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VN 12/31 - What Tax Cut?


Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas and the associated evenings of those twelve days (Twelve-tide), are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day (December 25) through the morning of Epiphany (January 6). The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day. Thus, the first night of Christmas is December 24–25, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6. This period is also known as Christmastide.

Over the centuries, differing churches and sects of Christianity have changed the actual traditions, time frame, and their interpretations. Residents of Cohocton, NY, began a new tradition of celebrating the season in 2007, as chronicled in their version of the popular carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Click here to enjoy our updated lyrics.

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VN 12/24 - 'Twas the Night


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas
from the

As time goes by we are more and more grateful for our family and friends, our health, the Life we have in Christ, and our spiritual family at Joy Community Church. We’d love to hear from you and spend more time together! In the meantime, click here to read
our annual letter to friends and family and check out some of our candid pictures.



VN 12/18 - Deck the Hills


The "W" in Christmas

Each December I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments and, of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son Nicholas was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six-year-old. For weeks he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher...

Click here to read the whole story.

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Pope on Global Warming

In today's edition of Britain's Daily Mail, Simon Caldwell reports:

Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology. The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.

The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Clipper Turbines Fail in Buffalo

They've been up for less than a year. So, why are the Lackawanna windmills being taken apart so soon? George Richert from Buffalo WIBV News 4 reports on December 11th:

For a couple months now, most of the windmills on the old Bethlehem Steel property haven't been turning at all.

Norman Polanski, Lackawanna Mayor, "They're not turning plain and simple. That's what everybody keeps calling me about; the windmills aren't turning."

They all started turning for the first time in June. This Steelwinds Project was the first to use the newest Clipper Wind turbines, touted as the new standard for reliable performance, but by late summer, engineers discovered damage inside one of the gear boxes and then shut down 5 others because the timing was off in those gear boxes too.

A Clipper Vice President tells me the plan now is for a crane to arrive next week to take all of the gear boxes down send them back to the factory in Iowa and then replace them one by one throughout the winter. The towers will still stand, but the blades will have to come off of all eight wind mills. It could be March or April before the job is finished.

Norman Polanski, Lackawanna Mayor, "I know if I owned a company and I wasn't making any money, I wouldn't be a very happy fellow, so I can't believe they're satisfied with the status they have right now."

But Mayor Norm Polanski says whether they're turning or not, it will not stop the 100-thousand dollar annual payments the city receives from BQ Energy.

Norman Polanski, Lackawanna Mayor, "From the sense of us receiving our revenues, no. From the sense of people wanna see them, people love to see, people wanna see 'em turn."



What have I done?

The following compelling message appeared in a verified advertisement run in the October 25, 2007 issue of the Chilton Times-Journal in Wisconsin. It was written by Don Bangart of Chilton, Wisconsin following a 2-hour interview with a landowner in Northeast Fond du Lac County. The landowner, who wishes to remain anonymous, approved the text for publication:

I am involved with the BlueSky/Greenfield wind turbine project in N.E. Fond du Lac County. I am also a successful farmer who cherishes his land. My father taught me how to farm, to be a steward of my fields, and by doing so, produce far better crop production. As I view this year's crops, my eyes feast on a most bountiful supply of corn and soybeans. And then my eyes focus again on the trenches and road scars leading to the turbine foundations. What have I done?

Click here to to view a PDF copy of the ad or here to read the full text.



VN 12/11 - Herald Turbines

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The Gospel of Wind

For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by UPC to be entrusted with the gospel of wind power, so we speak, not as pleasing the NIMBYs, but UPC who examines our hearts.

For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed (UPC is our witness!) nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of wind power we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of wind power but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of wind power. You are witnesses, and so is UPC, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of UPC who calls you to share in the glorious green of its kingdom.

For this reason we also constantly give thanks that when you received the word of UPC which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the Word of Green itself, which also performs its work in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the YES groups of UPC that are in Maine and Hawaii, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen.

Excerpted from Chris Swartley's Letter to the Cohoctonians (as adapted from 1 Thessalonians 2)

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SCIDA Prattsburgh Hearing

SCIDA is holding a public hearing on Tuesday, December 18, at 10 am at the Prattsburgh Town Hall, 19 North Main Street, Prattsburgh. The stated objective of the hearing is that “Windfarm Prattsburgh, LLC, for itself or on behalf of an entity to be formed has requested the Agency's assistance with respect to a certain project… ”

SCIDA's notice says: “A representative of the Agency will be at the above-stated time and place to present a copy of the Company's project application and hear and accept written and oral comments from all persons with views in favor of, opposed to, or otherwise relevant to the proposed financial assistance.”

We are asking you to make every effort to attend the meeting. If you cannot, please provide comments to someone who can. If you are not in our area and have any suggestions, please help. If you would like to complain to the state Comptroller and/or Attorney General about SCIDA having a hearing to accept comments on a project that is yet to be finalized and a PILOT that has not been made available for review, please do.



VN 12/3 - What Advantage?



Prattsburgh News

It has come to our attention that UPC has obtained 35 building permits for wind turbines in Prattsburgh. This is about 15 fewer than they originally planned because they have had to decrease their project.

We don't understand what they are planning to do because according to their own transmission maps, they still are lacking the easements they require in order to get a good percentage (perhaps 2/3) of their turbines hooked up to their substation.

In other words, although they are trying to make it look like they are ready to begin, they can't begin unless they want to have a bunch of turbines that can't hook up to the grid. Maybe they want to make pretty sculptures?

So, at the risks of sounding repetitious, if you are asked to sign an easement for transmission cables and you are told that they are ready to begin or that your neighbors have all signed, please be aware that this is not the truth. And once a person has signed for an easement, that will be forever - and if at sometime in the future they want to put huge overhead lines in front of your house, they will be able to do it.

And if Harold McConnell or anyone else from Town Hall tries to talk you into it, please be aware that the Town cannot force you to sign and that without your permission: they cannot run cables in front of your land.

For your added information, the Town has given the company permission to construct (meaning the use of big equipment, blasting, etc.) from 6 AM to 10 PM seven days a week with the assurance that they can work longer hours if they request to.

Ruth Matilsky

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Maglev Turbines Developed

Renewable energy produced from the wind has garnered much attention and support in recent years but is often criticized for its low output and lack of reliability. But now a super power wind turbine has come along that may be just what the renewable energy industry needs. The MagLev wind turbine, which was first unveiled at the Wind Power Asia exhibition in Beijing, is expected take wind power technology to the next level with magnetic levitation.

Magnetic levitation is an extremely efficient system for wind energy. Here’s how it works: the vertically oriented blades of the wind turbine are suspended in the air above the base of the machine, replacing the need for ball bearings. The turbine uses “full-permanent” magnets, not electromagnets — therefore, it does not require electricty to run. The full-permanent magnet system employs neodymium (”rare earth”) magnets and there is no energy loss through friction. This also helps reduce maintenance costs and increases the lifespan of the generator.

Maglev wind turbines have several advantages over conventional wind turbines. For instance, they’re able to use winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s). Also, they could operate in winds exceeding 40 m/s. Currently, the largest conventional wind turbines in the world produce only five megawatts of power. However, one large maglev wind turbine could generate one gigawatt of clean power, enough to supply energy to 750,000 homes. It would also increase generation capacity by 20% over conventional wind turbines and decrease operational costs by 50%. If that isn’t enough, the maglev wind turbines will be operational for about 500 years!

Construction began on the world’s largest production site for maglev wind turbines in central China on November 5, 2007. Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology has invested 400 million yuan in building this facility, which will produce maglev wind turbines with capacities ranging from 400 to 5,000 Watts. In the US, Arizona-based MagLev Wind Turbine Technologies will be manufacturing these turbines. Headed by long-time renewable energy researcher Ed Mazur, the company claims that it will be able to deliver clean power for less than one cent per kilowatt hour with this new technology. It also points out that building a single giant maglev wind turbine would reduce construction and maintenance costs and require much less land than hundreds of conventional turbines. The estimated cost of building this colossal structure is $53 million.

by Mahesh Basantani at Inhabitat.com