The Morning Report

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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INCIDENTS



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NEWS AND NOTES



Vicksburg National Military Park (MS)
Park Commemorates Anniversary Of Vicksburg Riots

On December 7, 1874, one of the uglier incidents during Reconstruction occurred in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

On that day members of the White League, a white supremacist terrorist organization which was the military arm of the Democratic Party in the South during Reconstruction, opened fire on a crowd of African American men who had marched on Vicksburg to free Peter Crosby, the illegally jailed Warren County sheriff and a former sergeant in the United States Colored Troops.

These events became known as The Vicksburg Riots, or The Vicksburg Troubles.

This began a month of violence throughout Warren County that led to the confirmed shooting or lynching of 29 African Americans. An unknown number of men simply disappeared and were assumed murdered as well.

These executions were almost always carried out in broad daylight, with no attempt to hide who the perpetrators were, and oftentimes with the families present as their loved ones were killed. Family members were threatened with similar treatment if the bodies were cut down or buried.

Order would not be restored until mid-January when Federal troops arrived. Sheriff Crosby would be murdered by his white deputy later that summer after the troops were gone. This was part of a series of events that would subjugate African Americans throughout the South for almost a century. It would take the Civil Rights movement to finish what had been started during Reconstruction.

Vicksburg National Military Park partnered with the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, Eastern National, and the Jaqueline House African American Museum to mark the 140th anniversary of these incidents with two days of special programming.

On Saturday, December 6th, a symposium was held at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Vicksburg, the oldest African American congregation in Vicksburg. The church’s second pastor was Hiram Revels, who later became the first African American United States Senator.

Experts from across the country came to speak at the symposium on various topics that dealt with either the riots or Reconstruction in Mississippi.

Yolande Robbins of the Jacqueline House African American Museum in Vicksburg began the symposium by speaking about The Vicksburg Troubles in local memory. She was followed by Dr. Brooks Simpson of Arizona State University, who spoke about President Grant and Mississippi Governor Adelbert Ames during the period.

Dr. Ronald Davis of California State University – Northridge spoke next on the African American perspective on Reconstruction. The afternoon session began with Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens of Queens College speaking about the experiences of the newly freed in Mississippi.

The final speaker was Prof. Nicholas Lemann of Columbia University, who spoke on the riots and the events leading up to them. This was followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Park Guide Jake Koch and involving all the speakers, as well as Vicksburg National Military Park’s own Dr. David Slay. Up-to-date photographs of the programs were shared on the park Facebook page by Park Guide Will Wilson.

On Sunday, December 7th, an interpretive program featuring the use of facilitated dialogue was presented by Park Guide Jake Koch. This was held in the park near the Old Jackson Road, where a portion of the fighting on December 7th occurred, as well as within sight of the Shirley House, where some reports indicate men fleeing the fighting hid for safety, only to be dragged outside and lynched in the front yard. The interpretive program was followed with a wreath laying by Yolande Robbins and Vicksburg Superintendent Mike Madell.

Although the topic of the weekend’s programs was somber, all who attended were appreciative. Some attendees had lived in Vicksburg their entire lives and had never heard of the riots. It is hoped that these programs will lead to more discussion of the events surrounding the Vicksburg Riots.

There is already discussion within the community of placing historical markers at some of the key locations where the riots took place.

Video of the symposium presentations will soon be available on the park’s YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/vickburgnmp).

[Submitted by Jake Koch, Park Guide]


Northeast Region
Tri-Regional Safety And Health Training Session Held

What happens when the National Park Service gathers dozens of safety-minded employees in one room for a week? 

During the first week of December, the NPS did just that in a course sponsored by Northeast, Southeast and National Capital Regions. Approximately 125 NPS safety coordinators/CDSOs, safety managers/specialists and members of safety committees gathered at NCTC to discuss the future of the NPS safety program and to encourage each other. 

Implemented by a talented and dedicated team of NER/NCR/SER employees, the attendees heard from Director Jon Jarvis, Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell, NER Regional Director Mike Caldwell, NER Deputy Regional Director-Operations Gay Vietzke, and welcomed subject matter professionals, including NPS folks with vast field experience.  The assurance of support from the leadership was both heard and welcomed.

The training agenda achieved a delicate balance between practical how-to sessions and philosophical/leadership sessions.   Presenters freely shared personal stories, often heart wrenching, from their own NPS careers. 

Superintendent Mark Woods of Blue Ridge Parkway spoke movingly about losing a seasonal maintenance worker to an entirely preventable accident.  Everyone in the room sobered to think not only about the life lost, but about the stress on those left behind.  Stories like Mark’s brought safety into sharp focus – it’s not abstract, it’s about making certain all employees, volunteers, interns, and visitors go home in good health at the end of the day.

In order to achieve that goal, presenters spoke about preventing slips and falls; about monitoring tree safety, protecting against blood borne pathogens, monitoring industrial hygiene conditions and other measures to enhance safety.  Equally important, sessions focused on how to develop a safety plan and a safety culture.  Top to bottom, bottom to top safety is everyone’s responsibility and everyone has authority in that area.

 Although all of the experts’ time was much appreciated, an equally rewarding aspect of the week was the opportunity to share experiences, ideas, and vision with other like-minded individuals.  Numerous conversations occurred at evening sessions, breaks, meal times (we endured the food at NCTC) sharing stories of safety failures and safety successes.  

Valuable suggestions emerged from seemingly random conversations, such as:   how to deal with those who ignore safety, how to get buy-in from long-time employees who think it’s silly and how to mitigate safety hazards without disrupting operations. These produced fruitful, energetic and sometimes contentious conversations.

What happens when the National Park Service gathers dozens of safety minded employees in one room for a week?   In parks across the country, a new “can do” spirit will be obvious in the weeks and months to come.  The unofficial motto of the conference: “If not me, then who?  If not now, then when?”

[Submitted by Cyrille Ann Young, Regional Safety & Occupational Health Manager, NER]


Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (DC,MD,WV)
John Noel Selected As Deputy Superintendent

John A. Noel has been selected as the park’s new deputy superintendent. He assumed his new duties in mid-November.

As deputy superintendent, Noel will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of C&O Canal, which directly impacts the experience of more than five million annual visitors.

The diversity of Noel’s responsibilities is evident in the unique characteristics of the C&O Canal’s resources and operations, which range from interpretive, education and volunteer programs, to protecting and preserving thousands of natural and cultural resources in the 184.5 miles of park spanning the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia.  

“As the national parks approach their centennial in 2016 and plan for a second century of engagement with the American public, John is ideally qualified to serve as the park’s deputy superintendent,” said Superintendent Kevin D. Brandt. “John is an experienced manager who has taken on increasingly more challenging positions and performed transformational work to develop interpretive and educational programs that reach new audiences and utilize new technologies to build relevancy.”

During his 14 years working for the National Park Service, Noel has held several positions at C&O Canal. In 2001, he began volunteering at the park’s Williamsport Visitor Center before joining the park staff as its volunteer coordinator, where he built a robust volunteer program that won the highest recognition among national parks and federal agencies.

As the park’s partnership coordinator, Noel brought more than $3.5 million into the park through partners. His success eventually led to the establishment of a division of partnerships and volunteers, where Noel brought more than $12 million to the park for a variety of historic preservation projects.

Since 2012, Noel has served as the chief of the division of interpretation, education and partnerships, where he has led the merging of two divisions, revamped the interpretive and educational programs, developed and implemented a digital media plan, and managed day-to-day operations throughout the park.

“I am pleased to accept the responsibilities of managing park operations,” said Noel. “I most look forward to working with a great team of staff, partners and local communities as we serve millions of visitors each year.”

Noel is a native of the DC area and a graduate of Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he earned a BS in accounting with a minor in finance. Post-graduation, he became a certified public accountant in Maryland and earned a professional certificate in historic preservation from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Prior to working for the National Park Service, Noel had a successful 18 year career in sales and accounting. He resides with his wife and children in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

[Submitted by Hollie Lynch]


Northeast Region
Mary Clifford Will Retire This Month

Mary Clifford, a budget analyst in Northeast Regional Office, will retire this month.

Cliffod began her career in the National Park Service as an interpretive park ranger at Independence National Historical Park. She guided tours of historic homes and led portrait gallery tours within the historic Second Bank of the United States.  

Being a park ranger afforded her some unique experiences.  “Some of the special events included meeting Queen Elizabeth, Jimmy Carter, and the moving of the Liberty Bell on New Year’s Eve,“  she recalled.

Clifford then transferred to the newly established Valley Forge National Historical Park.   For over 13 years, she oversaw all visitor center operations.  During this time, she designed a successful student education programthat is still in use today.  She also performed collateral duties in public relations.

Clifford switched gears when she joined the administrative division at Fort Stanwix National Monument.  Her assignment included budget management, human resources management, and procurement.  When asked about her working environment, she quipped, “not everyone can say that their office was located in one of the fort’s reconstructed huts.”

For the last 15 years, Clifford worked as a budget analyst in the regional office located in downtown Philadelphia. She maintained the budgets for the regional director and the administration division.  She also coordinated the regional transit program and assisted parks throughout the region with financial transactions.  

During her tenure, Clifford has been “indispensable to the financial operations of the Northeast Regional Office,” said Regional Director Mike Caldwell. “She will be missed.”

When asked what she would miss most about the park service, she grew nostalgic.  “Along the way, I have met some wonderful and very interesting people with whom I will call friends for life,” she said.

In retirement, Clifford plans to watch her two great nieces grow up, travel more extensively, complete several home projects, and pursue volunteer opportunities.

[Submitted by Colin Betts, colin_betts@nps.gov, 215-327-9859]


Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (KY,TN)
Ranger Barry Melloan Retires

The staff at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area congratulates Ranger Barry Melloan on his 27 years of dedicated service to the National Park Service.

Barry began his career at Mammoth Cave National Park as a seasonal laborer in 1987.  He attended Southwestern Community College’s seasonal law enforcement academy in Sylva North Carolina in 1988, and took his first NPSe law enforcement job that summer at Ozark National Scenic Riverways. 

After that he worked as a law enforcement ranger at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Redwood National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park and Morristown National Historical Park before landing at Big South Fork NRRA in 1995.

During his 19 years at Big South Fork, Barry was heavily involved with land issues. With several thousand acres of differed land, the park is continually dealing with land issues.  Anytime a land issue would arise the park staff knew that Barry was the go-to guy.  By working so hard on land issues Barry made several timber theft cases and encroachment and resource violations throughout the park.

 Barry’s hard work and wit will be missed.

[Submitted by Randy Scoggins, Chief Ranger]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Yosemite National Park (CA)
GS-0025-12/13 Deputy Chief Ranger

Yosemite National Park has issued an announcement for a deputy chief ranger

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

For specific area and housing information or information directly pertaining to vacancy status, please contact  Chief Ranger Kevin Killian at 209-372-0211 or Kevin_Killian@nps.gov.

It closes on January 5th.
 More Information...
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park (GA)
GS-0025-12 Chief Ranger (Detail)

Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is seeking applicants interested in a temporary 90 day detail (NTE 120 days) as the park’s chief ranger.

As chief ranger, the person selected will be responsible for overseeing the park’s law enforcement and emergency service programs, including wildland fire, structural fire, EMS, boat operations and search and rescue. She/he will also serve as the park’s safety officer and oversee a new volunteer program by leading park volunteers assigned to the branch, including trail volunteers and bicycle volunteers.

Work will be performed in a 9000+ acre federal park of concurrent jurisdiction that receives over one million visitors annually.  Ranger staff responds to over 400 incidents per year. 

The tentative start date will be February 8th. This is a temporary 90 day NTE 120-day detail. Salary, travel and per diem will be covered by Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP, including temporary promotion to GS-12 if candidates are at the GS-11 grade. No park housing is available in the park, but there are a number of lodging choices to select from within the greater Chattanooga area. The temporary duty station for this detail opportunity is Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Selectee is entitled to temporary duty allowances in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations.

Park headquarters is in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, located 10 miles south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and centrally located to all major mid-south localities. Summers are hot and humid with average highs in the upper 80's; winters are mild with the highs in the mid-50's. Housing in the area is plentiful and reasonably priced. Government housing is not available. Cost of living is moderate. Public schools are easily accessible and include "Schools of Excellence". There is a variety of higher education institutions located near the park including community and four-year colleges as well as universities.

If your current position is covered under FERS special retirement provisions for law enforcement officers or firefighters [6(c)], you will continue to be covered under the special provisions for the duration of this detail.

If you are selected, you will obtain training, equipment, support services and supervision required to safely and successfully complete the park’s mission. The selectee may be required to work occasional nights, weekends, and holidays.

Candidates must meet the following requirements :

  • NPS Level I Law Enforcement commission.
  • Supervisory experience is highly desired.

The following certifications that are desirable, but will not preclude an applicant from consideration if not yet obtained:

  • NREMT-Basic certification or higher
  • Acceptable fitness (PEB) score according to NPS standards

Key requirements:

  • OF-612, Optional Application for Employment; Resume, or equivalent.  Please include all experience, training and/or education related to the position.
  • Copy of most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action.
  • Copy of your most recent performance appraisal.
  • Letter of support from candidates’ supervisor

Interested individuals should submit application package via email by close of business on January 7th to  marcus_banks@nps.gov   Marcus Banks, Administrative Officer, Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP.

For more information regarding the position, please email or contact Superintendent Brad Bennett at Brad_Bennett@nps.gov or 229-591-3972

Northwest Servicing Human Resources Office
GS-12 Human Resources Specialist (Detail)

Northwest Servicing Human Resources Office has posted an announcement for a detail of up to 60 days for a human resources specialist (recruitment, placement, staffing, and classification).

It is open to current career/career-conditional NPS HR specialists at the GS-12 level. The duty station may be either Mount Rainier National Park (Ashford, Washington) or Olympic National Park (Port Angeles, Washington). 

The anticipated start date is January 11th.

For the first 30 days of the detail, the Northwest Servicing Human Resources Office will pay travel, lodging (temporary quarters to be provided at site), and per diem for the assigned duty station. During the second 30 days of the detail, the selectee will return to his or her official duty station and continue to perform the duties to complete the detail.  

Interested candidates should have experience in providing recruitment, placement, staffing and classification services for assigned organizations; interpreting and applying human resources regulations, policies, and procedures related to staffing and pay administration; advising management on how to effectively utilize staffing flexibilities; developing recruitment strategies; conducting job analyses; preparing and posting job announcements using the OPM USA Staffing automated staffing system; screening applicants for basic qualifications; adjudicating Veterans Preference; referring qualified candidates to selecting officials; providing advice and guidance to selecting officials on determining best qualified candidates; using databases and automated systems to track and report recruitment data; providing advisory services to managers in the preparation of classification packages, and review and submittal of classification documents using ONTRAC. 

A "detail" is a temporary assignment to a different position for a specified period of time.  While on detail, the employee continues to hold his/her official position, including status, grade, and pay.  At the end of the temporary assignment, the employee returns to the official duty station.

The announcement is open through December 27th. Interested candidates should have approval from their official supervisors and submit the following via email by the closing date to: NWSHRO_Staffing@nps.gov

  • Current resume
  • Most recent SF-50 (non-award)
  • Letter of interest
  • Endorsement letter from supervisor

Questions regarding this assignment may be directed to Wendy Little, NWSHRO supervisor (wendy_little@nps.gov or 360-569-6521) or Linda O'Sullivan, NWSHRO staffing program lead (linda_o'sullivan@nps.gov or 360-565-3030).

Natural Resource Stewardship and Science
GS-1802-12 Writer-Editor (Detail)

The Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate is seeking candidates for a detail of up to 120 days as a writer-editor.

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 December 24th.
 More Information...