Week of December 12, 2005

World

National

 

Regional

General

Lake Superior

Illinois

Minnesota

New York

Ohio

Ontario

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World

Scorpion bigger than human

A geologist working in Scotland has uncovered footprints that he says come from a fearsome water scorpion bigger than a human.

 

The tracks were made about 330 million years ago by a six-legged creature called Hibbertopterus, according to Martin Whyte of the University of Sheffield, U.K. Hibbertopterus was some 1.6 metres (5¼ feet) long and a metre (3¼ feet) wide, he added. The tracks show that this now-extinct group of

animals, previously thought to dwell in water only, could also survive on land, according to Whyte.

 

At around the same time as the creature lived, scientists believe our own four-limbed ancestors were also making their first steps towards leaving the water and colonizing the land.  The six-metre-long trackway reveals strides that were 27 cm (11 inches) long, and also features a central groove left by the creature’s dragging tail, according to Whyte. This, he added, shows the creature was probably a very slow, lumbering beast when moving on land.


National

Feds put $4 million into boating access 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is distributing more than $4 million in grants to provide additional facilities for recreational boaters in eight states.

 

The Boating Infrastructure Grants are funded from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. The funds follow a round of grants announced earlier this year as Congress made more money available to the program this year.  “Boating can make an important contribution to local economies,” said Interior Secretary Gale Norton, in a statement.

 

The grant awards are:

• Annapolis City Dock, Annapolis, Md. — $500,000 to replace and upgrade an existing boardwalk and provide 20 transient slips.

• Fulton Harbor, Fulton, Texas — $579,025 to construct 15 new transient slips.

• Cumberland Yacht Harbor, Nashville, Tenn. — $376,172 to

construct a 680-foot dock, 20 slips and restrooms at a waterfront condominium and marina.

• Glass City Municipal Marina, Toledo, Ohio — $226,500 to provide transient moorage at a new 125-acre marina district.

• Port of Everett, Wash. — $995,000 to develop 42 slips for transient boats.

• Kenlake Marina, Hardin, Kentucky — $198,000 to construct an 830-foot floating dock that will accommodate up to 40 vessels.

• Nauticus Marina, Norfolk, Va. — $228,540 to increase transient access to the city-owned marina near the Nauticus Maritime Center.

• Town of Occoquan, Va. — $166,500 to build 24 floating docks with utilities and a restroom.

• Tuckerton Seaport, Tuckerton, N.J. — $495,596 to build 120 feet of floating docks with utilities and restrooms, as well as dredging at the facility.

• Port of Wahkiakum, Wahkiakum, Wash. — $202,712 to build 24 new short-term slips.

 


Fish Removal Aiding Native Species

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Efforts to remove non-native fish from parts of the Colorado River appear to be working, with rising numbers of native fish being reported by fish-removal crews.

 

A years-long effort to remove trout from the river by stunning fish with electrical shocks and netting them is now in its final year. Biologists say the numbers of trout are dropping while the number of native species the program is designed to help -- speckled dace, bluehead and flannelmouth suckers and chub -- are up.

 

Crews have stunned, captured and killed more than 17,000  

nonnative fish this year. Their remains are ground up for use as fertilizer on a downstream Indian reservation.   While teams used to catch native fish only about five percent of the time, there are now stretches of the river where they are dominant, according to Clay Nelson, the Arizona Game and Fish Department biologist contracted to run the fish removal efforts for the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive management program.

 

Other reports show that the native fish are still in great danger, however. A U.S. Geological Survey report released last month predicted chub populations could decline from 3,000 adult fish to 1,500 in the next 10 to 15 years, at least partially as a result of impacts from Glen Canyon Dam.


125-year-old Gun company sold off at auction

Some came to last week's auction looking for parts, but others came to bid farewell to a 125-year-old company they say was known for high-quality guns not often found anymore.  It was a sad day for many gun enthusiasts as the venerable Ithaca Gun Co. sold off equipment in its going-out-of-business liquidation auction.

 

The company, which was founded in 1880 in Ithaca, moved to King Ferry in the 1980s. In April, it moved to Allen Street in Auburn, in anticipation of a sale to a Rhode Island investor. When that sale fell through around Memorial Day, Ithaca Gun closed its doors.

At the time, the company owed several hundred thousand dollars to various creditors, including Cayuga County.  Cayuga County planning and economic development director David Miller said the company has since paid off its roughly $150,000 debt to the county.  Ithaca Gun moved to King Ferry under new ownership in the 1980s, after encountering fiscal trouble and an expensive environmental cleanup in Ithaca. It went bankrupt and was bought by a group of investors in 1995.

 

This is the company's third failure.

 


Regional

Closing the St. Lawrence Seaway to protect the Great Lakes

Study recommends closing as an economic benefit to region and country

For years, many conservationists, members of the science community and other concerned individuals have wanted to stop ocean-going ship traffic on the Great Lakes. That's because vessels traveling from the ocean to the Lakes oftentimes carry invasive species, but opponents call the industry a vital part of the economy. A new study paid for by the Joyce Foundation questions how vital that industry really is.

 

Oceangoing cargo ships are a losing proposition for Michigan and other Great Lakes states, the study says and tackled the question:  How much would it hurt the economy if we end ocean shipping on the Great Lakes? The report suggests transportation prices would rise about fifty-five million dollars per year. The study claims ending ocean ship traffic will cost money, but keeping it could cost more.

 

Eliminating ocean shipping on the Great Lakes could increase transportation costs by 5.4 %, according to the authors of a study presented last week at the Shedd Aquarium.  John Taylor, a marketing and logistics professor at Grand Valley State U. in Grand Rapids, Mich., and James Roach, a consultant and former Michigan Dept of Transportation official, studied traffic along the St. Lawrence Seaway and into and out of the Great Lakes in 2002.

 

"If the cost of regulation rises, then cargo shippers may change their transportation mode," Taylor said.  Shifting cargo from ships to trucks and trains would mean adding another

1.6 trains and 197 trucks per day, Taylor and Roach said.  It would mean a $26.4 million increase in the cost of transporting steel and would add millions to the cost of exporting grain.

 

Overseas trade on the St. Lawrence Seaway accounts for about 7 % of all Great Lakes shipping and saves the region’s manufacturers about $55 million a year in transportation dollars. But it will cost utilities and taxpayers at least $200 million to deal with invasive species dumped into the lakes from foreign ships. The seaway hasn’t lived up to expectations,” one researcher said.

 

Estimates for dealing with the Great Lakes’ 160 invasive species have ranged from $1.5 billion a year to $5.7 billion a year. Taylor said his annual number of $200 million comes from adding up the cost of Great Lakes utility companies in clearing water intake valves of species, such as zebra and quagga mussels.

 

Many feel the one way to fight the invasion of zebra mussels and other nonnative species on the Great Lakes would be to stop allowing oceangoing vessels to dock here. However, transportation experts who've read the study question some of its methodology.

 

For example, it assumes prices for alternatives, such as rail, would remain constant, but some experts say it's possible those costs would rise, making the transition away from ocean shipping more expensive.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/cgi-bin/article.pl?articleId=28406


Action Needed to Reverse Great Lakes Breakdown, Say Scientists

New Report Urges Restoration to Repair ‘Immune System’ Of Great Lakes to Avoid Ecosystem Collapse

ANN ARBOR, MICH. - The immune system of the Great Lakes is breaking down and the ecosystem is in danger of collapse, according to a new report released today by the region’s leading scientists.

       

The report underscores the urgent need for comprehensive restoration to repair the “immune system” of the Great Lakes, and to reverse a pattern of decline that threatens to affect drinking water, swimming, fishing, tourism and other benefits derived from the largest body of fresh water in the world.

       

“This report serves as a warning,” said Al Beeton, Ph.D., one of the lead authors and former director of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. “The Great Lakes are deteriorating at a rate unprecedented in their recorded history and are nearing the tipping point of ecosystem-wide breakdown. If we want to restore this resource, it is time to act now.”

       

The paper reports that the Great Lakes buffering capacity, or immune system, is breaking down, rendering ineffective the self-regulating system of the lakes to protect themselves and recover from new stresses like pollution and invasive species. “If not addressed with great urgency,” states the report, “the Great Lakes system may experience further – and potentially irreversible – damage.”

       

To date approximately 60 scientists, including the region's Sea Grant directors, have endorsed the paper, “Prescription for Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection and Restoration: Avoiding the Tipping Point of Irreversible Changes,” and its recommendations.

       

“As alarming as this diagnosis may be, the solution is relatively straightforward and achievable if we act now,” said

Don Scavia, Ph.D., another lead author and Professor of Natural Resources at the U. of Michigan. “To restore the Great Lakes, we need to start treating the lakes holistically and not just as a series of isolated problems to be solved one at a time.”

 

The report recommends:

•        Restoring the Great Lakes immune system by rehabilitating coastal habitats and the wetlands and tributaries that serve as a filter for the Great Lakes;

•        Stopping the addition of new sources of stress, like non-native species;

•        Protecting areas that are still healthy; and

•        Monitoring the restoration process to determine whether the Great Lakes are in recovery or ongoing decline.

   

According to the report, despite progress in some areas, the Great Lakes are exhibiting a number of disturbing symptoms that led the scientists to conclude they may be on the verge of a breakdown. Some of these problems include the increasing number of beach closings caused by bacteria contamination, rapid disappearance of diporia – a key fish food – that has severely disrupted the food chain, the resurgence of the Lake Erie “dead zone,” and the widespread and sudden decline in native fish such as yellow perch.

   

The report comes as President Bush and the Environmental Protection Agency prepare to release on December 12 a plan to restore the Great Lakes, as part of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, a year-long process established by President Bush to develop a blueprint for restoring the Great Lakes.

  

The Great Lakes comprise almost 20 percent of the world’s surface fresh water and supply drinking water to more than 40 million U.S. and Canadian residents. The Great Lakes also support local agriculture; a diversity of wildlife, including a world-class fishery; maritime trade; industry; and tourism.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for December 9, 2005

Lake Level Conditions:

All of the Great Lakes, except Lake Ontario, are 2 to 9 inches below the levels of a year ago.  Lake Ontario is 2 inches higher than it was a year ago.  Lake Superior is expected to fall 3 inches over the next month, but will remain above chart datum in December.  Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum and should decline 2 inches over the next 30 days.  Lake St. Clair is projected to rise an inch in the next month.  Lake Erie is expected to be at the same level in 30 days while Lake Ontario is expected to fall 3 inches.  Levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain lower than 2004/2005.  

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be near average during the month of December.  Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers are anticipated to be below average during December.  St. Lawrence River flow is projected to be above average in December.

 

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by

changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings. Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center web page. 

 

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Expected water level for Dec 9 in ft

601.5

577.1

573.0

570.5

244.7

Chart datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff from chart datum, in inches

+5

-5

+8

+15

+17

Diff from last month, in inches

0

-3

-1

-1

0

Diff from last year in inches

-2

-7

-9

-6

+2


General

State Supreme Court upholds revocation of hunting privileges

 BISMARCK, N.D.  (AP). - A North Dakota sportsman may have his hunting privileges stripped because of his Wyoming conviction for trespassing, the state Supreme Court ruled in upholding a multi-state agreement targeted at hunting violators.

 

North Dakota and Wyoming are among more than 20 states that belong to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. Its member states agree to honor each other's license suspensions for breaking similar hunting or fishing rules.

 

David Gray, of Bismarck, challenged the compact's provisions as part of his appeal of the state Game and Fish Department's 15-month suspension of his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges.

 

In November 2003, Gray drove his truck across property in northeastern Wyoming that was posted against hunting. Gray was crossing the private property to get to public land where he could hunt, court documents say. The landowner summoned a game warden, who gave Gray a ticket.

 

The following April, a jury convicted Gray of trespassing to hunt. His conviction was upheld by a Wyoming appeals court. North Dakota's Game and Fish Department was notified, and Gray was barred from hunting, fishing or trapping in North Dakota from Sept. 21, 2004, to Jan. 1, 2006.

Gray, who acted as his own attorney, argued the multi-state compact should not apply to his case, and asserted the compact itself is invalid, because it has not been approved by Congress. His North Dakota license suspension amounted to an illegal second punishment for the same crime, Gray said in a court filing.

 

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court rejected Gray's arguments. If Gray had driven across posted land without permission in North Dakota, "these circumstances would support a (trespassing) conviction under North Dakota law," Justice Dale Sandstrom wrote.

 

In a separate opinion, Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle said North Dakota law may give the Game and Fish Department too much power in deciding whether the compact is used to penalize a sportsman.

The North Dakota Legislature adopted the compact, with some changes, in 2001. The North Dakota version gives the Game and Fish Department broad discretion in deciding whether to impose sanctions on a hunter who breaks it.

 

Gray argued the law was unconstitutional because it does not apply equally to hunters. The Supreme Court's ruling says Gray presented no evidence of that, but VandeWalle suggested the law could be questioned for another reason - it delegates too much power to the Game and Fish Department.

 


Ice Safety - Be careful this winter

Each season has its safety issues, and winter is no different. As the popularity of winter activities increases, so does the need to practice ice safety. Wind, snow, rain, sunlight, water levels, underground springs and variations in temperature are just some of the factors that affect ice strength.

 

Before venturing out onto ice for any reason, take the time to institute a few safety precautions. This is especially true when visiting forest preserves because rangers do not monitor ice thickness.

 

Most ice activities require at least four inches of clear ice, and ice on any body of water is not uniformly thick. A lake with ice several inches thick in one spot may have very thin ice in another spot, so a check-as-you-go policy is always wise. Never assume that any ice is completely safe. 

 

When checking ice, look for these indicators of dangerous

conditions:

 - Cracks, ridges or faults in the ice

 - Differently colored ice, especially dark gray or black

 - Open water in the center of an otherwise frozen lake

 - Ice that looks rotten or porous

 - Ice covered by snow, water or slush

 - Obstructions or objects in or protruding from the ice

 - Running water or bubbles visible under the ice

 - Pressure cracks along the shore

 

As an added precaution when engaging in any winter activity, always dress for the occasion. Hypothermia and frostbite are serious dangers that can best be prevented by dressing in warm layers and staying dry. Be sure to inform someone of your whereabouts and when you expect to return.

 

Cold, icy conditions can provide a great day of ice fishing or ice skating but only if enjoyed safely. This winter, play it smart, and play it safe.


Lodges competing for Hunting/Fishing dollars

More hunting and fishing lodges are vying for corporate and family dollars. Millions of anglers, hunters and target shooters are shelling out billions of dollars on gear, from $300 fly-fishing rods to $10,000 shotguns. Outdoor retailers such as Cabela's are expanding nationwide, opening superstores that attract legions of shoppers and tourists. Outdoor trade shows are drawing more exhibitors each year.

From 2003 to 2004, sales of hunting and shooting products surged 8% to $2.9 billion, while fishing gear sales rose 2% to $2 billion, reports the National Sporting Goods Association trade group. Anglers and hunters spend tens of billions of dollars more on lodging, travel and other costs, according to industry groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 


Evinrude promo: 7-year warranty or $4 per hp 

Bombardier Recreational Products is initiating a boat show promotion on its Evinrude outboards that it calls the best in the industry.

 

Buyers of new E-TECs and Evinrude 2-stroke direct injection engines can choose between seven years of engine protection or $4 off for each unit of horsepower. The promotion applies to engines 40-hp and above sold in the United States and Canada between Dec. 31 and March 31.

 

“Consumers won’t find a better purchase incentive from any

other outboard engine manufacturer,” said BRP outboard chief Roch Lambert, in a statement. Lambert, vice president and general manager, outboard marine engines, said the program “ensures a quality made-in-the-U.S.A. product from a company with enough confidence to back it for seven years.”

 

Those choosing the seven-year option get a four-year extended protection plan tacked onto the standard three-year warranty. Those choosing the second option can get the $4 per unit of hp in the form of credit toward the purchase or in a rebate check.


 

Lake Superior

Lake Superior's slime conceals new species

A new species of algae found in the Grand Marais area is known to exist only in Lakes Superior and Nipigon, and it may help scientists monitor water quality.

 

Growing in shallow water on protected rocks along the big lake is a brownish slime called periphyton. In this slime of mostly microscopic organisms is a new species of diatom, called Hannaea superiorensis. The algae was first documented by researcher Mark Edlund of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Diatoms are a group of microscopic algae. There are billions of them in all of Minnesota's lakes and streams, including thousands of different species. Diatoms are one group of microscopic algae that live as single cells or in small colonies. They are found in oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, bogs, ponds and moist soil. Diatoms have cell walls composed of biologically-produced glass put together in two halves. sort of like a Petri dish.

 

 


Illinois

Angler wins $10,000 from TV show after being struck by a fish

PEORIA - Gene Moore knew the fish probably would be jumping last July on the Illinois River. What he didn't expect is one to net him $10,000.

 

Moore won that prize in his recent appearance on "America's Funniest Home Videos." The winning clip showed six Asian carp leaping into his boat, including one that smacked the Peoria man in the face and then kept walloping him.   He'll

return to Hollywood in early December to try to win $100,000 from the show.   Moore went on the river last summer to try to shoot a video promoting fish bait. He knew the Asian carp would be jumping, so he had his friends who were videotaping him wear helmets, but Moore was unprotected.

 

"They jump like 8 to 10 feet high," Moore said. "It's actually dangerous, very dangerous." n 2003, a Peoria woman was knocked unconscious after an Asian carp hit her in the face while she was riding a Sea-Doo on the Illinois River.


2005 Firearm Deer harvest among best ever

Hunters in Illinois harvest over 114,000 deer during seven-day firearm season

Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 114,209 deer during the seven-day firearm deer hunting season Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4, Illinois DNR Director Joel Brunsvold announced last week. The preliminary harvest total compares with the record-setting harvest total of 116,675 deer taken during the firearm season last year.

 

The preliminary second-season (Dec. 1-4) harvest total was 37,158, compared with the second-season harvest of 42,856 in 2004.  This year's preliminary first-season (Nov. 18-20) deer harvest was 77,051 compared with a first-season harvest of 73,819 in 2004.  The figures include deer harvested in the 98 counties in which firearm hunting is permitted and deer harvested on state sites where special permits are issued.

 

Preliminary harvest reports for the 2005 firearm season show

that Pike County led the state with a total harvest of 3,737.  Deer hunters is most downstate counties registered their harvest through the new DNR Direct harvest reporting system by going online or phoning a toll-free number to report their harvest.

 

The Late Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season in 51 counties is Jan. 13-15, 2006.  Permits were issued previously for these seasons.  Resident landowners with unfilled "Property-only Hunting" landowner/tenant permits for the firearm season may use those permits to take antlerless deer on their property during the Late Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season if the property is located in one of the 51 counties open for the late winter season.  Other unfilled firearm season permits will not be valid for the Late Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season.

 

The statewide archery deer hunting season continues through Jan. 12, 2006.


Minnesota

Carp found in Swan Lake

DNR to hold public meeting on Swan Lake drawdown Dec 14

The discovery of carp in Nicollet County's Swan Lake has prompted the Minnesota DNR to begin an aggressive plan to draw down water levels on the lake this winter to eradicate them. A public information meeting to provide additional information, answer questions, and address any public concerns has been scheduled at the Nicollet Conservation Club (one-half mile west of Nicollet off State Highway 14) beginning at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14.

 

De-watering the lake is expected to cause a major fish kill by depleting oxygen levels. DNR staff began removing stop logs from the water control structure Tuesday, Dec. 6.

 

Carp can do serious damage to beneficial aquatic plants and water quality, thus diminishing a lake's attractiveness for both fish and wildlife and human use. Swan Lake, a famed 10,000-acre waterfowl lake, currently enjoys excellent water quality and healthy aquatic vegetation, according to the DNR.

 

Conditions are currently favorable for a successful drawdown, DNR managers noted. The lake is about a foot lower than the DNR's management goal, in effect providing a head start on the drawdown. And, the recent snow and frigid temperatures will help spur the rate of oxygen depletion as water is removed. Three or more feet of water will need to be removed from the lake to set the stage for a complete fish kill.

 

If a substantial fish kill does appear likely, any remaining pockets of water that might harbor carp could be treated with rotenone or a technique called reverse aeration. Rotenone is a chemical derived from plants that is used to kill fish by

interfering with gill function. It is not harmful to humans, birds or animals. Reverse aeration stirs up sediment to expedite the oxygen depletion process.

 

While it is impossible to determine exactly how many carp might currently be in the lake, considering that one carp can lay a million eggs a year, the presence of just a few hundred carp could have tremendous repercussions in a hurry. Carp are very prolific and can explode their population in a very short time.

 

It is unknown how the carp might have entered the lake. The DNR plans to monitor all lake inlets in an attempt to determine if the carp might have found their way from another water body to the lake via a drainage ditch or inlet stream. It is also possible the carp might have accidentally or intentionally been introduced to the lake through human activity.

 

The drawdown will have both an upside and a downside beyond the carp issue. The upside is that the drawdown could expose vast areas of lake bottom that are loaded with dormant aquatic plant seeds. As water levels recede, those seeds will be exposed to sunlight and germinate, creating large areas of additional vegetation that will benefit the lake and waterfowl.

 

The downside is not being able to predict with any certainty just how long it will take for water levels to rebound. In the late 1980's, the DNR conducted a major drawdown at Swan Lake that happened to coincide with a period of drought conditions. The lake was basically dry for a year and it was another year before hunters could access the lake with their boats and outboard motors.


New York

GE Not Required To Complete Cleanup of PCBs from Hudson River, Says Spitzer

ALBANY, NY (AP). — A federal plan requiring General Electric Co. to dredge PCB-contaminated sediment from the Hudson River will allow further delays and doesn't require the company to finish the cleanup, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Wednesday.

 

"At long last there is an agreement, but it does not require GE to complete the job," Spitzer said last week.

 

In October, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency struck a deal with GE to dredge the suspected carcinogen over six years from the Hudson River as part of a Superfund cleanup estimated to cost $500 - $700 million. Under the proposal now receiving public comment, dredging would begin in the spring of 2007 along 40 miles of the historic river north of Albany.

 

GE dumped an estimated 1.3 million lbs of PCBs into the river from its plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, NY, before the federal government banned the substance in 1977.

 

Spitzer, as the state's attorney, also claims the agreement would allow further delays of the project first proposed 20 years ago, and let GE cap PCBs near the river banks, leaving river bottom sediment filled with the suspected carcinogen. He added the deal fails to require GE to pay for testing of fish, and does not ensure enough soil would be added to the river to allow re-growth.

 

EPA spokeswoman Mary Mears said the EPA is considering

Spitzer comments, made during a required public-comment period that could affect whether the proposed cleanup is accepted by the federal government and GE. She said the proposal would remove more PCBs than initially projected.

 

GE spokesman Mark Behan said that although the company could opt out of the clean up after a "test phase" of one year in which 10 % of the work is done, the EPA could sue to force the company back to the job. Behan emphasized that an independent panel will evaluate the work done in that first year -- called Phase I. The EPA will decide if modifications are needed. After that, GE "has the opportunity to tell the EPA whether it will conduct Phase II," Behan said.

 

He also said besides paying for dredging equipment, facilities and rail operations, GE will pay for testing fish for years. He said the agreement shouldn't be a surprise to Spitzer, a candidate for governor in 2006, because he had representatives "at the table" monitoring negotiations.

 

The proposal to end a lawsuit by the EPA against GE calls on GE to pay the government up to $78 million for the agency's past and future oversight costs. The company has already paid some $37 million of EPA costs. The company said it has paid some $100 million in preparation work for the dredging, and the new deal commits it to another $100 million to $150 million of work.

 

GE would build a sediment processing facility in Fort Edward, New York, and perform one "season" of dredging from spring to fall of 2007. It would move up to 250 rail cars full of sediment per week.


Judge Denies Firearms Industry Motion to Dismiss New York City Case

Decision Appealed Immediately

NEWTOWN, Conn.—A federal judge in New York City today ruled that the city may ignore federal law and proceed with its frivolous lawsuit against firearms companies.

 

Industry defendants had filed a motion to dismiss the suit after Congress passed the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” in October. While the new law was intended to protect firearms industry companies from lawsuits like New York’s, Eastern District Judge Jack B. Weinstein opted to deny the motion and side with the city.

 

Firearms industry defendants plan to appeal the decision immediately.

“Judge Weinstein’s decision was not only predictable, but intellectually dishonest and blatantly biased, given his

decade-long track record of aiming to derail the firearms industry,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade organization for the firearms industry.

 

“New York City’s lawsuit is precisely the type of suit the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was designed to prevent. During debate in each chamber of Congress, Sen. Larry Craig and Rep. Cliff Sterns—the sponsors of the bill—both referenced the city’s case as a quintessential example of a lawsuit the act would prevent,” Keane said.

 

The “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,” signed into law in October, was created to prevent lawsuits attempting to hold firearms industry companies liable for the actions of criminals who misuse the industry’s lawful products. The law prevents wrongful civil liability lawsuits against law-abiding companies.


Ohio

Tour Fantasy of Lights display at Alum Creek State Park

COLUMBUS,  - This Christmas season, enjoy the Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware County as it returns for its sixth year. The drive-through display features more than 1 million lights and 125 displays, many with animation. 

 

The two-mile holiday light extravaganza begins at the Alum Creek Marina, accessible from Hollenback Rd off of South Old State Rd. The park’s Marina store has been transformed into a

holiday gift shop and includes photos with Santa for $5 each. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies are also provided. All proceeds from Santa photos as well as a portion of gate sales benefit Recreation Unlimited, a 165-acre camp in Delaware County for youths and adults with disabilities.

 

The display is open 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Sunday-Thursday and 5:30-10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday. The cost to view the display is $10 per vehicle Monday through Thursday and $15 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The display is open through December 30. For more info call 740-548-6056.


Ontario

Kingsville commercial fined $1500 for letting fish spoil

WINDSOR — A Kingsville commercial fisherman has been fined for allowing fish to spoil after he failed to retrieve the gill nets he set last July in western Lake Erie. Gerry Penner, 52, pleaded guilty and was fined $1,500 for allowing the flesh of fish to spoil.

 

Ministry of Natural Resources’ Lake Erie Management Unit conservation officers received information last July 19 that some gill nets appeared to have been abandoned. Officers retrieved approximately 500 metres of tattered gill net, which contained fish in varying stages of decomposition.  Net

markings identified Penner as the owner.  An abandoned net can also pose as a navigation hazard to anglers and recreational boaters apart from needlessly catching and killing fish.

 

The case was heard by Justice of the Peace Susan Hoffman in Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor on November 7, 2005.

 

Call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time to report a natural resources violation or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

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