Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pristine Sierra Lake Saved From Developers

Years of rumors, threats and intrigue over a little-known Sierra gem, Independence Lake near Truckee, ended last week when the Nature Conservancy closed a $15 million deal to purchase the lake and nearly 2,500 forested acres that surround it.

The result is that the Nature Conservancy will preserve public access, rebuild facilities, and probably develop a walk-in campground.

In the 1980s, the Disney Corporation attempted to buy the lake and convert it into a gated, high-end condo development. More recently, in a little-known saga, a Silicon Valley billionaire tried to add it to his personal empire for $22 million. Shortly after, the Nature Conservancy stepped in to reach a deal with Sierra Pacific Power Company.

The lake has some of the largest brown trout in California, in the 20-pound class, along with 10- to 15-pound cutthroat trout, and is home to one of the world's last two wild populations of Lahontan cutthroat in lakes. In addition, believe it or not, several people have reported sighting a ghost wearing a plaid shirt at the window of a former caretaker's home at the entrance to the lake.

Independence Lake is a deep azure jewel, 2.4 miles long at an altitude of 6,949 feet, nestled in a Sierra canyon north of Truckee. There are no signs to the lake, and it is just remote enough via dirt roads that it can be difficult to find.

The biggest point of contention - the conservancy will not allow motors on boats - has broken a few hearts of anglers who have fished for the lake's elusive giant trout. Though the gate at the small dirt ramp appeared to be opened or locked at random over the years, some Truckee residents have fished the lake with small boats and motors for generations.

"This is our way to prevent or greatly reduce introduction of invasive aquatic species, especially quagga and zebra mussels," said Michael Conner of the Nature Conservancy. "With no motors, you also get a nice serene lake.

"We learned that there are very few Sierra lakes where you can drive up and not hear a motorboat," Conner said. "So you will have a different experience here, quiet, just nature. We think we will serve many uses and have even a more positive user experience."

In June, the feeder creek at Independence has a natural run of cutthroat trout that heads upstream to spawn, when bears emerge from the forest to try to catch them, with bald eagles diving in to scavenge easy leftovers. It's like a scene in Alaska or Yellowstone, and there's nothing else like it in California.


Funding: Northern Sierra Partnership as well as the California Wildlife Conservation Board, California Resources Agency, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, California Trout, Truckee-Donner Land Trust, Trout Unlimited and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., among others.

Tom Stienstra's Outdoors Report can be heard Saturdays on KCBS (740 and 106.9) at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. E-mail him at

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Image & Marley Make "Marijuanaman"

Official Press Release

Berkeley, CA - 1 July 2010 - Grammy Award-winning musician Ziggy Marley is adding another title to his already impressive resume: comic book author.

The first issue of Ziggy's book, MARIJUANAMAN, will hit store shelves across the country on April 20, 2011. In support of his book, Ziggy will be making an exclusive one-day-only appearance at Comic-Con International. On Saturday, July 24, Ziggy will be signing MARIJUANAMAN posters with publisher Image Comics from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at booth #2729. Joining him will be artist Jim Mahfood (MIXED TAPES) and co-writer Joe Casey (GODLAND, OFFICER DOWNE).

Five-time Grammy winner and Reggae icon Ziggy Marley's early immersion in music came at age ten when he sat in on recording sessions with his father Bob Marley. For the next decade, as front man to Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, Ziggy released eight best-selling albums, garnering three Grammys, with such chart-topping hits as "Tomorrow People" and "Tumbling Down." Ziggy's first solo album, DRAGONFLY, was released in 2003, to much critical acclaim.  His second solo release, LOVE IS MY RELIGION, won a Grammy in 2006 for Best Reggae Album. His third solo release, FAMILY TIME, scored him a Grammy in a new category: Best Musical Album For Children.

Now, Ziggy is blazing into the comic world with his latest project, MARIJUANAMAN. Ziggy's new superhero, Marijuanaman, is from a planet that is in desperate need of THC. Marijuanaman seeks to save Earth's marijuana fields from destruction by the drug company PharmeXon, and thus saving his home planet from destruction.

"I have been reading comics since I was a little boy in Jamaica,” Ziggy declares. “I am very excited to be a part of Image Comics, Comic-Con, and the comic book community."
Don’t miss Ziggy Marley's appearance at Comic-Con International 2010, where he will be signing limited edition Marijuanaman posters at Image Comics, booth #2729, on Saturday, July 24, 2010, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The first issue of MARIJUANAMAN will be in stores April 20, 2011. Find out more at

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of four major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Withdraw Nomination of Michele Leonhart to be DEA Administrator

Following Recent Raids, Medical Marijuana Advocacy Groups Call on President Obama to Withdraw Nomination of Michele Leonhart to be DEA Administrator

Obama's DEA Head Must Follow Stated Medical Marijuana Policy, End Obstruction of Marijuana Research, and Base Marijuana Rescheduling on Science Rather than Ideology

CONTACT: Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director, 202-483-5500 or

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, a coalition of organizations supportive of medical marijuana patients and providers (see list of organizations below) are calling on President Obama to withdraw his nomination of Michele Leonhart to serve as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Ms. Leonhart, who is currently the DEA's acting-administrator, has not demonstrated that she is capable of leading the agency in a thoughtful manner at a time when fourteen states have enacted medical marijuana laws and science is increasingly confirming the therapeutic benefits of the substance.
"It is clearly time for President Obama to insist that his appointees adhere to current Justice Department guidelines regarding state laws regulating the medical use of marijuana, and that marijuana be fairly evaluated by all federal agencies, based on science, not ideology," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the nation's oldest marijuana legalization lobby. "The Obama administration should be working with us to eliminate criminal penalties for the responsible use of marijuana by adults, regardless of whether it is medical use or otherwise."

Under Leonhart's leadership, the DEA has staged medical marijuana raids in apparent disregard of Attorney General Eric Holder's directive to respect state medical marijuana laws. Most recently, DEA agents flouted a pioneering Mendocino County (CA) ordinance to regulate medical marijuana cultivation by raiding the very first grower to register with the sheriff. Joy Greenfield, 69, had paid more than $1,000 for a permit to cultivate 99 plants in a collective garden that had been inspected and approved by the local sheriff.
Informed that Ms. Greenfield had the support of the sheriff, the DEA agent in charge responded by saying, "I don't care what the sheriff says." The DEA's conduct is inconsistent with an October 2009 Department of Justice memo directing officials not to arrest individuals "whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana."

Ms. Leonhart has also demonstrated that she is unable to be objective in carrying out the duties of the administrator as it relates to medical marijuana research. In January 2009, she refused to issue a license to the University of Massachusetts to cultivate marijuana for FDA-approved research, despite a DEA administrative law judge's ruling that it would be "in the public interest" to issue the license. This single act has blocked privately-funded medical marijuana research in this country. The next DEA administrator will likely influence the outcome of a marijuana rescheduling petition currently before the agency. It is critical that an administrator with an open mind toward science and research is at the helm.
# # # # #
The following organizations are calling on President Obama to withdraw the nomination of Ms. Leonhart if she does not end the attacks on individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws and commit to making decisions related to medical marijuana based on science, not a personal anti-marijuana bias:
California NORML
Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fela in performance (1971)

NORML's Upcoming Just Say Now! National Conference in Portland, Oregon

Dear NORML Members and Supporters,
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws invites you and your like-minded friends and family members to attend the organization's 39th annual national conference in beautiful, cannabis-tolerant and hemp-friendly Portland, Oregon, Thursday, September 9 - Saturday, September 11.
The national NORML conference is America's largest and oldest gathering of cannabis law reform activists.
With the call to legalize cannabis growing stronger and louder every year in America, this year's apropos conference title and theme: Just Say Now!
The NORML 2010 conference is convening at the historic landmark The Governor Hotel in downtown Portland, right in the middle of the 'free ride zone' for the City's famous and efficient transit system.
Like all previous NORML conferences, leading cannabis law reform activists, elected policymakers, lawyers, doctors, medical researchers, business leaders and educators will deliver speeches, papers and presentations regarding numerous aspects of cannabis.
You can review some of this year's cutting edge conference topics here. Also, you can view past NORML conferences here.
Good News, Bad News Situation...
Bad news first... so popular are NORML's national conferences that a single alert from NORML in March effectively sold out the entire large block of the host hotel's discounted rooms.
The good news however is that steeply discounted hotel room rates have been negotiated for the overflow with a nearby, NORML-supportive hotel ($99/night as compared to $160/night at the host hotel).
Whether traveling from afar or from the greater Eugene-Portland-Seattle area, to make sure that you can attend this year's Just Say Now! national conference, please register online. This year's conference — based on how fast The Governor's rooms sold out — looks to be another sell out, so please do not delay registering for the conference online or by calling toll-free @ 888-67-NORML.
Jack Herer Memorial Expo Hall And Conference Sponsorships Available
Vending tables and unique conference sponsorship packages are available. Check out the information online, call the toll-free number or email for more details.
Previous NORML conferences have been sponsored by physicians, lawyers, accountants, cultivation experts, medical cannabis wellness centers and delivery services, insurance companies specializing in medical cannabis, cannabis education centers and 'colleges', medical delivery device makers, hemp and clothing retailers, as well as pro-reform organizations.
Learn, Love, Enjoy and Focus
Lastly, September 9-11 is a most propitious weekend to convene a NORML conference in Portland, a city with great nightlife (the Northwest Music Festival will be going on when we're in town), a-m-a-z-i-n-g local microbrews and wines, wonderful eateries, arts & crafts and scenery.
Speaking of scenery and local color, September 11-12, Oregon's largest pro-cannabis public event, Hempstalk, is also happening at a nearby state park on a large lawn, surrounded by 100-foot tall evergreens, at the confluence of two mighty northwest rivers, creating a lovely setting for a large pro-cannabis festival and celebration (featuring speakers, music, vendors, food and crafts). Our out-of-town guests may want to stay an extra day to attend Hempstalk.
Worried about the cost of renting a car, getting around Portland, parking and gas prices? Don't be as this is one US city where a car is absolutely not necessary — from the airport to hotel to around town events — Portland's transit system removes much of these concerns and costs.
Whether as a not-to-be-missed yearly cannabis law reform activity, a professional junket or part of one's annual vacation to see amazing places, with really kind folks, please register ASAP for NORML's 39th annual conference in Portland, Oregon this September.
Kind regards,
Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
NORML / NORML Foundation
Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Nature Conservancy's Green Outside Party Kit

Are you hosting a backyard BBQ this summer? Check out The Nature Conservancy's Green Outside Party Kit and learn 5 ways you can throw an environmentally friendly backyard bash.



3.Lawn and Garden


5.Decorations and Supplies

1) Green Food

When it comes to the goodies you serve at your party, there are 3 things to keep in mind: eat local, organic and vegetarian (or vegan).

A summer BBQ without hamburgers or hot dogs, you say? It ain't easy. But eating vegetarian still tops the list of ways you can help the planet. So get creative with your local veggies — shish kebobs are a fun party food and can be made entirely of whatever vegetables are in season. And really, can you think of a vegetable that doesn't taste good grilled?

Speaking of grilling…gas, propane or electric grills all burn more efficiently and cleaner than charcoal or wood.

(Note: if you really can't stomach the idea of a meat-free summer party, make sure you buy meat that's local and organic — it'll cost more, but it's worth it, for your health and the planet's.)

2) Green Drinks

It's 85 degrees outside — don't let you guests go thirsty! Whether it's beer or wine, the greenest rule of thumb is to buy local. Supporting a local microbrewery or winery means you'll significantly reduce the carbon footprint of shipping and transportation of beverages.

When it comes to beer, opt for glass bottles from a local brewery and serve them from a cooler so you're not wasting energy every time you open the fridge. Glass is 100% recyclable and one of the most widely accepted recycled materials! Or ask your guests to bring their own reusable cups and consider having a keg of local beer (kegs are returnable, refillable and recyclable!).

If you're a wine-lover, support local or sustainable wineries, and go organic (a few liquor companies are starting to make organic liquor, too!). And give your guests something to talk about by serving wine from innovative packaging, like Tetra Packs, instead of traditional bottles. These boxes can be recycled and are lighter to ship.

For the kiddos at your party, fill up pitchers with water, homemade lemonade and iced tea instead of buying huge quantities of personal-sized beverage containers. You can garnish the pitchers with mint leaves from your garden!

3) Green Your Lawn and Garden

A backyard BBQ is the perfect time to replace your gas-guzzling lawn mower with an environmentally friendly reel mower. Cutting the grass for one hour with a gasoline-powered mower creates about as much air pollution as a 100-mile car ride. So trim your lawn in style by using a push mower, which is better for the planet and gives you a great workout!

Consider sprucing up your garden by planting native plants a few weeks before the party. Native plants require much less water and fertilizer than non-native plants do. Tight on space? All you need is 4x4 foot area to plant a square foot garden — you'll be able to serve your crops at the party.

4) Green Furniture

The best way to be eco-friendly about your outdoor furniture is to buy used. Need patio chairs and tables? Scour local yard sales (or "tag sales") to find inexpensive items that were probably headed to the dumpster anyway.

But if you want to invest in something new, look for furniture made from recycled materials or sustainably harvested wood. There are a slew of options out there these days — like Adirondack chairs made from recycled plastics to tables made from reclaimed lumber. If you buy new, make sure your furniture is FSC-certified. Find places to buy green furniture at the website Eco-Business Links.

5) Green Decorations and Supplies (don't forget the little things!)

Get creative! Reuse past party decorations, make your own, or pick fresh flowers from your garden to top your table. If you're looking to add extra color or aromas to your greenery, potted plants or herbs can do the trick.

Tableware is often the prime suspect in party waste. Take the reusable route for plates, cups, utensils and napkins. Try substituting a tablecloth with an old bed sheet. And avoid using disposable cups! A Styrofoam cup will always be a Styrofoam cup.

Summertime is often synonymous with pesky insect bites. Prevent your guests from turning into mosquito meat by cleaning out your rain gutters and eliminating standing water sources, all common mosquito breeding grounds. And keep a few eco-friendly insect repellents on hand.

Make post-party clean up a breeze by placing clearly labeled compost, recycling and trash bins around your backyard. It will save you time while encouraging your guests to be eco-conscious at their next summer BBQ!