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Messages - Norton

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Political Issues/Comments / Re: Fairfax Budget & Fireworks
« on: July 09, 2011, 07:04:57 AM »

Norton simply expressed their opinion for more sidewalks in town, and I expressed my opinion of not wanting to heap more sidewalks upon unmaintained sidewalks

I'm not actually pushing for sidewalks in particular, I guess I worded that badly.  I was just using sidewalks as an example of something that could be of practical benefit to the town.  I could have just as easily used maintainance of town roads, paint for the town clerk's office, fire department equipment, snowplowing, or whatever.  The main point is some things are an appropriate use of tax dollars and some things aren't.  I think fireworks fall outside of the role of government and are an inappropriate use of public money.

this is about celebrating what?  Our heritage, our birth or escape from the rule of the king, our CHOICE to become a country of debated and democratic decision making..... Ugghhhh.  That's a tough one - if there ever was a reason to spend some of everyone's money - doing it remeberance and perhaps reminding us at the same time of WHY and for what reason we're here may not be such a bad idea

This is the reason why we will never have a logical, sensible discussion about fireworks.  I can accept that.  I'm just trying to point out that there's a lot of talk these days about scaling back government and reducing tax burdens, and that any sane analysis of how we spend public money would place fireworks at or near the bottom of the priority list.

Political Issues/Comments / Re: Fairfax Budget & Fireworks
« on: July 08, 2011, 06:27:30 AM »

What happened to all the fiscal conservatives?  OK, it's not a lot of money, but is it the role of government to burn up our tax dollars so that some of us can watch some light and hear some explosions?

I'd rather spend it on sidewalks.

Or not spend it at all.


yes mirjo, that fallacy is getting old, but don't expect them to stop saying it.  Part of the strategy is that if elected officials say something enough times, eventually some folks start believing it.  Never mind that most economists agree that if you want to stimulate the economy with tax cuts, the cuts should go to the middle and lower classes, because they will spend the money, and they'll spend it here in the US.  Tax cuts for the wealthy are more likely to end up as savings or overseas investments.  Yes, you can argue that more money for the wealthy means more money available for investment (and it does, to a degree), but most economists think stimulating demand by giving the cuts to those who drive the demand is actually more effective.  The demand creates the investment that creates the jobs.

Political Issues/Comments / Re: creeping along
« on: May 04, 2011, 08:36:53 AM »
you could generate about 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity.  That amount of power costs less than 10 cents (retail, national average.  In Vt, about 13 cents).  Remarkably cheap, really.

Oops, my mistake.  It's not 13 cents average in Vt, it's 13.7 cents as of Jan 2011.

Political Issues/Comments / Re: creeping along
« on: May 04, 2011, 08:29:36 AM »
I always like to see information presented.  Sometimes, I question how it is gathered, summarized and reported.

In this case, the info is all public information and pretty easily gathered, also easy to verify.  That particular chart is created by the DOE department responsible for compliling those numbers and making them available.  It's probably healthy to question any source, but I think in this case the info is pretty reliable.  If you have another source that you think is more reliable, I'd love to hear about it.

And if there are any documented cases of businesses leaving Vt primarily because of electric rates, I'd be interested in that too.  I'm not convinced it's happening, although I will grant that some energy-intensive operations would logically locate in areas of the country where rates are lower.  But I don't think we can do much about that.  We would have to cut our rates in half to match what costs are in some states, and there's no way we can do that.  What we can do is keep them as low as possible given the regional realities, and I think we're already doing a pretty good job of that (not perfect, of course).

I have several co-workers in Northern NY who are paying 11 cents/kwh or less.

That's not surprising, there are lots of different rates.  Some folks pay more than average, some less.  Those state averages take into account different utilities, different rate structures, etc., so there are always some folks paying more than average and some less.  In New York, the somewhat lower rates in some areas are offset by higher rates elsewhere, including NYC, which has rather high rates in camparison to most other areas in the state.  Similarly, in Vt the rates you pay depend on the utility (among other things), so for example if you are a Vt Electric Coop customer you probably pay more than the Vt average.  Most Fairfax residents are on CVPS, which has rates that are about average for Vt.

Here's another way of thinking about electric costs.  An average human being can put out about 200 watts if they are working hard.  For instance, if you were to climb on a bicycle-powered generator and pedal really hard for about 5 hours, you could generate about 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity.  That amount of power costs less than 10 cents (retail, national average.  In Vt, about 13 cents).  Remarkably cheap, really.

Political Issues/Comments / Re: creeping along
« on: May 04, 2011, 06:30:09 AM »
the state of the state will continue to decline due to high power rates pushing more businesses out of state/out of business

I'm not necessarily in favor of that legislation, but this claim of driving businesses out of state because of electric rates, although widely believed and repeated, is very questionable.

The Northeast has the highest electric rates in the country, so it is true that if you compare our rates to states far away, ours are higher.  But....

Our electric rates are lower than New Hampshire.
Our electric rates are lower than Massachusetts.
Our electric rates are lower than New York.
Our electric rates are lower than Connecticut.
Our electric rates are lower than New Jersey.
Our electric rates are lower than Rhode Island.


Regarding Vermont Yankee, the current offer from Entergy is to supply about 10-12% of our power at market rates if they are relicensed.  In other words, a much smaller amount of power than they currently provide to us, at a much higher rate which is no cheaper than several other options.

The electricity in Vermont is cheaper than almost all our neighbors.  It will go up, but the increase doesn't really depend on whether VY is relicensed or not.  The power is available from other sources at about the same price, so the decision whether to relicense VY will have very little impact on electric rates in VT.


Current News & Events / Re: Fire at the Brewski in Jeffersonville?
« on: April 28, 2011, 10:09:24 AM »
Does anyone ever remember eating pizza in Cambridge at The Cellar?  (a couple decades ago)

Ah yes, the Cellar.  It was more than three decades ago that we used to go up there on Thursday nights.  Drafts were 25 cents.  (The good ol days.........)

Current News & Events / Re: River Levels
« on: April 28, 2011, 10:05:43 AM »

I forgot to mention two things about those numbers........

One, I referred to the level in "Fairfax", but that gauge isn't in the village, so it doesn't necessarily correlate directly to the exact level in the village.  It does give some indication of the relative severity of the events.

Secondly, those who look at the river gauge numbers might want to know that these gauges look at the height of the water and don't know the difference between liquid water and ice.  In the location where the Georgia gauge is, it is common for the ice to build up, and if you look at historical highs you might be mislead into thinking that we've had lots of high water events in Jan-April, but in many of those cases the gauge is just seeing chucks of ice that are sitting higher than the water level.

Current News & Events / River Levels
« on: April 28, 2011, 09:17:10 AM »

With the latest flooding, I thought folks might be interested in how this compares with other high water levels.  There are gauges at Johnson, Jeffersonville, and Georgia.  The Georgia gauge is just upstream of Arrowhead Lake.  You can see the readings here:


From that page, you can go to the other gauges, and look at historical highs.

Others have commented that yesterday the Lamoille in Fairfax was higher than most could remember.  I know for sure that it's the highest in more than 25 years (at least).

Yesterday, the Georgia reading was 3.1 ft above flood stage, Jeffersonville was 4.2 ft above, and Johnson was 7 ft above.

Many Johnson residents remember August of 95, when they were 10 ft above flood stage, or about 3 ft higher than yesterday.  In Fairfax, the water only rose to 1.8 ft above flood stage, less than yesterday.

Of course most people know that the big flood came in November of 1927.  The level in Johnson was 17 ft above flood stage, 10 feet deeper than yesterday.  In Fairfax, it was 10 ft above flood stage, almost 7 ft deeper than yesterday.

General Discussion / Re: Little League Fence
« on: April 27, 2011, 06:56:17 AM »

Thanks, Lena

Just to be clear, I totally support the Little League, played myself here in Fairfax (almost 50 years ago!).  My comment was only intended to point out that the billboard law exists for good reason, and any exceptions should be carefully considered and substantiated.  I kind of like the idea that the state has decided not to grant exceptions.  By far, the most easily-administered number of exceptions to any law is zero. 

Chris, I get the fact that the signs are "revenue for the league", but that point could be made about any sign, and therefore isn't really a reason for an exception.

But the main reason I'm posting right now is to thank Lena and Jim for donating the use of their land, and for all the other generous ways in which they support our town.  Lena, I appreciate your gracious suggestion to "just drop it", but before we do that, I've got to say, "Thanks".

General Discussion / Re: Little League Fence
« on: April 24, 2011, 06:55:53 AM »
fight for our little league

help the kids and little league....

fight for the FAIRFAX FLETCHER WESTFORD Little League

For whatever it's worth, not everybody in town sees this as an attack on the little league.  We do have that billboard law for a reason, right?  Why should there be an exception in this case?

I know it's tempting to think that the law should be ignored because the fence is "for the kids", but changing the signs isn't going to destroy the little league.  The comments here seem to assume that an exception obviously and definitely should be granted and that anyone who doesn't support this is somehow against the kids or unwilling to help with the community.  Not all of us see it that way.

So can anyone explain why the little league team and the businesses that advertise on the fence should be exempt from the billboard law?

Current News & Events / Re: Wow!! Look At Them Gas Prices
« on: March 15, 2011, 06:41:49 AM »
It's still hard for me , however , to accept that there is no price-gouging on the part of the big oil companies or to not feel that they're taking advantage of a bad situation along with the speculators who are bidding the price up

I didn't mean to say that there isn't price gouging, only that the gouging is possible because of the overall supply and demand situation.  If we (the world) had more oil than we needed, we would see at least some individual suppliers dropping prices to get more customers.  But we don't.  It's a seller's market.  That's what I meant when I said
In the short term, we can expect volatility in the pricing to continue (and to get worse) because of short-term speculation

I had heard it before but he articulated the facts as well as anyone.

Thanks for the compliment.  The post was long, but once I got started the words just poured out.  If it is well worded, you can thank the excellent public education I got at BFA Fairfax in the 60s and early 70s.  (Had a good principal, too.......)

Current News & Events / Re: Wow!! Look At Them Gas Prices
« on: March 12, 2011, 09:48:05 AM »

Is it possible that the speculators who are inflating the price on the world commodity market do not really care about an economic recovery in our country ??

Gas company guy stated that he could see no supply shortage and demand is pretty low right now.  In other words, he could see no logical reasons for sky high prices.

There's no logical supply and demand reason in the short term, and of course those who determine the prices don't care about the US economy.  But if you take a somewhat longer-range view, it IS all about supply and demand.  World demand is increasing rapidly.  We've already run out of most of the cheap easy oil.  World production is peaking right now, we may well have already passes the "Peak Oil" point.  The short-term spikes in prices are due to speculation, but that speculation is based on world-wide supply and demand. 

The folks who control the oil (and the ones who buy and sell it) are not fools.  They can see what many of us refuse to see, that oil is going to get more precious and expensive, and it may happen quite quickly.  Why would they want to sell it cheap today when it's going to be worth much more tomorrow?  The price volatility is one indicator that we are running "close to the edge" in terms of supply.  That's why even minor events in oil-producing countries affect the price so much immediately.

It's going to get worse before it gets better.  We can't do much about it except to use it more efficiently and start to move toward other energy sources.  The oil is running out.  We can continue to subsidize it (with our tax dollars) through big tax incentives for very profitable multi-national corporations, and by our military activities in the mideast, and by fiddling around with our strategic reserves, but that only shifts the cost from the individual user to the middle class (since they are the ones who pay most of the taxes these days).  These strategies only postpone the inevitable and make the crash happen a little later and harder.

We can't drill our way out.  We use one-quarter of the world's petroleum.  We have about 3 percent of the world's oil reserves.  If we fully implemented the "drill, baby, drill" strategy tomorrow, it would only make a small difference.  Most experts think it would only amount to a few months of our consumption.  And there's a very good argument to be made that we would be better off leaving it in the ground for now, since it's going to be much more valuable later.  Not only that, but there may come a time when we can't buy the oil we want at ANY price, and those reserves would be very handy then.

Bottom line, oil prices are determined by world supply and demand in the long run.  They will go up.  We can't do much about it.  This will be a trend, but we will probably reach a point where the supply is short enough that the bidding war will start, and then the price increases will be very substantial.  In the short term, we can expect volatility in the pricing to continue (and to get worse) because of short-term speculation by individuals who can see the writing on the wall.  These folks (mostly) don't like us.  They're going to make lots of money.

The sooner we wake up and acknowledge that oil is a finite resource, the better.  We will have to switch to something else.  We can either start doing that now or wait until we have to.  Efforts to keep the price artificially low will just make things worse later.  And yes, the price IS artificially low.  Anybody think oil would cost the same if we didn't provide those tax incentives to the most profitable corporations in the world?  Anybody think oil would cost the same if we didn't spend massive amounts of money using our military to keep the flow going?  Our politicians are convinced that we have to do these things to "prop down" the cost, or our economy would suffer, but how long can we keep doing this, and at what cost?

The choice is whether we start an orderly transition to other fuel sources, thereby minimizing the pain and spreading it out over time, or whether we ignore the obvious, continue as we have been going, and wait until the excrement hits the fan and deal with that catastrophe when it hits us hard.

Current News & Events / Re: What Is It? Part 3
« on: March 03, 2011, 03:36:25 PM »

I think that frying basket idea might be close.  We used to have a basket much like this but bigger that we used to make popcorn over an open fire.  I wouldn't be surprised if it is intended for cooking of some sort, either immersed or over the flames.

Either that or it's a travel cage for the hamster.

Current News & Events / Re: What Is It? Part 1
« on: March 01, 2011, 03:43:28 PM »

"Time Out" seat for unruly youngsters?

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