Environmental Focus on Kingston – Kingston Citizens http://www.kingstoncitizens.org KingstonCitizens.org is a non-partisan, citizen-run organization focused on relevant and current issues about Kingston, N.Y. Mon, 18 Sep 2017 01:53:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 75279369 Kingston Citizens: Niagara Bottling Company Project. YOUR WATER IS IN PLAY. http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2014/09/22/kingston-citizens-niagara-bottling-company-project-your-water-is-in-play/ http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2014/09/22/kingston-citizens-niagara-bottling-company-project-your-water-is-in-play/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 04:10:33 +0000 http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/?p=4669 Read more...]]>
Click on the image to view the film "tapped" that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.


By Rebecca Martin

We have recently created a Facebook invitation for the next Common Council meeting on Tuesday, October 7th.  Please consider coming to speak during public comment (at the beginning of the meeting) on the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. plan to bottle and sell Kingston City Water.

The timing here is crucial, given that the group has apparently been in private talks with City officials for several months. Media reports say that they are planning to get moving as early as 2015.




The City of Kingston's water source COOPER LAKE had its last drought conditions in September of 2012. 

Kingston citizens are encouraged to attend the next Common Council Meeting on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7th at 7:30pm.
 * Please come at 7:15pm to sign-up for your chance to speak and to get a seat *

If you wish to speak out during the public comment portion of the evening (which is first) to:




If public speaking isn't your thing, but you want to help: 

Mayor Shayne Gallo: 845/334-3902

* WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR (if you do this, please send us a copy at rebbytunes@gmail.com)




"Start Up New York" is an initiative created by Governor Cuomo to attract new business to NY State. As an incentive, they are forgiving taxes with abatements for ten years.

To take advantage of this, it was recently announced that Niagara Bottling Company out of Irvine California was interested in opening a production facility in the Town of Ulster, where the TOU Planning Board would take a lead role.

For Niagara to come to the area, however, they would need a local water source and are looking to the City of Kingston’s Cooper Lake to bottle and to sell.

According to reports - as a starting point, Niagara would purchase one million gallons of our water per day (GPD) with up to 50 trucks moving out of the facility 24/7. At full capacity, their requirement would be 1.75 million GPD of our water, requiring an additional pipe line that they would install (concerning), with up to 260 trucks in and out of the facility 24/7.

It looks as though some or all of the 342,500 gallons of good drinking water per day, based on their proposal, would be used to cool new plastic bottles during production. They call this "non-biologic waste" that they 'envision' being disposed of into the Esopus Creek.

The City of Kingston’s Water Board is independent. Probably left over from our long ago 'Commissioner' form of government. The current members include Joseph DeCicco (President), Al Radel, Robert Niedzielski, Raymond McSpirit, Dennis Croswell and the City of Kingston's Mayor Shayne Gallo.

Kingston's Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.
Kingston's Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.

The City of Kingston’s Water Department Superintendent Judy Hansen (with what we can only assume had Board approval, including the Mayor of Kingston who sits on the board) has issued a “Will share” agreement without the knowledge or approval of the Common Council. (Ward 2 Alderman Brian Seche is council liaison to the Water Department. It isn't known at this time if he was aware of the proposal or had attended any of the meetings). "Will share" means that the board is confident that Kingston can provide the requested amount of water to Niagara to bottle and to sell and still service the needs of the community.  They have not yet negotiated the water rate.

The project appears to have been on the table for some time, and according to this week's Kingston Times, in order to not “kill” the project they kept it quiet until their presentation on Tuesday September 16th in front of the Town of Ulster’s Planning Board. The presentation, by the way, was not the Planning Board’s agenda. The announcement of the Town of Ulster's leading role was released two days later in the media.

Here are some items to consider.

According to Kingston’s Charter it states that:

1. Section C11-5 speaks of Kingston being able to supply water to ‘other than inhabitants of the City of Kingston and outside the corporate limits, etc". This indicates residents. Not private companies.

2. The common council must “assent in the way of constructing and maintaining waterworks for supplying said city and its inhabitants with pure and wholesome water; exercise such powers as are necessary and proper to accomplish such purpose and shall proceed in the manner hereinafter prescribed.” What does that mean here? That any transaction must move through council, as selling our water – particularly in the midst of climate change and drought – has got to be weighed cautiously.

We are not certain if Water Department Superintendent Judith Hansen has the authority to issue a ‘Will Serve’ agreement as she has done. The council is the last word in gauging what may or may not jeopardize Kingston citizens in receiving water in the future in any way.

They have not yet had the opportunity to voice in.

In the way of jobs – they offer some and it’s attractive. We all want them. However, we must counter the benefit with what may be the future costs of potentially needing a new water source and its infrastructure in the case we are drained dry. Might a business with a home base in California be concerned if we were ever in that boat who comes to the area for 10 years tax free? It's reasonable to be skeptical.

Cooper Lake is not an aquifer. It's a man made lake fed by a very small stream. Is it going to have the capacity to fill their need and ours over the course of 10 years? Is there a back-up source in place in the case that Cooper Lake can no longer provide the community with water?

Work with your elected officials to identify the pros and cons of this deal. Future generations of Kingstonians are counting on us all to make sound decisions.

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Take a Healthy and Green Pledge http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2010/06/14/take-a-healthy-and-green-pledge/ http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2010/06/14/take-a-healthy-and-green-pledge/#comments Mon, 14 Jun 2010 18:49:45 +0000 http://kingstoncitizens.org/?p=1986 Read more...]]> By Arthur Zaczkiewicz


Long time, no hear – from me. Sorry I’ve been away for so long.

Much has happened since I’ve edited and posted to this blog. I’ve got much on my mind. One thing weighing me down is the weight of Kingston’s children, who are above average in regard to being overweight and obese. That’s dark news for their current health and their future health. I don’t have to tell you that obesity leads to heart disease, cancer and other ailments.

The good news is that there are a group agencies and non-profits working on reversing this trend. The Healthy Kingston for Kids project – led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Ulster County – is looking at creating safe routes to schools for kids and initiating a complete streets policy, among other things. The idea is to get kids walking and biking more. Check out the City of Kingston webpage here to learn more.

What’s interesting about this project is that it also serves as a way to address climate change. Walking and biking are awesome for the environment as well as your health, which leads me to the recent manmade disaster in the Gulf. BP’s big spill is a sore reminder why we need to cease our dependency on fossil fuels.

I’m sure there’s a bunch of folks wondering what they can do to help. Valeria Gheorghiu, an environmental and immigration law attorney based in Kingston who is also an ardent activist, suggests gathering volunteers and busing down to the Gulf region. Shore birds and other wildlife as well as people need our help.

But there are other things we can do right here in Kingston. For one, we can support the climate smart and green jobs pledge – an initiative of Kingston’s Conservation Advisory Council (see this page for more details). We can also do something on a more personal level by vowing to walk or bike more.

How about making that vow with me? Consider taking this pledge by signing your name as a comment below:

I vow to walk or take my bike to work, school, to do shopping or to do other chores at least once a week during the summer. I do this for my health, for my family, for my community, for the Earth.

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Environmental Focus on Kingston: Blue Moon New Year’s Eve http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2009/12/31/environmental-focus-on-kingston-blue-moon-new-years-eve/ http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2009/12/31/environmental-focus-on-kingston-blue-moon-new-years-eve/#respond Thu, 31 Dec 2009 14:31:56 +0000 http://kingstonnavigator.wordpress.com/?p=1270 Read more...]]> We’re in for a real trifecta of a treat – the kind that only comes along once every 19 years.   There will be a Blue Moon rising to help ring in the New Year.  Party goers in Africa, Asia and Europe will be treated to this event with a partial lunar eclipse, but it will remain unseen for those in North and South America.  (Click HERE for an animated preview)

The last New Year’s Eve Blue Moon occurred in 1990.

How rare is a lunar eclipse of a Blue Moon on New Years Eve? According to SpaceWeather.com, "A search of NASA's Five Millennium Catalogue of Lunar Eclipses provides an approximate answer. In the next 1000 years, Blue Moons on New Year's Eve will be eclipsed only 11 times (once every 91 years)."

A Blue Moon is the name given to the second new moon to occur during the same month.  The moon’s cycle of waxing and waning gives us a full moon every 29.5 days.  Lunar cycles differ from solar cycles in that the solar calendar contains an extra 11 days (roughly).  These “extra” days accumulate so that every 2.7154 years, there is an extra full moon.

Ancient myths and folklore have entire chapters, entire books for that matter, dedicated to the effect of a full moon on human behavior.  The term lunacy and lunatic are derived from Luna, the Roman moon goddess.  The full moon has been linked to crime, suicide, mental illness, disasters, accidents, birthrates, fertility, and even werewolves.  However studies have found no direct connection, rendering it no more than an urban myth.

It seems to me that there is an exceptional amount of poetic symmetry for this rare event to occur on the eve of a new year, while acting as the usherer of a new decade. It gives me a little hope that 2010 will be a better year for all of Kingston’s citizens.

Perhaps this rare 19 year event is the year for that New Year’s resolution to stick?  That’s probably an urban legend too.  (Just in case though, try to think of a good one.)

From all of us to all of  you, best wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous and safe Blue Moon New Year!  Let the revelry and howling commence.

- Wilbur Girl

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Environmental Focus on Kingston: Thor’s Hammer http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2009/12/28/environmental-focus-on-kingston-thors-hammer/ http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2009/12/28/environmental-focus-on-kingston-thors-hammer/#comments Mon, 28 Dec 2009 20:45:49 +0000 http://kingstonnavigator.wordpress.com/?p=1234 Read more...]]> I know what Thor got for Christmas.

On December 26th at 10:05 P.M. there was a flashing burst of white atomic lightning.  Nearly 20 seconds later it was followed by a deafening clap of nuclear holocaust, world ending thunder.  And that’s exactly what I thought had happened.

After I dislodged the pieces of my heart from my throat and stomach, I looked outside expecting to see the world had been obliterated, my home the only survivor.  When I saw the planet was still spinning gently on its axis, I imagined my beloved, primordial maple tree had grown legs and ripped itself from the earth rather like one of Tolkien’s Ents.  However, it was still intact.  Perhaps the train trestle had collapsed?  But that too was still standing.

Winter lightning and thunder is said to be a rare event.  Lightning is born of out intensive atmospheric energy.  Cold air is less energetic and holds less moisture, making winter thunder unusual.  But it seems to me that I can recall several instances of it over the past decade or so and it seems to be increasing with frequency.  I wonder if it's related to an el Nino weather event or the much debated global warming?

I paid enough attention in school to know that a thunderstorm occurs on the leading edge of either a cold or warm front as the two air masses collide.  Thunder is the manifestation of the super heated air (15,000-60,000 degrees Fahrenheit) created by lightning.  It causes the air around the lightning to rapidly expand and creates shock waves that rumble through the atmosphere.

I couldn’t even tell you what the weather was like that day or night.  The boisterous clap seems to have erased all memory of it away.  My research didn’t turn up any super cool nuggets of information on the subject either.  Perhaps someone out there has an interpretation of the cause of that pulverizing blow from Thor’s Hammer that they can share with us.

I did come across these brief interesting tidbits which I’ll share with you on the way out of this post.

Old Wives Tales:

  • If during the winter you have a thunderstorm, within 10 days you’ll have snow.
  • If there’s thunder during Christmas week, the winter will be anything but meek.

Cool New Word:

  • Astraphobia: The irrational fear of thunder and lightning.  (As in, Wilbur Girl’s cats suffer from extreme astraphobia.)

- Wilbur Girl

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Environmental Focus on Kingston: O’ Christmas Tree http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2009/12/15/environmental-focus-on-kingston-o-christmas-tree/ http://www.kingstoncitizens.org/2009/12/15/environmental-focus-on-kingston-o-christmas-tree/#comments Wed, 16 Dec 2009 01:13:37 +0000 http://kingstonnavigator.wordpress.com/?p=1161 Read more...]]> It’s here, again.  Looking at the calendar I can’t deny it anymore.  The holidays are coming even if I’m not ready.

Once this indulgent time of year has passed, what’s left behind will be evident in what’s put out curbside.  Plaintiffs’ exhibit one being the Christmas tree.

I suppose there’s an ongoing debate over artificial versus real trees.  I fall on the side of bah-humbug with regard to all things Christmas.  But if it became compulsory to display a Christmas tree and I had to make a choice between a real tree or its artificial counterpart, I would choose real any year.

Last year 28 million real Christmas trees were sold in the US.  They are grown in each of the fifty states and Canada.  With nearly 21,000 tree growing farms, the industry employs more than 100,000 full or part time annually.

Trees are a renewable, recyclable resource.  For every tree harvested, up to 3 seedlings are planted.  An acre of tree farm can provide enough oxygen for 18 people, while also providing a natural habitat to a variety of animals.

Once the glamour, glitz and glory of the holiday fade, all those trees begin their journey to their final resting place.  In Kingston we have two organized options available to local residents.

Bring your family and your tree to the annual Winterfest event held at Hasbrouck Park on January 16th between 10:00 – 2:00.  Your tree will be mulched for free!  You can take your mulch home with you or leave it to be distributed and used in Kingston’s extensive park system.

This growing and popular event is sponsored by the Kingston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of Forsyth Nature Center.  Other planned activities include snowshoeing lessons, snow animal building contest and children’s crafts.  The latter will be held inside of the heated and historic Hasbrouck Park Stone Building.  For directions to the event, click here.

If you are unable to make it to Winterfest, you may place your defrocked tree curbside for pickup through Jan 31st according to the city code.  Please note that if you get your tree out before January 16th the DPW will transport them to event site for chipping.  Any trees hauled away after that date will go to our local brush dump.

Still want more green tips for Christmas?  Check out these ideas.

Did You Know: 85% of artificial Christmas trees are manufactured in China and are made with non bio-degradable plastics?

-          Wilbur Girl

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