Monday, February 2, 2009

News That Matters - February 2, 2009

News That Matters
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"I think of songs as, you know, like chairs that you make. And you want to see ‘em used."

- Dan Bern

Good Monday Morning,

The Town of Kent has an opening on its Stormwater Management Committee. The committee is involved in public outreach and education and will be focusing on that during 2009. If you have any background in that field or if you have a deep, passionate interest in the matter and can devote adequate time to the public service work of the committee, please send your resume to Town Hall for consideration.

We're still talking about the Tilly Foster Lease Agreement as the Legislature has schedule their *final* meeting on the matter this Thursday evening at the Emergency Services building at the Donald Smith campus in Carmel. The Physical Services committee will meet first to pass the lease onto the full Legislature and then they will vote to accept it immediately after. I've collated a bunch of information, the latest version of the lease, and comments others have made about it at the blog site here. It is worth checking out for you should know what we're getting ourselves into.

The biggest debate in Birmingham, England these days is whether apostrophes belong in street signs or not. There's been a long discussion on whether "St. Pauls Square" is kosher or if the more traditional, "St Paul's Square" rules the day. One city rep says, "Apostrophes denote possessions that are no longer accurate, and are not needed," while a grammarian replied, "They are such sweet-looking things that play a crucial role in the English language,"  But, apparently not any more. The Queens English says so.

Web Site Watch:

Old Jews Telling Jokes: Storytelling is a Jewish tradition. You’ve probably seen Fiddler on the Roof. Whenever they ask the Rabbi a question, he tugs thoughtfully on his beard and says “let me tell you a story.” Then they sing.

Natural Pest Management: Spring is coming and it's time to think about the garden. Really. I know there's still ice on the ground but the trees are getting the message - it's time. We start sugaring soon! Americans spend over $1 billion and apply over 70 million pounds of pesticides to suburban lawns each year, making storm-water runoff a leading source of water pollution. Do your part to prevent these problems and enhance your quality of life at the same time.

Green Any Floor: ! If you're thinking of going green with your flooring, you're in the right place. We're the Web's authority on all things related to eco–friendly flooring. Here we look at what constitutes "green" flooring, the relative eco–friendliness and sustainability of the various flooring types, supplementary flooring products (adhesives, underlay, trims and moldings, etc.), relevant green organizations like Forest Stewardship Council and US Green Building Council (LEED), installation tips, recycling your flooring, and much more. Use our green floor buying guides while shopping and then refer to our floor installation guides for completing your project. We'll show you how to save the environment as well as your pocketbook.

Curbside Recycling in Toronto, Canada with a message

And now, the News:

  1. Some like it frigid for fishing
  2. Time to clean up
  3. Flora, fauna draw 50 to Great Swamp hike
  4. Where the Wet Things Are
  5. Wells tested, cause of explosion sought in gas exploration in Susquehanna County
  6. Geothermal Power Gains Steam in America
  7. Weak economy bringing more people to libraries
  8. More Ghosts in the Machine
  9. Construction signs warn of zombies

Some like it frigid for fishing

Michael Risinit
The Journal News

KENT - There's one maxim of ice fishing not readily apparent to the casual observer, unlike, say, that the activity takes place when it's cold.

Here it is: The fish you catch can be only as big as your hole.

"I'm targeting the smaller fish today," said Mike Mytych of Southeast, monitoring the half-dozen holes he drilled in the ice of Boyd Corners Reservoir in Kent.

The almost 300-acre, frozen reservoir on a recent morning was as barren as a desert. Like a treeless, snow-covered plain, it stretched in all directions. Sun and blue sky alternated with passing clouds as Mytych jogged to one of his holes, seconds after one of his "tip-ups" signaled a catch.

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Time to clean up

The General Electric Company has waged a long and hard-fought battle to avoid having to clean up cancer-causing PCBs it dumped in the Hudson River from 1946 through 1977, when the chemicals were banned. Finally, the unnecessary delay is nearing an end.

U.S. District Court Judge John Bates earlier this week issued a ruling that upheld the federal Superfund law, which allows the government to order polluters to clean up after themselves, regardless of cost. GE has said it may appeal the ruling, but we hope it reconsiders.

The ruling will not only have a significant impact on the health of the Hudson River but will reach beyond the shores of the river and strengthen environmental protections far and wide.

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Flora, fauna draw 50 to Great Swamp hike

Keith Eddings
The Journal News

PATTERSON - A group of about 50 people stepped onto thick ice of the Great Swamp yesterday for a guided tour through the winter chill and a lesson about the emerging challenges - including suburban encroachment, invasive species and a resurgent beaver population - that are reshaping the 6,000-acre wetland.

The two-hour hike also included lessons on the history and lure of the swamp, including descriptions of the elevated area just outside town where marble was quarried a century ago and the girl who threw herself into one of its excavated pits when a romance failed, drowning herself. More than 100 years after her death, Lottie Stahl's ghost haunts the swamp, locals say.

But the focus of yesterday's hike was the flora and fauna and the ongoing effort to preserve the freshwater wetland, one of the largest of its kind in the state but so disregarded as recently as the 1960s that the town used part of it as a dump.

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Where the Wet Things Are

MILLBROOK, NY — January 28, 2008 — Vernal pools are the subject of increased public interest and conservation concern. These seasonal wetlands are small in size and isolated from larger water bodies. Despite playing critical ecological roles—from preventing floods and recharging aquifers to supporting threatened wildlife—vernal pools are often unprotected by state and federal regulations.

Dr. Michael W. Klemens, a research conservationist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the director of the Metropolitan Conservation Alliance, is leading a survey of vernal pools in the Town of Washington, New York. The project has been endorsed by the Town of Washington's Conservation Commission and the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development.

Klemens' goal is to equip local decision-makers with a scientifically-based ranking of existing vernal pools, to help distinguish between high quality habitats and those of lesser and degraded condition. This information is critical to determining areas that need protection as open space and identifying sites that are compatible with future development.

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Wells tested, cause of explosion sought in gas exploration in Susquehanna County

By Tom Wilber  January 14, 2009

Natural gas has mixed with at least three private water supplies near drilling rigs in Susquehanna County, according to information from Cabot Oil & Gas.

Regulators from the state Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot officials are collecting samples and analyzing the geology in Dimock Township to see whether nearby drilling operations into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale are to blame.

"We're looking at this as a serious situation, and we want to find out why it happened," said DEP spokesman Mark Carmon.

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Geothermal Power Gains Steam in America

Written by Michael Ricciardi
Published on January 29th, 2009

Harnessing the Earth’s Heat for Food and Power

As the rumbling temblors beneath Yellowstone National Park continue (over 900 hundred such weak quakes in 2008), media attention shifts to two topics: the possibility of a super-volcanic eruption (not likely, according to most geologists), and secondly, the harnessing of geothermal energy.

This latter consideration is all the more fashionable these days as America struggles to embrace an alternative and sustainable energy future.

Geothermal energy offers the promise of a virtually unlimited source of power. Although less energetic in terms  of total constant power output compared to the sun, harnessing the geothermal venting from a single, sufficiently high-grade, hot-spring could conceivably provide power for a population of tens of thousands, and it’s not weather dependent.  But there are also plenty of “lower grade” springs that can be put to other uses, such as growing hothouse produce (and the spring water is also used for watering the plants) and  naturally warming water for fish farming (the Talipia species, a popular dinner fish, is one species farmed this way). Not all animals that are farmed this way are used for food, some, like the farmed alligators in Mosca, CO are raised for their skins primarily (though some do eat the meat).

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Weak economy bringing more people to libraries

POUGHKEEPSIE – More and more people are going to the Adriance Memorial Library in Poughkeepsie to prepare resumes, look for jobs and apply for a library card to use their computers.

Library officials say that’s because of the high number of people who are losing jobs and using all resources to look for new ones.

Adriance Development Officer Gareth Davies said for those who don’t have easy access to a computer for job searching come to the libraries.

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More Ghosts in the Machine

January 29th, 2009 by Tim Karr

Cox Communications, the nation’s third-largest cable company, on Tuesday unveiled a plan to monitor and slow Internet content it deems unimportant.

With this news, Cox joins the ranks of other Internet providers willing to tempt legal fate by getting between customers and their access to the free-flowing Web.

Comcast — which the FCC sanctioned last year for just this type of interference – had secretly blocked access to legal file-sharing applications to users the cable giant deemed “bandwidth hogs.”

Undaunted, Comcast reportedly has now joined AT&T in a new effort to filter Web traffic for files deemed inappropriate by movie and recording industry lawyers.

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Construction signs warn of zombies

Hackers change public safety message
Last Edited: Thursday, 29 Jan 2009, 4:32 PM CST
Shannon Wolfson

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin drivers making their morning commute were in for a surprise when two road signs on a busy stretch of road were taken over by hackers. The signs near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards usually warn drivers about upcoming construction, but Monday morning they warned of  "zombies ahead."

"I thought it was pretty funny," said University of Texas sophomore Jane Shin, who saw the signs while driving down Lamar Bouelvard with friends Sunday night. "We wondered who did it."

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