July, 2012

Fmr. President Clinton gets key role at Dems Convention

July 31st, 2012 at 10:22 am by under Politics

The Democrats are upping former President Bill Clinton’s profile at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carollina.

Clinton will now have a major role at the Convention. He will give a prime time speech on Wednesday, September 5th, where he’ll formally place President Barack Obama’s name into nomination.

It’s a change in the script for the convention.

The Vice Presidential nominee, which is Joe Biden, normally speaks on Wednesday at the convention, with the Presidential nominee appearing the next night.

But now in a big change both Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama will both speak at the convention on Thursday night, September 6th.

They’ll be addressing the delegates at Charlotte’s Bank of America football stadium.

NBC News reported that both Obama and Biden jointly made the decision to speak on the same night.

One possible reason being talked about for the change, is that the N-F-L season kicks off on Wednesday night and former President Clinton offers a bigger draw up against the game.




July Review, August Preview

July 31st, 2012 at 8:43 am by under Weather

This July we saw a very warm and mostly dry month. Temperatures in Chicopee were well above average this month- the average high in July is normally around 83 degrees with an average low around 61 degrees. Highs were often in the mid to upper 80s or above 90. We had two heat waves this month, which is when the temperature is 90 or above for 3 consecutive days. Our first July heat wave was the 12th through the 14th and the second was from the 16th through the 18th. The hottest temperature this July (and new record for the day) was when we hit 98 degrees on July 17th. This breaks the old record of 97 set in 1953. We didn’t have any record lows, but lows were below normal for about half the month and above normal for the other half. Our lowest temperature for the month (though not a record) was 51 degrees on July 21st. We received 1.92 inches of rain in July- that’s 1.90 inches below an average month! Normal July rainfall is around 3.82 inches.

So what do we expect for August?

August normally has highs of around 81 degrees with average lows around 59. The average rainfall for August is 3.64 inches.

The Climate Prediction Center’s monthly outlook points to a slightly warmer than average month for western Massachusetts with close to average rainfall.

We are currently in a moderate drought, which is expected to continue, but there may be some improvement over the next few months.

-Eileen Carmody (Weather Intern)

GOP opens Victory office in East Longmeadow.

July 27th, 2012 at 2:21 pm by under Politics

The East Longmeadow office at 37 Harkness Avenue  is one of ten across the state opened by the Massachusetts Republican Party.

The local office will be a resource center where people can pick up signs and campaign material for GOP candidates.   

According to Tim Buckley, Communications Director for the Massachusetts Republican Party, the East Longmeadow office will also be used by local volunteers to make voter outreach phone calls and serve as  a meeting place before canvassing door-to-door.   

The  GOP’s Mass Victory program is an election year effort to coordinate campaigns up and down the ballot.    

Right now, the East Longmeadow Victory office is open Monday-Saturday between 10 a.m. -6 p.m. .   After the primaries it will be open  9  a.m. -7:30 p.m.  

 Starting in October, as the campaign season moves into the home stretch, it will be open 7 days a week.   

For information or for those looking to volunteer, the number for the East Longmeadow office is:  413-224-1850.


An Increase In Red Seaweed

July 26th, 2012 at 7:46 am by under Weather

When you go to the beach, you expect to see some seaweed. But over the past few years, there has been an increase of a non-native (also known as invasive) species of red seaweed named Heterosiphonia japonica. 

When it decays, this seaweed smells like rotten eggs. 

The seaweed looks like red strings or hairs, and has spread quickly. Warmer ocean waters this year are believed to be helping this seaweed grow and spread.

 The thing is this seaweed is usually seen near Japan. So how did it get all the way over here??? 

It found its way to Europe in the 1980s, and is believed to have traveled here recently on cargo ships. It was first noticed in the U.S. in Rhode Island in 2009. 

There are a few problems: this seaweed could kill off creatures native to our ocean waters. It also clogs lobster traps and the smell discourages tourists, which hurts both the fishing industry and the economy. 

Whenever a non-native species, such as this seaweed, moves in, it can thrive and quickly get out of control. That’s because there are either no predators (or not enough) to eat it, and at the same time it takes nutrients from the water, killing off native plants and animals. This is why if you go to another country, they may be very strict about plants or animals going in or out. But as we can see, sometimes a non-native species still gets here. In this case, it was probably unintentional, but it can have lasting consequences. Here, sea urchins eat the seaweed, but there aren’t enough of them to eat it before it spreads. 

Another issue is what to do with it. Officials aren’t allowed to push the seaweed out to sea. Some have tried towing it away in dump trucks, but the seaweed spreads so quickly that it makes no difference- it just keeps growing. 

Hopefully scientists can find a solution soon.

Written by 22News Storm Team intern Eileen Carmody

Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey has new position

July 23rd, 2012 at 1:24 pm by under Politics

Former Lt. Governor Kerry Healey

Former Massachusetts Lt. Governor, Kerry Healey has a new position.  She is the new Republican National Committeewoman from Massachusetts.   

In that position she serves as a liaison with the Republican National Committee.  The position also  involves fundraising,  and working for the election of Republican candidates in the state.   

Healey served as Lt. Governor under Mitt Romney from 2003-2007.   She ran for governor in 2006 but lost to Deval Patrick.



Western Mass. Now Experiencing Moderate Drought Conditions

July 21st, 2012 at 9:22 pm by under Weather

All you have to do is look out your window and you can see how brown your lawn is getting. The lack of rainfall that most of the country has been experiencing is affecting us here in western Massachusetts too.

This month we’ve picked up around .60 inches of rain, normally for the month of July we should receive almost 4 inches of rain.

Because of the dry conditions, NOAA has put western Massachusetts in the Moderate Drought category.

Some farmers are already having to irrigate. The river levels are running low and if we don’t get some beneficial rain soon we will likely see cities and towns putting water bans into effect. With the dry conditions brush fires could also start to be a problem as well. 

It does look like we will see some showers and thunderstorms around next week but it may not be quite enough to really help us out.  


Sometimes interesting and bizarre weather happens on other planets and their moons

July 19th, 2012 at 7:22 am by under Weather

Recently, scientists discovered a “vortex” in a “hood” of gas over Titan, one of Saturn’s moons (Saturn has 62 moons that have been discovered- most are small). Titan is larger than Mercury, the first planet from the Sun! For reference, it is larger than our Moon. This vortex, which rotates completely every 9 hours (much faster than Titan’s day, which takes about 16 Earth days), was discovered by the Cassini space probe. Scientists believe that it could mean a change of seasons for Titan- at first this hood (thought to be caused by cell convection- where dense air sinks and less dense air rises, making clouds) was seen in the north pole, but now the cell convection seems to be occurring in the south, too. This seems to be associated with Titan’s seasons because Titan’s north pole was experiencing winter, but since 2009 it has been warming, indicating summer. Since then, Titan’s south pole has been cooling, which means it could be beginning it’s winter. 

This change of seasons is hard to study, though. One year for Titan is about 30 Earth years! As a result, it could take most of an astronomer’s career to study Titan!

 Unlike Earth’s atmosphere, composed of mostly nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, Titan’s atmosphere is mostly made of methane. Titan itself is made of rock and ice, and the combination of these with its atmosphere allows scientists to study weather patterns that are different from Earth. But there are some similarities- vortices near poles occur on Earth and other planets, including Venus, Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn. 

Scientists hope to use this discovery to learn about Titan’s atmosphere and clouds.

Written by 22News Storm Team intern Eileen Carmody

90s becoming the “norm”

July 14th, 2012 at 10:12 am by under Weather

Temperatures for the past two days (July 12th and 13th) have been in the 90s- Thursday (July 12th) we hit 91, and Friday’s (July 13th) high was 92. If today’s high (July 14th) hits 90 or greater (the forecast is for the low 90s), we will have our third heat wave of the summer. A heat wave is when temperatures reach 90 or greater for three or more consecutive days.

On an interesting note, yesterday was the 4th Friday of the summer where temperatures reached 90 degrees or warmer.

Last year we only had one heat wave- for the WHOLE summer! Today we could be looking at our 3rd this summer!

So what’s causing these heat waves?

Heat waves occur when a warm air mass stays over an area for an extended time. Warm air masses that cause heat waves are usually associated with high pressure systems. However, sometimes hot air ahead of low pressure systems can keep things hot for long enough to cause a heat wave. We are currently experiencing abnormally dry weather (one step up from a drought), partly because of the frequent high pressure systems in the area. High pressure is associated with dry conditions, whereas low pressure systems tend to bring precipitation (in the summer, this is in the form of rain). These pressure systems, or air masses, often move through a region over the course of a day or more. This is because it is “pushed” out of the way by another air mass. But if there is nothing in the area to push it out of the way, the air mass will stay over a place for several days, which can result in unsettled weather if it is a low pressure system, or sunny weather if it is a high pressure system.

So what’s up with 4 Friday’s in a row of 90 degrees this summer?

Well, one of the reasons meteorologists can forecast the weather is because weather tends to follow a pattern. Because of this, meteorologists can look at what the weather is like in another part of the country and predict when it will reach their location. Sometimes you may notice that for a few weeks, it always seems to rain on the same day of the week, and eventually that changes. Well, in the pattern we are seeing right now, the hot weather tends to be towards the end of the week and into the weekend, which is why Fridays lately have been in the 90s.

Weather can be difficult to predict, because there is much more that influences it, but knowing the patterns can give you a fairly good idea of what is to come.

-Eileen Carmody, weather intern

Fundraiser in Springfield for Joseph Kennedy III

July 13th, 2012 at 2:23 pm by under Politics


Photo provided by Darby O’Brien

Joseph Kennedy III is running for Congress for the seat now held by Barney Frank.  

On Monday, July 16th, he’ll be making the 70 mile trip up the Pike for a fundraiser for his campaign at the Sheraton in Springfield.   

Even though the congressional seat he’s running for is in eastern Mass, the Kennedy’s have lots of friends here in Western Mass.   

The Kennedy family had a longstanding, close relationship with the late Don Dowd ofWest Springfield.   Dowd, had worked in the campaigns, of  John, Robert and Ted Kennedy.   

He was a close confidant of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and was his Western Massachusetts coordinator.    

Now Dowd’s friend and his nephew Dean Martilli, who served as chief of staff to former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, are organizing the Springfield event.

They’ve even created a postcard for the event.

It’s a bit reminiscent of when Sen. Ted Kennedy in the 80′s and 90′s would pack up family members for a summer visit to Western Mass, with the family visiting such fun spots as the old Riverside Park and Mt.Tom, where there was once an alpine slide.


Massachusetts voter registration deadlines

July 10th, 2012 at 6:16 am by under Politics

It’s a big election year. The presidential race, and a hotly contested U.S. Senate race here in Massachusetts.  

If you’re not registered to vote and want to do so this year, there’s a couple deadlines for signing up.  

The Primary election is on Thursday, September 6. To vote in that election, you must be registered by August 17th, according to Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Galvin.  

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6.  To vote then, you have to register by October 17. You must be registered 20 days prior to the election you’re voting in. 

To register to vote you must be a U.S. citizen, resident of Massachusetts and be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day. If you’ve moved, you must register again at your new address. 

If you’re uncertain about your registration or have other questions, check with your city or town clerk or registrar of voters.