Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jumping on the bandwagon .... er, truck ...

This is hilarious. Thanks, Tom.

The beach today

In the second photo, you can see (as Newbury's conservation agent Doug Packer noted on Friday) that there is accretion of sand north of the center 'groin.' And the hay bales are holding up, although there was more sand around them on Friday.

Important meetings upcoming

The Senior Center Building Committee is meeting at 5 p.m. on Thursday (April 1) and Mayor Donna Holaday will be there to update everyone on a location. The meeting will be in the City Hall auditorium.

Ward 4 Councillor Ed Cameron said the committee "continues to think of Cushing Park is a good location for a senior center" and that considering other locations at this point is "adding just another big piece onto something that's quite simple."

As we know, Holaday has proposed at least two alternate locations to Cushing Park: the Port Rehab building and now the building where the Fitness Factory was.

The City Council's Planning and Development standing committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. on April 8 in Council Chambers to review the input from the Planning Board on the proposed changes to the wind energy conversion ordinance.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Parking garage, conceptually speaking

Today was kind of a madhouse for me so naturally I forgot there was a public hearing on the proposed "intermodal" parking facility in the city. There were two options presented for each of two locations: Green Street and Titcomb Street.

Actually, the conceptual plans presented were rather attractive but the cost(s) was not. Mayor Holaday said the whole presentation (of which I missed 15 minutes, but I guess there was a fire alarm ...??) will be up on the city's website tomorrow.

Check it out there. I think I saw that in option 2 for Titcomb Street, the former Fitness Factory building is a green area ... grass, trees ...

They did a bad, bad thing

No one would claim responsibility for this (although some people tried to blame ME). City Council chambers, earlier tonight. (Wall of portraits of former mayors, in case you don't know.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Guest post: Michael Cook

"Conservatives today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960's".

Those aren't the words of some smug liberal gloating over the passage of health care reform, not at all.

They are the words of David Frum, a former top speechwriter for GW Bush and a highly regarded mainstream conservative.

Frum went on to say, "It's hard to imagine the magnitude of this disaster. ...No illusions please. This bill will not be repealed".

"...Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to reopen the 'doughnut hole' and charge seniors more for their prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition?... And even if the votes were there, would President Obama sign such a repeal?"

Frum continued, "We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement and they led us to abject failure and irreversible defeat."

Pretty strong words but, thankfully, also true.

If a conservative and diehard GOP loyalist like David Frum holds these views I can only wonder what other mainstream Republicans and intelligent independents must be thinking as they bear witness to the fallout that's resulted from the once great party of Abraham Lincoln being usurped by politicians like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Tom Coburn, and media demagogues like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

All five of the aforementioned people are the personifications of "the most radical voices" in the modern GOP and conservative movement and as Frum said, they led their followers to "abject failure and irreversible defeat."

But I, quite frankly, hope they, and the so called Tea Party movement, remain front and center on the public stage because the more they do, the more likely, especially as the 2010 political season heats up later in the summer, and more Americans start paying closer attention to politics, the more Americans will say; "Thanks but no thanks" to the overt racism, homophobia, and xenophobia that "the most radical voices" in the GOP and Tea Party movement are really all about.

I also think we should all fasten our political seatbelts because, to paraphrase Bette Davis in "All About Eve", this coming political season is going to be one bumpy ride, one very bumpy, and quite possibly very ugly, ride indeed.

Michael Cook
PV de Limon , CR
& Nbpt

Friday, March 26, 2010

The beach w/hay bales

Click on the image for a better view. This was this morning, right before the Beach Alliance meeting and at high tide. Speaking of Beach Alliance meeting, finally people are talking about Newburyport!

Of course, it's mostly about how most of the houses in the eroded area (of Newburyport) are not in a state of emergency. Our Ward 1 councillor, Allison Heartquist, questioned the criteria for "emergency" and the use of the word "time" to do stuff. She was kicking some butt (most politely, too); it was pretty cool.

"We don't have time; we don't know what time is; or how to define time ... Why can't we get emergency certification for these homeowners?"

The city got a $75,000 partnership grant from DCR for beach issues. That means we have to come up with $25,000.

Guest post: Jack Van Loan

Last weekend, I went to the landfill to see what was happening. The public right of way that is Crow Lane, past the entrance to the stump dump has numerous piles of C & D fines and stone rubble(12-15 feet tall); the road is invisible under dirt and debris; Where Crow Lane goes down hill toward the tributary of the Little River there is a layer of dirt, stone and debris. There is even a small pile of vacuum tubes from a radio or TV.

The landfill at the west side is piled much higher than the berm by [New Ventures LLC], probably in anticipation of their added retaining wall being approved.

NVLLC has been getting rid of Everett Wood Waste's debris by bringing it to Newburyport, first by Mayor Moak's wonderful order and then by just piling it on public land.

Maybe it is time to get the landfill declared a 21E site and following the added debris back through NVLLC to Everett Wood Waste and the people that brought debris to Everett Wood Waste.

NVLLC will be declaring bankruptcy any time, now.

[Financial Assistance Mechanism] FAM is be used up just finishing the construction.

Who will pay for repairs when settling occurs in "berm" and landfill when all the "carbon", wood debris decomposes and everyhting settles, affecting the gas collection system.

Who didn't see this coming?

DEP steps in on Crow Lane

I, along with others, received this email from our mayor yesterday evening (while I was out for the evening):

Today the Attorney General’s Office filed on behalf of the MassDEP a motion in Suffolk Superior Court on the Crow Lane Landfill case. The Attorney General’s Office is requesting that the Court issue an order granting the Department and its contractors access to the landfill for the purpose of repairing the damaged Flexible Membrane Liner (the “FML” cap) and gas extraction wells with the cost of these repairs paid to DEP’s contractors by reimbursement through New Ventures’ Financial Assurance Mechanism (the “FAM”). [A FAM is essentially a performance bond required of landfill owners by the Solid Waste Regulations. It serves to provide the Commonwealth with the funds necessary to perform closure and post-closure activities at a landfill in the event that the operator fails in whole or in part to do so in accordance with permits or orders].

In addition, the Commonwealth requested that the Court declare that New Ventures has defaulted on its Landfill closure obligations and breached the provisions in their FAM because it cannot fund and perform the required repairs or any further closure work. The Attorney General argues that, because New Ventures has defaulted on its FAM obligations, the Court should also declare that MassDEP is authorized to control and direct the use and disbursement of all remaining FAM funds to reimburse contractors performing all further Landfill closure work. (Gillian's emphasis) Finally, the Attorney General asks that the Court order New Ventures to submit to MassDEP revised cost estimates that fully and accurately address all tasks necessary to close the landfill and pay for post-closure maintenance of the landfill.

As I receive information on NV's response and the legal proceedings I will keep you updated. I believe this is the direction we had all hoped would occur. I am grateful to the AG and DEP for taking this step on behalf of our city and especially for the residents in the surrounding neighborhoods. Donna Holaday, Mayor

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another location for senior center, maybe

Well, well ... who didn't see this coming?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

No more Ms. Nice Guy and nominate NBPT

OK ... so I'm sick and tired of trying to be nice and kind to people and having them ignore and/or abuse me.

On the other hand, thank you to my kind readers and my friends for being there and listening to me complain and bitch all the time and trying to help me when I have trouble, such as my laptop dying. I love you guys. Not the first guys mentioned, the guys in the second paragraph.

I haven't lived in a small town since I was in high school, in Michigan (and even then, we lived out on a farm in the boondocks), but I can't say enough how great people are here in Newburyport.

I'm talking to you, Google! ... Give Newburyport free super high-speed Internet access. But not the people who are mean to me ... I can provide a (short) list of names ... HA!

Time is running out, folks, so if you haven't already, nominate Newburyport. Which reminds me ... gotta go.

My laptop bought the farm

I'm not sure what buying a farm has to do with failing, but the thing died a quick and horrible death.

Actually, it's not quite dead - it still will boot up after several attempts and Windows will start in Safe mode.

So ... the reason I'm reporting this (other that I tell you guys everything) is that, as it turns out, this is a known problem with Compaq/HP and Dell computers (and possibly other brands) that have an NVIDIA graphic chip; or a certain NVIDIA graphic chip, or something. If you want to read more, follow the links sent to me by my friend Mr. T (not the celebrity, although he's getting pretty famous around here):


The chip overheats, or as my dad found, it just can't handle Vista. Either way, make sure you don't have one in your laptop.

Which reminds me ... in one of the reports linked to above, it says that there have been no reports of this happening on a desktop computer.

Well let me be the first to report that in fact, I had a Compaq Presario desktop a few years back that I suddenly recalled did the exact same thing (everything got BIG and I had trouble getting it to boot up). It's the reason I got rid of it. This was long before Vista was an option, but it did have an NVIDIA graphics card; I only know this because my brother bought it for me, for my birthday or some other gift-giving occasion, after I complained about the poor graphics on my Civilization game.

Now my dad, who yesterday exchanged my Compaq Presario laptop for his Lenovo ThinkPad (he likes the challenge of having something broken to fiddle around with and, being a man, he has another laptop and a desktop) was the one who found some info online indicating that the NVIDIA graphic chip can't handle Vista.

When I bought the Compaq/HP laptop, Vista had just come out and there was no other option to Vista. I wanted XP, which is what I have again, on the Lenovo, so I'm a fairly happy camper. Plus the Lenovo is way faster than the Presario (being a man, Dad bought something very speedy). Now if I could just find the Delete key without having to look ... it's in a very odd location ...

Not complaining, even though it is in my nature.

Speaking of which, that Presario was the second laptop that failed on me within 2 years of purchase. After the desktop failed, I bought an Acer. The screen on that went south (not sure what going south has to do with failing, either), but I think that had something to do with me violently swatting flies that landed on it ...

Cronin schedules a ward meeting

Here's the info, from Bob Cronin himself:

I will be hosting a Ward3 meeting on March 25, 2009 in Council chambers at 6:30 PM. I am inviting any and all interested parties whether you are from the Ward, have mutual interests or concerns or are an elected or appointed official.

The first segment is going to be an open discussion on the proposed wind turbine ordinance, your recommendations and observations. Although I have not seen confirmation, the Planning and Development committee may be meeting the same evening to discuss ordinance changes. If that is in fact the case, I would limit discussion to the first 30 minutes so that interested parties can attend that meeting.

I know that communication has been broached as a topic of discussion. I anticipate that communication, the Senior Center, Parking, the current location of the Cushing Park book drop, the Clipper City Rail trail (and keeping the Battis Grove name alive) are some of the topics to be considered.

I will also provide a copy of a letter I am sending to both Mayor Holaday and Town Manager Harrington of Salisbury with a traffic mitigation suggestion when the Hines Bridge closes.

Of course any other topic on anyone’s mind is fair game. The meeting will be limited to two hours with the possible recess included in that time to visit the Planning and Development meeting.

Finally, any blogsters, message board managers, or media, whether on-line or traditional, are encouraged to use and redistribute any and all information that is posted on this blog. I urge everyone to invite a friend!

Over and out.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Newbury gets emergency certification

In case you missed it, here is the video from Channel 7's evening news about the (2-hour) emergency meeting called yesterday to discuss erosion on Plum Island. There does seem to be extra sand there, by the tide line, but I wonder if it will migrate back to the dune on its own?

Well, I'm no expert (although I do play one on this blog). Anyway, the Daily News is reporting that the other emergency measures (excluding the beach scraping) were approved late yesterday, for the homes in Newbury. It's worth noting that the other measures are relatively inexpensive.

I don't see any mention of Dr. Hemani's property on 55th St. in Newburyport being included in the emergency certification and who will actually pay for the hay bales, etc., in Newbury. Hemani forked out $20,000 about 18 months ago for sand bags, sand and permits.

Did I say before that someone said to me that expecting the government to bail homeowners out of this is a little .... er .... Socialist? The town does own the beach, after all, the person noted, and when Sen. Bruce Tarr asked someone (anyone) to step up to submit a proposal to the state for beach scraping, no one stepped up. And Tarr wasn't even asking for money; he was just asking for a proposal. It seems rather capitalist to me (expending public funds to protect revenue from property taxes and tourism as opposed to looking at it as saving people's homes). Any thoughts on this?

(Residents did pay for beach scraping in the past and they do pay for snow fencing and beach grass, apparently, on their properties on the primary dune.)

I was over at Hemani's (summer) house last week, after I wrote the story for the Current, and he has imported sand in to bolster the structure, which was sitting on the edge of the dune after the Feb. 25 storm. He is a little miffed that Newbury gets all this attention, emergency certification, etc., and Newburyport gets nothing. Plus he was denied a permit to repair/replace his sand bags after the storm.

But Newbury pushes for it, don't they? Then again, it is the Plum Island Foundation, not the Newbury Part of Plum Island Foundation.

The man from MEMA (the Mass. Emergency Management Agency), Peter Judge, said that there is little hope of getting FEMA funds because FEMA only likes to fund permanent fixes. Scraping the beach has about the same shelf life as the beach nourishment (since it's basically the same thing, only with fewer elaborate calculations about beach slope thrown in), which is 5 yrs., max.

Toss in there the fact that no one is quite sure what the permanent fix might be - it's a complicated shoreline - and you've got mass confusion (pun intended).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Moving right along

I'm snuggled down with my friend, Mr. Moe's vodka, and some ginger ale. From where did I get that combo? Hmmmmm, think it came from someone I once knew, a little.

My dad is loaning me, indefinitely, one of his laptop computers (the newer one). I'll be glad to be back to semi-normalcy. But thanks to someone I think I'm not supposed to mention here and to Mr. T, who has been advising me (although the news has been mostly bad).

Which brings me to my electrical problem. I mean I have a problem with electricity. As in, I think I mentioned before that I seem to have an excess of electricity in my body. As in, I can walk under a street light and it goes off.

I'm not saying I'm special; a friend told me a while back that her husband has the same "problem" and he blows out computers. Kerplunk.

Which makes me think - I wish that electricity could fix the beach, but I don't think anything is going to fix the beach. In all honesty, when state Sen. Bruce Tarr, co-chair of the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, said in today's meeting that the erosion south of the "groin" took them by surprise ... well, the ocean is a strange and mysterious body (not unlike the person who introduced me to vodka and ginger ale).

Apparently there's another storm coming, later next week. Channel 7 had a long report on Plum Island on the 5 p.m. news and they showed at least a part of today's meeting. And while you're trying to figure out if I'm making sense, check out this report on Tuesday night's NBC Nightly News segment Fleecing of America. It's about beach fill, or nourishment.

To scrape or not to scrape?

That is the issue.

Newbury wants to scrape the beach in front of those 2 houses in peril on Plum Island and the state does not want the town to do that. Scraping would bulldoze 3 inches of sand from however many yards from the low water up the beach to replenish the eroded dune.

Apparently this was done back in 2005. In the meantime, the town and the state are working on emergency certification to put hay bales, sand bags and beach grass on the beach there. And maybe at Dr. Hemani's house on 55th St. in Newburyport.

That's basically the upshot of today's meeting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This & that

What a week! And it's not over yet ...

I'm working on a "loaner" laptop, which my friend's husband has generously given me to use until I save enough money to buy a new laptop, I guess. Or not.

Word to the wise: don't buy a Compaq/HP laptop. The black screen of death is a known fault.

Anyway, how is everyone? Pretty much the first thing anyone says to me these days is to ask how things are out here on PI. There's this big meeting at 2 p.m. tomorrow, at PITA Hall out here, to discuss this very thing.

Who could have guessed that putting those sandbags there at PI center, north of the "groin," would cause such severe erosion southwards? Or maybe it wasn't the sandbags. I'll find out tomorrow!

Right now I'm busy watching Signature Club A on HSN. Yes, that's what I said. Plus I just got jam all over the borrowed laptop. oops

Guest post:: MIchael Cook on racism

On March, 14, I received an email from a friend in Newburyport that had a forwarded joke attached. The person who sent the original forward to my friend is a highly regarded, successful retired business man, who, as my friend has often told me, is one of greater Newburyport's wealthiest long time residents - not to mention a staunch Republican.

The forwarded "joke" was titled, "Our Dog Spot".

It went like this; Spot's owner goes down to the local welfare office to try and sign Spot up for benefits.

The clerk tells Spot's owner, according to agency guidelines, dogs do not qualify for welfare benefits.

Spot's owner then explains to the clerk that Spot is lazy, unemployed, speaks no English, and has no idea who his daddy is.

The punch lines? "Spot gets his first check next Friday. Is this a great country or what?"

I suppose I took offense at such an ignorant and bigoted "joke" because I, for a decade, have very much a part of a family that is multi-racial and multi-lingual whose members include doctors, lawyers, very successful businesspeople, school teachers, and stay at home moms who raise children with a level of manners and respect for their elders that is sorely missing in many American kids these days, even those who come from families headed by people like the original forwarder of this 'joke".

Now, I firmly believe my friend's wealthy, retired, white, Republican friend has every right to tell, and e-mail, such vile and bigoted attempts at humor, after all, Oliver Wendell Holmes said it best; and I'm paraphrasing a bit but, if one really believes in free speech, one has to be prepared to defend the speech one hates the most.

But that said, I also firmly believe every decent American who understands and rejects the hateful and bigoted subtexts of such lame attempts at "humor", has an obligation to stand up and call such "comedians" out, even if they are wealthy, retired, white, GOP pillars of greater Newburyport society.

This kind of ''humor" is anything but funny. And the fact it is being passed around on the internet among Newburyporters should be a wake-up call that, despite all the touchy feely, New Agey gobbledeegook about Newburyport being a "No
Place for Hate" community, and all the media attention the Martin Luther King Day breakfast gets, the fact is bigotry is alive and well in Newburyport.

What saddens, even frightens, me, is that it is alive and well among people like my friend's wealthy, white, well educated, retired, Republican friend. No other proof of that reality is needed beyond this most recent ignorant and bigoted "joke" this "pillar" of Newburyport society is spreading on the internet.

Michael Cook
Puerto Viejo de Limon, CR
& Nbpt

Monday, March 15, 2010

Out of control

So I was sitting around, computerless for almost the whole weekend, agitated beyond belief until I finally thought, "Hey, why do I need to check Facebook? Why do I need to answer emails the instant I receive them? STOP AGITATING, woman!"

What is it about the computer/Internet that makes us ... well, a lot of us ... think that everything is urgent. Not to mention cell phones, iPhones, the BlackBerry ... I no longer have a cell phone and only about once a week do I think to myself, "Why don't I have a cell phone?"

What's so freakin' urgent? NOTHING ... I got on line here at my friend's house and there was nothing urgent; nothing that couldn't wait. (Although I have to say, I do not have children.)

I'm so unused to speaking with someone who doesn't have some kind of electronic device in one hand that I'm starting to miss it when they don't ... I'm exaggerating, of course. But I once sat with someone at lunch who texted until his food went cold and then was surprised that his food had gone cold.

About the same time period, I sat with another man who not even once checked his electronic device, in all the 2 hrs. or so we spent chatting. Just chatting.

What a novel experience.

My laptop went kerphlooey (again)

I'm not sure how to spell "kerphlooey," or even if it's a proper word. Probably not.

Anyway, I'm at my friend's house across town, and I'm hoping whatever is going on now will resolve itself like it did the last time. But - since there's an added issue now, I'm not holding out a whole lot of hope.

Don't expect much "work" out of me!

Friday, March 12, 2010


I don't know what's going on with Blogger and comments. It tells me there are comments and then when I go to publish said comments, there are no comments there. I am also informed that people have to type in verification words - although I have that feature turned off.

Sorry if you guys are having problems.

Michael Cook: Rush going into exile - WHY Costa Rica?

Wow, if the Democrats in the US needed another reason to get health care reform passed, they were handed a doozy on March 9.

On his radio show that day, Rush Limbaugh said if health care reform passes, he will leave the country.

Now, if that prospect can't get liberal and blue dog Democrats, not to mention some Olympia Snowe Republicans, together on the health care reform band wagon, I don't know what can.

I just wish ragin' Rush hadn't said the country he'd exile himself to was Costa Rica.

I'd have thought, given Costa Rica has socialized, universal health care coverage for all its citizens, and even ex-pats with permanent residency status, it would be the last country the far right, neo-fascist Fat Man would want to come.

But then I remembered; in Costa Rica, Rush can buy his Viagra over the counter, he doesn't need a prescription, or someone else's for that matter, to keep himself revved up and rarin' to go and, of course, prostitution is legal.

With those two all important considerations taken into account, I'm sure a pesky little item like Costa Rica's democratic socialism, including free, universal health care, can be overlooked by the likes of the narcissistic and notoriously lecherous Rush Limbaugh.

My only question now is, "If health care reform passes and Rush makes good on his threat to leave the US and move to Costa Rica, where am I going to go?"

Costa Rica, after all, is just too small, not to mention still too nice, a country for an ego as big as the fascist Fat Man's.

Michael Cook
Puerto Viejo de Limon, CR
& Nbpt

Not a syllable

I find it kind of strange that no one else, that I know of, has commented on one aspect of the March 3 joint Planning Board/City Council hearing about the wind turbine ordinance and the mobile signage ordinance.

That is - a bunch of people started talking about banning turbines in Newburyport. I think it's kind of significant (obviously) but I don't see much conversation about it.

What do you all think? Do you think Newburyport is too small for wind energy facilities?

PSA: Pennies for Poverty

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 19, 20 & 21 Pennies for Poverty: 2 Cents 4 Change, Inc. will be holding a food drive to benefit five area food pantries (Community Service, Our Neighbor’s Table, Pettengill House, The Salvation Army and Community Action.

Please stop by the Shaw’s Supermarket in the Port Plaza, Newburyport and donate non-perishable food items, canned goods and personal care products.

The current state of the economy has found this area’s food pantries serving more people than ever before and their supplies are dwindling quickly.

There will be volunteers present on Fri. from 8:30am to 6pm and Sat. & Sun. from 9am to 5pm to collect your donations. For additional information please call (978)358-7579 or (978)358-7484 or email: 2cents4change@gmail.com

For more information about Pennies for Poverty: 2 Cents 4 Change, Inc. please visit our website: www.2cents4change.com.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Toyota problems: 2.8 in a million

Reader Mr. T (not related to the TV personality) sent me this link to a NY Times blog. It's by Robert Wright and it's about Toyotas.

My back-of-the-envelope calculations (explained in a footnote below) suggest that if you drive one of the Toyotas recalled for acceleration problems and don’t bother to comply with the recall, your chances of being involved in a fatal accident over the next two years because of the unfixed problem are a bit worse than one in a million — 2.8 in a million, to be more exact. Meanwhile, your chances of being killed in a car accident during the next two years just by virtue of being an American are one in 5,244.

I'm sick of hearing about Toyotas, to be quite frank (except for this blog post, with which I totally agree), but I'm happy the "news" replaced Tiger Woods as the top story.

Now I notice that Toyota is running a heck of a lot of commercials these days. Will it do any good in light of the feeding frenzy that is going on? Who knows?

Let's talk about what the stars wore to the Oscars. Now that's some real news!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

No access through here.

Not that it's that easy to get on the beach here since they piled the sand up at PI Center, but you should not even try to get on the beach there. Newbury police will charge you if you do ... read all about it here, in the Daily News (if you have not already).

"Unfortunately, many people are not abiding by the signs, the barriers, the sand piles and the 'Police Line Do Not Cross' tape," [Newbury Police Chief Michael Reilly] said. "As such, I have issued strict orders to my officers to criminally charge anyone who circumvents the barricades at Plum Island Center. It is unfortunate that we have to utilize such a strict measure, but nothing else seems to work."

There are other public access points ... so use them.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baddour and Costello press hard on landfill (news release)

BOSTON – Legislation filed today by Representative Michael A. Costello (D- Newburyport) and Senator Steven A. Baddour (D – Methuen) would allow the state to access and directly manage landfills determined to be a public nuisance.

Under the law, the state would be allowed to enter a landfill immediately in order to perform remediation work and alleviate conditions causing the public nuisance, if the owner or operator cannot or will not do the work in a timely fashion. The legislators filed the bill in response to the outrageous circumstances at Newburyport’s Crow Lane landfill, which has been a threat to public health and environmental safety for years. In that time, residents have been affected by rotten egg odors and hydrogen sulfide gases emitted from Crow Lane. The landfill operator, the state and the city have been entrenched in a legal battle for more than two years over the conditions at Crow Lane.

“Crow Lane has revealed that we clearly have a flawed process, whereby the operator of the landfill has willingly become engaged in a lengthy legal battle while the residents who are affected by the landfill have been provided little relief,” said Representative Costello. “This legislation would allow the state provide immediate relief and then go to court later to determine how to recover costs.”

Costello and Baddour consulted with officials from the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and General Court counsel and staff to write the legislation, which would bring landfill regulations into alignment with those for hazardous waste sites in the state.

“The residents of the Crow Lane neighborhood have suffered long enough”, said Senator Baddour. “The DEP must be given the power to intercede with problematic landfills to protect the health and quality of life for not only the citizens of Newburyport – but throughout the entire Commonwealth.”

“MassDEP is pleased to work with Representative Costello, Senator Baddour, and Mayor Holaday to help develop legislation that will address a gap in our ability to effectively manage problem landfills,” MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt said. “We want to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth from unresponsive landfill operators to ensure that other communities will not have their quality of life negatively impacted.”


Beach today: March 4

I just got back from PI Center, where it looks pretty much the same as at this time yesterday, except the seas look heavier. When I pulled into the parking lot, there was a man there loading up some fancy looking video equipment, back into his SUV.

Those sandbags represent money well spent, although where there are no bags is taking a beating.

Yesterday afternoon, as I was driving up Northern Blvd. (road up the ocean side of the island) in Newbury, I saw some men working on a new construction at the base of the primary dune, right up against the road. Some other dude driving by going south stopped and yelled something to them along the lines of it being an exercise in futility. They all had a good laugh.

Newbury has a hard time with lessons, I guess.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The beach at 1:40 p.m. (just after high tide)

The KEEP OFF THE DUNE sign is gone --- Newbury DPW told me they removed it around noon.

Just in case you forgot

This is what that sign looked like on Sept. 16, 2009.

The beach at 11:45 a.m. (nearly 2 hrs. before high tide)

Oh! (warning: shameless self promotion)

City Councillor Ari Herzog, via his Facebook page Google Fiber for Newburyport, linked to this post from the blog Connected Planet. It lists Newburyport as one of the communities going after Google fiber optic.

Of course, I clicked on the link for Newburyport and it was to my story from the Current!

Beach update: March 3

I just went over to the beach. It's low tide but holy moly! I didn't have my camera w/me because it was raining - but holy moly!

The "groin" (big stone structure) is starting to look like a mountain, splitting the north side of the beach from the south side and the south side is looking pretty bad, erosion-wise.

I couldn't help but think back to about 4 yrs. ago, when I was out there on a raw spring day with the Newbury Beach Committee as members replaced and repaired snow fencing and talked about how much they needed donations to buy beach grass. There's a whole lot less dune now than there was then.

A pretty much ignored group (which I believe has disbanded). Who can tell if anything would be different if the efforts of this group had been supported by residents back then? I know that Doug Packer, Newbury's conservation agent, was pretty much right out there with them but they really got no support. When push came to shove, the PI Foundation was formed and as far as I know, no input was solicited from this dedicated group of residents.

By the way, as Ward 1 City Councillor Allison Heartquist has reported, there is a Newburyport beach group that was formed as part of the city's beach plan (the plan was required for public assistance with beach re-nourishment efforts that are on hold for now).

Monday, March 1, 2010

One more high tide and it's over

(below) Angie's when I set out, at high tide. By the time I headed back home, the water from the marsh had started to recede.

The good news, I guess, is that one more high tide at midnight and we're clear for now. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

PI today at high tide

I snapped some pics of the surf, but they didn't even begin to show what it was like. Way out, waves were crashing and it was just incredible.

Not a good plan: cutting the USCG budget

One of my erstwhile readers (not entirely sure what that means, but it sounds good) over this weekend sent me this link to an Op-Ed, from the New York Times.

DESPITE the pressing need to cut government spending, under President Obama’s spending proposal all the nation’s military services are set to see their budgets increase — all, that is, except the Coast Guard, the nation’s chronically overburdened maritime force, responsible for everything from global search and rescue to port security.

Just last night, also on WBZ news, I watched video of the Coast Guard rescuing some fishermen off a boat that had floundered off Dennis, on Cape Cod. I don't think I would feel safe being out on the hazardous waters around here if I did not know there was a Coast Guard station in Newburyport.

What the heck?

Further, the dredging of the channel at the mouth of the Merrimack River - the big Coast Guard boats are scraping bottom. When did the USCG become the bottom of the barrel?

I don't see where cutting anything from a budget of a branch of service that protects and serves makes much sense. When I was floundering around on the Refuge that time, my one consolation was that eventually (hopefully before I froze to death) the Coast Guard helicopter would fly over. I don't even know where that helicopter comes from, but by the gods, I see it all the time.

The United States Coast Guard deserves more than this. I hope someone reconsiders.

Still fuming after all these hours: Olympic hockey

I've been pondering and fuming over that allegedly dramatic hockey game in Vancouver yesterday afternoon, trying to find the answer to why it was vaguely not dramatic at all for me.

Then this morning I found this on Examiner.com and - yes, that's it! It was more of an All-Star game of NHL players than an actual face off between Canada and the United States.

In a round about way 5 skaters from U.S. NHL teams scored 5 goals assisted by 5 players from again, U.S. NHL teams and one Canadian assist. Sounds more like the U.S. playing against themselves, and one Canadian in the mix.

So later on after the game, on the WBZ news, Steve Burton said that while Patrice Bergeron, a Canadian who plays for the Boston Bruins, will return to the Bruins with a gold medal, some other Bruin dude (did not retain the name) will return with only a silver medal. Boo-hoo-hoo.

I'm more interested in the people who actually gave up their personal time and their lives to train for their sport and/or the Olympics - and are happy to win ANY medal - not people who do whatever for a living and who are actually playing against team mates ... and acting all sulky because they came in second.

Those U.S. dudes standing there mostly with their hands on their hips or in their pockets while Olympic officials were trying to shake their hands - well we all saw how Peyton Manning got his chops busted for not being a good sportsman after the Colts lost the Superbowl.

And it's not even like the U.S. team was ever ahead and Canada surged past them at the last moment! But I'm not a fan of hockey so maybe hockey has a different set of expectations attached to it.

Hockey is a "manly" sport. You don't see any women playing hockey, right? Oh, wait ... the Canadian women won gold, too. What is a "sport," anyway? Is snow boarding a sport, or simply a recreational activity gone berserk?

By the way, I don't disagree with letting the native Canadians play for Canada. I was disgusted every time I heard during the Olympics, "[So-and-So] is from [This Country], but [skates/skis/sleds] for [This Other Country]" ... humpf, I say, humpf.