Environmental Advocates have released their annual voters guide and once again the representatives in the Adirondack region have some of the worst scores in the state. Our representatives Betty Little and Teresa Sayward definately need to go. Little is currently working to get all of the RV campgrounds in the Adirondacks put under the control of the Health Department after successfully spreading a large volume of mis-information regarding proposed APA rules for newly built campgrounds that would require them to undergo strict review of their often seriously underdesigned sewage systems. These campgrounds, which provide little by way of tourism dollars, are toxic wastelands waiting to be “discovered.” Full time residents of the park can only hope they are not the ones to discover them after its too late and their drinking water, swimming hole, or favorite fishing spot is contaminated.
The number of homes being built in the Adirondacks is getting out of control. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is understaffed and the local economy is increasingly dependent on new construction. The Glens Falls Post Star recently reported that home sales in Warren County are up 38 percent from 2004. More alarming is the fact that the median selling price of those homes, jumped nearly 20 percent in just one month — from $165,500 in July 2005 to $197,900 in August 2005.
This month’s issue of Adirondack Life has a large feature piece devoted to housing prices and related issues. Unfortunately, their webpage has taken a turn for the worst and they have exactly no content.
It’s clear that in our parts of the park the only real opportunity for young people is to become a part of the housing boom and work as laborers building houses. Local companies have continuous ads for workers and we see more and more workers from out of state. This summer we saw home construction workers from Montana and Alabama among others.
A recent post over at Friends of Rural New York is just the ticket to replace the we are losing throughout the region. The Community, Food, and Agriculture Program (CFAP) at Cornell University will be submitting a proposal to the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NE SARE) to start community cooperative farm stores. In short:
Europeans have been successfully proliferating the concept of farmer-owned cooperative grocery stores for the last 15 years. The Rhône-Alpes region of Southwest France, with a population similar to the state of Indiana, has a network of 20 stores that are owned, supplied, and operated by farmers. Typically, 10 to 12 farm families own the store, each providing one or two specialties: meats, poultry, eggs, cheeses and other dairy products, wine, juices, canned goods, baked goods, fruits, and vegetables. The hallmark of the stores is real food that is sustainably produced, and one of the farmer-owners must be in the store at all times to answer customers’ questions about production and processing methods.
They need up to 5 farm organizations, businesses, or cooperatives in the Northeast if you know someone contact project coordinator Duncan Hilchey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 255-4413.
NYCO offers the latest on this winter’s chances for a big, big, big, snow and Baloghblog is taking steps toward that end. And now “AccuWeather.com meteorologist Ken Reeves is predicts “a very cold winter” for New York – after average winter temperatures last year – contributing to an estimated 50% increase in winter heating oil charges.” Storm Digest has some not so friendly things to say about our coming weather situation. The Post Star, as usual, waffles.
We ordered a new exterior door, are closing up our drafts, and buying some extra socks.
It looks like it’s a good time to buy more Zone 4 Hardy Perennials.
The Adirondack Almanack was at the the Brass Ring in Bolton Landing (now closed thanks to the overzealous local [uh-hem] police) when Tupac came in and hung out. Another rapper, DMX, had been a frequent visitor there as well.
Now there comes a report that Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie were spotted near Old Forge – if they’re trying to get away from the low-life attacks of the too much time in front of the TV crowd, we hope they make out better than current local celebrity Rachael Ray.
The phone company Nextel has disregarded the spirit of the Adirondack Park by insisting, for their own profit only, that Lake George needs a cell tower that will be seen from the entire southern half of the lake.
We get lots of visitors here in our mountain paradise, but one ten year old we had just last week demonstrates how we got where we are and maybe where we’re going.
This ten-year-old, was complaining that she couldn’t get cell service while on vacation. Who did she need to call? Her friends. Did she have a good time at the lake? Well, no.
She cited the two things that tourists complain about the most – right after the question: What do you do in the winter? [Gee… duh… nothing… usually stay in bed and wait for spring to come and you louder-mouthed tourons and citidiots to get back]
The bugs are always a top annoyance for visitors who are so ensconced in their air-conditioned generic sterile vanilla McMansion homes in the south that they can’t even imagine that there are bugs outside, let alone that one might encounter a few.
The second annoyance is increasingly becoming the cell service. We’ve decided that when we suggest a hike for our cell phone packing tourists who ask next year – and few seem to actually bother to hike, most seem to be glad to stay in the house, pull down the shades and watch TV – but when they do, we’ll be sending them to Pilot Knob to see the really big pine.
And while we’re on the subject of immigration – those fascist Minutemen are headed our way in order to protect us from illegal immigrants. Too bad we can’t set up our own vigilante force at Warrensburg and keep them (and their neighbors) down where they belong.
The price of regular unleaded at the Nice and Easy convenience store at Northway Exit 26 in Pottersville jumped 10 cents in less than 24 hours today. Last night the price was $1.75 per gallon, tonight it is $1.85 – apparently the regional chain has seized the opportunity provided by Hurricane Katrina and today’s raise in price of a barrel of oil above $70. The Almanck recommends contacting Warren County District Attorney Kathleen Hogan at (518) 716-6405 and the NY State Attorney General’s Office at (518) 474-7330 and demand they charge those responsible with price gouging. Also, contact Nice and Easy Corporate Headquarters and John MacDougall, company president and owner, and let them know you’ll be filing a complaint.
According to the Attorney General‘s office:
The law specifically provides that, in order to prevent any party from taking unfair advantage of consumers during an abnormal disruption of the market, the charging of unconscionably excessive prices is outlawed.
This law protects consumer goods and services vital and necessary for the health, safety and welfare of consumers, and applies to all parties in the chain of distribution, including retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors.
UPDATE: The price tonight (9/1/05) is $3.29 per gallon.
Friends of Rural New York have been following closely the recent Lewis County spill, larger that the Exxon Valdez, of cow sewage into the Black River. Big fines may be on the way, but the real crime is that the DEC and local officials permitted a 3 million gallon toxic dump so close to the river. The Adirondack Almanack supports local farms and agrees that its time we made a clear distinction between factory farms:
That is a giant factory where thousands of animals are permanently kept, never feeling the sun on their backs or munching a blade of grass. A CAFO (Contained Animal feeding Operation) can generate thousands of pounds of manure a day, suck up hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, and throw in various chemicals to “sanitize,” promote decay and boost milk production. What do they do with all that poop? Well, after it’s settled in nasty lagoons around the neighborhood, where it decays and festers for a while, they suck it up into these huge tankers and spew the putrid mix wherever they can, the closer to the CAFO the better, because it’s quite expensive to haul all that fetid effluent way. En route, the neighbors are blasted by the stench, the noise and the dust for days on end.
And local family operated traditional farms. To those ends – a list of local farmers markets from the USDA, and a regional map from the Farmers Market Federation of NY. Finally, we need to take responsibility for our own food choices – two of our favorite choices are the Honest Weight Food Co-op (when we get down to Albany) and a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) projects. HANNYS [pdf] (Hunger Action Network of New York State) has recently released two reports. The first “gives detailed stories of nine New York CSA’s that have reached out to include low-income members” and the second “is a report based on the results of Hunger Action’s statewide survey of CSA farmers. Findings include the fact that CSA’s keep $2.6 million in our state’s economy every year and protect over 1,100 acres of farmland” [pdf].
Here’s the latest from Associated Press writer Michael Virtanen reporting from Keene Valley on Adirondack rock climbing.
We’ve been keeping tabs on the Peak Oil issue and the impact of high gas prices in our region. The AP reports gas crime is up, way up. The Capital Region People blog chimes in on the coming winter and the expected spike in natural gas and now we have an article on the impact on local government from the Press-Republican. And hey, remember back in April when they said “High Gas Prices Force Changes in Americans’ Lives” including the startling fact that:
The survey found that 58 percent of respondents have reduced their driving, 57 percent have cut back on other expenses and 41 percent have changed vacation plans to stay closer to home.
Higher Heating Costs
Gas Prices Keeping People Home
Will some local media outlet start seriously reporting on Peak Oil and it’s impact in our region?
As 50 Cent would say…. “commitment from me – ah – not likely.”
Apparently, according to recent studies: “The Great Lakes of North America, the planet’s largest concentration of fresh water, are thawing earlier each spring, according to an analysis of ice break-ups dating back to 1846.” Could it also mean a later freeze and more lake effect snow for our region? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a local media to explore this trend?
The latest Lake George freezes according to the Warren County Department of Public Works (full data pdf):
February 29, 1966
February 10, 1983
February 8, 1950
February 7, 1988
February 5, 1953
Years that Lake George did not freeze:
Largest single snowfall (Warren County):
38″ January 25-27, 1986
22″ February 16, 1958
22″ February 14-15, 1950
22″ March 3, 1994
21″ March 5, 2001
20″ February 4, 1961
20″ March 13, 1993
Take note Minutemen! The Top Five Terrestrial Invasive Plants for the Lake George Watershed as identified by the Lake George Land Conservancy “because of their ability to be especially detrimental to the health of our public lands roadsides waterways and backyards.” As reported in Adirondack Journal (August 20, 2005) (pdf):
A free training on invasive plants will be presented by the Lake George Land Conservancy on 9 to 1, September 24, 2005 at Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve in Fort Ann.
Ward Stone had an excellent discussion of invasive species on his WAMC program In Our Backyard this week. Here’s two links he offered:
And why we’re at it: