Wednesday, August 5, 2009

News That Matters - August 5, 2009

News That Matters
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Good Wednesday Morning,

Arts on the Lake's Summer Concert Series kicks off tomorrow at 6PM at the Lake Carmel Cultural Center. More information about that is here. The events are held outside on the north lawn, inside, if it's raining. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy a musical sunset over Lake Carmel.

County court judge O'Rourke gave local Independence party members a victory by turning back authorizations filed on behalf of several candidates endorsed by the local leadership.

I've been closely following the logic and arguments of those who believe that the current health care system is preferable to any change. In their arguments they say that if the "public option" should be put into place that the government will:
  • Dictate which procedures are covered and which are not.
  • Deny coverage or set rates based on your lifestyle.
  • Americans would have to fill out forms detailing their past medical histories before coverage was granted.
  • A secret panel would determine if the treatment you were seeking was covered or not.
  • The government would decide which drugs were covered.
I'm not sure if they got everything bollixed up here since it seems to me that's the routine private insurance companies have in place right now.
Tea Party Alert!
Okay, just kidding. Interestingly, there were none here in Putnam County when the latest totals of state pork barrel spending were announced. We might be upset with the shenanigans in the State Senate but there wasn't a peep from the tea baggers over the ~$230,000 Unca Vinnie brought into the county nor the $59,000 Congressman Assemblyman Ball brought home. The Senator's dollars largely went to veteran's posts and libraries yet there were $72,000 in gifts to two Patterson based not-for-profits, the Putnam County Community Foundation and the Hudson Valley Trust. And which towns benefited most? Patterson with $82,000, Carmel at $60,000, Philipstown saw $37,000, Southeast received $30,000 and Kent and Putnam Valley came in last with $10,000 each.

More from the "What's Going on With England?" Saga
Police in Gloucester, England gave a nine year old child a "Stop and Account" form, a standard police form detailing why and when you were stopped by police. The affront? Playing in a tree in a pubic park.

And now, The News:
  1. DEC Releases Results of the Latest Freshwater Angler Survey
  2. States give cyclists room to ride
  3. West Point workers cheer Hinchey, Hall, for blocking privatization of jobs
  4. Let’s Stop Throwing Energy Away
  5. Wind chime maker aids Hudson River cause
  6. State Implements Quarantine to Halt Spread of Ash Borer
  7. WHO maintains 2 billion estimate for likely H1N1 cases

DEC Releases Results of the Latest Freshwater Angler Survey

The 2007 New York State Freshwater Angler Survey, which provides valuable insight on fishing trends and resource management, is now available. The survey is conducted periodically in order to learn more about current fishing experiences of anglers in New York State, their interests in different types of fishing opportunities, and their opinions on fisheries management issues.
Tens of Thousands Responded

About 20,000 questionnaires from a random sample of licensed anglers were completed. Results indicate that anglers spent an estimated 18.7 million days fishing New York's freshwaters in 2007-a slight increase from 1996's estimate of 18.6 million, though lower than the 1988 peak of approximately 21 million. Water bodies that had significant increases in the number of angler trips in 2007 included Oneida Lake and the Hudson River. Smaller increases were also noted for Lake Erie, Cayuga Lake and Lake Champlain. Lake Ontario remained the top fishing water.

Read More

States give cyclists room to ride

By Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY
As more riders take to the roads on bicycles, more states are giving them a bigger chunk of pavement — 3 feet to be precise — so they won't get swiped by cars.

A Colorado law recently signed by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter not only requires motorists to give riders at least a 3-foot-wide berth, it also makes it illegal to throw things at riders, says Dan Grunig, executive director of Bicycle Colorado. Previously, he says, police could only cite a motorist if they actually hit the rider.

"Cyclists need to be treated with respect and not surprise," Grunig said.

Tim Anderson, 52, of Fort Collins, Colo., says he often is harassed by drivers while riding his bike. "It can't always be that the fastest, heaviest vehicle wins," he says.

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West Point workers cheer Hinchey, Hall, for blocking privatization of jobs

HIGHLAND FALLS – Congressman Maurice Hinchey received a hero’s welcome when he showed up to a meeting of Local 2367 American Federation of Government Workers at James O’Neill High School in Highland Falls on Monday.

Hinchey and Congressman John Hall led the charge to convince the House to block the privatization of thousands of government jobs, including 500 at West Point.

But, Local President Don Hale said the battle is not over. The Senate must approve the same measure and it must make it through a conference committee before it goes to the President for his signature.

Read More

Let’s Stop Throwing Energy Away

Posted by: Ben Jervey on August 3, 2009 at 10:13 pm

We can save more energy than Canada uses in a year with better appliances and insulation. So what’s the holdup?

We waste a massive amount of energy. As a nation, we waste $130 billion worth of it every year. Our lamps put out more heat than light; our windows and walls leak; our computers, XBoxes, flat-screens, and microwaves steadily sip juice even when they’re turned off. And that’s just at home. The office and the factory aren’t any better.

Here’s why this is a good thing.

It means that there is staggering potential for energy savings in yet untapped efficiency measures. We can make enormous cuts to our energy use—and, therefore, carbon emissions—without compromising our quality of life or threatening the economy at all. Far from it, actually. These measures would put more money in the pockets of people and businesses alike, producing jobs all the while.

A McKinsey report issued last week broke down just how great this potential is. By 2020, the report, “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy”, explained, the United States could cut energy use for heating and generating power by 23 percent from projected demand. Twenty-three percent. That amount—roughly 9.1 quadrillion BTUs for any fellow energy dorks out there—is more than Canada’s total current consumption, and would more than offset projected growth in U.S. energy use from current levels.

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Wind chime maker aids Hudson River cause


A gift company started by a musician inspired by a landfill has created a wind chime supporting the ecology of New York's Hudson River, the company says.

Woodstock Percussion Inc.'s Hudson River Chime supports the non-profit Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, founded by U.S. folk singer Pete Seeger to protect the river's natural environment through advocacy, public education and celebration.

The five-pitch chime, tuned to the pentatonic melody of Seeger's "My Dirty Stream (The Hudson River Song)" -- which speaks of Seeger's hope the river may someday "run clear" -- came out a month after General Electric Co. started dredging 400,000 tons of toxic sediment from the Hudson, whose surrounding valley is a U.S. National Heritage Area.

"We wanted to support an organization that was vital to cleaning up this important river, which supports a biologically rich environment, but we also wanted to focus on a natural wonder that has broad national appeal," Woodstock Chief Executive Officer Garry Kvistad told United Press International.

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State Implements Quarantine to Halt Spread of Ash Borer

New York State is implementing a quarantine to prevent the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB), a tree-killing beetle. DEC and the Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) are establishing a quarantine, encompassing Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, that will restrict movement of ash trees, ash products, and firewood from all wood species in order to limit the potential introduction of EAB to other areas of the state.

State Quarantine Restrictions

The quarantine will restrict intrastate movement of certain "regulated articles," specifically:

    * Entire ash trees of any size, inclusive of nursery stock
    * Any part of ash trees, including leaves, bark, stumps, limbs, branches and roots
    * Ash lumber or ash logs of any length
    * Any item made from or containing ash wood
    * Any article, product or means of conveyance determined by the federal Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), DAM or the DEC to present a risk of spreading EAB
    * Firewood from any tree species
    * Wood chips and bark mulch from any tree species, larger than 1 inch in two dimensions, whether composted or uncomposted

Read More

WHO maintains 2 billion estimate for likely H1N1 cases

Tue Aug 4, 2009 12:38pm EDT

By Jonathan Lynn

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization stuck on Tuesday to its statement that about two billion people could catch H1N1 influenza by the time the flu pandemic ends.

But the estimate comes with a big health warning: no one knows how many people so far have caught the new strain, known as swine flu, and the final number will never be known as many cases are so mild they may go unnoticed.

"By the end of a pandemic, anywhere between 15-45 percent of a population will have been infected by the new pandemic virus," WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi said in a statement.

"Thirty percent is a midpoint estimate and 30 percent of the world's population is 2 billion."

Read More

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