en-US Now that liberal tears have ended the left coast drought,... Here is an old video I trolled up . Dust devil fans the flames as tumble weeds dance spin in the hot air of a sun baked high chaparral landscape HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLOBAL WARMING Sun, 26 2017 16:30:02 GMT Wednesday#039;s Scores Glendale Apollo 76, Scottsdale Chaparral 62 Thu, 23 2017 04:04:28 GMT <p>The week#039;s good news: <em>February 9, 2017</em></p> 1. Within a day of hearing about a dog that needed $400 for surgery, a second grade class at Shawnee Heights Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas, went above and beyond that goal, raising $450. In January, an Australian Shepherd was found abandoned with a broken leg, and brought to the Helping Hands Humane Society in Topeka. The organization posted a video of the dog, named Ryker, on its Facebook page, and requested donations for a surgery to amputate his leg. The students saw the video, and raised $450 overnight. Last Friday, Ryker stopped by to surprise the kids, bringing with him individualized thank you notes for every child. They squealed when he entered the classroom, with one student telling KSNT, "I felt like I was going to cry because I was so happy." 2. At age 3, Ryan Hickman launched his own company, Ryan's Recycling. Now 7, Ryan estimates he has turned in more than 200,000 cans and bottles and raised more than $10,000 for his college fund. Ryan's father, Damion Hickman, told ABC Los Angeles his son became "hooked" on recycling when he visited a recycling center as a toddler, and now collects bottles and cans from friends, neighbors, and clients across Orange County, California. Ryan also sells T-shirts on his website, donating the proceeds to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach "for the sea lions to get food and medicine." The young entrepreneur has a simple message that he hopes will resonate: "If you already recycle, just keep on recycling," he said. "If you don't recycle, start recycling." 3. An elephant sanctuary in northern India is using jumbo-size sweaters to keep its pachyderms warm during a cold snap. When the temperature plummeted, villagers near the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center started knitting brightly colored winter garments for the preserve's 20 elephants, which were rescued from circuses and logging camps. The new sweaters aren't just fashionable, they're also good for the animals' health. "It's important to keep our elephants protected from the bitter cold," said Wildlife SOS co-founder Kartick Satyanarayan, "as they are weak and vulnerable, having suffered so much abuse, making them susceptible to ailments such as pneumonia." 4. History comes alive at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar, California, where Cornelis Greive, an 84-year-old grandfather, has spent more than 1,000 volunteer hours painting murals of Anne Frank, Amelia Earhart, and Albert Einstein. "Cor has added a lot of color and really brightened up our campus," Principal Ron Thibodeaux said. "He's a gem." Greive, who started painting at Chaparral in August, has completed about 20 portraits of historical figures, and typically finishes each piece in about two hours. Greive's granddaughter Grace is a sixth grader at Chaparral, and he says in two years, he plans on taking his brushes and following her to high school. "I enjoy it here at school," he said. "I'm painting the walls and they let me get away with it." 5. When Alex Strand was laid off in December, he decided to go on a life-changing trip — planned entirely by his friends, with the destination unknown until he arrived at the airport. The 32-year-old from San Francisco gave his pals $2,500, and they chose to send him to Nepal and India. Strand left on Jan. 4 for two weeks, and to ensure he was out of his comfort zone, his friends had him stay in hostels and take long bus rides from place to place. He also spent a few nights with a family in Darjeeling, who opened his eyes to life in India. He's back in the U.S. and looking for a new job, but the trip is still with him. "It's given me an appreciation for the need to get out and explore and try new things, and to explore new points of view," he told Today. Thu, 09 2017 20:01:00 GMT A week in the life of P‑22, the big cat who shares Griffith Park with millions of people The lion slinks through the chaparral, a blur of movement in the night. Head held lower than his shoulders, he scours the brush in a ravine just south of Travel Town in Griffith Park. Hind paws land where the forepaws lift. No twig snaps, no crinkling leaf. He’s silent, an ambush predator, always... Wed, 08 2017 11:25:00 GMT 84-year-old artist uses a California middle school as his canvas History comes alive at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar, California, where Cornelis Greive, an 84-year-old grandfather, has spent more than 1,000 volunteer hours painting murals of Anne Franke, Amelia Earhart, and Albert Einstein. Volunteerism at Work! @CMSCougarsDB grandfather Cor Greive is painting a gallery of artwork on campus. Story at: — Walnut Valley USD (@WVUSD_Tweet) February 3, 2017 "Cor has added a lot of color and really brightened up our campus," Principal Ron Thibodeaux said in a statement. "He's a gem." Greive, who started painting at Chaparral in August, has completed about 20 portraits, and typically finishes each piece in about two hours. He said his goal is to make students, staff, and parents proud of Chaparral, and his favorite paintings there are of Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman. "They have a lot in common," he said. "Both were denied higher education, but they stayed grounded. They never had any money but were always giving to others." Greive's granddaughter Grace is a sixth grader at Chaparral, and he also painted several murals at her elementary school (Greive says in two years, he plans on taking his brushes and following her to Diamond Bar High School). "I enjoy it here at school," he said. "I'm painting the walls and they let me get away with it." Tue, 07 2017 07:05:00 GMT Protesters swarm border crossing in San Ysidro over gas prices Thousands of Tijuana residents protesting Mexico’s gasoline price hike marched through the city’s streets Sunday. Later in the day, crowds of demonstrators swarmed the city’s main port of entry  across from San Ysidro at El Chaparral, with a smaller group at the secondary port of Otay Mesa. As... Mon, 16 2017 16:25:00 GMT Basketball: Monday scores BOYS' BASKETBALL NONLEAGUE Eisenhower 56, Temescal Canyon 51 Hillcrest 72, Ganesha 16 Melbourne (Australia) Xavier College 64, St. Margaret's 58 Orange 51, Saddleback 41 Riverside Poly 70, Chaparral 50 Sage Hill 72, Tarbut V'Torah 29 Yorba Linda 81, Frankston (Australia) 68   TOURNAMENTS HENDERSON... Tue, 20 2016 17:05:00 GMT Colombians Struggle to Recover After Decades of Conflict The first in Refugees Deeply’s series “Returnees” finds that peace has come too late for many among the nearly 7 million Colombians displaced by fighting from the fields into the city slums. A half-century of conflict has left Colombia with a string of unwanted superlatives. The longest insurgency in the Americas ended in September 2016 when left-wing guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced the beginning of a bilateral cease-fire with the government. It leaves behind 220,000 dead and nearly 7 million people forced from their homes. There are more internally displaced people in Colombia than in Syria. Jorge Ariza is one of them. He was, like the majority of the conflict’s victims, a peasant farmer, or campesino. It was a life of hard toil in Chaparral, Tolima, a hamlet nestled in Colombia’s central mountain range, long held by FARC rebels. He and his family farmed yuca, the starchy vegetable eaten across the Andean Cone. “We never had any problems with the FARC,” Ariza said. “It’s a rural area completely abandoned by the state, and so the people grew up living with the guerrillas, respecting them.” That changed after the turn of the century when the Colombian military upped its offensive against the rebels. In Ariza’s home area, firefights between the army and rebels became a daily phenomenon. “I would lay awake at night listening to the sounds of bullets and bombs,” he said. “You can’t live like that; you can’t relax.” Ariza fled with his two young children in October 2006, after the military tried to coerce him into giving away rebel locations. “It was impossible for us to remain neutral. I didn’t want to help either side.” Ariza reserves some of the blame for Alvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia at the time. He came to power promising a “firm hand” against the country’s leftist guerrilla groups. His father, a wealthy landowner, had been murdered by the FARC, and many saw his fervor as personal. Uribe was true to his word. He ramped up military offensives against rebels hiding in the mountains and jungles, as well as the cities. Paramilitary groups with links to the state – often acting alongside the army – carried out massacres in rebel-dominated areas, pushing out entire communities. The number of people forced from their homes and communities peaked in 2002, when 412,553 people were forcibly displaced. Since then the conflict has waned. Uribe demobilized the paramilitary umbrella organization the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) in 2006. His successor, President Juan Manuel Santos, launched a tentative peace process with the FARC. Those dialogues, which lasted nearly four years in Havana, Cuba, reached an apparently successful conclusion last week. While Santos’ deal with rebels still needs to be approved by a referendum – the first time in history a peace treaty has been put to the public – many voters are suspicious of the FARC’s intentions. “I don’t know which [way] to vote, or if I even if I will,” said Ariza. “It’s hard to trust anyone in this conflict.” Ariza, like so many of those displaced, headed for Bogota, Colombia’s sprawling, smoggy capital city, hoping to make enough money to buy some land in the countryside and return to farming. He rented a home in Ciudad Bolivar, an overcrowded hillside slum. The neglected neighborhood is home to tens of thousands of displaced people, living in shacks of scrap wood and metal, often sheltered from the elements by asbestos roofs – with few even aware of the danger this poses. Ariza found the adjustment to city life difficult. “Campesinos don’t have the skills for the city, so the only work I could find was in construction.” Those displaced often work in the black economy, constructing ritzy apartment buildings and country houses for Bogota’s wealthy. The work is low-paid and the hours are long. Ariza would make a little less than $9 a day, leaving at 4 a.m. every morning and returning to his children at 11 p.m. After five years, he gave up hope of returning to the rural yuca fields and resigned himself to raising his children in Ciudad Bolivar. “It’s all I wanted, it was my focus, to get back to the fields, to get back to Tolima, but the money was never there.” He now leads a community of the displaced in his adopted neighborhood and manufactures and sells cleaning products after years of barely scraping by on his earnings as a construction worker. Ciudad Bolivar was also home to Olga Betancourt, who works with the National Association of Displaced Persons (ANDESCOL). “It’s a horrible place, because it’s on the outskirts and there’s extreme poverty,” she said in her modest office in downtown Bogota. “It doesn’t feel like you are fully part of the city there.” Betancourt added that the lack of jobs for residents of Ciudad Bolivar leads many to crime and drug addiction. “You can see the desperation on the streets, people with nothing to do.” Betancourt’s own story of displacement began in her home village of El Castillo, in Colombia’s eastern plains. It was ransacked by paramilitaries in 2002, and she ended up in the squalor of Ciudad Bolivar. She found a way to survive in the slum and eventually to escape. Many of her fellow villagers did not. “There were 12,000 people in El Castillo, but today only half remain.” She hopes to return to her home on the plains, as do her family, but she worries about the possibility of repercussions from armed groups there. There are many cases where communities return home and are either driven out again or murdered, she says. “I remember one case, where a collective of 70 people went back to the fields and all of them were massacred.” Her organization ANDESCOL works to provide visibility for such vulnerable communities. There is a legal route to reacquiring land stolen by armed groups, though critics says it is ineffective. Amnesty International has repeatedly called on Colombian authorities to speed up the bureaucratic processes and ensure physical and financial security for those returning. It concluded a 2014 report on land restitution by saying: “Handing over a land title and sending people on their way is not enough.” Viviana Ferro, deputy director of Colombia’s governmental unit for victims, argues that that while there is a comprehensive route to register as a victim and reclaim land or receive compensation, the process is long and many are unwilling to submit to it. “Many people fear the stigma that registering as a victim could bring them,” she said in her office overlooking downtown Bogota, with Ciudad Bolivar in the distance. “Or worse, they fear reprisal from the armed groups victimizing them.” The peace deal, which Betancourt is campaigning in favor of, also promises a fund for returning land to millions of farmers forced to flee but it is conditional on the Havana accords passing a public referendum. The outcome of the vote on October 2 is far from clear. “If there’s a Yes vote, there will be more resources to get people home. It’s for that reason that we are out in the streets every day getting the message across,” said Betancourt. But she worries that decades of atrocities, kidnaps, land grabs and conflict has left her country deeply divided: “Lots of people will vote No because they don’t trust the FARC, but they are not the ones forced to run away from war. They are not the ones who will send their children to fight.” This article originally appeared on Refugees Deeply. For weekly updates and analysis about refugee issues, you can sign up to the Refugees Deeply email list. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. Fri, 16 2016 18:55:45 GMT No News Is Good News: Why We All Need To Go To the Desert Until This Campaign Is Over I just spent a happy week at a place it's possible to detach from the news. If you want to, you can find a newspaper there. You don't want to. Believe me. It's in the high desert, where cellular service is spotty, and it's not in the U.S., so the crazy high roaming charges are a potent deterrent to staying connected. There are some scattered Wi-Fi hotspots, and an Internet Center outfitted with a handful of aging PCs, and the men's locker room has a TV that I suppose could carry cable news, though it always seemed to be tuned to a soccer game. Sometimes you come across a guest who's managed to keep current with the news, and if you're not cautious, a casual chat may tell you more than you want about what's happening in the world, but the natural info flow heads in the opposite direction. You go for a hike before breakfast, get a massage in the afternoon, do yoga or Pilates, linger over a mango, learn to meditate or salsa, read a book in a hammock, and, fairly effortlessly, you find yourself in a buzz-free bubble, doing a digital detox, going on news fast, which is exactly what I had in mind. No Trump. No Clinton. No polls. No tweets. No wars. No disasters. No -- as I later learned -- Anthony Weiner or Colin Kaepernick. Instead, the boulders casting shadows on the mountains, the turkey buzzards riding the thermals, the smell of chaparral. "I kept off Twitter and Facebook, and I sidestepped sauna conversations that veered toward jeopardizing how blissfully out of it I was.." I admit: I cheated. Sometimes I checked my email, to be sure that my electronic unavailability wasn't screwing up something at work (it wasn't), or that some personal emergency wasn't ticking in my voicemail (ditto). But I was fairly successful at stepping out of the media maelstrom, and though I did message some beauty shots to some friends, I kept off Twitter and Facebook, and I sidestepped sauna conversations that veered toward jeopardizing how blissfully out of it I was. Two things surprised me: How determined so many other people I met were to achieve a similar disengagement. And how nauseating it's been to catch up since I got back. Time and again, the Americans I met there told me how sick they were of the presidential campaign, how disgusted and depressed, how frustrated and scared. At a meal, where half a dozen people new to one another might find themselves sharing a table, it was common to hear, "I'm so glad no one mentioned Trump." Or: "I love the New York Times, but I'm so happy I'm not reading it." It was as though the civic virtue of being knowledgeable about current events had been dethroned by the mental-hygiene imperative of decontamination. What was taken for granted in the outside world as a responsibility of civilian life -- the obligation to be well informed -- was reconceived in the desert as a pathology in need of healing. The more you know, the less you are. But back in Los Angeles, re-immersing in the public flow, I could feel the insidious return of the knots in my trapezoids that a masseur's hands had melted. Trump's trip to Mexico, Clinton's emails, Wikileaks, the tightening polls: What therapy, other than isolation or denial, could reach deep enough to penetrate psychic trigger points like those? A wise friend I reconnected with when I returned wrote me this on Labor Day: "Worrying mightily about Hillary, but comforting myself that tomorrow she'll re-emerge from self-imposed exile (while fundraising) and hopefully take better control of the press about her. I'm waiting for this week's polls after Trump's wild and stupid ride last week. Do you have any insight that will offer comfort to an already exhausted observer of this circus?" "The catching up I've done," I wrote back, "has felt like squirts of venom into my bloodstream -- poisonous, paralyzing and scary as hell. The only antidote I can offer is my view that no media you will encounter between now and Election Day will lead you to believe anything other than that it will be a nail-biter. The purpose of media is (sigh) not to inform you, but to grab and hold your attention, and the surest way to lose your attention is to deprive the narrative of suspense.  The more exhausted and uncertain you are, the better it is for the BREAKING NEWS! biz.  You've probably seen it already, but today's New York Times Upshot makes it look like the chances of a Trump win are small. With Trump behind on Labor Day, each day makes it historically more unlikely that that'll change. That doesn't stop me from wanting to throw up or despair several times a day, but having just spent a week free of toxins, I'm hoping that my next wave of revulsion will be a little less overwhelming than before." He mentioned something he was working on, a substantial piece of writing. Maybe your absorption in that process, I wrote, more hopeful than I actually am, "can serve as a baffle between you and the hissing and rattling relentlessly emanating from the ominous buzzy beyond."   I wish I knew how to slay those snakes -- how to restore digital balance to my daily life, how to modulate the intake of fear and factoids that my psyche is hooked on. Observing Shabbat is, of course, an option for one day out of seven; clearly those ancients knew something about overload. And twisting an on-off spigot for a week's vacation can make for a perfect late-summer break. But surely it can't be that the best way to cope with the torrent of disquieting data about democracy that inundates us is to be as disconnected from reality as Donald Trump is. This is a crosspost of my column in the Jewish Journal, where you can reach me if you'd like at -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. Tue, 06 2016 23:47:17 GMT California Blue Cut Wildfire Torches 100 Homes function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrackHPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); By Alex Dobuzinskis LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Firefighters were gaining ground on Friday against a wildfire burning in a Southern California mountain pass that has forced tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes and destroyed about 100 houses, officials said. The Blue Cut fire, named for a narrow gorge near its origin in the Cajon Pass about 75 miles (120 km) northeast of Los Angeles, has blackened 37,000 acres (14,973 hectares) of drought-parched heavy brush and chaparral after breaking out on Tuesday.  The blaze has destroyed 96 single-family homes and 213 outbuildings, according to a preliminary assessment from teams in the field, fire information officer Lyn Sieliet said by telephone. Officials previously said dozens of structures were gutted, without providing exact figures. Officials said firefighters were able to carve containment lines around 26 percent of the blaze as of Friday morning - up from 4 percent a day earlier - in dry, hot and windy weather conditions and treacherous terrain. The intensely burning blaze, which has produced cyclone-like whirls of flame, continued to threaten some 34,500 homes and other structures in communities including the ski resort town of Wrightwood, fire officials said. More than 80,000 residents were told to evacuate their homes on Tuesday. Since then, some people have been allowed to return home, Sieliet said, but she could not say how many. While many residents opted to stay put, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrested three people suspected of attempting to loot from the abandoned homes of evacuees. Transit authorities on Thursday reopened Interstate 15, the primary traffic route between greater Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nevada, after it was closed for two days by the fast-moving blaze. The Blue Cut fire is one of nearly 30 major blazes reported to have scorched some hundreds of square miles in eight Western states this week, in the midst of a wildfire season stoked by prolonged drought and unusually hot weather, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. (Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; editing by Janet Lawrence and Cynthia Osterman) -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. Fri, 19 2016 19:27:48 GMT