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|Good Wednesday Morning, |
It's the third frosty morning this season out here in the Free State which I hope is not a harbinger of the winter to come! Maybe I'm just getting old and the internal instinct to make the death-migration to Florida is kicking in.
There is a comet making it's way past our little piece of the galaxy at about 11 million miles out which, in space terms is about right here -> <- away. Comet 103P/Hartley 2 will be in the night sky this morning right near the bright star Capella and though difficult to see with the unaided eye, even under dark skies, any pair of moderate size binoculars or backyard telescope will do the trick nicely. For a sky map look here. It'll still be there tomorrow (Thursday) and beyond so head on out and take a look.
Assemblyman Greg Ball once said that I had a "radical homosexual agenda" because I was pressing him on the issue of civil rights and equality. Well, I've finally decided that on that issue at least, he was right. Here's my radical agenda: "No state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Constitution! Pretty radical, eh?
There may not be a News That Matters on Friday Morning. I've got a tech rehearsal in the city on Thursday night and then we open on Friday at the Roy Arias Theatre in midtown - my first 'just off Broadway' stage managing gig. Suffice to say my focus for the next few days will be in that direction.
This is one in a pretty big deal in its way: 11 plays, 5 playwrights, 4 directors and 25 actors each of whom has a different personality, needs and skills and it's my job to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. And while it's only a three-night run and produced on a shoe-strong budget preparations are the same as if it were a million dollar show running for months on end at the Winter Garden save that no one is being paid.
A Letter to the Putnam County Times:
Anti-Odell attack Ad in the October 20th "Times"
Dear Ms. Collins,
And now, The News:
CLARYVILLE – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer claims food products produced in China that are fraudulently labeled ‘organic’ threaten to undermine a lucrative and growing industry in Sullivan County. The senator made that claim at Neversink Farm, a certified organic operation in Claryville.
Schumer called on the USDA and the International Trade Commission to work to ensure that customs statistics distinguish between certified organic and non-organic imports.
He conceded, however, that China has a history of disregarding calls for cooperation in meeting U.S. standards. The alternative, Schumer said, would be to ban all Chinese imports claiming to be organic.
ALBANY -- An internal memo from the Department of Environmental Conservation paints a bleak picture of a gutted agency unable to accomplish its full mission if Gov. David Paterson achieves the job cuts he wants.
If DEC cuts the 209 jobs demanded by the governor, the agency will have lost 22 percent of its staff since April 2008.
To reach this latest cut, DEC may have to turn over unspecified programs to either federal or local officials, according to a memo sent by the agency to the state Budget Division and obtained by the Times Union.
The unsigned, undated memo warns that fewer polluted sites would be cleaned up, fewer regulators would be available to oversee the potential natural gas drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale, and stocking of game fish could halt.
In order to avoid cuts to programs that protect human health or address immediate environmental damage, the memo suggests the most logical places for deep cuts would be outdoor recreation and sports -- including skiing, fishing, hunting, camping and hiking.
"Many of our programs are hanging by a thread. The public would be shocked to learn how thin we are in many areas," it states. "DEC is in the weakest position that it has been since it was created 40 years ago."
DEC spokesman Yancey Roy referred comment on the memo to the state Budget Division, which did not return a call. Roy said he was not aware of any pending layoff notices at DEC.
Albany - Governor David A. Paterson has announced approval of more than $42 million in funding for 34 rail and port capital improvement projects in New York State. Grants from the Renew and Rebuild New York Transportation Bond Act of 2005 and the Governor’s Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program will fund these infrastructure investments and security improvements, bringing with them economic development and job creation and retention opportunities across the State.
"Investing in transportation infrastructure improvement projects is essential not only to supporting a stable statewide economy, but also to helping grow that economy by allowing freight to be shipped and delivered more safely and efficiently," Governor Paterson said. "New York’s economic vitality depends on having a modern, effective transportation system, and this funding will help strengthen that system today, and contribute to the overall reliability of our transportation infrastructure in the future."
The $42.1 million investment by New York State leverages an additional $9 million of funding mostly from the grantees and private industry, as well as other federal and State resources. The funding provided for passenger and freight rail improvement supports track rehabilitation, rail capacity expansion, railroad bridge repair and locomotive emissions reductions. Port improvements include wharf rehabilitation and upgraded highway access.
SALINA, Kan. — Residents of this deeply conservative city do not put much stock in scientific predictions of climate change.
“Don’t mention global warming,” warned Nancy Jackson, chairwoman of the Climate and Energy Project, a small nonprofit group that aims to get people to rein in the fossil fuel emissions that contribute to climate change. “And don’t mention Al Gore. People out here just hate him.”
Saving energy, though, is another matter.
Last Halloween, schoolchildren here searched for “vampire” electric loads, or appliances that sap energy even when they seem to be off. Energy-efficient LED lights twinkled on the town’s Christmas tree. On Valentine’s Day, local restaurants left their dining room lights off and served meals by candlelight.
The fever for reducing dependence on fossil fuels has spread beyond this city of red-brick Eisenhower-era buildings to other towns on the Kansas plains. A Lutheran church in nearby Lindsborg was inspired to install geothermal heating. The principal of Mount Hope’s elementary school dressed up as an energy bandit at a student assembly on home-energy conservation. Hutchinson won a contract to become home to a $50 million wind turbine factory.
In just four years in Congress representing a swath of suburbs north of New York City, Democratic Rep. John Hall has gone from being seen as a rebellious outsider to being attacked for his allegiance to the party now in power.
It's a bad sign, given that in recent years his Hudson Valley district has changed hands when voters around the country have put a new party in charge of the House.
As an anti-war candidate in 2006, that trend was on Mr. Hall's side, helping him defeat Republican Rep. Sue Kelly by a narrow margin. Ms. Kelly had held the seat for 12 years. She was first elected to Congress as part of the 1994 wave of Republican victories that ended decades of Democratic control. Before that, the district had long sent a liberal Republican to Congress.
A recent poll shows Mr. Hall trailing his GOP challenger, eye doctor Nan Hayworth, by three points. That, in combination with national polls indicating the GOP has a good chance to win back the majority in the House, suggests Mr. Hall's congressional district could once again change hands.
The 19th congressional district includes parts of Westchester, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess and Rockland counties, and it includes West Point's venerable United States Military Academy.
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