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Date of Issue: April 09, 2008

Sandscript

Weather wonders to anticipate, 'green' news

From weather wonks to eco-freaks, the news is, as always, weird out there.

And I’m glad to be back after a couple weeks away from the news desk.

 

Weather wonders, or horrors

Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30. Not unexpectedly, weather forecasters start the process of attempting to predict the weather months before the season’s start. We’re looking at yet another “above-average” season, according to the gurus of the hurricane goings on in our part of the world.

Phil Klozbach and Dr. William Gray, both with Colorado State University, have been doing storm predictions since 1984 they both are predicting more storms than usual for us to deal with this year. The pair are hedging their bets until Wednesday, when they’ll offer a semi-official forecast.

Gray and Klozbach have been harping for some time on the “multi-decadal cycle” of hurricanes, a pattern that runs every 20 to 25 years. We’re apparently in a high-activity period now, something that started around 1995.

Adding to the higher ranking of Atlantic and Caribbean storms is cooler Pacific Ocean waters, called La Niña. La Nina may warm this spring. Or not. You gotta love those weather forecasters.

Nonetheless, Atlantic Ocean waters are warmer than usual. Warm water means more hurricanes for us to deal with.

Pack up your hurricane kits, kids.

 

Green is good

“Green” is golden. Again. Still.

“Environmentalism” is the new buzz word in the media of late. Actually, we mediots have been talking about it for 30-plus years, but eco-freaks are harping on the need to reuse, recycle, redo and refurbish big-time of late.

The present movement could be powered by cash.

We’re looking at anticipated $4-per-gallon gasoline by this summer. Gasoline is a product of fossil fuel. Fossil fuels are generally accepted as a bad thing for the environment, causing or acerbating the warming of the planet and all sorts of other bad things, like a rise in sea level that could sorta cover Anna Maria Island with the Gulf and bay waters, or so they say.

So off we go in our gas-guzzling SUVs - and yes, I’ve got one, too - with poor miles per gallon. Bad.

Hybrid cars? Well, the number-crunch on the electric-gas vehicles didn’t work out too well a couple of years ago. Now, with the price of fuel increasing, hybrids are looking more attractive.

What I love for Islanders are scooters. I’m seeing more and more people riding the little motorcycles. They get something like 100 miles per gallon. Emissions are miniscule. You can park almost anywhere. And they’re cheap - maybe $1,500.

And did I mention the “fun factor” of a scooter? Wind in your hair? Bugs in your teeth as you grin into the rush?

And we’ve got recycling on the Island to give us all a green mode. Cans, plastic, paper all goes to a special place to get turned into more cans, plastic and paper. It’s a simple thing to deal with once a week, and we’re doing the process of sorting and feeling good about it all.

Here’s another green goal that we should embrace.

Most grocery stores offer cloth bags for your food purchases. Forget the “paper/plastic?” option and buy the bags. (Publix cloth bags are 99 cents.) They are easier to handle than the others from car to house, and the cloth bags last as long as plastic in terms of use and reuse.

 

More fun

Although it may not be “green,” it’s a good thing for our human environment.

I’ve been tricked by my girlfriend into eating more healthy foods, basically by devouring food cooked in oil rather than my usual butter for the last year or so. I’ve lost about 10 pounds, she’s lost 20, all without running or cycling or going to the gym.

Simple. Stupid, when you give it some thought and realize how easy it could be to do such a simple thing for your health.

 

More food

In the wacky world of food, here’s a brief: Robert Irvine has been busted from the Food Network’s “Dinner: Impossible” series.

Seems Irvine said he was a lot that he was not regarding his credentials. The St. Petersburg Times broke the story after investigating a pair of restaurants he hoped to open in the Tampa Bay area earlier this year, openings that never took place.

And you gotta love the names of the restaurants Irvine planned: Ooze and Schmooze.

Irvine is still on the Food Channel for a while, and still a hoot. Although his tenure on both the channel and in our area could be short-lived.

 

Sandscript factoid

Too wacky for any other forum than the factoid comes this comment from Holmes Beach Police Lt. Dale Stephenson. He spoke to the Holmes Beach Civic Association last Saturday about traffic calming and speeding in the city.

A question was raised regarding truck traffic on Marina and Palm drives. Used to be, it was denied. Now, it’s OK.

Stephenson said that trucks were banned because of fears of damage to seawalls in the city basin (Tidemark waterway). Trucks rumble, concrete can tumble, and damage can ensue, he said.

The questionable seawalls have been repaired of late, though, and the trucks can go through, he said.

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