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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bee Gardens: Flowers, Fruits and Herbs for a Bee-Friendly Habitat - Modern Homesteading - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Bee Gardens: Flowers, Fruits and Herbs for a Bee-Friendly Habitat - Modern Homesteading - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

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You can provide honeybees with year-round nourishment and attract other wildlife to your outdoor space — even in the city! — by planting flowers, fruits, herbs and more that are rich in nectar and pollen. From lavender and tulips to raspberry bushes and tomatoes, find out which plants provide food for bees early and late in the year, get a year-round planting plan of bee-friendly plants, and check out a full list of suggested flowers to create your own bee oasis. A garden or patch devoted to plants that are attractive to bees can be a source of great pleasure for any beekeeper or nature lover, as much for the beauty of the flora as for the activity of the bees.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Prayer's Power Trumps Positive Thinking - cityhomesteader@gmail.com

Prayer's Power Trumps Positive Thinking
Rebecca Hagelin

Two studies caught my eye this week.

One, released by the American Physical Society, presented data suggesting that religion is headed for “extinction” in nine Western countries: Canada, Ireland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The scientists’ bold claims were based on a statistical model that tracked, over the past 100 years, the increasing population in those countries that claimed affiliation with “no religion.” Projecting those numbers forward, they believe that “religion will be driven toward extinction,” because people will discover that “the perceived utility of not adhering is greater than the utility of adhering” to a belief in God.

Utility. It’s a sad commentary on modern society that God must prove himself “useful” according to our standards or we’ll box religion up and send it to collect dust in some museum.

But before they proclaim the end of religion, perhaps these scientists ought to check in with their peers. The second study released last week shows that prayer--a fundamentally religious activity--produces social benefits by reducing anger and aggression.

Imagine that. It’s useful.

The groundbreaking study (the first to focus on the connection between prayer and anger) showed that prayer reduces anger and calms aggression in the person who prays. According to the study’s co-author, Ohio State Professor Brad Bushman, "We found that prayer really can help people cope with their anger.” Prayer produced measurable differences in the people who prayed, compared to a similar group who merely thought good thoughts.

But even scientific proof of the power of prayer cannot turn a skeptic into a believer.

Because they cannot prove exactly why prayer reduced the anger and aggression of those who prayed, scientists struggle to find an explanation that doesn’t presume the reality of God. Bushman suggested that prayer “probably…[helped] them change how they view the events that angered them and helping them take it less personally." Shouldn’t peaceful “thoughts” be able to do that?

What Bushman is missing is that prayer is different because it’s a communication with a very real Someone—Someone we need, a person named God, who can do anything.

Unfortunately, this latest prayer study fits a growing pattern. As social scientists pursue greater understanding of the human person, they can’t ignore the power of prayer and faith in people’s lives. So they study it. But even as their own studies prove the benefits of prayer and religious faith, these same researchers cast about trying to explain away the reality of divine intervention—to “psychologize” the power of God.

How to Save Your Family By Affirming Your Family’s Dependence on God

What scientists miss—and what our culture increasingly denies—is that God is real. He’s a person who loves and cares for us. Our concerns are his concerns, right down to the anger we feel or the disasters and triumphs of our day. He cares whether those He loves find new jobs, perform well in a school play, or survive the next deployment to Afghanistan. He cares about his children’s smallest sniffle just as much as a life-threatening cancer.

Prayer “works” because God hears us and responds in love. God—not positive psychology and the power of “good thoughts”—can change our hearts and transform our lives.

But as our culture becomes ever more technical, it’s also becoming relentlessly secular. Science and technology rank higher than God, it seems.

It’s time to reaffirm to our children our belief in the supremacy of God and our dependence on God, our Creator. In practical terms, it’s time to turn our hearts to Him in prayer.

After all, now we know… prayer beats positive thinking any day.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Best Homemade Tomato Cages - Organic Gardening - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

The Best Homemade Tomato Cages - Organic Gardening - MOTHER EARTH NEWS

The Best Homemade Tomato Cages

By Jennifer Kongs

You’ll enjoy a bigger tomato harvest if you use stakes or tomato cages to help your plants grow vertically, saving space in the garden while keeping fruits off the ground, preventing rot. Store-bought tomato cages tend to be flimsy and too small. For a sturdier option, consider building your own. We think these four plans are especially good choices for creating durable, low-cost tomato cages. Find the best fit for your garden and start building! (The cost estimates for each design are based on current prices from Lowe’s and Tractor Supply Co.)
Livestock Panel Trellis

Rigid metal livestock panels (sold at farm stores) make a strong, durable trellis. Simply stand up the panels and attach them to steel T-posts, and you’re on your way to your own wall of tomatoes (see illustration). Livestock panels typically come in 16-foot lengths, but with a pair of bolt cutters or a hacksaw, you can cut them to whatever length you want.

As the tomatoes grow, weave the plants between the openings of the panel for better support. You can use the panels for other crops, including beans, cucumbers and peas. You can even bend the panels to make a trellised archway, which you can cover with plastic for use as a cheap greenhouse or livestock shelter.


* One 16-foot livestock panel
* Steel T-posts (use one for about every 4 to 6 feet of panel)

Estimated cost: about $2 per tomato plant (assumes four T-posts, plus $20 for a 16-foot panel, with 18 tomato plants spaced 2 feet apart on both sides)

Complete instructions: See Vertical Gardening Techniques for Maximum Returns.
Folding Wooden Tomato Cages

These tall, wooden tomato cages (see illustration) add a beautiful vertical accent to your garden and are strong enough to support a bumper tomato crop. They also work well with other vining crops. To construct a cage, build two tomato “ladders,” with three rungs and a brace to stabilize the sides against strong winds. Connect the two ladders at the top with a piece of scrap wood, which you can easily remove to fold the ladders for storage at the end of the season.


* Six 1-by-3-inch wooden pieces measuring about 8 feet long
* One 8-inch 2-by-4
* Two 3-inch deck screws
* About 30 1 1⁄2-inch galvanized deck screws

Estimated cost: about $20 per cage (less if you use recycled materials , or maybe saplings)

Complete instructions: See Woody’s Folding Tomato Cages.
Wire Mesh Tomato Cages

Constructing cages from 4- or 5-foot-wide concrete reinforcing wire (see illustration) is quick and simple — and the materials are cheap, which makes these cages an especially good choice if you’re growing on a large scale. They’re also a good bet for people with little DIY experience, because the only tool you’ll need to put them together is a pair of wire cutters.

Concrete wire mesh is stiffer than most other fence wire, and its openings are large enough that you can easily reach through to pick the tomatoes. Cut sections about 5 to 6 feet long to form circular cages 19 to 23 inches in diameter. To make storage easier, vary the diameters so that two or three cages will nest together, one inside the other.

These lightweight cages will blow over easily unless you stake them, so anchor them firmly to the ground with steel T-posts. You can extend your growing season by wrapping each cage with plastic or row cover. This type of tomato cage also works well as a trellis for cucumbers, beans and other vining crops.


* Rolls of 6-by-6-inch concrete reinforcing wire mesh
* Steel T-posts

Estimated cost: about $8 per cage (based on making 30 cages from a 150-foot roll of concrete mesh, with one steel post per cage)

Complete instructions: See Using Wire Mesh in the Garden.
The Indestructible Tomato Cage

This cage earns the name “indestructible” because it’s made of sturdy plastic pipes (see illustration), which are easy to work with and won’t rot or rust. To construct these cages, drill three sets of corresponding holes in each of three equal lengths of plastic pipe. Form the cages by placing horizontal metal rods (electrical conduit) through holes in the plastic uprights. Make sure the plastic pipes have a large enough diameter to hold the metal conduit you use. The metal crossbars can be removed at the end of the season, making breakdown a breeze and requiring minimal storage space. A bonus: By pouring water into the tops of the vertical pipes, you can deliver moisture directly to your plants’ roots — where they need it most — without providing surface water to competing weeds.

To make drilling the holes in the plastic pipes easier, MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributing editor Steve Maxwell recommends using a step bit. “As the name suggests, a step bit is shaped into a series of steps and designed for use drilling thin metal,” he says. “They also happen to work really well on plastic. Because each level is incrementally larger, they go into the surfaces gently, with little chance of grabbing and splitting.”


* Three 4-foot (or longer) pieces of 3-inch diameter plastic pipe
* 15 feet of electrical conduit

Estimated cost: about $25 per cage

Complete instructions: See Our Indestructable Tomato Cage.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/print-article.aspx?id=2147493659#ixzz1IneangFW

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11 things you should buy organic on Shine

11 things you should buy organic on Shine

11 things you should buy organic

By Sara Reistad-Long

By now, we all know there’s a benefit to buying some stuff organic. But these days you’re faced with the option of getting everything organic—from fruits and veggies to mattresses and clothing. You want to do right by your body, for sure, but going the all-natural route en masse can be pricey.

So we wondered: What’s really essential for our health? That’s why we came up with this definitive list. Here's what should be in your cart—and what you don’t have to worry about.

You’ve probably read plenty of stories about the risks of eating chicken. But the most important protein to buy organic may well be beef. "Research suggests a strong connection between some of the hormones given to cattle and cancer in humans, particularly breast cancer," says Samuel Epstein, MD, professor emeritus of environmental and occupational medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Specifically, the concern is that the estrogen-like agents used on cattle could increase your cancer risk, adds Ted Schettler, MD, science director at the Science and Environmental Health Network.

Though there are strong regulations about the use of hormones in cattle, "not all beef producers are following those regulations strictly, and some studies continue to find hormone residue in cattle," Dr. Schettler says. When you buy beef that’s been certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you’re not only cutting out those hormones, you’re also avoiding the massive doses of antibiotics cows typically receive, which the USDA says may lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in people.

Health.com: 10 types of food that can make you sick

Strawberries may be a superfood—but they pose a potential risk unless you go organic. In addition to having up to 13 pesticides detected on the fruit, according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis, conventional "strawberries have a large surface area and all those tiny bumps, which makes the pesticides hard to wash off, so you’re ingesting more of those chemicals," explains Marion Nestle, PhD, a professor of nutrition and public health at New York University and author of What to Eat.

If you can, also skip conventional peaches, apples, blueberries, and cherries, which are typically treated with multiple pesticides and usually eaten skins-on.

Your pots and pans are just as crucial to upgrade as the food you cook in them: "Most nonstick cookware contains a fluorochemical called PTFE that breaks down to form toxic fumes when overheated," says Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist at the EWG. "Those fumes can coat the inside of the lungs and cause allergy-like symptoms."

Tests commissioned by the EWG showed that in just two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, cookware coated with nonstick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating emits toxic gases. Switch to stainless steel, ceramic, or cast iron cookware.

Health.com: 11 kitchen tools that keep you thin

The linings of microwave-popcorn bags may contain a toxic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which is used to prevent the food from sticking to the paper. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFOA is a likely carcinogen. "We don’t know all of the hazardous effects of PFOA yet, but we have some evidence of a link to cancer, as well as to effects on the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems," says David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.

Pick up an air-popper or make your popcorn in a pan on the stove top.

Yard pesticides
Some lawn and garden pesticides contain suspected carcinogens, according to EPA data. Long-term pesticide exposure may be related to changes in the brain and nervous system, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center reports. "Not only are you breathing the chemicals in, but you bring them indoors and onto carpets via your shoes," says McKay Jenkins, PhD, a journalism professor at the University of Delaware and author of What’s Gotten Into Us?

Healthier brands like BurnOut and EcoClear are made from vinegar and lemon juice, and are effective weed-killers.

Heatlh.com: 10 dirty fruits and vegetables

All-purpose home cleaners
Time for spring-cleaning? Using common household cleaners may expose you to potentially harmful chemicals. Ammonia and chlorine bleach can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. And some cleaners contain phthalates, some of which are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with normal hormone activity, says EWG senior scientist Becky Sutton, PhD.

Although there’s no definitive proof that phthalates cause problems in humans, "the greatest concern is how early-life exposure will affect male [reproductive] development," Dr. Carpenter says. There’s weaker evidence, he adds, that phthalates affect the nervous and immune systems. Go natural with the cleaner you use the most frequently and in the most places, such as kitchen-counter spray—look for brands approved by Green Seal or EcoLogo, two organizations that identify products that have met environmental label guidelines.

Health.com: Green guide to cleaning

Water bottles
You’ve probably heard that many hard, reusable plastic water bottles could be bad for you because they may contain BPA, or bisphenol A, another endocrine disruptor according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

"For adults, the biggest concern with BPA is that it may increase the risk of breast cancer in women and reduce sperm counts in men," says Dr. Carpenter, who explains that BPA can leach out into the water in the bottle. To be safe, sip from an unlined stainless steel or BPA-free plastic bottle.

Food-storage containers
BPA strikes again: Many food-storage containers are made of the hard, clear polycarbonate plastic that may contain BPA. As is the case with water bottles, the BPA can leach out of the plastic in these containers and seep into your leftovers.

Health.com: Studies report more harmful effects from BPA

"The leaching is increased during heating, but it also leaches to a smaller degree even when cold foods are stored," Dr. Carpenter explains. Glass containers are your safest—not to mention planet-friendly—bet. Both Rubbermaid (at left) and Pyrex make glass ones with BPA-free plastic lids.

The milk you’re drinking may not be doing your body good: Dairy products account for a reported 60 to 70 percent of the estrogens we consume through our food. If that seems like a shockingly large number, it’s mainly because milk naturally contains hormones passed along from cows. What worries some experts is that about 17% of dairy cows are treated with the hormone rBST (or rBGH), which stimulates milk production by increasing circulating levels of another hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).

"Elevated levels of IGF-1 in people are associated with an increased risk of cancer, including breast cancer," Dr. Schettler explains. In fact, the use of rBGH is banned in Europe and Canada. Although research has yet to definitively conclude whether drinking rBGH-treated milk increases your IGF-1 levels high enough to cause concern, Dr. Schettler says it’s advisable to buy milk that hasn’t been treated with it. So pick up milk that’s labeled rBGH-free, rBST-free, or is produced without artificial hormones.

Health.com: 11 healthy milk shakes and smoothies

When researchers at the EWG analyzed 89,000 produce-pesticide tests to determine the most contaminated fruits and vegetables, celery topped the chart. "In terms of the sheer number of chemicals, it was the worst," says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the EWG. Celery stalks are very porous, so they retain the pesticides they’re sprayed with—up to 13 of them, according to the EWG analysis. Lunder also advises buying organic bell peppers, spinach and potatoes because they scored high for pesticides, as well.

Tomato sauce
When picking up tomato sauce or paste, choose the glass jar or box over the can. "The lining on the inside of food cans that’s used to protect against corrosion and bacteria may contain BPA," explains Cheryl Lyn Walker, PhD, a professor of carcinogenesis at MD Anderson Cancer Center and past president of the Society of Toxicology.

In 2009, Consumer Reports tested BPA levels in a variety of canned foods and found it in nearly all of the brands tested, suggesting that the chemical leaked in. "What can happen is that BPA in the lining can leach into the food," Walker explains.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime | Before It's News

11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime | Before It's News

Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods? Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it. Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system. This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.

Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term. Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!


Honey never really goes bad. In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible. If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change. Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey. Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)


Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite. This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides


Life would be so boring without sugar. Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).


Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world. This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population. Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

Dried corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn. Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season. To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

Baking soda

This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale. Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried. So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last. Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

Non-carbonated soft drinks

Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered. Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time. And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last. Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

White rice

White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life. If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

Bouillon products

Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved. However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered. If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

Uses: flavoring dishes

Powdered milk – in nitrogen packed cans

Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer. If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

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companion planting gardening plants

companion planting gardening plants

Plant Companions: Friend or Foe?
Plant companions ensure a happy garden--and gardener.
by George and Becky Lohmiller

Source: The 2005 Old Farmer's Almanac

Credit: Angela Altomare
Related Articles

* Plant Companions: List for Ten Common Vegetables [2]
* Companion Planting: The Three Sisters [3]

It takes more than good soil, sun, and nutrients to ensure success in a garden. Plants have to grow well with one another. Some are friends and some are foes! Learn more about companion planting or what is also called companion gardening.
Examples of Companion Plants

* Blueberries, mountain laurel, azaleas, and other ericaceous (heath family) plants thrive in the acidic soils created by pines and oaks.
* Shade-loving plants seek the shelter provided by a wooded grove.
* The shade-lovers in return protect the forest floor from erosion with their thick tangle of shallow roots.
* Legumes and some trees, such as alders, have symbiotic relationships with bacteria in the soil that help them to capture nitrogen from the air and convert it to fertilizer, enriching the soil so plants can prosper in their presence.

Tips for Your Vegetable Garden

* Some plants, especially herbs, act as repellents, confusing insects with their strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants.
* Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms, and sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths.
* Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and even animal pests.
* Some companions act as trap plants, luring insects to themselves. Nasturtiums, for example, are so favored by aphids that the devastating insects will flock to them instead of other plants.
* Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract garden heroes -- praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders -- that dine on insect pests.
* Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room.
* Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grown in the shadow of corn
* Sunflowers appreciate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don't compete for water and nutrients.

Incompatible Plants (Combatants)

* While white garlic and onions repel a plethora of pests and make excellent neighbors for most garden plants, the growth of beans and peas is stunted in their presence.
* Potatoes and beans grow poorly in the company of sunflowers, and although cabbage and cauliflower are closely related, they don't like each other at all.

Strange Pairings

Sometimes plants may be helpful to one another only at a certain stage of their growth. The number and ratio of different plants growing together is often a factor in their compatibility, and sometimes plants make good companions for no apparent reason.

* You would assume that keeping a garden weed-free would be a good thing, but this is not always the case. Certain weeds pull nutrients from deep in the soil and bring them close to the surface. When the weeds die and decompose, nutrients become available in the surface soil and are more easily accessed by shallow-rooted plants.
* Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples of strange garden bedfellows is the relationship between the weed stinging nettle and several vegetable varieties. For reasons that are unclear, plants grown in the presence of stinging nettle display exceptional vigor and resist spoiling.

One of the keys to successful companion planting is observation. Record your plant combination's and the results from year to year, and share this information with other gardening friends. Companionship is just as important for gardeners as it is for gardens.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Exclusive: Malloy's Contingency Plans Call For Cutting An Additional 10 Percent From Agency Budgets In Next Two Years; Preparations If Ongoing Union Talks Fall Apart - Capitol Watch

Exclusive: Malloy's Contingency Plans Call For Cutting An Additional 10 Percent From Agency Budgets In Next Two Years; Preparations If Ongoing Union Talks Fall Apart - Capitol Watch

As talks with state employee unions have not reached a final deal, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is asking all agency heads to cut their budgets by an additional 10 percent in each of the next two years.

Malloy is moving ahead with an alternative budget in case the ongoing talks with the unions fall apart. He is seeking $1 billion in savings and concessions in each of the next two years from the unions, and the two sides are trying to reach a deal in the coming weeks.

Malloy is not yet ordering layoffs, which he has threatened to do if the talks collapse. Instead, supervisors are being told that they can save money through attrition.

Benjamin Barnes, Malloy's budget chief, essentially announced the move by sending a memo Monday morning to all agency heads to advise them of the contingency plans.

The memo, obtained by The Hartford Courant's Capitol Watch, says, "All types of reduction options should be considered including program eliminations, facility closures, and savings due to staff reductions such as attrition anticipated by June 30, 2011 that may not have been included in the recommended appropriations for the biennium.''

Since the administration is moving quickly to craft the alternative budget, the reductions from each agency are due at the end of the day on April 13. Malloy is ordering the alternatives for the executive branch, along with asking for similar cuts in the judicial and legislative branches.

The 10 percent cuts by the commissioners would amount to about $150 million per year. That includes only the money that could be saved under the authority of the commissioners and does not include any savings from layoffs and further cuts that could be authorized by the governor.

When asked about the plans, Roy Occhiogrosso, a senior adviser to Malloy, said, "The governor has been very clear that he's been preparing an alternative budget. This is just one piece of that.''

The legislature's budget-writing committee must make their recommendations on the overall budget by April 26, and Malloy is hoping for an overall budget deal by early May. That, however, is a self-imposed deadline, and the current fiscal year does not end until June 30.

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