Saturday, February 28, 2009

Icky poo

This morning I went on a tour of the wastewater treatment facility.

I did not see any of y'all there (unless "y'all" includes Barry Connell, Brian Derrivan, Donna Holaday and any number of staff from the sewer dept., Kent Nichols from Weston & Sampson and any number of other people I don't believe I know).

It's pretty disgusting; I mean, I've seen a better "lab" than that in a pre-school ... and I won't even go into the room where they smash the sludge before trucking it off to Ipswich where they make it into loam.


I won't go into details; I'll save it for a potential future story.

(I still can't get no) satisfaction

So ... I took the advice of Ari Herzog and contacted BOA via Twitter.

This guy ... this David Knapp ... gave me the same old line of "you have to keep closer track of your bank account."

What, he thinks that I don't know how much money I have?

Later in the conversation, I tell him I have a receipt in front of me showing that I had $XX in my account and not only that, I had spoken to a BOA customer rep who confirmed that balance ... oh, he says, well we don't know what checks you've written ... (I tell him that I know what I'd spent, and I rattle it off to him) ... don't trust your ATM receipt or your customer service rep.

So ... my keeping track is flawed and their keeping track is flawed ... he suggested that I go to my local banking center (that's what they call branches, I gather) to get "educated" about the posting process.

OH NO, Mr. Bill! I'm just a dumb woman.

Why bother to give balances on ATM receipts at all, I have to ask myself?

They just confuse the feeble minded - you know, me. (Just for the record, I write about 3 checks/year. I'm a debit card person. My checks still have my Boston address on them and still say "Fleet.")

In all fairness, Mr. Knapp does vow to send my case to "the team," who will get right on it, on Monday. No promises.

And that is all he is prepared to say to me. He does not even say, "Goodbye, have a nice day!"

He is impatient with me and he insults my intelligence. I've only had a bank account for - let's see - at least 35 years ... what do I know?

I am now so angry that I am prepared on Monday to write to Rep. John Tierney (US Congress), senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry; State Rep. Michael Costello and State Sen. Stephen Baddour.

I'm spelling out all their names so that when their staff searches for their names on Monday, this post will pop up (although I know the staff of at least some of them already read this blog).

Who's the head of the (congressional) banking committee now? I'll write to him/her also.

Mr. Knapp was kind of enough to say, after I said I now realized it was legal for the bank to put me in overdraft through creative posting, "Well, I wouldn't say it's legal ..."

Awww, it's so I won't be embarrassed by them denying charges to my debit card when I had the money in there all along, or gave specific instructions (at least 3 times) not to pay anything when they think I don't have the funds to cover it.

Screw legality - Bank of America really, really cares about me.

When being good is bad

I was just talking to one of my neighbors; she is a manager at a branch of one of the local banks.

I asked her about these fees and ACH payments and all the problems I've been having with Bank of America.

Much to my surprise, she told me it was legal for the bank to "let" you go into overdraft and then turn around and charge you fees.

Apparently it's something they do for people with a good credit history (said she) ... or it's a legal scam (says me).

Somehow, this is not a comfort to me.

I was making a deposit the other day and the teller told me my checks from [insert name of payee] should go in as CASH since they are drawn on BOA.

Thus, she continued, I should not be having any issues with checks clearing/subsequent payments putting me in the red.

So why did it happen?

I think because they can get away with pretending otherwise.

I still long for the days when, if you didn't have the money, the bank did not pay the bill. All this courtesy because I've been a good customer is killing me.

That being said, I am cancelling all automatic payments I have set up because it encourages me to be lazy about paying my bills myself. Obviously, all the convenience and courtesy is not a good thing when you're dealing with the likes of me ...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cash or check only, please

Golly gee whiz, I was asking someone in the sewer dept. if I could pay my water/sewer bill by debit card, and I can't. Cash or check only.

And I do believe he also said that I can't pay it on line, on the city's website.

They really don't make it easy on us ratepayers ... but I get the reasons why it is the way it is. Enterprise depts. and all that stuff ...

I'm thinking of going cash or check only. I've had it with Bank of America (I got into it with them again, about an hour ago), electronic banking and online statements that are inaccurate.

The good thing about the way things were is that it forced people like me to be accountable for my own account and the bank could not take advantage.

"All the big banks do it," today's customer service rep. informed me about authorizing charges without sufficient funds (which I still claim I had).

I won't go into the yelling and verbal abuse that ensued. But since he was a lot nicer than the woman from earlier this week, he did not get any F-bombs.

I would not want that job.

Food fish flakes

Do you like big flake fish, or small flake fish?

I have to admit, I prefer white fish that flake easily to all other types (with one exception), but I never really made the distinction between big flakes and little flakes ...

So yesterday morning, I was with both my sisters in Gloucester (sister who lives there has a hot tub) and one of them was going to Connelly's, a fish emporium on the Gloucester docks.

I requested that she purchase me a hunk of cod. This ignited a prolonged discussion of cod vs. flounder vs. that fish I really like ... it's on the tip of my tongue ... oh yeah, haddock!

So now having said that, same sister and I later went to purchase cole slaw and fries at Turner's in Gloucester ... and my sister pointed to the tuna on display in the case.

"Yeah, that's sushi grade," said the clerk.

There was this one little piece of tuna sitting there, so I grabbed it up. $3 and some change and I had me some nice sashimi with the lobster lunch we enjoyed at my mom's yesterday ... I love it when we get visitors from Michigan - they love to splurge on local seafood.

I crave tuna, but only when it's raw, or mostly raw.

And speaking of which, I'm meeting a friend for lunch at Hana Japan in just a little while from now ... my mouth is already watering.

Thanks again to Everett peeps

I want to again thank the people from Everett who offer so much support and information and whatnot to me and to all of us here in Newburyport.

Wow, you would not believe that some stinky piles in our respective cities would bind us together so tightly.

And - wow again - that nice reporter, Keith Spencer, from the Everett Independent wrote to me to apologize for misspelling my name and butchering the name of the blog in his latest piece on Wood Waste.

Actually, I'm just assuming he's nice because he did a nice thing ... but he seems pretty nice, from our limited back-and-forth over email.

As an aside, my sister (the one who lives in Gloucester, but who used to live in Malden) thought it was pretty amusing that I was mentioned at a municipal meeting in Everett.

Oh the fame! Oh the glory! or not ...

Turbines and light shows and erections

Wow, there is sooo much going on in the city right now, my head is spinning ...

Here's my today's story in the Current, about the wind turbine.

I paused last night while driving near the turbine (on a side street) to watch again the red FAA-required beacon light shooting off the blades of the turbine. It wasn't as spectacular last night as it was Tuesday night, but maybe it was the different angle.

Someone also told me yesterday that it gives an amazing light show when the sun is setting, which prompted another person to prattle on about packing up some illegal substances and settling down near the turbine for a night of free entertainment ...

I also heard (and read) there was a multiple-car pileup at the intersection of Rte. 1 and Low St., but right now it does not seem to have been turbine-related.

If it was somewhere that was not affecting a neighborhood the way it is, I'd say it was a really good thing, a really good idea and very entertaining.

I also heard (pure rumor this is) that Mark Richey refers to the turbine using three words, two of which are "my" and "erection." (I can't recall the third - you'd think I'd remember, but I don't! It was just an adjective anyway.)

Notes on a noodle

I just read this piece in the Daily News, about the new owner of the former Mike's Subs building and how the Water Commission gave its "go ahead" on his building permit. (There is also something in today's Current, but I don't see it on line.)

I'll add to the story that the Sewer Commission last night did NOT follow suit with the Water Commission and ordered DPS Director Brendan O'Regan to NOT take any action on the building permit until O'Regan gets the legal opinion ...

Houston, we have a problem ...

Here is my latest story about the landfill - hot off the presses.

In it you can see that, at least from Ward 5 Councillor Brian Derrivan's take on last Monday's meeting with the DEP and Attorney General's office, the state seems to be trying to wash its hands of the matter.

And now, apparently, the state is lumping Newburyport and Everett together as one issue (none of this is detailed because of "legal issues," as Jack Morris put it).

Who knows what will happen? If we lose the Host Community Agreement, the city may lose almost all the power it has ... almost certainly this is leading towards litigation between the city and someone (although I think Moak will do almost anything to try and avoid that).

I talked with City Councillor-at-Large Barry Connell after the story had been filed (I called him about another issue), and he offered up his long-held perspective - that the city should have called the DEP up on the carpet way back when.

"We should make it more uncomfortable for them to ignore politics than to ignore (the issue)," Connell said, after something about giving "the DEP a black eye."

I recently watched video of the 2006 meeting where Matthew Ireland from the AG's office and Dick Chalpin from DEP told people gathered in City Hall that the state would take over the landfill if New Ventures failed to live up to its end of the bargain.

A few weeks ago now, I asked the press rep for the AG's office if all these antics playing out in YouTube videos and the back and forth with Everett and New Ventures were having an adverse effect on settling the landfill debacle, and of course they declined to comment.

Now I guess we know the answer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More press from Everett

And even more from Everett:

Here is an article that appeared in today's Everett Independent.

Mayor: Wood Waste piles violate zoning ordinances
By Keith Spencer

The city solicitor and building inspector appeared alongside Mayor Carlo DeMaria at Monday’s board of aldermen meeting to discuss the controversial debris piles at Wood Waste of Boston. Discussion once again turned into debate, as Alderman Robert Van Campen and Mayor DeMaria continued to discuss their differences in policies.

At the heart of the debate, board members received an update on the administration’s efforts to negotiate an enforcement agreement with Wood Waste of Boston. The board also received news from DeMaria that Building Inspector James Sheehan would be issuing a zoning violation to Wood Waste regarding the height of debris piles at the center of the controversy.

DeMaria informed the board that his administration’s efforts to come to an agreement with William Thibeault, owner of Wood Waste, are ongoing. The administration had received a response on Monday morning from his attorneys regarding language added to the agreement. However, the company has yet to agree to language that includes the removal of piles from the Boston Street facility.

In yet another intense exchange, DeMaria and Alderman Van Campen discussed the differences in how they would like to approach this issue. Van Campen pressed the mayor for answers, even calling for action on the board’s recommendation for a cease and desist order.

Van Campen also attempted to hold DeMaria and his administration accountable for previous comments regarding the city’s jurisdiction over the pile heights and potential movement in Newburyport. Van Campen quoted a piece by Newburyport resident Gillian Stewart featured on her blog, “The Porter Unlimited”. The piece alleged that Newburyport Board of Health Director Jack Morris advised Everett to pursue a cease and desist order rather than an enforcement agreement.

DeMaria avidly defended his administration’s public comments on the subject, and offered to have the assistant city solicitor appear before the board. The mayor conceded that “he should have never said anything” about his discussions with Newburyport. However, DeMaria and the solicitor said they never denied Newburyport Board of Health Director Jack Morris discussed a cease and desist order.

Mayor DeMaria asked the board for an additional week to see what how Thibeault responds to a March 1st deadline set to submit construction plans of an enclosed facility at the Revere Beach Parkway site. DeMaria stated he “had seen the plans”, and he hoped that Wood Waste would come through.

After meeting with officials from the Department of Environmental Protection earlier in the day, DeMaria informed the board that his team is ready to pursue other options in the absence of a signed enforcement agreement.

The mayor conceded that there was in fact a zoning violation at the site regarding the height of debris piles. In 2002, the city issued a similar violation to Wood Waste, which had gone unnoticed up to this point.

“After some discussion, Jim admitted that he just had not realized it was a violation, and that he would rectify the situation this week,” said the mayor.

Van Campen praised this move, which was offered in a separate resolution by himself, Alderman DiPerri, and Alderman Marchese. The alderman admitted his intentions were not “to throw someone under the bus” but rather to express his frustrations. However, he was happy that through working the zoning ordinance, “we will get this piles out of here”.

The mayor informed the board that the building inspector would be issuing the violation on Tuesday, February 24. Wood Waste would then have thirty days to correct any violation before the city would begin legal proceedings to shut down the business’ operations. The city solicitor notified the board her intention would be to file a short order notice in superior court to get an immediate cease and desist order if the company failed to comply with the zoning ordinance.

The mayor also informed the board that his administration would be working with the DEP, the Attorney General, and Wood Waste to potentially broker a meeting to discuss the current situation. DeMaria and his administration is also researching the possibility that materials from the Everett facility could be deposited at other landfills in Massachusetts, an option dismissed by Wood Waste over the last year.

Alderman Michael Marchese also offered pointed criticism of DeMaria’s handling of the situation. In comments that echo previous remarks, Marchese outlined his frustration with Wood Waste, its owner, and their failure to comply with city and state regulations. The alderman called for the board of health to simply issue a cease and desist order as recommended by his fellow aldermen.

Before leaving with the customary thanks, DeMaria reiterated his original intentions to the board regarding this controversial topic. According to the mayor, he has always wanted “to get the piles out” and get the business in “proper working order”. He feared that coming down with an immediate cease and desist order would get “no movement” and the piles would be here for another three years while the city entered into litigation.

Van Campen’s resolution regarding the consent order was tabled until the board’s next meeting. Mayor DeMaria will appear once again to update members on the current status of the enforcement agreement. Van Campen also asked that his resolution regarding the zoning violation be sent to the building inspector due to the pending enforcement action against Wood Waste.

Following the meeting, DeMaria spoke briefly about his discussions earlier in the day with DEP, and the board’s continued push for a cease and desist order.

“I did what I believe was the only thing to do: try to build a solid case that could support litigation and a potential cease and desist order,” said the mayor. “After meeting with DEP officials, I am hearing a much different song. There are other avenues that we are exploring. If we can’t get a signed agreement soon, the board will get their cease and desist order.” ##END##

It's hard to get recognition when one's name, and the name of one's blog, are incorrect, but hey, it's getting some press for the issue.

I'm in the Everett news ... well, my story is ...

I received this, from someone in Everett, as a comment to a previous post about the landfill:

Not on youtube, yet, but this letter to the editor was in our local paper today.

The Everett Independent, Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Page 7 From Our Readers

The bottom line

To The Editor:

For as long as I can remember, I have taken great pride in the city that I call home - the place where my husband and I have raised our daughters. The past few years have not been easy. I have watched as lifelong residents have left in tremendous numbers, having chosen to leave Everett because of what seems to be an endless series of mayors that have allowed the power of office to go to their heads and an outbreak of crimes that we never thought possible here.

After all this time one issue has emerged as my breaking point. Two years ago our former mayor, John Hanlon, backed down from a worthwhile fight and allowed the City of Boston to build a waste handling facility on lower Broadway while Everett residents cried out for a fight.

Today, I see yet another mayor allowing a waste facility to run roughshod over the taxpayers of this city. Unfortunately for all of us, Carlo De Maria and his administration owe their jobs to the owner of Wood Waste, his donations and his fundraisers. It is no wonder why they seem to be bending over backwards to help Everett’s worst business keep it’s doors open.

Wood Waste and it’s owner has made a fortune off this city, all the while making residents sick from horrible fumes that have made us all nauseated or caused our eyes to tear up. They have flagrantly ignored our laws and been fined by the EPA. All of the facts seem to have fallen on deaf ears as Mayor De Maria campaign war chest has taken precedence over the residents of our city.

The most recent, and the most unconscionable example of this took place when the aldermen brought Mayor De Maria and City Solicitor Colleen Mejia in front of the board to discuss their desire for a cease and desist order against Wood Waste for its numerous indiscretions. To our dismay, Ms Mejia and the mayor informed us that they preferred a consent agreement with Wood Waste. They even went as far as telling the board that the health director from Newburyport, Jack Morris, told the city that a consent agreement was the best direction to head in with Wood Waste. Unfortunately for the De Maria administration, that suggestion was news to Mr Morris. The following is an excerpt from the Newburyport Current from January 28, 2009.

“Newburyport Health Director Jack Morris said, contrary to rumor, he did not recommend that Everett enter into a consent agreement with Wood Waste of Boston, but rather that city’s officials they should rescind the site assessment on the property and invoke a cease and desist order.”

These conflicting statements beg the question is the De Maria administration lying or just plain incompetent? Do they realize the people of Everett pay their salaries? That they work for the people of Everett and not Wood Waste? That the truth is expected whenever she is called in front of our elected bodies?

The bottom line for me is this:

I hope the Board of Aldermen take steps to hold a vote of no confidence on this administration that can no longer be trusted. I hope the truth continues to come out on an administration that has taken incompetence and deception to a new level. I hope that there is someone out there planning to run against Mayor De Maria, but, most of all, I hope the people of Everett are smart enough to throw Mayor De Maria out of office and into the same trash piles he has so vigorously defended during his entire tenure in the mayor’s office.

Cathy Faherty

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm loving this

Today USA Network has been showing a whole string of Law & Order: Special Victim Units featuring my favorite actor dude, Dean Winters.

Apparently he was on it the whole first season.

If you guys have never seen the HBO series Oz, I would highly recommend it - although it's brutal.

Winters obviously looms large in the cast of Oz, as does Christopher Meloni, Kathryn Erbe (who's from Newton, I just found out) and a whole lot of other people you didn't know then but know now.


Where were the police when ...

Someone stole my recycling bin!

Who steals a recycling bin? Who steals anything on Plum Island?

My luck, karma - or whatever it is that keeps one going in a more or less cheerful mode -continues on its downward spiral ...

So I just happened to be in the basement of City Hall and I asked what form of payment I could offer up for a new bin, since I was there in the office anyway, and the bins were right there, 6 feet away.

Cash or check, I was told.

Who doesn't take a debit/credit card these days? Not many places, since I don't even carry my checkbook around with me.

For the lack of a measly $6 in my wallet, I am recycling bin-less.

It hurts.

It could be worse

Someone sent me a link that linked to this, which chronicles with text and video, the ... how should I put this? ... perambulations of a mayor and city council in Windsor, Ontario.

(Did you know that Windsor is the only place in Canada that is south of the United States? Yes, Windsor is south of Detroit, MI!)

Anyway, apparently Windsor is building, or contemplating building, another/a new tunnel between itself and Detroit and somehow all information regarding this deal is not being disseminated to the city council, much less the public.

Also, if this all thrills you, check out this link, which was the original sent to me. The councillor who stands up to the mayor (his worship) was apparently once a journalist.

The truth must be dangerous if Council and Administration are resorting to such tactics. The Mayor and Council have a choice. The truth will come out in bits and pieces as it usually does or they can just be transparent and get it over with.

Good advice.

Don't get me started

So nearly a year-and-a-half ago now, my front license plate was stolen while my car was parked in downtown Gloucester.

At least I think that's what happened. All I know is, I went to Gloucester, the plate was loose in the frame, and when I got home, it was gone.

I reported it stolen to both the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the NPD, got a new plate and duly installed in on my car, only in a more secure manner.

So it came as a total surprise to me tonight, when on my way home from the City Council meeting, I was pulled over by a Newbury policeman who informed me that my license plate had been reported stolen.

ME: "Yes, that was me who reported it stolen."

HIM: "Well, if you reported it stolen, why do you have both plates on your car?"

ME: "Because it was replaced ... ?"

HIM: "Well, you should have reported it to the police and the state."

ME: "I DID report it, to the Newbury ... er, I mean NewburyPORT ... police and the Registry."

HIM: "Let me see your license."

He went away with my license, came back and told me that the NPD still had it listed as stolen and that I should call them immediately and get them to fix that.

No, Mr. Officer, the whole point of reporting it stolen was so that if it were to be used in a crime anytime in the future, I would not be promptly arrested for perpetrating said crime.

I was not speeding (besides, I saw him from way back, lurking at the airport with his headlights blazing), I signalled my left turn onto Old Point Rd. - I observed every little traffic law there is.

Since buying my Jetta two years ago, I have been pulled over more (mostly in Rowley) than I ever had in all the years prior. I don't know if it's the Jetta, or if it's me, but I know I'm getting sick and tired of being pulled over.

Monday, February 23, 2009

But was it filmed for YouTube?

I got this in earlier, from Everett, I assume:

Gillian Swart (although you were called Gillian Stewart) was a topic at the Everett Board of Alderman meeting. The city solicitor was asked to explain herself over Jack Morris's comments about not telling Everett to enter into a consent agreement and part of you article from the Current was read.

She NOW claims that Jack Morris did in fact say "cease and desist" however, when he heard all the evidence (and conveniently when she walked into the meeting, at the end of it) that he THEN said "consent agreement" Not one word was believable.

The Everett Mayor also claimed because he informed the Everett Board of Alderman that the landfill will be opened in 7-10 days, per something being worked out between him and Mayor Moak, that THAT was the reason Moak backed down. Because Newburyport's city council did not know FIRST and he should not have said anything. Not one word was believable there either. More to come but it looks as if Everett is starting a cease & desist on Wood Waste tomorrow, with the building department. His building department violation is being delivered tomorrow and Oh yea....the building department CLAIMS they did not know they can issue a violation on Wood Waste. They are starting to sound like our legal team.

Oh, you say "cease and desist" and I say "consent order." Let's call the whole thing off!

The "Fairness Doctrine"

A lot of people in the media at least have been concerned about a possible resurrection of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" - that old saw that government intervene to ensure "diversity" in the media.

In this Jan. 23 report on National Review Online, Michael G. Franc talks about how he believes President Obama is trying to revive the doctrine (even though Obama said during his campaign that he would not; and that was reinforced by a White House spokesman on Feb. 18). The following was during Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder's confirmation hearings:

Holder’s evasive responses represent the first hint that the new Administration may re-open what has been “settled doctrine” within the Department of Justice and in the courts for over two decades; namely, that the old Fairness Doctrine is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech. Not to mention that the original argument used to justify these restrictions—that the scarcity of media outlets required the government to intervene in order to guarantee a "diversity" of political opinion—has long since been overwhelmed by the proliferation of cable channels, web sites, blogs, and so on.

Basically, it boils down to a policy, abolished in 1987 by the FCC, "which dictates that public broadcast license-holders have a duty to present important issues to the public and — here's the "fairness" part — to give multiple perspectives while doing so." (Dan Fletcher, Time, Feb. 20, 2009)

The policy came out of the 1940s, when there was only ABC, NBC and CBS to present news.

The Fairness Doctrine, which mandated that broadcast networks devote time to contrasting views on issues of public importance, was meant to level the playing field. - Dan Fletcher, Time, Feb. 20, 2009
I thought it was inherently fair to give multiple perspectives, but then I find that it's not the way of the world any longer.

So in this world of Fox News vs. MSNBC vs. every blog known to man, who would enforce such a doctrine? I don't like Fox News, but then I don't watch it. I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh ... but I do sometimes watch The Daily Show.

It's all for show anyway (I heard that Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are actually friends).

Such a doctrine seems like a moot point in this day and age, but, as Fletcher points out, it keeps rearing its head.

I mock because it works

I see that Daily News reporter Katie Farrell attended - or at least covered - the latest meeting of the ad hoc advisory landfill committee, last Thursday.

I know it's difficult to put out a newspaper every day, but when said newspaper has to be practically shamed into covering the big issues of the city ... well, enough said.

As long as it gets out there, it doesn't matter who put it there ... as long as it's out there.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The daily and the landfill

FYI, there's an editorial that ran in the Feb. 19 Daily News, about the landfill and secret deals.

Of course, I agree totally with everything it says, although awards aside, the DN has been kind of lagging recently in its coverage of the issue and seems content to play 'catch-up.' Having said that, they'll probably win an award next January for their coverage of the landfill issue ...

The mayor's intentions are good. He sees the big picture in the Crow Lane landfill fiasco and recognizes that the best way out of it is to get the landfill capped and closed as fast as possible. That means he has to work with the company that's been the root of this problem, New Ventures, and strike a deal that will end the moratorium on dumping and capping at the site and get the job finished.
Well we all know that the possible secret deal fell through when Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria maybe spilled the beans at a meeting of the Everett Aldermen.

Most councilors interviewed by The Daily News didn't like the implications of the mayor's method. If the council objects to the deal, it has to sue the city, which none wanted to do. In effect, the council is rendered powerless.
I think it's odd that the DN did not make the extra effort to interview Ward 5 Councillor Brian Derrivan (seeing as how the landfill is in his ward an all) for a story the day before ... and that Ward 1 Councillor Larry McCavitt doesn't really have a problem with an administrative order.

"This thing has been going on for long enough," McCavitt said, adding if it takes an administrative order to end it, "so be it."

"I don't have a problem with that," he said. "It looks like it's an extremely difficult route to the end. If the mayor can come up with a practical and effective way of doing it, I don't know why I would object."

With all the problems McCavitt cites around the DEP not enforcing its own regulations regarding the waterfront, I would have thought he wouldn't be so trusting of deals involving closing the landfill per the DEP's regulations.

As the turbine turns

I've got to say, I find the turning turbine distracting.

The movement, off in the distance, distracts me as I drive along the PI Turnpike.

But today, because the sky is the same hue as the turbine, I could barely make it out until I got to the traffic circle.

The reason it's distracting me, I concluded, is because it really is kind of beautiful. This morning, before I entered Dunkin' Donuts, I paused outside the doors to gaze on it gently spinning (if something that big can do anything gently).

I wonder how fast those blades can spin?

I grew up from the age of 7 to 17 in rural Michigan and there were windmills all over the place. I don't know why this one distracts me more than those ones did, but I assume I'll get used to it being there, off in the distance ... in any case, it's better than that ugly water tower.

Don't hate me ...

But I tried Nick's pizza last night (Sat.), and I was really underwhelmed.

Three words: slimy canned mushrooms.

It wasn't bad, but it was just OK.

That Papa Gino's pizza I had in Gloucester (same pizza - pepperoni, onion, mushroom)was far superior.

But once again, let me say that I like thin crust pizza. And fresh mushrooms.

And not so many onions that they fall off the pizza and onto one's Cape Pond Ice t-shirt that one received as a Christmas gift, causing one to fling the piece of pizza back onto the plate and rush into the bathroom to save the t-shirt from permanent stain.

And the sauce had too much oregano. I'm not especially fond of oregano (I use copious amounts of basil in my pasta sauces but not oregano).

On the good side: the $1.50 delivery charge and the $11 for the medium pizza, which in the end will end up being 2 meals, and it was at my house in record time.

It was a good deal, probably about $2 cheaper than the Papa Gino's equivalent (we got a large from PG) ... and I know, PG is a chain and I like supporting locally-owned businesses ... so who knows?

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's my blog and I'll take comments if I want to

I am of the opinion that one's blog is just that - one's blog. And if someone does not want to take comments for whatever reason, that is up to them.

So I found it interesting (to say the least) that Mary Baker Eaton of the Newburyport Blog found it necessary in a recent post to once again defend herself for not taking comments.

What the heck? It's her bleeping blog! She has a way to contact her right there at the top and that should be enough for anyone.

Then today, she posts about social media in general, which I found hilarious (in fact, she's been keeping me chuckling pretty much all week - thanks, Mary) in one way but also rather sad because I agree with her conclusion:

I am being very cynical today, but it appears to me that social media,
Twitter, Facebook, is often used as a great Search Engine tool (SEO) to get blogs and websites to rank high on search engines. A bastardization if you would of its probable original intent.

And for an educated society, to have one of their major communicating tools take the form of 140 characters or less, is to me is a huge, waving, red flag. Are we going from a nation of sound-bites, to a nation of “tweets?” A nation where thoughtful sentences and paragraphs are a thing of the past—a passé, elite Liberal agenda. I hope not. I’m a big fan of the well written, and spoken, at times lengthy, written word.

A couple of weeks ago I had a reality check: I Googled "Wood Waste Boston" and some post from this blog popped up #1 on the results (even before the website for Wood Waste Boston). I was braggin' to my sister, then she Googled "Wood Waste Boston" and my post had fallen to #2, behind the website!


Then I said, "On the other hand, how many people are writing about a construction and demolition recycling facility in Everett, Mass.?" - we both laughed - and there was my reality check.

I wish I could say I've attained fame/fortune off this blog, but I never have. It hasn't stopped me from posting.

Mary's right - my original intent was not to be #1 on a Google search.

Oh and I do like my comments - I even like the ones from various "Anonymous" people. That's what journalism is all about - giving a voice to people who are afraid, unable or unwilling to speak for themselves.

I don't like it that newspapers are going away from the "anonymous source." Some people are risking a lot when they speak to a reporter; that doesn't make them less worthy of being heard.

Wastewater treatment: where the money would go

I'm not sure if the Current posted this anywhere, but it's a diagram prepared by engineers Weston & Sampson about where the $26 mil would be spent (by component). It also shows you the whole treatment process.

By the way ... DPS and I guess W&S are holding tours a week from tomorrow (Feb. 28) at the sewer plant. If you doubt the validity of this project at all, you should go ... but not when I'll be there ... I hate crowds.

Click on image to enlarge.

Where is the "service" in customer service?

So in the last week, I've had three interactions with customer service for some very large companies - Microsoft, Symantec and Bank of America.

I've already written a rant about my unfortunate experience with Symantec that resulted in my removing their Norton anti-virus product from my laptop.

So ... what I want to know is, where does it say in the customer service manuals that it's the latest and greatest thing to blame the customer for the problems they are having?

Now I've got Bank of America claiming I am responsible because the bank decided to authorize a $145 charge on my debit card that it claims I did not have funds to cover.

I look at my online statement, and it says I had plenty of funds to cover the payment I made over the phone to Comcast, having just made a deposit and all.

But no, the customer service dept. tells, me. They AUTHORIZED the charge at a time right before my deposit posted to my account. (I would also note that they used to credit you with at least part of a deposit at the time you make it, but they don't seem to do that anymore.)

Authorization, it seems, equals $125 in fees on my account because authorizing the charge meant that the last five places where I had charged something put me in overdraft - and only by about $30 at that, I might add.

The fact that the actual charge from Comcast doesn't show up until AFTER the deposit in the online account activity means nothing because they AUTHORIZED it before the deposit posted.

"I don't see any red numbers there," I say to the woman.

"That doesn't mean anything," she replies, "because we authorized it before the deposit posted."

She keeps saying that, over and over.

Well ... since I was blissfully unaware of the $125 deduction in my balance, I continued on as if it were still there, resulting in an additional $210 overdraft fees that could have been easily avoided.

I ask her why the hell the bank authorized anything that I did not have the funds to cover (although I still maintain that I did have the funds). And mind you, I'm going to the ATM this whole time, and the receipts never indicate that I have a negative balance ...

"We authorized the Comcast payment as a courtesy to you," the customer service woman informs me primly.

Yeah, right ... a courtesy off which they made $125. And a week later, they made $35 off the "courtesy" of allowing a $5.39 charge at Dunkin' Donuts ... and on and on it went until I went online to pay my propane bill and discovered that I had $335 less in my account than I thought.

The same day I'm talking to the customer service persons, I get in the (snail) mail a notification from Bank of America that this is all going down.

So I demand to speak to a supervisor, who continues the tack of telling me that it's all my fault ... How is it my fault that the bank authorized Comcast to take $145 if they truly thought I did not have it, or for that matter, the $5.35 at Dunkin' Donuts? She says she understands what I'm saying, but ... Ultimately, she puts back into my account the original fees totalling $125.

She refuses to put back the rest, even though she has already admitted that it was a "snowball" effect from the original fees.

She says restoring the $125 not an admission that the bank did anything wrong, it's another "courtesy."

"That's all I can do," she says. I tell her I'm not hanging up the phone until she puts all of it back.

Once she realizes I am really not going anywhere, she gives me a mailing address that I can write to, to perhaps "resolve" this issue. Of course, it's not an email address; why would it be?

I liked it better when things were not all electronic because back then, banks could not run scams like this. I admit that I have in the past been somewhat careless with keeping track of my actual bank balance, but these days I am very careful.

Not authorizing the Comcast payment I could have dealt with - I would have paid the bill online, like I usually do. I just happened to be on the phone, negotiating my new digital package (which gives me less services for $10 more, I might add) and told the guy while I had him on the phone, I'd pay my bill, if there were no fees involved in doing that. Ha ha on me.

So beware of "courtesies," because I'm pretty sure that a courtesy is not supposed to pad the coffers of the entity extending it.

Food for thought

I was reading (and enjoying) City Councillor Ed Cameron's haiku (at the bottom of the post) about our snap snowfall of last night and thought I should also point out his earlier post, from Jan. 28, about construction and demolition debris.

I was also intrigued by the anonymous comment to the latter post, including this about the landfill neighbors:

If you'd leave them high and dry, you'd leave any one of us high and dry.

It does tend to make one think ...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I had to go to CVS, so ....

And what's with the A-frame sign? Whatever happened to that issue?

More from the AG's office


BOSTON — In an effort to help consumers better understand their utilities bills, the utility rate setting process and get access to information on energy efficiency and conservation programs, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office has added a dedicated “Energy and Utilities” link to the office’s webpage. The new features and content explain the utility rate setting process, the Attorney General’s role in the process and provides information on home heating tips, low income programs and protections as well as information about energy conservation programs. The new link also has an enhanced feature designed to explain, line by line, how utility companies calculate each separate service charge on utility bills. The goal of launching the new content and features is to empower consumers with information regarding their utilities costs so that they may make informed decisions on options and programs available to help reduce usage and lower monthly bills.

“It is hard enough for many people to afford their monthly utility bills, let alone understand how their utility rates are calculated and set,” said Attorney General Coakley. “The information contained in the new link can help consumers make smart decisions about investing in energy efficiency and taking advantage of other programs designed to help consumers manage and lower their electric and gas costs. By launching this new online feature, we are hoping that this helps consumers peel back the onion on some of the more complicated aspects of their utility bills so they can better understand how each service charge is calculated.”

Under the 2008 Green Communities Act, the Commonwealth’s utilities are required to implement all cost effective energy efficiency programs and develop and implement 3 year energy efficiency plans that are expected to expand energy efficiency programs and spending in the Commonwealth, including low income weatherization. In addition, the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contains over $16 billion in funding for energy efficiency programs.

The new pages are available at:

Additional features and information includes:

· 2009 Green Calendar
· AG's Role: Energy & Utilities
· Overview of Electricity & Natural Gas Rates – how rates are established
· Utility Billing
o View a Sample Electric Bill: (
o View a Sample Gas Bill: (
· Impact Your Utility Rates – energy saving tips, information on getting involved via ratemaking hearings, and means for filing a complaint with DPU
· Home Heating – explaining heating oil contracts and resources for heating assistance
· Help for Consumers – miscellaneous useful information (Digital TV Switch, Utility Shut-Offs, Discounted Utility Rates, Winter Moratorium, Energy Saving Tips, Home Heating Assistance)
· Education & Outreach Efforts – the energy resource guide, events, blogging, WMECo report)
· Energy & Utilities Forms and Publications – a list of any publication appearing within the rest of the section

The Attorney General is the Commonwealth’s Ratepayer Advocate and plays an important role in mitigating energy rate increases by representing consumers in matters involving the price and delivery of natural gas and electricity before state and federal regulators.

Where can we get this deal?

I got a press release today from the Attorney General's office. It's about a New Hampshire man pleading guilty to charges of failing to report hazardous materials that were buried on the pig farm he owned in Hudson, MA.

What particularly caught my eye was something at the bottom of the release:

This case was investigated by the Massachusetts Environmental Crimes Strike Force (ECSF), an interagency unit that includes prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, and investigators and engineers from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). The ECSF is overseen by Attorney General Coakley, MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian A. Bowles. The ECSF investigates and prosecutes crimes that harm the state’s water, air, and that pose a significant threat to human health.

Members of the public who have information regarding a potential environmental crime are encouraged to contact the MassDEP Environmental Strike Force Hotline at 1-888-VIOLATE (846-5283) or the Attorney General’s Office at 617-727-2200.

There's a whole strike force?

Here's some more:

The investigation began when authorities found over 90 drums of chemical waste buried on Zina’s property in Hudson. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) first became aware of the buried drums in March 2006 when it was investigating a development plan on a portion of the farm. During the course of this investigation, investigators from MassDEP conducted a site inspection and unearthed a total of 96 drums buried on the farm. Tests on soil samples taken in 2007 indicated that two hazardous chemicals, toluene and methylene chloride, had leaked into the soil and toluene was found in a nearby stream. Both chemicals, dangerous to human health and the environment, were found in large quantities inside of the drums. MassDEP spent $60,000 to clean up the farm after this discovery.
Gee, DEP cleaned it up for this guy? He was sentenced to 3 years probation and was fined $25,000.

IC sign turns heads

Alerted by Tom Salemi's post about the P. Preservationist site, I checked it out.

In doing so, I noticed a little blurb at the top of the page about the new sign outside the Immaculate Conception Church, on the corner of Green and High streets.

I had been alerted to this sign, and a general negative reaction to it, a couple of weeks ago. I would go take a photo, but I'm just still too sick.

Let's just say it's rather large and I gather that it lights up at night. I'm really kind of surprised that it's the direction the IC church chose, seeing as how it's ... not in keeping with ... the neighborhood? Good taste? You decide.

I gather that the sign falls under the Dover Amendment, since I can't imagine that it would have been allowed otherwise:

The "Dover Amendment" is the common name for Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 40A, Section 3, which exempts agricultural, religious, and educational corporations from many zoning restrictions. It allows a facility that provides certain services, educational chief among them, to ignore local zoning laws and build the facility it needs to provide those services. The Dover Amendment has allowed many developers to build facilities that were substantially larger than zoning laws would ordinarily allow or which were inappropriate for the neighborhood. (source: Stepps)

I couldn't find anyone who was willing to criticize it "on the record," so I didn't write it up for the Current.

Who let him in here?

Got this in yesterday, over the email; it's a story from Globe North, Oct. 1996:

Wood chip processor raises neighbors' ire
Andrew Blake, Globe Staff.

EVERETT -- Let the chips fall where they may is fine if you're out in the woods, but troublesome if you live near a company grinding demolition wood from houses and buildings into wood chips, creating dust in the process, according to a neighborhood opposition group.

Wood Waste of Boston Inc., on the Chelsea-Everett line near the new Chelsea High School, is operating under a consent order by the state Department of Environmental Protection while it continues an investigation into the firm's operations.

"This is a blue-collar neighborhood. It took a lot of work by a lot of people to get action taken on this situation. Nobody should be subjected to the clouds of soot and dust that could contain lead and arsenic," said Jeanne Cristiano, a member of the Everett Board of Aldermen.

William Thibault, owner of Wood Waste, denied the allegations of neighbors and city officials, saying, "There are no particles and no contaminats coming from my yard. I'm in an industrial area. There are lots of businesses here, including junkyards.

"The bottom line is I took over a facility and spent over $1 million to clean it up. I went to the city and the state with my plans. There are no secrets here. I'm bringing it into compliance and am under a consent order until the state issues its final permit," he added.

"This is a positive thing. I'm recycling waste wood into wood chips for fuel companies. I plan to put up a $2 million facility to completely enclose this process. It will have vacuums and filters and will be very clean," he said.

" . . . they're only about a hundred yards away from Chelsea High's new playing field. Who knows what they're breathing," said Anthony Carbone, a neighborhood activist in Everett. "People, including myself, have complained of runny eyes, burning throats and soot all over their windows and any clothes hanging outside," he added.

"We started out with about 30 people and now we've got about 100 citizens concerned with what's happening here. At least we've forced some action," Carbone said.

Thibault denied reports that dust caused runny eyes, runny noses and other respiratory problems.

"That's false. I've got 30 to 40 employees here and no one ever complained of problems like that. We wet everything down when we grind it. Lead paint is not an issue. As far as dust, when they were building the Chelsea High playing field there was lots of dust all over the place," he said.

He emphasized he is operating in an industrial area and "the only houses around here are across the road and up the hill."

On July 24, according to DEP documents, during an inspection of the site at 141 Boston St. with members of the Everett Board of Health, Wood Waste of Boston was found to be "not in compliance with one or more laws, regulations, orders, permit or approvals enforced by the department."

The report said a pile of unprocessed debris contained "auto parts -- a car bumper, two car doors and a brake rotor, tires; municipal solid waste -- mattresses; a can of oil-based paint and a gasoline can (contents undetermined). Receipt of such materials is a violation. . . ."

The report noted that there were no areas clearly marked for the storage of pressure-treated or creosote-treated wood, another violation.

Earlier this month, Wood Waste of Boston Inc., the DEP and Everett officials met for an enforcement conference that allowed statements to be made but with no action taken.

Thibault said he has his own consultant doing air-quality monitoring to prove there are no contaminants coming from his process but could not say when the report would be available. "I have nothing to hide here. Anybody is welcome to come in and take a look at what we're doing. Anyone can call me personally and I'll take them around," he added.

In a separate action, Wood Waste of Boston is scheduled for a Nov. 13 hearing in Middlesex Superior Court on an appeal of a rejection for a junk dealer's license by Everett.

Wood Waste bought the property, off Route 16, the Revere Beach Parkway, adjacent to Everett Avenue, Chelsea, in 1993. It was formerly occupied by Central Wrecking Company.

"They also owe about $150,000 in back taxes, but it's a long process to go after that, too," said Cristiano.

Asked about back taxes, Thibault said, "I don't know the exact sum. My first priority was to spend the money to clean this place up. I want to sit down with city officials and my lawyer and accountant to work out a payment plan."

But while the legal mill grinds slowly, Wood Waste of Boston still grinds up some 500 tons of demolition material a day, some of which neighbors assert contains wood painted with lead-based paints.

Thomas D. Mahin, chief of the solid waste section, said, "The DEP is closely scrutinizing the existing operations at Wood Waste in Everett and will ensure that if this facility is to remain open, it operates with adequate environmental controls and in a manner which ensures that there will be no adverse risk to the public health and the environment."

Residents and officials are not certain just how effective the DEP's order has been in forcing a cleaner operation.

Cristiano said, "We have no air quality samples. No one knows for sure just what that dust contains. This is an open air operation. We realize there is a need for this kind of operation, but not in a residential neighborhood," she said.

The DEP said it has no plans at present to take air quality samples.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Health Director Frank Singleton said, "I testified at a public hearing in opposition. We are abutters, but other than that we have no other involvement legally. "I testified on what I saw as flaws. Their operation is adjacent to our new high school and that is not a good idea, and I testified that their drainage and air pollution policies were not adequate.

"My big concern is that they have never surveyed the land to show what portion of the property lies in Chelsea and what is in Everett," Singleton continued. "The DEP says there's no ongoing operation by Wood Waste in Chelsea even though the property is contiguous. Until I see a recent survey, there is no way of knowing."

The big concern of Hy German, manager of Segal and Ostrovitz, a wood supply company on Everett Avenue in Chelsea, "is for the health of our employees, our customers and myself."

"It's been a little better over there lately, but there were days when you could hardly breathe. We'd have teary eyes and runny noses," he said.

"We try to be good neighbors but this has been a rough situation," he added.

It's also a situation the city of Everett's legal department plans to keep grinding away at.

"We are trying very hard to keep pressure on the DEP. Initially they did not even want us at the enforcement conference earlier this month. This is a serious issue that directly impacts our locality and we did not want to see a closed door meeting since we have to live with the DEP's decision," said Mark Reich, assistant city solicitor.

"Meanwhile we are hoping for a new proposal to come in from Wood Waste," he added. ##END##

Note that Mark Reich is now Newburyport's city solicitor ... or he is at least the one dealing with New Ventures on behalf of the city.

Comment from today

To Anonymous @ 6:11 AM today: I rejected your comment because it was both insulting and indecipherable. If you want to insult people (and I couldn't tell if you were bashing both the people you mentioned, or just the one) get your own blog!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Heartbeat city?

I point you all in the general direction of Ari Herzog's blog, AriWriter, for an analysis of sorts of City Councillors online - including on Facebook!

Let the good times roll ... let them knock you around.

"The Mitten" is downsizing

I saw this report this morning, on NECN, but I was talking to my sister on the phone so I wasn't clear on whose enormous mansion they were talking about ...

Romney, the former business whiz and governor of Massachusetts, is looking to unload two of his four mansions, collectively valued in the currently-sour real estate market at close to $10 million.

I like how he's the "former business whiz." Has he lost his "whiz-i-ness?"

I'm following the advice of the woman on this post by Ari Herzog; she believes we should all create new words, willy nilly.

Anyway ... does 9000 s.f. qualify as a "cabin?" A lodge, maybe, but a cabin?

And I do believe Belmont is its own separate town, not a "posh suburban Boston neighborhood ..."

The Romney house, which comes with a tennis court and 2.5 acres of land, has yet to be listed, though the Boston Globe estimates the price will be set at $3 million — $1 million less than what the home was worth 2 years ago.

Mitten, the article says in the lede, is estimated to be worth in excess of $250 million. So no tears for the $1 mil he's 'losing' on his Belmont home.

"Gary Calderwood is above reproach ..."

I read with interest this letter to the editor, from Steven Fram, in today's Daily News, which is in support of the building inspector/commissioner/BOCA and building codes administrator.

"Gary Calderwood is above reproach, and the City of Newburyport is better off for having him as its building inspector," Mr. Fram writes.

Then there's the obligatory nasty comment about Ward 1 City Councillor Larry McCavitt, from a reader ...

Since last Monday's City Council meeting, I have had so much 'input' about Gary Calderwood that I was, and still am, gob smacked. People have written, people have sidled up to me in public places ... no one so far has called, though.

I think that the City Council should have at least done some homework. I'm not saying that there is or was anything to be found, but given these new complaints and the ones I heard before, they should have done some homework before voting to approve the re-appointment.

They must have heard similar reports; how could they not have? (And who on the Council was it that Calderwood was signaling to while McCavitt was speaking? I was sitting next to him - is he nuts?)

OR - I am told they could have voted "present" (well, all but Donna Holaday, who voted "no," and Tom O'Brien) and thus would have gone around O'Brien's refusing to withdraw his motion to approve.

Then they could have done their homework, talked to Calderwood ... done whatever it was that obviously needed to be done.

I'm sick, boo hoo

I went over to my neighbor's on Sunday ... I get the impression that, while she laughs, she does not like being called "Triple-D" at all ... and she was sick as a dog.

I tried to keep clear of her germy radius and washed my hands after I went back home ... she had opened the door to me after spraying copious amounts of whatever into her hand, and I had to use the doorknob to get out ... but it was all to no avail.

On the bright side, I think my laptop is once again virus free. yay

Thank you, Dick Monahan, I couldn't have done it without you!

And boo Symantec Corporation, boo I tell you ...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Oh, well, this explains everything!

I found this online; it's the abstract of a 2000 article by DPS Director Brendan O'Regan at Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation.

For the City of Newburyport, MA, a small New England city located at the mouth of the Merrimack River in northeastern Massachusetts (see Figure 1), disposal of the biosolids from the Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) was reaching a crisis stage. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, faced with a sludge that consisted of a large metals concentration as well as a pretreatment program in its infancy, it was thought that the sludge would never be clean enough to compost. In fact, it was questionable as to whether the sludge could continue to be disposed of at a landfill.

The City's proposed solution to this problem was to construct a unit operation that would thermally treat the WWTF by-product, resulting in a stabilized sludge. In addition, a double-lined landfill would also be built for final disposal of the “char” residue. The Sludge Stabilization Facility (SSF) was to be built adjacent to the DPW maintenance garage and the new landfill was to be built adjacent to existing landfill on Crow Lane (see Figure 2).

Neighbors to the DPW facility and the Crow Lane area, as well as other City residents protesting this Sludge Stabilization Facility and double lined Landfill (SSF&L) plan. They saw this proposal as burning sludge and they did not want this process to take place in the City of Newburyport. After a long and - pardon the pun - heated political debate, the SSF&L plan was defeated in 1993. The WWTF continued to landfill its biosolids, realizing the benefits of a more established pretreatment program. In the Summer of 1996, after an extensive review of the monthly and quarterly biosolids analytical data, the Newburyport Sewer Department petitioned the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reclassify the sludge its produced at the WWTF to Type A, going through the Application of Suitability process. Following an extensive sampling and analysis program and the resulting submittals to DEP, the WWTF's Biosolids were reclassified as Type A in November 1996 by DEP.

Following this determination, the Newburyport Sewer Department entered into negotiations with private sludge composting facilities in the area and negotiated a three-year deal with a nearby composting facility. As a result of this effort, the
Newburyport Sewer Department has realized a 43% reduction in its biosolids disposal costs and the City receives up to 1,000 cubic yards per year of composted material to use on its parks, cemeteries and other City related matters.

So ... I'm going to go ahead and assume New Ventures has this little ditty ... you can draw your own conclusions.

DEP re-classified the bio-solids in the WWTF sludge in 1996 ...

Then DEP turned around in 2007 and went into the landfill using M.G.L. Chapter 21E as the reason ... this is from the 2007 civil action (Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. New Ventures Associates, LLC):

For all the reasons set forth in the memorandum of law submitted in support of
this motion, these response actions are immediately required to prevent and
control noxious hydrogen sulfide gas releases from the Landfill that are
creating a public nuisance and threatening the public health, safety, and
Oops, DEP (not that this hasn't already been extensively discussed).

I guess I am going bananas about the landfill ... and since I didn't feel like paying $12.50 (plus tax) for the whole O'Regan article, this is all any of us gets.

Five hours and 2 scans later ...

I may have finally resolved my virus problem with the Anti-Malware program (Dick advised me there was a free version).

Two viruses/hinky stuff found after a nearly 2-hour scan. That scan followed a nearly 2-hr. scan by McAfee (which found nothing amiss).

I hope all this is helping others who may be having similar problems. I would advise everyone to check to make sure their anti-virus program is turned on ....

Oh and by the way

Something is still turning off my Windows Defender. So far it has not done anything to the McAfee.

Now I guess I'm going to have to spend the $24.95 for an anti-malware program recommended to me by Dick Monahan (I'm using his name, not in vain but because he was going to put the info as a comment to my post but was unable to post due to problems with the CAPTCHA).

I really don't like this dependence on a piece of equipment that exposes me to his level of risk.

Speaking of which, I realized yesterday that everyone in the Boston network on Facebook - and not just my 'friends' - can read what I write on my 'wall.' So watch what you write, I guess, because everyone else is, if they're at all interested.

And how stupid of me was it to start using Facebook when I did not have a full understanding of what I was getting myself into? Not to mention all the pain and suffering that I've endured, am still enduring, and have inflicted on others ...

I'm exaggerating, but only slightly.

I still think it's much better to deal with someone face-to-face, over the phone, or even in a letter. With a letter, there is no SEND button.

Welcome to a new voice

Thanks to Tom Salemi for pointing out a new blog in town, Newburyport's Voice. I've scanned it and it looks like blogger Larry Giunta is already on a roll.

The upcoming election season should be interesting.

I'm peeved

And when I'm in this state of mind, it's best to keep my mouth shut and my fingers on the remote to the TV and not on my keypad.

More later ...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Blah blah landfill blah blah

Here is the link to my latest landfill story - and remember, I don't write the headlines!

And since I'm on the subject of the landfill, I want to state categorically that I am not anti-Moak or anti-City Council. When I said in my previous post that it was my opinion that the Mayor would be doing the City Council a favor, I did not mean as in, "nudge, nudge, wink, wink - you do this for me and I'll do this for you."

(The City Council is in a tough spot and I would not want to be in that spot for all the tea in China; bless their cotton socks.)

I can see how what I wrote could be taken that way ... well, I can see it now since people have been crawling out of the woodwork thinking I'm starting a "Moak is a Mook" campaign.

Sure the mayor forms committees* to advise him and then does whatever he wants - I do that, too!

I don't form committees but I do ask everyone I know, "What should I do?" and then I go ahead and do what it was I was going to do originally. (#12 on the list of "Random Things About Me.")

It used to drive my boyfriend crazy ... and also could explain why he's no longer my boyfriend ...

But I do see it as a tiny fault ... ummmmm, what's that word again ... arrogance? Then again, in everything except matters of the heart, I am usually right ...

And sure the Mayor blurts stuff out to people such as the mayor of Everett. I'm a blurter, too.

Maybe the Mayor and I are the same person. When was the last time you saw us both in the same place?

But seriously, folks, this is a big issue and deserves close scrutiny. Everyone has their opinion, and anyone can see from reading comments attached to landfill stories on the daily's website that a lot of people think that the landfill neighbor's claims are bogus.

It has now gone deeper than that, though. So while blessing their socks, I will also say to the City Council and the Mayor that whatever you get out of these posts, you should get that people are paying attention (remember that someone else supplied the third instance of Council passing an appointment in one reading, when I couldn't remember what it was).

That and hits on this blog shot way up all last week (even Friday, which is usually slow), although I am surprised no one made any comment.

* He did not form the landfill committee - Mary Anne Clancy did, when she was mayor.

Sunday housekeeping

I have re-arranged stuff a little (How long could we all look at the same YouTube videos of Everett mayors, city solicitors and Alderman?), deleted a couple of things and added a couple of blogs to my bloglist.

I have to confess that, except for a couple of exceptions, I'm really bad at following other people's blogs. But when I hear of or read a good one, I follow along - and if I like it, I stick it on here for your potential enjoyment.

Then I read individual posts as they appear on my log.

And I have to add that I got a couple of Newburyport blogs that I either did not know existed (Newburyport Deep Sea Fishing) or had forgotten about (2B2 Flyby) off this post, from September, by Ari Herzog.

How I forgot about 2B2 Flyby is beyond me, since I love that airport!

I also don't know how I missed Ari's post back then - it must have been during my "dark period," as I now refer to it. Actually, I think my dark period came later, so it must have been during the "light period" when things started to develop with the Globe.


Also new:

that damn redhead, by fellow Michigander Stacy Lukas and also found through AriWriter. I love her tag "... consider the hair a warning label."

seagardensandglass, a new blog written by my sister Sarah (the one who lives in Gloucester).


P.S. Where do you think X went off to? I hope s/he is OK ...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

10 AM and all is well ... so far

It appears as if removing Norton Antivirus and installing the McAfee Suite has worked ... but I did disconnect my laptop from the cable connection overnight.

I noticed last night that something had during the day turned off my Windows Defender, but it is still on, as of now.

Early this morning, as I was still fretting, I did a little research and read about a virus that disguises itself as a Windows update, but I do not see that file on my laptop and anyway, it said McAfee was particularly effective at stopping it in its tracks.

From the history on Defender, I see it stopped a Trojan virus back on Feb. 2, which is I think when I had all those fake popups about security.

There is something going on here, though, and neither Microsoft nor Windows will 'fess up to it.

I have now instructed Vista to never automatically download any updates w/out my prior approval (like I could tell it was something naughty).

That's all for now, except ...

#11 on the list of "Random Things About Me:"

I used to know alot about computers and software, but I feel like I don't anymore. Still, I can usually resolve problems on my own.

Edward A. Hewett

I got this over the email lines ...

The late Edward A. Hewett was Newburyport's building inspector for many years. Everyone called him Mr. Hewett. He called himself Mr. Hewett in conversation (as in "Mr. Hewett will study this problem carefully before making a decision.") His memos and letters were awkwardly worded and it was often difficult to figure out whether he was approving or denying something.

His wife was the record owner of several rental properties around town and he would write official correspondence to her as though she was a total stranger, and sign them "Edward A. Hewett, Building Official/Codes Administrator." Mr. Hewett portrayed himself as a strictly-by-the-book administrator, but had a keen eye for what the polical establishment wanted hin to do, and could always come up with a rationale for doing it.

Warning! Danger! (Part 2)

I have spent the better part of the last 2 hours trying to resolve my ongoing problems with Windows Vista and Norton Antivirus. This is after I spent about an hour with Microsoft this morning (which I already wrote about).

I have no idea what's going on, but I ended up uninstalling Norton and installing the McAfee that Comcast offers free with its digital service.

The service tech at Symantec toldme it was my fault if I had a virus and that I would have to pay $99 to resolve my problems. I told him (very loudly) that I PAY for a subscription and that that's what I PAY them for.

I still believe that I got the virus through downloading either real or fake Windows updates that appeared on my Start menu. Microsoft as much as admitted this, as the email I received after talking to Microsoft states:

Here is a summary of the key points of the case for your records:

general computer usage
RESULT: norton has been disabled
CAUSE: possibly caused by an update
RESOLUTION: ran system restore (Feb 8, 2009)
Obviously the system restore did not resolve the problem.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The PI Gal Weekly Awards (a new feature)

I decided to follow Ari Herzog's lead and acknowledge stuff that happened over the week past. Of course, Ari lists blogs of note he came across, but still ... and away we go!

Best performance by a City Councillor (legislative):

It's a tie!

Donna Holaday (at-large), for her performance in the building inspector re-appointment debacle. Even if she was intending to ultimately vote to approve, she did the right thing by suggesting that Council give Gary Calderwood and itself time to address concerns raised by a resident and a fellow councillor.

Larry McCavitt (Ward 1), for his performance on the same issue. He may have blown the impact of what he was saying by making it about his experiences with the building inspector and not those of his constituents, but it still took guts to stand up and say his piece with Calderwood sitting right behind him.

Best performance by a City Councillor (non-legislative):

Council President James Shanley (Ward 3), for reminding everyone how precious our lifetime is and that we should make sure we tell people we care about that we care.

Worst performance by a mayor (not many candidates in this category):

Mayor John Moak, for giving a whole State of the City address without once uttering the word "landfill."

Note: There may be other things, but I don't know about them ...

And finally, The Plum Island Stinky Sewer Award goes to:

Tom O'Brien (Ward 6), also for his performance in the Calderwood episode. He refused to withdraw his motion to accept the re-appointment (a motion that was made within split seconds of the Clerk reading the appointment), making it impossible for the rest of Council to vote on Holaday's suggestion.

Just in from Congressman Tierney's office ...

Washington, D.C.– Today, immediately following the U.S. House of Representatives approval of the final version of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA) sent the below letter to Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

February 13, 2009

Lieutenant General Robert L. Van Antwerp
Commanding General
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Executive Office
441 G. Street, NW
Washington, DC 20314-1000

Dear General Van Antwerp:

As you know, H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, appears to be advancing toward final passage in the U.S. Senate and could be signed into law by President Obama in the next few days. As such, I write to respectfully request that, as you consider how to allocate the funds in H.R. 1 specified for the Corps, you give priority to the following projects located in the district that I represent.

The communities of Newbury and Newburyport are legitimately concerned about continued erosion and the potential loss of waterfront property. I share those concerns and, for the past several years, I have been fighting to see that the necessary action is taken. I have worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’s New England District and local officials to request and secure the necessary appropriations to dredge the Newburyport Entrance Channel, begin the process of repairing the South Jetty and conduct a Section 204 study on replenishing the beach with the proceeds from the dredging, a draft of which was released last week. Some progress has been made, as a portion of funds has been secured and the expectation is that further funds will be specified for such projects once Congress completes the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations process.

Additionally, I wanted to draw your attention to two other important projects, for which I have advocated throughout my time in Congress. The city of Peabody has endured four major flooding events in the past ten years. The city is seeking to advance its effort to reduce flood damage along the section of the North River that has negatively impacted residential neighborhoods and Peabody Square, a densely populated area that includes a number of small businesses.

The town of Salisbury is attempting to mitigate flood damage to a residential area adjacent to the Blackwater River, parts of which reportedly flood as often as one or two times a month.

It is my understanding that the foregoing projects will be eligible to receive funding under H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Your assistance is sought and additional funds are necessary to ensure that work on these projects can begin as soon as practicable. My staff and I will be contacting your office regularly to follow-up on these matters, and I appreciate your attention to them.

John F. Tierney
Member of Congress

Would my cat use me for lunch?

I would worry more about this - being dead in my home for days before anyone notices, not being slain (although I sometimes worry about that, reporting on what I do and all) - if not for my readers.

A while back, when I wasn't blogging regularly, a couple of people wrote to me asking if I was OK.

It's not clear if, had I not responded, they would have called the police, but it's a whole lot better than thinking no one notices.

I should note that my neighbor (HH) calls or stops by if he hasn't seen me around or thinks my car hasn't moved, and I do the same for him. Of course, he's mad at me right now ...

But I really appreciated the two emails; thanks, guys (you know who you are).

Wow, the wind turbine moved, says the daily

You think that although the Daily News has declined to put the local blogs on its website, they are not paying attention?

Actually, I know they are - I was told that Will Courtney said I was hitting them hard, or words to that effect. I don't know what he meant ...

But they apparently were not paying attention - or do not care - that there was this wild and crazy meeting of the Citizens Ad Hoc Advisory Landfill Committee last week and that maybe they should have found out what went on.

Honestly? I can't believe a week went by and they did not do that.

Nope, they were too busy mis-representing what went on at the City Council meeting as regards the re-appointment of building inspector Gary Calderwood - as in, Larry McCavitt wasn't the only one who spoke against it.

And I commend Council President Shanley for letting the resident speak for longer than rules allow (ha ha, what a double standard on my part), although it was clear that some on the Council were not listening to the man.

I guess second readings really don't serve any purpose. *But kudos to Donna Holaday*

I don't know what McCavitt's motivation was, but I know a lot of people on Plum Island (which is in his ward) complain incessantly about Calderwood and pine for his predecessor, Mr. Hewitt.

That's how everyone refers to him, as "Mr. Hewitt."

But then, in my work I hear a lot of complaints about a lot of people.

Anyway, as a non-property owner, I have had no experiences with Gary Calderwood as building inspector. In fact, I have had exactly one interaction with him (other than him waving at me in City Hall), which is when he told me a while back I was doing a good job (at the Current) and that he liked it that I was "fair."

My point is, the DN story did not mention that a resident also stood up and voiced his (lengthy) opposition to the re-appointment.

#10 on the list of "Random Things About Me:"

I can complain about something and get a compliment about my work in there, all at the same time and while staying on topic.

OK, here it is ... all 18 pages ...

CIVIL ACTION NO. 2006-0790-C
Defendant and Cross-Claimant,
Cross-Claim Defendants.

INTRODUCTION(see previous post)

PARTIES (not posting them; we all know who they are)

Procedural History

7. On February 23, 2006, the Commonwealth commenced the underlying action against defendant New Ventures, seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act and the Solid Waste Management Act.

8. On October 20, 2006, the Court (Spurlock, J.) issued a Preliminary Injunction in this action, which was amended by order dated November 1,2006 (Spurlock, J.), and again on February 22, 2007 (Sanders, J.). The Preliminary Injunction, as amended (the "Order"), required that New Ventures install and operate air pollution control equipment and undertake other measures to prevent nuisance conditions and potential public health impacts arising from the release of noxious hydrogen sulfide gas and other landfill gas.

9. On September 20,2007, the Court (McLaughlin, J.) issued another injunctive order ("Supplemental Order") requiring that New Ventures place a temporary cover consisting of acceptable clay-like soils to a depth of at least one foot over an area of the Landfill known as the "Phase IA Area," and replace the tarps over this temporary cover in the Phase IA Area.

10. A true and complete copy of the Court's October 20,2006 Order, as amended by orders dated November 1,2006 and February 22, 2007, is attached as "Exhibit 1." A true and complete copy of the Court's Supplemental Order of September 20,2007 is attached as "Exhibit 2."

Relevant Requirements of the Order and Supplemental Order

11. Paragraph 1 (d) and Appendix A (Landfill Gas Control Protocol) of the Order require New Ventures to install and continuously operate a landfill gas pretreatment fitering system, consisting of three separate vessels housing pretreatment media and an enclosed flare, to control hydrogen sulfide and other landfill gas emissions to prevent nuisance odors and protect the health and safety of area business and residents living in the vicinity of the LandfiL.

12. Paragraph 1 (b) and Appendix A, Section D, of the Order require New Ventures to operate the pretreatment system so that the maximum concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas flowing into the enclosed flare does not exceed a performance standard of 1.01 lbs/h (pounds per hour). Paragraph 1 (b) and Appendix A, Section D, of the Order also require that the pretreatment system remove at least ninety-five percent (95%) of hydrogen sulfide from the landfill gas flowing into the enclosed flare, with a performance standard requiring that hydrogen sulfide removal not fall below the 95% threshold for any two hours over the course of any twenty- four (24) hour period.

13. Paragraph 1 (d) and Appendix A of the Order require New Ventures to continuously operate the pretreatment system and enclosed flare twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week.

14. Paragraphs 1 (d) and Appendix A, Section I of the Order require New Ventures to provide the MassDEP with the daily landfill gas sampling data, including the concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas flowing into and out of the pretreatment system, along with the flow rate of landfill gas entering the enclosed flare in order to demonstrate compliance with the maximum 1.01 lb/hr hydrogen sulfide concentration and minimum 95% hydrogen sulfide removal performance standards for gas flowing into the enclosed flare.

15. Paragraph l(d) and Appendix A, Section C of the Order require New Ventures to contract with a qualified Massachusetts Registered Professional Engineer (the "Engineer") to coordinate, oversee, and monitor the operation and effectiveness of the landfill gas system and the other measures required for controllng hydrogen sulfide and other ambient gas emissions from the landfill, including compliance with the maximum 1.01 lb/hr hydrogen sulfide concentration and minimum 95% hydrogen sulfide removal for landfill gas flowing into the enclosed flare. Paragraph 1 (d) and Appendix A also require that the Engineer conduct weekly inspections of the landfill gas control system and provide a Weekly Status Report to the Department within two (2) working days of conducting each inspection.

16. Paragraph 11 of the Order requires that the pretreatment system, including all three pretreatment vessels, remain in-place and completely intact at the Site until such time as MassDEP determines, in writing, that the pretreatment system is no longer necessary or required by the Clean Air Act or the Solid Waste Management Act.

17. Paragraph 1(1) and Appendix A, Section H of the Order requires that New Ventures continuously staff the Landfill twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week.
Paragraph 1 (1) and Appendix A also require that New Ventures respond to all odor complaints received from residents in the vicinity of the Facility and then report these complaints to MassDEP.

18. Paragraph 1 (1) and Appendix A, Section F of the Order require New Ventures to maintain and operate a meteorological station at the landfill and continuously collect data on the wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, and temperature.

19. Paragraphs 1 (u) of the Order requires New Ventures to remove odiferous leachate that has entered the Landfill's storm water basins.

20. Paragraphs 1 (v) of the Order requires New Ventures to maintain, improve and expand the Landfill's leachate control system in compliance with plans submitted to and approved by the MassDEP pursuant to the MassDEP's 2005 Administrative Consent Order with Penalty ("2005 ACOP"), which is attached to the Order as Exhibit 3. The final leachate control plans required by the 2005 ACOP as approved by MassDEP require that New Ventures maintain leachate tanks at less than seventy-five percent (75% ) of their capacity at all times, measure and record the leachate level in each leachate tank immediately prior to each pumping, maintain daily logs containing the date, time, liquid level and volume of leachate pumped from each tank; and submit the daily logs to the MassDEP by the 15th day of each month for the preceding month.

21. Paragraph 1 G) and 1 (v) and Appendix B of the Order require New Ventures to place and maintain tarps over the Construction and Demolition Material ("C&D Material") at the landfill in areas not covered by the landfill cap including the landfill access road. In addition, the Supplemental Order requires New Ventures to place and maintain one foot of clay-like soil covered with tarps over the C&D Material in the Phase IA Area of the Facility to control the generation and release of odiferous leachate and landfill gas from the landfiL.

22. In the event that the placement of C&D Material for use as landfill grading or shaping material has been shut down at the Landfill, Paragraph 13 of the Order requires that New Ventures continue to comply with other requirements of the Order, applicable MassDEP administrative orders, and 310 C.M.R. 19.000 et seq.

23. Because of ongoing violations of Order and Supplemental order detailed below, MassDEP ordered that New Ventures shut down all placement of C&D Material at the LandfilL. This shut down is stil in effect.

24. Among the requirements of the Order that must be complied with in the face of a shut-down ofC&D Material placement, New Ventures shall, without limitation, continue to operate the permanent landfill gas control system, including the pretreatment system and enclosed flare in compliance with the performance standards in Appendix A of the Order, continue to staff the Landfill twenty four (24) hours a day, seven days a week, and continue to control and manage leachate collection and releases at the Landfill.

25. Among the requirements of 3 10 C.M.R. 19.000 et seq. with which New Ventures must continue to comply in the face of a shut-down of C&D Material placement at the Landfill are maintenance of the integrity of the drainage structures so as to prevent erosion, as required by
310 C.M.R. 19.130 (19)(b), and ensuring that any siltation due to erosion does not migrate offsite, as required by 310 C.M.R. 19.130 (20).

New Ventures' Recent Violations of the Order and Supplemental Order and the August 26, 2008 Notice of Violations

26. In May, 2008, the Commonwealth and New Ventures reached a full settlement of this action. That settlement agreement, among other things, would make permanent the relevant injunctive portions of the Order and set a new, sequenced schedule for closing the landfiL. New Ventures has refused, however, to sign and fie that settlement unless and until the City of Newburyport approves an increase in the landfill internal volume (or "airspace") pursuant to a Host Community Agreement ("HCA") it entered into with New Ventures in 2002. On June 26, 2008, this Court allowed New Ventures' motion to join the City of Newburyport as a necessary party to this action, and the City fied counterclaims. Although New Ventures and the City have been in negotiations to resolve their competing claims, litigation of those claims is proceeding, with summary judgment papers scheduled to be filed in January, 2009.

27. With settlement of this action on hold and litigation of New Ventures' cross-claims and the City's counterclaims proceeding, significant compliance issues began to surface at the landfill over the summer, and there has been a recent upturn in odor complaints from area residents. See Affidavit of David C. Adams, Environmental Engineer iv in the Bureau of Waste Prevention, Solid Waste Management Section, MassDEP Northeast Regional Offce ("Adams Aff."), irir 8-64; Affidavit of John A. Carrigan, Chief of the Solid Waste Section, Bureau of Waste Prevention, MassDEP Northeast Regional Office ("Carrigan Aff."), irir 18-25.

28. On August 26,2008, the MassDEP notified New Ventures of multiple violations of the Order and Supplemental Order observed by MassDEP personnel at the Landfill between June 3, 2008 and August 13,2008 (the "Notice"). A true and complete copy of the Notice is attached as "Exhibit 3." The Notice demanded that New Ventures return to compliance and remedy the violations detailed in paragraphs 29 through 41, below. New Ventures responded to the Notice by letter dated September 10, 2008. Atrue and complete copy of this response is attached as "Exhibit 4." In New Ventures' September 10, 2008 letter and subsequent discussions with the Commonwealth, New Ventures asserts that the current problems at the landfill should be addressed as part of a closure plan filed with a settlement agreement once the current litigation of its cross claims against the City are resolved. That resolution could be several weeks or several months away. Remedy ofthe violations detailed in the paragraphs below can not be put on hold while litigation of this action proceeds, particularly when these violations contribute to nuisance conditions that threaten the public health and welfare.

29. Seven separate inspections of the Facility by MassDEP investigators on June 3, 4, and 6, July 18 and 29, and August 17 and 18,2008, revealed that only two of the required three pretreatment vessels were on-Site at the Landfill. See Adams Aff., ir 47; Carrigan Aff., irir 2l(b), 24, 25; Notice, ir 10.

30. Landfill inspections by MassDEP investigators on July 17 and 29, 2008, revealed that the enclosed flare, a critical part of the landfil's air pollution control system, was not operating. Adams Aff., ir 45, Notice, ir 11.

31. Review by MassDEP staff of daily landfill gas collection system monitoring forms submitted by New Ventures revealed that on at least fifteen (15) days between July 8 and July 28, 2008, hydrogen sulfide gas had entered the enclosed flare in excess of 1.01 lbs/hr on at least two occasions during a twenty-four (24) hour period. Adams Aff., irir 28 - 31; Carrigan Aff., ir 20, 2l(a); Notice, ir 1.

32. Landfill inspections by MassDEP investigators on August 17 and 18, 2008, revealed that New Ventures was not operating the pretreatment system to remove at least 95% of hydrogen sulfide from landfill gas before it reached the enclosed flare, but instead allowed landfill gas to enter the enclosed flare with only 63% and 38%, respectively, of hydrogen sulfide removed. Adams Aff., irir 28,33; Carrigan Aff, irir 21(a),24, 25; Notice, ir 3. In addition, New Ventures operated the pretreatment system to allow the concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas flowing into the enclosed flare on those occasions to exceed the performance standard of 1.01 lbs/hr twice during a twenty-four hour period. ¡d.

33. Review by MassDEP investigators of daily landfill gas collection system monitoring forms submitted by New Ventures, along with review of complaints about odors from the landfill received by MassDEP from residents in the vicinity of the Facility revealed that on July 14 and 17,2008, and August 7,8 and 11, and 13,2008, New Ventures failed to respond to residents' odor complaints or report them to MassDEP. Carrigan Aff., ir 19(a); Adams Aff., ir 55; Notice, ir 7.

34. Review by MassDEP investigators of New Ventures' submissions revealed that from at least July 28,2008, through the date of the Notice, New Ventures failed to provide MassDEP with the required daily landfill gas sampling data for the landfill gas control system, including the hydrogen sulfide gas data for the pretreatment system and enclosed flare necessary to demonstrate the system was in compliance with the maximum 1.01 lb/hr hydrogen sulfide concentration and minimum 95% hydrogen sulfide removal performance standards for landfill gas flowing into the enclosed flare. Carrigan Aff., ir 1 9(b); Notice, ir 2.

35. Review by MassDEP investigators of New Ventures' submissions revealed that the Landfill Engineer failed to submit the required Weekly Status Reports to MassDEP from March 8,2008 through the date of the Notice. Carrigan Aff., ir 19(d); Notice, ir 12.

36. Landfill inspections by MassDEP investigators on July 17 and 29, 2008 and August 18, 2008 revealed that New Ventures failed to remove odiferous leachate released from the landfill that had migrated to the wetlands abutting the Facility. Adams Aff., irir 18 - 20; Notice, ir 4.

37. Landfill inspections by MassDEP investigators on July 17 and 29 and August 18, 2008, revealed that New Ventures had not been pumping at least four of the five Landfill leachate tanks and that all tanks were either at full or nearly full capacity. Adams Aff., irir 10 - 12; Carrigan Aff., ir 2l(g); Notice, ir 4.

38. Landfill inspections by MassDEP investigators on July 17 and 29,2008 and August 17 and 18, 2008, revealed that New Ventures failed to place and maintain tarps or tarp covered clay on the south slope of the Phase I Area, and the portions of the Landfill known as the "Phase IIA Area" and "Phase III Area." Adams Aff., irir 57 - 62; Carrigan Aff., ir 21(e); Notice, ir 5. In addition, New Ventures had failed to cover the clay-like soil on the portion of the Landfill known as the "Phase IA Area" with tarps on those dates. Adams Aff., ir 62.

39. Review by MassDEP investigators of New Ventures' submissions, along with Landfill inspections on July 17 and 29, 2008, and August 17 and 18, 2008, revealed that the New Ventures had ,failed to continuously collect the required meteorological data at the landfill and to properly maintain the meteorological station at the landfill from the time of a power outage on or
about June 27, 2008 and the date of the Notice. Adams Aff., irir 23,24,26,27; Carrigan Aff, ir 19(c); Notice, ir 8.

40. Landfill inspections on July 17 and 29, 2008, and August 17 and 18, 2008, revealed that the New Ventures had failed to repair the digital flow meter on the enclosed flare at the Landfill since the power outage on or about June 27, 2008. Adams Aff., irir 23 - 25; Carrigan Aff.; ir 19 (f).

41. Landfill inspections on June 3, 4 and 26, 2008, July 17 and 29, 2008, and August 18, 2008, revealed that New Ventures had failed to maintain the berm and temporary storm water controls at the Landfill. Included among these stormwater control violation were New Ventures'
failure to repair erosion gulles, failure to repair and maintain the northern storm water down chute on the western side of the perimeter berm, failure to mitigate the erosion of silt from the south slope of the Landfill off-site on to Crow Lane, and failure to maintain the hay bale and silt fences along the Landfill perimeter and abutting wetlands. Adams Aff., irir 36,38,39,40; Notice, ir 6.

Current Contempt

42. Since September 2008, New Ventures has failed to remedy nearly all of the violations cited in the August 26, 2008 Notice, as detailed in paragraphs 43 through 56, below.

43. Four separate inspections of the Landfill by MassDEP investigators on September 12 and 25, October 2, and November 3, 2008 revealed that New Ventures stil had not equipped the pretreatment system with the required third pretreatment vesseL. Adams Aff., ir 47. In addition, during inspections on October 2 and November 3, 2008, MassDEP investigators discovered,air leaking into the two treatment vessels on-Site, indicating that they were not being
maintained as air tight. Adams Aff., irir 33, 34.

44. Landfill inspections by MassDEP investigators on September 25, October 2, and November 3, 2008, revealed that New Ventures was not operating the pretreatment system to remove at least 95% of hydrogen sulfide from landfill gas before it reached the enclosed flare, but instead allowed landfill gas to enter the enclosed flare with only 87%, 86%, and 62%, respectively, of hydrogen sulfide removed. Adams Aff., irir 33 - 35. In addition, New Ventures was operating the pretreatment system on September 25 and October 2,2008 to allow the concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas to enter the enclosed flare at a rate in excess of 4.5 lbs/hr, exceeding the 1.01 lbs/hr performance standard on those occasions by more than 445%. Adams Aff., ir 35.

45. Review by MassDEP investigators of daily landfill gas collection system monitoring forms submitted by New Ventures, along with review of complaints about odors from the landfill received by MassDEP from residents living in the vicinity of the Landfill, revealed that New Ventures had continued to ignore and failed to respond to residents' odor complains or report them to MassDEP, including odor complaints made on September 3,5,11,12, and 16,21,25 and 28, and October 3, 4,13, 18, 19,21,23,2008. Carrigan Aff.,ir 19(a).

46. Review by MassDEP investigators of New Ventures' submissions revealed that New Ventures was stil not providing MassDEP with the required daily landfill gas sampling data for the landfill gas control system, including the hydrogen sulfide gas data for the pretreatment system and enclosed flare. Carrigan Aff., ir 1 9(b). New Ventures has failed to provide the landfill gas sampling data necessary to demonstrate that the system is in compliance with the maximum 1.01 lb/hr hydrogen sulfide concentration and minimum 95% hydrogen sulfide removal performance standards for landfill gas flowing into the enclosed flare from at least July 28,2008, through the date of this Complaint. ¡d.

47. Review by MassDEP investigators of New Ventures' submissions revealed that the Landfill Engineer was stil not submitting the required Weekly Status Reports to the MassDEP. Carrigan Aff., ir 19(d). New Ventures has failed to submit Weekly Status Reports for the Landfill from March 8, 2008 through the date of this Complaint. ¡d.

48. Landfill inspections on October 2,2008 revealed that New Ventures had failed to remove odiferous leachate from the temporary stormwater basin behind the Facility office trailer. Adams Aff., ir 16.

49. Inspections of the LandfiII by MassDEP investigators on September 25, October 2, and November 3, 2008 revealed that New Ventures had stil not pumped at least four of the five Landfill leachate tanks, all of which were either at full or nearly full capacity. Adams Aff., irir 10,

50. Landfill inspections on September 12 and 25, October 2, and November 3,2008, revealed that foul smelling leachate had been released from overflowing leachate collection tanks and had migrated across landfill access roadways and into stormwater collection basins. Adams Contempt Aff., irir 12, 14 - 17.

51. During inspections of the Landfill on September 12 and 25, October 2, and November 3, 2008, New Ventures refused or failed to provide MassDEP with leachate pumping logs for the LandfiL. Adams Aff., irir 51, 52.

52. Landfill inspections on September 12 and 25, October 2, and November 3, 2008, revealed that New Ventures failed to place and maintain tarps or tarp covered clay on the south slope of the Phase I Area, the Phase IIA Area, or the Phase II Area. Adams Aff., irir 57-62. In addition, New Ventures had failed to cover the clay-like soil on the Phase IA Area with tarps on those dates. Adams Aff., ir 62.

53. Review by MassDEP investigators of New Ventures' submissions, along with Landfill inspections on September 12 and 25, October 2, and November 3,2008, revealed that New Ventures was stil not collecting the required meteorological data at the landfill or properly maintaining the meteorological station at the landfill from the time of a power outage on or about June 27, 2008. Adams Aff., irir 23,24,26,27; Carrigan Aff, ir 19(c).

54. Landfill inspections on September 12 and 25, October 2, and November 3, 2008, revealed that the New Ventures had stil not repaired the digital flow meter on the enclosed flare at the landfill since the power outage on or about June 27. Adams Aff., irir 23 - 25.

55. Landfill inspections on September 25, October 2, and November 3, 2008, revealed that New Ventures had failed to maintain the berm and temporary storm water controls at the landfiL. Adams Aff., irir 37 - 40. Included among these stormwater control violations were New Ventures' failure to repair erosion gulles, failure to repair and maintain the northern storm water down chute on the western side of the perimeter berm, failure to mitigate the erosion of silt from the south slope of the landfill off-site on to Crow Lane, and failure to maintain the hay bale and silt fences along the Landfill perimeter and abutting wetlands. ¡d.

56. Landfill inspections on October 2 and November 3, 2008, revealed that New Ventures has failed to maintain the hay bale and silt fences along the perimeter of the landfill and abutting wetlands. Adams Aff., ir 42.

Violation of the Order and Supplemental Order

57. The Commonwealth repeats and realleges each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 - 56.

58. By failing to equip the landfill gas control system with three pretreatment vessels, and by failing to ensure that one or more pretreatment vessels are maintained as airtight, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraphs l(d), 11, 13, and Appendix A of the Order
in contempt of Court.

59. By failing to operate the pretreatment system to consistently remove at least 95% of the hydrogen sulfide from landfill gas before it flows into the enclosed flare, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraphs l(d), 13, and Appendix A, Section D, of the Order in contempt of Court.

60. By failing to operate the pretreatment system to consistently prevent hydrogen sulfide concentrations over 1.01 lb/hr from flowing from the pretreatment system into the enclosed flare, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraphs 1 (d), 13, and Appendix A, Section D, of the Order in contempt of Court

61. By failing to provide the MassDEP with daily landfill gas system sampling data, including data on the concentration of hydrogen sulfide gas entering the pretreatment system and enclosed flare necessary to demonstrate compliance with the required performance standards, New Ventures has violated and continues to violate Paragraphs l(d), 1(1), 13, and Appendix A,
Section I, of the Order in contempt of Court.

62. By failing to respond to and report to MassDEP odor complaints received from residents living in the vicinity of the Facility, New Ventures violated Paragraphs 1(1), 13, and Appendix A, Sections H and I, of the Order in contempt of Court.

63. By failing to staff the Facility twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraphs 1(1), 13, and Appendix A, Section H, of the Order in contempt of Court.

64. By failing to maintain leachate collection tanks at less than 75% of their volume capacity, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraph 1 (v) of the Order and MassDEP's 2005 ACOP in contempt of Court.

65. By allowing leachate collection tanks to overflow and release foul smelling leachate into stormwater collection basins and the wetlands abutting the Landfill, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraph 1 (v) of the Order and MassDEP's 2005 ACOP in contempt of Court.

66. By failing to maintain and provide to MassDEP the required leachate daily log reports containing the date, time, liquid level and volume of leachate pumped from each leachate tank, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraphs l(v) and 13 of the Order and MassDEP's 2005 ACOP in contempt of Court.

67. By failing to place and maintain tarps or tarp covered clay on the south slope of the Phase I Area, the Phase IIA Area, and Phase III Area, and by failing to cover the clay-like soil on the Phase IA Area with tarps, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraphs 1 (j) and 1 (v) of the Order and Paragraph 1 of the Supplemental Order in contempt of Court.

68. By failing to submit the required Engineer's Weekly Status Reports to MassDEP, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraph 1 (d) and Appendix A, Section C, of the Order in Contempt of the Court.

69. By failing to continuously collect the required meteorological data at the Landfill, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraphs 1 (d), 1 (1), and Appendix A, Section F, of the Order in contempt of Court.

70. By failing to repair the digital flow meter on the enclosed flare at the Landfill, New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraphs 10 and 13 of the Order in contempt of Court.

71. By failing to maintain the berm and temporary storm water controls at the landfill in compliance with 310 CMR 1 9.043(5)(b) and 310 CMR 1 9.130(19)(b), New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraph 13 of the Order in contempt of Court.

72. By failing to maintain the hay bale and silt fences along the Landfill perimeter and abutting wetlands as required by 310 CMR 19.043(5)(b), 310 CMR 19.130(19)(b), and 310 CMR 19.130(20), New Ventures violated and continues to violate Paragraph 13 of the Order in contempt of Court.


Wherefore, the Commonwealth respectfully requests that this Court:

A. Issue a Summons pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 65.3(d) directing the parties to appear before the Court within ten (10) days for a hearing on the merits of this Complaint;

B. Find New Ventures in contempt of this Court's Order and Supplemental Order;

C. Order that New Ventures immediately comply with all provisions of this Court's Order and Supplemental Order;

D. Award the Commonwealth its costs and attorneys' fees incurred in prosecuting this Contempt action; and

E. Order and Grant such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

Respectfully submitted,

Dated: November 12,2008