Monday, October 19, 2009

News That Matters - October 19, 2009

News That Matters
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"Hipsters, flipsters and finger-poppin' daddies: knock me your lobes." - Lord Buckley.

Good Monday Morning,

Now that we've all had a taste of winter perhaps it's time to take sealing up and sprucing up your home a little more seriously. As well, it's firewood time and before the price skyrockets come November, perchance it's best to put your order in now. Supporting our sponsors is a good thing for you - and them.

If you think Domestic Violence is only about physical abuse and that the many signs of abusive relationships are known...think again. There's a candlelight vigil at the County Courthouse this evening at 7PM to raise awareness.
This event will offer resources and remember victims who have died due to DV. Be a Part of the Solution to Educate others, Be inspired by survivors, and help Stop the cycle of Abuse. Prevention is knowledge and you will be impacted by what you see, and what you hear. Be there. Contact Michele Renee for more information. Or, if you're on Facebook, look here.
The movie theater in the Shoprite Plaza has closed, temporarily. It's the economy, we're told. A new owner is in the wings, we're told. How about the place was never that good, film and sound quality left something to be desired, the people who worked there were rude and so people stopped going?

The Sheriff's department is investigating the Carmel Assessors office - but probably for the wrong reasons.

Dead bodies are turning up in Carmel.
Nothing to do with the Assessor's office though.

A Sonic Burger has opened in Wappingers Falls. A throwback to a time when pretty girls (carhops) came out to your car to take and deliver your order. Burgers. Chicken. Corn Dogs. breakfast all day. A heart attack delivered right to your driver's side window!

I can remember not all that long ago when communities and schools across the nation were banning Halloween celebrations because of their alleged link to satanic rituals and observances. Now it's the second largest holiday (if measured by store sales) behind Christmas. What happened?

California would like it's residents to remember murdered San Francisco councilman Harvey Milk come May 22. Randy Thomasson, who runs a 'pro-family' group called Save California said, "Fathers and mothers are angry about Harvey Milk Day pushing this extreme, perverse role model upon their kids," and is urging parents to boycott schools on that day in order to save them, apparently, from hellfire and damnation.

A guy out in Colorado reported that his son had been taken away by a balloon and the nation paid attention. Every news network covered the story and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of police time were spent in an attempt to rescue the boy. In the end it turned out the story was a hoax and now the guy faces serious criminal charges. Okay, he was clearly wrong. But I'm wondering if the national outrage wasn't more of a case of "we got caught believing such crap and now we're embarrassed" as much as it was anything else?
Several times a week I'll get an email from someone claiming this or that or something else incredible:
  • Microsoft will send you $25 if you visit this website.
  • Little Stacey is dying of cancer and wants a postcard from you and you should send the request to everyone you know so she can die a happy child.
  • President Obama will tell your 82 year old Aunt Sadie that she can't have that cancer treatment which will add 10 years to her life in order to provide health care to illegal aliens.
It's endless.
I just received a phone call telling me to be very careful, because the person knows that I travel alone.  Signs are being posted at WalMart and other stores warning women to be very careful when entering or exited their cars because the gang "Bloods" for their initiation are ordering new members to kill at least 34 women before the end of Halloween.

I don't know how true this is, but please be careful, you never know, and Halloween is the time when a lot of things happen.
People believe what they want to believe regardless of the facts. And no matter how many times I set the record straight the same people will send yet another national hoax.
  • Bank of America is releasing your peronsal information to Wal*Mart.
  • A three-year-old was kidnapped by a guy in a 2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse.
  • McDonalds makes it a policy to 'forget' items from drive-thru orders.
  • There is a law that requires college cafeterias to include laxitives in served food.
Stop that! If someone sends you something - anything - that sounds too good to be true or too horrific to be sane, check the facts before you flood the 'net with your forwards. A good first place to look is at
Bank of America reports a $1,000,000,000 loss for the last quarter. A recipient of $25,000,000,000 in TARP funds I can only assume they're not charging enough $35 over-draft and $3.00 ATM fees to their customers. That'll soon change.

Cartoonist and film maker Emily Breer lives in Garrison and updates her website twice weekly. Here's one of her creations below and a click on it will bring you to her website,

And now, The News:
  1. A Resident Outraged
  2. New state park named for Scenic Hudson leader Franny Reese
  3. Shale and Our Water
  4. The Secret New York Minute: Every Train Leaves a Bit Late
  5. Maldives Cabinet Meets Below Waves to Highlight Climate Change Threat
  6. Prescription Drugs Kill 300 Percent More Americans Than Illegal Drugs
  7. Strong Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday Morning
  8. For SAD Sufferers, Cognitive Behavior Better Than Light Therapy At Preventing Recurrence, Study Suggests

A Resident Outraged

One afternoon six years ago, Debra Hall learned the water in her Hopewell Junction home was toxic. The quest she has embarked on since that day has transformed her and her entire neighborhood

By: Greg Ryan

Debra Hall’s two-floor, raised-ranch home is tucked into a quiet residential stretch of Hopewell Junction, a suburban hamlet of about 2,800 people in the town of East Fishkill, but it could easily be in any of a hundred identical communities in the Hudson Valley. The front lawns of Creamery Road, the tree-lined street on which Hall and her husband David live, are scattered with the hula hoops, basketballs, and other debris that clutter a neighborhood full of children. David has two sons from a previous marriage who stay with him every other weekend. He and Debra married in 1998, and moved from Patterson to their current home in Hopewell in 2001. Both David, 42, and Debra, 48, grew up in more crowded environs — he on Long Island, she in Queens (her “New Yawk” accent still rings true) — so the couple relishes Creamery Road’s quiet nights and expansive space. They bought the house with the intention of growing old together in its bucolic embrace.

While David commutes to and from the city every day for his job as an electrician, Debra spends most of her time alone at home. In 1996, she suffered a debilitating back injury while working. (At the time, she too was employed as an electrician.) Since then, she has been unable to work. Some days, the pain is so excruciating Hall can barely move around the house. She has visited 14 doctors and undergone three surgeries to implant spinal cord stimulators, but still needs to use a cane. “Every day I wake up and just have to hope for the best,” Hall says. For the first few years she lived on Creamery Road, she passed the time by cross-stitching, reading, and watching television. “I didn’t even know my neighbors,” she says. “I would wave to them, and that would be it. I hadn’t learned a name or anything.”

Read More

New state park named for Scenic Hudson leader Franny Reese

HIGHLAND – Franny Reese was known as “the mother of the modern environmental movement.”

The state and Scenic Hudson named a new 250 acre park in her memory Friday.

The park, in the Town of Lloyd, offers expansive views and opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, picnicking and birding, said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan.

“The park is a beautiful piece of land that stretches from the west side of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge, that’s the Mid-Hudson Bridge, and it extends almost a mile down river and has extensive hiking trails and provides extraordinary views of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, of the Walkway Over the Hudson that recently opened as a new state park, and of other landscapes around Poughkeepsie and Ulster County areas,” he said.

Read More

Shale and Our Water

New York State’s environmental regulators have proposed rules to govern drilling in the Marcellus Shale — a subterranean layer of rock curving northward from West Virginia through Ohio and Pennsylvania to New York’s southern tier. The shale contains enormous deposits of natural gas that could add to the region’s energy supplies and lift New York’s upstate economy. If done carefully — and in carefully selected places — drilling should cause minimal environmental harm.

But regulators must amend the rules to bar drilling in the New York City watershed: a million acres of forests and farmlands whose streams supply the reservoirs that send drinking water to eight million people. Accidental leaks could threaten public health and require a filtration system the city can ill afford.

Natural gas is vital to the nation’s energy needs and can be an important bridge between dirty coal and renewable alternatives. The process of extracting it, however, is not risk-free. Known as hydraulic fracturing, it involves shooting a mix of water, sand and chemicals — many of them highly toxic — into the ground at very high pressure to break down the rock formations and free the gas.

Read More

The Secret New York Minute: Every Train Leaves a Bit Late

For a commuter rushing to catch a train, a minute can mean the difference between dinner with the family and leftovers in the microwave.

What most passengers do not realize is that their minute is already there.

Every commuter train that departs from New York City — about 900 a day — leaves a minute later than scheduled. If the timetable says 8:14, the train will actually leave at 8:15. The 12:48 is really the 12:49.

In other words, if you think you have only a minute to get that train — well, relax. You have two.

The phantom minute, in place for decades and published only in private timetables for employees, is meant as a grace period for stragglers who need the extra time to scramble off the platform and onto the train.

“If everyone knows they get an extra minute, they’re going to lollygag,” explained Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for the Metro-North Railroad.

Read More

Maldives Cabinet Meets Below Waves to Highlight Climate Change Threat

By Steve Herman
New Delhi
17 October 2009

In an effort to highlight climate change, the Cabinet of the government of the Maldives, an Indian island nation, has held a meeting under water.

Meetings of government ministers can sometimes be a dry affair. That certainly was not the case during the latest gathering of the Cabinet of the Maldives.

President Mohamed Nasheed and 11 of his government ministers, plus the vice president and Cabinet secretary, donned scuba gear and plunged six meters below the shimmering turquoise surface of an Indian Ocean lagoon.

The Cabinet seated behind tables, amid a coral backdrop, used hand gestures to communicate.

The president is a certified diver but other Cabinet members had to take lessons in recent weeks to prepare for the unprecedented meeting.

Read More

Prescription Drugs Kill 300 Percent More Americans Than Illegal Drugs

by: David Gutierrez  |  Natural News

A report by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission has concluded that prescription drugs have outstripped illegal drugs as a cause of death.

An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida in 2007 found that three times as many people were killed by legal drugs as by cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines put together. According to state law enforcement officials, this is a sign of a burgeoning prescription drug abuse problem.

"The abuse has reached epidemic proportions," said Lisa McElhaney, a sergeant in the pharmaceutical drug diversion unit of the Broward County Sheriff's Office. "It's just explosive."

In 2007, cocaine was responsible for 843 deaths, heroin for 121, methamphetamines for 25 and marijuana for zero, for a total of 989 deaths. In contrast, 2,328 people were killed by opioid painkillers, including Vicodin and Oxycontin, and 743 were killed by drugs containing benzodiazepine, including the depressants Valium and Xanax.

Alcohol directly caused 466 deaths, but was found in the bodies of 4,179 cadavers in all.

Read More

Strong Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday Morning

By Geoff Gaherty

The Orionid meteor shower, one of the biggest and brightest of the year, is at its peak Wednesday morning, Oct. 21.

Skywatchers with dark skies and good weather could see a shooting star every 5 to 10 minutes, with brief bouts that might prove busier.

The Orionids, like most meteor showers, are caused by particles associated with a comet, in this case, the famous Halley's Comet. If you can't wait until Halley's Comet makes its next appearance in 2062, this is your chance to see a piece of it as it flies across the sky and vaporizes in Earth's upper atmosphere.

While most annual meteor showers are pretty minor events for the casual observer, the Orionids are one of the two or three best in the year, especially as this year there will be no moon to interfere with seeing the fainter meteors.

Read More

For SAD Sufferers, Cognitive Behavior Better Than Light Therapy At Preventing Recurrence, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Oct. 17, 2009) — In the September issue of the journal Behavior Therapy, University of Vermont psychologist Kelly Rohan presents the first published research study of the long-term effects of different treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of severe depression that occurs annually in the fall and winter seasons. The first year Rohan randomized 69 people with SAD into one of four groups: light therapy treatment, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), a combination of the two or a wait-list control. She then surveyed participants on how they were doing the next winter – one year later.

Of those treated with CBT, only 7 percent had a recurrence compared to 36.7 percent of people treated with light therapy. The recurrence rate for the combination group was 5.5 percent. When Rohan looked at the severity of the depression that did occur, however, CBT was associated with less severe depression than those treated with either light therapy or a combination of both.

In a previous study that measured the acute affects of each treatment (immediately following six weeks of intervention), combination therapy was highly effective, with a nearly 80 percent remission rate compared to 50 percent for both CBT and light therapy alone and 20 percent on the wait-list.

Read More

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