Monday, June 21, 2010

News That Matters - Monday, June 21, 2010

News That Matters

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

"Gulf disaster needs divine intervention as man's efforts have been futile. Gulf lawmakers designate today Day of Prayer for solution/miracle" - From Sarah Palin's Twitter Feed

Good Monday Morning,

Thanks to our new supporters and a welcome to our new readers!

If you’ve not yet become a supporter Click here!
It will make you feel good.

This morning it officially became "Summer". To me and other gardeners however, summer started several weeks ago and has been quite a different one from last year. In 2009 it rained from winter into July and then never really got warm. A month later, in August, a localized hailstorm destroyed every garden (and shredded trees and brush) in a narrow band along the top of the highlands from which our gardens never recovered.

Tomorrow morning at 10AM a protest walk will begin in Monticello and work its way over the next three days to Delhi in Delaware County. Led by Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner with supporters from the Sierra Club, the Catskill Mountainkeeper and others, the action protests "hydrofracking", a questionable method being proposed to extract natural gas from under our feet. You are invited to participate in any or all of the walk.
The march starts at the Sullivan County Government Building, 100 North Street in Monticello, and ends at the Delaware County Office Building at 111 Main Street in Delhi and will generally follow the various Route 17's that wend through the region.

Hat's Off! to a county Legislator willing to do more than just talk!

Now, you're thinking that gas drilling in Delhi won't affect Putnam County's water supply and at first glance you would be correct. But taking place on the edge - or inside the NYC Watershed - if that water supply becomes polluted then the one million people in Westchester County and the eight million in NYC and the thousands of Putnam residents who tap into the watershed (such as Lake Gleneida) will depend more on the Croton basin to make up for it, and that means us. Moreover, it's good to support our neighbors in these environmental concerns for these pollutants do not respect municipal boundaries.
Lori Kemp held a yard sale over this past weekend not unlike dozens of others around the region. But what made hers different was that virtually every person who stopped by was stunned by the scene of destruction that surrounded her home on three sides.
Lori, if you remember, lives in an historic home that sits next to the Gilead cemetery and that used to sit on a shelf at the base of the final rise of Mt. Gilead in Carmel. Now Mt. Gilead no longer exists, blasted into dust over the past three years, the blasting being followed by rock drills followed by backhoes and bulldozers and all of it done under questionable legal means. The politicians who allowed it all to happen should be hanging their heads in shame but it's Carmel and what town in the county gives the appearance of being more corrupt than that nicknamed Camardaville? And so Carmel's elected leaders get to skate free while Ms. Kemp finds herself the brunt of all their pent up frustration. Those guys ought to take up something useful - like making license plates - so far upstate that it snows in July.

Just When You Thought.... Redux

Sometimes it seems we're living in a world that even Franz Kafka could not have envisioned and that Philip K. Dick  has never had even in wildest nightmares. The Russian bureaucracy of Kafka's day has nothing on Putnam County today. For just when you think it's safe to go on about your lives our elected officials do something so outrageous that you want to take the entire lot and have them locked in stocks along Lake Gleneida. Just such an event took place last week when a letter from Vincent Tamagna, written on official Legislative stationary, ended up as an insert in the Putnam County News and Reporter. (Link)

I don't know about the legality of such and as far as I can tell his use of the Legislature's letterhead is, at the very least, unethical, as it gives the impression that body supports and endorses the position outlined inside. And what position is that? Yeah, you guessed it: it's a ham-fisted, illogical treatise on how giving Paul Camarda $3.7 million taxpayers dollars to upgrade highway infrastructure near his proposed Patterson Crossing project isn't giving Paul Camarda $3.7 million taxpayer dollars, that somehow it's different.

Yeah, as different as apples and apples.

In the letter, Vinnie T says there's a safety issue so important that we cannot wait another day else a school bus filled with high school cheerleaders is rear-ended by a prison van filled with level 3, syphilitic sex offenders bent on mayhem. And the environmental concerns are do dire that if we don't fix them at this very moment, Lake Carmel will shrivel and dry up leading to the discovery of an old bicycle or two - and Jimmy Hoffa's body.

And while I could go after his letter line by line and word by word exposing every twist and turn and paranoid fantasy, I'd rather have my eyes gored out by a rusty nail - yeah, it's the most inane piece of crap I've almost ever seen coming from an elected person. (Though the County Executive on his best days can do better.) And though he claims there has been "misinformation" concerning the issue (which he never explores) I have just one question to ask Mr. Tamagna: Which part of the following don't you understand?

From Camarda Development’s website about the project they have this:

Center will pay for the vast majority of high-cost road and stormwater improvements needed to address existing problems

I’ll grant that it’s in the small print and is the very last line on the page, but as of 8:44AM on May 25th, 2010, it’s there and the language is clear. “Center will pay….”

In the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the project dated July 17, 2008 and available here (PDF), we read the following:

The FEIS has identified several improvements that will be completed by the Project Sponsor [emphasis, mine] to mitigate the increase in traffic resulting from the retail center including:

• NYS Route 311 at the Project entrance would be improved with right and left turn lanes and a new traffic signal;
• At the Fair Street/NYS Route 311 intersection the curb radii will be widened;
• At the NYS Route 311/Interstate 84 Westbound ramp a left turn lane, off-ramp turn lane, signalization and queue detection will be added; and
• At the NYS Route 311/Interstate 84 Eastbound ramp a left turn lane, off-ramp turn lane, signalization and queue detection will be added.

The rest can be read in an article called, "Corporate Welfare, Putnam Style" posted on May 25th to the News That Matters website.

There was and is no misinformation in my post of May 25th unless Mr. Camarda's website is wrong and the copy of the FEIS at the Town of Patterson's website is outdated and has changed to eliminate the developer's promise.

No matter how you cut it, It's really quite clear: The developer has agreed to foot the bill for these improvements. Period. End of story. Finis. Over and Done. Roger and Out. Hallelujah, Amen.
But that's not good enough for Putnam's favorite developer and his friends in county government. No, they'd prefer that you foot the bill and then say that you're not footing the bill and make you believe it with the promise of $7 million in sales tax revenues each year - assuming the thing gets built, it's at full build out and the economy is booming. How long will it take to get to full build out? Two, three years maybe. But in his letter Mr. T hints that every day we're not giving Corporate Welfare to a rich man from Connecticut that we're somehow *losing* money. Hogwash.

Keep in mind that this $7 million in sales tax revenue equates to $83,582,089 in yearly sales or, if that $7 million figure relates to *all* sales taxes collected, then in order for Putnam County to earn that money they'd have to generate almost $200,000,000 in sales - and it's possible: Costco alone generates around $120,000,000 a year - per store - in sales. So, why not start building now? What are they waiting for? He says that as a safety issue this has to be done now so what's stopping Paul Camarda from moving forward with construction this very morning? Oh yeah, that little Corporate Welfare issue.

While banks are foreclosing on homes across the region, that $3.7 million could go a long way towards helping distressed homeowners and if the County Legislature wants to dole out the bucks they could at least help those folks. Or open a full time walk-in health and dental clinic. Or heck, even free the tank they've got in a cage at the county park. I mean, really... if the Legislature insists on spending that money on something other than the general fund, at least spend it in a way that would benefit the residents of this county and not a resident of Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Back in May we generated 60 letters, phone calls and emails to the Legislature saying, "What, are you crazy?" and the response from them was that we're all "politicos" and don't count. And regardless of what Mr. Tamagna says, this issue was pulled - at the last minute - from the committee calendar not to "get more information," which is a load of unmitigated bullshit, but because the last thing they wanted was 100 angry residents hauling them out of the legislative chambers and dumping their bodies into Lake Gleneida after being tarred and feathered.
So it's back once again to the keyboards and phones:
Call your county Legislator and tell them to Just. Say. No.
Members of the Physical Services Committee include, Mary Ellen O’Dell, Vincent Tamagna and Richard Othmer with at least two of those members already in favor and one leaning heavily in that direction. And, quite remarkably, the one County legislator who counts himself a tea bagger also supports this government welfare program!

And while I have the personal emails of pretty much everyone on the Legislature, to protect their privacy it’s best to write to them at their county address:
Oh, and ask too about the legality of printing and disseminating the letter that went out in Mr. Ailes' west county rag and ask who paid for it and if any campaign finance or legislative ethics laws were broken.
Being on the Legislature's letterhead, we finally know what position the County Legislature has taken.

Something isn't exactly right at the County Office Building and that's being kind.

If you agree with our position, that we should not be using public dollars for this project, please, at the very least, sign our petition online at News That Matters.

And now, The News:

Philipstown residents worried about proposed Dutchess mobile homes

PHILIPSTOWN — Plans for 210 mobile homes in Dutchess County have raised concerns in Putnam County because of their potential effects on the almost-maxed-out Haldane schools and the water supply of some Philipstown residents.

"It's a really a dense project," said Kim Conner, an 18-year Philipstown resident. "Our town, for the last decade basically, has been working on our zoning, trying to protect our rural character."

The proposal, known as Highland Valley, would sit in a sand and gravel mine on the west side of Route 9 right at the Putnam line and about two miles south of the Route 9 and Interstate 84 junction. The homes would be built on a 76-acre site in Fishkill, according to a draft environmental study, about a third of which would be left as open space.

Read More

Discovering America's earliest Veterans

This Memorial Day weekend, ten Boy Scouts from Troop 65 Fishkill and four Venture crew members from Crew 65 joined a work party from the Friends of the Fishkill Supply Depot and members of the Fishkill Historical Society. Their task was to help cover up some exposed archaeological excavations in a wooded area near Route 9.

So, what's the big deal about these excavations?

In 1776, the Continental Army needed a base of operations far enough away from strong British forces in the lower Hudson Valley and New York City, but close enough to the Hudson river, the city of Kingston (the state capital at the time) and the fortifications of West Point, so the Fishkill Supply Depot was established.

The supply depot was a small city. It was larger and operated longer than the better known Valley Forge, and held stables, barracks, smithy shops, armories, munitions dumps, and military hospitals. Literally thousands of American soldiers, from every one of the original thirteen colonies, passed through the depot. By 1778, the British were pushed out of the north (except for NYC) and the war moved to the southern colonies. The depot eventually fell into disuse and was gradually scavenged and forgotten. Over time, the area was paved under by condos, highways, and shopping malls. Today, only a few heavily wooded acres remain relatively undisturbed, but these are perhaps the most significant.

Read More

Most ready-to-eat salads unfit to eat

Results of a test by consumer watchdogs may be hard to stomach for those trying to lead a healthy life as the majority of tested prepacked salads were found unfit to eat.

Consumer information authorities at the Upper Austrian Labour Chamber (AKOÖ) said today (Mon) five of the nine probed packs of ready-to-eat salads on sale at Linz supermarkets were inedible.

AKOÖ official Georg Rathwallner stressed another three products were found of "degraded" quality while just one salad’s quality was rated faultless.

Read More

Glenn Beck compares BP oil spill hearings to Christians being fed to the lions

By now, conservatives defense of British Petroleum has been well documented.  Most notably, Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) apologized to the company for making them pay for the oil spill damages.  Rep. Barton echoed the words of conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh who called the escrow fund set up by BP the result of a "shakedown."  However, lost in the outrage over Rep. Barton's comments were Glenn Beck's similar reaction to the BP oil spill hearings.

In the clip below, Glenn Beck gets very angry at the lawmakers questioning BP CEO Tony Hayward.  Beck plays a clip from one congressman who tries to get Hayward to answer a question regarding BP's behavior before the spill.  The lawmaker asks Hayward multiple times whether the company was reckless, and Hayward runs to a favorite answer of lawyers saying the current evidence does not support that conclusion.  During the hearings, Hayward became infamous for dodging nearly every question, even questions he was sent before the hearing that he had the ability to answer.  A full, four-minute segment of Hayward question evasion can be seen here.  Beck seems the think the questioning is too harsh, and at one point compares Hayward to Christians being fed to the lions.

Read More

Is the BP Gusher Unstoppable?

Sharon Astyk at ScienceBlogs points the way to a seriously scary comment thread at The Oil Drum, a sounding board for, among others, many petroleum geologists and oil professionals. The comment in question is from a seemingly very knowledgable "dougr." Some of it follows verbatim below. I've highlighted the parts that frightened me the most and left me wondering: Is this why Obama's praying?

You can read the comment in its entirety here, complete with useful links, as well as all the comments (some of which dissent from dougr's claims) made in response.  Sharon notes, to the inevitable question of why pass along an anonymous comment: "This one passes my smell test, which is usually pretty good - that doesn't mean I claim commenter Doug R is right - it means I think his information is interesting enough to be worth exposing to a wider audience for clarification or correction." As the Oil Drum staff explains to its own readers regarding this post: "Were the US government and BP more forthcoming with information and details, the situation would not be giving rise to so much speculation about what is actually going on in the Gulf. This should be run more like Mission Control at NASA than an exclusive country club function--it is a public matter--transparency, now!" Amen. Meanwhile, judge for yourself:

Read More

Israel Eases Gaza Blockade, Will Allow In All Goods Except For Weapons

JERUSALEM — Israel's government decided Sunday to draw up a list of items banned from Gaza limited to weapons and materials deemed to have military uses and said the easing of the three-year-old blockade of the Palestinian territory would be implemented immediately.

The list of banned goods replaces an old list of allowed items that permitted only basic humanitarian supplies for the 1.5 million Gazans. Under the new system, the government said practically all non-military items can enter Gaza freely.

"From now on, there is a green light of approval for all goods to enter Gaza except for military items and materials that can strengthen Hamas' military machine," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said.

Read More

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

FBNews That Matters
on Facebook

Support Our Sponsors

Interior/Exterior House Painting by someone you can trust. (845) 225-2104 House

Joe Greico's
Out On A Limb

All types of tree work, all aspects of lawn maintenance, snow plowing and more!

82 Hortontown Rd.
Kent Cliffs, NY 10512
T- (914)224-3049
F- (845)231-0815

Mike Kaplowitz
Town of Kent Conservation

Mt. Nimham Fire Tower

Explore the outdoors in the Town of Kent, New York

Chuckie Goodnight Foundation
To educate children on how to be good stewards of the earth.

Chris Casaburi

(845) 531-2358

Brown Ink

Commercial Printing
600 Horsepound Road,
Kent Lakes, NY 10512
(845) 225-0177
Greg Brown

One Click ButterCutter
A Putnam County Owned Business Enterprise

Copyright © 2010 News That Matters