Tuesday, October 23, 2007

News Digest for October 23, 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.


Meme • \meem\ • noun – An idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

“Red state/blue state; issues that ‘resonate’ with the voters; any scandal that ends with ‘gate’; ‘soccer moms’, ‘values voters’,” blurted Donald, sounding like a tobacco auctioneer. “Sorry folks,” he murmured, wiping spittle from his lips. “I just had a tourettes edition of meme overload.”



U.S. Pacific NW DC Tie-Line shut due Calif. Fires (Reuters)

Bradwood and its foes debate LNG in Astoria (The Daily News, Longview)

Avista settles with Montana in rent lawsuit – Another utility has reached a settlement with Montana over the state's effort to collect rent payments for state-owned land underneath hydroelectric dams. (The Associated Press)

Powerless businesses burglarized after wind storm – Three businesses that were shut down by power outages from last Thursday's wind storm became victims twice-over when thieves and vandals took advantage of the fact that none of the stores had power to their alarm systems. (KING-TV, Seattle)

(Had warned city of Lakewood) Windstorm victim gets a little help – There are big problems for a homeowner whose house was sliced in half by a falling tree during Thursday's windstorm. (KOMO-TV, Seattle)

NY Times Editorial – Montana and Kansas Take on Big Coal

United Kingdom – British Energy closes nuclear plants. The country’s largest electricity generating company was thrown into turmoil yesterday after it was forced to close two of its nuclear power plants. (The Times Online)

’70s Echo in New ‘No Nukes’ Campaign (NY Times)

Low Rates & Reliable Service – Traditional regulation is alive and healthy in the Southeast and producing low rates and reliable service for customers—that was the key message from the 27th annual Bonbright Conference in Atlanta, Georgia (PowerMarketers Industry Publications, Message coming in for you sir!)

Ron Kirk named co-chairman of lobbying group that supports deregulation of the electricity markets. (Dallas Business Journal)

Making the Dumb Grid Smarter – "You know how we find out when the power goes out somewhere in our system?" Peter Darbee asks me. I don't know. Peter is the CEO of PG&E Corp., a $12.5-billion-a-year utility company in northern California. We had lunch recently at the National Press Club in Washington. "We get a phone call," he says. "You know what we do?" he asks. Again, I'm stumped. "Nothing," he replies. Not until the utility company gets a second call is a truck dispatched, to determine the scope of the problem. (Huffington Post)

Number of hackers targeting utilities increases 90 percent (Utility Automation and Engineering)

The Energy Solution: Do Something – Carl Pope, the executive director of the Sierra Club, likes to say that the environmental challenge can be boiled down to a pretty simple question. How are we going to fit a billion new rising consumers — mostly from India and China — into a biosphere that is increasingly full? (Time Magazine)

Save Time for Home Safety (News-Herald, Lake Havasu City, AZ)

TVA's Early Days – Northeast Mississippians with first-hand memories of the Tennessee Valley Authority's early days in Mississippi have a chance to become part of a major documentary film celebrating TVA's 75th anniversary in 2008. (NE Mississippi Daily Journal)


CITY REBUKES NEWSPAPER REPORT AS TOP CONTAMINATOR OF SOUND – The City of Shelton is NOT one of the top five contaminators of Puget Sound as reported earlier this month in a Seattle newspaper. On October 11th, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that the Shelton Wastewater Treatment Plant exceeded the limits of its monthly discharge permit six or more time in 2005. The article made it sound as if the City was discharging fecal coliform and other types of harmful pollution into Hammersley Inlet and Oakland Bay. Monday, City staff rebuked that P-I story by compiling the “City of Shelton Wastewater Treatment Discharge Permit Report” which shows all permit violations at the plant since 2000. The report shows that the plant only had one effluent violation in 2005. Included in the report is the August 2005 Sanitary Survey of Oakland Bay by the State Department of Health which states “For many years the Shelton WWTP has consistently produced effluent that is reliably treated and disinfected prior to discharge to the Prohibited area of the bay.” In October of 2005, the Department of Health also opened up shellfish harvest areas in Oakland after the City completed upgrades to the Treatment Plant. The City did admit the Plant exceeded its permit for influent, which is water coming into the Plant during heavy rain events not pollution going out the Plants outfall. The City is sending this information to the P-I reporter who wrote the original story and will ask for a correction. (KMAS Radio, Shelton)

Fishermen sue state over chum changes – Gillnetters say it will be harder to get fresh fish to markets (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Gigantic weir makes way toward area dam – A new fish passage is to be installed this week at Lower Monumental Dam. (The Union-Bulletin, Walla Walla)

Kayaker play on Sultan River as Snohomish County PUD tests flows – Snohomish County PUD officials opened the gate at Culmback Dam on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, allowing high flows to rush through a 14-mile long canyon on the Sultan River. (The Everett Herald)

California – Dam plans washed out; river stretch restored. The American River near Auburn is flowing unfettered for the first time in four decades after agencies remade a stretch into a set of rapids designed to thrill paddlers. (Sacramento Bee, may require free registration)

On the river and in the lab, Curtis Roegner works for salmon (The Daily Astorian)

Shock Therapy for Sea Lions Sparks Questions (NW Public Radio)

Juniper Dunes bill clears House, heads to Senate – A bill that could help open public access to Juniper Dunes cleared the U.S. House on Monday …It primarily allows the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to sell 622 acres of land within the Wells Hydroelectric Project area to Douglas PUD… (Tri-City Herald)

Guest Columnist for the Columbian – Good water policy addresses needs of all users

New to Being Dry, the South Struggles to Adapt (NY Times)


Solar-power site near Ellensburg about to open (Wenatchee World)

GE Energy wind turbine orders top $1 billion (Atlanta Business Journal)

News Release – Going Green Brings Bonneville Environmental Foundation The Gold (Bonneville Environmental Foundation)

Idled Idaho plant resumes its production of ethanol – An ethanol plant idled since 2004 has resumed operation. The Caldwell plant built in 1985 by J.R. Simplot used potato waste to make biofuel but closed in 2004. (Wenatchee World)

Halt the gold rush to corn fuel – To take corn out of cereal bowls and put it into our gas tanks isn't an answer to global warming. (Christian Science Monitor)


Utah – Energy 'police' keep eye on Ogden School District (The Salt Lake Tribune)


Carbon dioxide emissions grow faster than expected, study finds – days after the Nobel Prize was awarded for global-warming work, an alarming new study finds that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing faster than expected. (The Associated Press via the Seattle Times)

Panel Urges Global Shift on Sources of Energy – Energy experts convened by the world’s scientific academies yesterday urged nations to shift swiftly away from coal and other fuels that are the main source of climate-warming greenhouse gases (NY Times)

Washington Post Editorial – Climate Change on Capitol Hill. With Sens. Lieberman and Warner on board, maybe Congress will try something new: action.

Little Green Lies – The sweet notion that making a company environmentally friendly can be not just cost-effective but profitable is going up in smoke. Meet the man wielding the torch (Business Week)


Companies Seeking Immunity Donate to Senator – Executives at the two biggest phone companies contributed more than $42,000 in political donations to Senator John D. Rockefeller IV this year while seeking his support for legal immunity for businesses participating in National Security Agency eavesdropping. (NY Times)

Filing refutes ex-Qwest CEO's claims – Qwest Communications was part of a consortium awarded a key government contract, according to court filings made public Monday that refute former chief executive Joe Nacchio's claims that the telecom lost business because he refused a government request. (The Oregonian)

Comcast says it's not blocking content, applications – Comcast said on Monday that file transfers on peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent may be delayed by bandwidth management technology, but it denied blocking access to any applications or content. (CNET News)

Time Warner Telecom appeals FCC decision – The company is appealing a Federal Communications Commission decision granting AT&T some freedom to increase charges it levies on other Ethernet providers for carrying their business-to-business broadband traffic over AT&T's network. (The Denver Business Journal)

After major projects fail, Wi-Fi reborn as cities refine approaches (San Francisco Chronicle)


CONTAMINATED SOIL FOUND UNDER SHELTON INTERSECTIONS – Some contaminated soil has been discovered under two intersections in downtown Shelton. City Engineer Mike Michael reported to the Shelton City Commissioners Monday afternoon that the gasoline contamination is preexisting and was discovered while crews were working on the City's Basin Two project. The contaminated soil is at the intersections of Fourth and Franklin and First and Franklin. Both sites will need to be cleaned up. The Fourth and Franklin site has a low level contamination and can be cleaned up by the contractor doing Basin Two. The First and Franklin site, however, will require a specialized clean up crew. Michael estimates the cost of this cleanup at a couple of hundred thousand dollars and the City will have to foot the bill up front but there are some grant programs that could reimburse the City between 50% and 75% of the clean up cost. The source of the contamination and the exact cost is not known. City officials will be meeting with the clean up company later this week and more specific information will be known after that meeting. What is known is that clean up work will force the City to close the First and Franklin intersection for two or three weeks. The Shelton City Commission will have to declare an emergency to waive the competitive bidding process and award the clean up contract at its next meeting. (KMAS Radio, Shelton)

Olympia radio station asks for longer lease – KGY radio officials Monday asked commissioners for an extension to continue broadcasting on Port of Olympia property 10 years beyond their current lease, which expires the end of 2009. (The Olympian)


(Monday) Start YELLING! It's CAPS LOCKS DAY!

Mother Arrested After Boy Calls 911 About Her Driving

Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest Staged Near Key Largo (did you get college credit for that?)

Elephants electrocuted in drunken rampage – They had found rice beer in Indian village; incident reflects loss of habitat (Oh Great, another black eye for the GOP)

Woman seeking widow's benefits learns husband alive – A woman who has been fighting a long battle to regain widow's benefits has learned that Social Security Administration officials were right - her husband is still alive.

Talk about the “canary in the coal mine” – Parrot Imitates Fire Alarm, Saves Family: A noisy parrot that likes to imitate sounds helped save a man and his son from a house fire by mocking a smoke alarm, the bird's owner says.

Follow up file – Judge Set to Lose Job, Sources Say: Panel Reportedly Votes Against Reappointment. Roy L. Pearson Jr., whose $54 million lawsuit against a Northeast Washington dry-cleaning shop was rejected in court, is about to lose his job as an administrative law judge, sources said last night.