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February, 2003

NEWS

Phil Arnot Photographic Exhibit

Starting on Jan. 18 and extending to March 15, Phil Arnot, former track star, combat veteran of World War II, educator, author, activist and wilderness guide, for which he is most known, will present a photographic exhibit at the Two Bird Restaurant at the Valley Inn in San Geronimo. The exhibit consists of a mixture of photos taken over a 60 year period including unique wilderness pictures, original pictures from World War II, a few social commentary photographs from the 1960s, pictures of Nicaragua during the period of civil war between the Sandinistas and the "Contras." Also included in the exhibit will be a few historical and current pictures of San Geronimo Valley. Pictures may be purchased at the restaurant which is open every day of the week except Monday and Tuesday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Arnot will be available for an open house at the restaurant on Sunday, Feb. 2 from 4 to 6 p.m.

As a mountaineer, Arnot has climbed and explored in Alaska, the Andes, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades of Oregon and Washington, New Zealand and numerous other wilderness areas. As a guide, he has led over 100 backpacking and peak climbing excursions in the Sierra Nevada and Alaska since 1955.

Phil has written The High Sierra, John Muir's Range of Light, which is a culmination of 55 years of exploring all parts of that hallowed range. In addition, he has written Exploring Pt. Reyes; Pt. Reyes Secret Places, Magic Moments; Yosemite Valley, Secret Places and Magic Moments, and Mystique of the Wilderness, a photographic essay.

In World War II, Arnot was a 20-year-old B-17 co-pilot and, as such, flew 21 bombing missions to German industrial targets. His gallery will include a few pictures from that era in his life. Most will be aerials, but there is one of then King George, Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth) during the 10-12 day victory celebration in London in May of 1945.

Sonar Experiments to Target California Gray Whales at Height of Migration Off the California Coast

On Jan. 8, a research vessel off the California Coast will begin targeting up to 3000 migrating gray whales with extremely loud blasts of sonar in a series of US Navy-sponsored experiments scheduled to run for three weeks. The experiments, timed to take place at the height of the annual gray whale migration from Alaska to Mexico, will target individual gray whales with powerful sonar beams of up to 210 decibels in order to determine the whales' hearing tolerance and "avoidance behaviors." These levels will be as much as a million times louder than levels considered safe for whales and other marine life by many expert marine mammal biologists. The research calls for bombarding the whales with high levels of sonar at increasingly lower frequencies until they are harassed to the point of breaking off their migration path to avoid the sonar. There is no plan to follow up on the exposed whales, or even to identify them.

It is anticipated that findings from the research will be used by the US Navy to gain public support for the deployment of Low Frequency Active Sonar and other sonars in more than 80 percent of the world's oceans. The proposed experiments, beginning this week and focused specifically on gray whales, won't explore or take into account the possible effects of extremely loud sonars on other ocean life in the area, such as fish or marine mammals, including dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals, and sea otters. No safeguards for any other species are even discussed in the research proposal.

"People don't realize that animals of the oceans rely on sound to see," said Michael Stocker, Acoustician and Seaflow Board Member. "The ocean environment is getting noisier as a result of increased military and industrial use of sonar and other sound blasting programs. By polluting their acoustic environment, these animals are being blinded, and we are compromising the whole web of life in the ocean," he said.

Since being de-listed as an endangered species in the 1990s, the gray whale population has suffered, according to a report by the US delegation to the IWC (International Whaling Commission) at the 2002 meeting. With numerous strandings in 2000 and 2001, along with calf numbers down by 80 percent in 2000 and sightings of many emaciated whales, marine biologists have become concerned about the diminishing population. A prolonged and invasive sonar experiment on the gray whale migration could well harm an already stressed species.

A coalition of environmental groups is in court today attempting to seek an injunction to halt the research on the grounds that the experiments are based on faulty permitting and are in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and other existing environmental laws.

Advocates for the Elderly Release Consumer Guide on Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse

The California Attorney General's Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (BMFEA) and Crime and Violence Prevention Center (CVPC) today joined with AARP in announcing the release of a comprehensive consumer guide to help Californians protect their elderly relatives and friends.

The booklet, "A Citizen's Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse," provides helpful hints on how to detect the most common warning signs of physical, emotional and financial elder abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities. The 36-page guide also offers guidance on ways to protect yourself and loved ones from becoming a victim and contains a list of valuable web sites and other resources for additional advice and information.

Collin Wong, executive director of the Attorney General's BMFEA, said selecting a residential care or skilled nursing facility can be an extremely difficult process for a senior and his or her family. One segment of the booklet provides helpful information about making this important decision.

This guide represents the first in what will be other outreach programs funded by a three-year, $6 million grant received by the Attorney General's CVPC to create a statewide Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Media Awareness Campaign. The CVPC Director said about 225,000 cases of elder abuse occur every year in California. But it is estimated that for every case of elder abuse reported, five more are not.

The guide is now available in English, but Chinese and Spanish versions will be published within 60 days. The guide and other information on preventing elder abuse is available online at www.ag.ca.gov/bmfea and www.safestate.org. Consumers also may have copies of the guide mailed to them by writing the Office of the Attorney General, c/o Crime and Violence Prevention Center, 1300 I Street, Suite 1150, Sacramento, CA 95814. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery.

 

 

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