Uncertain Times Call For Herkimer County Local Energy Security

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By Linda Kaidan

Local energy security is key to community survival in times of uncertainty, yet
Herkimer County has the lowest level of local solar energy production in NY state.

Solar energy is priced competitively, dependable and environmentally friendly. Solar farms can produce excellent income for farmers and provide secure local energy.  

Herkimer County Solar Energy Production
Herkimer’s solar energy production in bottom tier of NYS counties

Recently we’ve seen how easily supply chains can be disrupted by international catastrophe.

Before Covid-19 appeared in March 2020, it seemed that our favorite foods, cleaning products and cheap manufactured goods made in other countries like China would be endlessly accessible.  Now when we go shopping we are reminded that this is no longer the case. Think about what would happen with a local energy shortage or outage. No heat in our homes. No light. Health care facility malfunction.

Products like energy often have vulnerable supply chains too.

That is why New York has an aggressive program supporting green energy throughout the state. Local green energy produced by wind, water and sun protects the environment. It also ensures that should there be a disruption in availability caused by epidemic, civil unrest or even war we will have the power we need. We will continue to be capable of manufacturing our own products and also have energy for utilities and transportation.

A NYS solar farm map published in 2019 shows solar production by county.

The light counties have the lowest level of solar farm production. Let’s not count on luck to provide Herkimer with energy. Lets build new solar farms in our county that are wildlife friendly, farm friendly and neighbor friendly.

Plans for a local solar farm on approximately 140 acres adjacent to Herkimer College are currently being reviewed by county officials.

This land has significant forest and includes some wetlands. It is located about 1 mile NW of Herkimer Community College’s baseball field parking lot at 188 Sokol Road. Provided wetlands are protected and  consideration is given to wildlife passing through the area, a new solar farm can greatly benefit our county. While losing forest is not desirable, well designed solar farms can accommodate meadow growth favorable to pollinators and can be farm friendly and aesthetically pleasing. 

NYC’s 2019 Homeless Housing Budget of $3.2 Billion Can Build .35 Million People Affordable Homes

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By Linda Kaidan
The above cabin exclusive of interior finishes was constructed by one person in 6 months for $8,000. As the nation faces a housing and food crisis of major proportion, simple solutions can make a huge difference. We have been governed by customs and rules that work against us in this pandemic. We need to use the resources we have intelligently to hold off the chaos that starvation and homelessness bring.

We can economically provide food, housing and self-sufficiency

Using the labor of those in need, inexpensive materials, and existing education programs to ramp up quickly we can achieve multiple goals at the same time.  In New York state our budget can come from ending the absurd practice of using welfare hotels as housing. Key to our success would be the suspension of building regulations to enable crisis housing and the use of trending off-grid methods of heating, power, housing construction, water collection-purification and waste incinerating toilets.

What has been one year’s budget for New York state’s homeless would fund construction of semi-permanent residences, workplaces and food growing facilities serving thousands of people for years to come. A single modified shipping container can house 8 people, 2 per room, with a private entrance. In the following example, housing for 8 people is created, with potential expansion from 80 ft to 480 feet per unit. A budget of $9,000 per person would pay for a multi-unit structure at a cost of $72,000. The structure would utilize green energy, water collected from rain, black water reduction and home gardens.

Before Covid-19 things were already spectacularly bad for those in New York State seeking housing. Now they are even worse as employers close their doors and shed jobs. Just last year, the budget for New York City’s homeless was $3.2 billion for 133,000 people, 1/3 of whom were children.  Will this be another Great Depression? It need not be, when we to do things differently.

$3.2 billion can build .35 million people affordable homes that will last for many years

Using my onetime $9,000 per person figure for 15+ years of housing and the 2019 NYC homeless housing budget, we can solve our housing crisis by helping individuals and families build their own sustainable homes and gardens for a total of (3.2*(10**9)/9000 = .35 million people). And we can do that for many years, not just one year.

 

News of world’s largest semiconductor plant being built in Marcy New York causes boom in local real estate contracts

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By Linda Kaidan

World’s largest semiconductor plant being built in Marcy New York has an instant effect on our economy

Marcy is located near Utica, in Oneida County New York, just west of Herkimer. It is the future northern US site for Cree Inc, which will manufacture silicon carbide wafers used in electric vehicles and 5G technology. Close upon Cree’s announcement of their new facility in Marcy, in a matter of days the region experienced a boom in real estate contracts.

I was alerted to this when I noticed my Google maps photo views suddenly rise by 60,000 in a single day to over 600,000. As a Google Guide who focuses on Central New York, I was astounded by this dramatic increase and wanted to understand why. Guessing it was related to this momentous commitment to Mohawk Valley industrial development, I investigated the real estate statistics. I used realtor.com’s listings for Oneida County, which will be home to this world class manufacturing facility, and those of surrounding counties.  Using realtor.com’s filter tool, I compared total listings with listings not under contract.

Strong percent of real estates listings under contract of 25% to over 40%

Onondaga and Oneida counties, home respectively to Syracuse and Utica, have the highest volume of real estate contracts (see red counties on map), with over 45% of all listings under contract. Surrounding counties of Madison, Oswego, Herkimer, Cortland and Lewis (yellow counties), have 25% to 40% of their listings under contract.

The risk of coastal living diminishes when new jobs and homes are created in Central NY.

We can look forward to high quality jobs and an abundance of opportunities for contractors as a result of world’s largest semiconductor plant being built in Marcy New York. Creating jobs and incentives to live in central NY is a healthy way to counter the risks of coastal living.

What’s Good About Herkimer’s Bad Crime Figures

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Stephen Ames Berry

The most recently available crime figures for Herkimer are horrible.  Neighborhood Scout’s December 2018 report, assigned Herkimer a crime rating a 4, meaning that 96% of all US communities are safer than Herkimer. Chicago is safer than Herkimer

Herkimer’s violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation… In Herkimer, your chance of becoming a victim of violent crime is one in 134…Of property crime, one in 21. [Also one of the highest in the nation.]

Neighborhood Scout’s most recent figures don’t just regurgitate the FBI’s semiannual  figures. They analyze data sourced from communities, and drill down, identifying each crime by geolocation code.

 The most unsafe area of Herkimer, for example, is shown as the south of Herkimer Village, where we live.  Looking at this blog’s crime postings and YouTube channel, you’ll see how accurate that report is: All of our 100+ videos of Herkimer crime were taken within 40 meters of our home.

The Good News About Herkimer’s Bad Crime Statistics

The good news about Herkimer’s bad crime stats is that they’re realistic. Had we seen such grim figures before buying a house in Herkimer 5 years ago, you wouldn’t be reading this–we’d have bought that nice two-family in nearby Little Falls, and I’d be finishing my long-neglected technothriller sequel. Little Falls doesn’t seem to have much of a gang presence. Here we’ve long had a gang entrenched next door, still enjoying diplomatic immunity.

 Only through hard won experience did we learn the crime figures were low because the police only made a few token arrests. If you suppress complaints and don’t make arrests, your reported crime rate stays low and crime soars. It’s this misfeasance that made Herkimer a haven for  drug and child trafficking gangs and its streets unsafe for the law-abiding.

Herkimer crime a visual motif
The 3 Wise Monkeys of Herkimer “If you suppress complaints and don’t make arrests, your reported crime rate stays low and crime soars.”

Herkimer No Longer Suppresses Crime Reports

It’s hard to resolve a problem without acknowledging it. Crime is now reported in Herkimer and arrests made, as reflected in these crime figures.  Last year saw some previously well-protected gang members arrested, notably the Joyce Barton gang’s vicious Shianne Hill, for assaulting a neighborhood grandmother. (Hill’s serving a year’s probation.)

Shianne Hill About to attack eldeerly woman
Herkimer’s Shianne Hill moving to attack neighboring grandma.

Crime Statistics a Lagging Indicator

Crime statistics are always a lagging indicator. Current dynamics hint that life is growing less perilous here in Herkimer.  Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.   Poison gas attacks have stopped for now. And home sales are doing quite well. 

Joyce Barton Herkimer gang
“Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.” Joyce Barton of Herkimer’s Barton Gang, sending a little love our way.
“Some of our most visible froth on the scum of the earth have either vanished or are keeping a low profile.” Stanley Sykes of Herkimer’s Sykes Gang sending a little love our way.

Climate Change Boosts Herkimer Real Estate Sales

I want to believe that Herkimer’s apparent crime crack down’s due to a sudden epiphany. But frankly it’s probably because the feds and the state are leaning on Herkimer. New York’s neglected Upstate has been widely identified as an ideal climate change sanctuary area, with Herkimer County predicted to boom as much of the US struggles to cope with escalating  climate change devastation. 

We in Herkimer and Upstate are sitting on some of the most valuable future real estate in US. The Gulf Coast and the Atlantic seaboard are rapidly losing their allure as retirement havens as massive storms increasingly batter the region amid rising seas, spreading homelessness and misery. New York City’s future is one of rising waters and shrinking land. Half of New York’s people  live in the state’s maritime counties. There’s no central national planning for climate change mitigation or relocation.  We aren’t the only ones who know this.

Herkimer area home sales and prices continue rising as eyes and interest  increasingly turn north, reflecting the region’s limited housing stock and a growing number of buyers. The median sale price rise for Herkimer real estate rose 7.2% in 2018 and is projected to almost double in 2019, to 13.3%, according to Zillow. Given the emerging dynamics of climate change migration, Herkimer real estate sale price should continue to rise.

Where Have All The Bodies Gone? (Redux)

Interestingly there are still no murders reported for Herkimer. This is very odd. Statistically, Herkimer should have murders, given its violent crime rate. We argued in our post Where Have All the Bodies Gone?  that Herkimer does have murders, they’re just  well concealed.  Opioids would be the least messy way to accomplish that, given the region’s opioid crisis.

Crime Widespread in the Mohawk Valley

Not just Herkimer is dangerous. So is much of the Mohawk Valley. Neighborhood Scout gives Utica a crime rank of 9. Little Falls ranks 14. Surprisingly, our neighboring village of Mohawk is a seeming paradise, according to its crime figures.

Village of Mohawk a Law Abiding Paradise?

Mohawk, adjacent to Herkimer and Little Falls, has a crime rating of 92. It doesn’t get much better. I’m a bit skeptical about that as Joseph Malone is the Mohawk Police Chief. When we moved here, he was also the Herkimer police chief. In May of 2016 Malone resigned as Herkimer police chief in the teeth of an ethics investigation. He was replaced by Chief Joseph Jory, who is apparently not arrest shy. So is Mohawk really all that safe? 

Escalating real estate sale prices may decrease crime rates

As real estate prices rise, crime drops. We saw this happen in Boston as tech firm workers bumped up sales prices, sparking a city-wide real estate boom. We did well  buying older  houses in marginal areas and renovating them. Criminals could no longer  afford to live in transitioned areas and were mostly gone after a few years. The same dynamics are emerging in Herkimer. Median monthly rents are now $900, up from $700 a few months ago.  Herkimer’s legacy gangs live in and traffic out of rented houses whose owners will sell out when the price is right. And that time seems close at hand. The Herkimer Post will continue greasing their skids.

We’re hoping next year’s Herkimer crime report, reflecting 2018, will show significant improvement as a result of better law enforcement amid changing demographics.

Jay Smith Continues Housing Criminals As Climate Change Escalates Homeless count

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by Linda Kaidan

2018 leaves us with a legacy of climate change disasters on a planetary scale unparalleled in human history. Herkimer, NY is safer from climate disaster than most any place in our country and is thus a valuable resource in maintaining civilization. Rather than housing criminals as climate change escalates, it’s  time for us to learn how to enable ourselves to be as constructive and self sustaining as possible while providing a haven to those fleeing disasters. 

Sobering statics that should motivate us to change:

Landlord Jay Smith continues supporting criminal tenants

17% of the 22 homes on Pleasant Ave in Herkimer, NY are owned by Jay Smith who is the recorded owner of 27 Herkimer, NY properties. We have observed that 5 of these homes have been sheltering gang harassers, drug dealers and drug addicts. Mr. Smith’s tenants have destroyed our property, harassed and assaulted us during the nearly 5 years we have lived here. His tenants, our neighbors at 332 Pleasant Ave who are law abiding, just moved out replaced by known associates of his criminal tenants. Stanley Sykes, former Jay Smith tenant, admitted that some of these residents were members of the famous US gang, the Crips.

Housing criminals as climate change escalates destabilizes our community

It’s interesting that at a time of excessive housing shortages, climate change migrations and massive economic losses, Mr. Smith considerately continues to rent to active criminals. There are no houses listed for sale on Pleasant Avenue in Herkimer, NY where we have recently seen an influx of skilled Amish tradesmen and out of town construction contractors working on home renovations.

Home owners and landlords everywhere can reduce homelessness and make money

Affordable housing with smaller units can help people live better adding to neighborhood stability while providing a decent income for landlords. Mr. Smith can easily rethink his position as a landlord and make a positive contribution to climate change survival for our community.

MIT nanotech breakthrough shrinks stuff: makes affordable climate change solutions possible!

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Linda J. Kaidan

Nanotechnology is important in greenhouse gas reduction. This game changing technology can seriously impact our ability to fight climate change.

Up until recently nanotech has been costly. MIT technologists have greatly reduced the cost of producing nanoscale products by using a new approach called Implosion Fabrication (ImpFab). It weakens electron repulsion and produces structures that are one thousand times smaller than the original through a kind of 3-d printing.

What does 1000 times smaller mean?

MIT breakthrough makes nanotech cheap! Nanotechnology has been costly to work with because conventional manufacturing processes could not be used. They could not be applied to work on such a tiny scale. With this invention, conventional techniques can be used to develop structures which can then be miniaturized.

How does the shrinking process work?

Large-scale objects are embedded in hydrogels and then shrunk to nanoscale using implosion fabrication. A 3-d molecular structure is created within a hydrogel. “The acid blocks the negative charges in the polyacrylate gel so that they no longer repel each other, causing the gel to contract.” Objects shrink to 1/1000 of their original size.

How can nano technology solutions help us fight climate change?

In 2014 UCSD’s Nanowerks team reported on their new nanotech solar solution capable of converting 90% of the sun’s light into heat. Such technology, once affordable, would clearly enable solar heat to become inexpensive and widely available.

Nanomaterials can also be used to reduce global pollution and environmental degradation. They are used to filter heavy metals from water and greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

While this MIT nanotech breakthrough can help us heal our planet faster, it’s important that each of us do our fair share in creating our own sustainable solutions at the community level.

Climate change devastation, Republican social service cuts – You bet these will affect you!

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You can thwart irresponsible Republican government

Now that Republicans have control of the congress, senate, presidency and supreme court look forward to cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The number of homeless people in the US is rapidly increasing with loss of housing caused by climate change catastrophes. Less money for essentials like food shelter and healthcare means increased poverty, sickness and death. 

1. Share your living space to increase your available income.

If you have a house or apartment consider renting out a room to guests. By sharing your home, you can create affordable housing for someone as well as an additional income for yourself. When you share your space, you’ll be cutting down on energy expenses too.

2. Reduce food costs by buying best value food in terms of both nutrition and price.

We are taking our own advice by limiting our budget to $400 a month for 2 adults. This goal is easy to achieve when you buy primary foods like milk, eggs, chicken, rice, cornmeal, fruits and vegetables rather than processed foods like TV dinners, fast food and soft drinks. Cooking meals for everyone in your household, rather than foraging independently can lower costs and increase a sense of friendship in your home.

3. Create your own financial independence.

If you share a room with someone and budget your food wisely, total living expense can be little as low $450 a month per person. Even if you work half time, you should be able to save at least $5000 in a single year. If you were to get together with some other people, you would be able to  jointly purchase an inexpensive home or some camping land to create your own mortgage and rent-free housing, thus achieving a degree of financial independence that will continue to reward you.

4. Grow your own food.

When you share a home with others you can grow your own food too. I have noticed that many fruits and vegetables cost as much as chicken breast per pound. It’s easy to grow tomatoes, lettuce, beans, squash and much more in your own yard.

5. Teach yourself new skills and profit from them.

You can learn some basic skills that are useful to many people. Skills like carpentry, simple plumbing, fence construction and deck building are often in demand. When you have these and other skills you can find work or trade your services for things you need. It doesn’t take much to turn your economic constraints into economic advantages when you make the most of resources you have been taking for granted!

6. Vote for someone who cares about your well-being!

Make sure that you vote Democrat in the upcoming elections Tuesday November 6, 2018 if you want to have health care and to collect the social security benefits you pay for when you work! Our current national elected officials feel that it’s fine for wealthy people to pay no taxes and to let others go without healthcare and retirement benefits they have paid for their entire working lives.  

In our harsh political and environmental climate, life can rapidly become more difficult. You can make your life head in a better direction by taking measures that are easily within your ability to achieve.

by Linda Kaidan

climate change safety zone communities have key role in human survival

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climate change safety zoneAs our planet gets hotter and hotter and weather more damaging and unpredictable millions of people are migrating to safer areas. We are fortunate to live in one of these places. But if we wish to survive and maintain civilization we must take active measures immediately.

Our planet will not miraculously recover from climate change. Technology that is not yet available or affordable is required. Should we fail to maintain civilization we will be beset by famine, violence, and disease.  And we will not make the technological advances we need to stabilize climate and keep our air breathable. Toxins will continue to accumulate and plants and animals (including humans) will die by the millions. Ultimately the planet will be devoid of life.

You have the power to maintain civilization and save our planet. You must get started immediately. Grow food at home outside and indoors. Stock up on staples like cornmeal, rice, dried beans, and vegetables. Try to create an emergency food supply that will last your household at least 3 months. Make certain that you have some mats and blankets ready to share with others who are homeless.

Establish community gardens and kitchens so that you will have an independent supply of food ready for those fleeing hurricanes, floods and violence. Monopolize basements for indoor growing and emergency housing.

Many of you feel that you cannot be bothered by these things. If you wish to survive you’d better help grow food and volunteer to create a safe and stable environment for you, family, neighbors and those who come here. People who are hungry and desperate are dangerous. Famine brings disease. You are here and can preserve civilization just by growing food and sharing resources.

Fate has put you in the right place and time to save the world. Contribute by organizing your school, apartment building, street, business, or social organization into a center for emergency food and shelter.

by Linda Kaidan

 

Micro Home Affordable Survival

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Our planet has become very challenging to live on and yet it is still the best place to live. It’s upon us to provide food and shelter in these times of climate instability. Intelligent social and geoengineering will help us steer out of the dangerous waters we now live in.

For the past 70 years we have participated in a climate of consumerism and wastefulness. We have incurred ridiculous debts and become job slaves to feed mortgages and the cost of higher education. Many have already found healthy ways to avoid this horror – building their own inexpensive homes and growing their own food. Food and shelter for all are the key building blocks that will stabilize the economy and diminish the spread of disease. When we all work towards the goal of food and shelter success is well within our reach.

Thinking different

Millions of people are participating in the micro homes movement. Learning to build your own sustainable microhome is well within your reach. You can learn how to do this on youtube.com. When you build your own home, it means no rent and no mortgage.

Building is a joy for musician, cartoonist and micro home artist Derek Deek Diedricksen. Even stating with a simple set of skills, you can use your imagination and create wondrous living spaces.

Using salvaged and reclaimed materials including pallet wood you can build your own shelter on camping land or in someone’s back yard for as little as $300.

Using techniques such as companion planting and permaculture you can grow much of your own food including fish farming.

https://youtu.be/uiCIDaapAGQ

When you rent a home or have a mortgage – you are living precariously.

Think smart 😊! You can build a shelter and grow food this spring. Plan and scavenge now.  Learn to build, grow and share. Make room for a friend.

Linda Kaidan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tufts University Invents Technology that Will End Climate Change

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The technology that will end climate change has been developed at Tufts University in Massachusetts. It extracts CO2 from the atmosphere and converts it to a liquid form, methanol. It is based on research published last year at USC,  and builds upon a less clean practice developed by a team in Iceland. Methanol can be used to create renewable fossil fuel that can be burned – polluting the air, sucked out of the atmosphere again and then recycled. Using it this way means that in a sense we can have our cake and eat it too, using the same fuel over and over again, rather than constantly adding new green house gasses to our overburdened atmosphere.

That doesn’t mean we should continue to use fossil fuels. Certainly solar, wind and hydro power are much nicer. Methanol can be used in many excellent ways. We currently rely on Methanol to produce silicone, plastic water bottles, car parts, fleece jackets and some pharmaceuticals. Perhaps we’ll be able to use methanol for 3-D printer ink to make plastic objects we design on our computers.

One of the most versatile materials that can be made from methanol is polyester. It can be the basis for manufacturing many types of fiber for use in clothing, bedding, carpets, tents, upholstery and insulation. It’s water resistant too. Re-purposed methanol can help us make our homes comfortable while keeping the air we breath clean!

How long will it take to get levels of CO2 back down to normal? That’s for someone else to answer, but the sooner the better! Because, there is more CO2 in the air now than there has been in 50 million years and that’s not a situation we can live with.

Since we now have the opportunity to reverse the destructive process that has harmed so much of our planet, we can be optimistic about the future. However, the cleanup may take many years. We can expect more horrible weather including high winds and must be intelligent about growing food locally in our homes and communities.

By Linda Kaidan