Finally (maybe) there’s some good news on immigration reform. There seems to be real movement in Washington on the issue. It seems that now that the people are leading, our leaders are following.
First, a group of eight United States senators revealed a bipartisan immigration plan to reform our broken immigration system. Some of the principles outlined are far from perfect, but the fact is that several conservative Republicans have committed in writing and in public to allowing immigrants an earned path to citizenship, a central tenet that’s necessary to real reform.
I’ll just come out and say it: I hate Valentine’s Day. As far as I’m concerned, it exists purely to make some people look bad, and almost everybody feel awful.
When I was single, Valentine’s Day seemed tailor-made to highlight the flaws in your relationship, if you had one, and in your entire life, if you didn’t. Now that I am married, Valentine’s Day just makes both of us crazy, running around to make sure we buy SOMEthing so as not to come home covered in guilt. But of course, all the somethings are way over-priced – they saw us coming a month away – so that even when I come home with one, I still feel taken advantage of. No “good love” there!
This is my last How’s The Water column as executive director of Friends of the Bay. When I walked into Friends of the Bay to be interviewed eight years ago by Kyle Rabin, I knew I cared about the community and the environment, but had little idea of the issues that Friends of the Bay was involved in. I didn’t know about dissolved oxygen, hypoxia, Pathogen TMDLs, nutrient loading, etc. Nor did I realize how complex watershed management issues, or fisheries management issues are, and how something that is seemingly simple to resolve, is not. It was a learning curve, to be sure.
As Jennifer Sappell says, Oyster Bay is a “cool” happening hamlet. She is hoping to partner with Gabe Haim and Ryan Schlotter in Sparkboom in their new Oyster Bay Brewing Company, opening by May 1, at 76 South Street.
Gabe Haim lives in Bayville and grew up in Sea Cliff (which amazingly is part of the Town of Oyster Bay.) He and Ryan Schlotter, of Centerport, are partners in the Oyster Bay Brewing Company. The two have founded a mini-brewery that will be located at 76 South Street and nestled in the former Mexican restaurant that faces the parking lot.
Superstorm Sandy was devastating to Long Island. Island-wide, thousands of trees were blown down or severely damaged. Trees native to our area, especially oaks, maples and conifers, were the hardest hit trees, since they are also the most prolific. Many open areas lost trees that will have to be replanted.
The trees that are replanted should be ones that will withstand storms, and should be planted well away from power lines, and are native to this area.
Winter has arrived with a vengeance. The forecast is for warmer weather to return, but it is currently 14°. At this time, it is perhaps nice to stay indoors and prepare for the warmer weather ahead by listening to sounds of the natural world. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a tremendous resource not only to birders, but to all those people interested in the natural world.
The Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library is the world’s largest and oldest archive of natural sounds and video. Its mission is “to collect and preserve recordings of each species’ behavior and natural history, to facilitate the ability of others to collect and preserve such recordings, and to actively promote the use of these recordings for diverse purposes spanning scientific research, education, conservation, and the arts.” The library has completed an effort to fully digitize its 150,000 audio recordings, which represents close to 9,000 species. The primary emphasis is on birds, but the lab also has sounds of whales, primates, great cats, frogs and other animals.
Friends of the Bay, in cooperation with the Long Island Sound Study, Department of Environmental Conservation and the Seatuck Environmental Center will be conducting a training session for alewife monitoring on Tuesday, February 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Friends of the Bay offices at 111 South Street, Oyster Bay.
What is an alewife? Alewives (also called river herring) are small fish, growing up to 16 inches long and weighing less than half a pond. Their small size belies their importance in the ecosystem. Alewives provide for river otters, seals and other marine mammals, birds such as cormorants, ospreys, herons and eagles and other fish including bass, trout and cod. Alewives support both commercial and recreational fisheries. In the South, they are a regional delicacy. Further north, they are used as bait for lobster traps and are valued as bait for striped bass.
The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, has issued its 2013 report, focusing on the future of the Long Island’ss Railroad and how the commuter line could aid the Island’s growth.
The report, titled “How the Long Island Rail Road Could Shape the Next Economy,” was prepared by the Regional Plan Association. The LIRR has been central to the growth and development of Long Island since it was chartered in 1834 and continues to play a crucial role in Long Island’s economy with 25 percent of local income coming from New York City jobs.
According to the statistics compiled by NOAA, 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States with the year consisting of a record warm spring, second warmest summer, fourth warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn. “The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above 1998, the previous warmest year. Every state in the contiguous U.S. had an above-average annual temperature for 2012. Nineteen states had a record warm year and an additional 26 states had one of their 10 warmest.
The whole country continues to mourn the deaths of 20 children and six adults who died in last month’s school shooting in Newtown, CT. And while we wait for the motive to emerge and policy proposals to surface, we can speak out now on behalf of families who need greater access to mental health treatment and other social services that ultimately will prove more effective in protecting and strengthening all of us; children, adults and our communities.
As the head of a human services organization, I believe it is part of our mission to inform and educate the public on important issues facing today’s families in a balanced and professional manner. As the result of this tragic event, there will be a temptation to look for quick answers; overly simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions.
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