News That Matters
Here’s the county’s latest effort on the Tilly Foster Lease agreement. I think you’ll find that all the fighting, all the letters, phone calls and emails were worth it. While it’s still not as good as it could be, it’s a damn sight better than it was. The county Law Department is finally acting like a Law Department.
Post your Comments to the blog. We'll recap them here.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
News That Matters
Good Friday Morning:
Sorry we're late! I woke late this morning after having another night of nightmares and disquieting dreams. No, it's not the new Obama administration and it's not Andy DeStefano's announcement that he's joined the masses running for Sheriff. I have no idea what it is but here we are anyway.
I don't have much listed for this weekend (you're not sending me stuff!) but there are a few interesting events worth checking out.
My usual recommendation is to turn off the idiot box and get out of your house for a hike. Thanks to NY State Parks, DEP and DEC and other agencies, Putnam County is home to more than 20,000 acres of permanently preserved open space lands with hundreds of miles of trails and they're here for you to use, explore and wander in. There's a partial list here at PlanPutnam's outdoor recreation page which has seen 20860 visitors so there must be something of interest there! Check it out.
We'll be back on Monday.
Tonight:The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State
7:00 p.m. Cary Institute Auditorium - Join us for a lively discussion about how New York State's bird populations have changed over the past 20 years. This event will feature Kimberley Corwin, one of the co-editors of the recently published Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State. Co-sponsored with Merritt Bookstore; books will be available for purchase.
Arts on the Lake Member Event
7:30 p.m. Short Performance, Short Meeting, Great Desserts.
8PM (For those of you not allowed to stay up late). Join Mike Latini, Jim Nowak and Larry Eidelman at Daniel J's in Patterson (at the foot of Thunder Ridge) for a "night of music, and whatever". Mike seems to schedule these things on the same night as AotL has events - so choose wisely!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
News That Matters
"A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience." - John Updike
Good Thursday Morning,
Tomorrow is our weekly Things To Do Edition. If you or your organization has something going on you'd like announced, please make sure it's in by this afternoon or, post it all by yourself at the blog site.
It snowed. It rained. It iced. You've got to love this winter or you'll go crazy. But spring is just around the corner and if you're up early enough you'll hear the birds taking a few tentative practice-notes of their spring songs. Since the ground has been snow and ice covered for quite some time make sure your feeders are filled with high energy snacks for those guys.
Over at the blog, the Tilly Foster contract and Putnam Valley issues still take the lead in reads and yesterday 132 visitors stopped in to have a look. If you weren't one of those 132, you should be.
The Tilly Foster lease agreement is still in negotiations and thanks to your input the county has made some changes though they're not nearly enough to satisfy standard governmental protections and the AG's office will, I think, find it of interest if it passes through in anything close to its present form. At the last physical services committee meeting, Legislator Tony Hay mentioned that the public had deluged the county with comments and suggestions yet few, if any, made it into the latest version of that lease. If you wrote before you'll need to write again. If you haven't, it's time to do so. You can send your letters to email@example.com. You can get more information on that contract here, here, here and here.
I've got the horse right here: County Finance Commissioner William Carlin reports that OTB revenues are down once again. From a high of $1.9 million taken in 2001 the county took in just about $518,000 in 2008 which was $139,000 less than in 2007.
New York State has lost a billion dollars in revenue due to the collapse of Wall Street firms and we're still not one inch closer to prosecuting those who ran their businesses into the ground, caused massive social and financial upheaval and engineered the largest transfer of wealth from the working classes to the rich in history and still took home $18.4 billion in bonuses. Admittedly, those bonuses were lower than in previous years as in 2007 bonuses amounted to $33 billion. The income disparity between rich and poor is greater than it has been since the 1920s and you know what financial conditions followed that. It's not a pretty picture no matter how you spin it unless you're a corporate recipient of taxpayer largess. Capitalism, American Style.
Vanity Fair has done it again. This time there's a deeply detailed oral history of the Bush administration which kept me occupied for the better part of an hour during yesterday's snow and ice storm. Get yourself a mug of tea and be prepared to be shocked, tickled and awed by what we just went through as a nation. There's a link to the article below the fold.
And now, the News:
By CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT
Washington, DC - Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today announced that he has helped establish the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) -- a new focused, action-based caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives committed to advancing a legislative agenda that will bring about dramatic progressive change in energy and environmental policy while helping to grow the economy. The group, which was founded by Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) recently met with Assistant to the President Carol Browner to discuss energy and climate policy. Additionally, the SEEC has been working to strengthen green technology provisions in the economic recovery bill currently being debated in Congress.
By DENNIS OVERBYE
In the debate over how best to provide economic stimulus, put U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican Whip, in the camp that thinks more tax cuts and less government spending is the way to go.
Last Update: 1/27 10:38 am
The threat of 9/11 ignored. The threat of Iraq hyped and manipulated. Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. Hurricane Katrina. The shredding of civil liberties. The rise of Iran. Global warming. Economic disaster. How did one two-term presidency go so wrong? A sweeping draft of history—distilled from scores of interviews—offers fresh insight into the roles of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and other key players.
By Cullen Murphy and Todd S. Purdum February 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
News That Matters
"The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract." - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Good Wednesday Morning,
I was going to head over to the Cultural Center on Lake Carmel this morning to put up a fresh coat of paint in the theater space but looking outside and seeing that the snow is supposed to turn to ice and freezing rain, I think I'll pass on going out today, something you should consider as well. Stay home. Stay warm. And if the power goes out under the weight of the ice this afternoon, standard PlanPutnam neighborly advice becomes the rule: check on your neighbors, even if you don't think they need checking on.
IBM has started laying off employees, with four or five hundred slated for the Hudson Valley. Lee Conrad, a union leader at IBM, points to three factors: low productivity, a general slimming down and the movement of jobs offshore. Read that last one again and remember it next time IBM comes hat-in-hand for more tax breaks. I think their new slogan should be, "Whats Good For IBM is Good For India" or how about instead of Big Blue, we call them Big Curry?
The Open Space Institute announces it's 2009 McHenry Awards for young leaders in environmental stewardship and projects. There's more information here.
After years of complaining that environmentalists were stopping Putnam county from reaping sales tax benefits by their refusal to allow the county to become a regional shopping mecca, County Executive Bondi said, “The high cost of gasoline drove people to reconsider their shopping destinations. While the trend was very helpful, we can all see that this is something we cannot rely on for the future.” He was referring to reports that sales tax revenues in the county declined substantially over the past year. See the article below for more on this one.
Carmel — Putnam County collected more in sales tax last year than ever before yet county lawmakers are worried.
Monday 26 January 2009
Only a couple of years ago, the long-serving chairman of the Fed, a committed free marketeer who had steered the US economy through crises ranging from the 1987 stockmarket collapse through to the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, was lauded with star status, named the "oracle" and "the maestro." Now he is viewed as one of those most culpable for the crisis. He is blamed for allowing the housing bubble to develop as a result of his low interest rates and lack of regulation in mortgage lending. He backed sub-prime lending and urged homebuyers to swap fixed-rate mortgages for variable rate deals, which left borrowers unable to pay when interest rates rose.
Ongoing water protection efforts continue with purchase of parcel once owned by musician Richie Havens
LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE • New laws would encourage regional cooperation, saving money and land
By RICHARD RICHTMYER | The Associated Press
Release date: 01/26/2009
(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that the federal government has reached an agreement with the General Electric Company (GE) to modify a November 2, 2006 consent decree requiring the company to dredge portions of the Hudson River. The modification of the 2006 consent decree requires GE to pay a portion of the costs of protecting the Waterford, Halfmoon, and Stillwater, New York water supplies during dredging, and to improve its program for monitoring water quality and further protect the Waterford and Halfmoon water supplies. Notice of the modification was published in the Federal Register today, beginning a 30-day comment period, which concludes on February 25. Dredging is scheduled to begin in the Hudson River this spring.
By Gale Courey Toensing
Emperor penguins, whose long treks across Antarctic ice to mate have been immortalised by Hollywood, are heading towards extinction, scientists say.
On October 3, 2008, President Bush signed into law the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.” This bill extended tax credits for energy efficient home improvements (windows, doors, roofs, insulation, HVAC, and non-solar water heaters). Tax credits for these residential products, which had expired at the end of 2007, will now be available for improvements made during 2009. However, improvements made during 2008 are not eligible for a tax credit.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
News That Matters
Good Tuesday Morning,
There was a recent post to the Brewster list suggesting that yours truly run the Farm at Tilly Foster. While I appreciate the sentiment, there's no question that Geo. Whipple is more than qualified to continue doing so. However, if he should create a paid position where I might fit in I'd be happy to be considered for it.
Up in Albany all the chatter is about Joe Bruno being indicted. In the rest of the state all the chatter is wondering how come it took so long and when will they get around to Sheldon Silver? (See "This Would Explain A Lot" below)
There are new posts over at the blogsite.
And now, the News:
For years New Yorkers have been scratching their heads wondering how they ended up with such an expensive, ineffectual and wholly unresponsive state government. Now federal prosecutors have put forth an anger-inspiring answer still to be vetted by a judge and jury: for more than a decade, we've had a full-fledged crook helping to run things. If the prosecutors are right, the damage to New Yorkers' financial well-being could be incalculable.
Sunday 25 January 2009
By SCOTT ATRAN and JEREMY GINGES
The nonprofit group Kitchen Gardeners International wants to inspire people to grow their own food in home gardens. More recently, its “Eat the View!” campaign has targeted the ultimate home garden — the White House lawn.
The study, published in the Jan. 23 issue of Science, documented tree deaths in all tree sizes in the West located at varying elevations, including tree types such as pine, fir and hemlock. Significant die-offs also were documented in the interior West -- including Colorado and Arizona -- as well as Northwest regions like northern California, Oregon, Washington and southern British Columbia.
With energy, business and politics so clearly colliding with environmental concerns, and public attention to global warming waning ... this effort is overdue. But will it work?
January 26, 2009 at 8:35AM by Jim DiPeso
Friday 23 January 2009
New York - Housing might be in worse shape than we think.
The problem: Many foreclosed homes and other distressed properties that are now owned by banks have yet to be listed for sale. The volume of this so-called "ghost inventory" could be substantial enough to depress already steeply falling prices when it does go on the market.
The justices rule that civil rights law protects a woman who was fired after answering questions in a harassment probe.
By Warren Richey | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Monday, January 26, 2009
News That Matters
"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress." - John Adams
Good Monday Morning,
It was supposed to be cold yesterday morning but not -3.8º! A week ago on Saturday morning the temp was -3.6º That's two weekends in a row the temperatures dropped below 0º and this morning it was 1.8º. This has been a very cold January and there's no relief in sight. And as of this morning we're looking at the potential of 8-12 inches of snow from tomorrow night into Wednesday. Or rain. Or a 1-3 inches of snow followed by freezing rain. The NWS can't be sure. I hope the crocuses have packed their parkas.
For the past two weekends I've been engaged in a most wonderful experience with the Pied Piper Children's Theater, an educational theater group that has taken over the White Pond Center and is run by John Ryerson and Bonnie Halligan of Lake Carmel.
The Pied Piper Children's Theater offers an intensive after-school program for kids aged from 3-16 in performance, acting and even a Friday night Karaoke in their "Kids Lounge". I ran tech at the just completed run of Grease! which used two casts over two weekends with the Theater selling out for each of its 6 performances. Learn more about this community program here at their website. Coming up this weekend is Peter Pan using their youngest members and students. Beginning in February they'll be casting for their next major performance and when you contact them tell them I sent ya.
Photo courtesy of JDSAVAGE productions.
Here's another take on the story about Southeast and their past wetlands Inspector, Don Cuomo. It's been in the news of late and there's been lots of chatter to go along with it.
And now, the News:
'Granny Flats' • Apartments add vitality, density
By: Michael Haederle
Susan Elan and Marcela Rojas
Henry Hudson’s View of New York: When Trees Tipped the Sky
By SAM ROBERTS
What F. Scott Fitzgerald called the “fresh, green breast of the New World” that greeted Henry Hudson 400 years ago has been reimagined by a senior ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society.
I'm looking at a report that says the New York City area's subways and trains could be run partly on wind power in the future, and I'm resisting the temptation to doodle a train with a big sail on top.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar chose the Statue of Liberty to make his first official public appearance outside Washington, and local lawmakers hope the symbolic act will lead to the reopening of part of the iconic monument.
Roy Brown, 54, robbed the Capital One bank in Shreveport, Louisiana in December 2007. He approached the teller with one of his hands under his jacket and told her that it was a robbery.