Thursday, 04 June 2009 15:09
By Kristie Snyder,
The current federal minimum wage will be $7.25 per hour as of July 24. For a person working full time, that amounts to an annual salary of $15,080. That’s about $8,000 too little, according to Alternatives Federal Credit Union, which calculates that a single adult requires an annual, before-tax income of $23,103 in order to make ends meet in Tompkins County in 2009. The hourly wage needed to make that annual salary is called a livable wage (or living wage) — the amount of money needed to purchase housing, food, transportation, health care and other needs, and make a modest savings contribution.
AFCU recently announced its calculation for the 2009 livable wage in Tompkins County — $11.11 per hour. This is the base wage that AFCU pays its employees, and the figure is used by other county employers committed to paying a livable wage. GreenStar, which has been paying a livable wage to its employees since Jan. 2004, will soon calculate its new livable wage rate as well.
Saturday, 02 May 2009 09:09
By Alexa Besgen,
Before he was examining the toxicity of New York state, Walter Hang was trying to cure cancer. Spending hours in labs testing chemicals on mice and giving children doses of chemotherapy wasn’t as rewarding as he thought it would be, and he soon realized he wasn’t helping as much as he wanted to. Hang, who is the founder of Ithaca’s Toxics Targeting, says he knew exactly what he wanted to do after stumbling upon a cancer map in a library. His mission? To protect public health from environmental causes of cancer. “When I saw that cancer map, that’s when it hit me,” he says. “I thought, if we could prevent the public’s exposure, then we wouldn’t have to treat or cure anything.”
Hang’s interest in the effects of toxic chemicals started when he was a junior researcher with NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group), hired to look at wastewater discharges and dumps. After lobbying in Albany, and conducting endless amounts of research, Hang discovered that there were inadequately controlled wastewater discharges, which, when left untreated, can elevate the level of toxic chemicals in drinking water along with cancer mortality rates.
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 09:30
By Dan Segal
As more people choose clean, healthy, local food, it’s clear most of us have more than one reason for our choices. We may want to support farming methods we see as cleaner, safer and healthier for all creatures—an endorsement. We may want to keep more of our money in the local economy. For some it’s about community, the vibrant, essential bonds that good food nurtures. Of course all these reasons make sense, and at some level, they’re factors for just about all of us. Most people don’t realize, however, that the same factors can, and should, steer their decisions about landscape plants, even those that aren’t edible.
In general, landscapes are often considered “green,” regardless of the history of the plant material. The nursery and landscape trades often call themselves “The Green Industry,” but once you see behind the curtain — how plants are branded, mass-marketed and mass-produced in the world of big, commercial horticulture — you’ll feel the same way about your landscape plants as you do about your food — that the plants themselves embody the integrity of the process — and you’ll prefer the cleaner stuff. Since the current big horticulture model for selling nursery plants keeps you in the dark about methods and history, I feel someone needs to spur progress by taking the first step: giving an insider’s view of how most plants are produced, and what happens to them before they reach your garden. As a nurseryman I’ve been growing plants for almost 20 years, and I’ve always worked outside the mainstream — by choice, largely because of what I know about how things are done “on the inside.
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Sun is shining, the weather is sweet
Make you want to move your dancing feet.
— Bob Marley
By Alexis Alexander,
May is finally here — that joyous time of year when we can begin soaking up the warmth, kick off our shoes, and dance up a storm.
And that means it's time for our annual Dance Party in the Park...