September 16, 2011

Semester's end is in sight, and so is New York and Mexico

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Three weeks into the semester the end is already in sight in early December. About 100 students in my four classes are already counting the days until I stop thumping on their undergraduate heads.

So am I.

In the midst of all this, I have continued to pump out my weekly column for the Finger Lakes Times, the high point of my week, really. My column-writing students - whether they appreciate it or not - have been helping me brainstorm with column ideas. They have their own colums to write, so it only seems fair to have them help me, too.

In about a week, I will wing my way via Jet Blue to New York to attend a public hearing on a proposal to build a propane storage facility on the shores of Seneca Lake three miles from my new house in Watkins Glen. The idea is about as bright as the notion of building nuclear power plants on the shore of Japan. (Whoops! They did that, didn't they.)

I will be going as a journalist/observer but perhaps as a participant. This project is so dangerous, so out of whack with sanity with what Seneca Lake has become as a tourist destination, I might have to come out from behind my journalist's shield to speak against it. Greedy idiots don't care what damage it does, as long as their corporation makes profits for its shareholders and the officers of the corporation get their multi-million dollar bonus checks each year.

Brine pond
In addition to storing millions of gallons of propane in salt caverns (risky business at best, industry experts say) the Kansas City, Missouri company wants to build a 91-million gallon uncovered salt brine pond as part of the entire industrial project on the side of a hill, perched over the lake. Jaysus! If that salt water gets loose and lands in the lake, Watkins Glen can kiss its water supply goodbye for months - maybe more... And will it get loose? Well, in the last few weeks the area has had an earthquake and then brushed by a hurricane.

Need I say more?

After NY, it's back to the classroom until Adm. Fox and I got to Mexico for a short hiatus. She and a Seneca Lake amiga Barb Cook will be going down to help with a spay and neuter clinic. Barb and Sylvia will be doing the medical work, my job is to shoot film for a video about the experience with the working title: Salty Dogs in Mexico.

Or maybe we can just call it Woofing Below the Border.

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