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Mending the Sacred Hoop

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VISION COUNCIL MAGAZINE: Mending the Sacred Hoop

VISION COUNCIL  news on persons, places and organizations working to mend the sacred hoop.

PROJECTS TO HEAL THE EARTH FEATURED HERE

Richard Primus Decided to Tend Forgotten Cemetary
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The Palisade Cemetary Graves Were Covered With Sage and Wild Grass

ONE MAN MAKES A DIFFERENCE TO THE DEAD OF A NEVADA GHOST-TOWN CEMETARY 
 
Richard "Miner" Primus, miner and photographer restores 1800's Palisades Cemetary
 
Palisade, Nevada

27 miles southeast of Elko and 5 miles south of Carlin, Nevada is the turnoff to the ghost town of Palisade. Palisade was built around the Central Pacific Railroad's Eureka and Palisade spur, a narrow gauge rail built from 1873-1875 stretching 87 miles south to Eureka and carrying ore from Eureka to Palisade where the bullion travelled west.

Palisade had its share of disasters: floods in 1910 destroyed much of the town. A train wreck in Palisade on August 12, 1939 killed 24 and injured 121 of the 220 passengers and crew. The emperor of Japan was said to have survived the wreck from his seat in the fourth car.

The Eureka and Palisade Railroad pulled out in 1939 but at one point some 290 people lived in Palisade which in the 1870s was known as the toughest town west of Chicago. Palisade had 3 saloons, a dry goods store, two grocery stores and a sporting house. Easterners wanted to see the wild west and the residents of Palisade gave them what they wanted. Train passengers watched in horrified fascination as cowboy Frank West shot "Dandy" Alvin Kittleby. When the train left the station, Frank, Dandy and the townfolk had a good laugh.

The laughter of Frank, Dandy and the good folk of Palisade has long passed away and many of the townsfolk, railroaders and miners now rest in the cemetary Richard Miner found covered in sagebrush nine months ago. In fact, the sagebrush had all but erased the grave sites in the Palisades cemetary. The first grave Miner cleared belonged to a child. He knew by the small circle of stones uncovered, a child rested there. Two adult graves with their own stone circles have been revealed on either side of the child. "It was sad to see," said Miner, "and I could make it better, so I did." Miner doesn't want to change anything; he just wants to clean it up. He doesn't know how many sagebrushes he's pulled by hand with a nylon strap before planting blue grass in its place. Miner estimates at least 80 souls rest in the cemetary.

A woman living in New Mexico contacted Miner through his website, Northern Nevada Ghost Towns, to let him know she has family buried in the cemetary and that she'd attended the now nonexistent school house in Palisades. Mr. Frank R. Sexton (whose grandfather, Charles Sexton, was the last general manager for the Eureka-Palisade Railroad and whose father John F. Sexton was a Eureka District Judge) and his brother, John G. Sexton own the 160-acre Palisade town site and Mr. Sexton isn't certain if any Sextons rest in the cemetary which belongs to Eureka County. Frank Sexton is "glad to see somebody is taking care of some of the history of the old West. It's very important. I'd hate to see it lost."

Some 15 people have come out to see Miner's restoration work. Rita Stitzel of the neighboring Palisade Ranch thinks "it's remarkable that he would take it upon himself to do the work." Miner told Rita Stitzel he was restoring the cemetary in recognition of his father's sister, Mattie, who drowned at age two while the family took supplies up the Humboldt River to put on the train at Palisade "I saw this man at the cemetary and went up to see what was going on. He's made a tremendous improvement, he's marked the unmarked graves, and made little crosses. He cleaned it all up and painted it. Palisade has become a forgotten entity." Perhaps 10 people have been buried there in the 30 years Ms. Stitzel's had the Palisade Ranch. She said family members occasionally visit and 4-H children come out on Memorial Day to "kind of clean it up" but Richard "cleaned the whole thing" when "he could be sitting home watching t.v." and she's happy to see him get recognition. Her ranch hand has helped Miner find and uncover graves evident only as little depressions in the earth. Miner has planted flower bulbs, irises and tulips, and says by Memorial Day the cemetary will be a more pleasant place.

Although Miner didn't ask for donations, Newmont has donated steel posts for a gateway, T.I.C. donated iron for the crosses Miner made and Neil Johnson donated the wire to put around the cemetary. Miner also thanks his mother for leaving him a sum of money "to do exactly what I'm doing, making it a better place for family and friends to come visit and pay their respects."

Miner works 7 days on and 2 days off as a Newmont mechanic on tracks and track vehicles  "I'm a child of the earth," Miner says. "and I believe in giving back what we get, not in money, but in service. Nothing comes out of the earth that the mother earth doesn't give us. I'm an old miner. I've mined my whole life, and I've seen waste and destruction. If we all do some little thing to the cemetary, we give something back to  the land we've taken from." Miner plans to tackle other cemetaries and clean them up as well. "We ought to make happy tracks," says Miner.

When he finishes with the Palisades Cemetary, he'd like to help restore Maiden's Grave and the nearby Indian cemetary not to mention the lost graveyards of the Chinese who built the railroads and were buried apart. Miner characterizes himself as the "spirit of all the miners that have passed before me and left their mark on the land. " He sees himself as part of "an endless list of those in unmarked cemetaries," "men, women and children" who "lay in unmarked graves with no one to honor them or pull the sage brush form their resting places. I want to be one of many that want to take the time to set it right, pull and burn the brush, stand the head stones back up and put up markers where now there are none."

Miner invites people to come out to take a look at what's been done and write him at irdrilldoctor@msn.com. He promises he'll do his best to answer everyone.

Palisade Cemetary Path
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Richard Primus Cleared Overgrowth Covering Graves

WILD HORSES RUNNING FREE are a herd management and grazing allotment issue for the BLM which by order of Congress regularly rounds-up wild horses and offers them for adoption to the public. UPCOMING FEATURE.

Wild Horses Herded by Helicopter
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BLM Rounds-Up Wild Horses 21st-Century Style

Wild Horses are Available to Good Homes
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Palisade Cemetary, Palisade Ghost-Town
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The Graves of Forgotten Miners & Their Families Receive Care

Richard "Miner" In An Old Dug-Out Miner's Shack
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The Lure of Gold, Silver and Turquoise Inspired Creative late-1800's Housing Solutions

WHITE BUFFALO NATION PLANS SOLAR AQUACULTURAL/AGRICULTURAL REGENESIS PROJECT IN NORTHEASTERN NEVADA
 
Look for upcoming story on the visionary genius of a restorative project representing the best in sustainable technology, cooperative conservation and compassionate use of land and resources for the Mending of the Sacred Hoop...

WHITE BUFFALO NATION PLANS SALMON RESTORATION
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The visionary expertise of the White Buffalo Nation to utilize natural resources for restoration

Dr. Tuttle has inspired the salvation of numerous bat habitats and has engineered collaboration between the federal government to restore abandoned mines as bat habitats, saving numerous species from extinction. Upcoming feature.

"Bat Man" Dr. Tuttle
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Tuttle Plans Mammoth Bat Museum

LETA COLLORD, President of the Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group works with individuals, city, county, state, federal and non-profit organizations to overcome traditional obsstacles to restoring natural habitats. Pictured at a work group on improving working collaboration between tribes, states and federal government at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation. Upcoming story.

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Joe Keck Biked from Georgia to San Francisco
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Young cyclist shows his spirit

JOE KECK DETERMINED TO HAVE FUN AS HE PREPARED TO HIT 3,000 MILES ON CROSS-COUNTRY BIKE TOUR OUTSIDE EUREKA, NEVADA

August, 2005, Eureka, Nevada

 

We met Joe Keck, 18, of Atlanta, Georgia in Eureka, Nevada while he was preparing for his day’s cycling. Joe hasn’t quite finished high school. He’s "On the five year plan: when I get back home I have to do one class, a writing class. Last year I kind of did a lot of school."

Had Joe done any cross-country biking before? "This is my third tour" since I was 17. His parents think "it’s awesome. My older brother bikes a lot. My parents are like if you want to do adventure stuff, they’ll pay for it." The bike was ridden by his older brother who rode from Flagstaff to Atlanta when Joe was in 7th grade. Joe says, it’s "the same bike. It’s got some miles on it. First tour I did was 500 miles, second tour was 700 miles. Today I’ll crack 3,000 miles." Keck was headed next to Austin, Nevada.

What was Keck’s route that day? He was planning to ride about 50 miles on the road between Eureka and Austin, twenty miles outside of Austin he’d reach 3,000 miles.. "I planned my route. I live in Atlanta, my grandparents live in Northwest Arkansas and my brother lives in Flagstaff and then I have friends in San Francisco, that’s how I got this route."

Keck started at Tybe Island, the beach of Savannah on the Atlantic Ocean. He rode his bike up to Atlanta and made sure he had all his stuff. Then Keck rode from Atlanta up to Northwest Arkansas going through Northern Alabama, and then up through Tennessee.

Keck asked people if he could sleep in their yards, and stayed in motels at times. In the West, Joe camped. He stayed at the RV camp outside Eureka for $5. He carries a sleeping bag, tent and a pad on his bicycle. To keep hydrated, Keck carries 3 litres plus 1 pints plus a camel pack with 50 fluid ounces. Keck said he has "tons of water" because he "never wants to run out of water. Water’s heavy, but I’ll carry tons of water."

Keck eats a lot of yoghurt and bananas when he’s travelling. "Since my only expensiture’s food. I can eat at one of these diners. Tonight when I’m in Austin I’ll find a small diner and eat dinner."

Keck has a 512 megabyte camera he charges that takes up to 500 photos.

Joe says when he "went through Memphis" he "had flat tires for three consecutive days in his rear tire. Slow leaks in the tube." Little pieces of metal would get in his tire and give him a slow leak. "I fixed so many flats" around Memphis. "West Memphis is a horrible place to break down. Plus," he said, " I had to get on the interstate a little bit. Went across Arkansas, through the wheatfields and then you get up into the mountains, northwest Arkanasas" where he stayed with grandparents and rested. "That was an easy ride. I’d ridden about 900 miles. Not too many hills, lots of towns, but then Oklahoma started getting a little bit harder because of all the wind. I went on 64 through the Panhandle, Ponka City and Batesville. So that was kind of rough. I got through there. Right when you get on the New Mexico border you start seeing mountains. You cross into New Mexico. Mountains. Even on the bike, it goes ‘boom.’ I was like ‘wo, there’s a hill over there.’ I hadn’t seen a hill in like a week. The wind is crazy, your shirt’s blowing. New Mexico was cool, Taos. Eagle’s Nest, that’s a sweet town. Eagle’s Nest. I had this awesome campsite with the mountains. I got to hang out with a bunch of the RV folks in the campsite. I went through Taos, then I went through Chama, Tres Piedres. Keck went through Shiprock to Flagstaff. The monsoon season started when he was in Flagstaff so he had to deal with that. He went to Jacob Lake, Cedar City and on up to Eureka. Keck expects the remainder of the trip to San Francisco would take him 9 more days. Keck estimated the trip will cost him a little over $1,000. "I probably stayed in too many motels back East." But he’s been loving it. Keck will go back home and finish one last high school course and go back to work and "make some more money" building PC’s. "I’ll be building PCs for people." Keck in part took the journey to help him figure out his future and plans at least a year between high school and college.

His other two tours were with a buddy who’s a freshman in college and working in a restaurant.

Keck noted the bike trip takes a lot of determination. His other two tours were with a buddy who’s a freshman in college and working in a restaurant so couldn’t travel with Joe. "I’m out here to finish it up. It takes a lot of determination especially when you’re by yourself it’s really hard. There’s nobody there to yell, ‘what kind of route is this? What are these hills?.’"

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