Monday, September 10, 2007

News Digest for September 10, 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.


Convivial • \kun-VIV-ee-ul\ • adjective – Relating to, occupied with, or fond of feasting, drinking, and good company (From Merriam-Webster)

The convivial atmosphere of Dante’s 70’s disco party suffered a jolt like a cold shower when one of the guests added their own 70’s retro twist: a newly minted, digitally enhanced version of “The Candy Man”. Every person who left the party cursed the night that they walked out of the nightclub humming the song.

Believe it or not, “The Candy Man” was a number 1 hit on the Billboard charts in 1972; the same year that produced Rock & Roll (Led Zeppelin at #47), Layla (Derek & the Dominos, at #10).



TXU Shareholders Approve $32B Sale – The biggest power generator in Texas could soon belong to private owners, after shareholders of TXU Corp. voted Friday to sell the company for $32 billion in one of the largest leveraged buyouts ever. (Washington Post)

Port Angeles still feeling rate effects from 2000-2001 energy shortage – A city increase in electrical charges is fueled by a need to continue rebuilding reserves depleted by the 2000-2001 West Coast energy crisis, says City Power Resources Manager Larry Dunbar. (Peninsula Daily News)

Swift 2 turbine fixed, Cowlitz PUD reports – The cause still remains a mystery, but damage to a turbine at the Cowlitz PUD's Swift 2 powerhouse on the Lewis River has been repaired, the utility reported last week. (The Daily News, Longview)

PG&E shifts rate increase away from big business – Households, small firms will pay more next year in wake of regulators' ruling. Small businesses and homeowners will bear the brunt of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. rate increases in January - a reversal from last week, when the utility said big businesses would shoulder more of the burden. (San Francisco Chronicle)

New York – Con Edison Is Supported on Bid to Raise Rates. Officials at the State Public Service Commission said on Friday that Consolidated Edison should be allowed to raise the prices it charges for delivering electricity by what critics believe would be the biggest amount in the company’s history. (NY Times)

Maryland – State Mulls Return to Energy Regulation: Increase in Electricity Prices Has Raised Suspicions of Gouging. Maryland's top utility regulators, facing a backlash from consumers over high electricity rates, are exploring ways for the state to roll back its experiment with competitive electricity pricing and to possibly return money to ratepayers. (Washington Post)

Houston Chronicle Loren Steffy column: Deregulation's value can be found in CEO's pockets (Via

California – Aging power lines pose problems for residents – Outages leave many households battling extreme heat; PG&E crews prepare to replace lines, transformers (Contra Costa Times)

California utility presses for new electricity link with Arizona – A major California utility trying to shore up its sources of electricity isn't giving up its fight to build a new major transmission line, despite Arizona regulators' attempt to short-circuit the project. (The Mercury News)


Tribe vows prosecution for killing of whale – Many fear effort to legalize new hunt may be derailed. One day after a group of frustrated Makah tribal members asserted treaty and historic rights by harpooning and killing a protected gray whale, tribal leaders condemned the hunt and vowed to prosecute the men. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Hunter not ashamed of killing whale without a permit (Seattle Times)

Steilacoom – Channel unblocks creek to fish. Party celebrates completion of bypass system in Bresemann Forest. A $400,000 fish passage project has opened the headwaters of Spanaway Creek to migrating fish, at the same time preserving a century-old mill pond and neighborhood treasure. (The News Tribune, Tacoma)

Alaska – Pinks lift '07 salmon catch to a near record. Catches are still trickling in but Alaska's 2007 salmon harvest is already one for the record books. (Anchorage Daily News)

Fish Drift from Familiar Alaska Waters – The multibillion-dollar industry of pollock fishing may be in trouble. The fish have been abandoning areas where American fishermen normally catch them and have been popping up near where the Bering Sea becomes Russian territory. (National Public Radio)

California – Cities’ dam, levee reports slowly trickle in. After being criticized for their lack of preparedness by a county grand jury, Peninsula cities have begun preparing reports on the safety and status of their dams and levees. (The

Polluters show up on Portland Development Commission’s green list – In trying to attract and expand environmentally friendly businesses in the Portland region, the Commission is using methods agency officials agree are flawed – including defining current businesses in Portland as “sustainable” without regard to their environmental and pollution records. (Portland Tribune)


The Columbian Energy adviser: Ocean-power research holds real potential – I recently read a short article about electricity being generated by the ocean. Is this a feasible option for the future? (Thanks to staff from Clark Public Utilities)

U.S. Representative Herseth Sandlin: Wind energy producers want electricity mainstreamed –Sandlin and other U.S. House members heard testimony Thursday that wind energy resources should pair up with coal-fired plants to provide reliable sources of electricity for American consumers. (Madison Daily Leader)

Will the city of Tulsa embrace wind-supplied energy? (The Tulsa World)

Scotland – Red face for Salmond as green energy claim proves unfounded. An attempt by Alex Salmond to claim renewable energy played a larger part than nuclear power in generating Scotland's electricity backfired last night. (The Scotsman)


Tri-cities builders greening up – Every day, Marchell Mascheck appreciates the quality of her green home. The Maschecks have been living in their new "built green" home, constructed by Pischel Quality Homes in Pasco, for more than a year. (Tri-City Herald)

Energy cutter gets in fast lane – Folsom-based tech startup SynapSense Corp. will announce today that it's received $10 million in venture funding to pursue the fast-growing market for reducing power consumption at energy-hungry computer data centers. (Sacramento Bee, may require free registration)


Land managers short on climate change data – Federal agencies that manage nearly a third of the land in the United States and more than half of Oregon's land aren't adequately considering the effects of climate change, despite clear evidence that warming already is affecting public lands, the Government Accountability Office said Thursday. (The Oregonian)

As climate warms, cities look to adjust – Unlike her neighbors', Rachael Paschal Osborn's yard isn't an expanse of green grass meticulously fertilized and watered on schedule by timed sprinklers. (Seattle Times)

Questioning Global-Warming Focus in 'Cool It' –Bjorn Lomborg calls himself a "skeptical environmentalist." Critics say he is an anti-environmentalist. In his new book, Cool It, he argues that global warming is not so important that tens of billions of dollars should be spent trying to prevent it. (National Public Radio)


Grays Harbor County – SafeHarbor lays off 13; down to 53 workers. SafeHarbor Technology Corp., the largest employer at Satsop Development Park, laid off 13 workers on Tuesday, dropping its number of employees to just 53. (The Daily World)

Pasco's 2 water towers attract wireless business, extra revenue – Pasco's two water towers do more than just hold water. The structures, like church steeples, building rooftops and water towers across the country, are available for rent to cellular phone companies needing high spots to mount radio transmission equipment. (Tri-City Herald)

Camano Island Man Gets Surprise In Phone Bill – Among the top complaints received by our Consumer Investigators are problems with cell phone and Internet service. But one case in particular has surprised even the state Attorney General's office. (KIRO-TV, Seattle)

New Technology Could Change How you View the World – Chattanooga's Electric Power Board is introducing high tech residential fiber optic cable. It could change the way you view your world. (WRCB-TV, Chattanooga)

New Hampshire – Got high-speed? If not, there's hope – While high-speed Internet service is available to most New Hampshire businesses and homes, there is a large group of potential broadband or DSL consumers who have been bypassed by the technologies because they live in rural areas. (The Citizen of Laconia – Check out the picture of one of the antenna sites!)

ISP Extras a Great Revenue Stream – Added value services generated more revenue than broadband... (Broadband Reports, Note: Comments may contain PG-13 Language)

Tech companies are greener, but are they green enough?Story Highlights – The extremely air-conditioned computer farms known as data centers are the gas-guzzling jalopies of the technology world. Some require 40 or 50 times more power than comparably sized office space. (CNN.Com)


Task force begins work out details on new family leave law – Washington's new law giving parents five weeks of paid time off to be with a new child is second only to California. (Associated Press via the Olympian)

A look at the paid family leave bill law (Associated Press via the Olympian)

Weyerhaeuser may close plants – Weyerhaeuser Co (WY.N: Quote, Profile , Research), one of the world's largest paper and lumber companies, said on Monday that it would probably close plants and restrict operations because of weak market conditions. (Reuters)

Everett Herald Op/Ed – In an emergency, will you be prepared? September is National Preparedness Month.


Ai Chihuahua! Dog Adopts 4 Baby Squirrels – Motherless Squirrels' Nest Found On Downed Tree Limb

Man calls the cops in Santa Cruz after buyers steal his weed

The Maestro of 'D'oh!' Makes a New Soundtrack – The Simpsons will begin its 19th season of dysfunctional family adventures and pointed social satire -- and music. (National Public Radio)

Gunman gets chop during karate robbery