Community reacts to hunger strike

first_imgWith the conclusion of a week-long, student-led hunger strike against the University’s involvement with HEI Hotels, the administration affirmed that, after carefully looking into the alleged poor treatment of the company’s workers, it found no support for the claims and its position had not changed.The student protestors likewise said their position had not changed.The hunger strike began last Monday when students gathered in front of the Main Building wearing orange jumpsuits and holding up signs. With a total involvement of about 30 students staying at least part of the time, the strike concluded Friday afternoon with Mass in front of the main steps.Thirteen of the 30 students engaged in the hunger strike the whole week.“I think that after this week … we are more committed than ever,” junior Liz Furman said. “Our work is complete when our University upholds the morals and values that it says it upholds on its mission statement.”As the latest chapter in a debate that has stretched on for years, the hunger strike aimed at Notre Dame’s continued investment in HEI, a firm that develops many of the country’s most well-known hotels.Students called for the University to withdraw its investment with HEI due to allegations that the company practiced unethical tactics in preventing workers from unionizing.The University said this week, however, that it has considered these allegations and found them to be unsubstantiated.“In accord with Notre Dame’s longstanding social investment policy, the University has investigated and closely monitored recent and ongoing claims made about HEI’s labor practices,” University spokesman Dennis Brown said in a written statement.Brown said Notre Dame remains convinced that HEI engages in fair labor practices and is an “outstanding company.”Sophomore Roman Sanchez said the students did not receive a response from the University since their hunger strike.“We sent letters everyday to the President’s Office,” he said. “But [we’ve heard] nothing from an official University spokesman.”He did say, however, that they have been in communication with Chief Investment Officer Scott Malpass, who offered to provide more information about HEI in the future.Malpass was not available for comment.Following the conclusion of the hunger strike, Sanchez said he is excited for the future.“I’m excited to see where we’ll go. I really believe in what we’re doing, and I believe that what we’re doing is all in the message of Christ,” he said.Sanchez said his complaints were not part of any personal battle with the University, so much as making sure it was being accountable to Christian message.Furman said she was encouraged by the support of the community and strangers alike throughout the week.“We received a letter from a clergy group called CLUE (Clergy and Laity Uniting for Economic Justice),” she said. “It was a third party support for us, our hunger strike and the HEI workers.”One of the biggest successes of the strike was the mere fact that they managed to raise awareness, Furman said.“Just having come out of the hunger strike, and now that there is more awareness of the issue, our campaign is not over,” she said. “[Our] campaign will not end just because the school year ends.”Although no immediate next step has been decided, Sanchez said the students will likely continue their efforts and pick up where they leave off up in the fall.last_img read more

Ag Hall of Fame

first_imgFrom the north Georgia chicken houses that put food on the table to the booming highway system that keeps the state moving, this year’s Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees have impacted all Georgians.On Sept. 22, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) will induct former Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Wayne Shackelford and pioneering poultryman Bill Baisley into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame.The inductions will be part of the college’s Alumni Association Awards Banquet at the Classic Center in downtown Athens, Georgia. The public is invited to attend; however, tickets are required and must be purchased by Thursday, Sept. 7.“We are excited about the 2017 Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame honorees. Both inductees are well-deserving of the honor,” said CAES Alumni Association President Joel McKie. “They are outstanding additions and have made noteworthy contributions to agriculture in Georgia and beyond.”The Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame was established in 1972 to recognize individuals who made extraordinary contributions to agriculture and agribusiness in Georgia.Inductees are nominated by members of the public and selected by the CAES Alumni Association’s awards committee. Those nominated must possess the following characteristics: impeccable character, outstanding leadership, noteworthy contributions to Georgia’s agricultural landscape, and recognition for achievements in agriculture as well as other areas.Former inductees include agricultural historymakers such as D.W. Brooks, founder of Gold Kist; J.W. Fanning, former UGA vice president for services; and J. Phil Campbell Sr., founding director of Cooperative Extension in Georgia.This year’s recipients — Shackelford and Baisley — have their own long list of accolades.Baisley started his career in the poultry industry in 1959 and retired in 2003. During his almost 50 years in the business, he helped to shepherd the rise of broilers as they became the state’s most valuable commodity.He worked his way up the ranks at Peterson Farms over 36 years, eventually becoming vice president of the company’s Southeast District.He was a dedicated advocate for the poultry industry, but his advocacy never stopped at the door of the chicken house. He worked tirelessly with the Georgia Agribusiness Council. He served on the council’s board for 35 years and acted as chairman in 2003. “People are passionate about their own success. Bill is passionate about everyone’s success in agriculture. That sets him apart,” said Mike Lacy, former head of the UGA Department of Poultry Science and longtime colleague of Baisley.While Baisley advocated for better business conditions for farmers, Shackelford helped to create a better business infrastructure for metro Atlanta.Shackelford, a native of Carrollton, Georgia, served as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation from 1991 to 2000. He oversaw the completion of Georgia Highway 316 and the preparation of transportation plans for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, all while he managed the overall growth of metro Atlanta traffic through the 1990s.Shackelford interchanges are on Georgia highways in every corner of the state in his honor, but his most lasting legacy may be his work for UGA Extension in Gwinnett County and his lifelong support of Georgia 4-H.“This morning I drove to work on Highway 316. I cannot drive to Burton 4-H Center or Rock Eagle 4-H Center without seeing Wayne Shackelford’s influence. When I attend a state livestock show, I see Mrs. Anna, his daughter, and his granddaughter,” said Arch Smith, state 4-H leader. “These are but a few of the ways I know the Wayne Shackelford legacy will continue for decades. Most importantly, he pledged his life to support agriculture, 4-H and the citizens of Georgia.”Before beginning his career in transportation planning, Shackelford served as the UGA Extension agent in Gwinnett County for 12 years between 1960 and 1972.Through Georgia 4-H, he impacted thousands of young people in the quickly suburbanizing county. Many of “Shack’s boys,” as the students on his award-winning judging teams were known, have gone on to become leaders in business and agriculture across the state.After leaving UGA Extension, he was a dedicated booster for Georgia 4-H, reaching out to raise funds for the program and helping wherever he could.In addition to recognizing Shackelford and Baisley, the ceremony will honor CAES alumni award winners.This year, recipients of CAES Alumni Awards of Excellence include Jimmy Hill, retired Georgia Power engineer and agriculture advocate; Keith Kelly, agricultural entrepreneur; and D.J. Sheppard, recruitment and retention coordinator for Georgia FFA and the Georgia Agricultural Education program.CAES Young Alumni awards will be awarded to Matt Coley, co-owner and manager of Coley Farms in Vienna, Georgia; Trey Cutts III, assistant professor and Cooperative Extension System specialist at Auburn University; Farrah Hegwood Newberry, executive director for Georgia Milk Producers; and Tracey Troutman, outreach and recruitment branch chief for the Office of Outreach, Diversity and Equal Opportunity within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.Register to attend the banquet at or call Suzanne Griffeth, director of alumni engagement, at 706-542-3390.last_img read more

Shumlin appoints attorney Thomas Walsh as environmental judge

first_imgGovernor Peter Shumlin today announced he will appoint Burlington attorney Thomas G Walsh to the Environmental Division of the Superior Court.  Walsh, who has practiced environmental law for 18 years, will replace retiring Judge Merideth Wright. ‘It is a great honor to be appointed by Governor Shumlin as an environmental judge,’ Walsh said. ‘The Environmental Division is important to our State’s natural resources and our economy. I look forward to serving our State and applying my energy and experience to ensure that the Environmental Division is regarded with integrity and fairness.” ‘Tom will bring strong experience in all facets of environmental practice and a common sense approach to the bench,’ Shumlin said. ‘I’m sure that he and Judge Durkin will ensure decisions are issued in a timely manner and are consistent with the law.’ Walsh is a founder and managing partner in Walsh & Monaghan LLP, a full service law firm focusing on land use and environmental law. Prior to law school, he practiced environmental engineering for four years with a national environmental consulting firm. He received his BS in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell University in 1986, and his Juris Doctor and Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School in 1993.  Walsh served as Associate General Counsel for the Environmental Board from 1999 to 2005. He chairs the Board of Directors of the Intervale Center. The Environmental Division has statewide jurisdiction to hear appeals from state land use permit decisions (Act 250), state environmental permits and other decisions of the Agency of Natural Resources, and from municipal land use zoning and planning decisions. Shumlin noted the strong pool of applicants for the seat. Also serving in the Environmental Division is the Honorable Thomas Durkin.Governor’s office: 11.1.11last_img read more

Largest battery storage system in Texas enters commercial service

first_imgLargest battery storage system in Texas enters commercial service FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Manager Today:Luminant, a subsidiary of Vistra Energy, recently announced that its Upton 2 battery energy storage system project has finished construction and began operating Dec. 31, 2018.The battery system, which is the largest energy storage project in Texas and seventh largest in the United States, is located on the site of Luminant’s 180-megawatt Upton 2 Solar Power Plant in Upton County, Texas.The 10-MW/42-MWh lithium-ion energy storage system captures excess solar energy produced during the day and can release the power in late afternoon and early evening, when energy demand in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) area is highest. The battery system can also take advantage of low-priced grid power — during times of high wind output, for example — to charge the batteries to be available for higher demand periods.Vistra is also currently developing the world’s largest battery energy storage project, the 300-MW/1,200-MWh storage system at its Moss Landing Power Plant in California, scheduled for commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2020.Texas has recently become a hotspot for renewable energy and energy storage projects. In October 2018, NestléWaters North America (NWNA), together with Engie Resources, announced that they signed a renewable energy agreement through which Engie will supply more than 50% of the energy needed for NWNA’s manufacturing and distribution facilities in Texas. With this agreement, NWNA operations in Travis, McLennan, Dallas, and Harris counties will be supplied by renewable wind energy from the Midway Wind Farm in San Patricio County, Texas, supporting Nestlé’s global goal to transition to 100% renewable energy use in its operations.More: Largest energy storage project in Texas now in operationlast_img read more

Why Adventure Matters

first_imgWhen I set off to hike the Appalachian Trail as a twenty-one-year-old and a recent college grad, I wasn’t forsaking my degree. I was continuing my education.Two weeks into my five-month thru-hike I encountered a blizzard in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I remember the fear and discomfort of trying to navigate the snowstorm and discern the inconspicuous white blazes amid blizzard-like conditions. At one point I was forced to cross an exposed ridgeline with the wind and snow buffeting my face. I felt the cold burn on my cheek, turned my chin away from the biting current, and closed my left eye. When I made it back into the sanctuary of the forest, I lifted my head up but something was wrong. I couldn’t open my eye. It had frozen shut.I threw off my mitten and started picking icicles from my eyelids and wiping frozen crust from the corners of my eye. After an eternal minute, I was able to open my eyelid, regain bilateral vision, and continue marching down the mountain.Hiking through a blizzard in the Smokies with one eye frozen shut taught me that I needed vision and wanted direction on and off the trail. As a backpacker, I had blazes and maps to show me the way, but I realized that I needed to make plans and set goals if I wanted to be equally successful in life. I also realized that it doesn’t matter how hard you are working if you are headed in the wrong direction. These weren’t classroom lessons; these were life lessons.Joe Bandy teaches people how to teach. As a professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University and Assistant Director of the school’s Center for Teaching, he has spent countless hours studying the most effective methods of teaching and learning, and he agrees that outdoor adventure can teach essential traits like critical thinking, humility and resilience.“We test our bodies, minds, and spirits when we go outside,” he says. “It provides a time to set aside media, social media, work life and stress and provides a form of contemplation that can enhance focus and lead to greater critical thinking.”The positive effects of problem solving are demonstrated through the maturity and social awareness of up-and-coming outdoor athletes like Kai Lightner. Kai is a seventeen-year-old climbing phenom who has reached the pinnacle of his sport while also attending high school in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Kai explains that he often has to miss school to attend climbing competitions, but that his experiences in the gym and on the rock are just as formative in his intellectual and emotional development as a person.“The athletes at the top of my sport,” he says, “are not always physically the strongest; they are often the smartest. When I am at a competition, I have four minutes to preview a boulder problem and come up with the correct strategy to climb it, and try to complete it. It is the route-setters’ job to challenge us. I have to consider all the options in order to find the best solution. I’ve found that thinking outside the box is crucial in climbing and my classroom studies.”Kai also credits climbing with empowering him to perform under duress. “I handle pressure situations well because I’m used to having a lot of people watch me during events. I have super high goals for myself, and climbing has taught me that I probably won’t succeed the first time I try something. It’s taught me how to deal with failure.”Professor Bandy agrees that outdoor sports and adventure pursuits can teach people to deal with failure and success gracefully. He gave the example of coaching and playing on an Ultimate team while teaching at Bowdoin College, which taught him the cooperative dynamics of outdoor athletics first hand.“I saw the students hone their skills as a group,” he said. “I watched as they learned to develop team strategies and manage time. I witnessed their confidence and self-esteem increase.”He also noticed that students interacted with him and one another much differently than in a strictly academic setting. The activity provided a means for the group to work towards a common goal. “We were learning socially and emotionally from one another in a way that doesn’t happen in the classroom. There was a collective sense of achievement.”Rock climbing is a more solitary pursuit, but whether Kai is scaling the 5.14d rated Era Vella in Spain or participating in the Youth World Championship, he believes travel and competition have helped him to become a more compassionate person who relates well to others.“Climbing has allowed me to travel and interact with a wide variety of people,” he says. “It makes me want a diverse and active social life. Even when I’m competing against someone, we usually feel a sense of camaraderie. We’re all experiencing the same stressful scenario and we identify with each other’s sentiments. Rock climbing hasn’t just taught me how to compete; it’s taught me how to be more empathetic.”Kai and Joe are both leaders in their respective fields and have seen the positive impact of outdoor adventure in their academic settings. As a wife, mother, and business owner I can also attest to the fact that outdoor adventure has equipped me with skills to better grapple with the mundane tasks and endless chores that constitute my work–life balance.In 2011, I was trying to set the Fastest Known Time on the Appalachian Trail. After nearly a fortnight of suffering filled with agonizing shin splints, a brutal sleet storm, and a devastating stomach bug, I stumbled to a road crossing in central Vermont where my husband was waiting anxiously for my arrival.I promptly sat down and started sobbing.“This is it. I’m done,” I said. “I can’t go any farther.”My husband put his hand on my back and said, “You can’t quit right now. Right now, you feel too bad to make a good decision. You’ve given too much to give up now, so try to keep going a little farther.”Through the physical and emotional pain, I kept going… a little bit farther… then a little bit farther… then after 46 days of going “a little bit farther,” we made it to end. We set the record, but just as importantly, we did more than what we thought possible. And we did it as a team.In my everyday life, the mountains that surround me are comprised of piles of laundry that need to be folded, stacks of dirty dishes in the sink, and mounds of paperwork on my desk. But, I still draw on my experiences from the trail to help navigate these obstacles. And when it’s 11 PM and I am working towards a writing deadline that is interrupted by a crying newborn, I frequently tell myself “just a little farther.” I know how much you can accomplish when you are willing to keep going.The Appalachian Trail taught me lessons I never learned in school. Before my thru-hike, I’d traveled the trail of convention and expectation that was laid out for me. After, I steered my path toward innovation and entrepreneurship. Tolkien famously said, “All who wander are not lost.” And when I trade stories and compare notes with folks like Joe and Kai, I’m reminded that whether you are a full-time student, teacher, parent or professional, outdoor recreation can be a valuable part of your education.Adventure is responsible. And it’s a whole lot cheaper than grad school.last_img read more

Treasury Levies Additional Sanctions Against Sinaloa Cartel Drug Lord

first_img The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the designation of one entity and three individuals linked to Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno (a.k.a. El Azul), a leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel. Today’s action, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees, and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction. “Since July, OFAC has exposed numerous entities in Esparragoza Moreno’s corporate network, including gas station companies and real estate development firms operating in the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Jalisco,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin. “As we continue to target this organization, we expect to severely disrupt its operations.” Esparragoza Moreno was indicted on drug trafficking charges in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in 2003. He is wanted in both the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. State Department Narcotics Rewards Program is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Esparragoza Moreno’s arrest and/or conviction, while Mexican authorities are offering 30 million pesos for information leading to his capture. Esparragoza Moreno has been active in drug trafficking since the 1970s. Today’s action targets Desarrollos Everest, S.A. de C.V., a real estate development company based in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. This company is co-owned by Maria Guadalupe Gastelum Payan, a wife of Esparragoza Moreno who was previously designated because she acts on behalf of her husband. Also targeted today is Residencial del Lago, a residential community located in Culiacan owned or controlled by Desarrollos Everest, S.A. de C.V. Internationally, OFAC has designated more than 1,200 businesses and individuals linked to 97 drug kingpins since June 2000. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act. By Dialogo December 14, 2012last_img read more

Judge Diaz fined, suspended

first_imgJudge Diaz fined, suspended August 1, 2005 Regular News Judge Diaz fined, suspended For sending an anonymous e-mail to another judge A Broward County judge has been reprimanded, fined, and suspended for two weeks by the Supreme Court for sending an anonymous e-mail to a fellow judge that was deemed to threaten political retaliation and also sending a copy to a local bar association.But the action approving the stipulated settlement between Judge Robert F. Diaz and the Judicial Qualifications Commission drew a dissent from two justices. They said the JQC failed to specify what if any judicial canons or laws Judge Diaz violated and the penalty in any case was too harsh.In January 2004, Diaz sent an anonymous e-mail to another county judge, which included a story about a circuit judge who had been criticized for reporting illegal aliens to the U.S. Immigration Service when he learned they were appearing before him in his courtroom. The electronic missive also said, “Isn’t this what you used to do in Hollywood (Florida)? We remember.”A copy of the e-mail was sent to the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association, and later to the association’s president. The recipient judge interpreted the message as abusive and a threat to organize Hispanics to vote against him in a future election.In the subsequent JQC investigation, Judge Diaz waived the right to a trial, stipulated to the JQC’s facts, and accepted its recommended discipline of a two-week suspension without pay, a $15,000 fine, and a public reprimand, as well as an apology to the recipient judge and the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association.In its report to the court, the JQC wrote, “The panel takes a very dim view of the conduct of the respondent in this matter, which involves a serious offense. He in fact sent an implied threat of organized group retaliation because of alleged actions of a fellow judge, and to exacerbate matters sent a copy to a local ethnic bar association. Such conduct is deplorable, and were it not for the respondent’s lack of prior disciplinary history and his acknowledgment of his conduct, the panel would consider forwarding this matter for trial and a more severe penalty. The period of suspension would be greater but for the burden placed on the respondent’s colleagues.”The court majority in its per curiam opinion noted that the JQC did not specify any violations of the judicial canons but noted, “[B]y his stipulation and agreement, it appears that Judge Diaz has conceded he violated the broad provisions of Canon 1 and Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which can be construed to prohibit judges from making threatening or disparaging remarks about other judges or parties in the manner involved herein. These canons broadly prohibit conduct unbecoming a judicial officer.”The majority also said, “It appears here that the commission’s concerns were not with the substance of the matters addressed by Judge Diaz, but rather with the fact that Judge Diaz acted anonymously and that his message could be construed as a threat. . . ”The opinion concluded, “Based upon our review, and because Judge Diaz admits to the wrongdoing and does not contest the commission’s findings in any respect, we conclude that the JQC’s findings are supported by clear and convincing evidence. Similarly, because Judge Diaz has expressly agreed to the recommended discipline both below and in this court, including the fine , suspension without pay, and a public reprimand, we accept and approve this discipline.”The court said the publication of the opinion would serve as the reprimand.Justices Charles Wells, Harry Lee Anstead, Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince, and Kenneth Bell concurred in the opinion. Justice Raoul Cantero, joined by Chief Justice Barbara Pariente, dissented.Cantero argued that the court has a duty to independently review JQC recommendations and that even though Judge Diaz agreed to the facts and the sanctions, the JQC failed to specify the nature of the violations.“Here, although the JQC’s Notice of Formal Charges alleged specific facts, it failed to allege a violation of any statute, canon, or even a general ethical principle,” Cantero wrote. “.. . . The JQC did not identify a single judicial canon that Judge Diaz’s actions violated, and I cannot agree to discipline a judge based on conduct that, in my view, does not violate a specific canon.”The justice said he would refer the case back to the JQC to have those problems addressed. As for punishment, he cited other cases where judges were accused of apparently more serious violations, yet had less severe punishment — typically a public reprimand.“Judge Diaz had no previous disciplinary incidents, admitted the misconduct, was remorseful, and promised it would not happen again,” Cantero wrote. “.. . . . Therefore, even assuming Judge Diaz violated a canon of the Code of Judicial Conduct (which the JQC could not identify), I would modify the recommended discipline by eliminating all but a reprimand issued by opinion.”The court acted July 7, in Inquiry Concerning a Judge Re: Robert F. Diaz,case no. SC04-1845.last_img read more

NCUA’s RBC would cost $760M: NAFCU

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Nicholas BallasyNAFCU Director of Research/Chief Economist Curt Long estimated the NCUA’s revised risk-based capital ratio proposal would cost the credit union system a total of $760 million.“Based on our financial analysis, credit unions’ capital cushions will suffer a $490 million hit if NCUA promulgates a two-tier approach to risk-based capital. The specifics are even more astronomical,” Long said. continue reading »last_img

CU branch miraculously spared in California’s apocalyptic wildfire

first_imgJohn Cassidy, president/CEO of the $982 million Sierra Central Credit Union, called it nothing short of a miracle that its branch was not burned to the ground in Paradise, Calif., where more than 90% of the homes have been turned into rubble by wildfires.“The word is miraculous and that’s no understatement,” Cassidy said Tuesday. “The whole building is completely intact. Other than some shrubs that got damaged, it looks like there wasn’t a fire. We are one of the very few, very fortunate businesses to survive. We are very fortunate that we will be able to help  people as Paradise starts to rebuild. We’ll be there for them.”In Paradise and in the adjacent town of Magalia, with a combined population of nearly 40,000 people, an estimated 6,500 houses were destroyed, according to Cassidy.“It is the largest disaster in the history California,” he said. “Forty two people have died. That is going to rise significantly.” continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Here’s A Bright Idea: Turn Shoreham’s Old Nuke Plant Into A New Cargo Port

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York With proper analysis and data-driven urban planning, the key to Long Island’s economic future may just require a mile more of roadway and a new purpose for a decommissioned nuclear power plant.In a report released on March 18 by the Long Island Association outlining the organization’s 15 top priorities, most of the initiatives were typical of any organization that deals with regional issues here: suppressing rising costs of living and doing business, creating additional housing options, increasing transit accessibility, etc. Buried among the tired suggestions Long Islanders so frequently see, the LIA wrote the following:“Also support efforts to create a clean energy economy on Long Island by encouraging the growth of the region’s wind and solar industries and advocate that LIPA donate the Shoreham nuclear power plant site for a cargo port and/or manufacturing park for wind turbines and/or solar panels.”The LIA’s call for a cargo port at the former Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant site, if executed and planned for appropriately, is the best old/new idea the Island has seen since the concept was first proposed in the 1960s.Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner who brought professional urban planning to Suffolk County and eventually Nassau, first suggested the concept five decades ago. Since then, the notion of a cross-Sound link at Shoreham has taken many turns, including a bridge. Other ideas may have come and gone, but the isolated location of the nuclear plant and the relatively sparse wetlands at the shoreline make the Shoreham site ideal for a crossing of some kind.Whenever any big ideas for our region get mentioned, Long Islanders typically scoff—the byproduct of a jaded public, thanks to halfhearted proposals, stakeholder-driven studies and countless shelved comprehensive plans. Despite this cynicism, it’s important for policymakers and planners to think beyond throwing residential density at our economic stagnation.On Long Island, large-scale proposals are always cyclical. Think of the frequent resurrection of the Bayville-Rye crossing that occurs almost every five years. This time the LIA has showed excellent timing in making a new cargo port at Shoreham a priority.It’s always nice to think big, but it’s critical for the LIA and policymakers to seriously explore the concept that they buried on the third page of their priorities list. Any further study of the concept must answer the following questions: How large would the cargo port be? Historically, the seaports in New York have fallen into disuse. Is a new seaport of some variety feasible in the Tristate Region? How will completion of AVR’s The Meadows at Yaphank change the traffic dynamics in the area? Will people want to use a ferry service at this location? The two ferry companies now, one from Port Jefferson, the other from Orient Point, are barely holding their own.The port proposal will only be realistic if people use it, so it’s essential that the review accurately models the usage and projects the cargo demand, the number of truck trips generated and whether our existing freight-rail infrastructure could handle the additional loads. As with any other development proposal, a serious data-driven analysis and feasibility study would have to be conducted.Although important questions still need to be answered, existing assets can already be identified.The most important one is the Shoreham site’s isolation. Nestled along the woods of the North Shore, sufficiently buffered from neighboring homes and the protests that inevitably come when their backyards are threatened, sits the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, a structure that stands as a testament to misguided energy policy. Built by LILCO for $6 billion but never used, the structure is currently the burden of every utility ratepayer on Long Island. Shoreham would be ideal for a multifaceted cargo port, with the area’s straight shoreline and underutilized waterfront. The cargo port proposal, with the opportunity to link Long Island to New Haven via ferry service in under an hour, is the 800-acre site’s chance to redeem itself.The next asset is the ease of connectivity. If the ferry terminal is built as the William Floyd Parkway is extended, it would allow for a critical transportation link to New England and beyond. It is essential that the LIA advocates not only for a cargo port, but for a multifaceted port that includes passenger ferries as well because they would ensure that the site will be viable. According to the New York State Department of Transportation, William Floyd Parkway has a present design capacity of 57,000 vehicle trips per day. Currently, the road is at 43 percent capacity, with only 25,000 vehicle trips per day using the route. So the route could definitely withstand increased volume.Due to a decision made decades ago by Suffolk County when the William Floyd Parkway was constructed, it now terminates at Route 25A. The Shoreham Nuclear Plant is a mere 1.23 miles north of the point where the Parkway currently stops, and the right-of-way to extend the route is vacant. If these undeveloped parcels were bisected by the William Floyd Extension to the proposed port, the nearest houses to the west of the roadway would be half a mile away, and the homes on the east would be a mile. Dr. Koppelman originally recommended giving the William Floyd extension just one entry/exit point at 25A and no others until it terminates at the Shoreham site, further protecting the neighboring communities from any unwanted traffic. Thanks to the site’s close proximity in Suffolk to both the Brookhaven Rail Terminal and Long Island Expressway, goods could be shipped off the Island in many ways.About 24 miles across the Long Island Sound lies New Haven, a city that has industry along its shoreline. It also offers a gateway to New England and Canada. Interstate 91, whose southern terminus runs directly through New Haven, shoots straight up north to the Canadian border in Derby Line, Vermont. It’s the potential linkage to this highway that makes both the cargo port and Shoreham-New Haven ferry so appealing.Long Island’s current ferry ports don’t have the economic potential that the Shoreham-New Haven route promises. The Orient Point Cross-Sound ferry, which connects the Island to New London, is 40 miles further to the east. It is limited by the one-lane approach road and distinct lack of parking. Port Jefferson harbor, the site of the ferry to Bridgeport, is a deepwater port similar to Shoreham, but it primarily accepts fuel and oil shipments for the 64-year-old Port Jefferson power plant, whose future isn’t looking too bright thanks to the looming threat of its decommission.Meanwhile, policymakers in Connecticut are pushing hard for trucks coming from New England with cargo bound for Long Island or New York City to be diverted from I-95 to New London, where they would then take the Orient Point ferry, so the pressure is on to find a viable solution to our freight transportation issues. Long Islanders have to ask which is worse: extending a mile of road to an already isolated site in Shoreham, or having semi-trailer trucks rumble through the rural winding roads of the North Fork?If Long Island is to remain competitive economically, we will need to maximize our existing assets. The LIA should partner with policymakers from the Assembly and the State Senate, as well as with both Nassau and Suffolk County legislatures, and secure funding from the state and federal level to conduct a realistic, professional assessment of whether a multifaceted cargo port and ferry terminal at Shoreham is feasible. All it would take is about $1 million dollars to fund a dedicated planning effort.The Shoreham Nuclear Plant currently represents Long Island’s broken past. Let’s make the site a showcase for our future.Rich Murdocco writes on Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco will be contributing regularly to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.last_img read more