Saturday, March 1, 2014

On My Radar 3.1.14

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

The West has finally gotten some rain, but too much, too fast, with some devastating results. All that rain did little to mitigate the multi-year drought. One official opined that it would have to rain every other day until May just to reach average precipitation levels.

Storm Titan is now making its way across the country.  The Northeast, once again in the grip of the Polar Vortex, is waiting to see how much snow Titan will deposit during its visit here. 

The smog that blanketed much of northern China, including the city of Beijing, last week has dissipated somewhat, but a report in Mashable predicts such problems will continue until dramatic steps are taken to reduce pollutants. In early December, Shanghai, on the coast of central China, was shrouded in smog. You can see the dramatic images here. Time claims that China’s smog is being called a “Nuclear Winter.”  

In advance of Thursday’s public hearing on United Illuminating’s Vegetation Management Plan, Urban Resources Initiative (URI) has issued its position. You can read it in its entirety here. In summary, URI calls for:  
  • A balanced approach to securing electrical power reliability by removing hazardous trees and branches while retaining healthy trees
  • A comprehensive review of all trees
  • Development of a detailed plan for removal or pruning
  • Replacement planting
  • Undergrounding of distribution wires as a long-term solution

The public is invited to sign up to make brief comments at this meeting. URI urges all lovers of trees to turn out; a large audience will send a strong message. Details on the time and place are below.

The Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride, a fundraiser for environmental causes in New Haven, is less than two months away. The snow should be gone by then, and organizers are urging all past and future riders to commit — now! Join a team and start collecting pledges!

Justin Elicker, former Ward 10 Alder and Mayoral Candidate, was recently named Executive Director of the New Haven Land Trust. The Land Trust cares for and manages 80 acres of property and oversees 50 community vegetable gardens across the City. “I am thrilled to take on this challenge as executive director,” Elicker said. “As the state’s first urban land trust and one of New Haven’s pioneers of urban agriculture, the Land Trust has a history of being visionary while delivering a direct and positive impact on the daily lives of our city’s residents. I look forward to building upon the Land Trust’s strong relationships with communities throughout the city to increase access to healthy food, foster environmental stewardship and facilitate strengthening connections within and across all of New Haven’s neighborhoods.”

Rachel Ziesk, Community Garden Manager at the Land Trust, is thinking ahead to Spring. In her blog Organic Gardening she has been posting tips for garden planning. Her latest post discusses what to consider as you flip through those beautiful seed catalogs.

The nutrition label on food packages may get its first makeover in 20 years. If the recommendations are approved, a consumer will no longer need to do mental math to calculate calories and nutrition information. The two most dramatic changes proposed are updates to serving sizes and a larger, bolder type face for the calories in the product.

Chipotle is rolling out Braised Tofu Sofritos, the first item to become a permanent addition to the menu since salads were added in 2005. The organic tofu experiment began in 2013 with seven locations in the Bay Area. This item is not available in Connecticut yet, but Chipotle advises “stay tuned.” According to Bloomberg Business Week, Tofu Sofritos should be an option in all 1,572 U.S. stores by the end of 2014.

My niece Sophie, college sophomore and blogger at Philo-Sophie is planning a summer service trip to Haiti. You can read more about it here

Thursday, March 6th
6:30 pm
Hamden Middle School, 2623 Dixwell Avenue
Technical Meeting and Public Info Session
hosted by PURA with a presentation by United Illuminating (UI)
In response to public objections to the UI plan adopting Enhanced Tree Trimming or Tree Removal (ETT/ETR) 

March 19th
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Chipotle, 910 Chapel Street, New Haven
New Haven Green Drinks 
Chris Schweitzer (New Haven/Le√≥n Sister City Project) and 
Joel Tolman (Common Ground High School) will speak on 
the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride
Chipotle will donate half of all sales, including Margaritas and beer purchases, between 5 pm and 9 pm to support Rock to Rock.

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