Monday, April 27, 2009

News That Matters - April 27, 2009

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

"A standard lawn creates nearly the same runoff surface for rainwater as asphalt or other hardscaping."
- Eric Groft

Quote of the Day:
"If a kid [on the Canada side] throws a Frisbee over here, he can come and get it," the local Border Patrol chief told the Washington Post. "But if he got the Frisbee and kept walking down to the Arby's to get a soda, we're going to stop him."
Good Monday Morning,

What a great weekend! I'm hoping everyone enjoyed it as much as I did though 90º in April is a little too warm, a little too early. The weather for the rest of the week, thanks to, looks like this:

Apr 27
Partly Cloudy 86°/57° 20 %
Apr 28
Partly Cloudy 88°/54° 10 %
Apr 29
AM Clouds / PM Sun 69°/41° 20 %
Apr 30
Partly Cloudy 65°/47° 20 %
May 01
T-Showers 68°/49° 50 %

Keep Friday night open for the Mayday Bonfire and Celebration here at the Asylum. As usual, all are invited.

Neighbors of a new Park and Ride lot being constructed in Mahopac are suing the county and the state Department of Transportation to stop work at the Mount Hope Road and Route 6 location. Judge O'Rourke refused to issue a temporary restraining order while the issue was being looked at, a benefit to the county/state as it will be harder to undo any construction if he should find merit in the lawsuit later on. It's a common tactic builders use to move projects to a point where enough 'significant construction' has taken place that the project must move forward to completion. This is the same judge hearing the Kent Manor case and we all know how that's going to turn out.

Legislators in Westchester are about to pass a law banning the use of fertilizers containing phosphorus in an effort to control - and improve - water quality. Many towns and communities have already done this, among them the Town of Kent, which has banned the use of such fertilizers on municipal grounds unless a soil test specifically says it is needed.
Phosphorus enters the environment and acts as an enriching food source for aquatic foliage, especially algae, a problem that is apparent on any local water body come summer when explosive algal growth chokes out the life of our lakes and ponds. Not only do I encourage the county to pursue this strategy, but encourage others to do the same.

Clicking here might open a video explaining the problems with fertilizers that will make it all easier to understand. If that link does not work, try here, and then select the third one down the page.
The Beacon Sloop Club was officially recognized by the EPA for doing what they do so well. Congratulations are most certainly in order.

For those of you living on Peekskill Hollow Road, your opportunity to (finally?) squelch the latest major highway project draws neigh. Stay tuned!

Swine flu is among us and world health experts don't know exactly what to do. Over the weekend the news was filled with words like "pandemic", designed to scare the bejeezus out of you. And, maybe it should. If it does come around in pandemic proportions, look for a national single-payer health care system to rise from the ashes, just like Europe's did after the end of WWII. Either that, or look for another trillion dollar public handout to what will remain of the over-bloated for-profit insurance companies. Does Putnam County have enough Tamiflu available for our 100,000 residents? If not, maybe it's a worthy investment. Dr. Amler?

Pontiac is going the way of the Edsel and along with it, 21,000 more jobs. While GM was buying the Hummer Division they could have been retooling to meet the needs - not the perceived wants - of the American car-buying public. Is it any wonder I see more Prius' on the road than Pontiac's? Chalk one up for marketing!

Fans of John Prine will be glad to hear that singer Jeffrey Foucault has released an album called, "Shoot the Moon (Right Between The Eyes)" a compilation of thirteen of John's songs.
Jeff's treatment of these long-heard standards is both familiar and fresh. "The Late John Garfield Blues", one of Prine's earliest and "Clocks & Spoons", one of Prine's rarest heard, are both given a swing edge that brings them alive in a way that you'll enjoy hearing again and again. "He Was In Heaven Before He Died", through Jeff's interpretation, echoes traditional country standards and "Mexican Home" has been reset as a the ballad it should have been.

Give the album a listen for a brand new hearing of one of America's greatest songwriters. Chill Richie, I already got you a copy.

And now, The News:
  1. N. Castle cracks down on recycle scofflaws
  2. 2009 EPA environmental award goes to Sullivan group
  3. Eco-friendly living, energy efficiency promoted at Dutchess county fairgrounds
  4. Officials in Three States Pin Water Woes on Gas Drilling
  5. FDA and CDC Warning: Eat No Sprouts
  6. Too Much Sugar Is Bad, But Which Sugar Is Worse: Fructose Or Glucose?
  7. How Cigarettes Calm You Down
  8. Your Conversations Are Being Intercepted: The Truth About Project ECHELON

N. Castle cracks down on recycle scofflaws

Elizabeth Ganga

NORTH CASTLE - Some homeowners pulled into their driveways last week and were confronted with an unusual sight: garbage left where they had put it out in the morning.

Brightly colored stickers saying "Oops!" gave them a clue what they did wrong. They had failed to separate garbage and recyclables, triggering the "refusal to collect" penalty in the town and county recycling law.

After months of warning letters and tracking of violators, last week the town and its garbage contractors, Suburban Carting, began leaving cans and bags of mixed garbage and recyclables where they found them. It is one of the escalating steps in an enforcement crackdown aimed at keeping recyclables out of the landfill and the incinerator.

Read More

2009 EPA environmental award goes to Sullivan group

MONTICELLO – A 2009 Environmental Quality Award has been presented to the Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development.

Congressman Maurice Hinchey nominated the group for its “strong leadership in recognizing and embracing the growing potential of green business and clean energy” in Sullivan County.

“This is an award that is kind of difficult to get; there is a lot of competition for it,” he said. “EPA examined the application very carefully and they came to the conclusion that Sullivan County was doing such a wonderful job here that they deserved that recognition and that award.”

The Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development has been working with elected officials, businesses, farms and the public to encourage and foster a greener and prosperous future for the county.

Read More

Eco-friendly living, energy efficiency promoted at Dutchess county fairgrounds

Electronics takeback event also offered

By Rasheed Oluwa
Poughkeepsie Journal

RHINEBECK - Olivebridge resident Vickie O'Dougherty already has a geothermal heating system installed in her home along with solar panels and any other products that are available to increase energy efficiency.

"Central Hudson paid me $37 last year," O'Dougherty said as she strolled around the Dutchess County Fairgrounds Sunday during the second annual Hudson Valley Green Fair. "I like the idea of them giving me a check than the other way around."

Thousands of green living enthusiasts such as O'Dougherty could be seen at the event, which featured more than 90 vendors and organizations.

Read More

Officials in Three States Pin Water Woes on Gas Drilling

by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica - April 26, 2009 7:00 am EDT

Norma Fiorentino's drinking water well was a time bomb. For weeks, workers in her small northeastern Pennsylvania town had been plumbing natural gas deposits from a drilling rig a few hundred yards away. They cracked the earth and pumped in fluids to force the gas out. Somehow, stray gas worked into tiny crevasses in the rock, leaking upward into the aquifer and slipping quietly into Fiorentino's well. Then, according to the state's working theory, a motorized pump turned on in her well house, flicked a spark and caused a New Year's morning blast that tossed aside a concrete slab weighing several thousand-pounds.

Fiorentino wasn't home at the time, so it's difficult to know exactly what happened. But afterward state officials found methane, the largest component of natural gas, in her drinking water. If the fumes that built up in her well house had collected in her basement, the explosion could have killed her.

Read More

FDA and CDC Warning: Eat No Sprouts

A regional salmonella outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts earlier this year continues, and could expand.

Americans should not eat any raw alfalfa sprouts, or sprout blends containing alfalfa sprouts, until the origins of a salmonella Saintpaul outbreak has been determined, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The do-not-eat warning is most important for the elderly, young children, and those with compromised immune systems, who are at high risk of serious complications from a salmonella infection.

So far, 31 people have taken ill since mid-March in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia, and federal investigators warned that illnesses may be present -- but as yet undiagnosed -- in other states.

Read More

Too Much Sugar Is Bad, But Which Sugar Is Worse: Fructose Or Glucose?

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2009) — In 2005, the average American consumed 64kg of added sugar, a sizeable proportion of which came through drinking soft drinks. Now, in a 10-week study, Peter Havel and colleagues, at the University of California at Davis, Davis, have provided evidence that human consumption of fructose-sweetened but not glucose-sweetened beverages can adversely affect both sensitivity to the hormone insulin and how the body handles fats, creating medical conditions that increase susceptibility to heart attack and stroke.

In the study, overweight and obese individuals consumed glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages that provided 25% of their energy requirements for 10 weeks. During this period, individuals in both groups put on about the same amount of weight, but only those consuming fructose-sweetened beverages exhibited an increase in intraabdominal fat.

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How Cigarettes Calm You Down

ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2009) — The calming neurological effects of nicotine have been demonstrated in a group of non-smokers during anger provocation. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Behavioral and Brain Functions suggest that nicotine may alter the activity of brain areas that are involved in the inhibition of negative emotions such as anger.

Jean Gehricke led a team of researchers from the University of California who studied the effect of nicotine patches on the subjects' tendency to retaliate in response to anger provocation. The subjects played a computer game and could see a video screen of another player who they believed to be their opponent, although, in fact, they were playing alone. After each round, the victor could give his opponent a burst of unpleasant noise – at a duration and volume set by the winner. In some of the subjects, nicotine was associated with a reduced tendency to retaliate, even after provocation by the 'opponent'.

Read More

Your Conversations Are Being Intercepted: The Truth About Project ECHELON

[Excerpt] “Who is that?” I asked the translator who told me that it was Republican senator Strom Thurmond. ‘Oh my gosh!’ I thought. We’re not only spying on other countries, but also on our own citizens. That’s when I realized in earnest that what we were doing had nothing to do with national security interests of the US.”

And US Senator Thurmond is just the tip of the iceberg. In 1983, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asked that government ministers who had challenged her on policy issues be placed under electronic surveillance, although it wasn’t until 2000 that former Canadian secret service insider Mike Frost blew the whistle: “[Thatcher] had two ministers that she said ‘…weren’t onside,’” says Frost. “[She] wanted to find out, not what these ministers were saying, but what they were thinking.”

Read More

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