The prize goes to the Kingston Times for this glorious specimen:
A testament to the mighty power of blog: Greene County chronicler Dick May appears to have scored a point for open government with a post he wrote a couple of weeks ago.
Last month, May wrote in his Seeing Greene blog that Catskill village police were refusing public access to police reports. He quoted Catskill police chief Dave Darling:
“I have no way of giving you free access to our ‘blotter’. Our incident and action reports are now done on-line; no more ring binders full of paper. Internet access to the on-line reports is restricted to authorized personnel. And I’m not going to let just anybody come into a secured area at police headquarters, and sit down for an hour or more in front of one of our computer screens reading a day’s or a week’s reports.”
For their meat or milk to be labeled organic, the USDA ruled today, cows must have access to pasture for at least 120 days out of the year. That goes for sheep and goats, too.
The final rule provides certainty to consumers that organic livestock production is a pasture based system in which animals are actively grazing pasture during the grazing season. The majority of organic dairy and ruminant livestock producers are already grazing animals and maintaining pastures that meet the requirements of this rule. These standards contain clear requirements that will provide greater assurance that all producers are being held to the same standards.
The rules on "finishing" are still being finalized.
Times Herald-Record has the story: Mayor Gordon Jenkins and Rochelle Massey were arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with selling counterfeit goods, weapons possession and marijuana possession. Allegedly.
"How you doing?" Jenkins said to a reporter as he was taken to his arraignment.
He yelled to a photographer in the parking lot that he was doing well and implied the arrest was political. "You know there is an election coming up," he said.
When he isn't running for public office, Justin Holmes, who became locally famous (or notorious) for battling his alma mater SUNY New Paltz a couple of years ago, is saving the world from behind the counter of a new New Paltz coffeeshop. Called /root (pronounced “slashroot”), the venture opened in January at 60 Main as equal parts coffeeshop, community space and computer tech support pit crew. Along with co-founder Amanda Catherine Stauble, Holmes hopes that by teaching the community how to use open-source software, he will do his bit to “slash the roots of proprietary software and plant the seeds of freedom.” Or at least give you a hand with building your website.
WP: Mind if I type this interview on my laptop?
JH: Sure. You're running Windows on that?
WP: Well, er, yes. I installed Ubuntu, but I couldn't get it to work with my wireless card.
JH: I can help you with that.
The literati descend on Woodstock this weekend for four days of workshopping, schmoozing, wining and dining. The guest list this year includes Shalom Auslander, Susan Orlean and Ruth Reichl. (If you want to get Reichl to dish about the tragic demise of Gourmet over a glass of Malbec, now's your chance.)
Orlean kicks it off tonight with a meet-and-greet at the Kleinert Arts Center. The full schedule, and tickets for individual events, can be found here.
Since last summer, an outbreak of mumps has been spreading in New York and New Jersey, mostly among Orthodox Jews. The AP has the story:
The 7-month-old outbreak began last summer at a boys camp in the Catskills. The campers were from Orthodox Jewish families, and cases multiplied when they returned to their close-knit communities in and around New York City.
The story is based on a CDC report that says the communities in which the virus is spreading vaccinate at about the same rate as the general population. Cultural factors may be aiding the spread of the mumps:
L Magazine reviews the documentary about a family's hard luck in the Mohawk Valley.
The documentary's co-director, never identified or referred to by the people onscreen, who took the photographs and wrote the essays that eventually led to its making, clearly "escaped" and "made something of himself." This fact, along with the persevering wit of the clan's younger members, smuggles glints of light and hope into the sometimes oppressively dreary portrait of lower middle class American malaise.
The Census Bureau recently announced that they would start identifying census blocks that contain prisons. It's a move hailed by advocacy group Prisoners of the Census, which calls it a first step toward ending "prison gerrymandering."
Where prisoners get counted is a particularly pressing issue in New York State, where most of the prison population hails from the greater NYC metropolitan area, and most of the prisons are in rural upstate regions. The Census counts prisoners in the regions where they're incarcerated--numbers that are used for drawing political districts, despite the fact that prisoners can't vote. The Census numbers are also used for determining the allocation of federal and state aid.
A bill in the New York State legislature is seeking to reform prisoner counting ahead of the 2010 Census:
The DEC is looking for a full-time fearless warrior in their New Paltz office to help combat the spread of exotic invasive giant hogweed. It's mostly a desk jockey job. But if you're spoiling for battle, you'll get your chance.
Occasional fieldwork will be necessary to do manual control of giant hogweed at eastern New York sites.
Beware the giant hogweed: It burrrrrrns.