Archive for July 17, 2008

More Defective Material From China-Recalled Tire Valve Stems

JACKSONVILLE, FL — David Nicholas works in the airline industry and pays close attention to safety issues.

“This is serious and this is a known problem,” says Nicholas. Nicholas knows first hand the gravity of the problem. He says, “You’re not believing it, you expect your tires to stay inflated.” Recently, Nicholas was driving his Ford F-150 on Highway US-1 when two of his tires failed. “The vehicle turned to left and I was able to control it but what if I had a load on my truck it would have been hard to keep control of the vehicle,” says Nicholas.

The problem was not a blowout, the problem was two defective tire valve stems.

“One of those things that’s a sleeper and it is hard to notice,” says Nicholas.

Nicholas had his wheels inspected and discovered that the tire valve stems were cracked and that they were part of a nationwide recall.

He was never notified of the recall.

“So if you bought tires between 2006 and 2008, there’s a possibility that these stems could be on your tires,” says Nicholas.

The stems were made in China and distributed by Tech International to car care centers worldwide.

Nicholas says “The cracks are very visible if you bend the stem at the base of the stem.” Even if there are no visible cracks, a tire repair shop should inspect the valve stems to see if they’re among the recalled valves.

“If there are 30 million of these in the marketplace the word needs to get out and they need to be inspected and replaced,”says Nicholas.

He replaced the stems on his vehicle at his expense and would like Tech International or his tire retailer to replace his damaged tire. For more information on the valve stem recall, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration’s hotline at 1-888-327-4236.


Check your valve stems, people.  The companies that used them sure as hell aren’t going to notify you.

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Reclaimed Wastewater and Florida Citrus

IMMOKALEE, FL – The Sunshine State has seen rapid growth in population during the last 50 years. The 1997 U.S. Census showed that the population of Florida increased more than five-and-a-half times from 1950 to 2000. Naturally, along with population increases, Florida is experiencing an increase in the amount of municipal waste. Studies confirm that the amount of wastewater generated by cities in Florida has increased more than fivefold since 1950.

Environmental concerns about pollution of surface waters by treated wastewater have caused many communities to consider alternate ways to use secondary-treated, or reclaimed, wastewater. Before 1986, the city of Orlando and Orange County were discharging wastewater into a creek that flows into Lake Tohopekaliga in central Florida. To address concerns that the process would affect the quality water in the lake, city and county officials, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, devised a plan to use the wastewater for agricultural irrigation.

According to a 2005 report by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, there are currently 440 “reclaimed water reuse systems” in Florida, irrigating thousands of acres of golf courses, public land, and residential landscapes with 2,385 million liters of reclaimed water per day. Reclaimed wastewater is also being used to irrigate some of Florida’s world-renowned citrus orchards. Because yearly rainfall in Florida is seasonal, with 75% of annual rainfall usually occurring between June and September, citrus growers rely on supplemental irrigation for healthy citrus crops.

In a study supported by the City of Orlando and Orange County (FL), researchers set out to determine whether long-term irrigation with treated municipal wastewater reduced citrus tree health, (appearance and leaf nutrient content), decreased fruit loads, impacted fruit quality, or created increases in soil contaminants. Dr. Kelly T. Morgan, a scientist at the University of Florida’s, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, published the study report in the April, 2008 issue of HortScience.

Dr. Morgan explained, “Increased water use by the growing population and localized water shortages during low rainfall years have resulted in the development of water use restrictions and decreases in permitted water use for agriculture. Increased use of reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation would not only reduce the wastewater disposal problem for urban areas, but could also reduce the amount of water withdrawn from Florida’s aquifers used for irrigation.”

The yearly monitoring project, which began in the 1990s and ended in 2004, concluded that using reclaimed water for irrigation of citrus orchards showed few detrimental effects on the orchards. Morgan commented, “Appearance of trees irrigated with reclaimed water was usually better, with higher canopy, leaf color, and fruit crop ratings than orchards irrigated with groundwater. Although there was higher weed growth in reclaimed water-irrigated orchards due to higher soil water content, growers apparently have made adequate adjustments to their herbicide practices.”

Researchers concluded that long-term citrus irrigation with high-quality reclaimed water on well-drained sandy soils did not significantly reduce tree viability or yield and required relatively little adjustment in crop production practices: good news for the environment and citrus producers alike.



The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site:

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at

Source:  Eurekalert

Using reclaimed wastewater for agricultural irrigation seems like a good idea to me, balancing the needs of the population for fresh water with the needs of the agricultural community for irrigation water.

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National Agricultural Summary 7/7 – 7/13/08

Corn: Corn at or beyond silking reached 13 percent complete, 37 points behind last year and 23 points behind the 5-year average. Developmental delays continued in the Corn Belt, where many areas received more than 4 inches of rain during the week. Outside of the Corn Belt, silking progress was ahead of the normal pace in Colorado, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Despite the developmental delays, the condition of the crop continued to improve. By week’s end, 64 percent of the crop was rated in good to excellent condition, 2 percentage points better than a week earlier.

Soybeans: Twenty-six percent of the soybean acres were at or beyond the blooming stage, 28 points behind last year and 19 points behind the 5-year average. Progress was lagging in all States except Michigan and Mississippi, where ideal weather conditions have allowed the crop to bloom ahead of the 5-year average pace. In Iowa and the Dakotas, one-fifth or more of the crop reached blooming during the week. Soybean condition ratings remained at 59 percent good to excellent, unchanged from last week.

Winter Wheat: Producers had reaped 62 percent of the Nation’s wheat acreage by week’s end, 5 points behind last year and 8 points behind the 5-year average. Harvest progress trailed the average pace in most States, most significantly in Colorado and Nebraska. When compared with last year, harvest progress in Ohio was behind by 51 percentage points. In contrast, harvest was complete in Arkansas and North Carolina, and neared completion in California, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Cotton: Seventy-one percent of the cotton acreage was at or beyond squaring, 3 points behind last year and 4 points behind the 5-year average. Acreage setting bolls, at 27 percent, was 3 points behind last year and 4 points behind the 5-year average. Boll-setting progress was delayed in most cotton-producing States, but remained within 15 points of normal. However, when compared with last year’s rapid development, acreage in California was 22 points behind. Boll setting was underway in all States except Kansas. Cotton condition ratings improved during the week, reaching 46 percent good to excellent.

Sorghum: The Nation’s sorghum acreage was 28 percent headed, 13 points behind last year and 3 points behind the 5-year average. One-fifth of the acreage was coloring by week’s end, 8 points behind last year but the same as normal. Sorghum was heading in most States. Rapid development occurred in Arkansas, where 20 percent of the crop reached the heading stage during the week. Half of the crop was coloring in Texas, 21 points behind last year’s rapid pace but  equal to the 5-year average. Fifty percent of the sorghum crop was rated in good to excellent condition, 1 point below the previous week.

Rice:  Twelve percent of the rice crop had reached the heading stage, 5 points behind last year and 4 points behind average. Heading was occurring in all States except California and Missouri, but trailed the average pace in all States. Rice condition was rated 72 percent good toexcellent, an increase of 3 points from the previous week.

Small Grains:  Spring wheat heading reached 84 percent, 6 points behind last year and 2 points behind the 5-year average. Heading progress was within 5 points of normal in all States except Idaho and Minnesota, where progress trailed the average by 17 and 18 points, respectively. Heading was nearly complete in South Dakota. Progress was rapid in Montana, where 43 percent of the crop reached the heading stage during the week. Condition ratings declined to 61 percent good to excellent, 8 points below a week earlier. Seventy-eight percent of the barley acreage was heading, 14 points behind last year and 6 points behind the 5-year average. Progress was behind last year and normal in all States, except North Dakota. Sixty-seven percent of the barley acreage was rated in good to excellent condition, compared with 69 percent last week. Oat acreage was 93 percent headed, 5 points behind last year and 2 points behind the 5-year average. Ten percent of the crop was harvested by week’s end, 3 points behind last year and 2 points behind the 5-year average. Heading was complete in Ohio and Texas, and harvest was complete in Texas. Condition of the crop was rated 61 percent good to excellent, a 5-point decline from the previous week’s rating.

Other Crops:  Peanut pegging, at 57 percent, was 17 points ahead of last year’s progress and the same as the 5- year average pace. In the Southeast and Oklahoma, peanuts were pegging slower than average. However, when compared with last year’s pegging pace, only Oklahoma and South Carolina were behind. Peanut condition, rated 60 percent good to excellent, improved 4 points from last week.

Source:  USDA

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Michael Ramirez Cartoon at Investor’s Business Daily

Ain’t that the truth!

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OutfitEZ: For Men Who Hate to Shop

The idea for Chris Gosnell’s new business used to stare him in the face during his career in telecommunications.

The male technology workers around him didn’t like to shop for clothes — and it showed.

The idea for the OutfitEZ Inc. business he launched in April with his wife, Michele Page, came to him when his desire to update his wardrobe clashed with his dislike for shopping, especially for clothes.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal

What a great idea! SwampMan only gets new clothes when his T-shirts and jeans are too raggedy to wear, and he would get shirts all in the same style and color if I didn’t object so loudly. He really should have stayed in the military.

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18-Year-Old Man Arrested; A Suspect in Drive-By House Shooting

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As police investigate Tuesday’s death of a 35-year-old mother of two found shot inside a Westside home, a man who witnesses heard last week threatening to shoot up that same house was arrested.

Investigators said they believe Angela Knight was killed when bullets flew through the windows of her mother’s home on First Street, near Prospect Road.


A woman was killed because her mother asked a trespasser to leave, so he came back later to kill the mother, shot up the house, and killed the wrong person. Not that he cares about that.

I worry about a woman, a friend, that I used to work with. She, too, lived in a quiet neighborhood until the low-income housing was put next to her small brick house. Things now get stolen off of her porch. Beer bottles and worse are thrown in her yard. She will go outside and give the young loitering thugs a piece of her mind and make them pick up their trash. I’m afraid that it is only a matter of time until she, too, is murdered for standing up, speaking out, and trying to keep her neighborhood clean.

I talked to her about moving several years ago, but that is her home. That is where she raised her daughters. That is her neighborhood. She is not going anywhere.

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Illegal Casinos Raided in Nassau County

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — After months of investigation, deputies in Nassau County said they have finally cracked down on two illegal gaming businesses that were allegedly operating right under their noses.

Teams of Nassau County deputies raided on Wednesday what they said were illegal casinos.

Piles of cash, stacks of debit cards and the machines on which police said people were gambling to trying to win illegal prizes were seized from Cabana Gold Vegas Games in Callahan and Treasure Bay in Fernandina Beach.


Sheriff Seagraves says that investigations are continuing, so I expect that more of the rash of “games” that have shown up in our county will be closed.

I was wondering why there were always so many people at those businesses if they were only there trying to “win” overinflated “prizes”. As the sheriff said, they were preying on the people that could least afford to lose, taking the life savings of seniors who were desperately trying to recoup their losses.

I never went in to see for myself what was going on there, and I feel a little embarrassed about that. I would have turned them in in a heartbeat. While I have gambled big time in business (and lost!), at least I had some control over some of the variables. The only variable under the control of the gamblers was how much money they chose to lose.

I’m of mixed emotions regarding the people who lost the money. Even in places where gambling is legal where the games are periodically inspected by the state to make sure that they are giving an honest payout, the odds are massively in favor of the house. Whatever would make people think that illegal gambling establishments which are not inspected by the state would have “honest” payouts? The people who lost their entire savings were adults and presumably of sound mind, and freely chose to lose their money. On the other hand, the businesses had permits to open, had lots of signage, and perhaps the people that frequented the slot machines thought that they were legal.

I suppose I’ve been remiss by not taking the grocery money and checking those places out, but I’m one of those odd people that like the odds stacked in my favor. The only thing I went to Vegas for are the restaurants.

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