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Funding Available for Wind Farms, Hydropower, Fuel Cell and other Renewable Projects

NEW YORK STATE (July 29, 2014) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced $250 million is available to fund large-scale clean energy generation projects such as wind farms, fuel cells, biomass facilities, renewable biogas, and the upgrading of small- to medium-sized hydropower projects. The competitive solicitation will promote the development of a broad range of new renewable energy resources and the contracts for these projects will be awarded for a term of up to 20 years, closer aligning New York State with neighboring states that offer similar terms.

“With access to some of the brightest minds in the country, as well as an abundance of renewal natural resources, New York has been a leader in renewable energy development and is committed to building a diversified, modern power grid,” Governor Cuomo said. "This investment will help us reach this goal by driving the development of new projects and boosting economic growth in the process."

Funding will be provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through the State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is New York’s primary policy to promote the development of new renewable energy resources. NYSERDA’s previous eight RPS Main Tier solicitations for large-scale renewable projects have resulted in approximately 1,900 megawatts of installed capacity at 65 projects that generate more than 4.6 million megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually. A recent Public Service Commission (PSC) Order instructed NYSERDA to issue at least one more RPS solicitation in 2015, and double the length of current contract terms to 20 years.

More information about the 9th Main Tier solicitation is available here.

“In keeping with Governor Cuomo’s energy priorities, changes in this solicitation will increase the feasibility of developing large renewable energy generation projects in New York State that will spur economic opportunities," said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. "We expect this updated program design to attract greater private sector investment to help reduce strain on the electric grid and protect the environment."

“As a result of Governor Cuomo’s strong support of renewable energy, New York is able to continue its commitment to develop large-scale renewable energy projects,” said PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman. “The funding being made available will help create a more diverse energy supply, a cleaner and healthier environment, and spur energy development and new economic opportunities consistent with the New York’s Clean Energy Fund and Reforming the Energy Vision initiatives.”

For every dollar New York invests in RPS Main Tier projects, the State realizes an additional $3 in economic benefit. More than $2.7 billion of direct investment in New York State is expected to occur as a result of existing Main Tier projects in the form of jobs, payments to public entities, in-State purchase of goods and services and land leases.

With this latest initiative, New York’s role as a leader and first mover in shaping the future of energy remains firmly in place. By developing innovative market solutions, the State is delivering on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to transform the energy industry into a more resilient, clean, cost-effective and dynamic system. Working with State, citizen and industry-stakeholders, the way of doing business in New York is moving to a more market-based, decentralized approach. This means preserving the environment, decreasing energy costs, and creating opportunities for economic growth for current and future generations of New Yorkers. In advancing these new energy systems and solutions, New Yorkers will have improved energy affordability and efficiency without sacrificing the ability to live in a cleaner, resilient and more sustainable environment.

WASHINGTON, DC (July 28, 2014) – United States Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) recently sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg requesting information about the FDA’s efforts to curb the overuse of antibiotics in food animal production.

"The use of antibiotics in food-producing animals must be reduced as part of the effort to preserve the efficacy of antibiotics," the senators wrote. "Research has shown that antibiotic resistant bacteria are most likely to develop when antibiotics are used continuously at low doses – the type of regimen used frequently in food animal production."

In their letter, the senators noted steps the FDA has taken to begin addressing this issue, including issuing guidance on inappropriate antibiotic use for growth promotion, calling for pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily remove these uses from product labels, and requiring more veterinary oversight of antibiotic use in food animals. The senators explained, "While these new policies are important first steps, we remain concerned that they may not be sufficient to effectively curtail the routine use of dangerously low doses of antibiotics for the duration of an animal’s life … The benefits of this change will be negligible … if the same animals can continue receiving the same antibiotics at the same doses."

The Antimicrobial Data Collection Act, introduced by Senator Gillibrand, would direct the FDA to collect and release more detailed information about how antibiotics are used in animals. Senator Warren previously questioned Commissioner Hamburg about these policies during the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on March 13, 2014. Senator Feinstein has led the effort to require a significant reduction in the use of antibiotic use in animals with her bill, the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act.

Today, the senators are requesting information from the FDA on its plans to evaluate whether these its new policies are successful, and about additional steps the agency will take if its current policies prove to be insufficient at curbing the overuse of antibiotics in food animals.

Read the full text of the letter here.

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY (July 27, 2014) – The Sullivan County Board of Elections is looking for Sullivan County residents of voting age to work the polls on Primary Day, September 9 and Election Day, November 4.

All interested parties and particularly those fluent in English and Spanish are welcomed to apply.

Half day training sessions will be offered during the first week in August for which qualified applicants will be paid $25.

Certified trainees will be eligible to work the polls at the current pay rate of $12 per hour and may also be called upon to work school board, fire department and library elections as well.

Please contact the Sullivan County Board of Elections at 845-807-0400 Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or visit the Board of Elections office on the ground floor of the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello.

LIBERTY, NY — Falls are among the leading causes of injury and death at home. Simple home modifications can reduce accidents for older adults living at home. A free educational webinar on “Home Safety for Seniors” will be offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County’s (CCESC) Caregiver Resource Center (CRC) on Wednesday, August 13, 2014. This event will occur from 1:00 to 2:00 pm at the Gerald J. Skoda Extension Education Center on 64 Ferndale-Loomis Road in Liberty, NY.

Participants in this webinar will be able to:

• Understand the importance of home safety

• Identify warning signs and potential dangers in the home

• List simple ways and resources to make a home safer

Presenter Molly Carpenter will outline the many ways that caregivers and professionals can help to safeguard older adults living at home. Affordable home fixes and a home safety checklist will be detailed.

Pre-registration for this program is encouraged by calling CCESC at 845-292-6180 or email Bonnie Lewis, CRC Coordinator, at bjl25@cornell.edu.

Molly Carpenter is an author, speaker, trainer, and family caregiver, and brings years of personal and professional elder care experience and training to families dealing with dementia. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science degree in family science with a gerontology specialization from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a master’s degree in education with a gerontology specialization from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Caregiver Resource Center educational programs are provided under funding from the NYS Office for the Aging as an essential service to informal family caregivers.

NEW YORK STATE (July 24, 2014) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the formation of the first-ever NY Craft Brewer Workgroup, which will put forth recommendations on ways to continue spurring the rapid expansion of the state’s craft beer sector. The workgroup, which is a direct result of the 2nd Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit, will consist of representatives from the craft beverage industry, higher education and research institutions, the agricultural sector and state government.

“New York’s craft beer industry has seen tremendous growth in the past four years – and we plan to keep the momentum going,” Governor Cuomo said. “By bringing together leaders from industry, academia and the public sector, we can make sure that the Empire State becomes an even better place to brew and promote world-class beverages. That’s what I’ve charged this Workgroup with doing, and I am confident that they will play a large role in continuing to cultivate a vibrant environment for the craft beer industry.”

The workgroup will help coordinate and improve communication between all segments of the craft brew industry and state government. Members will also work together to identify emerging needs, including research on new varieties of hops and barley, production methods and consumer trends; as well as making sure that the state has the infrastructure in place for this growing industry.

The workgroup will also continue where the summit left off by reviewing areas of potential regulatory reform and guiding the continued development of Empire State Development’s One Stop Shop, which is designed to provide New York’s beverage producers with a single point of government contact for assistance regarding regulations, licensing, state incentives, and any other questions or issues facing the industry. Members will assist in the development and/or direction of promotional and marketing programs such as Taste NY, Pride of New York and Trails to promote New York agriculture, while exploring grant opportunities potentially beneficial to the industry.

In July 2012, Governor Cuomo signed legislation creating a farm brewery license to promote the use of local ingredients in craft beers. Since that law took effect in January 2013, 48 new Farm Breweries have opened up across the state. Like Farm Wineries, Farm Breweries craft “New York” beer with specific levels of locally grown ingredients, gradually increasing from 20 percent to 90 percent by 2024. Farm Breweries enjoy similar privileges to Farm Wineries, including the ability to operate up to five offsite retail outlets, open restaurants, conduct tastings and sell related products that may include souvenirs, food to complement beer tastings and equipment and supplies.

New York microbreweries continue to experience unprecedented growth. The Empire State is now home to 100 microbreweries, a 150 percent increase from 2011. Additionally, the number of restaurant brewers has increased from 10 in 2011 to 26 today, which amounts to a 160 percent increase.

Currently there are approximately 225 acres of hops planted in New York State, of which 150 acres will be harvested this year—amounting to over 100,000 pounds of hops.

For more information about New York’s growing beer, wine, spirits and cider industries, visit the One Stop Shop and www.taste.ny.gov.

UPPER DELAWARE REGION (July 24, 2014) – Hundreds of community members took advantage of the unusual, free opportunity to interact with over 55 scientists and amateur naturalists participating in the second annual Upper Delaware BioBlitz on June 29 in Sullivan County.

The official count of 807 species identified in 24 hours at the BioBlitz is growing as the 9 research teams submit their final tallies after confirming and revising initial IDs. Many first occurrences of species officially documented as appearing in Sullivan County were identified.  First occurrences are not new species but show the dearth of field level research that has taken place over the last century and been published. Results for each team are presented in Table 1.

Table 1

Aquatic Macro-Invertebrates

47

Birds

85

Botany

256

Bryology

121

Fish

25

Fungi

104

Herpetology

23

Invertebrates

129

Mammals

17

Many first occurrences of species officially documented as appearing in Sullivan County were identified.  First occurrences are not new species but show the dearth of field level research that has taken place over the last century and been published. Results for each team are presented in Table 1.

Specialized researchers comprised nine teams surveying the site and included aquatic macro-invertebrates (aquatic insects, mussels, snails), birds, botany (plants), bryology (lichens, mosses, worts), fish, fungi (mushrooms, molds), herpetology (reptiles, amphibians), invertebrates (terrestrial insects, worms, snails), and mammals.

Species were identified during the BioBlitz using a variety of collection protocols, ranging from actual capture to digital photography. Mammals, for instance, were mostly identified using a trail camera, vocalizations and other signs. A healthy variety of 6 different bat species were identified including a good-sized maternity colony of little brown bats; a species that has been decimated by White-nose Syndrome.

Barbara Leo noted her bird team research highlights to be, “the Louisiana and Northern waterthrushes which are generally found by their territorial singing in late April and May respectively.These were both by direct observation in the habitats that were expected to support them.  The other really nice find was an ovenbird nest with an incubating female and 3 eggs.  Most birders never get to see this warbler let alone find their nest, which is concealed on the ground.  The two singing hooded warblers on the yellow dot trail at Ten Mile Access was, also, a very nice surprise.”

The primary goal of a BioBlitz is to compile a snapshot survey of the life on a particular property as an indicator of the biodiversity of the area. Other goals include raising public awareness, fostering scientific interests in children, and providing opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary research.

All of the data will be compiled into an inventory of species collected during the event and will be publicly available to help future scientists understand what was living on the site at this particular time, including rare or endangered species. Experts will travel from far distances to study this unique area of New York State. Scientists participated from Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Cornell University, East Stroudsburg University, Penn State University, and other academic, nonprofit, and governmental organizations.

"At Stroud Water Research Center, we have a long history of studying aquatic macroinvertebrates, which are a vital part of healthy streams and ponds,” commented Kerry Mapes from Stroud, “It was great to be able to document the wide variety of species at this site because it demonstrates that it’s an area worthy of continued protection and conservation. The BioBlitz is a great opportunity to teach the public about the importance of biodiversity and for them to see the creatures they may not have even realized were there."

During a BioBlitz, biologists and volunteers gathered to identify as many living things as possible within 24 hours on a demarcated parcel of about 500 acres within the Ten Mile River Scout Camp in the Town of Tusten, NY. Collection started at noon on Saturday, June 28 and continued until noon on Sunday. The public portion of the event was on Sunday, June 29th from 9am to 3pm. The center of activities was at the head of Rock Lake on Cochecton Turnpike where there were organized activities for adults and families including birding walks, aquatic insect identification, electrofishing demonstrations, eagle trips, native wildflower walks, and mushroom forays. Sponsors and participating organizations provided information and offered educational programs on their particular areas of expertise. Over 25 volunteers including a steering committee helped to organize the event.

A portion of this property is within the National Park Service’s Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River corridor and borders the river at the Ten Mile River landing. The BioBlitz site included the Indian Cliffs, Rock Lake, Maul’s Pond, and Grassy Swamp Pond, one of the only quaking bogs to be scientifically authenticated in the Catskills.

Winners of the “Photos of Nature in the Upper Delaware Watershed” Facebook photo contest sponsored by the Upper Delaware BioBlitz were recognized during the public portion of the event. The judges, local photographers Sandy Long, Roy Morsch, and David Soete, made their selections in 8 categories and also selected an overall “Best in Show” winning photograph which was awarded the grand prize, a digital camera. More information on the photo contest is available at: www.facebook.com/bioblitzphotosofnature.

Next year’s Upper Delaware BioBlitz will be on the Pennsylvania side of the river. For more information the public can visit www.upperdelawarebioblitz.com  or email info@upperdelawarebioblitz.com.

SULLIVAN COUNTY & SURROUNDING AREAS (July 23, 2014) – Issued By: NWS Storm Prediction Center (Storm Prediction Center – Norman, Oklahoma)

Affected Jurisdictions: Albany, Broome, Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, Ulster, Warren, Washington Counties

Severe Thunderstorm Watch 432 Is In Effect Until 10:00 PM EDT

Please stay tuned to your local radio or TV Station for more information. 

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