Sunday, March 4, 2012

On My Radar 3.4.12

Recent News. Happenings. Discoveries…Here are some of the items on my radar.

Judge Rules “For” Monsanto, “Against” CT NOFA (and 80+ other plaintiffs). On the very day that I blogged about why I’d joined CT NOFA, Judge Naomi Buchwald dismissed the case of Organic Seed Growers et al. vs Monsanto. Dan Ravicher, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, stated, “While I have great respect for Judge Buchwald, her decision to deny farmers the right to seek legal protection from one of the world's foremost patent bullies is gravely disappointing." The plaintiffs plan to appeal. Check out CT NOFA’s blog for an excellent summary of the proceedings and more comments from Ravicher and some of the plaintiffs. If you are interested, you can read the judge’s ruling here.

Winter Tornadoes. A wide band of early season tornadoes wreaked havoc in the Midwest on February 29, killing 6 in Harrisburg, Illinois, and causing extensive damage in tourist mecca Branson, Missouri. A story in the Aledo Times Record  reported the Harrisburg tornado as an EF-4 (a measurement used to measure its windspeed by the level of its destruction), with winds up to 170 miles per hour. The article stated, “Before Harrisburg, the only other EF-4 tornado to strike Illinois in February was on February 25, 1956 when one passed south of St. Louis and into St. Clair County Illinois, causing 6 deaths in those two states … Southern Illinois is home to the worst tornado disaster in U.S. history. On March 18, 1925, the infamous Tri-State Tornado caused 695 deaths as it moved through southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, and southern Indiana.” A second devastating outbreak on March 2 brought destruction to a dozen states from Alabama to Indiana. The Weather Channel reported the preliminary count for tornado sightings as 74.  The Weather Channel posted an interactive map of all the reports.  On Sunday CNN listed the death toll as 37. You can see a photo gallery here

Sunflowers in Fukushima. It’s coming up to one year since a tsunami struck Japan and triggered a nuclear disaster at Fukushima. In April, 2011, Buddhist monks and scientists planted sunflowers as phytoremediators for the radioactive element cesium, restoring beauty to the area and bringing hope to citizens. Unfortunately, however, it seems the sunflowers did little to reduce the cesium levels

Late last month, a VERY large lobster (40” and 27 lbs), was caught near Cushing, Maine and brought to the Maine State Aquarium. He was photographed, given a name (Rocky) and released. Large as Rocky is, he is 17 pounds shy of the Nova Scotia lobster listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Bottled Water Banned at the Grand Canyon. The National Park Service has approved a a plan which will eliminate the sale of bottled water by park concessionaires. It will take effect in just a few days. Ten filling stations, where visitors can refill their own water bottles, have been set up inside the park. Officials had estimated that water bottles accounted for 20% of the park’s waste and 30% of its recyclables. Similar bans are in place at two other national parks — Zion and Hawaii Volcanoes. Last March, New Haven’s Board of Aldermen prohibited the use of any public funds to purchase bottled water for the City of New Haven. 

Claire Criscuolo has a new cookbook, Welcome to Claire’s, illustrated with color photos. She has been on a mini book signing tour in the area. Stop by Claire’s to purchase a copy if you are nearby. Otherwise, check it out online. [Check back soon for a review.]

There’s a relatively new 66,000 pound resident on lower Orange Street — a fuel cell, the City’s 3rd. The cell, being rented from United Technologies,  occupies the little-used Millenium Plaza behind City Hall, between the Federal Building and the Hall of Records. The cell is not much to look at, but it is expected to free the City from a contract for power from the adjacent Connecticut Financial Center which expires in 2013. It is estimated that by switching to the cell, in one decade the City will reap a net savings between $500,000 and $1 million in heating and cooling costs. The cell will become operational as soon as possible, with some of the energy coming from the Financial Center until the contract runs out.

The storm sewer separation work continues on Trumbull Street. It is noisy. It is inconveniencing drivers and annoying residents. But it is truly a wonder to behold the pipe jacking being used to minimize the impact on the well established trees which line the street. Here is the latest update. 

The number of owner/members in the Elm City Market continues to grow. When the store opened its doors on November 2, membership was at 750. There were 1431 members when the store’s site was last updated.

Deer have been ravaging backyards in New Haven’s East Shore, as well as those on the west side of town where they’ve been residing for years. At Master Gardening I learned that stringing pieces of Irish Spring around the periphery of your property is an effective deterrent. Downside? Mice are said to be attracted by the scent. You will have to choose your pest.

March 7th
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Pint Night
Co-sponsored by Trailblazer and Box 63 
in the Broadway District of New Haven
In support of CitySeed. 
March 10th
4:00 - 6:00 pm
CT Slow Food Shoreline's Slow Food Swap
Woodland Coffee
The second of what is planned to be a monthly event.
For more info, check here. I hope to trade this time around.

March 23rd
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm 
It’s been almost a year since the passing of popular Devil’s Gear mechanic and musician Mitchell Dubey. Devil’s Gear owner Matt Feiner and Mitch’s many other friends are holding a ride in his honor,  leaving from the shop and ending with a party back at the shop, which will “celebrate Mitch’s love of good things to eat and music.” And they really want you all to be there.

April 21st
Kicks off from Common Ground High School after a hearty breakfast
Hundreds of riders raise money for local environmental groups while exploring New Haven by bicycle (an 8-Mile ride). Hard-core riders have the option of signing on for a 20 or 60 mile route. Last year over 500 riders raised more than $50,000. I had a blast on the short route last year and am looking forward to this year’s ride. I’m thinking of going for the 20 mile route. If you want to ride with me or pledge for my team, let me know.

I finally put a closing date on my petition asking Stop & Shop to stop sourcing their organic green beans from China. I did gather 290 signatures and raised some awareness of the problem among my readers. And, the next time I want to start a petition, I’ll  know exactly how to do it.

My page views continue to rise. Thanks for all the tweets, +1s and forwards. Together we can make a difference.

Please “visit” again soon. And, for those who live in New Haven, I hope to see you out and about as the days get longer. There’s a lot to do in The Have.


  1. I think the Irish Spring idea is an urban legend..... at least, it never worked out in the suburbs, where the deer nudged it aside to chomp on the hydrangeas.

  2. For anyone who missed it, FRONTLINE had a great report last week on Fukushima & how even more cataclysmic it could have been. You can watch the entire report here: