The Morning Report

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Gettysburg National Military Park (PA)
Man Arrested On Assault Charges

On the evening of August 8th, Adams County emergency dispatch contacted rangers and reported a domestic incident at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial within the park.

Rangers Maria Brady and Jon Ludwick responded and met with the woman who’d made the report. She said that her son, a minor, was injured as a result of her ex-boyfriend, Gary Durocher, pulling him from their vehicle, scratching him in the process. Durocher, who was reportedly carrying a buck knife, an axe and several cans of beer in his backpack, left the scene on foot. While rangers met with the woman, local officers began searching for him.

Durocher actively evaded state and local police units and rangers. During this time, he was also texting threatening messages to his ex-girlfriend, saying that he was going to kill her. Local officers called in a Maryland State Police helicopter to assist in the search.

While the search was underway, Durocher is believed to have set approximately 260 bales of hay on fire in the park. The bales, which belonged to a agricultural lease permittee, were valued at $28,000. 

The search was called off after dark, but local police units subsequently spotted Durocher on the Gettysburg College campus and took him into custody. He was turned over to rangers, who then transported him to the Adams County prison. 

Durocher appeared in federal court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg on Monday, August 11th. He was charged with simple assault, malicious mischief, threats via interstate commerce, and violating the superintendent’s closure prohibiting consumption of alcohol in the park. 

[Submitted by Ryan P. Levins, Chief Ranger]


Lake Mead NRA - NV, AZ
Visitor Drowns In Paiute Cove On Lake Mohave

The body of a 79-year-old California man was recovered from the waters of Lake Mohave near Paiute Cove on August 10th.

The park received a call that afternoon reporting that the man went into the water, began to struggle, and disappeared underwater. Rangers, Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens and Bullhead City Fire Department divers responded and recovered his body.

The Clark County medical examiner will confirm the victim’s identity and determine the cause of death. Witnesses reported that the man was not wearing a life jacket. The incident is under investigation.

[Submitted by Christie Vanover, Public Affairs Officer]


NEWS AND NOTES



Office of Communications
Conservation Fund's 50th Anniversary Celebrated

On August 11th, Director Jarvis joined Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Undersecretary of Environment Martin Suuberg, Massachusetts State Park Director Priscilla Geigis, Town of Chelmsford Board of Selectmen Chair Patricia Wojtas and other state and local officials for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports local conservation, outdoor recreation and clean water projects across the country.

In June, Chelmsford received a $248,352 Land and Water Conservation fund grant to fund renovations of Varney Playground, where the event was held, including new ADA-compliant walkways, creation of a nature trail, exterior and interior renovations to the field/bathhouse, a new boat dock and construction of a relocated basketball court.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund empowers communities to fulfill their visions for recreation and conservation locally,” said Jarvis. “With the renovations funded by the Fund, Varney Playground will allow more families and children to get outdoors to play and learn about the natural world around them.”

Since states match funds awarded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, over the past 50 years, Massachusetts has leveraged more than $100 million to help create, develop and improve conservation and recreation sites across the commonwealth. This year, Massachusetts will receive more than $900,000 from the Fund.

President Obama has called for full, permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in his proposed budget, recognizing it as one of the nation’s most effective tools for protecting important water sources, expanding access for hunting and fishing, preserving historic battlefields, and creating ball fields and other places for kids to play and learn.

Since its establishment in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has conserved land in every state and supported tens of thousands of state and local projects. The fund does not use taxpayer dollars; the primary source of income derives from fees paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in waters owned by the American people. The program has only been fully funded once in its 50-year history and is at risk of expiring without action from Congress.

[Submitted by April Slayton]


Office of Risk Management
2013 Employee and Public Safety Awards Conferred

The winners of the highest awards bestowed by the National Park Service for outstanding public and employee safety achievement for the individual and group categories for 2013 have been selected. 

The Director’s Safety and Health Achievement Award recognizes significant achievements in the cultivation of a safe and healthful work environment for employees.  The Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement Award recognizes significant achievement in efforts to prevent serious injuries or fatalities to park visitors.  Four regions selected regional winners to be considered for awards at the national level. 

The winner of the Director’s Safety and Health Achievement Award in the group category is Grand Canyon National Park Trail Crew, and for the individual award, Amnesty Kochanowski, Zion National Park.  The winner of the Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement Award in the group category is the Safety Committee of Homestead National Monument of America.  

This year, the Office of Risk Management (ORM) received a total of eight group and individual nominations from four regions.  A review committees comprised of field, regional, and headquarter NPS staff carefully reviewed submissions to select the nominee that met the criteria most closely from among the contenders.

2013 Director’s Safety and Health Achievement Award (Group)

Winner:  Grand Canyon National Park Trail Crew

The trail crew at Grand Canyon National Park is commended for its effort to reduce employee and visitor accidents and injuries. There were no lost time accidents or days away restricted duty observed in 2013. The livestock operation far exceeds the minimum requirements set by AZ Department of Agriculture and handlers regularly provide safety training to work crews and the public.  Efforts to ensure the safety of park staff included the following:  development, revision, and utilization of a comprehensive JHA database; tailgate safety meetings utilizing elements of the Safety Training Observation Program, Operational Leadership, and use of JHAs;  involvement in the 2013 GRCA Summer of Safety Challenge; maintaining good communication techniques between each other and visitors; and being regularly certified as Wilderness First Responders for permanent and Term staff and CPR/ First Aid for seasonals.

2013 Director’s Safety and Health Achievement Award (Individual)

Winner:  Ms. Amnesty Kochanowski, Zone 3 Safety Manager, Zion National Park

Ms. Kochanowski  is commended for her outstanding efforts to enhance the safety and reduce injuries at Zion National Park.  She managed her program through leading and lagging indicators with a resulting DART rate of 1.28; coordinated a four day confined space inventory of 216 spaces with Federal Occupational Health; sponsored LIFE Fair Heat Stress Prevention booth; integrated wellness into the Safety and Health Program with a Sit-to-Walk treadmill station available to all; met with each employee that initiated a SMIS report to discuss the incident and corrective actions; and convened three formal accident review committees. She also coordinated 84 audiograms and 26 respiratory clearances; coordinated four 16-hour Operational Leadership courses; instructed safety awareness training; contracted ergonomist to perform park wide assessments and trainings; and purchased high quality, comfortable PPE to encourage use.

2013 Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement Award (Group)

Winner:  Safety Committee, Homestead National Monument of America

The safety committee at Homestead National Monument of America is commended for its efforts to reduce employee and visitor injuries through training and increasing visitor safety awareness.  The committee provided safety training at each month’s staff meeting on a variety of topics, and had staff trained in CPR, first aid, storm spotter training, and Hazard Communication, HAZCOM. In addition, electronic bulletin boards are used to display safety and wellness information for the public, to include: tick recognition, poison ivy recognition, icy condition awareness in the winter, tornado awareness, and information about park trails. Signage along trails and outdoor exhibits highlight safety issues that visitors need to be aware of. At the beginning of public events, staff conduct tailgate safety briefings and advise visitors of hazardous weather conditions. The Safety Committee works closely with local law enforcement, fire and rescue, and EMS personnel to ensure that the park is as safe as possible at all times, along with conducting monthly safety inspections. Annually, the committee conducts a safety inspection that is more inclusive and looks at structural and design flaws. The Committee also conducted annual tree inspections, and had unsafe areas trimmed or removed.

The Office of Risk Management also commends the five other regional winners and national finalists selected regionally for outstanding efforts to enhance both employee and visitor safety.  Here is a brief synopsis of their accomplishments:   

Director’s Safety and Health Achievement Award (Individual Nominees)

Mr. Kevin M. Sweeney, Lassen Volcanic National Park, is commended for developing and implementing a comprehensive employee safety recognition program, and a Safety Ambassador Program. He coordinated several incident scenario training sessions and winter driving safety training. In addition, he promoted safety discussions at all levels, making hazard avoidance and risk reduction a standard topic at all meetings in the park. He also led the charge to refine and implement the “Accident Reporting and Analysis” form, as well as implemented a multi-disciplinary approach to the park Safety Council for a broad perspective in accident prevention measures.

Mr. Michael Grismer, Indiana Dunes National Lake, was the first responder to an active emergency, alerted others, and administered first aid. He ensured that all equipment was secured and while he provided first aid care, he singlehandedly directed the emergency response. He posted planned activities notifying the public of potential hazards while recommending safe practices for personnel during planned activities.

Director’s Safety and Health Achievement Award (Group Nominees)

Staff and Volunteers, Canaveral National Seashore, are commended for their efforts to reduce employee accidents and injuries. Park staff conducted a day-long GAR Risk Assessment to make ATV operation safer, improving JHAs and strengthening SOPs related to ATV operations. All ATV Operators completed the ATV Safety Course and 100% of permanent and term staff completed Operational Leadership training. To provide rest and support to the night crew and reduce accidents, CANA staff along with PLC crew, interns, and volunteers assisted on the logistic side of the Sea Turtles Nest Protection Program. Also, red LED lights were added to help ATV Operators spot hazards or uneven ground on the beach.

Bruce Oerter and Peter Treuherz, Death Valley National Park, developed a smartphone application or  App for employees to conduct SPE and GAR risk assessments in the field. This App allows for employees to evaluate the risk that they are about to encounter and implement mitigation actions or cease if the risk is too high. This is a step towards getting employees to use the risk management tools facilitated in Operational Leadership.

Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement Award (Group nominees)

Staff, Capitol Reef National Park, worked together to reopen a trail that was closed due to 25 meters of rock fall. The trail that was closed was one of the most popular trails to hike in the park, so staff knew that permanently closing the trail was not feasible. The Regional Risk Manager facilitated an Operational Leadership risk assessment and decided that the option with the lowest risk was to incorporate a minor realignment of the trail along with implementation of mitigation measures. The trail was reopened due to the collective thoughts and ideas from a number of employees from every division in the park.

[Submitted by Ashley Hines, Office of Risk Management]


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (CA)
John Chisum Selected As Facilities Chief

John Colter Chisum has been selected as the new chief of facilities management for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

For the past six years, Chisum has served as the branch chief for design and engineering  at Yosemite National Park.

"Colter is a leader who takes care of people,” said David Szymanski, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.  “He will bring a new strategic focus and sophistication to our facilities program.  We are excited to have him."  

Chisum is a licensed civil engineer and has 20 years of experience working in the facilities and engineering professions, including nine years with the National Park Service, five years as a design consultant in the Denver area, and six years as a seasonal maintenance worker in El Paso, Texas.

Colter is a graduate of the NPS Facility Manager Leaders Program and brings a strong background in asset stewardship and project management.

His duties will begin in October.

Colter and his wife Megan have two young children who love being active outdoors. In his free time, Colter enjoys hiking, trail running, rock-climbing, and trying to surf.

[Submitted by Kate Kuykendall, Public Affairs Officer]


Scotts Bluff National Monument (NE)
Hotchkiss Cannon Shell Fragments Found

Scotts Bluff National Monument is currently having a geologic map produced.  While doing field work for the map, researcher Dr. Emmett Evanoff of Northern Colorado University found three fragments of a cannon shell in a small canyon at the base of South Bluff. 

A digital photograph of the fragments was taken and sent to Fort Laramie National Historic Site.  Personnel at the fort thought that they were pieces of a cannon shell from a Hotchkiss gun.  Doug Scott, a former Midwest Archeological Center employee and adjunct professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, also thought that it was a Hotchkiss cannon. which shot a 42mm (1.65 inch) shell.

The Hotchkiss, sometimes called a mountain gun, was the type of weapon used throughout the west in the 1880s and 1890s and at the massacre at Wounded Knee.

A check of the national monument’s museum collection turned up another shell fragment.  It appears to be identical to the fragment found by Dr. Evanoff, but it was found at the base of Scotts Bluff in 1927.  At that time the proclamation had been signed by President Woodrow Wilson establishing Scotts Bluff National Monument, but there were no facilities here or any permanent staff.  The fragment was donated to the national monument at a later date.

The mystery remains as to who fired these shots and what were they firing at.  Was the U. S. Army involved in a skirmish or perhaps the National Guard using the bluff as a practice target? 

A crew from MWAC will visit the park this fall and visit the site of the most recent find to gather more information and possible fragments of other shells.

[Submitted by Robert Manasek, Resource Management Specialist]


NPS Career Academy for VRP
New Personal Security Training Course Coming

Personal security is an inherent right which, years ago we might have taken for granted.  However, shootings, bombings and other threatening acts in public places are now brought to us daily by the media.  Our keen focus on personal security is heightened when we are working a remote fee booth or visitor center and collectively when we are preparing for a special event or high profile visit.  

Principles of personal security apply to all employees in the National Park System and carry over to our partners in the parks as they are an extension of our eyes and ears. As professionals we need to be aware and as prepared as possible to respond to personal security concerns that arise for ourselves, our co-workers, and our visitors.  

The purpose of this curriculum is to provide education and empowerment about the subject of personal security.  Rather than asking learners to “be careful” (which implies an element of danger that can sometimes cause fear), this training asks them to “pay attention” in the hopes that they can contribute to quick, sound decisions whenever personal security is concerned.

What is personal security?

Personal security in the National Park Service is defined as:

  • Being aware of locations and situations that would make you, co-workers, or visitors vulnerable to criminal victimization (i.e. alleys, dark parking areas, known high-crime areas or traveling alone).

  • Always being alert and aware of people and situations around you and trusting your instincts. If something in your surroundings doesn't look quite right or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, it probably isn't right.

  • Continuing to educate yourself and others to protect people and resources in National Park Service sites.

In the NPS, we stress that personal security is “team based” because every employee, partner, and volunteer has a role in improving awareness and safety.  A team-based approach to personal security curriculum has been developed to provide education and empowerment about the subject of personal security.  The curriculum is designed to guide NPS employees to conduct an in-park training session with fellow employees and partners.  Typically the 'instructor' would be a safety officer, ranger, supervisor, or manager.  

The curriculum is being tested and evaluated before full rollout to the service.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Demica Vigil 304-535-4023 or John Evans 785-354-1489 x244.  

[Submitted by Demica Vigil, Demica_vigil@nps.gov, 304-535-4023]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Big Thicket National Preserve (TX)
GS-0560-9 Budget Analyst

Big Thicket National Preserve is seeking qualified applicants for a budget analyst position.  The announcement closes on Monday, August 18th, but will most likely be extended.

For more information about this position and how to apply, click on the link below.
 More Information...
Arches National Park (UT)
GS-0303-7 Supervisory Visitor Use Assistant (Lateral)

Arches National Park is recruiting for a supervisory visitor use assistant interested in a lateral reassignment.

This position in located in the Division of Interpretation and Visitor Services. Subordinate employees collect and account for fees, disseminate information and provide resource orientation to visitors.  As the supervisor, the person selected will personally perform these major duties but also assume supervisory responsibilities.

He/she:

  • Plans, schedules and assigns work to subordinate staff and provides technical and policy direction. 
  • Sets work unit goals in accordance with divisional goals and priorities; motivates employees to increase and/or maintain productivity.
  • Interviews candidates for vacancies; recommends selections, promotions and reassignment of employees to higher level supervisor.
  • Approves employee leave and assures timely completion of time and attendance reports.
  • Evaluates work performance of subordinate staff and recommends appropriate awards to recognize exceptional performance or takes action to deal with inadequate performance through counseling, training, coaching and other means.
  • Gives advice, counsel and instruction to employees on both work and administrative matters. Hears and resolves employee complaints concerning working conditions and related matters and provides referral services, if necessary, to employees experiencing personal problems that interfere with effective performance or undermine work group cohesiveness.
  • Effects minor disciplinary measures, such as warnings, and recommends other actions to higher level supervisor(s) on more serious cases. 
  • Identifies and provides for employee training and developmental needs.
  • Develops effective working relationships and coordinates work efforts with personnel of other divisions.
  • Assumes responsibility for the on-the-job safety of all employee supervised. 

The person selected must be able to safely and effectively manage a very busy entrance station operation including:  traffic control, emergency response and reporting, high winds and extreme heat, tight deadlines, and the accompanying demands and stresses associated with such a work environment.

Arches National Park contains the world's largest concentration of natural stone openings. Arches, spires, balanced rocks, canyons and fins of colorful red rocks are set against the dramatic backdrop of the La Sal Mountains, rising to over 12,000 feet in elevation.

Canyonlands National Park preserves a wilderness of rock at the heart of the Colorado Plateau. Water and gravity have been prime architects of this land, cutting flat layers of sedimentary rock into hundreds of canyons, mesa, buttes, fins, arches, and spires. At center stage are two canyons carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Headquarters offices for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks is located in Moab, Utah. A town of approximately 6,000 residents sitting at a 4,000 foot elevation, Moab provides all basic amenities including doctors, dentists, hospital, schools (K-12), churches, and shopping. Tmperatures in spring and fall are mild, but summer temperatures are hot and often exceed 100F.  Opportunities to hike, bike, run rivers, rock climb, cycle, and motor-recreate are numerous and varied. 

Government housing is not available. Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses are authorized. The position is permanent, subject-to-furlough. 

To be considered, submit the following to Brenda Tupek, Human Resources Specialist, by the close of business on Monday, August 18th: 

  • An OF-612, Optional Application for Federal Employment, or a resume/application that includes the information identified in the Resume Builder area of USAJOBS.
  • A copy of your most current performance appraisal.
  • A current SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, documenting permanent competitive civil service status.

Application materials may be mailed, faxed, or emailed directly to Brenda Tupek’s attention. Send to National Park Service, Arches National Park, Attn: Brenda Tupek, Human Resources, 2282 SW Resource Boulevard, Moab UT, 84532. Fax: 435-719-2322. Email: Brenda_Tupek@nps.gov .

For further information about this position, please contact Mary Wilson, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Phone: (435) 719-2140. Email: mary_wilson@nps.gov.

[Submitted by Mary Wilson, mary_wilson@nps.gov, (435)719-2140]


Canyonlands National Park (UT)
GS-1712-9 Training Specialist (Lateral)

Canyonlands National Park is looking for someone interested in a lateral reassignment into a GS-1712-9 training specialist position who has experience in managing a curriculum-based formal education program (kindergarten through sixth grade). 

Candidates must be capable of successfully carrying out their duties with a high degree of independence and working well with other employees, community members, school officials, students, and parents in a positive and respective manner. 

The person selected will coordinate, plan, schedule and deliver both on-site and in-class programs for elementary school students in several schools located in small towns and on Native American reservations in a geographically large, rural county of southeast Utah. She/he will carry out all supervisory duties for two seasonal GS-1702 education technicians and two SCA interns per season (autumn and spring).

The office for this position is located in Monticello, Utah, a community of approximately 2,000.  All basic services are available, including schools through high school. Housing for purchase is available and moderately priced.  Rental properties are somewhat limited.  Complete services are available in Moab, Utah (50 miles distant, population 6,000 – location of park headquarters), Cortez, Colorado (60 miles distant, population 8,500) and Grand Junction, Colorado (169 miles distant, population 43,000).

Canyonlands National Park preserves a wilderness of rock at the heart of the Colorado Plateau. Water and gravity have been prime architects of this land, cutting flat layers of sedimentary rock into hundreds of canyons, mesa, buttes, fins, arches, and spires. At center stage are two canyons carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers.

Government housing is not available. Travel, transportation, and relocation expenses are authorized. The position is permanent, subject-to-furlough. 

To be considered, submit the following to Brenda Tupek, Human Resources Specialist, by the close of business on Tuesday, August 19th: 

  • An OF-612, Optional Application for Federal Employment, or a resume/application that includes the information identified in the Resume Builder area of USAJOBS.
  • A copy of your most current performance appraisal.
  • A current SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action, documenting permanent competitive civil service status.

Application materials may be mailed, faxed, or emailed directly to Brenda Tupek’s attention. Send to National Park Service, Arches National Park, Attn: Brenda Tupek, Human Resources, 2282 SW Resource Boulevard, Moab UT, 84532. Fax: 435-719-2322. Email: Brenda_Tupek@nps.gov .

For further information about this position, please contact Mary Wilson, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Phone: (435) 719-2140. Email: mary_wilson@nps.gov.  

[Submitted by Mary Wilson, mary_wilson@nps.gov, (435)719-2140]