Friday Offcuts – 12 October 2018

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Readers of Friday Offcuts may well be aware of some of the good work being done within the industry, both to attract new entrants to forestry and to upskill and retain people already working. But we defy anyone to know about everything that’s going on. In some regions, forestry and wood products companies are working hard pushing the message, working with local schools, providing targeted material and opportunities for coverage to the media and grasping every opportunity as it comes along. Efforts though are often at a local level. Until now, there’s also been very little communication on the initiatives that have been set up and delivered. There’s so much opportunity to learn from efforts being made elsewhere. See our story this week on the Rotorua Boys High School and Toi Ohomai partnership. It’s just one example of the work being done out in the regions.

The challenge, of course, remains how to raise awareness outside the industry of the diversity of careers and the fulfilling career pathways available through training and further education. A new initiative, funded by the Forest Growers Levy Trust, aims to tell some of the good news stories about forestry careers and training opportunities to wider audiences around New Zealand. The aim here is to deliver some positive stories about what’s actually happening in our industry to the mainstream media over the next few months – and that includes media of any sort.

First, however, we need to hear from readers about some of the great things you know are going on within our industry. It may be contractors taking the initiative in providing extra training for their crews, forest management companies or training providers who are going the extra mile, people working in schools or with youth to encourage them to consider forestry as a career or someone that’s involved in the industry that has a particularly good story to tell. If you have something happening in your patch that can be used, here’s your chance. Please make contact with harriet.e.palmer@gmail.com with any suggestions of stories which people outside the forest industry need to hear. For our Australian readers, send any of these good news stories our way and we’ll certainly assist in getting the message out there.

In wood harvesting this week we cover news of a new memorandum of understanding just been set up by researchers from Canada and New Zealand to work more closely together on research around steep slope harvesting. Details relating to the work programmes are contained in the story below. For HarvestTECH 2019, the major wood harvesting event being planned to run in Rotorua, New Zealand in June of next year, we put out a first call for Expressions of Interest to present just a couple of weeks ago. Interest, as anticipated, from contractors and equipment suppliers has been overwhelming. We’ve included further details on how you can be involved again this week. If keen, to ensure you have the opportunity of participating in this major gathering, please get back to us over the next week or so. That’s all for this week. Enjoy the read.



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New Forest Practice Guides launched in NZ

The Forest Owners Association has just launched a series of 28 Forest Practice Guides. The Guides are a joint venture between the forest sector and MPI and were initiated as part of the implementation of the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) which came into force on 1 May.

The NES-PF – a set of nationally applied rules and conditions for plantation forestry was developed to better protect the environment while also increasing operational certainty for foresters. The NES-PF was designed to provide rule consistency for forestry across the county.

The Forest Practice Guides will help industry and councils by providing standard practice guidance to include in management plans as part of requirements under the NES-PF. The guides will be especially useful for smaller companies with less specialist in-house expertise because the information is standardised to enable the forest industry to meet the NES-PF rules and conditions.

The FOA President, Peter Weir Chair says the guides will help contractors and forest managers implement best practice across all regions. “They’re freely available and will direct forest owners and managers to other resources and technical specifications. The aim of the guides is to provide clear direction on best practice, and to be inserted into harvest plans so the resources are standardised and easily accessible.”

The Guides offer forest owners and managers guidance in a number of areas of forest operations:

- Earthworks and construction (including planning and design)
- Erosion and sediment control measures
- Construction of river/stream crossings
- Construction of tracks
- Vegetation measures to manage erosion
- Slash management

The Guides take information from earlier work completed by FOA and update it with reference to the new regulations, and to reflect the changing and improving practices of forest operations. They have some technical specifications and detail and link to other documents to ensure regulatory requirements are met.

The Guides themselves are not regulatory, but can be used as references in management plans. When used in this way, the Guides will support part of the compliance obligations under the Resource Management Act. Foresters will still need to work closely with contractors and regional councils to ensure compliance.

The Guides have been updated with content provided by forest managers who have on the ground practical experience in what works and what is considered best practice in the industry nationally.

The Guides have been developed with support from MPI and will be owned by FOA, FFA and the Forest Industry Contractors Association. The Guides will be updated regularly as practices change and improve.

“The FOA/FFA Committee has drawn on a number of resources and their own experiences with what works in the field to provide guidance on the aspects of forestry operations which have the potential to cause environmental effects. For example, road and track construction needs to be well planned and designed to avoid sediment ending up in waterways,” Peter Weir says.

To download the guides please click here.

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Local High School and Toi Ohomai join forces

Located in the Bay of Plenty forestry heartland, it shouldn’t be a surprise that forestry is a popular subject for Year 12 and 13 students at Rotorua Boys High School. It is unusual, however, because very few schools in New Zealand offer forestry as a NCEA subject.

The course is taught by Deputy Principal Roy Roe, and the students achieve Level 2 and 3 Unit Standards, which double as NCEA credits. Roy has worked in the forest industry himself, and has good contacts both with some of the local forest management companies and with Toi Ohomai (ex. Waiariki Institute of Technology).

The RBHS students visit Toi Ohomai regularly. Roy works closely with tutor Richard Stringfellow, and one of the attractions is the opportunity to do some hands-on training on the state-or-the-art grapple and harvesting simulators which Toi Ohomai have invested in as part of their forestry teaching resources.

“Visits to Toi Ohomai, and field trips to see operations, are important in the learning and assessment of the Unit Standards we cover - they are the part of the course the students enjoy the most, and get the most out of. Toi Ohomai tutors have always been most generous in providing expertise, encouragement and professional development.

“We are fortunate to have support from local forest management companies and farm woodlot contractors. Our field trips to view various operations put a burden on the harvesting crews we visit, and we are very grateful to them for taking the time and allowing us onto their work sites. We have our own PPE, RTs and transport. We also have our own school-based protocols and cover off whatever we need to do to enter the forest - vehicle permits, first aid, fire extinguishers, inductions, etc. as part of our classroom-based learning.”


There are a healthy number of ex-Rotorua Boys High School students now working in contracting and forest management around New Zealand. Toi Ohomai works closely with the forest industry throughout New Zealand to deliver courses ranging from entry level operational skills to the Diploma in Forest Management (Level 6).

Photo: Roy Roe and students testing out the simulator

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EOI to present - HarvestTECH 2019

You know just how popular it was when last run in 2017. HarvestTECH 2017 SOLD OUT well in advance of the event even running. Over 450 harvesting and wood transport contractors, harvest planners, forest managers and equipment and tech providers met up at one place, Rotorua, New Zealand over a couple of days. It was the largest gathering yet seen in New Zealand.

In addition to having most harvesting contractors from throughout the country attending, the FIEA event drew in a large contingent of contractors and forest managers from throughout Australia, as well as attracting key equipment suppliers, researchers, forestry companies and international contractors from Europe, the US, Canada, Papua New Guinea and Asia. As well as the two-day conference and over 40 displays, two one-day field tours ran for HarvestTECH 2017 delegates.

So, the two-yearly gathering has been scheduled for next year. Mark the dates 26-27 June 2019, Rotorua New Zealand for the two-yearly harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2019. Early details on the programme can be found on the event website, www.harvesttech.events. At this early stage, Expressions of Interest to present at the harvesting event are being sought.

If you are keen to be a speaker at the conference and you are an early adopter, developer, innovator, contractor, technology or equipment supplier, service provider or researcher involved in wood harvesting operations, we’d like to hear from you.

What’s being covered?

- Recent innovations in steep slope and winch assist harvesting

- Getting the best out of existing hauler & ground-based operations

- Harvest planning - new systems really making a difference

- Effective use of collected data from your harvesting operation

- Options for eliminating log sorts and reducing landing sizes

- Tools & Systems for harvesting smaller woodlots

- Remote sensing technologies for harvest planning and operations

- Solutions for improving in-forest communications

- Increased automation and mechanisation - new R&D

- Remote control, robotics, virtual reality and automation in the bush

- Filling the skills gap in harvesting

Interested speakers or exhibitors – or others who’d like to look at building in visits, tours or meetings in and around this major harvesting event, please contact Brent Apthorp (Tel: (+64) 21 227 5177) or brent.apthorp@fiea.org.nz BEFORE Friday 19 October.




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Could gene editing boost NZ primary industries?

Removing allergens from milk, making manuka disease-resistant and preventing wilding pines are some potential future uses of gene editing in New Zealand. The possibilities are explored in the Royal Society Te Aparangi's new discussion paper The use of gene editing in the primary industries.

The paper outlines the relevant considerations, risks and potential benefits for five scenarios of how gene editing could be used for primary production sectors including agriculture, forestry and horticulture. The Royal Society Te Aparangi said in a statement it was part of its larger Gene Editing in Aotearoa project.

A multidisciplinary expert panel and reference group had been brought together to explore the wider social, cultural, legal and economic implications of gene editing in New Zealand, incorporating Maori perspectives and broader cultural contexts, the society said.

"It's a good time for New Zealanders to consider what gene editing could offer our primary industries and how they'd feel about its use" said Professor of Molecular Genetics at Massey University and co-chair of the expert panel, Barry Scott. The society is holding three workshops around the country to discuss the potential use of gene editing in the primary industries with the panel and reference group members, and gauge New Zealanders' views.

A scenario the paper discusses is using gene editing to make manuka resistant to disease. Lawyer and panel member Irene Kereama-Royal said myrtle rust and kauri dieback disease had started people thinking about what could be done to conserve native taonga species.

"Extracts of leaves and bark from manuka have been used for centuries by Maori and, with the growth in the manuka honey industry, manuka is now an important plant for New Zealand both culturally and economically. Should we use gene-editing to create new varieties of manuka that are resistant to disease?"

Massey University agronomist Dr James Millner said if gene editing was able to help protect manuka it should be evaluated. "Manuka is very valuable as a pioneer species after disturbance caused by erosion or fire. More recently, the high value of manuka honey is driving a lot of investment in the honey industry, ranging from the establishment of manuka plantations for honey production to the acquisition of hives so that apiarists can increase collection of nectar."

He said recent planting of thousands of hectares, mostly on steep erosion-prone hill country, would result in benefits for the environment and allow landowners to generate income from land which is generally unproductive.

There were a number of examples of self-introducing pests and diseases (blown in on the wind) which had affected or potentially could affect manuka.

"Myrtle rust is the latest example. Prior to that there have been a number of scale insects which also arrived from Australia. Leptospermum Scoparium is present in Australia so there is considerable potential for more pest and disease arrivals and a risk that one or more of these new organisms could threaten manuka.

Another scenario is to use gene editing to make exotic conifer trees, such as Douglas fir, sterile. Panel member Dr Phil Wilcox said wilding trees were a big problem in New Zealand. "Not only do they outcompete native species, they invade and modify unique natural ecosystems, are costly to remove and can contribute to pollen allergies."

Wilcox, who has more than 30 years' experience in forestry research, said gene editing could halt the production of cones and pollen in these species, "which would mean that when these trees are planted for forestry, shelter belts, or to help prevent erosion or climate change, they wouldn't escape into places where they are not wanted".

"There are risks, however," said Wilcox. "For example, the prospect of artificially modified sterile pine or Douglas Fir forests does not sit comfortably with some New Zealanders, who may perceive such forests as unnatural and inconsistent with New Zealand's clean, green image.

"Widespread use of such sterile conifers could exacerbate some of the other issues associated with commercial forestry, including perceived loss of biodiversity and in some cases, poor environmental management."

Dr Elspeth MacRae, Chief Innovation and Science Officer at Crown research institute Scion, said an added advantage to creating sterile trees was a boost to reaching New Zealand's zero carbon by 2050 and low emissions economy targets. "Faster-growing sterile trees take more carbon out of the atmosphere in any unit of time because they use energy to grow rather than to reproduce.

"Achieving sterile Douglas fir and other plantation conifers will also benefit the 1 billion trees planting initiative of the current government by preventing unmanaged spread of wilding trees."

The discussion paper is the third in a series, which includes papers exploring the potential use of gene editing for human health and pest control in New Zealand. All resources are available online at royalsociety.org.nz/gene-editing

Source: NZ Herald




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MOU for NZ and Canada on steep slope logging

FPInnovations, Canada has announced the renewal of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Forest Growers Research (FGR) of New Zealand to widen the scope of their information exchange in the area of steep slope harvesting, and to facilitate the international exchange of their combined research.

FPInnovations and FGR are mutually interested in forest technology and will share expertise in cooperative research, development, and application activities for specific projects agreed upon by both groups. The MOU will also allow both parties to share in the transfer of information and technology through cooperative demonstration projects and symposia, encourage the exchange of research personnel, and prepare joint reports where possible.

Common research areas for information exchange between FPInnovations and FGR include the environmental sustainability of harvesting operations, steep slope machine stability, steep slope road and landing construction, and soil disturbance in steep slope harvesting. Other joint topics of interest are the further development of line tension and cable integrity work, remote control, and teleoperation of forest machinery, and reducing energy intensity and the carbon footprint of forest operations. The new MOU is in effect through to June 2022.

“We are very pleased to have renewed this agreement with FGR in New Zealand. During the previous MOU, the conversations and information shared between the FPInnovations and New Zealand teams were extremely valuable to accelerate the dissemination of research findings and the introduction of new technologies such as winch-assist systems for steep slopes in BC,” said Alan Potter, Vice-President, Science and Innovation, FPInnovations.

”The collaboration with FPInnovations in Canada has added value to the Steepland Harvesting PGP program in terms of visits from Canadian harvesting researchers, presentations at conferences, and shared research reports over the last few years. We look forward to building on this collaboration when we commence our new program on forestry automation and robotics,” said Russell Dale, Chief Executive, Forest Growers Research Ltd.





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NZIF Forestry Award winner announced

The New Zealand Institute of Forestry is delighted to announce that David Saathof has been awarded The Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry in 2018. This award recognises engagement in the principles and practice of sustainable forest management including policy, planning, practice and sound science-based land stewardship. Awardees must be committed to public outreach and knowledge exchange, focusing on the wise use and conservation of forests and forest ecosystems.

This prestigious award was established last year, with the guidance and support of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. In a video message played at the New Zealand Institute of Forestry annual awards dinner in Rotorua in 2017, His Royal Highness said the purpose of the award was to encourage young forestry professionals to be “…a catalyst for change, improving communication and collaboration between national forestry institutes, and ultimately helping to equip the forestry profession to deal wisely with the challenges we face now and in the future”.

The NZIF is pleased to acknowledge David’s achievements as an emerging leader in sustainable forestry in New Zealand. David joins a select group of young leaders with a common passion for sustainable forestry, from throughout the Commonwealth, who now have an international platform to exchange ideas, promote sustainability and share their knowledge. The award recognises that sustainable forestry management principles are fundamental to the practice of forestry in New Zealand.

Source: NZIF




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JNL confirms plans for Kaitaia Triboard mill

Forestry and wood processing company, Juken New Zealand Ltd (JNL) has confirmed that its plan to refurbish its Kaitaia Triboard mill will go ahead, securing wood processing jobs in the town for the long-term.

The company told Triboard staff in September that it wanted to make changes at the mill, including investing to refurbish the plant and technology and return it to profitability. JNL said at the time that the changes would include some job losses as the plant had been running at a substantial loss.

JNL employs around 250 full-time staff across its Northland operations in New Zealand and its Triboard Mill in Kaitaia is one of the town’s major employers. New Zealand General Manager of JNL, Dave Hilliard, says the mill has to change to survive – including the way it works. That means going from a 24/7 operation to running the mill 24 hours a day, five days a week.

“This change means certainty for our people and the Kaitaia community about the future of this plant. We couldn’t keep on running the mill at a loss seven days a week when we don’t have the logs to put through it or the demand for that level of output” says David Hilliard.

“We know these changes are not easy but to make an investment of this size in a plant like this it has to stack up in terms of the returns on that investment over time. That’s why we’ve had to take some hard decisions to make the mill safer and profitable and secure the vast majority of the jobs at the Triboard mill”.

“JNL is committed to Northland, to securing long-term jobs for our people, and to growing domestic wood processing. These changes are vital to all of those.”

The plan will fix the major issues relating to plant, people, and production that have seen the mill operating unsustainably. The mill’s machinery and technology will be refurbished, this will include addressing the Health and Safety challenges at the aging plant. The change to the mill’s operations will streamline production and match the supply of logs to the mill with demand for the mill’s unique Triboard product in New Zealand and Japan.

One of the major issues facing the mill is a shortage of logs from Northland forests and an uncertain supply picture in the future, the company says it is in discussions with the Government about the shortage and how it can be solved. These are progressing constructively and the Minister of Forestry and Regional Development has prioritised work on the issue.

Source: Juken New Zealand

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Review of wood processing training needs

Over the past 50 years Toi Ohomai, formerly Waiariki Institute of Technology and also the NZ Forest Service, have been home to a tertiary training facility at Waipa, specialising in various aspects of solid wood processing. The wood processing industry is currently experiencing significant skills shortages, but also, a misalignment between training and industry requirements.

Toi Ohomai is now reviewing the current skills shortages across the various roles that are required to successfully run a solid wood processing plant in New Zealand (and Australia). In an attempt to develop better training models and material that will meet industry's needs, they need to understand the context of your business.

They have developed a National Wood Processing Review of Staff Requirements, Training Needs and Skills Shortages, which is being sent out to all solid wood processors in New Zealand (and some businesses in Australia).

This review prompts various aspects of training and skills shortages at a processing site. Ideally, a person with a good understanding of the human dynamics at a particular processing site will be able to provide the most relevant information. This would typically be a mill manager, or a human resources person with a good handle on labour issues at a specific site. If you are not the most appropriate person, then please help them by putting them in touch with your skills expert.

If you can, Toi Ohomai would be appreciative of your participation in the latest review if apprpriate. It can be accessed on line at: www.surveymonkey.com. The review will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. All information supplied will be treated as highly confidential and data will only be reported at an aggregated scale. Individual businesses will not be identified. No personal information will be revealed at any point in time. All participating businesses will receive a complementary and exclusive report that will provide a high degree of accurate and valuable information concerning skills challenges in the sector.

This review will allow Toi Ohomai to approach the current pro-forestry Government for interventions that will support the sector. They believe strongly that this engagement with industry will assist the entire sector to help secure and train the right calibre of future employees.

Source: Toi Ohomai

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Eighth ERF auction announced for December

Since August 2017, Australian plantation growers have been able to earn carbon revenue from eligible plantations. There are now ten plantation forestry projects registered under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), and with more projects being registered every few months. Sale of carbon enables plantation growers to start earning revenue shortly after the plantation is established, making a big difference to cashflow prior to harvest.

The Clean Energy Regulator has recently announced it will hold the eighth ERF auction on 10–11 December 2018, providing an opportunity for forest growers to sell carbon to a Government buyer. Projects participating in this auction need though to be registered by 28 October 2018.

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Latest episode of WoodChat released

The most recent episode in the Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) series of WoodChat podcasts looks at the initiatives in place to promote the environmental advantages of using timber as a building material. Hosts Sam and Victoria speak to David Rowlinson - Make It Wood Campaign Manager at Planet Ark about his initiative to educate and encourage the increased use of responsibly sourced timber in construction, due to the variety of compelling benefits when compared to other materials.

“The environmental benefits play an important role in making the case for timber amongst decision makers, and our work focuses on the fact timber is renewable, stores carbon, can be certified as being sustainably sourced, and uses much less energy during production,” said David.

“One key method we have adopted to help us promote the benefits of timber is the Wood Encouragement Policy, which requires the material is at least considered by government bodies as the primary construction material for projects in their area. If it’s done right, these policies should enable councils to reduce their carbon emissions while also saving money,” said David.

During the episode, the hosts also chat to one of the key team members at LaTrobe Council who drove the decision to adopt Australia’s first ever Wood Encouragement Policy back in 2014. This episode of WoodChat is the fifth in the series, and comes off the back of topics such the economic benefits of wood in the workplace, Professor Jeff Morell’s plans for Australia’s National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life, a revolutionary new tool which predicts how climate will impact growing conditions in the future, and the genetic DNA testing system that can predict key commercial attributes of trees during the earliest stages of their lives.

The WoodChat series represents FWPA’s commitment to exploring new ways of communicating industry news and innovations. Each episode in the series includes in-depth conversations with experts on recent discoveries, innovations and initiatives.

You can listen to WoodChat on SoundCloud at www.soundcloud.com/woodchat and iTunes.



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Red Stag casts doubt on J-Frame decision

In response to coverage last week on the J-Frame dispute, Red Stag Timber describes as dubious the announcement that the Commerce Commission had “insufficient evidence” that J-Frame samples used in a decay trial had a different treatment penetration pattern to J-Frame in the marketplace. The company says the Commission was provided with a plethora of credible independent lab tests, yet put weight on those of an outlier lab that has since closed its timber testing service.

Red Stag does however welcome the Commission’s fresh investigation into J-Frame’s continued labelling incorporating the term ‘H1.2’, a label commonly recognised in New Zealand as signifying compliance with the timber treatment standard NZS3640, which the Commission last year concluded J-Frame did not meet.

Designers use ‘H1.2’ to specify that the framing used must be treated to comply NZS3640, says Red Stag group CEO Marty Verry. “However, builders see the ‘H1.2’ incorporated within the current J-Frame labelling and continue to believe it can be used where H1.2 is specified on plans.

“In fact, they are inadvertently substituting an alternative solution, which renders the building non-compliant with the consented plans. We look forward to the Commission finally policing this area properly, because this tricky labelling is certainly misleading the market in our view.”

We are also calling on the Commission to stop Juken promoting misleading media, including publicity last week that “Juken New Zealand has been exonerated by the Commerce Commission over allegations that its J-Frame product had failed timber treatment standards”. That is not the case at all, as the Commission notified Juken last year that it considered J-Frame met neither NZS3640 nor the LVL treatment standard AS/NZS1604.4.

Source: Red Stag Timber

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Curving timber clad balconies showcase Accoya

Tiered balconies clad in charred timber dowels enclose restaurants designed "in the round" to provide views across Sydney's redeveloped Barangaroo South precinct.

The Barangoo House building is situated at the southern entry point to the large urban regeneration project, which was masterplanned by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and includes a trio of skyscrapers designed by the London-based firm.

Australian architecture studio Collins and Turner designed the Barangaroo House project in response to a competition organised by developer Lendlease and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority. The brief called for a free-standing three-storey building, designed to house a major restaurant and bar venue.

The prominent and unusual urban site prompted a proposal with a strong visual presence intended to welcome visitors approaching from all directions.

The balconies are clad in a curving facade system comprising concentric timber dowels, which were individually steam bent and laminated into a series of predetermined curves before being fixed to aluminium brackets to ensure even spacing across the structure.

The dowels, which utilise a robust engineered pine called Accoya, were charred using the traditional Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique. This creates a dark finish that enhances the wood's weatherproof properties so it requires little maintenance. The charred surface also references the primeval act of burning wood for cooking – as a nod to the restaurants inside.

Photo: Rory Gardiner


Source: dezeen.com

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Large fine for starting large US wild fire

An off-duty Border Patrol agent wanted an explosive gender reveal party for his family and friends, but he ended up igniting a wildfire that spread to Coronado National Forest in Arizona. Dennis Dickey, 37, of Tucson, Arizona, has to pay more than US$8 million in restitution, starting with a US$100,000 initial payment and monthly payments thereafter, the Department of Justice said in a statement.

Dickey has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour violation of US Forest Service regulations for igniting the Sawmill Fire, the statement said. He agreed to a sentence of five years of probation and will make a public service announcement with the Forest Service about the cause of the blaze.

His gender reveal party was on April 23, 2017, according to CNN affiliate KGUN-TV. Expectant parents throw such parties to tell family and friends the gender of their baby. In this case, Dickey's plan was to shoot a rifle at a target containing Tannerite, a highly explosive substance that would have exploded to reveal either blue powder for a boy or pink powder for a girl.

Dickey shot the target, causing it to explode and start a fire that spread and resulted in what was known as the Sawmill Fire, the Department of Justice said. The Sawmill Fire burned nearly 47,000 acres owned by the state of Arizona and various federal agencies. The Coronado National Forest is federal land operated by the US Forest Service.

Firefighters from at least 20 agencies fought the fire for about a week, the affiliate reported. Dickey immediately reported the fire and admitted to starting it, the Department of Justice said. CNN has reached out to Dickey's attorney, but has not heard back. Dickey has not revealed the gender of his baby, KGUN reported.

Source: Detroit.com




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Using slingshots to plant trees

School children in Kenya are helping to fight deforestation by planting seeds using slingshots. It’s part of an initiative by the company SeedBalls Kenya, which makes and sells seedballs globally. It encourages children to have slingshot competitions using the charcoal-covered seeds instead of stones.

About 2 million seedballs have been planted in Kenya in the past year and a half in what has been called “guerrilla gardening.” Kenya’s government has recognized the threat from deforestation and earlier this year imposed a temporary logging ban that was extended in May by another six months.

SeedBalls Kenya recycles coal dust it collects around the capital, Nairobi. It buys the seeds from the Kenya Forest Research Institute.

Source: apnews.com

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Jobs



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... and one to end the week on ... an Irish miracle

Murphy drops some buttered toast on the kitchen floor and it lands butter-side-up.

He looks down in astonishment, for he knows that it's a law of nature of the universe that buttered toast always falls butter-down.

So he rushes round to the presbytery to fetch Father Flanagan.

He tells the priest that a miracle has occurred in his kitchen.

But he won't say what it is, so he asks Fr. Flanagan to come and see it with his own eyes.

He leads Fr.Flanagan into the kitchen and asks him what he sees on the floor.

"Well," says the priest, "it's pretty obvious. Someone has dropped some buttered toast on the floor and then, for some reason, they flipped it over so that the butter was on top."

"No, Father, I dropped it and it landed like that!" exclaimed Murphy.

"Oh my Lord," says Fr. Flanagan, "dropped toast never falls with the butter side up. It's a mir….

Wait... it's not for me to say it's a miracle. I'll have to report this matter to the Bishop and he'll have to deal with it. He'll send some people round; to interview you, take photos, etc."

A thorough investigation is conducted, not only by the archdiocese but by scientists sent over from the Curia in Rome . No expense is spared. There is great excitement in the town as everyone knows that a miracle will bring in much need tourism revenue.

Then, after 8 long weeks and with great fanfare, the Bishop announces the final ruling.

"It is certain that some kind of an extraordinary event took place in Murphy's kitchen, quite outside the natural laws of the universe. Yet the Holy See must be very cautious before ruling a miracle. All other explanations must be ruled out.

Unfortunately, in this case, it has been declared 'No Miracle' because they think that Murphy may have buttered the toast on the wrong side!"



And one more with a Irish theme. Paddy took 2 stuffed dogs to the Antiques Roadshow.

"Ooh!" said the presenter, "This is a very rare set, produced by the celebrated Johns Brothers taxidermists, who operated in London at the turn of last century.

Do you have any idea what they would fetch if they were in good condition?"

"Sticks?" Paddy replied.



OK, so we must be getting low on the stories in this particular section - so send me through any funnies that you've been sitting on for a while and we'll look to add them to future issues.






Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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