Florida Beachgoers Cling to a Right to Make the Sand Their Driveway | The New York Times

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Beach driving, although popular among locals and Orlando visitors, has long been a subject of dispute. Environmentalists dislike it, saying it harms plant and animal life. They threatened to sue over sea turtles, which nest in the sand, and the county negotiated an agreement. Cars must now stay clear of nesting areas.

Others see such driving as an unnecessary danger. The beach has grown more crowded in spots because it is narrower than before and only 17 miles are open to cars. Since 2005, three people have been killed on the beaches, including two children, and 67 have been injured, according to Volusia County records.

Read more here.

Obamacare Cancels Insurance Plans of 1800 Children in N.J. | Truth Report

Obamacare’s new mandated requirements killed New Jersey’s low-cost children’s insurance coverage plan, FamilyCare Advantage. The plan, offered by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, was designed for children whose parents make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and offered medical, dental, and vision coverage for just $144 a month. The program, which was the first of its kind in the nation, was implemented six years ago and considered a model for others states seeking economical ways to provide quality coverage for kids from working class families.

Yet, since FamilyCare Advantage lacked things like mental health services, Obamacare deemed the children’s 1,800 plans illegal and the program shuttered last week.

via Obamacare Cancels Insurance Plans of 1800 Children in N.J. | Truth Report.

US Government Is World’s 3rd Largest Economy

Monday’s open enrollment deadline for ObamaCare, which, with its subsidies and tax credits, represents the largest expansion of government, is a good time to assess the total scale of government in the US. 

Appreciating the full scope of the US government is difficult, because its activities are undertaken at the federal, state, and local levels. Adding all of this together, government in the US consumes more than $6 trillion a year. This makes the US government the world’s 3rd largest economy. 

via US Government Is World's 3rd Largest Economy.

More than 19,000 children without daycare due to Government Shut Down

The government shutdown has caused as many as 19,000 children to lose access to Head Start today, the National Head Start Association reported Tuesday.

More than 20 programs across 11 states did not get the annual grant they were to receive Tuesday and cannot offer early education and related social services to children and families.

“On the heels of devastating sequester cuts which closed windows of opportunity for more the than 57,000 at-risk children who lost their Head Start slots, Washington’s budget battles have harmed even more of America’s most vulnerable families,” said Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association in a news release.

Just over a million children are enrolled in Head Start programs across the country. Annual grants are awarded around the calendar year, so most programs can continue to run off their existing grants. But starting today, no new grants will be made.

Read more here.

Study: Electric Cars Made using Fossil Fuels Worse for the Environment than Conventional Cars

Is this a surprise? Often, the media and policy wonks discuss the consumer-side effects of environmental protection, but the environmental effects of manufacturing “green solutions” should not be taken lightly.

Electric cars actually harm the environment more than their gas-powered counterparts in many places, a new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has concluded. That’s in part because electric car production “proved substantially more environmentally intensive,” the report said, according to the BBC. “The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles.”

That higher production cost might pay off if you live in an area powered by clean electricity sources—particularly if the car stays on the road a long time. But if your area gets its power from fossil fuels like coal or lignite, “it is counterproductive to promote electric vehicles,” the report said—they may even wind up causing more carbon emissions than gas burners. In addition, electric car batteries require toxic minerals like nickel, copper, and aluminum, increasing the potential for acidification.

via Study: Electric Cars Hurt the Environment – At least in areas that burn fossil fuels for electricity.

Superstorm Sandy stops filming of Noah’s Ark

In what could be termed an ironic case of life imitating art, filming of a biblical epic telling the story of Noah and his ark was put on hold this week due to Superstorm Sandy.

Darren Aronofsky’s film, starring Russell Crowe as Noah, was due to be filmed on Monday at locations in New York.

Cast and crew stayed away following warnings about the path of the storm, and two arks built for the production were docked, one in Brooklyn and the other in Oyster Bay in Long Island, an area hit by the storm.

via Superstorm Sandy stops filming of Aronofsky's Noah's Ark epic | The Jewish Chronicle.

Fun Town Pier at Seaside Heights Destroyed | 6abc.com

The Fun Town Pier in Seaside Heights is now a pile of twisted metal and broken rides lying on the beach as waves lap over it.

It’s one of two piers destroyed in hurricane Sandy where the iconic Ferris wheels seem to be the only thing left standing. “I think anybody who’s ever been to Seaside or grew up here loves this place; this the way I make my living and a lot of other people make their living. They’ll be back,” arcade worker Helen Stewart said. It’s hard to conceive of how long that could take. Seaside Heights and nearby towns are under martial law.

via Seaside Heights residents wait to see what remains | 6abc.com.

New Jersey agonizes over whether to rebuild shore – Salon.com

The phrase “Jersey Shore” is taking on a new meaning, emblematic of disaster recovery.

…environmentalists and shoreline planners urged the state to think about how – and if – to redevelop the shoreline as it faces an even greater threat of extreme weather.

“The next 50 to 100 years are going to be very different than what we’ve seen in the past 50 years,” said S. Jeffress Williams, a scientist emeritus at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Woods Hole Science Center in Massachusetts.

The sea level is rising fast, and destructive storms are occurring more frequently, said Williams, who expects things to get even worse.

He and other shoreline advocates say the state should consider how to protect coastal areas from furious storms when they rebuild it, such as relocating homes and businesses farther from the shore, building more seawalls and keeping sand dunes high.

How to rebuild after the disaster is becoming an issue even as New Jersey assesses its damage.

via New Jersey agonizes over whether to rebuild shore – Salon.com.

Commuters Snatch Up Bicycles in Storm’s Wake – US Business News – CNBC

In New York’s transportation woes, there is finally a silver lining. New Yorkers are biking and carpooling in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on all modes of motorized transportation.

In the midst of congested transit left in Super Storm Sandy’s wake, more New Yorkers are opting to ride bicycles.

“Yesterday we outsold our busiest summer Saturday,” said Emily Samstag, manager of Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn, speaking to a surge in bike-related sales just one day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. “Our first customer walked in and said: ‘The subways are down so I have to buy a bike’. That was standard all morning.”

via Commuters Snatch Up Bicycles in Storm's Wake – US Business News – CNBC.