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Good Wednesday Morning!
What I learned from the experience is that our legislators were largely confused about this issue. For example, two Legislators thought this vote was for an extension for this budget year when it was really for the 2012 budget. Another insisted that draconian cuts would have to be made or a significant increase in property taxes take its place if the bill were not passed - this year. Several never bothered to respond to emails.
The Fee Schedule is outlined on a double-sided sheet and each entry uses the words, "may be" and "up to" so often that with each item you are never sure whether it will apply to you and if it does, how much so.
Fahnestock State Park - Off Sunken Mine Road
The city of Fountain Hills, AZ had a mish-mash of garbage collection going on within the municipal lines and decided to go with a single trash hauler and at the same time to institute a curbside recycling plan, their first. In the end, everyone would save a little money and garbage collection in that fair city would be organized.
But there was a problem: Fountain Hills is home to two Tea Party groups and they both got in on the fight insisting that a unified garbage pickup plan and the recycling program were socialist and so launched a campaign against the city. They lost and sanity prevailed.
Every winter the Town of Kent enjoys at least a few days of weather that is terrific for a cross-country ski outing. And Kent's terrain is such that quite a few local hiking trails work well for the sport. For some time, the CAC has considered how to take advantage of this by sponsoring at least one cross-country ski outing each year. The problem, of course, is scheduling. Conditions here change so quickly and unpredictably that choosing a date in advance almost never pans out.
And now, The News:
Unclaimed deposits have generated $120 million in new state revenue, according to Laura Haight, senior environmental associate with the New York Public Interest Research Group, which marked the first anniversary of the expanded bottle bill law. New jobs have been created at the 142 redemption centers that have sprung up around the state since 2009 in order to process the bottle returns, Haight said.
Additionally, there are fewer water bottles littering the roadways, since Oct. 31, 2009, when the law went into effect. Andy Stewart, executive director of Keep Rockland Beautiful, which runs a roadside cleanup each spring with upward of 5,000 volunteers at more than 300 sites throughout the county, said he has noticed a change.
In its Sunday, Nov. 6, business feature, The New York Times wrote about concerns some residents across the country have about pollution in their water supplies from natural gas drilling. The paper traveled to northwestern Pennsylvania, where more than a dozen residents’ water has been fouled by the drilling process and the state is arranging to replace their drinking-water supply.
ProPublica has been reporting on the water concerns there, in the town of Dimock, since late 2008.
At the end of its article, the Times used a quote that raised questions about whether gas drilling is responsible for the contamination, or whether the problem has been made up or overhyped.
The quote came from Martha Locey, a 78-year-old resident of the nearby town of Montrose, Pa., who said she’s had methane in the water of her family farm for decades — long before the drilling started.
“My father dug our well in 1945, and we knew it had lots of iron in it, and we thought it had something else, but we weren’t sure, because it had lots of bubbles in it,” Mrs. Locey said. “So my nephew took it to school in the ’60s, and the science teacher lit it, and it burned, so he said, ‘It’s methane.’”Mrs. Locey may be right. It’s quite likely that her nephew did in fact light his water on fire almost 50 years ago — and that the water contained gas. It just wasn’t the same type of gas that is causing problems in Dimock.
If gas wells were required by law to be as safe from accidents as bridges and commercial airplanes, says Cornell University professor and expert in the field of hydraulic fracturing, Dr. Tony Ingraffea, he, for one, would consider the risks acceptable.
As it now stands, Dr. Ingraffea informed local residents at a town meeting in Browntown recently, the industry claims a success rate of 98.5 percent, which is essentially at least one accident waiting to happen for about every 150 wells drilled. That, he told interested residents at an informational meeting on natural gas drilling at the Calvary Chapel Church, “is totally unacceptable from an engineering standpoint.”
“The industry does not yet have a standard operating procedure for developing unconventional gas wells on the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Ingraffea, who has worked on projects and research for the industry on fracture mechanics and is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Engineering Fracture Mechanics. “They’re still experimenting as they are going along.”
EAST PATCHOGUE, N.Y. - A year ago, Long Island Judge Jeffrey Spinner concluded that a mortgage company's paperwork in a foreclosure case was so flawed and its behavior in negotiations with the borrower so "repugnant" that he erased the family's $292,500 debt and gave the house back for free.
The judgment in favor of the homeowner, Diane Yano-Horoski, which is being appealed, has alarmed the nation's biggest lenders, who say it could establish a dramatic new legal precedent and roil the nation's foreclosure system.
It is not the only case that has big banks worried. Spinner and some of colleagues in the New York City area estimate they are dismissing 20 to 50 percent of foreclosure cases on the basis of sloppy or fraudulent paperwork filed by lenders.
Their decisions illustrate the central role lower court judges will have in resolving the country's foreclosure debacle. The mess came to light after lawsuits and media reports showed lenders were routinely filing shoddy or fraudulent papers to seize the homes of borrowers who had missed payments.
This fall, some of you might have noticed it's difficult to walk on sidewalks or hilly trails near oak trees. The acorns underfoot — nature's ball bearings — are so numerous that even sturdy shoes are no match. In our research sites at the Cary Institute and throughout the Hudson Valley, we are seeing acorn production of unprecedented proportions.
Oak trees, like many hardwoods, tend to drop few or no seeds in most years. Then episodically, they produce a bumper crop of acorns, known as a "mast year."
Each tree species has its own rhythm, so it's rare to see multiple species masting together. This year, though, our four most common oak species — red oak, black oak, white oak and chestnut oak —are all producing acorns at the same time. In the 20 years we've been monitoring tree seed production, this is the first time we've seen such an acorn glut.
DOVER PLAINS — The congregation of Second Baptist Church has plenty to celebrate, as it was recently named to the New York State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places. The church is at 29 Mill St.
Church Treasurer Donna Reimer started applying for historic status after members agreed the church had a good chance of being named to the state registry.
"There was a discussion ... that we seem to fit the profile to be a landmark. We didn't know what the actual requirements were, but we just said, 'Well, let's try,' " Reimer said. "We thought we had a pretty good chance because it's old and everything's original."
They were right. In a state press release, the Second Baptist Church of Dover was described as the oldest religious building in the Dover Plains hamlet and an outstanding example of early 19th century Protestant meeting-house design.
WOODRIDGE – A new trailhead is open on the O&W Rail Trail at River Road and Avon Lodge Road near the Neversink River just outside the Village of Woodridge. The trail ends at the gazebo in downtown Woodridge.
With a grant from Sullivan Renaissance, Town of Fallsburg crews cleared and graded the trailhead, laid down wood chips and created a picnic area. Woodridge Renaissance volunteers handled the installation of a new trailhead sign and planter.
The improvement was part of an inter-municipal effort along the O&W Rail Trail that brought together four community groups and the Town of Fallsburg. In addition to the trailhead, work included landscaping at the visitors center in Mountaindale by volunteers from the Mountaindale Action Committee and Sullivan Striders.
With lenders still skittish about making new loans, credit bureaus and others are hawking services that help banks probe deeply into your financial closet. The new offerings include ways to look at your rent and utility payments, figure out your income, gauge your home's value and even rate your banking habits based on details like whether your direct deposits have stopped.
All of this could influence your financial freedom—not to mention the number of junk-mail solicitations you receive.
Ken Lin, CEO of Credit Karma, a credit-score information website, knew he had a good credit score. But when he recently applied for a new credit card, he was rejected: The lender had flagged him as a higher credit risk because the value of his California home had declined and his mortgage principal wasn't declining—giving away that he has an interest-only mortgage.
"It's a lot more than just your credit score today," he says.
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