafe and we cannot rely on regulation to protect communities’ water, air and public health. The industry enjoys exemptions from key federal legislation protecting our air and water, thanks to aggressive lobbying and cozy relationships with our federal decision makers (the exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act is often referred to as the Cheney or Halliburton Loophole, because it was negotiated by then-Vice President Dick Cheney with Congress in 2005). Plus, the industry is aggressively clamping down on local and state efforts to regulate fracking by buying influence and even bringing lawsuits to stop them from being implemented. That’s why fracking can’t be made safe through government oversight or regulations. An all out ban on fracking is the only way to protect our communities.

Learn More

 

Hunters Killed 20 Bears in Kentucky During Season


 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State Fish and Wildlife officials say hunters in Kentucky claimed 20 black bears during the season that ended in December.

It was the first season with a new expanded bear hunting zone and an archery and crossbow season.

Hunters can now hunt bears in 16 Kentucky counties, up from four counties in 2012.

In the recent season, hunters harvested eight male and two female bears during the firearms season. They took six males and four females during the archery and crossbow season.

Seven were killed in Letcher County, and three bears each were taken in Harlan, Leslie and Perry counties.

Modern-day bear hunting in Kentucky began in 2009.

CONTINUE READING HERE:

Furry intruder caught on camera (HERE’S THE BEARS!)


 

OHIO COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – A furry intruder was caught on camera in Western Kentucky.

A family went outside and found a black bear raiding their deer-feeder.

Wildlife officials suspect the young bear was either forced out of its territory in eastern Kentucky or Tennessee by another black bear and is wandering around trying to find a girlfriend.

In June, there was a bear sighting near Mammoth Cave and on July 12 five people in Daviess County reported they saw a bear near Masonville.

Experts said the bear appears to be a small and estimate he weighs between 100 and 150 pounds.

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State approves $250,000 loan for Cave City attraction


Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 9:30 am

By MONICA SPEES mspees@bgdailynews.com |

A Louisville man who wants to purchase a Cave City attraction received a $250,000 loan from the state Tuesday.

The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved a $250,000 loan from the Kentucky Tourism Development Loan Program to Land of Tomorrow Productions by a 3-0 vote. Land of Tomorrow Productions is the Louisville-based entity involved in the purchase of Cave City’s Guntown Mountain.

Will Russell, proprietor of WHY Louisville and founder of Lebowski Fest, was the applicant contact for the loan, according to the application obtained by the Daily News. Russell, who intends to turn Guntown Mountain into Funtown Mountain, said he was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

It is a 15-year loan at 6 percent, said Gil Lawson, executive director of the office of communications at the KTDFA. “The loan does not go through until after they close on the property,” Lawson said.

Russell said the closing date is set for March 31.

Representatives from Land of Tomorrow Productions presented the proposal for Funtown Mountain to the KTDFA, of which four of the board’s seven members were present. The board went into closed session to discuss confidential financial information, Lawson said. Three of the four members voted – the chairman does not vote unless there is a tie.

All financial information, including source of equity, was redacted from the application. Certain amounts in inventory valuation from WHY Louisville Inc. and equity against a house in Louisville are listed on the application as collateral offered for the project.

The market value of the property before liens was established Jan. 27 as $1 million, according to the application. Guntown Mountain includes more than a dozen buildings on 28 acres.

The proposed timeline of the project begins with a groundbreaking April 1 and a gradual opening of other operations between June and the end of the year, including a gift shop, cafe, Haunted Hotel, putt-putt, saloon, museum and road completion according to the application. A grand opening is proposed for June 1, 2016.

Upon closing, “Land of Tomorrow Productions LLC will be the names lessee on the existing lease to the 28 acres divided in three tracts until 2049,” according to the application. The lease is still under negotiation, and “intended agreement may involve a sublease for Hillbilly Tea Shack in the space next to the gift shop with 5-10 year term with a revenue sharing with Land of Tomorrow Productions,” according to the application.

Tourco Inc. is the current licensee of Guntown Mountain. JB Enterprises of Cave City owns all 100 shares of stock of Tourco Inc.

Russell’s plans for the longtime roadside attraction include a new zipline and a new sound system and lights in the Lucky Lady Saloon. Russell also wants to turn the Opera House into a theater with hologram capabilities that would allow him to project performances of musicians, comedians and actors onto the stage. Russell has plans for a pop culture museum on the property that would include a prop from the film “Big Trouble in Little China” and a wax figure wearing Col. Harland Sanders’ trademark white suit.

Russell intends to replace the cowboys and gunfights from Guntown Mountain with clowns as part of the Funtown Mountain image.

“The missions of Funtown Mountain are to bring jobs and commerce to Cave City, elevate the reputation of Kentucky and offer affordable amusements for families,” according to the application.

Other than WHY Louisville and Lebowski Fest, Russell has attempted other attraction events. Pee Wee Over Louisville, founded in 2012, was meant to be an event that celebrated the Paul Reubens character Pee-Wee Herman. The event was canceled and was never affiliated with Reubens, according to the event’s Facebook page, which has 4,056 Likes. An article on Today.com and in The Courier-Journal in 2013 that was linked from the Facebook page states that Russell received a cease and desist letter from Reubens requesting that the event be canceled.

Russell also had plans to build an attraction called Kentucky Rushmore, which was conceived as a fake mountain with the faces of famous Kentuckians on it, according to the Kentucky Rushmore Facebook page. The mountain didn’t come to fruition, but a mural of Kentucky Rushmore – with the faces of Muhammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Sanders and Secretariat – is painted on the side of WHY Louisville’s building.

— Follow business beat reporter Monica Spees on Twitter at twitter.com/BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

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MIT States That Half of All Children May be Autistic by 2025 due to Monsanto


 

 

A senior scientist at MIT has declared that we are facing an epidemic of autism that may result in one half of all children being affected by autism in ten years.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, who made these remarks during a panel presentation in Groton, Massachusetts, last week, specifically cites the Monsanto herbicide, Roundup, as the culprit for the escalating incidence of autism and other neurological disorders. Roundup, which was introduced in the 1970’s, contains the chemical glyphosate, which is the focal point for Seneff’s concerns. Roundup was originally restricted to use on weeds, as glyphosate kills plants. However, Roundup is now in regular use with crops. With the coming of GMO’s, plants such as soy and corn were bioengineered to tolerate glyphosate, and its use dramatically increased. From 2001 to 2007, glyphosate use doubled, reaching 180 to 185 million pounds in the U.S. alone in 2007.

If you don’t consume corn-on-the-cob or toasted soybeans, however, you are hardly exempt from the potential affects of consuming glyphosate. Wheat is now sprayed with Roundup right before it is harvested, making any consumption of non- organic wheat bread a sure source for the chemical. In addition, any products containing corn syrup, such as soft drinks, are also carrying a payload of glyphosate.

According to studies cited by Seneff, glyphosate engages “gut bacteria” in a process known as the shikimate pathway. This enables the chemical to interfere with the biochemistry of bacteria in our GI tract, resulting in the depletion of essential amino acids .

 
Monsanto has maintained that glyphosate is safe for human consumption, as humans do not have the shikimate pathway. Bacteria, however, does—including the flora that constitutes “gut bacteria.”

It is this ability to affect gut bacteria that Seneff claims is the link which allows the chemical to get on board and wreak further damage. The connection between intestinal flora and neurological functioning is an ongoing topic of research. According to a number of studies, glyphosate depletes the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine, which can then contribute to obesity, depression, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Monsanto disagrees. The food and chemical giant has constructed a webpage with links to scientific studies pronouncing the safety of glyphosate.

Other science writers have also taken up the Monsanto banner, scoffing at the scientific studies that prompted Seneff to make her claims. “They made it up!” pronounced Huffpost science writer Tamar Haspel, in an article thin on analysis but heavy on declarative prose

Others, such as Skeptoid writer and PhD physicist Eric Hall, take a more measured approach, and instead focus on the studies which prompted the glyphosate concerns. According to Hall, Seneff is making an error known as the “correlation/causation error,” in which causality is inaccurately concluded when there exists only the fact that two separate items—in this case, the increased use of glyphosate and the increased incidence of autism—may be observed but are not, in fact, directly related.

Seneff’s pronouncements focus specifically on the glyphosate issue. As we know, there are other potential tributaries which may be feeding the rise in autism and also causing age-related neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. These may include contents of vaccines, aluminum cooking ware as well as other potential sources for chemical consumption.

Some individuals, such as M.D. and radio host Rima Laibow have speculated on the intentionality behind this ostensible chemical siege against our gray matter. Laibow believes that the impetus may be to create an entire class of autistic individuals who will be suited only for certain types of work.

This harks back, eerily, to Aldous Huxley’s classic Brave New World, in which individuals were preprogrammed from “conception” for eventual placement in one of five groups, designated as Alpha, Beta, and so on down to Epsilon, based on their programmed brain power. In Huxley’s dystopian world, this class delineation by intellectual ability enabled society to function more smoothly.

Whatever may driving the autistic/Alzheimer’s diesel train, one thing is for certain: the spectre of half of our children coming into the world with significant brain damage constitutes a massive and undeniable wound to humanity. The rate of autism has skyrocketed from roughly one in every two thousand in the 1970’s to the current rate of one in every sixty eight. Alzheimer’s has become almost universal in the elderly. Seneff’s predictions can only be ignored at grave risk to the human race.

Janet C. Phelan

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Medical marijuana bill likely dead, Stumbo says


Gregory A. Hall, ghall@courier-journal.com 2:48 p.m. EST February 12, 2015

 

 

 

FRANKFORT, Ky. – House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s medical marijuana bill wasn’t going to pass this year anyway, he said Thursday, so his House Bill 3 is likely dead after no vote was taken in a committee hearing.

“It’s not going to pass this session,” said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. “Everybody knows that.”

The purpose of presenting the bill anyway to the House Health and Welfare Committee was to promote discussion on the issue that Stumbo said he believes will become law someday.

RELATED | Bills would legalize medical marijuana in Indiana

“Obviously, there’s a national trend,” Stumbo said, after earlier saying he’s been convinced of the need by families in his district who have loved ones battling epilepsy.

Stumbo said he expects the issue to be revisited later this year before next year’s session.

“I think we got the ball rolling,” he said. “And I think it’s rolling in the right direction now.”

RELATED | Letter | Cannibis legislation

A similar bill passed the House health committee last year but never was put to a vote on the House floor.

Supporters of medical marijuana say it can help treat maladies such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, seizures, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Critics of medical marijuana say generally that medical use is not supported by scientific evidence and ultimately leads to recreational abuse and illegal trafficking under the guise of medicine.

While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the U.S. Justice Department has issued guidelines under which it wouldn’t interfere with state marijuana laws — if certain requirements, including having regulatory structure, preventing sales to minors and preventing marijuana from getting to gangs — are met.

Almost two dozen states have laws allowing medical marijuana, not including the District of Columbia. Although Kentucky isn’t one of those, the issue has been supported strongly in previous years’ Bluegrass Polls. Four states allow recreational use.

Reporter Gregory A. Hall can be reached at (502) 582-4087. Follow him on Twitter at @gregoryahall.

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Bats with White Nose Syndrome: An Interview with David Blehert


 

 

 

 

On the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin at the United States Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, David Blehert sits in an office that overlooks a prairie restoration project. Swallows—looking to my amateur eyes an awful lot like the bats Blehert studies—nosedive over the tall grass, missing his window by mere inches.

Blehert is the branch chief of the Wildlife Disease Diagnostic Laboratories, where he and his colleagues investigate the causes of death in wildlife brought to their facilities from across the United States. Their goal is to diagnose and minimize the impact of disease on wildlife.

I visited Blehert to talk about his work with bats with White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that’s killed over six million bats in the past nine years. Blehert and his colleagues isolated the pathogen that causes the disease here in 2008. The following is an edited version of our conversation.

JSTOR DAILY: Tell me about your work with bats.

David Blehert: I’ve been at the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center for about 12 years now. White-Nose Syndrome in bats has been a large part of my research program here since 2008, when we described the fungus that causes the disease.

White-Nose Syndrome is a wildlife disease impacting only hibernating bats. An agency like the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center has expertise in wildlife population, structure, and management, so understanding wildlife diseases like White-Nose Syndrome is central to our mission.

White-Nose Syndrome is caused by a fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans… Is it coincidental that the species name sounds like destruction?

No.

Why did this disease emerge now?

Think about all the global travel and trade we see today. I believe we’re building a very strong case that this is likely a pathogen of European origin—with which European bats for the most part co-exist—that was inadvertently brought to the US either by a tourist or through trade. It falls under that guise of pathogen pollution or introduction of a novel pathogen into a naïve host ecosystem. Think of it like an invasive species that’s behaving out of check.

In the winter of 2005–2006, a recreational caver took a photograph of a bat that had white fungus around its nose, but he didn’t know the significance of his photograph of it at the time.

In the winter of 2006–2007, New York State biologists were conducting a semi-annual survey of endangered Indiana bats, and they saw in five caves near Albany, New York either that the bats were missing or they were dead and on the floor.

The next winter, in January 2008, we started getting samples. Four or five months later, by April or May of 2008, we identified the pathogen. I think our first publication in Science came out online in October 2008, and then ended up in the Charles Darwin anniversary print issue, in January of 2009.

Here we are a mere ten years later, and you’ve mentioned that six to seven million bats have died.

Yes, it really has been unprecedented in terms of the rapidity with which this disease has spread… I’m very proud of our track record in terms of defining the basic biology of this pathogen and answering fundamental questions to demonstrate in the laboratory that it causes the disease.

We have some ideas now on the mechanisms by which it kills bats. We’ve made great strides in terms of characterizing how the pathogen has the potential to exist perpetually in these caves so that bats pick it up.

We’ve also defined transmission pathways that spread it bat to bat, though they likely also pick it up in the environment as well. That means that if you are a biologist or recreational caver that goes into a cave and steps in soil that harbors these long-living spores of the fungus, you need to decontaminate your shoes so that you don’t track it to a new cave.

So humans spread it around?

Yes. Since we can’t control the movement of wild animals, we’ve looked to what we can do to enact bio-security measures so that a human does not inadvertently transport spores to a site at greater distance than where you would expect bats to gradually move the pathogen on their own. To date, we have not observed or documented any long-distance jumps of the fungus, and so I think that’s good evidence that what management we can enact is working.

You mentioned that White-Nose Syndrome is “unprecedented” in terms of its destructive force. How would it compare to, say, Colony Collapse Disorder in bees?

It’s quite different, actually. First of all, after as many years, I still don’t think we have a clear cause for Colony Collapse Disorder. Numerous causes have been proposed and it could be some combination of those.

The other major difference is that the bees that are most susceptible, honey bees, are a domesticated, non-native bee species. They’re not “wildlife.”

European honey bees were imported to the United States over 100 years ago and are still to this day maintained under husbandry conditions. You’re talking about something that’s raised in captivity and harbored or maintained by humans, so there are direct management applications.

You’ve been able to identify which fungus is causing White-Nose Syndrome in the bats, but how does it actually kill them?

One of the interesting properties and something that makes this fungus unique, is that it cannot grow above 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

A bat’s body temperature is about 98 to a 100 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s metabolically active. But in the wintertime, bats in temperate regions of North America build up fat reserves and go into a hibernation period for about six months of the year from late October through April.

While they’re hibernating, their body temperature is about the same as the inside of your refrigerator, or close to about 44 degrees Fahrenheit. This lower body temperature allows the fungus to grow.

But hibernation is complicated. Bats go into hibernation for a period of about two to three weeks, and then they come out of hibernation for an hour and then they go back into hibernation for two to three weeks, and then come out for about an hour. They even mate sometimes during those arousal periods.

These arousals, even though they’re not well understood, are believed to be essential to their physiological health.

One of the things people have noticed is that when bats get White-Nose Syndrome, they come out of hibernation more frequently. Their hibernation periods are shortened and their arousal frequency increases.

This disruption to the normal rhythms of hibernation causes them to consume the fat reserves required for them to survive winter.

So could they be starving to death when they have White Nose Syndrome?

That’s one theory.

The disease is called White-Nose Syndrome because they get blooms of fungal growth on their noses. But the primary area where the fungus colonizes the bat is on their un-haired wings. Their wings are basically just skin… The scientific Order bat is chiroptera, which means “hand wing.”

That’s where the fungus starts to grow, on the wing?

Right, and the skin that comprises the wing comprises over 80% of all skin on the bat, so it’s this massive surface area and it’s literally two cell layers thick. It’s exquisitely delicate, and it’s full of nerves and blood vessels and muscle. It’s quite a remarkable structure. It’s the only mammal that is capable of self-powered flight, and it’s a very different flight strategy than that used by birds, even in terms of their basic musculature.

The fungus colonizes this exquisitely delicate skin… and causes profound damage, impacting the ability of the animal to fly, which it has to do in order to feed itself. In addition, these wings also mediate functions like release of CO2 while the animals are hibernating and otherwise breathing at very low rates.

They might only be taking two, three, four breaths a minute during hibernation, and so they can passively off-load some percentage of the CO2 that accumulates in their blood through their wing skin.

There are all sorts of complex physiological functions [of the wing membrane], and that’s what we believe is the heart of the issue, that White-Nose Syndrome is disrupting this delicately balanced physiology of an animal that has to survive for six months of every year without eating.

So the fungus colonizes the skin on their wings, interfering with their ability to fly, and therefore to eat. That sounds mighty grim. Is there any hope?

We have shown both through laboratory and animal work that we did in collaboration with a bat rehabilitator that if you take a bat sick with White-Nose Syndrome out of hibernation, give it a warm environment and feed it, it will get better on its own, so further medical intervention is not required. Other people have gone in to caves and put wing-band markers on hibernating bats that visibly had White-Nose Syndrome, and they’ve later recaptured those bats in the springtime, and they’ve apparently healed or not shown signs of the fungus.

It’s not necessarily an easy route for a bat to cure the infection on its own, but it is possible. We’ve seen that European bats commonly have the fungus on them, and they even develop lesions that under the microscope are indistinguishable from those that we see in North American bats, but they just don’t progress to the point that they kill the bat.

That could be a consequence of those bats having some immunological resistance to the fungus or the environmental conditions under which those European bats hibernate being less conducive to rapid growth and progression of the fungal disease.

European bat populations tend to be much smaller than North American bat populations. The bat populations most heavily impacted by White-Nose Syndrome in eastern North America often numbered tens to even hundreds of thousands of bats per large cave system. In Europe those bat populations, instead of being tens to hundreds of thousands are tens to hundreds of bats.

It could be that as our US populations are drastically reduced to similar levels… there’s lesser amplification of the fungus, so that when bats do get infected, they get infected later in the year, with fewer spores, and the disease does not progress to that highly lethal level.

Then, maybe in the future the bat populations will rebound to some point where they reach whatever balance they can maintain with the fungus.

But a big challenge here [in terms of conservation] is that bats are very, very different from birds or even rodents. Some people call them flying mice, but they are not. Unlike birds or rodents, bats have a very low reproductive rate, producing only one offspring per year, so population recovery, if possible, will likely be slow.

Yes, bats have a bad reputation.

I think that genetically, they may be more closely related to marine mammals than they are to mice. You wouldn’t necessarily think this from looking at them… The ones that are heavily impacted in North America, they weigh six to eight grams, which is about as much as two or three pennies.

Oh, wow, these bats are tiny.

Yes, and their bodies are about two inches, total wingspan is approximately 6 to 8 inches.

Two inches? Their bodies are two inches?

Yes.

Everybody’s so afraid of them!

I know. They’re really cute actually. Nonetheless, these animals live 10 to 20 years and they only have one baby per year, so for an animal that has a high level of parental care and low reproductive rates, their populations do not recover quickly.

When you’re managing wildlife, you have to think in terms of the population because you can’t readily manage populations by treating individual animals. That’s something we do for our pets or our kids or ourselves. But if your goal is to find an economically viable solution to maintaining entire species, you have to look towards something that benefits more than individuals.

What are some of the things people are trying to do to counter the devastation of White-Nose Syndrome?

Something that we’re looking at now is to develop a better understanding of how environmental conditions in hibernation sites contribute to the environmental reservoir of the fungus and to progression of the disease. Is there, for example, a way that you could subtly change temperature profiles of underground hibernation sites? You could propose to do this in an artificial mine, for example, which often are occupied by large numbers of bats.

Right here in the state of Wisconsin, the three largest hibernacula in the state are two sand mines that I think have been in operation since the 1940s, and an abandoned underground iron mine that may harbor up to a half million animals each winter.

You mentioned that one way you’ve tried to stop the spread or deal with this, is by changing the temperature of caves…

Actually lowering the temperature. We’re still developing the data to support this idea, but that’s what we are investigating.

Raising the temperature to the point that it would preclude growth of the fungus would also preclude the ability of the bats to hibernate.

A postdoc in my laboratory, Dr. Michelle Verant, has published a paper in PLOSONE about this.

How on earth would you drop the temperature of a cave?

Well, if it’s a mine, you can drill ventilation tunnels to change airflow patterns.

Are there other possible solutions?

Researchers, including people in my laboratory, are also looking at various bio-control or chemical control strategies, but a lot of these are based on novel ideas and the reality is that novel ideas take time to go through testing and approvals and licensing so that they can be released in the environment. … You’re looking at a decade-off solution.

A disease-management strategy that works in humans and in domestic animals, and that has also been proven to work in wildlife is vaccination. Vaccination is currently used to control the spread of rabies in wild carnivores like raccoons, skunks, foxes. They do that by dropping vaccine that’s put in edible baits from airplanes.

Oh, interesting. So you’d basically be trying to feed the bats something that would vaccinate them against White-Nose Syndrome?

I think it also has much broader implications. Bats, especially in the tropics, have been identified as the reservoirs for some of the horrendous viral diseases you read about in the paper like Ebola, Marburg, SARS, and MERS. So there is the potential that you could do widespread vaccination against zoonotic diseases and start to eliminate them just like we’ve eliminated small pox.

In the meantime, bats are still dying at an alarming rate from White-Nose Syndrome?

What we know about high mortality comes largely from the Northeastern United States. There seemed to be a delay in spread over the Appalachian Mountains into the Southern Midwestern areas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio. There was a delay that I think we can define as about three years from when we first detected the fungus in this group of animals until we started seeing mortality. Now we’re definitely, as of last winter, seeing high bat mortality in those areas, but we don’t yet know how it’s going to compare to what we have seen in the Northeast.

We’ve just had our first detection in Wisconsin, but it’s colder, and maybe a little drier here in the winter so we don’t yet fully understand what the ultimate impacts may be. They could be bad, but then again as you move further into the arid West, once you cross the Mississippi River and the 100th meridian, the country starts transitioning to a drier climate, and there’s different population dynamics. The bats become more dispersed as opposed to hibernating in large caves.

My hope is that some of these species, which also exist west of the Mississippi, will be impacted to a lesser degree. That’s just speculation on my part, but there clearly are some environmental differences.

I know little brown bats are affected, but what other major bat species get White-Nose Syndrome?

One called the Eastern pipistrelle (some call it the Tri-colored bat) is heavily impacted. The Northern long-eared bat is a candidate for the endangered species listing because of this disease. The Indiana bat, which is on the endangered species list, is definitely susceptible, and then there’s some other, less common species in which infection has been documented but has not necessarily had adverse impacts, like the Eastern small-footed bat. The Big Brown bat does get infected, but also seems to be somewhat resistant, and it’s also less frequently found in caves. It really is the cave hibernating bats that are most at risk.

What can people do to try to help stop the spread of this?

Following what are called “Universal Precautions” in disease epidemiology—not moving from one cave to another without decontaminating—will help. If you’re a recreational caver, do not bring gear from an infected site to an uninfected site. Also, anything that supports bat habitat will help the bats.

Bats have such a bad reputation. So many people are afraid of them. They think of Dracula or they think of rabies or even Ebola. Some people might say “Good riddance,” what does it matter that bats are dying?

Bats are an integral component of our ecosystem. They consume vast amounts of insects. Those bats consuming insects can be referred to as providing an “ecosystem service,” and people have valued the “ecosystem services” provided by bats to US agriculture in the tens of billions of dollars a year.

We don’t understand all of contributions that bats provide to our ecosystem, but if you take too many bricks out of the bottom course of the wall, eventually the whole wall can collapse. I think it’s important to recognize that bats have intrinsic value in and of themselves as unique element of our world.  CONTINUE READING…


JSTOR Citations

DNA-based detection of the fungal pathogen Geomyces destructans in soils from bat hibernacula
Daniel L. Lindner, Andrea Gargas, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Mark T. Banik, Jessie Glaeser, Thomas H. Kunz and David S. Blehert
Mycologia
Vol. 103, No. 2 (March/April 2011) , pp. 241-246
Published by: Mycological Society of America

Colony Collapse Disorder: Many Suspects, No Smoking Gun
Myrna E. Watanabe
BioScience, Vol. 58, No. 5 (May 2008), pp. 384-388
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences

Inoculation of bats with European Geomyces destructans supports the novel pathogen hypothesis for the origin of white-nose syndrome
Lisa Warnecke, James M. Turner, Trent K. Bollinger, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Vikram Misra, Paul M. Cryan, Gudrun Wibbelt, David S. Blehert and Craig K. R. Willis
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 109, No. 18 (May 1, 2012) , pp. 6999-7003
Published by: National Academy of Sciences

Use of Temperature-sensitive Transmitters to Monitor the Temperature Profiles of Hibernating Bats Affected with White-Nose Syndrome”
Eric R. Britzke, Price Sewell, Matthew G. Hohmann, Ryan Smith and Scott R. Darling
Northeastern Naturalist
Vol. 17, No. 2 (2010) , pp. 239-246
Published by: Eagle Hill Institute

animalsbatsbats with white-nose syndromeBioScienceDavid BlehertDavid S. BlehertMycologiaNortheastern NaturalistPNASPseudogymnoascus destructanswhite-nose syndrome

Bill promotes donation of game meat to charities


February 10, 2015

 

Image result for kentucky deer

FRANKFORT – The state Senate passed a bill today to ensure the continued operation of a nonprofit dedicated alleviating hunger and malnutrition in Kentucky.

Sen. Robin L. Webb, D-Grayson, who sponsored the legislation known as Senate Bill 55, said it would prevent any city, county or any public health department for disallowing the practice of donating game meat. She said the nonprofit Kentucky Hunters for The Hungry already provides 60,000 pounds to 70,000 pounds of mostly deer meat every year that allows food kitchens to serve an additional 560,000 meals.

“This is a wonderful and best use of the resources God gave us,” Webb said.

She said the bill ensures the game meat is harvested in Kentucky, properly field dressed and taken to processors certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

The tradition of donating game meat started in 1988 after state deer herds had grown beyond carrying capacity in some areas and biologists were encouraging additional doe harvest, Webb said. This led to discussions between avid hunters who wanted to oblige wildlife management but had concerns about what to do with extra venison.

The formal organization Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry was incorporated in July 2000 with the support of the state fish and wildlife department.

SB 55 passed with a 35-0 vote. It now goes to the House for consideration.

CONTINUE READING…

Chemtrail Source Material Finally Unveiled


 

For the last two decades the source material for chemtrails has been a mystery. Finally, the apparent ‘perfect’ element base material of chemtrails sprayed from airplanes—both government and commercial—that causes blanket clouds and welsbach reflective materials in the atmosphere, has been identified. It’s coal fly ash wastes from coal burning power plants!

Chemtrail Source Material Finally Unveiled

In the almost 13 minute video posted below, the basic scientific analysis of coal ash identifies fly ash, which is high in aluminum oxide—about 30%. From the 9 minute mark on the timeline, important information should be noted.

Apparently, coal ash—both types—is difficult and extremely expensive to dispose of, something like a billion dollar problem per plant, according to the video. However, fly ash easily is transported away from power plants by railcars—the very mode of transportation that brings the coal to the power plant to be burned. Trucks and barges also are used in transporting it to bases for spraying.

What seems to be going on is this: Just like fluoride, which is a protoplasmic poison and toxic waste, coal fly ash has been forced into humans too. We drink fluoride in our municipal water supplies under the guise that it will protect our teeth—what a crock of malarkey!

For at least two decades, we have been breathing coal fly ash deliberately being sprayed as part of weather geoengineering.

Southeast Coal Ash Waste is an important resource to check out.

Here’s another video that shows and talks about the extreme cold weather in the USA and melting Arctic methane as of January 8, 2015.

Commentary is made that no low pressure is allowed to build up in order to control weather in the Pacific and West Coast of the USA. Aerosol trails over California prevent low pressure from building up, which may explain why California doesn’t get rain.

There’s a map in the video with accompanying incredible information. Southern Alaska temperatures in January 2015 are in the 45s and 48. Definitely, not normal! Furthermore, there’s heavy chemtrailing going on over the Gulf of Mexico to keep the Jet Stream straight all the way to Europe. The 2013-14 brutal winter pattern is upon us again—a second winter in a row!

Strange January 2015 Weather Events” around the globe, especially earthquakes! See strange sky things—and all in just one month!

Please share this information with everyone you know. Send it to your members of Congress, state legislators, newspapers, your local weather forecasters—everyone. We have to save our beautiful planet Earth.

Catherine retired from researching and writing, but felt compelled to write this article.

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

CONTINUE READING…

Decoding the Kentucky Marijuana Bills


 

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The following is a synopsis of the proposed Bills currently in House and what they mean to us.

 

HB 305/CI (BR 395) – B. Yonts

AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.
Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to pre-payable violations and set fines.

Feb 5-introduced in House

Legislature Home Page | Record Front Page

Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the newest version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill.

 

The highlights for the cannabis users are below:

 

(1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.
(2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense

 

(1) “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter. It includes but is not limited to:

 

(a) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;

 

(e) Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;

 

(g) Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
(h) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
(i) Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;

 

(l) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as: metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; carburetion tubes and devices; smoking and carburetion masks; roach clips which mean objects used to hold burning material, such as marijuana cigarettes, that have become too small or too short to be held in the hand; miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; ice pipes or chillers.

 

My opinion on this bill is that it is a “ lesser of the evils” for us and that is IT. Period.

In fact I am not sure how much of a lesser evil it really is when you consider that this is not any form of legalization at all.  It is just a reduction in the punishment for an illegal activity.

 

SB 79/CI (BR 805) – P. Clark

 

     AN ACT relating to marijuana.
     Amend KRS 218A.1422 to make the possession of two ounces of marijuana or less a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $75; amend KRS 218A.1423 to make cultivation of five marijuana plants or less a Class B misdemeanor; name the Act the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act.

     Jan 9-introduced in Senate
     Feb 3-to Judiciary (S)

Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the first version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill as shown below.

 

(1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.

(2) Possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less shall be a violation that is punishable by a maximum fine of seventy-five dollars ($75).

(3) Possession of more than two (2) ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, except that, KRS Chapter 532 to the contrary notwithstanding, the maximum term of incarceration shall be no greater than forty-five (45) days.

âSection 2. KRS 218A.1423 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of marijuana cultivation when he knowingly and unlawfully plants, cultivates, or harvests marijuana with the intent to sell or transfer it.

(2) Marijuana cultivation of six (6)[five (5)] or more plants of marijuana is:

(a) For a first offense a Class D felony.
(b) For a second or subsequent offense a Class C felony.

(3) Marijuana cultivation of fewer than six (6)[five (5)] plants is[:

] a Class B misdemeanor

[(a) For a first offense a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) For a second or subsequent offense a Class D felony].

(4) The planting, cultivating, or harvesting of six (6)[five (5)] or more marijuana plants shall be prima facie evidence that the marijuana plants were planted, cultivated, or harvested for the purpose of sale or transfer.

âSection 3. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act.

 

My opinion on this Bill is that it would be the better of the two “decrim” Bills submitted because at least there is a “grow” clause in it as long as you are not “trafficking”.  However, Marijuana still remains illegal and prohibited by law under this Statute as well.  The laws are all about the “control” issue.  Either way they continue to make money at our expense for growing and using a “plant”.  As well as the fact that we remain criminals.

 

Last but not least is the :

Medical Marijuana Bill Kentucky 2015 , SB 43/LM/CI (BR 287)

 

AN ACT relating to medical cannabis.
     Create various new sections of KRS Chapter 218A to establish a comprehensive system for medical cannabis in Kentucky, including provisions for medical verification of need, persons allowed to cultivate, use, and possess the drug, organizations allowed to assist in providing the drug, regulation by the state Department for Public Health, interaction with state and local governments, including law enforcement, with persons and entities coming within the purview of the Act, and the establishment of required reporting and review procedures; amend KRS 218A.040 to conform; name the Act the Cannabis Compassion Act.

     Jan 7-introduced in Senate
     Jan 13-to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S)

READ AS FOLLOWS:  Direct Link to Bill

For the purposes of Sections 1 to 25 of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Bona fide practitioner-patient relationship” means that:

(a) A practitioner and patient have a treatment or consulting relationship, during the course of which the physician has completed an assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including an appropriate personal physical examination;

 

(b) The practitioner has consulted with the patient with respect to the patient’s debilitating medical condition; and
(c) The physician is available to or offers to provide follow-up care and treatment to the patient, including but not limited to patient examinations;

(2) “Cannabis” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sp., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin or any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of these substances. The term “cannabis” does not include industrial hemp as defined in KRS 260.850;

(3) “Cardholder” means a qualifying patient, visiting qualifying patient, or a designated caregiver who has been issued and possesses a valid registry identification card;

 

In my opinion this is an all out medical marijuana bill with all the regulations, Doctors, Pharmaceutical entities as well as Dispensaries lined up in a row.  Once again, Freedom is not involved here.  It is regulation at its finest through all aspects of the Government.   If it is regulated medical marijuana that a patient is looking for then this would be the Bill for them.  For many people it may be a good thing.  However, it still does not free the Cannabis plant to the general public and the Statutes of controlled substances will still be alive and well with this Bill.

 

This is three options that we have in Kentucky that may or most probably won’t pass this year anyway.  But not one of these options repeals prohibition even on a State level and will still open up persecution of those choosing to use Cannabis which fall short of the guidelines set by the State Government even if one or more of them are passed.

 

I still believe the only way to get society at large out of the mouth of the prison industrial complex for using Cannabis in any form is REPEAL of all laws pertaining to the Cannabis plant!

Prohibition did not work – Neither will Legalization – It is time to REPEAL and nullify unconstitutional Statutes regarding the cultivation and use of Marijuana on a Human level!