Pit bulls, parolees are the perfect pairing

first_imgThe American Temperament Test Society provides testing for dogs. The 2006 figures put the passing breed scores for pit bulls at 84 percent, a very respectable score. A few dangerous individuals do not make the breed bad, just as a few dangerous men do not make all men bad. The label “pit bull” is actually attached to a group of breeds and mixed-breed dogs which share certain identifiable visual traits. But each purebred has its own temperament breed traits. “Pit bull” is a common name and not a breed. Almost none of the pit bulls found in L.A. shelters are ex-fighters or were bred to be fighters. Most have the same sad story as all dogs that end up in the shelter: They had irresponsible owners. Dogs bite people because of improper socialization and training. Irresponsible people do not socialize or train their dogs. Right now, the breed of choice for the criminal element appears to be the pit bull, but in the 1990s it was the Rottweiler, in the ’80s it was the Doberman, and the ’70s it was the German shepherd. The problem isn’t the breed; it’s the owners. My background is in biology and genetics, and I will tell you that at most only part of one’s temperament comes from genes. The most important part of all of ourselves is our environment. Although there are some dogs of all breeds that are genetically unsound and not safe to own, even most ex-fighting dogs can make safe pets in the correct environment with a responsible and experienced owner. YES, pit bulls can be trained to become more adoptable and better community members! In fact, this is the best way that any shelter dog can be successful in an adoptive home. I do not know Tia Torres, the owner of Villalobos Pit Bull Rescue, personally. But I have been aware of her life’s work for some time. The community-service program she wants to bring to Los Angeles would be a gift to the city. Torres employs parolees in her rescue facility, saving taxpayers’ money and helping parolees find self-worth and new careers outside of lawbreaking. Unfortunately, society has presumed all pit bulls to be dangerous and aggressive just because of their breed. This is patently untrue. Pit bulls are the most popular breed in many cities, including Los Angeles. Naturally, most dog problems will occur among the most popular dog, especially in areas that have poor animal-care compliance. Aggressive and poorly cared for dogs are a people problem, and until this is understood and addressed, a solution will not be found. Programs similar to the one Torres wants to bring to L.A. have proven effective nationwide in getting dogs of any breed ready to be successful in new homes. We need this program in Los Angeles. The Pit Bull Academy is not about turning fighting dogs into baby sitters. It is not about inviting convicts into our society. The parolees who would work in the program are already here, as are the abandoned dogs. Putting these two forgotten groups together will heal a lot of souls. Decent, law-abiding people are made, not born. Most of us learn these qualities at home, but some people need help later in life. How better than giving them an entry-level job to ready dogs for new adoptive homes? Very few people can work alongside dogs for long without benefiting from the dogs’ unique accepting, loving personalities. Along the way, people in this program will learn responsibility and compassion, traits that will help them become better community members. The pit bull is this generation’s outcast, the most abused dog of all time. Abused first by dogfighters and young toughs who lust for personal status, neglected by people who want a guard dog in a bad neighborhood but have no idea of how to live up to the privilege of sharing their life with a dog. Later condemned by their “rescuers” as being born mean, worthy only of being discarded. What person needing a new chance at a lawful life could not relate to this? Like many problems in the greater Los Angeles area, where fear and hate are ever-present, the pit bull and the parolee will not disappear from our landscape. As a community, we must overcome our fears to solve our problems. And we must remember that hate only breeds hate. Kym Delisi has 35 years of experience training and rehabilitating dogs. She writes from Lancaster.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Control erosion and prevent fertilizer loss

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest John Leif, CCA, AgroLiquid Field AgronomistFertilizers can leave a field by several different routes. The route most beneficial to the crop is, of course, uptake and removal by the crop. Unfortunately there are other, less beneficial, routes for fertilizer to leave a field including through soil erosion. Most nutrients applied to the soil erode off of the field when soil is moved by wind or water. That soil, and its attached nutrients, can be deposited in surface waters causing a number of water quality issues. This can be prevented through erosion management and conservation practices. It is a landowner’s job to work towards preventing erosion that leads to water quality problems.There are several erosion management practices that utilize vegetation to trap soil and prevent it from reaching surface water. Vegetative conservation practices can be placed in a production field, around the perimeter, or away from the field near sensitive areas such as rivers and streams. Several common conservation techniques are discussed below. When planning any vegetative practice it is important that the plant species used is adapted to the geography and specific soil conditions and not be considered invasive.One of the most common in-field vegetative practices is a grassed waterway. A grassed waterway is a shaped or graded channel planted to suitable vegetation that directs water to a suitable outlet. The ideal characteristics for a grass species in a grassed waterway is one that has stiff, upright stems that can withstand heavy water flow and sedimentation. A dense stand of stiff stemmed grasses will slow down water flow as it enters the waterway. When water flow slows down the sediment in that water will settle out of the water and remain trapped by the grass. The clean water will then travel down the waterway to the outlet.Grass species common to the Midwest and eastern United States include, but are not limited to, cool season grasses such as bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescues. Species common to the southern United States include, but are not limited to, warm season grasses such as Bermuda grass and sideoats grama.There are several conservation practices that can be installed around a field or near environmentally sensitive areas. Field borders and filter strips are plantings of permanent vegetation using stiff stemmed upright grasses, legumes, and forbs to trap soil particles suspended in wind or water. A combination of cool season and warm season grasses can be used for this purpose. Cool season grasses such as wildrye species, junegrass, wheatgrass species and bottlebrush are considered native to the United States. Those grasses will have fast vegetative growth in the spring and early summer, and again in the fall. Prairie grasses such as big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, and switchgrass are common warm season grasses that can be used, and their fast growth period is from early summer until early fall. Warm season grasses will often have thicker stems than cool season grasses and the senesced stems will usually provide a filtering effect throughout the early spring until cool season grasses grow enough to become effective as filters.If the landowner or manager wants to provide additional wildlife habitat there are many choices of forbs and legumes that can be added to the planting. Forage legumes such as clovers, birdsfoot trefoil, and alfalfa provide diversity in the planting and fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Many forb and wildflower species can be added to supply habitat for pollinator insects. Wildflower planting should have enough species to provide flowering throughout the growing season so that pollinator insects will have a food source during the entire season. Not all wildflowers are attractive to pollinator insects. Refer to local recommendations for species selection.Grasses, legumes, and forbs are not the only plants that can be part of conservation practices that prevent sediment and nutrient runoff from a field. A riparian forest buffer where trees and shrubs planted adjacent to streams and rivers can also serve an important role in protecting surface waters. The trees and shrubs planted against a river or stream will hold soil in place with their root systems and their leaves reduce the impact of raindrops on the soil surface. They can also be used to help stabilize stream banks, provide additional wildlife habitat, and improve overall water quality of the stream or river. Short tree and shrub species may include alders, dogwoods, willows, sumac and elderberry. Tall trees may include maples, birch, oaks, and cypress species. Riparian forest buffers are often installed in conjunction with filter strips.Once a conservation practice is planted and established it is important to perform maintenance on them at various times. Maintenance tasks may include mowing, spraying, burning or pruning. Performing timely maintenance will improve the effectiveness of the practice and extend the life of the planting.There are many resources available to help plan, establish, and maintain these conservation practices. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has information on design and species selection that are appropriate for each local area. There may also be State and local resources in an area to help with this planning.last_img read more

News Headline Roundup

first_imgSeattle Introduces Flexible Demolition Permits to Encourage Building Deconstruction#SEATTLE, Wash. — In hopes of encouraging green building deconstruction, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development has modified the way it issues demolition permits. A new voluntary permitting option will provide more time for green builders to salvage reusable materials from buildings slated for demolition. Rather than requiring simultaneous permits for demolition and new construction, the planning department will now issue a separate demolition permit prior to issuing a new-construction permit, as long as the existing building is being deconstructed and materials are being salvaged for reuse. Among those frustrated by the old permitting process was Pat Finn of RE Store in Ballard. “Being in the reuse industry, we’ve had a hard time getting into some houses to salvage before demolition because the builder, homeowner, or contractor does not get their demolition permits before they get access into the building,” said Finn. “We’re pretty excited that the city is looking for ways to lessen the waste and allow opportunity for more salvageable waste.” For more information, read the report from the Ballard News-Tribune. DOE Proposes Changes to Energy Star Window Criteria#WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy has released the latest version of its proposed new criteria for Energy Star windows. The latest draft of the proposed specification includes the following changes:In the northern zone, the maximum U-factor would change from 0.35 to 0.32.In the north central zone, the maximum U-factor would change from 0.40 to 0.32, and the maximum solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) would change from 0.55 to 0.40.In the south central zone, the maximum U-factor would change from 0.40 to 0.35, and the maximum SHGC would change from 0.40 to 0.30.In the southern zone, the maximum U-factor would change from 0.65 to 0.60, and the maximum SHGC would change from 0.40 to 0.27.To learn more, read:An announcement from Energy Star Program Manager Richard Karney.An article in EcoHome on the proposed criteria.The proposal from the Department of Energy. Ontario Proposes Generous Feed-in Tariffs#TORONTO, Ontario — The province of Ontario has proposed a generous new feed-in tariff for electricity produced by photovoltaic (PV) arrays. The proposal calls for homeowners with PV systems of 10 kW or less to receive 80 cents (Canadian) per kWh for 100% of the array’s electrical production. Read more in an article posted at SolarBuzz.com. States Begin Receiving Weatherization Funds#WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within a few days, states are set to receive the first installment of the weatherization funding authorized by President Obama’s recently passed stimulus package. The federal government will soon be sending states $780 million in the first installment of the promised $8 billion in federal weatherization funding. To see a chart listing the amounts being sent to each state, read the report posted on GreenBiz.com. Energy Star Windows, Weatherization, Building Deconstruction — and More#BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — The “In” box at GreenBuildingAdvisor’s news desk is overflowing, so it’s time for a roundup of news headlines on a variety of topics: Energy Star window standards, a proposed national program to subsidize energy retrofit work, employment growth at Conservation Services Group, an update on weatherization funding, Seattle’s efforts to encourage building deconstruction, the tenth birthday of the EarthCraft Homes program, a Southampton developer’s struggle to get approval for a pea-stone parking lot, Canadian feed-in tariffs, and the Maldives’ commitment to a carbon-free future. Vermont Representative Announces Energy Retrofit Plan#BURINGTON, Vt. — Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) has proposed federal legislation to invest $10 billion over four years in a national initiative to weatherize millions of existing homes and commercial buildings. “Investing in energy efficiency is a practical, commonsense strategy to create jobs, save on energy costs, and do our part to fight climate change,” Welch said. Welch’s bill, called the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance Act, would provide homeowner incentives of $1,000 to $3,000 for achieving a 10% to 20% decrease in residential energy use, with another $150 for every additional percentage point of energy savings achieved. Read more in a report from the Associated Press.center_img EarthCraft Homes Program Celebrates Tenth Birthday#ATLANTA, Ga. — Atlanta’s green building program, EarthCraft Homes, recently celebrated its tenth birthday. Established by the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association and Southface Energy Institute, the EarthCraft Homes program has spread to six Southeast states. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “The program was started after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contacted the National Association of Home Builders about creating standards for energy-efficient construction. As the nation’s largest home builders group at the time, the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association was awarded the job of coming up with a green-building template.” More than 5,200 EarthCraft homes have been built over the last decade. For more information, read an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Town Balks When LEED Builder Specifies Pea Stone, Not Asphalt#SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — When real estate developer Ari Meisel set out to build a LEED Platinum building in Southampton, the town objected to his parking-lot specifications. According to the East Hampton Star, “The Meisels wanted to use crushed pea stone, which filters water and prevents runoff. ‘It was a problem with the town,’ Mr. Meisel said of Southampton. ‘Even though 200 yards away there was the same parking lot, they were pushing for black asphalt, which is terrible for the environment and impossible for LEED Platinum.’” The article quotes State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who said that New York was “way behind” other states in offering incentives or a more enlightened building code. “There were good reasons for the regulatory requirements when they were instituted,” he said, “but with developments in renewable energy and conservation technology, they need to be rethought.” Read more about the case in an article in the East Hampton Star. Conservation Services Group Bucks the Economic Trend#WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Conservation Services Group (CSG), a Massachusetts-based energy consulting firm, is expanding rapidly in spite of the nation’s shrinking economy. Over the past four years, the number of jobs at CSG has increased 111%. CSG contracts with utilities and states to provide a variety of services, including the management of residential energy-efficiency programs. Stephen Cowell, CSG’s chief executive officer, explained, “Energy efficiency is sweeping the country. CSG is now working in states that have not espoused conservation in the past. . . . Our growth is testimony to the increasing awareness, importance, and cost-effectiveness of energy efficiency. It is a very exciting time to be working in this industry.” For more information, read the CSG press release. Maldives Vows to Become World’s First Carbon-Neutral Country#MALE, Maldives — The president of the Maldives has pledged that his country will becomes the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2019. President Mohamed Nasheed made the commitment to a carbon-free future in response to scientists’ predictions that the low-lying Indian Ocean nation, much of which has an elevation of only 5 feet above sea level, will be among the first countries to disappear if oceans continue to rise. Nasheed plans to invest $1.1 billion in wind and solar projects to replace fossil fuel imports. “Going green might cost a lot, but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth,” said Nasheed. Read more in a Reuters News article.last_img read more

4-H Clubs for Military Connected Youth

first_img4-H Military Partnerships with Cooperative Extension help build Community Capacity to support military service men and women and their families.Since October is National 4-H month, it is prime time to talk about 4-H clubs and how they can provide strong support for military connected youth in our communities.Supported by Cooperative Extension professionals, 4-H clubs provide educational experiences to military youth ages 5 to 18 using research based curricula and hands-on activities.4-H  clubs are established on almost every Army, Navy, and Air Force installation worldwide. Military youth living off installation as well as youth of National Guard and Reserve families can find a 4-H club in their community. More than 45,616 Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves youth have participated in 4-H military clubs on and off installations.For more information about 4-H Military Partnerships and 4-H clubs for military connected youth, go to: www.4-hmilitarypartnerships.orglast_img read more