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

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.

Shad on the rebound?

From The Watershed Post:

American shad, once plentiful in the Hudson and the smaller rivers they return to each year to spawn, have suffered tremendous declines in recent years–so much so that the NY DEC declared them off-limits in the Hudson this year. Nevertheless, the guides at Cross Current Fly Fishing think this is going to be a good year for shad on the Delaware:

Reports of 20+ fish days are common throughout the river up to the Delaware Water Gap. This past week the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission electrofished a stretch of river near Raubsville, PA and averaged 39 fish per hour, a very high number according to fisheries biologists. Read the entire story in The Watershed Post.

No JetBlue expansion plans at Stewart, for now

From Mid-Hudson News.com:

JetBlue Airways is for now planning on sticking with its two daily flights to Florida from Stewart Airport, just west of Newburgh. The airline flies one flight a day each to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. At some point it would like to consider expanding, but for now, officials say they are satisfied with the level of service they provide to the Hudson Valley. If and when they decide to expand, one city they would consider is Las Vegas. In fact, JetBlue Northeast Regional Manager Susan Gorski told MidHudsonNews.com in an exclusive interview that airport officials have pitched them to cover that destination city. “We would have to have enough traffic to sustain that; 150 people on a daily basis,” she said. “I know our folks do a lot of research before they go into a market because when we go into a market, we are committed to it and don’t want to go in and pull out of a market.” Read the entire article at Mid Hudson News.

Click on WGXC or WGXC Newsroom for more information. Send news, tips, etc. to news@wgxc.org.

New DEP rules for NYC watershed

From The Daily Freeman:

Updated regulations for the New York City reservoir system watershed took effect on Sunday. City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway said the new regulations amend existing regulations to align them with changes made in federal and state law over the past 10 years, and address issues that have been raised during the city’s administration and enforcement of the regulations since their adoption. The previous regulations were adopted in 1997 as part of the Filtration Avoidance Determination issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which allowed the city to continue operating its unfiltered drinking system from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds…. Fourteen sections of the Watershed Regulations have been updated to prevent contamination to and degradation of the city’s surface water supply. Highlights of the provisions, according to the news release, include:

• Enhanced standards for the control of stormwater runoff from certain construction sites. For example, in commercial areas with a large amount of impervious surfaces, the revised regulations will require additional stormwater treatment, such as construction of larger or secondary detention basins. The Department of Environmental Protection has also adopted the requirements of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for construction activities to ensure complementary enforcement of the latest regulatory standards for stormwater runoff.
• New provisions to allow for sewage treatment plants in certain areas of the Croton watershed. This will authorize city agency to grant variances for new or expanded surface discharging wastewater treatment plants in closer proximity to the Croton reservoir.
• Updated criteria defining the quality of drinking water reservoirs consistent with state and federal standards, specifically concerning stricter phosphorus limits for select basins.

The changes that took effect Sunday apply to all counties located within the Croton, Delaware and Catskill watersheds, according to the news release. The city agency said it started the process of revising the watershed regulations more than five years ago and that the revised regulations were published for public review and comment in the City Record in 2008. Public hearings on the proposed changes were held that same year. After reviewing comments, the agency made revisions and the updated regulations were submitted to the state Department of Health in 2009. The agency received approval in February for final publication in the City Record, which occurred on March 3, and the regulations became effective 30 days after final publication, according to the release.

New York State trout season opens April 1

(The brook trout, left, and the rainbow trout, right, from DEC.)

From DEC:

“Trout season opens April 1 in New York State, and anglers can again look forward to a great year of fishing, thanks to the natural diversity of angling opportunities within New York and management of the state’s fisheries by DEC. Due to the existing snowpack and high flow in many of the state’s rivers and streams, anglers are urged to use extreme caution along slippery stream banks and while wading in high water. The early season is a great time to try some of the smaller tributaries. Smaller streams will have more manageable flows, and are also more likely to hold larger populations of wild trout. Although many of the larger, more popular streams are more reliant on stocked fish, last year’s relatively cool, wet summer promises plenty of holdover fish from last year’s stocking. Remember, everyone 16-years-old and over needs a valid fishing license to fish on any of New York’s waters. While children do not require a fishing license, adults who assist a child in taking or attempting to take fish, are considered to be fishing themselves, and therefore need to have a valid fishing license. Anglers and New York fishing tackle retailers are reminded that effective May 7, 2004, the sale of small lead sinkers weighing a half-ounce or less is prohibited in New York State. Selling jig heads, weighted flies, artificial lures or weighted line is not included in this prohibition. Although the law does not prohibit the use of lead sinkers of this size, anglers are encouraged to use non-lead alternatives which are readily available in tackle stores. Ingestion of lead sinkers can result in the death of loons and waterfowl. The general creel limit for brook, brown and rainbow trout is five fish. The open season for trout in most New York State waters runs from April 1 through October 15, but there are exceptions in all DEC regions, so anglers should check the Fishing Regulations Guide before heading out. There are also new procedures for fishing New York City reservoirs. Updated information and permit applications can be obtained using the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) link below, or by calling NYC DEP at 800-575-LAND.”

Today’s local headlines

Greene Supports Cement
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/07/16/news/doc4a5e963a75857373047517.txt

CATSKILL — Greene County lawmakers on Wednesday roundly endorsed operations of local cement manufacturers to remind state and federal officials that the industry is important to the local economy. The support was given in a unanimous vote, with one absence, during a county Legislature meeting, where officials asked that funding for modernization be considered for Holcim U.S. and Lehigh Northeast Cement Co. in Catskill as well as LaFarge North America in Ravena in Albany County.

Ulster has first swine flu death
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/swineflu_UC_fatal-17Jul09.html

KINGSTON – Ulster County Thursday reported its first swine flu associated fatality. The individual was a man from Saugerties who had been hospitalized with underlying medical conditions in addition to the flu.

Hudson Valley Job Losses
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/unemp-17Jul09.html

The Hudson Valley lost another 18,300 jobs year over year in June, bringing to 746,400 the number of people who have become unemployed in the last 12 months, the state Labor Department reported Thursday. Putnam is feeling the least relative pain, with a 7 percent jobless rate last month. At the bottom, Sullivan and Greene, close to 9 percent.

DOT: Portions of Route 23 to close
http://www.thedailymail.net/articles/2009/07/16/windham_journal/news/doc4a5e4e126cd25036863359.txt

ASHLAND – The Department of Transportation will be close a section of Route 23 between the towns of Ashland and Prattsville starting July 20 to address long-recognized slope stabilization problems adjacent to the old Catholic church. Both lanes will be shut down to fix the road. This is the first of three jobs, totaling $2.2 million, on Route 23, though the other two will not shut down both lanes. A detour will be set up on Route 296 in Windham and then onto Hensonville and Hunter, where they can connect with Route 23A into Prattsville, more than 20 miles out of the way.

Utility ratepayers could get stuck for millions in unfunded stimulus program
http://www.midhudsonnews.com/News/2009/July09/17/util_rates-17Jul09.html

ALBANY – The federal stimulus package is going to providefunds for New York utilities – including Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation and Orange and Rockland Utilities – but the money would only pay for half of the cost of the $1 billion program. Smart grid utility projects proposed by the utility companies may qualify for stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. The term smart grid refers to the application of various digital technologies to, among other things, modernize and automate transmission and distribution assets to anticipate and respond to system disturbances, enable greater use of variable energy sources, including renewable energy, and provide the capability for customers to control their energy consumption effectively.

Greene Lawsuit Settled
http://www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/07/17/news/doc4a5fe6fec5bb0085621011.txt

CATSKILL — Greene County lawmakers have agreed to pay an engineering firm $35,000 to settle a lawsuit over disputed bills for services. At a Legislature meeting Wednesday, officials said the county had withheld $24,899 from Crawford and Associates Engineering for services on the county Mental Health building in Cairo and $30,368 from the firm for its alleged failure to include required electrical services in the design of the county Highway Department building in Athens. The firm had sought $95,000 in its lawsuit against the county.

Artist and musician Roger Mason moves studio into Chatham’s clock tower
http://www.registerstar.com/articles/2009/07/16/chatham_courier/news/doc4a5e0592ac5c1176339793.txt

CHATHAM – Musician Roger Mason, who has played with Bob Dylan, Itzhak Perlman, John Denver, members of The Band, the Carradine Brothers and Larry Campbell, who produced Levon Helm, is moving his studio into the third floor of the clocktower in Chatham.