Category Archives: News

Ice Friday Has Residents Running out of Firewood

Frozen nation: At least 11 dead as cold, ice and snow grip US

By M. Alex Johnson and Erin McClam, NBC News
Arctic air, snow and freezing rain was expected across parts of the U.S. Saturday from
California to the Northeast, as the winter storm that has killed 11 people continues to
wreak havoc.
The Weather Channel forecast rain, freezing temperatures and snow in areas from the Golden State into the southern Rockies on Saturday and then a lighter dusting in the Midwest by Sunday — but the dangerous threat of more freezing rain. Temperatures as low as 27 degrees were expected in usually mild Las Vegas and surrounding areas, while New England was set to get the tail end by Monday.

The deaths of at least 11 people — including three in California and the mayor of a small Missouri town — were blamed on the deep freeze, which canceled hundreds of flights and left hundreds of thousands of people without power.

The Santa Clara County, Calif., Sheriff’s Office said hypothermia — an extremely low body temperature — had killed three people since frigid conditions rolled in late Wednesday, NBC Bay Area reported. An earlier report from the medical examiner’s office said four people had died, but it included a person who was found dead last week, before the current weather system hit the region.

With icy conditions stretching almost coast to coast, the cold blast was blamed for deaths as far east as Indiana, where a woman died in a four-vehicle crash in Wayne County, and as far south as Arkansas, where an ice-coated tree fell on the camper housing a 62-year-old man in Pope County, authorities told NBC News.

Other weather-related deaths:

  • Ronald Arnall, mayor of Granby, Mo., died when his truck slid off icy State Route 97 and struck a tree Wednesday in Lawrence County, the State Highway Patrol said.
  • A 16-year-old girl was killed when she lost control of her car on a slush-covered road a quarter-mile from school Wednesday in Lakeville, Minn., police said. The car slid sideways and was struck broadside by a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
  • A 55-year-old man was killed when he was ejected from a car that lost control Wednesday on a highway near Sioux City, Iowa. The car crossed the median of the highway, which was 100 percent ice-covered, and was struck by a freight truck traveling in the other direction, the Iowa State Patrol said.
  • A man was discovered dead under an overpass Wednesday in subfreezing temperatures in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
  • The body of a man was found behind a convenience store Wednesday night in Carson City, Nev., after temperatures fell into the single digits, the coroner’s office said.
  • A driver was killed when his car slammed into a truck Friday in Arlington, Texas, near Dallas, police said.

North Texas was especially hard hit: About 165,000 people were still left in the dark Friday night after sleet weighed down power lines and snapped tree branches. Dallas called off its marathon for this weekend, with many of the thousands of expected runners unable to get there.

More than 1,600 flights were canceled at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. And sister airlines American and American Eagle, which are based in Fort Worth, canceled about 1,370 flights across the country because of the weather in Texas.

“We are far from over here,” said Jim Cantore, a storm tracker for The Weather Channel. With a morning low forecast to be 17 degrees, the Dallas area could have “big problems, especially with these winds continuing to blow everything around.”

Five states had recorded at least 2½ feet of snow since Wednesday. The highest total was 35 inches, near Two Harbors, Minn.

Winter storm warnings covered parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The manager of a Home Depot store in Dallas concluded: “It’s almost like a Black Friday. But I guess we’ll call it an Ice Friday.”

Firewood Industry Growing

By: Michael Samuels – New Hampshire Post

At the beginning of the season, Cody German put an ad on Craigslist for firewood. “Seasoned or green, oak or pine,” says the ad, with different prices per cord, and an additional fee if he delivers it himself.

“Economy’s slow, I ain’t got much work going on right now, and this is just a way to make ends meet, get by,” German says.

It’s a very small operation – just German, harvesting trees from the ten acres behind his Raymond home, splitting it by hand and stacking it to dry.

“I started with about four cords of oak and about three cords of pine,” he says, “but it’s been going fairly quick this time of season.”

Small-scale firewood sellers have been filling higher demand for years. Census data from 2010 show a significant increase in the number of wood-heated households. And while no one’s officially kept track of firewood use for the last three years, the high demand seems to continue, says Sarah Smith, Forest Industry Specialist at the University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension.

“When the price of oil spikes up, people react,” she explains, “and then also the economic downturn, people’s inability to afford fuel for their homes,” has led to more people using firewood.

That increased demand has been good news for anyone with a pickup truck and a chainsaw, looking to supplement their income.

Smith says that can make things tricky for buyers. “We don’t keep lists of who to buy firewood because by its nature it’s a very transient population.” She notes the vast majority of wood sellers seem to be honest, since most complaints are about the same, repeat offenders.

But it’s a hard industry to regulate. A stacked cord always comes out to 128 cubic feet, but Smith says other claims are much harder to confirm. For example, seasoned wood should be 20%-30% moisture, while dry should be less than 20%. Proving that is complicated, requiring a special meter, or baking a piece of wood in an oven to see how much moisture weight is lost.

In other words, Smith says, if you can’t tell for yourself from appearance and heft whether wood is adequately dry, it’s best to just ask friends and neighbors who they buy their wood from.

But not all firewood outfits operate on word of mouth.

The Ossipee Mountain Land Company operates on 15 thousand acres and sells 6 thousand cords a year. From digital monitors in the garage-size kilns where the wood is dried, to machinery that sorts the wood into ¾ cubic-foot bundles for shrinkwrapping, this operation is anything but homespun.

“It’s a different animal,” says Jeffery Coombs, the owner and manager of the Ossipee Mountain Land Company. “This is really kind of a manufacturing business, the way we do it here.”

He says the product is different, too – what he calls “mood wood,” sold at supermarkets and hardware stores, rather than as a main source for winter-long home-heating.

But the process does produce a few cords a day of irregularly shaped pieces, and that gets sold in bulk to wood-heated homes. It’s already been kiln-dried, and it’s all carefully measured out before delivery. “We’ve never in 25 years had one complaint that someone didn’t get enough wood,” Coombs says.

Still, no industry is perfect.

“In the last fiscal year we had 22 actual written complaints that came into our department, and that’s been pretty much about that pace for some time,” says Jeff Wentworth, an investigator for the Division of Weights and Measures at the Department of Agriculture.

He attributes most complaints to ignorance on the part of buyers and newer sellers alike. For that reason, the Division of Weights and Measures is trying to get more firewood information out via their website, and by holding seminars with the UNH Extension and other organizations. Wentworth says he especially hopes new, small-scale wood sellers will take the proper steps.

Back in Raymond, Cody German says he didn’t know about those resources, but is happy to hear the information is available. He’s already been following some of the recommendations, like stacking all of his wood himself to know how much he has, and to be able to prove it to buyers.

Above all, German says he’s happy there’s demand for firewood. “I’m just grateful to be doing it,” he reflects. “I’m blessed to have these woods and have the opportunity to make a little extra money.”

As long as demand is high, it looks like firewood will keep warming buyers and sellers alike.

Record Firewood Sales and Prices

Firewood Vendors Show Record Sales

By: Agency Report

Firewood sellers in Hadejia, Jigawa, are recording huge sales due to high demand of the commodity in the area.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that scarcity and high cost of kerosene and other sources of energy have compelled most families to rely on firewood for domestic use.

Firewood that is usually outsourced from tree felling, is a popular commodity among the residents due to its cheaper prices, in spite of its negative impacts on the environment.

NAN checks in Hadejia showed that high cost of kerosene, coupled with its growing demand, attracted many people into the trade.

A litre of kerosene is sold at N175 at the `black market’ outlets while prices of firewood have also shot up by about 50 per cent in the last few weeks.

A bunch of firewood is sold at N100 as against N50, while a measure of charcoal sells for N150 as against its previous price of N100.

Malam Aminu Dauda, a firewood vendor, said the trade was lucrative, adding that vendors were enjoying appreciable patronage.

“I am making good sales; prices will further go up as the cold season sets in,” Dauda said.

Alhaji Muntari Buhari, a resident, said he used firewood due to its cheaper prices, in spite of its cumbersome processes.

“Unlike kerosene, firewood is cheaper and readily available,” Buhari said.

Mr Ahmed Abubakar, an environmentalist, decried indiscriminate felling of trees, saying that the trend was depleting forest resources and ravaging the ecosystem.

Abubakar said urgent measures were necessary to check the trend, to control desert encroachment, erosion and protect the environment.

He urged the Federal Government to adopt practical measures to ensure adequate distribution of kerosene and development of alternative sources of energy at the grassroots.

NAN reports that hundreds of hectares of forest resources have been depleted through tree felling in spite of the desert encroachment ravaging the area. (NAN)

Firewood at the top of needed gifts

Empty Stocking: Bathroom, firewood top list of needed gifts

Son also would like to repair parents’ roof

By WILLIAM LANEY

LIMA — A Christmas wreath on the wall of the porch includes the message of “Christmas Cheer found here” and a Nativity scene blessing the front yard stands as a symbol to the Christmas spirit inside the home.

 

A couple of stacks of firewood and a small crate of broken up pieces of wood pallets provides a glimpse into the hardships of the elderly couple living inside this Lima home.

 

Their son Vincent, who does not have a full-time job but takes odd jobs in the area to help make ends meet, says he does whatever he can to help his parents and he really would like to make some improvements to their home in an effort to make their life easier starting this Christmas.

 

“My mom has to have her Christmas decorations out,” Vincent said. “I have the Nativity scene done and I still have to put out her Rudolph [reindeer] and sleigh. She would do it for us when we were kids and she deserves to have these little things out to brighten her day.”

 

His mother, Karen, had heart surgery four years ago and has more recently battled cancer. His father, James, got hurt at work in the heavy equipment industry a decade ago and has not been permitted to return to work.

 

Vincent and his parents and four siblings moved into this house in 1978 and they have shared Christmases there ever since.

 

This Christmas he would like to replace the bathtub and the floor in their house because their old tub leaks and leaking water has ruined the floor around the tub.

 

“I just need some money to get them a new tub and some flooring or they could donate the items,” Vincent said. “I am good with my hands so I could put the flooring down and put the tub in for them.”

 

He has been using caulk around the tub to keep it from leaking, but this method has been exhausted. He also has been doing what he can to keep the floor solid, but there is not much more he can do.

 

Vincent also mentioned his parents could use one or two space heaters and more firewood as the winter season hits.

 

“They don’t have any heat, they just burn the wood,” Vincent said. “I usually accumulate pallets and cut those down and plus use the logs — so mainly they just need some logs. The front part of their house is pretty cold until they get a fire going.”

 

His parents’ house also needs a new roof including shingles and plywood sheets or pressed plywood sheets. Vincent said he didn’t say anything because he didn’t want to ask for too much.

 

He described his parents as “hard workers their entire life and always have done for others.” While his 70-year-old father worked, his mother, who turned 73 on Saturday, worked as a waitress and raised her own children while baby-sitting others.

 

He said this is his chance to do something to improve their lives.

 

“They have paid their dues in this life,” Vincent said. “I am just trying to give them a nice Christmas.”

Dont Get Burned Buying Firewood

Don’t Get Burned Buying Firewood This Winter

Department of Agriculture officials are warning customers to not get burned when buying firewood.

The department says there is generally an increase in complaints during winter about people being overcharged or not getting the amount of firewood they thought they paid for.

It’s illegal to sell firewood in unspecified quantities, such as a load, truckload, face cord, rack or pile.

“Make sure that you know who you’re buying from. Ask what it is you’re getting. You have the legal right to ask for that cord of wood to be measured for you,” said Katie Goetz of the Department of Agriculture.

The department is also telling customers to ask for receipts in case they have complaints later and need the state to follow up.