Ear to the ground

“These must have been pools or tubs. The Anasazi had to bathe somewhere.”

-A visitor overlooking a kiva at Mesa Verde.

Stealing solar

Renewable energy is now attracting a whole new breed of enthusiast – the thief.

In a rash of eco-crimes, photovoltaic panels – which boast hefty price tags – are being stolen all over the nation. California with its more than 33,000 solar installations has been particularly hard hit, according to a report in theNew York Times. Ken Martin Jr. (no relation to the former owner of Scoot ’n Blues) had 58 panels stolen from his office building in Santa Rosa. The estimated value of the heist was $75,000. The story then goes to the burg of Palm Desert, where Jim and Shayna Powell have lost 16 panels in three separate burglaries.

Many of these stolen items are showing up online with drastically reduced price tags.  Panels valued at $1,500 apiece that were stolen from a California toll road were listed on eBay last November for $100 each.

Tom McCalmont, a solar installer in San Jose, has both profited and lost money on solar panels. His company’s headquarters was struck by thieves in June, and panels valued at more than $30,000 were taken from the roof.

“This is the crime of the future,” Mr. McCalmont told the paper.  

In Europe, solar theft is already a crime of the past. Alarm systems and mechanical safeguards are already common on that continent where the solar industry is well-established.

The sales call

At least one party ended for cell phone users last week. Mobile phone numbers all over the nation have gone public, and telemarketers have been gobbling them up. In the ultimate cruel twist, cell phone owners will not only receive sales calls, they’ll have to pay for them.

There is a glimmer of hope for those who’ve gotten accustomed to telemarketer-free living. A National Do Not Call List has already been put together, and getting on the list blocks your number for five years. Call 888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register or visit www.donotcall.gov.




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows