Thursday, October 25, 2007

Turning Point for Bloomfield Center

Despite rainy weather, Wednesday night's forum on Bloomfield's long delayed Downtown Redevelopment attracted a turnout that nearly filled Town Hall to capacity. Baristanet has just published a detailed account by Carl Lorentzen so we won't rehash the proceedings except to note that the council's GOP challengers who were seen at the back of the room during the first portion of the proceedings disappeared before the public participation period began. What remained was a room full of hopeful residents with love for their town.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Current Rates

We’re starting to see people coming back into the market because of the record number of listings available and owners becoming more flexible with qualified buyers. With the latest cuts in the discount rates, 30 year mortgage rates are stabilizing in the 6.4% range

Mortgage Rates

30 Year Fixed: 6.40%

15 Year Fixed: 6.08%

1 Year Adj: 5.76%

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who Is More Likely to Protect the Environment?

CBS NEWS/NEW YORK TIMES. "Regardless of how you usually vote, do you think the Republican party or the Democratic party is more likely to protect the environment?" Conducted 7/13-16/02; surveyed 1,000 adults; margin of error +/-3%

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Demographics Can Be Fun

We've shared a variety of sites for the analysis of updated local census stats, but may be the most user friendly and addictive. Along with colorful charts are endless possibilities for side by side comparisons with neighboring zip codes and state and national rankings in endless categories.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Encap: Knee Deep In the Big Muddy

Since 1999, when a North Carolina firm called EnCap was awarded development rights to 785 polluted acres in the Meadowlands, state officials have given the firm more than $350 million in public benefits and promised hundreds of millions more in tax breaks.

The State is reportedly looking for another developer to finish the project, but more than one mayor in the area is pressuring the Meadowlands Commission for a seat at the table. NJ Sierra Club Director Jeff Titell has his own ideas. In a blistering OpEd in The Record, he raises a stink on the growing scandal:
The controversial EnCap proposal includes two golf courses, 2,000 units of housing and half a million square feet of commercial and office space. This is one of the largest projects being proposed in New Jersey, and it has major environmental implications. The original purpose of this project was to clean up and stabilize landfills in the Meadowlands that are leeching into the Hackensack River, but it has become instead a boondoggle, a pork barrel, and a symbol of everything that's wrong with pay to play in New Jersey.

What may have started out as a good idea has turned into an environmental and financial disaster.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Burning Green

Of the thousands of summer festivals that dot the planet, Burning Man may be the the most bizarre and dazzling. It's a post-apocalyptic Happening in the northern Nevada desert in early September. This year's theme was the Green Man.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Hawk Eyes

October is not only peak season for leaves. Pat Gilleran shares an eye full from Hawk Lookout:

The second oldest hawk watch in the nation, the Lookout is located on the First Watchung Mountain on the border of Montclair and Cedar Grove, and offers a spectacular view of hawks, along with other birds, as they migrate in the skies above New Jersey, and of the landscape below that encompasses the New York City skyline.

October may be the most interesting time to visit the Lookout, as it
offers the greatest diversity of hawk species. Chances are now better
to see Merlins or even a Peregrine Falcon or two. However, by mid-
month the Broad-winged Hawk flight will be over for the season, as
other species begin to peak. The Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawk
will be most numerous at the end of the month.

From 10/1 thru 10/10/07 there were 613 sightings of raptors logged.
2 Black Vulture
129 Osprey
9 Bald Eagle
33 Northern Harrier
235 Sharp-shinned Hawk
52 Cooper's Hawk (pictured)
2 Red-shouldered Hawk
32 Broad-winged Hawk
1 Red-tailed Hawk
70 American Kestrel
24 Merlin
23 Peregrine Falcon

The Edgecliff Rd. Lookout is staffed by members of the New Jersey Audubon Society and open daily, weather permitting, through November 30, from 9a.m. to 5p.m.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Higher ATM fees to gain customers?'s Managing Editor Ellen Cannon blogs about credit and debit cards, prepaid cards, gift cards, credit scores -- anything related to the plastic in your wallet.

Bringing people into the bank may be the real story behind Bank of America's new $3 surcharge, said James Van Dyke, president of Javelin Strategy & Research, a financial consulting firm in Pleasanton, Calif. The firm's research has shown ATM access is one of the top three criteria when choosing a new bank, and rates and fees rank as the most important reason among almost two-thirds of consumers.

So although Bank of America's fee hike rankled non-customers and even sparked online calls to boycott Bank of America's ATMs, the move could also persuade customers of banks with fewer ATMs to switch just to avoid fees.

"The consumer is going to say, 'Why don't I just switch to BofA?' " Van Dyke said. "This is a powerhouse move that only a powerhouse can pull off."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Timely Earth Time

The Earth Clock is a real time simulation based on the changing nature of a range of environmental factors. Using statistics from a number of sources it provides continually updated information on the worlds population, CO2 emissions, waste production and much more. The Earth Clock was designed by and is based on figures from sources including the United Nations, EPA and the US Census Bureau. With a little patience, you can integrate this and other add-ons into your home page or blog, or website.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tour Buses Unload in Bloomfield

We happened to be visiting Democratic campaign headquarters this morning when our Mayor passed along an unexpected tip:
"You'll never guess what's going on across the street right now.
The Soprano tour bus has just unloaded!"
A closer look revealed that On Location Tours was making it's first official Bloomfield stop incorporating Holsteins. This was the largest tour to hit Bloomfield so far -- four months after the end of the series at the now-internationally known mecca for ice cream and onion-rings.
He may be justified in jokingly taking credit for adding to the media exposure that is making Bloomfield a "Must See" tourist attraction. At $42 a ticket for the 4 hour tour, we can now expect three of their busloads a weekend to shower their souvenir cash on Brookdale.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Night Time Gage for Global Warming

Land surface temperature is a good indicator of the energy balance at the Earth's surface, and serves as an important indicator of the greenhouse effect. Land surface temperature can be used for evaluating water requirements of crops, for determining frost-damaged areas in orange groves, and for assessing the impact of climate change on the Arctic, an environment that will be particularly sensitive to rising global temperatures.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites take the temperature of every square kilometer of the Earth nearly every day, barring cloudy skies. MODIS senses the temperature of all natural and man-made land surfaces —everything from snow to deserts, from rooftops to treetops. The map above shows nighttime LST ending a six year cycle from March 2000 to July 2006. An animated seq can be generated here. Values range from 250 to 320 Kelvin (about -23 to 47 degrees Celsius, or -10 to 116 degrees Fahrenheit) in shades from light to yellow.

Nighttime LST measurements have an interesting land-cover mapping application. Manmade surfaces such as concrete and asphalt that dominate cities typically absorb a lot more heat than the natural land cover that surrounds them. Having soaked up heat all day long, cities stay warmer at night than their surrounding natural areas, and so they stand out as warm spots. This phenomenon has come to be called "the urban heat island effect," and scientists can study urban sprawl by using nighttime LST data like that from MODIS.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Singing a Song of Jersey

Among this state's countless resources, New Jersey would seem to have all the elements for an unforgettable state song. Some states have two. In fact we're the ONLY state that has never agreed on one. Despite talents from Sinatra and Vali to Bon Jovi & Springsteen and many lesser known composers and lyricists.

New Jersey has consistently failed to adopt a song, despite bids to do so dating back to 1794, when then-Gov. Richard Howell wrote a song used by troops heading off to help quell the Whiskey Rebellion.

State Senator Raymond Lesniak has proposed New Jersey adopt the hit Bon Jovi song, "Who Says You Can't Go Home," as its official song.

For awhile it looked like "Born to Run" had the inside track -- with rewrites needed to lighten up lines like"
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young.