August 2009 Archives

Pine Street Bridge is Open!

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The Pine Street Bridge in West Concord is now OPEN TO TRAFFIC!!
epstein_lrg.gif On Thursday, Sept. 17, 7-9 PM, Dr Paul Epstein, MD, MPH will speak at the First Parish Church at 20 Lexington Street in Concord on the topic "Climate Change, Health Consequences, and Healthy Solutions.

While many of us have heard, in a general way, about the urgent need for governmental and personal action to reduce the threat of climate change, this program offers an authoritative medical perspective

Dr. Epstein is Associate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. He has worked globally in medical, teaching and research capacities. He has worked with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to assess the health impacts of climate change and develop public health approaches to it. He coordinated Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions, an international project with Swiss Re and the United Nations Development Program

This is a program sponsored by ConcordCAN, the Concord Climate Action Network; it is free and open to the public. For more information send an email to Concordclimate@yahoo.com.  

 

Review: The Thoreau You Don't Know

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Thoreau You Don\\'t Know cover

Grist, the ezine of environmental news and commentary, published a review of Robert Sullivan's  The Thoreau You Didn't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant  in their article Thoreau, Walden and civil disobedience int he age of climate change.


Grist staff writer Jonathan Hiskes recounts his initial love of Thoreau, and then his eventual annoyance as Henry's harping, moralistic tone.  Did this so-called father of the environmental movement have anything to say to inform current-day climate activists? He came to the conclusion "no," until he read Sullivan's work. 


"...I've been prompted to reconsider by Robert Sullivan's recent book.... Sullivan... tries to rescue Thoreau from the humorless image that turned off so many high school English students and the cloud of reverence cast by those who would see Thoreau as a patron saint of wilderness preservation.

"I think Sullivan does a great job. In place of the crank Thoreau, he offers evidence for a dancing Thoreau, one who played ditties on his flute, got along well with children, and wrote with his tongue in cheek. In place of the wilderness saint (and hermit) image, Sullivan introduces a Thoreau just as interested in the peopled world as in the natural world, a distinction he didn't buy into anyway."


Read this worthwhile review in its entirety here: http://www.grist.org/article/2009-08-27-thoreau-walden-climate-crisis/

See the book on Amazon.com here: The Thoreau You Didn't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant

The future of West Concord Village is NOW!

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From the West Concord Task Force

Your Voice Matters!

 

At Concord's 2009 Annual Town Meeting citizens overwhelmingly supported a West Concord Interim Planning Overlay District (WC-IPOD), a temporary and partial moratorium on development in West Concord Village.  The IPOD is allowing for a window of opportunity in which a comprehensive Master Plan for West Concord Village is being created.  Community feedback to Master Plan ideas and conceptual plans will likely drive proposed zoning changes that will be voted on at our next Town Meeting.  These new zoning bylaws will determine the degree and types of change that West Concord village will experience. New zoning rules could include new standards for building size, height, design, use and other development characteristics. Once the IPOD is lifted, development could change our community.

Here - and right now - is your opportunity to help influence what and how much change you want.

Upcoming Events:

Meet with the Master Planning Consultant - Stantec Planning & Landscape Architecture, P.C. is working with the Town and West Concord Task Force in preparing the village master plan.  Project Manager, Ted Brovitz, is holding Office Hours between 9 am - 4 pm to meet with the public on August 19th, 28th, September 9th and 23rd.  On these dates, Ted will also be holding "Lunch Talk" At Debra's Natural Gourmet between 12:00 - 2:00. This is an informal forum for business and property owners, customers, and residents to come by and share your ideas.

August 25th: West Concord Task Force Meeting: 7:30 pm at Concord Park, 1st floor conference room.

August 28th: West Concord Task Force Scenario Building Workshop - Part 2: 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm, 141 Keys Road, 1st floor Conference room. A review and discussion of preliminary concept plans.

September 11th and 12th: West Concord Village Community Design Workshops:  Public participation is an integral part of the planning and design process for West Concord Village. The Community Design Workshop is intended to be an open and informal venue and opportunity for town officials, civic organizations, property and business owners, residents and other interested citizens to be involved in creating a vision for public enhancements and future development in the village center.  The workshop will be staffed by Stantec Planning & Landscape Architecture who will assist participants in illustrating their ideas for the village area. The Design Workshop will be held at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center on Friday, September 11th between 9:00 am - 4:00 pm and Saturday, September 12th from 9 am to 1 pm.  Stantec will present the workshop results of the 2-day event at 3 pm on Saturday. Stop in and have fun watching your ideas come to life.

Keep Informed:

For information about the West Concord Task Force and Master Plan go to the Town of Concord web site www.concordma.gov and click on the "West Concord Village Master Plan" and the "West Concord Village Task" Force" tabs on the front page under Links for Residents.  Here you will find master plan materials as they progress, task force minutes, upcoming meetings and events, and other plans and programs relevant to West Concord.  Also, the Task Force publishes occasional articles in the Concord Journal and has created an e-mail list to distribute announcements and documents.  Interested community members are encouraged to join the list at http: //www.yahoogroups.com/group/WCTF_announcements to subscribe. 

Contact Information:

Ted Brovitz, Stantec PLA   Tel: 617-523-8103 Ext. 220; E-Mail: ted.brovitz@stantec.com

Marcia Rasmussen, Town of Concord Planning Director, Tel: 978-318-3290 E-Mail: mrasmussen@concordma.gov

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events!


Mushroom ID Help Requested

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This very well described question from Andy Proulx. Can anyone help? If so, please email us.

A friend found this mushroom in her backyard among some oak trees.  We are trying to identify it, but still don't have a positive ID.  Here is what we know:

  • It is about 14 " in diameter.
  • It's form looks almost exactly like a chicken mushroom, however the color is a light dull beige toward the outside and whiter to the stem.
  • When touched it bruises to a black color.
  • It looks like a Berkeley's Polypore on the top, however there are no large pores on the bottom.  The pores are very small and shallow and the underside appears almost smooth except when viewed with a magnifying glass.
Any help in identification would be appreciated. Photos are below (click on any image to see a larger version of the photo in a separate window).

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In light of this being the 50th anniversary year of Minute Man National Historic Park, this note from Concordian, Rick Wheeler, one of the Friends of Minute Man Park, is particularly apt.

Minute-Man-50th-JPEG1.jpgMembers of the public are invited to view an exclusive preview of Ken Burns' upcoming documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea which will premier in September on PBS stations nationwide.

This preview, developed exclusively for National Park partner organizations, such as the Friends of Minute Man National Park (find their blog at http://www.friendsofminuteman.org/blog), features behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes and commentary by Filmmaker Ken Burns. Join the Friends for an entertaining evening of preview viewing, light refreshments followed by a brief discussion - all at the Minute Man Visitor Center on Route 2A in Lexington, MA. For more information, contact Carrie Midura at 978.318.7822 or  carrie@friendsofminuteman.org.

All screening dates are free and open to the public:

  • Thursday, August 20th, 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, August 27th, 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 10th, 6:00 p.m.
Nearly a decade in the making, The National Parks: America's Best Idea is a visual feast, featuring some of the most extensive, breathtaking images of the national parks system every captured on film. It contains the most contemporary footage of any Ken Burns film since Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, shot principally by chief cinematographer Buddy Squires (who has filmed all of Burns's documentaries), long-time Florentine cameraman Allen Moore, Lincoln Else (who also is a former ranger at Yosemite) and Burns himself.

From Dale Cronin, Assistant Superintendent, Concord Municipal Light Plant.

20453646.thb.jpgBased on current weather conditions and the most recent ISO (Independent System Operator) electricity forecast for Monday and Tuesday next week (August 17 or 18), there is a reasonable chance New England may hit the highest hourly peak for this summer.  They are also predicting electricity use will drop off on Wednesday due to cooler temperatures.
 
The ISO does not forecast the expected peak hour until two days before the event so we will not know the peak hour forecasted for Monday until that morning.  We will provide further information at that time.  However, based on past experience, there is an excellent chance the hour will occur between 2 PM and 5 PM on Monday and Tuesday.
 
So if you are able to reduce, reschedule or curtail your use of electricity between those hours you would be helping to reduce electricity costs to all Concord Light customers.
 
Between the above hours you might consider turning up your air conditioning thermostat a few degrees, curtailing the use of electricity such as dryers, washing machines, pool pumps or simply rescheduling their use either before or after the anticipated peak period.
 
Thanks again for participating in our effort to reduce the summer electrical peak and have a great weekend.
 
800px-PICT0062.JPGBet you didn't know that the proper time for red squirrels to harvest Norway spruce (Picea abies) cones is between 5 and 7 am, did ya? These are the largest cones of all the spruce, and are about 6-7" long.  At this time of year, they are still closed and more smooth than they will be later, so when they drop, there is comparably little drag -- their landing is noticeable, even on soft earth.

Most mornings for the last week, we have been awakened early by "bam!" "pop!" "whack!" as these heavy cones hit our wooden deck, the metal bulkhead, the house, etc.  Sometimes, it's like waking up to the sound of a gun being fired, since these things are dropped from 50-75 feet up in the trees.

Back when we first moved into this house (20 years ago) where the bedroom is shaded by four of these trees, the squirrels would prefer to drop the cones on the soft grass.  Occasionally, one would land very loudly on the deck and all activity would cease for a few minutes while they (and we!) recovered from the sound.  Now, I think they're AIMING at the objects that make the most noise.  And if they hit one noisy spot and it ricochettes to hit another louder one, I suspect there's extra gleeful in squirrelville.  I don't know what caused the change in their methodology -- too many hours spent playing video games? I donno...

600px-Picea_abies_cones.jpgThe little buggers also eat the heck out of certain cones as they sit up in the trees, leaving only the core (like a cob on an ear of corn).  It's all too often that one of us steps out of the greenhouse and under the spruce trees, and one of these cores lands right at our feet.  They must be intentionally throwing them at us.

But in the end, once all the early morning bombing runs have ended, the really big squirrel with her blue wheelbarrow gathers up all the cones and takes them away to the compost, where we pile other stuff on top of them.  Revenge is a dish best eaten cold...

Photos: Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons



ALERT: The "BIG" Summer Peak Today or Tomorrow?

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Editor's Note: Oh, these tricky forecasts! Here, on short notice is a possible peak today AND tomorrow. This one could be "the big one!" If you don't know what this is about, here's a short background post.

Thumbnail image for 21706122.thb.jpgReport #3.0 - 8/10/09
 
Good Morning,
 
Sorry for the late notice but the ISO changed their forecast last night and are now forecasting a possible summer peak for this afternoon.
 
They are predicting the peak hour today will exceed all previous peaks this summer and will occur either between 2 & 3 PM or between 4 & 5 PM.
 
In addition, their present forecast for tomorrow is only slightly less than today's prediction and therefore may be subject to change depending on the weather.
 
Therefore, any reductions you are able to make in your electrical consumption between 2PM and 5PM today will be very helpful and appreciated.
 
Possible measures you might take include turning up your air conditioning thermostat a few degrees, reducing unnecessary lighting, curtailing the use of electric dryers, washing machines, pool pumps or simply rescheduling their use either before or after the anticipated peak period.
 
Thanks again for your participation.
 
Dale Cronan
Concord Municipal Light Plant
 

More Concord-Related Facebook Pages

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In addition to two Facebook groups devoted to Concord and West Concord that we mentioned a few weeks ago (http://www.concordma.com/blog/2009/03/join-facebook-groups-for-concord-west-concord.html), there are other groups on Facebook related to our town.

19230452.thb.jpgWhile there are more than are listed here, we mostly choose groups, with the exception of the first one below, with more than just a few members. (There were several other class alumni groups which we did not list to avoid repetition.) The descriptions we used were copied exactly from the groups themselves, and are as varied, many-layered and interesting as is Concord in "real life".

If you search, you will find that Henry David Thoreau, Lousia May Alcott, Bronson Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, et al, all seem to be personal users of Facebook -- multiple times each. And they've got plenty of friends. More than Mr. HDT had in life.

Enjoy your explorations!

Concord MA Arbor Lovers
4 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=51892418875
CAL is a new group for Concord area residents to share about Trees. Concord has an eclectic abundance or Arbor; from very old history rich Arbor to new contemporary and often exotic installations.

Willard School Concord, MA class of '81

18 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45100964093

Concord Runners
58 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=55824789928
The Concord Runners is a social, informal running group. We meet every Saturday morning in Concord, MA for a group run, usually on local trails.

Middlesex School
781 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=6208906311
Students, faculty and alumni (student and faculty) of Middlesex School in Concord, MA.

NEFFA Thursday Contra Dances
172 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=90700938127
Come dance with us on Thursdays at the Scout House in Concord MA!
www.thursdaycontras.com

37807049.thb.jpgSave the Poloroid
514 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7932754867
Save the Polaroid Instant Film format! Visit www.savethepolaroid.com and get involved! Polaroid announced that it is discontinuing the production of it's Instant Film in order to focus on digital media. [Poloroid's address is 300 Baker Ave, W. Concord]

I Remember the Willow Pond Kitchen
66 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=54347456934
A group for people who have visited the Willow Pond Kitchen in Concord, MA and are nostalgic for its dingy, grease laden interior, moth-eaten taxidermy, and definitely scarey food. Anything boiled (like the lobster) was OK as was the bottled beer, but beyond that you were taking your chances.

Blatz, the 3rd prophet of God
219 members
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=2219813001
Excerpt from the long description: "... and the National Endowment for the Humanities in Concord, Massachusetts, and he is fluent in German, Spanish and French." [if anyone can make heads or tails from this one, do let us know, ok?)

CCHS - Class of 1997
69 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=15655945657

Don't let the Polaroid-Men die out
16 members
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=15394366494
Polaroid kills urban livelihood!
The digital computers reaps hart and soul of beloved instant paper plesure...
Roses only will not do.
Lets not die us out! Please! Beneftitted help is urgently requested.

A Pink Moth Found Near Gowing's Swamp

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Look at the beautiful sight Concord botonist Cherrie Correy saw last week near Gowing's Swamp.  It's a Primrose Moth -- and it seems here to be contemplating a primrose. "Actually, there were several snoozing away in the daytime around the field," she wrote us. "They sleep away the daylight hours looking like a beautiful pink detail of the flower (but we would know better!), then get busy pollinating at dusk."

She has two public Picasa albums of our local flora/fauna/wild inspirations, one supporting the preservation effort for Gowing's Swamp, and the other as a walker's guide/calendar of bloom at Great Meadows. The Gowing's album is at: http://picasaweb.google.com/khadro06/GowingsSwampAndThoreausBog#. This year's Great Meadows album is: http://picasaweb.google.com/khadro06/GreatMeadowsNWR2009#.

Cherrie is leading monthly walks at GM and the next is scheduled for Aug. 15 from 9-11. Meet her in the parking lot off Monsen Road.

See here for an article about the Primrose Moth: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20090726/FEATURES06/907260322/1015/FEATURES06

Photo: ©2009 Cherrie Corey


Emerson Umbrella Recieves 9 Award Nominations

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kevin and joey.jpgEmerson Umbrella Center for the Arts'  2008 production of "The Producers" has been recognized by the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theaters (EMACT) with nine nominations for its annual DASH (Distinguished Achievement and Special Honors) awards.

Ninety-three productions were judged in 33 different categories, and The Producers received more nominations than any other single production.  And the nominees are...
 
BEST ACTRESS in a musical: Lisa Dempsey
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR in a musical: Joey Mirabile and Keven Shancady
SOUND DESIGN: Jimi Two Feathers
BEST ENSEMBLE:  The Cast of The Producers
BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION:  Brad Huntress
BEST DIRECTION of a musical:  Jake O'Hara
CHOREOGRAPHY:  Julia Fiske
BEST MUSICAL:  The Producers
 
A complete list of the nominations may be found at http://www.emact.org/events/2009_dash_nominees_and_winners.asp
 
The annual EMACT Gala and DASH Awards Presentation will take place on Saturday, September 19, 2009, at Cary Hall in Lexington. Ticket information may be found at http://www.emact.org. Members of The Producers" cast will be performing at the awards presentation.
 
Congratulations to everyone involved!

Photo: Kevin Shancady and Joey Mirabile, both nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, for "The Producers," as performed at (and courtesy of) Emerson Umbrella for the Performing Arts

Alert: Summer Peak Hour Predicted for Wednesday, Aug. 5

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67975336.thb.jpgBased on current weather conditions and the most recent ISO (Independent System Operator) electricity forecast for Wednesday, August 5, there is a reasonable chance New England may hit the highest hourly peak so far this summer.
 
The forecast indicates a peak of 22,610 megawatts, last Augusts' peak was 22,164, which will occur between 2 & 3 PM on Wednesday.  So if you are able to reduce, reschedule or curtail your use of electricity between the hours of 2 PM and 5 PM you would be helping to reduce electricity costs to all Concord Light customers.  The longer term forecast indicates lower peaks the rest of the week and weekend.
 
Between the hours of 2 & 5 PM tomorrow (Wednesday), you might consider turning up your air conditioning thermostat a few degrees, curtailing the use of electricity such as dryers, washing machines, pool pumps or simply rescheduling their use either before or after the anticipated peak period.
 
Thanks again for participating in our effort to reduce the summer electrical peak.
 
Dale Cronan
Concord Municipal Light Plant
Assistant Superintendent
978-318-3102
 

Summer Peak Electrical Reduction: How Did We Do?

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weekofjuly27.jpgThis is the first week that the Concord Municipal Light Plant (CMLP) used its email notification system to ask Concord electric users to reduce usage of power for certain short periods of time in anticipation of decreasing the "summer peak hour".  Concord Blog readers know that the way the system works, that a portion of our electric rate is related to the demand during that magical "peak hour" (see here for more info). 

CMLP asked us to reduce our usage between 2 and 5 PM this past Wednesday and Thursday.  Wednesday's request came with two days notification; Thursday notification came that morning.  Yesterday, we received the below from CMLP. It refers to the chart at top (click on it to see it in larger form).                                                                                                                                                                                             Good Afternoon,
 
We thought you might be interested in feedback on what impact the CMLP-CAP Group had on peak demands this week.  The graph below shows the hourly demands from 10AM - 10PM each day through yesterday.
 
You'll recall the power outage we had last Tuesday around 2:30 pm in the West Concord area which is evidenced by the resultant dip in demand as shown on the graph.  We are working on better ways to reduce load!
 
On Monday (blue line) we did not request that customers reduce peak energy use but we did on Wednesday and Thursday and thus a load comparison can be made between them.  While there are many variables involved (temperature, humidity, business operations, vacations etc.) the biggest variable, outside temperature, was fairly consistently in the low to mid 80s all week.
 
So it's interesting to note that on Wednesday we were able to stay below the Monday peak.  Thursday we did not do as well but there were probably other factors impacting the outcome.  As more and more folks participate the impact should be more noticeable.
 
We plan on offering these comparisons from time to time and hope you find them of interest.  Thanks again for participating and have a great weekend.
 
Anyone wishing to receive these announcement directly should use the email address Cmlp-cap+subscribe@googlegroups.com. Simply send the email as the Subject and Body can be blank. Google Groups will automatically send an email requesting a verification of the request. This has been set up as a one way email system so members can only receive emails from this site.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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