What Is Hydraulic Fracturing ?

Hydraulic fracturing is a means of extracting natural gas, oil, petroleum and other substances from       shale rock layers. Concerns have been raised, however, about the impact of hydraulic fracturing on surrounding groundwater. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is undertaking studies and analyses of the possible effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The study is expected to be completed in late 2014.

Among the concerns the EPA cites:

1) Stress on surface water and ground water supplies because of the use of water in hydraulic fracturing

2) Contamination of underground sources of drinking water and surface water; and

3) Air pollution caused by release of chemicals and gases into the surrounding air.

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California Hydraulic Fracturing Water Contamination

Hyrdraulic Fracking Causes Earthquakes, Study Finds
Santa Cruz, CA:  According to results from a new study just published in the prestigious journal Science,there is a direct association between injecting water into the ground and earthquakes: injecting water into the ground is a practice used in the highly controversial natural gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracking or fracturing.
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Freedman in the Family Court Race

Ready to make changes in the system

When the Erie County legislature created a seventh Family Court judgeship, many in the system urged Brenda Freedman to run. After all, as an attorney referee she knows the ropes and she had flirted with the job in 2013.

Freedman has over 25 years of experience in family law. She is one of only a handful of specially selected Court Attorney Referees, and works in both NYS Supreme Court as well as Erie County Family Court. She presides over cases of divorce, custody, visitation, and domestic violence. It’s this specialized perception that qualifies her for the bench.
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What’s Going On At the Waste Water Treatment Plant?

AmherstTownHall2

From Dan Ward:

There is a letter posted on the Town’s website from Jeffrey D. Angeil, Amherst’s Assistant Municipal Engineer.  It was recently sent to Richard Rink P.E. at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in Buffalo.  It’s good for transparency – however its all gobbledy-gook “engineerese” to the uninitiated.

Basically it’s the Town telling the state how it’s fixing the problems with the sewer plant.  The state inspected the plant and found it to be in violation of its NYS DEC permit- the permit is what allows the TOA – who owns the plant – to discharge treated sewage into Tonawanda Creek, which flows into the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence Seaway, Atlantic Ocean, and then the world. No permit, no discharge. Screw up on your permit, you (us) can be fined. Or the state slaps your hand, and the Town “consents” to an order to remedy.

I think what we really need to know is the nature and extent of the violations, and why they were allowed to exist to begin with.  This is a management issue for the Supervisor – Engineering Dept runs the plant – his responsibility – an Executive Branch Department – I know – I used to sit in his Chair.  Maybe if he wasn’t still practicing medicine several days a week he would be on top of this.

Don’t you think we should know how much this mismanagement has cost us?  How about a taxpayers’ lawsuit for waste and fraud to recover “our” loss?

This has been hidden out there – on the website – in plain sight – hoping no one will notice.  How about an accounting of the Supervisor’s (not some employee’s) responsibilities here???   This sort of incompetence and mismanagement should be an issue in the 2015 Amherst Town elections.

Response from Martin Gugino:

The last page is a spreadsheet that shows that substantial repairs have been ongoing since 2011 – of the order of millions of dollars per year.

Parts of the plan have been discussed at the Town Board. I think at our first meeting, Mr. Marlette said to Charlie that there is no chance that the Town would knowingly accept fracking waste, as the town was embarked on this long expensive project of fixing prior neglect and had no intention of jeopardizing that effort.

Reply from Dan Ward:

This is a real environmental time bomb IMO …the original plant was built with about 90% Federal money (still ours, but a different pocket) back in early 70s…it was supposed to serve Amherst, Clarence and Newstead…that governance agreement has never really been hammered out ..they doubled the capacity some time back but it was all a paper exercise …nothing new was built, the numbers were just changed…its an item that no one seems to understand, nor wants to talk about…the way the plant is constructed, upstream from Tonawanda town and city, they would be the chief complainants – or should be – but I have never heard them – when we screw up. Getting cited for a violation of permit is a BIG deal…should not happen…the Town should be pressing Congressmen Higgins and Collins for more Federal aid, maybe get some of that $urplus Cuomo has now to reconstruct …but you never hear a peep…out of sight, out of mind.  Supposing some environmental lawsuit was filed against the town for downstream damage from fracking or just regular pollution…???  One of the ways a permit can be violated is the discharge of untreated sewer water into Tonawanda Creek…which you could be fined for if you did it as a homeowner, the Town can do it – on a much bigger scale- after a big rainstorm event. We need more capacity at the WWTF to prevent this, and even more as the Town, and Clarence continue to grow..And a local law to prevent taking fracking waste water ….there is some history here, albeit not fracking waste per se, but the Town did accept wastewater used in the process when the Bass Island gas field was opened up in Chautauqua County, it processed as a fee item for profit…

From Maratin Gugino:

Dan, I accept everything you say, but everyone knows that the City of Buffalo dumps untreated sewage into the River when storm water drives the system flow over capacity. How does that figure in, or are they “grandfathered” in some way, or do they have some kind of ongoing plan for remediation?

For my information, is Buffalo’s sewage treatment plant on the island previously known as Squaw Island? How convenient for them. The river is right there.

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Amherst Needs Clerks and Maintenance Workers

Town of Amherst

1) Serious minded volunteers are needed for the Government Study Committee. If you are interested  contact Pat Welch, Chairman of this Committee.

2) Robert McCarthy, Personnel Director said publicly that the Town needs clerks and maintenance people.  Contact Bob in the Personnel Department in Town Hall.

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Several Businesses Would Be Among Casualties of Exchange Street Stadium Site

James Sandoro looks over his property that, after the recent purchase of the Ethox Medical complex, stretches from Chicago Street to Michigan Avenue. The Pierce-Arrow Museum owner is worried a new Bills stadium built on Exchange Street would affect his business.
James Sandoro looks over his property that, after the recent purchase of the Ethox Medical complex, stretches from Chicago Street to Michigan Avenue. The Pierce-Arrow Museum owner is worried a new Bills stadium built on Exchange Street would affect his business.

Chef’s among places that might have to move

Louis Billittier Jr. favors a new Bills stadium downtown.

But he doesn’t want it built just down the street from Chef’s, which he co-owns.

One of the three favored downtown sites from a consultant’s study places a new stadium within an area bordered by Michigan Avenue and Chicago Street, and Swan and Exchange streets. But that site – the smallest of the three – would require the loss of a portion of Seneca Street between Michigan and Chicago, putting the stadium grounds right at the doorstep of one of Buffalo’s most popular restaurants.

For that reason, a likely consequence of the “Exchange Street site” would result in Chef’s – a dining institution that opened in 1923 – having to move.
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Two Ask Pope Francis to Investigate How Buffalo Diocese Handled Sex Abuse Claims

Vanessa DeRosa, 25, and Tino Flores, 51, who claim they were sexually abused by representatives of the Buffalo Diocese are trying to reach  out to Pope Francis to investigate the Diocese of Buffalo’s handling of sexual abuse complaints.  They had a press conference at Hogan Willig law offices in Amherst onTuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.  (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)
Vanessa DeRosa, 25, and Tino Flores, 51, who claim they were sexually abused by representatives of the Buffalo Diocese are trying to reach out to Pope Francis to investigate the Diocese of Buffalo’s handling of sexual abuse complaints.

A Buffalo man says he was sexually abused by a priest 40 years ago when he was a boy.

A Niagara Falls woman says a male lay teacher abused her 12 years ago when she was a student at a Catholic middle school.

Last year, their attorneys said, they took their complaints to the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which ordered an investigation, but nothing has happened.

Both Flores and DeRosa said they still believe in God but have no faith or trust in the church.

If a meeting with the pope is arranged, Flores said he would tell the pontiff to “screen your priests better.” DeRosa said she would ask him to “take better notice of who is working for the church.”
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Mark Manna’s Fundraiser Review

Mark Manna3

On January 26, Town Board member Mark Manna had a fund raiser.  Mark is term limited which means he won’t be able to run for the Amherst Town Board this November.  He has already served two consecutive terms.

Mark’s fund raiser on the 26th was well attended with a mix of young and old.  The dialogue was a varied mixture of politics and other subjects.  Mark’s fundraiser’s are known for offering delicious food and this time was no different.

The fundraiser was informative and fun.  The attendees were a cross section of Amherst residents including the Spoth brothers, Tom Weisbeck, Steve Pidgen, Peter Reese, Pat Lucey, Kristie Mazurek along with several other lovely ladies.

Many people were waiting for Mark to announce what position he was running for or if he was running for anything.  He said he still thinking what he will do.

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Newly Discovered Ayn Rand Diary Reveals She Intended Her Books as Pranks

by Andy Borowitz

Newly Discovered Ayn Rand Diary Reveals She Intended Her Books as Pranks</p><br /><br />
<p>NEW YORK - A just-discovered 1981 diary by the author Ayn Rand indicates that she intended her bestselling books to be "hilarious pranks" and not to be taken seriously as sources of philosophy. Referring to the contents of her books "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead," Rand wrote, "Imagine if someone actually tried to implement the ludicrous philosophy in these books as public policy. The results would be disaster!" The diary reveals that Rand briefly considered including a disclaimer with her novels indicating that they were supposed to be ridiculous, but decided it was unnecessary because "only a total idiot would take these books seriously."
NEW YORK – A just-discovered 1981 diary by the author Ayn Rand indicates that she intended her bestselling books to be “hilarious pranks” and not to be taken seriously as sources of philosophy.

Referring to the contents of her books “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead,” Rand wrote, “Imagine if someone actually tried to implement the ludicrous philosophy in these books as public policy. The results would be disaster!”

The diary reveals that Rand briefly considered including a disclaimer with her novels indicating that they were supposed to be ridiculous, but decided it was unnecessary because “only a total idiot would take these books seriously.”

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Be Gone Mr. Silver With Your Alleged Stolen 4 Million Dollars

 

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver agrees to leave office by Monday amid federal corruption charges
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle of Rochester announced the move Tuesday. Morelle will serve as acting speaker until a new one is elected by the Democrats in the Assembly.

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