51% Show #1159

Albany, NY – Hurricane Irene roared up the East Coast and hit communities which are still reeling from the realization that their picturesque creeks and streams can turn into deadly torrents. You've heard the reports from Vermont, and probably seen video of some of the small towns in New York's Catskill Mountains, which were swept away when local streams turned into raging floodwaters. Writer Martha Frankel lives in the town of Olive - a rural area in the Catskills between two major reservoirs. And the streams that feed those reservoirs wiped out whole towns from the combined rains of two hurricanes in one week.

9:42 Martha Frankel

Martha Frankel is the author of Hats & Eyeglasses: A Family Love Affair With Gambling. If you want to help the people affected by the flooding in the Catskills, go to watershedpost.com. You'll find a list of organizations which are coordinating the efforts.

A few years ago, no one knew what hydrofracking was. Yet it had already begun in many states. Hydraulic fracturing is relatively new technology that allows access to pockets of natural gas deep within shale deposits - gas that it was just too expensive to extract until now. But fracking has brought an economic boom to areas on top of that shale; places like Texas and Pennsylvania were some of the earliest hosts of the new energy boom. But that process has a dark side with dangers to drinking water from the chemicals used in the process, and reports of increased earthquake activity in areas where fracking is done. The movie Gasland, with its documentation of tap water that catches fire, fueled the debate. And New York, which sits on top of two major shale deposits, is in the midst of deciding whether to give fracking a green light. Dr. Sharon Ufberg says it's an issue that her state of California is concerned about, too.

4:02 Fracking Ufberg

Dr. Sharon Ufberg is an integrative health care journalist. She hosts a regular wellness feature on KVON/KVYN the Vine in Napa Valley. She writes for the Huffington Post and Womens eNews, and she contributes regular Alive and Kicking features for us here on 51%. Find out more at drsharonufberg.com.

And finally, we're all aware that women have, historically, made less than men. And they usually make far less over their lifetimes because of family obligations. Personal finance expert Manisha Thakor says there's a consequence to that that we seldom consider - the impact on a woman's senior years.

3:50 77 11 Effect Thakor

Manisha Thakor is a personal finance expert and the founder of the Women's Financial Literacy Institute. You can learn more at manishathakor.com