Friday, November 28, 2008

News That Matters - November 28, 2008 - The Black Friday Edition

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

“As transportmakers, the companies could produce vehicles for high-speed train and bus systems that would improve our travel options, reduce global warming, conserve energy, minimize accidents and generally improve the way we live.”

- Robert Goodman on the bailout for US Automakers

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive: Day 17

Only 3 Days Left!

Don't worry, you can still donate after those 3 days are up.
It's just that {maybe} I'll stop annoying you.

Good Friday Morning,

Before you head out to the malls this morning just make sure you've set aside a few shekels to keep News That Matters coming to your inbox each day.

To be honest, I know you're not heading out to the malls. I know that. I have faith in our collective ability to resist temptation, buck the "spend ourselves into oblivion" mantra that assaults us day in and day out on the television and radio and makes up 70% of the column space in our daily newspapers. However...

JC Penny and Kohl's opened at 4AM this morning and a Linen's and Things store is in a bit o' trouble for marking their clearance items at higher than their regular prices. And you wonder why they're going out of business.

By 6AM this morning all stores were open at the Poughkeepsie Galleria and parking in the lot was reported to be "tough".  The first person in line at the Kohl's in Poughkeepsie was 15 year old Putnam County resident John Alexander who told a reporter: "Last year we got here at 3:30 a.m. and there was nothing left,"

It is now time to put up your Christmas decorations and I send a hearty Thanks! to those of you who have waited this long. Boos! go to virtually every retailer in America, some for starting as early as September.

For those of you keeping track, Hanukkah starts at sundown on December 21st this year. My 51st birthday is the next day, the 22nd and Christmas a few days later. So, its important to keep your gifts for me distinct and separate so I don't get the three confused. When wrapping, use blue for my Hanukkah presents, green for my birthday presents and red for my Christmas presents. I'd hate to open the wrong gift on the wrong day and spoil the appropriate surprise.

To get your holiday shopping off to a local start there's a crafts fair at the Sacred Heart Church in Patterson tomorrow (Saturday) from 10AM to 4PM.

There's a new video out starring the JFK Elementary School (Brewster) "Litter and Recycling Gang". Thanks to Walt Thompson for sending this along. Be cool, clean your school! Show this to your kids and maybe they'll get some good ideas.

Generic litter picker-upper dudeWhile I'm talking about littering... I live on a road that sees a huge number of morning and evening commuters passing through on their way from points south to points north. While the speed limit is 30, most travel a lot faster than that and while they're speeding around blind curves they are tossing their garbage out the windows and leaving it on the sides of my road.

Over the years several of my neighbors have taken on the task of cleaning up that litter several times a year. Of late however, there's one neighbor who has been doing an amazing job of keeping the road clean and my hat is certainly off to him. But in essence, forcing him to collect your trash is blaming the victim. You litterbugs out there... keep your shit to yourself. My road is not your waste basket! (note: your credit card slips are traceable!)

Last Wednesday Federal authorities issued a warning of an impending terrorist attack on the NYC subway system. They didn't mean that they had any direct information of impending doom. No, quite the contrary. Here's what their report said: (emphasis, mine)

"[Al Queada] in late September may have discussed targeting transit systems in and around New York City. These discussions reportedly involved the use of suicide bombers or explosives placed on subway/passenger rail systems,''

"We have no specific details to confirm that this plot has developed beyond aspirational planning, but we are issuing this warning out of concern that such an attack could possibly be conducted during the forthcoming holiday season,''

So, if something does go BOOM! just chill and take it in stride. It's just part of the game - and one of the consequences - when you play Global Empire.

Police in Valentine, Nebraska, "America's Heart City", have solved their toughest crime to date. The infamous "butt bandit" has been lathering himself with Baby Magic Baby Lotion and leaving imprints of 'various body parts' on windows and glass doors of area businesses. Situated at the edge of the Sand Hills and containing 2820 people, the town has been in a tizzy for quite some time and it took police several months of concerted investigations to finally make an arrest.

NY Journal News Ad Watch: It's silly time again at the online pages of the Gannett paper. When you move your mouse over the word "community" an advert pops up for ExxonMobil. Do you see a connection between 'ExxonMobil' and 'community'? Like I keep saying, someone over there is either asleep at the wheel, trying to make fools of us or they just don't care so long as they get their ad revenues. The NY Journal News: You decide!

In a bizarre shooting case that just keeps getting stranger, a Grand Jury indicted a twice-shot victim, Douglas Greenwich, on a charge of second-degree attempted assault, a felony, and two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of second-degree menacing, both misdemeanors. The guy doing the shooting walked away all but free. According to that Grand Jury it is OK to shoot someone who tries to hit you with a stick... remember that.

For those of you following the gay marriage issue, (Sandy Galef's decision to deny civil rights based on polls not withstanding), here's a chart that lays out exactly what will happen if gays should gain equal rights:

Back in October of 2004 Clarissa Marino slipped 60 feet off the top of Kaaterskill Falls and sustained severe injuries. She sued the state claiming that it had the responsibility to adequately warn and protect people from doing things like falling off cliffs.

Standing on the edge of the Kaaterskill brook and about 20' back from the edge of the 200' high precipice, she and a friend discussed where they could obtain the best view out and over the valley. After deciding that this could be done on the opposite side of the creek at a spot about 8' from the edge they began to cross the creek where Ms. Marino slipped on a rock and plunged over the edge, coming to rest on a ledge 60' below.
(Photo source: wikipedia)

The judgment reads in part:

As tragic as some events are, liability cannot necessarily be assigned. Such is the case here. Even accepting claimant’s less credible account, claimant, at three o’clock in the afternoon on an overcast and somewhat rainy day, with a full, open and unimpeded view of a cliff leading to a several hundred foot waterfall, made the unfortunate but patently obvious and dangerous decision to navigate the rocky stream bank, upon wet rocks, abutting a running stream, at a point approximately 20 feet from where the stream led to the edge of a 200 foot waterfall.

By Ms. Ramos’s more credible testimony, under the same conditions, claimant fell attempting to cross the running stream feeding the Falls, eight (8) feet from the cliff’s edge. All this, while wearing, without contradiction, flat, rubber-soled “no tread” slip-on shoes. Under either scenario, claimant’s case, tragic as it is, must fail.

The judges ruled that yes, the State does have an obligation to make certain arrangements to safeguard people from themselves but agreed that with the edge of the waterfall visible and clearly being not a safe place to be, they found in favor of the State and denied Ms. Marino's claim for damages.

In essence, when you're outside doing dangerous things that you *know* are dangerous, it's really your responsibility to take care of yourself.

Here's a parting cartoon for you:

Enjoy your weekend and remember, in order to keep News That Matters coming to your inbox each day, the blog active and the PlanPutnam website up and running takes time, money and a lot of effort. Please help make the job a little easier by donating to the cause.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

News That Matters - November 26, 2008

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive: Day 16

Only 4 Days Left!

Don't worry, you can still donate after those 4 days are up.
It's just that I'll stop annoying you... maybe or maybe not!
It all depends on you.

Good Wednesday Morning,

A bit of Putnam County's history has been slowly uncovering itself over the past few weeks as the Boyd's Reservoir in Kent Cliffs is drawn down. I don't know if it's been an intentional act or if the lack of rain over time has caused water levels to decrease, but the cause does not come into play in this article. What does, are the remnants of a life drowned under the waters since 1873.
Back at a time when the Horsepound Road was known as Telegraph Road and Route 52 was known as Mud Road. At a time when Boyd's Corners was important enough to have its own Post Office and Lake Carmel was naught but a swamp and nearby Milltown (now Farmer's Mills) was the largest place around.

Back in the day when the landscape was pastoral and lightly settled, a village existed at the intersection of what is now Route 301 and Peekskill Hollow Roads through which the New York Central Railroad was proposed to run... That village was Boyd's Corners, named for Ebenezer Boyd who bought the land, the best farmland in this part of the county, from the Commissioners of Forfeiture in 1780 and passed it on to three generations of his sons.

In March of 1866 NYC decided that the valley in which Boyd's Corners sat would be an ideal location for the second reservoir in the Croton system and work commenced on a dam there in September of that year, not to be completed until 1872. The NY Times reported at the time:
"It was decided that the site near Boyd's Corners, in Putnam County, was the most advantageous and economical. The cost of land, damages and construction, capacity and formation of basin, quantity and quality of water and freedom from liability to contamination, being considered in combination."
At the northern end of the valley was a mill which drew its power from the west branch of the Croton River as it flowed from its various headwaters a few miles away.

The river rises between two hills and settles in a large wetland which drains over rocky ridges, cataracts and waterfalls, before settling itself into a valley where it met with several other streams, a valley that once dammed we know as Lake Sagamore. After gaining strength and flow, the river fell swiftly over ridges and, quickly loosing elevation, gained head enough to power that mill.

An old road turned southwest from the mill-site before straightening and passing the Light residence, then coming to the location of the First Baptist Church of Kent and its cemetery where the Boyd family lay buried and whose graves were to be moved from their penultimate resting places and resettled on higher ground to the west. The new resting ground is now hidden from view and long forgotten.

If you visit valley today you can see the lay of that old road bordered by stone walls and the foundations of homes and forgotten barns whose owners have long since passed on. Several other roads cross the valley at odd angles, some with bridge abutments where they would cross the river before emerging from the valley on its eastern side.

Wide swaths of stone-free landscape mark the fields along the northern portion of the valley but the land becomes steeper and rockier as you head south and boulders crowd the shallow hills where forests and a small lake once stood. One large boulder stands on end upon a knoll looking for all the world as if it had been placed there to guard the valley over which it rises.

Looking over the valley today it is not difficult to envision a scene of verdant rolling hills dotted with sheep and cattle while the Croton meanders at their base before plunging into a rocky, forested ravine. The river flowed through a deep gap in the mountains before passing agricultural fields on its way towards it's junction with the 'Horse Pond' Brook at Travis Corners in the town of Carmel, lands that are now under the waters of the West Branch reservoir which was flooded in 1895, burying other healthy fields under billions of gallons of the freshet water in the Croton watershed.

Now that the waters of the Boyd's are low, rising from the valley floor are remnant trees which were never cut, frozen in time, and preserved in the icy waters for more than 125 years.

In 1872, Boyd's Dam was completed creating the second reservoir in the Croton system and the most northerly. The dam is 78 feet high, 670 feet across and creates a lake of about 300 acres containing 1.3 billion gallons of water, just about a single day's supply for the 9 million Americans who drink from the watershed.

By the time William Pelletreau wrote his History of Putnam County in 1886, Ebenezer Boyd's corners, and the area around it, was more commonly known, as it is today, as Kent Cliffs.

Hannity and Colmes have split up. Just in time for the Clinton Obama Administration, the daring duo of right-wing radio and TV have called it quits. Bye guys! Don't let the FM repeaters hit you in the butt on your way out.

This just in from Arts on the Lake:

Puppet Revival Workshop
Saturday, November 29, 1 – 3 p.m.
Open boxes, discover the puppet within and become part of the production team of:

“The Young Wizard and the Sugar Plum.”

No charge.  Ongoing fun.
Open to Young People (12+) and Adults.
Email for info or to say: sign me up, I’ll be there.

Rehearsal schedule for the December 13 & 14 performances will be set at workshop.

Many of you are used to posting items to the PlanPutnam Google Groups list and for a while that was fine. But in an effort to lighten your email box, to better focus on News That Matters and to respond to requests for something more interactive, I've set up a blog for all that.
How to Join the News That Matters Blog:
    1. Point your browser here: and enter a username and a password.
    2. Once submitted, you'll be sent an email with a temporary password.
    3. Log in using that password. This will bring you to your "Dashboard"
    4. On the left - hand side of the Dashboard there's a link for your profile. Click on that, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter a new password, one you will remember (and any other information you want to the world to know) then click UPDATE PROFILE at the very bottom of the page.
And that's it! Once you're in you can comment and post pretty much anything (nice) you like. Whenever there's something new there I'll let you all know and I will say that there's more there than here.

So, what's there that's not here? In just the past couple of days there's our annual, "How to Choose an ESCO" column, The Goldman Sackers, a poem by Mahopac's Pat Byron and an opinion piece on the Oscawana Lake Plan over there in Putnam Valley. Check it out.

And finally this morning, while the Town of Carmel is spending untold millions of dollars on leveling hills and clear-cutting a forest to make room for baseball fields on Seminary Hill Road, they don't have any funds to rehabilitate the park at Tea Kettle Spout Lake and its buildings will be torn down by the county for about $11,000. I'm willing to bet that if there was a plan to drain the lake, level it, and build soccer fields the money would be there.

A Reminder:
For those of you not visiting with family on Thanksgiving Day, won't visit them, can't, or don't have any, I'm holding an open house and bonfire here at the Asylum that afternoon.
  1. No Turkeys will be harmed!
  2. Rumor has it that a Lasagna will be prepared instead.
  3. There may be a live human sacrifice or two!*
Bring along some snacks and drink and warm clothes. We'll start about 4PM and run until the fire goes out and weather looks good. Crisp, cool.

For those of you who will be visiting with family and long-standing friends, be safe, resist that yearly argument with your uncle Charlie, and we'll see you on Friday!

And now, the News:
  1. Bald Eagles in Catskills Show Increasing Mercury
  2. Down, Down, Fixing New York’s Drinking Straw
  3. Turbulent Time for Wind Development in Across NY
  4. Segway inventor touts island as an energy model
  5. Small U.S. stores adopt personal touch to survive
  6. Five Myths About Our Ailing Health Care System
  7. In Praise of the US Auto Industry

Bald Eagles in Catskills Show Increasing Mercury


Less than two years after the bald eagle was removed from the federal government’s endangered species list, an environmental organization in Maine has found an alarming accumulation of mercury in the blood and feathers of bald eagle chicks in the Catskill Park region of New York.

The levels are close to those associated with reproductive problems in common loons and bald eagles elsewhere in the Northeast, although the New York and national populations of bald eagles have been growing strongly in recent years.

The study is being released Tuesday by the BioDiversity Research Institute, a nonprofit ecological organization in Gorham, Me. The average mercury blood level in chicks within the parks’ boundaries was 0.64 parts per million.

The same study showed that about one-quarter of the feathers of adult birds also had elevated levels of mercury, suggesting that the toxin builds up in the raptors faster than they can get rid of it.

Read More

Down, Down, Fixing New York’s Drinking Straw


All tunnels leak, but this one is a sieve. For most of the last two decades, the Rondout-West Branch tunnel — 45 miles long, 13.5 feet wide, up to 1,200 feet below ground and responsible for ferrying half of New York City’s water supply from reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains — has been leaking some 20 million gallons a day. Except recently, when on some days it has lost up to 36 million gallons.

After tiptoeing around the problem for many years, and amid mounting complaints of flooded homes in the Ulster County hamlet of Wawarsing, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection has embarked on a five-year, $240 million project to prepare to fix the tunnel — which includes figuring out how to keep water flowing through New Yorkers’ faucets during the repairs. The most immediate tasks are to fix a valve at the bottom of a 700-foot shaft in Dutchess County so pumps will eventually be able to drain the tunnel, and to ensure that the tunnel does not crack or collapse while it is empty.

For this, the city has enlisted six deep-sea divers who are living for more than a month in a sealed 24-foot tubular pressurized tank complete with showers, a television and a Nerf basketball hoop, breathing air that is 97.5 percent helium and 2.5 percent oxygen, so their high-pitched squeals are all but unintelligible to visitors. They leave the tank only to transfer to a diving bell that is lowered 70 stories into the earth, where they work 12-hour shifts, with each man taking a four-hour turn hacking away at concrete to expose the valve.

Read More

Turbulent Time for Wind Development in Across NY

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  -- The nation's economic woes are taking a toll on wind energy development in New York state.
The financial crisis has put the brakes on a wind farm under construction in northern New York and another developer has aborted possible projects in eastern and central New York after trouble securing land.
And wind energy companies are under scrutiny by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as he looks into allegations of corrupt practices by developers.

Read More

Segway inventor touts island as an energy model

Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and numerous medical devices, jokingly refers to his North Dumpling Island as an independent nation and himself as Lord Dumpling. Kamen claims to have his own currency and offers visas to visitors to the tiny island a few miles from Mystic, where he is the only resident.

"The rest of the world will eventually catch up if the Dumplonians can get their message out," Kamen said.

"That can typically ruin your day," said Kamen.

Kamen, a prolific inventor who has hundreds of patents, already had been working on energy conservation projects that he has introduced in poor countries.

Kamen granted "visas" to representatives of a select group of corporate sponsors such as Wal-Mart and other companies, inviting them to North Dumpling Island to brainstorm about his plans for the island and how it could be used to raise awareness and money for his robotics competition.

Kamen has been installing LED lights all over the island.

Read More

Small U.S. stores adopt personal touch to survive

By Nick Carey

LIBERTYVILLE, Illinois (Reuters) - Many U.S. retailers, large and small, have good reason to envy Sue Opeka -- sales at her store have been up 15 percent for the past four months and she's up 5 percent for the year so far.

Opeka's store, The Present Moment, sells "affirmational and motivational" gifts such as placards lauding family and friends. The shop sits on the picturesque main street of the wealthy northern Chicago suburb Libertyville.

Opeka opened her store after a corporate career that included a long stint at auto parts maker Tenneco Inc. She attributes part of her success while retailers around the country suffer from a slowing economy to being "non-cyclical."

Read More

Five Myths About Our Ailing Health Care System

Sunday 23 November 2008
by: Shannon Brownlee and Ezekiel Emanuel, The Washington Post

With Congress ready to spend $700 billion to prop up the U.S. economy, enacting health-care reform may seem about as likely as the Dow hitting 10,000 again before the end of the year. But it may be more doable than you think, provided we dispel a few myths about how health care works and how much reform Americans are willing to stomach.

    1. America has the best health care in the world.

    Let's bury this one once and for all. The United States is No. 1 in only one sense: the amount we shell out for health care.

Read More

In Praise of the US Auto Industry

21 November 2008

| Peter Klein |

The proposed bailout of GM, Ford, and Chrysler overlooks an important fact. The US has one of the most vibrant, dynamic, and efficient automobile industries in the world. It produces several million cars, trucks, and SUVs per year, employing (in 2006) 402,800 Americans at an average salary of $63,358. That’s vehicle assembly alone; the rest of the supply chain employs even more people and generates more income. It’s an industry to be proud of. Its products are among the best in the world. Their names are Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Subaru.

Oh, yes, there’s also a legacy industry, based in Detroit, but it’s rapidly, and thankfully, going the way of the horse-and-buggy business.

Read More

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive: Day 16

Only 4 Days Left!

Don't worry, you can still donate after those 4 days are up.
It's just that I'll stop annoying you... maybe or maybe not!
It all depends on you.

Contact Us
Shop Putnam!
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

News That Matters - November 25, 2008

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Tuesday Morning,

From Arts on the Lake:

Discover the Actor Inside:
An Introduction to Acting: Instructor: Lora Lee Ecobelli

Tuesdays from 7:30-9:30 pm and running for 6 weeks – Through December 23rd.

This class is the first step to building a solid foundation in the art of acting. By using theatre games and improvisation, students will learn basic theatre skills in a supportive, creative and fun environment. In addition, there will be further development of the actor's physical resources of voice and movement, concentration and working as a unit. Rehearsal with a scene partner outside of class is required. The class will culminate in a scene night open to the public.

There are fees involved so please check the Arts on the Lake website for more information.

Several readers wrote to tell us how they did on the Civic Literacy test I posted about yesterday and the results were as I expected. All scored 32 out of 33 answers correctly. How did you do?

And now, the News:

  1. Earthworms’ Underground Invasion Threatens Forest Sustainability
  2. For Beekeepers, Colony Collapse Disorder Makes November the Cruelest Month
  3. Plan Bee Step #1 - Plant a Bee Garden
  4. The Asheville (NC) Green Opportunity Corps
  5. At a New York Seminary, a Green Idea Gets Tangled in Red Tape
  6. Bush Rule on Oil Shale Highlights Partisan Divide in West
  7. Panic in Motown as bosses and workers stare into the abyss
  8. Psychiatric Care’s Peril and Profits
  9. "Under Coercive Conditions"

Earthworms’ Underground Invasion Threatens Forest Sustainability

Earthworms have long been considered a friend to farmers and home gardeners, playing a vital role in soil quality. However, recent studies have shown that glaciated forests in North America—forests that evolved without native earthworms--now face the invasion of European earthworms from agriculture and fishing.

This underground invasion has compounding impacts on the capacity of the soil to provide nutrients and sequester carbon—an important role as the world faces global climate change.

Kyungsoo Yoo, University of Delaware assistant professor of soil and land resources, and colleagues Anthony Aufdenkampe of the Stroud Water Research Center and Cindy Hale, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth, were recently awarded a three-year, $397,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Research Initiative (USDA-NRI) to study the quantitative coupling of the ecology of European earthworm invasion--specifically in Canada, New England and the Great Lakes region--with mineral chemical weathering and carbon cycling.

Prior to colonization, the glaciated areas of North America were devoid of native earthworms. European earthworms were first introduced to U.S. soils when immigrants brought crops from their native lands, harboring earthworm cocoons. Worms made their way to the edges of farmlands and to the forests.

Read More

For Beekeepers, Colony Collapse Disorder Makes November the Cruelest Month

As Signs of Disease Resurface, Bayer Agrees to Discuss Pesticide's Effect on Honey Bees

April may have been the cruelest month in 1922 when Eliot wrote The Waste Land, but November is the cruelest month in 2008 as beekeepers, almond growers, pollination brokers, scientists and reporters hold their breath to see if this November Colony Collapse Disorder will rise again and be counted. November is the month it begins to creep, especially in the holding yards of California. So far its presence hasn’t been overwhelming, but it has shown up, mostly in operations arriving just this month from the east coast. But it isn’t limiting itself to just California, as usual, so beekeepers everywhere are making lists and checking everything twice, or more often, to make sure their bees are doing what their bees are supposed to be doing.

One scientist speculates that the previous two years have, in a twisted sort of way, been beneficial to the beekeeping industry if for no other reason than beekeepers are working hard at maintaining healthy colonies. Carefully they are watching nutrition levels in their bees, timing mite treatments better, doing everything possible to stem the tide of Nosema cerane, the gut-infecting disease that’s been causing all manner of problems the past couple of years, and to reduce as much as possible their exposure to any and all pesticides in the agricultural environment they are required to live in.

All of these precautions have paid off to some degree for most beekeepers, as it seems, so far, the incidence of CCD has been reduced. But this is a sly and sneaky monster so no one is taking the lull so far for granted, and everyone is holding their breath.

Read More

Plan Bee Step #1 - Plant a Bee Garden

Posted by schacker on May 12, 2008

[Ed note: Thanks to NtM Reader Judy Allen for sending this along]

Planting a bee garden is not hard। Just start with a variety of flowering plants, fruits, and vegetables, a diversity that will bloom throughout spring, summer, and fall. If you are in a city, use a window planter or your roof. The bees, assuming there are any left in your area, will arrive and feed on the nectar and pollen. And any garden vegetables, mints, or fruit will, in turn, be well pollinated for your efforts. Just don’t use any insecticides or herbicides! Learn how bees work with the physical and biological controls used in organic gardening.

Flowers that are blue, purple, and yellow especially attract bees, while flowers with no tubes or short tubes are easier for most bees to gather pollen and drink nectar। Daisies are good for bees, as are cosmos, zinnias, and dahlias. “Double” varieties, which have been bred to grow extra petals instead of anthers, make little nectar and so don’t generally make good flowers to plant. Plant “single” varieties only. Mints are excellent and provide leaves for sweet tea.

Read More

The Asheville (NC) Green Opportunity Corps

Get Trained. Get Paid. Make a Difference.

The Asheville Green Opportunity Corps (Asheville GO) is a paid training and leadership program designed to prepare under-served young adults (ages 18-25) for living wage jobs in the rapidly expanding Green Economy. Our hands-on curriculum combines community service projects, life skills training, and on-the-job experience in order to provide GO members with everything they need to launch successful careers in promising fields like green construction, clean energy, recycling, ecological landscaping and restoration, and sustainable agriculture.

Asheville GO is a collaborative program administered by the Clean Air Community Trust in partnership with numerous local businesses, government agencies and nonprofits. These include the Asheville Housing Authority, the Land of Sky Regional Council, the City of Asheville, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Progress Energy, the Community Foundation of WNC, Habitat for Humanity, the Western NC Green Building Council, and many more.

Read More

At a New York Seminary, a Green Idea Gets Tangled in Red Tape


Here was the easy part about an elegant, smart alternative energy project at an Episcopal seminary in Chelsea: drilling 1,500 feet through Manhattan schist to reach the water that runs deep and warm in the earth.

“An 8 3/4-inch carbide button drill bit,” said Dennis Frawley, who managed the project for the General Theological Seminary. “Behind that, there was a fluted percussion hammer. That pounds the rock into particulate.”

Drilling a quarter-mile into solid rock was simple, said Maureen Burnley, the seminary’s executive vice president, compared with persuading government officials and agencies that had the authority to say no — or to simply do nothing and stop all progress.

“We had to answer to 10 agencies,” Ms. Burnley said. “It took three times as long as it should have. The left and the right hand did not know what the other was doing.”

Read More

Bush Rule on Oil Shale Highlights Partisan Divide in West

by Joaquin Sapien - November 22, 2008 10:30 am EST
This story was co-published with Politico.

Seven weeks after a congressional moratorium on oil shale development expired, the Bush administration has issued rules that take the first step toward tapping an estimated 800 billion barrels of oil trapped in sedimentary rock in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

The new rules have highlighted a divisive partisan issue among Western politicians, with Republicans ready to push forward with development and Democrats urging a more cautious approach. The rules establish a framework for how energy companies will lease federal land for oil shale mining. Opponents say oil shale mining uses so much water that it could threaten their drinking water supply. They also say its heavy consumption of energy could outweigh its energy benefits.

Read More

Panic in Motown as bosses and workers stare into the abyss

Elana Schor in Washington and Phillip Inman,
Saturday November 22 2008

General Motors yesterday belatedly promised to give up two of its five leased executive jets, after its boss had used one to fly to Washington to plead for more government cash in order to stay in business.

The US car firm said less symbolic cuts were also on the way, as it and fellow Detroit giants Ford and Chrysler teeter on the brink of insolvency. But the contrition came too late to spare them a further lashing as investors weighed their debts.

Barack Obama appears to be putting Detroit on notice that his arrival in January could mean a drastic shift. Bloomberg news reported yesterday that the president-elect's advisers are talking to lawyers about an auto bankruptcy, a prospect dismissed as "pure fantasy" this week by GM's chief, Rick Wagoner.

Read More

Psychiatric Care’s Peril and Profits

by Christina Jewett and Robin Fields, ProPublica November 22, 2008 3:28 am EST

Psychiatric Solutions Inc. was on its way to becoming the nation's leading provider of private psychiatric care when it snapped up Sierra Vista Hospital in Sacramento in mid-2005.

The company put its well-honed business formula into action: Staffing fell. Beds filled up. Profits soared.

It was a winning strategy for investors. But for some patients, federal records show, checking into Sierra Vista proved dangerous – at times deadly.

Read More

"Under Coercive Conditions"

By Andrew Sullivan. The Atlantic

Ben Wittes ups the Orwellian ante:
Detainees who pose a grave national security threat might be unprosecutable for a variety of reasons: because of deficiencies in the criminal law as it stood in 2001, because evidence against them would not stand up in court, because the government might not have enough evidence to convict or because it obtained key evidence under coercive conditions.

Photo: a detainee killed by US forces in Abu Ghraib prison, after being beaten and forced into a position with his arms bent back over and behind his head, with a hood restricting his breathing. All the techniques used against him were authorized by president George W. Bush.

"Under coercive conditions". Excuse me, but what does that mean in English? Try: Because they got intelligence from torturing people. Coercion means force. It means they forced "information" out of them. Not coax, trick, lure, force. That means the victims had no choice. And the only way in which human beings can seriously have no choice at all is by subjecting them to such severe mental and physical pain and suffering that they have no option as human beings but to tell their torturers something.

This is the defining line of torture: not some arbitrary comic book technique, but a psychological and physical fact: pushing another human being to the point where choice becomes unavailable to him or her. You can do this in any number of ways; it can take three seconds of electrocution or it can take two months of sleep deprivation, hypothermia and darkness. But the line it eventually crosses is the same line. Throughout human history, human beings have known what that line is, and the West was constructed on a disavowal of ever crossing it again. Why? Because a society that endorses torture commits itself not to limiting, but to extinguishing human freedom. And a protection of human freedom in its most minimal form is what our entire civilization is premised on.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

News That Matters - November 24, 2008

News That Matters
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PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive: Day 14

If you're reading you should probably help us out.
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"In some states, like in New York, expansions of the bottle bill have been held up for year by political bickering and lobbying by various factions of the beverage and grocery industries." - Daily Green

Good Monday Morning,

Remember back in June of 2007 when former Kent Councilman Denis Illuminate allegedly shot Putnam Valley resident, Douglas Greenwich - twice?

Yeah, I'd almost forgotten too.

Last Friday, after 17 months in limbo, a grand jury finally met to hear evidence in the case. According to an October, 2007 article in the JN, Greenwich claims he was shot first in the chest and then in the back. Illuminate claims Greenwich came after him with a nightstick threatening to bash his head in.

Illuminate is being defended in court by Carmel attorney Victor Grossman which is rather like John Adams defending British soldiers after the Boston Massacre.

I'll tell you, if you or I shot someone I'm pretty sure the cops would have taken our gun, (Illuminate kept his), locked us up or, at least set bail, (I don't think either was done), and convened a grand jury pretty darned fast. I guess it's nice to be a former cop, a former councilman and a friend of the former DA.

Patterson reader Dan Kutcha posted an interesting item this morning concerning Patterson Crossing. Last week we'd heard that the Patterson Planning Board would meet this week and discuss the project. Dan has other information posted to the Patterson12563 list:

"While we are all busy discussing the future of Patterson Hamlet and the Town as a whole, it may interest you to know that a special meeting of  the Patterson Zoning Board will be held on Thursday December 11, 2008, 7pm at Town Hall.  (Note: ZBA meetings start at 7pm while all other Town meetings start at 7:30pm.)

The only item on the agenda is the special use permit for Patterson Crossing.

The issuing of this permit is a fait accompli. I can't imagine any scenario in which the board would deny this, even a room full of residents opposed to the project.

Nonetheless it will be interesting to hear what the board members have to say in defense of this project given the current state of the economy, a failed box store 3 miles away and a canceled hotel project in the vicinity."

Seventy-One percent of Americans given a causal test on how the American political system works, failed. Less than 1% scored an A (I got 31 of 33 correct answers) and those elected to office faired less successfully than those who have never been elected. Here are some results:

  • Less than half can name all three branches of the government.
  • Only 21% know that the phrase “government of the people, by the people, for the people” comes from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
  • Although Congress has voted twice in the last eight years to approve foreign wars, only 53% know that the power to declare war belongs to Congress. Almost 40% incorrectly believe it belongs to the president.
  • Only 55% know that Congress shares authority over U.S. foreign policy with the president. Almost a quarter incorrectly believe Congress shares this power with the United Nations.
  • Only 27% know the Bill of Rights expressly prohibits establishing an official religion for the United States.
  • Less than one in five know that the phrase “a wall of separation” between church and state comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson. Almost half incorrectly believe it can be found in the Constitution.
There's a link to these results and a link to the actual test which you can take below. After you've taken the test, email us your score. Let's see how News That Matters readers have faired... No cheating!

We're entering the last week of our annual fund drive. If you've not yet helped us out this year please do so! There are hundreds and hundreds of you receiving this column each and every every day and let's face it, you get it for free, I know you're reading, and helping to keep this going is the right thing to do - and you know it. Please, point your browser here.

And now, the News

  1. Lake Carmel gets carp to fight weeds
  2. Nonprofit turns Tilly Foster into a success
  3. Why California Recycled 80% of Glass and the Rest of the U.S. 30%
  4. From TPL: View from the Ridge
  5. Exotic pests infest region's woodlands
  6. When Good Maples Go Red: Why Leaves Change Color In The Fall
  7. Americans Fail the Test of Civic Literacy
  8. Florida Boy Arrested For Gas Attack

Lake Carmel gets carp to fight weeds

Michael Risinit
The Journal News

KENT - Swimmers and boaters taking to Lake Carmel next year should find fewer weeds clogging the water body, as long as the lake's newest residents are doing their job.

Some 1,200 carp were released into the lake Wednesday, the second time in about 10 years such fish were introduced there. Trucked from Arkansas, the fish have one duty: Eat the weeds.

"We're looking forward to a good new year with the carp," said Wanda Schweitzer, chairwoman of the Lake Carmel Park District Advisory Committee. "I really think we'll see a difference next year."

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Nonprofit turns Tilly Foster into a success

Susan Elan
The Journal News

SOUTHEAST - A long-term lease between Putnam and a not-for-profit organization with plans to make county-owned Tilly Foster Farm a permanent farm museum is nearing completion.

"The advantage is the farm is managed in the name of the taxpayers, but they are not burdened with the cost," Deputy County Executive John Tully said Monday.

Kent gentleman farmer George Whipple, founder of the not-for profit Preserve Putnam County, which has been managing the farm with the approval of the county Legislature since June, said he hopes to see it become "a world-class farm museum with a huge national endowment."

During his first 150 days at Tilly Foster, Whipple has loaned it some of his rare, early American farm animals, set up educational programs for families on weekends, and negotiated the return of a horse boarding and riding operation to the 199-acre former thoroughbred farm.

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Why California Recycled 80% of Glass and the Rest of the U.S. 30%

Evidence that Nickle and Dime Deposits Work

California is on pace to recycle nearly 80% of the glass introduced into commerce in 2008, according to the latest statistics -- up from 71% in 2007.

Meanwhile, while the U.S. rate of glass recycling is increasing -- to 28% in 2007 from 25% -- it lags far behind the rate in California.


According to the Glass Packaging Institute, the industry group for glass container makers, it all has to do with those nickle and dime deposits some states place on glass containers. (That, and targeted initiatives in some states, like Colorado and North Carolina, to require bars and restaurants to do a better job recycling their customer's detritus.)

Evidence: glass beer and soft drink bottles, which are the most likely to have bottle deposits, were recycled nationally at a rate of 34.5% in 2007 (up from 30.7% in 2006). The rate of recycling for wine and liquor bottles, meanwhile, remained flat at 15%.

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From TPL: View from the Ridge

Shawangunks by Steve Jordan

A rock-climbing trip 38 years ago made an indelible impression that has stayed with Bob Anderberg ever since, kindling his lifelong desire to help protect New York State’s spectacular Shawangunk Mountains.

    “What amazed me was just the sheer beauty of the place,” Anderberg says now of his first trip to the Shawangunks as a 15-year-old rock climber from Long Island. “My first day in the ‘Gunks was a beautiful, clear April day, spent rock climbing in the Trapps and marveling at the cliffs, pitch pines and views of the Hudson River Valley. I knew on that day that I wanted to be part of the overall effort to save this remarkable place.”

Anderberg and his colleagues at the Open Space Institute have devoted the last 22 years to those mountains, and some 26,000 acres later, a remarkable story is being told in Wildlands Philanthropy: The Great American Tradition (Earth Aware Editions, October 2008).

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Exotic pests infest region's woodlands

Maples, ash among native trees facing top risk for insect damage

By Stacey Shackford

ITHACA — It sounds like a scene straight from a disaster movie: an army of tiny, Asian winged warriors invade and ravage a community, leaving millions of dollars worth of damage in their wake.

But eco experts fear the scenario could soon become reality in New York and are scampering to prepare the state for a potentially devastating infestation of exotic pests.

The culprits: The Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Asian Longhorned Beetle, a deadly trio with a particular fondness for maple, ash, hemlock and willow and some of the most common trees in Tompkins County.

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When Good Maples Go Red: Why Leaves Change Color In The Fall

University of Vermont forestry student William Young looks into a maple tree at the US Forest Service Research Station in Burlington, VT, October 2008. Behind him, antifreeze is being pumped up into the tree cooling some branches to see how it affects leaf color. It's all part of University of Vermont research that asks: why do leaves go red? (Credit: Joshua Brown/University of Vermont)

ScienceDaily (Nov. 22, 2008) — On a hushed autumn morning, when leaves have ripened to the fall, who hasn’t stood under a flaming maple and wondered why it goes red?

Though Robert Frost might have imagined something more poetic, tree physiologists will tell you the answer is anthocyanin. This is the pigment that leaves produce in autumn, creating the bright displays of red and purple foliage that draw thousands of wistful tourists (and their wallets) to New England.

But chemistry is not cause. “We know the basic biochemical reasons (leaves go red),” says US Forest Service researcher Paul Schaberg — under stress, leaf sugars are converted to anthocyanin — “but the ecology and exact mechanisms are still unknown.” Why does a maple go yellow one year and red the next? Are cold nights the trigger? Does the red color serve to deter insect pests? “There are dozens of competing theories,” he says.

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PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive: Day 14

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Americans Fail the Test of Civic Literacy

If there is any presidential speech that has captured a place in popular culture, it is the Gettysburg Address, seemingly recited by school children for decades. The truth is, however, Lincoln’s most memorable words are now remembered by very few.

Of the 2,508 Americans taking ISI’s civic literacy test, 71% fail. Nationwide, the average score on the test is only 49%. The vast majority cannot recognize the language of Lincoln’s famous speech.

The test contains 33 questions designed to measure knowledge of America’s founding principles, political history, international relations, and market economy.

While the questions vary in difficulty, most test basic knowledge. Six are borrowed from U.S. government naturalization exams that test knowledge expected of all new American citizens. Nine are taken from the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests that the U.S. Department of Education uses to assess high school seniors. Three are drawn from an “American History 101” exam posted online by Two were developed especially for this survey and the rest were drawn from ISI’s previous civic literacy tests.

Read More or Take the Test

America's Report Card Text
In spring 2008, a random sample of Americans took a straightforward test designed to assess each respondent’s “knowledge of America’s founding principles and texts, core history, and enduring institutions”—ISI’s definition of civic literacy. As detailed below, over 70% of Americans failed this basic test of the kind of knowledge required for informed and responsible citizenship.

Grade Number Surveyed Percent Surveyed
  Grade A (90 to 100%) 21
Grade B (80 to 89.9%) 66
Grade C (70 to 79.9%) 185
Grade D (60 to 69.9%) 445
Grade F(59.9% and below) 1791

Florida Boy Arrested For Gas (as in farts) Attack

12-year-old charged after deliberately "breaking wind" in class

 NOVEMBER 21--A 12-year-old Florida student was arrested earlier this month after he "deliberately passed gas to disrupt the class," according to police. The child, who was also accused of shutting off the computers of classmates at Stuart's Spectrum Jr./Sr. High School, was busted November 4 for disruption of a school function. A Martin County Sheriff's Office report, a copy of which you'll find below, notes that the 4' 11" offender admitted that he "continually disrupted his classroom environment by breaking wind and shutting off several computers." The boy, whose name was redacted from the police report released today, was turned over to his mother following the arrest. The young perp turned 13 on November 15. (2 pages)

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Friday, November 21, 2008

News That Matters - November 21, 2008 - Things To Do Edition

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Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive: Day 13  <- Click Here

Good Friday Morning,

15.6 degrees this sunny, crisp Friday morning as we gear up for the coming weekend.

The Journal News has finally picked up on the Patterson story (a day late, as usual), a Federal Court has denied Royal Dutch Shell permission to drill for oil in Alaska because the Interior department failed to create an environmental assessment for the project. The MTA is announcing service cuts and fare increases. Unemployment has climbed over 6% across the nation. Congress told US Automakers to do their homework and come back with a plan to get out of the deep doo-doo they put themselves into. Today is the American Cancer Society's "Great American Smokeout". And, that blue in the weather image is... snow! With all that going on, why don't you take a break and get out of of your house, away from the boob-tube and computer and do something... different.

If you're looking for a hike, look to PlanPutnam's Outdoor Recreation Guide. If it's something more 'cultural', look below.

And don't forget to check out the blog. It's a happenin' place. There are items and stories posted there which do not appear in this column so go visit, sign up (if you want to post or comment on posts) and bookmark the page. Or sign up for the RSS feed and it will all come down magically to your computer.

See you on Monday!


Eleven One Act Plays by Karen's After Dark Collective of Playwrights.

Shows Fri. 8 PM, Sat. 2 PM and 8 PM, Sun. 2 PM. "Of, By and For the People" by Mark Jacobs will be included in the Fri. night and Sat. Matinee.  Written and directed by Mark Jacobs. FREE (donations gratefully accepted).  No need for reservations. At The Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Center, 15 Mt. Ebo Drive South, Brewster. Call 845-832-7243. Click here for a flyer.

Little Shop of Horrors
Mahopac High School 421 Baldwin Place Road Shows tonight and Saturday at 7PM. Tickets are $7.


November 22nd and 23rd

Annual food drive for the benefit of Putnam Community Action Program
On Saturday and Sunday, November 22nd and 23rd, Concerned Residents of Carmel & Mahopac will hold its annual food drive for the benefit of Putnam Community Action Program. CRCM volunteers will collect food in front of two area supermarkets to provide enough food for Thanksgiving dinners for hundreds of needy residents of Putnam County.  We are seeking volunteers, children and adults, who can give at least two hours of time to this very worthy cause. If you are able to participate in this important community service event, or would like further information, please call Jerry or Judy Ravnitzky at 628-6681.

9:45 a.m. Black Rock Forest Hike  About 10 miles Moderate Hike. Joint with ADK and AMC. 

Start at Mineral Springs Falls and enter the forest at its southwest corner for views from Eagle Cliff, Spy Rock. Rain may cancel. Call Leader if in doubt. Meet at the Black Rock Fish & Game Club parking area on NY Route 32 in Orange County at the junction of Angola Road/Pleasant Hill Road. Leader John Kolp, 845-496-1731

ARTED Exhibit: The Reflectionist - 1 to 4 pm Open House

At the Cultural Center on Lake Carmel (the old firehouse on Route 52 just south of the Route 311 causeway) Students of Alexander Shundi offer an exhibit where the artist and the viewer engage in dialogue. Have you ever wanted to ask of an artist “What were you thinking?” This unique exhibit offers a chance to engage in dialogue. Artists will write about their experience in creating an art work by answering a question, and the viewer can write back at the exhibit to question, comment or suggest. This way the artist and the viewer learn more about the creative process and its impact on others. The artists are all students of Alexander Shundi at Arts on the Lake and range from beginners to professional artists. Many have been in the group for 10 or more years.

Ed Note: It's a really great show.

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive  <- Click Here

8 p.m. Blue Horse Repertory reading of a new play, The Foot Shooters, by Paul Coleman.
At Arts on the Lake (The old firehouse on Route 52 in Lake Carmel)

In the The Foot Shooters, a group of bright misfits band together to try to help one another finally become successful and happy. But a series of mishaps, miscues, and misapprehensions turns their aspirations into riotous desperation. The Foot Shooters is a poignant comedy and a calamitous love story involving a manic Broadway producer, two bakers, and oddball court reporter, a lovable but befuddled composer and...a ghost? Written by Paul Coleman, this play will warm you and tickle you, and reveals that what matters most in life can't be measured by anything other than love. Donation: $10 ($9 members) Reservations:

Flamenco Guitarist Alan Goodman - 8:00 PM
For the monthly guitar and ukulele fest! Have a drink and a good meal and a great listen... Cafe Mozart - 308 Mamaroneck Ave. Mamaroneck, NY 8:00 PM until his fingers get tired, usually around sunday morning! Oh, and it's FREE!!!


11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Millbrook Mountain Hike - Minnewaska State Park - New Paltz

This four and a half mile round-trip hike will wander over both carriageways and footpaths, giving participants a chance to intimately observe nature's changes from fall to winter. On Millbrook Mountain, hikers will stand above the raptors and look down on the lush Hudson Valley from the top of the magnificent white cliffs so often seen from below. Please meet at the Minnewaska Preserve Nature Center.

ARTED Exhibit: The Reflectionist - 1 to 4 pm.

Students of Alexander Shundi offer an exhibit where the artist and the viewer engage in dialogue. Have you ever wanted to ask of an artist “What were you thinking?” This unique exhibit offers a chance to engage in dialogue. Artists will write about their experience in creating an art work by answering a question, and the viewer can write back at the exhibit to question, comment or suggest. This way the artist and the viewer learn more about the creative process and its impact on others. The artists are all students of Alexander Shundi at Arts on the Lake and range from beginners to professional artists. Many have been in the group for 10 or more years.

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive  <- Click Here

Chamber Music Series - Alone Together: Breaking the Mold of Classical Music Performance
3:00 p.m. at the West Point Jewish Chapel, Staff Sergeants Jon Leonard and Denver Dill will perform a recital of modern music for trumpet. The program will include the works of Poul Ruders, Lucia Dlugoszewski, and music written by the performers. The aim of the program is to change the traditional way in which classical music is performed. The recital will be presented as a continuous performance with a performer either playing or talking from beginning to end. The audience will be encouraged to participate in the performance as well. The recital is free and open to the public.

The program will open with Poul Ruders’ work Reveille for solo trumpet. The piece is based on the traditional military bugle call played at sunrise, and is split into two parts, Reveille and Retraite. The second bugle call, Retraite is typically played at sundown. Retraite will feature Staff Sergeant Leonard playing an antique bugle. Sergeants Dill and Leonard will close their program with Retraite.

The program will include two world premiere performances. Trumpet Safari, by Staff Sergeant Jon Leonard is a four-movement work for trumpet and electronics. The Lesson was written jointly by Staff Sergeants Denver Dill and Jon Leonard.
Please allow extra travel time for the 100% vehicle and photo I.D. inspection at Stony Lonesome and Thayer gates.  Due to changing security requirements at West Point, call the Academy Band’s hotline at 845-938-2617, or check before leaving for the concert.

Into the Future:

Monday, November 24th
Putnam Valley Community Food Pantry - Organizational Meeting

We are looking for sponsors, vendors, volunteers and talents. We are also reaching out to all organizations and businesses in Putnam Valley asking for their help and support with all aspects of our fundraiser. If you are interested in assisting us in any way, please join us at a meeting on Monday, November 24, 7:30 p.m., at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 65 Oscawana Lake Road , Putnam Valley.

The “Putnam Valley Community Food Pantry” The Food Pantry’s mission is to increase access to food for the hungry and for struggling families in Putnam Valley. The Pantry currently feeds over 110 needy Putnam Valley families. This event is a pre-planning discussion for a fundraiser for Saturday, February 7, 2009, at the Putnam Valley High School and would like to have as many organizations and groups participate in the event as possible. Some of the activities include entertainment, including a series of bands for all ages, magic shows, performances, food, crafts, a white elephant sale and much more.

Monday, November 24th

The Hudson Valley Humanists will present a debate and discussion on “Human Nature and the Self” from 7:30-9 p.m., Monday, Nov. 24, at the New Paltz Village Hall at 25 Plattekill Avenue.  Hudson Valley Humanists’ director, Ed Poll, debates with author, Shaun Johnston on the limitations of science in describing human nature.  Poll proposes a strongly scientific view of the self: evolved via natural selection, determined and defined by the matter and energy at work in the universe.  Johnston proposes that we are free to make decisions, our nature is not determined by natural selection, and there is something to human nature beyond which science can define.  Audience participation in the discussion will be encouraged.  Free and open to all, includes refreshments, for information: (845) 247-0098, or

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive  <- Click Here

Heres a once-in-a-lifetime event coming next Tuesday you won't want to miss:

On November 25, 2008, to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the evacuation of the United States of America by British troops, the Palisades Parks Conservancy, in collaboration with the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, Scenic Hudson, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and Palisades Interstate Park Commission will symbolically light five beacon sites that replicate the original signal locations used by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

These vital systems summoned the militia in both New York and in neighboring New Jersey and warned residents of the approaching British Redcoats. The types of beacons varied from tar barrels on top of poles, to pyramids, to wooden towers filled with dried grass or hay that could be ignited. The beacons enabled quick and effective communication with troops throughout the lower Hudson River Valley.

Instead of lighting fires, Palisades, the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Scenic Hudson will create a symbolic Xenon light display that will light up Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area from Bear Mountain State Park to Beacon. This project is also part of the larger interstate effort with national heritage area partners in New Jersey, the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area. Six additional Beacons will be lit in New Jersey. The total project area will stretch from Princeton, NJ to Beacon, NY.

November 27 - Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving for (Accidental) Orphans: For those of you not visiting with family on Thanksgiving Day, won't visit them, can't, or don't have any, I'm holding an open house and bonfire here at the cottage that afternoon.

It's not an invite for those of you who have a place to go, it's for those who do not.

Bring along some snacks and drink and warm clothes. We'll start about 4PM and run until the fire goes out. (steady rain cancels, mist is fine, snow is great!) Even if you do visit your family, once you get tired of hearing Uncle Harry regale you with stories of his frat days - again, or your Aunt Mae gets on your nerves asking why you're not married yet - again - or your perennially drunk cousin Steven has thrown one too many beer cans at the football  game on TV, you now have a place to escape to.

November 28
Hike to Wonder Lake State Park

The Kent CAC will sponsor a hike to Wonder Lake on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Meet at 1:00 PM at the park and ride parking lot on Rte 311 and Ludingtonville Road (not at DEC parking lot on Ludingtonville Road). The hike will be lead by David Ehnebuske accompanied by naturalist Beth Herr. The trail is easy-moderate and will last about 2 hours. Call Dave at 878-7592 for further details.
Monday, December 1, 2008
CWCWC Annual Meeting

"How to Save Your Favorite Trout Stream:  Prevent Agricultural Runoff by Farming Inside the City Limits." At the Purchase Friends Meeting House - 4455 Purchase Street, Purchase, NY 10577. 6:00 PM refreshments. 7:00 PM presentation

PlanPutnam's Annual Fund Drive: Day 13  <- Click Here

December 2, 2008, 5:30 pm
Climate Change and World Security with Marc Levy
In the auditorium of the Coykendall Science Building on the campus of SUNY New Paltz
(Refreshments available at 5:00 pm outside the auditorium)
Marc Levy serves as Deputy Director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He will speak on climate change trends and how they impact the stability of nations and the well-being of populations.

Marc Levy has published on environmental sustainability indicators, environment-security connections, and the effectiveness of international environmental institutions. The common thread running through his work is a desire to deepen our ability to understand and manage the complex interactions between humans and their environment. He leads CIESIN’s work on climate-security connections, conflict early warning, environmental sustainability indicators, and poverty mapping. He serves as Lead Project Scientist of the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center; and was a Convening Lead Author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. He is currently serving as a Convening Lead Author for the UN Environment Program’s Fourth Global Environmental Outlook. Before coming to CIESIN Mr. Levy had teaching appointments at Princeton University and Williams College.

No charge. Open to the general public.

Sponsored by: the World Affairs Council of the Mid-Hudson Valley
Gillespie Forum and Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) at SUNY New Paltz
Saturday, December 6th 2008, 10AM-5PM
WESPAC Fair Trade Festival and Trade Fair

Memorial United Methodist Church , Asbury Hall - 250 Bryant Avenue, White Plains, NY Admission is $1 and all are welcome. Lunch and homemade baked goods will be available for sale as well.

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