Friday, October 5, 2007

News Digest for October 5, 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.


Umbra • \UM-bruh\ • noun – 1: a shaded area * a: a conical shadow excluding all light from a given source; specifically: the conical part of the shadow of a celestial body excluding all light from the primary source b: the central dark part of a sunspot

Joel was becoming concerned. Having left his sunscreen at home, the diminishing umbra of the shade tree that was protecting his bald pate was leading him to plan for a liberal dosing of aloe vera gel that would be necessary that evening to soothe the impending sunburn.


Summer of 2007: Driest ever recorded on east slopes of Cascades (KOMO-TV, Seattle)

Warm U.S. winter expected to worsen drought conditions (USA Today)


State fines Energy Northwest $120K for improper waste handling – The Washington state Department of Ecology on Thursday fined Energy Northwest $120,000 for improperly handling chemical and hazardous waste at the state's only nuclear power plant. (Associated Press, via the Columbian)

Oregon – PacifiCorp agrees to refund $2.2 million to customers. The utility -- the latest one to repay users -- will reimburse over collected Multnomah County taxes (The Oregonian)

Southern California Edison to appeal $200 million in fines, refunds – The company says it plans to appeal a judge's decision that would require the utility to pay $200 million in fines and ratepayer refunds for rigging customer satisfaction surveys. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News via

News Release – Puget Sound Energy Will Spend $12 Million on Vegetation Management in 2007 (Business Wire)

Green City: Pacific Gas & Electric’'s two faces – Seeking to water down environmental standards (San Francisco Bay Guardian)

PPL could bill customers 42 percent more – PPL Electric Utilities Corp.'s residential, small commercial and small industrial customers who do not choose competitive electricity suppliers could be shocked by bill increases in 2010. (Central Pennsylvania Business Journal)

European Union Bears Its Teeth on Energy Unbundling – With the European Commission adopting plans that would force European energy markets to be open to more competition and utilities to unbundle their operations, battle lines have been drawn. (


Oregon study: Hatchery steelhead less successful spawning in wild (The Oregonian)

Chinook returning to Cedar River big-time – About 300 fish came back this fall, compared with 79 four years ago (Seattle P-I)

Salmon start flying on West End: Where you can view (but not fish) them – All the Sol Duc summer coho (silver salmon) needed was a little bit of rain. (Peninsula Daily News)

Canada – Taking Aim at Otters. Are they a 'renewable resource'? Cute but voracious, their legal protection may be eroding. (The Tyee)

Wildlife refuge cuts kids programs – The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge no longer will provide environmental education for many children, according to a report released Thursday. (The Olympian)

Influence helped Tacoma get Sound cleanup agency – For a while, it looked as if Olympia would house the main offices of the Puget Sound Partnership, the new state agency charged with cleaning up Puget Sound. (The News Tribune, Tacoma)

Water projects wait on funding, feasibility study – Funding and the authority to do a feasibility study are necessary ingredients in order for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to move along with area water projects. (Columbia Basin Herald)


Iowa – Fire Damages Wind Turbine Near Garner: Fire Erupted From Gear Box 200 Feet From Ground (KCCI-TV, Des Moines)

Feds blow hot and cold in support for wind power – Anyone who flies a kite or hits a golf ball knows breezes can be fickle. So consider how difficult it can be to make a living from the wind. (Scripps Howard News Service)

Oregon – Central Lincoln utility offers renewable energy program – The Central Lincoln People’s Utility District began offering a renewable power program to customers this month. (Bandon Western World)

Lighten up on energy use with ideas from solar tour – Sun power will be the focus of a Saturday tour of 12 Clark County buildings and homes that showcase the benefits of renewable energy. (The Columbian)

Coffin Butte Resource Project, Landfill-Gas-to-Energy Plant, More Than Doubles Generation Capacity (News Release - PNGC Power)

Oregon – State sees roadside solar panels ahead – ODOT plans to follow Europe's lead and test panels along highways and bridges (The Oregonian)


G.E. to Close Some Lighting Plants – “…in part because of a changing lighting market, in which demand for the incandescent bulb has declined over the last five years…” (NY Times)

Virginia – No tax on energy efficient products. State officials hope this weekend's inaugural sales-tax holiday on certain energy-efficient products will help the environment while saving Virginians money -- just not too much money. (Hemscott Group)

Couple builds green house for gentle living – Craig Rainwater and his wife, Pamela Pasquale, are building their dream home on the side of a hill off Sleepy Hollow Road, east of Monitor. They have a big dream of a small house. (Wenatchee World)


Australian Fires Add to Fears on Climate Change – As the first bush fires of the year rage through Australia’s national forests, concern over climate change and its effects is intensifying among Australians. (NY Times)

Officials hope voters might favor gas tax boost to fight warming – Regional officials are taking a close look at trying to increase the Bay Area's gasoline tax by as much as 10 cents a gallon and believe voters might agree to it as a way to help combat global warming (San Francisco Chronicle)

Inside Fix? The clock is ticking on California's request for a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency for its stringent law on tailpipe emissions. (Washington Post)

Money, Mouths and Global Warming (NY Times)


Portland Considers Building Municipal Broadband Internet System (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

Where's My Free Wi-Fi? Why municipal wireless networks have been such a flop. (Slate Magazine)

How 2 Guys' Iowa Connection – Took Big Telecoms for a Ride (Wall Street Journal)

Cable company offers telephone service in Southern Oregon (Portland Business Journal)


(More Details from yesterday’s story) No lie, state Supreme Court rules candidates can make A sharply divided state Supreme Court has ruled that a law that bars political candidates from deliberately making false statements about their opponents violates the First Amendment right of free speech. (Associated Press via the Seattle Times)

Excerpts from ruling on WA campaign speech and reaction (Associated Press via the Olympian)

Opinions split over proposed Brinnon mega-resort –The proposed Pleasant Harbor Marina and golf resort, which would allow up to 890 hotel and rental units to be built at Black Point, is too much too fast, some say. (Peninsula Daily News)

Weyerhaeuser to shut sawmills – Company official: Temporary closure won't hurt workers (Associated Press via the Olympian)

Dairy farmers seek greener pastures – Urban development prompts farmers to look east (Seattle Times)


Customs find beetles stuffed with cocaine

Uproar over Italian tax breaks for "big babies"

Man accused of stealing OSU softball bleachers

Bar gossip leads to nasty surprise for couple – A Czech couple who decided to take a DNA test to squash persistent pub gossip and prove that their 10-month-old baby was their own got a nasty surprise.;_ylt=Ane.E6MmjpZFt77rjKnYBdjtiBIF