News Briefs 7/31/2008
Dark OCS Waters
Water at the Onteora district Middle/High School does not
meet secondary Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and State
Health Department standards based on its taste, color, odor
and the presence of corrosives.
A consultant hired by the school board has proposed a solution
to clear up the aesthetic problems, but new trustee Laurie
Osmond believes the problem is not just with the color and
taste of the water, but test results showing elevated iron
and manganese levels in the water. She is proposing that the
board consider a process called Greensand Filtration that
removes high levels of minerals.
“I think we need to look at solutions and not just the
band aids,” said Osmond.
In May the school board hired Clark Patterson Lee to test
the water and make a recommendation based on New York State
Health Department standards. According to state standards,
water should have a maximum of .3 milligrams per liter (.3
mg/L) of manganese and .3 mg/L of iron. The manganese level
at the school tested at .840 mg/L, considerably above the
state standard; iron tested at .057, well below the state
But the state health department and the EPA do not recognize
health concerns for manganese and iron. A January 2004 report
on manganese by the Drinking Water Health Advisory board,
appointed by the EPA, says that both iron and manganese are
found in nearly all drinking water and reasonable quantities
are considered beneficial to a person’s health. The
report also stated that the primary source of manganese and
iron is food, with adults consuming between .7 to 10 mg a
day in a typical diet with vegetarians consuming slightly
higher levels of both. Small amounts are found in daily vitamins.
Lee recommended a sequestrant polyphosphate system as the
least expensive route to take in fixing the problem. At the
July 1 school board meeting Superintendent Leslie Ford explained
that, according to the proposal, polyphosphate would be added
to the chlorinated system. “It keeps the iron and manganese
in suspension instead of having it gather in the system and
it doesn’t allow it to oxidize.”
Osmond counters with the argument that the iron and manganese
will still be present in the water.
“New Hampshire has set their own health-based limits
and standards based on findings that high levels of iron and
manganese can cause neurological damage,” said Osmond.
Greensand, the system Osmond wants the board to explore, is
not a sequestrant system but a natural filtration process
that removes minerals.
Since the process recommended by the consultants is polyphosphates,
Osmond said, “Basically you are adding another chemical.”
The Ulster County Department of Health will need to approve
whatever system is chosen.
Ford said if the school board members want to look at other
methods of fixing the problem, they can address the engineers
on “…alternative solutions. But that’s not
their suggestion at this time because they believe the solution
can be addressed…” She pointed out that choosing
another strategy would result in higher design and construction
costs and “it may impact the school’s plans.”
In a separate phone conversation, Ford said that the new school
board would need to create a resolution based on standards
different from what the health department recommends, so the
engineers can make recommendations based on that particular
standard. If the school board agrees that the high manganese
levels are harmful to the health of the school community,
a polyphosphate system would be eliminated as a solution.
The board’s next workshop meeting is Tuesday, August
5, at the Junior/Senior High School in Boiceville.
A new grant program that will strengthen community gardens
was announced recently with the first grant being presented
to the Community Garden at SUNY New Paltz. The Community Gardens
Capacity Building Grants Program will improve access to fresh
local produce, help New Yorkers reduce their food budgets,
preserve open space, and provide a cleaner, healthier environment
by supporting community gardens throughout New York State.
The community garden grants will provide up to $5,000 to existing
community gardens and local garden coalitions that serve low-income
people in urban areas. The funding is to be used to strengthen
local community garden organizations. The announcement was
made at SUNY New Paltz at the first ever gathering of 100
community gardeners and farmers from across the state at the
Seeding Our Cities: The Future of New York’s Community
Gardens and Urban Farms summit. A community garden is a public
piece of land worked by an organized group of people, and
owned either by a local government or nonprofit organizations.
They provide green space in urban areas and encourage food
production by providing gardeners a place to grow vegetables,
fruit and flowers. Community gardens also provide a sense
of community, neighborhood beautification and a unique connection
to the environment. There are an estimated 10,000 community
gardens within U.S. cities, with more than 1,000 in New York
Wittenberg Road between Mt. Tremper and Woodstock, also known
as County Route 40, closed this past week for two months of
repairs and some serious detours. Posted dates for a detour
for eastward traveling vehicles onto Winne Road, and for westward-travelers
at Coldbrook Road near the Wittenberg Store, are currently
to be in effect until September 30. According to the county,
the problem is a stretch of roadway that’s been sinking
into an adjacent creek and the need for extensive guardrail
Faced, like the state and federal government, with significant
revenue stream disruptions because of the economic downturn,
Ulster County is looking to new cuts, in seven departments
of up to $885,038, from the county’s total $325 million
County administrator Michael Hein, currently running for the
new County Executive position up for grabs in November, told
a subcommittee of the Ulster County Legislature’s Ways
and Means Committee last week that what he had found necessary,
and was proposing, were “intelligent reductions”
and said they are “the strongest actions possible to
protect the taxpayers of Ulster County.” He added that
he had asked county departments earlier this month to find
ways to cut their spending.
The county’s Department of Information Services offered
up the most significant savings proposal, suggesting cuts
totaling $476,587. Among the proposed cuts in that department
is $235,000 budgeted for an ortho-imagery project, a state
initiative that has bee delayed until 2009.
Hein said the cuts were “sustainable” reductions
that would carry over into future years. However, like the
proposed delay of the ortho-imagery project, many of the proposed
savings measures seemed to only delay the implementation of
new programs - or, as in the case of the Ulster County Health
Department, the filling of positions.
The Health Department has proposed achieving a $98,805 savings
by keeping three positions vacant until Jan. 1, 2009.
Other reductions recommended by departments included reductions
in periodical subscriptions, advertising, supplies, conferences,
duplicating and maintenance.
Like other counties in the state, Ulster is grappling with
a midyear budget crisis resulting from higher-than-expected
fuel costs and a 2 percent reduction in state aid to counties,
announced in April… roughly four months after the county
adopted its 2008 operating budget. According to the state
Association of Counties, the reduction will result in $50
million in lost state aid to counties across New York, affecting
roughly 100 different programs, including 39 that are mandated
by the state.
Hein said savings from the proposed cuts would cover the expected
$268,899 reduction in state cover and the anticipated $290,164
budgetary shortfall in the county’s fuel lines. He said
he would recommend the county put the remaining $325,975 in
the county’s contingency budget to serve as a buffer
against any additional spending increases or revenue shortfalls.
The added contingency also will help the county prepare for
increased demand for county assistance to deal with possible
home heating issues.
Members of the Ways and Means subcommittee will review the
proposed spending cuts and recommend a course of action to
the full committee, which will present its recommendations
to the full Legislature in August.
The case of alleged illegal dumping against Phoenicia businessman
Harry Jameson was postponed this week. Jameson was scheduled
to appear in Shandaken Justice Court on Tuesday, July 29th.
At that time it was decided to delay the matter until August
12th. Jameson said it was so he and David Gutierrez, also
charged, could appear at the same time.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation issued
tickets to both men in what DEC alleges was the unlawful disposal
of remains of the Phoenicia Hotel, which burned one year ago
on Main Street in Phoenicia and was knocked down a month ago.
A mound of debris still sits on the vacated lot in the center
The charges, all misdemeanors and violations, are leveled
at Harry Jameson, the owner of Romer Mountain Park in Woodland
Valley and David Gutierrez, owner of Woodstock Landscaping.
Gutierrez is the contractor that demolished the remains of
the Phoenicia Hotel and allowed materials to allegedly be
trucked off site to Jameson’s property.
DEC Police investigated and charged Jameson with operating
a solid waste management facility without a permit. Gutierrez
was charged with unattended open burning, open burning without
a permit and open burning for commercial purposes. He was
also charged with two counts of unlawfully disposing of solid
Eight environmental groups have written a letter to Governor
David Paterson asking for a moratorium on natural gas drilling
until an environmental review has been completed. The groups
– Catskill Mountainkeeper, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter,
Riverkeeper, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Natural Resources
Defense Council, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development,
The Wilderness Society, and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy
– wrote the letter after the Governor’s office
announced it had directed the DEC to prepare an updated generic
environmental impact statement.
Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountain-keeper’s program director,
said it would be appropriate for the governor to put a hold
on any drilling.
“All of us feel it’s a positive step forward for
the governor’s office to be opening up the regulations
to public comment, but what really needs to have a moratorium
until all the comprehensives issues get looked at in their
entirety,” he said.
The letter said there must be an evaluation of all the potential
impacts to New York State farmland, the New York City Watershed,
Catskill Park, the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational
River and other ecologically sensitive areas before the new
technologies are employed.
Paterson’s fast-tracked legislation extends the state’s
uniform well spacing system to include additional wells and
drilling activity, including horizontal drilling.
There is much interest of late by natural gas exploration
companies to drill on people’s property in parts of
the western and northern Catskills, part of a larger area
stretching through Pennsylvania and Western New York into
Ohio and West Virginia, that overlays the eastern limits of
what is known as the Marcellus Shale formation, rich in natural
gas deposits that were considered too expensive to tap…
Noted geologist Robert Titus has said that he didn’t
believe the affected areas to reach far under the central
Catskills… but others have noted that might not stop
developers from trying to reach deep gas deposits from areas
other than those directly overlying them.
The governor has directed the DEC to prepare an updated generic
environmental impact statement to ensure that all environmental
impacts from drilling are addressed.
Both Congressman Maurice Hinchey of Hurley and US Senator
Hillary Clinton have joined Senator Chuck Schumer to call
on the New York City Department of Environmental Protection
to move forward on a proposal for the Delaware County Electric
Cooperative to develop hydro power facilities at four New
York City reservoirs in the Catskills. Both lawmakers have
written to DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd urging her to move
the project forward.
The proposal would use the hydro-electricity production capacity
at the Schoharie, Cannonsville, Pepacton and Neversink reservoirs
to create new renewable electricity generation, which would
serve the needs of more than 20,000 households at peak load.
“This new generation capacity will help New York State
meet its growing energy needs in an environmentally sustainable
manner while also assisting the state in reaching its ambitious
goals for renewable electricity generation,” said Hinchey.
“With gas prices and energy costs skyrocketing it is
vitally important that we take initiative to develop real
alternative energy solutions to fit our growing demands –
and the Delaware County Energy Cooperative has done exactly
that to help meet the area’s long term needs,”
said Clinton. “This innovative project has the potential
to supply clean energy to tens of thousands of homes in the
region, and is reflective of the sort of forward thinking
we should be encouraging.”
As the cost of transportation, food, utilities and basic necessities
continues to soar, Catholic Charities is adding centers of
service in Ulster County at St Mary-St. Andrew parish in Ellenville
and St. Mary of the Snow parish in Saugerties, to meet the
need for services in these areas and augment its growing services
throughout the region.
“Due to the lack of public transportation, and the great
distances involved in traveling in the Hudson Valley, the
area has been particularly hard hit by the rising cost of
gas,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director
of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New York. “The
addition of services in the area will help support those experiencing
economic and emotional hardship.”
“Ellenville has been in a terrible economic situation
for some time,” said Fr. John Lynch, pastor at St. Mary/St
Andrew located on Ellenville’s South Main Street. “People
are getting desperate. We are experiencing a brain drain and
talent drain, following the closing of our local factory in
the past year. People are leaving to put bread on the table
and some have even gone to Mexico to get employment.”
Fr. Christopher Berean, Pastor of St. Mary of the Snow in
Saugerties, and formerly of Phoenicia, echoes the concern
of Fr. Lynch. “People are struggling terribly,”
he said, “to keep a roof over their head.” He
noted that the local bank is offering loans to enable people
to lock in a fixed price for their oil and energy supplies.
“It is a crying shame that people have to take out loans
to stay warm in winter, and I never thought I’d see
the day that it takes $100 to go to the gas pump,” he
“Coping with increased costs, families in all the counties
are coming to Catholic Charities with energy bills that are
double what they’ve been in the past,” said Mary
Ellen Ros, Catholic Charities Director for the Hudson Valley,
who is also seeing the same extreme need. “They simply
can’t afford to pay these bills and keep food on the
Many of the individuals and families are eligible for the
Low Income Heat and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). However,
the program does not cover the full cost of the bills and
is considered under-funded by housing advocates.
“Catholic Charities is known for providing accurate
and timely information, referral and advocacy - always treating
individuals with dignity, as we would like to be treated if
our family was in need,” Ms. Ross added.
In addition, crisis experts help individuals and families
plan long term solutions to their immediate problems through
counseling and financial assistance. Catholic Charities utilizes
both public and private funds to help families in need to
provide food, pay rent to prevent an eviction, pay a utility
bill to prevent a shut-off, and cope with other crisis situations.
Neighboring town officials in Dutchess County are readying
to weigh in on a proposed large-scale housing and golfing
development that could bring hundreds of new residents to
the region, adding to its review deadlines beyond the old
Carvel lands’ Pine Plains base. Supervisor Richard Barrett
of Milan, who spoke with developer Alexander Durst of The
Durst Organization, said a meeting tentatively is planned
for Aug. 18 between developers of the Carvel property and
members of his town’s Town Board, Planning Board and
Zoning Board of Appeals.
“It’s time for us to hear from them,” Barrett
The meeting would involve an overview of the latest proposal
to develop more than 2,200 acres in the towns of Pine Plains
and Milan. The Pine Plains Planning Board was scheduled to
meet with Carvel representatives this week to discuss the
While the majority of the acreage is in Pine Plains, more
than 400 acres of the Carvel property is in the town of Milan.
Carvel representatives gave a brief overview of the development
during a Milan public hearing on the project’s draft
environmental impact statement in March, but turnout was sparse.
An in-depth presentation on what the development would mean
for Milan has yet to be given.
The concept for the development initially was presented to
the Pine Plains Planning Board in 2003 and has undergone a
series of revisions after much scrutiny by project planners,
town officials and local residents. The developers have recently
hired an ecologist to help design a project plan that works
for developers while addressing the environmental, social
and cultural concerns of the surrounding communities.
Meanwhile, Barrett said he and other Milan officials also
are working to resolve a long-standing disagreement with 1133
Taconic, the owner of the Carvel property, which claims the
property has been grossly overassessed by the town.
The Ulster County Youth Bureau is seeking Requests for Proposals
for New York State Office of Children and Family Services
Youth Development and Delinquency Prevention (YDDP) and Special
Delinquency Prevention Program (SDPP) funding to support Ulster
County youth programs for the 2009 calendar year. The 50%
reimbursable Youth Development and Delinquency Prevention
grants require a dollar-for-dollar match from the agency/municipality
applying for the program funds. Programs must reach the general
youth population with quality recreation, social, and/or skill
building programs. Eligible agencies must be not-for-profit
or community-based organizations with federal identification
or charities registration numbers. The 100% reimbursable Special
Delinquency Prevention Program grants are available to programs
that demonstrate service and impact on one of the identified
Office of Children and Family Services youth-at-risk target
populations. These populations include youth that are being
considered for placement outside of the home, discharged from
institutional care, currently in residential care, on PINS
or JD charge, on probation, homeless or runaway, truants or
school drop-outs, pregnant, prostitutes, victims of abuse
or neglect, family member involved with juvenile justice,
mental health or social service systems. Eligible agencies
must be not-for-profit or community-based organizations with
federal identification or charities registration numbers.
New program proposals submitted by the due date will be granted
15 minutes to present their proposal verbally to the Ulster
County Youth Board the evening of Thursday, August 7, 2008.
Applications for funding may be obtained by calling the Ulster
County Youth Bureau at (845) 334-5264. Completed applications
will be due at the Youth Bureau, 407 Development Court, Kingston,
New York 12401 no later than noon Tuesday, August 5, 2008.
Three Ulster County residents have reached million-dollar
settlements in personal injury lawsuits this month, according
to the law office of Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor,
who represented the three in separate cases. The state Supreme
Court lawsuits included two workers who fell at job sites
and an 88-year-old pedestrian who was struck by a teenage
driver, and one was from Shandaken.
According to the law firm, Andrew Joslin, 45, of Shandaken,
was injured March 13, 2006, falling from defective scaffolding
while employed in the construction of Elting Gym at SUNY New
Paltz. His case against the state of New York and Losco Group,
the general contractor hired to build the gym, was settled
Friday for $1.4 million. O’Connor said the bulk of the
settlement will be paid by Losco group. Joslin sustained serious
injuries to his right leg, which prevented him from returning
to work as a steelworker, according to attorney Alfred Mainetti.
For the second consecutive year, Omega Institute in Rhinebeck
will host a conference at August 15-17 for families and professionals
managing autism spectrum disorders, to explore the latest
research and development in treating and living with autism
with former Olive resident and Onteora’s ASPIE program
founder Valerie Paradiz. The number of children diagnosed
with autism every year is increasing at an alarming rate;
the disorder now affects one in every 150 children according
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Omega Institute’s
gathering will feature some of the nation’s most innovative
voices in the autism community.
This year the conference offers two tracks for participants
to choose from: a professional training and a family track.
The professional training is designed for those who work in
the medical, nutrition, therapeutic, and mental health fields.
The professional track will focus on the latest information
on diagnosis, alternative approaches to treatment and therapy,
and insights into working productively with families. CE credits
are available. The family track covers - finding support for
your loved one with autism, taking care of yourself and your
family while caring for an individual with autism spectrum
disorders, and navigating the autism advocacy landscape. Families
will also gain insight into leading medical options, and nutrition
for optimal health.
To register please call 800.944.1001 or visit eomega.org.
In recent weeks the Bush administration, in the person of
Robert W. Patterson of the Children, Family and Youth Services
Bureau, issued a letter waiving the annual application process
and review for the Title V Abstinence-Only State Grant Program,
seeking to keep the program forcefully alive for another five
years despite upcoming elections.
While Patterson’s letter reminds applicants that Congress
must still authorize the money, his suggestion that they can
apply for five year grants implies, “that this program
has an unquestioned permanence that it does not, and has not
for several years, amidst all the short term extensions,”
said Bill Smith, vice president of the Sexuality Information
and Education Council of the US (SIECUS).
Smith called the letter, “an attempt to mislead the
Marcella Howell, Vice President of Advocates for Youth agreed,
saying, “This is smoke and mirrors on the part of HHS
when they know the money has not been authorized.”
Congress has extended the very controversial abstinence-only
program in the face of mounting evidence of its failure to
produce any measurable results. Even as Democrats took control
of Congress in 2006, they have chosen to allow the programs
to continue rather than confront far-right proponents of abstinence-only
with the programs numerous failures as documented by public
At least twenty-three states have rejected abstinence-only-until-marriage
programs so far, and the number is growing. Some states refuse
because they don’t like the ideological inflexibility,
the strings that the federal government puts on states who
receive the money. Other states have complained that the uncertainty
of the program, because of its highly politicized background,
made the annual money less reliable.
If the Bush Administration is successful in its end run on
behalf of abstinence-only programs, critics are saying, it
could tie the hands of the next administration, at least politically.
Cash-strapped states facing tight fiscal times that still
accept the money for failed abstinence-only programs, will
try to enforce the five-year grants that the Patterson letter
offers, reluctant to give up federal money in hard times,
no matter how ineffective the programs.
“I look forward to continuing our partnerships with
states and territories in the important task of helping American
young people experience the health, psychological, emotional,
and social benefits of keeping sexual activity, pregnancy,
and childbearing in marriage,” the HHS Secretary has
A congressional investigation has produced new details on
the degree to which senior Bush administration officials favored
using the Clean Air Act to limit greenhouse gas emissions
- until pressure from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office,
ExxonMobil and others in the oil industry led the Bush administration
to change course.
Among the findings of the congressional investigation: There
was wide senior-level support at the EPA for concluding that
greenhouse gases are a danger to the public and that the EPA
should regulate emissions - from vehicles, power plants, refineries
and other sources. That would have been a dramatic shift in
federal policy, and it would have given the EPA a powerful
hand in trying to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other
gases widely blamed for causing global warming. But according
to the House committee report, representatives of ExxonMobil,
the American Petroleum Institute and the National Petrochemicals
and Refiners Assn. argued that the move would undercut President
Bush’s reputation as an opponent of government regulation.
And, it said, F. Chase Hutto III, Cheney’s energy advisor,
supported their opposition.
The committee had been investigating the work of EPA Administrator
Stephen Johnson for several months, including his role in
stopping California from regulating vehicle greenhouse-gas
emissions. Eventually, the investigation led to Cheney’s
“I don’t accept their premise,” Cheney spokeswoman
Megan Mitchell said. As for the report that the oil industry
had the support of Cheney’s office in fighting new regulatory
action, she added: “Frankly, that’s ridiculous.”
The Catskill Watershed Corporation Board of Directors approved
two stormwater grants to the Town of Shandaken on June 22
as well as a grant to the Village of Walton to repair a streambank
retaining wall. The board also heard from Executive Director
Alan Rosa that a $26 million contract between CWC and New
York City has been executed to continue the residential septic
repair program through 2017, and to allow planning for two
new septic programs to go forward.
Rules for the new programs – to help Watershed small
businesses pay for repairs and replacements of failing septic
systems, and to provide systems for small clusters of homes
– are in development. The programs are expected to be
operational by the end of the year.
The existing septic remediation program for single –family
residences or home/business combinations has addressed 2,693
systems since 1997.
Extension of the current program, and addition of the two
new programs, were stipulated in the 2007 filtration waiver
issued to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection by
the US Environmental Protection Agency by which the City avoids
filtering its Catskill-Delaware water supply.
Grants approved for the Town of Shandaken on July 22 will
pay to plan and implement stormwater improvements. An award
of $35,530 will enable a Stormwater Infrastructure Planning
and Assessment Project. Another grant, for $24,436, will purchase
and install brine tanks for four dump trucks, and a fifth
brine storage tank. The use of brine on Shandaken roadways
during the winter will reduce the quantity of sand that is
needed, thus reducing sediment runoff and water quality degradation.
The Village of Walton will receive a $31,000 grant under the
Stream Corridor Protection Program to design and replace a
section of retaining wall along West Brook on Mead Street.
The United States of America is becoming less united by the
day. A 30-year gap now exists in the average life expectancy
between Mississippi, in the Deep South, and Connecticut, in
prosperous New England. Huge disparities have also opened
up in income, health and education depending on where people
live in the US, according to a report published in recent
The American Human Development Index has applied to the US
an aid agency approach to measuring well-being - more familiar
to observers of the Third World - with shocking results. The
US finds itself ranked 42nd in global life expectancy and
34th in survival of infants to age. Suicide and murder are
among the top 15 causes of death and although the US is home
to just 5 per cent of the global population it accounts for
24 per cent of the world’s prisoners.
Despite an almost cult-like devotion to the belief that unfettered
free enterprise is the best way to lift Americans out of poverty,
the report points to a rigged system that does little to lessen
“The report shows that although America is one of the
richest nations in the world, it is woefully behind when it
comes to providing opportunity and choices to all Americans
to build a better life,” the authors said.
Some of its more shocking findings reveal that in parts of
Texas, the percentage of adults who pass through high school
has not improved since the 1970s. Asian-American males have
the best quality of life and black Americans the lowest, with
a staggering 50-year life expectancy gap between the two groups.
Despite the fact that the US spends roughly $5.2 billion every
day on health care, more per capita than any other nation
in the world, Americans live shorter lives than citizens of
every western European and Nordic country, bar Denmark.
Using official government statistics, the study points out
that because American schools are funded primarily from local
property taxes, rich districts get the best state education.
The US has no federally mandated sick pay, paternity leave
or annual paid vacation.
Although the US is one of the most powerful and rich nations
in the world, the study concludes it is “woefully behind
when it comes to providing opportunity and choices to all
Americans to build a better life”.
The incidence of the deadly skin cancer Melanoma, brought
to the public’s interest this week via a skin graft
from presidential candidate John McCain, increased by 50 percent
between 1980 and 2004, a study finds. Use of tanning salons
is cited as one possible reason.
Melanoma rates have risen 50% among young women in the U.S.
since 1980, a trend that may be related to an increase in
the use of tanning salons and exposure to the sun’s
damaging rays. Among young men, melanoma rates have remained
steady, the study found.
The most lethal skin cancer, melanoma occurs in pigment-producing
cells. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be
62,480 new cases of melanoma and 8,420 deaths from it in the
U.S. this year. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the biggest
risk factor for developing the cancer, although genetic factors
can also contribute. People with fair skin are most at risk,
but melanoma occurs in people of all races and skin tones.
UV exposure comes from two main sources, said Dr. John Glaspy,
a professor of medicine at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer
Center at UCLA. “The first is worshiping the sun with
our leisure time, and the other is tanning salons - and that
gets us to the subset of people that were involved in this
study,” he said.
The report in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology analyzed
more than 20,000 cases of melanoma in people between the ages
of 15 and 39 that were reported to the Surveillance, Epidemiology
and End Results (SEER) program, a large database maintained
by the National Cancer Institute. Researchers found that the
incidence of melanoma in young women rose to 13.9 per 100,000
in 2004 from 9.4 per 100,000 in 1980. In young men, melanoma
rates leveled off between 1980 and 2004, settling at 7.7 per
100,000 in 2004.
Researchers said that improved detection of early-stage cancer
probably accounted for some of the increase in melanoma cases
among young women but could not explain all of it.
Also this week, it was noted that a milder type of mental
decline that often precedes Alzheimer’s disease is alarmingly
more common than has been believed, and in men more than women.
Nearly a million older Americans slide from normal memory
into mild impairment each year, researchers estimate, based
on a Mayo Clinic study of Minnesota residents. That’s
on top of the half million Americans who develop full-blown
Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia — a problem
sure to grow as baby boomers age. The oldest boomers turn
62 this year.
“We’re seeing that in fact there’s a much
larger burgeoning problem out there” of people at risk
of developing dementia, said Dr. Ronald Petersen, the Mayo
scientist who led the study.
Dr. Ralph Nixon, a New York University psychiatrist and scientific
adviser to the Alzheimer’s Association, was blunt.
“We’re facing a crisis,” he said.
There are no treatments now to prevent this mental slide or
reverse it once it starts.
Immigration cases continue to heavily dominate federal enforcement
efforts, making up well over half — 58% — of all
federal prosecutions in April, according to timely data obtained
and analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
(TRAC). By comparison, prosecutions falling under the general
category of drugs and narcotics made up only 16% of the total,
while matters classified as involving white collar violations
limped in at just under 5% for the same month. The very heavy
federal emphasis on immigration cases became especially notable
in February, March and April and is concentrated in selected
judicial districts along the border with Mexico. The surge
in this area is being advanced under a program called “Operation
The April figures documenting the Bush Administration’s
intense immigration enforcement effort — mostly involving
minor criminal charges being brought against undocumented
aliens — have emerged at a time when John McCain and
Barack Obama, the two leading presidential candidates, are
increasingly debating the immigration policies the United
States should pursue.
Meanwhile, it was reported in recent weeks that top aides
to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke the law
by letting politics influence the hiring of career prosecutors
and immigration judges at the Justice Department, according
to a federal internal audit report..
Gonzales was largely unaware of the hiring decisions by two
of his most trusted aides, according to the report by Justice’s
Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility.
But it singles out his former White House liaison, Monica
Goodling, for violating federal law and Justice Department
policy by discriminating against job applicants who weren’t
Republican or conservative loyalists. Additionally, a majority
of immigration judge candidates considered by former Gonzales
chief of staff Kyle Sampson were recommended by the White
House’s political affairs office - including one name
forwarded by then-top adviser Karl Rove. Sampson told investigators
that he did not consider those jobs to be protected from political
The 140-page report does not indicate whether Goodling or
Sampson could face any charges. None of those involved in
the discriminatory hiring still work at Justice, meaning they
will avoid any departmental penalties. However, Justice investigators
said that bar associations that license lawyers have asked
about the report’s findings on Goodling - indicating
she could be sanctioned there, potentially including losing
her ability to practice law.
Congressional investigators said they also were considering
asking the Justice Department to pursue perjury charges against
Goodling, Sampson and possibly Gonzales as a result of their
spoken or written congressional testimony during House and
Senate investigations last year. Lying to Congress is a crime.
Democrats said the report affirms their charges of White House
meddling in the hiring and firing of Justice Department employees.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey has asked New York City Department
of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd to take
immediate action to relieve the “enormous burden”
that leaks from the Delaware Aqueduct are causing for residents
The Delaware Aqueduct System, also known as the Rondout-West
Branch Tunnel, supplies more than half of the water supply
to the more than eight million residents of New York City.
Approximately 30 million gallons of water per day are leaking
from the aqueduct and being pressured upward through the ground
into people’s homes and drinking wells. The result has
been a contaminated water supply and the need for residents
to run pumps around the clock to rid their homes of water.
The DEP, meanwhile, responded to Hinchey by saying a Project
Advisory Committee has been formed to address the water problems
in Wawarsing with a special emphasis of any influence of the
leak in the Delaware Aqueduct.
Committee members include homeowners, representatives from
DEP, the Town of Wawarsing, Ulster County Health Department,
New York State Department of Transportation, and offices of
Congressman Hinchey and New York State Senator John Bonacic,
the agency said. Two meetings have been held in the last four
weeks and another meeting is scheduled for the end of July.
“Ongoing water sampling of individual properties has
occurred over the last two months as part of a comprehensive
investigation into the impact of the leak. Discussions and
inventories of stormwater infrastructure have been initiated,
as well as a special tunnel shutdown in early June to aid
one of the tests,” according to a statement.
“DEP is encouraged by the participation of the homeowners
and the agencies in the PAC. As a result of these meetings,
a cooperative effort between DEP, NYSDOT and the town is emerging
to improve stormwater drainage in the area. DEP is also currently
considering a variety of strategies to further investigate
the leak and to mitigate the water related impacts in the