The Morning Report

Monday, April 07, 2014

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INCIDENTS



Shenandoah National Park (VA)
Two Found Guilty In Major Auto Break-In Case

On October 21st, Shenandoah rangers arrested two people – Florida residents Hataria Whitehead and Stephanie Kantz – who were suspected of committing two vehicle burglaries (‘car clouts’) within the park. Numerous items of stolen property were found inside their vehicle, including various IDs, bank checks, electronic equipment, and over 30 credit cards. Click here to see the original incident report.

The case was transferred to the Investigative Services Branch. The ensuing investigation revealed that the pair had been involved in a type of aggravated identity theft referred to as ‘Felony Lane Gang’ schemes. In summary, the scheme involves breaking into vehicles to steal identification documents, credit cards and bank checks. The perpetrators then cash one victim’s bank checks by using a separate victim’s bank information and identification.

The thieves frequently work in teams and wear disguises in order to appear like their victims. They use the outermost lane at a bank’s drive-thru to make their fraudulent transactions, thus earning the nickname the ‘Felony Lane Gang.’ They also use the victims’ credit card(s) to purchase gift cards that can be later used as cash.

At the time of their arrest, Kantz and Whitehead had in their possession over $3,500 in U.S. currency and 111 gift cards valued at more than $3,800.

Several state and federal task forces exist throughout the country to combat these traveling, Florida-based groups. With the assistance of the United States Attorney’s Office, the United States Secret Service, local law enforcement agencies, corporate fraud investigators and many victims, investigators uncovered evidence which linked Kantz and Whitehead to numerous cases in several different jurisdictions and identified more than 50 additional victims. This evidence was then used to indict them federally under conspiracy and various fraud-related statutes.

Whitehead is also wanted by the state of Florida on burglary and grand theft charges. Knowing he had an active warrant at the time of his arrest, Whitehead falsely identified himself as his brother. His true name was not known until after two court appearances, during which Whitehead testified (and lied) under oath about his identity. He was subsequently charged with two counts of perjury.

Pursuant to the terms of a plea agreement, both Kantz and Whitehead were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud using identification documents of another, conspiracy to commit fraud using access devices, and aggravated identity theft – the proceeds of which totaled more than $70,000.

The aggravated identity theft statute (18 U.S.C. 1028A) carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years imprisonment, which must be served consecutively to any other sentence that is received. A forfeiture provision for the items that were seized in the case was also included in the plea agreements.

Kantz and Whitehead have been in custody since their arrest and are scheduled to be sentenced on June 12th.

[Submitted by Investigative Services Branch]


NEWS AND NOTES



Shenandoah National Park (VA)
New Shenandoah National Park Quarter Launched

The unveiling of the 22nd coin in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, which honors Shenandoah National Park, was celebrated on Friday, April 4th.  The public event took place in the auditorium of Skyline High School in Front Royal, Virginia.

The ceremony included a 200-member elementary school choir, a middle school quartet, and a 16-member high school ensemble performing musical selections.  Guest speakers included U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward, Warren County Administrator Douglas Stanley, U.S Mint Deputy Director Richard Peterson, and Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Jim Northup.

Following the event, the nearly 650 participants present were among the first to exchange their currency for $10 rolls of newly minted and uncirculated Shenandoah National Park quarters.  All children present in the audience received the featured quarter.  Participants in the event where also invited to visit Shenandoah National Park on the first day both visitor centers opened for the season.

The Shenandoah National Park quarter is the second of the 2014 America the Beautiful Quarters® Program series.  The reverse, or tails side, depicts an image of a day hiker taking in the view from Little Stony Man summit.  The series will feature four other national park sites this year.

[Submitted by Leslie Velarde]

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Fire Island National Seashore (NY)
Post-Sandy Science Highlighted At Park Science Conference

Fire Island National Seashore hosted its ninth Biennial Science Conference on March 28th in Patchogue, New York. Recent research and monitoring efforts conducted at the seashore were the focus of the event, including a number of presentations about how the barrier island has changed since Hurricane Sandy.

More than 100 students, citizens, and scientists gathered for presentations on the dynamic barrier island and its inhabitants. Dr. Henry Art, a professor of biology and environmental studies at Williams College who has conducted more than 40 years of ecological research at Fire Island, underscored the dynamic nature of the island in his keynote address, reminding  the audience that while  “the island appears to be staying put, it is moving on all sides and from south to north.”

A wide range of presentations and posters on the barrier island’s natural systems were shared by researchers from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, University of Rhode Island, Rutgers University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, National Park Service, and U.S. Geological Survey. Several presenters highlighted post-Sandy science, from the evolution of Fire Island’s shoreline and wilderness breach to changes in threatened and endangered species habitat and water quality.

The progress of the seashore’s citizen science horseshoe crab study, white-tailed deer behavioral monitoring, and studies of the William Floyd Estate’s eastern box turtle population were also included. The division of interpretation and education also presented a short video on science communication efforts entitled “Sharing the Science of the Seashore”.

Since 1997, Fire Island National Seashore has held its biennial science conferences, a forum for sharing ongoing science with the public. It was evident from the turnout at this year’s conference that there is strong interest in the science that is helping the National Park Service protect Fire Island’s natural and cultural resources.

[Submitted by Elizabeth Rogers, Park Ranger]


Pecos National Historical Park (NM)
Battle Of Glorieta Pass Commemorated

Perfect weather and a fine turnout enriched Pecos National Historical Park's Civil War event over the weekend of March 29th.

Black powder (rifle and canon) demonstrations, authors and historians, children's activities, and van tours of the battlefield helped make the commemoration dynamic and memorable.

New Mexico and the Pecos region played an important role in the outcome of the American Civil War, and this year the park paid homage to the 152nd anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass. The “Gettysburg of the West” marked the farthest western incursion by the Confederacy. 

Visitors experienced the sight and sound of artillery and music by a fife and drum corps, got a look at period military medicine, and had the chance to interact with interpreters attired in period dress who demonstrated life both in a military camp and on the home front. 

The park holds the event during the last March weekend of every year. Van tours of the battle sites are offered each week.

For additional information, contact the E.E. Fogelson Visitor Center at 505-757-7241, check the park website (www.nps.gov/peco), or visit the park's Twitter account at https://twitter.com/PecosNHP.

[Submitted by Patricia Lenihan]


Office of Communications
National Park Week Video Released

The National Park Service has produced a new, 37-second-long video promoting National Park Week, which takes place this year from April 19th to April 27th.

The video can be viewed at www.nps.gov/npweek or on the NPS Facebook page or YouTube site.

Parks and programs are encouraged to share the video through social media. In addition to the links, the video can be downloaded from the nps.gov/npweek page.

[Submitted by Kathy Kupper]


Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs
Weekly Legislative Activities Report

The Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs puts out weekly reports on hearings, new legislation and other activities on the Hill. This report covers activities in Congress for the week ending April 4th.

In order to obtain the full text of any of the bills that appear below, click on the following link: http://thomas.loc.gov/ . That will take you to Thomas, the Library of Congress legislative tracking system. Enter the bill number in the “Search Bill Text” block, being sure to also click on the “Bill Number” option below the block.

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New Public Laws

Nothing to report.

Floor Action

Nothing to report.

Committee Activity

On April 2nd, the House Committee on House Administration (Miller) approved H.R. 863 (Maloney, D-NY-12), to establish the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women's History Museum.  The Department does not oppose the bill but recommends an amendment to delete consideration of an area in the Reserve as a potential site for the museum.

On April 3rd, the House Committee on Natural Resources (Hastings) held an oversight hearing on the Department of the Interior, spending and the President’s FY 2015 budget proposal.  The Department’s witness was Secretary Sally Jewell.

On April 3rd, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies (Calvert) held a hearing on the FY 2015 budget request for the National Park Service.  The Department’s witness was Director Jon Jarvis.

On April 3rd, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Boxer) approved

  • S. 2080 (Cardin, D-MD), a bill to conserve fish and aquatic communities in the United States through partnerships that foster fish habitat conservation, improve the quality of life for the people of the United States, enhance fish and wildlife-dependent recreation, and for other purposes.  The Department has not testified on the bill.

On April 4th, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) held a hearing on the following bills of interest to the National Park Service.  The Department’s witness was Pamela K. Haze, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Budget, Finance, Performance, and Acquisition:

  • H.R. __ (Bishop, R-UT-1), to amend the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act to improve consistency and accountability in the collection and expenditure of Federal recreation fees, and for other purposes.  The draft bill would extend the authorization of the recreation fee program for five years and make several changes in terminology and conditions under which the land management agencies collect fees.  The Department recommends providing permanent fee authority and more administrative flexibility, and is continuing to review the draft legislation.
  • H.R. 2743 (Nugent, R-FL-11), to make the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass available at a discount to certain veterans.  The Department supports the intent of the bill to honor veterans and, if the committee moves forward with the bill, would like to address logistical, cost and other implementation issues.
  • H.R. 3976 (Ruiz, D-CA-36), to provide for a lifetime National Recreational Pass for any veteran with a service-connected disability, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the intent of the bill to honor veterans and, if the committee moves forward with the bill, would like to address logistical, cost and other implementation issues.

New Bills Introduced     

The following new bill of interest to the NPS was introduced:

  • H.R. 4353 (Gardner, R-CO-4), to require the Director of the National Park Service to refund to States all State funds that were used to reopen and temporarily operate a unit of the National Park System during the October 2013 shutdown.

 Upcoming Committee Activity

On April 9th, the House Committee on Natural Resources (Hastings) will hold a markup.  The bills on the agenda have not yet been announced.  The meeting is scheduled for 10:00 AM in 1324 Longworth.

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For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at http://www.nps.gov/legal/

[Submitted by Susan Farinelli]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Southeast Region
ES-0025 Everglades Superintendent (Detail)

Southeast Regional Office is seeking applications from highly skilled permanent GS-14 and GS-15 National Park Service employees interested in serving on a detail assignment as the acting superintendent of Everglades National Park. 

This assignment is a noncompetitive detail for up to 120 days and will include travel and per diem, as appropriate. The detail announcement number is NPS-SES-14-06D. It is not on USA Jobs.

This assignment provides an excellent opportunity for career development and growth. Candidates should be highly motivated and possess a high degree to initiative and strong analytical skills.  

The person selected will manage a large complex park operation in a major national park that lies in south Florida.  Responsibilities include:

  • providing leadership, policy development and enhancement of the parks science program  for the protection of the  large and diverse natural ecosystem  within the park;
  • fostering strong partnerships  with other federal agencies, the state of Florida, non-governmental agencies and local tribal governments to work cooperatively toward the restoration of the Everglades; and
  • leading large, complex landscape conservation efforts.

Southeast Regional Office is looking for an individual with a proven track record of working with high performing  teams, who possesses strong communication and interpersonal skills, has an understanding of and experience in managing major park  resources, has successfully managed complex natural resource and science programs, and has managed a large highly skilled workforce.

An employee serving in this assignment may later apply for consideration when the position is advertised on a permanent basis.  A detail will not affect the applicant’s ability to be considered for the permanent position when it is advertised.

Applicants must have a fully successful or higher rating on his or her most recent performance appraisal to be considered.  Candidates will be assessed and referred for consideration.

Candidates who apply and are found eligible for a position may be considered for this detail opportunity.  Please note employees detailed to a Senior Executive Service (SES) position do not receive a higher rate of pay or temporary promotion during the detail.

Permanent employees desiring consideration should submit a letter of interest and an abbreviated resume, no more than two pages in length. Please summarize experience you have had, including but not limited to those areas listed above.  Also indicate your skill and ability in managing an organization through subordinate levels of supervision, including managing human and financial resources.  Interested employees must include the following information:

  • Detail Announcement Number (the announcement number, as noted above, is NPS-SES-14-05D; this is internal to the NPS only and is not listed on USA Jobs)
  • Name, Title, Series and Grade
  • Current Duty Station
  • A letter of support from your immediate supervisor, no more than one page in length. 

This information must be emailed by 11:59 p.m. on the closing date to: patricia_casey@nps.gov. Individuals interested in seeking additional information are encouraged to contact Patricia Casey at 202-354-1978 with any questions.

It closes on Friday, April 25th.

Midwest Region
GS-0340-13/14 Natural Resources Program Manager

Dates: 04/03/2014 - 04/16/2014

Midwest Regional Office has issued an announcement for a natural resources program manager.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information and procedures for applying.

It closes on April 16th.

[Submitted by Barbara Golden, barbara_golden@nps.gov, 402-661-1642]

 More Information...
Shenandoah National Park (VA)
WS-5716-10 Engineering Equipment Operator Supervisor

Dates: 04/01/2014 - 04/14/2014

Shenandoah National Park has issued an announcement for an engineering equipment operator supervisor.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

It closes on April 14th.

[Submitted by Kevin Crisler, kevin_crisler@nps.gov, 540-999-3500 ext. 3552]

 More Information...
Pacific West Region
GS-12 Human Resources Specialist (Lateral)

Dates: 04/04/2014 - 04/13/2014

The Pacific West Regional Offices and Pacific Islands (PWROPI) Servicing Human Resources Office (SHRO) is seeking interested candidates for a full time permanent Human Resources Specialist position located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located 35 miles southwest of Hilo (population approx 50,0000) on the Island of Hawaii.  Headquarters and residential areas are at an elevation of 4,000 feet on the summit of Kilauea Volcano. The cost of living is 15-35% higher than the continental US. Temperatures vary from 42-76 degrees throughout the year and rainfall averages 95 inches annually. Mountain View (15 mi. NE) has an elementary school (kindergarten through 6th grade).  Keaau (22 mi. NE) has a middle school (7th and 8th grade) and a high school. Hilo has private schools, a 4-year university and a 2-year community college. Volcano Village (2 mi. NE) has two grocery stores, a hardware store, and gas stations. Our smaller more rural communities of Pahala and Naalehu have K-12 schools, a medical facility, and small shopping conveniences. Complete shopping, medical facilities and commercial transportation are available in Hilo. Government housing is not available. Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses are authorized in accordance with appropriate federal regulations.

This position serves as a senior Human Resources Specialist performing the full range of advisory and operational services in recruitment, staffing, classification, position management, performance management, compensation, and processing.

Applications will be accepted from competitive National Park Service employees currently (or formerly) at the GS-12 grade level or above, or in a career ladder FPL GS-12 position with career or career-conditional status. Interested individuals should submit the following:

  • A resume or application
  • A copy of your latest performance appraisal
  • A copy of your SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action (non-award),  that indicates your title, series, grade (with FPL if applicable), and step
  • At least three professional references with contact information

Submit your application materials via email to Sandra_Kier@nps.gov no later than April 13, 2014. Please include “HAVO Lateral Opportunity” in the subject line of the message.

Please contact SHRO Lead Sandra_Kier@nps.gov (415-623-2169) or HAVO Administrative Officer Leanette_Yoshida@nps.gov (808-985-6005) with any additional questions you may have.

[Submitted by Sandi Kier, sandra_kier@nps.gov, 415-623-2169]