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About The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current | View This Issue
The INDEPENDENT, March 7, 2012
Published on the first and third Wednesdays of each month
by The Independent, LLC, 725 Bridge St.,
Vernonia, OR 97064. Phone/Fax: 503-429-9410.
Deadline is noon the Friday before each issue.
Publisher Clark McGaugh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Rebecca McGaugh, email@example.com
Printed on recycled paper with vegetable based dyes
Happy with government?
Do you like the way your elected officials are running
Are there things that you would like see done differ-
ently? Do you feel there is nothing you can do to enact
change? Only 52 percent of registered voters in Co-
lumbia County voted in the January 31 election to se-
lect our representative in Congress. Many others did-
n’t even register. Typical excuses for not voting sound
something like this: “My vote doesn’t count, the politi-
cians will do what they want, they don’t care what I
think!” It doesn’t matter if you’re conservative, liberal or
neither, here are some ways to fight voter apathy.
1. Call or write your elected officials. They were
elected to represent you; they need to hear from you.
The Independent publishes a list of elected officials
and their contact information on page 3. Constituent
calls, letters, faxes and emails have changed votes. It
is important to speak up!
2. Volunteer. National, state and community organi-
zations can accomplish great things – but they can’t do
it alone. Volunteer for a local community group –
church, PTA, Boosters, Senior Center, Food Bank, etc.
Your time and talents can make a valuable difference
and you’ll know that you’re doing your part.
3. Stay informed. You can’t make a difference if you
don’t know the problem. Many federal, state and local
agencies have informative, helpful websites.
4. Writing a thoughtful Letter to the Editor about an
issue that concerns you is a good way to reach elect-
ed officials, as well as other voters.
5. Attend a public forum or meeting of your local gov-
ernment. Speak up about issues you care about…ask
questions…demand accountability. It’s your right.
6. Take part in a grassroots action. A rally, a protest,
a signature-gathering drive, a door-to-door can-
vass…all build interest in important issues, and edu-
cate and encourage others to be active. Attend events
and meet others with the same interests.
7. Talk to friends and neighbors about issues you
feel are important. There IS power in numbers, you
can build a community force for change.
8. Vote. None of the above will accomplish anything
if you don’t vote. It’s the easiest, most effective way to
make a difference. Encourage others to vote, teach
your children why voting is important, help others to
register to vote.
By Dale Webb, member
Nehalem Valley Chapter, Izaak Walton League
So far, this winter is
shaping up to be fairly
easy on the big game
populations in our state,
which is a good thing,
they really need it. Tem-
peratures locally are run-
ning just slightly cooler
than last year, but the
rainfall is less. Tempera-
ture and rainfall are factors in how many calories
deer and elk need to burn to keep warm. Obvi-
ously, the more calories they burn to stay warm,
the more need to be replaced by caloric input in
the form of forage eaten. In our region, it is sim-
ply not possible for big game animals to eat
enough forage in the winter to keep up with the
energy needed to stay warm, which is why they
store up fat reserves in the summer and fall.
That is why animal conditioning going into winter
is so important, and why the severity of winters
can have dramatic effects on big game popula-
tions. Another effect of winter severity is repro-
ductive success; in years of hard winters, calf
and fawn births can be expected to be lower.
Added to the loss of fewer offspring is poorer
body condition of the adult females, resulting in
lower pregnancy rates the following year also.
There is no doubt that winter conditions can
have a very dramatic impact on our big game
So how are we doing in regard to monitoring
and analyzing winter impact upon big game pop-
ulations? With the advancement of telemetry
monitored sites all across the state, one would
think that a model for the effects of winter sever-
ity on game populations would be possible, but
to my knowledge, there is no such model being
used by our game managers. Managers do con-
duct fall and spring population composition
counts and get a feel for fawn mortalities, but ob-
viously this method has some flaws since more
than a few of these counts end up with more
fawns in the spring than in the fall. This is not re-
alistically possible. So the answer is no, we
probably don’t do a good job of tracking the ef-
fects of a hard winter on the big game popula-
tions, and probably have an even poorer handle
on actual numbers of losses.
We did have a good shot of snow this winter,
but it was relatively short-lived and probably had
minimal effect on game populations. It is when
snow is on the ground for a considerable time
that deer and elk become stressed due to in-
creased foraging efforts.
I missed out on this year’s main snow event
because Donna and I were out on the Pacific
Ocean, with about 2,000 other people, headed
for the Panama Canal. The coolest tempera-
tures we encountered were while we were stay-
ing in California, but once on the ship, 76 de-
grees was probably as low as it got. I have nev-
er been really out on the open water of the
ocean before; it is a different feeling not being
able to see land. We had five days of sailing be-
fore we made port in Costa Rica, but that did not
mean we didn’t see wildlife. We saw porpoises,
Please see page 13