Monday, March 16, 2009

NtM - March 16, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you by PlanPutnam.Org

Good Monday Morning,

On Friday night last, Putnam's political leaders gathered at the Cultural Center on Lake Carmel to honor Kent resident Michael Gibbons, the Grand Marshal of tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Senator Vincent Leibell, Sandy Galef's office, County Executive Bob Bondi and Sheriff Don Smith each presented Mr. Gibbons with one honor or another during Arts on the Lake's annual "Irish Open Mouth" night. The highlight, at least for me, was director Lora Lee Ecobelli's interpretation of Samuel Beckett's "Act Without Words II" performed by Lake Carmel's Steve Schrieber and principle dancer of the NYC Ballet, Bart Cook. The standing room only crowd also enjoyed live music, a touching story by James Maguire and a multi-media exploration into the life of the real St. Patrick.

On Saturday afternoon I joined 40 others for a presentation by Kent resident Peter Lehner on Global Warming. For those who know him, Peter's resume is more than impressive. An environmental attorney, his briefs have been cited by the US Supreme Court, he has worked as the chief environmental attorney for the State of New York and now heads the National Resources Defense Council.

Accoriding to Deputy Commissioner of Highways Emma Putnam county used 7500 tons of road salt this winter costing about $500,000, a $200,000 increase over last year.

Website Watch:

GreenMuze brings us the article, "Ten Studies on Meat and Global Warming". This is an eye-opener if there ever was one. With red meat quickly outpacing lung cancer as the number one - avoidable - killer of Americans, you now have ten additional reasons to give it up or, at the very least, seriously cut down. It'll be good for your health as well as the health of the planet.

And now, the News:

  1. At-home patients oppose Putnam plan to privatize care
  2. Putnam County agrees to protect stone chamber on Kent land
  3. Henry Hudson's majestic view still sensed
  4. Ohio county fights foreclosures with land bank
  5. Dutchess forms ‘Green Ribbon’ Solid Waste Management Task Force
  6. U.S. energy future hits snag in rural Pennsylvania
  7. MTA the First to Officially *Not* Recognize the Name Citi Field
  8. Congressman says Army fired 11 soldiers in Jan. because they violated 'don't ask, don't tell'

At-home patients oppose Putnam plan to privatize care

Susan Elan
The Journal News

County Executive Robert Bondi's call to seek a potential new provider of nursing services for the homebound has alarmed some Putnam patients and their families.

During his State of the County address Wednesday, Bondi said the Putnam Health Department's Certified Home Health Agency lost about $415,000 in 2007 and $452,000 in 2008. The county agency sends nurses, health aides, physical and occupational therapists to care for patients in their homes after discharge from hospitals or if they have an illness that requires at-home care.

Putnam residents who receive the county services or have family members who do say they are priceless. They question whether a private home health-care company would provide the same level of care or would be willing to serve those with little or no insurance.

About 900 Putnam patients receive county home-health agency services annually.

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Putnam County agrees to protect stone chamber on Kent land

Michael Risinit
The Journal News

KENT - The cornerstone of the county's planned senior center could have 2010 inscribed on it, or even 2009, depending on the project's progress.

But the two-story, 20,000-square-foot building wouldn't be the first structure on the county-owned land off Ludingtonville Road - that honor falls to a 13-by-25-foot chamber with no shortage of stones.

Constructed of stones and slabs of rock, the chamber sits amid the vines and brambles of the 49-acre site. What year should have been carved in its base, though, is a matter of debate. The builder and its original purpose - from ancient calendar marking the annual solstices to a root cellar - remain a mystery.

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Henry Hudson's majestic view still sensed

Michael Risinit
The Journal News


The slice of the Hudson River visible from a bluff on Little Stony Point in Philipstown probably appears much as it did to Henry Hudson and his crew aboard the Half Moon 400 years ago.

Storm King Mountain still stands tall above the watery ribbon that rolls from the Adirondacks to the sea. Winds still rush between there and Breakneck Ridge on the river's east side. The river Hudson explored deserved nothing but praise.

"On this river there is a great traffick in the skins of beavers, otters, foxes, minks, wild cats and the like. The land is excellent and agreeable, full of noble forest trees and grape vines, and nothing is wanting but the labor and industry of man to render it one of the finest and most fruitful lands in that part of the world ..." Flemish geographer Jan de Laet published in 1625, reprinting parts of the explorer's journal from his 1609 voyage.

Hudson signed a contract earlier that year with the Dutch East India Company to find a shortcut to the Far East. He was supposed to set sail four centuries ago this month but delayed until April.

Read More

Ohio county fights foreclosures with land bank

by Elizabeth Perry

Ohio’s largest county is taking the lead in fighting the glut of home foreclosures with a new land bank program that allows Cuyahoga County to buy foreclosed and abandoned properties, rehabilitate them and sell them to private owners. Gus Frangos, who runs the program out of County Treasurer Jim Rokakis’ office, said that land banking may not solve the foreclosure crisis, but it is a step in the right direction.

“It’s a long-term approach,” said Frangos. “If something had been done 10 years ago the problem wouldn’t have been as catastrophic in Cuyahoga County. It’s a way to stabilize values in a meaningful, strategic way that most urban counties don’t have.”

  The purpose behind the land banking process is to have local governments involved in buying properties, fixing them and selling them. It is a process that is supposed to circumvent unscrupulous sellers intent on purchasing homes and reselling them without first making needed repairs.

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Dutchess forms ‘Green Ribbon’ Solid Waste Management Task Force

POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Roger Higgins Friday announced creation of a Green Ribbon Solid Waste Management Task Force.

To be chaired by Environmental Committee Chairman Joel Tyner, the group will look into recommendations for development of a comprehensive plan for management of the county’s solid waste disposal needs; complete a review of the need and feasibility of continuation of the Resource Recovery Agency; develop and outline options for the elimination of the RRA’s annual “net service fee” charged by the county, and develop recommendations for the elimination of disposal waste in the county.

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U.S. energy future hits snag in rural Pennsylvania

Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:08am EDT
  By Jon Hurdle

DIMOCK, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - When her children started missing school because of persistent diarrhea and vomiting, Pat Farnelli began to wonder if she and her family were suffering from more than just a classroom bug.

After trying several remedies, she stopped using the water drawn from her well in this rural corner of northeastern Pennsylvania, the forefront of a drilling boom in what may be the biggest U.S. reserve of natural gas.

"I was getting excruciating stomach cramps after drinking the water," Farnelli said in an interview at her farmhouse, cluttered as a home with eight children would be, while her husband, a night cook at a truck stop, slept on the couch.

"It felt like an appendicitis attack."

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MTA the First to Officially *Not* Recognize the Name Citi Field

From The Gothamist
After initially thinking that they would rename the 7 Train subway stop in tandem with the new ballpark, the MTA announced that the train stop closest to the Mets' new digs will not carry the name "Citi Field" after the team refused to cough up any money for the station's name change. The station is nearly halfway through a planned $40 million in renovations to go along with the opening of the new stadium and the MTA had hoped to help pay for the work with a portion of the $20 million a year the Mets are receiving in naming rights from Citigroup. The team apparently wasn't eager to spread the wealth however and now the station will simply be renamed "Mets/Willets Point," the nearby LIRR station carrying the same name. On the upside, at least the MTA avoids the possibility of being forced into renaming the station again with no one exactly holding their breath that Citi Field (or as some are calling it, Debits Field) is a moniker that will last through the economic winter.

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Congressman says Army fired 11 soldiers in Jan. because they violated 'don't ask, don't tell'

By ANNE FLAHERTY | Associated Press Writer
1:43 PM CDT, March 12, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army fired 11 soldiers in January for violating the military's policy that gay service members must keep their sexuality hidden, according to a Virginia congressman.

Democratic Rep. Jim Moran said he has requested monthly updates from the Pentagon on the impact of the policy until it is repealed. In a statement released on Thursday, Moran said the discharged soldiers included an intelligence collector, a military police officer, four infantry personnel, a health care specialist, a motor-transport operator and a water-treatment specialist.

"How many more good soldiers are we willing to lose due to a bad policy that makes us less safe and secure?" asked Moran, a member of the House panel that oversees military spending

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