This Page is for any new news on DVDs, videos CDs, or anything else that is new news on John.
Please if you have seen something we haven't please let us know.

Dear Friends,

I am more than happy and pleased to announce the release of my Christmas
CD a My Christmas List on December 4 , 2008. We have worked very hard
from October 15 thru November 17 to make this project a Holiday
Success. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to all of those who
were a great support. Your inspiration and contribution to this project
were more than just your talents. I would like to thank my wife, Dawn, and
all the musicians: Tim Stroud, Willie Hoevers, Keely Brown, Dawn
DeLucia-Adams, Randy Utterback, Lisa Fisher and Stephen Weidner. I'd
like to thank Steve Weisberg for providing me with the original lyrics for
his song a Christmas for Cowboys and also Alessandra Marino, who
helped me with the correct pronunciations for the Italian Christmas Song
Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle. A very special Thank You to my dear
friend, Gaby Schech, from Potsdam, Germany, who provided the artwork,
front and back-cover for this CD. There are 14 songs on the CD, including;
The Holly & The Ivy, What Child is This, and I Wonder as I Wander. (Just
to name a few)

This will be an opportunity for you to pre-order your copy of My
Christmas List, which will be send to you early December so you will
have it before the Holidays. Just go to my web site
for more information on the CD and to the  tab to order on-line.

You can also send me a check, USA only, for your order (Include $3.50 for
S&H for 1 or 2 CDs, $5.00 for 3 CDs or more) to:
John Adams
P.O. Box 2956
Silverthorne, CO 80498

Write an e-mail to if you have any concerns about
ordering on-line or to use the Internet for your payment.

Thank you very much and......Merry Christmas!

Filmmakers outsmart dolphin killers: Secret film will expose Japan's brutality

Powered by CDNN - CYBER DIVER News Network

Japanese fishermen drag still living dolphins over the pavement by truck to slaughterhouse facilities where they brutally kill the animals in cruel rituals of sadistic violence celebrated by Japan's racist, anti-western ultranationalist extremists.

TAIJI, Japan (3 Apr 2008) — For the first time ever, graphic feature-length footage of the annual slaughter of some 2,500 dolphins in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, has been captured during a unique yearlong covert operation.

The secret filming by members of the U.S. conservation group Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) — equipped with state-of-the-art technology and financed to the tune of $5 million by Netscape founder Jim Clark — is being turned into a major documentary feature film destined for worldwide release this summer (although distribution in Japan is at present not certain).

The story of how this film of the barbaric killing and subsequent butchering of dolphins was made — together with the resulting sale of their meat that massively exceeds Japanese and international limits for mercury content — is told here, exclusively, for the first time anywhere in print.

The footage of the annual seven-month dolphin "drive fisheries" (as they are known in Japan), and of the brutal practices involved in them — as well as the complicity in the killings by various dolphin trainers and officials from Taiji Whale Museum — is sure to shock the world. But whether Japanese people themselves will be able to see the film and arrive at their own conclusions is still by no means certain.

The annual dolphin slaughter at Taiji, a town with a population of some 3,500 in the beautiful Yoshino Kumano Kokuritsu Koen national park, follows a regular pattern.

First, hunter boats from the Taiji Isana Union (numbering at most 13 skiffs, with two crewmen each) head out to sea and surround pods of dolphins or pilot whales (which are actually large dolphins). Then they drive them into a "capture cove" by banging on long metal bell-ended poles placed in the water to disrupt the dolphins' sonar, causing them to become completely disorientated and panic.

After these animals have spent a night supposedly relaxing in the netted-off capture cove (in an attempt by the whalers to make their meat more tender), they are driven to the neighboring "killing cove." There, behind huge blue tarps strung across the cove to keep prying eyes away — in much the same way that Japanese police cordon off crime scenes — the dolphins meet their gruesome predawn end.

It is a gory spectacle that Taiji has long striven to keep anyone from seeing — and one that is crucially fueled by the lucrative, worldwide dolphin captivity and display industry. Aquarium operators, some of whom have claimed to be saving dolphins' lives by selecting a few as performers, pay up to $150,000 per animal.

The brutal selection process, though — as shown in the OPS footage — causes many of these highly intelligent marine mammals to die of shock or drown.

Meanwhile, cruelty apart, the government-sanctioned slaughter is widely condemned by Japanese scientists, activists and a few Taiji officials, who all cite the serious health issues related to consumption of the dolphins' mercury-tainted meat.

One of the officials OPS filmed was Taiji City Councilman Junichiro Yamashita, who organized certified tests on local dolphin meat bought from retail outlets in the town. The shocking test results revealed mercury and methylmercury levels that were 30 and 16 times, respectively, above advisory levels set by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. As a result, Yamashita hastily distributed newsletters to Taiji residents warning them to avoid consuming the meat — which he called "toxic waste."

Although a massive blackout of this long-standing butchery of small cetaceans is aided by an apparent self-imposed boycott of the subject by Japan's vernacular and other English-language media, this newspaper has published a 2 1/2-year-long series of exposes that have won it two international press awards from the Humane Society of the United States.

Now, though, the focus is on the meticulously planned $2.5-million covert operation — the cost of which is estimated to double by the time of the film's projected release in June.

From their base in Boulder, Colorado, the OPS group made six trips to Wakayama Prefecture, where they were constantly followed by local police and stalked and harassed by Taiji "whalers." Despite this, their mission was successful. Their high-tech film gear was covertly inserted in the "killing cove" and extracted 16 times thanks to the efforts of the film's assistant director, Charles Hambleton, and three members of the OPS team. Their hidden, high-definition (HD) cameras successfully recorded the horror that unfolded behind Taiji's blue tarps. And what they saw was beyond their belief.

Captured dolphins were filmed writhing in pain as Taiji whalers speared them repeatedly or cracked their spines with spiked weapons. Stricken dolphins are also shown thrashing about wildly, blood pouring from their wounds until they finally succumbed. Meanwhile, a number of dolphin trainers and officials from the Taiji Whale Museum are shown cooperating in the slaughter — some even laughing — as the killing cove's bloodied, ruby-red water swept round into the adjacent capture cove.

But perhaps the most iconic scene is one in which a baby dolphin leaps to its death on the rocks after its mother is killed. This really was a surreal and incredibly sad sight to see.

OPS team leader Louie Psihoyos, a world-renowned photographer formerly with National Geographic Magazine, and members of his group, conducted the extraordinary covert operation with the daring elan and minute precision of a military-style, special-forces mission.

With funding from billionaire conservationist Clark, the team was able to use the most sophisticated equipment money could buy. Among their weapons of choice were a battery of HD cameras. Some of those cameras were encased in fake rocks sculpted out of high-density foam by movie-model makers with Kerner Optical (formerly George "Star Wars" Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic Shop). These disguised cameras were strat- egically positioned inside the killing cove.

Also included in the formidable lineup of high-tech gear for this covert operation were standard-size HD cameras, $50,000 military-grade HD forward-looking infrared (FLIR) P-645 thermal cameras (to detect anyone the whalers had on lookout); hydrophones and HD underwater cameras (to record the dolphins' underwater throes); unmanned gyro-stabilized helicopters; a number of "shotgun" microphones disguised as tree branches; walkie-talkies; and a host of ancillary equipment.

The mission objective was to produce a well-balanced, full-length documentary feature for general worldwide release encompassing all facets of the Taiji dolphin cull and its health risks.

"We succeeded," Psihoyos said, "but we also came back with an epic horror film resembling a Steven King novel more than a documentary."

Psihoyos emphasized that the film is neither anti-Japanese nor a "Japan-bashing" production.

In fact, the whole OPS Taiji odyssey (with backing from Clark) began in the winter of 2006. Then, Psihoyos says, "My assistant director, Charles Hambleton, and I had a seven-hour meeting at the mayor's office with Taiji town officials about making a movie of their town.

"An official, who represented Mayor Kazutaka Sangen, said they were concerned about Westerners showing blood in the cove — that it gave the town an evil look."

Psihoyos says he told the officials he would not show blood in his film — if they allowed him to position two cameras at the entrance to the cove and to interview the whalers. After mulling it over, though, both officials and whalers cut off contact with Psihoyos and denied him permission to film near the cove. As well, they demanded that he should restrict footage showing blood — apparently fearful that barbarous images may lead to their drive hunts being banned.

In this volatile atmosphere, local police warned the whalers and their supporters off any repeat of violence or threats of violence such as had happened before. In fact, Nigel Barker, a former Australian resident in Taiji, says he was threatened with bodily harm for providing The Japan Times with details of the whalers' brutal methods. In another incident, Psihoyos said he, too, was threatened by whalers, who said, "We will kill you."

Amazingly, though, after their talks broke down and the OPS people were leaving their final meeting with Taiji town officials, they were given a detailed map of Taiji, red-lining areas where filming was restricted. This map became a precious tool for planning the group's covert ops over the next year.

Now the gloves were off. No agreement had been made with the officials and Psihoyos immediately planned a thorough reconnaissance of the Taiji area. Precise vantage points were selected to position their cameras. Several camouflaged camera blinds were set up on the headland adjacent to the Whale Museum that overlooks the killing cove. But their major challenge was figuring out how to insert and extract their "rock cameras," underwater cameras, hydrophones and hidden microphones without being detected.

Psihoyos contacted Ric O'Barry, who captured and trained dolphins for the 1960s TV series "Flipper," asking for his help in detailing the whalers' routine during drive hunts.

O'Barry, head of the international Save Japan Dolphins coalition, had monitored the drives in Taiji for more than five years, and he agreed to be the point man for OPS. O'Barry was already hated by the whalers for his activities, including bringing the media to Taiji to film the brutal drives. In fact, he tells how whalers greet him with throat-cutting gestures when they see him there.

Following O'Barry's advice, the OPS group implemented their high-risk strategy for filming the covert mission. As the two headlands overlooking the killing cove were constantly monitored by whalers, members faced the loss of expensive gear and possible arrest. That was despite Japanese attorneys telling them that the legality of blocking access to a national park was questionable. They said, though, that police "made up their own rules" in enforcing the blockade.


The OPS group was headquartered in hotel rooms in the area, where their missions were planned and piles of pricey equipment occupied most of the space. Two vans were rented to haul their weighty gear to their target locations. Another small, unobtrusive rental car driven by OPS member Joe Chisholm was used for scouting — mostly for monitoring the Taiji harbor area to check if drive boats were out. Chisholm also kept an eye on the roads to detect whether police were following the group. Altogether, the incredible challenges of making this film elevated it to a major undertaking on a scale never before attempted.

Throughout this buildup period, drive fisheries were being conducted during daylight. If the whalers were successful, captured dolphins would be trapped in the holding cove sealed off with nets. Before daybreak the next day, men in motorboats would herd the panicked animals into the killing cove of no return.

The horror of the dolphins' final moments there were recorded not only by the "rock cameras" above the waterline, but also from below by using underwater microphones and an underwater "blood-cam" HD camera devised by OPS high-tech guru Simon Hutchins, which yielded graphic footage of the sea slowly turning red as the killings continued.

To make this possible, OPS called on Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, a seven-time world free-diving champion, and her famed coach and husband, Kirk Krack, to plant the devices. (Cruikshank recently broke her own world record by free-diving down to 88 meters and back in 2 min. 48 sec.) Both eagerly accepted the risky challenge.

"Good to go Mandy," crackled through the two-way. It was 3 a.m. The OPS support group on land had just completed a thermal-imaging sweep of the capture and killing coves. No security was detected. As the OPS van dropped the two off above the holding cove's small beach, and sped away, the free-diving pair, clad in wet suits, entered the water. The moon was full, helping them to see obstacles.

"Tensions were high . . . we had to get around a barbed-wire fence and hike down over some boulders to get into the water," Mandy said. "Then we swam around to the killing cove. It was about 40 feet (12 meters) deep. We had an underwater camera and hydrophone, and we used a flashlight to get a reference point so we knew where to retrieve them from after we made a reconnaissance, but we had to turn it on and off quickly to escape detection. Then Kirk and I put down the devices fairly easily."

On their return to the beach in the holding cove, Cruickshank said, "We saw a car going into the parking lot, so we hid in bushes until they left and then we waited for the van to pick us up."

Before that mission and again afterward, she said, "We were constantly monitored by police."

A few days later, Cruikshank said that from that same beach in the capture cove they saw a pod of 40 herded round to the killing cove, where the slaughter began. "They had separated the babies, some only as big as my arm, and then the emerald water in front of us began to turn red and you could hear the dolphins screaming. One stabbed dolphin tried to escape, and it made it over two nets from the killing cove and was heading toward the beach in the capture cove with blood streaming from it. We saw the last two breaths it took — it was impossible not to cry.

"The babies were led out to sea and were either killed or set free to die of starvation," she said.

Meanwhile, Psihoyos' team was embedded in their camera blinds on overlooking hillsides, sometimes for as long as 17 hours a day. Dressed in full camouflage gear and wearing face paint, they looked like military sniper teams. Black masking tape covered reflective surfaces on their cameras to avoid detection. For over 3 1/2 weeks, the OPS team survived on a daily ration of 3 hours' sleep. When filming from the camera blinds, they subsisted on energy bars and water. Whaler security men, always wary of outsiders monitoring their hunts, constantly scanned the high terrain, the bushes and undergrowth surrounding the two coves, their flashlights searching for intruders.

Psihoyos recounted his attempt in setting up the initial camera blind in a spot overlooking the killing cove.

"It was a moonless night and I had a full-size def (HD) camera in tow with a large tripod. I scaled a cliff and descended on a rope and perched on a shelf as big as an average office desk — but at a slope of about 30 degrees.

"I braced my feet against a small tree and didn't move them for the next 15 1/2 hours," he said, adding, "the lagoon was filled with pilot whales — they made a protective circle around their young. I shot frantic clips from my unstable perch as I saw whales killed and dragged away."

Reacting to these brutal scenes, Psihoyos recalled thinking, "If there's a god, don't let their lives be wasted in vain."

Originally, OPS's hidden rock cameras focused on the killing cove from surrounding headlands could only film for three hours, but a high-tech piece of kit they acquired "turbocharged" the batteries to allow them to film for 11 hours continuously, ensuring they would capture all facets of the cull.

The hidden microphones revealed startling comments from whalers in the killing cove, including one during the cleanup after a killing session, when a dead calf was on the beach in the killing cove. Countering the whalers' contention they never harmed a mother or its calf, one was heard saying: "Hey, that guy over there saw the dead calf, didn't he? Is it a problem?" His friend responded, "He came from the [whalers'] union — it's not a problem."

Indeed, contrary to their statements, the Taiji whalers seem unconcerned about killing female dolphins and their calves — as is graphically depicted in one of the film's sequences.

However, along with the film's horrific images, Psihoyos also interviews on camera Japanese scientists and others involved in the mercury health issues surrounding dolphin meat.

Dr. Shigeo Ekino, a prominent researcher from Kumamoto University's Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Kyushu, compared the high mercury levels found in contaminated fish in Minamata, Japan, in the 1950s during the world's worst mercury-pollution disaster, to levels of mercury currently found in dolphin meat.

Ekino, who was filmed holding a tested sample of Taiji dolphin meat, said: "This dolphin meat is 98.9 ppm (parts per million of total mercury) — which is higher than the level (of the fish and shellfish) in Minamata Bay. It's a clear danger!"

His sample was 247.25 times the Japanese health ministry's advisory level of 0.4 ppm for total mercury.

Tetsuya Endo, a professor at Hokkaido's Health Science University, also conducted mercury tests on dolphin meat, and his results were published in 2005. In a filmed OPS interview, he said: "I found 100 ppm of total mercury in . . . bottlenose dolphin and 2,000 ppm of total mercury in the liver of an unknown (dolphin) species. All of it was toxic." In fact, the higher figure was 5,000 times the health ministry's advisory level for mercury.

In another OPS interview, Psihoyos asked Hideki Moronuki, deputy director of the Far Seas Fisheries Division of the central government's Fisheries Agency, "How are the dolphins killed now? . . . and are the dolphins being dragged around by their tails during the selection process for captive specimens?"

Moronuki is filmed replying, "Fishermen are using specifically made knife (sic), and put it through the spine . . . most of the animals are killed instantly." As for allegations of them being dragged by their tails, he says, "That's not happening anymore."

When Psihoyos showed Moronuki a film clip of the inhumane, random spearing of dolphins while others were dragged by their tails — all filmed recently — he froze and told Psihoyos: "I have to instruct them again. They are using inappropriate method to treat dolphin."

At Psihoyos' request, Moronuki gave him a hair sample to be tested for mercury. The result: a readout of 5.874 ppm of total mercury, which is 14.68 times the health ministry's advisory level.

Moronuki's response was peculiar: "I was very happier to know that I have eaten so much fish which make me much healthier than meat-eating peoples."

Another dramatic highlight of the footage shows a surfer invasion in Taiji last October led by legendary Australian pro surfer Dave Rastovich, along with a few TV celebrities and some surfer buddies. They paddled into the cove where dolphins were being slaughtered and formed a prayer circle. Shocked by the atrocity, they finally retreated when whalers in skiffs came and prodded them with poles and sharp-hooked gaffs.

Producers of the OPS documentary are aiming for a worldwide release in June, including a special Japanese version creatively marketed and circulated to ensure maximum viewing even if major distributors turn it down. The film's narrator will be an actor selected from Hollywood's "A list," they said.

Referring to his hopes the film will benefit the dolphins, Psihoyos said: "Dolphins are the only wild animals known to rescue humans. With this film, we'd like to come to their rescue and, in the process, save ourselves."

Pointedly, just months before the surfers went into the killing cove at Taiji, their leader Dave Rastovich had survived a shark attack in Australia when a dolphin swam between him and the shark and allowed him to escape.

SOURCE - The Japan Times

Court wants whalers out of Aussie waters

Tuesday Jan 15 15:58 AEDT

The Federal Court has ordered a Japanese whaling company to stop killing whales in Australian Antarctic waters.

The Humane Society International (HSI) launched legal action against whaler Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd in 2004, seeking a Federal Court injunction against harvesting in the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctic waters.

HSI claims the company has slaughtered 1,253 minke whales and nine fin whales since the sanctuary was declared in 2000, in breach of Australian domestic law protecting the animals.

Justice Jim Allsop on Tuesday said unless restrained, the Japanese company would continue to "kill, injure, take and interfere with" Antarctic minke whales and fin whales.

He also said the company had targeted humpback whales in the Australian whale sanctuary in contravention of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

"The respondent has, on the evidence, no presence or assets within the jurisdiction," Justice Allsop said.

"Unless the respondent's vessels enter Australia, thus exposing themselves to possible arrest or seizure, the applicant acknowledges that there is no practical mechanism by which orders of this court can be enforced."

The hearing was derailed in 2005, after then federal attorney-general Philip Ruddock intervened on the grounds it could spark a diplomatic row with Japan.

But the full bench of the Federal Court ordered the proceedings resume in 2006.

The Howard government wrote to HSI last October reiterating its opposition to the injunction, saying it went against long-standing international practice under the Antarctic Treaty system.

"Taking such action can reasonably be expected to prompt significant adverse reaction from other Antarctic Treaty parties, including Japan," the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) wrote.

Labor voiced support for the HSI action ahead of the election, with Environment Minister Peter Garrett promising to enforce a ban on whale slaughter in the sanctuary.

The Humane Society International has called on the Rudd government to live up to its pre-election promises on whaling and intercept Japanese ships in Australian waters.

HSI spokeswoman Nicola Beynon welcomed the decision as long overdue, and urged immediate action from the new federal Labor government, which campaigned strongly against whaling ahead of the last election.

Ms Beynon said the Rudd government's response to the ruling would be a litmus test for their commitment to the issue.

"The Japanese government doesn't recognise Australia's claim to those waters, however, as far as the Australian government is concerned, Australian law says it's an offence to kill whales in those waters and the court has confirmed that," Ms Beynon told reporters.

"The court has ordered that the hunt be stopped.

"I think it's the Australian government's responsibility to uphold the law and to uphold the Federal Court's injunction."

Ms Beynon called for officials on board the Ocean Viking, currently tracking whaling ships in Antarctic waters, to immediately act on the court's orders.

"The Australian government is very well placed to enforce the injunction, they have a ship on the way to the hunting grounds," she said.

Immediate action on Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha's permit from the Japanese government to kill 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales this year could save hundreds of animals, Ms Beynon said.

"Under Australian law the government can intercept the ship and stop this hunt," she said.

"Yes it would be controversial with the Japanese government but hey, they're the ones who are being extremely provocative in killing whales in Australia's territorial waters and we think it's time that this whole matter is brought to a head."

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says he'll be studying closely the Federal Court decision.

Mr Garrett declined to comment further immediately after learning of the judgment in favour of Humane Society International.

"I don't propose to further comment on it until I've actually had a chance to see the details of the judge's decision," he told reporters in Canberra.

"I think it's appropriate for private organisations and individuals to take up where they can through the legal system those issues of concern to them.

"The commonwealth wasn't a party to this case but our intention to continue to have an overall, holistic and fair-dinkum approach to opposing Japanese so-called scientific whaling is absolutely clear."

US offers Alaskan oil, gas exploration rights

Posted 40 minutes ago

The United States Government says it will offer exploration rights for oil and gas in a north-western region of Alaska, prompting protests by environmental groups.

The Federal Minerals Management Service says the concessions cover about 120,000 square kilometres of the Chukchi Sea, which separates north-western Alaska from north-eastern Siberia.

The service says exploration will not be allowed to take place any closer than 80 kilometres from the shoreline, therefore striking a balance between development and protection of coastal resources.

But ecologists say any further exploration could have a major impact on marine life, with polar bears one of the hardest hit species.


Jesse Belle

Country star back at home

October 23, 2007 12:00am

THEY made beautiful music together - and a daughter - now the ex-wife of the late John Denver has returned to live in Sydney and follow her own country singing dreams.

Cassandra Delaney Denver, who remained friendly with her former husband until his death in a plane crash a decade ago, has relocated from her long-time residence in Malibu to start a new life in Woolloomooloo.

The attractive actor and performer slipped home two months ago for the happy occasion of her brother Matt and his bride, Kate Simpkin's wedding.

Despite the breakdown of her relationship with the acclaimed singer songwriter, Denver's sister-in-law told Confidential "Cassie still had a beautiful friendship with (John). He still came over every week to see them.''

The pair fell in love in Sydney, after being introduced at the old Sebel Town House by showbiz king, Kevin Jacobsen.

The Rocky Mountain High man made Delaney his back-up singer so they tour the world and be together.

When their marriage foundered, Denver described the split "as the most painful experience of my life.''

His tragic and unexpected death, when his home-made plane ditched off the coast of California in October 1997, devastated her.

Shunning media attention, she quietly released her own CD, Give It Up To Love, four years ago, inspired by the relationship.

Denver's daughter is understood to have inherited her parents' creative genes, enrolling in a Sydney arts college, majoring in drawing.

Delaney Denver is said to be keen to perform at this year's Tamworth Country Music Festival and actively looking for work.


THE Boonah Shire Council has offered to replace a Steve Irwin Memorial Plaque which was stolen from a local park.

The plaque was erected in the Boonah Bicentennial Park in October last year by a group of John Denver enthusiasts who visit the Shire each year to plant trees and pay tribute to the late American singer and conservationist.

Group co-ordinator Helen Demnar says each year the Higher Ground Australia Friends of John Denver group reflects on other significant events and last year chose to remember the life and work of another passionate conservationist, Steve Irwin by dedicating a plaque.

The Council became aware on Wednesday that the plaque has gone missing and Mayor John Brent says the Council quickly decided to pay for a replacement.

“While this is not essentially a Council matter, the Council has offered to replace the plaque and ensure that it is securely fastened,” says Cr Brent.

“This is the sort of quick response that local government can provide to their local community and we are happy to help a group which visits the Shire annually and makes a positive contribution to our community through regular tree plantings.

“The natural environment is a major asset of the Boonah Shire, which is home to a multitude of National Parks, some of which are World Heritage listed.

“These parks attract many visitors and new residents to the area. Both John Denver and Steve Irwin were passionate about the environment and conservation, as are we.”

Mrs Demnar, who lives locally, says the group welcomed the Council’s offer of a replacement plaque as they could not have afforded to replace it otherwise.

“That is fantastic, I hadn’t even thought to approach the Council so it’s just wonderful to have the offer the group will be over the moon,” says Mrs Demnar.

“We are a group of about 60 members but we exist only on donations so we probably wouldn’t have replaced the plaque, it would have cost quite a bit as it was stainless steel and had a sandstone base.”

The plaque said: ‘This tree was planted by Higher Ground Australia - Friends of John Denver in memory of Steve Irwin Wildlife Warrior 1962-2006.’

Mrs Demnar says the group, with the help of Council, will ensure the new plaque is more secure.

Research reveals grim outlook for koalas

Tuesday May 1 16:17 AEST

Koalas are likely to be extinct in urban areas within 20 years, and humans are largely to blame, a koala researcher has warned.

The marsupials are being killed off by cars, dogs and a dwindling habitat, Gail Gipp, wildlife hospital manager at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, said on Tuesday.

Ms Gipp said the brigalow belt forests of inland and eastern Queensland were disappearing at an alarming rate with up to 21 football fields a day cleared for farming until broad scale clearing of vegetation was phased out in the state the end of last year.

About 19,000 koalas died each year in the brigalow belt, she said.

"If we don't wake up to ourselves and local councils don't wake up to themselves and we stop looking at the almighty dollar and look at the animals around us, we are going to lose our animal icons in 20 years," Ms Gipp said from Blackbutt in south-east Queensland.

"There's no ifs, or buts, but when."

Researchers from the wildlife hospital and Wildlife Warriors - founded by Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, who died last year - are tracking 12 male koalas, fitted with radio collars in the area.

Ms Gipp said the koalas would be traced in the first phase of the project over the coming weeks, with field work continuing until at least the start of September.

"We are actually releasing some hand-raised animals and also some animals that have come in some time ago due to some large scale injury or illness," she said.

"There have been studies done in urban areas before on the success of hand-raising koalas and we are doing this study in a rural area.

"So we are hoping to see there is definitely a reason for releasing koalas back into rural areas, rather than releasing them into urban areas where their lifespan might not be as long."

Ms Gipp said male koalas had it particularly tough, leaving their mothers at an early age and having to compete with other males for territory and females.

"They come to grief a lot more often because they have to travel much further afield than what they would normally have to do," she said.

Source Nine MSN

Hibiscus planted at Australia Zoo for Daniel


ONE hibiscus at Australia Zoo is strictly off-limits to the tortoises and iguanas.

While the reptiles are partial to munching down a bloom or two, the hibiscus planted yesterday holds special meaning – it is the first of a new breed, the Daniel Morcombe Hibiscus.

Created by Glasshouse Mountains breeder Allan Little, the plant was bought at the Dance for Daniel silent auction by Brisbane woman Kelly Shannon, who outbid Bindi Irwin.

In an amazingly generous gesture, Kelly then donated the $2500 plant to Australia Zoo to plant as a permanent memorial to Daniel.

Bruce Morcombe said the hibiscus, in a prominent position at the zoo entrance, would keep his son on people's minds.

"It's something that will live on – it's so people don't forget Daniel.

"People will continue to fight on. Even when we have the answers, this will be here, as a reminder for other people."

Source:Sunshine Coast Daily
Thank you Genie for sending this to us
Daniel Morcombe

Lights off Australia!

Date: 26-Feb-2007

City skylines filled with burning bright lights will be a thing of the past if Sunrise and the Australian Conservation Foundation have their way. The Lights Off Australia campaign was launched today on Sunrise, urging Australians to turn off lights they don’t need.

The first Wednesday of each month has been designated Lights Off Australia night, when residents switch off lights and businesses turn off lights that aren’t required overnight.

The national initiative is part of Cool The Globe and kicks off on Wednesday 7 March 2007.

"We're being realistic. We're not asking people to go without lights when they need them. All we’re saying is if you’re not using a light then turn it off,” said Sunrise Executive Producer Adam Boland.

“This whole campaign is about cutting down energy wastage. While we’re starting with just one day per month, we genuinely hope this event starts to change people’s habits and it becomes part of everyday life."

ACF’s Don Henry says commercial buildings use around a third of all electricity in cities, contributing to Australia’s rising greenhouse emissions.

“Businesses can stop wasting energy and help tackle climate change by making sure the lights go off every night when the cleaners leave, by upgrading their lighting control systems and by asking their energy retailer to switch them over to Greenpower.”

Australians are also being urged to turn off appliances left on standby – leaving mobile phone chargers, TVs and microwaves on standby accounts for up to 10% of the average household’s electricity use.

Residents and businesses that participate in Lights Off Australia will be acknowledged on Sunrise.

To register or find out more go to

Hi Everyone,

This came a few days ago and I am sending this through before the newsletter is released as I believe that there are very few seats available for this luncheon and DVD release.

For bookings for people outside America, please contact Suzanne SROSE@PA.NET as a credit card payment will be accepted.


“Rise with the Vision”



THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2007, 11 A.M. – 2:30 P.M.





















Visit the cookhouse website at






01 December 2006
Irwin's last adventure
to air in January

On Sunday, January 21, The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet will simultaneously air "The Steve Irwin Tribute," as well as his last TV project "Ocean's Deadliest."

In "Ocean's Deadliest," Irwin is joined by oceanographer and adventurer Philippe Cousteau (grandson of the famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau) as they explore the waters between Australia's Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef. Throughout this expedition, Philippe and Steve come face to face with venomous fish, huge great white sharks and amazing saltwater crocodiles as they search for the region's most dangerous animal.

Cousteau, who was aboard Croc One with Irwin during the expedition when he was struck and killed by a stingray, narrates the 90-minute documentary.

"The Steve Irwin Tribute" is an intimate look at the life of the Crocodile Hunter as a father, friend, icon and conservationist through the eyes of those who knew him best.

Terri, along with family and friends will share personal stories about the beloved Crocodile Hunter.

"The Steve Irwin Tribute" and "Ocean's Deadliest" will air Sunday, January 21, 2007 beginning at 8 p.m.

"Soren" the  Wolf Blass Eagle
This is the Eagle we are sponsoring.
Stuart Macgill & Soren

<>Macgill and Wolf Blass Launch
"Wining" Program

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Stuart MacGill proved that he can put a spin on more than just a cricket ball today when he delivered his own spin on Australian wine at the SCG, launching Wolf Blass’ Summer of Cricket.

Wolf Blass, the Official Wine Sponsor of the Australian Cricket team, has enlisted the services of MacGill to encourage people to consider enjoying a glass of wine while watching the wickets fall this summer.

While MacGill’s big turning leg break and record of 198 test wickets are well documented, less well known is his passion for wine and the impressive stats of his wine collection. Housed in his own underground cellar, Stuart’s wine collection boasts more than 1,500 red and white wines from regions all over Australia.

MacGill guided his three team mates, Brad Haddin, Stuart Clark and Phil Jaques, through a wine tasting, showcasing a variety of Wolf Blass wines, including the 2003 Platinum Label, recently voted World’s Best Shiraz for 2006. He also welcomed an avian friend, the Wolf Blass Eagle, to the SCG.

Stuart MacGill said he was excited to be involved with the cricket program for Wolf Blass because it combined two of his great passions: cricket and wine.

“Wolf Blass is an international award winner that like the Australian Cricket team seeks success on the global stage.

In many ways, Wolf Blass is the cricketing equivalent of an all rounder, whether it is a casual barbecue with mates or a special night out with your partner, there’s a Wolf Blass wine that you know will punch above its weight in value and quality,” said MacGill.

The details of the three Twilight games of Cricket that Wolf Blass will be staging in partnership with Triple M were also announced.

Games will take place in Brisbane (November 20), Sydney (November 28) and Melbourne (December 7). Wine tasting will be offered at the match and spectators will have the opportunity to see MacGill, Triple M Cage members and celebrities play in a relaxed game of cricket.

Wolf Blass is also providing an opportunity for Aussies to get one up on the Poms this summer with a virtual cheer squad allowing fans to create their own chant and send it on to friends. The Brits can do the same, and a scoreboard will keep a tally of which team has the strongest online cheer squad. People can join the action at

There are also three major prizes of a first class trip to the Caribbean to be given away through an on pack promotion across the Wolf Blass Eaglehawk, Red and Yellow Label ranges. The prize will also include dinner with three members of the Australian Cricket Team.

Wolf Blass has been the Wine Sponsor of the Australian Cricket team since 2001.

Sydney Cricket Ground

For more information about the Wolf Blass Eagle Please go to

Bird builds 4WD nest

Mary Papadakis

November 05, 2006 12:00am

<> IT'S enough to make you think twice about the safest place to store your eggs on the way home from the supermarket.
A creative bird has chosen a spot under the bonnet of a Land Rover to build a nest for her four eggs rather than in the more traditional tree branch.

The 4WD's owner, Alan Cole, of Garfield in Melbourne's outer southeast, found the nest, believed to be that of a blackbird, on Friday after attempting to give Hillview Aged Care home's bus a jump start.

Mr Cole, the secretary of the home's board, said he was surprised to find the nest of twigs, straw and feathers in between his car's window washer container and air filter.

He said he wouldn't drive the 4WD again until the eggs had hatched. "It looks like I'm going to have a hire car for a couple of weeks," he said.

Wright path to peace

AT just 20, Tim Wright's social justice resume is bursting at the seams.

Mr Wright's activism started at Bellarine Secondary College, where as school captain he started a recycling program.

He sponsored a child from Gambia, after trips to Asia and Russia opened his eyes to international problems.

"When I was 16 I lived in Russia for six months on an exchange," he said.

"I think that's probably given me a broader perspective on things."

Now a Melbourne University law student, Mr Wright set up his own peace lobby group in 2004 at just 19.

The Peace Organisation of Australia ( promotes peace through education rather than direct action.

This month it will present its first Australian Peace Prize to anti-nuclear expert Dr Helen Caldicott.

Mr Wright, who is nominated for a Pride of Australia peace medal, has also worked with the United Nations Youth Association and edited a social justice book.

Proceeds of Time for Change, a series of essays by prominent Australians, will go to Oxfam Australia.

With two other students, Mr Wright is now setting up the Australian Journal of Peace Studies, an electronic journal. Next year this dedicated activist plans to travel to the US with human rights group ReprieveAustralia.

"What I'm hoping to do . . . is to work on death row cases in probably Texas," he said.

Last year's projects included what is billed as the world's largest peace flag. The rainbow coloured flag is 120m long and 6m wide.

Mr Wright hopes to bring it out each year to promote the International Day of Peace, which is on September 21.

"We had a trivia night that I organised and that raised most of the money that we needed," he says.

"It was all sewn in my bedroom."

IF you know an unsung community hero in the areas of bravery, courage, young Aussie, community spirit, role model, mateship, environment, fair go, peace or true blue lifetime, nominate them for a Pride of Australia Medal at or Unsuccessful 2005 candidates can be renominated

Source: Herald Sun News Paper
Illawarra Folk Club News
The local Country music Association have a
John Denver Show on
 Saturaday  June 17th
at Daptos Citizens Bowling Club.
It starts at 7pm and admission is free.
If any one goes along please send us a review.

QUT Urban Country Music Festival

Higher Ground Australia strongly supports the below, not with funds but with the common goal of keeping items out of land fill. We know John would have supported this as well.

First, what Freecycle is NOT about.

Freecycle is NOT about giving only to the poor.
It is NOT about getting as much free stuff as we can.
It is NOT about getting things to earn money on the side.
It is NOT about getting rid of junk that would be better off in the
It is NOT about posting a "wish list" for expensive items and
expecting a fairy godmother to fulfill it for us.
It is NOT a community bulletin board for finding rentals, dentists,
mechanics, or advertising our businesses and services or special

What Freecycle IS about

Freecycle IS about keeping things out of the landfill.
It IS about giving away something that has no use in our life anymore
to someone who could extend its usefulness a little longer.
It IS about giving gifts to people while clearing out our own clutter.
It IS about creating, building, and sustaining an environmentally
aware community.

Offering Items We No Longer Need to Those Who Need Them

When we post an OFFER, we are offering to give someone a gift. It is
up to us to give this gift to whoever we feel would be the best
recipient. We are not obligated to give our gift to someone who is
rich, poor, single, married, has no kids, has 1 kid, has 15 kids, has
a car, doesn't have a car, or has a purple octopus named George
living in their backyard. We can choose the most polite,
the rudest, the funniest, or the shortest response to receive our
gift. We can put their names in a hat and do a draw, or we can wave
our magic fingers over our screens and pick one that way. We can
choose the first, 3rd, or 53rd respondent. We can wait 24 hours and
then decide. It is up to us.

Letting Other People Know What We Need

When we post a WANTED message, or respond to an offer, we are
requesting a gift. The odds are that no one on this list will be able
to give us what we are asking for. But sometimes somebody will see a
WANTED for a bowling ball and go "AHA! I have one in my closet!"
But, you know what? Just because we are rich, poor, single, married,
have no kids, have 1 kid, have 15 kids, have a car, don't have a car,
or have a purple octopus named George living in our backyard, does
not mean we are more worthy of receiving a gift from a fellow
Freecycle member than the average person living down the street.

Sending emails that don't say "please" or "thank you" are a way to
not receive an item. Sending emails with nasty comments in them are
one way to find ourselves in a bit of trouble.


When you want to find a new home for something -- whether it's a
chair, a fax machine, piano, or an old door -- you simply send an
e-mail offering it to members of your Freecycle group.

Or, maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself. Simply respond
to a member's offer, and you just might get it. After that, it's up to
the giver to decide who receives the gift and to set up a pickup time
for passing on the treasure. You can even post a Wanted message
to the group because somebody might have just the exact thing you
really need stored away in a closet.

One main rule: Everything posted must be free, legal, and appropriate
for all ages.


We are part of a community. In every community, there are people who
don't get along. And in most communities, when two people don't get
along, they just avoid each other. To do that on Freecycle, all you
have to do is set up a filter to send any email from someone you
don't want to hear from straight into your trash bin. If you need
help with that, let the moderators know and they can help you.

So, just remember: If you're offering a gift, it's up to you to
decide who gets it.

And if you're requesting a gift...well, be patient. Your turn will
come eventually, but if you're not careful your name could end up on
a 'will not give to' list. You may want to try making an OFFER
to the list, just to see how the process works. Look in your closet
or in that box you haven't unpacked since you moved in two years
ago. Prime stuff for Freecycle!

Above all - keep on keeping "stuff" out of the landfill!
If you have any comments or questions, please send them to

Thanks So Much!
Lynn Owner/Mod Werribee Freecycle

Full Cast from left to right:
Terry Burrell, Jennifer Allan, Valisia Lekae Little, Jim Newman,
Nicholas Rodriguez, Lee Morgan
Please click on the cast picture to see more pictures.
For more information please read the latest press release.
"Almost Heaven" Songs of John Denver"

 You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access this information.

Used with permission by
Jeremy Shaffer

Gentle Voice From Aspen
This song is a MUST!!!!
Sung by Steven Wiseman
Written by Bill Neal as a tribute to John Denver
All I can say it is a beautiful song ,
have your tissues ready a whole box full!!
Thank you to Linda for making us aware of the website.
Click here to hear Steven sing
Gentle Voice From Aspen

Zachary  and Jennifer got married on September 25th 2004

From left, Gary Penington, Charles Johnston, Linda Johnston, Jim Turner and Jim and Connie Rockelmann enjoy dinner at the home of Annie Denver in Aspen on Sept. 24. The Johnston’s daughter Jenny married Denver’s son, Zachary Deutschendorf, on Sept. 25.

It's not often that Durangoans get to attend a glamourous wedding in Aspen. But when Charles and Linda Johnston's daughter Jennifer married Annie and the late John Denver's son, Zachary Deutschendorf, several locals made the trip.

The couple met while studying at Fort Lewis College.

And while there was a hint of show biz, it was mostly the same as any wedding - personal, loving vows between a young couple beginning their lives together.

Locals who made the trip include Lee and Cheryl Smallsreed, Mick and Bridget Stowers, Amanda and Kendrick Williamson, Jim Turner, Gary Penington, and Don Degani. Degani is one of the bride's mother's oldest friends.

Jim and Connie Rockelmann also made the trip. Their daughter Sarah was one of the bridesmaids.

The night before the wedding, Annie Denver had a Mexican-themed party at her home, and the actual nuptials took place on Saturday at the Elk Mountain Lodge, a spectacular setting in an already spectacular place.

Linda Johnston's favorite moment came when the groom started down the aisle to his father's "Sunshine on My Shoulder," and the sun came out. As soon as the song finished, it went back behind the clouds.

At the same time the Deutschendorf's were celebrating their union, Kevin Costner was marrying Christine Baumgartner in the next canyon.

Talk about a "Rocky Mountain High."

John Denvers
"Definitive All-Time Greatest Hits"
Has blitzed the charts
This is what Jochen has found out
Yes, they made it!! John Denver's "Definitive All-Time Greatest Hits" cracked the Billboard Top 200 Album charts, and he entered at No. 52 today! If my memory does not fail me, this is the highest chart position since "The Best of John Denver Live" peaked at No. 52 a few weeks after his accident. And it is, I believe, the highest chart position since "Seasons of the Heart" reached No. 39 or so in 1982. Anybody who is undecided yet: You will buy this album anyway, because the sound quality is unmatched. The original recordings (and some that are actually different, listen to "Rocky Mountain High") sound much better than on any CD with RCA material that you may already have. So, buy it now, move John a little bit higher on the album charts. This may be the only way to encourage BMG/RCA to put even more pressure on their campaign to release further John Denver CDs and DVDs with rare or reworked material in the next three years.

USA # 52 Top 200 Albums , # 9 Country Albums
UK # 21 (last week # 23, the week before # 19)
The Netherlands # 19
Ireland # 45
Australia # 37 Album Charts and # 2 Country Albums
Canada # 82
Thanks  Jochen

Available At

Editorial Reviews

Vince Gill

It just makes sense - John Denver and kids!
Product Description:
John Denver’s poignant lyrics of the birth of a dolphin are both a lullaby and a paean to "dolphin kind," as adapted in this gorgeous picture book. Denver embraces the unique, almost mystical quality of a baby dolphin as "giving hope to life as all we must." Hardback edition includes the musical score and a CD of John Denver singing this beautiful song.

John Denver's love for dolphins, which he expressed in his hauntingly beautiful lullaby Ancient Rhymes has taken on new life in the form of a lavishly illustrated picture book that will be a lovely dream maker for children and adults alike. The book is the second in the John Denver's And Kids Book Series, following the highly successful Sunshine On My Shoulders. The series is intended to bring Denver's heartfelt environment themes to children. Both books are illustrated by award winning artist Chistopher Canyon.


CD RELEASE: A Song's Best Friend: The Very Best of JOHN DENVER


Thirty years ago John Denver wrote what is arguably one of the most requested love songs ever, 'Annie's Song', for his then-wife Annie Denver after the near break up of their marriage. It sold more than a million copies hitting the number one spot simultaneously in the U.S and the U.K. This September, it is exactly 30 years since Annie's Song topped the charts.

Out Now in Stores