Monday, March 23, 2009

NtM - Monday, March 23, 2009

News That Matters
Brought to you (Almost Daily) by PlanPutnam.Org

"We feel it is premature to consider a wage freeze..." - County Executive Bob Bondi

Good Monday Morning,

This evening at 7 PM the Town of Kent will hold a public hearing on whether or not the term for its elected Supervisor should be four years instead of two. Patterson and Southeast have four-year terms while other towns in Putnam County still have two-year Supervisors. Depending on the outcome of the public hearing a referendum may be held this November to decide the issue. Personally, I have no opinion one side or the other but I'm curious what you, my readers, have to say about this. Head on over to the Blogsite and let us know.

Here's a Monday morning question for you: What ever happened to the police investigation into the goat found in the street in front of [The Assemblyman Who Shall Not Be Named's] house? Does anyone know?
While we're talking about TAWSNBN, he's opened a full frontal assault on Congressman John Hall who is best known for his successful and important work on veteran's affairs. From virtually every corner, blogs, websites, and news reports from the extremist right to the radical left are lobbing shells into the Hall camp - which remains silent. I'm guessing they're hoping it'll loose steam and go away but from the increasing number of fronts newly launched each week they may have resorted to a bunker mentality... lay low and pray. Unless they start fighting back and stop acting like the Imperial Congressional Office Chuck Schumer set up for them in 2006, and get just as down and dirty as the growing forces against them, John is going to have a lot of free time on his hands come January 2011.
There's a new Picture of the Day (PotD) at the PlanPutnam website. This one is of a partially buried oven at the old Cold Spring, or West Point Foundry, an important archaeological site being investigated and partially restored by Scenic Hudson. The site is worth a visit by anyone at almost any time the ground is clear of snow. If you haven't been over there I highly recommend the trip.
To get to the Foundry, head down Main Street in Cold Spring and turn left onto Rock Street. At the end of Rock, turn right onto Kemble Avenue and follow that to the parking area at the end. (The field to your right is old Marathon Battery Superfund Site). Pass through the pedestrian gate and turn left to follow the old railroad spur along Foundry Cove and its recovering marshlands, themselves worth the visit. If you're a birder, bring your field glasses. Look to these pages for an announcement of the yearly 'open house', usually held in the middle of June.
By the way, the PotD archive goes back several years and consists of photos taken (mostly) in Putnam County at different times during the year. Each page in the yearly archive works backwards in time and many of the images, when clicked upon, opens a larger-sized reproduction suitable for your computer's desktop. One of the images from April 12, 2006 shows daffodils in full bloom. Will they be so again this year on the same date?
And now, The News:
  1. Confusion over use of town cell phones
  2. Phosphorus ban rooted in water safety
  3. A Town Reborn Faces a New Threat
  4. Volunteers Cull Dozens of Deer in Morris Township (NJ)
  5. Get More Produce Out Of Your Garden
  6. "Flicking the Lights Off" and Other Reasons to Celebrate Earth Hour
  7. This Week in Scandals: Bonus Overkill
  8. Drive-By A.I.G. Protest on Fairfield’s Elite Streets

Confusion over use of town cell phones

Barbara Livingston Nackman
The Journal News

CARMEL - Responding to a lawsuit by The Journal News, the town of Carmel has released some 1,000 pages of itemized records for taxpayer-funded cell phones issued to town officials.

With it came an explanation from Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt claiming it has been town policy for at least the past three years to let officials and staff use town cell phones for personal calls.

"There were no restrictions on the use of cell phones for personal calls," Schmitt said in the March 17 affidavit, which is signed and notarized. "(Town Board members) relied on this policy to use their town issued cell phones for all aspects of their personal lives."

Read More

Phosphorus ban rooted in water safety

Greg Clary
The Journal News

Gardeners and lawn-care companies will have to rethink how they fertilize local lawns if Westchester County lawmakers approve a phosphorus ban that has been debated for two years.

The ban, along with other limits on fertilizing lawns, would take effect by 2011.

It is designed, lawmakers say, to reduce runoff of phosphorus and nitrogen into the region's water bodies and curb algae blooms that threaten water quality.

Read More

A Town Reborn Faces a New Threat

BEACON, N.Y. — On a refrigerator in the back of the Cup and Saucer Tea Room here, the owner, Shirley Hot, keeps a calendar filled with notes like “Giants playoffs” or “pumpkin soup.”

She also makes little pictograms of each day’s weather and writes a number, lately too often a single digit, indicating how many customers were served.

Ten people lunched, perhaps on Waldorf salad or Cottage Pie on Feb. 20. Seven sampled Dutchess egg salad or maybe Queen V’s Quiche the day before. There were two lonely diners on Feb. 5, and two on Jan. 8.

On March 9, according to Ms. Hot’s 2008 calendar, it was about 40 degrees in Beacon, and the Cup and Saucer served not a single scone, not a pot of Oolong, no crepes nor cheese platters nor Portobella Clubs. Zero. That is how many people came in that day besides Ms. Hot.

Read More

Volunteers Cull Dozens of Deer in Morris Township (NJ)

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP)  -- Volunteer hunters killed 178 deer during a recently completed herd-thinning program held in a northern New Jersey town.

Morris Township officials wouldn't disclose the specific locations where the hunts were held, saying only that they occurred in open fields and near residential areas. They say no problems were reported.

The culling, which took place between November and February, was done by 25 volunteers armed with bows and arrows.
Read More

Get More Produce Out Of Your Garden

EarthTalk is a Q&A column from E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I want to start an organic vegetable garden in my yard and I would like to know how to combine crops to make better use of time and space. -- Val Thomason, Denton, TX

Most commercial farms concentrate on growing a few select crops to supply a wide variety of customers, but gardening at home is a different story entirely. Most backyard food gardeners are looking to augment their family's diet with a variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs throughout the growing season.

For those of us who face time and space constraints in our gardening endeavors, combining crops within the same planting areas makes a lot of sense. Such techniques are particularly well-suited to organic gardens, where chemical fertilizers and pesticides aren't used to artificially boost crop productivity.

Read More

"Flicking the Lights Off" and Other Reasons to Celebrate Earth Hour

Join the global movement to fight climate change, save energy and stand up for going green.

On Saturday, March 28, the world will celebrate Earth Hour 2009. Once it hits 8:30 pm local time in every time zone, millions of participants will turn off their lights, and make a statement against global warming.

While pundits have debated whether Earth Hour really makes a difference, we already know it makes a difference in the hearts and minds of the people. I just finished watching Josh Tickell's rousing, inspirational Fuel documentary, so I'm awash with hope (it actually made me cry a little, as did An Inconvenient Truth).

A project of the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour has soared in popularity over the past few years, and now counts more than 100 cities and towns as supporters, agreeing to darken some of the nation's most famous skylines: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Around the world more than 1,500 cities, towns and villages in 80 countries will participate, as the darkness (in this case a symbol of hope) cascades across our planet, our only home. That includes Beijing, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Moscow, Nairobi, Paris, Rome, Toronto and Sydney, where the practice began.

Read More

This Week in Scandals: Bonus Overkill

by Alexandra Andrews, ProPublica - March 20, 2009 3:02 pm EDT

Every week, we take stock of how the week unfolded for the stories we're tracking in Scandal Watch. Here is how we do it. And, as always, feel free to suggest new scandals.

1. AIG: The U.S. has doled out hundreds of billions of dollars to financial institutions [4], but it took just $165 million [5] to trigger a nationwide catharsis of pent-up bailout anger. That’s how much AIG awarded to executives in its financial products division (which churned out the credit default swaps that nearly wiped out the company [6]) last Friday. (AIG has gotten $173.3 billion in federal bailout money. Here’s our timeline of AIG’s bailouts and bonuses [7] and a Q&A [8] on the bonuses.)

CEO Edward Liddy, installed after the initial bailout [9], said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had signed off on the bonuses [10]. But the administration’s official stance is that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner only learned about the bonuses [11] on March 10, and President Barack Obama was alerted two days later [12]. But Bloomberg News reported the bonuses back in January [13], and according to the New York Times, Geithner was questioned about them [14] at a congressional hearing on March 3 and Treasury and Fed staffers were e-mailing about them in late February. (Treasury said last night that Geithner didn’t know “the timing or full extent [14]” of the bonuses until March 10.)

Read More

Drive-By A.I.G. Protest on Fairfield’s Elite Streets

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The bus pulled to a stop, and a pastor whose sister-in-law was facing foreclosure, a laid-off steelworker with a wife and five children, and a few of their colleagues nervously stepped out, like sightseers in some exotic land.

The exotic land was a residential neighborhood here in one of the wealthiest places in America, Fairfield County, where, at the end of a cul-de-sac a short walk away, an A.I.G. executive lived. The pastor, the steelworker and about 40 others slowly made their way up the street, past the house with the four-car garage, as an international press corps numbering about 50 chronicled every step.

The pastor, Mary Huguley, and the steelworker, Mark Dziubek, wanted to knock on the door belonging to the A.I.G. executive, Douglas L. Poling, and deliver a letter.

They got as far as the edge of the driveway.

Read More

Sign up to have News That Matters Delivered to your email box:


Copyright © 2009 News That Matters