Monday, November 5, 2007

News Digest for November 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.


Myrmidon • \MURR-muh-don\ • noun – 1. A member of a warlike Thessalian people who followed Achilles on the expedition against Troy. 2. A loyal follower, especially one who executes orders without question, protest, or pity.

Alfonse was chosen to meet with the irritated customers over how they had been treated. It wasn’t so much that he was the paragon of human strength or struck fear in the hearts of anyone. It was that Alfonse was considered the ultimate myrmidon, or “good soldier”. He would go on bleating the company line regardless of logic, precedence or legality until all in the room were exhausted by his efforts.



Montana – Thieves Risk Their Lives, Others with Dangerous Heists. Montana has some new copper barons, but they may not be around for very long. (Flathead Beacon)

MASON COUNTY PUD NO. 3 CHANGES MEETING TIME – The Mason County PUD No. 3 Board of Commissioners has change the start time for its regular meeting Tuesday. The meeting will begin at 11am in the PUD 3 board room at 307 West Cota Street in Shelton. At 1pm Tuesday, the PUD 3 Commissioners will participate in a workshop with commissioners from Lewis County PUD and other public utilities to discuss renewable energy opportunities. The utilities will hear a presentation from participants in the White Creek Wind Project. The workshop will take place in the PUD's auditorium. (KMAS Radio, Shelton)

CHELAN COUNTY PUD WANTS YOUR INPUT ON PROPOSED ALCOA DEAL – Chelan County PUD commissioners hold a special meeting Monday evening to hear from the public about a proposed long-term deal with Alcoa. The 17 year contract would provide them enough electricity to run three potlines at its Wenatchee Works aluminum smelter until at least 2028. The meeting, at the Confluence Technology Center, starts at 5-30p.m. (KPQ Radio, Wenatchee)

Dave Timmons bows out of running for Grays Harbor County PUD seat (The Daily World, Aberdeen)

Oregon – Local customers insulated against rising heating costs (Baker City Herald)

Federal panel sets two more meetings on LNG terminal – The Federal Energy Regulatory has announced two additional meetings to gather the public's opinion on a Houston company's plan to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Columbia River. (The Daily News, Longview)

Kentucky/Tennessee – Possible sale of power system to co-op criticized. Controversy has surfaced in the possible sale of Monticello's electric system to a utility, with a lobbying group arguing the potential transfer has been handled improperly and would mean higher rates for customers if approved. (Trading Markets)

Ohio – Plugged in to high rates: Toledo-area electricity to go only up, experts agree. Northwest Ohio homeowners and renters weary and angry about paying some of the highest electric rates in the state will need to just move on. (The Toledo Blade)

AEP seeks power: Utility president: Rate controls hurt competition – Regulation has kept electricity rates across northwest Ohio below market value, an electric company executive said Thursday. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, via Power Marketers Online)

Maryland – Baltimore Gas and Electric will seek rate rise: Profit falls 23% at utility's parent. With BGE's quarterly earnings down 30 percent, Constellation Energy Group Inc. said yesterday that it will ask state regulators to increase the amount the utility can charge for delivering power over its wires. (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, via Power Marketers Online)

Iowa – Controversial Device Limits Electricity Use. You expect the lights to come on when you flip the switch on the wall, but a new device promises to shut down power completely if a low income customer flips the switch too many times. November 1st began the five-month moratorium each winter, where utility companies are no longer allowed to disconnect their customers, but one energy cooperative has another idea. (WHO-TV, Des Moines)


Task force likely to urge killing sea lions – A federal task force is expected to recommend next week that pesky California sea lions gobbling up threatened salmon at Bonneville Dam be killed in order to help conserve Columbia River fish runs. (The Associated Press, via the Olympian)

Notebook Salmon returns: Why the falloff? State Fish and Wildlife biologists are puzzled why some salmon returns this past summer didn't live up to expectations, and most of the problems were happening off the Washington coast and Columbia River. "…All of these fish stocks are far north migrators in the ocean so my guess is that something bad may have happened out there…" (Seattle Times)

The fates of salmon and hydroelectric production lie in the hands of a federal judge (Idaho Statesman)

Staff shaken up at Puget Sound Partnership – A staff shakeup at the agency responsible for overseeing the restoration of Puget Sound could send experts packing, but might help in meeting the group's new goals. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Gill-net group forms – Coastal Conservation Association moves into the Pacific Northwest. T here's a new dog in the fight to rid the Columbia River of gill nets. (The Oregonian)

The Columbian Opinion – In our view: Help Us Out, Chris. Gregoire's skill and clout needed hereto get river sediment cleanup started The Columbia River could use some help from Gov. Chris Gregoire about now.

Port of Hood River seeks to reshape sandbar if salmon habitat can stay safe – Rival recreations may benefit from a proposal to drop the top of Hood River's growing delta (The Oregonian)

Out West, a Falling Lake Lowers All Boats (NY Times)

Water Resources Bill Veto Rankles GOP Supporters (Washington Post)


Group forming to battle windmill farm project – The wide open spaces and natural terrain and wildlife of Southeastern Washington are fading, and some residents would like the encroaching effects of urbanization toned down, such as a proposed project that would place 35 to 50 turbines on Rattlesnake Mountain. (Tri-City Herald)

Winds of change are blowing home – More residents embrace cost effectiveness of wind-powered energy, although neighbors may complain of whirring noise (Contra Costa Times)

EPA RECOGNIZES SNOHOMISH COUNTY PUD'S GREENING – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Snoho­mish County PUD and a group of other regional partners with its "Green Power Beacon Award" for promoting advances in developing renewable energy resources. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Center for Resource Solutions also sponsor the renewable energy award. The PUD participated in a regional collaboration to promote green power. More than 3,700 customers are enrolled in the PUD's voluntary renewable energy program, Planet Power. The program allows customers to support the use of environmentally friendly "green" power through the purchase of Planet Power blocks. Customers buy renewable blocks for an additional fee beyond their normal electricity bill. The energy to support the program comes from newly developed facilities, such as the Stateline Wind Farm along the Washington-Oregon border and the Condon Wind Farm in central Oregon. (The Everett Herald)

Northwestern winds: Both Oregon and Washington passed renewable portfolio standards in the past year, and a growing number of renewable energy companies are setting up shop in Portland, smack in the middle of the two states. The wind industry in particular has taken a shine to the city’s location and culture. (Sustainable Industries)

Texas – A new kind of North Texas farming – Neighbors just north of Palo Pinto County will see a new type of farming to the area – wind – making this region a player in the renewable resource energy market. (Mineral Wells Index)

PG&E embraces solar thermal power technology – As California utilities scramble to buy more renewable energy, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and a Palo Alto startup will announce plans today to build a solar power plant big enough to light more than 132,000 homes. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Whatever Happened to Wave Energy? As anyone who has ever been seasick knows, there's a lot of energy in ocean waves. (Fox News),2933,306400,00.html

United Kingdom – Monsters of the deep will create electricity for a new generation (Times of London)

Prometheus Energy Delivers Renewable LNG with LNG (Renewable Energy Access)

Big solar power plant planned for California’s central coast (CNN Money)


Some of the best ways to reduce energy costs (The Daily World, Aberdeen)


Olympia climate fair calls for local action – Organizer says responsibility key to fighting warming (The Olympian)

Mayors, Looking to Cities’ Future, Are Told It Must Be Colored Green (NY Times)

Columbian Editorial – In our view: Greener Cities. Environmental activism shows progress at the local levels; Seattle leads the way…

Climate Day in Alaska – Climate rally at Kincaid debate sizzles over power from coal 'Step It Up': Nationwide effort focuses on carbon emissions. (Anchorage Daily News)

Capitol to Buy Offsets in Bid to Go Green – Republicans, Researchers Question System's Effectiveness in Easing Global Warming (Washington Post – Insert cynical comment about “indulgences” here)

The Greening of the Gridiron – Well, we all thought the big news in pro football would be yestereday’s much anticipated Colts-Patriots tilt or rookie running back Adrian Peterson’s record-setting day, but it seems the gridiron is taking on a new shade of green. “…The massive market of hippie football fans is about to get their heads blown: NBC is going “green” all week. And it kicks off with Sunday Night Football…” (NY Times)


FCC announces Seattle hearing to be held Friday – Giving just one week's notice, the Federal Communications Commission announced Friday it will hold a hearing in Seattle next Friday on proposals to ease long-standing limits on how many local media outlets a single company can own. (Seattle Times)

Google Dials Into the Cell Phone Market – Confirming its long-rumored foray into the mobile market, Google said Monday it is developing a free cell phone software package so the Internet search leader can more easily peddle ads and services to people who aren't in front of a PC. (Washington Post)

Yahoo’s Telco Gravy Train Coming to a Halt? (GigaOM)

Sacramento, CA – Reality check finds Wi-Fi city is full of holes (Sacramento Bee, may require free registration)

Devices enforce cellular silence, sweet but illegal (CNET News)

The Joy in Jamming – The cell phone jammers express great joy initially at being able to silence chatterers. They also generally seem to feel some guilt, particularly over time. (NY Times)


A magnet for stolen metal – It’s time to ask hard-edged questions about metal theft — and to find ways to prevent soaring scrap-metal prices from being such a bonanza for sneaky crooks. (The Columbian)

Stolen metal hard to spot at bustling scrap yard – If you visit the busy 18-acre scrap yard at MetroMetals Northwest in Portland, it’s wise to keep your senses sharp — and glance over your shoulder now and then. (The Columbian)

4 bucks a gallon? It's in sight – Don't count on the usual winter drop in gas prices (Everett Herald)

National study gives Washington a big, fat "F" in easing access to government information (Seattle Times Commentary)

A Cautionary Tale – Things Turn Ugly in the ‘Hacks vs. Flacks’ War (NY Times)

Plastic ocean: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch – A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse... (CYBER DIVER News Network)

Career Couch – Does E-Mail Distract? Not if You Take Charge (NY Times)


Wedgie-free underwear?

New "Star Trek" actors: Will they pass muster? (For extra credit, what does the “T” stand for in James T. Kirk? Hint: you’ll find out in this story)

'Dead' man in UK turns up alive – Police said Friday they had begun an investigation after a woman oversaw the cremation of a body she believed was her son — who turned up alive the next day.;_ylt=AngQBwqApd0rnhpyrK0Aqh7tiBIF

Priests fear driving bans over altar wine – Celebrating more than one mass a day may push Roman Catholic priests over the alcohol limit if tougher drink driving rules come into effect in Ireland, a leading clergyman said on Friday.;_ylt=AggpqZ_7conStvPMFGFvXHvtiBIF

S.C. couple find secret moldy room – Kerri and Jason Brown discovered a secret room behind a bookcase containing a homeowner's worst nightmare — mold. Also in the room was a handwritten note: "You found it!";_ylt=AhCosnkmg9ABibxHaLdnVTrtiBIF