Category Archives: Commentary

😷 Covid-19 Info & Resources Update August 27, 2020 (USA)

keep-calm-wash-your-hands_8.5x11

Info and Links for Friends and Loved Ones
New tests and testing info! More relatively current updates about Life in the Age of Covid arranged roughly by topic with newest articles first. Explainers about transmission in the air. Should I wear a mask? Is that really still a question!? The big question: Will the Pandemic ever end in the USA? Answer: If the current administration remains in power, the pandemic never EVEN happened. With actual leadership, Covid-19 should be under control within 18 months. PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE, VOTE EARLY, AND DON’T COUNT ON THE USPS TO DELIVER YOUR BALLOT.


Get Tested for COVID-19 at Home! Mail-in kit from Pixel by LabCorp (Not an Antibody test. A test to see if you are currently infected. You will have to come up with a reason for being tested if you don’t have symptoms.)
8/25/2020 — Read on –  www.pixel.labcorp.com/covid-19 Read on

Coronavirus Antibody Tests? It would be great if they worked and told us what we needed to know. But so far, they don’t.
8/21/2020 — Read on NYT – www.nytimes.com/2020/08/21/health/coronavirus-antibody-tests.html

Should I get tested for COVID-19 antibodies? Can antibody testing tell whether someone has been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19?.
8/x/2020 — Read on NJ Health Department – covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/testing-information/should-i-get-tested-for-covid-19-antibodies-can-antibody-testing-tell-whether-someone-has-been-exposed-to-the-virus-that-causes-covid-19


Europe lockdown: New coronavirus rules country by country (Americans stay home until you can manage your Covid better.)
8/20/2020 — Read on BBC NEWS – www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-53640249


What Happens to Viral Particles on the Subway – Very cool Graphic Explainer!
8/10/2020 Read on NYT – www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/08/10/nyregion/nyc-subway-coronavirus.html

Covid 19 is airborne [Don’t you want to just say “Duh!!”. But it was only the beginning of July that scientists could prove it and the CDC began to accept it.—Christo]
7/4/2020 Read on NYT – www.nytimes.com/2020/07/04/health/239-experts-with-1-big-claim-the-coronavirus-is-airborne.html


Could my symptoms be Covid 19? (Yes, whatever they are. A great Graphic Explainer.)
8/5/2020  Read on NYT – www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/08/05/well/covid-19-symptoms.html


Face masks: How to wear a covering and stop coronavirus (Video)
8/25/20 Read on BBC – www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-53517968

Coronavirus: which way round to wear a face mask? (Video)
07/15/20 Read on BBC – www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52606128

Coronavirus: ‘The masks you throw away could end up killing a whale’[So RECYCLE, or put them in the trash for heaven’s sake!!—Christo]
7/7/2020 Read on  BBC – www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-53287940


Nurses Who Battled Virus in New York Confront Friends Back Home Who Say It’s a Hoax (I include this because to me it is unfathomable that people could believe this is a hoax. You probably have neighbors, as I do, who still treat it like it is a hoax. RANT FOLLOWS: And that the wing nuts could think this is a Leftist Conspiracy? When the damage, the death, is being wrought on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations—seriously, the “Democrat”, liberals, poor, seniors, and people of color— those populations. While the government is compensating giant corporations and banks and billionaires? Who is benefitting from this disease? People on Social Security? Sounds more like a conspiracy of the Republicants to wipe out their troublesome opponents. But, NO, I don’t believe that. “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”—Christo)
07/07/20 Read in NYT: www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/us/coronavirus-nurses.html


Stay Healthy #WearAMask and #VOTE!!

— Christo

Life in the Age of Covid – Friday August 14, 2020

Friday August 14, 2020 11:38 am

“This rotten time wouldn’t seem so bad to me now. If I didn’t die, I should be satisfied, I survived. It’s good enough for now.”— “Sky Blue Sky”, Wilco

Winding down the summer of 2020. It’s 86 degrees in Western Central New Jersey with 98% humidity—that’s pretty swampy weather, even though it’s cooler by 5 degrees than most days for the last few weeks. I’m listening to the Goldfinches chirp as they fly overhead in between feeder stops. A Kingfisher chatters his way north up the river, while the nattering Nuthatches explore the walnut tree from every angle—upside down, sideways—jerkily walking the bark in three dimensions without hesitation or fear of gravity. They do sidestep the big yellow wasps, who have a nest in a hole in the tree. While one guards the entrance, wings buzzing incessantly, the others come and go quickly with a sense of purpose.

Too late to go for a cool morning ride.

We’re six plus months into this Covid thing. I haven’t been to GIANT market, where I now appreciate leisurely strolling, relaxed, picking through the corn chips, looking for the healthy ones, and trying to find the sliced wild salmon with no sugar or flavorings. In all this time I haven’t returned to the gym where I taught T’ai Chi—not since that last Saturday morning, right before lockdown, when only four students showed. I haven’t met my friend Pendar for dinner at Bell’s Tavern, a habit we’ve maintained for over thirty years. No tuna sub from Valpariso’s for lunch on work days. I have bought a few dozen bagels from Hee San at Bagel Delite, had a few TLT Sandwiches from Jess’s Juice Bar, sushi from Ota Ya, and the grilled chicken pesto panini at Liv and Charlies, all from curb-side pickup of course, no sit-down restaurant meals anywhere. Not happening. I miss the social ease of dropping into Rojo’s coffee shop and reading at a table, or treating myself to cookie-dough ice cream at Oh Wow Cow.

I wear a mask whenever I go out, and ALL DAY at work – and a bandana when I ride my bike. I used to say I did it to set a good example, which is still true, but I really do it because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t need to hear or make any arguments about it. My mom was an O.R. nurse. I know intuitively this is the right thing. I get pissed at people who don’t wear masks – including my neighbors with their small children. But I don’t say anything. When someone sneers some comment at me for wearing a mask, I resist the urge to shove them into the canal, where they belong. And to be fair, I have recently witnessed my neighbors and children rolling the downtown sidewalks, all masked. Not consistently, but at least around town.

This is serious business, and most of us will get through it – eventually – and some won’t.

Do what you need to stay sane and healthy, be excellent to one another, and for God’s sake, vote and vote early!

— Christo

Star Wars — “The Rise of Skywalker”

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

COVID chronicles: Happy Easter!  🐣 Death, birth, and resurrection. What better time to finally catch up on Star Wars. I’m glad I watched it so… I know what happened?


Her – “What is that character’s name?”

Me – “I don’t know, I don’t know any of the new characters – Ren, Kylo, Ray, Bob, something like that.”

Her – “Didn’t he kill his father?”

Me – “No, the other guy killed his father, and that other guy killed his father, but now she is supposed to kill her grandfather.”

Her – “Wait, I thought that guy was dead?”

Me – “He is dead. But he joined the Force, and is coming back to give sage advice”.

Her – “But is the other guy dead?”

Me – “Everybody thought so, but the Sith somehow kept him alive.”

Her – “Wait, now I am SURE Carrie Fisher is dead, but that really looks like her!”

Me – “Right, she is dead, but they’re using her CGI image as a live character.”

I won’t spoil the ending, but believe me, somebody dies…I think…

Requiescat in pace.  🐇

 

— Christo

 

BTW: If you were looking for Star Trek, try “The Federation is Going to Hell.

#5G RU TV Drama—is the controversy really about Russian Trolls??

back1Saturday May 25, 2019 — The New York Times published a front page article, Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise.” It reads like a marketing piece for Verizon. Maybe because NYT has a 5G Joint Venture with Verizon?? Then, the Wall Street Journal, responded, with “Russia and the 5G Cancer Scare—America’s cell-phone industry couldn’t be happier about the Kremlin’s meddling.” And you can’t read the whole article unless you have a WSJ subscription…but you can read it if you go to the link the WSJ provides in their “CIO Journal” newsletter, where the WSJ article is described as “debunking” the NYT article.

But does the WSJ really “debunk” the NYT? Or just stir up the drama pot? Let’s remember, the WSJ is a Rupert Murdoch paper. That is, it might as well be a Fox News paper. Reading the “debunking” article takes you to a site called “Fierce Wireless“, clearly a marketing mouthpiece for the telecom industry, which seems to end each article with an explanation that there is no definitive proof of the dangers of cellular radiation!!

Do you feel “whipsawed”? Does jumping around from article to article remind you of trying to figure out what happened in the final weeks of the election in 2016? Does all this drama remind you of reality TV? Do you feel like you need to wash your hands? Do you have that uneasy feeling in your stomach like the one you get when you have been spending too much time on Facebook? That queasy feeling that you’re being used, or played, and that something you are doing is wrong? Pay attention to that feeling, and spend less time on the Internet!

Because have you ever had to work this hard? To find out the truth? To get people to see that you are calm, and reasonable, and believe in facts and science? Had to work this hard to get your friends, neighbors, colleagues to understand that you agree with them? That you have common ground? Mutual goals? Our opposition—the trolls, the haters, the deceptive marketers, the monopolists and corporate shills, I lump “them” all together—they would like us to just say, “Screw it! I have no control, the monopolies are gonna ram this through, I don’t know who my representatives represent.” The opposition have managed to make us distrustful and antagonistic even of people who AGREE with us!!

Now take a deep breath. Fortunately, distrust of others, including of our own government, is one of the seeds of our (mostly, still) democratic system!! There are processes and inputs and options. Wahoo. Really. So hang in there and talk to your neighbors. And I mean talk, not text, not email. And go to meetings. You won’t agree about everything. Who does? And you can always back off, regroup, compromise—the opposition wants you to quit—but don’t, don’t give up!

Now, let’s get back to facts and articles…

I like the Environmental Health Trust. They may have a slightly slanted view, but the “slant” is towards facts and health and safety! EHT Founder Devra Davis, PhD. responded to the clearly biased NYT drama-mongering piece with a thorough link-laden article of her own. Now, before you dive down that rabbit hole, READ THIS ONE.

After searching and reading until I am sore in the head (can you tell?), I found one article that I recommend to everyone. This is really for the skeptics. There’s a ton of great material on my 5G page, but just read this one article. After that, if you are so inspired, then off you go. Here it is, and please read ALL the words:

A comprehensive guide to the messy, frustrating science of cellphones and health” from VOX.  https://www.vox.com/2018/7/16/17067214/cellphone-cancer-5g-evidence-studies


I am about to retire from this topic, I hope…
Peace Out — Christo

Lambertville Tree Clearing Update—Coryell to Bridge, and South

March 26, 2019

In previous correspondence,  NJWSA stated they would,

“Thin-out the underbrush and small trees on the western bank and in and on the stone wall between Coryell Street and Bridge Street.”
In fact nearly every tree between Coryell and Bridge has been eliminated, and if not for citizen and mayoral intervention, the large tree near the Bridge Street bridge would have been removed. (Photos forthcoming, details below).
From: Judy Detrano
Date: March 23, 2019 at 9:53:57 PM EDT
To: Christopher Plummer, Julia Fahl
Subject: Re: Trees along the canal (info now on my blog)

Hi Chris,

I have but a bit more information which I will email you tomorrow.  I was with them as they cut away and with the help of Mayor Julia and Cindy Ege we saved the tree by the canal at the bridge alongside the Princeton Bank.   Michael A. Sellar was the Facility Manager , Delaware & Raritan Canal Office, that I spoke with on site.  <snip> The destruction of our trees in and around Lambertville has become an issue to be addressed and we need the support of a number of departments, including NJ DEP.

 

March 25, 2019

Hello again Chris,

FYI…
Upon speaking with Michael Sellar of the NJWSA on-site the day they cut down the trees from Coryell to Bridge Street in Lambertville the following answers to my questions were as follows:
1.  The cutting of the trees was to prevent them from falling into the canal which would undermine the drinking quality of the water
2.  They believe the trees and shrubs are destroying the structure of the stone wall along the canal, river side of the canal
3.  They are not fixing, replacing or relining the stone canal wall (even though the stones are there in the canal) because the budget allotment  does not cover the expense to do so.  It is faster, easier & cheaper to cut down the trees.
4.  He has no explanation for why a tree here and there was left uncut but they would be happy to come back and cut them down.  (3 trees remain by the River Horse Brewery building)
5.  He is not aware of any advance notice required to the city of Lambertville as that side of the canal falls under their maintenance obligations.
6.  The towpath side of the canal will not be sheared by them as that side of the canal is under the authority of NJ State Parks Commission.
7.  They admit that their maintenance of the canal has been neglected for close to 25 years due to budget constrictions
8.  They can be stymied by the Shade Tree Commission from cutting down a tree that falls under the Shade Tree protection.
+The NJWSA supposedly has a Capital Fund Component for Capital Improvement..where is that money and why not fix the stone wall
+They are indeed required to notify the public if more than 1/2 acre is to be ‘deforested’ with 60 days to hold a public hearing
+ I have not ascertained their responsibility to notify the City of Lambertville
+ They might have had to submit a tree cutting plan to the Division of Parks & Forestry as the property is also NJState Park property. (or should have)
+ It may be possible to demand some sort of replanting to refurbish the embankment via the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission
+ There were no Project Updates or notices on the NJWSA website referring to Lambertville that I uncovered
+ There appears to be no coordination/integration/communication between the various commissions to control either of  committees/authority/commssions to review, supervise or hold to any aesthetics of proposed work, nor review of the destruction of wildlife habitats, particularly to bird species and bats.
+ If the DRCC has jurisdiction over the entire state-owned D & R Canal, should they have not been notified and required to offer approvals of the NJWSA ?
+ Also, where would a public notice appear that would reach the residents of Lambertville without their needing to search for such a notice.
+ And, I have heard, with no further information, explanations or confirmations, that the railroad had leased the property to which the rails are on, but that their lease had/has expired and there is no current enforceable lease at this time.  Does that not restrict them from doing anything along the tracks through Lambertville until that is made more clear and current in their authority to do so.  AND that the railroad does impact our wildlife habitats, noise and air pollution…..and what input do the residents of Lambertville have, if any, to curtail their work in our city.
Regards,
Judy Detrano

 

Concerned citizens are encouraged to contact their representatives:


The City of Lambertville
Mayor Julia Fahl
City Hall
18 York Street
Lambertville, NJ  08530
Telephone:  609.397.0110
 “Ask the Mayor”


John Hutchison
Executive Director
Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission
609-397-2000

John.hutchison@dep.nj.gov


Clinton Administration Building
1851 State Route 31
P.O. Box 5196
Clinton, NJ 08809
P: (908) 638-6121
F: (908) 638-5241

info@njwsa.org


Patricia Kallesser
Park Superintendent
145 Mapleton Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 609.924.5705

Peace Out
— Christo

Ready or Not

Friday, March 15, 2019
Work continues on clearing the rails for the Lambertville Tourist Train. No estimates on actual arrival of an engine with cars. Maybe they want to have one on display in time for Shad Fest? But maybe the crumbling canal walls and collapsing roadbed should be shored up first?


“You call it progress. I call it destruction.”— Comment of an anonymous five-year-old on watching the take-down of large tree.


 “They took all the trees and put ’em in a tree museum…”

—🚕 “Big Yellow Taxi“, Joni Mitchell

PEACE OUT

— Christo

Wake up and smell the 5G — Not for me!

 

back1

Wednesday May 8, 2019— Some new links…

1) The EHT “Fact Sheet” —Better than the printed version because all the links in the PDF are live.
2) The “Sample Code” for small city ordinances (the PDF is helpful for copy/paste if actually crafting an ordinance)
3) “Generation Zapped”— the movie I would like to get the Lambertville ACME to show.
4) “The Terrifying Potential of the 5G Network”, by Sue Halpern, in The New Yorker, April 26, 2019, recent article recommended by a #StopPennEast associate—

April 2, 2019 —Update: Verizon wants Lambertville to be a “Smart City”. Want to be smart? Learn about 5G! Lots of great information from the Environmental Health Trust.  Keep it simple, and start here:


Saturday, April 20, 2019Update: Thank you to Nancy Kay Anderson for sending me an informative fact-based link from Physicians for Safe Technology, about Wireless Technology and Public Health“.

— Christo


March 12, 2019 — My first pass at summarizing 5G…do we really want this hazardous electronic junk cluttering the streets of our quaint, historic city???

Verizon, Verizon, put away your new 5G.
No more cell towers, just leave me the birds and bees, please!

At the March 5 working session in Lambertville, I asked Mayor Julia Fahl if she had any information about the possible health threats of the 5G technology promoted by Verizon. Verizon claims “Right of Way” to add Cell Tower electronics to an unknown number of existing telephone poles in Lambertville. I gathered the information on this page for the Mayor. To avoid the conspiracy theories and extreme ideas that plague the internet, I sought information that is:

  • About 5G (as opposed to just cellular or cell phone)
  • Current
  • Fact-based (with sources),
  • Covers the efforts by industry (telecom companies) to aggressively “roll it out”.

If you only look at one thing, please watch the first 10 minutes of the video below!

Washington DC Council 5G Small Cell Roundtable
https://youtu.be/ljLynbr5iPc <—Watch the first 10 minutes. (After other speakers, Mr. Motus speaks a bit more at the end.)

Physicians for safe technology – A good written summary which contains many additional sources. There are several studies about adverse health effects of MMW (millimeter wave-length) as well as cellular (microwave) radiation established as carcinogenic.
https://mdsafetech.org/5g-telecommunications-science/

Environmental Damage— Insects, birds, other wildlife at risk? Don’t miss (or be put off by the title of) the “Insect Armageddon” 7 minute video, referred to, and with sources in the link above.
https://youtu.be/zwo2E9b9CiU

The Industry hard push for legislation to ensure adoption—“Verizon, AT&T and other wireless providers have pushed such legislation here (in California) and elsewhere to ease deployment of so-called small-cell equipment that boosts coverage provided by larger cell towers, particularly in urban areas and in anticipation of fifth-generation (5G) network technology. The bill would have granted the companies rights similar to those of utilities, leaving local governments with limited power to set fees or restrict placement on streetlights and traffic signal poles.”
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-Gov-Brown-right-to-block-industry-12282623.php

According to Mr. Mottus (from the video, above) the National League of Cities and League of Mayors are opposed to “small cell rollout” which is promoted nationally in U.S. S3157 . <—Click here to check status and read the bill.

At time of writing, S3157 is “in committee” with U.S. Senate “Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee”.  In one committee hearing, Senator Blumenthal asks industry representatives about Health Risks:
https://youtu.be/ekNC0J3xx1w

The push by industry is happening globally. Similar discussions are occurring in Canada…
Canadian Senate Bill 637—Senator Patrick Colbeck Testifies Against 5G: Hearing 2018
https://youtu.be/j-UEuOYOED4

Despite the 5G hype, there is no clear need for it:
“What can 5G do that other systems can’t? This is where there is no clear answer,” said Hemant Minocha, EVP for device and IoT at TEOCO. There is no 5G requirement for IoT [Internet of Things], he points out, and the business case hasn’t yet been proven out for ultra-low latency (not to  mention that LTE is capable of lower latency than it has achieved to this point in networks).”
https://www.saferemr.com/2017/11/5g-wireless-technology-cutting-through.html

How many towers are we talking about?
“While early work estimated that as many as 40 to 50 homes could be covered by a single fixed wireless site, according to Rouault of EXFO, that number has turned out to be around five in testing because of the complexity of beamforming necessary to support multiple homes.”
https://www.saferemr.com/2017/11/5g-wireless-technology-cutting-through.html

What do the towers look like?
“Mystreetmychoice” is a web site in opposition to the 5G roll out in California, see the photos on their home page.
http://mystreetmychoice.com/index.html

Rarely mentioned, Data Security risk— “5G has 200 times more access points for hackers than existing networks, experts warn”, Financial Post
https://business.financialpost.com/telecom/attack-surface-has-multiplied-5g-networks-more-vulnerable-to-hackers-conference-told

Some additional links:

Scientists and Doctors Demand Moratorium on 5G

5G Wireless Technology: Is 5G Harmful to Our Health?

5G Wireless Technology: Millimeter Wave Health Effects

5G Wireless Technology: Newspaper editorials oppose “small cell” antenna bills

Cell Tower Health Effects

International EMF Scientist Appeal

An Exposé of the FCC: An Agency Captured by the Industries it Regulates

FCC: Why We Need Stronger Cell Phone Radiation Regulations–Key Testimony

Cell Tower Radiation Affects Wildlife: Dept. of Interior Attacks FCC

 

PEACE OUT,

—Christo

Tree Stump Gallery #1

Photos of Delaware Canal Tree Clearing in Lambertville, New Jersey 2018-2019

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”
— 🚕 “
Big Yellow Taxi“, Joni Mitchell

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


No, this has nothing to do with the “Emerald Ash Borer”. For information about this Tree and Brush Clearing Project go here.


Tree Stump Gallery #1 — 53 Photos

 

 

Peace Out…

— Christo

Authorities say Canal-side Brush and Tree Clearing in Lambertville is NOT for the Railroad, but…

Tree Stumps and Survivor Guilt on the Canal Path-011🚂 Looks Like, But is Not the Railroad—In a short section of the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Lambertville, between Coryell Street and the empty River Horse Brewery, sixty to one hundred trees, some apparently close to fifty years old, were converted to wood chips and sawdust in a matter of days. Was this part of the initiative to preemptively strike at the Emerald Ash Borer beetle? Nope, most of those trees were felled already, their trunks can be seen lining the canal path between Lambertville and FrenchTown.

And it wasn’t just the trees—shrubs, vines, weeds, saplings, and pretty much any other living thing was scraped clean from the railroad tracks to the canal bank (See photos.) So what was this all about?

Ask just about anyone in Lambertville familiar with the situation and they’ll tell you, “It’s the railroad!” To many surprised residents the recent tree and brush clearing appeared to be an effort to clear the overgrown and unused railroad tracks for the “Tourist Train” proposed by Black River and Western Railroad. BRWR hopes to run on weekends behind Clinton Street, over the “Nifti” Bridge behind Rojo’s Roastery and the Roxy Ballet Studio, passing over Alexauken Creek and proceeding to Ringoes and Flemington and back.

Despite appearances, according to several authorities, officially, the clearing work is unrelated to the railroad.

Why so much confusion? No signs, no notices—Work began abruptly in December of 2018 with no apparent advance notice provided to residents or local businesses, nor to the officials of the City of Lambertville. No signs were posted on the canal path. Similar work had been performed some years ago closer to Bridge Street, but the recent work was more “thorough”— or drastic, depending on your perspective—this time only a few trees were allowed to remain.

Concerned citizens contacted Lambertville City authorities, discovered that they had no information about the project, and were referred to the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission.

Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission Executive Director, John Hutchison, explained “the project is being undertaken by the NJ Water Supply Authority pursuant to the 1986 lease agreement with the State” for the purpose of clearing the canal and maintaining the water flow. He explained, “Jurisdiction over the D&R Canal is somewhat complex…”

“I hope this information is useful.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Also, the Commission meets monthly to review project applications and our meetings always include a public comment portion.  The Commission meets the third Wednesday of the month at 10:00 a.m. in the Prallsville Mill Complex in Stockton.” — John Hutchison, Executive Director D&R Canal Commission


D&R Canal State Park Superintendent Patricia Kallesser met one Lambertville resident and explained that this ongoing work of the NJWSA had to do with maintaining the water flow in the canal and upkeep of the historical (stone wall) structures. When asked about the lack of communication, she explained that the NJWSA web site maintained a FAQ about it on their web site.


The New Jersey Water Supply Authority at this writing does not list the Lambertville work on its “Public Notices”, but it is explained on their “Maintenance Along the D&R Canal FAQ”.

I emailed the NJWSA (to the “Info” mailbox, as no name was available on the site):

From: Christopher Plummer
Sent: Tuesday, January 1, 2019 10:54 AM
To: info
Subject: Please consider local interests w/Canal Brush and Tree Clearing in and around Lambertville

Dear NJ Water Services Authority,

I, and other residents, merchants, and “canal walkers” were very surprised by the recent clearing of over 100 trees, some large, 20-30 years old, and the “buzz cutting” of brush and shrubs from the railroad tracks to the edge of the canal starting near Finkel’s Hardware on Coryell Street and moving North on the West side of the canal. This work adversely impacted:

  • Bird and animal life and habitat prized by many residents, businesses, and tourists.
  • Local Visual aesthetics, exposing parking lots and warehouses that were screened by foliage, leaving a trail of tree stumps and giving that section of the canal an industrial appearance that had previously been “natural”.
  • Noise – the elimination of trees and shrubs that provided an acoustic buffer to the noise from the river recreation, roads, and New Hope.

<snip>

May I suggest in the future:

  1. Inform the public with accurate information about the purpose, scope, schedule, and likely impact of the work by posting signs on the canal path and in local papers, and phone calls to local officials.
  2. Provide time and a means for those concerned to give feedback before the work is started.
  3. Please give some weight and consideration to those concerns and find a balance between the preservation of historical structures and the preservation of current flora and wildlife habitat.

Thank you for your consideration, and best wishes for the New Year.

Sincerely,

Christopher Plummer

The NJWSA provided a response (below) to my query:
From: info <info@njwsa.org>
Subject: RE: Please consider local interests w/Canal Brush and Tree Clearing in and around Lambertville
Date: January 18, 2019 at 11:24:00 AM EST
To: ‘Christopher Plummer’
Dear Mr. Plummer,

Thank you for your concerned email and our apologies for the delay in response.  And thank you for your suggestions on future public notification, which we will certainly take under advisement.

As you know, the Authority’s mission is to maintain a flow of water through the Canal to provide raw water supply for our customers.  Our Canal maintenance crews and engineers need to “see” the embankment.  Seeing the embankment often helps us to prevent damage to the embankment that may develop from tree roots or animal burrows which can lead to seepage paths or from damage when the trees fall and their root balls remove sections of the embankment.  The Authority’s needs to see the embankment are constantly balanced with the wants and needs of Canal park walkers, joggers, bikers, nature enthusiasts, fishermen, historians, neighbors, and others [My emphasis—Christo] , all of whom may have a different idea of what maintenance should look like on the 60 plus mile Canal.   We tried to provide an understanding of our work in the FAQ’s that were recently posted on the website.

 

For the upcoming winter work on the Canal in Lambertville, crews may begin again as early as the week of January 21, 2019.  The exact schedule for the winter maintenance is weather dependent, and subject to equipment and personnel availability, and will include the following (in no particular order):
  1. Thin-out the underbrush and small trees on the western bank and in and on the stone wall between Coryell Street and Bridge Street.
  2. Clearing the vegetation from the Lambertville lock walls.
  3. Felling three Ash trees from the east side of the Canal, upstream of the Lambertville Lock.
  4. Removing the trees growing from the stone wall, on the river side of the embankment, from the wing dam (in the River) and downstream.
Items #1 thru #3 should only take several days each and should be completed this winter.
Item #4 will take quite a bit of time and will most likely occur over several years depending on other emergent items that need to be addressed and may stop and restart within the same year.
Feel free to share this information with other concerned residents.
(No sender name identified)

I Guess that was the Public Notice. I forwarded a copy to the City of Lambertville. I haven’t seen any new notices or additional information about the canal work. Have you? The NJWSA is apparently continuing their work up the south end of town as described in the email.

Local railroad supporters on Facebook are urging residents not to “listen to rumors” and espousing the wonders of bringing the iron horse, full of tourists, to Lambertville to reinvigorate our little town.

🚂 Meanwhile if it quacks like a duck…  At the North end of town small crews and individuals with mowers and chainsaws are clearing the railroad tracks. They make no pretense about working for the Water Authority.

Feb. 26, 2019 Tuesday – Today NJWRA trucks and teams are clearing the rails and canal, between Coryell and Bridge, chipping as they go.

Eagles check nesting options
—By the way, the empty nest this late in the season suggests that Bald Eagles will not be nesting on the power tower over Alexauken Creek this year. In 2017 they raised three fledglings at the site, not far from the “Nifti” Railroad Bridge and abandoned rail car at the north end of the trail in Lambertville.


Residents who wish to communicate their concerns about the destruction of wildlife habitat, the need for trees and brush as a visual screen and natural noise buffer, and other concerns are urged to contact any or all of the individuals and organizations below:

 

The City of Lambertville
Mayor Julia Fahl
City Hall
18 York Street
Lambertville, NJ  08530
Telephone:  609.397.0110
 “Ask the Mayor”


John Hutchison
Executive Director
Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission
609-397-2000

John.hutchison@dep.nj.gov


Clinton Administration Building
1851 State Route 31
P.O. Box 5196
Clinton, NJ 08809
P: (908) 638-6121
F: (908) 638-5241

info@njwsa.org


Patricia Kallesser 
Park Superintendent 
145 Mapleton Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Phone: 609.924.5705

Peace Out
— Christo

At Last Monet

🇫🇷 The Great France Art Tour of 2017

Musée Marmotan Monet, 2, Rue Louis Boilly, Paris

IMG_3521

I was there, at last. Standing in front of Monet’s finished “Impression Sunrise”.  This was after all, the painting that started it. The seminal work of Impressionism and much of what followed.

I had after all, painted it. I was, after so many years, pleased with the manageable size of the canvas I had chosen. If I had attempted it on anything much larger—say a canvas as big as “The Houses of Parliament”, or any of the later “Water Lillies”, it would never have happened. I never would have completed it. It was large enough to capture that foggy ephemeral sea moment, that passed quickly, more quickly than brush and oils would have done for anything even a bit larger or a touch more detailed.  No, it was the perfect moment, right down to the smudge of pinkish white on the edge of the sun and the clearly silhouetted figure of the boatman and rowboat in the foreground created with a casual but somehow precise flick of two brushstrokes.

It was simple. If you got the colors right, then the light would be correct, and all the emerging details would follow. It was simple. But not easy.

The painting was treated harshly by the critics. “Impression Sunrise” was supposed to be an insult, but it became an anthem. The banner work and namesake of the whole movement. No one remembers the name of the critic, except in telling this story, but the artist? The whole world knows his name as well as the names of his friends, colleagues, contemporaries–Renoir Pissarro, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Matisse, Cezanne, later Picasso, Chagall.

Critics. Bah!

I was 14 when I painted it.

With some minimal awareness of Art History thanks to my hobby of philately, and a year or two of Horizon magazine lying around the house, exposure to art as part of Western Civilizations opened a new world for me. In our very special ninth grade class, the brightest of us were assigned together in a room where the teacher told us to “brownbag” our lunches (meaning, to bring a lunch with us), so instead of dispersing to the cafeteria when the bell rang, we would stay, and he could expand his lectures through our lunch period. We grumbled at first, but delighted in the extra attention to historical and cultural details we would have missed otherwise.

Mike Van Wert, extroverted, sometimes loud, provocative, frequently passionate and nearly always entertaining, was in his mid 30’s with slight temporal baldness, brown curly hair and pork chop sideburns appropriate for the times—the early 1970s. He dressed as a college professor—although this was in junior high school—black or brown wingtip shoes, wool pants, a button-down shirt with a tie, a sweater vest, and a tweed sport coat. That was his uniform. I can hardly remember seeing him in anything else–blue jeans if I caught him by chance at the 7-Eleven on the weekend. But otherwise, no, it was that uniform. He was the teacher, our teacher, and a damn good one, and there was no diverging from that image, from that standard.

He had high expectations of himself and he applied those same expectations to his students, not just to our “Special” class but to the other four classes he taught as well. It didn’t matter who you were, he believed you were capable of learning important, wonderful things; he had fascinating remarkable stories about America, and other nations and cultures throughout history, and he would share this treasure with you, trusting you to pay attention, and listen, and ask questions, and even occasionally challenge him, but above all to participate.

For these classes he purchased or made his own slides of art and architecture. Hundreds, probably a thousand slides from Sumatran mounds of earth, to Duchamp’s “Nude Descending A Staircase” and the constructions of I.M.Pei.

We learned them. Learned the style, artist, title.

And for our “special class”, he imported the local art teacher to instruct us in the basics of drawing, sketching, and painting. We were invited to purchase required art supplies because each student in our class was expected to choose a work of art and create a reproduction of it.

I chose Monet’s “Impression Sunrise” because it was simple. It was beautiful and simple.

“Are you sure, Plummer?” He asked, with that  gravelly voice, and a wink to the rest of the class as if he were amused that I would choose such a daunting task.

But I was confident. “There’s not that much variation in the colors. If I can get that… and it is simple. Look at that boat in the foreground. It’s just two brushstrokes.”

“Okay…” He said with a smirk, making a note in his grade book and mumbling, “Impression Sunrise for Plummer”.

I worked on it after school for days. And it went well. At least I thought it went well. When I got stuck, the art teacher suggested I borrow the slide and project it on the canvas. “Isn’t that cheating?” I asked.

“You’re doing art. Artists use tools. It’s just a tool.” He told me.

The projector helped get the proportions right, and it seemed like it helped with the color, but after a week I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t tell if it was good or not, or how good. My eyes were blurry from turning the projector on and off, seeing the complete image on my canvas disappear, and then my own unfinished one. Matching paints to colors that turned to white when the lights came on. My friends from class would stop by and check it out. They were mostly quiet. Were they quiet because it was a good reproduction? Or because they didn’t want to tell me it was not so good? As anyone who has worked on something with great intensity and at great length can tell you, after a while, you just don’t know.

We brought our work in to share with each other, and I could see there were a couple of other works that were “good” —meaning that they looked much like the originals that we copied. Maybe that was part of why I wasn’t sure. It was a copy; it wasn’t like I had done anything original. And Van Wert didn’t lavish any great praise, I think he was being moderate with everyone, because some were bad, some were just awful, with bad proportions or whacky color. And we had compassion for each other, we knew we were just a bunch of kids trying to copy great art. But eventually I believed some of my classmates when they told me they thought mine was really “good”. And I was pretty sure then, when we displayed all our art at a PTA meeting and one of the adults asked if he could buy it. Buy it? A copy? When I told my Mom, she was appalled. I told her, maybe for fifty bucks? I considered that. But no way was some other parent going to have Plummer’s “Impression Sunrise”! She made that clear. And when I brought it home, she promptly framed it in a thick, classy, wooden art frame and hung it in our hallway, outside my bedroom where it remained for many years.

France 2017-0035

I lost track of it eventually. That’s what happens with art sometimes. It travels; it gets away. But I was very happy to find it again. There on the wall of the Musée Marmottan Monet. Just as I remembered. Just as I had painted it.

—Christo