Monday November 22, 1999

CALIFORNIA Jolted out of bed by an earthquake, Gerald Miller's first concern was for the crumbling Mission San Juan Capistrano ruins he has labored for most of the decade to preserve. Real real relief came this month with the infusion of more than $2 million in public money to stabilize the remaining walls and domes.

NEVADA The National Trust for Historic Preservation on Saturday joined four local historic preservationists in a lawsuit seeking to halt the demolition of the nation's first hotel-casino.

ARIZONA No place in Yuma has a history of human misery and suffering that compares with Prison Hill. Conservationists and developers agree that it's time to change the rules managing 9 million acres of State Trust Land. Trust land makes up 13 percent of Arizona. State Land Commissioner Michael Anable says there is a conservation ethic within the department. Many environmentalists suggest setting up a separate category of trust land with the goal of preservation, not profit. Grady Gammage Jr., an attorney who represents developers, said the department should be run by a board, maybe five members with staggered terms, to protect it from shifting political winds.

[ SWA SASIG/Got CALICHE? Ed. Note - On 11/22/99, I received a call from Mr. Ryan Eddy (AZ Governor's Office for Excellence in Government [602-542-7006]). Mr. Eddy was gathering information on the CRM process in Arizona. Apparently, I (and others) were referred to Mr. Eddy by the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD). Mr. Eddy's questions focused on how well CRM consultants performed, fees charged, time frames for compliance, and other CRM process-related issues. Mr. Eddy's report will be given to a legislative committee studying the Arizona compliance process. Interestingly, A November 1, 1999 letter from George Gumerman to AZ Antiquity Act permit holders noted that the Arizona State Museum was seeking permission from the Arizona Board of Regents to re-write the rules implementing the Arizona Antiquities Act. It is my understanding that Dr. Gumerman received assurances from the ASLD Land Commissioner that ASM could proceed in this matter with no opposition. It now appears that two tracks are unfolding simultaneously. The new legislative season begins in January and it is hard to predict how the upcoming ride will thrill or sicken the Arizona preservation community. If you hope to exert influence and lessen surprise down the road, SWA recommends that you seek to obtain a copy of Mr. Eddy's report, AND, contact the Governor and your Arizona Legislator to provide input prior to the legislative session. Professional and avocational archaeologists should gather time/money and preservation success facts to make any input more meaningful. ]

UTAH Are Navajo Indians directly related to the Anasazi? In the case of Chaco Canyon, the National Park Service believes the answer is yes. The Park Service's surprising inclusion has inflamed long-standing animosities the Hopi Indians, and some other "pueblo" tribes of the Southwest, harbor toward Navajos. Hopi tribal officials charge the Park Service has bowed to political pressure and is allowing the Navajo to wrongly call dead ancestors of the Hopi people their own.

COLORADO The Colorado Department of Transportation is offering the 66-year-old Eagle River bridge to any person or organization interested in relocating it. In July, the bridge was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Preservationists will have at least until February to try to save bungalows scheduled for demolition in Boulder's historic Grandview Terrace neighborhood. Last week, the Colorado Historic Preservation Review Board declared Grandview architecturally distinctive and recommended it be nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. For residents of Southwest Colorado, the history of this millennium is a tale of daunting distances and splendid isolation.

NEW MEXICO Eugene Dow was a sergeant in Company B of the Eighth Infantry and fought in the Navajo War of 1858.

TEXAS Palacio still finds old ammunition shell casings on his property. When he was young, he and his brother would spend hours digging for artifacts. Curious residents have also called Palacio to inquire about sweeping his yard with metal detectors in hopes of finding something interesting.

CYBERIA The House passed legislation Wednesday that would convert an old nuclear missile silo at the entrance to South Dakota's Badlands into a museum of Cold confrontation. Although the atomic cannon flopped, it is a significant reminder of the Cold War. The Grand Ronde tribes are claiming a 16-ton iron meteorite as a sacred object under a federal repatriation law intended to help tribes reclaim human remains and important cultural and religious objects. The Grand Ronde's claim to an ancient meteorite is a new front in the fight about sacred objects. Scholars say meteorites have long been used by Native American religious leaders as sacred objects.