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Aug 23


Posted by Bruce Robinson in volunteer , protest , nonprofit orgs , news , media , international , history , government , activism

Bruce Robinson

Unrest in Honduras, following the military coup there two months ago, has not abated, but is being widely ignored by most American media.

Global Exchange also maintains this extensive webpage with background reports and other details about the current situation in Honduras. You can read the full 12-page report from the delegation that visited Honduras here.

After talking with dozens of people there, Maria Robinson says it isn’t just the poor and working classes who are unhappy about the coup that deposed Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya (left) but many business owners as well.

The US volunteer delegation also met with the American Ambassador in Telgucigalpa, an encounter that is reported in considerable detail here.

The Catholic Church and other religious groups in Honduras have not taken a public stance on the regime change there, something the Global Exchange delegation has criticized them for. Still, Robinson says one of the most moving moments during her 8-day visit was an outdoor mass led by an activist priest, Father Andres Tomayo.

Members of the delegation also met with some of the victims of violence inflicted on demonstrators by Honduran military and police, and recorded their statements about the incidents in which they were injured. One of them, Robinson recalls, was a woman whose leg had been ruptured by a tear gas canister fired at close range.





Aug 20

Marin Desalination

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , technology , resources , protest , planning , ocean , news , Marin , government , energy , conservation , coast , climate change

Bruce Robinson

The Marin Municipal Water District has taken another significant step toward building a saltwater desalination facility to stabilize their water supplies, but critics remain adamantly opposed to the project.

Paul Heliker (right), General Manager of the MMWD, believes that the desalination facility is needed to protect Marin residents from possible future droughts and the economic havoc they could cause.

Sharp questions about the safety and purity of the desalinated water were raised again at this week’s water district meeting, but Heliker says those concerns should have been settled by the results of the district’s own tests of the reverse osmosis technology with the same water that the larger plant would use.

Adam Scow, California Deputy Director for water programs for the national consumer advocacy group, Food and Water Watch, is among the vocal skeptics who question the need and cost of the proposed desalination plant. He points to a report commissioned by his organization that disputes the underlying assumptions the district uses to make its case for the project. You can read that report here.


For its part, the district has prepared a 9-page slide show on their desalination project, which is much easier to digest than the full Environmental Impact Report, which is posted here. At left is a map showing where the proposed plant would be situated.




Aug 19

Swine Flu 2009

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , teens , students , Sonoma County , seniors , research , news , medicine , healthcare , Health , families , children

Bruce Robinson

Local health officials are bracing for an unusually intense flu season, with  the yearly “seasonal” flu compounded by the so-called swine flu, which is already present in the regional population.


This illustration shows the various symptoms associated with the swine flu or H1N1 200 virus. Dr. Mark Netherda, Sonoma County’s Deputy Public Health Officer, outlines the straightforward steps that anyone can take to minimize their exposure to it.

Is it a good idea to wear a surgical mask when out in public? Only if you’re already sick.

So why is this being called the swine flu? Dr. Netherda explains its based in the molecular history of the virus (shown at left), and has almost nothing to do with pigs.



More extensive information about the swine flu nationwide is available from the Centers for Disease Control, which maintains an online map showing the incidence of the disease on a state-by-state basis.

And, on a less serious note...


Aug 06

Wildfire Season

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wildlife , weather , trees , resources , public safety , parks , open space , news , government , environment , California

Bruce Robinson

Another drought-fueled fire season is underway across northern California, when any passing storms are more likely to bring blaze-sparking lightning strikes than enough rain to ease the danger.

CalFire maintains a frequently updated online map of all active fire incidents throughout the state, and you can see it here.

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