News That Matters
Good Tuesday Morning,
As most of you know, I act as "foster parent" to wayward youth, lost animals and whatever else shows up at my door, suitcase in hand and with nowhere else to go. It's the karmic payback for my own youthful days. I bitch and moan about it sometimes, but the wheels of karma spin round and round . . .
There's a show at the Arts Center tonight, rare for a Tuesday, but this one promises to be pretty interesting.
Come Friday evening there's a different sort of performance at the Arts Center. This one, a reworking and staged reading of Edger Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology, comes courtesy of Blue Horse Repertory, Lora Lee Ecobelli and a cast of more than a dozen - with the Kitchen Table Band adding live music to the performance. That show starts at 8 PM. Tickets are $10, ($9 for Arts on the Lake Members). To ensure a seat, I'd write for reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
It's back to basics today; zoning, planning, energy and sprawl.
And now, the News:
The Journal News
Brewster Honda is looking to expand its operations and has filed petitions for zoning changes at two locations in Southeast, town officials said last week.
One proposal at 2-4 Allview Ave. has some concerned about the prospect of a storage and repair facility bordering their residential neighborhood. The site was once a lumberyard but would have to change its use to accommodate cars, town Councilman Paul Johnson said.
"We will come and oppose anything that reduces our property value and quality of life," said David Kulo, a Meadow Lane resident.
"I'm nervous about the potential impact of this proposal."
Thursday, October 16, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency is failing to stem the pollution washing into waterways from cities and suburbs, the National Academy of Sciences reported Wednesday.
The report's authors urged "radical changes" in how the federal government regulates stormwater runoff so that all waters are clean enough for fishing and swimming.
"The take-home message is the program as it has been implemented in the last 18 to 20 years has largely been a failure," said Xavier Swamikannu, one of the authors and the head of Los Angeles' stormwater program for the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Stormwater runoff is the toxic brew of oil, fertilizers and trash picked up by rain and snowmelt as the water flows over parking lots, roofs and subdivisions.
By Kristine Snodgrass, Staff Writer
WEST WINDSOR — The affluence of central New Jersey has not translated into civic engagement among its residents, in part because of its pattern of sprawling development, according to a presentation to the West Windsor Township Council at its meeting Tuesday night.
Nancy Kieling, president of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, cited data from a study conducted in the spring of 2007 that canvassed residents of Mercer County, Cranbury, Plainsboro, South Brunswick, Montgomery, Rocky Hill and part of Franklin Township.
It found that although people in those central New Jersey towns are better educated, more ethnically and racially diverse, and have higher incomes — key indicators of community involvement — than national averages, they are no more likely to be involved in their communities than their national counterparts, Ms. Kieling said.
Levels of volunteerism and civic engagement were found to be “average to low,” despite statistics that also said residents have smaller commutes and shorter workweeks than the national average.
Without public space that encourages informal socializing, or bumping into people as might happen in a small town, people cannot network with each other, she said.
”Strip malls don’t make the same kind of connecting that town centers do,” she said.
By Larry Greenemeier
Three red snakelike devices bobbing in the waves three miles (4.8 kilometers) off the coast of Agucadoura, Portugal, represent the first swell of what developers hope will be a rising tide of wave power projects. Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power, Ltd., (PWP) has since September been working with asset management firm Babcock & Brown, energy provider Energias de Portugal, and Efacec (a Portugese maker of electromechanical devices) on the Agucadoura project. This first phase will cost about $13 million and generate up to 2.25 megawatts. The company hopes to by early next year begin building installing another 25 wave-energy converters to increase the output to 21 megawatts, which is expected to serve the electricity needs of more than 15,000 Portuguese households.
Earth's oceans and rivers, pushed by wind and tugged by the moon and sun, ebb and flow over more than 70 percent of the planet, but only recently have researchers and scientists developed the materials and methods to finally harness some of that kinetic energy. There may not yet be a market for underwater turbines or wave-riding electrical generators designed to use ocean turbulence as a source of renewable energy, but that has not stopped a handful of entrepreneurs from trying to create one.
Although all renewable energy sources—sun, water and wind—suffer from peaks and troughs in productivity, "we consider wave energy to be more predictable than wind," says PWP CEO Phil Metcalf. "You look at the ocean 1,000 miles [1,600 kilometers] out, you'll get a good idea of what to expect over the next 24 to 48 hours. We think it's actually going to be easier to dispatch to the grid."
Jiff Martin, 860-638-4230, email@example.com
Windsor, Connecticut, October 13, 2008—A growing number of local governments across the nation are recognizing the environmental and economic importance of farms and farmland. To help communities consider ways to support agriculture at the local level, American Farmland Trust (AFT) and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) have completed a joint publication: Planning for Agriculture: A Guide for Connecticut Municipalities.
This 62-page guide is designed as a tool to assist local governments in preserving and protecting agriculture in Connecticut as part of their local landscape, economy and natural resources. Divided into six simple yet informative sections, it is meant to help the reader fully understand the issues facing agriculture in Connecticut, what it means to municipalities and what steps can be taken to support agriculture in the state.
“Every community has its own community and agricultural character,” says AFT’s New England Field Representative Jiff Martin. “Regardless of how many working farms remain in an area, we encourage any community that values its farms and farmers to plan for agriculture, which is different than planning for open space. Planning for agriculture requires a proactive stance that recognizes farms as businesses and as important components of the landscape.”
Published: October 19, 2008
BIDDEFORD, Me. — When Kylie Galliani started at the University of New England in August, she was given a key to her dorm, a class schedule and something more unusual: a $480 bicycle.
“I was like, ‘A free bike, no catch?’ ” Ms. Galliani, 17, a freshman from Fort Bragg, Calif., asked. “It’s really an ideal way to get around the campus.”
University administrators and students nationwide are increasingly feeling that way too.
The University of New England and Ripon College in Wisconsin are giving free bikes to freshmen who promise to leave their cars at home. Other colleges are setting up free bike sharing or rental programs, and some universities are partnering with bike shops to offer discounts on purchases.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Interior Department has advanced a proposal that would ease restrictions on dumping mountaintop mining waste near rivers and streams, modifying protections that have been in place, though often circumvented, for a quarter-century.
The department’s Office of Surface Mining issued a final environmental analysis Friday on the proposed rule change, which has been under consideration for four years. It has been a priority of the surface mining industry.
It sets the stage for a final regulation, one of the last major environmental initiatives of the Bush administration, after 30 days of additional public comment and interagency review.
The proposed rule would rewrite a regulation enacted in 1983 that bars mining companies from dumping huge waste piles, known as “valley fills,” within 100 feet of any intermittent or perennial stream if the disposal affects water quality or quantity.