Tinker Street Cinema gets new management

Changes are afoot at Woodstock's independent movie theater, according to the Woodstock Times. 

New managers Dede and Steve Leiber, who own a nonprofit movie theater in Rhinebeck called Upstate Films, began leasing the Tinker Street Cinema this month. Their first move? Doing something about the "toaster oven" electric heat: 

Dede Leiber said the heating was something Upstate would like to eventually change, although she pointed out that they were just leasing, so any major renovations such as heating might need more time to come about.

"We plan to spruce things up a little bit, maybe start turning the heat on a little earlier in the day," she said. "We think that we can give the place an overall warmer feel, a more friendly atmosphere.



The Greene scene

Seeing Greene blogger Dick May has the latest. Highlights: an upcoming county judge election is looking spicy, a local bank is raking it in, and the town of Catskill is gearing up for another big fiberglass cat festival this summer.

Among the catidates for adoption this time, as named and pictured by prospective makers, will be Ronald CatDonald, LepraCat (very Irish), lemony Sourpuss, Davey CrockCat, Cat-cher (masked and mitted) and Catman & Robin.


Meta-gossip in Albany

A rumor is flying around Capitol news types that the New York Times is working on a potentially devastating story about the Governor. The Times-Union has more:

Someday, a sociologist might be able to use an analysis of the rumors currently flying around the Capitol as their dissertation topic. Information from credible sources slowly becomes wilder as it spreads out. Sometimes, the chain of information is circular: A calls B, who calls C; then C calls A, who discovers that the story has changed markedly on its journey.


But what if people flush it down the toilet?

Capitol Tonight reports that a poll shows over 70 percent of New Yorkers in support of legalizing medical marijuana. (Click the link for a video report.)

Assemblyman Richard Gottefried, who introduced the bill, argues marijuana shouldn't be treated differently than any other drug used for pain management.

"New York and other states always have legalized the medical use of morphine and codeine and a host of drugs that are highly addictive and have a high potential for abuse. We understand that using drugs like that under a doctor's care is one thing, recreational use is another. It is just political correctness gone crazy that we don't apply that political correctness to medical marijuana," Gottefried said.


Ulster County blog kerfuffle

Ulster County political types really like the Internet. Comptroller Eliot Auerbach has a blog. So do legislator Mike Madsen and former Kingston mayoral candidate Rich Cahill. There's Jeremy Blaber, a Democratic campaigner with a lively blog on the Ulster County political scene.

And then there's Ulster Mojo.

Ulster Mojo is hilariously, outrageously, wickedly mean. It knows where the bodies are buried, and it enjoys exhuming them. It's got a slew of anonymous commenters eager to heap abuse on both Auerbach and county exec Mike Hein (a.k.a., "The Mighty Heiny").

Seems like a recent Mojo item razzing Auerbach's campaign finances was the final straw for Blaber. Yesterday, Blaber outed the anonymous Mojo as former Republican county legislator Joe Roberti.

Pork for farms

Congressman Maurice Hinchey just announced funding for a food business incubator project in the Hudson Valley. The goal: creating a strong Hudson Valley brand to market to NYC consumers.

Hinchey obtained $350,000 from Congress as part of the fiscal year 2010 appropriations process in order to help the non-profit, Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC), develop a "food corridor" along Route 209, running from Ellenville to Kingston.  HVADC, which serves farms in Ulster, Orange, Dutchess, and Columbia counties, will serve as an agriculture incubator service that offers business assistance programming for startups; centralized costly processing and marketing services and facilities; and financing services and client networking.


Gas drilling: A heavy load

Not all of the social costs (or, as the economists like to say, "negative externalities") of horizontal natural-gas drilling are related to the actual fracking process. For instance: wear and tear on rural roads from dramatic increases in heavy truck traffic. It hasn't gotten as much attention as water contamination, but it's a huge headache for towns in gas-drilling regions.

Sue Heavenrich, a thorough and careful chronicler blogging at The Marcellus Effect, has a recent post on gas-industry trucking contractors who've gotten caught breaking the rules of the road.

...What really galls most people is the idea that the gas companies will tear up the roads, extract the natural gas, and skip town leaving the taxpayers to cover the costs of repairing the roads. People are outraged at the idea that the public will be subsidizing the profits of wealthy multinational corporations - and a few lucky landowners who happen to strike it rich.


National livestock-tracking program dead? Maybe!

The NYT reports that the National Animal Identification System, a proposed program for tracking all US livestock with implanted microchips, has been scrapped. This is welcome news for a lot of small farmers:

...the system quickly drew the ire of many farmers and ranchers, particularly cattle producers. Some objected to the cost of identification equipment and the extra work in having to report their animals’ movements. Others said they believed the voluntary system would become mandatory, that it was intrusive and that the federal government would use it to pry into their lives and finances.

The Daily Yonder, an online rural news outlet, doesn't believe the NAIS is dead, just shifting focus.

The USDA plans to "convene a forum with animal health leaders" from the states and the Tribes to "initiate a dialogue" about ways to build a new NAIS. What does all this mean? Stay tuned.



Bat expert tells it straight

White-nose fungus has decimated bat populations in the Northeast over the last few years. Bucknell University bat ecologist DeeAnn Reeder isn't holding out much hope for most of our native bats:

I think within several years there will be practically no bats left in Pennsylvania. New York is empty. Massachusetts is empty. There are just handfuls. One of our sites that we study heavily, the Shindle Iron Mine, normally has over 1,000 bats. Now it has six.

Fracking wastewater: A tough problem

The AP has a really good story on horizontal natural-gas drilling that's been making the rounds of many newspapers, both in and out of the Marcellus Shale.

Explained: why "fracking" creates more waste than conventional techniques, why getting rid of the powerfully salty wastewater is a far tougher problem in New York than it is in Texas, and why some bright entrepreneur is probably going to make a killing on recycling the stuff.



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