Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene...Cleaning Up In The Aftermath







Sit on a bench on Main Street here in Mountaindale this week, and what you will see is truck after truck passing through our hamlet, carrying stone, rock and crusher run to road repair projects. The damage from Hurricane Irene is everywhere, and it is going to take a long while to repair it all. I took just a short drive yesterday, looking at Park Hill Road where one whole side of the road gave way. Spoke to town of Fallsburg workers who have spent so far two full days rebuilding and stabilizing this hillside piece of road.



From there, I drove along Spring Glen Road where Sullivan County workers have been struggling to stabilize numerous areas on both sides of the road where Hurricane Irene just ate up huge chunks of land, washing way banks until sections of the road collapsed.



This road trip ended up at 209 where State road crews were out in force repairing just one small section of this state road that was washed away, traffic backed up for miles as vehicles. took turns navigating what for now is a one lane roadway heading into and out of Ellenville over in Ulster County.



Seeing all this damage up closer in personal, it's scary to think that FEMA finds itself broke, out of funds during our citizens time of need.

President Obama's Job Plan

The big story in the National News this week seems to be President Obama's Job's Plan, and his speech to the nation next week. When is he going to give it, and what is going to be included in the bill tops on the gossip mill followed in a close third by the big question, "What can he get passed through Congress".



The only viable evening for President Obama to present his plan to the American people should be next Thursday evening. My thinking on this is simple. Monday is Labor Day, and most of us will be coming back home from being out of town, or holding BarBQ's in our back yards as we support the workers weekend. Tuesday is the day before school starts for most Americans, which comes with a whole host of duties and responsibilities for both Moms and Dads, so this would not be a good evening for such a speech. Wednesday is the first day of school, and that first evening home brings papers for parents to sign, and kids wanting to talk about their new classes so forth and so on. Fridays are never good for such speeches, which leaves Thursday evening by default. We shall see what the White House decides.



The president's plan is supposed to be about putting Americans back to work. Well, a word to the White House..."Illegal Aliens" are not Americans, and it is time to stop letting them work in our economy when Americans are out of work, cannot find jobs.



"Crucially, potential deportees will not only be given permission to stay in the United States, but also work permits. This at a time when over 22 million Americans and legal immigrants are out of work, many searching desperately to find something."




So, though I know it will not happen, a good place for our president, our Congress and our government to start, would be to start enforcing our immigration laws as they exist on the books, and making E-Verify the law of the land. Deporting illegal aliens, weeding the 7.5 million of them working in our economy has the potential to put some 5 million Americans (almost 25 percent of those currently without jobs) back too work.



Next, stop trying to fix our economy with various and assorted tax gimmicks, and tax breaks to the uber rich...giving rich people more money through lower taxes is not creating more jobs, and the Republicans slogan, "Don't tax the job creators" is a cruel lie. Lets figure out what has to be done to pay down the federal deficit and raise taxes accordingly, and be done with it. It might be some bitter medicine to swallow, but we will all be better off for it.



Corporate America is sitting on some $2 Trillion dollars, and they have no interest right now in creating jobs...instead, they have thrown their ethical and moral responsibilities to America and its citizens down the proverbial toilet, and only care about profits at all cost with no eye on tomorrow. Providing or maintaining tax breaks for the uber rich, refusing to close corporate tax loop holes, providing subsidies to (as example) the oil and natural gas industries is not the way to go.



If the president really wants to pass a jobs bill, really wants to put Americans back to work, then he needs to be bold and decisive. The time has come to rebuild America's public infrastructure, and I am not talking about a few thousand jobs rebuilding our schools. I am talking about a true American Renaissance where we rebuild our roads, bridges, schools and other public infrastructure all across America. We also need to rebuild our industrial infrastructure, put America back on track to being a PRODUCER OF GOODS, rather than a CONSUMER OF GOODS. Green jobs will not save America, will not put some 22 million Americans back to work by itself. Service jobs, and minimum wage jobs in Walmarts across America are not going to pay Americans A LIVING WAGE. We need real jobs that pay real wages, and for that too happen, for us to save the middle class from extinction, we need a jobs plan that REBUILDS AMERICA...both its public sector, and its private industrial sector.



Lastly, if we the citizens of America want to put Americans back to work, we need to take a very big step of our own...43 percent of China's exports arrive on American shores, and we all run to Walmart, Sam's Clubs, BJ's and other big discount stores to scope up these bargain goods...look around you, look at your crumbling nation, look at the jobs that have been shipped off shore, and ask yourselves, "Have these cheap bargain goods been good for us, is the big box model of shopping been good for our communities, or instead destroyed them?" Maybe it is time to get back to some good old American protectionism, time to return to the days when we SHOP LOCALLY at stores that carry goods "Made in America". Sure, an American made widget, gadget or whatever might cost more, but it would keep Americans employed, and KEEP OUR WEALTH IN AMERICA.



Sadly, when the President comes before us next week, it will be more of the same old pablum we people always gets. He will suggest putting a bandaid on a bleeding artery, and tell Congress to end the partisan bickering and pass his jobs bill...blah, blah, and blah. He will not be bold, he will not lay out a plan to save our nation and put millions of Americans back to work, and if there was a Republican in the White House, it would still be the same old story.



One last thought...our government's Federal Reserve is lending OUR MONEY out to banks and other financial institutions at zero percent interest and letting them turn around and lend it to us at greatly inflated interest rates. How about we jump start the economy, jump start the contruction industry by stopping this practice, and instead lending the money to America's citizens...imagine making homeownership a truly attainable goal by having mortgages available directly from the Federal Reserve at say 3.5 percent interest? Ballooning interest rates after a low introductory rate CRASHED the housing market, put families in positions where they could no longer afford their monthly mortgage payments.



In short, the banks killed the real estate market, and secondarily the construction industry...so why are we continuing to lend them money at ZERO PERCENT? Maybe the beginning of a American Renaissance needs to start with a basic reality....we need fewer banks, and we need to stop lending them citizen money at zero percent interest, we need to let American Citizens go directly to the Federal Reserve for loans on the most singularly important part of the American Dream, home ownership.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Local Citizens Pitch In To Get Mountaindale's Rails To Trails Segment Back Open





There are a lot of counties, the towns and hamlets in them that got hit a lot harder than we here in Mountaindale got hit...that said, we took our share of the pounding that Hurricane Irene (which is shaping up financially to be one of the top ten disasters America has ever witnessed) delivered to the East Coast this past weekend. Many people are still without electricity, and some small towns have been hit so hard they may never recover. Governments up and down the coast have their hands full, and in many cases, they need citizens to step up and help with some of the heavy lifting as cleanup after Hurricane Irene progresses forward.



Yesterday, we had some of our own citizens who live, work or recreate here in Mountaindale up on the Rails To Trails leading by example, doing the heavy lifting necessary to get our trail back open and accessible to members of the general public who use it frequently during the summer months. Ken and Barb Schmitt from Diversified Realty Services brought in the heavy equipment, sending their backhoe onto the trail to do some of the serious lifting. Charlie Sanborn of Cinder Track Bicycles and Mike Yavaniski (who is still without electricity in his own home) were out there with chainsaws, rakes and shovels. It took a couple hours, but the trail is now at least open and available, though it may take weeks, even months to repair some parts of the trail here in Mountaindale, as the Hurricane washed away a lot of the foundation base on the rail head, the water even causing land collapse in a couple of areas.



The good news is we can access the trail, and some of the heavy lifting has been done, thus freeing up town and county resources right now for other more pressing problems. Our after storm problems need to be addressed, but right now there are other communities that have far more pressing concerns to deal with...so, if any of our readers find themselves with a few hours to spare, we encourage you to consider volunteering anywhere where Hurricane Irene clean up is being done.

Slow Down FRACKING....Ask For Extension of Comment Period

Just in from our friends in the Fight to Keep Fracking and its insidious environmental damages out of our communities. Tomorrow the fight to save our county, and the Greater Catskills from the environmental and health ills that come along with Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) begins when the state of NY releases its fundamentally flawed, industry created Revised Draft SGEIS...it is imperiative we be given ADEQUATE TIME to read and understand this 1000 page document. Below is the Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy Press Release...please, weigh in on this IMPORTANT ISSUE.
PRESS RELEASE



Extend the Public Comment Period



On Wednesday, the NYS DEC will release the last section of the Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program which already runs to well over one thousand pages. While there's abundant evidence that hydrofracking should be prohibited, it's unlikely that we'll see a ban in New York any time soon. In the short term, we must do everything we can to forestall unsafe drilling while continuing to build public awareness, so that elected officials will eventually be forced to do their job and protect the public.


Right now, this means focusing our efforts on getting the NYS DEC to give the public ample time to read, analyze and comment on the Draft. Please take action and demand at least 180 days to read, analyze, and comment on this highly technical document.


An extended public comment period will give us time to formulate tens of thousands of substantive comments, which the DEC is required by law to read and address. Comments submitted on the first Draft SGEIS occupied the DEC for more than a year. We can do it again!


Commenting on the Draft: A Workshop Conducted by Roger Downs


Residents of the Upper Delaware region are invited to attend a free workshop led by Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter's Roger Downs. Roger is one of our most knowledgeable experts on the draft SGEIS, and with his guidance, ordinary citizens will be able to submit the type of comments that will force the DEC to rethink its disastrousplan to frack New York. Don't miss this chance to make a difference. Attend the two-hour workshop:


Saturday, September 3 10 a.m.-Noon



The Old North Branch Inn

North Branch, New York



To RSVP, and for more information, call (845) 468-7063, or email info@catskillcitizens.org


Two out of three people who find out about fracking think the risks aren't worth the rewards.



Public awareness is the key to our success, so spread the word!





.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene POUNDING Mountaindale NY

Yes, we can all thank our lucky stars that Hurricane Irene is not far worse than it could have been. That said, our small hamlet is TAKING A POUNDING as the relentless rain pummels our little community. The stream behind the High School is completely out of its bank, the water level within nine inches of the bottom of our small foot bridge. Our segment of the "Rails to Trails is being eaten away, a 22 foot wide foot or deep stream replacing what used to be a viable bike and hiking path...sure that Woodridge Segway and our very own Cinder Track bike shop can use all the help they can get next week trying to get this trail back into usable condition.



The wood retaining wall that contains the stream as it runs under Main Street is holding, but JUST BARELY...if you walk to the back where the stream makes the sharp right turn and heads under the street you can watch the water flowing up from UNDER this retaining wall.



In short, Mountaindale is sitting on the edge, and we need this rain to stop sooner rather than later, or we could have some serious problems coming our way.



UPDATE....



It is 2:02 in the afternoon, and the rain has stopped, the sun shining on our small hamlet. The water is beginning to recede, and if one did not know where to look...IE, up on the Rails to Trails as one example, you would hardly know we had just been through a horrific hurricane. Mean while, out and about, we ended up coming to the rescue of a couple who had gotten themselves into some deep water, but more on that in another post. Just glad we are done with all this.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Your Saturday Morning Hurricane Irene Report

The good news...Hurricane Irene is greatly weakened, down to a Category 3 Hurricane, it is lumbering along at around 14 miles per hour as a Cat 1 Hurricane as it makes its way up the East coast toward New York. That said, lets not get lulled into a false sense of security...this Hurricane is still packing wind gusts at over 80 MPH, and is some 500 miles wide carrying a whole lot of rain.





It is easy to assume we have dodged a bullet, and in some ways we have...especially the folks in New York City...a Cat 2 or 3 Hurricane hitting lower Manhattan and other low lying areas in the five boroughs of New York would have been catastrophic...a Category 1 still does not look pretty, and is going to do a whole lot of damage. Above is the most recent map, the red showing the areas targeted for Hurricane damage...New York is smack dab in that red area, and if you go out from that center 250 miles (diameter of storm), Sullivan County and our small hamlet of Mountaindale are going to be seeing almost 12 hours of gusting winds, heavy rains and all that comes with those two dangers, such as falling trees, snapped power lines, and flooding.



Get your Hurricane Readiness kit ready, and prepare to hunker down...who knows, maybe we will all wake up on Monday after this storm has passed, and have a good laugh over so much ado over nothing, be thankful that Hurricane Irene passing us by without doing much harm.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Track The Hurricane...Great Site

Track Hurricane Irene as it bears down on us...right now, it is 622 miles from making landfall here in New York. You can track the storm here.

Mayor Bloomberg Orders Mandatory Evacuation Ahead of Hurricane Irene

The good news...right now, Hurricane Irene is only a Category Two Hurricane...the bad news is we ALL NEED TO TAKE THIS SERIOUS. Mayor Bloomberg has ordered a mandatory evacuation of all citizens living in a low lying area in all five boroughs of New York...this has never been done before, which hopefully gives everyone an idea of just how serious this situation is, just how dangerous this storm/hurricane heading our way can be.



If you live in any of these areas, or have friends/relatives living in these low lying areas, please encourage them to heed the warnings, to heed the evacuation orders. Our state's first responders are going to have their hands full as it is, and we as citizens have a responsibility to be our own first responders.



Also just in...all public transportation in New York City is shut down effective noon tomorrow. Also, many public roads are being shut down as well, including East bound traffic into Atlantic City.



Current storm track sees New York getting hit Sunday morning with a Cat 1 Hurricane hitting Long Island, with a lesser chance down of New York City taking a direct hit...expect storm surges of 3-6 foot...the worst of the weather should have passed all of us by Sunday evening.

Breaking National News...Amtrak Train Carrying 175 Derails in Nebraska

In breaking national news of interest to our little train hamlet...a Amtrak train carrying 175 passengers struck a vehicle on the tracks and has derailed out in Nebraska...no further details at this point.

FREE One on One Home Beautification Tour

If you have been contemplating some fall beautification efforts around your house, this offer from Catskill Harvest is a must event...imagine a professional coming to your home for a one on one tour, this professional making suggestions, and as a thank you, getting a no strings attached $25 gift certificate to use any way you want at Catskill Harvest! Call and make your appointment today.

Catskill Harvest Home Beautification Tour

Book a no-obligation tour before September 9 for a

FREE ESTIMATE and a $25 CATSKILL HARVEST GIFT CERTIFICATE

Barbara_PoolArea

This isn't just a piece of property. This is a Home. And a Home deserves all of the care and attention that you'd provide for family members & close friends.



Our Home Beautification Tour is a brand new offering from the Landscaping & Construction team. The tour involves a 1:1 home-design walk-through & consultation with Catskill Harvest owner Will Foster. Together, you'll come up with fresh ideas to beautify & improve your Home this Fall.



You'll receive a free, detailed estimate. And the $25 Catskill Harvest Gift Certificate has no strings attached. Call 845-292-3833 before September 9.



What goes into Home Beautification?

Home Design & Construction

Barbara_FrontofHouse

Services related to the Home and what's inside its walls:

** New home design & construction

** General property management & maintenance

** Guest homes & cottages

** Remodeling & restoration

** Kitchens & baths

** Carpentry & cabinetry

** Interior painting

** Electrical & plumbing

** Insulation & heating systems, including radiant floors

Home Design & Construction photo gallery

Landscape Design & Installation

Barbara_Gate

Services related to what falls outside the walls of your Home:

** Landscape design & installation

** Garden & lawn maintenance

** Fencing, stone walls & patios

** Screened porches, decks, terraces & patios

** Pools, ponds, fountains & waterfalls

** Storm water drainage & routing

Landscape Design & Installation photo gallery

More Landscape Offerings

Barbara_GuestHouse

** Raised bed vegetable gardens

** Foundation veneers

** Driveway layout & engineering

** Exterior painting & roofing

** Woodland management

** Wind break tree lines

** Storm damage clean-up

We developed the Home Beautification Tour to help you focus on your Home's design, aesthetics and long-term value.



Schedule a Home Beautification Tour before September 9 for a free estimate and the $25 Catskill Harvest Gift Certificate. Call 845-292-3833.

Hurricane Irene...Please Prepare For Worst

Been up for awhile today watching the tracking of Hurricane Irene, and it is looking more and more likely that New York is going to get hit and hit hard. Though we are all hoping for the storm to veer off and miss us, it is imperative that we all take the necessary precautions, be prepared for the worse...depending on the tracking, winds, and amount of rain, we could be seeing both flooding, and electrical outages that could last from 3-10 days.



A tub full of water will allow you to flush toilets and water your plants. Fill up old bottle and jugs with drinking/cooking water. It is possible that water purification plants might be off line, which could make faucet water unsafe to drink even if you have running water. Do you have food to last you and your family for at least three days? Have you considered a small back up generator? At least with this, you could run a TV so that if cable is working, you can get up to

the minute news of what is going on should a disaster occur. Do you have an OLD FASHION plug into the phone jack phone that does not require electricity? Are all your cell phones charged up? If so, turn them off, and only use one at a time to preserve energy...only make EMERGENCY calls...even if we are not directly affected by the disaster, it is imperative to keep traffic down so as not to overload the circuits.



Do you have a basic set of HAND TOOLS...if we have not electricity, electric tools will not work, your circular saw not a lot of use. If you have rechargeable tools, make sure all your batteries have been charged. Screws, nails, plastic, stables and a staple gun, perhaps a couple of blue tarps in case windows get broken by high winds or flying debris are all good ideas. Consider setting up CAMP in a room or space devoid of windows just in case debris does break a window.



Remember....an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so lets all get our Hurricane Readiness kits prepared, and be careful this weekend.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What To Do AFTER The Hurricane Moves On

There is a very good likelihood that Hurricane Irene could bring some serious dangers to the Catskills this weekend. High winds, torrential rains and storm surge could create some major issues we will all have to deal with. including downed trees, flooding and power outages that could last for days. Below is a list of actions for AFTER THE HURRICANE PASSES, compliments of the American Red Cross.



  • Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Stay out of any building that has water around it.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
  • Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.

August 31st is Important Day In New York For Fracking

If you have a mailing list, or have friends with internet access, we desperately need MORE SIGNATURES between now and August 31, 2011. Please read the following ACTION ALERT, and take action now to preserve our drinking water supplies, and pristine rural beauty.



ACTION ALERT




This is a critical moment in the fight to ban fracking in New York. On August 31, the Department of Environmental Conservation is scheduled to release its draft impact statement, which proposes to open large portions of the state to fracking. Sign the petition to Governor Cuomo to ban fracking now!



The drumbeat against fracking is growing louder and stronger. You have already taken action by sending letters and submitting comments to put an end to this destructive form of natural gas drilling (thanks!), but you have not yet signed the petition. We need more signatures on our petition to Governor Cuomo urging him to ban fracking in New York. Will you sign today?



We anticipate that the draft impact statement will fall short of putting the safety of our water, health, communities and environment before industry profits. While there are alternatives to natural gas, there are no alternatives to water. Will you help us reach our goal of obtaining 5,000 more petition signatures by August 31st?




Sign today to ban fracking:

http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7619



Thanks for taking action,



Corinne Rosen

New York Organizer

Food & Water Watch

crosen@fwwatch.org

Is Your Hurricane Preparedness Kit Ready?

Been sitting here watching CNN track Hurricane Irene, and seems like a good time to put some thought into a Hurricane Readiness Kit...a set of basic supplies that will allow you to take care of yourself and your family for a period of 72 hours. New York could take a direct hit, and that means we could see some very heavy rains, high winds, down trees, and perhaps even downed power lines leaving us without electricity. For those of you wondering what you should look at having on the ready, here is a basic checklist you can use.



  1. Water- one gallon per person, per day (3 day supply) *it is recommended here if things get tough that you also fill your tub with water for things like flushing toilets.

  2. Non-perishable food (3 day supply) and hand-held can opener...tuna is a good thing to have several cans of, as well as peanut butter.

  3. Snack Food...Cashews, raisins, apples, plums, crackers.

  4. Cooking tools and fuel...outdoor grill (fill your propane tank) and/or a camp stove.

  5. Paper plates and plastic utensils
  6. Blankets and pillows
  7. Clothing- rain gear, shoes, warm clothing
  8. First Aid Kit and medications (3 day supply)
  9. Toiletries and hygiene items
  10. Diapers and other specialty items for babies and the elderly
  11. Flashlights and candles

  12. Batteries
  13. Radio- battery operated NOAA radio
  14. Fully charged cell phones and traditional household telephone
  15. Cash (ATM's may not be available)
  16. Insurance, medical, bank, social security documents
  17. Toys, books, games for children entertainment
  18. Tools
  19. Pet care items
  20. Keys to car...have car parked on high ground.



Our Small Blog About To Reach Milestone of 5000 Page Views

Happened to look at our stats for this little news blog this morning, and was pleasantly surprised to see how close we are to reaching a wonderful milestone in our short history...we are at 4,824 page views, which means we should reach the milestone of 5,000 page views sometime on Saturday August 27th, 2011. Wanted to share this milestone with our readers, and thank all of you for your regular visits to our small space here on the worldwide web.

Steve Jobs Vision Will Be Missed



Yesterday the tech world was shaken to its foundation with Steve Jobs resignation as the CEO of Apple...I look at my first spinning wheel IPOD, my new IPOD Touch, think about the IPAD I am saving up money for, and am saddened at that news. There are few people in the world who have not been touched in a positive way by his vision, and his marketing. Steve, you will be missed by all of us, and we all wish you the best of luck as you face your own far more important personal health issues.



For those worried about Apple's future...trust in the vision of Steve Jobs, believe in the fact that he put in place a team to carry his vision forward for many decades to come.

Don't Forget...Saturday Night August 27th...OPEN MIC NIGHT In Mountaindale!

Just reminding everyone...



Music & Rhyme Open Mic Night August 27

Mountaindale, NY - Mountaindale is calling all performers to a Music & Rhyme Open Mic Night on Saturday, August 27th at 8PM at a Coffeehouse Jam in 62 Main Street in Mountaindale.



Spoken word, live Poetry and Music will all be welcome. A $5 cover fee will include admission and refreshments, and will benefit community enhancement efforts by the Mountaindale Community Development Project. each performer will have 5 minutes for "Family Oriented" material, with the possibility of an encore for talent well appreciated by the audience. To register or for more info, please call barb at 845-434-4747 or Gina Marie at 845-701-5582 and let your voice be heard.

Saturday August 27-Richard Heppner Author of Women of the Catskills: Stories of Struggle, Sacrifice & Hope

Richard Heppner

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Catskill Harvest (in the Cafe)

1 p.m. - 3 p.m.



When it comes to Catskill Mountain history, author and historian Richard Heppner isn't going to let women get the short end of the stick. Instead, he's put them front-and-center in Women of the Catskills: Stories of Struggle, Sacrifice and Hope.



We're looking forward to having Mr. Heppner join us this Saturday, August 27, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. for his very first visit to Catskill Harvest.



While he's here, Heppner will host an informal meet & greet with customers and share what he discovered about our region's most fearless women while writing his book.



From Tasting Bars to wool spinning demonstrations, "Catskill Harvest Presents..." has aimed to spotlight the finest in Sullivan County.



Now, from the literary side, we're eager to have Richard Heppner join the line-up to shed light on a collection of fine women who helped shape our local history.



More about Richard Heppner

He has served as town historian for Woodstock, NY, for the last ten years. He also serves on the board of directors for the Historical Society of Woodstock and the Woodstock Memorial Society. Over the years, he has authored and edited numerous essays and texts on Woodstock's unique history.



Richard lives in Woodstock, New York, with his wife, Deborah and two children, Eliza and Jonathan. His previous work for The History Press includes Remembering Woodstock (2007).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Should The NRC Close Indian Point Reactors Ahead of Hurricane Irene?

Two words...STORM SURGE.



If you are tracking Hurricane Irene, it could make landfall almost anywhere from South Carolina northward, with New York currently one of the potentials for landfall of this Category Three (perhaps a category four) Hurricane. There is a very good chance that New York could take a direct hit, and if we do, the storm surge has the potential to be catastrophic...it could be even worse if the power goes out to Indian Point, and their back up generators get flooded in a very similar flooding to that in Japan in the Fukushima disaster that has created at least three nuclear reactor meltdowns. A look at the NOAA website under the search term Storm Surge, you find the following quote:



Along the coast, storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane.


Which begs the question...is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? Right now, NOAA does not have storm surge maps for this storm, was told today that it is much too early to create those kinds of maps with any accuracy as they are not sure yet what track this storm is going to take as it takes its run up the East Coast. Would it make more sense for the NRC, our state government to order the SAFE SHUTDOWN and COOLING of Indian Points reactors until after this potentially catastrophic storm has passed? We look at Eliot Brenner's, NRC's Public Affairs Officer, own words spoken when trying to convince people that Earthquakes were not a serious issue for Indian Point (though it sits ATOP a fault line):



"For example, at nuclear plants along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, the greatest water threat is hurricane storm surge, not a tsunami."


Look at yesterday's earthquake...the strongest earthquake in our area in the last one hundred years. Yesterday's earthquake took out two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station, and Twelve other nuclear power plants in New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland also declared unusual events Tuesday but did not shut down.



Hurricane Irene presents some potentially GREAT RISKS to the problem plagued Indian Point reactors owned by Entergy should New York take a direct hit by a Cat 3 or 4 Hurricane. The NRC's own staff have stated publicly that the storm surge from a Hurricane present the greatest risk to Indian Point. The storm surge holds the potential to flood the building housing the back up generators, the storm surge also holds the potential to CLOG UP the intakes that supply these two reactors with their 2.5 Billion gallons of daily water supply needed to cool the reactor core. So the question is posed, should these two reactors sitting along the edge of the Hudson River be shut down now as a precaution?



"BUCHANAN — To respond effectively to a Fukushima-like event, the Indian Point nuclear plant must fix several problems, including the potential buildup of explosive hydrogen gas and poorly placed firefighting and flood-protection equipment."



Some of Indian Points CRISIS SHORTCOMINGS INCLUDE:



• At Indian Point 2, hydrogen containment devices, which are supposed to be tested every other year, haven't been tested for five years.

• Fire protection equipment in locations that are not "seismically designed," or protected from a quake.

• Inspectors identified potential vulnerabilities associated with seismic events.

• At Indian Point 3, not enough firefighting equipment if severe events included both reactors simultaneously.

• In on-site availability of submersible pumps and sandbags needed at certain flood levels.

• Carbon-dioxide tanks used for firefighting are not seismically qualified.



Shouldn't we do a SAFE SHUT DOWN and cooling of the reactor cores now, rather than risk what could happen? Have we not learned our lesson from the TEPCO nuclear station disaster in Japan? Have we not learned that, contrary to NRC's false assurances, these reactors are not built to withstand all of Mother Natures onslaughts?



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Is Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc.Heading Off Fracking Damage Before it Occurs?

‘BAN LARGE TRUCKS ON ROUTE 97’

Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Calls for Industrial Truck Ban

[NARROWSBURG] – The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. (UDSB) unanimously approved a resolution at its August 22 monthly meeting calling for all levels of government to enact regulations that would prohibit the passage of large trucks on New York State Route 97 if they are involved in new forms of heavy industrial use and mining. Instead, it calls for use of the adjacent railroad to transport heavy industrial equipment and materials.

The resolution specifically supports the continuation of traditional forms of truck usage such as vehicles for agriculture, lumbering, bluestone mining and transport of canoes.

The resolution states:

“WHEREAS, The majority portion of New York State Route 97 was legislatively designated as a component of the New York State Scenic Byways System on August 6, 2002 under a nomination as the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway; and

“WHEREAS, The Enhancement Concept for the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (final corridor management plan, January 2002) expresses a vision to ‘highlight what is already an exceptional feature of the region’s appeal to residents and visitors alike – the highway itself. The most significant and attractive aspects of the byway will continue to be its spectacular highway vistas, access to the Delaware River and its resources, and the uniqueness of the communities along the byway’; and

“WHEREAS, The Upper Delaware River Valley is seeing proposals to introduce new forms of industry and mining involving heavy industrial equipment and materials, which will change the traditional patterns of transportation on New York State Route 97; and

“WHEREAS, An alternative for transporting heavy industrial equipment and material exists in the form of the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks, which run parallel to New York State Route 97 for its entire length; and

“WHEREAS, The railroad has been the traditional form by which industrial equipment and materials have been moved through the Upper Delaware River Valley since it was constructed in the 1850’s as part of the old Erie mainline from Hoboken, NJ to Chicago, IL; and

“WHEREAS, The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. non-profit organization, as managed by a board of representatives from the member municipalities, is tasked with protecting, promoting, and enhancing the designated byway route; and

“WHEREAS, Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. has aesthetic concerns over the potential visual intrusion impacts from this industrial activity and safety concerns that an increase in associated heavy traffic could interfere with safe travel along the highway, as well as cause a deterioration in New York State Route 97’s physical condition; and

“WHEREAS, Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. has already expressed an initial view on these issues in a resolution adopted at its February 28, 2011 meeting;

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Inc. urges all levels of government, specifically including towns, villages, cities, counties, states, the federal government, and all regional authorities and bodies to enact or exercise their respective regulatory authorities to:

1) Prohibit the passage on New York State Route 97 of all large trucks and vehicles involved in new forms of heavy industrial use and mining; and

2) Support the continuation of traditional forms of truck usage on New York State Route 97, such as the use of vehicles for agriculture, lumbering, bluestone mining and transport of canoes; and

3) Place the burden on all non-traditional forms of heavy industrial and mining uses to disallow any activities that will detract from the inherent scenic qualities that were the basis for the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway’s designation.

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to every municipality and regional governmental body that has jurisdiction over the Upper Delaware River Valley, and to the newspapers of general circulation within the valley.”

Go to www.upperdelawarescenicbyway.org for more information on the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway and its activities. A travelogue brochure is available by calling toll-free 866-511-UDSB (8372). The organization’s meetings are held every fourth Monday at 7:00 p.m. at 211 Bridge Street in Narrowsburg. They are open to the public.

UDSB officers are Chairperson Nadia Rajsz from the Town of Lumberland, Vice-Chairperson Rosie DeCristofaro from the Town of Delaware, and Secretary-Treasurer Larry H. Richardson from the Town of Cochecton. Member municipalities include Village of Hancock, Town of Tusten, Town of Highland, Town of Deerpark, City of Port Jervis and Sullivan County. Sullivan Renaissance is a nonvoting member of the UDSB.

Do You Trust Exxon To Extract Natural Gas in Sullivan County Using Hydraulic Fracturing?



Our politicians here in New York, here in Sullivan County seem bent on allowing Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) to begin in our state, and more specifically in our beautiful, scenic Hudson River Valley, natural gas wells and the ills they bring soon to become a COMMON SITE in our communities. One of the big players should this happen is Exxon (owns rights to 317,000 acres in Marcellus Shale) who has been blanketing the airwaves with commercials such as the one above wherein Exxon's geologist Eric Oswald tries to convince us that Exxon knows how important that they GET THIS RIGHT. (That line was borrowed or stolen from President Obama.)



Lets explore how Exxon DOES NOT GET IT RIGHT.



Let us start with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In an excerpt from Wikipedia:



The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, struck Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels (41,000 to 119,000 m3) of crude oil.[1][2] It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters.[3] The Valdez spill was the largest ever in U.S. waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in terms of volume released.[4] However, Prince William Sound's remote location, accessible only by helicopter, plane, and boat, made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response.




The Exxon Valdez is perhaps the best known example of Exxon NOT GETTING IT RIGHT, but one does not have to look far to find example after example of them cutting corners, violating the laws, rules and regulations meant to protect the communities they do business and harm in. From Texas we find this excerpt:



Texas has fined Exxon Mobil $150,462 for violations of air pollution regulations at the company’s refinery in Beaumont, Texas.

A statement issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says the 15 violations include failure to limit emissions during refinery malfunctions, failure to repair and perform monitoring of equipment, recordkeeping failures and failure to install required equipment.




We can look at the state of Maryland, and find yet another example with this excerpt:



The State of Maryland has filed a suit seeking nearly $ 12 million in penalties from Exxon Mobil Corp and a local service station operator for a gasoline leak in Jacksonville area of Baltimore County. The suit accuses the giant corporation and the service station of violating state environmental regulations by allowing the leak and not detecting or reporting it promptly. State officials say that 62 residential wells are contaminated with methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, a gasoline additive. In addition to the penalties, the state asks that Exxon and its operator clean up the gasoline that leaked.



In California, we find again that Exxon SKIRTS THE RULES, then simply pays the fines as a cost of doing business.



Exxon Mobil Corp. agreed to pay $400,000 in penalties to California for environmental violations at its Torrance refinery. Exxon Mobil also agreed to spend a maximum of $2 million on supplemental environmental projects intended to cut excessive emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants at the refinery. The company paid $250,000 for a March 22, 2007 incident that caused the release of nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and other substances. In addition, Exxon Mobil paid $150,000 to settle 23 air permit and air quality violations at the Torrance facility that occurred between October 2005 and October 2006.



If Exxon is doing business in your community, there is a very real likelihood that they are violating the environmental rules meant to protect your health, your water, your air. Yet, they are running commercials every day here in the Hudson River Valley trying to convince you that they and other companies like Chesapeake Energy (who has a very similar environmental record) know the importance of getting it right when it comes to FRACKING our neighborhoods, and they are spending MILLIONS lobbying here in New York, and in Washington DC to get access to the Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale. Question is, when you look at the truth of these companies environmental records, can we really afford to let them bring FRACKING to our community?







Did you Feel the Earth Move?

Californians take most earthquakes for granted, but New Yorkers don't expect to feel their buildings shaking. At about 1:50PM today, several Main Street, Mountaindale residents felt a tremor that was related to the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Virginia. The quake was 4 miles deep at its epicenter. Tremors were felt as far north as Bath, ME, and as far south as Hampstead, NC, with several Canadian reports as well.







For those locals who felt it, it was a very strange sensation. At 51 Main Street, the building shook and creaked a bit, but all the art & furniture stayed put. Things were different in the Washington/Virginia area where there was structural damage reported. In some cases, buildings were evacuated as a precaution and Amtrak had railway service disruptions. There was also an interruption in cell phone service in the New York City area, where traders in the New York Stock Exchange could also feel the tremors. Of a more serious concern are the nuclear power plants on the East Coast, which were reportedly shut down and listed as in safe condition.



For those who do not know it, Indian Point's reactors sit on a earthquake fault...in fact, if the reactors were seeking a new license today, instead of a license renewal, said license could not be issued. Meanwhile, both the NRC and Entergy assure us the general public that the chances of a earthquake occurring on this fault are highly unlikely...sort of like the unlikely chance today that the people in Virginia would experience a 5.8 on the Richter Scale quake. Perhaps now we can get the NRC to explain to us why they refuse to consider earthquakes in the re-licensing of the Indian Point reactors. Guess we need to wait until a natural disaster similar to the one that took out the TEPCO reactors in Japan before our regulatory folks are willing to look at this very real danger.





Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce First Friday Networking Breakfast

FIRST FRIDAY NETWORKING BREAKFAST

Friday, September 2, 2011

7:45am-9:00am

Sponsored by:

. Hosted by: Blue Horizon Diner

Route 42

Monticello, NY



Pre-registered members: $12


No pre-register members: $15

Non-members: $20

Please RSVP no later than:

Thursday, September 1, 2011 by noon.



Click here to register on our website or register on our Facebook event!

Contact Cathy at (845) 791-4200 ext. 302 or email chamber@catskills.com

for more information or to RSVP*!

*RSVP's on Facebook and website will be invoiced!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Girl Scout Leader CPR Training

It is well known that Girl Scout Leaders are selfless volunteers. However, did you also know that Scout Leaders are required to maintain their First Aid & CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)Certification and keep it constantly updated in order to have a Troop? The Adult Volunteers are responsible for the well being of the young women in their Troop and always need to be prepared for the unexpected during either a meeting, program or special activity.



Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Leaders from Community 532, representing the Towns of Fallsburg, Monticello and Mamakating, meet each month at a leader's meeting in Mountaindale. One of the recent topics was whether the First Aid/CPR class could be presented right here in Mountaindale for the 5 hour course, rather than have each leader drive to Orange County for certification. Volunteer Community Chair Barb Schmitt was able to contact Council Staff who were all too eager to help. Adult Volunteer Development Manager, Kathie Cayton, devoted all day Sunday, August 21st. to teaching area leaders all the latest techniques in how to provide emergency care until EMS or paramedic staff can take over.



The leaders enjoyed interesting educational videos of various emergency situations, coupled with plenty of hands on experience in delivering CPR compressions; mouth to mouth resuscitation; and bandaging each other. An update in the course included a lot more emphasis on emergency use of an AED, or Automated External Defibrillator.



The Leaders always hope they will never be called upon to use these skills but stand ready 'just in case.' Girl Scouts also offers a Babysitting Certification Course for its young women, and this too, offers preparedness training for emergency situations as the Scouts begin to take on neighborhood babysitting jobs.



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Zumba In Mountaindale..We Are Looking For Instructor

Currently, Mountaindale finds itself without a Zumba Fitness instructor. When Zumba was being taught on Monday nights, we saw an average attendance for the class running between 15-20 students on most weeks. We are looking to find a Zumba instructor that would like to offer this class here in town on a once a week basis. If you are a Zumba instructor, or might know of a Zumba instructor, please contact Barb at (845) 434-4747...we are hoping to resume the class right after Labor Day Weekend.



If you are interested in participating in a Zumba class here in Mountaindale, or are one of the students left in the lurch created with the departure of our Zumba instructor, and would like to know when classes begin again, please drop Barb an email at mountaindaleny@gmail.com

Mountaindale Rental of The Week-Available For IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY

Mountaindale is looking for some more residents...starting today, we will be featuring one of our downtown apartments each week. This weeks Rental of the Week is 63 Main Street Apt 2A and is available for immediate occupancy.



63 Main Street 2A - Charming, comfortable One Bedroom Apartment. Visit Our Rental Blog









This comfortable, cozy one bedroom apartment has all the extra amenities that make an apartment a home including a front porch, and a bonus room that makes for a perfect office space, or guest bedroom for those occasional overnight guests. Gas fired baseboard heat with thermostatic control lets you find your own perfect comfort zone. The full bath comes with tub/shower unit and linoleum floors. In addition to these amenities, this unit has a stunning back 10x20 deck with beautiful view of surrounding woodland area...great for summer entertaining. Your downstairs neighbor is a Yoga studio. At $660 a month, affordable luxury renting does not get any better than this. Please call us today to view this and other rentals available here in Mountaindale, NY.



For more information, or to make an appointment to see this or other rentals in downtown Mountaindale, please contact Barb at (845)436-5284.


Fall Is Time To Plant your Spring Bulbs

As much as we may not want to admit it, fall is fast approaching, and in our area that means the snow cannot be far behind. So, even though we have a bit of our summer still to enjoy, this is the time to start thinking about planting fall bulbs! A bit of work in the garden, or in your flower beds after the first frost will provide you beautiful blooms next spring, and for years to come, as bulbs are perennials that come back year after year, many of them multiplying with each successive year. Bulbs of all kinds from my own perspective give those of us who love flowers the biggest bang for the buck, as they bloom year after year, and tend to naturalize on their own over time.





A few Basic Tips



First Up-Annuals bloom only once, lasting one growing season. Perennials come back year after year, going dormant in the fall until the weather warms again the next spring.



Flowers bulbs are perennial. Drive down almost any country road in the spring time, see a large clump of daffodils or iris, and they were probably planted there decades ago.



Bulb Depth (general rule)-large bulbs 8 inches deep, and 6 inches apart, small bulbs 5 inches deep, 3 inches apart (all pointed ends up).



After planting a bulb bed add 2-3 inches of mulch to retain moisture as well as protect your bulbs.



When choosing bulbs, think about color, size of blooms when making your selections. Look for bulbs that are firm, clean, and free of mold.



Best time to plant your bulbs is after first frost.



Save a few bulbs for a winter touch of spring in your home by planting bulbs indoors! Growing bulbs indoors during our COLD winter is known as "forcing" them.





Enjoy the rest of your summer, and start putting some thought into where you would like to plant some spring bulbs this fall.

Some of My Favorite Bulb Sites



Wayside Gardens (I LOVE LOVE LOVE their Iris!)



Spring Hill (Used to live not too far from this nursery which is located in Tipp City, Ohio.)



Eden Brothers (Some of the flowers in our Mountaindale Train Garden came from here.)



*Note-Mountaindale Community Development Project is planning on having a bulb planting day here in our hamlet, so stay tuned for more details.

Commemorating Sept 11 Tragedy

In just 22 days, we here in New York, our nation, will commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 when terrorists hijacked four planes, two of them taking down the Twin Towers known as the World Trade Center towers. Most of us here in New York know someone that was in the towers, or who responded to the tragedy on that fateful day when America found itself under attack.



Thinking our small hamlet of Mountaindale should find a way to commemorate the day, honor those who lost their lives that day in the towers, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC and in a field in Pennsylvania. Below are the staggering facts by the numbers.



The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

  • Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819

  • Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343

  • Number of NYPD officers: 23

  • Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

  • Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60

  • Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402

  • Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614

  • Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658

  • Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22

  • Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115

  • Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1

  • Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39

  • Bodies found "intact": 289

  • Body parts found: 19,858

  • Number of families who got no remains: 1,717

  • Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center: 36,000

  • Total units of donated blood actually used: 258

  • Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609

  • Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051

  • Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20

  • FDNY retirements, January–July 2001: 274

  • FDNY retirements, January–July 2002: 661

  • Number of firefighters on leave for respiratory problems by January 2002: 300

  • Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200

  • Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98

  • Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124

  • Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

  • Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100

  • Days the New York Stock Exchange was closed: 6

  • Point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average when the NYSE reopened: 684.81

  • Days after 9/11 that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan: 26

  • Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion

  • Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million

  • Total FEMA money spent on the emergency: $970 million

  • Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion

  • Estimated amount of insurance paid worldwide related to 9/11: $40.2 billion

  • Estimated amount of money needed to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $7.5 billion

  • Amount of money recently granted by U.S. government to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $4.55 billion

  • Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million

  • Percentage of total charity money raised going to FDNY and NYPD families: 25

  • Average benefit already received by each FDNY and NYPD widow: $1 million

  • Percentage increase in law-school applications from 2001 to 2002: 17.9

  • Percentage increase in Peace Corps applications from 2001 to 2002: 40

  • Percentage increase in CIA applications from 2001 to 2002: 50

  • Number of songs Clear Channel Radio considered "inappropriate" to play after 9/11: 150

  • Number of mentions of 9/11 at the Oscars: 26

  • Apartments in lower Manhattan eligible for asbestos cleanup: 30,000

  • Number of apartments whose residents have requested cleanup and testing: 4,110

  • Number of Americans who changed their 2001 holiday-travel plans from plane to train or car: 1.4 million

  • Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000