Monday, March 03, 2014
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Man Indicted On Three Counts For Assault On Woman
A 48-year-old man has been indicted on one count of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse by force for an attack on a woman that took place on the Gatlinburg Trail in June 2012. He will be tried in April in federal district court in Knoxville.
The indictment alleges that William Seevers attempted to kill the woman by stabbing her in the neck with a knife, and that he engaged in sexual activity with her by force, placing her in fear of death by holding her at knife point and stabbing and punching her when she attempted to flee from him.
If convicted, Seevers faces two terms of life in prison followed by an additional 20 years.
The indictment stems from an investigation by the NPS and the FBI. Click here for the original incident report; click here for the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
[Submitted by U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District Of Tennessee]
NEWS AND NOTES
Death Valley National Park (CA) Furnace Creek Visitor Center Receives Design Award
The Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley National Park has been granted an award of excellence from Docomomo US.
Docomomo US, which stands for the “documentation and conservation of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods of the modern movement,” was founded in 1995 and is a nonprofit organization.
The award is one of Docomomo’s “Modernism In America” awards, the first national program of its kind to celebrate the projects and people working to preserve and rehabilitate significant mid-century modern buildings for continued productive use and to raise public awareness of the ongoing threats to modern architecture and design.
The program seeks to acknowledge the substantial economic and cultural impact such projects had and continue to have on our local communities and to set a standard for how preserving modern architecture can be accomplished. Through the awards program, Docomomo US seeks to bring attention to the many successful local, regional, and national projects, and elevate an appreciation for the value of modern architecture to our cultural and architectural history.
“The quality and variety of the nominated projects submitted for the inaugural year of the Docomomo US Modernism in America awards is inspiring,” said Theodore Prudon, president of Docomomo US, “and speaks to the increasing interest in the cultural value mid-century modern architecture brings to the United States.”
The park received the award for the restoration of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. In selecting the project, the jury noted the exemplary attention to detail in the preservation and expansion of the site: “Receiving a million visitors annually, Furnace Creek Visitor Center is an outstanding example of the National Park Service’s “Mission 66” program.”
“With the recent loss of Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama building at Gettysburg and a number of Mission 66 sites lost or in serious need of restoration, we congratulate the team for recognizing the high architectural and historic value of the complex, committing the funding for its preservation and sensitively restoring, adapting and expanding it for continued productive use,” said architect James Polshek on behalf of the jury. “The Furnace Creek project demonstrates the capacity of modern buildings to be productive, adaptable and sustainable well into the future.”
Built in 1959 by noted Park Service architect Cecil Doty, the buildings’ lobby, restrooms and administrative offices were sensitively expanded. The additions respect the original architecture while character-defining features were preserved and historically significant landscaping was thoughtfully rehabilitated. New pedestrian paving and shade structures were added for visitor accommodation. LEED Gold certification is pending.
“Death Valley National Park is proud to have the Furnace Creek Visitor Center recognized though this award,” said Superintendent Kathy Billings. “A lot of thought and hard work was put in to keep the buildings true to their original design, yet increasing the functionality for modern day users.”
The visitor center was completed and re-opened to the public in November 2012 and contains an array of new exhibits and a new 20 minute park film, “Seeing Death Valley”, narrated by Donald Sutherland.
[Submitted by Cheryl Chipman]
Sitka National Historical Park (AK) America’s Russian Connection Brought To Life In Park
On a crisp Sunday morning in February, a procession of Orthodox clergy filed out from Sitka’s historic Russian Bishop’s House adorned in their finest vestments. The metropolitan of North America was dressed in sky-blue, with his bishops, priests, and attending clergy in golden robes.
All exited the landmark building and walked - as had many of their ecclesiastical predecessors - through the former capital of Russian America to St. Michael’s Cathedral through song-filled air. The event marked the installation of David Mahaffey, Jr. as the new bishop of the Orthodox Diocese of Sitka and All Alaska.
Bishop David’s investiture ceremony linked the rich legacy that ties Sitka National Historical Park not only to the history of Russian Orthodoxy in Alaska but more broadly to the history of Russian America.
As caretakers of the Russian Bishop’s House, the park welcomed Bishop David on Saturday, February 22nd with a tour of the restored Russian America-era built structure along with its splendid chapel. The tour was followed by a tea service during which Superintendent Mary Miller presented the incoming bishop with a commemorative plaque detailing the names all of the Orthodox bishops who had preceded him in service to the Diocese of Sitka and Alaska.
On Sunday morning, Bishop David and his fellow prelates dressed for the procession to the cathedral in the upstairs restored residence of the Russian Bishop’s House. By doing so they paid homage to many notable men who called the Russian Bishop’s House home over the past 171 years, including Bishop Innocent, who was canonized St. Innocent by the Orthodox Church in 1977. Bishop Innocent’s presence and influence in the colonization of Russian American is a fundamental interpretive theme at Sitka NHP.
Sitka National Historical Park enjoys a unique relationship with the Orthodox Church and the community of Sitka. Sitka NHP is the only national park chartered to tell the story of Russian America and the long-lasting local and national impacts of those colonization efforts.
The park preserves this lesser-known portion of American history by maintaining the Russian Bishop’s House as a museum and restored residence. The park also preserves the history of Russian America and its official religion by caring for nearly 400 objects in the museum collection—liturgical items that are curated on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America.
While the Church owns the gilded icons, censers and other ecclesiastical pieces that decorate the bishop’s private Chapel of the Annunciation, under an agreement, the park provides full curatorial care for all of the holy items in the Russian Bishop’s House.
“The ongoing use of the house for ecclesiastical purposes is exciting and emphasizes the importance of the NPS/Orthodox Church in America relationship," said Miller. "It is this ‘living history’ that energizes our ongoing interpretation efforts and brings to life the Russian American period. Special events such as the investment of a bishop only serve to underscore this park’s ongoing mission to preserve the Russian Bishop’s House and its associated significant Russian Orthodox collection for the enjoyment of the American people.”
[Submitted by Rebecca Latanich, email@example.com, 907-747-0132]
Joshua Tree National Park (CA) Superintendent Mark Butler Has Retired
Mark Butler, the superintendent of Joshua Tree National Park since February, 2011, retired last Friday following 37 years of federal service.
Butler began working for the National Park Service in 1976 as a seasonal backcountry information specialist at Yosemite National Park.
Prior to his position at Joshua Tree, Butler spent more than 30 years working at Yosemite, where he served in a variety of capacities, including chief of the project management division, environmental planning and compliance program manager, physical science specialist, American Indian consultation program supervisor, accessibility coordinator, hazardous materials and oil spill response coordinator, and emergency medical technician. He has also served as a utility systems repairer/operator, maintenance worker, log crafter, carpenter, plumber and laborer.
Mark received his masters of public administration from the University of Southern California in 1997 and in 1990 obtained a bachelors degree in soil and water science and environmental toxicology from the University of California, Davis.
Butler says that in retirement he is “looking forward to more time with family and friends, more time supporting nonprofit organizations, and more time enjoying the beauty of the national parks. Work has had a way of interfering with those other important things.”
“Thank you to everyone who worked with me in the spirit of cooperation over the years to accomplish so much," he says. "It is has been a great 37 years working for one of the finest agencies in the federal government.”
Mark and his wife Cathy will divide time between homes in Twentynine Palms, California, and Washoe Valley, Nevada. Please feel free to contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Submitted by Jennie Kish Albrinck]
United States Park Police Navy Yard Shooting Responders Recognized In Ceremony
On Thursday, February 20th, the Park Police held an awards ceremony to recognize NPS and other personnel for their bravery while responding to the Washington Navy Yard shooting incident last September.
The ceremony was held at the USPP Anacostia Operations Facility.
A total of 156 awards were conferred, including three medals of honor, one combat medal, one lifesaving award, 20 awards of merit, and 121 chief’s certificates of appreciation. Nineteen of the later went to outside agencies, including the Metropolitan Police Department, Fairfax County Police, Department of Health and Human Services, Maryland State Police, and Prince Georges County Police.
[Submitted by Sergeant Lelani Woods ]
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 February 28th.
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.
New Public Laws
Nothing to report.
On February 25th, the House passed the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:
- H.R. 1211 (Issa, R-CA-49), to amend section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Freedom of Information Act), to provide for greater public access to information, and for other purposes. The legislation would require the Office of Management and Budget to establish a single FOIA website for making requests and checking on the status of those requests; establish a Chief FOIA Officers Council to review compliance with the act and to recommend improvement; and require additional reports from the National Archives and Records Administration and other agencies. The Department was not asked to testify on the bill. The bill passed by a vote of 410-0.
- H.R. 1232 (Issa, R-CA-49), to amend titles 40, 41, and 44, United States Code, to eliminate duplication and waste in information technology acquisition and management. The bill would increase the authority of federal chief information officers and the CIO Council, establish a collaboration center to coordinate the acquisition of IT products, and require a number of additional reports and analyses by government agencies. The Department was not asked to testify on the bill. The bill passed by voice vote.
On February 26th, the House passed by voice vote H.R. 3308 (Long, R-MO-7), to require a Federal agency to include language in certain educational and advertising materials indicating that such materials are produced and disseminated at taxpayer expense. The Department was not asked to testify on the bill.
On February 27th, the Senate confirmed Michael Connor to be deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior. The vote was 97-0.
On February 25th, the Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Oversight (Whitehouse) held a hearing on “Natural Resource Adaptation: Protecting Ecosystems and Economies". The Department’s witness was Director Dan Ashe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
On February 26th, the House 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 Vic Knox, Associate Director, Park Planning, Facilities and Lands:
- H.R. 503 (Roe, R-TN-1), to authorize the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to establish the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial as a commemorative work in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes. The Department supports the bill with a technical amendment.
- H.R. 712 (Frelinghuysen, R-NJ-11), to extend the authorization of the Highlands Conservation Act through fiscal year 2024. The Administration will be submitting a statement for the record.
- H.R. 1192 (McClintock, R-CA-4), to redesignate Mammoth Peak in Yosemite National Park as "Mount Jessie Benton Frémont". The Department opposes the bill. While Jesse Benton Frémont was among the early supporters of protecting Yosemite Valley, there is no evidence of her having a connection to Mammoth Peak. Both NPS and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names policies discourage the commemorative naming of features within federally designated wilderness.
- H.R. 1501 (Jeffries, D-NY-8), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, as a unit of the National Park System. The monument commemorates the sacrifice of more than 11,000 patriots during the American Revolution. The Department supports the bill.
- H.R. 2569 (Welch, D-VT-At Large), to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Missisquoi River and the Trout River in the State of Vermont, as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The National Park Service is currently conducting a study determine whether the river segments meet the criteria for designation. The Department recommends the committee defer action on the bill until the study is completed.
- H.R. 3222 (Meng, D-NY-6), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the 1657 signing of the Flushing Remonstrance in Queens, New York, and for other purposes. The Flushing Remonstrance is recognized as a forerunner of the First Amendment of the Constitution and an early demand by citizens for freedom of religion. The Department supports the bill.
- H.R. 3802 (Lynch, D-MA-8), to extend the legislative authority of the Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams and his legacy, and for other purposes. The bill would extend the authority of the Adams Foundation to construct the memorial, initially enacted in 2001, until December 2, 2020. The Department supports the bill with amendments.
On February 27th, the House Natural Resources Committee (Hastings) approved the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:
- H.R. 1259 (Larson, D-CT-1), to establish Coltsville National Historical Park in the State of Connecticut, and for other purposes. The bill was amended, among other things, to require written consent of landowners to be included in the park boundary and to remove the establishment of an advisory commission for the park. The Department supports the legislation but has concerns about the version reported by the committee.
- H.R. 3110 (Young, R-AK-At Large), to allow for the harvest of gull eggs by the Huna Tlingit people within Glacier Bay National Park in the State of Alaska. The Department supports the bill but has concerns about the version reported by the committee.
New Bills Introduced
The following bill of interest to the NPS was introduced:
- H.R. 4100 (Cotton, R-AR-4), to amend the Water Resources Development Act of 1992 to permit the collection of user fees by non-Federal entities in connection with the challenge cost-sharing program for management of recreation facilities, and for other purposes.
Upcoming Committee Activity
On March 6th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) will hold a hearing on H.R. 2430 (Pascrell, D-NJ-9), to adjust the boundaries of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to include Hinchliffe Stadium, and for other purposes. The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 AM in 1324 Longworth. The Department’s witness will be Stephanie Toothman, Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science.
For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at http://www.nps.gov/legal/
[Submitted by Susan Farinelli]
Blue Ridge Parkway GS-0025-13/14 Chief Ranger
Blue Ridge Parkway has issued an announcement for a chief ranger.
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 March 20th.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
GS-0025-11 Subdistrict Ranger
Sequoia-Kings Canyon is seeking candidates for a position as subdistrict ranger for the Lodgepole Subdistrict.
Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.
Several other permanent positions are currently open or will soon be announced across all divisions in the parks.
The announcement closes on March 11th, with an anticipated start date in mid-June. For additional information, please contact Sequoia District Ranger Dave Fox at 559-565-3710.