Archive for January, 2009

Birds Poisoned by USDA Litter New Jersey Town

January 27, 2009

European Starlings by the thousands, according to some reports, fell from the sky over one New Jersey community after being poisoned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Starlings are an introduced and well established species across the United States. Apparently, as non-native birds, they are not protected and can be considered, as in this case, pests. Starlings, and other black birds, congregate in huge flocks at this time of year and frequently descend in droves to lucrative feeding spots on farms and feed lots. Health and agriculture authorities say that is when the birds can contaminate and consume animal fodder. Other native blackbirds often congregate with the starling flocks and one would expect they would be victims of this culling as well. So far, the reports seem to be only about dead starlings. The Bergen Record reports:

Last night, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services confirmed the dead birds were part of a USDA program to reduce the European starling population. Donna Leusner said the state health department was not part of the culling program but had been notified of plans to feed the birds a “controlled substance.”

From the Associated Press via Fox News:

FRANKLIN, N.J. —  The black carcasses of dead starlings still pepper the snowy roads and lawns of central New Jersey’s rural Griggstown community three days after federal officials used a pesticide to kill as many as 5,000 of the birds.

Many residents Monday were still getting over their shock from the sudden spate of deaths. Some were unaware that the deaths resulted from an intentional culling and that the pesticide used was harmless to people and pets.

“It was raining birds,” said Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine. “It got people a little anxious.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture called local police last week and the Somerset County Health Department to warn them that a culling program was under way, but there was no notice that dead birds could fall from the sky, Levine said.

“A lot of us are concerned because it’s so odd,” said Chris Jiamboi, 49, as his vehicle idled along a stretch of road in Griggstown marked with the flattened remains of dead starlings. “There were a lot of them dead in the roads and no one drives fast enough around here to kill a bird. Then they started showing up dead in people’s backyards.”

All about European Starlings: (excerpt)

All the European Starlings in North America descended from 100 birds released in New York’s Central Park in the early 1890s. A group dedicated to introducing America to all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works set the birds free. Today, European Starlings range from Alaska to Florida and northern Mexico, and their population is estimated at over 200 million birds.

European Starling

European Starling

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The Arrigoni Bridge in Paint and Photo

January 25, 2009

The Charles J. Arrigoni Bridge crosses the Connecticut River connecting Middletown and Portland Connecticut.

Constructed from 1936 to 1938, when it opened in 1938 the Arrigoni Bridge was the most expensive bridge, costing $3.5 million. With two 600 feet (180 m) steel arches, the bridge is still the longest in the state. In 1938 it won the American Institute of Steel Construction’s first prize “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in the large bridge category.The bridge is somewhat of an icon and landmark in the area and is also a marker of where the water begins to freeze in the river (as south of this point the tides are able to bring enough salt water north to keep the water from freezing over.) It was named after the state legislator who promoted the project, Charles J. Arrigoni, and was designed by William G. Grove of the American Bridge Company and Leslie G. Sumner of the State Highway Department.

Source: Wikipedia

Bridge by Peter Waite (Acrylic on Panels)

Bridge by Peter Waite (Acrylic on Panels-2006)

New Britain (CT) Museum of American Art
h/t Ed McKeon, Middletown Eye

Steadyjohn Photos

PostcardMiddletownCTPortlandPassengerBridge1907.jpg
This is a postcard view of the Portland Passenger Bridge (1895) which was replaced by the Arrigoni Bridge.

Arrigoni Bridge from landfill summit (Middletown CT)

Arrigoni Bridge from landfill summit Middletown CT-(Steadyjohn Photo)

See Connecticut’s Historic Steel Truss Bridges

See Connecticut Roads

Middletown Photos Added

January 4, 2009

Sufferin' Cats

“Sufferin’ Cats”

We have added lots of Middletown photographs to these pages; read more….

Ringing in the New Year on a Snowy Eve….

January 1, 2009

What could be better than the Liberty Bell to ring in the New Year!

freedoms-ring

We had a delightful snowfall most of today in Middletown leaving us with a bitterly cold night to begin 2009. Mid afternoon found us socked in downtown:
middletown-snow1-123108
Sufferin’ Cats!
sufferin-cats-2