Tuesday, August 28, 2007

News Digest for August 28, 2007

All the links in today’s news digest lead to current stories. Please note that some media organizations update their web sites regularly, which may result in broken links in the future.


Auriferous • \aw-RIF-uh-russ\ • adjective – containing gold

The auriferous traits of the goose were well known by the locals. Less well known was the bird’s unnerving habit of dropping her two-pound golden eggs while in flight over the pedestrian mall near the farmer’s market. “Try to explain that to your insurance agent,” she was known to honk as she flew to her next victim’s noggin.



Authorities identify victim of Oregon wind turbine accident as 34-year-old Goldendale, Wash., man (The Oregonian)

Investigators look for cause of Ore. turbine collapse (The Associated Press)

BPA to workers: Bring the stuff back – If you work at Bonneville Power Administration and happen to be in possession of a gently used bucket truck, high-voltage transmission tower or pair of pliers marked "property of BPA," the agency would like it back -- no questions asked. (The Oregonian)

Clatskanie PUD's Ollila decides to fight recall effort (The Daily News, Longview)

COWLITZ PUD REPORTS SOME SUCCESS SINCE REPLACING STOLEN COPPER WIRE WITH STEEL – Work that began in December to replace stolen copper ground wires from Cowlitz PUD utility poles is nearly 40 percent complete, according to utility spokesman Dave Andrew. The high price of copper was leading metal thieves to steal the copper wires, which protect the electrical equipment from power surges. The PUD has been replacing the stolen wires with steel wire has a low resale value and is more difficult to cut, said Andrew. The tactic is working, according to Andrew. "We have found some vandalism on the new ones, and it's obvious people aren't having much luck," Andrew said. "It's much harder to cut. Hopefully the word's on the street that it's not worth the time." The copper wire thievery was not concentrated in any one area. "It's all over," Andrew said. "We found ground wires missing in every corner of the county. Everywhere we see a residential area, we see more, but that's because we're closer together." Ground wires have been stolen from thousands of poles, and Andrew previously estimated it would cost about $300,000 to repair the damage. He did not have a summary of costs to date on Friday. (The Daily News, Longview)

New York – City Street Lights Carry Con-Ed Shock. Stray Voltage A 'Concern' (The New York Post)

Plants are fueling debate on energy – Nearly half of all Americans wouldn't be able to turn the lights on if the country were to immediately ban the use of coal-fired power plants. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, via Powermarketers.com)

(Meanwhile) With coal production, cleaner skies could mean more landfills – As the nation's coal-fired power plants work to create cleaner skies, they'll likely fill up landfills with millions more tons of potentially harmful ash. (The Associated Press, via the Charleston Daily Mail)

To clean coal, start-up GreatPoint makes gas – A group of environmentally oriented entrepreneurs has landed in an unlikely spot: the coal business. Their company, GreatPoint Energy, is commercializing a technology to convert coal to natural gas--turning one of the dirtiest fuels into one of the cleanest. (CNET News)

But, does it play in Peoria? Court upholds coal plant construction – Plant near St. Louis would employ 450 permanent workers (Peoria Journal Star)

Texas PUC bares weak teeth on TXU deal: In notes, regulators worry about how to protect public (The Dallas Morning News, via Utility Automation & Engineering)

Oops! Armed Guard Found Asleep at Nuke Plant – A federal inspector found an armed guard asleep at a gate inside the Indian Point nuclear power plants but officials said Monday there was no security breach. (Associated Press, via Huffington Post)

The Columbian’s look back at past editorials – Rewind: '57: Atomic race is on. Cheap nuclear power is the goal of a costly technological race between the U.S., Great Britain, and Soviet Russia.

United Kingdom – Time to pull the plug on dual-fuel power deals. Getting gas and electricity from the same supplier may no longer make financial sense (The Times Online)

Michigan – DTE under fire for late pay: Utility admits payments to some vendors are tardy because of switch to new computer system, crippling some businesses. (The Detroit News)

Texas – Oncor uses nanotechnology to fight copper wire theft. Oncor Electric Delivery will implement a new technology that is designed to both discourage would-be criminals from stealing copper from the company's substations and switchyards (Utility Automation & Engineering)


Jefferson County PUD to Benefit – $50,000 grant to aid Beckett Point project: Jefferson County has been awarded a $50,000 grant to help with the expenses of the Beckett Point septic project, which was delayed by the finding of Native American remains and artifacts. (Peninsula Daily News)

Montana – Restoring cutthroats to habitat requires first choking out nonnative brook trout (Billings Gazette)


Wind power group spent $384,000 lobbying – The American Wind Energy Association, which represents the wind power industry, spent nearly $384,000 to lobby the federal government in the first half of 2007, according to a disclosure form. (CNN Money)

Backer is out, but plans for Moses Lake ethanol plant continue – A Redmond company will continue to work on building a huge ethanol factory in Moses Lake, even though a key backer is no longer involved. (The Associated Press, via the Olympian)

What is the Cause of the Parts Shortages in the Wind Industry? (Renewable Access.com)

Missouri - Large-scale energy users try to conserve. As City Utilities announces record usage, its largest customers look for ways to save (Springfield Business Journal)

As an Energy-Saver, the Clothesline Makes a Comeback (WABC-TV, New York)

Body heat touted as power source – German scientists claimed to have a developed a procedure that harnesses body heat in order to generate power, which in the future may be used to power mobile devices – Ectotherms need not apply. (Techworld)


Climate Change: Get Over Objectivity, Newspapers – The industry still has a lot of power to influence people. How about if newspapers abandon their old way of doing things when it comes to the issue of global warming, and turn their influence to good? (Editor and Publisher magazine)


Rural broadband drought puts hurt on retailer – The lack of broadband access in rural areas isn't just hurting individuals and small businesses. Even large retail chains, which often have stores in rural shopping centers, find that they can't get online. (Computerworld, Tip from Baller/Herbst)

Speed up, with fiber – Cities across Minnesota consider building fiber optic networks as Internet connections around the globe zoom past those available in the U.S. (Pioneer Press, twincities.com Tip from Baller/Herbst)

P-I Columnist Bill Virgin – Internet is no longer the next big thing. The Internet is boring. It's obsolete; it has outlived its usefulness. The Internet is for old people. Hey, don't shoot the messenger with your rolled eyes and scoffing, dismissive remarks. Blame Mark Cuban.


MILL FIRE ON JOHNS PRAIRIE – A fire substantially damaged Shearer Brothers Chipping operation on John's Prairie Monday night. According to Tim McKern, Assistant Chief for Mason County Fire District Five, firefighters responded to 500 East Millwright Road about 11pm to find the company's two story high lumber facility fully involved. Fire crews from Mason County Fire Districts Two, Three, Four, Six and Shelton Fire battled the blaze through the night, stopping the fire at what McKern called the "hoppers". Crews remained on the scene Tuesday morning mopping up hot spots. No one was in the mill and no injuries were reported. Cause of the fire is under investigation. (KMAS Radio, Shelton)

Scrap Metal Thieves Make Off With Bend Bleachers – A thief made off with a set of Bend High School's stadium bleachers last week, but was caught hours later when he allegedly tried to resell them as scrap metal. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Coalition: Christmas trees are eco-friendly – Oregon’s two largest Christmas tree growers are joining forces to convince consumers that their product is the environmentally correct holiday choice. (Corvallis Gazette-Times)


Oregon men accused of using rodent glue to steal park money

Wedding couple, back from honeymoon, get bad news – Wedding crasher made off with their cash gifts

Really? The Claim: Swallowed Gum Takes a Long Time to Digest