Astronomy Picture of the Day

Friday, December 19, 2014

Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine

Rock Ikon e-zine suggested this stellar video,
which led to a simple posting for a Friday, the week before Christmas....

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Music from across the Pond

It started as an inspriration to get organized.

I was realizing the clutter around me and in my mind was just something to trip over.
I mean, I Knew it, it just did not connect that it would be such a heavy anchor.
Bear with me. You may know what I am saying.
So I went through 2 boxes and gave up again.
Then back at twitter control center,
I clicked a better twit manager
and made room to follow more  people.
Wily Bo Walker has been on that list...

So I earned karma points for cleaning up my twit list.
Wily sent me a link to a great tune...

Now for a nap...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#NY Governor announces fracking decision - WRGB CBS6 - Top Stories

Governor announces fracking decision - WRGB CBS6 - Top Stories

So how will Canadian owned Vermont Gas get across/under Lake Champlain since NY is banning #fracking?
Wait, Monkton, Vermont voted no on fracking also....just that we are small dogs in the big world,
or so we are told.

one more look at the lake

Link to Great Music...

seems to be the season of music...
this one hits home..
my mind returns to the home of my youth...
great music!

The Tuttles and AJ Lee "Pins and Needles"

Yt suggested this link
Love this!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Are Vermont Delinquent Property Tax Procedures Uniform? Fair? Constitutional?

some weeks i cannot go a step farther without trying again, to reform some injustice, to right a wrong, a heaviness in my heart i feel
as someone may fall victim to a tax sale...anxiety triggers my memories,
so i wrote this last monday and emailed it,

To: Selectboard of Monkton, Vermont,
From: Mary Gerdt
Pardon me for sending a string of emails
but within this group of emails is my argument for Monkton Delinquent Property Tax Reform.
These sales are not structured as to a specific date each year.
For instance, our property was targeted at 9 months.
I have never received information I asked for in 2007 like how was I contacted. ( I was not).
When I read the minutes, there is very little info there. Anything that goes in the pay to view newspaper should be in the online minutes.
I never saw my properties were for sale. I was never noticed as a female co- landowner.
I have never been successful at attempting to get the Monkton Selectboard to change the policy, to make it kinder, fairer. John Phillips told me the policy could not be changed.
I question the constitutionality of delinquent tax sales.
Some towns have None. Hinesburg is one.
The reason I bring this up is I feel like these tax sales are too quick, hostile and in our case,
creates a sense of fear.
Our certified card to prove we sent the taxes to the town was returned unsigned, unstamped.
Whether you as a selectboard choose to listen to me or not, I am compelled to speak up again, as I have done since this town tried to take my property.
Having a test at the hospital a tech told me about my neighbor Matera who lost his property to a sale.
A selectman bought it. Not even a ripple on the beaver pond.
Mary Gerdt,
Monkton, Vermont

From: Gerdt, Mary
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 1:48 PM
To: 'David Sharpe'
Subject: RE: I left you a message about property tax penalties and reform
Thank you for responding and for trying to change the laws.
I feel the way the law is written and carried out is unconstitutional.
There is no one for me to complain to.
There is no board that I can speak to.
The town has a mostly male board of abatement that denied all of my protests.
This is the way it always has been.
John Phillips told me the rules will not change.
There is so much more to this particular situation which is why I stated blogging.
People wanted what I and my husband own.
I want to see the constitution followed. Due process, right to abatement offered before sale.
I want to see consequences to the town when they do not follow this.
I want my grandchildren to own land without encumbrances like fees, interests and penalties. Oh yes, and fear someone will take it.
The taxes are too high and are not equalized across different towns.
The townspeople or town lawyer should not be the ones deciding whose property is sold.
No property should be sold at all.
How my life would have been different had Rod Burritt knocked on my door and said, Mary, the taxes are late, are you OK?
Instead, I discovered a month afterwards, that my husband was forced to take an early withdrawal to pay taxes, penalties, etc under duress from an account I had earmarked for my inevitable disability so our mortgage would be paid if I cannot work.
That is when we had to take out another $5,000 or so to pay the next year.
The treasurer made a snotty comment about it was from an annuity account.
As if we could pay but just were refusing.
We pay our way and have suffered shame and hardships.
Thanks for listening.
Mary Gerdt

From: David Sharpe []
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 12:26 PM
To: Gerdt, Mary
Subject: Re: I left you a message about property tax penalties and reform
Hi Mary,
Thank you for your note, I am very sympathetic with your situation. In fact, I have co-sponsored legislation to reduce the amount that a community could impose for a penalty, that bill did not get out of committee will not pass this year.
If you add together the 8% penalty and the 1.5% interest per month a taxpayer could pay as much as 23% additional tax in the first year, not to mention all the fees and expense if the property goes to tax sale. It is WAY TOO HIGH!
The legislature did respond to the concern I and others put forth to allow communities to set a rate lower than 8%, unfortunately few have. I would suggest you get a petition or other pressure to the Monkton selectboard to put it on the ballot for next town meeting.
Representative Dave Sharpe
1209 Meehan Road
Bristol, Vermont 05443
home - 802-453-2754
cell - 802-989-6427

>>> "Gerdt, Mary" 3/29/2011 8:53 AM >>>
Hello Dave,
I am at work and read your synopsis in the Monkton paper.
Please consider this another plea to reform the delinquent property tax laws.
We were the victim of a close encounter tax sale after being 9 months late paying statewide locally administered property taxes to Monkton.
I was never notified as the woman landowner. My husband sheltered me from this mean spirited move by the town of Monkton.
We owed $6500 for 1 year and had to pay 15% to the town’s attorney ($1,000), 8 % to the tax collector ($500) who hates us, interest and paid for the add I have never seen.
Our property was nearly sold 1 month before the next annual taxes of $6500 came due.
We came up with the money to keep our poor 4th generation family farm.
We go without, cannot fix our house or improve our property. We both struggle with getting older, health issues and less money.
Much more on my blog which is easy to find. Search for my name.
Alternately, if you feel I am hysterical or otherwise contrary to your ideals,
Just ignore.
My fight is as strong as the day I found out my property worth $300,000 was nearly sold to the highest bidder, my name was published in the shame section of the paper which I do not read, others knew my property would be sold and I had no idea.
Everyone wants to blame my husband. I love him and understand he was just trying to protect me as a good husband would.
He paid one day before the sale.
What if we were gay? Who would the town have told? The town said they were OK just telling the husband of 2 landowners/taxpayers.
I want to see the whole law reviewed. The attorney decided which properties would be sold based on value.
Percentages of values have become inflated with the growth of taxes.
Back to work at my day job, I want to impress you with my feelings of frustration.
I do not know for how long, but we are living in Vermont one more year since we paid the taxes again in November.
Is that what my grandchildren will say?
Mary Gerdt  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Comments to EPA.Gov

The EPA invited comments...
What follows are mine.

Comment:My name is Mary E. Gerdt. I am a 56 year old disabled RN now on a fixed income. I and my family consume power in Monkton,Vermont. I write as a consumer concerned about power costs, availability, and political manipulation of Vermont's fragile power grid. I have watched powerlessly while the Government has allowed Canadian Gaz Metro to buy Vermont utilities like Vermont Gas and Green Mountain Power. The current administration has effectively closed VT Yankee by hook or crook. This disappoints me. I studied nuclear energy in college and it's safety can be superior to the so called "natural" (or fracked) gas. Then Canadians have threatened my US neighbors with land condemnation to run a pipeline Through Monkton, Vermont. Lake Champlain is undoubtedly as precious as the Connecticut River. Lake Champlain is likewise planned to house cables, pipelines UNDER the lake to transport power. Nowhere is the end game revealed. No where can common people like me find out Gaz Metro's history of rate hikes. I don't even understand the monopoly power of the power corporations remaining. For the record, I believe VT Yankee should have remained open or modify, upgrade. Stand down the expensive attorney threats that raise all of our energy costs. I believe the Pipeline from Alberta, CA to Ticonderoga, NY should be scrapped. This gaz could be transported by rail. Our local environment would suffer with a pipeline. The plan to extend the pipeline to Addison County is putting local seniors and vulnerable citizens at risk. Yes, this all ties together. What happens when a pipeline is put where a politician says, not planning around safety? Freezing, thawing, rocks, erosion, 5 feet of ice on the Lake. New York State refused. So we are all being threatened with being "NIMBY", as we live in the idyllic countryside. I feel like the closing of Yankee, and Gaz Metro's acquisitions of power control dovetail to crimp Vermonters into wanting a pipeline. Pipelines have been shown to increase methane with those pesky leaks. Some of the gas will be from fracking which has been outlawed here. Once again, private citizens having to lawyer up singly while the government entities act and wait for backlash, then ignore. I believe we need to rethink pipelines. Please do not plan on replacing coal generation with "natural" gas generation or use gas lines to transport electricity as I have read about. Keep the power lines out of Lake Champlain. Pardon any procedural lacking on my part. I am a citizen. My GMP power bill is $160 a month. Doubled past 10 years with less use. If a pipeline comes to Monkton, Vermont, less than a mile from my house, I could not get gas but would have to pay municipal taxes for fire and rescue departments that would have to respond to leaks as first responders. I feel as a citizen, that it appears political people may have taken donations for elections or other considerations with expectations about closing nuclear or facilitating Canadians to condemn beautiful homesteads in Rural Vermont: clearly not the most direct route from Alberta, CA to Ticonderoga, NY. Not scientific argument, just common sense logic. Thank you for your consideration of my comments.