Here are several stories I’ve been watching:
On Friday, local officials at Hither Hills State Park in Montauk, Long Island, were forced to shut down the beach after two bathers were bitten by several schools of bluefish. One swimmer was bitten on the left foot while the other was bitten on the right hand. Though it was enough to scare people and close the beach for awhile, officials assured beachgoers that the bluefish were not out to get them. “They are trying to feed on bait fish,” said Charles Bowman, president of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. “If you’re in the middle, they will bite you by mistake.”
This story kind of reminds me of a beach trip I once took while in Bermuda. We had all gone to a beautiful beach called Tobacco Bay and the waters were full of fish. As soon as you waded in, dozens of them swarmed around your legs, testing to see if you were edible. It was enough to get me out of the water!
Amazon dolphins in danger
It was reported in LI Newsday yesterday that a great number of dead dolphins have been washing up on the shores of the Amazon River, their flesh viciously torn from their bodies. The river dolphins are gentle and inquisitive creatures, often swimming up to fishing boats without fear, and giving fishermen the opportunity to catch and kill the poor creatures for bait so that they may catch commercial fish.
The dolphins are being killed in large numbers, as much as 1,500 each year, although it is illegal to do so. The Brazilian government is doing little to stop it, as only five agents are given the undertaking of protecting all of the wildlife in the western two-thirds of the Amazon, an area twice the size of Texas. The practice is fueled by a demand in neighboring Columbia for a certain type of catfish, called ‘piracatinga’, which eagerly feeds on the dolphin bait. The dolphins are but one of only four species of its kind in South America and Asia and if this practice continues, they may very well become extinct.
On Saturday, workers in Cleveland began dismantling a 10-story image of the now former hometown hero LeBron James. The giant mural had been a fixture in the city’s landscape for years and with LeBron’s announcement that he’s leaving the city to play in Miami, Cavaliers’ fans and city officials were quick to eradicate themselves of his likeness, and I don’t blame them.
I was in a bar and grill on Thursday night when the press conference thing went down. I’ve been a sports fan all of my life and I couldn’t believe how much hype this thing was getting. The amount of coverage on this announcement was the sports equivalent to all that crap I see and hear every day about Lindsay Lohan. Like those stories, I haven’t followed this one too closely, and I don’t know all the details, but you can’t help but feel bad for the Cleveland Cavaliers, another team from a small city losing a star player to a team from a bigger city. Heck, I’m a Knick fan and I wanted him to stay in Cleveland. I think they should have painted a moustache and glasses on that billboard for awhile before taking it down!
And now batting for the Yankees… R.I.P. Bob Sheppard
On a sad note, longtime New York Yankees announcer Bob Sheppard died yesterday at the age of 99. To all Yankee fans, Sheppard’s was an indelible part of the team, whose distinctive and eloquent voice introduced players to the field for 56 seasons until a throat infection forced him to permanently retire in 2007. He was such a part of the franchise that Yankee captain Derek Jeter to this day continues to use a recorded introduction by Sheppard before each at-bat.
Sheppard began his career on April 17, 1951, the last opening day for Yankee great Joe DiMaggio and the first for another, Mickey Mantle. In 2000, the team awarded him with a plaque in Yankee Stadium’s famous Monument Park, a fitting tribute to a man long considered the voice of the Yankees. Sheppard’s son recalled his father saying about the tribute: “I’m out there with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe Dimaggio and two popes. Not bad.” No, not bad at all. Rest in peace Bob!
Here are a couple of follow-ups to some previous stories on “News That’s Fit to Print”:
Horton Avenue residents finally get a break
In an update to a story published here on May 22nd (see Good Samaritans), high school sophomore Drew Aldrich, 16, had had it with government red tape and took matters into his own hands to help local flood victims by selling t-shirts to raise money on their behalf. Residents of Horton Avenue in Riverhead, NY were hit hard by flooding after heavy storms in March forced them out of their homes. Local and federal officials had been wrangling over who would pick up the tab to help out the displaced residents for months, with FEMA initially refusing to declare the area a disaster zone.
On Friday, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials reversed their earlier decision, paving the way for more than $6 million in federal funds to make their way to areas in Suffolk County hit hard by the deluge. The funds are intended to go into projects that will ‘reduce the likelihood’ of such damage from future storms. Local officials, including Representative Tim Bishop, lobbied hard to get FEMA’s decision reversed, providing them with all sorts of weather data to connect the March 29-30 storm with another storm earlier that month that had been declared eligible for disaster funds.
The money is not guaranteed to help the residents of Horton Avenue, though. There were other areas around Suffolk County that were also affected by flooding from the March storm. The homes in Riverhead have been through this before, with drainage problems causing flooding many times before. They’ve previously filed a claim against the town for not correcting the problems, so hopefully this will help their case. Stay tuned.
Judge rules that $675K is too much to pay for illegally downloading 30 songs
In a story first brought to you back in August of last year (check it out here), a federal jury ordered a Providence man to pay $675,000 in restitution for illegally downloading and distributing 30 songs over the Internet. Back then, I noted that although what Joel Tenenbaum did was wrong, the fine was way too excessive. On Friday, Judge Nancy Gertner agreed, saying that the fine was “unconstitutionally excessive.” She trimmed the award Tenenbaum must pay to $67,500. Still excessive, I say, but it’s definitely better!
Alcindor, Yamiche. “Fish mistake beachgoers for bait.” LI Newsday 10 Jul 2010: A18. Print.
AP. “Fine shaved in illegal music downloading case.” LI Newsday 10 Jul 2010:A21. Print.
AP. “LeBron’s billboard in Cleveland dismantled.” LI Newsday 11 Jul 2010: A72. Print.
Boland, Erik. “Yankees: He was one of us.” LI Newsday 12 Jul 2010: A47. Print.
Brooks, Bradley. “Amazon river dolphins being slaughtered for bait.” LI Newsday 11 Jul 2010: A26. Print.
Herrmann , Mark. “Style master left his mark.” LI Newsday 12 Jul 2010: A46. Print.
Moore, Elizabeth. “FEMA relents on money for LI.” LI Newsday 11 Jul 2010:A3. Print.