April 2011


From opposite ends of the spectrum.

http://www.springfield.k12.il.us/schools/lawrence/?p=126&b=58&i=161901

Plant a Tree with LEC!

April 11, 2011

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Springfield, Illinois – Lawrence Education Center will distribute trees to students in order to celebrate Earth Day. During the event, students will be educated about trees and how they help the environment. The trees will be given to students along with a postcard to give back to the Lawrence Education Center that will mark the location of where the trees are planted. The school will create a map that will include the location of the trees that were planted. This event is made possible from the Illinois Department of Transportation who is teaming up with a national initiative called Living Land and Waters.

Students who want a tree to plant can come to the library when they are finished with classes for the day on the following dates:

Thursday, April 14, 2011 Room 109 , Lawrence Memorial Library, Michele Romence
Friday, April 15, 2011 Room 109 , Lawrence Memorial Library, Michele Romence

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, 2011.

Click on the map to the right to see where our trees were planted!

1900 West Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62704
217/525-3000   Fax 217/525-3005   TDD 217/525-3023
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http://www.sj-r.com/breaking/x1225332212/Quinn-speaks-at-Earth-Day-transportation-summit

Quinn speaks at Earth Day transportation summit

Photos

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announces at a news conference that Illinois plans to repair more than 3,200 miles of road and replace or fix 611 bridges over the next six years as part of the latest update to the state road program Thursday, April 7, 2011 in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

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The Associated Press
Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 12:32 PM
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CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn wants to see electric cars in the state fleet.

Quinn talked about transportation at an Earth Day summit in Chicago on Tuesday.

In addition to electric cars, Quinn says he’d also like to see a universal card system for public transportation and Wi-Fi on the commuter rail system Metra. He was the opening speaker at a seminar that featured state and local transportation agencies.

Quinn says Illinois is working to encourage electric vehicle manufacturers to bid for state vehicle business. He says one place they’d fit in are as vehicles on the state’s university campuses.

Quinn says the rising cost of gas makes electric cars even more appealing. He says a proliferation of charging stations is the key to successfully deploying electric vehicles.

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More next week.

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While the Solar Impulse has flown around the world it has never landed at a major airport or filed a real flight plan. This is too cool for words. I know this is not an Earth Day thing but it should be.

http://www.solarimpulse.com/blog/blog.php?lang=en&group=media

Solar Impulse on stand-by from Monday

author: Bernard Schopfer

2011-04-28

In these last few weeks the entire Solar Impulse team has been busy doing “test flights” in the Payerne area, to test the satellite communication systems developed by Swisscom, and also the air traffic integration procedures. The support received from the aviation authorities in the overflight and destination countries has been extremely positive and constructive.

For the European solar flight campaign the Solar Impulse team, sponsored by the European Commission, has chosen Brussels as the 1st international destination. The airplane will be shown in the European capital from 23 to 29 May 2011 and will then attempt to reach Paris-Le Bourget, where it is expected as a “Special Guest” at the 49th International Paris Air Show.

“These tests have been extremely successful”, says an elated Bertrand Piccard. “Now, here we are in the definitive phase: it’s no longer a question of tests, but the real thing. And the next flights will not be made in the “familiar cocoon” of Payerne aerodrome, but in the whole of Europe…” Rather like a sailing ship that has undergone coastal trials, and is now set to cross its first ocean!

“We will be in stand-by mode from Monday”, explains André Borschberg, who will pilot the HB-SIA between Payerne and Brussels. “And we definitely mean to take the first opportunity that comes along, since we can never be sure of the weather conditions and whether they will allow us to do this flight on a particular date. With Solar Impulse we are confined to what we can do with the technology at the present time, and safety is our number one priority.”

Bernard

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More tomorrow.

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This event used to be the weekend after Earth Day and was Springfield’s celebration of it. Several years ago the organizers decided to break that pattern and hold it at different venues and at different times. I am “jake” with that. As the original organizer of the first day said, “Everyday should be an Earth Day”. This year it is at our cool new park with its geothermal heating and cooling, AND its wind turbine. YAH!

http://cityofspringfieldillinois.blogspot.com/2010/04/18th-annual-earth-awareness-fair.html

City of Springfield, Illinois

Monday, April 12, 2010

18TH ANNUAL EARTH AWARENESS FAIR

The 18th Annual Earth Awareness Fair will be held Saturday, April 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Old State Capitol. “Springfield’s annual Earth Awareness Fair is the oldest continuous Earth Day celebration in Illinois and we are proud to host this all-ages event,” said Mayor Davlin.

Information on eco-friendly choices such as recycling, energy efficiency, native plants/ habitat and water conservation will be available. Exhibits, giveaways, games and crafts will be offered, all with an environmental message. Live music will be provided by local musicians Tom Irwin and Thornhill. A bicycle rally will be held with bicyclists gathering at the Old State Capitol at 12:00 for a ride around the downtown area to raise awareness of alternative forms of transportation.
Rain barrels will again be available for sale at the Fair.

Using a rain barrel is an excellent way to lessen the demand on our drinking water systems and reduce energy consumption by not having to purify ground water for residential irrigation purposes. Area homeowners can save money while helping the environment and reducing storm water run-off by capturing water in rain barrels.

Admission to the Earth Awareness Fair is free. It will be held rain, or shine. Join us for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day!

at Monday, April 12, 2010

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More tomorrow.

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I have wanted to say some things about the situation at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant for awhile. The content you see in the Media are just so bogus. First they want to prattle on about a melt down and the chances of an explosion “like Chernobyl”.

I scream at the television, “The reactors scrammed or were off line”. Ten Mile Island and Chernobyl were both online when their catastrophes occurred. Shutting down 10 mile was their big challenge. Chernobyl was an atomic explosion that sent material 4 or 5 miles in the air. Their big challenge was preventing a China Syndrome. Fukushima was always going to be a local nonthreatening event. Dramatic – Tragic – Fool hearty but nonetheless local.

The media want to prittle prattle along about reactor types and containment vessels. They never talk about powerhouse design. Reactors do one thing they generate steam. That is it. And that is why I am opposed to nuclear power in general. There are so many simpler and safer ways to generate steam that nuclear power is a joke. Once promoted by national governments because they wanted to piggy back their nuclear weapons programs on to “local power programs”. So we will use US powerplants an example of power house design and then compare disasters.

Yes, 10 powerplants in the US use the Mark 1 reactors like what were in 4 of the reactors at Fukushima. But in the US there is “triple containment” and “plain water” steam turbine loops. That means that when 10 Mile Island malfunctioned they simply vented a bunch of radioactive steam which immediately killed about 100 people and eventually killed about 300 babies and then turned the reactor off (scrammed). The temperatures soared to 5000 degress, the fuel melted, the cooling system worked and there it sits today with a puddle of melted fuel in the bottom of the reactor vessel. That should have been the end of Nuclear Power as we know it. At Fukushima they have “double containment” powerhouses that uses radioactive water to drive their turbines. All nuclear reactors have to be shielded or sheathed  for people to be able to get close to them to operate them. So even Chernobyl had a “single” containment vessel. In Fukushima they had that and a containment pad. Actually the pad was kind of ingenious. It consists of varying layers of concrete, steel, boron and lead. This was supposed to make a China Syndrome impossible because it would self seal the waste if it tried to melt through. BUT they used that argument to actually cheapen and make more dangerous their powerhouse designs. They provided no exterior containment system and they drove their turbines with radioactive steam. Additionally they built the cooling systems on one pad and their power generation systems on a separate pad guaranteeing that the cooling systems would break in an earthquake. So yes, there were explosions at Fukushima but not at the dynamite tonnage level that happened at Chernobyl. Fukushima was like a fire cracker.

While Fukushima is a local event that was a disaster waiting to happen, Chernobyl was a momentous international disaster waiting for someone to pull the trigger. It was a graphite reactor with a single containment wall, sitting by a lake right at the water table with an inadequate cooling system. Pull the trigger they did. The point being the Media does not understand Nuclear Power any better than the public does and yet this “magic genie” produces 20% of this countries electricity. Things have gotta change.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

Chernobyl disaster

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Changes must be reviewed before being displayed on this page.show/hide details
This article is about the 1986 nuclear plant accident in Ukraine. For more, see Chernobyl (disambiguation).
Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl Disaster.jpg 

The nuclear reactor after the disaster. Reactor 4 (center). Turbine building (lower left). Reactor 3 (center right).
Date 26 April 1986
Time 01:23:45 (Moscow Time UTC+3)
Location Pripyat, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union, now Ukraine
 

Location of Chernobyl nuclear power plant

 

The abandoned city of Pripyat with Chernobyl plant in the distance

 

Radio-operated bulldozers being tested before use

 

Abandoned housing blocks in Pripyat

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). An explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere, which spread over much of Western Russia and Europe. It is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and is one of only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (the other being the Fukushima I nuclear incident, which is considered far less serious and has caused no direct deaths).[1] The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles, crippling the Soviet economy.[2]

The disaster began during a systems test on 26 April 1986 at reactor number four of the Chernobyl plant, which is near the town of Pripyat. There was a sudden power output surge, and when an emergency shutdown was attempted, a more extreme spike in power output occurred, which led to a reactor vessel rupture and a series of explosions. These events exposed the graphite moderator of the reactor to air, causing it to ignite.[3] The resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive smoke fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area, including Pripyat. The plume drifted over large parts of the western Soviet Union and Europe. From 1986 to 2000, 350,400 people were evacuated and resettled from the most severely contaminated areas of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.[4][5] According to official post-Soviet data,[6][7] about 60% of the fallout landed in Belarus.

The accident raised concerns about the safety of the Soviet nuclear power industry, as well as nuclear power in general, slowing its expansion for a number of years and forcing the Soviet government to become less secretive about its procedures.[8][notes 1]

Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus have been burdened with the continuing and substantial decontamination and health care costs of the Chernobyl accident. Thirty one deaths are directly attributed to the accident, all among the reactor staff and emergency workers.[9] A UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. Estimates of the number of deaths potentially resulting from the accident vary enormously: the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest it could reach 4,000;[10] a Greenpeace report puts this figure at 200,000 or more;[11] a Russian publication, Chernobyl, concludes that 985,000 excess deaths occurred between 1986 and 2004 as a result of radioactive contamination.[12]

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More tomorrow.

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The environmental influence on the web has spread like wild fire. So this week I am going to post some of that. First up websites devoted to the general idea.

http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2011

Earth Day 2011: A Billion Acts of Green®

April 22nd marked Earth Day 2011. This year, we saw an enormous outpouring of support for the environmental movement, evinced by our 100 millionth Act of Green! Visit our blog for a first-round recap of Earth Day 2011 acomplishments.

Earth Day 2011 has passed, but the Billion Acts of Green campaign continues. Our goal is to reach a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before Rio +20. Here is how you can join the campaign and become part of the solution.

Share your commitment to the environment this Earth Day – declare your Act of Green. Now, you can also join the campaign on Facebook.
Organize an environmental service or advocacy event in your community.
Find and attend events near you.

Learn more about the campaign elements of Earth Day 2011:

Athletes for the Earth™: Bringing the voices of Olympic and professional athletes to the environmental movement, Athletes for the Earth™ has a proven track record of illustrating the interaction of athletes with their environment and connecting popular athletic activities with environmental stewardship.  Participating athlete/celebs include Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Demong, Olympic Bronze Medalist Andrew Weibrecht, World Champion Freeskier and founder of the Save Our Snow Foundation Alison Gannett, Boston Bruins Defenseman Andrew Ference, Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Aaron Peirsol, and NFL linebacker Dhani Jones.

The Canopy Project: In 2010, Earth Day Network planted over 1 million trees in 16 countries under the Avatar Home Tree Initiative. In 2011, EDN will continue that effort with another 1 million trees in large-scale, sponsor?supported tree-planting projects in partnership with non?profit organizations throughout the world. Locations where reforestation is most urgently needed include Haiti, Brazil, Mexico and urban areas of the US.  Help us green our future, one million trees at a time.

Women and the Green Economy (WAGE): To accelerate and provide the new thinking and creative power for a global post-carbon economy, Earth Day Network is engaging women business, government and NGO leaders in its “Women and the Green Economy” (WAGE™) campaign. Our goal is to create a policy agenda for Rio+20 and relevant generate national initiatives that will promote the green economy, secure educational and job training opportunities for women and channel green investment to benefit women.

Arts for the Earth: Arts for the Earth is an innovative education program developed to teach sustainability and environmental education through museum and arts community networks.

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More tomorrow

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I am probably going to post Earth Day stuff for the next week. I see it as a way to hook up with old friends like today’s Shawna Coronado or new friends unknown.

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/gardening-nude/2011/04/green-tip-6-earth-day-is-every-day-just-ask-my-plastic-bag-thong-underwear-oak-tree-art.html

Green Tip #6-Earth Day Is Every Day, Just Ask My Plastic Bag Thong Underwear Oak Tree Art

Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/gardening-nude/2011/04/green-tip-6-earth-day-is-every-day-just-ask-my-plastic-bag-thong-underwear-oak-tree-art.html#ixzz1KGNUNpR9
Plastic Bag Thong.jpg

Earth Day should be every day. Just ask my oak tree which currently has a plastic bag hanging in it 28 feet up that remarkably resembles a pair of thong underwear. No kidding.

Why are we celebrating the earth just one day of the year? It has given us everything we have, wear, and eat – yep, even thong underwear. Without the earth humanity would not exist. With the earth we exist. Pure and simple.

Stop messing around people – pick up your trash so it does not get caught in a tree for some bird to get tangled in. Recycle your glass, plastic, and paper, so we save our natural resources. Make a difference every day, not just on Earth Day – it is the right thing to do.

Now. Who’s going to climb 28 feet up to help me get the thong out of the tree? Volunteers?

www.shawnacoronado.com

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Povse, Nadel, and the entire press room have disappeared from my newspaper. But they still have one of their best writers left. Tim Landis wrote this article and it is pretty good.

http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x1225333763/Company-head-lauds-power-plant-upgrade

Company head lauds power plant upgrade

By TIM LANDIS (tim.landis@sj-r.com)
THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
Posted Apr 19, 2011 @ 11:00 PM
Last update Apr 20, 2011 @ 06:25 AM
Print Comment

COFFEEN — The head of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. welcomes the creation of 400 temporary construction jobs during a major upgrade of the Coffeen Power Station.

The fact that owner Ameren Energy Resources announced this week it would upgrade a nearly 40-year-old, coal-fired boiler at the plant is even better news for the long term, Heather Hampton-Knodle said.
“They are one of our largest private employers,” Knodle said. “It’s a good sign of their ongoing commitment to that plant.”
The Coffeen facility is about 60 miles southeast of Springfield.
Even as state and national unemployment has fallen, Montgomery County joblessness has remained high. The 13.9 percent rate in February compared with 8.9 percent statewide and nationally, and 8.1 percent in Sangamon County.
Much like neighboring Macoupin County, where the February unemployment rate was 11.4 percent, Montgomery County has been hurt by job losses in manufacturing and the coal industry in the past decade.
Crews at Coffeen Power Station are replacing 14 “cyclones” used to pulverize coal for the Unit 2 boiler, said Ameren spokeswoman Susan Gallagher. She added that the 400 contract jobs are in addition to a regular work force of nearly 180.
Gallagher said the company has not put a timetable on completion of the work or how long the contract workers would be on the job.
“They are working around-the-clock, I’m told,” she said.

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More tomorrow.

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After all of the legal and political wrangling in 2007, the Illinois Power Agency seemed a dream come true. An agency that guaranteed to keep electrical prices competitive or they would step in and buy electricity for the state at a set rate. They published the staffing requirements in the newspaper. They were excessive I thought at the time. They wanted Ph.d.s and Masters degrees in pretty exotic subjects like power generation analysis and such. But now they have hired only 2 staff out of what was supposed to be 25. Wow! Where is Lisa Madigan now?

http://www.illinoistimes.com/Springfield/article-8525-staterss-power-buyer-under-fire.html

Thursday, April 7,2011

State’s power buyer under fire

Audit shows problems at Illinois Power Agency

By Patrick Yeagle

The state agency responsible for buying Illinois’ electricity is under fire after an annual audit showed numerous problems with accounting and transparency.

A March 24 report by Illinois Auditor General William Holland says the Illinois Power Agency (IPA) needs to correct 35 “weaknesses” in financial transparency, rulemaking and more. The report admonishes IPA for storing money outside the state treasury, failing to create an annual budget and even lacking basic office supplies.

Among the more major issues identified in the audit is a lack of financial reporting and accounting records maintained by IPA.

“… [F]or the second year in a row, the agency did not provide accurate and complete financial information,” the audit states. “Specifically, the financial information provided did not contain all the necessary information regarding funds held outside of the state treasury.”

One of the most unusual problems identified by the audit was a lack of adequate staff. IPA director Mark Pruitt is one of only two employees in the entire agency, and the second employee, chief financial officer Kristene Callanta, was only hired in January 2011 – after the period covered in the audit. The lack of staffing coincides with the agency’s failure to create specialized bureaus to handle certain tasks, the audit shows.

“Failure to create these required bureaus is a violation of state statute,” the audit says. “In addition, because these bureaus were not created, the director had the sole responsibility for scoring all proposals and selecting winners for the procurement process, which could result in an abuse of power.”

dot dot dot as they say

For example, a 2007 complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says prices produced by auctions were “almost 40 percent higher than prices in bilateral electricity markets… and they were produced in a highly concentrated market in which there is evidence of price manipulation.”

To view the IPA audit and others, visit www.auditor.illinois.gov

Contact Patrick Yeagle at pyeagle@illinoistimes.com.

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I mean I know that in 2008 there was all the worry about then Governor Blago’s corrupt hiring practices but this is really an over reaction. More tomorrow.

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There are times when I wonder WHY is this a story? I have been leery about running articles about the environment because the state of it is so bad that any comments would be dreary. What with the Gulf Spew, Russia catching on fire and the nuclear accident in Japan, is there anything left to say? I saw this article earlier this morning and I thought, Ok this is a little different and I love Albatrosses. They are such  magnificent birds. Then I read the article and could not grasp the point of it. The headline seems pretty clear, but the body of the article seems not to support it. Read the whole thing at the site below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13121088

18 April 2011 Last updated at 17:07 ET

Feathers tell century-plus tale of mercury pollution

Richard Black By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News

Albatross feathers from museum specimens have allowed scientists to construct a record of mercury pollution dating back more than 100 years.

The feathers, from the black-footed albatross, contain traces of mercury that the birds picked up when they fed.

The species is endangered; and although fishing is the main cause, the team suggests mercury levels may have been high enough to impair breeding.

The study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team analysed feathers from 54 birds kept in museums at Harvard University and the University of Washington in Seattle, US.

The oldest samples are 120 years old.

There was no trend in overall mercury concentrations over time.

But the level of methylmercury – a toxic form of the metal, formed often by bacteria, did show a rise.

Methylmercury is easily absorbed by marine lifeforms such as small fish; and predators of those lifeforms, such as birds, can end up with big concentrations in their tissue.

It can cause developmental defects in humans, and there is evidence that it can damage reproduction in birds and fish.

“People have looked at mercury levels using museum specimens before, but mostly in the Atlantic,” said Scott Edwards, a biology professor at Harvard who also curates the university museum’s ornithology collection.

“Ours is one of the first to look at patterns in the Pacific basin; this has the largest number of seabird colonies, has the most endangered colonies, and is under severe threat from mercury emissions from Asia.”

“They’re fantastic birds, and a very tractable species to study” Scott Edwards Harvard University

About half of the mercury going into the atmosphere comes from natural sources such as volcanoes.

Of the other half, the biggest source is coal-burning, with mercury ocurring as a trace element in many coal deposits.

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More tomorrow.

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I have many problems with this legislation. For example, if a Power Company wanted to build a powerplant would this be considered an infrastructure improvement subject to 8 1/2 month review after construction had started? It’s the “after construction has started” part that is most bothersome. To the argument about 44 other states having similar statutes, as your mother said, “Would you jump off a bridge because you saw a friend do it”? Amend that to, “Would you jump off a bridge if you saw a whole bunch of people do it”? We usually call those folks lemmings.

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=184920

Electricity legislation sparks debate

by Kate Springer
April 14, 2011

Everyone can agree on one thing: Illinois needs to update its energy grid. But the Energy Modernization Act, also known as House Bill 14, would allow  $2.6 billion worth of upgrades. It sounds like a good thing but the proposal is meeting resounding opposition from critics.

The AARP, Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have dubbed HB 14 a “Trojan horse” or ComEd’s “automatic rate-hike bill” in an effort to fight the legislation.

During the past three months, Commonwealth Edison Co. and Ameren Corp., a downstate utility, have been lobbying legislators to pass HB14, which would allow them to invest in “smart meters” and infrastructure upgrades over the next 10 years in return for an alternative way to set rates.

In the current system, ComEd must spend about 11 months in hearings to convince the Illinois Commerce Commission that it needs a rate increase based on wholesale electricity prices.

Most recently, ComEd petitioned the ICC for a $396-million rate hike. Ten months after its request on April 13, an ICC judge recommended a $166-million increase, or a hike of 3 percent, on the average monthly bill. That was only half of ComEd’s request. The official adjustment will be decided by the end of May.

It’s a familiar pattern and one that ComEd would prefer to avoid.

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She is a pretty good writer. And she has 2 blogs:

http://katespringerblog.blogspot.com
http://katespringerblog2.blogspot.com

More tomorrow.

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