Monday, June 29, 2009

News That Matters - June 29, 2009

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

Good Monday Morning,

Yesterday afternoon as I was returning from an event in Mahopac I came across an accident on Route 301 where a motorcyclist and a Kent PD car had crashed into each other. Though the highway was blocked off for some time reports say injuries to both drivers were minor.

Michael Jackson died a few days ago at age 50. What I find most remarkable is that the media which vilified him for the majority of his later years and allowed him no personal space or peace, is now falling over themselves to say what a great and wonderful guy he was.

The Iranian government is paying itinerant farmers around $200 each to come to Tehran and join their effort in beating anti-government protesters so hard they "cannot get up". It would have been much easier and cheaper to hire Katherine Harris to certify election results.

For those of you who didn't pack in to the Cultural Center at Lake Carmel this weekend you missed a truly wonderful event. On Friday night the first full retrospective of Kent resident, actor, poet and artist, Leo Burmester, who died two years ago yesterday, opened to friends, family and the community. Leo has more than 100 film and Broadway credits to his name, (Among those, he created the role of the innkeeper Thénardier, in the 1987 Broadway cast of Lés Miserable, the 1989 film, The Abyss and just before his death from leukemia, took the stage in The Fantastiks!) a book of poetry, a music CD with his second wife Lora Lee Ecobelli and art colleges crafted from found objects.
Arts on the Lake's Visual Arts Committee chair Roy Volpe redesigned the space for the show using drapes and cloth in pastel hues which allowed Leo's vibrant and intricately complex collages to stand out in stunning detail. Some of the works displayed were featured in an award winning short documentary, The Literature of Junk, which ran in the theater space during the show.
On Saturday evening Leo's son Daniel acted in a role Leo created in the one-man play, Rattlesnake in A Cooler. Rattlesnake.... was originally written by Frank South and directed by Robert Altman in 1982 for television and earned Leo a Best Actor nomination for his work. The question was, could a young, 29 year old actor pull this off? The answer was, yes he can, and for the most part he did.
With GUTWorks Theater company's director Jonathan Maloney and stage manager Kali Quinn at the helm, the Bluehorse Repertory production of  Rattlesnake.... portrays the journey of a man raised in Kentucky but who finds the experience of the road a more appealing - but ultimately more dangerous place. While on the way to a rodeo in Colorado an accidental murder takes place and now, awaiting his death by hanging, we hear his story.

For an hour and fifteen minutes Daniel Burmester commanded the space as a polished professional of longer years. From the effective costuming to his strong command of the emotional state of the prisoner we were brought into his world and held there... when we weren't laughing - or crying. It was, without question, one of the best performances at the Cultural Center since its inception two years ago.

The art exhibit (with video presentations) will continue tonight, Tuesday, and Wednesday, June 29-July 1, from 7-9 p.m. at the Cultural Center so there's no excuse not to drop in.

And now The News:
  1. Foreclosure Fiasco
  2. Board weighs 4-year terms for town officials
  3. Sales-tax revenues put county on solid footing
  4. Newburgh begins legal actions to protect its watershed
  5. Many Floors In U.S. Homes Have 'Measurable' Levels Of Pesticides
  6. Internet posting can lead to privacy claim, court finds
  7. Greens, libertarians team up

Foreclosure Fiasco

By Robert Scheer

It's not working. The Bush-Obama strategy of throwing trillions at the banks to solve the mortgage crisis is a huge bust. The financial moguls, while tickled pink to have $1.25 trillion in toxic assets covered by the feds, along with hundreds of billions in direct handouts, are not using that money to turn around the free fall in housing foreclosures.

As the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, "The Mortgage Bankers Association cut its forecast of home-mortgage lending this year by 27% amid deflating hopes for a boom in refinancing." The same association said that the total refinancing under the administration's much ballyhooed Home Affordable Refinance Program is "very low."

Aside from a tight mortgage market, the problem in preventing foreclosures has to do with homeowners losing their jobs. Here again the administration, continuing the Bush strategy, is working the wrong end of the problem. Although President Obama was wise enough to at least launch a job stimulus program, a far greater amount of federal funding benefits Wall Street as opposed to Main Street.

State and local governments have been forced into draconian budget cuts, firing workers who are among the most reliable in making their mortgage payments--when they have jobs. Yet the Obama administration won't spend even a small fraction of what it has wasted on the banks to cover state shortfalls.

California couldn't get the White House to guarantee $5.5 billion in short-term notes to avert severe cuts in state and local payrolls, from prison guards to schoolteachers. Compare that with the $50 billion already given to Citigroup, plus an astounding $300 billion to guarantee that institution's toxic assets. Citigroup benefits from being a bank "too big to fail," although through its irresponsible actions to get that large it did as much as any company to cause this mess.

How big a mess? According to the Federal Reserve's most recent report, seven straight quarters of declining household wealth have left Americans $14 trillion poorer. Many who thought they were middle class have now joined the ranks of the poor. Food banks are strapped and welfare rolls are dramatically on the rise, as the WSJ reports, with a 27 percent year-to-year increase in Oregon, 23 percent in South Carolina and 10 percent in California. And you have to be very poor to get on welfare, thanks to President Clinton's so-called welfare reform, which he signed into law before he ramped up the radical deregulation of the financial services industry, enabling our economic downturn.

Read More

Board weighs 4-year terms for town officials

Ben Rubin

ORANGEBURG - The Orangetown Town Board will weigh the merits of stability and accountability as it reopens a debate on doubling term lengths for three elected positions.

The board scheduled public hearings on July 20 to discuss extending the terms for the town supervisor, town clerk and highway superintendent from two to four years.

The board plans to vote at that meeting on whether put the idea to a November referendum and let voters decide if they want the change.

"The continuity would be a good thing for all projects, all long-term projects," Town Clerk Charlotte Madigan said about her position. "I think it would enhance the office."

Read More

Sales-tax revenues put county on solid footing

Susan Elan

After several years of tax hikes, Putnam has stabilized its financial position and is poised to keep the property tax levy flat in 2010, according to County Executive Robert Bondi.

"We have heard the cry of the people and we are responding, just as we always have, with responsible management, conservative fiscal policies and the courage to make the tough decisions," Bondi told residents during his 2009 State of the County address.

A hiring freeze and consolidation and reorganization of departments, including Highways and Facilities, have brought savings. Bondi said he also intends to pursue consolidation of assessment services at the county level to save more money.

Read More

Newburgh begins legal actions to protect its watershed

NEWBURGH - The City of Newburgh commenced a citizen suit under the Clean Water Act to protect its water supply which provides potable water to the City of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor. The complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District alleges that the defendants, the developer of a subdivision in the Town of New Windsor, violated the Clean Water Act by discharging pollutants in excess of New York State Water Quality Standards and by failing to follow its stormwater pollution prevention plan.

The suit names Sarna Enterprises, Inc., Mt. Airy Estates and New Windsor Development Company among the defendants.

Read More

Many Floors In U.S. Homes Have 'Measurable' Levels Of Pesticides

(June 23, 2009) — Insecticides used in and around homes — including products voluntarily removed from the market years ago — were measured on the floors of U.S. residences, according to the first study large enough to generate national data on pesticide residues in homes.

Scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) collected samples with surface wipes from U.S. kitchen floors. Additionally, occupants were surveyed regarding pesticide use and housing factors.

The most frequently detected pesticides, after permethrin (89 percent), were chlorpyrifos (78 percent); chlordane (74 percent); piperonyl butoxide (52 percent); cypermethrin (46 percent); and fipronil (40 percent). While in most cases, the pesticide concentrations measured were low, the insecticides may serve as a potential source of exposure to occupants.

Read More

Internet posting can lead to privacy claim, court finds

Posting private information about someone on the Internet is enough to allow an invasion-of-privacy claim no matter how many people actually see it, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held this week.

In the published opinion, the court created a broad rule "that the publicity element of an invasion-of-privacy claim is satisfied when private information is posted on a publicly accessible Internet website."

The case centers on a MySpace profile set up in 2006 mocking the plaintiff. The profile, under the name "Rotten Candy," included a picture of the plaintiff. It said she had a sexually transmitted disease, was cheating on her husband and was addicted to plastic surgery.

Read More

Greens, libertarians team up

By: Lisa Lerer
June 24, 2009 05:07 AM EST
An unlikely coalition of environmental and libertarian taxpayer groups are joining forces to fight legislation that would create a national disaster insurance pool to protect home­owners in hurricane-prone areas.

The group — — is getting behind legislation sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) that would provide $100 million annually over four years to states to strengthen homes, apartment buildings and small businesses against heavy-hitting storms.

Thompson’s package of three bills, expected to be introduced Wednesday, would provide grants for mitigation activities such as building new water barriers to prevent flooding, securing roofs and garage doors, and putting storm shutters on windows. It would also authorize an additional $100 million over five years to bolster emergency response during storms by upgrading communications, creating mobile nurse units and improving evacuation of the elderly from their residences.

Read More

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


Copyright © 2009 News That Matters

Friday, June 26, 2009

News That Matters - June 26, 2009 - Things To Do Edition

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

Good Friday Morning,

We had our first day of summer weather yesterday and though it's more like we're living in the Adirondacks than the Hudson Valley, all I can say is that I hope summer last a little longer than usual to make up for the late start.

The NY State Senate failed to take any action on property tax relief this year even though there were dozens of bills in front of them that might have offered *something*. Among them was an Omnibus bill, a collection of other bills that would have included circuit breaker legislation (similar to what Sandy Galef proposed). Even though those bills were only hesitant, politically easy baby-steps to an actual solution, the shifting of education funding from property taxes to a progressive, graduated income tax, would have been nice. The average NY property owner would have seen an actual, real, reduction in their overall property tax bills.
Regular readers will be familiar with my constant calls of support of Kevin Cahill's "Equality in Education Act" and wonder why the solution is not 'on the table' in Albany. It's easy: Sheldon Silver. Oh, and the super-rich who would actually have to start paying a fairer share of their income in taxes and who control state government through their financial largess. Any questions?
Remember the 13 year old girl who was strip-searched at her school on a tip that she was hiding drugs? The Supreme Court ruled the other day that the search was illegal. The Washington Post wrote: "In a case that had drawn attention from educators, parents and civil libertarians across the country, the court ruled 8 to 1 that such an intrusive search without the threat of a clear danger to other students violated the Constitution's protections against unreasonable search or seizure." The suspected drugs? Ibuprofen.

Southeast Supervisor Michael Rights is in the news again. This time it's for allegedly causing an accident in which is his car was not directly involved. The point here is that community outrage has already begun yet, there are few facts on the case and people with preconceived notions aren't even bothering to wait before spouting off about this and that. Are their lives so empty this is what they do for recreation? Chill.
While we're talking about Southeast's town government, just keep in mind that it's a result of what happens when a handful of vocal naysayers, people who only seek the worst in others, for whom politics means digging into people's closets, get control of things. As election season approaches keep an ear out for those type of folk. You'll hear them, alright. They're the ones who become morally outraged at others but for whom life would be empty if they couldn't target someone to make themselves feel better about themselves. It's a shame we've allowed those people to control the discussion and the failure of government to effectively govern is the result.
The Country Store at Boni-Bel Farm, a Green Chimneys vocational education program. Is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit them at 301 Doansburg Road in Brewster, NY for high quality organic foods, handcrafted gift items and more! “The Country Store and Vocational Learning Center is dedicated to building a greater sense of community through its seasonal offerings of organic and fresh produce, cut flowers, and handicrafts — all raised, grown or manufactured by children and staff of Green Chimneys and or local community artisans and farms,” says Kim Pratt Lawrence, director of public programs. “The store will give students an opportunity to learn about working in a retail setting while fostering interaction with the community.  The Country Store will offer a full calendar of events and activities, bringing neighbors together and highlighting the rich diversity of talents that our children and the organizations in the area have to offer.”

Looking for a hike this weekend? Take a walk around the Wiccopee Reservoir on Wiccopee Road in Putnam Valley (about a mile west of the Taconic State Parkway. The Wiccopee Reservoir holds water for the City of Peekskill, releasing it into the Hollow Brook as it flows on its way to that city on the Hudson. This 500 acre property, backed by the scouting reservation and Fhanestock State Park, offers an easy 3 mile loop hike (on a serviceable road) around the lower reservoir and a walk along a beautiful portion of the upper. It takes you across the top of one, and then along the base of the other dam. Using this facility as access you can cross into Fhanestock State Park and hike the easements at the boy scout camp. In other words, it's easy to alter this 3-mile loop into as many miles as you'd like. Boats are forbidden in the reservoir. Maps and photos are at PlanPutnam's Outdoor Recreation pages.


Leo Burmester Retrospective

7PM – 10 p.m. – Cultural Center on Lake Carmel. Opening Reception – “We are such stuff as dreams are made” Retrospective continues with 8 p.m. Kent resident Leo Burmester, who died in June 2007, was an accomplished actor who appeared in 37 films, made 32 television appearances and had roles in 9 Broadway plays.  He was nominated for a Tony as Best Actor in Robert Altman's production of playwright Frank South's "Rattlesnake in a Cooler", which opened at the St. Clement's Theatre in 1981. Burmester won the New York Fanny award for Best Supporting Actor for his Lincoln Center performance in "Ah, Wilderness!"

The retrospective highlights Leo Burmester's work as a collage artist and will include a showing of his unusually large and thought-provoking collages. Burmester began making his collages while working in a shed outside his Kent home in the 1980's. His pieces were often made on plywood bases and contained glass, seeds, trinkets, cloth, sting, beads and an assortment of other knickknacks, and his pieces evoke the adage, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." Burmester and his art were featured in the May 2007 issue of Hudson Valley Magazine.

Burmester's art work is featured in "Leo Burmester and The Literature of Junk" which won best documentary at the Westchester Film Festival and will be shown during the Retrospective.


Wild Edibles Walk

9:30AM -Noon.  Mohonk Preserve. Explore wild plants at the Mohonk Preserve. Learn to identify plants that can be used for food and medicine. Registration through the Mohonk Preserve. 845-255-0919. Led by Aleese Cody, LMT, NCTMB.  email: Cost: Free to members. Non-members must buy a day pass.

Hike to Anthony's Nose

10 AM - U-Bend parking area Route 202 and 6 one mile south of the Bear Mt. Bridge. Anthony's Nose - It should be a beautiful morning to join Geof Connor of the New York-New Jersey Trails Conference for a 2.5 mile return trek up to Anthony's Nose.  At approximately 900 feet, its summit offers sweeping views of the Hudson River, where one of the liberty chains stretched during the Revolutionary War and the Bear Mountain Bridge stands today.  Meet: 10:00am U-bend parking area, Route 202 & 6, one mile south of Bear Mt. Bridge Duration: 2.5 hrs. Level: Moderate/Difficult (500 ft. climb) Sponsored by the Hudson Highlands Land Trust

Rattlesnake in a Cooler

8 p.m. performance by Daniel Burmester (GUTworks Theatre) of Rattlesnake in a Cooler, reproducing Leo Burmester's landmark, Tony nominated performance from 1982. At the Cultural Center on lake Carmel (the old firehouse on Route 52 just south of the 311 causeway)

GUTWorks newest performance follows the story of a man finding the dark side of his dreams. Daniel Burmester, Jonathan Maloney and Kali Quinn will be collaborating once again to bring the gut-wrenching, play Rattlesnake in a Cooler to life. Distinguished playwright Frank South has been known to create folksy, Middle American characters and then squeeze them until they start to spurt blood. Daniel Burmester will portray Souths character of the young doctor in this one-man powerhouse play that will grab hold of the audience and leave all wondering if they have a dark side of there own.

Songs for the River

8PM - Mills-Norrie State Park, Staatsburgh. With Betty And The Baby Boomers. Announcing their latest CD "Where the Heron Waits". Sponsored by the DEC Hudson River Research Reserve, Margaret Lewis State Park (Norrie Point Environmental Center), Staatsburg. Free. Wheelchair accessible (845)300-0010.


Maps and Dreams

5:30 PM - Paramount Theater, Peekskill. "Maps & Dreams" is a unique, one-hour, one-man show that launches off from Samuel de Champlain's dream of amity, and his mapmaking activity, to inspire the audience to do their own 400th anniversary dreaming and mapping. Starting from a consideration of Champlain and Hudson's experiences on their journeys in 1609, the performance ranges over the last 400 years of history in the two valleys, contemplating the changing nature of both, mapping and dreaming, and the unchanging nature of what both activities can help us discover our individual, regional, and national destiny. Presented by Dr. Kevin Dann, an author, musician and professor of history at SUNY Plattsburgh beloved by his students for his dramatic, humor-filled and heart-centered approach to the sacred art of learning, this educational and entertaining presentation will offer stories, music, slide show images, audience participation, and most importantly, the gift of wonderment. Admission is free.

Into the Future:

Monday, June 29

Garden Forum at Millbrook

7PM - 9 PM Farm and Home Center, Millbrook, NY. The Gathering of Gardeners. The first hour will be a tour of the gardens followed by questions for the Master Gardeners. Sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County. Farm & Home Center 2715 Rt. 44, Millbrook. Contact Nancy, 845-677-8223 x115 Cost: $5.

Saturday, July 11

Jeff's Annual Picnic and Garden Party at the Asylum - Everyone is Invited!

3PM - Onwards. Come celebrate the beauty of the highlands in western Kent. Rain or Shine! Bring some food for the pot luck and drink for the coolers, a blanket and/or some chairs, or just wear light, comfortable clothes and hang out on the grass in the field. We'll have plates and forks and knives and spoons and cups so you can leave those at home.

Don't forget your sunscreen. There's afternoon shade near the edge of the forest so you can set up over there if you like. Last year the kids had a massive water fight to stay cool. No adults were harmed in the battle.

When the sun goes down the fire-pit becomes the place for gathering and we'll be sure to have it blazing once it's dark enough for the after-party which ran until 6AM last year.

The weather report projects 80º and partly sunny so we'll have lots of ice and cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages on hand. What you could do:

Bring along some friends, the extended family, the neighbors, your kids, the dogs... pretty much anything and anyone that walks or rolls.

Bring your musical instruments, your talents and yes, even your accordions and kazoos. But be prepared to play them.

If you're traveling from away or taste testing the barleycorn, bring your tent. There's plenty of room to camp.

Handicap parking is available!

More info is here.

Sunday, July 12

Putnam County Humane Society

Treat your dog to a day of pampering! Complete Spa treatment: Shampoo, Nail Trim, Micro Chipping @$35.00 Shampoo Only: $10 Large Dog   $8 Small Dog    Nail Clipping: $7   Micro Chip: $25 Sunday, July 12th (rain date July 26th) from 11:00am to 4:00pm at Putnam Humane Society Shelter, Old Rte. 6, Carmel, NY Proceeds to benefit our canine and feline residents!!

Thursday, July 23

Hudson River Watershed Alliance

10AM - 3PM At this meeting, we will learn about the current activities of each watershed group and what new issues you are facing in your efforts.  In addition, we will collectively chart a course for organizing quarterly or semi annual watershed roundtable meetings. The goal of this meeting is to find new ways in which you can learn from one another and move your local watershed
efforts forward! In preparation, please consider these questions and be prepared to discuss your related activities:

1.  Since our last meeting (July 2008), what aspect of watershed planning protection has your group focused on?

2.  What challenges have you faced and how has your group addressed these issues?

3.   Is their mutual consent to commit to more frequent roundtable meetings?  If so, how should we structure these events?
Please RSVP by Thursday, July 16, to or 845-486-1556.

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


Copyright © 2009 News That Matters

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

News That Matters - June 24, 2009

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

Good Wednesday Morning,

I'd first like to thank those who wrote and sent donations(!) after my post the other day concerning an April editorial from the Putnam County Courier which describes those who work to ensure our survival as somehow pathetic. Whoever wrote or agrees with that sentiment should thank one of those people the very next time they drink water or breathe the air. I just don't understand if it's some twisted game or if you really 'just don't get it' but please, let's talk.

According to an article in yesterday's NYJN, candidates running for office in Southeast have re-birthed the failed Contract on America with a new Contract on Southeast. I wish them well. The concept failed when members of Congress tried as it was nothing more than trite political pablum. But I do expect others will now glom onto the concept and we'll be seeing more of these.
For reasons I'll never understand, voters like to be lied to. No, scratch that. Voters like to believe promises told them by people running for office even though they know they're largely hooey. "I'll keep spending under control!" Uh huh. Oh, and they love the term, "fiscal conservative". But I'm wondering, isn't the current mess we're in the result of electing fiscal conservatives? It must have been! They said they were such, we voted for them and now they have to take out a contract on us? Huh.
The New York State Senate. Really. It's time for the pitchforks and torches.

The Obama administration is backing off of its promise for a single-payer health care system and are now pushing for an "option" which would allow you to choose between a government sponsored plan and the private plans you already cannot afford. But that line is designed to fail so that we can bury the universal health care discussion once and for all. (and nothing would make the President and Congress happier.)
A universal health care system akin to that had by every other developed nation on the planet is not going to happen in my lifetime, nor probably yours. So, if you're currently out of work or cannot afford preventative health care for yourself or your family, tough noogies. Or, so says the health insurance companies government.
Liberty University, the college run by Jerry Falwell, has agreed to allow a student Democratic group to continue to hold meetings - but not officially. But in fairness and to avoid a costly civil rights battle, the university has also de-certified the campus Republican group that was the only previously sanctioned student political group on campus.

For the film aficionado's out there who enjoyed Tim Burton's past directorial releases
, the hilarious "Mars Attacks" and "Beetlejuice", the freakily weird "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Ed Wood" and "Edward Scissorhands" and the remarkable film transference of Stephen Sondheim's, "Sweeney Todd", Mr. Burton is preparing his next film, "Alice in Wonderland", for release in May of 2010. Production stills (here) are worth the look. And yes, Johnny Depp is back (for the seventh time in a Burton film) this time as the Mad Hatter.
Johnny Depp, in between shooting "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" and "Alice..." is working on another interesting role, that of Paul Kemp, Hunter S. Thompson's foiled reporter in "The Rum Diary", also schedule for release next year.

And now, The News:
  1. Persistent rainfalls have farmers groaning
  2. Senate discord hits sour notes in duet
  3. For Lincoln, shock and awe in Cold Spring
  4. How a 20-Minute Walk Can Solve the Obesity Epidemic
  5. Toronto's new green roof law a first for North America
  6. Highways to Nowhere
  7. Under Misspelled Banner, Buchanan And White Nationalist Brimelow Argue For English-Only Initiatives 

Persistent rainfalls have farmers groaning

Some crops late, others may be lost

By Emily Stewart
Poughkeepsie Journal

Rain, rain go away.

June's incessant rains are spoiling crops, ruining hay and making farmers very unhappy.

At the Dutchess County Airport, 7.55 inches have been recorded so far this month. That's a 5-inch departure from normal, said Robert Kilpatrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany.

The wet weather has ruined some crops, made harvesting often impossible and left some local farmers waiting for fields to be dry enough to plant.

Despite the wet weather, the total hasn't broken the record for June - 12.44 inches in 1903, according to the Mohonk Preserve Daniel Smiley Research Center.

Read More

Senate discord hits sour notes in duet

Democrats, Republicans each claim the gavel, but progress appears doubtful
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ALBANY -- After more than two weeks of deadlock, all 62 members of the state Senate showed up in the chamber Tuesday in response to Gov. David Paterson's call for a special session.

At the end of a frenzied day that included dueling sessions in the same chamber, it was unclear if any of the legislation passed by either faction would stand up to legal scrutiny.

"I've been a public servant here for over 20 years," Paterson said in a news conference about an hour after both sides stood at ease, "and what I've seen in the last two weeks in the Senate disgusts me. The Senate's inaction is a dereliction of duty. They've clearly forgotten who they serve."

Read More (If you can stand it)

For Lincoln, shock and awe in Cold Spring

Michael Risinit

COLD SPRING - Green-and-white tree swallows carve paths through the sky above the Hudson River where cast-iron shells once flew before exploding on the opposite bank.

Scrubby black locust trees clog the Cold Spring riverside where President Abraham Lincoln stood one summer's afternoon long ago. His eyes would have seen the belch of smoke from a Parrott gun and the shell's impact on the Hudson's west side. Consider it shock and awe, 1800s-style.

Lincoln's June 24, 1862, visit to the West Point Foundry, south of the village's Main Street and on the edge of a marsh, was an "absolutely eye-opening experience for him," said Harold Holzer, a Lincoln scholar and Rye resident.

Read More

How a 20-Minute Walk Can Solve the Obesity Epidemic

(and Why That Walk's Easier for Some Than for Others)
The equation is simple: Parks + Trails = Fitness.
June 23, 2009 at 3:21PM by Ned Sullivan

One of President Obama's priorities is overhauling America's health care system, whose costs continue rising at nearly seven times the rate of inflation and currently represent about 17% of our gross domestic product. One reason for these skyrocketing figures is that people require more and more care.
greenpeace ewaste logo

Why? Because we're not as healthy as we used to be. And the prime factor for that is we don't exercise enough. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only a quarter of Americans exert themselves at recommended levels, while nearly a third don't exercise at all. No wonder obesity is a national epidemic, among young and old alike, and a leading cause of increased incidences of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even some types of cancer.

Not surprisingly, this inactivity leads to $76 billion -- 10% -- of our nation's annual medical costs. But there's hope. A study released last year determined that those who keep themselves fit file a third fewer medical claims than couch potatoes. And it doesn't take much to get in shape: The CDC estimates that a vigorous, daily 20-minute walk could stop the obesity epidemic in its tracks.

Read More

Toronto's new green roof law a first for North America

Bylaw requires some new developments to devote almost 60% of roof space to vegetation.
By Michael d'EstriesTue, Jun 23 2009 at 9:34 AM EST

In a first for a North American city, Toronto recently passed a new law mandating "green" rooftops for all new developments. Any new construction with floorspace of more than 2,000 square meters must devote between 20 and 60 percent of its roof to vegetation. The rule applies to residential, commercial, industrial and institutional structures.
As expected, developers are less than thrilled with the new mandatory rules -- least of all that they come during an economic downturn. Some estimate that green roofs could add more than $177,000 to the cost of a project; not including the ongoing maintenance, replacement and repair costs. "I don't think anybody is warm and fuzzy about having a green roof bylaw impressed on them as a prescriptive method," said one developer to Reuters.

Read More

Highways to Nowhere

At a White House gathering last week, both Barack Obama and Joe Biden warned America’s governors not to squander stimulus funds on ill-conceived infrastructure projects. “Six months from now,” Biden said, “if the verdict on this effort is that we’ve wasted the money, we built things that were unnecessary, or we’ve done things that are legal but make no sense, then, folks, don’t look for any help from the federal government for a long while.”

Nowhere is this warning more pertinent than in building new roads. The stimulus bill allocates nearly $30 billion in highway funds to the states and requires that they put the money to use quickly. That’s a good thing when it is being spent on smart construction, but it raises the danger that some bad projects will be rushed through, simply because the plans are ready to go (in some cases after being controversially fast-tracked by the Bush administration.) Misguided road building can encourage sprawl, make communities less livable, and devastate the local environment. We looked at shovel-ready new highway projects across the country that are either getting stimulus money or could potentially get some and found seven that, in Biden’s words, “make no sense.”

Read More

Under Misspelled Banner, Buchanan And White Nationalist Brimelow Argue For English-Only Initiatives  


On Saturday, Pat Buchanan hosted a conference to discuss how Republicans can regain a majority in America. During one discussion, panelists suggested supporting English-only initiatives as a prime way of attracting “working class white Democrats.” The discussion ridiculed Judge Sotomayor for the fact that she studied children’s classics to improve her grammar while attending college. The panelists also suggested that, without English as the official language, President Obama would force Americans to speak Spanish.

One salient feature of the event was the banner hanging over the English-only advocates. The word conference was spelled “Conferenece.”

Read More

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


Copyright © 2009 News That Matters

Monday, June 22, 2009

News That Matters - June 22, 2009

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

Good Monday Morning,

After spending $2,500,000 and years of study and preparation, the Town of Carmel has opened Camarda Park on Seminary Hill Road. The 37 acres used for the park were donated by Ridgefield, CT developer Paul Camarda when he built 71 homes on an adjoining property.
Patterson could use a Camarda park too, and the developer owns about 100 acres in that town. Think of the tax write-off!
Why do fireflies glow? All known firefly larvae have photic organs and produce light. The behavioral function of the larval light has received considerable speculation and several plausible theories have been proposed (Lloyd 1971; Sivinski 1981). However, the most generally accepted hypothesis is firefly larvae use their luminescence as a warning signal (aposematism) that communicates to potential predators that they taste bad because they have defensive chemicals in their bodies. These larvae also increase both the intensity and frequency of their glow when disturbed (Sivinski 1981). An experimental study of whether mice could learn to avoid glowing objects by associating a larval-type glow with a bad tasting object further supports the aposematism hypothesis (Underwood et al., 1997).

In an unsigned editorial in the April 30th edition of the Putnam County Courier, the author writes:
"Environmentalists want to halt the growth of human development, even the growth of the human population. They claim to want to save mother earth, but they would do so at the expense of those who will inherit this world, our children. There are reactionaries who prophesy the end of progress, and preach survivalism to the masses. They claim to oppose the ugliness of Mc-Mansions, and mini-malls. In truth, they hate prosperity and seek to make people good by making them poorer."
Huh. I had no idea.

Last week someone wrote that I might be "too green" (among other things, "loose cannon" was my favorite!) I can't believe people still hold the belief that this planet will provide for them regardless of what they do to it. Are they genuinely willing to destroy our environment for short-term profit or are they just blind to the obvious? How myopic and hubristic can people be? Why is it so difficult to reach these people and why do we so often elect them? How many more question marks do I need to use in the paragraph before someone has an answer that makes sense?
Website Watch:
What’s On My Food? is a searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable. How does this tool work? We link pesticide food residue data with the toxicology for each chemical, making this information easily searchable for the first time. Use the tool, share it with others: we built it to help move the public conversation about pesticides into an arena where you don’t have to be an expert to participate.
“Statistics provided by the candidates, who claim more than 100 percent of those eligible have cast their ballot in 80 to 170 cities are not accurate — the incident has happened in only 50 cities,” Such is the admission of Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, the spokesman for the authoritative Guardian Council of Iran — a 12-member panel of clerics charged with certifying the vote. Somehow his assertion that the problem was only found in 50 cities rather than more is supposed to pacify the opposition?

And now, The News:
  1. Two North Salem residents donate major easement
  2. A (Radical) Way to Fix Suburban Sprawl
  3. A Big Day For Clean Water
  4. House panel approves $15M for L.I. Sound preservation
  5. A huge gamble on Markham Asian mall
  6. How to Reduce Light Pollution
  7. Out of the woods

Two North Salem residents donate major easement

Ashley Tarr

NORTH SALEM - Thanks to four residents, the wildlife living on 129 acres of forest land at 125 Vail Lane can remain there in perpetuity.

Couples Peter and Jackie Kamenstein and Laurence and Lori Fink will be honored tomorrow for their donation to the Westchester Land Trust. The easement is the largest the trust, which has protected roughly 6,400 acres of land, has ever received from individual donors.

Peter Kamenstein, who is a member of the group's Board of Directors, has donated two previous easements. He said North Salem's rural atmosphere is one of its basic charms, and that keeping it that way is up to residents.

Read More

A (Radical) Way to Fix Suburban Sprawl

By Lisa Selin Davis / Tysons Corner

There's something deeply wrong with Tysons Corner. For starters, Virginia's bustling commercial district — the 12th biggest employment center in the nation — has more parking spaces than jobs or residents. What was a quaint intersection of two country roads 50 years ago is now a two-tiered interchange with 10 lanes of traffic-choked hell; try to cross it on foot, and you're taking your life into your hands. Located about 14 miles west of downtown Washington, the nearly 1,700-acre area is home to fortresses of unfriendly buildings surrounded by oceans of parking lots, as well as single-story car dealerships, strip malls, fast-food joints, highways and a big toll road. Pedestrians are personae non gratae here. What few sidewalks exist often abruptly end.

The overgrown office park — which sprang up around Tysons Corner Center, the ninth largest indoor mall in the U.S. — has become the opposite of a bedroom community. Some 120,000 people work in Tysons, but only 17,000 live here. "Every morning, 110,000 cars arrive, and they all leave at 5," says Clark Tyler, a former federal transportation official and the chairman of a task force whose ambitious goal is to help transform Tysons into a full-fledged city — where people live and work and play 24 hours a day.

Read More

A Big Day For Clean Water

Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works moves forward on clean water

Melissa Samet, American Rivers, 415-482-8150
Katherine Baer, American Rivers, 410-292-4619

June 18, 2009

Washington, DC -- Today the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee took important steps towards protecting the nation’s clean water by passing an amended version of the Clean Water Restoration Act and Sewage Right-to-Know legislation in addition to reauthorizing the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act and the Great Lakes Legacy Act. American Rivers played a lead role advocating for Right-to-Know and the Restoration Act, important bills that protect public health and safety, and our nation’s priceless river heritage.

The Clean Water Restoration Act (S.787) and Sewage Right to Know (S.937) will next head to the floor of the United States Senate.

Read More

House panel approves $15M for L.I. Sound preservation

Greg Clary

Long Island Sound should get a little healthier in the next year if a record $15 million in federal funding goes through as expected.

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, announced the money yesterday, less than a day after it was approved in a late session of the House Appropriations subcommittee on the interior and environment.

"The Long Island Sound is a critical part of our economy, our environment and our quality of life," Lowey said. "It is our responsibility to preserve this precious resource for future generations, and I am pleased we are on track for record funding of critical Sound protection programs."

Read More

A huge gamble on Markham Asian mall - Business - A huge gamble on Markham Asian mall
In the depths of the worst recession in decades, one of Canada's richest men is taking a $1 billion gamble on suburban Chinatown with plans for a massive mall and luxury hotel/condominium complex in the heart of Markham's shopping district.

Plans for the Remington Centre, an 800,000 square-foot Chinese-themed mall adjoining a 20-storey hotel and condo tower, are expected to be announced by Toronto developer Rudy Bratty's Remington Group at a news conference today.

"We are really proud of this – we believe it will be the pre-eminent centre in North America," the 77-year-old Bratty said in an interview.

Read More

How to Reduce Light Pollution

More and more research about the negative effect light pollution has on humans and wildlife is coming to light (pun intended). As the population of the planet increases, so does the amount of homes, businesses, parking lots, schools, airports and roadways. All these structures use electricity and need to be lighted.

Humans demand these lights. They want their homes more comfortable and they want their streets safe. The problem is that researchers are finding that all this light is having a negative impact on humans and wildlife as well.

Less than 10 years ago I drove to a less populated section of my town lay down in the middle of the road and watched a spectacular meteor shower. The area was devoid of homes, street lights and traffic. If I did that today, first off I wouldn’t be able to see the meteor shower as well, due to the increase in street lights, but I would surely be run over by a car. Urban sprawl has taken over those sparsely populated areas.

Read More

Out of the woods

Urban loggers find new uses for old landscaping.

At the Bronx Zoo, a CitiLog employee loads felled trees, which will be made into a reception desk and conference tables for the zoo.
Stubby Warmbold is an old hand at logging. When he was a boy growing up in Canada, his family owned sawmills, and for the last 16 years he’s run a logging company. With his long beard and penchant for flannel shirts, he looks the part. But Warmbold isn’t your typical logger. Instead of felling trees in forests, his company, CitiLog, takes wood cleared from parks, roadsides, medians and other urban and suburban areas and makes it into lumber, which then becomes everything from flooring to furniture.

Read More

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


Copyright © 2009 News That Matters

Friday, June 19, 2009

News That Matters - June 19, 2009 - Things To Do Edition

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

Good Friday Morning,

Today is Junteenth, the commemoration of the announcement of the end of slavery in the state of Texas in 1865. The holiday is celebrated in 31 of our 50 states including ours, which lists it as an official holiday.

It can't stay cloudy forever unless the earth has shifted her rotation so that we are now further north in latitude, where the Atlantic beats against the shore of a slowly rising land depressed a mile by the weight of ancient glaciers, kissed by men of pallid skin and great beards and high-prowed sailing ships. If the earth has not shifted her billion year old cycle.

The booming you hear in the distance is the artillery practice at West Point I told you about in the June 10th edition of News That Matters.

County Legislator Anthony (Tony) Fusco is in the news. This time it's about his fight to gather information  after being stopped for running a stop sign in Putnam Valley in 2008. So far, according to an article in the Journal News, his quest has cost the county $3700 in time required to produce documentation about the case.
While at first glance this seems quite extraordinary, Mr. Fusco has a point when he says that the information he's seeking should have been readily available to him. There's nothing he's asked for (police records, video-tapes, etc.,) that is private or even controversial and regardless of what you think about this particular event, Mr. Fusco's actions will make county government better, more transparent and accessible in the end. But if not, maybe they really are hiding stuff from us.
The NY State Senate is a mess. What it all comes down to has nothing to do with good governance but who controls millions upon millions of your dollars and the ability to grace you with them. And, who gets to lord over eight-room suites and who must work out of tiny, one room studios. Yes, we've allowed our government to become that fatuous and it's our fault. We're blinded by the money showered upon us and fool ourselves into believing that more-equals-something when more just means less for food on our tables for, in the end, that "more" comes directly from our pockets.

The Ayatollah Khamenei claimed in a speech earlier today that if there is any violence or bloodshed in that nation's protests over the recently stolen election, it would be the full responsibility of the opposition and that the Iranian government would never steal an election.
How, he asked, can 11 million votes be stolen? How, everyone else asks, can millions of paper ballots be counted in four hours? He blamed then blamed "western influence" for the troubles and told the Iranian people to sit down, shut up and behave.

There's another national demonstration schedule for tomorrow which has been expressly banned by the government. The troops are out and the army has been mobilized. You can most certainly expect a good deal of violence and bloodshed - on the part of the government.

If you're interested in following events from Iran point your web browsers to Facebook, You-tube, Twitter and Flickr. So far these venues are still open. If you can read Persian, here's the "official" news.


5th Annual Juneteenth Celebration

6 - 9PM at Family Partnership Center Lateef Islam Auditorium, 29N Hamilton St., Poughkeepsie.  From Freedom Schools to After School, dedicated to Civil Rights workers of the early 60s, including Jane Van de Bogart. This program will include musical and spoken work performances by Real Skills Network, African Drumming by The Keblulan Drumming Circle, ReadNex Poetry Squad,  and others, with awards ceremony and a tour of the Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library collection and displays. 845 452-1110 x 3343.


Butterflies at Bylane With Charlie Roberto

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Bylane Garden, 35 Todd Road, Katonah. Expert naturalist Charlie Roberto will present a slideshow of local butterflies and then lead a walk through the meadows of Bylane, where more than 60 species of butterflies have been recorded. This is unique chance to learn to recognize local butterflies. Bring binoculars, insect repellent, and plenty of cool drinks. Degree of Difficulty: Easy. Register with Joan E. Becker by e-mail or by telephone at (914) 232-4806.

Eleanor Fitchen Memorial

3:30PM - Old Southeast Church, Route 22. Family members from around the world and the country and friends of Eleanor will be acknowledging her life: a life that had a lasting impact on Putnam County, the Town of Southeast and the Village of Brewster; a life that left its mark in the founding and seminal life of several of its conservation, preservation and historical organizations.

Eleanor Fitchen has been called the single most significant preservationist in Putnam County's history.  Her work in her hometown of Southeast and across the county began after retirement. Paul and Eleanor Fitchen moved permanently to a longtime family property in Southeast when they both retired in the late 1960's-- a time when Putnam County was undergoing dramatic change. When Putnam County was virtually overhauled by the dramatic population growth and land development of the 70's and 80's --Eleanor and Paul Fitchen became leaders in helping their communities combat environmental degradation and loss of history.
Thanks to Denis Castelli for posting this event in another forum.

Montgomery Delaney & Marc Von Em

8PM - Tilly Foster Farm, Southeast. PAC is pleased to host another evening of great live music at the Lodge at Tilly Foster, 100 Rte 312, Brewster, NY on Saturday June 20th, at 8pm. Join us to hear the artistry of musician/songwriters Montgomery Delaney & Marc Von Em who will deliver their wonderful bluesy folk/rock tunes in our intimate 60 seat venue.

Monty Delaney, “a thoughtful and provocative poet” is known for his gift of touching the hearts and minds of his listeners with the wonderful pictures he present through his lyrics. His friend, Marc Von Em is also a well known and respected Hudson Valley songwriter who has frequently appeared at venues ranging The Bottom Line and The Living Room in NYC to spots throughout the region selling 10,000 copies of his debut CD. Since his connecting with Matchbox 20, he has toured the world for the last 4 tears, performed on numerous TV shows, including Jay Leno,David Letterman, Ellen DeGeneres and more, while still attending to his solo career.

PAC asks that you make reservations as our space is limited; suggested donation only $20.00 ($15.00 for members & full time students). For more info, or to RSVP, please visit our website: or call 845.278.0230


Pan Fish Derby

8AM - Noon - Beach 4 at Lake Carmel. Registration starts at 8:00AM. All fish must be weighed in by 11:30AM. Weigh-in Volunteers will be available during the contest. Ages from 2 - adult. Prizes and Trophies awarded! Only Park District Residents and guests are eligible - Proof required. All NYS & Park District fishing rules must be obeyed. Anyone 16 yrs or older must have a valid NYS Fishing License.

Bicycle Tour of Olde Fishkill

Noon - Van Wyck Homestead, Route 9 (at I84), Fishkill. Join the Fishkill Historical Society, and the community of Fishkill for a Historic Bicycle Tour of Olde Fishkill, and spend a moment with some of America's greatest people!  View PDF Map here. Contact Ann. Family Tour: Registration at Van Wyck (Village) Hall, 1095 Main St, Fishkill, NY begins at 12pm. Kickoff at 12:30. There are a total of 8 sites to visit, all within 4 level blocks (0.6miles). Walkers are welcome if you don't have a bike!  Medium Tour: Registration at Van Wyck (Village) Hall, 1095 Main St, Fishkill, NY begins at 12pm. Kickoff at 12:30. There are a total of 15 sites to visit, some level with a hill along route 52 that will challenge you! 4 miles.  Extended Tour: Registration at Van Wyck Homestead, 504 Route 9, Fishkill, NY begins at 12pm. Kickoff at 12:30. There are a total of 26 sites to visit on this tour. 24 miles, with some hills - and a tough one towards the end. Start training! Community Picnic: There will be a community picnic on the grounds of Van Wyck Homestead to close out the event from 4pm to 6:30pm. More info coming soon.

Into the Future:

Tuesday, June 23

Hike along Tamarack Creek

10am - Housatonic Valley Association Office, 19 Furnace Bank Road, Wassaic, NY—- MAP Watershed: Ten Mile. Kick off the Watershed month by a hike with the Mid-Hudson ADK along one of the tributaries of the Ten Mile River. We will tour the Housatonic Valley Association office, followed by a visit to old stone furnaces and a hike along the Tamarack creek in a pristine forest with waterfalls. The trip leader will be Lalita Malik. Call Lalita, 845-592-0204, or email, to confirm. Meet at the HVA office, 19 Furnace Bank Road, Wassaic, NY

Wednesday, June 24

Intro to Mobile GIS

5:30 - 9:30 pm, Marist College - Poughkeepsie. Intro to Mobile GIS (Adobe .PDF) Layers and Free Web-Based Geospatial Map Applications (Geobrowsers) Did you know that Adobe Acrobat files now enable “Layers” that can utilize and integrate spatial information as a virtual “mobile GIS”? Have you heard about the whole wave of new “Geobrowser” tools (Google Maps, Google Earth, NASA World Wind) now available online? Do you want to know more about how to use these remarkable mobile and online spatial resources to understand your neighborhood, our planet and the natural systems of the Hudson River watershed?  The Hudson River Watershed Alliance ( in partnership with Marist College ( is sponsoring a half-day introductory training to support a fuller understanding of watershed management, water resource protection, sustainability, and conservation planning issues in the Hudson River watershed. Please see attached announcement for more details.  To register contact Katy Dunlap, HRWA Coordinator, at or 845-486-1556.  Registration is limited to 15 seats and is expected to fill. Cost is $30.

Friday, June 26

Leo Burmester Retrospective

7PM – 10 p.m. – Cultural Center on Lake Carmel. Opening Reception – “We are such stuff as dreams are made” Retrospective continues with 8 p.m. Performance June 27 by Daniel Burmester (GUTworks Theatre) of Rattlesnake in a Cooler by Frank South. Additional exhibit days: Sunday, June 28, 1-5 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, June 29-July 1, 7-9 p.m. Rattlesnake in a Cooler A one man show by Frank South. GUTWorks, a NYC/Vermont-based theater & film company, will be performing Rattle Snake in a Cooler at Arts on the Lake in Carmel, NY. The performance will be on Saturday night at 8pm. GUTWorks has amazed audiences again and again over the past three years with their dynamic theatrical events. The renowned theatre and film company will be presenting another, Ingeniously creative solo theatre experience. Daniel Burmester will be performing Rattlesnake in a Cooler, the gut-wrenching story of a man trying to find himself in all the wrong places.

Saturday, July 11

Annual Garden Party at the Asylum

3PM - Onwards. Come celebrate the beauty of the highlands in western Kent. Rain or Shine! Bring some food for the pot luck and drink for the coolers, a blanket and/or some chairs, or just wear light, comfortable clothes and hang out on the grass in the field. We'll have plates and forks and knives and spoons and cups so you can leave those at home.

Don't forget your sunscreen. There's afternoon shade near the edge of the forest so you can set up over there if you like. Last year the kids had a massive water fight to stay cool. No adults were harmed in the battle.

When the sun goes down the fire-pit becomes the place for gathering and we'll be sure to have it blazing once it's dark enough for the after-party which ran until 6AM last year.

The weather report projects 80º and partly sunny so we'll have lots of ice and cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages on hand. What you could do:

Bring along some friends, the extended family, the neighbors, your kids, the dogs... pretty much anything and anyone that walks or rolls.

Bring your musical instruments, your talents and yes, even your accordions and kazoos. But be prepared to play them.

If you're traveling from away or taste testing the barleycorn, bring your tent. There's plenty of room to camp.

Handicap parking is available!

More info is here.

Thursday, July 23

Hudson River Watershed Alliance

10AM - 3PM At this meeting, we will learn about the current activities of each watershed group and what new issues you are facing in your efforts.  In addition, we will collectively chart a course for organizing quarterly or semi annual watershed roundtable width='100%' meetings.  The goal of this meeting is to find new ways in which you can learn from one another and move your local watershed
efforts forward!
In preparation, please consider these questions and be prepared to discuss your related activities:

1.  Since our last meeting (July 2008), what aspect of watershed planning protection has your group focused on?

2.  What challenges have you faced and how has your group addressed these issues?

3.   Is their mutual consent to commit to more frequent roundtable meetings?  If so, how should we structure these events?
Please RSVP by Thursday, July 16, to or 845-486-1556.

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


Copyright © 2009 News That Matters

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

News That Matters - June 17, 2009

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

Good Wednesday Morning,

The sun might actually come out today. The NWS says that the UV index will be an 8 today (out of 10) but then they've been predicting this for a week already.

The folks over at Lake Carmel are creating a garden at the Community Center. You are encouraged to donate plants and can call (845) 225-6674 to arrange for a pickup. If you live over there and are reworking your home gardens and have some hardy perennials you are parting with, you now know what to do with them. Tell them I sent you.

Two notes from the Hudson River Watershed Alliance:
NYS DEC Hudson River Estuary Program releases The State of the Hudson 2009 Report. How is the Hudson doing?  Find out in the The State of the Hudson 2009 report, produced by the Hudson River Estuary Program.  In laypersons language, this 16 page illustrated report concisely describes progress and identifies ongoing problems. It looks at water quality, habitat, and fish and wildlife of the estuary as well as biodiversity, tributary health, and land use patterns in the Hudson's watershed. For the full report, see:
The Nature Conservancy releases report from Rising Waters scenario planning effort. Rising Waters is a collaborative effort designed to develop adaptive strategies to protect the Hudson Valley's environment, economy and quality of life from threats associated with climate change.  Using a formal scenario development process, originally created by Royal Dutch Shell, to model plausible futures in a changing climate, participants consider possible impacts of climate change on Hudson Valley communities and the environment, and how various types of human response over a 20-year period might change them.  For the full report and recommendations (on right hand side), see:
Someone on a blog somewhere suggested I was "too green". Huh. I'm guessing they haven't yet understood the direct connection between the quality of the air we breath and the water we drink with the way we treat the land.
This came to mind yesterday while I was taking a break sitting on the edge of a remnant field awash with wildflowers. You could smell the field quite clearly. The oxygen generated out-gassing from this bit of remaining nature reminded me that the engine which produces the oxygen we breath isn't in the Amazon or China, but right here under our very noses. And that when we remove the plants and trees there's a corresponding decrease in oxygen generation and drinking water purification, right here.

I thought that people think nothing of feeding themselves food, abundant and easily measured in our supermarkets. They clean themselves to rid their bodies of harmful bacteria. In fact, we do a lot of things - without even thinking - that are all about keeping us alive. Yet, we breath and don't choke. We open the tap and drink until full. That these last two resources are seemingly limitless and so we don't even think about them. "There's plenty of trees!" we'll say. "There's plenty of clean water!"

But if we had to count, measure and pay for each green, oxygen generating engine or for each plant whose roots filter our drinking water we'd begin to think differently about their abundance and treat them as a commodity instead. We'd think less about profit and more about basic , individual survival. We'd all become "too green".

We have to find a way for those who think I'm "too green" to understand that wantonly paving over the land and mowing down our forests is akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face.
A US Senator admitted to having an extra-marital affair yesterday and really, it's none of our business.
Well, it wouldn't be our business if he weren't one of the morality guys who lashed out at Senator Larry Craig as being "an embarrassment" when Craig got caught playing footsie in a public men's room. Had he kept his mouth shut
When it comes right down to it, Americans expect those we elect to be more perfect than Christ. We want them pure and clean and morally absolute and to be a Poster Child for the Disneyesque lifestyles we made believe we had in 1955. And when we find out they're simply human and have all the foibles that each of us has, we lambaste and condemn, criticize and ostracize.

We tend to vote for those who play the game best, hoping that no one finds out they have sexual appetites or like the barleycorn, or pick their noses or scratch themselves in all the places men scratch themselves. And once the facades come tumbling down we go through all kinds of outrage and conniptions, moving from disbelief to anger to revulsion, and all of it ultimately fake. All of it for the sake of covering our own imperfections, hoping no one finds out that we, too, are human.

The way around all that is simple: we can stop lying to ourselves and cast our votes based on issues and policies and not rely on the professed moral purity of our candidates and their campaign promises to walk on water.
Website Watch:
Koogle used to be this noodle concoction your family forced you to eat on Jewish holidays. Sometimes it was sweet and soft and other times, especially when it came from your Aunt Ruth who couldn't boil water, it was inedible though covered in cinnamon and you could break a tooth on the burnt noodles. But that was then and this is now.
Now, koogle isn't just for eating anymore and it's been reconstituted as a kosher search engine for the orthodox Jewish community. Click on the image over there and give it a try. Did you know there's a Boro Park Pizza in Ashdod, Israel?
The foreign press has largely left Iran. With the government canceling extensions on visas and demanding that any reporters staying request explicit permission to report on stories or face imprisonment, a blanket of secrecy has fallen over the country. The Iranian Cultural Minister said, "No journalist has permission to report or film or take pictures in the city [Tehran]." But Twitter and Facebook and Flickr have come to the rescue.
Iranians who still have access to the internet have flooded the world with short bursts of information that, while on the surface have been confusing and often contradictory, once weeded through, a concrete picture of mass arrests at Universities and of political opposition party members and civil rights activists has emerged.

Imams have promised a partial recount of the votes but in order for there to be a recount, doesn't there have to be a count in the first place?
And now, The News:
  1. House Panel Approves Hinchey Request of $150,000 for Sloop Clearwater
  2. Beacon and Clearwater reach agreement on University Settlement Camp
  3. Providing Health Insurance For US Children Would Be Cheaper Than Expected, Study Says
  4. Taking Comfort in Small Joys
  5. In Some Swimming Pools, a Nasty Intestinal Parasite
  6. The Secret Life of Mosquitoes
  7. Pennsylvania town fights big coal on mining rights
  8. Can Countries Cash In by Leaving Oil Untapped?

House Panel Approves Hinchey Request of $150,000 for Sloop Clearwater

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY- Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, America’s flagship environmental organization, has been notified by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) that late last week he had secured the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior's approval of $150,000 for the renovation of the historic sloop Clearwater. Hinchey, who is a member of that panel, requested the funds for renovations of the ship as part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Interior Appropriations bill.

     “The Clearwater, which is a unique vessel that serves as a link to the Hudson River’s rich maritime history, is in need of serious restoration,” Hinchey said. “These federal funds will pay for structural repairs to the vessel that are long overdue.  The Clearwater serves the community as an excellent educational resource and is an important piece of New York history.”

     The federal funds will be used to do necessary maintenance on the sloop Clearwater, which is presently moving into the last year of five year-long renovation program. Upcoming repairs, which include an aggressive replacement of hull planking plus an assessment and likely replacement of the stem, according to Clearwater captain Samantha Heyman, will maintain the structural integrity of the vessel and continue to ensure the safety of all those who board it.

Read More

Beacon and Clearwater reach agreement on University Settlement Camp

BEACON — The Beacon city council approved Monday an agreement to that will allow Poughkeepsie-based environmental organization Clearwater to move its headquarters to the former University Settlement Camp.

The 5-1 vote set in motion the terms of a 10-year agreement in which Clearwater will renovate, maintain and operate the White House on the grounds of the site.

Clearwater has the option of renewing the lease for two five-year periods.

Monthly rent, to the tune of $1,200, will be offset by the fair market value of work done to the premises by the nonprofit organization.

Read More

Providing Health Insurance For US Children Would Be Cheaper Than Expected, Study Says

ScienceDaily (June 16, 2009) — Extending health insurance coverage to all children in the U.S. would be relatively inexpensive and would yield economic benefits that are greater than the costs, according to new research conducted at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

"Providing health insurance to all children in America will yield substantial economic benefits," wrote Vivian Ho, chair in health economics at the Baker Institute and associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She co-authored the report with Marah Short, senior staff researcher in health economics at the Baker Institute. They based their research on recent studies published in peer-reviewed journals to examine the evidence regarding the economic impact of failing to insure all children in the United States.

The children will receive better health care and enjoy better health, thereby improving their productivity as adults, the researchers said. The cost incurred by providing universal coverage to children "will be offset by the increased value of additional life years and improved health-related quality of life gained from improved health care. From a societal perspective, universal coverage for children appears to be cost-saving."

Read More

Taking Comfort in Small Joys

West Virginia has endured pervasive poverty throughout its history. With a median per capita income at around $35,000, the state ranks second--after Mississippi--as the poorest in the nation. The people of West Virginia feature as stock characters in jokes referencing poor, uneducated "hillbillies." But within the state, the ruggedly self-sufficient culture that endemic poverty has engendered represents strength and independence--a thing of pride for residents.  Most importantly--for the purposes of this project--that natural state of being for West Virginia has acted as a kind of buffer against some of the heartbreak and despair the recession has visited upon wealthier parts of the country.

Since my journey is not simply a poverty tour, but intended specifically to document how people are adjusting to dramatically changed economic circumstances, I pointed my rental Prius in the direction of Pocohantas County. Sliding from 5.6% unemployment in late 2007, to 16.9% today, Pocahantas has arguably taken the hardest hit of any county in West Virginia.

Read More

In Some Swimming Pools, a Nasty Intestinal Parasite


A swimming pool can offer relief from summer heat, but swimmers should know what they are jumping into. It could be a soup of nasty parasites.

Reports of gastrointestinal illness from use of public pools and water parks have risen sharply in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The leading culprit is a microscopic organism that lives in human feces.

Called cryptosporidium, it is a parasite transmitted in an egglike shell that can survive as long as 10 days even in chlorinated water. In 2007, the last year for which statistics are available, it was responsible for 31 recreational water outbreaks involving 3,726 people, according to the disease centers — up from 7 outbreaks and 567 people in 2004.

Health officials say the reasons are unclear. “We’re not sure whether it’s a true increase in incidence or an increase in reporting,” said Michele C. Hlavsa, an epidemiologist with the healthy swimming program at the C.D.C.

Ms. Hlavsa noted that detection and reporting had probably improved since a treatment for the diarrheal illness — called cryptosporidiosis, or crypto for short — became available in 2002. And the recent large outbreaks, she said, have raised awareness and led to better reporting.

Read More

The Secret Life of Mosquitoes

Submitted by K. Ohman on June 11, 2009 – 9:10 amNo CommentFor better or worse, the warmer Adirondack season brings mosquitoes. But if you can move past the annoyance of being bitten, there’s a lot to be learned about these Adirondack insects. Join Tom and Jackie Kalinowski as they provide you with a close up look at our local mosquitoes in “Nature in the Adirondacks.”  You can expand this video to full screen by clicking on the bottom-right square – highly recommended.

Read More

Pennsylvania town fights big coal on mining rights

By Jon Hurdle

TAYLORSTOWN, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - A small Pennsylvania town is trying to ban coal mining in a battle being played out across the state as rural communities try to assert control over mining, gas drilling and other businesses.

Blaine Township, a community of 600 about 40 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, hopes to trigger a legal battle that could determine the rights of municipalities throughout the United States to control corporate activity.

Some legal experts say the township is highly unlikely to win that fight. For now the dispute is in federal district court, where major energy companies have sued the township over three ordinances that would ban coal mining and require companies in any business to disclose their activities to local officials.

Read More

Can Countries Cash In by Leaving Oil Untapped?

Posted by: Ben Jervey on June 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm

As Peru attacks its indigenous groups for the oil in the Amazon, Ecuador tries another tack: charging rich countries to leave forests untouched.

Tensions in Peru are running high. Indigenous groups are refusing to back down and accept President Alan Garcia’s plan to open up huge swaths of their land in the Amazon to foreign investors for oil extraction. Last week, a violent clash between police forces and indigenous protesters erupted, leaving dozens of people dead and hundreds wounded.

By the official state estimate, 32 people—23 police and 9 protesters—were killed in a chaotic couple of days in the Peruvian Amazon. Indigenous leaders have claimed that at least 40 protesters were killed, and that bodies have been buried, burned, or dumped in rivers by the military security forces.

This all serves as a stark reminder that the true cost of oil goes far beyond the price at the gas pump and the carbon dioxide that it contains.

Read More

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


Copyright © 2009 News That Matters