(Rockport) Local artist paints White House holiday card - Community - VillageSoup

I suppose this might be my last year on the list -- but at least it has the correct address and no forwarding sticker.

Rockport) Local artist paints White House holiday card - Community - VillageSoup: "ROCKPORT (Dec 19): Each December, envelopes of yuletide cheer make their way across the country's small towns and big cities. This year, the White House holiday card, designed by one local artist, will grace the mailboxes of millions."

Lawson was recognized for his work designing the 2008 holiday card during a
reception at the White House on Dec. 3. He said the White House was
spectacularly decorated with 29 Christmas trees and breathtaking ornamentation.


Subsidized Health Care

"Canadian Man Dies After 34-Hour Emergency Room Wait, Paper Says

By Alexandre Deslongchamps
Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- A Canadian man died after spending 34 hours unattended in the emergency room of a hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Winnipeg Free Press reported today, citing a city health official.
The 45-year-old was dropped off at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre on Sept. 19 and found dead on Sept. 21, the paper reported, citing Brock Wright, the Winnipeg Regional Authority's chief medical officer."

Bloomberg.com: Canada:


U of L Theo Tams wins Canadian Idol

Tams turns Idol into a personal showcase: "In the end, it really was no contest.

University of Lethbridge student Theo Tams was consistently the top performer throughout the 2008 Canadian Idol competition and he was justly rewarded with the Idol title Sept. 10.

It took almost five million votes to put Tams over the top, as he became the sixth winner of the popular television event. Viewers of the competition saw Tams, a 23-year-old Coaldale/Lethbridge resident and U of L student (psychology/music) perform consistently to a point where he and Mitch MacDonald, a 22-year-old carpenter from Port Hood, NS were the last musicians standing."


The Yahoo! Saga

I am still waiting to be able to say this issue, after 2 long months, has finally been resolved but we're not there yet. Its closer -- but still not resolved.

On 8-15-08 I called in again to billing because I have determined they are the only department that seems to actually answer a question and not just read a scripted reply. I was pretty much told the same as always. It is still showing up as an abuse issue but it is being researched. That was about the farthest ahead I had been to date. I mentioned it had been over a month since I had been able to access the email on a mail server I pay for, on a domain registered in my name.

There was a mention of eventual compensation but the situation was currently still being researched.

I asked again if I could at least have my other Yahoo account added as an administrator on my Jim and Wendy email server so I could get in and check my mail. Some serious events in my family had resulted from my not being able to check my mail -- and some drastic oversights in an organization I am in due to emails that did not get delivered. I was still outraged at the whole scenario but even more at the insistance of everyone I talked to that they have no communication with the Abuse department. My only communication with abuse was the replies I got to my online form submission that this was a billing issue.

So one 8-15-08 I again submit a report asking for answers, and I again submit a password reset request. In the middle of the strangeness I received the standard verification email asking for my security answer. I submit the same answer and was more than a little surprised to receive an email shortly after with a password in it. I was almost hesitant as I went to yahoo, entered my user name and the new password and was suddenly in my mail box. I checked the small business server and had access to my domain plan -- and access to my email server. I turned off the catchall mailbox that had been switched on shortly before the incident a month prior.

I went into my mail server and reset my email account password to make sure it had not been changed.

Then I opened Outlook and reset my jimandwendy.com account to automatically check for mail and then I watched -- I watched the little indicator scroll through numbers as it downloaded more than 3000 emails that had been held hostage by Yah00! I cried as I saw how many of these were important requests from members of my org. I cried when I saw how many were from family -- family who thought I had actually received these. I watched, and waited until all of the emails had downloaded into Outlook. Then I began the process of reading through them. It was not easy to sit and look at an email that was a reply from a member, date the day the account was frozen, in reply to an email I had sent the day before. Her military son was home on leave. I had emailed her a detailed plan of how she could take him to dinner somewhere and I would gather up the rest of the members and we would surprise him with a welcome home at the restaurant. I asked her to email me back with the place and time and I would take care of the rest. She had emailed back with the place and the time. I did not take care of the rest. It had to have been heartbreaking for her.

There was an email from a member of my org that was having health issues. She was going in for surgery and asked for my support. There were other emails and as I read through I became more enraged at the fact that a company could simply cut off access, continue to bill me, and not even have the ability to explain why. I attempted to change my password I had been issued and was unable to access the password reset. My access was only partially restored.

On 9/11/08 Yahoo! phoned. I was told it had been determined that even though something had somehow triggered Abuse to suspend my account that it was not an actual Abuse issue. There was no clear explanation but the word 'error' was used. I was also told the investigation and research was still in process and until a clear determination was made there would be no compensation. I was to be satisfied that at this point I now had access to my domain manager and email server. My Yahoo account was active.

Active -- but with no ability to change the password from the assigned one. He tried to determine a technical reason and put me through to the department that would assist me in resetting my password. He stayed on the line and I think I have a sense of gratitude for that. The technician that was assisting me was rude and belittling. She would snarl statements like "close that window right now!" or "Click the little 'x' and close all the windows on your desktop - very good, now tell me what you see" 'I am not able to help you if you refuse to follow instructions." At that point I did not mention I am a certified technician but I did mention that what she thinks the results should be are obviously not. She left the line and was a little nicer when she came back. She said it would be escalated and I would have a reply in 3 to 5 days. We were ending the call and I asked if Billing was still on the line. She snarled "Of course not" and he answered that he was. I believe she left.

But -- this has not ended. My account is partially reactivated but I can't change my password. I can't change and other features although I can edit personal information. I can access my domain control panel and email server. I was told that they have to continue to investigate before they can offer any form of compensation. It was not an abuse issue but continues to be investigated by Yahoo! Abuse. The Billing department has been as helpful as possible -- and often just as frustrated. I sensed the difficulty he had telling me its not over yet -- for the good of the company.


The Code of Hammurabi

Laws of justice which Hammurabi (ca. 1795 – 1750 BC), the wise king, established.
A righteous law, and pious statute did he teach the land.

These laws were written on a stone tablet standing over six feet tall that was found in 1901.

If a builder build a house for some one and complete it, he shall give him a fee of two shekels in money for each sar of surface.


If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.


If it kill the son of the owner the son of that builder shall be put to death.


If it kill a slave of the owner, then he shall pay slave for slave to the owner of the house.


If it ruin goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.


If a builder build a house for some one, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own mean


Yahoo! 8 days later

Nothing has really changed -- I still cannot use my Yahoo ID!
My website has been reinstated at www.jimandwendy.com but I cannot log in to the domain control panel or edit my pages or site.
My email server has been reinstated at jimandwendy.com and Jim, Dallas and Wildflower can send and receive email. I cannot. I am unable to access my email online or through outlook. I cannot administer my email server. Email sent to me is going to the server but I can't retrieve it.

One major spin off here is that most of my online subscriptions, along with accounts, warranty registrations, etc are all linked to my personal email address. Receipts for online purchases go to my personal address. In many cases I am able to log to the account and enter a new email but this only works if I have the password. If not -- it gets emailed to my personal address where I cannot access it.

In an outlook folder I have saved all emails to and from Yahoo! regarding this situation. There are 50 emails in the folder. Many from Yahoo! are the auto responder emails for a form submission. The replies are noted in earlier posts -- 'its a billing issue', 'its a known issue but has been fixed', 'your email is a forgery', 'your premium services have been suspended for a TOS violation' and the most popular 'We need more information.' There was also a mailer daemon message on one form submission that bounced.

My most recent contact was with billing. The billing department seems to be capable of thought. common sense and reason and logic. Unfortunately the billing department is not able to rectify the situation. One tech even tried a 3 way call to account verification to have my password reset but ran into the same scripted responses I continue to get. No one seems able to contact abuse.

At this point I am at a standstill. My last call was to billing, when I read the responses from the variety of replies including the mailer daemon error message. He discussed it with the tech lead and I was left with the promise that this was going to be looked into further and abuse would be contacted somehow. My number was taken and I was told I would get a call back in 1 to 48 hours. It is now 43 hours since that call.


AT&T, SBC and Yahoo! working apart

I want to report that this morning Jim has his email back and http://www.jimandwendy.com/ is back up.
I can still not access this, check for my email or manage my hosted web account or servers. My Yahoo! ID is still not functioning and a call to have it activated resulted in the same thing I have been told since this started -- go online and fill out the abuse report form.

I sent an email to the address for abuse hosting-abuse@cc.yahoo-inc.com that I reported being given in my last blog entry. I did not receive a response. I sent several more -- I have not received a response for any of them.

I have, however, started getting responses from some of the online abuse report forms that I have submitted. Two of them suggested this was a billing issue and to contact billing. They gave me the online URL for contacting billing through the small business site (that I can't do because I have no Yahoo ID) and also a phone number because billing prefers to work on the phone. So I phoned the number I was given for billing.... after a few minutes on hold a recorded announcement came on and said my wait tile was approximately 30 minutes. After 10 minutes of this announcement periodically interrupting the silence a second announcement told of the high level of calls, long wait periods and suggested I access the billing information online. After the recorded announcement delivered the URL -- it disconnected. I called again 4 times -- I was diconnected after 10 minutes on hold 4 times.

I called the customer service/ password reset number. I was told again that I would have to go online and fill out the Yahoo abuse report. I explained that I had done this several times and was receiving the responses saying it was billing not abuse. I was told her report was showing both and she suggested I call the number for billing. I asked her to connect me since I was repeatedly disconnected after 10 minutes. She transferred my call and I was placed on hold. This time I at least got music -- and Jim and I listened to over 90 minutes worth of it before my call was finally answered. My immediate opinion,however, was that it could well have been worth the wait. Not only was he listening to the details of what happened but he was trying to determine why and come up with a fix. He determined immediately that there were no billing issues and discussed the sequence of events that had transpired. He located a note on his records that the account had been 'cancelled by user'. He attempted to reset the domain for jimandwendy.com and also the email servers but was unable to because my Yahoo ID would not allow access. He escalated the problem and said he would make sure it was looked at and resolved.
While we were on the phone he contacted password reset and asked them to reset my ID. Despite the fact that I had an email from abuse saying it was a billing issue, and I had the billing department requesting the account be reinstated, it still could not be done. This time we were both told to complete the online form to contact Abuse.
This morning Jim announced that his email was working again. I tried www.jimandwendy.com and it worked. An email sent to myself at wendy @jimandwendy.com has not yet bounced.

BUT, I still can not access my email. Outlook continues to report an error in logging in. When I go to jimandwendy.com and attempt to access my webmail I get a Yahoo login screen that does not accept my user name or password. I click the password reset link and I am told it can't be reset online. I call the help number and I am told my User ID was terminated by abuse for a TOS violation and to go to abuse and complete the online form. Repeated attempts at disclosing the fact that I have done this and have a handful of replies resulted in being told -- you will have to fill out the online abuse form and report this to them. I was told I would receive a reply in 24 hours.

At the time of this writing it has been 123 hours (6+ days) since the first time I was told this. Emails sent to my address are no longer bouncing but instead are going to aserver where they can not be picked up.


More Yahoo! Abuse

This morning the remainder of the email addresses on the jimandwendyserver have stopped working.
An early call to Yahoo! was at least successful in getting me an email address for contacting Yahoo! instead of having to fill out the abuse claim form and report myself. I have not received a reply to the email.


Still being abused -- by AT&T Yahoo!

It gets worse -- if possible.
I finally got a reply from one of the online forms I filled out and reported I was not able to access the domain control panel or my email server.

The reply says:

The email that you have sent in for investigation is a forgery and not from
AT&T Internet Services.

Okay -- thats it -- the email I sent them telling them what has happened is a forgery.

But Yahoo responded right on the heels of this one. The response from them is as follows:

Wendy, I apologize for the inconvenience this issue has caused
Earlier this was a known issue and now it has been resolved. Now, you
can access the Domain Control Panel of your Yahoo! Small Business account.
You can manage all the features of your Yahoo! Web Hosting account in one
central location. Just sign in to your Yahoo! Web Hosting account
Click on the "Small Business" button at the top-right of the page.
- Enter
your Yahoo! ID and Password
- Click at the "Domain Control Panel"

Oh WOW! If only I still had a Yahoo! ID.

Meanwhile -- some of the sites are now functional on GoDaddy.com
I have http://www.coonmountainbill.com/ up and running and http://www.gaylorddubois.com/
For some reason http://www.wildflowertechcreations.com/ is opening a welcome page (its supposed to be a forward) but http://www.wildflowertech.com/ is still getting me a page cannot be found error. I have no idea what I will do with http://www.leatherlaceimages.com/ since I do not have Tina's photos that are supposed to be on that site.

An update on Yahoo! abuse

And I am still being abused.

Today my email address wildflower @jimandwendy.com began working -- I can send and receive email. This is an account on my jim and wendy server (through Yahoo!) but so is wendy @jimandwendy.com. Email to the wendy address bounces -- and the mailer daemon message says no such host server exists. But Jim can send and receive, Dallas can send and receive and wildflower can send and receive -- all thorugh the non-existent host server. The only one that does not work is wendy.
And an update on the 24 hours -- It is now 31 hours and when I phoned Yahoo! again a few minutes ago I was told (again) to fill out the abuse form and I would get a reply within 24 hours.

I asked for my authorization code so I can transfer my domain -- I was told they can't give it to me (I am the registered owner of the domain) until Yahoo! abuse authorizes the release -- and I have to fill out an abuse report form to have that happen.

I was able, with GoDaddy.com on the phone -- to get the name servers switched so I now have access to my wildflower.com email server -- and to the domains at coonmountainbill.com, wildflowertech.com, wildflowertechcreations.com and leatherlaceimages.com.

I still have no access to jimandwendy.com and that is where all the other websites are stored.


Yahoo! Abuse

Or 'Abuse by Yahoo!'

I need to vent -- But It started about 2 years ago and has slowly gotten worse.

Here's the scenario --
I have a Yahoo! account I created in 1995 or 96. I have used the messenger and the email and have used the Yahoo!groups frequently.
  • 2004 signed up with Yahoo! Small Business and obtained Domain Name and Web Hosting Service for www.jimandwendy.com. Initially I had email through another server (same domain name) but transferred it to a Yahoo! email plan. Everything is linked to my original Yahoo! ID. I pay annually for the domain and email server and monthly for the webhosting. Both our personal emails are on the Yahoo! email server for jimandwendy.com
  • 2005 registered 2nd domain through Yahoo! Small Business www.wildflowertech.com when I started my company. Built a website as a directory on the host site, jimandwendy.com, payable annually.
  • 2005 registered Yahoo! domain www.wildflowertechcreations.com as a link to my Ebay store, payable annually.
  • 2005 purchased single email address from Yahoo! for wildflowertech.com payable annually
  • 2006 signed up for SBC Yahoo! dial up internet because I was unhappy with my current dial up ISP. Contract guaranteed me a certain spped that I never got close to. I was on the phone with tech support 2 or 3 times a week to no avail. I cancelled account but had to pay off contract.
  • 2006 registered Yahoo! domain www.gaylorddubois.com and added as directory on jimandwendy.com and payable annually.
  • 2006 registered Yahoo! domain www.coonmountainbill.com for my mother to advertise her book of the same title. Host a page in a directory on jimandwendy.com and payed domain registration annually.
  • 2006 registered Yahoo! domain www.leatherlaceimages.com for a friend and created a photography sales website for her in a directory on jimandwendy.com, domain payable annually.
  • 2006 started getting 100's of bounced emails per day from spam being sent with my domain address. Yahoo! said it had nothing to do with their server. They suggested I turn off my catchall mail box so I would not receive the bounces. Had to clear jimandwendy.com email address from several black lists. Yahoo! assured me nothing was being sent using my domain.
  • 2007 attempted to register domain for Tammy when she was going to sell her house. I got error message that the account was locked and transaction was denied. I called Yahoo! and was told to check my credit card information. Everything was confirmed. Tech support said it was a billing issue -- billing said it was a tech support issue. Both denied the error I was getting so I took a screen shot and emailed it to them. They said it was an AT&T issue and I would have to resolve it with AT&T. I had no AT&T account but Yahoo! insisted the problem was there. They said I would be able to register the domain if I set up a new Yahoo ID. I said I wanted it linked to my current ID so I could managed all domains in one place. They said I was unable to bill anything through my current ID because the account was frozen by the owner.
  • 2007 continued to battle this issue. I was unable to make any changes to any of my domain plans because the account was frozen (by me Yahoo! said) and they continued to tell me I was going to have to create a new Yahoo! ID so I would be able to renew my other plans. Yahoo! continued to bill my credit card for the monthly fees and auto-renew on the annual fees. I could make no changes on my plans but could still access the control panel and update websites, move directories etc. Yahoo! continued to tell me it was an AT&T issue.
  • 2008 I received a renewal notice from Yahoo! that the price of my domain registration would increase from $11.95 to $34.95. I logged in to my account and 2 domains were showing an expiry date and an amount due of $11.95 each. I attempted to change my credit card information on file but it would not accept my changes. I attempted to renew the domain while the price was still $11.95 and could not.
  • July 2, 2008. Initiated transfer of 5 of my domains to godaddy.com.
  • July 3, 2008 I was contacted by godaddy.com to make sure everything was working right and to see if I had any questions.
  • July 6, 2008 I received email confirmation that domain transfers were successful. The domain forwarding was still in place and the URLs were redirected to the directories on my jimandwendy.com site.
  • July 10, 2008 Yahoo! billed my credit card for registration renewal on 2 domain names.
  • July 12, 2008 I signed into Yahoo and access my domain control panel. I cancelled Yahoo! plan on coonmountainbill.com and gaylorddubois.com. I tested URLs and was able to access both pages. I made an edit to coonmountainbill.com with MSFrontPage and published the corrected page.
  • July 12,2008 I cancelled Yahoo! plan on leatherlaceimages.com because it had also been moved to godaddy.com. After clicking finish I attempted to access the domain control panel and was denied access. I clicked on my Mail button on the Yahoo! toolbar (showing 2 new emails) and was asked for my password. My password was declined.
  • July 12, 2008 email server for wildflowertech and for jimandwendy.com were both requesting passwords through Outlook. Passwords were rejected. Mail button on toolbar continued to count incoming email but I had no access to them. Tried to access domain control panel and could not. attempted to domain web pages -- 3 had notice of suspension -- jimandwendy.com was 'page cannot be found'
  • Contacted Yahoo! and was told I would have to enter abuse report to Yahoo! Abuse. When I asked what information I was reporting and who I was reporting on he told me to enter my Yahoo! ID and said I would get a reply in 24 hours about whether my ID could be reinstated. I asked how I could access my domain control panel or my email server. He said I could not and had been cancelled because of abuse. I asked what happened to my website for jimandwendy.com and my business website at wildflowertech.com. He said he could not access them. I asked what would happen on my email server -- he said he did not know because they were all showing as terminated.
  • July 12, 2008 Received an email from Yahoo! It said:
    "I have analyzed your message and it is best addressed by our Account
    Verification team. To protect account security, this team requires specific
    information about your Yahoo! account that you provided during sign-up or when
    you last updated your account, so I will need to ask you to contact them
    directly to provide the necessary info to resolve your issue."
    It also gave the following information --
    Call 866-850-4303 (Open 7 days a week, 6 am - 6 pm Pacific Standard
    I called at 3:15 pm mountain time and recorded message said office was closed.

I clicked the link in the email and was directed to the form I had filled out to report the error. I filled it out again. I received the same email reply.

  • July 12, 2008 -- I can log into Yahoo! Groups -- it says 'Hello Wourpet' I cannot customize my avatar. I cannot access my webmail. I cannot access my domain control panel. I get an error message on each of my domains -- even those registered through GoDaddy.com, because the routing information is on the Yahoo DNS server.


The Incredible Sweetness Of a Sour Cherry Pie (washingtonpost.com)

By Domenica Marchetti
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, June 23, 2004; Page F01
Like so much in life that is desirable, sour cherries are hard to find, hard to keep and worth going after. These ruby-red sour delicacies -- also known as tart cherries and by the old-fashioned term pie cherries -- are delicate, juicy, luscious and mouth-puckering. But their season, especially around here, is all too brief -- the end of June and early July. What's more, they are fragile, so perishable, in fact, that they won't last but a day or so after being picked."

The Incredible Sweetness Of a Sour Cherry Pie (washingtonpost.com):

Sour Cherry Pie
One 9-inch pie
I am a cherry pie purist. I use a minimum of ingredients because I want my pie to taste like cherries. I use as little flour as possible to thicken the filling because I want it to be juicy, not starchy like canned pie filling. If the pie is still very juicy once it has cooled, simply pour out a bit of the liquid.
Pie crust for double-crust pie (store-bought or homemade), chilled
1/4 cup flour, plus additional for work surface
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 quarts (6 to 7 cups) fresh sour cherries, carefully washed, stemmed and pitted (may substitute sour cherries jarred in juice, drained and patted dry)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


Midwest Flooding Moves Onto Iowa

We are back in Colorado and I will add a few of my own pictures from in and around Ames, Iowa soon. To be sure -- it was wet. It wasn't raging floods but just completely saturated ground that wouldn't hold any more water -- so it laid on top -- and pooled in lower areas. Ducks and geese were swimming in what should have been corn fields. Local jet ski enthusiast joined them in places. Roads were intermittently closed as water flooded over the top.
In some areas, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids they had massive flooding -- 32 feet above flood levels in places. And it rained -- and rained -- and rained.
This picture is from the news -- taken in Shelby. We stopped there for supper on our way to Ames. It wasn't wet -- it was hot and muggy. I'll post the corn lakes later.
It is good to be back where Jim can breath in the air even if it is thin. The humidity in Iowa landed him in the ER.

"DES MOINES, Iowa — The severe flooding soaking the midwest and southern
plains this week moved onto Iowa Wednesday, after leaving large swaths of Ohio
underwater Tuesday and a trail of deadly destruction in its path.
The death
toll from two storm systems — one in the Upper Midwest and the remnants of
Tropical Storm Erin in Texas and Oklahoma — reached 22 on Tuesday when searchers
found the body of a man tangled in a tree near Lewiston, Minn. Officials in Iowa
are still determining if a death in that state can be attributed to the storm.
In Iowa, widespread flooding continued early Wednesday as thunderstorms
dumped more heavy rain across northern Iowa, which was already flooded from
earlier storms.
Strong winds destroyed buildings, cut off power and left
roads and homes underwater."

FOXNews.com - Midwest
Flooding Moves Onto Iowa, Where Death Toll May Rise - Local News News Articles
National News US News


Roses and Snow


Reports of 5 inches of snow on Grand Mesa on Thursday.


Backyard Serenity

Nothing in this photo reveals the chaos and my hectic dashing about as I tried to avoid the impact sprinklers and catch the iris just as the shower passed.

Iris drops


Robins are growing...

From those little blue eggs --


Baby Robins

hungry baby robin

Nesting robins

Robins have feathers


The Water Bed

I confess to raucous laughter on this one.


More Backyard Birds

And I am still trying to determine what they are.

So far we have it narrowed down to Gambel's Quail or California Quail
but they don't quite fit either description -- and they are in the wrong place.


Not very big, (robin or dove size) and they fly into the pines when they get scared.
The rest of the time they run across the ground like a roadrunner.



Mothers Day

With a phone call from Trevor, Facebook message from Tammy and Chad and Webcam chat with Dallas -- it took me awhile to figure out the source of the flowers.

Mothers Day Bouquet

Thanks Deej :)


Besides the Mallards that have a nest (haven't found it yet) in the area we have a pair of Robins nesting in the tree at the corner. The pictures are spread out over the past week -- the first was on May 14th. The last was on May 18th


hungry baby robin


Rhubarb Recipe

Rhubarb Recipe: "The rhubarb plant has a long stock with large triangular leaves. When the rhubarb plant fowers the flowers are small, green to rose red. Rhubarb comes in a number of varieties and are often grown for their stems. These are used in pies, cobblers, cake, crisps and muffins. It can be used in almost any food item where a tart taste is welcomed."


May Day

Grand Junction, CO
Today: Snow showers in the morning...Then snow showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. Much colder. Snow accumulation 4 to 7 inches. Highs 25 to 35. West winds 10 to 15 mph.
Tonight: Cloudy. Snow showers in the evening...Then a chance of snow showers after midnight. Snow accumulation 1 to 3 inches. Lows 10 to 20.
Friday: Partly sunny with a 20 percent chance of snow showers. Highs 35 to 45. North winds 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.


Birds in my Backyard

After the small herd of deer that frequented my backyard over the winter I guess my newest tenants shouldn't be a big surprise.


Colorado Wildfires

"3 die in Colorado wildfires; storm could aid firefighters
Apr 16, 2008 (12:30p CDT)
By IVAN MORENO (Associated Press Writer)

ORDWAY, Colo. - Firefighters resumed the battle Wednesday against three wildfires that blazed across thousands of acres of grass, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate and leading to the deaths of two firefighters and a pilot.

One of the fires was unchecked and still growing Wednesday morning.
Wind gusted up to 50 mph along the Rocky Mountain Front Range and eastern plains on Tuesday, fanning flames that had spread across 8,900 acres - or 14 square miles - of grassland near Ordway. Authorities told all 1,200 residents of the town to leave, and they had not been allowed back in Wednesday."

More...Qwest.Live.com News:


Pray instead of Protest

Dear Editor,

A few weeks ago, several groups of people banded together to “protest” the death of 4,000 of our soldiers in the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. For several weeks beforehand they watched as the numbers crept up, looking for the death that would signal the symbolic turn to 4,000.

For their protest march, which actually comprised a number of different grievances all gathered for one rally and parade, they placed little crosses in the ground to symbolize each of those lost protecting our freedom.

We support their right to gather, their right to discuss and their right to disagree; after all, it is our sons and daughters who are fighting in every corner of the globe so that they can have that right. What we find unacceptable is the group’s hijacking of our children’s service and memories to promote their protest, a protest that most of us strongly disagree with. Do they have the permission from each of the families of the fallen to use their child’s name and memory? Do they really believe that those families and those sons and daughters want their sacrifices used for propaganda that cheapens what they have given?

No one grieves more than a mother for a child who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and no one has the right to cheapen or waste that sacrifice by using the deaths of our children for their propaganda. Our children are our blessings, our pride and our joy. We are the Blue Star Mothers, the proud mothers of children who have volunteered to serve our country. We have our shared memories of raising our children, we pray for them daily no matter where they are. We are the ones who wait for phone calls, letters and e-mails, and who rush to locations across the country to welcome them home, whether it is safely into our arms, for healing in a hospital or to lay them gently in the ground.

The men and women who serve are not a tool for protests. They are not a number to be discussed and argued over. They are serving a noble purpose. Those who say they support the troops but disagree with the war should change their tactics. Our children will come home when the job is done. Let’s support them to get the job done. Instead of rallies of protest, why not gather cards and letters of support, simple but necessary supplies that our troops need, food items, etc., and bring them to Blue Star Moms to send overseas. Instead of protesting on a corner, hold a car wash and use the money to purchase needed equipment in a rehab facility. Instead of signs of protest, fly signs reminding people of what you are grateful for that our country offers — that will stop traffic! Look for the similarities, not always the differences, that make us the United States of America.

Fly your flag, celebrate that all of us in America have the freedom to choose, and then, please pray for our children who have chosen to defend the freedom for all of us.

Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers, Colorado Chapter #4
Theresa Bloom,
Wendy Hoffman,
Ricki Gavell,
Karol Feltman,
Julie Dominguez,
Patricia Wheeler,
Anne Marie Boden,
Suzanne Daniels,
Sheila Decocq,
Robin Wade,
Juli Ingram,
Kathy Gosselin

Grand Junction Free Press - Letters to the Editor: "Pray instead of protest"

See also Mothers of Veterans take Exception to Protests


Anti-war Protestors take to Grand Junction streets and park

"Anti-war Protestors take to Grand Junction streets and park

Posted: March 30, 2008 05:12 PM MDT
Updated: March 30, 2008 05:12 PM MDT"

Sunday night, about one hundred anti-war protestors marched in Grand Junction. They left Lincoln Park at about 4:00.
They made their way to protest in front of the Capco Incorporated Building. That's the company who the protestors say, locally manufactures equipment and supplies being used in the Iraq War. They say they want to shine a light on companies that are "making money while blood flows in Iraq."
Before the protestors left to march, they spent the afternoon at Lincoln Park. Over 100 people were there to listen to Iraq War Veterans speak. They say they wanted their message heard loud and clear, demanding an end to the war.
KJCT8.com - Grand Junction, Montrose - Weather, News, Sports Anti-war Protestors take to Grand Junction streets and park:


John McCain: Courageous Service - Experienced Leadership - Bold Solutions

John McCain: Courageous Service - Experienced Leadership - Bold Solutions

John McCain: Courageous Service - Experienced Leadership - Bold Solutions

John McCain: Courageous Service - Experienced Leadership - Bold Solutions

The Troops are Home -- Welcome back Dallas!

On Jan. 10, 2007, a solemn President Bush addressed the nation and announced his plan to restore order. He called for an additional five U.S. combat brigades to be deployed to Baghdad to end the violence and reestablish security.
More than 50,000 troops would eventually take part in the "Surge." The first of these units to answer the call was the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Over the course of 15 grueling months, as they served out the longest combat tours since WWII, Paratroopers from the "Falcon" Brigade helped bring about a stunning turnaround in Baghdad and Iraq's security situation. By the end of 2007, thanks to the Paratroopers' grit and determination, levels of violence dropped a dramatic 90 percent throughout their area of operation and al-Qaeda in Iraq was on the run everywhere in the country.
For most of the Falcons, it was an odyssey that began on Dec. 27, 2006, the day the Brigade received orders for an immediate deployment to Kuwait. While most Americans continued to enjoy their Christmas break, the Falcons suddenly had to scramble to move 3,000 paratroopers, 300 containers of equipment and 100 vehicles halfway around the world. Amazingly, the movement was complete in less than a week.
"I don't know of anyone else (but the 82nd Airborne) who can do that," said Maj. Michael Baumeister, the brigade's logistics officer.
Deploying on such short notice is what the 82nd Airborne Division prides itself in, but for one unit from the brigade, it was a unique challenge. The Paratroopers from 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, or Red Falcons, had recently redeployed from a five-month tactical mission that had them fighting all across Iraq, chasing elements of al Qaeda. The Battalion had only been at home for ten days when it received orders sending them back to the Middle East.


82nd Airborne unit leaving Iraq

"WASHINGTON (AP) - the North Carolina-based paratrooper division that led the U.S. troop surge in Iraq last year is returning to Fort Bragg."

WAVY TV 10 - News, Weather, Traffic, Sports for Hampton Roads, Virginia - North Eastern North Carolina - AP NewsBreak: 82nd Airborne unit leaving Iraq:


Beauty in Reflection

As I stand at the kitchen sink washing potatoes for supper I look out the window and see the sunset reflecting on the Mt Garfield and am awed by the beauty ...

and turn an see see the Bookcliffs and feel a sense of gratitude.

And then I sit down at the dining room table to eat supper and look out through the french doors at Grand Mesa and wonder how it is that snow can look so warm...

and as I put the dishes into the sink and look again at Mt Garfield I ponder the fact that one does not have to look west to enjoy the beauty of the sunset.


State Sues Professional Fundraiser -- Xentel, Inc.

State Sues Professional Fundraiser -- Xentel, Inc.: "State Sues Professional Fundraiser -- Xentel, Inc.

Consumer fraud suit alleges telemarketers trick Iowans into believing the callers are fire fighters, that donations will support local fire fighters, and that most of donated money helps fire fighters.

DES MOINES. Attorney General Tom Miller filed a consumer fraud lawsuit today alleging that a Florida-based professional fundraiser company uses misleading telemarketing pitches designed to exploit the public's support for fire fighters in order to line its own pockets."

It is interesting to note that several 'watch dog' reports have surfaced on the net lately listing what they call 'all national charities' and grading them. On speaking with one of these report administrators I was informed they only grade charities taking in over 5 million per year. In other words they only grade charities getting scammed by Xentel and other fund raising solicitors.

I guess I should be happy Blue Star Mothers doesn't make the grade.

A general rule of thumb -- if they phone you or send you address labels they are probably the 'solicitors' who keep 90% of the money for adminstration and wages and only send 10% to the organization. Unfortunately you can't find a list of legitimate organizations -- or even the actual address to send your donation direct -- only reports of the ones to avoid.


Colorado Town Fears Avalanche of Water

"Feb 15, 2008 (4:45a CST)
By P. SOLOMON BANDA (Associated Press Writer)

DENVER - More than 1 billion gallons of contaminated water - enough to fill 1,500 Olympic-sized swimming pools - is trapped in a tunnel in the mountains above the historic town of Leadville and threatening to blow.

Lake County Commissioners have declared a local state of emergency for fear that this winter's above-average snowpack will melt and cause a catastrophic tidal wave.

The water is backed up in abandoned mine shafts and a 2.1-mile drainage tunnel that is partially collapsed, creating the pooling of water contaminated with heavy metals.County officials have been nervously monitoring the rising water pressure inside the mine shafts for about two years. An explosion could inundate Leadville and contaminate the Arkansas River."It could come out, we just don't know where," county Commissioner Carl Schaefer said. "We're seeing changes and we're very concerned. We're not crying 'Chicken Little' here.""

More...Qwest.Live.com News:


Ice Storm in Yellville, Arkansas

My sister, Linda, sent me a link to the photos she has uploaded of the icestorm they had yesterday. Beautiful even if somewhat destructive.

Search Current Weather Related Photos : Weather Underground


Cops send signal on red lights

This is how we slow 'em down in GJ -- this was taken at the corner of North and 12th, one of our busier intersections -- and , Yes, that really is an on duty cop.

The Daily Sentinel

Thursday, February 07, 2008
Grand Junction motorists who received traffic tickets Thursday after passing through the intersection at North Avenue and 12th Street can’t say they weren’t warned."
“Don’t run red lights. My partners are waiting,” read a cardboard sign held by Grand Junction Police Department officer Patrick Rice. Rice planted himself with the warning at the corner of North and 12th between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The sight of the plainclothes officer with a black Grand Junction Police Department hat holding the sign prompted some thumbs-up signs and eager waves. But not everyone was happy.
“The ones that we stop, they aren’t smiling so much,” Rice said.

More...Cops send signal on red lights:


Climbing over Skeletons and Shadows

My hardest decision on posting this seems to be what blog to put it on. While it would be great for our Blue Star Mothers chapter blog it is also one of those "lets not make it worse" scenarios.

Let me start by boldly stating that Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc has been around for 65 years. We were chartered by congress in 1960. Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers, the local Grand Junction chapter (Colorado #3) was chartered in November of 2007. Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc, currently has a membership base of approximately 4500 members (moms) nationwide. We are a Veterans Service Organization that is authorized by the U.S. Code: Title 36; Section 943, as of January 26, 1998.

We are NOT involved with Homefront Heroes. Homefront Heroes was founded in 2002 by founder and director Phyllis Derby in Grand Junction. The community of Grand Junction, and other residents of the State, welcomed the opportunity to be able to support the troops through a local organization. That is, until it soured and left a bad taste for many.

Fast forward to the chartering of Colorado Chapter 3 in November of 2007. I was previously a member of New Mexico chapter 1 where I was actively involved and met dozens of Blue Star Moms at convention in Albuquerque in the summer of 2007. When I learned we would be moving to Grand Junction I looked for a local chapter and when I found there still wasn't one I set the chartering process into motion. I wrote into the local paper, told the national membership chair of my plans and contacted several charitable organizations on the internet that seemed to have a local affiliation. With 5 other moms we were granted a charter on Nov 23rd, 2007. We now have 17 members and 5 associates.

Our first 'event' was the veteran's day parade in November and we were greeted with what I considered somewhat mixed emotion. It was my first knowledge of the former Homefront Heroes and I was told there had been a 'few' problems and it no longer existed. Some comments suggested our timing might be good because the community still had a desire to give while others thought we had a huge obstacle to overcome. It turns out the latter might have been closer to the truth.

At subsequent events and efforts at garnering community support I seemed to hear the previous organizations name more than I really needed to. I also heard many negative comments that seemed to group us together. We are NOT a resurrection -- we are NOT the same group with a new name. As one enlightened citizen suggested, we are NOT a 'fly by night' charity. As the days progressed so did the stories I heard about what 'had reallly happened' and the more confused I got. The stories ran the gamut of embezzlement by the founder to storage lockers of rotted goods that were never sent to the troops as believed. I was told they were still operating underground (interesting scenario for a non-profit)and I was told they were disbanded and their 501(c)3 status had been revoked.

After a recent event at the mall where I was verbally attacked for a variety of incidents and happenings I have no knowledge of I decided to try and come up with a solution. It was depressing to host a large event at the mall and be shunned by over 50% of the shoppers and to leave with our donation baskets and cups close to empty. Many of the mall patrons even shied away from signing a valentine. I also decided to see what the real story was on the defunct Homefront Heroes.

An aquaintance confided that she avoided attending larger events with us because of her prior involvement with Homefront Heroes but she hasn't been a large source of information. She has attended events in the shadows and passed out steakhouse gift cards that were "from Homefront Heroes but I don't say so" I suggested they be donated to Blue Star Mothers and was told the organization was thriving on the eastern slope. I suggested evrything from this side go over there to make a clean break for the community. She mentioned they were still hoping to revive it and that audits had been done and were available for viewing.

A check on the Colorado State website showed the name is still in use and registered but there is no record of State charities registration. A further check on the IRS form 78 shows the 501(c)3 status is not in effect as of Dec 2007.

An internet search on Homefront Heroes turned up some interesting facts. For one thing, they still claim to be in operation in Grand Junction although the rumors of them being underground might have a basis in reality. The website is not homefront heroes but militarysupportgroup .com . They are still selling magnets, they are still accepting donations, and they still have a full board of directors for Grand Junction. A second website procalims them to be somehow involved with A local check cashing store http://www.cashnowcolorado.com/homefront.html although on a phone call to one of the offices I was told 'We don't have a website' and when I gave her the URL she seemed quite shocked and said she was going to see that it was taken down immediately.

Then I received a call from a girl scout troop who had seen us on the news and want very much to be able to donate cookies to the troops again and asked would we work with them. I felt good but was taken aback when asked if we needed them to box them and pay the postage as well so they wouldn't rot in storage. My explaining that we were scrambling to have enough items to fill packages and storage was the least of our concerns were met with her stories of previous negative publicity with Homefront Heroes.

Again I searched not only through Google and Yahoo but also through the online archives of the Free Press. I found several stories of the growth of Homefront Heroes, of the large cookie campaigns and of the communities donations to the Steakhouse gift cards. Nothing negative appeared anywhere in the archives. It seemed I was to stay in the dark until I made one more internet search through the Sentinel's archives. I found it listed on a page of the top stories of the year but a click on the link informed me the story had been removed. The headline, however, divulged a name -- a different name than I had encountered in my research of Homefront Heroes.

I then did a search on the name Sarah Kenney and found probably more than I wanted to know. The original story from the news article is included at http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/002191.html and is there through the cuortesy of Google cache. For any who do not know, web pages remain in storage in a cache for years after they are deleted. The story is a tragic tale of a young soldier who jumped in front of a young Iraqi girl to save her from a bullet and was killed leaving his pregnant wife and family behind. Homefront Heroes had submitted the press release, complete with photos to the Sentinal and were raising money for the bereaved widow and her family. The story was a fraud.

More details can be found in the write up by the mudville gazette, including other facts they gleaned from the sentinel before they were deleted. The involvement of Homefront Heroes is fuzzy but questionable. The story itself had too many verifiable details to have been submitted without verification. One would also have to question the Sentinel. In fact it had too many storybook characteristics to be accepted at face value but it was -- and it was published and the community rallied in support. However it did run -- and was a bogus story for apparently illicit purposes -- and has left Blue Star Mothers of the Grand Valley with a hurdle to climb -- but climb it we will!

A more complete article, also from caches of the Sentinel's archives can be seen here. And the Free Press did indeed have coverage, in fact they did plenty of investigating to help uncover the scam. A report on this is in the Vail Daily

Update 2/9/08
This article covers some of the other comments we have been confronted
with. I gather Homefront Heroes was involved in more than one episode of
negative publicity.
an excerpt... "Huffman and fellow ex-board member Tom Logsdon
spoke with reporters in a press conference called by the former board shortly
after 11 a.m. — held in front of the Grand Junction Police Department at the end
of interviews they had with police that started at 10 a.m. Huffman said herself,
Logsdon and his wife, Sherry, and Carrie Harmeyer presented “written and verbal”
financial information to Grand Junction Police Lt. Greg Assenmacher and Chief
District Attorney’s Investigator Gil Stone." An article is in the GJ Free

Another Update........ More Details on the Junction Daily Blog


Hearts off to Our Troops

Grand Junction Free Press - Community News: "Gage Roberts, almost 2, of Fruita, puts his finished Valentine card in the collection bag.
Photo: Tracy Dvorak Free Press"



Inogen One Portable Oxygen concentrator Travel Concentrators, Nebulizers, pulseoximeters: "What are the benefits of oxygen therapy?
Numerous studies have shown that COPD patients who use supplemental oxygen live longer and have more active lives than individuals not receiving oxygen. Oxygen therapy is based on the premise that all human cells require sufficient levels of oxygen to function properly. Exercise is often easier for individuals receiving supplemental oxygen because more oxygen is getting to the muscles. Receiving oxygen also helps to reverse the long-term effects of oxygen deficiency on the heart. Oxygen therapy has also been known reduce sleep disruption while also improving concentration and memory levels."


KREX TV Station Burns

"Grand Junction TV Station KREX Burns In Fire
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) ― KREX TV's building caught fire Sunday morning.

KREX is the CBS affiliate in Grand Junction, on Channel 5 and also broadcasts on the FOX station, Channel 4. As of 10 a.m., it was uncertain if the station would be able to broadcast the AFC Championship game through its FOX affiliate to Grand Junction-area viewers"

More...cbs4denver.com - AFC Game May Not Be Broadcast:


New Larger Flat Rate Boxes

"'New Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box
The current flat-rate box, which gives customers a single, predetermined rate regardless of the weight or delivery zone, was introduced in November 2004. The new, larger box extends the agency’s successful flat-rate offerings, providing more choices for small businesses and consumers.New Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box
The current flat-rate box, which gives customers a single, predetermined rate regardless of the weight or delivery zone, was introduced in November 2004. The new, larger box extends the agency’s successful flat-rate offerings, providing more choices for small businesses and consumers.'"
See details...:


Tougher ID Rules for Borders

Chertoff: Tougher ID Rules for Borders -- GOPUSA: "Chertoff: Tougher ID Rules for Borders
Associated Press
January 18, 2008"

Thousands of people enter the U.S. through land crossings every day. The
biggest effect of the change will be at the Canadian border since it applies to
both Canadians and Americans. Non-Americans coming in through Mexico already
need extra documentation.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- New border-crossing rules that take effect in two weeks will mean longer lines and stiffer demands for ID, including for returning Americans, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Thursday.
A driver's license won't be good enough to get Americans past a checkpoint at the Canadian or Mexican border, Chertoff said. That will be a surprise to many people who routinely cross the border with Canada, but Chertoff bristled at criticism that such extra security would be inconvenient. More than 800,000 people enter the U.S. through land and sea ports each day.
''It's time to grow up and recognize that if we're serious about this threat, we've got to take reasonable, measured but nevertheless determined steps to getting better security,'' he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Thousands of people enter the U.S. through land crossings every day. The biggest effect of the change will be at the Canadian border since it applies to both Canadians and Americans. Non-Americans coming in through Mexico already need extra documentation.
Congressional critics representing Northern border states were anything but impressed with Chertoff's rhetoric.
His department has proved incapable of implementing a 2004 law on border security, and Chertoff ''frankly has as much credibility on telling people to 'grow up' as Geoffrey the Giraffe,'' said Rep. Tom Reynolds, a Buffalo-area Republican.
Added Sen. Norm Coleman, a Minnesota Republican, ''Secretary Chertoff's comments that those objecting to the plan need to 'grow up' indicates that the department still doesn't understand the practical effects of DHS policies on the everyday lives of border community residents.''
Sen. Patrick Leahy, Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the move does nothing to enhance security and will only hurt the economy. ''When it comes to the Northern Border, the muddled thinking and poor planning at DHS seems to have no bounds, and the agency that botched Katrina seems to have no shame and no memory to boot,'' Leahy said.
Under the new system, which takes effect Jan. 31, Americans and Canadians who are 19 or older will have to present proof of citizenship when they seek to enter the United States through a land or sea port of entry. A passport will be fine. Or a birth certificate coupled with some other ID such as a driver's license.



My Review of iRobot® Roomba® Red Vacuuming Robot

Originally submitted at iRobot

Our standard Roomba vacuuming robot cleans floors with the touch of a button so you don't have to. Vacuums beneath furniture and other hard-to-reach places, automatically adjusts from carpets to hard floor surfaces and avoids stairs and drop-offs.

I loved him to death!

By Wourpet from Grand Junction, CO on 1/15/2008


5out of 5

Pros: Cleans Effectively, Cleans Under Furniture, Hassle Free Operation, Long Run Time, Covers Entire Room, He's got Personality

Cons: Can Get Stuck

Best Uses: Carpeted Rooms, Large Rooms, High Traffic Rooms, Tile Floors, Small Rooms, Pet Hair, Hardwood Floors

Describe Yourself: Homeowner, Pet Owner, Busy household

My Robot's Name: Roomba

I have had Roomba for almost 9 months and he has been wonderful -- and a very hard worker. I have uploaded videos of him wrestling the rug to YouTube and have talked my mother into getting one just like him. My boy has an attitude and has provided us with entertainment on occasion with some interesting manuevers. Sadly he has recently started behaving oddly and has lost his voice. Customer service is great and a replacement is on the way but I feel like I am sending away the family pet.

Roomba and the Rug 2

Tags: Rug, Vacuum, Roomba, Funny



The End of the Light Bulb as We Know It

"The incandescent light bulb, one of the most venerable inventions of its era but deemed too inefficient for our own, will be phased off the U.S. market beginning in 2012 under the new energy law just approved by Congress. Although this will reduce electricity costs and minimize new bulb purchases in every household in America, you may be feeling in the dark about the loss of your old, relatively reliable source of light. Here's a primer on the light bulb phase-out and what will mean to you:"

Why are they taking my light bulbs away? Moving to more efficient lighting is one of the lowest-cost ways for the nation to reduce electricity use and greenhouse gases. In fact, it actually will save households money because of lower utility bills. Ninety percent of the energy that an incandescent light bulb burns is wasted as heat. And yet, sales of the most common high-efficiency bulb available--the compact fluorescent (CFL)--amount to only 5 percent of the light bulb market. Earlier this year, Australia became the first country to announce an outright ban by 2010 on incandescent bulbs. The changeover in the United States will be more gradual, not mandated to begin until 2012 and phased out through 2014. However, don't be surprised if some manufacturers phase out earlier.

How do I save money, when a CFL costs six times as much as an old-fashioned bulb? Each cone-shaped spiral CFL costs about $3, compared with 50 cents for a standard bulb. But a CFL uses about 75 percent less energy and lasts five years instead of a few months. A household that invested $90 in changing 30 fixtures to CFLs would save $440 to $1,500 over the five-year life of the bulbs, depending on your cost of electricity. Look at your utility bill and imagine a 12 percent discount to estimate the savings.
I've heard that CFLs don't really last as long as they say. Turning a CFL on and off frequently shortens its life, which is why the government's Energy Star program says to leave them on for at least 15 minutes at a time. Also, if you have dimmable light fixtures, make sure to buy CFLs labeled "dimmable." All CFLs that carry the government's Energy Star label are required to carry a two-year limited warranty, so contact the manufacturer if your bulb burns out prematurely. The Energy Star website has a good FAQ on CFLs.
I don't think that I like the color of the light from CFLs. When they first hit the market, CFLs had a limited range of tones. Now, manufacturers offer a wider variety, but there is not an agreed-upon labeling standard. The Energy Star program is working to change that. But for now, look for lower "Kelvin temperatures" like 2,700 to 3,000 for "redder" light, closer to old-fashioned incandescent bulbs, while bulbs with Kelvin temperatures of 5,000 and 6,500 provide more "blue" and intense light. A good photograph illustrating the difference is shown here.
I've heard that CFLs have mercury in them--isn't that bad? Consumers are rightly concerned about the toxic substance mercury that helps CFLs produce light. Even though the amount sealed in each bulb is small--one old-fashioned thermometer had about 100 times as much mercury--contact local trash collection for disposal instructions. Environmentalists agree that more work must be done on bulb recycling programs. Right now, you can return any CFL to any Ikea store for recycling, and the Environmental Protection Agency and Earth911 have sites you can search for other recycling programs near your home.
But if you break a CFL, you'll have a toxic spill in your home. Maine's Department of Environmental Protection has developed the best advice on the procedures to follow if a CFL breaks. Don't use a vacuum. Maine officials studied the issue because of a homeowner in that state who received a $2,000 light bulb clean-up bill from an environmental hazards company--a story that has circulated around the country and increased consumer concerns about CFLs. It turns out that the company's advice was overkill, and a subsequent analysis showed no hazard in the home. But the bulbs must be handled with caution. Using a drop cloth might be a good new routine to develop when screwing in a light bulb, to make the clean-up of any breaks easier.
By the way, don't think that incandescent bulbs are mercury free. In the United States, the chances are at least 50 percent that their light is generated by a coal-powered plant featuring mercury as well as other types of pollution. Popular Mechanics recently crunched the numbers to find that even if the mercury in a CFL was directly released into the atmosphere, an incandescent would still contribute almost double that amount of mercury into the environment over its lifetime.
Isn't there efficient lighting without mercury? Yes. By 2012, the chances are good that consumers will have many more options to replace incandescent bulbs. Manufacturers already are deploying advanced incandescent bulbs that are efficient enough to stay on the market after 2012, although they are not yet as efficient as CFLs. Even more exciting are the developments with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are jazzing up holiday lighting. The European electronics firm Philips this year acquired several pioneering small technology companies and plans a big push to make LEDs practical for ordinary lighting purposes. The lights on the New Year's Eve Times Square Ball could one day brighten your home. LEDs last even longer than CFLs and will make bulb buying more like an appliance purchase than a throw-away item.
Is Thomas Edison turning over in his grave? Perhaps, but the incandescent bulb has had a good run, with the technology little changed since 1879, when Edison produced light with a carbonized thread from his wife's sewing box. The breakthrough that ushered civilization out of the candle era was so revolutionary that the light bulb itself became the culture's iconic image to illustrate any thought, brainstorm, or idea. But energy-efficient bulbs are a better idea, says Andrew deLaski, director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. "It's hugely important," he says. "A 60 to 70 percent reduction in light bulb energy use will save as much energy annually as that used by all the homes in Texas last year." That's a big savings.

FAQ: The End of the Light Bulb as We Know It - Yahoo! News:


Colorado Braces Itself for Winter Storm

It was nice to wake up to balmy temperatures in the high 40's today but...

"Posted on Jan. 4, 2008 by Rick Adams A powerful weather system gets ready to
nail Colorado. The clouds have moved in and the high country is bracing for a
major storm. The National Weather Service says the brunt of this system will hit
the mountains along the Continental Divide starting tomorrow and will bring
prolonged and heavy snow. The heaviest snow will be in the southwest, but even
the northern mountains will get as much as 16 inches. There are no road closures
at this time...however, there is a winter storm and high wind warning along I-70
in the mountains from tonight through Sunday. Winds are expected to gust up to
65 miles per hour."
More...Colorado Braces Itself for Winter Storm - Local News - News : Grand Junction, Colorado:


Patience required

This mandala is made completely with sand. I know I would not have the patience but at the same time I think it would be incredible to have the balance, calmness and patience needed to make this.
View more mandalas in the Beliefnet Gallery