Monday, April 20, 2009

News That Matters - April 20, 2009

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

Good Monday Morning,

What a great weekend!

The band BATIK premiered their new album, "VUDU", at the Lake Carmel Cultural Center on Friday night. I've run sound and lights at shows there since the beginning and I can safely say the stage has never had that many (5) preeminent musicians on it all at the same time. BATIK's leader, Barry Hartglass and their trumpet/fluglehorn player, Tim Ouimette, are both from Lake Carmel. The other three members of the band (Dave Anthony on drums, Tom Nazziola on percussion and John Roggie on keyboards) hail from as far away as central New Jersey and NYC. But when the night was over they all agreed it was worth the trip and the full-house audience tunefully agreed.

The Putnam County Land Trust's 40th annual dinner was a great success. Awards were given to Dr. Marian Rose for her work on clean water and to the Correll family of Patterson for their Leadership in Giving. There was a bevy of politicians in attendance that is too long to type out but suffice to say that even the County Executive, that ghostly figure around Carmel these days, was there. Patterson Supervisor Mike Griffin did grumble a bit when Ms. Rose mentioned that some 60 acres of trees would have to be cleared for his pet project, but aside from that everyone had a smashing good time.

The company hired by the county to run the Putnam National Golf Course, RDC Golf Group,  has been unable to secure a liquor license from the State and hence income is way down, so down that they've failed to pay the county money owed us. It's a real mess. Another favored contract, another messed up deal. But it's this liquor license thing that really bothers me.

From the "I'm Not Making This Up" Department
Late last week the Alaska State legislature voted to outlaw sex with animals. Why, after all these years has Alaska done away with interspecies peccadilloes? Oh, it's not what you think! In Klawock, Alaska, a 26 year old man was convicted of stealing a dog and, ah, er... well, you know... and the rest is history. If that guy had just dallied with his own dog legions of Alaskans would still be able to cuddle up with their favorite moose, polar bear or seal without keeping an eye out for the Coppers. Not to be outdone, the Georgia State Senate voted a couple of weeks ago to disband the United States. Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, a 12 year old boy is facing felony pornography charges for sending a nude picture of himself to a same-aged girl acquaintance. Gee, in my day they just took away TV privileges for a week. Oh, and, Al Franken is finally the Senator from Minnesota. Norm Coleman, decidedly defeated in the courts, has promised to stamp his feet, clench his fists and cry "foul!" for passersby at the Minnesota State House for the next two years.
Time Warner Cable was ready to introduce a new internet pricing plan last week when they suddenly recanted saying the new plan was on hold. The plan would have set a basic price for general web browsing and email but would have increasing rates based on bandwidth use. In other words, the moment you clicked on a you-tube video or two you'd incur additional charges. Watch a movie from Netflix online and pay upwards of near $100 a month. What made TWC change their minds? A deluge of emails from tens of thousands of their customers  and politicians who made the honest claim that the new plan would create a tiered system of internet haves and have-nots. And before you think this will not affect you... think again. Once the gates are opened the flood waters of corporate greed know no bounds.
The major costs involved in bringing the internet to your computer are not borne by your service provider, but by hosts of the websites you visit who, in order to keep the pages loading quickly, need to add servers and storage. The 'net itself and the cables and wires that interconnect those servers with the rest of the world are pretty cheap in comparison. So, why the new pricing plan? Profits. Greed. Crybaby corporations that didn't get free government money and that are losing business to the 'net.
A note on FIOS: Verizon has been busy bringing glass fiber cabling to homes across the county and many of you have received letters and postcards from them telling you about the new service and their pricing plans. While 20meg 'net service or combined phone, net and TV seems sweet, there is a caveat you need to be aware of:
When you agree to have FIOS connected to your house Verizon pulls the copper wires out leaving you with the new fiber installation and your new pricing plans. If you decide that you don't like or need the service you cannot go back. So, before you decide to move forward (and they desperately want you to) call them three separate times and get the low-down on what it costs if you want to go back to just regular phone service. Why three times? Because each time *I* call I get a different answer.
Earth Day is this week so articles here will tend to follow that theme. For other articles (politics, events, views, etc.,) visit the blog.

And now, the News:
  1. To Preserve or to Pave Over History
  2. Study: 98% of Products' Green Claims Are Misleading
  3. Danbury to purchase 17 acres of open space for Ives Trail
  4. Lecture highlights denizens of river
  5. How do trees reduce noise pollution?
  6. Ocean Dead Zones Likely To Expand
  7. Getting on Track: The President Lays Out a High-Speed Rail Plan

To Preserve or to Pave Over History



History is what we choose to remember, and there have been many reasons not to remember too much about the Fishkill Encampment and Supply Depot, a sprawling military city that became the most important northern supply center during the Revolutionary War.

No stirring battle was won there. Life was brutish and often short, a place of smallpox, frostbite and mutiny, where wounded soldiers had limbs sawed off and covered with tar, where, as one contemporary account put it, soldiers “patched their clothes until patches and clothing both gave out and the garments dropped from their bodies,” where hundreds, perhaps well over a thousand, were buried in unmarked graves.

No grand building was left behind. And over time the lure of commerce and utility — the Dutchess Mall on one side of Route 9, a Hess gas station and a Mexican cafe on the other, a pump station up the road — meant more than the hoarse whispers of history.

It’s probably too late for Fishkill to become New York’s Valley Forge or Morristown, even though it was in use, not for a winter or two, but for nearly the entire American Revolution, from late 1776 through 1783.

Still, perhaps a combination of technology and recession, passion and politics will mean that after all these years and more setbacks than successes, what’s left of a 70-acre site will find its place in history after all.

Read More

Study: 98% of Products' Green Claims Are Misleading

By Dan Shapley

7 Sins of Greenwashing report outlines all the ways marketers deceive us, when we're trying to make responsible purchases.

According to one set of high standards, only 2% of products claiming in some way to be "green" actually measure up. The rest -- a whopping 98% -- are making false claims that mislead consumers into thinking a product is sustainable.

Things are so bad out there that the report's author, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, had to add a seventh sin of greenwashing to the original six it developed for its first report, in 2007.

Since then, the market for green products has exploded; the rate of green advertising has tripled from 2006 to 2009, according to one TerraChoice survey. Of 2,219 products surveyed in North America in 2009, 98% committed at least one "sin" that could mislead consumers. The most sinful categories of products: kids toys and baby products, cosmetics and cleaning products.

Terrachoice defines greenwashing as "the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service." For consumers trying to make responsible decisions in the marketplace, it's a huge problem.

Read More

Danbury to purchase 17 acres of open space for Ives Trail

By Dirk Perrefort

DANBURY -- The city is looking to purchase a 17-acre property as open space that would provide a direct link between Wooster Mountain State Park and Pine Mountain in Ridgefield.

Jack Kozuchowski, an environmental consultant to the city, said that while the two mountains are already connected on the trail, the property would provide a more direct route.

The city is looking to purchase the landlocked property on the Ridgefield border near Sugar Hollow Road for $26,000.

"This property was identified by the Ives Trail Task Force as a more logical link," Kozuchowski said. "This will provide a more gradual and more direct route along the trail. Before we had to swing the trail south through some more challenging topography."

Read More

Lecture highlights denizens of river

Norrie Point will offer monthly talks through October.

By John W. Barry
Poughkeepsie Journal

HYDE PARK - Did you know eels secrete a slimy sheen to protect from bacterial infection or that mitten crabs are an invasive species in the Hudson River and considered a gourmet meal?

Those were only two of the things several dozen people - adults and children - learned Saturday during a free program at the Norrie Point Environmental Center in Staatsburg. The center is run by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Set to run monthly through October, "Fishing the River: Seining and angling for Hudson River fish," featured a lively, interactive lecture by Chris Bowser of the DEC's Estuary Program and Research Reserve. Also, fishing rods and bait were provided at no charge and those who attended the program were invited to don hip waders, enter the river and drag a net to collect fish for study.

Read More

How do trees reduce noise pollution?

By PlentyMag.comFri, Apr 17 2009 at 2:30 PM EST

 Photo: BeccaG
Q. I know trees are helpful for CO2 exchange and provide shade for cooling, but lately I heard about trees being useful to reduce noise and sound pollution. How does this work? - Barbara S. Alton, IL

Read the answer here

Ocean Dead Zones Likely To Expand

Increasing Carbon Dioxide And Decreasing Oxygen Make It Harder For Deep-sea Animals To Breath

A new study by marine chemists at MBARI suggests that deep-ocean animals such as this owlfish (Bathylagus milleri) may suffer as carbon dioxide increases and oxygen concentrations decline in the deep sea. (Credit: Copyright 2001 MBARI)ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2009) — New calculations made by marine chemists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) suggest that low-oxygen "dead zones" in the ocean could expand significantly over the next century. These predictions are based on the fact that, as more and more carbon dioxide dissolves from the atmosphere into the ocean, marine animals will need more oxygen to survive.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide are increasing rapidly in the Earth's atmosphere, primarily because of human activities. About one third of the carbon dioxide that humans produce by burning fossil fuels is being absorbed by the world's oceans, gradually causing seawater to become more acidic.

However, such "ocean acidification" is not the only way that carbon dioxide can harm marine animals. In a "Perspective" published in the journal Science, Peter Brewer and Edward Peltzer combine published data on rising levels of carbon dioxide and declining levels of oxygen in the ocean in a set of new and thermodynamically rigorous calculations. They show that increases in carbon dioxide can make marine animals more susceptible to low concentrations of oxygen, and thus exacerbate the effects of low-oxygen "dead zones" in the ocean.

Read More

Getting on Track: The President Lays Out a High-Speed Rail Plan

Peter Lehner
Natural Resources Defense Council Executive Director, New York City

[ Ed note: Mr. Lehner is a resident of the Town of Kent]

Standing in front of an audience of members of the transportation industry, policymakers local and state officials as well as NRDC staff (including Deron Lovaas, our transportation specialist, and me as representatives of the environmental community), President Obama this morning fleshed out his plans for launching the construction of a new high-speed rail system connection metropolitan regions across the country.

The new three-part program -- projects to remove bottlenecks in existing rail systems, building new high-speed corridors, and making drawing up even bigger rail plans - is being launched right away thanks to the unprecedented $13 billion downpayment from the recovery bill and his budget proposal. And I do mean right away: The Administration intends to announce the first round of projects, after a competitive process that will include analysis of greenhouse gas reductions of different projects (I asked), in September. So this is high-speed delivery of the first links in a new system.

Read More

Sign up to have
News That Matters
Delivered to your email inbox!


Copyright © 2009 News That Matters