Monday, June 22, 2009

News That Matters - June 22, 2009

News That Matters
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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