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I have a cold. I'm in a bad mood. But it's nothing a freshly backed loaf of banana bread (w/brown sugar, raisins and sunflower seeds) and enough orange liqueur can't handle.
Luckily, I wrote the column below over the weekend.
And it's not the Anniversary, but we're close. It's somewhere around here and so we shall celebrate today anyway!
It's now more than a decade that News That Matters has been around in one incarnation or another.
Remember back in the olden days when we published at Yahoo and then made the move to Google and then to a comprehensive newsletter published three times a week and a website all our own?
Three websites. Four, actually.
You can find News That Matters at PlanPutnam and at Blogger and Posterous, both as "No Country For Sane Men". And if you're on Facebook you can find us there, too.It's a little crazy living in the USA right about now and with extremism coming at you from mostly right-angles like a warped isosceles triangle, and you need a source that can dissect the news and get it to you in ways you can genuinely understand. And that's what we're here for.
PlanPutnam/News That Matters is also this county's premiere organizational tool and you know that to be true from the many issues and the many victories we have under our belts. I don't need to list those successful battles for you know what they are and you know your lives are better for it - and that's the point.
In case you have forgotten where we've been, here, in no particular order, are some reminders culled from the last few years:
The Thirty-Eight Billion Fee
This happens every day to thousands of people across the nation and while Bank of America is the most hideously evil of the lot, many banks play this game and billions of dollars are pulled from the economy and go to subsidize executive bonuses, stock dividends, the purchase of Congressmen and Senators, nifty automated teller machines that work so slowly you have to shave again by the time you’re done using them and which cause traffic tie-ups on Friday evenings that CBS radio reports along with, “…and it’s 40 minutes to The George.”Chickens, Roads and Highways – A Special Report
As first proposed, the issue was one of safety but the project plans say that PHR is as safe as any other road. Then there was the idea that you’d be able to drive from Kent to Peekskill faster and yet, the accidents that have happened generally did so for people traveling way above the speed limit or tailgating. Then it was planned growth in the project area rated at 2% a year which would by 2029, create traffic and backups similar, I guess, to Route 22′s. But a quick look at a map shows that to be so wrong words cannot describe it.The Tilly Foster Saga Continues...
What will it cost for taxpayers to cover the utility bills, heating, cooling, electricity, etc., and to maintain the walks and roads in all weather conditions vs. the amount of monies generated from sales taxes? I just don’t believe anyone could raise those kinds of funds through sales taxes alone from the Farm. So why not have a profit sharing arrangement? But that’s not in the contract. While Ann Fanizzi, the contract’s most ardent supporter, dreams that Mr. Whipple will build a bed & breakfast and turn the main lodge into full service restaurant, the county will need to foot the entirety of the utility bills and the maintenance of the roads and walkways leading to and surrounding them. I wish I had such a deal with my landlord!What Being Sick Costs The Nation
When you are sick and on the job your productivity is down which results in a decline in efficiency. When you are sick and cannot work, especially in a job without paid sick days, the local economy is affected. And what happens when you wait until you simply cannot go on and your illness has advanced? How much money is pulled from the economy then? What of your home and family? Will Verizon or Comcast or NYSEG understand when they don’t get paid because of the cost of dealing with an illness that might have been easily treated at the beginning but that has now gotten out of control? They might. But you’ll be sending smoke signals and watching a blank TV screen by candlelight.Will your town’s tax collector say, “No problem Mrs. Smith, pay us when you can”?Verizon's Billing Mysteries
FCC Line Charge. This charge also is known as the Federal Subscriber Line Charge, the Federally-Ordered Subscriber Line Charge, Federal Line Cost Charge, and the FCC Subscriber Line Charge. In reality it’s the missing portion of your basic line charge mentioned above. That $8.79 fee should be, if Verizon were open and honest about their charges, $15.20. But they get to “cheat” to give you the impression your actual costs are lower and that the Fed is responsible for $6.41 of it. They’re misleading you and getting away with it.Shooting Gazelles - Ball supports "Canned Hunting"
Yet, Assemblyman Greg Ball supports this type of hunting, claiming on the floor of the Assembly that if the New York bans the use of exotic, non-native animals from canned hunts held within the state that the next step is that the state will ban the shooting of white -tailed deer, then the state will take away everyone's guns and finally we'll all have chips in our backs. (see the video clip here). He also claims he represents 'thousands of hunters in his district' whom, one might assume, has given him their blessing to fight for this abominable practice in their name.Contractors Ripped Off By Putnam County (NY)
In a previous issue I mentioned that a county Legislator suggested that if I had trouble paying the fee that maybe I shouldn’t be in business. Maybe he’s right. Maybe the economy sucks and those fees amount to a hardship. Or maybe no one should have to pay for the right to earn a living in Putnam County.News That Matters: The Walkway Edition
Kudos need be sent to the organizers of this event. It’s massive scale and scope must have taken thousands of hours and untold patience. Everything ran so smoothly! Even with tens of thousands of people, thousands of cars, city buses, a dozen marching bands, scores of performers, several parades and assorted marauding clowns, trapeze artists and jugglers, (and yes, you can toss in a bevy of politicians,) there wasn’t a hitch to be seen. In fact, even the weather – which promised rain – cooperated beautifully.Racists Rear Their Ugly Heads in Putnam Again
The misinformation contained in the copy on the website is astonishing in its one-sided shortsightedness and includes a link to an outside website where, if Mexicans were Jews, would read, "Die Juden sind ünser unglück". No matter that the Comptroller of the State of Texas, among others of equal high position across the nation claim that undocumented workers contribute more to the system in taxes than they use, and that recent immigrants - legal and illegal - have *created* tens of thousands of new jobs, this linked website continues the same lies, mistruths and.... shit. It's just pure White Supremacist shit.Kent's 'panhandle'
Early maps show Philipstown being more recatngularish from when it was divvied up among the Philipse Family. The 1892 USGS map shows the current westernmost line of Kent, the line that runs along the Philisptown Pike (Route 301) AND the *old* town line as well. That line is missing from the 1941 map which has the current town lines in position.Tales from the Trail
Why? Well, I added up all the possible promised blocks of votes and it turns out – at best – they represent about 15% of the voters. That’s right: the special interest groups and the armchair politicians and the folk who are in this only for the [insert turgid reference here] added together leave the remaining %85 of the voters unrepresented. But, for such a small group, they sure are organized! And Loud. And they have money.A TEA Party on the Hill
For the past several weeks the region had been bombarded by an ever-increasing barrage of signs, snail mails, emails and robocalls announcing an event that was either a “RibFest!”, a People’s Convention, a Free BBQ or a rally for Greg Ball and Steve Katz… it all depended on which signs you saw or which advert you read or which phone call you got as they all had slightly different information and I reported on this confusion several days ago. But that didn’t seem to bother the 300 people who attended on Saturday.Selecting an ESCO
Over half of NYSEG electricity supply customers who didn't voice their choice last year don't know their current supply pricing option. And while that may suck for them, it's been great for us. We thank those customers for not having degrees in Advanced Rocket Science and praise their inability to figure out what their options are. NYSEG has always firmly believed that offering you the best choice is a simple matter of confusing the heck out of you. We are proud to continue that tradition because, face it, you have no choice!
Corporate Welfare, Putnam Style
If I were a better writer and could match the skills of even the most middling of authors, life in Putnam County would make quite excellent reading. But so few publishers would believe what I had written as genuine they’d have to place my book in the fiction section of bookstores and the fantasy section of libraries. But I can assure you that what we experience here as residents is real and genuine even though it reads – and too often feels – as if we’re living in a 1950′s Central American Banana Republic. In only a very few other places around the world, perhaps in one of those central Asian “stans” no one can pronounce, could we write about the depths of malfeasance that passes for government in our bucolic 240 square miles. If Voltaire or Shalom Aleichem were alive today even they could not have surpassed the fantastical mysteries and ironies that abound in our every day lives. Welcome to Putnam County, New York.Controversy in Pawling? It Depends
At a meeting on July 2nd, 2008, Supervisor Coursen mentioned, after yet another round of public and pointed criticism from Mr. Carey, that the minutes from a recently held Comprehensive Plan meeting had not yet been posted to the town's website due to a backlog on the Planning Board clerk's desk. With the meeting continuing on, Supervisor Coursen rose from the dais to get a glass of water when Mr. Carey met her on the side and offered to come into town hall and post those minutes on his own. While that's a nice thing to offer, what responsible entity would allow a political enemy, especially - and note this - the chair of a political party, access to a town's website?Pulte Homes, Adam Levy and Justice Putnam Style
Pulte Homes, Adam Levy and Justice Putnam Style: For what the Town of Carmel and Putnam County has done over the years to Lori Kemp you’d think agents from the human rights court in the Hague would descend from the heavens and arrest anyone who has ever sat on a board in that town. But that didn’t happen for too seldom do those who deserve justice get actually it.The Great Tefillin Scare
On a short-haul flight the other day a 17 year old kid put on his tefflin to pray. A flight attendant asked what he was doing, “praying,” he replied. She notified the pilot. In the flight attendant’s description she said “…it had wires running from it and going up to his fingers,” What she didn’t know was that they go directly to God! but, I digress…
Organic means "organic", rightBreaking News: Putnam’s Most Out Person Accused of Autophobia
It seems that to get approval as organic, Department of Agriculture rules state that 95% of a product must be organic and the balance need not be if there is no organic ingredients available, as long as they are on their approved list. Modest little organic breweries like Anheuser-Busch can't find organic hops with " unique flavor and aroma characteristics due to variation in essential oils" for their fine organic brews and wants an exemption. Others are appalled. "Hops are a crucial ingredient for beer. Why can't they use organic hops?" said James A. Riddle, an organic consultant and a former chairman of the organic advisory board.
In a stunning revelation, Putnam County’s most ‘out’ political figure was accused by an alleged staffer from the Nan Hayworth campaign of making accusatory slurs against himself based on his sexual orientation.Remember when...
From the Patterson Crossing Scoping Session: January 2005
A Walk on the new Cornwall Hill DEC property: Summer 2004
Choices for Sustainable Living Conference: November 2005
Putnam Valley Dems Election Night Celebration: November 2005
FrOGS Announces NAWCA Grant: October 2002. Dave Tobias and Mike Griffin.
Croton Watershed Meeting: October 2004
Charlie Silver - Chief Watershed Scientist, Jim Tierney - Watershed Inspector General,
Peter Lehner, Chief Environmental Attorney. All work for the State Attorney General's Office
And some Pictures of the Day shots: (Click on them - they get bigger!)
Dean Road DEP property
Bear Mt. Bridge from Anthony's Nose
Glynwood from Fahnestock State Park
Daniel Nimham Pow Wow
Thunderstorm over eastern Putnam from Shenandoah Mt.
Bull Hill (Mt. Taurus) from Round Hill in Fahnestock Park
The Kent "Cow"
Collaborative Concepts Out door Art Exhibit at Saunders' Farm
There more. There's nearly eighteen-thousand articles and posts since we began and that we've lasted as long as we have is a testament to my insanity - and your perseverance. Let's keep that going.
Since July 18, 2000
10637 messages at the old Yahoo site
3508 messages at Google.
3738 messages posted to PlanPutnam/News That Matters
You're going to need me for the next four years.
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