Saturday, February 28, 2009

[Fwd: Shakespeare tonight!]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Shakespeare tonight!
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 07:56:21 -0500
From: Lora Lee Ecobelli <>
To: undisclosed-recipients:;



 By William Shakespeare

Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 8pm.

Lake Carmel Cultural Center (former firehouse)
 640 Route 52, Kent Lakes, NY 10512.

Admission: $10 ($9 members)
 Reservations: (845) 228-2685 or


Judy Allen- A Midsummer Nights Dream (Puck)

Jon Barb- A Midsummer Nights Dream (Fairy)

Chris Blossy-- A Midsummer Nights Dream (Fairy)

Joseph Capone-King Lear (King Lear)

Edgar Carabello-Romeo and Juliet (Romeo)

Rob Carabello-Othello (Iago)

Ralph Cashen –The Tempest (Caliban)

Frank Dee- Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio,) Julius Caesar (Caesar,) As You Like It (Touchstone)

Clair Duncan -Romeo and Juliet (Juliet)

Lora Lee Ecobelli –A Midsummer Nights Dream (Titania,) Hamlet (Gertrude,) Macbeth (Lady Macbeth)

Kathy Freston- A Midsummer Nights Dream (Fairy)

Cynthia Granvillle-As You Like It (Audrey,) Othello (Emelia)

Jeff Green- A Midsummer Nights Dream (Fairy)

Ray Healy- Macbeth (Macbeth,) A Midsummer Nights Dream (Oberon)

Julie Halpern- Henry VI Part II (Margaret of Anjou)& Shakespeare songs

Stu Hample –Hamlet (Polonius,) The Tempest (Prospero)

Catya Hoerning- A Midsummer Nights Dream (Helena)

Nancy Johnson-A Winters Tale (Paulina) & Shakespeare songs

Quanda Johnson -Macbeth (Lady Macbeth,) Julius Caesar (Portia,) Othello (Desdamona) & Shakespeare songs

Caitlin O’Heaney- Anthony and Cleopatra (Cleopatra)

JJ Reap- A Midsummer Nights Dream (Bottom,) The Merchant Of Venice (Shylock,) Hamlet (The Ghost)

Michael Siktberg- A Midsummer Nights Dream (Demetrius) Henry VI part II (The Duke of Suffock)

Roger Simon -King Lear (The Fool)

Kim Sykes- King Lear (Edmund)

Friday, February 27, 2009

NtM - February 27, 2009 - Things To Do Edition

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Friday Morning,

Can you believe February has ended, and not a day too soon. I swear, it's been cold since October and it show no signs of warming even though the spring birds are back, the flowers are trying to break free, the sugar maples have been sugaring for weeks and, when you do go outside, the sun beats warm on your back.

Briefly in the news this morning: Community Action Program director Rosemarie Bahr is leaving Putnam County and moving on to a similar position in Westchester. We wish her well.


Improving the Global Environment: Essential Steps for the Obama Administration

7PM. Burning fossil fuels. Creating sprawling cities. Growing chemical dependent crops. Humans are driving global environmental change. Join Dr. William H. Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute, for a lecture on critical and effective steps that the Obama administration can take to improve the global environment. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Pamela Freeman at . Location:  Cary Institute's auditorium, at 2801 Sharon Turnpike (Rt. 44) in Millbrook, N.Y.

GreenYorktown's Winter Series

GreenYorktown presents its second free public event of 2009 on February 27th at Yorktown Town Hall at 7:30 pm.  Jo Anne Gorski, PhD, a renowned wildlife activist, will speak about how climate change is endangering our local wildlife. "If we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy America's wildlife and wild places, we must act now to ensure that they survive global warming.", states Dr. Gorski. Come join your neighbors for coffee and conversation. Bring your friends and family, everyone is welcome. For more information, email us at

Pine Leaf Boys

8PM. Louisiana's finest Grammy-nominated Pine Leaf Boys have made a name for presenting their own inimitable brand of Cajun music with youthful exuberance. The variety and energy they release evolves through their shows, bringing multi-faceted angles to Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco. For more information about Mardi Gras in Nyack go to

Come learn to do a Cajun Two-Step and a waltz with dance instructors Jeremy and Laura Rice from Somebody Scream NY! Free dance lesson starts at 7:15pm. Tickets: $20/$15 students, seniors and members

Veronica's Room

February 27-28 and March 6-7 at 8 pm. Reserve online or call (845) 598-1621 - If there is a lesson to be learned from the psychological thriller Veronica’s Room*, it may be “don’t talk to strangers.”  The play, by Ira Levin, is Brewster Theater Company’s first production of 2009.  Shows are scheduled for Feb 27- 28, and March 6-7 at 8 p.m. at The Cerebral Palsy Headquarters Building, 15 Mount Ebo Road South, Brewster, NY. Tickets are $8 for students/seniors and $10 for adults.


Hoop! Hoop! Horray!

9AM - 1PM. Join Us for a FUN...D RAISER for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County at the Carmel Rotary Basketball Shoot-Out at Carmel High School 30 Fair St., Carmel. How - Shoot as many baskets as possible in 2 minutes to raise money form pledges for CCE and to compete for trophies ("younger" age groups) and prizes (gift certificates for our more "senior" competitors) For more Information call: Margie at CCE - 845-278-6738

Making (Historical) Movies

5 pm - Making (Historical) Movies. Author Gwendolyn Bounds conducts a panel discussion with local filmmakers Stephen Ives, Ivy Meeropol, Daniel Miller, and Steve Sterling. Hosted by Chrissy & Mark Driscoll and Carol & Noel O'Reilly. Sponsored by Olde Stone Kitchens & Country Flooring. At the Putnam County Historical Society and Foundry Museum in Cold Spring. For more information and ticket prices (which are fully deductable) click here.

Caribbean Concert

With The John Arrucci Trio 7:30 PM at *The Patterson Library (Snow date 3/1 at 2 PM) Let the sounds of the steel drums and percussion take you to the Caribbean at this fun & festive musical event. With Alan Bates & Trevor "Bridges" Bridgewater.

Bard On The Lake

A Shakespeare Slam! Performed 'In The Round'. at 8PM. Roger Hendricks Simon Brings the Bard to Arts on the Lake. “Bard at the Lake” is a collage of plays, songs and dance by William Shakespeare and set in a free-form and interactive production that has been successfully presented at venues in New York City.

Mr. Simon is a graduate and founding member of the Yale Repertory Company and coach to such notable actors as James Earl Jones, John Lithgow, Samuel L. Jackson, James Woods and John Travolta is partnering with Blue Horse Repertory Company to present “Bard at the Lake: Shakespeare Slam” at the Lake Carmel Cultural Center, 640 Route 52, Kent Lakes, NY Admission is $10 ($9 for Members). Click here for more information and to reserve tickets.


2-4:30 PM  Mardi Gras Dance Benefit for the Rosendale Farmers Market  at the Ros. Community Ctr, 1055 Rt. 32, Ros. Live music & dance lesson by Cleoma's Ghost. $5/person, kids 12 & under free. Veggie gumbo & more.  Come early to shop at the Rosendale Winter Farmers Market (10-2). Proceeds will help pay for the farmers market 501(c)6 non-profit application. Call 845-658-3467 or 339-0819 for more information.

Into the Future:

Tuesday, March 3

Parks and Trails Advocacy Day

For more information click here.
Threats to the Environmental Protection Fund, capital and operations budgets for State Parks, the continuation of the Hudson River Valley Greenway, and completion of the Canalway Trail are looming large in the state budget. Our legislators need to know how important these resources are to the state’s economy and the health and well-being of all New York residents.

On Park and Trail Advocacy Day we will begin at 9:30 a.m. with bagels and coffee and a short “call to arms” at the Parks & Trails New York office across from the Capitol. This is also a great way to connect with others who share your commitment and passion for trails and parks.

At around 10:00 a.m., we will head over to the Legislative Office building to begin visits with key Senators and Assembly members. You will be assigned to a team of fellow supporters and given a schedule of meetings with policymakers throughout the day. (The schedule will also be emailed to you prior to the Advocacy Day).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Negotiating for Coastal Resources

9:00 am - 5:00 pm and Friday, March 6, 2009:  9:00 am - 12 noon
This one-and-a-half-day interactive course provides participants with practical skills and information on all facets of negotiation. The course curriculum includes the roles and applications of advocacy, negotiation, facilitation, education, and outreach and teaches negotiating skills and strategies using coastal management and land use case studies. The use of collaborative negotiation strategies to strengthen interagency relationships will be discussed.  This workshop has never been offered in the Hudson Valley before. All NOAA Coastal Services Center training courses have had excellent reviews from other areas.  (Even though these workshops have "coastal" in their titles, they have broad use for all natural resource and public engagement issues.)  For more information, see this website:  This program is being offered for free by NOAA; you must commit to attend both days.  Register online by copying and pasting this URL into your browser:

Saturday, March 7th

Work on the Appalachian Trail

The (RPHCV) have become a member club of NY/NJ Trail Conference.Our first project this year will be building stone steps in Fahnstock State Park on the Appalachian Trail.The project was started last March.Location (West side of Canopus Lake,one mile north on trail) Six steps done,fifteen more to go.Come on out, Build some thing to last more than a life time. Trail work will start on Saturday March 7th at 9am. Email me or call 845-297-9573. for more details See you on the trail.

Contact Us
Shop Putnam!
Highlands Open Space Guide
House Painting!
Rss Feed


Thursday, February 26, 2009

NtM - February 26, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Thursday Morning,

Politicians arrested and Lawsuits filed! That's quite a Thursday morning.

America's Infrastructure

The American Society of Civil Engineers says it will take $1.6 trillion to restore the nation's infrastructure. How bad is it?

• 35 percent of New York roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on them costs $3.2 billion a year in vehicle repairs and other costs ($285 per motorist).

• 38 percent of state bridges need work, including 61 major spans in Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties.

• Commuters nationwide spend an average of 46 hours per year in traffic. New York City congestion costs $893 per commuter per year in fuel and time.

• New York's drinking water systems need $13 billion of work. Its wastewater systems need $20 billion.

More data available at

Website Watch:
A new website out of Putnam Valley this morning as the Friends of Peekskill Hollow Road aim to save the rural character of that part of town. From the site:

"...The newly designed road would be straightened, widened, and flattened, and  would alleviate the traffic from Rt.6 going through Carmel and Mahopac. Because the county justified such changes by stating that in its present state Peekskill Hollow Road was a serious safety hazard, we looked into its accident history and found that safety was not an issue-- and never was-- according to the sheriff’s department, which keeps track of accidents. The redesign would result in residents living along PHR facing a highway, similar to Route 6, with their property values diminished, along with their own safety and comfort."

Lastly this morning,tomorrow brings our weekly Things to Do edition and to tell you the truth, I don't have much in there! Send your events!

And now, The News:

  1. America's Infrastructure crisis
  2. Groups sue over Patterson Crossing shopping center
  3. FBI arrests North Salem supervisor
  4. Sinkhole in Newburgh Worries Officials
  5. Towers in Manhattan Gather Heat for Power
  6. $740 Million Goes to States for Fish and Wildlife Projects    
  7. Beware The Left-digit Effect: Price Gimmicks May Affect Choice
  8. Medicare offers model for single-payer plan
  9. Wal Mart vs. Civil War

Groups sue over Patterson Crossing shopping center

Michael Risinit
The Journal News

PATTERSON - Two local environmental groups have sued the Patterson zoning board and the developer of a controversial shopping center, arguing that the board last month ignored the project's negative effects on traffic when it granted a permit.

The zoning board, according to the lawsuit filed earlier this month in state Supreme Court in White Plains, violated both state and town law by approving the special-use permit for the proposed Patterson Crossing shopping center. Attorney Jim Bacon, who is representing the Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition, the Putnam County Coalition to Preserve Open Space and two Patterson residents living near the shopping center's site, said the zoning board didn't adequately review the project's environmental effects. Bacon said the board didn't consider traffic data supplied by his consultant - a contention dismissed by the Patterson town planner.

"We really felt that, under the Zoning Board of Appeal's requirements and the analysis that's been done by our traffic guy, there's still a lot of impacts," he said. "It's going to double or triple the traffic on Route 311."

Read More

FBI arrests North Salem supervisor

Jerry Gleeson and Tim O'Connor
The Journal News

FBI agents yesterday arrested North Salem Supervisor Paul R. Greenwood and a partner in his investment management business on fraud charges. Federal regulators accused the two of misappropriating a staggering $553 million of their clients' money over 13 years.

Greenwood and his partner spent more than $160 million on personal expenses, including horses, collectible teddy bears, and a residence for the partner's ex-wife, according to a civil complaint by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The rest of the mishandled money covered trading losses by their business, the CFTC said.

"Defendants treated investor money, some of which came from a public pension fund, as their own piggy bank to lavish themselves with expensive gifts," Stephen J. Obie, acting director of enforcement for the commission, said in a statement.

Yesterday's news is the latest in a string of investment scandals that have rocked the nation and touched the Lower Hudson Valley.

Read More

Sinkhole in Newburgh Worries Officials

By Alexa James
Posted: February 25, 2009 - 2:00 AM

TOWN OF NEWBURGH — A small sinkhole on River Road has whipped up a flurry of activity among emergency crews and state and local officials.

It's not so much the size of the sagging stretch of road — roughly 20 feet long and 7 feet wide — that's turning heads; it's the suspected cause of the crater. The problem spot is situated near the Rondout-West Branch Tunnel, a massive underground water pipe that's been leaking millions of gallons for decades. People in the area have long suspected that the leaky aqueduct, which ferries a billion gallons of drinking water daily to New York City, was causing problems along its route.

Officials with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which owns and operates the tunnel, would not comment as to whether the leaks had anything to do with the buckled pavement in Newburgh's hamlet of Roseton. The problem could be related to winter wear and tear.

Read More

Towers in Manhattan Gather Heat for Power


Later this year, a double-rigged crane will hoist a giant power turbine part way up One Penn Plaza, a black monolithic skyscraper next to Madison Square Garden. When the natural gas-powered generator on the 12th floor starts, it will not only produce some 6.2 megawatts of electricity — enough to power up to half the 57-floor building on a busy day — but it will also siphon off excess steam and use it to help heat and cool the 37-year-old skyscraper.

With tenants defaulting and lenders withholding credit, this might not seem the opportune time for landlords to be getting into energy recycling. But Vornado Realty Trust, which owns One Penn Plaza and 27 other office buildings in New York City, is among the small but growing number of commercial landlords in the area that are installing the energy-efficient power stations known as cogeneration plants, or cogens for short.

Unlike conventional power stations, which let excess heat dissipate into the air as exhaust, cogens reuse that cast-off energy for heating and cooling. Given the improved efficiency, combined with government incentives and rising electricity costs, some landlords are now finding it cost-effective to install cogens and generate their own power.

Read More

$740 Million Goes to States for Fish and Wildlife Projects    

Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today more than $740.9 million will be distributed to the fish and wildlife agencies of the 50 states, commonwealths, the District of Columbia, and territories to fund fish and wildlife conservation, boater access to public waters, and hunter and aquatic education. These Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program funds come from excise taxes and import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, sportfishing equipment, electric outboard motors, and fuel taxes attributable to motorboats and small engines. 

"The funds raised under the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs have helped conserve our fish and wildlife resources and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation for more than half a century. These investments, which help create jobs while protecting our nation's natural treasures, are particularly important in these tough economic times," Salazar said. "All those who pay into this program -- the hunting and fishing industries, boaters, hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters -- should take pride in helping to conserve our land and its fish and wildlife and provide benefits to all Americans who cherish the natural world and outdoor recreation."

Read More

Beware The Left-digit Effect: Price Gimmicks May Affect Choice

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2009) — When shopping, we often find ourselves choosing between lower- and higher-cost items. But most people make a choice based on the first digit they see, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Shoppers pay a disproportionate amount of attention to the leftmost digits in prices and these leftmost digits impact whether a product's price is perceived to be relatively affordable or expensive," write authors Kenneth C. Manning (Colorado State University) and David E. Sprott (Washington State University).

In one experiment, Manning and Sprott asked participants to consider two pens, one priced at $2.00 and the other at $4.00. A penny decrease in the price of either pen lowered the price's leftmost digit. The researcher manipulated the prices and found that when the pens were priced at $2.00 and $3.99, 44 percent of the participants selected the higher-priced pen. But when the pens were priced at $1.99 and $4.00, only 18 percent of the participants chose the higher-priced pen.

Read More

Medicare offers model for single-payer plan

A NYJN Letter to the Editor

I am in substantial agreement with the Feb. 19 Community View by Madeline Zevon, "Single payer would improve health care for everyone." The medical care delivery system in this country is significantly broken and headed for further disaster. Like her, I believe that a single-party-payer system is the best possible solution. Where I differ is that while I think the current Medicare system, which is almost totally funded by the federal government, should continue as is for seniors and the disabled, I think that a single-payer system for everyone else should be regulated, but not substantially funded by the government.

Read More

Wal Mart vs. Civil War

Ben Holmes
Issue date: 2/24/09 Section: Opinions

The Overland Campaign, a major thrust by General Ulysses Grant to defeat the Confederate forces during May and June 1864, was one of the most horrific confrontations of the Civil War. One event in particular, the Battle of the Wilderness, was a panorama of immense bloodshed, leaving 26,000 soldiers dead or wounded in two days. Now, Wal-Mart wants to erect a SuperCenter next door to the battlefield.

Situated in Orange County, Virginia, the proposed SuperCenter would pave over 55 acres of green land. The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) is leading the primary campaign against this sprawl, but several other organizations are involved. Even the Vermont Legislature is officially on board! As a disclosure, I am a member of the CWPT; several of my direct ancestors fought in the war, and I try to honor their memory by supporting programs that conserve and restore America's battlefields. Whether or not you can trace your heritage back to this volatile era, all who call themselves Americans should hold these places in high esteem. Valley Forge and Gettysburg, Yorktown and Appomattox Courthouse: these are the crucibles from which the modern United States was forged. The final sacrifice of 600,000 American soldiers lead to the abolition of slavery and the preservation of the Union. Their resting places should be given absolute respect.

Read More

Contact Us
Shop Putnam!
Highlands Open Space Guide
House Painting!
Rss Feed


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NtM - February 25, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Wednesday Morning,

In a headlined story at MidHudsonNews, Putnam County Executive Bob Bondi said, when talking about shopping, "We need facilities off the interstate highway system so that our families don’t have long distances to travel and not have to spend hours on the road.” And you know what he's referring to.

Just the other day I drove from Carmel to the Danbury Mall. Total time? 20 minutes. That's not hours. If I go from my house here in western Kent to the Mall it's 30 minutes. If I drive from here to the proposed Patterson Crossing site it's about 15 minutes or from Carmel, about 10. That extra 20 minutes or half hour is worth not having to pick up the tab for a shopping mall here in town. And I'm not all that convinced that the time wouldn't be longer once traffic at Routes 311 and 52 are taken into account.

But what's worse, is that Bondi was complaining about this in an article that said Putnam's sales tax revenues increased substantially in 2008 over 2007. He really does want it both ways. See the article below.

If the County Executive would like to spend "hours on the road" he might try driving from Route 84 and 312 into the Hamlet of Carmel at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The thought of adding additional traffic to our roads without first alleviating the bottlenecks, simply boggles my mind.

Immigration is in the news again with a census report on those of Hispanic origin living in the US today. But before the Assemblyman Who Shall Not Be Named gets all up in arms, and the White Hooded brigades take to the arson of innocent wooden crosses, I thought I might take a look at the numbers over time and see what percentage of the US population was foreign born.

The numbers at the bottom refer to census data starting in 1850 (1) and ending in 2000 (16). The numbers up the left-hand side reflect the percentage of those foreign born in the United States according to the decennial census for that particular year.

As you can see, the years 1860 (2) through 1920 (8) had the greatest amount of foreign born residents and it coincides with the great immigration waves that brought most of our immediate forefathers to these shores. While there's been an increase over the past 30 years, the percentages are nowhere near where they were 60 years ago when our families got here.

If that doesn't calm the rhetoric there are other, more sinister reasons for it. In fact, I'm willing to bet the rhetoric is eerily similar to the cries of, "No Irish Need Apply" that were heard when they got here.

The other day I questioned some numbers put out by candidates for County sheriff that claimed a vast increase in crime, especially that of DWI's. What I wrote was that since it was not a crime normally reported, it was impossible to say whether there were more drunk drivers on the road or if the county's enforcement policies simply showed an increase in arrests. There's an article below that supports my contention.

Lastly, Friday's Things To Do Edition is all but blank! If your group or organization has something planned please let me know.

And now, The News:

  1. 2008 sales tax revenue soars in Putnam County
  2. Carmel hotel project moving forward, slowly
  3. Stopping DWIs in Putnam County is top priority, DA says
  4. Water Tank Does Not Constitute a Private Nuisance
  5. Carmel kids learn what economic stimulus package means to them
  6. French farmer is new sun king
  7. Slice of Stimulus Package Will Go to Faster Trains

2008 sales tax revenue soars in Putnam County

PUTNAM COUNTY — Despite a downturn in sales tax revenue for the final quarter of 2008, Putnam County had the distinction of generating the largest year-to-year growth of sales tax receipts in New York, according to the state Comptroller’s Office.

Commissioner of Finance William Carlin brought the news to members of the Legislature’s Audit and Administration Committee Monday when reporting total sales tax figures for 2008 at $51,053,415, an increase of $5.1 million over 2007 and $2.2 million more than budgeted in 2008.

Carlin attributed the increase to the legislature and county executive adopting a sales tax rate increase last year that Carlin said “helped keep county property taxes low while keeping services in order that residents expect to receive.”

Carlin called the current state of the economy “extremely difficult. Times are tough but as long as we can hold our own, Putnam County government will remain in good shape.”

Read More

Carmel hotel project moving forward, slowly

Barbara Livingston Nackman
The Journal News

CARMEL - The owner of a site planned for a much-anticipated hotel and conference center is ready to inch forward in his project by signing agreements with the Putnam County Industrial Development Agency next month.

Construction of the Staybridge Suites complex with 123 rooms plus a banquet hall, though, isn't expected to begin in the spring and might be done in phases rather than all at once, said Albert L. Salvatico, president of Jaral Properties on Long Island.

"We're moving forward in our planning," he said, strongly emphasizing the word "planning." "We want to keep things going with the Putnam County agencies, and that is where we are at this point."

Read More

Stopping DWIs in Putnam County is top priority, DA says

CARMEL — District Attorney Adam Levy is determined to stem the tide of DWI arrests across Putnam County.

Last year 660 motorists were arrested for drunken driving by state, county, town and village police from Cold Spring to Carmel and from Putnam Valley to Putnam Lake—a dramatic 35-percent increase over 2007 when 475 intoxicated motorists were taken off Putnam roads.

Levy discussed the matter with members of the Putnam Legislature’s Protective Services Committee Monday when he called for the implementation of a countywide alcohol awareness program.

Levy told Legislators Mary Ellen Odell of Carmel, Mary Conklin of Patterson and Sam Oliverio of Putnam Valley, “The numbers speak for themselves. In addition to educating students at local high schools about the dangers of drinking and driving, new innovative ways must be created to approach those individuals who drink and drive who are no longer in school.”

Read More

Water Tank Does Not Constitute a Private Nuisance

A Town’s construction of a water tank 30 foot-high and 35 feet in diameter on an adjacent parcel does not constitute a private nuisance.  A private nuisance is an intentional interference with a person’s right to use and enjoy his or her property that is “substantial in nature” and “unreasonable in character”.  Copart Indus v. Consolidated Edison Co. of N.Y., 41 N.Y. 2d 564, 570 (1977).  Court rejected plaintiff’s allegations that the water tank would substantially interfere with the use and enjoyment of the property because it will be located approximately 60 feet from the property line and clearly visible from all parts of their back yard. 

The Court found that “things that are merely disagreeable, which simply displeases the eye no matter how irritating or unpleasant, are not nuisances.  The mere fact that the tower will be visible through their home is insufficient to raise an inference of substantial interference no matter how unsightly”.  The trial court had earlier dismissed the allegations that the placement of the water tank constituted a taking and that it was a public nuisance.

Balunas v. Town of Owego, 867 N.Y.S. 2d 788 (3d Dept 10/6/2008). 

Read More

Carmel kids learn what economic stimulus package means to them

PATTERSON — Congressman John Hall brought the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act down to the level of 12-year-olds during a visit to the George Fischer Middle School.

The 19th District Representative whose district encompasses all of Putnam County as well as sections of Dutchess, Westchester, Orange and Rockland counties, told some 150 seventh graders Monday at Putnam’s largest middle school located in Patterson, the stimulus package approved last week by Congress and signed into law by President Obama meant a great deal for their future.

“Your class sizes will be kept small while your teachers and teachers’ aides will be kept on the job,” he said. “Money has been set aside for school improvements and construction. The bill also affects your future because as you mature and attend high school, classes will become more competitive and when you further your education in college, loans will become available while making college more affordable.”

Read More

French farmer is new sun king

By Gus Trompiz

WEINBOURG, France (Reuters) - Bright winter sun dissolves a blanket of snow on barn roofs to reveal a bold new sideline for Jean-Luc Westphal: besides producing eggs and grains, he is to generate solar power for thousands of homes.

Economic crisis has cast doubt on funding hopes for many big renewable energy projects, but the giant panels built into roofs on this sloping farm at the foot of the Vosges hills in eastern France are attracting attention from farmers to financiers.

Westphal is one of a small but growing band of farmers in the European Union's biggest agricultural producer who are taking up new incentives for solar power to supplement farm incomes as well as help France meet renewable energy targets.

Read More

Slice of Stimulus Package Will Go to Faster Trains


It may be the longest train delay in history: more than 40 years after the first bullet trains zipped through Japan, the United States still lacks true high-speed rail. And despite the record $8 billion investment in high-speed rail added at the last minute to the new economic stimulus package, that may not change any time soon.

That money will not be enough to pay for a single bullet train, transportation experts say. And by the time the $8 billion gets divided among the 11 regions across the country that the government has designated as high-speed rail corridors, they say, it is unlikely to do much beyond paying for long-delayed improvements to passenger lines, and making a modest investment in California’s plan for a true bullet train.

In the short term, the money — inserted at the 11th hour by the White House — could put people to work improving tracks, crossings and signal systems.

That could help more trains reach speeds of 90 to 110 miles per hour, which is much faster than they currently go. It is much slower, however, than high-speed trains elsewhere, like the 180 m.p.h. of the newest Japanese bullet train. (The Acela trains on the East Coast are capable of 150 m.p.h., but average around half that.)

Read More

Contact Us
Shop Putnam!
Highlands Open Space Guide
House Painting!
Rss Feed


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

NtM - February 24, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Tuesday Morning,

Impeach Obama! It didn't take long for the websites, bumper stickers and Facebook pages to start appearing. I mean, the guy has been President for what, a month and his standing in the polls, even among more conservative voters, continues to be pretty good.

But the Impeach Obama camp has a good deal of work ahead of them, at least at Facebook, where there are 95 Impeach Bush groups as opposed to only 2 Impeach Obama groups.

With shades of Patterson Crossing, the New Jersey Meadowlands is seeing the construction of a $2 billion mega project - Xanadu. The 4.8 million sq ft mega-mall-entertainment complex which will boast an indoor ski and snowboard mountain and an outdoor ferris wheel, claims to be 70% leased though NJ State officials question that number.

But Howard Davidovitz, a retail consultant said, “We’re going to close 220,000 retail stores this year. Who’s doing well? Family Dollar. Dollar Tree. Wal-Mart, McDonald’s. Netflix. Consumers have no money. This is the total opposite of what’s succeeding. It’s not viable in this market.” Cautious words when we think about a 30+ acre clearcut with unfinished or empty buildings right in our own backyard.

Latest into the fray for the Putnam County Sheriff's race is former Southeast Town judge Jim Borkowski. Counting everyone else in the race for that much coveted position, his entry brings the total to, what, Two dozen? Three dozen?

While reading his campaign website I see he, like others in the race this year, is also claiming a booming increase in crime, yet I'm still not convinced all is as stated. His campaign website says, "Last year, general crime rose an astonishing 26%. DWI's rose 34%." But I have to wonder, especially with the DWI's. The current Sheriff made a big deal last year about enforcing DWI laws and if those efforts caught an additional 34% of drunk drivers, does that mean that there are *more* people driving drunk or just better enforcement?

DWI is one of those uncountable 'crimes' unlike burglary or theft which are almost always reported to the police. How can you measure an increase in an unreported crime? Better enforcement and a higher conviction rate does not directly relate to an increase in anything other than better enforcement and a higher conviction rate.
As this political season begins, and with each candidate running for Sheriff touting similar numbers as evidence of gloom and doom, keep an eye out for more of this semantic gymnastics exercise. I just hope you're all smart enough to wade through the bullshit. There's going to be a lot of it.

As reported here before, the Working Families Party has endorsed what they call Fair Share Tax Reform. The plan raises the state income tax rate for the wealthiest of New York's residents to bring our income tax structure in-line with that of other states. Right now in New York, the income tax rate is pretty much the same (6.85%) whether you earn $20k or $2000k a year. But it doesn't go far enough.

We really do need to go back to the 1972 progressive tax structure which could show an income tax decrease for many self-employed, blue-collar workers who are most affected by a weak economy and most importantly, are facing possible foreclosures on their homes for their inabilty to cover their proeprty taxes.
Many self-employed workers and small business owners are not part of the state's unemployment insurance program, do not carry health insurance and do not show up as being unemployed whenthe government counts. And when work dries up they are faced with the possibility of no income and no assistance from the State. Cutting their income tax rate while raising it just a small amount for the wealthiest among us would go a long way towards preserving the economic health and viability of our communities.

And now, the News:

  1. The Town of Dover and the Dover Knolls Development Company make a Joint Application for Federal Stimulus dollars
  2. Developer: Quarter-billion dollars or 1,375 homes on coast
  3. Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits
  4. Obama keeps weatherization promise
  5. Largest banks that received aid cut lending
  6. Tough Times in Troubled Towns
  7. Going Underground

The Town of Dover and the Dover Knolls Development Company make a Joint Application for Federal Stimulus dollars

February 22, 2009

The Town of Dover and the Dover Knolls Development Company (Dover Knolls) created a Joint Public-Private Partnership to apply for federal stimulus funds to aid in the demolition of abandoned buildings on the site of the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center (HVPC) in WIngdale, NY. The property is owned by Dover Knolls, and the developer is currently engaged in the SEQRA process having filed a preliminary DEIS on December 24, 2008.  A Draft Application for stimulus funds was submitted on February 2, 2009, to the Town for review and is linked below.

The partnership is seeking approximately $20mm in federal stimulus funds to demolish 11 buildings. The proposed benefits are threefold: Dover would get a jumpstart on the eventual teardown of buildings identified as not worthy of rehabilitation and which many residents consider eyesores; an estimated 355 jobs would be created in Dover for local and regional residents; the developer would save $20mm of already budgeted Construction and Demolition (C&D) costs to raze these buildings and dispose of the debris.

Read More

Developer: Quarter-billion dollars or 1,375 homes on coast

Hefty price tag put on 400-acre property known as Banning Ranch.

Activists will need to find around a quarter-billion dollars if they want to preserve 400 acres of coastal land that's slated for homes, a developer said this week, citing a new appraisal.

A partnership of three landowners wants to build 1,375 homes, as well as a hotel and shops, on the largely unincorporated Banning Ranch property that is expected to be annexed eventually by Newport Beach.

Mike Mohler of Banning Ranch LLC would not provide a copy of the appraisal, saying only that it was independently conducted by First American Real Estate Services and that it values Banning Ranch in the "mid-$200 million range."

That price tag conflicts with a city-commissioned estimate that, when released last month, gave a glimmer of hope – albeit a small one – to activists angling to secure public funds to buy the entire patch at Pacific Coast Highway and the Santa Ana River.

Read More

Jobless hit with bank fees on benefits

Unemployed workers outraged over charges to inquire on benefits

The Associated Press
updated 6:23 p.m. ET, Thurs., Feb. 19, 2009

First, Arthur Santa-Maria called Bank of America to ask how to check the balance of his new unemployment benefits debit card. The bank charged him 50 cents.

He chose not to complain. That would have cost another 50 cents.

So he took out some of the money and then decided to pull out the rest. But that made two withdrawals on the same day, and that was $1.50.

For hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs during the recession, there's a new twist to their financial pain: Even when they're collecting unemployment benefits, they're paying the bank just to get the money — or even to call customer service to complain about it.

Thirty states have struck such deals with banks that include Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., JP Morgan Chase and US Bancorp, an Associated Press review of the agreements found. All the programs carry fees, and in several states the unemployed have no choice but to use the debit cards. Some banks even charge overdraft fees of up to $20 — even though they could decline charges for more than what's on the card.

Read More

Obama keeps weatherization promise

Updated: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 | By Robert Farley

Barack Obama started talking about wanting to weatherize more low-income homes long before the economic crisis. During the campaign, he mostly talked about it as a way to reduce the country's carbon footprint, reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut energy costs for low-income families. When the economy turned sour, he then emphasized that it also could create thousands of green jobs. That's how it got included in the economic stimulus package he signed on Feb. 17.

The weatherization program provides money to qualified homeowners for such things as insulation, smoke detectors and furnace and air conditioner repair or replacement. The WAP estimates that residents save about $400 to $500 on energy costs in the first year following the weatherization improvements.

Although Obama was criticized by some Republican leadership for including weatherization in the stimulus bill - House Republican leader John Boehner said it had "no place in a bill designed to get our economy moving again" - the final $789 billion stimulus package included $5 billion to massively expand the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). The original House version of the stimulus bill included $6.2 billion for weatherization; the Senate version countered with $2.9 billion. House and Senate negotiators settled on $5 billion.

So is it enough to reach Obama's goal of one million homes a year?

Read More

Largest banks that received aid cut lending

By Christopher S. Rugaber

WASHINGTON (AP) — The 20 largest banks that received government rescue funds slightly reduced their lending to consumers and businesses in the last three months of 2008, the government said Tuesday.

The Treasury Department said the banks reduced their mortgage and business loans by a median of 1 percent each, while credit card lending rose by a median of 2 percent. The median is the point halfway between the banks that lent the most and those that lent the least.

The department's report is the latest sign that the bailout has done little to increase bank lending. A quarterly survey by the Federal Reserve earlier this month found that nearly 60 percent of banks said they had tightened lending standards on credit card and other consumer loans in the previous three months.

Many lawmakers have blasted the banks for not lending more in the wake of the $700 billion financial rescue program approved by Congress last October.

Read More

Tough Times in Troubled Towns

America's Municipal Meltdowns
By Nick Turse

When Barack Obama traveled to Elkhart, Indiana, to push his $800 billion economic recovery package two weeks ago, he made the former "RV capital of the world" a poster-child for the current economic crisis. Over the last year, as the British paper The Independent reported, "Practically the entire [recreational vehicle] industry has disappeared," leaving thousands of RV workers in Elkhart and the surrounding area out of work. As Daily Show host Jon Stewart summed the situation up: "Imagine your main industry combines the slowdown of the auto market with the plunging values in the housing sector." Unfortunately, the pain in Elkhart is no joke, and it only grew worse recently when local manufacturers Keystone RV Co. and Jayco Inc. announced more than 500 additional job cuts.

In a speech at Elkhart's town hall, Obama caught the town's plight dramatically: "[This] area has lost jobs faster than anywhere else in the United States of America, with an unemployment rate of over 15 percent when it was 4.7 percent just last year… We're talking about people who have lost their livelihood and don't know what will take its place… That's what those numbers and statistics mean. That is the true measure of this economic crisis."

Read More

Going Underground

Paul Stamets On The Vast, Intelligent Network Beneath Our Feet

by Derrick Jensen

For several years people from different places and backgrounds kept recommending the same oddly titled book to me: Paul Stamets’s Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World (Ten Speed Press). Everyone told me it was one of the most mind-bending texts they’d ever read. With so many recommendations, I perversely hesitated to pick the book up, and when I finally did, I prepared myself to be disappointed.

I wasn’t. Stamets fundamentally changed my view of nature — in particular, fungi: yeasts, mushrooms, molds, the whole lot of them.

When we think of fungi, most of us picture mushrooms, those slightly mysterious, potentially poisonous denizens of dark, damp places. But a mushroom is just the fruit of the mycelium, which is an underground network of rootlike fibers that can stretch for miles. Stamets calls mycelia the “grand disassemblers of nature” because they break down complex substances into simpler components. For example, some fungi can take apart the hydrogen-carbon bonds that hold petroleum products together. Others have shown the potential to clean up nerve-gas agents, dioxins, and plastics. They may even be skilled enough to undo the ecological damage pollution has wrought.

Read More

Contact Us
Shop Putnam!
Highlands Open Space Guide
House Painting!
Rss Feed


Monday, February 23, 2009

NtM - February 23, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

“The only strings attached to this money is if you have a community that for the last 30 years has had persistent poverty rates … then you must direct 10 percent of this money to those communities. If you don’t want this pot of money because that string is attached, what am I to conclude from that?” South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn

Good Monday Morning,

Frank Torrres of Carson, CA, blockaded himself in his home last week to stop foreclosure actions against him. Yeah, he got behind on his house payments and can now make good but the bank won't listen. See the story here.

In this image you can see he painted, "It's About The Family" on one side  of his roof and, "I Want 2 Be Heard" on the other, but the bank just isn't interested.

There are 1100 other Franks Torres' in Carson alone and millions more across the nation. We've got the money to keep Wall Street vacationing in the Swiss Alps but nothing for the Frank Torres' of this nation? There's something wrong with that picture.

Idly surfing the web the other day I discovered something quite interesting: we're all living here in Putnam County quite illegally.

See, this land used to belong to the Wappini Sachemship of Nochpeem whose main settlement was just over the mountain near present day Fishkill. The Nochpeem Wappini assisted the English in one of their local wars of conquest. When the war was over, they found their lands had been confiscated by settlers claiming rights under the Philipse Patent, the guy who owns all our mineral rights. (look at your deed) However, according to their Sachem, Daniel Nimham, the sale which made up the Patent only constituted the lands of Canopus, or present day Cortland. Edward Manning Ruttenber wrote in 1872:
"...that whilst the said sachem and his people were righting under your majesty’s banner, all this tract of land was taken up by persons claiming under a grant thereof made by the governor of New York to one Adolph Phillipse in 1697, and afterwards purchased by him of the ancestors of the said Indians, which purchase they allege, was not a purchase of the whole tract comprehended in the grant of 1697, but only of a small part of it;’ that finding themselves by these claims likely to be dispossessed of their patrimonial lands, they chose a guardian of their rights, and proceeded to try their claim in various suits and actions in the courts of law of New York ; that judgment having been given against them on those several suits and actions (in the trial of which they state great prejudice and partiality), they applied by petition in February, 1765, to the lieutenant-governor and council, and had a hearing upon their case ; that in the proceedings before the lieutenant governor and council they were treated with great supercilious neglect, the claims of their adversaries countenanced and supported with apparent partiality, and a decision given against them upon the evidence of a deed of purchase of these lands from their ancestors, which deed they suggest to have been fraudulent and counterfeit.” It subsequently appeared that Phillipse obtained his patent five years before he made his purchase, in violation of the laws of the province, and there is very little reason to doubt that he then obtained it from self- constituted proprietors to cover a most nefarious transaction. That Nimham and the Wappingers were unlawfully deprived of the lands embraced in the present county of Putnam, may be regarded as certain."

Website Watch:

While we're talking about Putnam County history, William J. Blake wrote a 368 page history of Putnam County which was published in 1849. A goodly portion of the beginning of the book concerns itself with the geology of the county listing minerals, their qualities and their locations. After that, Mr. Blake gets into the history of our county and towns with extra emphasis on Philipstown since so much recent (to him, at least!) had taken place there. This remarkable book is available online at Google Books. The link is here.

Cosmic Coincidence: (From Space Weather.Com)What are the odds? On Tuesday, Feb. 24th, Saturn and Comet Lulin will converge in the constellation Leo only 2 degrees apart. (see map) At the same time, Comet Lulin will be making its closest approach to Earth--the comet at its best!-- while four of Saturn's moons transit the disk of the ringed planet in view of backyard telescopes. Oh, and the Moon will be New, providing dark skies for anyone who wishes to see the show.

The best time to look is around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning (your local time) when the planet-comet combo ascend high in the southern sky. To the unaided eye, Comet Lulin looks like a faint patch of gas floating next to golden Saturn. Point your backyard telescope at that patch and you will see a lovely green comet with a double tail.

And now, The News:

  1. Costco big-box sprawl is dictated by greed
  2. Why Investing In Parks Is Smart Economic Stimulus
  3. New York Voters Back Millionaires Tax 4-1
  4. USDA Rural Development reduces direct home loan interest rate
  5. Arts all around us
  6. Conserving Natural Areas and Wildlife in Your Community
  7. Microsoft wants refund from some laid off workers

Costco big-box sprawl is dictated by greed

Danbury Newstimes Letter to the Editor

Costco proponents, like Christopher Lynch (letter, Feb. 8), pronounce that Brookfield should ignore that Costco does not fit our Plan of Development, nor meet many zoning regulations -- including architecture, safety and traffic -- in favor of tax revenue.

Board of Finance members have stated Costco's "experts" overestimated projected tax revenue by 40 percent to 60 percent.

In reality, divided by household number, Costco will contribute approximately $6 per month per home beginning in 2011. Is that worth sitting in traffic for? Worth the traffic accidents? Worth our EMS and fire response time significantly increasing?

Costco's traffic study did not include most roads and intersections their massive traffic will affect. Their traffic engineer finally admitted (letter submitted Jan. 21) the intersection of Pocono Road and Junction Road will experience gridlock.

With the plan being for Federal Road to remain two lanes, Junction Road only widened in front of the store, and 20 percent of Costco traffic to come from underneath the railroad-bridge bottleneck, is anyone surprised?

Many area residents, whose narrow residential roads Costco wants to use as feeder streets for this store, spent hours studying the application.

It's not "fear of the unknown" that's formed our opinions, as Christopher Lynch claims, but that Brookfield is a town where people live, work, attend church and raise children. It's not merely a route to Costco.

Read More

Why Investing In Parks Is Smart Economic Stimulus

Remembering the legacy of FDR's "Tree Army" -- and the dividends that investment paid not only for the environment, but for the economy.

The recently passed economic stimulus package includes $905 million for revitalizing our National Parks, many of which have suffered the same kind of neglect as other environmental causes during the past eight years of the Bush Administration. Such expenditures will both put people to work and restore public facilities at America's most magnificent natural areas – from the Hudson Valley's Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites to the Grand Tetons and Denali National Park in Alaska. The Department of the Interior estimates that the funds will create 100,000 jobs over the next two years.
This investment builds on a proven precedent during other periods of economic hardship. During the Great Depression, one of President Franklin Roosevelt's chief means of boosting employment and jump-starting local economies was the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). According to a fascinating Web site dedicated to "Roosevelt's Tree Army," as the CCC was dubbed, the 3.4 million men engaged in the program accomplished $2 billion worth of work. Those are 1942 dollars; adjusting for inflation, that amounts to more than $25 billion today.

President Roosevelt seized a unique opportunity to improve the lives not only of those enrolled in the CCC but of all Americans, present and future, while conserving some of America's greatest natural resources. >From California to New York, Alabama to Maine, we continue enjoying the 800 state parks, 13,000 miles of hiking trails and 52,000 acres of public campgrounds built by the "Colossal College of Calluses" (another CCC nickname). The air we breathe is purer thanks to the carbon-sequestering effects of the two to three billion trees CCC workers planted, while the 40 million acres of farmland protected in erosion-control projects they undertook mean many of us can purchase fresh, healthy produce near our homes.

Read More

New York Voters Back Millionaires Tax 4-1

By a 79 - 18 percent margin, New York State voters support a so-called 'Millionaires Tax,' a higher state income tax rate on people making more than $1 million a year, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Support for the higher tax sweeps across the political spectrum, 62 - 32 percent among Republicans, 91 - 7 percent among Democrats and 81 - 17 percent among independents, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Support drops slightly to 72 - 25 percent when the threshold for the higher tax rate is dropped to $500,000. Support drops further to 56 - 40 percent when the target number is set at $250,000. At this $250,000 target, Republicans switch to 60 - 37 percent opposed, while the lower number wins 67 - 29 percent support among Democrats and 59 - 38 percent support among independent voters.

Despite support for the Millionaires Tax, voters say 51 - 34 percent that they would rather cut state services than raise taxes.

Read More

USDA Rural Development reduces direct home loan interest rate

MIDDLETOWN - The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency is reducing its interest rate on direct home loans to four percent. The change is effective on March 1.

This is the second consecutive month that Rural Development has reduced its direct home loan interest rate. The previous rate was 4.375 percent.

Under the direct home loan program, low- and very-low income families and individuals receive a loan directly from USDA Rural Development to buy, build or improve homes in rural areas.

The loans require no down payment, no private mortgage insurance and the standard term is 33 years. Payment assistance, which can reduce monthly mortgage payments, is also available for those who qualify.

Read More

Arts all around us

A NYJN Editorial

Artists need to eat, too. That's one of the takeaways from the $787 billion economic recovery plan that President Obama signed into law last week. A piece of it - $50 million - will go to the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency that supports artists and arts organizations. The money was on the chopping block before arts friendly members of Congress intervened, persuading colleagues that the arts are not merely an enhancement of culture but also an economic engine for jobs and tourism.

Less mercenarily, the arts have unusual power to invite, and unite, people of all backgrounds to the higher calling of expanded knowledge and insight into what it is to be human. Take the NEA's "The Big Read,'' a nationwide initiative under way locally. ArtsWestchester recently won a $20,000 NEA grant to help bring "The Big Read'' to Westchester, partnering with the Westchester Library System, Westchester Community College, schools and colleges, local libraries, civic and community groups, and cultural organizations throughout the county. It is an ambitious, and inspiring, undertaking.

Read More

Conserving Natural Areas and Wildlife in Your Community

Smart Growth Strategies for Protecting the Biological Diversity of New York's Hudson River Valley

Conserving Natural Areas and Wildlife in Your Community is a guide for anyone involved or interested in biodiversity conservation and local land use planning and decision-making, including elected officials, volunteer board members, and interested citizens and organizations. It describes how to find biological information about your community and the tools and techniques that local governments can use to conserve natural areas and wildlife.

You can use the links below to download a pdf version of the document.

Conserving Natural Areas and Wildlife in Your Community (pdf, 9.3 MB) This is a large document and may be slow to download.

Read More

Microsoft wants refund from some laid off workers

By Steven Musil, CNET
Monday, February 23, 2009 06:00 AM

Microsoft says it made an accounting error when it laid off some employees last month and now feels the best way to correct the error is with what will likely add up to a public relations blunder.

The software giant, which recently laid off 1,400 employees, sent letters this week to some of those former workers letting them know that their severance payouts were a bit too "generous" and respectfully requested that the former employees pay back that money, according to a report last week on TechCrunch.

Read More