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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cove Point protectors go to trial

Jimmy and I were standing off to the side of the hall, out of the way of foot traffic. We each had a shoulder leaned against the wall, and I had my hand on his arm as we leaned toward each other and talked quietly between ourselves. There was so much I wanted to say, but out of the corner of my eye I could see two security officers talking to each other and looking our way. Our time was short.

After some deliberation, one of the officers came over and interrupted our conversation.

“You two done here?"

It was hard not to respond with anger. I turned to the officer, still holding Jimmy’s arm.

“I’m about to leave, and I don’t know how long it will be before I see him again. We’re just saying goodbye.”

“Yeah,” Jimmy said. “I was just seeing her out.”

“Well, the door’s that way,” the officer pointed with one hand and put the other on his hip. He was unmoved.

Postponed ... Again

*This post was originally published in The Ithacan on Feb. 21

On Dec. 3 of last year, a tall 24-year-old Cornell University graduate with wild, curly blond hair was called up to the bench of Judge Raymond Berry in the Town of Reading. Kelsey Erickson was being accused of committing a violation trespass on Nov. 17 at the main gates of Crestwood Midstream, a gas storage company looking to store massive amounts of explosive gas in unstable salt caverns beneath the shores of Seneca Lake.

Left to right: John Abbe, Kelsey Erickson, Michael Clark, Jane Kendall, myself, and Jimmy Betts

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Find the Time

On Friday, after working seven hours downtown at The Ithaca Voice, I hiked up South Hill back to campus and walked straight into the Fitness Center. I removed my jewelry and tossed it into my backpack, pulled a harness on over my dress pants and got my belay certification at the rock wall.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Oil workers on strike

Walking across the country is a great way to see some amazing and unforgettable scenery. But depending on the route you take, you may come across some horrifying sights.

My five-month journey on foot from New Mexico to Pennsylvania last year wasn't all New Mexico red rock and Colorado mountains and rolling Iowa hills. It also included walking alongside cattle feedlots, touring industrial parks and passing through oil refineries.

On September 9, 2014, the March left southeast Chicago and crossed from Illinois into Indiana at the very unceremonious "State Line Avenue" road sign. Almost instantly, it seemed, we emerged into the industrial belly that is Whiting, Ind. Barbed wire fences, large tankers with obscure contents, towering smokestacks billowing smog and a Super Wal-Mart to put the cherry on top.

Soon, we were walking through Whiting's BP oil refinery, BP's largest refinery and the sixth largest refinery in the United States. In 2012, BP agreed to pay $8 million for Clean Air Act violations at this refinery, according to Oil and Gas Online.