Film looking for horse farm location

Th Hudson Valley Film Commission says a feature film looking to shoot this summer in the Hudson Valley region seeks a horse farm, “with a masculine/rustic looking home, a barn, stables/paddocks and smaller caretaker’s home. The house itself should have a rustic feel. It would also help if there was some type of water on the property, such a pond, brook or stream. Inside the house, there should be a very country feel–although they are willing to production design, the director wants a cinema verite look to the film. Ideally, a lot of wood trim, a darker color palette and a less modern look with more of a country feel to it.” Watershed Post says the films seems to be “Second Child,” by Chilean director Sebastian Silva, who won a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2009 for “The Maid.” From an interview with Silva on Ion Cinema: “The title is ‘Second Child’ and it’s a fiction movie about an eight year-old boy who is gay and falls in love with his uncle during a family vacation. His family wants him to like his little cousin but he is more interested in his uncle.” Please email photo suggestions of locations with contact info to filmcommission@me.com

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GE says dredging causes more pollution

From Andrea Bernstein at WNYC:

The General Electric Corporation is arguing that its clean-up of PCBs from the upper Hudson River is making the pollution worse. GE is telling a panel of scientists meeting today [through Thursday at Queensbury Hotel, Adirondack Room, 88 Ridge Street, Glens Falls] that phase one of the dredging stirred up the toxic chemicals into the river. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that GE is exaggerating the problem. The panel will make recommendations on how to proceed with the clean up. GE has long argued against the clean up, but in 2001 the Bush administration ordered the company to remove tons of PCBs it released into the Hudson before the chemicals were banned in the 1970s. The Hudson River is the nation’s largest Superfund site.

The Times-Union said of the first day’s meeting:

GE believes so many PCBs were stirred up and moved downriver that future dredging ought to be scaled back and PCBs left behind in the river should be covered over. EPA counters that GE is using one-sided data of questionable reliability, that PCB levels released by dredging were never dangerous and future dredging can be improved to reduce the amount of PCBs escaping into the river.

Tomato blight again?

Blight on tomato leaf.

Meg McGrath, a plant pathologist at Cornell University Agriculture Department, shares these tips for anyone who would like to grow tomatoes in the wake of last year’s blight (h/t Rural Intelligence):

The good news for gardeners is that they are starting with a relatively clean slate this year. Phytophthora infestans, the fungus-like pathogen that causes late blight in tomatoes, potatoes and other tomato-family plants (Solanaceae), currently requires living plant tissue to survive overwinter in the Northeast. That’s why the disease is relatively rare in the region. The bad news is, potato tubers are living plant tissue. So any late-blight-infested potato tubers that survived in your soil, compost pile or root cellar could harbor the pathogen and give it an early start again this season. “Destroy leftover potatoes and any volunteer potato plants as soon as they sprout,” McGrath urges. “Do not wait until you see symptoms. By then, new spores likely will have already developed and spread to other gardens or farmers’ fields.”

Other tips
Keep plants dry. The late blight pathogen thrives in cool, wet weather. That’s because it requires moisture to infect plants, grows best when it’s cool, and clouds protect spores from lethal UV radiation when they are dispersed by wind. Even in absence of rain, the pathogen can infect plants if the relative humidity is 90 percent or more. If plants need watering, water the soil – not the foliage.

Be vigilant. Inspect plants at least once a week – more often if weather is cool and wet. Immediately remove and bag foliage you suspect might be infected.

Act quickly. If symptoms continue despite removing infected foliage, consider removing plants entirely – sooner rather than later.

Dispose of plants properly. To reduce disease spread, remove infected plants during the middle of a sunny day after leaves have dried, if possible….Seal plants in garbage bags and leave them in the sun for a few days to kill plants and the pathogen quickly before placing in the trash or burying underground or deep in a compost pile.

Read the entire story here.

DEP opens public lands

From Watershed Post:

This just in from the DEP: The agency that polices New York City’s upstate watershed will open 12,000 acres of city-owned watershed land to recreation. A total of 71,000 DEP-owned acres in the New York City watershed are now open to the public, according to a press release from the agency.

The 71,000 acres includes approximately 30,000 acres of property designated Public Access Areas which were opened in the last three years, where public hiking, fishing, hunting and trapping is allowed without DEP permits. The remaining acres require a DEP permit for access.

State Senate Agricultural Committee votes down farmworker bill

On Tuesday the State Senate’s Agriculture Committee voted down the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act. Among features of the bill, farmers would have had to pay over time to laborers who work more than 60 hours a week or 10 hours in a day and farm workers would gain the right to form a union if they work at the state’s largest farms. Some farmers protested that the mandates in the bill would be costly. Six of the committee’s nine senators — Darrel J. Aubertine, Michael H. Ranzenhofer, James L. Seward (who represents Greene County), David J. Valesky, George H. Winner Jr. and Catharine M. Young — voted against the bill. On Seward’s website he says, “Defeating the so-called, farm worker labor bill is a clear victory for our upstate farmers, farm workers and the agriculture industry,” said Senator Seward. “The bill, supported mainly by New York City politicians, would have forced farms to close, while driving up costs for the few survivors.” The bill would have granted collective bargaining rights to farm laborers; required employers of farm laborers to allow at least 24 consecutive hours of rest each week; provided for an 8 hour work day for farm laborers; required overtime rate at one and one-half times normal rate; made provisions of unemployment insurance law applicable to farm laborers; provided a sanitary code that would have applied to all farm and food processing labor camps intended to house migrant workers, regardless of the number of occupants; provided for eligibility of farm laborers for workers’ compensation benefits; required employers of farm laborers to provide such farm laborers with claim forms for workers’ compensation claims under certain conditions; required reporting of injuries to employers of farmworkers.

DEC issues de facto ban on gas drilling in NYC watershed

From Lissa Harris in Watershed Post:

This just in: The DEC has declared that their draft regulations on natural-gas drilling don’t apply to New York City’s watershed. (Or, for that matter, Syracuse’s Skaneateles Lake watershed, also among a handful of water systems in the nation allowed by the EPA to operate without filtration.) From the New York Times:

While not an outright ban, state officials said, leaving the watersheds out of the regulatory plan would make it virtually impossible for a natural gas company to seek to drill in the watershed because of the costs and bureaucratic hurdles involved.

Read the entire article in Watershed Post.

Film crew sought for area production


Per the Woodstock Film Festival (h/t The 12534), Ulster County-based actress Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air, The Departed) makes her directorial debut with a low-budget production called “Higher Ground” that films nearby and is looking to hire Hudson Valley crew members for May-June film production. Send e-mail with resume to highergroundmovie@me.com. They are looking for: 1st A.D; Art Department Personnel; Caterer; Gaffer; Key Grip; Production Designer; Sound Person, and crew and cast housing. If you have a rental available in Kerhonkson area during May-June, e-mail highergroundmovie@me.com. Farmiga will also star in the film, which is based on This Dark World, a memoir by Carolyn Briggs. The script is by Briggs and Tim Metcalfe, and production is slated to begin here this June, according to /Film.