Saturday, January 30, 2010

Con Ed Charges Highest Residential Rates of Any Major Utility

from the NY Post:

Con Ed wallet shock

Last Updated: 10:35 AM, January 29, 2010

Eskimos, hula dancers and lobstermen are about the only Americans who pay more for electricity than Con Ed customers.

Con Ed again charged the highest residential rates of any major utility in the 48 contiguous states in 2008, federal numbers released yesterday show. Only folks in Alaska, Hawaii, Fishers Island, NY, Block Island, RI, and some tiny islands off Maine paid more.

At an average 24.18 cents per kilowatt hour, Con Ed's 2.3 million residential customers saw their electric bills jump by 12 percent over 2007. The sky-high rates meant a Con Ed customer who used 300 kilowatt hours of electricity per month in 2008 had an average monthly bill of $72.50.

People in Monroe City, Mo., or Yadkin, NC -- paying the average US residential price of 11.26 cents per kilowatt hour -- shelled out $33.78 for the same amount of power.

"Many costs are higher in New York than in other parts of the country," Con Ed said in a statement.

The utility said blame for the high bills extends far beyond the company. High state and local taxes are a big culprit, amounting to about 26.5 percent of a typical residential customer's bill, Con Ed says.

Another cause may be management of the state's electric grid.

Right under grid bosses' noses, energy traders took state electric rate payers for between $240 million and $415 million in early 2008 -- a big hunk of which came from Con Ed customers' pockets.

And critics of grid bosses say the auction system under which wholesale electricity is sold is set up to skew prices higher.

The state Public Service Commission promised lower rates when it deregulated electricity a decade ago. Instead, Con Ed's prices have increased compared to the national average. In 1999, Con Ed's residential prices were 94.5 percent higher than the national average. In no year since 2000 have Con Ed customers paid less than double the US average residential price, the government numbers show.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Standards for Becoming a Tree Line USA Utility

The Arbor Day Foundation outlines what they believe is an appropriate program to be followed by utilities when it comes to line clearing. The list is very interesting in that it includes proper training, supervision and public education. Read more detail here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Links on Vegetation Management

A collection of reports and standards from various agencies:


FERC Report

FERC Order


Misc. Diagrams

More Recent News Coverage

Coverage of both the Pleasantville and the Greenburgh public meetings with State Senator Stewart-Cousins and representatives of the PSC:

PSC on Hot Seat in Con Edison Tree Cutting Episodes

The Yorktown Examiner Jan 12th edition ran an article (page 5) on Con Edison and the transmission lines - by Martin Wilbur.

Pleasantville To Con Edison: Stop Cutting Our Trees
An article from Jan 12th edition of The Examiner (p. 1) article by Sam Barron on Con Edison. (See also the page 8 Editorial).

State Agency Has Failed Public in Tree Fiasco

Editorial from Jan 12th edition of The Examiner - (appears on page 8).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Estimated Tree Valuation of Transmission Line Clearing

Based on numbers gathered during recent research, I have generated this yearly valuation estimate of the ecosystem services loss due to tree clear cutting:

How much land is affected?
25 miles (estimated distance north to south - the "height" of - Westchester County based upon Google Maps). 75 feet - average width of ROW along Catskill Aqueduct. Converted to acres, this is approximately 225 acres of clear cutting which has occurred in Westchester alone along this one transmission line.

How many trees is this?
According to the US Forest Service, the average number of trees per acre of woodland can range from anywhere from 100 to 1000+ trees, depending upon geographic location, tree density and specific site conditions. Let's use 100 trees as a conservative number of medium to large trees only. This results in an estimated total of 22,500 trees.

What is the ecosystem services value of these trees?
1 acre of forest can absorb 6 tons of carbon, ?? tons of pollutants, produce 4 tons of oxygen, and provide substantial stormwater mitigation & absorption. This does not include factors such as temperature moderation effects and shade/wind benefits or noise abatement, nor does it attempt to provide a wildlife habitat services valuation.

The estimated that the effective ecosystem value of a tree ranges from $25 (sapling) to $2500 (mature tree) per year. Using an average value of $250/year/tree, a conservative estimation of the yearly ecosystem valuation for the tree loss is: $5,625,000.

This "loss" is ultimately picked up by homeowners and local municipalities when dealing with the effects of the clear cut as they "diffuse" through the local environment.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Steps in the SEQR Process

From the Winter 2009 ELLA Newsletter:

SEQR requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts during decision-making. For an outline of SEQR's basic requirement, see Guiding the Process an introduction to the fundamentals of applying SEQRA to state and local government decisions. This means one must “assess the environmental significance of all actions they have discretion to approve, fund or directly undertake”.

The SEQR process uses Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) to consider ways to reduce environmental impacts related to a proposed action, including analysis of reasonable alternatives to the desired action. The SEQR "decision making process" encourages communication among government agencies, project sponsors and the general public.

The SEQR Process is divided into eleven steps, highlighted below. (*Please note, this information was compiled from the NYSDEC SEQR guide, “Stepping Through the SEQR Process.”)

Step 1: Classify the Action
Is the action subject to SEQR? An action is subject to review under SEQR if any state or local agency has authority to issue a discretionary permit, license or other type of approval for that action. SEQR also applies if an agency funds or directly undertakes a project, or adopts a resource management plan, rule or policy that affects the environment.

Step 2: Complete the Correct Environmental Assessment Form
Complete a Full Environmental Assessment Form (Full EAF) for any Type 1 action. The project sponsor / applicant completes Part 1 of the form and submits it to an involved agency together with any other applications that are required. When the lead agency is established (See step 3), that agency is responsible for completing Part 2 of the EAF, and as needed,
Part 3. The requirement for a full EAF may be waived if a draft EIS is prepared and submitted with the application. If your action is a Type I Action, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Coordinate Review
The involved agency initially receiving an application for approval circulates the completed Part 1 of the full EAF and any other information supplied by the applicant to the other involved agencies. If only one agency is approving, funding or directly undertaking an action, that agency is automatically the lead agency. If there are two or more involved agencies, the involved agencies must agree on a lead agency within 30 calendar days. If any involved agency desires to be lead agency, it can indicate in the coordination request its willingness to act as lead agency, by stating that if no response is received within 30 days, it will assume the role of lead agency.

Step 4: Determine Significance
The lead agency has 20 calendar days to make its determination of significance. If the lead agency finds that it does not have sufficient information to make this determination, it may request that the applicant provide it. In determining significance, the lead agency must consider the whole action and the criteria, the EAF and any other information provided by the applicant, involved agency input, where applicable; and public input, if any.

Step 5: Preparation of the Draft EIS
The applicant always has the right to prepare the draft EIS. If the applicant refuses to prepare the draft EIS, the lead agency has the option of preparing the draft EIS, having it prepared by a consultant, or terminating its review of the action. If the agency decides to prepare the draft EIS, or have it prepared by a consultant, it can charge the applicant a fee to cover the direct costs of preparation (see 617.13). The lead agency has the ability to charge a SEQR fee for the review of an EIS, if it does not charge a fee for its preparation.

Step 6: Determine the Adequacy of the Draft EIS for Public Review
Upon receipt of a submitted draft EIS, the lead agency has 45 days to determine whether the document is adequate for public review in terms of scope and content. If the lead agency decides that the draft EIS is not adequate, it returns the document to the applicant with a written identification of the deficiencies.

Step 7: Publish Notice that an EIS is Accepted for Public Review
If the lead agency determines that the draft EIS is adequate, it issues a Notice of Completion of a Draft EIS. This Notice of Completion must be prepared, filed, distributed, and published as prescribed in section 617.12

Step 8: Public Comment
The filing of the Notice of Completion of a Draft EIS starts the public comment period. That period must be a minimum of 30 days, during which all concerned parties are encouraged to offer their comments to the lead agency. The comment period must continue at least 10 days following the close of a public hearing, if one is held.

Step 9: Decide Whether to Hold a Public Hearing
After the lead agency accepts the draft EIS, it must decide whether to hold a public hearing [see 617.9(a)(4)]. A SEQR hearing is not mandatory. However, if a hearing is to be held, the lead agency must prepare and file a Notice of Public Hearing (notice).

Step 10: Preparation of the Final EIS
The lead agency is responsible for the adequacy and accuracy of the final EIS, regardless of who prepares it. The final EIS should be prepared within 45 calendar days after the close of any hearings or within 60 days after the filing of the draft EIS, whichever occurs last. The final EIS must consist of: the draft EIS, including any necessary revisions and supplements; copies or a summary of the substantive comments received and their sources ; and the lead agency's response to the comments. The Notice of Completion of the Final EIS must be prepared, filed distributed and published as described in section 617.12.

Step 11: SEQR Findings
A positive findings statement means that the project or action is approvable after consideration of the final EIS, and demonstrates that the action chosen is the one that avoids or minimizes adverse environmental impacts presented in the EIS and weighs and balances them with the social, economic and other essential considerations. If the action is not approvable, a negative findings statement documenting the reasons for the denial must be prepared.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tree Trimming and Vegetation Management - according to the PSC

This web page provides an overview of PSC vegetative management policy, including links to a selection of transmission line utilities' online vegetative management policies (typically simplistic overviews), as well as a "FAQ" section covering various questions and issues.

Upon reflecting further on the comments made by the PSC representatives at last Saturday's Greenburgh Town meeting, I have reached the conclusion that their explanations / analysis / justification for current "clear cut" vegetative management policy rests solely on cost avoidance by the local utility. It's less expensive to clear cut everything in the ROW so that repeat visits will not be required as frequently (avoiding the 3 year cycle of costs).

But this analysis is overly simplistic in that it weights only the costs to Con Ed (or other utility) rather than factoring in the entire economic cost which ultimately results - inclusive of local municipalities and property owners. When costs relating to stormwater damage and mitigation, noise & pollution mitigation, habitat loss, property value loss and so forth are factored in, then the clear cut scenario is revealed to be the MOST COSTLY approach of all.

It is time for the PSC to base it's public guidelines and recommendations on what benefits the common public good, not on what provides the least budget impact for utilities and their corporate partners.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Legislative Problem to Address

from a recent email:

After communicating the Director of DEC Region 3, Willie Janeway, I’ve now identified an underlying problem that needs to be dealt with from a legislative standpoint. Article 8 and SEQRA were intended by the Legislature to apply to all boards, commissions, agencies, departments, etc., but when one of these entities violates the law (or, in the case of DPS, falsifies documents), there unfortunately are no enforcement provisions. As Mr. Janeway said to me, his department has no power over other governmental institutions and the only recourse is for a private individual to file an Article 78 which is time consuming and very costly – hence this rarely happens. Another problem with Article 78 is that it has a narrow window of just 120 days.

The State is looking to update SEQRA, but even before that process is complete (which might take years), I believe the State legislature should empower DEC for SEQRA enforcement against other agencies, which would hopefully eliminate violations. Also, there should not be a time limit of the DEC’s enforcement time.

Welcome to the LORAX working group blog

The url is:

Much of the original content has been seeded from material available on the Irvington Tree Preservation Project blog. Working group specific information will only be posted here in the future.

You can find articles via search (on the right tool bar - they may take a day to appear...) or via the Label Cloud of topic tags showing relative frequency of a specific topic. Click on the tag word and a custom search result will present all articles with that tag. Finally, there is also an archive listing (a hierarchical list) on the right side under the Label Cloud and search box to locate articles by date and title.

Meeting agendas can be found below the archive listings in the right column.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Goals of LORAX Working Group

Some of the initial goals of the LORAX working group will be to generate the following:
  • PSC Petition -> review / appeal 2005 Transmission Line Guidelines. Require a science-based determination of guidelines.
  • Resolution for municipal-level adoption -> calling for state investigation of PSC SEQR process, Con Ed implementation, etc.
  • Sample Tree Code Module -> control over ROW activities by Con Ed or other utilities (based upon Greenburgh 260A.)
An immediate moratorium on all current and scheduled Transmission Line Clearing must be enforced now! The notion that a single "blanket" short form SEQR could or should encompass all transmission line clearings across the state (over 190,000 acres affected) is a central fallacy. Long form SEQRs and full EARs (public environmmental assessment reviews) for each line segment should be the requirement. At this point, the lack of environmental stewardship demonstrated by Con Ed should trump any issue of inconvenience or delay in process.

Transmission Line Trimming - Con Ed Tree Guide

This is what Con Ed says publicly about its vegetative management policy:

Transmission lines carry high voltages over long distances. They are located on property known as a right-of-way. Planting any vegetation on this property is prohibited.

Vegetation around transmission lines is managed according to state regulations designed to keep the operation of these lines safe and reliable. Trees capable of growing tall enough to jeopardize safety and reliability are removed from the right-of-way. Lower growing trees that do not interfere with maintenance crew access can remain on the right-of-way. Side trees located off the right-of-way, but with branches that reach into the right-of-way, are trimmed.

Qualified Con Edison contractors generally trim and/or remove trees along the right-of-way every three years. Some areas are visited more frequently. If you live adjacent to our right-of-way we will notify you before scheduled work begins.

It is interesting to note that the description and the diagrams would lead a casual reader to (incorrectly) infer that some form of "tiered" management was being implemented along the transmission lines.

FOIL: Con Ed's Vegetative Management Plan

Request for Record of Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Vegetation Management Plan and Any Supplement Filed to Such Plan in Case 04-E-0822

The foil request to the PSC sent last month for a copy of the latest Con Ed vegetative management plan was closed out today with the fowarding of a REDACTED document. Along with this came a letter from the PSC as well as a letter from Con Ed explaining about the REDACTION.

These documents are now uploaded and the links (above) will pull down the pdfs into a new window on your browser.

For the more curious researchers out there, here is a link to a master listing of PSC documents relating to Case 04-E-0822 (concerning transmission line ROW clearing). However, many folks report that they have not been able to download a selected file from this flash-based index/reference page...

U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force: Final Report on Implementation of Recommendations

U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force: Final Report on Implementation of Recommendations states that there were a number of causes for the 2003 blackout. While it was initially triggered in Ohio by tree limbs coming into contact with Conductors, it was also stated that these trees were in direct contact with power lines and had not been adequately managed. High temperatures and windless conditions combined with increased amperage draw stressed the supply lines causing additional sagging, thus making direct contact with the poorly maintained trees. Also in the report it states that “Inadequate reactive supply was a factor in most of the events” and “the assumed contribution of dynamic reactive output of system generators was greater than the generators actually produced, resulting in more significant voltage problems.” In other words the capacity of the generators were not adequate to handle the amperage load or voltage needed. A lack of coordination of System Protection Programs (relays tripping), inadequate communication between Utilities, and lack of "training of operating personnel in dealing with severe system disturbances" were also noted in the report as causes for the blackout.

The report also states that there were a greater number of instances of other system failures than there were instances of tree contact.

A number of questions could be asked of Con Ed and the PSC: whether adequate back-up generator capacity has been installed? Has a computerized safety system been created and installed so that utilities are aware in a timely manner when relays are popping? Is there an emergency protocol in place so that utilities (state-wide and inter-state) can now communicate and cooperate in a coordinated effort in such an emergency? And finally, have the administrative employees and utility technicians been properly trained to deal with such a large scale blackout?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top 5 Required Actions/Fixes for Transmission Line Clearing Projects

There must be an immediate moratorium state-wide on any further transmission line clearing including projects currently underway, with individual approvals to re-commence work only after proper public review. (Exceptions would be made for instances of urgent public safety.) Too much environmental damage and property value loss has occurred already!

  1. Restitution to homeowners and municipalities for improper and excessive removal of trees. (See last item below concerning updating the vegetative management guidelines for a list of issues, both property and eco-system related, to be addressed by replanting, remuneration or other agreed upon methods.)

  2. Review of original PSC 2005 SEQRA filings (and related PSC or utility filings) concerning transmission line clearing – invalidate and establish new public hearings with a science-based, fact-based EIS analysis. (Why? Original SEQRA actions had no public hearings, no public review. PSC used ‘short form’ SEQRA which is invalid for such extensive work state-wide. Also, short form indicated “no environmental impact” with absolutely no discussion of factors such as habitat loss, stormwater issues, noise abatement, privacy loss, property value loss and other ecological and aesthetic concerns.)

  3. Update / moderization of PSC and utility Vegetative Management guidelines for ROW. Based upon NERC recommendations for tiered-cutting dependent upon tree height & distance from centerline of transmission towers, while taking tree species into consideration. New guidelines must take into account: property value impact, aesthetic impact, view shed buffers, habitat protection, stormwater mitigation, noise abatement, management of invasives and deer (as the cut corridors. esp. clear cut, are “highways” for the spread of invasives, while at the same time provide optimum browse for white-tail deer.) Public review and feedback required.

  4. Proper advanced notification by utility including detailed written description of intended work. On-site consultation with both private and municipal property owners affected by project. Second opinions via Senior arborist. Documentation and sign-off of all agreed upon work.

  5. Use of better-trained, higher skilled and more closely supervised contractors for any line clearing or ROW maintenance. Contractors must also share greater liability (with Con Ed) for trespass, improper removals and so forth. Supervision on-site by senior arborist at all times. Clearly defined and publicized escalation and stop-work procedures. Enforcement of hours-of-work limitations based upon local regulations. Follow-up monitoring and evaluation of work – every day.

Top 5 Required Actions/Fixes for Distribution Line Clearing Projects

Core goal is to release a “model” ROW Code module (based upon Greenburgh 260A) for adoption by regional municipalities which outlines the rights of public & private landowners as well as the responsibilities of utilities such as Con Ed in regards to the distribution line right-of-way. Includes mandatory requirements for notification, consultation, stump removal and replanting or restitution by the utility.

1. Communication (public and private trees)
  • Advanced notification with description of intended work (pruning & removals).
  • Contact information to arrange on-site consultations.
  • Written description of agreed upon work – shared with owner and with work crew(s).
  • Second opinion by means of Con Ed Senior Arborist.
  • Daily street-by-street “target list” announcement (to municipality).
2. Restoration & Restitution (the three “R”s)
  • Removal (of stumps)
  • Re-plant
  • Remuneration (if unable to replant).
  • Appropriate canopy and eco-service restoration (e.g. do not replant with shrubs in lieu of removed hardwoods). Site factors to address include aesthetic damage due to excessive pruning, privacy impact, property value reduction, noise abatement, habitat loss, stormwater mitigation, viewshed.
3. Oversight
  • Certified arborist on-site at all times. (Municipal arborist paid for by Con Ed?)
  • Follow-up survey of work, tree-by-tree, block-by-block immediately after associated work zone completed.
  • Problem resolution process for homeowners or municipalities, including arbitration and restitution.
  • Escalation List developed with municipality and publicly announced / documented. Should function 7x24 (i.e.; weekends & evenings included).
  • Immediate ‘Stop Work’ procedures and resolution process.
4. Training
  • ISA-certified arborist for on-site consultations and supervising all work crews.
  • Contractor crew training (including: proper pruning, improper pruning, minimal wood removal, behavior to public, stop work procedure, etc.)
  • Work not based on quantity of removal, but quality.
  • Follow-up evaluation of work & immediate on-site retraining, as required.
5. Education
  • “Right tree in the right place.” (Don’t plant an Oak under the wires!)
  • Municipal and homeowner responsibility to prune trees near or within ROW on an annual basis (not waiting for Con Ed cycle…)
  • Public meetings before and after municipal line clearing work to determine overall impact and actual execution of project.

Friends in High Places or Simply Wrong Side of the Tracks?

From an email I received this weekend:

If the people of Rockland & Westchester really wanted to stop massive tree removals from our communities by Con Edison and its O&R division… apparently all we needed to do was get high-ranking jobs with the PSC and its operational arm, the Department of Public Service!

As you’ll learn from the email below and attached document that I sent to Kate Glazer of Senator Stewart-Cousin’s office, the PSC’s rules don’t seem to apply to the PSC Chairman, Garry Brown, nor the guy who actually wrote the rules, David Morrell, mandating tree removal throughout the State.

Please feel free to share this email with others, so that everyone will know about the hypocrisy of the PSC/DPS officials who visited Westchester on Saturday to excuse/justify the disastrous situation they just caused to your communities in the past few weeks.


Marvin Baum

From: Marvin S. Baum
Sent: Saturday, January 09, 2010 10:50 PM
To: Kate Glazer (
Subject: Unbelievable News About the PSC's Garry A. Brown & David Morrell...

Dear Ms. Glazer:

My parents and I visited the Albany area on Thursday to once again examine the neighborhoods of PSC Chairman Garry A. Brown and David Morrell, author of PSC’s tree removal regulations, both of whom live just yards away from major transmission lines.

After discovering (via, Googlemaps and GoogleEarth) in August 2008 that Mr. Morrell’s home on Boylston Drive in Delmar was screened from the transmission lines by tall-growing trees, we immediately took a ride up to Albany to photograph the evidence.

Later that year, we also discovered that Mr. Brown was “similarly situated,” although in his case, the transmission lines appeared to be even higher-powered. Because his home in on a peninsula surrounded by water, Mr. Brown has to pass these transmission lines each and every time he enters or leaves his driveway.

On December 2, 2008, my parents and I went to see Mr. Brown’s neighborhood firsthand and photograph the evidence. After our trip to Burden Lake (Averill Park, NY), we went back to Boylston Drive and took more pictures there, especially since nothing had changed.

What we didn’t know until last Wednesday is that the property that the Burden Lake transmission lines are on (or the immediately adjoining property) appears to be that of a “Helen M. Brown.” While Brown is not an uncommon name, it is quite likely that Helen Brown, just one home away from Garry Brown on West Shore Drive, and just a few more homes away from Barbara M. Brown,” who lives on Burden Lake Road, is related to Garry Brown and, possibly, to Barbara Brown, as well.

A few days after our December 2008 visit, I let the PSC (first Jim Austin, then David Morrell and Mike Corso, too) know that we knew about the hypocritical “situation” of David Morrell and Garry Brown. Mr. Austin arrogantly told me that it didn’t matter that Mr. Brown and Mr. Morrell both had tall-growing trees under and around their transmission lines… it was my parents’ trees that had to be removed.

On one hand, Mr. Brown and Mr. Morrell were insisting that trees in Rockland, Westchester and elsewhere were automatically dangerous anywhere in a transmission line right-of-way (regardless if the trees could ever pose an actual danger). On the other hand, they themselves were benefitting from tall trees near transmission lines. This hypocrisy didn’t matter to them or Mr. Austin.

Nevertheless, given how bad this hypocrisy looked, my parents and I fully expected Mr. Brown and Mr. Morrell’s trees would all have been fully removed to the ground by now, over one year later.

As indicated above, my parents and I re-visited the Brown and Morrell neighborhoods this past Thursday. To our great surprise, the tall-growing trees that screen Mr. Brown’s home (and that of his neighbors/relatives) have only been trimmed, including those directly under the transmission lines. Worse yet, the trees that screen Mr. Morrell’s home and that of his neighbors from the transmission lines crossing Boylston Drive have not even been touched, despite the fact that branches from tall-growing trees are directly underneath and adjoining the transmission lines.

I ask that you review the attached document and then bring it to the attention of the Senator to show her how citizens in her district are being treated “differently” the people in Delmar and Burden Lake – especially when they are the ones that make the regulations for the rest of us.

This whole issue goes back to my point to you last week about DPS staff members intentionally violating SEQRA with the use of the Short EAF and knowingly falsifying information in this document. It is clear that the Public Service Commission and DPS staff believe they are “above the law.” These people are “out-of-control” and only are doing what the utility companies want them to do.

I hope that Senator Stewart-Cousins, together with other State representatives, can begin forcing the PSC/DPS to comply with the law (Article 8 and SEQRA) and to change the underlying regulations (04-E-0822) that have caused so many problems for her constituents and others throughout the State.

As you look at the attached document with its updated photos from the Brown and Morrell neighborhoods, please keep in mind the photos that I previously sent you from your district, which I am now again providing below. I’m sure that you’ll agree… the differences are truly stark.


Marvin Baum

Photos from Line Clearing in Yonkers, Scarsdale and Hartsdale along Catskill Aqueduct & Sprain Parkway.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Video of Saturday's Town Hall Meeting

This meeting at Greenburgh Town Hall included Senator Stewart-Cousins, members of the DPS (representing PSC), Town SUpervisor Paul Feiner, and other Twon Council members from Greenburgh and Yonkers. Click to play the video in a new window.

Note: the file is large so it takes a few moments to get started up... There is also automatic selection of an iPhone version for those of you accessing the site via mobile web.

Saturday, January 9, 2010