Wednesday, January 14, 2009

News That Matters - January 14, 2009 - Day 5 Without A Car Edition

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Wednesday Morning,

Early this morning the NYJN reported that County Executive Bondi was taken to Putnam County hospital by ambulance. This follows the death of his mother, Wanda, 91, on Monday night. I am sure our thoughts follow him and wish him well.

Twice a year the Hudson River Estuary program runs "Trees for Tribs", a program designed to get trees planted along tributaries of the Hudson River. This year's spring application is out.

Riparian (streamside) buffers are a major component to maintaining healthy streams and waters and their conservation is a critical element of any holistic watershed program. Riparian areas are often severely damaged during the land development process, leading to unintended negative impacts to our streams and rivers. Composed of trees, shrubs and grasses, these buffers help to reduce pollution entering waterways by slowing down and filtering runoff, thus extending retention time and improving water quality. For more information, visit the DEC's Trees For Tribs website.
While we're basking in the glow of an arctic cold front it's hard to believe that, overall, the temperatures are rising. In fact, between 1990 and 2006 the National Arbor Day Foundation has recorded warming temperatures enough to shift the gardener's Hardiness Zones northward. To see how the nation has warmed over those 16 years, click on this link and run the simulation.

Do you know an individual or organization that deserves recognition for their environmental achievements?  Nominate them for a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Quality Award. Each year, EPA Region 2 recognizes and honors those individuals and organizations who contributed significantly to improving the environment during the past year in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and tribal nations within the region's jurisdiction. Winners are presented with a plaque and recognized by senior EPA officials during a ceremony coinciding with Earth Day celebrations. Learn more about this here.

Anonymous sources say that Philipstown resident Roger Ailes, creator of the FOXNews Channel, held a party at his home recently at which luminaries included Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. Town officials have just completed fumigation efforts but warn that some traces will remain for quite some time. Residents are urged to proceed with caution.

As was reported in this column and in other sources, Mr. Ailes is now the owner of the Putnam County News and Recorder and has placed his wife, Elizabeth, at the helm. This leaves News That Matters as the last independent news source in the county. Efforts to have the Ailes buy NtM have been as successful as beating Caroline Kennedy to the US Senate, but the offer is still out there...

And now, the News:

  1. Reidy honored at state convention
  2. Reward in Garrison slaying rises to $20,000
  3. Judge: House violates open-space pact; tear it down
  4. Stormville youth accused of intentionally ramming police cars with ATV
  5. Scenic Hudson chief lobbies for continued environmental funding
  6. As the crow flies: birds flee Tehran's polluted air
  7. EU parliament votes by sweeping majority to ban farm pesticides

Reidy honored at state convention

ALBANY - Mahopac Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Reidy was honored Sunday with the prestigious New York State Council of School Superintendent’s Award of Excellence for his work in public education.

Reidy, who will be retiring at the end of June following a glorious 40-year career in education, received an ovation from more than 350 guests attending the council’s winter conference at a banquet in Albany.

State Council of School Superintendent’s Executive Director Thomas Rogers commended Dr. Reidy on behalf of the more than 740 school superintendents across New York State. “Bob was selected by our Distinguished Service Committee who after canvassing chief school administrators from across New York identified Dr. Reidy for unique recognition in 2009. During his career Bob has excelled as a superintendent of schools as well as making many advances in public education across the U.S.”

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Reward in Garrison slaying rises to $20,000

Terence Corcoran
The Journal News

GARRISON - The reward for information leading to an arrest in the fatal New Year's Eve day shooting of a beloved Garrison tow-truck driver has reached $20,000.

Robert Keller, program director of the Yorktown-based New York State Crime Stoppers, said yesterday that his organization has increased its reward to $10,000 for information about the shooting death of 49-year-old John Marcinak. Combined with $10,000 put up by a Tarrytown towing company that wishes to remain anonymous, the total reward is $20,000.

Marcinak, a father of three, was found unresponsive in front of his Garrison Garage at 1627 Route 9 around 12:15 p.m. Dec. 31. It snowed that morning and he had returned from an accident on Route 9 in Westchester County with a small silver sedan on the back of his flatbed truck when passing motorists called police to report seeing a man on the ground.

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Judge: House violates open-space pact; tear it down

By Larry Hertz
Poughkeepsie Journal

A federal judge has ordered the removal of a house in the Town of Wappinger, ruling the owner violated land-use restrictions on the property when he built it in 2003.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon caps a five-year legal battle between town officials and the owner of the house, Donald O'Mara. McMahon ordered O'Mara to either tear down the house or remove it from the property on Wildwood Drive by Feb. 6. If he fails to do so, the judge said, the town may tear down the house and require O'Mara to pay the expense of doing so.

O'Mara characterized the judge's ruling as "a travesty of justice" and said the legal battle could have been avoided.

"As I have learned, the town is not bound by its own mistakes or intentional deceit for not making us aware of the open space restrictions when they became aware of them in July of 2003," O'Mara said in a prepared statement e-mailed to the Journal Tuesday afternoon. "(The town) waited ... until Nov. 13, 2003 to let us know about the restrictions. ... The town wants us to demolish my home and restore my property to open space, which they had been using as a dumping ground.

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Stormville youth accused of intentionally ramming police cars with ATV

TOWN OF KENT — A Dutchess County youth faces felony charges of reckless endangerment after reportedly slamming his ATV into a pair of Kent Police cruisers damaging them both.

Kent Police arrested Ryan McGrath, 16, of Stormville Tuesday following the incident that began on Farmers Mills Road when Sgt. James Oster was dispatched to a report of ATV’s driving on the roadway.

Lt. Alex DiVernieri said in the vicinity of Farmers Mills and Dean Road, Sgt. Oster located the all-terrain vehicles. He attempted to stop them by placing his squad car across the road. Lt. DiVernieri said while the first ATV drove around the police vehicle, “McGrath also attempted to drive around but struck the cruiser instead. The ATV sped off with Sgt. Oster in pursuit. The vehicle continued into East Fishkill and when Officer Kevin Radovich joined in the pursuit, the two officers were able to trap the wanted ATV between the two cars on Leetown Road in Stormville. In an attempt to flee, McGrath slammed into both police cars with his ATV causing extensive damage.”

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Scenic Hudson chief lobbies for continued environmental funding

ALBANY – Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan spend Tuesday in Albany, testifying before the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, urging its members to support funding for environmental programs.

While he supports many of Governor Paterson’s budget initiatives fighting childhood obesity, green markets in disadvantaged areas, efficient and renewable energy, and cleaning up the Hudson River for the Quadricentennial, Sullivan said the Environmental Protection Fund cannot be cut.

The governor’s proposed state budget would cut about one-third from the $300 million fund.

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As the crow flies: birds flee Tehran's polluted air

Exodus of the resilient black crow follows flight of other wildlife from Iranian capital

Tehran's notoriously bad air pollution has long been a health hazard for its 12 million people, but now the toxic mix of fumes has sent a different set of residents fleeing – the city's black crows.

Environmentalists say the hitherto pollution-resistant population of crows have fled in large numbers in recent days after air quality reached crisis levels. Unregulated urban development has also destroyed the birds' habitats.

The crow exodus occurred less than three weeks after high levels of carbon monoxide and other gases in the air drove off other species of bird, including nightingales and pigeons.

Experts fear the departure of the crow – long decried in Iranian culture as a symbol of bad news and gossip – could be the death knell for wildlife in Tehran, where many plants have already lost their smell and colour as a result of the polluted atmosphere.

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EU parliament votes by sweeping majority to ban farm pesticides

The European parliament today voted by a sweeping majority to tighten the use of pesticides in agriculture and to ban 22 treatments, a decision that critics say could wipe out British carrots.

The British government and the Conservatives are against the legislation, but the ban and restrictions were carried by a vote of 577 to 61, putting pressure on the 27 EU member states to support the decision.

Greens celebrated the vote as a victory for environmentalism. But the farming lobby warned that the restrictions were pointless, would wipe out harvests of winter vegetables, and push up food prices during a European recession and worsening unemployment.

The proposed legislation places tight curbs on crop-spraying, bans the use of pesticides near schools and hospitals, and proscribes 22 chemicals, some said to be carcinogenic.

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