Terrestrial invasive plants will be the topic at an upcoming public meeting in Bolton Landing.
Attendees can learn more about the fight to control and eradicate terrestrial invasive plants such as Japanese Knotweed, phragmites, garlic mustard, wild parsnip and others.
Bolton Terrestrial Invasive Plant Program is hosting the informational meeting at the Bolton Town Hall on Wednesday, May 13, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is open to everyone. Property management teams are encouraged to attend.
"Come join your neighbors as we discuss how some of these non-native plants are physically dangerous, negatively impact property values, and simply not native to our beautiful Adirondacks!!!" Jodi Connally, a BTIPP board member and town clerk, wrote in a posting on the town's website.
See the whole posting here.
Also, tonight (Tuesday), the Town Board meets, preceded by a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for the town.
You can view the draft here.
State Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, on Tuesday announced the Senate Transportation Committee approved S4269, legislation she introduced to require a check for motor vehicle recall notices as part of the state vehicle inspection process.
Inspection stations would be required to check a federal data base and notify the owner if the vehicle is the subject of any safety recalls.
The written notification would inform the owner the automobile could be repaired at an authorized manufacturer dealer at no charge.
"The annual vehicle inspection is an ideal time to run a simple computer check to see if there are any recall notices," Little said, in a press release.
The repair would not be required to pass inspection.
With the end of the regular season approaching quickly, we've got two things to track closely while we go. The first is the mad dash for sectionals, as teams either desperately try to qualify or try to get hot before the tournament begins.
The other race to watch is the one for league championships, and here's an update on those races.
FOOTHILLS COUNCIL -- Queensbury is dangerously close to locking up the North Division and a spot in the league championship game. I've mentioned this here on the blog before, but the series sweeps of Schuylerville and South Glens Falls just about wrapped this up for Queensbury, and now the Spartans just have to win the games they're supposed to win and wait for the mathematics to clinch it for them. I'll have to get official word from the South Division for the Spartans' opponent in the league championship game, but it seems that Scotia is doing most of the winning in that division.
ADIRONDACK LEAGUE -- This league has some of the most intrigue to it because there's still a chance for something crazy to happen.Yes, Fort Ann has yet to lose a league game and can simply win out and win the league title. But, both Whitehall and Lake George only have one league loss (Lake George lost to Whitehall, Whitehall lost to Fort Ann) and Lake George plays Fort Ann on Wednesday. A Lake George win creates a three-way tie and another mess atop the league standings, much like last year. A Fort Ann wins makes this pretty clear-cut. I can't wait to see this all play out in Lake George on Wednesday.
WASAREN LEAGUE -- If you thought Queensbury was playing dominating baseball in the Foothills Council, you need to see what Hoosic Valley is doing in the Wasaren League. The Indians made their claim to the Wasaren League throne perfectly clear yesterday (as if it wasn't already) with a 19-1 win over Hoosick Falls, the same team that Valley beat just 3-2 earlier this season. There are tricky games against teams like Greenwich left on Hoosic Valley's schedule, but the Indians are simply taking care of business and waiting for the math to clinch the league for them.
Hartford and Fort Ann maintained their spots, tied atop the Adirondack League, as both won their league softball games Monday.
Hartford got a great mix of Bailey Hasemann's pitching, solid defense and a three-run triple by Jen Aubin to defeat Corinth 5-2, while Fort Ann cruised to a 20-1 rout of Bolton.
The wins put both Hartford and Fort Ann at 7-1 and 6-1 in the league, respectively, while Corinth dropped to 6-3 in the Adirondack.
Also Monday, surprising Salem moved up just behind the league leaders, pulling out a 7-4 victory at North Warren by scoring five runs in the top of the seventh inning.
The Generals are now 6-2 in the league and 8-2 overall -- a night and day improvement for Salem softball after the last few years. They were 4-10 last season, 1-15 in 2012 and '13, and 1-10 in 2011.
"We have a lot of kids playing travel ball, and we're reaping the benefits of that," Salem coach William Moore said. "The kids that are leading the team are the sophomores, but you could see the talent was coming last year. We filled in the pieces with ninth-graders this year, and they're playing real cohesively."
Moore said sophomores Morgan Keys and Jessica Vidal have been leading the Generals -- Keys with her pitching, Vidal at shortstop and both with their bats -- and freshman catcher Lauren Christensen has made an impact behind the plate and as Salem's No. 3 hitter.
"It's been enjoyable so far," Moore said.
The Generals have league games upcoming against Warrensburg (Wednesday), Fort Edward (Friday) and Fort Ann (May 11), and hope to maintain their momentum in the Adirondack League.
"We're in the discussion," Moore said.
Now, as for the Corinth at Hartford softball game I took in on Monday:
-- It was the first really hot day of the season -- sunny and 83 degrees. Both teams wore all-black uniforms. Naturally.
-- Hartford junior Bailey Hasemann was tough to hit -- she's not real big or overpowering, but she mixes her pitches and hits her spots well. She scattered four hits and finished with 11 strikeouts and one walk to lead the Tanagers.
-- Senior first baseman Jen Aubin pounded a three-run triple to right-center field in the third inning, breaking open the game and giving Hartford a 4-0 lead.
-- Hartford's defense was pretty solid, apart from a couple of errors. Twice, Aubin made great stretches to get runners out at first.
“This is a really good win for us,” Aubin said. “Our team did really well, everyone worked together, kept our heads up even when we had a bump in the road and got the plays down.”
-- Corinth got a single by Cheyanne Mandigo in the first inning, but couldn't get anything else until the fourth.
-- Hartford went 3-and-out against the Tomahawks' Abby Matuszak in the first, put a couple runners on in the second, and finally broke the game open in third.
-- Hartford third inning: Maria Olsen, Bailey Hasemann and Sarah Bowen lead off with consecutive singles to load the bases, then Olsen scores on an error -- a high throw on a fielder's choice grounder by Mattison Baker.
-- That brought up Jen Aubin, who clocked a triple to right-center field to drive in three runs, giving the Tanagers a 4-0 lead.
"It’s all about staying calm and just thinking to get a base hit -- not really thinking about getting a huge hit, just go out nice and calm, and it happens or it doesn’t happen," Aubin said. "A couple (pitches) were inside, she moved around a little bit, but I think that one was right down the middle."
-- Corinth scored twice in the top of the fourth, getting a solo home run from senior star Taylor Fedor. Fedor ripped a line-drive into right-center field and raced around the bases -- she was rounding third by the time the relay throw was on its way. Francesca Francese then reached second on a fielding error, stole third and scored on another dropped fly ball to pull Corinth within 4-2. Hartford got out of the inning with a double play turned by third baseman Olsen.
"Fedor does what she can for us, but everyone else behind her, we’re just not hitting -- we’re in a bit of a funk right now," Tomahawks coach Kevin Bruno said.
-- Hartford added a run in the bottom of the fourth, as Timerra Lamoureux reached third on a dropped fly ball to right, then scored on a two-out RBI single by Bowen -- a hard liner that was too hot for the shortstop to handle. That gave the Tanagers a 5-2 lead.
-- Corinth got a triple by Fedor in the sixth and a base hit by Shauna Denno in the seventh, but that was as close as the Tomahawks could get.
-- Hartford got a triple to right field by Lamoureux in the bottom of the sixth, but pinch runner Christina Benoit was doubled off third on a 1-3-5 play and a flyout ended the inning.
-- The Tanagers finished with eight hits and Corinth committed four errors in the game. Hartford had two errors.
"Aside from a few mistakes, they’re playing really good, solid, fundamental ball," Hartford coach Scott Hasemann said. "We have a good solid returning team. I only had one real position that I had to fill this year -- we had one graduating starter (last year)."
-- Both coaches agreed that the Adirondack League has several very good teams all fighting near the top of the standings. Hartford plays North Warren on Wednesday and has a showdown with Fort Ann on Friday; Corinth hopes to bounce back with games against Fort Edward and North Warren on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
"The Adirondack League is stacked -- there’s so many great teams that it doesn’t matter who you play, it’s going to be a great game," Bruno said. "Our last four games -- three games in a row were decided by one run, this one was decided by three."
"This year, the league has some odd wins, and it’s anybody’s game," Scott Hasemann said. "It’s going to come down to the last games -- anybody can beat anybody. You can’t overlook anybody; you have to play every game like everybody’s in contention.”
Though sensors were out over the winter collecting data around Lake George, the Jefferson Project (named for the third president's famous quote on the lake) is really kicking into high gear. Believe it or not, they're already halfway through the three year project. We have an update on what they'll be doing this summer in Tuesday's paper.
One of the most visible of the four sensors collecting data that you'll probably notice around the lake are the vertical profilers. There are two of them anchored in the lake. They look like yellow floating buoys, sort of like little pontoon boats, equipped with solar panels around the lake.
They contain a weather station and winch inside that continuously lowers and raises a large blue cylindrical device with sensor prongs to measure pH levels, algae, dissolved oxygen, temperature and other characteristics at every depth of the lake.
They were out last fall before the freeze, but this year they're equipped with more sophisticated technology.
"They have solar-powered controlled computers inside. They also can remotely talk to them trough wireless communication and can adjust what they do and what depths of water they're (measuring). They have some ability to think on their own and we also communicate with them remotely. We don't have to go out there to adjust something, often we can do that from a laptop or through wireless," said Project Director Rick Relyea.
"We can actually send signals to it and tell it what to do. We can do that now remotely, but the idea is that the platform will do this by itself. We will add more analytical code to do different things" said IBM Research Distinguished Engineer Harry Kolar, associate director of the project.
Another interesting aspect of this project is the interdisciplinary nature of it. I met scientists with varied backgrounds from computer science to biology working on this. Kolar said IBM Research has people working on this in various labs, including in Ireland and Brazil.
Relyea said the vertical profilers were built to be "robust" and natural conditions shouldn't harm them. He said they also have "confidence that people in the area will be looking out for them and letting us know if there is anything that needs to be looked after."
I didn't have room to get into it for this story, but Relyea also said a large part of work this summer will be monitoring the food web from algae, and tiny zooplankton to fish.
Here is Relyea, an aquatic ecologist, on the food web:
"One of the things that drives the whole lake food web is how much algae you produce. Everything depends on that. Things eat the algae, things like zooplankton eat algae and and other animals like fish eat zooplankton so algae are the key.
Most lakes are limited in how much algae they can grow by how much phosphorous comes into the lake. The more phosphorous the more fertile it becomes and the more algae you can grow. At some point, if you have too much algae, because you have too much phosphorous, you have problems. The water clarity declines and you have what we call algal blooms. In some cases in some lakes around the world those blooms can be species of algae that are toxic. Drinking water can be shut down like it was Toledo. Those are real problems if the lake was to become overfertilized with phosphorous. Lake George is not close to that point yet. As far as we know, it's a low fertility lake, but every lake has concerns about more phosphorous coming in because it will make more algae and the water will be less transparent."
He said it's not necessarily just measuring the amount of algae, but the kind.
"If you have a bit more algae, you can have more things eating the algae, and that can provide more food for the fish, but it's just never, ever that simple. Sometimes a little more algae can be good and even more algae might be harmful. What we need to know is what kind of algae we're talking about," he said. "Just saying there is more algae is really only part of the story.
Understanding the food web in a 32-mile lake is a massive undertaking.
"This is our first step in understanding the food web of Lake George from the algae to the big fish. We have lots and lots of species we need to look at," he said, including where the invasive species such as Asian clams or zebra muscles factor in. "We need to figure out where things live and where they're abundant."
"Perhaps the more important thing is to understand what they do. What are the consequences of having them here? That is really an experimental question we can ask. What role do the different invasive species play in Lake George? Do they have negative effects? Do they have positive effects? Or are they neutral in their effect?" he said.
Jose B. Carrion-Ribert, an insurance broker from San Juan, Puerto, on March 13 contributed $2,300 to E-PAC, the political action committee U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, established. The contribution came a day after Carrion-Ribert contributed $2,700 to Stefanik's separate congressional campaign fund, according to reports the campaign and PAC filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Carrion-Ribert was the only PAC contributor in March.
The PAC's only expenditure was $1,808 to New Frontier Strategies, the marketing and communication firm headed by Philip Musser, a key adviser on Stefanik's 2014 congressional campaign.
E-PAC had a balance of $4,532, as of March 31.
Every time a member of the New York State Legislature is indicted, Bruce Roter’s concept for a Museum of Political Corruption gets another boost of publicity.
The six-count indictment of Dean Seklos makes for good reading and shows a father intimately involved in his son’s career. Nothing wrong with that, except that his son is 32 years old.
The indictment, aided by federal wiretaps, lays out an intricate trail that law enforcement officials say show the Senate Majority Leader using his power to help his son’s advance his career and earn lucrative fees.
Skelos insists that is not only “not guilty” but that he is “innocent.”
While that plays out over the coming months, Bruce Roter sent out the email below in hopes of earning more interest in a corruption museum in Albany.
- Ken Tingley
The monthly newsletter of The Museum of Political Corruption
May 4, 2015
SPECIAL EDITION: DEAN SKELOS
May 4, 2015,
What does today's arrest of Senate Leader Dean Skelos mean to The Museum of Political Corruption? It means we've got our work cut out for us! Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos, and on it goes. But in reality we need this museum to go beyond the headlines to relate the history and mechanisms of State corruption. Whenever there's an event like today's, I get calls from the media interested in our project. The attention is great. But the trick is keeping the public's attention even when the headlines die down. That's what this museum will do, because while the arrests make for great headlines, the long term solution for political corruption is an informed electorate.
Bruce Roter, Founder
The Museum of Political Corruption
Per-pupil school spending in New York state is set to increase by an average of 2.5 percent – nearly twice the projected inflation rate, according to a report released last week by the Empire Center for Public Policy.
Spending in Capital Region school districts is going to increase by 2.1 percent in the proposed 2015-2016 budgets. This is the tied for the second-lowest increase with Long Island. The inflation rate is about 1.3 percent.
The lowest increase was 1.5 percent in the Mohawk Valley. Western New York had the highest increase school spending – 3.4 percent.
This comes at a time when school enrollment is continuing to decrease by about 0.6 percent, according to Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center.
“Taxpayers are going to be spending more money to educate fewer children,” Hoefer said in a news release. “The property tax cap is doing a great job of controlling the growth of the burden on local taxpayers. But if we’re going hit the brakes on taxes once and for all, school districts need to do more – and mandate relief from Albany would help.”
Only 20 school districts are proposing budgets that would exceed the tax cap and another 301 are proposing spending plans that come within $1,000 of their caps, according to the Empire Center.
State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, said she, along with Greenwich Supervisor Sara Idleman and Easton Supervisor Daniel Shaw, met Monday with state Department of Transportation officials to discuss possible "traffic calming" measures in the two towns.
It won't be a surprise to many who went afield last fall, but the 2014 whitetail deer take was down statewide and locally.
Hunters took fewer deer in all five local counties, with big drops seen in Warren and Essex counties and smaller drops in Washington, Saratoga and Hamilton counties.
The statistics were the state Department of Environmental Conservation's annual report on the deer hunting season, which was released Monday.
The statewide take was off 2 percent, but locally hunters in Warren County shot nearly 25 percent fewer deer, nearly 10 percent fewer in Washington County and nearly 25 percent fewer in Essex County.
The drop was not a big surprise, as many believe the region's deer herd suffered during a harsh winter of 2013-14.
Locally, Easton, Salem and Cambridge were the towns where hunters had the most success, with other southern Washington counties -- where farm fields and grasslands make for good deer habitat -- were the top producers. Johnsburg was tops in Warren County, and Stillwater and town of Saratoga were atop Saratoga County's tallies.
DMPs were up, while DMAPs were down statewide.
The report has some other interesting data. The DEC has noted that more hunters continue to let younger bucks live, with only 52 taken last year being 1.5 years or younger, compared to 72 percent in the early 1990s. Accordingly, the number of older bucks that was taken has gone up.
For a full breakdown, click here.
Here is the DEC's full press release on the report.
-- Don Lehman
DEC: 2014-15 DEER HARVEST SIMILAR TO PREVIOUS YEAR
Hunters harvested approximately 238,670 deer during the 2014-15 hunting seasons, slightly less than the statewide take the previous year, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.
“Regulated deer reduces the negative impacts of deer on forests, communities and crop producers while also providing over 10 million pounds of high quality local protein annually,” said Commissioner Martens. “Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative expands hunting opportunities statewide for sportsmen and sportswomen by improving access, streamlining fishing and hunting licenses and reducing license fees.”
The estimated 2014-15 deer take included 130,068 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and 108,604 adult bucks (1.5 years or older). Statewide, this represents a very stable antlerless harvest (up by 1 percent) and only a minor decrease in buck harvest, down 5 percent from 2013 and 2 percent from the recent 5-year average. Regionally, hunters in the Northern Zone took 29,075 deer, including 16,727 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, hunters took 206,106 deer, including about 90,702 adult bucks. The estimated harvest on Long Island (Suffolk County) was 3,491 deer, including 1,175 adult bucks.
To compare these harvest estimates with other seasons in the past, please see:
2014 Deer Harvest Comparison
Previous 5-Year Average (2009-2013)
Deer Management Permits Issued
Deer Management Permit Take
Deer Management Assistance Program Take
Youth Deer Hunt
This year marked New York’s third annual Youth Deer Hunt, held over Columbus Day Weekend. During the annual Youth Deer Hunt, following mandatory safety training, 14 and 15-year-old junior hunters could take one deer, antlered or antlerless, with a firearm when properly accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult mentor. An estimated 9,033 junior hunters participated in the 2014 Youth Deer Hunt, resulting in 1,182 deer taken (618 adult bucks and 564 antlerless deer). A photo gallery showcasing successful junior hunters is available: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/54795.html.
Hunters Continue Trends to Voluntarily Reduce Harvest of Young Bucks
In 2014, only 52 percent of the bucks taken in areas without antler restrictions (48 percent statewide) were 1.5 years old, compared to 67 percent in 2000 and 72 percent in the early 1990s. As a result, even though the statewide buck harvest dropped slightly from the past few years, hunters in 2014 took an estimated 56,247 bucks aged 2.5 years or older, more than ever before.
Hunters were once again able to use crossbows for deer hunting in 2014, and an estimated 5,535 deer were taken with a crossbow. The new law in 2014 allowed hunters, 14 years and older, to use crossbows during a portion of the early bowhunting seasons and throughout the regular firearms season and muzzleloader seasons. Formerly in 2011 and 2012, crossbows were lawful only during the regular firearms season and late muzzleloader seasons, and take by crossbows averaged only 465 deer those years.
Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters, and DEC staff’s examination of nearly 15,200 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources and calculating the total harvest from the reporting rate for each zone and tag type. Additional information about the 2014-15 deer harvests, including charts and maps describing the harvest, is available on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.
Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. In support of this initiative, $10 million in NY Works funding has been dedicated to fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas
Under the initiative, the 2015-16 Enacted Budget adds an additional $8 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for the state’s hatcheries in NY Works funding. The Budget also creates a new capital account which along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat, and to improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.