Week one: Introducing the light pollution problem in Ocala

So far I have contacted my city by email and made a request to consider low voltage shielded lighting.  I got an email reply from the electrical engineer from the town who replied that they would look into this when doing street lighting projects.  I also posted to the Chiefland Astronomy Village Yahoo group and the kind folks have given me several leads.  Chiefland Astronomy Village is a premier dark sky community here in Florida.  
My early research finds that Ocala has about 8,725 street lights.  Many of these lights are 250 Watt high pressure sodium cobra style lights, as well as many open globe lights employing the 100 Watt High pressure sodium light.  I calculated (AS A VERY ROUGH ESTIMATE)  the city could save roughly $400,186.00 if the existing lights were changed to 35 Watt shielded lighting.  This was based on if the town used 175 Watt lights burning 4,100 hours a year at .08 cents a KWH (175 Watt x 4100 hours x .08 cents = $57.00 a year for one light.  $57.00 x 8,725 lights in town = $500,000.00).  There is a financial gain to changing the lights!  
I have joined the local astronomy club, the Alachua Astronomy Club.Inc and hope to meet with some folks that may have been working on this already and can offer some help.  I have also been in contact with the Managing Director of the Internation Dark-Sky Association who has been a great help with offering advise and direction.

What are my first steps in fighting light pollution???

What are the first steps in introducing better lighting to local government?  I image from central Florida where light pollution is not on the minds of many folks.  How do you persuade those elected to consider replacing new, perfectly working light fixtures to ones that are sky friendly?  
Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

My light polluted skies...

Here are some images I like to share.  I image from central Florida where there is an overabundance of light pollution.  I live in Ocala, I have Gainesville to the north of me and Orlando is about 60 miles south of me.  My skies are Bortle scale 6-7, I can barly see the summer milky way above me and my limiting magnitude stars are 5 to 5.5. 

Many communites have installed cut off light fixtures which point light down to the ground as opposed to the drop-lens cobra luminaire which allow light to spill out the sides and even upward, where light is not needed.  Communities have found a financial gain to using cut off light fixtures as it cost less to illuminate areas that ONLY need to be illuminated.  Much of the light that our towns and cities use on roads is wasted energy and money.

Right now I am information gathering I'd like to know if anyone has been part of the movement in changing their towns light fixtures and how the process went for you.  I have links to IDA and have stated reading the brochures within the page.  Please feel free to reply with your experiences.

Internation Dark-Sky Association
Harmful effects of light pollution

Six years ago today

Here is a cool video I took of space shuttle Atlantis that launched 6 years ago today!  I stitched the televised part of the launch to video I took.

Workaround to load drivers for the SSAG to a Windows 7 (64bit) system

Here is the workaround I use to load drivers for the SSAG to a Window 7 (64bit) system:
Load SSAG drivers from the CD
Once loaded connect the SSAG to your computer
An error message may show that the drivers are not found, NOW FOLLOW THE NEXT STEPS
     Other Device
          Right Click on Unknown Device
               Update Driver Software
               Browse My Computer for Driver Software
               Let Me Pick From a List of Device Drivers On My Computer
               Click Universal Serial BUS
               Under the Manufacturer column look for:

Now you'll be able to use the SSAG using guiding software (PHD/MaximDL etc.)