Friday, January 15, 2010

News That Matters - January 15, 2010 - Things To Do Edition

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Good Friday Morning,
Senator Leibell sent a broadcast email out to interested constituents the other day regarding donations to Haiti. In it he says that you can make an easy donation to the cause by texting the word  'HAITI' to phone number: 90999. This is legitimate and was set up by the US State Department who will, upon receipt of your text message, donate $10 (it will show up on your phone bill) to the International Red Cross for relief efforts.

HaitiPreacher Pat Robertson said the other day that Haiti made a pact with the devil to win their freedom from France. Ever since, he says, they've been cursed and the earthquake the other day is just another stop on the devil's tour and that if they would just turn to Christ for their salvation, all their poverty and misery would end. Radio commentator and darling of the Bud Light set Rush Limbaugh said,
"This will play right into Obama's hands--humanitarian, compassionate. They'll use this to burnish their, shall we say, credibility with the black community, in both the light- skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. It's made to order for him."
Keith Olberman replied to both men:  "...and I would wish you to hell. But knowing how empty your souls must be for you to be able to say such things in a time of such pain, I suspect the vacant, purposeless lives you both live now are hell enough already." See him say it himself here.

For those of you who use Google Earth, GeoEye has posted satellite photographs of Port Au Prince as an overlay layer which clearly shows what's gone on down there. Click on this link and then open the response with Google Earth on your computer. Close and open the layer to see the differences.

Lake Carmel is going to be listed as "Impaired" in the next DEC rating for waterbodies in the State of New York. It's a sensitive subject with the folk in that community. As I found doing my work with the town's Stormwater committee and even more difficult during the last campaign, the people in Lake Carmel look out across the water and think it's all good and dandy. The Town says they're spending all kinds of money on cleaning up the lake and point to riprap here and a gate valve at the dam there or the cost of filling the lake with carp that eat the algae that's in there. In the end, it's all cosmetic so I'll say it here and take the heat:
Lake Carmel Has Significant Pollution Problems That Can Only Be Repaired Once The Community That Lives There Accepts There Is A Problem And That They Are The Cause.

In other words, the problems at the lake are largely not caused by I84 or Route 52/311 though they do contribute, especially to the siltation of the north cove. Rather, the majority of the problem is caused by what you do and how you live your life. That's the truth and there's nothing you can say that will alter that. Oh, and it's not just Lake Carmel, it's every lake and pond and puddle that's affected the same way.

When you rake or blow your leaves into the street where do you think they go? To heaven? No, they work their way into the nearest waterbody where they break down and release food for all the bad things we're working to get rid of. If you live in a place where the soils are thin and bedrock is nearby, odds are if your septic and leach fields aren't working exactly as built, that sewage is going to find its way into the lake. If your stormwater apparatus flows directly into a lake without first settling out sediment you're going to continue screwing up your lake.

Yeah, I know this is not what you want to be hearing when everything "looks" so pretty, but we prophets, belittled and abused in life, are often called upon long after our miserable lives are over as somehow 'forward thinking' and 'prophetic'.

So, what to do? STOP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING and start living a new way. No, not your neighbor - you.

Each town has a stormwater management committee and each committee has a website that you should not only look at but study, memorize and put into practice. You might want to start at the Town if Kent's stormwater site and watch the four PSA's I produced for the committee last year. They're funny as heck, smart, well done, perfectly acted and, before I forget, they're pretty darned informative. You can find them here. Feel free to pass them around.

As late as the 1970's a woman had little right to keep her own property when she married. As late as the decade before it was illegal in many places to marry across racial lines. In both cases, those who supported such practices claimed that the "the institution [of marriage] would be degraded, their own marriages would be devalued," if such things were to come to an end. Interestingly, and as you would suspect, the exact same arguments are being made now by those who are against same-sex marriage. Similar arguments are made against ending the death penalty or legalizing drugs or even, creating a single-payer national health care system. Any of these forward changes will undermine tradition, or so we're told.
As this nation comes of age and settles into its role as a post-Colonial power it's necessary that we begin the task of creating a new national model, one that takes the myth of what we've been telling ourselves and the world we are, and turns that myth into a reality for ourselves.

Looking around the world at other nations who have held the role we are just now giving up, history is filled with examples of nations entering into a dark age when they refused to deal with their new, different, national status. On the other hand, some nations re-focused their efforts, not on reconquering the world but on truly bettering themselves by choosing not to live in the glory of what they once were but to live in the glory of what they can be.

We are not the free, open, democratic society we claim to be. We are a political, class and religious dissevered nation awash in a sea of xenophobia, lashing out witlessly at every perceived threat, playing the victim, seeing every advance as a menace and taking out our anger on ourselves, our children and those we claim to love.

We have an opportunity - right now - to fix this. An opportunity to ensure that every American is treated equally and fairly, to be cared for, housed and fed in the very best way we know how. And it's not that people can just sit around and be taken care of, no, we have to work at creating a new business paradigm to create fresh, internal wealth, and build landmark industries that do not rely on our control of foreign trade, resources and markets.

But we must first start with individual freedoms, rights and responsibilities, for it's how we treat each other that will set the tone for where we can go in the future. If we are fair and open and respectful of the basic needs of others and build a new sense of trust and community amongst ourselves we'll then have the tools to build a new nation. If we fail at that then history is just as rife with examples of nations that lived in fear, exported fear and totalitarianism and created a hell for themselves and their neighbors.

Where do you want to see this nation go? What kind of nation do you want to leave the next generation? How do you want America to be remembered?


Tracking Skills Workshop with Shane “White Feather” Hobel

10 AM - 3 PM - Back by popular demand, Shane “White Feather” Hobel of Mountain Scout Survival School will present a special program on the “Native Way of Tracking.”  Participants will learn how to identify animal tracks, and how to identify subtle changes in the surroundings which may indicate that an animal has traveled through.  An outdoor guide licensed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Shane developed his wilderness skills under the teaching of Tom Brown Jr. and Stalking Wolf. Shane applies his knowledge and experience to his work as an educator at the Mountain Scout Survival School and trains members of law enforcement and the military in tracking. Shane is one of five members of the Tracker Search and Forensic Investigation team. He was featured on Discovery Channel’s Monster Quest in the summer of 2009.  He was also featured in a story published in The New Yorker, describing his efforts to track a black panther in the Palisades area of New York.  This program is recommended for adults and teens 14 years old and older. There is an instructor fee of $20.00 per person, payable by cash or check only. Participants should bring a bag lunch and beverage. Registration is required; call 845-831-8780, ext. 300 by Wednesday, January 13, 2010. Please dress for indoor and outdoor activity.  For more information about this and other programs at Stony Kill, call 845-831-8780, ext. 300, or visit DEC's website at Location:  Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center is located 2 miles north of the Beacon-Newburgh bridge (I-84) on State Route 9D in the Town of Wappingers Falls.

Hudson Valley Rail Trail Winterfest

11AM - 2PM - Hudson Valley Rail Trail Depot, 101 New Paltz Road, Highland, NY 12528. Winterfest 2010 takes place Saturday, January 16th from 11AM until 2PM at the Hudson Valley Rail Trail Pavilion at 101 New Paltz Road, Highland, NY. It’s fun for the whole family. Come, cast your vote for the â  Best of the Fest’ Chili contest, enjoy children’s crafts and games, ice carving, a wintry wagon ride, roasted chestnuts, toasted marshmallows. Admission is $2.00 ages 6 and older. Children 5 and under FREE. Visit website for more details at or contact Jerry Luke at 845-691-8151.


Animal Tracking Winter Adventure

1:30PM - Join an experienced tracker to discover animal tracks in snow and learn how to identify them at Esopus Bend Nature Preserve. Free. Sponsor: Esopus Creek Conservancy. Info: and

Into the Future:

Saturday, February 6

Teatown’s Hudson River EagleFest:

Eagles6th Annual Regional Celebration. 9:00am-4:00pm at Croton Point Park Major Sponsors: Friends of Westchester County Parks, Westchester County Parks, Club Fit. With additional support from TD Bank, Westchester County,  Croton-on-Hudson, and all EagleFest Collaborating Organizations.

EagleFest Headquarters and all theaters will be located in heated tents at Westchester County’s Croton Point Park. Free parking and shuttle buses from outlying lots, including a shuttle bus from Metro North’s Croton-Harmon Train Station. Ticket holders for all shows should allow at least 30 minutes for parking and shuttle rides.

EagleFest 2010 Features:
  • Birds of Prey Shows in the Eagle Theater Tent
  • Eagle Exploration Bus Tours
  • Collaborators exhibits with educational displays
  • Children’s area – with interactive games, crafts, and hands-on discoveries
  • Additional presentations in the Eaglet Theater Tent
  • Eagle Viewing Along the Hudson River
  • And so much more!
Call Teatown at 914 762-2912 x110 to purchase tickets or for more information

Admission to EagleFest Headquarters and River Sites is free, but a donation of $2 per person is suggested.

Bird Of Prey Shows, $5 per person
Eagle Exploration Bus Tours, $20 per person (ages 12+)

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