Is Appalachia the Next Flint?

first_imgIt’s easy to take clean drinking water for granted, but we shouldn’t. Because what happened to the poor souls in Flint, Michigan—the highest-profile example of serious water pollution in recent memory—can easily happen elsewhere. Anywhere, really. And according to Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor whose water quality studies broke open the Flint water crisis, Appalachia’s water woes might actually be worse.Gulp.As everyone knows by now, widespread elevated levels of lead and dangerous Legionella bacteria were found in Flint’s drinking water supply, potentially causing serious long-term health problems for residents, especially children. What many people don’t know is that Edwards and a team of students were the first to discover the issue after conducting a series of water quality tests, partially in response to the complaints of one Flint resident who, along with her children, suffered rashes, hair loss, and other serious health problems.Edwards said various government agencies knew about the problem but sat on their hands. He thus spent $250,000 of his own money on essential steps like additional testing, Freedom of Information Act requests, and efforts to publicize the danger. Along the way, he got plenty of help from Flint citizens, the ACLU Michigan, and others. “We had to do the job that government agencies are paid to do but refused to do,” he said. “In the end, we showed that Flint water wasn’t meeting federal safety standards. This was an environmental crime.”Edwards said his experience working on a similar lead crisis in Washington, D.C. 25 years ago was instructive. “We learned what it takes to expose something like this,” he said. “You have to act immediately and marshal an incredible amount of resources. In Flint, we tried hard to make sure the lessons of D.C. would be learned.”The good news is that exposing and addressing the problem took eight weeks in Flint, compared to about eight years in the nation’s capital. The bad news is that everyone else in the country, notably in Appalachia, still faces a similar threat. While drinking water pollutants differ by region (in Appalachia, high levels of fecal and other forms of bacterial contamination are some of the main culprits), the cause is the same no matter where you tip a glass to your lips: stripped-to-the-bone municipal budgets and lax enforcement.Edwards pointed out that there’s no consensus about what to do with post-industrial cities across the nation that have lost thousands of jobs and many of their residents, causing tax revenues to crater. For example, many Appalachian towns burdened by legacies of pollution and hard-hit by job losses in coal and other industries simply can’t afford to meet federal or state water quality standards. Doing so would require huge financial outlays to replace creaking, decades-old water and sewer infrastructure. Moreover, “people in small towns are hardy folk and not likely to complain, and there often aren’t enough to generate a critical mass and a news scandal,” Edwards said. In that respect, at least, Flint residents were lucky.The upshot is that the EPA doesn’t bother to enforce water regulations that cities can’t comply with anyway. “All across America, one of the biggest untold environmental stories is what will happen to rural towns where agencies look the other way because these towns can’t afford to maintain their vital infrastructure and follow existing law,” Edwards said. That’s arguably worse than having no regulations at all, he added, because “why have a law giving people a false sense of security if you’re not going to follow it?” In that respect, many towns in the U.S. are actually worse off than those in Third World countries, where the residents are at least aware that their water is undrinkable.As with all seemingly intractable problems, lasting solutions will require Herculean efforts and wholesale cultural changes that might not be in the offing. Consider that according to the American Water Works Association, our buried water infrastructure will need more than a trillion dollars’ worth of maintenance over the next 25 years just to keep it in reasonable shape. Where’s that money going to come from, especially for small, post-industrial towns that can barely make ends meet?“As a society, we need to think about how we help places that have been left behind and ask whether water is a right or a privilege,” Edwards said. “We have to decide whether we’re going to follow existing laws and what to do about cities that chronically violate them. Is this the end game, where the regulator tells the city to stop breaking the law and the city keeps on doing it because it couldn’t do anything else? Maybe our solution is to let these towns die, and in the meantime say you live there at your own peril.”last_img read more

4 C’s that threaten small CUs — CUNA’s Mike Schenk explains

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Fresh off the heels of last week’s GAC, there was a lot of talk about smaller credit unions’ existence. We’ve also been seeing more and more stories in the industry publications about the concerns for small credit unions not growing, being merged out, or going away altogether. It’s an issue that has continued to rise and isn’t going away. So we invited CUNA’s Vice President of Economics & Statistics Mike Schenk on the program to provide us with his “4 C’s” that threaten the existence of today’s smaller credit unions. continue reading »last_img

Take a deep breath and say a prayer

first_imgWith all that is going on in this world, the time has come for many of us to start going back to our houses of prayer and pray for help from above.Prayer can’t do any harm and it may do some good. We all need some good words from our clergy. There’s so much going on almost everywhere that no matter which way you turn, there’s a fork in the road. Making the right turn is a challenge to know which one is the right way to go.It’s not easy for any of us, so with all of the above, we all have to get smart for ourselves and take a deep breath. Slow things down a little and make better choices. It can be done.Hopefully 2018 will be a better year for the whole world. We are a great country, we have to keep it that way. God bless America and its people.Sid GordonSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30% Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Prime Minister’s Cup confirmed for November 1-3

first_imgTHE Prime Minister’s T20 Cup has been confirmed for November 1-3, and will consist of three categories namely Over-45, Over-50 and Open with matches to be played at venues in Georgetown. The Over-50 tournament will be played for the first time. Chronicle Sport was reliably informed that, while no entrance fee is required, teams will be asked to make a deposit of $60 000 as collateral for their participation in the tournament and this will be refunded after the preliminary round matches on the second day of the competition.Teams are urged to secure their spots as early as possible since only the first eight teams registered in each of the categories will be accepted.Teams will be required to submit an ID photo of their list of 15 players which will be used for a database of the players.Following the semifinals on November 2, the finals will be held on November 3 at Everest CC, commencing with the over-50 category from 10:00hrs. This will be followed by the Over-45 final from 13:30hrs while the Open final will be played under lights from 18:00hrs.Regal Masters and Speedboat are the defending champions in the Over-45 and Open categories respectively.Registration forms can be uplifted at Regal Stationery and Computer Centre, 69 Seaforth Street, Campbellville, and teams can contact the GSCL Inc. on 225-4802 or 226-4205.last_img read more

Syracuse men’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about No. 5 seed Ole Miss

first_imgSyracuse’s postseason rolls on Saturday morning, as the top-seeded Orange (19-14, 10-8 Atlantic Coast) host No. 5 Ole Miss (21-13, 10-8 Southeastern) in the Carrier Dome at 11 a.m for the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. SU is coming off a 13-point win over UNC Greensboro on Wednesday while the Rebels topped No. 4 Monmouth, 91-83, in a first-round win earlier this week.Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s game.All-time series: This will be the teams’ first meetingThe Ole Miss report: The Rebels experienced a relatively successful season, finishing fifth in the SEC after a preseason poll pegged them to finish ninth. Both Syracuse and Ole Miss profile somewhat similarly on offense, but the Rebels will try to feast in the paint a bit more than the Orange. Like SU, Ole Miss rewarded its efforts in the paint by successful shooting at the free-throw line, making an NCAA-best 678 free throws this season. Flanking double-double specialist Sebastian Saiz, guards Deandre Burnett and Terence Davis each average over 14 points per game for a team that averaged 78.1 points per game.How Syracuse beats Ole Miss: Against a good rebounding team such as the Rebels, SU has to be careful about its shot selection. The Orange did an outstanding job of that in its opening-round win against UNCG, shooting 55.8 percent from the field. Ole Miss doesn’t do a particularly great job of defending the arc, allowing more than nine 3s per game, so Syracuse would do well to start attacking the Rebels from there. That’s an obvious cue for Andrew White and Tyus Battle, but perhaps even Tyler Lydon will stretch the visitors’ defense a little bit.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textStat to know: 39.7 — Rebounding has been an area of weakness for the Orange all season, and the Rebels are going to give SU a hefty challenge on the boards. Ole Miss led the SEC with 39.7 rebounds per game, punctuated by 12.7 offensive rebounds per game. The Orange averages 34.8 rebounds per game, but lost the battle on the boards in 13 of 18 ACC games this season.Player to watch: Sebastian Saiz, forward, No. 11The 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior is undeniably the Rebels’ best player. He was the only player in the SEC to average a double-double per game, and Saiz picked up his 21st of the season after collecting 23 points and 11 rebounds against Monmouth. He’s bound to give the Orange trouble on the glass, ranking fifth in the country with 11.2 rebounds per game. The onus will be on the bottom of Syracuse’s zone — a mixture of Taurean Thompson, Tyler Roberson, Lydon and White — to neutralize the stud forward. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 17, 2017 at 1:09 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossmanlast_img read more