Wednesday, July 7, 2010

News That Matters - July 7, 2010

News That Matters

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

Good Wednesday Morning,

Thanks to AC, DB, GG and MH-L for their support of what we do and welcome too, to our new readers.

According to the weather station my neighbor runs the temperature topped out at 100.1 ºF at just after 4PM yesterday and the National Weather Service says there is a 0% chance of snow over the next 24-36 hours.

The Putnam Valley Farmer’s Market will be open from 3PM until 7PM today at the Lake Peekskill Community Center, #7 Northway, Lake Peekskill.

The Brewster Farmer's Market will be open today from 9AM - 2PM at the intersection of Routes 6 and 202.

Short-term Hosting for Exchange students Needed, Now!

! Two-Week Hosting Opportunities *Still* Available Now !

[Ed note: World Exchange is based right here in Putnam County]
They can been seen on Facebook and talked to on Skype, but whether or not any will actually be seen in the greater Putnam County area this July 12th to 31st is up in the air.  It is fascinating that high school students from all over the planet can meet, make friends, and exchange ideas—one avatar to another—in a digital living room in Second Life and yet not have the opportunity to meet each other face-to-face while sharing pizza and soda on the porch. 

The opportunity is there, but the hosts are not.  Where are you Putnam County?

Nineteen French students, ten boys and four girls ages 15 to 17, and two leaders, are due to arrive here on July 12th for a 20 day homestay, with their sole objective being getting to know America and Americans. 

After months of outreach, World Exchange program directors in New Jersey have only been able to find enough families to welcome 10 students, and have turned to national directors Vera and Michael Sklaar in Putnam Valley for help.  “It puzzles me,” Vera says, “because hosting is such a unique, enriching, and educational way for families to engage meaningfully with the world.  Now more than ever we are all part of the same international community, so why not try to get to know our neighbors?  Perhaps because I am from London and Michael has lived abroad for a number of years we understand this a little more clearly.”

If you agree with Vera and Michael and want to take part in this wonderful adventure, they may be reached at: 845 526-2505 or 845 526-2299 or  They will be able to show you the students’ applications, photos and “Dear Host Family” letters.  Signing up to host is quick and easy and soon you, too, can be exchanging emails, Skyping and friending each other on Facebook.

The students come with insurance and pocket money. They look forward to being in host families with children of all ages. Their visit is sponsored by World Exchange (, a non-profit organization, which has organized short-term homestays in the Hudson Valley since its founding in 1985. 
In Other News:
  • Legislator Tony Fusco got his butt handed to him for sending out 20,000 or so emails for his recent fundraiser. It seems that not only did I get 9 but county employees received them as well with some claiming that they felt pressured to donate to his campaign else their patronage jobs would be in jeopardy. Ahhhh, shades of the Nassau County Republican party back in the good olde days when you kicked back 1% of your salary each year as employment insurance and no one ever dared to complain. Until someone did and the whole house of cards came crashing down in a blaze of lawsuits.
  • While we're talking about Republicans running things, an internal struggle between the forces of Anthony Scannapieco and Vinnie Leibell has erupted into an all-out skirmish that is sure to entertain and amuse. See, county election commissioners were set to be (re)appointed this week but there's a bill pending in Albany that would prohibit political party Chairmen from serving as commissioners. Leibell's supporters want the Legislature to wait until after the law is passed which would force Scannapieco to choose between that job and his leadership of the party, while Anthony's people want the Legislature to act fast so that he would be grandfathered in. But a quick reading of the law says that he'd have to choose in any case as grandfathering is the domain of bad planning and zoning decisions and not election law.
  • I'm the founder of an organization that offers a low bid of $150,000 on a 35 acre tax delinquent property - and win it - stiffing the county for $30,000 in property taxes and taking the property off the tax roles, just after I sold a 9 acre lot to the county hospital for $1.5 million. Now I'm going to build 120 subsidized apartments on those 35 acres. Who Am I?
  • Carmel's Lori Kemp goes to court in less than a month for an harassment charge leveled against her for defending her property against a trespasser. All this could have been avoided had she just shot the guy in the back.
  • Congressional Candidate Nan Hayworth has done a reorganization of her campaign website removing some of the more outlandish NRCC slogans in an attempt to move her more to the center than the tea bagger position she was happy to occupy until now.
  • Congressional Democrats are having a hard time keeping the Wall Street money coming in to their campaign coffers, a weird kind of thanks for the trillion dollar bailout. Campaign donations are down 65% over two years ago. Instead, Wall Street is running towards Republican candidates who have promised to keep the wealthy rich, and the middle classes paying for everything... just the way Wall Street likes it.
  • According to right-wing pundits, NASA's new charge is to reach out to the Muslim world to make them feel good about themselves. But that's not exactly right (no pun intended there,) as this is what Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator actually said during an interview with Al Jazeera: "When I became NASA administrator...[Obama] charged me with three things: one was he wanted me to help reinspire children to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations, to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and engineering.[emphasis, mine] Not quite the same thing.
  • Here's a list of the 50 Fattiest Foods in the United States, any one of which is a heart attack just waiting to happen and not one of them taxed extra special like NY taxes cigarettes. Since the tea baggers seem no longer to be around, as a protest to overt taxation I think I'll quit smoking and eat each Prize Winner in turn. More people are dying today from heart disease than from lung diseases and yet the state seems to have a problem only with smokers. Huh. My mother was right, I should have been a lawyer for there's a lawsuit in there somewhere.
  • Come November 1st, a new state law will require that automobile drivers leave a "reasonable distance" between themselves and bicyclists on the roads when passing. And while this requires some drivers to start paying attention it also requires bicyclists to do the same. If you're riding two feet inside the white line it's virtually impossible for a driver to give you your three-feet else they'd be in oncoming traffic. So please, bear a little of the burden of mutual safety and move to the right when a car comes up behind you. Okay? Thanks.
  • After washing their hands of the blood of more than 30,000 Kurds, Turkey warned Israel that unless they apologize for killing 9 Turkish terrorists back in May that the diplomatic manure will hit the fan. There were no immediate comments from the 1.5 million Armenians Turkey slaughtered at the beginning of the last century.

And now, The News:

Lake Gleneida walking trail markers installed

CARMEL - Under construction for the past year, the walking trail along the north and western sides of Lake Gleneida now has trail markers. The walking trail is on track to be opened to the public this fall. This beautiful unpaved walking trail begins near the intersection of Fowler Avenue and Route 301 in Carmel. Pictured is one of the trail markers installed (with approval by NYCDEP).

Later this fall when the trail is opened to the public, walkers along the western side of Lake Gleneida will be pleasantly surprised to see a white oak tree which is 19’ in circumference. As soon as its height is calculated, it will be entered into consideration as the largest one in Putnam County.

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Walkway Over the Hudson: State lawmakers OK transferring ownership of bridge

Legislation to transfer ownership of the Walkway Over the Hudson from a nonprofit to the state passed the Legislature and awaits Gov. David Paterson's signature.

The bill, which directs the state Bridge Authority to acquire and maintain the bridge, passed the Senate and the Assembly last month.

Assemblyman Frank Skartados, D-Milton, sponsored the Assembly version and Sen. Jose Serrano, D-Bronx, sponsored the Senate bill.

"This transfer will assure that this unique public asset will be there for future generations," Skartados said Thursday.

The bill prohibits charging a toll on the bridge. It also changes the name from the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge to Walkway Over the Hudson in state records.

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Orange County lands one corporate consolidation, another announcement comes today

WALLKILL – President Container will consolidate three Moonachie, NJ locations of its corrugated shipping container and point-of-purchase display manufacturing to the former Wakefern Distribution Center property in the Town of Wallkill.

The company will add about $ 9 million a year in payroll to the county and about $750,000 in annual taxes and other payments to local governments. The company plans on hiring local firms for professional services.

The new jobs and tax revenues generated by President Container will be an “economic windfall for the county,” said Orange County Partnership President Maureen Halahan.

Company Principal Larry Grossbard said President Container outgrew its present facilities and it has been looking to relocate for two years. He expects his business to increase 20 percent by 2012 with the move.

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A run — or walk — for office

Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner, D-Clinton, walked through the county Sunday and Monday, but he wasn’t sightseeing. On his back was a bag big enough for Santa Claus with the words “$16 Billion in Tax Breaks for Wall Street” written in big letters on it.

And in front he carried a sign, “Tax Wall Street, not Main Street. FDR didn’t get us out of the Depression with budget cuts, layoffs and union busting: VOTE JOEL TYNER DEMOCRAT FOR GOVERNOR.”

Andrew Cuomo’s challenger for the Democratic nod was on the last leg of a 150-mile walk from New York City to Albany, a walk that he called “A Walk for Main Street, Not Wall Street.” And although tired and aching in his feet and legs, he was not on his last legs, but pumped up, happy to talk about why he’s running in a long-shot at the Executive Mansion.

“There are two main reasons I’m running/walking,” he said, as he took a few minutes from Monday’s heat for an air-conditioned interview in the Register-Star newsroom. “One is that by a four-to-one ratio, 56 percent to 14 percent, New Yorkers favor a tax on millionaires. Two is that by a three-to-one ratio, 63 percent to 24 percent, people are for a stock transfer tax.”
In the 1970s, Tyner said, millionaires paid taxes at a rate of 151⁄2 percent. Today, they pay less than 9 percent.

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While the Cameo molds away...

Old movie houses find audience in Plains.

LANGDON, N. D. — Every Friday through Monday night, from her perch behind the Skittles and the M&M’s, Amy Freier awaits the faithful at the historic Roxy Theater. There is Dale Klein, the school bus driver (large Diet Pepsi with a refill). And there is Jeannette Schefter, the social worker (large plain popcorn, medium Diet).

“You know who comes,” said Ms. Freier, one of 200 volunteers in this town of roughly 2,000 who are keeping the Roxy’s neon glowing. “They’re part of the theater.”

In an age of streaming videos and DVDs, the small town Main Street movie theater is thriving in North Dakota, the result of a grass-roots movement to keep storefront movie houses, with their jewel-like marquees and facades of careworn utility, at the center of community life.

From Crosby (population 1,000), near the Saskatchewan border, to Mayville, in the Red River Valley, tickets are about $5, the buttered popcorn $1.25 and the companionship free.

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The American people want more government spending

Charles Ferguson is here to tell the world that the crisis that wiped out trillions of dollars in wealth, threw millions of people out of their homes and out of work, and further widened the gulf between rich and poor was no accident. It was a crime. Ferguson, a former software entrepreneur and policy-wonk scholar turned filmmaker, is definitely no left-wing bomb-thrower or closet Marxist. But he plays one in the movies, you might say. His new documentary, "Inside Job" -- arguably the smash hit of Cannes so far -- offers a lucid and devastating history of how the crash happened, who caused it and how they got away with it.

Furthermore, Ferguson argues, if we don't stop those people -- preferably by removing them from power, arresting them and sending them to prison -- they will certainly do it again. "Inside Job" is as elegant, penetrating and well researched as Ferguson's Iraq war film, "No End in Sight," but it's a hell of a lot angrier. To the discomfiture of some antiwar viewers, Ferguson struck a nuanced position on the war itself: It might have been a reasonable idea, in theory, and might have worked out if it hadn't been managed by a coalition of ideologues, incompetents and idiots.

This story is quite different. There was nothing reasonable or decent or redeemable about the world of high finance, in Ferguson's judgment, by the time the 21st-century bubble reached its peak around 2006. As he illustrates with a damning parade of interviews, images and public testimony, the financial industry had ridden 20-plus years of manic free-market deregulation and neoliberal fiscal policy from one crisis to the next, surfing a rising tide of greed and corruption. (There are several people in this movie, prominent among them former George W. Bush advisor Glenn Hubbard and Harvard economics chairman John Y. Campbell, who will rue the day they agreed to talk to Ferguson.)

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TSA to Block "Controversial Opinion" on the Web - CBS News Investigates

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is blocking certain websites from the federal agency's computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain a "controversial opinion," according to an internal email obtained by CBS News

The email was sent to all TSA employees from the Office of Information Technology on Friday afternoon.

It states that as of July 1, TSA employees will no longer be allowed to access five categories of websites that have been deemed "inappropriate for government access."

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