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News stories tagged with "heat"

NCPR Reporter Joanna Richards learns wood splitting at a workshop for women. Photo: Chelle Lindahl
NCPR Reporter Joanna Richards learns wood splitting at a workshop for women. Photo: Chelle Lindahl

Women learn art of wood splitting at hands-on workshop

Reporter Joanna Richards is a city girl. But since she moved to the North Country four years ago, she's been boning up on the traditions and culture of rural life. She had a chance recently for a bit of North Country skill building, in a workshop on wood splitting especially for women.  Go to full article
Leslie Howard and Linda Jobes, in Mr. Howard's home.  Februrary 2012.
Leslie Howard and Linda Jobes, in Mr. Howard's home. Februrary 2012.

Warm winter doesn't lower heating bills

Funding for the federal program that helps people pay heating costs was cut dramatically this winter. St. Lawrence County social services says more than one-fourth of households in the county get money through HEAP - the home energy assistance program.

Last October, we visited with Linda Jobes and her 85-year old father Leslie Howard. They live in separate houses on the same property in DeKalb. At that time, Jobes and Howard were worried about the coming winter. But it hasn't been as cold as most people expected.

Julie Grant went back to visit with them this month...  Go to full article
We measured the wood and it was very short. 50% less than we paid for.

Wood dealers selling short cords?

Record-setting snowfall and sub-zero temperatures in the Northeast have led to increased demand for firewood this heating season. There's also been an uptick in complaints by consumers who say they're getting less firewood than they pay for. As part of a collaboration with Northeast stations, WNPR's Diane Orson reports.

Northeast environmental reporting is made possible, in part, by a grant from United Technologies.  Go to full article
Because of the amount of feedback that we got, we limited the proposal.

DEC moves to regulate new, not existing, wood boilers

State environmental officials are softening their stance on a controversial plan to regulate outdoor wood boilers. The Department of Environmental Conservation is setting aside rules on existing boilers. Spokeswoman Lori Severino says the DEC will hold more stakeholder meetings with manufacturers, homeowners, environmental and agricultural groups on how to regulate furnaces people have already bought. She says the agency has not decided whether it will hold a new round of public hearings. Severino says the DEC received thousands of comments at hearings last summer, many in protest.

"Because of the amount of feedback that we got we limited the proposal," Severino says. "It addresses one portion of it, and then we're going to move forward on establishing some guidelines at this point."

Severino says the DEC will move ahead on regulating new boilers. She says new rules would make the furnaces burn 90% cleaner, use cleaner fuel, and require an 18 foot stack height. The rules also include leeway for farmers.

"There is a one thousand setback requirement from neighboring properties," says Severino, "but that does not apply to agricultural operations. So instead they would have a one hundred foot setback from neighboring homes, but not property lines so it gives farms a bit more flexibility."

The proposed rules on new outdoor wood boilers will come before the state Environmental Review Board this week.

The DEC's shift hasn't appeased the state's largest farm lobbying organization. In a press release, the New York Farm Bureau called it "a ploy". Farm Bureau president Dean Norton accused "radical elements" of the DEC of "shoving these regulations through" at the end of Governor David Paterson's term.

The Farm Bureau says the rules would make the furnaces too costly and restrict their use in the summertime, when some people use them to heat water.

North Country lawmakers are wary, too. Assemblywoman Addei Russell and Senator-elect Patty Ritchie both told the Watertown Daily Times they think the DEC is moving too fast.  Go to full article
Allen Mann with his son David on the summit of Noonmark Mountain (Photo:  Brian Mann)
Allen Mann with his son David on the summit of Noonmark Mountain (Photo: Brian Mann)

On a sweltering summer day, why not climb a High Peak?

The North Country is caught in the same summer heat wave that's gripping much of the eastern US and Canada.

For most people, the heat means a lot of time spent with the air conditioner, or a trip to the local swimming hole.

But our reporter Brian Mann and his brother Allen decided that the best place to cool off was the top of Noonmark Mountain in the High Peaks. Brian sent this audio postcard.  Go to full article

Farm Bureau faces off with DEC over outdoor wood furnaces

New York's largest farm lobby group is pushing back, hard, against proposals to tighten regulation of outdoor wood-burning boilers.

The Department of Environmental Conservation wants new boilers to burn more cleanly, and wants old boilers modified to reduce pollution. The agency cites nuisance complaints about low-lying smoke from the burners, and concerns about air quality and public health.

Dean Norton, president of the New York State Farm Bureau, says the Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed restrictions will affect thousands of farmers and homeowners. He says the costs of compliance could reach into the thousands of dollars, at a time when framers are already struggling.

The first of several public hearings on the proposals is tomorrow evening in Watertown. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

A safety net to catch the middle class

Every fall, low-income families across the North Country face a painful question: do I have enough money to pay the heating bills this winter? Fuel prices are almost half what they were last fall. Still, thousands of people will rely on government help to stay warm. A group of St. Lawrence County agencies and energy experts meet each year to develop a strategy for helping people pay their heating bills. At yesterday's meeting in Canton, there was concern about a surprising new at-risk population, middle class people who lost their jobs. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

The red tape behind weatherization

Tax credits for making your home more energy efficient got a lot of early buzz. The promise of up to $1500 back for insulation and windows or efficient furnaces led to a flurry of advertising. Tamara Keith looks into what might be stopping people from taking advantage of the tax credits.  Go to full article

Summer in the garden, finally

Todd Moe talks with horticulturist Amy Ivy about hot weather chores in the backyard and garden. Amy shares tips on watering, weeding and mowing the lawn.  Go to full article

Strained household budgets create skyrocketing demand for heating aid

As every driver has noticed, prices at the pump have been falling for more than three months now. The cost of heating oil is also coming down. But across the Northeast, it's too little and too late to help many residents pay their home heating bills. It's not just a stretch for household budgets. As people look to the government for help, anxiety over the economy and volatile fuel markets is also straining local social service departments. Last Monday, New Yorkers began applying for federal funds from HEAP, the Home Energy Assistance Program. It's the counties, though, that process the paperwork, verify each applicant's eligibility and distribute the money. As Jonathan Brown reports, the number of people seeking help is up dramatically.  Go to full article

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