Friday, January 28, 2011

News That Matters - Friday, January 28, 2011 - Things To Do Edition

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Good Friday Morning,

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Easter is right around the corner and the family is coming over, as they usually do, and you know as well as I do that your dining room, guest room and living rooms aren't exactly as nifty as they could be. Not that anyone in the family will mind, they're family after all, and will not mention the faded walls, cracks and dents and dinks left over from last year. But you know your cousin Sheila will mention it in a facebook post... Contact Taconicarts today for an estimate on getting that cleaned up and shutting Sheila up for good. Just imagine!

What was this five-to-seven inches of snow predicted for the other day? Here at NtM Central in the Free State we had 9.25" of fresh, slightly heavy snow. Mahopac had eleven inches and East Mt. Road in Philipstown recorded 8.5". Norwalk, CT measured 18" and most of Nassau and Suffolk saw between 14" - 16". But the Grand Prize for the area goes to Staten Island with 20" of freshly fallen snow.

So, what to do with all that snow? If you live in Carmel and you also happen to live next door to Highway Supervisor Michael Simone, you get to dig out of a 7' high wall of snow highway workers dumped in your driveway so that Mr. Simone can get to work and then you watch him excuse the hell out of it saying, "That's the only place to put the snow." He could have said, "Jeez, I'm sorry, let's see what we can do in the future," but hey, it's Carmel!

From the Hudson River Estuary Program:
The Hudson River Estuary Program's "Trees for Tribs" initiative offers free native trees and shrubs for streamside buffer planting/restoration projects in the Hudson River Estuary watershed. Since 2007 the program has been responsible for planting more than 18,000 native trees and shrubs along 35,000 feet of stream with the help of thousands of local volunteers.
We are now accepting applications Spring 2011 planting sites. Applications received by March 1, 2011 will be given preference.
For further information about the program including project applications and fact sheets, please visit the DEC website,  or contact the Hudson River Estuary Program's Stream Buffer Coordinator, Beth Roessler at (845)-256-2253 or

The hose on my vacuum cleaner is shot and I can't tape it together anymore. Just before it reached the critical - can't use the machine ever - stage I order a part from Sears and they ship on the 21st and it arrives in Yorktown on the 25th and is sent out on a truck. Something happens to the truck, what that is is of no consequence since UPS says it's beyond their control. So the package goes back to the depot to await the next day.
Now, you'd think that UPS might start the route the next day at the spot they left off the day before but, nooooooo. And being at the end of the route means that any delay during the day sets you back another day. Hence, as you can see below, UPS has no control.

The package then goes back to Yorktown where (drum roll please...) it starts the process all over again being scanned in as if it were new. Okay, it's sent out for delivery yesterday morning with every road in Putnam County cleared but by noon UPS decides that clear pavement is too much a hassle and so the "movement of the package will resume as soon as the weather conditions allow".

I might have bought that excuse Wednesday afternoon but by yesterday morning when I hit my old, crooked and pockmarked road to shovel out the driveway, it was pretty clear.

Here's the log as of yesterday afternoon. As you can see, at noon they quit. What you cannot see are the floors here at NtM Central and that's for two reasons. One, you're there and I'm here and, two, they are deeply covered in dust, dirt, grime and dog hair and I'm a guy who vacuums every two days without fail. So, Dear UPS! HELP ME!

I just checked the UPS website again (09:18AM ) and the package is now (forever?)  lost in "Emergency Conditions Beyond UPS' Control Land", as of 5:40PM last evening.

NYSEG expands energy efficiency program

NYSEG is expanding its Small Business energy Efficiency Program into Putnam and Sullivan counties. For small businesses who use is less than 100 kilowatts, NYSEG is willing to pay up to 70% of the cost of upgrading lighting fixtures along with a free energy audit. Upgrades include the switch to CFL and LED's. Call NYSEG.

Note: Bill Buck lives in the Town of Kent, is my friend and a News That Matters reader. He was on the board of the Putnam County Land Trust and serves with the town on its Conservation Advisory Committee. Because of all that we're going to be carrying his reports from the field which are filed first with the New York Botanical Gardens before the RSS feed picks them up and delivers them to the News That Matters website. The image used in the first report is culled from Panaramio shots taken in the general vicinity of where he's reporting from day to day. Images used in the second report are Bills.

From the Field: Bill Buck in Cape Horn

This article was first posted at Plant Talk by Plant Talk.


Ed. note: NYBG scientist and Mary Flagler Cary Curator of Botany, Bill Buck is currently on expedition to the islands off Cape Horn, the southernmost point in South America, to study mosses and lichens. Follow his journeys on Plant Talk.

January 21, 2011, Isla Grande de la Tierra del Fuego, Seno Brujo, Chile, 54° 30′S, 71° 32′W

The weather caught up with us today. I’ve hardly mentioned the weather, up to this point, because it is such a part of the region that it’s easy to take it for granted. Prior to the trip I warned everyone to be prepared for temperatures around 50ºF, 40 mph winds, and rain. Until today we had been lucky. By that I mean, it has been cool, and somewhat windy, but with only occasional light rain. Here, this is considered good summer weather! Yesterday, our first full collecting day, the weather was cool and breezy with intermittent light rain. Last night when we were discussing the day among ourselves, some of our group hadn’t even noticed that it had rained at all, and it probably rained about a third of the time in the morning. But it was only a light rain and the vegetation is permanently wet, so a little more water was easy to overlook.

Early this morning we left Seno Bluff for the next sound to the west, Seno Sargazos. It was calm waters and overcast but not raining. Right after breakfast we went ashore and collected for several hours along a lake-fed river. I asked the Chileans what they would call the vegetation and was told it was called Magellanic tundra. What a good name! There were only patches of trees in small ravines, the landscape mostly consisted of tussocks of herbaceous plants and bryophytes about 2 feet tall that are very spongy underfoot, with holes between the tussocks. Walking was slow and treacherous. However, collecting was good and we found some real sub-Antarctic mosses.

During lunch we moved the ship to the next sound west, Seno Brujo. Our goal was to get to the southernmost end of it and then work up a river to a large lake we could seen on a map. I guess the rough seas between the two sounds should have been an indication that the weather was changing. When we arrived it was raining hard, but wasn’t too windy, and we decided to go collecting at least for a couple of hours. However, as we suited up in our rain gear, the weather worsened. Once we were standing out on the deck, ready to board the zodiac to go ashore, the rain became torrential and the wind picked up, driving the rain almost horizontally. When it hit your skin it felt like sleet because of the force as well as how cold it was.

The waters were rough with white tops being driven up by the wind. I made an executive decision that we would not go out in the afternoon, much to everyone’s relief. So, we’ll spend the night here tonight, in a slightly more sheltered cove, and go out in the morning. In this part of the world the weather is always a factor, but it is this very weather that results in such lush bryophytes. It is also the reason why the area is uninhabited and the landscape is so stunningly spectacular. But that can wait for morning!

From the Field: Bill Buck in Cape Horn

This article was first posted at Plant Talk by Plant Talk.

Ed. note: NYBG scientist and Mary Flagler Cary Curator of Botany, Bill Buck is currently on expedition to the islands off Cape Horn, the southernmost point in South America, to study mosses and lichens. Follow his journeys on Plant Talk.

Magellanic TundraJanuary 22, 2011, Isla Grande de la Tierra del Fuego, Seno Brujo,, Chile, 54° 30′S, 71° 32′W

Yes, we’re in the same place as yesterday. The captain of our ship said that last night, winds of 80 knots (88 mph) were expected, and so he did not want to take the ship out into open water. 88 mph!! That’s hurricane force winds, and indeed during the night the winds howled and the ship was buffeted about.

I got up in the night and went out onto the deck at 3:45 a.m. The deck was illuminated with moonlight, many stars were visible, and the snow glowed on nearby mountains; however, the wind was strong and I held onto the railing to make sure I wouldn’t be blown overboard. Moments like this, alone in the glory of nature, are the moments I treasure above almost everything else. When I came out again at 6:15 a.m., the sun had risen, the winds had died down and the sky was mostly clear. If nothing else, the weather here can change quickly.

By the time we were ready to go into the field, it had started to rain again, but this time only lightly, and the winds, and thus the sea, remained calm. We headed toward what we initially thought was a lake but instead turned out to be a shallow inlet of the sea, accessible by zodiac. We split up and Jim (video) headed toward a large, glacier-fed waterfall because of his special interest in rheophytic bryophytes, those that grow on rocks in moving water. Some rheophytes are only in the water seasonally, following rain patterns, and others are permanently wet. Juan headed up the mountain, toward the snow, because the moss genus he is working on for his dissertation often grows on exposed rocks. Blanka collected along the shore of the small inlet, and I headed for the rocky peaks near the shore and the pockets of forest in more sheltered sites.

Our goal, which seems overwhelming given the immensity of the landscape and the small fraction of it which we are able to collect from, is to document the diversity of mosses and liverworts in the Chilean Antarctic Province (Provincia Antártica Chilena). It’s because of this goal that we spread out in the field and try to sample as many microhabitats as possible.

As the day progressed, the weather worsened. What had been light, intermittent rain became steady light rain, and as the time approached for us to be picked up, the rain increased in intensity until it almost seemed like sleet, it was so cold. The collections, which are put into paper bags, were saturated with water, even after I wrung them out with my hands. The wind was beginning to intensify, and as I waited for the zodiac to pick me up, I began to wish I was wearing  another layer of clothing (in addition to the five layers I already had on!). When we arrived back at the ship we looked like drowned rats, cold and wet. We hurried into the galley, which is constantly warm from the stove, to disrobe. The wet rain gear was carried to the engine room, which now looks like a Chinese laundry with all our wet clothes draped over the pipes.

After a hot lunch (I’ll have to talk about our food another day) we processed our specimens from the morning. All were sopping wet, and by now the paper bags were disintegrating. We have dryers for our mosses, but the heat source consists solely of 100 watt light bulbs. To expedite the drying process it is best to remove as much water beforehand as possible, so every specimen is wrung-out by hand and then placed into a new, dry paper bag. After all our specimens were processed and put on the dryers, we intended to go back into the field for the afternoon and early evening. However, around that time, the wind picked up again–it howled and white caps covered the water. We were told it was too dangerous to take the zodiacs out. We are trapped on the ship (which gives me time to write this). After two days like this, we’re just hoping it won’t become a pattern and thus limit our collecting to the mornings.

What's Going On?

Ed note: If you would like your event(s) listed here, please send a plain text press release with the who, what, where, why, when and how. PDF and JPG files, though they're nice, take a lot of time to retype by hand. So, unless you're going to be sending me two comp tickets to the event please remember, just the text. Nothing but the text. Thanks!

Friday, January 28

Snow is Good

7PM - CIES Talk. Most people pay attention to climate change in the summer, when faced with heat waves, hurricanes, and severe thunderstorms. In the northeast, climate warming is actually more marked in the winter, and the loss of snow cover can have a ripple effect on tree growth and groundwater recharge. Cary Institute scientist Dr. Peter Groffman will discuss how mild winters threaten soil productivity, plant growth, and freshwater resources. Event is free. Location: Cary Institute's auditorium, located at 2801 Sharon Turnpike (Route 44) in Millbrook, New York.

Steve Chizmadia   

7:30PM At the Beanrunner Cafe in Peekskill. Steve's been singing and playing guitar since he was knee high to a Gibson J-200. He studied acting while attending NYU and studied with Robert Perillo and Stella Adler among others. He performed Off Off Off Off Broadway, in Houston Texas, in Myrtle Beach South Carolina, all the while carrying a guitar and note pad, scribbling lyrics, scratching them out, scribbling new ones.

In 1998, after a twenty year gestation period, the songs started to come. 2003 found Steve a Kerrville New Folk finalist. In 2005 his song "This Old Town" received honorable mention from the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. He began recording his debut C.D. with friend, mentor and producer Fred Gillen, Jr. in early 2006, which was completed in early 2007 and released in September of that year to good airplay on many folk radio programs. He has showcased at Northeast Regional Folk Alliance in New York. Admission: $7

Saturday, January 29

River Explorers:  Hands-on Nature Programs for Ages 5 – 12

11AM - Noon With this event themed “Winter Hide and Seek,” children are welcomed to Beczak Environmental Education Center to learn about hibernation and migration patterns of Hudson River animals. Event is free and open to the public.  Funding is provided thanks to a grant from ConEd. Registration required at / (914) 377-1900 ext. 12.  For more information please visit
Location: Beczak Environmental Education Center, 35 Alexander Street, Yonkers, NY 10701.

Documentary: War Made Easy

5PM War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (2007, dirs. Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp, 72 mins., PG-13, )

A documentary featuring media critic Norman Solomon and based on a book by him, and narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, chronicles how propaganda has been used to sell wars to the public.

From the filmmaker: "War Made Easy reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. The film presents disturbing examples of propaganda and media complicity from the present alongside rare footage of political leaders and leading journalists from the past."

Moderating a discussion about the film will be Vassar College Sociology Professor William Hoynes.

Cost: Free.

Location: Rosendale Theater, 408 Main Street, Rosendale, NY 12472 Contact: 845 658-8989. Sponsored by: the Rosendale Theatre Collective and the Children's Media Project, with funding by the New York Council for the Humanities.

Journey of the American Eel

7PM - Learn about the fascinating life cycle of the American eel, plus see and touch live eels, with Sarah Mount, DEC Hudson River Estuary Educator.  The event will cost $10 / teachers half price. For more info contact, (914) 377-1900 x 12.  or visit  “Eels are amazing!” says Sarah Mount, a young NYS Department of Conservation educator who is paid to think about, watch over, study and teach others about America eels. 

American eels hatch in the Sargasso Sea, an area of the Atlantic Ocean west of the Bahamas, not far from what is known as the “Bermuda Triangle.” Ocean currents carry the transparent “glass eels” over one thousand miles to the U.S. coast, where they swim up the rivers of the northeast, including the Hudson River. After reaching these freshwater bodies they feed and mature for approximately 10 to 25 years before migrating back to the Sargasso Sea where they spawn and die. “Right now larval stage eels are floating along the Gulf Stream heading towards the Hudson and other estuaries along the coast. The older eels that are already upriver and in freshwater systems have gone into a sort of hibernation—they’ve burrowed down under some rocks and won't be seen or heard from until the water gets warmer,” says Sarah Mount, Hudson River Estuary Educator for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program and Research Reserve.

How do adult eels make the open ocean journey back to the Sargasso Sea? Why do all eels, worldwide, spawn in that region? Why is the eel population declining drastically?  These are some of the questions scientists are studying and that Sarah Mount will discuss at Journey of the American Eel. She will also bring samples of elvers and adult eels for attendees to see and touch.
Location: Beczak Environmental Education Center, 35 Alexander Street, Yonkers, NY 10701.

Jazz Singer Michelle LeBlanc

7:30PM at Hudson House River Inn 2 Main Street, Cold Spring NY  10516 Reservations 845 265 9355

Sunday, January 30

The Last Sunday of the Month Theater Series

4:30PM - At the Beanrunner Cafe, Peekskill. With "Bloom Off the Rose-The Virgin Stories", a drama by Missy Stone. The Peekskill Playhouse Presents "Bloom Off the Rose", a collection of monologues about diverse characters set in the shadow of their lost virginity and the path each followed beyond that pivotal point in their lives. The performance will be followed by a wine and cheese tasting and an hour of Hot Jazz for a Cold Winter's Night. Admission $12.

Into The Future

Tuesday, February 1

Photographs: Little People

A Photographic exhibition by Chris Casaburi. As complex as big people, Little People captures the individuality and uniqueness of people in the early stages of their life, featuring commissioned photographs and personal work.

As you walk into the Kent Library make a hard right turn, then look to your right you’ll see a wall of large colorful prints. This exhibit celebrates the wonders of childhood…  up one minute and down the next, moods can swing in an instant. It’s important to work quickly when photographing children. They tend to have little patience. They meet me and the lights and the camera, and they play along for awhile. Little People runs til Feb. 28, 2011. Kent Library, 17 Sybil’s Crossing, Kent Lakes, NY 10512. ph845-225-8585

Known in the commercial and editorial world for his colorful and engaging portraits of corporate executives, Chris’ work with children reveals a different side in this series of large color photographs. In this exhibit Chris celebrates the wonders of childhood. As complex as big people, Little People captures the individuality and uniqueness of people in the early stages of their life.

Saturday, February 5

Town Meeting with Sandy Galef in Garrison

1PM - 3PM - Come meet with me to hear an update on what is going on in Albany. Bring your ideas and suggestions for what needs to be done to improve our state. At the Desmond Fish Library, 472 Route 403 in Garrison.

Open Casting Call for "Rhymes With Banana"

Noon - 6PM. An open casting call will be held for "Rhymes With Banana", a feature film starring Zosia Mamet (The Kids Are All Right, Parenthood, Mad Men, The Art of Love) and Jee Young Han (The Art of Love, Meet Monica Velour).

"Rhymes With Banana" is a contemporary comedy written by Christina Mengert (Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding; The Art of Love) and Joseph Muszynski (Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding). The film is to be directed by Mr. Muszynski and Peter Hutchings (co-writer of The Art of Love), and will be produced by BCDF Pictures.

Shooting will take place locally in the Hudson Valley from the end of February to the end of March.

The production is seeking local actors and artists for:
• Male roles (ages 18-60)
• Female roles (ages 20-60)
• Male child role (ages 8-12)
• Male role (ages 30-50) with deep bass voice and the ability to sing gospel for a two-line chorus

Requirements: Please bring a headshot or a recent photo. Screen Actors Guild and non-SAG artists welcome.

When: Saturday, February 5, from 12-6pm
Where: The Kingston Media Factory/Stella May Gallery Theatre
101 Greenkill Ave, Kingston, NY 12401

Thursday, February 10

Forest to Faucet

9AM - Noon - What does a watershed need to produce clean water? The Hudson River Watershed  Alliance and the Hudson River Estuary Program present a new Geographic Information System mapping tool that can help identify important watershed attributes.  Donald Steinmetz of the Highlands Environmental Research Institute will present this new GIS tool, based on data developed by the US Forest Service.  Fran Dunwell and Scott Cuppett from the Hudson River Estuary Program, and Jennifer Grossman from the Highlands Coalition and Open Space Institute will discuss the importance of clean water and watershed management in the Hudson Valley. To Register Contact Barbara Kendall, HRWA Coordinator:  914 474 2759
Snow Date: February 17
Location: Sterling Forest Visitor Center, 116 Old Forge Road, Tuxedo, NY 10987

This event will be followed by a meeting of the Highlands Coalition. Contact Janet Burnett for more information.

Financing Education Through Income Taxes

7PM - 9PM State Assemblywoman Sandra Galef has invited Assemblyman Kevin Cahill to discuss his bill A447 which would shift the burden of school funding from property taxes to income taxes. Joining Mr. Cahill will be Frank Mauro from the Public Policy Institute, Edmund J. McMahon, the director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy and Martin Reid, Deputy Director of Government Relations from the NY School Boards Association. At the Desmond Fish Library, 472 Route 403 (at the intersection of Route 9D). Call 914 941-1111 for more information.

Saturday, February 12

Town Meeting with Sandy Galef in Putnam Valley

10AM - Noon - Come meet with me to hear an update on what is going on in Albany. Bring your ideas and suggestions for what needs to be done to improve our state. At the Putnam Valley Library, 20 Oscawana Lake Road, Putnam Valley

Town Meeting with Sandy Galef in Kent Lakes

1Pm - 3PM - Come meet with me to hear an update on what is going on in Albany. Bring your ideas and suggestions for what needs to be done to improve our state. At the Kent Public Library, 17 Sybil's Crossing, Kent Lakes.

Tom Chapin

7:30PM - Described as "totally captivating" by Billboard Magazine, Tom Chapin is a singer, guitar player, TV personality, concert performer, actor, composer, and recording artist.  Tom's concerts span generations and stereotypes, and his recordings have earned him awards from Parent's Choice New York Music Awards, and Emmy and Peabody Awards for his work with ABC's Make a Wish. Tom is also renowned for carrying on the work of his brother, the late Harry Chapin, in combating world hunger.

For more than 30 years and through 20 CD's, Chapin has entertained, amused and enlightened audiences of all ages with life-affirming original songs told in a sophisticated array of musical styles.  Tom's remarkable musicianship, great songwriting and personal warmth shine though whether he's performing in a concert hall, an outdoor festival, a school, in front of a symphony orchestra or in an intimate coffeehouse.

Tom Chapin's adult concerts and recordings are sparked by strong, intelligent songwriting with clear, engaging vocals and the intricate, melodic guitar work that has become his trademark.

The Coffeehouse takes place in Asbury Hall in Memorial United Methodist Church, located at:
250 Bryant Avenue, White Plains, NY   

Doors open at 6:30 PM- Open Seating So arrive early, get yourself a cup of fair trade coffee, with some delicious cookies or cake and take part in our Informal Teachabout with Walkabout at 6:45 PM. Main Performance Starts at 7:30PM Tickets in Advance: Adults- $20.00; Children- 6-12 $10.00 - Door Price: Adults-$25.00;  At Door with Student ID- $15.00

Thursday, February 17

Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop

NSCW 2011: What Does the Future Hold?  Workshop Topics Include: • Transit-oriented Development • Alternative Energy • Innovations in Brownfields Redevelopment • Sustainable Communities, and more!

Join us in this dynamic workshop to discuss how sustainable communities are created.  The program for this workshop is intended to be a half day of intensive, high energy exchanges between stakeholders sharing varied perspectives on the issues surrounding sustainable redevelopment, alternative energy, and more. 

Stakeholder perspectives that include real estate finance, government at all levels, corporations, community representatives, NGOs and consultants who provide a range of technical expertise will be invited to participate in interactive sessions that focus on best practices and the challenges to their implementation.  Join us for this unique conversation! The 2011 Northeast Sustainable Communities aWorkshop is being coordinated by the Brownfields Coalition of the Northeast.  Workshop Fees: Government/Non-Profit: $40 Private: $75 Student: $25 Keynote Lunch Speaker: Bill Finch, Mayor City of Bridgeport. See attached information.

Location: Bridgeport, CT (Housatonic Community College)

Sunday, February 27th

Winter Ecology Walk

2PM Join Cary Institute educators for an interpretive stroll along our snow-covered trails. While bears and chipmunks are sleeping away the winter, there are still signs of life on our grounds. Put on your hat and boots and discover animal tracks, ice bell formations, cold weather insects, and the wonders of winter survival. Meet at the main campus parking area, located at 2801 Sharon Turnpike (Rte. 44) in Millbrook, NY. RSVPs are required; let us know if you are signing up for the adult walk or the family-friendly walk. Contact (845) 677-7600 x 121 or e-mail

Friday April 22 - Earth Day

An Earth Day Celebration to Benefit Clearwater

We're excited to announce Clearwater Generations: An Earth Day Celebration to Benefit Clearwater, which will be held at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, NY, on April 22 at 8pm.

The show will feature Pete Seeger & Tao Seeger, Peter Yarrow & Bethany Yarrow, Bernice Johnson Reagon & Toshi Reagon, and David Amram and Family. Performances by Clearwater friends and special guests including Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, Tom Chapin, Livingston Taylor, Jay Ungar & Molly Mason, Guy Davis, Rufus Cappadocia and the Power of Song, will round out this special celebration. 

Clearwater's environmental mission is about inspiring and educating the next generation, and we have applied this theme to music. Honoring tradition while looking toward the future has always been a major part of the Clearwater Festival. The Generations concert is all about classic Clearwater artists performing with and inspiring their children and grandchildren in order to carry on their legacy through song.

Tickets for the Clearwater Generations: An Earth Day Celebration concert range from $48 to $98.  A limited amount of $250 tickets include premium seating, a post concert reception with the artists, as well as special Clearwater gifts. Proceeds from the concert will benefit Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.
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