Death of Neal Cassady in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Copyright 2019 by Diane Sward Rapaport

Reproduction only by permission of the author

In 2006, an email from a stranger reeled me back  into my life in San Miguel Allende, Mexico during the nineteen sixties. “I have an interest in Neal Cassady’s time here. Anything you can tell me about Neal during this period would be greatly appreciated. Recall any of your conversations?”

Neal was mythologized in two rebel cultures: beatniks and hippies. He was barely disguised as Dean Moriarity in Jack Kerouac’s book On the Road—two mavericks on a drug-laced adventure across country to find God. Neal was the chauffeur of ‘Further,’ the garish psychedelic bus that took a menagerie of Merry Pranksters across the country in the mid-sixties. Their rollicking adventures, fueled by LSD and other psychoactive drugs, were chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s book, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”


The Magic Bus—a 1939 Iternatioanl  Harvster repainted by the ‘Merry Pranksters that toured the country with Ken Kesey.

I flipped the stranger off. “I’m sorry I don’t remember much. It’s like the old joke about spaced-out hippies: ‘If you can remember the sixties, you weren’t really there.’”

The truth was that I wasn’t spaced out. I was a wannabee writer with a Master’s degree in Renaissance Lit from Cornell University who was fleeing from my first husband and packing two young children under five years old. In 1964, I was twenty-five years old, hadn’t read Kerouac’s books and didn’t know any hippies.

When I was eighteen, I thought I knew what I was doing. In San Miguel, I woke up to the much sadder recognition that I didn’t have any clear vision of who I was and who I would become—a pretty ingénue whose identity was still unshaped.

I had retreated to a remote, hilly village, terraced with cobblestone streets, where I could live on $100 a month.

That was the context for meeting Neal Cassady.

One of my friends took me to an evening party at Taboada, a local hot springs out of town. I was surrounded by people who knew everything I did not about the hippie culture, most of them nude, with propensities for consuming large amounts of speed, acid, peyote mushrooms and marijuana, swallowed with tumblers of tequila.

Neal was hanging out on the outskirts of the group with his back turned on them. He was easily the handsomest man there—early forties and dressed in khaki pants and clean shirt. No beard. No long-hair. As I moved closer, I heard him delivering a rapid-fire monologue to the full moon, describing everyone at the party with what seemed unusual canniness, acerbity, wit and accuracy. As the party got wilder a, Neal kept throwing pills down his throat, lucid as the brilliant light that etched him into that surreal scene. When we drove away, he was still talking to the moon, the last man standing.


Neal Cassady. Used by permission of Carolyn Cassady.

It was my first introduction to hippies. At first, they seemed like just another group of flamboyant Americans who were passing through.

I was an enthusiastic observer of people with no center to them, no thread that could seam them together and make something whole. San Miguel was full of them, a remote town where Americans and Canadians drifted in to invent their past lives and try on new ones. I was in that middle stage, a past life in shambles and a new one I couldn’t yet glimpse.

One of my friends said that I avoided people getting too close to me by making then talk about themselves. It wasn’t that I was afraid of people getting too close—the observer in me was a refuge I could contain myself in until I could figure out the maelstrom that was swirling inside me.

I was pulled into Neal’s orbit and became one of the satellites that circled around the brilliance of his sun.

Part II.

Neal arrived in San Miguel Allende in 1964 in George Walker’s red Lotus convertible to a huge fanfare among the hippies. It was easily the most exotic car anyone had ever seen on these narrow streets.


The Red Lotus Elan—a Classic in any generation.

The hippies had a large reverence for Neal. Each told me he was their newest best friend and emphasized his assured place in history (how Kerouac worshipped him; how he was the LSD acid king, how he spent two years in prison; how he was addicted to bennies (speed) and could out drink and out drug them all. I was struck by what seemed like hero worship from young down and outers who venerated this collection of odd accomplishments.

What his friends considered heroic, I considered sad. As I came to know Neal, I understood that he too considered his life sad: he was a legend for all the wrong reasons. As I would later find, sadness and isolation often accompany fame, and these can warp into addiction and a self-destruct that finally destroys the talent that spawned it.

“How would you like to go out to the hot springs and take some mushrooms, Neal asked soon after we met. I said yes, not knowing in the least what was going to happen. He dosed me and then wandered away, as I slowly began to recede into my inner journey. At some point my sense of time vanished. There were no boundaries between me and a color, a word, a number, a star; everything was broken into fragments. I didn’t know whether I was alive or dead and I was too out there to care, fascinated to be floating among so many disparate images. No sentences. No thoughts. No revelations.

The sound of a train hauled me back to the hot springs. It was beginning twilight, but I had no idea whether I had been there for days or weeks. Then everything became a sequence of comic strips that set me laughing uncontrollably. No Neal. The wind rippled shadows through the grasses like waves. Eventually Neal appeared, and we went home. I didn’t speak. Didn’t talk about ‘my trip.’

Ten years would pass before I did mushrooms again. I didn’t like being that far out of control. And who knows perhaps seeing my mind break into all those fragments was a metaphor for not really being able to piece together my life into one coherent whole.

Part III.

Neal and I did become lovers, but only for a short while. The chemistry was off. Instead, we became close friends. We shared a spacious home in the center of town, the Murillo house we called it, with a large interior patio with two trees. It belonged to some middle class people who mysteriously fled and disappeared. The house was rented to us for $40 a month by Rosendo, an old and odd Mexican, who had a drooping red eyeball that always seemed ready to fall out. Every morning, the roosters would start crowing at 4 a.m.; then the dogs howled starting from far up town; and on Sundays, the bells of twenty-seven Catholic churches tolled, not all in perfect pitch—a splendid cacophony.

Some of the time that Neal was in San Miguel, he would stay with his girlfriend JB and take a lot of speed. He’d show up at my house when he needed to come down off of eight or ten days of speed and little sleep. I would immediately boil up a dozen soft-boiled eggs, which he drank in one big gulp. He told me that protein helped restore his dopamine. Then he’d sleep for twelve to sixteen hours. When he woke up, he had a different lucidity, one that enabled us to become solid friends, He’d stick around my house unstoned for many days, and we were easy and comfortable with each other. He liked that I didn’t relate to him as an icon. He became someone I could talk to freely about my emotional wreckage; and he to me about his, which included two wives and five children. He revealed to me how deeply ashamed he was; and that the drugs were his hideout, and I was a refuge. He told me that I knew his internal engineering better than anyone he’d ever met.

One night, Neal burst into my bedroom while I was sleeping, turned on the light and killed a scorpion crawling towards me on my pillow. Another time he showed up at the house quite unexpectedly, because he had some flash I was going to burn the house down; and indeed I had left a stove burner on with a wooden cutting board carelessly left on top. I was to come to know well the psychic quality in people that had done hundreds of acid and mushroom trips. Their minds become unhinged and they easily pass through the thin membrane that leads to clairvoyance.

Neal was the first addict I knew with any specificity. What I came to realize was that his hatred of himself and his addiction, and the love many had for him, could not help him from deraiing his life.

For the next four years, Neal came to San Miguel about once a year, always leaving abruptly. Our lives would intersect, and then we’d go our separate ways. The second year Neal was gone, I got talked into finding jobs for a rock band that one of my friend’s had put together, largely because one of the lyric writers claimed he had once played with the Beatles and was having his upright bass repaired in Mexico City. Eventually he ripped a bunch of money from the band and left town. Several years later, we discovered he fled back to Kansas and his old job as a shoe salesman. The job I got the band in Mexico City led to a good living in San Miguel and a distinguished career as an artist’s manager in the music industry.

The last time Neal was in San Miguel was early 1968. He told me, “Look, I’m becoming all my worst images. I’ve got no work, and I’m a lousy lover. What else is there, I mean?” He professed wanting to quit speed; hoped that Allan Ginsberg would come down and somehow save him. He told me how tortured he was by the menagerie that flocked around him and clung like leeches. I would talk to him about what it might be like to live somewhere anonymously and reinvent his life.

He was the first addict I knew with any specificity. What I came to realize was that his hatred of himself and his addiction, and the love many had for him, could not help him from derailing his life.

The night before he died, I had a dream. Neal was spinning and breaking up in front of my eyes. He became a shooting star dropping into a small smiling crescent moon that has just emerged from the horizon.

I woke up to a tapping at my door. A policeman had come to tell that me Neal was dead. He was found some twenty miles outside of town, near the railroad tracks. He had fallen in with a party of Mexicans and rode his life out on speed and tequila, a runaway train bound for destruction.

Later that day, I learned that Neal had written his own epitaph. Scrawled in red lipstick on the bathroom mirror of his girlfriend’s house was: “Just a gigolo, wherever I go.”


In all the time I worked in the music industry in San Francisco (!967-1980), I was never groped, kissed, patted on the butt or forced upon without explicit permission. And neither were the women singer/songwriters that I managed, two of whom were extraordinarily beautiful.

In the late nineteen sixties and seventies, free love reigned in the music business and among the hippies that moved into San Francisco’s Haight district. It did seem to me, that everyone was shagging everyone, talking about it, celebrating it, in the most outrageous manner possible. And maybe that kept lewd and lascivious behavior, at least in this business, confined to the bedroom.

Magnolia Thunderpussy

After one of my first Fillmore West shows, my boyfriend took me for dessert at Magnolia Thunderpussy’s near Haight and Ashbury. I burst out laughing at the menu of erotic deserts. My boyfriend ordered up a “Pineapple Pussy” (hollowed out pineapple filled with strawberry ice cream, whipped cream, topped with chocolate shavings and a cherry). I ordered up “The Montana Banana,” a salacious version of the banana split: upright peeled banana, two scoops of ice cream, artfully placed at the bottom of the banana, surrounded by a little shredded coconut, and a dollop of whipped cream at the discretely split end of the banana.


Herb Caen, famed San Francisco Chronicle columnist was an ardent fan of Magnlia’s and so were rock bands and hippies. I went there often for Magnolias’s concoctions and her free-wheeling, rambunctious sense of humor.

Margot St. James; Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics

Margot St. James was arguably San Francisco’s most outspoken and famous hooker, I met her when graphic designer David Wills and I were hatching up the magazine Music Works: a Manual for Musicians. Margot had an office next to ours: I knew her then only as a licensed private investigator that gave her access to women imprisoned for sex crimes. She wanted these women to be given equal treatment under the law as their male counterparts, including access to therapists, medicines and doctors.

Margot hired me to be the producer of the first Coyote Hooker’s Masquerade Ball in San Francisco at Longshoreman’s Hall in 1974, just around Halloween. The profits would fund legal fees for the women arrested for sex crimes.


Margot St. James wasn’t pretty in a conventional sense, but she had a vitality and energy that drew people to her causes.

My job was to hire the bands, the sound and light crew, write the press releases, and on the night of the dance, hold a street parade, and make sure no one got out of hand. No big deal, I figured.

Margot thought I could do this because I had just quit working as an artist’s manager for legendary rock ‘n roll concert producer Bill Graham. I struck out of my own to teach busness to musicians and was called a revolutionary by a well-known Bay Area rag. Who would have thought that empowerment for musicians was revolutionary?

But empowerment for hookers and for women jailed for sex crimes—that was much more revolutionary. I had great respect for Margot’s cause, as I did (and still do) for anyone that stuck out their neck for disenfranchised people.

That ball was one wild rockin’ San Francisco event, in a city known for them. It’s theme on all the posters: “Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics.”

It began with me watching the Marin County firemen that Margot talked into helping rig Longshoreman’s Hall, while I helped a bevy of gorgeous hookers assemble mailings and lick stamps.

Just before the ball, there was a pre ‘get-it-up’ fund-raising party with the same bevy of women serving canapés to many of San Francisco’s politicos, rumored to be their clients. Sally Stanford was there—she ran one of the city’s most notorious brothels, and so was Linda Lovelace, the famous porn star.

The dance itself was a huge costume party of San Francisco’s gay men and women, bisexuals, transgenders, queens, and cross dressers. The mayor and police chief came, and the only incident was a lavishly dressed clown with a cane who had climbed on top of one of the speaker stacks and was trying to ‘hook’ the chandelier. I don’t remember how one of my crew talked him safely down.2449034427

I went on to produce the next four ‘balls,’ which became among the largest of Bay Area’s fundraisers—and the wildest. The one I loved the most was the fourth, which took place at what is now called the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. In the entry hall were tables laden with marijuana (illegal then). Inside the ceiling was hung with balloons made of condoms that were donated by manufactuers. Margo rode into the hall on an elephant to announce her candidacy of Presidency of the U.S. I wish I had a copy of the press release I wrote.

Margot raised a lot of money; and she spent in on the causes she espoused,

Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party

“The Dinner Party” was held in 1979 at San Francisco’s Modern Museum of Art. A triangular table was lavishly set with thirty-nine place settings, each celebrating a famous woman of mythology and history, such as Sappho or Joan of Arc.010_the_dinner_party_installation

What was served up was an art installation that drew more people than any other art show up to that time. Each setting had the motif of the era lived in by each woman that was honored.

Other rooms in that installation honored women’s home arts: crochet, lace, china painting, weavings—some of the finest I have ever seen.


The ‘draw’ of that show, however, which had people waiting in line for many blocks and for many months, were Judy Chicago’s fourteen-inch china-painted sculptured plates that were modeled on women’s vaginas.

The Dinner Party has a permanent home at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Musuem, New York.

Stella Resnick

My friend Stella, who lived in San Francisco in the nineteen seventies, was just beginning her career as a clinical psychologist specializing in sexual enrichment in relationships.

When she moved to Los Angeles, she grew a large private practice and wrote two ground-breaking books: The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love and The Pleasure Zone: Why We Resist Good

Stella and I often talked about those free-wheeling days in San Francisco, often in her outdoor redwood hot tub. I credit her for saying, “We had ten years of free love,”

That was before the tragic aids epidemic that hit so many cities like an out of control freight train.

And perhaps before the lewd behavior of men and sexual harassment of women that has crept into all walks of life and dominates media news.

I applaud the women speaking out. It can’t be easy.

Naked, Kickass Katie Lee

Much publicity has been garnered from the beautiful black and white photos of Katie Lee nude in Glen Canyon in the 1950s that were taken by photographer Martin D, Koehler and printed for a special fine arts edition by master printer Richard Jackson of Flagstaff, AZ.


The photos are now part of the Katie Lee archives at Cline Library, Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, Arizona, in the special collection “Colorado Plateau.”

At no level did I ever see these photos of Katie as being ‘sexy.’ Katie was as natural in the wilderness as any wild animal, completely unselfconscious, in a manner that very few people are when they are naked.


“The Nymph,” photo by Martin D. Koehler, is part of a poster sold by Glen Canyon Institute.

Yes, she was a remarkably beautiful woman when the photos were taken, but when she was in those canyons, she was part of the sandstone that she said she was born with in her veins. It was as though these canyons were part of her body.

In Katie’s comments about the photos, she said, “When I met Glen Canyon it was love at first sight—a place far from the inbred taboos of our society— closer to a dreamland than to reality. I have never posed as a model and am not doing so here…only doing what I always did in Glen Canyon—climbing, dancing, walking, touching, talking to the stone, swimming in the river, lying in the shallows, sliding down the falls, crawling through ruins, inching up crevasses, hanging from tree limbs, covering myself with mud, playing, singing, living with the canyon. I can always tell when a model is photographed in a place she’s never seen or experienced before; it’s in body language that can’t be hidden.”

Hiking and Boating with Katie

Anyone who has ever hiked or boated with Katie in the wilderness knows she will shed her clothes as quickly as she possibly can and not put them on again until she gets close to her car.

Nakes katie with guitar.jpeg

Although this photo was taken when she was able to boat down Glen Canyon I had the pleasure of hearing her play her guitar in Gravel Canyon when we backpacked there together many years ago. She was singing in harmony with the coyotes.

Wasn’t she afraid of getting ‘scratched’ someone once asked. I remembered walking naked with Katie and Joey in an absolutely fabulous cactus forest in Southern Baja California. You just had to pay attention, a perfect lesson in ‘being present’ in that silent, but very vibrant world.


The second of Katie Lee's trilogy about a lost eden

The second book of Katie Lee’s trilogy of a lost eden., Cover art by Serena Supplee.

In her book Sandstone Seduction: Rivers and Lovers, Canyons and Friends, Katie wrote: “When I suggested to someone that reveling in that nude world was like taking a bath in awareness, they asked, “Of yourself?”

“Oh no,” Katie said. “Awareness of the earth, the elements, that blue roof up there, the old stone dune with its birthmarks, that fitting hollow, the sound that sometimes comes from the tone when I put my ear to it.” For her, it was the canyons that were sexy: “The luscious sandstones of Glen Canyon began their beckoning call to me after my first year in these sequestered erogenous zones—those deep sinuous paths between Mother Earth’s labia, so private, so impermissible, I’d back away. Should we even be allowed to see such things?” (page 162)
Dandy Crossing

The cover of Katie’s book, Ghosts of Dandy Crossing, featured herself nude, =grinning and pointing a Ruger at her friend and lover, the cowboy-miner Buck.

Book cover of Katie Lee's latest book.

Dandy Crossing was a ferry crossing on the old Colorado River between Hite Village and White Canyon, about three miles downstream from what is now Hite Marina.  The book is still available from her website

Perhaps more than any other book about Glen Canyon that Katie wrote, this one is about the people that lived and worked there before the canyon was dammed—the miners, cowboys, the ferryman, people who explored and settled the west. She felt at home with them and vice versa, whether or not she was nude. Their lives were upended with the building of Glen Canyon reservoir, a sadness some did not recover from, including Katie, who made her life’s work getting rid of the dam and restoring the flow of the Colorado River.

She had no airs in the company of those folk. She always said that the life she led as a performer was only to make money to get her back to her friends in Glen Canyon, exploring its labyrinths and byways.

KT 2 at The Gate

Katie Lee, the glamorous folk singer in the nineteen fifties.

And in those days, that meant performing in places like the Gate of Horn in Chicago or the Hungry Eye in New York.

Perhaps one of the more poignant passages in that book is when Jason, one of her river companions, goes to visit a glamorous Katie when she was singing in Chicago, an awkwardness between them that can’t be bridged, both unable to reach the easy communication with each other that was part of their river journeys, where she was always totally naked.

Do Any Famous Artists Live in Jerome?

Katie was comfortable with her nudity throughout her old age, when her body was full of sags and crinkles, freckles and liver spots. She just didn’t care. Sometimes you’d go to her house, and she’d meet you nude at the door.

I was once asked by a tourist visiting Jerome, “Do any famous artists live in Jerome.” I thought about this and answered, “Katie Lee.” “Oh, isn’t she the woman that rode naked through town on her bike?”

Katie told me she’s likely to be more famous in Jerome for her ride than for her books and music. Sadly, she was right. No stores in Jerome carry her books and music. During the last couple of years, a few Katie-come-lately’s (as my friend Richard Martin put it) laid claim to knowing her, but few have read her books or listened to her music.

An exception is the song written by Katie’s friend Kate Wolf called “Old Jerome, which Wolf wrote while staying at Katie’ house. The song was adopted as the official town song by the Jerome Town Council in the 1990s and is often played and sung by Jerome’s Ukilele Orchestra.

And yes, Katie is famous in Jerome for riding her bike through town naked except for a helmet and boots when she was seventy-seven years old. She howled with laughter as she sailed the mile downhill from Main Street to her house. It was her way to shed the glum, sad feelings she had after a close Jerome friend died.

Katie on her bike

Jane Moore, one of the owners of Made in Jerome, made this plate for Katie for her 93rd birthday commemorating her famous ride

The day she decided to do it was the kind of sticky and hot it gets just before a summer monsoon. “Friends were snapping at each other like loony birds in a tank of toxins and the humidity was a wet, down comforter under a 110-degree heating pad.” (Sandstone Seduction, “The Ride”)

She streaked past bar owner Paul Vojnic as he talked with Ray, the town cop. Paul said, “Well, aren’t you going to arrest her?” “What am I going to arrest her for” Ray said. “Floppy tits?”

Even before Katie reached her house, people who saw her started shaking the phone calls with their laughter. “Do you know what Katie Lee just did?”

Years later, friends put together a memorial to that ride on Katie’s maybe 87th birthday, where they rode their bikes, dressed up in fake big balloon boobs and padded bras over their clothes, before congregating on the steps opposite Paul and Jerry’s Bar. Only Katie and I showed up bare-breasted.

Foul-Mouth, Kick Ass Katie Lee

Maybe more than the nude photos, Katie was known for her foul-mouth. “It took me almost 20 years to get used to her saying the word ‘F. . . .K’, a close friend recently told me. The word would just roll out of her mouth—in conversation, but especially at lectures on the loss of Glen Canyon and the bottled up Colorado River.

Although most of our friends knew that Katie in the nude was her natural self, Katie in front of an audience put clothes and words together for shock and awe, including swear words. She was trained as an actress and used that training when she sang and lectured or was being filmed. Her appearances were not only unforgettable, but often brought audiences to tears. She was a fabulous performer. Then, she was happy to be known as a bad ass or a kick ass. It’s what she was going for. (The phrase ‘Kickass Katie Lee’comes from a short film by the same name that is produced by Beth and George Gage and shown at the 2016 Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride.

The only time I saw Katie embarrassed was when she delivered a commencement address at Prescott College to graduating teachers sometime in the 1990’s. It was laced with swear words and rants. Many graduates were Navaho women who were hugely offended. Afterwards Katie said to me, “This is the first time I’ve ever given a speech when absolutely NO ONE came back to tell me how great it was.” “Well, Katie,” I said, “look at your audience, young Navaho women, who had never heard another woman swear like that.“ First time I ever saw her blush.

Katie wouldn’t back off when I suggested she rename her book Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, A History of the American Cowboy I Song, Story and Verse. She instantly hit red-line anger and screamed at me, “It’s a famous f….king cowboy song, goddammit.” That book might have been a classic hit among ranchers were it not for the title. The famed Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada wouldn’t carry the book; and many cowboy poetry festivals wouldn’t hire Katie either.

One of the best histories ever written about cowboys.

“A beautiful job, exact, comprehensive and witty. Should remain a basic history of the subject for many year to come.”  Edward Abbey

I sure hope the University of Arizona Press, current publishers of the book, will continue to reprint it and keep it alive. Some copies are still available at Katie’s website: (The odd website name, by the way comes from a conflation of the word Katydid, one of Katie’s favorite insects, and the phrase ‘doo dit.’ She couldn’t call the website by her real name because there was a cookbook author and chef by the same name who had taken the website name for herself.

The word tact was not in Katie’s vocabulary. Whatever she said or felt, she told you. I once chided her: “Katie, sometimes it might pay to be more tactful.” Again, full redline scream: “Tact is a f…..king waste of time.” She said that to me when she was just about the same age as I am now (78) and I try to say exactly what I mean, just not using the swear words.

I was fortunate to know most aspects of Katie— at home sewing, making beads, hiking nude, driving, performing—a giant kaleidoscope. And wherever I landed, what I saw is what I got. Inimitable Kick Ass Katie Lee.  I am still immensely sad at her passing on November 1, 2017.

If you want to read more about Katie: My personal tribute:

And a great obituary in The New York Times:

Copyright 2017 Diane Sward Rapaport

Joey van Leeuwen: The Singing Coyote

Copyright 2017 by Diane Sward Rapaport

Joey van Leeuwen died on November 2 by his own hand in Jerome, AZ. Katie Lee, his partner for 36 years, died peacefully the night before. Joey was 85 years old.J&K Home 2011

Among friends, it was always Katie and Joey, never one without the other. They had increasing disabilities, and for many years, told each other that they could not live without the help of the other. It’s how it is when people age and need to rely on one another.

Joey loved birds, painted portraits of them, carved them, and wrote and illustrated a little gem of a book called The Birds of Jerome. Anyone who walked into Katie and Joey’s home immediately saw a virtual aviary: hawks, eagles and ravens that Joey had carved hanging from the ceiling; doves, ducks, hummingbirds, owls, swallows, and finches perched on window sills and bookcases, a blue heron for the backporch.

Joey bird flying1.jpg

Joey planted an arboretum in his backyard, eighty-six trees, almost as many as there are birds in his book, including chokecherry, hackberry, mulberry, elderberry, squawbush, California buckthorn, walnut, peach, and apricot, eight species of pine and many Gambel oaks. He grew three different types of cherries on one tree. In the evening, he and Katie would sit on the back porch with binoculars and watch the birds feast on a smorgasbord of fruits, berries and nuts.

It gave Katie much pleasure, until some of the trees grew so tall they obscured some of the incredible views of the Verde Valley and red rock canyons beyond. Joey trimmed the trees best he could.

I had the pleasure of hiking with Katie and Joey, not only in the remote Utah canyons, but on a camping trip to Western Australia in 1986. He was a gentle, tall, canny and modest man, as steadfast a friend as I could ever want, with a sweetness that balanced Katie’s more caustic aspects.

Friends and I nicknamed him Hawkeye. He could name a bird at the flick of a color, the shape of a tail, the nest it wove, or from a feather lodged in a prickly pear cactus. He could imitate their songs. Once he told me he watched long-tailed grass finches in Western Australia become drunk on termites. In the spring, the termites secrete some kind of acid that makes the birds so drunk they can hardly fly.

A child’s curiosity and an adult’s skepticism about certain so-called ‘facts’ once led Joey to painting a dozen aluminum cans with a wild bouquet of colors. He filled them with sugar water and sat back to observe which color hummingbirds preferred. “Which ones, Joey,” I asked. “Red. They like red.” He had to find out for himself.

He was born in Holland, emigrated to Australia where he worked on a sheep station in Western Australia for many years, before moving to Jerome, AZ in 1978 to live with Katie. In Australia, Joey was a member of many bird clubs and was sought after for his expertise on aviaries. He fell in love with Katie Lee and moved to Jerome too soon to finish his book of Australian bird lore, “The ABCs of Bird Keeping.”

Joey bird100_0441.JPG

It takes a gentle person to observe their quirky habits and make them companions. Joey’s reward was pure pleasure, a quenching of curiosity and a deepening of knowledge for its own sake. Joey had those traits, as well as the capacity to love without aggression.

Before he died, Joey meticulously labeled which of his carvings were to be gifted to friends. He gifted me one called “Singing Coyote.” I’d like to think he read my tribute to Katie, where I mentioned some of the most magical moments in the canyons, where she played her beat-up guitar (which Joey carried in his backpack) and sang, with the coyotes adding their wild harmonies. I’d like to think Joey and Katie are somewhere in the wild canyons, hand-in-hand singing along with those wild coyote yips.

Joey is survived by two brothers, three children in Australia, Stephen, Elizabeth and Joanne,  five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Katie Lee: I Will Return

Copyright 2017 by Diane Sward Rapaport

My close friend Katie Lee died peacefully in her home in Jerome on November 1, 2017. She was 98 years old. I am immensely sad.

Activist Katie Lee

Katie Lee was a vibrant, energetic, and eloquent singer, author and activist never stopped fighting to drain it and return the natural flow of the Colorado River.

Katie lit a wildfire in her heart about the loss of Glen Canyon when it was drowned to become Lake Powell Reservoir. She called it Loch Latrine or Rez Foul. Often called the “Grand Dame of Dam Busting,” she never stopped fighting to drain it and return the natural flow of the Colorado River.

She left a torch that won’t be extinguished. She knew how to scorch with her words, whether in her books, stories, songs, or lectures. I seldom met an audience of hers that didn’t shed tears and give her a standing ovation.

I once asked Katie why she was so attached to Glen Canyon. She replied,It’s as if my feet are still stuck in the sand at the edge of the river. It’s where I live. This other life I walk around in all day—well, that’s a passing thing. And in many ways it’s my defense against the sadder mechanisms of life around us. And God knows we all need those mechanisms from keeping ourselves from going crazy in this mad world.”

Although she leaves a potent legacy, one she was fortunate to realize in her lifetime, I offer here a few personal memories.


The last time I saw Katie was two years ago when I took her to lunch in Cottonwood, Arizona on her birthday. She cussed at me all the way down the mountain from Jerome for my atrocious driving.You’re f****g braking too often, you need to learn to downshift around these curves; you’re too jerky.” And of course, the more she cussed and yelled, the more nervous and jerky I got. By the time we reached the restaurant, Katie was carsick, and I was mortified.

Then I remembered her acknowledgments about me in her book Sandstone Seduction under the heading, Category Indefinable: “I can teach her only two things: where to hike and how to drive.”

Katie learned to drive from her third husband, Brandy, who was a racecar driver. She became superb at driving fast and smooth, cursing and honking at anybody in her way.

She just never managed to teach me.


Katie did teach me where to hike. Her topo maps showed me how to choose the places where there was virtually no possibility of seeing anyone else. (Hikes she has taken are highlighted with yellow or orange markers on topo maps, which will be archived at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library).\

At 42 years old, I was a backpacking neophyte; a city slicker newly arrived in Jerome, AZ, who had made some waves in the music industry. I had never before spent a night that was not in a national park with groomed trails and signs telling me where to take a photo. Katie took her mate Joey, my husband Walter and I, and her friend Merlin on a ten-day trip into Gravel Canyon, in Utah’s White Canyon area—possibly not traveled by anyone (including the cows) since the Native Americans left in the fourteenth century. We accessed it from the top. Katie drove up some scraggy, scarred dirt road, which scared the piss out of me, one of my first experiences with Katie behind the wheel.

We started down canyon over many large tree trunks and refrigerator size boulders left by years of flash floods, sending Merlin ahead, sometimes for many hours, to see whether the canyon would continue to “go” or would box us out. He was training for some Chilean snowbound mountain backpacking and carrying 70–80 pounds.

Katie is her most natural self in these wild places—funny, easy to be around, and helpful. She is a gifted storyteller and those wonderful canyon amphitheaters inspired her and turned anybody with her into a rapt audience. The most magical moments were when she played her beat-up guitar and sang, with the coyotes adding their wild harmonies.

We found side canyons full of untrammeled ruins, whole pots, areas strewn with corncobs and grinding stones, and other remnants of lives long gone.

After we rappelled down a forty-foot cliff to walk out, Katie broke one of her two steadfast rules: Never tell anybody where you went. (The other was Don’t go down something you can’t get back up). We found a mauled and looted grave at the end of the rappel, human bones scattered everywhere, and it made Katie furious. We stopped at the Kane Gulch ranger station and told the ranger about it. “How did you happen to find it?” asked the ranger. “We came down canyon,” Katie blurted out. “Oh,” said the ranger, “I didn’t know you could come down that canyon.” Two years later, Outside Magazine did a story on it.

Hikes with Katie taught me to appreciate why those lonesome places are shelters for our emotional upheavals and havens for spiritual growth.

Je Reviendral

Katie loved making bead necklaces for her friends. A few weeks before she died, she told me she was making a necklace for her friend Candace of natural green polished stones and four tiny silver charms: a snake (“because I love them”); a pen (“because I’m a writer”); and a ladder (“of success”); the fourth was a tiny disk engraved with the words Je reviendral (“I will return”).

I’d like to think that maybe, just maybe, Katie never left. The wildfires that she set in my heart continue to spread.

More info:

A lovely video of Katie singing “Song of the Boatman,” accompanied by Peter McLaughlin, at a birthday party about a week before she died. Lyrics by Katie Lee. Music adapted from the song “Cry of the Wild Goose,”by Terry Gilkyson. Katie gifted the guitar she played for so many years to him. Video by Michael.

An elegant obituary in The New York Times on November 10 written by Robert Sandomir.


In case you missed the NBC special on its Today show:


The Future of Harney County’s Water: ConservationTakes Front and Center


About 40 people attended a Harney County Community-planning water meeting on June 28. Two informational talks were presented: one on remote pivot controls and magnetic flow meters; the second on some of the knowns and unknowns about water availability and use in the Harney basin. These augmented presentations on May 17 comparing different sprinkler irrigation systems.

Afterwards the meeting broke up into small discussion groups to discuss the implications of Harney County farmers adopting water saving irrigation conservation technologies.


An alfalfa field in Harney County .The vibrant side was irrigated with about 2/3 of the water using drip lines. Each drip line is around 50’ long with small holes punched about every six inches. Water penetration in the soil was dramatically better. The other side remains unchanged MESA sprinkler irrigation with evaporation, etc. Drip lines are a third alternative to conserving water with more efficient technologies that lead to higher yields. Photo used with permission.

Math Jui Jitsu

Mark Owens was the first hay farmer in Harney County to convert 6 pivots to low elevation spray application (LESA) systems.

During this meeting, he presented a calculation of the savings that could occur if all pivot irrigation systems currently in use in Harney County converted to LESA.

According to Harmony Burright from the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD), the department has approved 610 permits for Harney County farmers for developing a total of 93,936 acres (281,808 acre-feet) of groundwater. However, farmers are only irrigating 64,000 acres (192,000 acre-fee), which means that some permits have not been developed.

Owens calculated that the average water savings for converting MESA to LESA systems was approximately 20%. Since 80% of the irrigation systems in Harney County are from sprinkler pivots, at 100% conversion, the savings would be at least 16%, or a savings of 45,000 acre feet—(15,000 acres).

A worthy goal.

The question is whether some or all of these savings can be achieved?

Incentives and barriers to conservation will be discussed in the fifth Future of Water article.

Remote Pivot Controls

Presenters were Josh Egan from the Lindsay Corporation, the manufacturer of FieldNET™ Pivot Control systems, and Matt Nonnenmacher from Clearwater Pump and Irrigation from Burns, Oregon, a company that installs them.

FieldNET™ Pivot Controls are mounted on irrigation pivots, whatever their type, and enable pivots to be remotely controlled from a smart phone or computer. The simplest versions provide on-off capabilities and check equipment status. More sophisticated versions provide GPS positioning, variable rate irrigation controls within many designated sectors within fields, and can be programmed for real-time field conditions, such as pressure, soil moisture, and weather, and to designate irrigation zones that may need different flow rates or even none at all.


The purpose of pivot controls is to manage how much water is going into the ground and to alert field managers to potential problems, such as high water flow, hardware faults, low pressure, high voltage, etc. and decrease the need for daily visual inspection of crops.

Use of pivot controls reduce labor cost and improve efficiency and yield, which can lead to greater profits.

Magnetic Flow Meters

Growsmart™ magnetic flow meters are mounted at well sources. Used as stand-alone or combined with remote pivot controls, these meters calculate how much water is flowing through the pipe. Knowing how much fields are under or overwatered can be critical during periods of drought or scarcity; and are useful for managing yield and efficiency.

Information is sent to a smartphone or computer. Meters can be interfaced with pivot controls for more effective management.

For further information on FieldNET pivot controls or Growsmart magnetic flow meters contact Matt, at Clearwater Pump & Irrigation, Phone: (541) 573-1260

Future Groundwater Meetings:

Groundwater issues are being addressed in two separate meetings scheduled on July 18 and 19. Everyone who is interested in the future of water in Harney County is welcome and encouraged to attend.

First, The Harney County Groundwater Study Advisory Committee is meeting at the Harney County Community Center on Tuesday, July 18 from 10 a. m to 3 p.m. The meeting will include a presentation from USGS summarizing existing studies, data, and information and how they are being for a major groundwater study being conducted in the Harney Basin by USGS and OWRD. Later there will be an update on current quarterly groundwater measurements and monitoring efforts .The greater part of lunch and the afternoon will be devoted to discussions among people attending, including a discussion on water use estimates and data gaps.

Groundwater study area Chris copy.jpg

On Wednesday, July 19. a Community Based Planning meeting was held at the Harney County Community Center from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Allison Aldous of the Nature Consevancy shows an updated conceptual model conceptual model to aid in the understanding of how water flows into the basin affect groundwater and surface water. The discussion followed by how changes in management strategy, such as conservation, could affect agricultural and other uses.

The need for local, collaborative water planning was identified in the statewide Integrated Water Resources Strategy and is being supported by a grant from the Oregon Water Resources Department.

For more information, contact Project Manager, Gretchen Bates: or 541-589-9915

More information is located at Other “Future of Water” articles are located at links provided in the HW watershed council section: Community-Based Water Planning.

Harney County’s Water Future: MESA and LESA Irrigation Systems

Uncertainties about water sustainability in Harney County are causing some ranchers to examine more efficient ways to irrigate alfalfa and hay crops.

Mark Owens went further. Mark is a hay farmer in Crane and one of the county’s three elected commissioners. In 2015, Mark attended a workshop on low elevation spray application (LESA) systems. Half-way through the presentation, Mark got on his cell phone and canceled an order for nozzles that would be used in his mid-elevation spray application (MESA) systems, the standard sprinkler system used in Harney County.

In March 2016, Owens converted 6 pivots to LESA. “It made total sense to me,” he said. “The savings in water and energy the first year were almost 25%. Using LESA, I was achieving almost 92% efficiency against the 75-80% efficiencies of MESA—with no reduction in yield.” For sure, both systems are better than water sprayed from wheel lines, which have about 65% efficiency.

Today, there are 42 more LESA systems in Harney County (48 counting Mark’s).

On May 17, 2017, Mark made a presentation to county ranchers at the ESD facility in Burns, where he compared new and old systems. People then drove out people out to Mark’s ranch for a demo.

LESA systems spray water from nozzles placed 12 inches above the ground or lower and spaced about 5 feet apart. As crops grow, the nozzles become less and less visible because they are under the canopy, further reducing water drift and evaporative loss, percolating water into the ground faster and saturating root zones more effectively. LESA works best on level fields.

LESA systems

LESA web image.jpg

Here is Mark’s comparison of MESA and LESA systems. The average water right allocation in Harney County is 3 acre-feet or 325,850 gallons per acre foot or 966,550 gallons per 3 acre-feet. This is typically the amount producers will utilize for optimal growth using MESA systems.

MESA                                                                        LESA

7.5 gallons per minute per acre                        5,8-6 gallons per minute

450 gallons per hour per acre                            348 gallons per hour per acre

10,800 gallons per day per acre foot                 8,352 gallons per day per acre foot

30 days to apply 325, 850 gallons                      39 days to apply 325,850 gallons

90 days uses 3 acre feet (97,200 gal)                90 days uses 2.3 acre foot (752,690 gal)

During his presentation, Mark made clear that reaching the high efficiencies of LESA systems depended on designing them to meet crop needs according to the type of soil and climate conditions. “Most importantly, you have to manage the system,” he said. “You have to go out and look at the fields. You can’t manage them from a pickup. It’s easy to over water.” LESA was so efficient, Mark had to shut down the system for five days last summer. “An efficiently designed system can be managed inefficiently,” Mark added.

Other Savings

LESA systems require less operating pressures. Mark reduced his horsepower requirements with a new pump design by eight horsepower, which saved approximately $10 a day in power costs.

If you have further questions about MESA and LESA, please contact Mark Owens.

Mark Owens

Harney County Commissioner

Cell:      541-589-2379

Office: 541-573-6356

Retrofitting MESA to LESA

Harney County irrigation dealers are knowledgeable about conversions and costs. Basically conversion entails doubling the existing drops on the pivot lines, retrofitting them with double goosenecks and the correct types of sprinkler nozzles, and replacing regulators.

Cost and Financial Assistance

According to Mark, ‘If our results stay consistent during the second year, we will be able to recoup our out of pocket expenses within two years.

However, financial assistance is available for producers.

Harney Electric Cooperative customers can receive rebates on irrigation hardware upgrades and irrigation pumping improvements. Harney Electric has contracted with Harney Soil and Water Conservation District to deliver the program. Contact Bill Andersen, Energy Efficiency Analyst Harney SWCD, 541-573-5010,

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative OTCC) has a similar program, but funding is not currently in place. However, producers can fill out the paperwork and have it in place, when funding does become available. Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative 541-573-2666

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) provides up to 75% of the cost of projects that conserve natural resources and improve watershed health. Individuals are eligible to apply, but are encouraged to work with organizations such as the Harney County Watershed Council or the Harney Soil and Water Conservation District. Contacts: Karen Moon, Harney County Watershed Council 541-573-8199; Karen.moon!; or Marty Suter-Goold, Harney SWCD, 541-573-5010;

In addition, The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)—formerly Soil Conservation Service—has other programs to help producers identify ways to conserve energy, programs to help organic farmers selling less than $5000 of organic products per year, as well as for improvements to irrigation efficiency. For information on these and other programs, contact Zola Ryan, District Conservationist NRCS Hines Field Office, 541-573-6446 ext. 107;

Attend the June 28 Meeting

The fourth meeting of one the Water Availability sub-group is set for June 28, 2-5 p.m. at the ESD Building, 25 Fairview Loop.

Short presentations include:

2: 15 p.m. Irrigation Technology: Computer Management for Pivots (Matt Nonnenmacher, Clearwater Pump & Irrigation)

3 p.m. Groundwater Rights and Use (Harmony Burright, OWRD)

3:30 Review Water cycle concepts; discussion of social, environmental and economic impacts of adopting different irrigation technologies and other conservation practices?

The meetings are open to the public. Those who have a stake and interest in our water issues are encouraged to attend.  Hope to see you there.

Other posts

Other articles about the future of Harney County’s water.

Well complaints)


Note:  I am a member of the Harney County Watershed Council; these are my views and do not necessarily refect those of council members.


The Future of Harney County Water: Injured Well Complaints

by Diane Rapaport

At meetings of the Groundwater Study Advisory Committee, Harney County Watershed Council, and the collaborative Community Based Planning sessions, domestic well and other users have been reporting drops in water levels. Both the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Oregon Water Resources Deparment are conducting a formal groundwater study; OWRD is in charge of the observation wells for formal data; the Harney County Watershed Council is, with permission of owners, collecting water data as well that is shared with OWRD.

However,  some users whose wells are not part of the study, want to know how to report and register well complaints.

Reporting Decreases of Water

Fiie an injured “Well Complaint” about decreases in water levels with JR Johnson, Harney County Watermaster. Make an appointment to see her: 541-573-2591. She is extraordinarily busy; do not just ‘drop in.’

Bring your contact info (name/address/phone/ etc.) and whatever information you have about your wells (well location, any well logs—not necessary if you haven’t kept them)—when you first started noticing the decreases, decreases over time, what steps you have taken to mitigate the problem (such as digging deeper or digging a new wells), and so on.

If there are decreases over time, try to provide specific information, such as the dates when you started noticing decreases and what you feel might be contributing to them.

The Watermaster will then log in to the official Oregon Water Ressources Departyment (OWRD) site and fill in the information you have given.

That information is not shared publicly. However, it does create a record over time for them and for you and is also part of any water decreases in observation and other wells that are part of the formal groundwater study.

Complaints can be made by holders of junior or senior water rights, as well as owners of domestic wells.

Complaints about Water Quality

Information about contaminants that degrade water quality, (such as arsenic and salts) that are found in water wells, quantity and at what levels IS NOT a part of the groundwater study being conducted by USGS, Nor does the HC Watermaster or OWRD necessarily collect data about water quality.

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Oregon does not have an official reporting form for the public to file complaints about well-to-well interference concerns about water quality or complaints about contamination in individual wells.

The procedure is for the complainant to contact the local Watermaster office, and the staff there will collect the necessary information from the complainant to make a preliminary determination about the situation. If the preliminary determination suggests that additional investigation is required, the Watermaster or their staff may visit the site to collect additional information.

Michael Campana, whose presentation in 2016 about water flow in and out of the Basin was made in a meeting of the collaborative community planning process, included information about an arsenic study that was conducted for Lauren Smitherman’s thesis on the site:

DEQ Offers to Test Wells for Water Quality for Free

During an October 18, 2017 meeting of the community planning collaborative, officials from DEQ announced they have the funds to conduct tests of water quality for Harney County well owners that request them.  For further information: Paige Evans, Natural Resoure Specialist 2: 503-693-5738.  Email:

Domestic Well Users Subcommittee

At a meeting of the full community planning collaborative held on October 18, 2017, it was announced that a new subommittee was formed for domestic well users in our cities and out in the rural areas of Harney County.  If you want to participate in this group, or tell us your story, please attend a meeting of this sub-committee on November 15, from 5 p.m. to 8 at the Chamber of Commerce community center.

One of the goals of the new subcommitte is to find out more about contaminants present in domestic and irrigation wells by collecting informal, anecdotal data from well permittees that have decreasing water levels or have some form of contamination in their wells. This is part of trying to figure out more about “what we don’t know” about water availability and water quality in the basin. This may or may not be the same information that is filed in “Well Complaints” with the OWRD by JR Johnson.


Undue Interference: Senior and Junior Users 

OWRD is unable to limit the use of junior groundwater users to address interference with complaints from one or more specific senior users until it can establish that the senior user requesting relief has fully developed the groundwater resource.

Specifically, Division 8 rules provide the following definition of Substantial or Undue Interference: OAR 690-080(8) “Substantial or Undue Interference” means the spreading of the cone of depression of a well to intersect a surface water body or another well, or the reduction of the ground water gradient and flow as a result of pumping, which contributes to:

(a) A reduction in surface water availability to an extent that:

(A) One or more senior surface water appropriators are unable to use either their permitted or customary quantity of water, whichever is less; or

(B) An adopted minimum streamflow or instream water right with an effective date senior to the causative ground water appropriation(s) cannot be satisfied.

(b) The ground water level being drawn down to the economic level of the senior appropriator(s); or

(c) One or more of the senior ground water appropriators being unable to obtain either the permitted or the customary quantity of ground water, whichever is less, from a reasonably efficient well that fully penetrates the aquifer where the aquifer is relatively uniformly permeable. However, in aquifers where flow is predominantly through fractures, full penetration may not be required as a condition of substantial or undue interference.

Note:  Diane Rapaport is a member of the Harney County Watershed Council; these are my views and do not necessarily refect those of council members.

The Future of Harney County’s Water

Harney County’s newest water challenge began in 2015, when the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) said it would no longer process any new well permits for 5243 square miles of the Harney Basin (45% of the entire county).

According to statements from the OWRD, groundwater pumping “appears to be exceeding groundwater recharge.” The primary use of permitted groundwater wells is for irrigating alfalfa and hay fields.

The moratorium was followed by the designation of the entire county as being in an official drought by Governor Kate Brown. Hard to even imagine this today when heavy snow and rain has left large lakes of surface water and flooding rivers.

Up to OWRD’s announcement, it had business as usual in Harney County, where agriculture is an 89 million dollar plus industry—42% crops; 58% cattle, according to a 2012 agricultural census. Alfalfa and hay prices were sky high. Cow/calf ranches were flourishing. Pivots shot water into the air without much regard to efficiency or conservation. There were scattered reports of domestic wells drying up or, for those ‘digging’ deeper, arsenic, salts and nitrates showing up in their drinking water. There were reports of too many wild horses on too little land sucking on surface water that was diminishing. And so on.

OWRD Explains the Moratorium

More than 120 ranchers showed up at an open hose meeting sponsored by OWRD in May 2015 for an explanation of the moratorium.

OWRD’s presentation showed slides of the infill of irrigation pivots in the last fifty years, declining water tables, etc. and suggested that groundwater permits might have been over-allocated. According to OWRD the estimated current annual groundwater usage is 201,250 acre-feet, which exceeds the 170,800 acre-feet available for groundwater use. As a result, “groundwater levels are declining, as total discharge exceeds recharge, depleting the water that is being stored in the aquifer.” This is commonly referred to as water mining.

OWRD announced a 4- to 5-year groundwater study of the Harney Basin’s aquifer by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and said the permit moratorium would last until 2020, when the study would produce results. Presumably the study will include new recharge estimates, since the recharge number used by OWRD came from a 1972 study that assumed one inch of recharge over the entire basin.  (If this link does not open, cut and past the URL into your search engine.)

Groundwater Study Advisory Committee (GWSAC)

The OWRD presentation was a big wake-up call. Their presentation had cast doubts that water storage in the aquifer beneath the basin might not last forever. The new fear: water would get used up much more quickly than was ever imagined. How much water was left? No one knew.

One response was the formation of a Groundwater Study Rules Advisory Committee appointed by The Harney County Court and OWRD to meet together to iron out questions. The committee morphed into the Groundwater Study Advisory Committee.

Early discussions surrounded 39 applications for groundwater permits that were left in limbo, since OWRD said they would stop processing all permits even those that were in process currently. One result was the adoption of new options for those 39 applications and was a good example of the beneficial kind of collaboration between state and local officials.

Since the formation of GWSAC at least five all-day committee meetings have occurred. Part of the meetings is given over to educational presentations about the study, scope, known geology and hydrogeology of the Harney Basin. Part of the meetings is given over to answering questions. For example, some ranchers say that there is more than one basin in the study area and asked that the study not take a ‘one suit fits all’ approach; others say that water in some areas of the basin seemed plentiful and showed no depletion and therefore should be exempt from the moratorium. Some ranchers expressed skepticism that water mining is occurring at all.

In July 2016, a presentation showed the purpose and scope of the groundwater study; spoke about the development of observation wells; delineated the boundaries of the Harney Basin; and showed analyses of water level trends in various areas of the basin. (If this link does not open, cut and past the URL into your search engine,)

A second meeting in October 2016 included as USGS power point overview for past completed studies in other basins and the timeline and approach for the Harney study. (If this link does not open, cut and past the URL into your search engine,)

The January meeting included a presentation of how water levels in groundwater wells are measured. (If this link does not open, cut and past the URL into your search engine,)

A fourth meeting held in April 2017  An excellent presentation called “Groundwater Hydrology 101 was presented by geologist Michael E. Campana in the April meeting.began ” explained closed basin hydrogegology,  groundwater and surface flows and the factors that affect how water enters and leaves the basin.

These presentations have been useful for providing a basis for discussing issues of concern. To date, meetings have been cordial and helpful.

Harney County Watershed Council

Another response to the moratorium and drought was a new collaborative effort to plan strategies for the future of water quality and sustainability. The Harney County Watershed Council (HCWC ) put in for and received a community-based planning grant from the OWRD for a new collaborative effort. As with the Groundwater Rrules Advisory committee, some meetings included educational presentations to stimulate and focus discussion.

For the first nine months, the goals of the meetings of the Community Based Planning effort were (1) to develop an inclusive group of all affected users in the Harney Basin; (2) determine what information is not being gathered by the USGS/OWRD study (for example, potential water quality deterioration); and (3) identify some management strategies that might be effective in ensuring sustainability for people, wildlife and the environment.

For example, HCWC member Dustin Johnson conducted a February 6 workshop about how to achieve better irrigation efficiencies. Topics included deficit irrigation, low elevation sprinkler application, irrigation scheduling, a producer panel and agricultural water quality management. There was also a presentation on financial assistance programs presented by the Soil Water and Conservation District.

Future workshops may include information about alternative water-saving crops and other issues identified by the process.

The HCWC also put in for and received grants to measure water levels in over 150 observation wells, over and above those being measured by the USGS, to help broaden the data for the groundwater study.

Meetings of the Groundwater Study Advisory Committee, Harney County Watershed Council and Community Based Planning are open to the public. They are great ways for members of the community to ask questions and share points of view.

According to OWRD representative Harmony Burright, OWRD place-based water planning coordinator: “I want to encourage everyone to think about how we can manage water in a way that considers multiple interests, values our interconnectedness, and fosters collaboration. The stories we tell are powerful beyond measure. . . and encourage us to work with our neighbors to build communities that reflect our collective values.“

That’s a powerful and inspiring goal for Harney County people to work towards.

Note:  I am a member of the Harney County Watershed Council; these are my views and do not necessarily refect those of council members.

Seismic Shifts in the Music Business

The fifth edition of newly published The Musician’s Bsiness and Legal Guide addresses major changes in the industry during the last ten years. Here is editor Mark Halloran’s ‘Preface.” Every musician and music business professional should have this book.  
Please share widely.
“We are proud to welcome you back to our updated and expanded book. This Fifth Edition embodies the most thorough and far-reaching changes in our history. Since our last edition a decade ago we have witnessed sea changes in the music business we could never have imagined. First, the size, power and profitability of the major record labels have all declined. Second, two new platforms for breaking artists, YouTube and American Idol-type TV vocal competition shows, have broken onto the scene. Third, we have seen the rise (and recent downward slide) of digital downloads (e.g., iTunes). Fourth, we have seen the rise of subscription radio services (Spotify and Pandora, for example), which feature “curated” (chosen) music which can satisfy virtually any tonal palette. Fifth, we have witnessed the rise of electronic dance music (EDM) and music festivals.
At the same time as this seismic shift, more music is being created and listened to than ever in the history of humankind. And there are opportunities to create and spread your music even if you are not signed to a label, or win The Voice. You fledgling indie artists out there should note the following phenomena that work in your favor:
1. You no longer need a recording studio with expensive gear and an audio engineer to make a great sounding recording.
2. You can record a video of you performing your song for virtually nothing.
3. Rather than relying on a big record company, you can raise funds on Kickstarter, RocketHub, and Indiegogo for your recordings, videos, and tours.
4. You can use social media (a website is a must) and your email list (required) to build and motivate your fanbase.
5. You can upload your videos and recordings for free on video websites such as YouTube, which has become the #1 search engine for music. It’s also the preferred listening platform for younger fans, who like that the videos are also easily shareable via social media.
This is essentially a new book given that all articles have been updated, and we have added seven completely new articles (please don’t throw away your old editions!): “YouTube Music,” “TV Talent Competitions: The Ghost of American Idol,” “Social Media Law for Musicians,” “Independent Record Labels and Record Deals,” “Recording and Distribution Contracts with Independent Labels,” “Producer Agreements are Stupid,” and “How 360 Deals Became Necessary and How To Negotiate Them.”
Even with all the changes in the music business as well as in this Fifth Edition, the basic lessons from the First Edition still apply, now more than ever. At some point in your professional music career, you will learn that there are legal questions implicit in almost everything you do. Whether you write, record, perform, or sell a song, your actions give rise to rights and obligations that you should consider. The best time to learn is now.
The most fundamental purpose of this book is to demystify the increasingly complex music business, and what many consider an indecipherable body of law that shapes it. And
to help you “make it” by explaining, as best we can, how the music industry and the laws that govern it work. To maximize
the utility of the book we have tried to make our information comprehensible to musicians and non-musicians alike, and have avoided presupposing a lot of knowledge on your part.
As useful as we trust this book is, we feel compelled to bring a few warnings to your attention. First, no one who has become
a music “star” has done so without obtaining competent help as they built their career—so should you. Talent agents, personal managers, lawyers, and business managers are all trained to guide you as you ascend your music career ladder. Naturally
their expertise costs money, but their cost is more palatable if
you consider that these expenses are not really costs but rather
an investment in your career. Next, the chapters are primarily designed to indentify legal issues and to give specific solutions that might be tailored to your specific situation. If you have a legal problem, do not rely on the information contained in this book; see an attorney. The chapters in this book that address legal issues are not the law, but merely describe legal applications, in general terms, for the music industry.
One final note—although this book is a useful tool, as a musician you should write music, not contracts. Unless you devote an appropriate amount of your time and energy to developing and exploiting your talent, this book doesn’t matter. Make it matter.
Mark Halloran, Esq.