Narcotrafficking Threatens Atlantic Forest in Paraguay

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo December 15, 2020 Four protected areas in the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest (BAAPA, in Spanish), in eastern Paraguay, are threatened by narcotrafficking, marijuana crops, and logging, the environmental journalism platform Mongabay Latam said in its October 14 report Illegal Marijuana Crops Destroy Atlantic Forest.The BAAPA is an ecoregion shared by Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay and is one of the most biologically significant places on earth, as it hosts extremely diverse flora and fauna. Paraguay preserves only 13 percent of its area, the conservation organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said on its website. In 1994, the forest coverage in this region was 4.3 million hectares, while now it is only 2.7 million hectares, the website added.On June 2, Paraguayan Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development Ariel Oviedo told the press that “one of the BAAPA’s main problems […] is illegal marijuana crops, a situation present in almost all of the country’s national parks.” The WWF reports that at least 2,350 hectares are currently used to grow marijuana in the BAAPA’s reserves.The Caazapá, Mbaracayú, Morombí, and San Rafael protected areas, located in the middle of the Atlantic Forest, have been invaded by illicit cannabis plantations and illegal logging, Mongabay Latam reported. In addition, forest watchers have been threatened, gone missing, or been killed, and the indigenous communities that live in the area in extreme poverty are forced to coexist with narcotrafficking and illegal campsites.Augusto Salas, a deputy environmental prosecutor for Paraguay’s Office of the Attorney General, told Mongabay Latam that it is necessary to deploy military detachments in these protected areas to stop the destruction. “We have talked with Senate representatives, as well as other authorities. I don’t see another way out.”Meanwhile, Paraguayan authorities are not lowering their guard. Agents of the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD, in Spanish) seized 3,580 kilograms of marijuana in the forests of Alto Paraná, Amambay, and Canindeyú and destroyed 23 hectares of crops that would have yielded 69 tons of marijuana, the Paraguayan newspaper Hoy reported on October 22.During another operation, SENAD seized 4,800 kg of cannabis that was drying in Alto Paraná and eradicated 1.5 hectares of marijuana crops, which would have resulted in 4.5 tons of drugs harvested, Hoy reported on September 29.“Cannabis shipments to Bolivia and mainly to Brazil emerge from the eastern region’s north, while traffickers from Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay source from plantations in the country’s south, where they use the Paraná River as an escape route and to circulate,” SENAD indicated on its website on May 27.To expand their marijuana crops, criminal groups participated in forest fires that spread in early October in Paraguay, a recurring practice of marijuana growers, Insight Crime said on October 26.The Atlantic Forest, however, is not a lost cause. “Thanks to the coordination and support of conservation organizations, the private sector, and governments, we are preventing the forest from disappearing, protecting more areas than ever, restoring ecosystems, and reconnecting fragmented patches of native forests,” the WWF concluded on its website.last_img read more

Marvin G. Evans

first_imgMarvin G. Evans, age 77, formerly of Liberty, went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, February 16, after passing at his residence in Greencastle. Born September 1, 1938, in Bath, he was the son of Clifford and Irene Gesell Evans. Marvin was part of the first graduating class of Talewanda High school in Oxford, Ohio. He married Ruby Lee Mullins on July 24, 1965, at St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Brookville, and she preceded him in death on May 9, 2015. Marvin retired in 2015 after 50 years of employment at Beldon in Richmond. He enjoyed attending the antique tractor shows and favored John Deere tractors.He is survived by his children, a daughter, Pamela Evans of West Olive, Michigan; and a son, Mark Evans and wife Beth of Greencastle; and grandchildren, Justin and Cody Evans. Additionally a brother, Harold Evans (Judy) residing in Tuscola, IL and a sister Mary Lou Schnitker (Dale) of Brookville survive. He was preceded in death by his wife and parents. He has several nieces and nephews.Services will be held Saturday, February 20, at the Cook-Rosenberger Funeral Home, Brookville, at 1:00 p.m. where his son Mark will officiate. Family and friends may visit the funeral home beginning at noon on Saturday, February 20. Interment will be at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Brookville.The family requests memorial donations in lieu of flowers be made to the Maple Grove Cemetery Association, 8126 Maple Grove Rd., Brookville IN, 47012. To sign the online guestbook or to leave a personal condolence, please visit The staff of Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home is honored to care for the family of Marvin Evans.last_img read more

Batesville Council approves smoking ban in city parks

first_imgPhoto of first responders and other employees/volunteers that helped with last Monday’s apartment fire.BATESVILLE, Ind. — Monday night, the Batesville City Council approved Ordinance #1-2017.This ordinance prohibits smoking at the city parks as follows, “No smoking or vaping shall be permitted in any of the city’s parks, with the exception that smoking or vaping may be permitted in Liberty Park, other than inside any structures located in said park where it shall be prohibited. Whoever violates this section shall be fined not more than $1,000. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day that a violation occurs or continues.”In new business, the council approved a contract with the town of Sunman, for the town to use the Batesville City Court to enforce Sunman Ordinance Violations.2 different Belterra Fund requests were made, both by Batesville Fire and Rescue.The first request was for a new backup generator for the station. The fire department is requesting $11,000 to finish the project. The total cost of the project is $56,000. The council decided to table the decision until the March meeting to find a few more bids to find a better price on the right size generator.The second request was for an auto loading power ambulance cot. The department is requesting $8679.19, while the total cost for the new cot is $32,000. The second request was approved.At the end of the council meeting, Mayor Mike Bettice took time to thank many of the firefighters and first responders for their aid in fighting last Monday’s apartment fire. Mayor Bettice said there were 53 firefighters on scene.Mayor Bettice also took time to thank the numerous volunteers and donors that helped with the relief effort. Bettice says he is overwhelmed with the generosity of the community and is thankful to live in a such a community.In the board of works meeting prior to the council meeting, the board approved two street closures for different 5Ks as well as two parking lot usage requests.The board approved a contract with LADD engineering to begin different studies for upcoming projects on the north side of Batesville.Finally, the Board of Works approved a four-year contract with Medicount Management for EMS billing services.The last contract was for three years for the city to determine whether the company was worth the fee.The city approved the four-year contract as they have seen an increase in EMS revenues with Medicount.last_img read more