Plans for a new natural gas-fired power plant have been announced in Middletown. The plant would employ 300-400 people for about three years of construction, and 25-30 when it is up and running in 2018.
Middletown is part of a statewide trend towards natural gas and away from coal. From November 2012 to November 2013, energy generated from natural gas in Ohio increased 16 percent, in part because natural gas prices have become competitive with Appalachian coal.
On January 30, just a few days away, the Tufted Titmouse Moon, the first complete moon of 2014, will become the new Snowdrop Moon, continuing a lunar trajectory that travels inexorably across the span of the year.
With February’s Snowdrop Moon, the time of blooming plants gets underway. When white snowdrops and yellow aconites come into flower, they tell the maple sap to run, and they push back late winter to leave room for early spring.
March's moon is the Bumblebee Moon, the moon that encourages the emergence of spring insects, and the early morning robin chorus.
Some environmental groups and eastern Ohio residents say the state is hurrying permits for gas processing plants amid the shale drilling boom.
They say fast-tracking some permit requests prevents examination of local concerns about air and water pollution from refineries and the fracking process that frees the gas. Ohio Environmental Council lobbyist Jack Shaner says the state is bending over backward to accommodate the industry.
By the end of January, deep winter moves to its close, and late winter is carried into the nation by the lengthening days and the relentless south winds that always follow each cold spell. By the end of the month, normal averages break their stagnation, edging up a full degree almost everywhere above the Tropic of Cancer. Local thermometers not only see the progress within their own microclimate, but across the entire continent.
The recent storm got me thinking about a fierce Christmas rain and wind storm just a few years ago. After the turbulence passed, I went outside on the back porch and hen I noticed a butterfly, a polygonia comma, perched on the head of the small stone crucifix one of my sisters had given the family some years ago.
Now I am a wavering and superstitious Christian, easily swayed by signs and sacraments, and so the appearance of the polygonia on a crucifix in the wake of a freak rainstorm on Christmas morning was bound to trigger some uneasiness of spirit.