Representative Austin of Tennessee has proposed a plan for the retirement of superannuated clerks in the classified service which is attracting attention among the civil service reformers in Washington. He has introduced a bill in the House providing for the retirement of employees in the civil service which does not require the establishment of a civil pension list or an annuity fund, but which seeks to accomplish the desire result without cost to the Government or its employees. The plan provides that boards of retirement be established in the executive departments for considering all cases where retirement is deemed expedient by the head of the department. In case of a retirement, half of the previous pay of the retired employee will be paid to himself, the remaining half to a new employee or divided between another employee promoted to the vacancy and a new one who begins at the bottom of the ladder. Under the working of the bill, an old employee who is retired at a salary of $2,000 would continue to receive half that amount.

The Academies of Science of Los Angeles, Cal., has asked the city council for an appropriation to be used in developing a remarkable deposit of bones of antediluvian animals in the asphalt beds near Holly Wood. There have been exhumed so far complete skeletons of a giant sloth; several saber-toothed tigers, a prehistoric lion of the African type, but larger; a giant camel, three species of prehistoric wolves, a horse that seems to have been larger than any that exists today, giant eagles and condors, a large number of miscellaneous rodents, a small prehistoric cat, the skull of a bird larger than an ostrich, and portions of skeletons of elephants. The greatest find was the skull of an extinct species of buffalo or prehistoric ox.

Representative Weeks of Massachusetts has reintroduced his general forest reserve bill, with some modifications made to meet objections urged against the measure in the last Congress. In its present form the bill provides for an annual appropriation of $2,from the general fund of the treasury, instead of from the receipts of the national forests, the money to be used for the purchase of land along the watersheds of navigable streams for forestry purposes. The measure authorizes the states to cooperate in forest conservation, and enables the Agricultural Department to superintend the cutting of private timber holdings. An appropriation is made for a forest fire patrol.

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August 7, 1909

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