Thursday, July 2, 2015

Wellesley Island Fire Department looks to raise money for new firehouse

 TI Park fire

WELLESLEY ISLAND — The Wellesley Island Fire Department is pushing toward a new fire hall, almost a year after a major fire destroyed its main station. Continue reading via this link to the Watertown Daily Times

 View from behind TI Park fire department 08/14/2014

Thousand Islands Park fire 08/14/2014

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lawmakers pass bill to let some Mainers pull out of wind permitting area

AUGUSTA — The Maine Legislature passed a bill Monday that would give residents of the state’s vast Unorganized Territory a chance – one chance – to have their communities excluded from the area of Maine designated for large wind power projects. Continue...

Monday, June 29, 2015

Spanish anti-corruption report implicates wind sector

SPAIN: Spain's inland revenue suspects regional administration officials of receiving at least €110 million in backhanders from wind developers, including affiliates of utilities Iberdrola and Endesa, in return for project licenses, according to leaked reports. Continue reading via this link to WPM

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why is the Cape Prison paying a benefits assessment?

CVTBM~ Marty Mason
During the June 18 meeting of the Cape Vincent Town Councilman Marty Mason and original Water District
Superintendent Bob Chapman told the public the state pays their fair share of Water District #1 debt for the prison in the form of a benefits assessment.  They said it was $1.40 per 1000 and the prison was assessed at $56 million (Times said $1.15 per 1000) . If they are right then the prison pays $78,400 each year in debt service.

The prison is not only hooked up to the water line but it is the district’s biggest user. Mason said the prison pays $175 a year in debt service for its one EDU. If the prison is a subscriber to water district services, then why is the state also paying a benefits assessment?

Cape Vincent Local Law #1 of 1995 (link) setup Water District #1. In Article 3(A) it outlines debt cost for each unit (3A1) and also for “remaining portions of the debt service not covered by the flat charge” (3A3). The law does not describe a situation where a user pays a flat charge plus a benefits assessment.

The local law specifically states a benefits assessment is for those properties that are not connected but would benefit from the town’s municipal water. The prison is connected and pays its debt portion ($175, reduced from the initial cost). Why then is the state paying a benefits assessment? If this arrangement is not covered under the local law, then where is it described?

The prison should have been assigned far more EDUs rather than pay a questionable benefits assessment. In section 3A1 of the 1995 Local Law it says “in a multi-unit building each rental unit shall be considered a living unit.” If this applied to apartments in the Cape then why didn’t it apply to the prison which is the largest multi-unit building in the water district?  

The Watertown Daily Times recently reported the prison should be assigned 883 EDUs, based on past usage. Marty and Bob claimed the state pays their fair share with $78,400 each year in a benefits assessment. If the prison paid according to its EDUs (883 EDU X $175) it would owe $154,525 each year and it would be $76,125 a year short or $2.28 million short in total debt service. Marty Mason should not be claiming the state pays their fair share in debt while at the same time listening to mobile home park owners describe how they paid far more than their fair share. It’s never too late to fix something that’s broke.

Finally, don’t confound the issue of debt costs and water usage costs.  No one is complaining about the distribution of water costs because they all pay the same rate.  The prison pays big money to the town because it is a big user, but it pays less than half what it should have on the district’s debt. Debt payment is the issue.

Link here to read CV Local Law #1~ CV water district #1

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Thanks Dad..

From Bloody Herrlisheim to a Slave Labor Camp

James Muschell served in the 43rd Tank Battalion of the 12th Armoured Division. This unit arrived in the ETO in November 44 and was involved in attacks on the Siegfried Line before getting caught in front of the Northwind attack. As the title implies, the author is captured and spends the rest of the war as a prisoner.

Muschell's account is straight into the action. He is a loader/assistant gunner in a Sherman tank. There is no personal background, though we learn he can speak German, so he was one of many Americans with German ancestry. There's a little bit of divisional history too. All up though, there are only 40 pages prior to his capture, with most devoted to the battle of Herrlisheim. The author does recount a few interesting stories of earlier battles but as he reveals he had five tanks shot from under him, there was quite a bit more to be said. With Herrlisheim there was quite a bit of detail. His unit loses half its tanks the first day and on the second the remainder are cut-off and wiped out. They face the 10th SS Pz Division and it is quite proficient and brutal. He was beaten up during interrogation and he and his fellow POWs are lucky to avoid a Malmedy style execution.

Muschell is unlucky enough to be suspected of being Jewish and he is assigned to a work detail rather than being allowed to sit the war out in a POW camp. He has a pretty horrendous time in Hannover. It is heavily bombed and he is guarded by very brutal SS guards. There is virtually no food and he suffers considerably from trench foot. The worst part was a horrendous train journey that almost defies belief. He is freed in early April and aside from his journey home, his story basically concludes.

The first thing to say, is this is quite a short book

An Amazon review by John E. Larsen on February 4, 2015

Legendary Locals of Cheboygan

By Matthew J. Friday

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cape Vincent councilman: state prison among large water users not paying fair share

CAPE VINCENT — Town records show the state-owned Cape Vincent Correctional Facility, which used nearly 50 million gallons of water last year, is among several large water users that are charged for infrastructure costs as if they were a single-family home. Continue via this link to the watertown Daily Times