Saturday, October 12, 2013

Surge Protector Recall. Oil Spills. “Open-Air” Nat. Parks. Fall Foliage. Shutdown Effects. Lake Conroe's New Dredger. Christopher Columbus. Oktoberfest.


For "Summary Saturday", News, some new, some old, that you might not have seen:

Surge Protectors Posing Danger Recalled by Company

"Outdated appliances kept at home could pose a greater danger than anticipated  leading to one company's choice to take action. Electric company Schneider Electric recalled 15 million of its APC 7 and 8 series SurgeArrest surge protectors due to possible fire hazards.
Manufactured before 2003, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission noted the company received countless reports due to the product. Reports included 700 complaints of overheating, 13 reports of injuries and 55 of damaged property including a house fire that caused $916K in loss.
According to Today Money, the surge protectors making the recall list were sold nation-wide and created in China and the Philippines. Questions are being posed as to why the company waited so long to recall the product, in which a spokesperson commented in a statement to NBC News.
"In all but a fraction of these cases, the inquiry was resolved with no property damage and the consumer was provided with a replacement product," the statement said.

Whether you own one of these recalled products or not, there is still a lesson to be learned: check the quality of your home appliances and electronics frequently. Faulty appliances can be within your home without you knowing, so don't take a chance if something seems strange."  From:


More Oil And Gas Wastewater Spills Found In Colorado After Flooding


WELD COUNTY, CO -  Gas wells and oil storage tanks surrounded with flood water in Weld County Colorado near the town of Milliken Thursday afternoon, September 19, 2013. (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images) | Getty

"The amount of released wastewater from oil and gas drilling sites being tracked in Colorado increased again, after floodwaters inundated one of the most densely drilled regions in the United States last month.

A total of 17 "produced water" releases -- or 26,385 gallons of wastewater collected at the surface of an oil and gas drilling well -- are now being monitored by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission as of Tuesday. That's up from last week's 13 sites with a total of 18,060 gallons."  More at:


Why Can’t Visitors Walk In to “Open-Air” Parks, Posted on: October 11 2013

image "National parks are prominent icons representing the very best of America—so it’s not surprising that losing access to these inspirational places is causing heartbreak and anger around the country. When Congress closed the national parks as part of the government shutdown on October 1, it affected hundreds of thousands of visitors, business owners, and workers. Eleven days later, the standoff on Capitol Hill continues.

Some critics have questioned why the Park Service would attempt to close “open-air” parks and monuments. I had never heard that phrase used in this context before last week, and it seems to imply that natural areas and monuments that are not normally kept behind fences are “out there” in the world, so the public should be able to just walk in and see them like they always have.

Why should an “open-air” monument, however, be treated any differently than, say, a museum with no one there to staff it? Should citizens be allowed to walk in to the Smithsonian museums while they are closed and there is no one there to protect their world-class exhibits? Of course not.

The situation at national parks and monuments is very similar. Just because many national parks and monuments are physically outdoors does not mean we don’t need staff there to protect them. Like a Smithsonian museum, the National Park System is chock-full of irreplaceable treasures. And unlike a museum, people often undertake rigorous physical activity in potentially dangerous environments when they visit national parks, and those rangers are there to protect visitors’ safety, too."   More at:  By John Garder, Director, Budget and Appropriations


The 10 Best Places You Can’t See Fall Foliage

image "Looking for the perfect leaf-peeping spot? National parks offer some of the best places to celebrate fall. NPCA put together a feature on the ten best national parks to see the changing colors, based on the excellent recommendations by our friends at National Geographic.

Then Congress closed the national parks.

So instead we offer you … the ten best places where you can’t see the fall foliage

It’s hard to talk about the impact of lost beauty when 21,000 Park Service employees are indefinitely out of work and local businesses are losing as much as $30 million per day in park-driven revenue—but these are just a few of the public lands the public can’t enjoy as a result of the fiscal standoff."   More and pictures at:

"Urge your members of Congress to re-open parks and support full funding for the Park Service by taking action on NPCA’s website and calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and asking to speak with your representatives. Not sure who your representatives are? Look them up on NPCA’s website. See more shutdown-related news at"



imageWASHINGTON (AP) - "Campers in national parks had to pull up stakes and leave, some veterans waiting to have disability benefits approved will have to cool their heels even longer, many routine food inspections are suspended and panda-cams went dark at the shuttered National Zoo.

Those are among the immediate effects when the government shut down Tuesday because of the budget impasse in Congress.

image In this time of argument and political gridlock, a blueprint to manage federal dysfunction is one function that appears to have gone smoothly. Throughout government, plans are ready to roll out to keep essential services running and numb the impact for the public. The longer a shutdown goes on, the more it will be felt in day-to-day lives and in the economy as a whole.

A look at what is bound to happen, and what probably won't:"     More at:


And some local news, as I live on Lake Conroe, north of Houston:


image "Over the past few years Lake Conroe has continued to drop. Last weekend's rains had very little effect as it remains at least three feed below normal. In addition the construction of the fresh water pipeline from Lake Conroe to The Woodlands continues to move forward.

Many residents who have boats have had to relocate them due to no water or shallow water at their docks.

image In 2010 the lake began to drop as the area went into drought. Miller who had several barges started doing some dredging work around the lake.

The Palm Beach residents contracted Miller to remove 10,000 yards of soil from under the lake surface in order to give them access to their docks. The project could have taken 3 to 6 months having to rent equipment and move it in.

image It was then that Miller’s niece Cristin was on Craigslist and found a Marsh Dredger for sale in East Texas.  After talking with the owner who had the unit in Cuero, Texas on a job, it was agreed that as soon as the job was completed it would be transported to Lake Conroe. Half of Tuesday morning was tied up with TXDOT in getting permits and routing for the 70,000 pound dredge that is 17 feet wide.  Another issue was where the dredge which also floats and can maneuver in the water could be launched."  More at:


On This Day:

Columbus reaches the New World, Oct 12, 1492:

"After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

With only the Atlantic Ocean, he thought, lying between Europe and the riches of the East Indies, Columbus met with King John II of Portugal and tried to persuade him to back his "Enterprise of the Indies," as he called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where he was also rejected at least twice by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. However, after the Spanish conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in January 1492, the Spanish monarchs, flush with victory, agreed to support his voyage.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. On October 12, the expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and "Indian" captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century."


The origin of Oktoberfest, Oct 12, 1810:

"Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, marries Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The Bavarian royalty invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities, held on the fields in front of the city gates. These famous public fields were named Theresienwiese—"Therese's fields"—in honor of the crown princess; although locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n." Horse races in the presence of the royal family concluded the popular event, celebrated in varying forms all across Bavaria.

The decision to repeat the festivities and the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the annual Oktoberfest, which now begins in late September and lasts until the first Sunday in October. Alcohol consumption is an important part of the modern festival, and more than 1 million gallons of beer are consumed annually at Oktoberfest."



Ray and I put some more screen up on the screen porch, and then we went up to my attic and brought down a blue-grey cellular blind. Just as we were going to hang it where the sun comes in on the porch too brightly, Ray noticed a hidden corner where Jay had screened up at a top between the rafters, that there was a great big gap.   So we had to install larger piece of screen there, before we could put up the blind. The screen porch is really a 'catio', a patio for cats, and a foster cat would have found that hole and got out.  Apart from that, we have gone to great trouble to try to make sure that even a skeeter can't get in there.  I don't know what Jay was thinking.

Peekers-SAM_2110-001 The little kitten, Pippa, Piper, Peekers, whatever his name will be, is doing well.  Nala, my foster cat went in the grooming room, but didn't think much of him though.  I hope they will be friends and play together when he can come out of the cage after recuperating from his surgery.  That was the only reason I offered to foster him, so she wouldn't be so lonely.  I am sure she is missing her litter brother who is now in his 'furever' home.

I tried something new, to me, anyway.  A plantain banana cut like fries and sautéed in coconut oil.  It was good.

The blind made such a difference when the sun came around yesterday.

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