Wednesday, May 27, 2009

News That Matters - May 27, 2009

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

Good Wednesday Morning,

There's a lot here this morning so refill the coffee cup and make yourselves comfortable:

Several young friends of mine are either currently serving in the Marines or have recently left the service, including one who stayed here at my place for awhile getting his head straightened out a few years back. I'm especially proud of him and the progress he's made with his life. It was in their direction my thoughts were sent on Memorial Day this year.
On A Personal Note: Someone, a woman, called my house yesterday and left a message about setting something up and that she'd be there a little late. I have a new phone and when I called in to get my messages on the cell the reception was bad and then I hit the DELETE button rather than the REPLAY button and well, I have no idea who called or what the full message was about. If you called, please call again. If you didn't call, please disregard this message. If you called and you're not on this list, whatever it is I was supposed to do is not going to get done and I apologize, publicly.
For those of us who have been fighting to preserve the historical aspects of Peekskill Hollow Road (and we've been doing this for much longer than is necessary!) there's an online petition sponsored by the Putnam Valley Resident's Coalition here. I encourage Kent and PV residents who live near and especially along the road to sign on but also anyone else who is interested in a desire to keep a little of the old here in Putnam County should sign, too.

While we're in historic preservation mode, I attended a pageant in Poughkeepsie yesterday afternoon celebrating that city's contribution to the revolutionary war. The pageant, which included dozens of performers, bands and ships in the river, was produced by Roger Hendricks Simon and starred Lora Lee Ecobelli, both of whom have appeared on the stage at the Cultural Center on Lake Carmel. The pageant ended with a really sweet reception at the Grandview. There are two sets of images of the event that are worth checking out. One is from Philipstown's Kenn Sapeta and the other is mine. See the story below.

The Septic Replacement Program, which grew out of the battle to stop the $150 million sewage diversion boondoggle project several years ago, has run into a problem. When the original funding ran out recently the County Legislature authorized additional funds from the remaining Good Neighbor money the NYCDEP gave Putnam County when it signed onto the Watershed agreement known as the MOA. (Memorandum of Agreement). County Executive Bondi blocked that additional funding and the Leg overruled his veto.
So, everything is all right now? Not so fast...

The Town of Patterson raised objections to this project and so their objection goes to the regional watershed group that oversees the MOA money for their comments. They can overrule Patterson's objection or decide it's legitimate.

Patterson is also the town which raised an objection to a couple hundred thousand of those dollars being spent to preserve the Ryder Farm in Brewster, the last remaining undeveloped open space on Peach Lake. What's with Patterson? Are there any environmental programs they like or are they just in slash-and-burn mode until Patterson Crossing rises on their western border?

Now Patterson is seeking the creation of an Empire Zone on 175 acres in order to bring in some commercial business. But the Empire Zone program is deeply flawed and rarely ever lives up to its expected revenue and job creation goals and in most cases has been a drain on taxpayer coffers.

On the one hand, preserving the Ryder Farm would have saved the last remaining open space on Peach Lake and a 200 year old farm in a crowded suburban area. On the other hand, the Septic Replacement program keeps surface and drinking water cleaner for everyone. On the other, other hand, the Empire Zone program is mostly a failure.

I don't get Patterson. I just don't.
The Putnam Valley Farmer's Market is back for another season. The Market is located in the Grange Hall at Adam's Corners on Wednesdays from 2PM until 6 PM.

There's an ongoing battle raging within the ranks of the national Republican party which will most certainly make its way down to the local level in one way or another as people are asked to take sides. On the one hand you have right-wing fanatics, Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh while on the other, the staid, moderate Colin Powell. Mr. Powell has apologized for his role in lying to the world over that little WMD speech at the UN but remains faithful to the party and the nation and seeks to broaden the appeal of his party by being a bit more inclusive. Misters Rove and Limbaugh only seem interested in venomous attacks on those not following their particular brand of politics and only faithful to what they can lie, scam and undermine in order to gain power and influence. With the party badly split after 8 years of the Bush White House (we're seeing the results of that in our economy now) I'm not placing bets on either side in that fight but I'll bet it's going to get a whole lot nastier before it sorts itself out.

Last Thursday night while I was at the KFC  community forum on property taxes and open government, several who might have been there were instead downstate giving the Nuclear Regulatory Commission a piece of their minds. One such was Putnam Valley's Judy Allen, pictured here outside the meeting. Inside, as "Myth Indian Point" she sang the following to the board:
No Danger to the Public

We've had a small release of radioactivity
A small escape of contaminated steam
But it's a common occurrence, no need for concern, because there's
No danger to the public.

We found a tiny leak in a radioactive water pipe
And gallons of water are spilling on the ground
But we will have it repaired within the next week (year) or two and there is
No danger to the public.

We've got everything under control,
There's absolutely nothing to fear.
It's just another small, inconsequential event,
We went through a thousand of 'em just last year!

Just last year...

We found a hairline crack in the new containment tower
And inspection shows it's getting bigger every day
But after close observation, we now have determined that there's
No danger to the public.
No danger to the public.
No danger to the...
No danger to...
No danger...

Copyright 1980 © Judy Allen
While we're paying more and more for gasoline these days (it's now over $2.50 a gallon) Greenopia has created a list of the oil companies with the smallest carbon footprint. Can you imagine that? That list, and others similar, is here.

One last note: Don't forget to check out PlanPutnam's blog site as many more stories are there than make it here.

And now, the News:
  1. County to save on copy paper purchases
  2. Play depicts city's role in Revolution
  3. Pedestrian-friendly zoning: Proposal to curb Shelby County sprawl
  4. Is Living in a High-End Suburb Worth It?
  5. Housing talk set for this evening
  6. Road recycling benefits environment and taxpayers
  7. Connecticut Rethinks Stormwater Permit, Water Quality Standards
  8. The Green Bank: Financing the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy 

County to save on copy paper purchases

NEW CITY – Rockland County is joining the Hudson Valley Municipal Purchasing Group to save $104,000 on copy paper purchases.

Thirty-five local government agencies and non-profit groups from the region participated in the cooperative copy paper contract valued at over $1 million annually.

The cooperative venture currently allows local governments and non-profit agencies that provide services on behalf of local governments the ability to leverage their purchasing power by participating in cooperative contracts.

Read More

Play depicts city's role in Revolution

By Rasheed Oluwa
Poughkeepsie Journal

A couple hundred people gathered at the DeLaval site, along the shore of the Hudson River in the City of Poughkeepsie, for a glimpse of the city's past and future Tuesday.

The city's Hudson Fulton Champlain Committee hosted a play produced and written by the Simon Studio in the City of Poughkeepsie called "The Poughkeepsie Shipyards and the Revolutionary War: A Military Pageant."

The play, which was sponsored by Marshall and Sterling Insurance, Saint Francis Hospital, The Grandview and the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, tells the story of the shipyard after it was commissioned by the Continental Congress in 1775 to build two ships for use against British forces.

Read More

Pedestrian-friendly zoning: Proposal to curb Shelby County sprawl

By Tom Charlier

They brought forth the geometric patchwork of subdivisions blanketing Cordova and Hickory Hill while clearing the way for the big-box retailers lining Germantown Parkway and Winchester.

But the basic zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations that have guided growth in Shelby County for a generation now are likely to be replaced with a code emphasizing entirely different patterns of development.

The proposed Unified Development Code, which goes before the Land Use Control Board this week, embraces so-called smart-growth policies and focuses more on reclaiming existing neighborhoods in the urban core than developing new ones in suburbia.

"The population is not growing. The main thing we have to do is reclaim existing neighborhoods and build them back up," said Mary L. Baker, deputy director of the city-county Office of Planning and Development.

Read More

Is Living in a High-End Suburb Worth It?

Even residents of upscale suburbs are asking if they wouldn't be better off living somewhere with lower taxes and cost-of-living expenses

By Prashant Gopal

The economic downturn, after ravaging poor and middle-class neighborhoods, is now hammering affluent enclaves. Even in the nation's priciest neighborhoods, homeowners are facing economic uncertainties, and some are beginning to wonder whether they're paying too much for prestige.

The cost of living in Atherton, Calif., Highland Park, Tex., or Scarsdale, N.Y., goes well beyond what it costs to purchase a home there. Mansions in high-end communities have oversize tax, maintenance, utility, and mortgage bills. And then there's the cost of keeping up with the Joneses: shopping at boutiques and gourmet stores, country club memberships, private school tuition, soccer for the kids, the gardener, the landscaper, and the nanny.

Many residents of these suburbs have "essentially taken a step back," says Kevin J. Meehan, president of Summit Wealth Advisors in Itasca, Ill. "And they are either looking at downsizing within those communities or moving to a totally different venue because of the stress they're experiencing with the cost of living in their suburbs." Empty nesters, in particular, may question why they are still living in communities with high school taxes when their children are long gone.

Read More

Housing talk set for this evening

Hudson River Housing is set to host a panel discussion today on housing resources for the Hudson Valley.

The discussion should include how the stimulus bill is expected to affect local housing conditions.

The featured panelist is U.S. Rep. John Hall, D-Dover. He will be joined by the district representative for U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls, Pamela Anderson of Chase and representatives from Hudson River Housing.

Read More

Road recycling benefits environment and taxpayers

Laura Incalcaterra

Many items can be recycled, and as it turns out, roads are among them.

For the past eight local road work seasons - more or less April to November - Rockland County has pursued a method that allows an existing roadway surface to be recycled.

The process saves the county about $1 million annually on road repaving work, restores the condition of the road, and just as importantly, reduces energy use and greenhouse gases because new material is not needed, experts said.

The process, known as hot-in-place recycling, involves heating a road surface, lifting the top 2 inches into a machine where a rejuvenating agent is added, then replacing the material on the road.

Read More

Connecticut Rethinks Stormwater Permit, Water Quality Standards

HARTFORD, Connecticut, May 25, 2009 (ENS) - In view of concerns raised by the construction industry and environmentalists over proposed modifications to the state's General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Industrial Activities, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has begun a new process of determination and public hearing.

The current general permit originally expired on September 30, 2007. It has been reissued without modification three times, most recently on April 14, and this latest version is set to expire September 30, 2010. The most recent renewal requires permittees to reregister their facilities.

On July 30, 2008, DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy published a Notice of Tentative Determination to renew the general permit with modifications. Based on that notice, stakeholders filed petitions for a public hearing and requests to intervene. As a result, the DEP suspended the proceedings and worked with stakeholders to address the issues and concerns that were raised and to further revise the proposed general permit.

Read More

The Green Bank: Financing the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy 

The debate over energy legislation begins in earnest in Congress this week and the stakes couldn’t be higher. The United States is falling behind in the space race of our generation—building long-term economic prosperity powered by low-carbon energy. China’s stimulus package invests $12.6 million every hour in greening its economy, for a total of $220 billion, twice as much as similar U.S. investments. Meanwhile, during the most recent economic expansion the average American family paid more than $1,100 a year in rising energy bills for U.S. policies that favor fossil fuels.

The choice is clear: continue with more of the same energy policies or transition to a clean-energy economy that creates millions of good jobs here in the United States and moves us off our dependence on foreign oil.

Read More

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