Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Upcoming Green Events in Akron/Cleveland

I've been totally immersed in the garden over the three day weekend (and have the sore muscles to prove it!). Meanwhile, a number of "green" event announcements have made their way into my email box. Hope to see you all at one or more of these worthwhile events:

"An Ohio RPS! How Was It Passed & What Does It Mean for the Akron Region?"
Thursday, May 29th, 6:15 - 7:30 PM
Ohio Brewing Company
222 S. Main Street
Akron, Ohio 44308
Join GEO as we discuss a historical measure for the state of Ohio - the passage of Am. Sub. Senate Bill 221 that was signed into law by Governor Strickland on May 1st, 2008. This bill includes the adoption of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which provides that 12.5% of Ohio's Electricity will come from renewable energy resources by 2025. The RPS is part of the Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard [CLICK HERE]. See summaries of Am Sub SB 221 provisions on the Bricker & Ekler law firm site [CLICK HERE].

Speakers:
Amy Gomberg - Environment Ohio
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic (Invited)
Ohio Representative Vernon Sykes (Invited)

Learn more on upcoming clean energy events, and network with professionals and others dedicated to creating a sustainable energy economy in Ohio. The event is Free and open to the public.

Please RSVP by May 27th to Program Manager Athan Barkoukis at Athan@GreenEnergyOhio.org.



Blossom Music Center Is Going Green.
Blossom administration has a new green initiative. Recycling (including purchasing) will be a top priority this year. Making sure the recyclables are collected and placed in the correct container is not an easy job considering there can be over 20,000 people attending a concert with approximately 50 employees per event.
Blossom Music Center and the Summit Akron Solid Waste Management Authority are partnering to coordinating volunteers to help the maintenance staff in collecting the recyclables off the grounds at the end of each concert.

To show their appreciation to the volunteers for helping to keep recyclables from entering the landfills, Blossom will give FREE concert tickets to volunteers that assist with this task. To qualify volunteers must collect recyclables after three concerts to earn tickets (approximately 6 hours of volunteering.)

Volunteers can pick out concert tickets of their choice. Blossom would like five-ten volunteers per concert, ages 18 or older.
The first concert is May 31, 2008 Eric Clapton. Clean-up is the next morning. We need five volunteers to collect recyclables from the grounds on June 1, 2008 at 9:00 am.

Call me if you have any questions or want to sign up, Lisa Bostwick 330-338-1243

June Schedule


Date
Concert
Time
Number of volunteers
June 1,2008
Eric Clapton
9:00 a.m.
5
June 13, 2008
Iron Madden
9:00 a.m.
5
June 16,2008
Brooks and Dunn
9:00 a.m.
5
June 18, 2008
Jack Johnson
9:00 a.m.
20
June 23, 2008
Tom Petty
9:00 a.m.
10

SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY IN AKRON
E4S Greater Akron Network Event
Date: Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Time: 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: GOJO Industries
General Price: Free


Discover the Possibilities with the E4S Network
Join 120+ leaders from business, government, academia and nonprofit organizations as we explore the possibilities to bring triple bottom line benefits to your business or organization and the region. Discover how to reduce costs, generate new revenue opportunities, start new businesses or product lines while reducing environmental and climate impacts.

More Details about Sustainable Mobility Program Coming Soon!

Registration is Required: Click here to register online or call 216-451-7755.

Event Sponsorships Available:
E4S is actively seeking event and program sponsors to help grow the E4S Hub. Sponsorships start at $1,500 per event to reach nearly 6,000 people interested in building a sustainable economy in Northeast Ohio. Contact Courtney for more information on sponsorship at courtney@e4s.org or via phone (216) 451-7755.

Request a Display Table:
If you have sustainable products or services for businesses, we welcome your display table request. A staff member will get back to you within a few days of your form submission. E4S Members receive $50 off tables. For more information contact Peter at 216-451-7755.

  • $150 - Full Table
  • $100 - Half Table


The Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force
Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Time: 4:00 am to 8:00 pm
Location: Joseph E. Cole Center, Cleveland State University, 3100 Chester Avenue ,Cleveland, OH 44115
General Price: Free

The Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force is bringing all Ohioans to the table to explore the broad spectrum of transportation issues facing the state. With your input, we will prioritize how the state balances the movement of people and freight, promotes safety and reduces congestion, creates jobs and encourages responsible growth, helps to build sustainable communities, and links all modes of transportation - connecting highways to rail, aviation, water ports, and transit.
For more information contact ODOT Communications, at 614-644-8640

ENGAGE ALL YOUR EMPLOYEES IN SUSTAINABLE CHANGE
E4S Third Tuesday Network Event
Share Your Best Practices
Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Time: 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Great Lakes Brewing Company, Tasting Room, 2701 Carroll Ave. Cleveland
General Price: Free

Discover the Possibilities with the E4S Network
Join 200+ leaders from business, government, academia and nonprofit
organizations as we explore the possibilities to bring triple bottom
line benefits to your business or organization and the region. Discover
how to reduce costs, generate new revenue opportunities, start new
businesses or product lines while reducing environmental and climate
impacts.

Registration is Required: RSVP for this free event today by filling out our online
form
, or call 216-451-7755.

Directions: Follow GLBC instructions to the Brewery Tasting Room, 2701 Carroll Ave. (click here)

Request a Display Table:
If you have sustainable products or services for businesses, we
welcome your display table request. A staff member will get back to you
within a few days of your form submission. E4S Members receive $50 off
tables. For more information contact Peter at 216-451-7755.

  • $150 – Full Table
  • $100 – Half Table

Dump the Pump Week
Week of June 16th
Official Dump the Pump Day is Thursday, June 19th
METRO will have a live radio remote with WKDD on Monday the 16th or Tuesday the 17th at Eddy’s bike shop on Exchange (or ??? awaiting some final stuff)
Prior to the event DAP will promote with flyers, emails, lit drops in parking lots,…throughout downtown. Persons can park at various remote parking for free and use as a park and ride lot on Thursday, June 19th (if they take buses to their final destination). Thursday, June 19th will be a ride METRO FREE day. Except for the METRO SCAT service and the NorthCoast Express Service to Cleveland. Persons who ride METRO on Thursday, June 19th receive a “ticket” to attend the DAP event on Friday, June 20th in downtown Akron from 4 pm – 7 pm. The ticket can be used to ride to downtown on Friday (from 5 pm -9 pm) for free on a METRO bus. The ticket will be surrendered at the event for a freebie at the DAP event. The ticket will also be used as a prize drawing for persons to win a bike*. The passenger/ticket holder will have to pay for their return trip on the bus. METRO pass holders can present their 31-day pass at 121 South Main St (our customer service window) for a free gift, since they won’t benefit from a free fare day.
Throughout the week METRO will conduct prize patrols on METRO buses and pass out “gifts” to riders. We will do various cross promoting, as well.
*METRO will work with Car Gear or Eddy’s Bike Shop as a potential vendor/location for radio remote. Perhaps they can raffle off a bike to persons who turn in their ticket at the DAP event.

The Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force
Date: Monday, June 23, 2008
Time: 4:00 am to 8:00 pm
Location: John S. Knight Center, 77 East Mill Street , Akron, OH 44308
General Price: Free

The Ohio 21st Century Transportation Priorities Task Force is bringing all Ohioans to the table to explore the broad spectrum of transportation issues facing the state. With your input, we will prioritize how the state balances the movement of people and freight, promotes safety and reduces congestion, creates jobs and encourages responsible growth, helps to build sustainable communities, and links all modes of transportation - connecting highways to rail, aviation, water ports, and transit.
For more information contact ODOT Communications, at 614-644-8640



Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Night Rock: Lysistrata

Three day weekend and the weather is just warm enough to get the tomatoes and peppers in, while the flower beds are screaming for zinnias and petunias. Everything needs pruning, weeding, mulching, so this is going to be a busy three days. Nobody reads blogs over holiday work-in-the-garden weekends, do they?

For the late night music crowd, Todd Rundgren does Aristophanes:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What to do with Bill?

I don't understand the lack of imagination in the general punditry. Tonight the blab has been all about the Democratic VP choices. Will he ask her or will he stand her up? Does she want to be asked and if asked, what would she do?

I heard numerous people tonight say Obama cannot ask Hillary because if he does, then he also has Bill to deal with after November.

What do you do with Bill? Make him ambassador someplace half way around the world. Some place that has lots of problems he can solve. Seriously.

The Democrats cannot afford to ostracize any segments of its wide and varied membership. Even "old insider politicians." There's a whole lot of work to be done. More than enough to keep everybody very busy for the next 8 years and then some.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fill-er up at 3.99 per gal

Most gas stations I drove past yesterday were at 3.86 and I was down to less than a quarter tank. I was going to stop and fill it before the Memorial Day weekend, but somehow found myself back at home before doing so.

So this morning on the way to school, the radio told me that gas prices in Akron would be jumping up up up this morning due to something I didn't quite catch. Sure enough, by the end of the work day, gas prices were at 3.99 in and around Kenmore. I did a double take at the Marathon right across from the X-way entrance at Wooster-Hawkins - 3.88.9 -- a bargain! I pulled in and filled the tank. Total cost -- $43.65.

A couple months ago, I put down a $99 deposit on a Smart ForTwo car, finally making their way to the USA. They've been all over Europe, developed by Daimler AG in 1998. I'm on a waiting list with some 40,000 ahead of me! They are well made, and affordable and will make a good transition vehicle until the next generation of environmentally conscious cars become available. The Smart ForTwo has put a micro-hybrid into production, but it isn't available here yet. Maybe by the time they get to my name on that list, the micro will be available.

Check out this video of a Smart ForTwo crash test:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ask the Mayor

Akron citizens received our copy of the quarterly City publication put out by our local government. In this issue, is a new feature -- a tear out post-card that allows each of us to ask one question of our Mayor. All we have to do is put our name and return address on it and a stamp. Someone, we are promised, from city government will answer our questions. So why not call it "Ask someone in city government?"

Trying to narrow it down to one question is a bit difficult. I'm tempted, after reading the mag through from cover to cover, to ask a follow up question to one of three printed in the current issue. The question is about the proposed sale of our sewer system to create a scholarship program for all Akron Public School students to attend Akron U. The mayor sketches it out by focusing on the scholarships, promising an aggressive campaign to raise the necessary funds from a variety of sources. His words about leasing the sewer plan are still too vague for me. He promises that the city will address "citizens' concerns about future rates, environmental issues and service."

Quite frankly, Mayor Plusquellic, I'll believe your plan when I see all the details in black and white, not just promises. My question is -- when will we see an actual detailed plan?

The other question also arises after reading City mag. Why must every single Rock the Lock on Friday nights feature a cover band? Aren't there enough interesting local bands to at least have every other Friday feature original material? And if we have to have all these cover bands, including tributes to the following: Kiss, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Doors, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy Buffett, CArlos Santana, CSN&Y, Tina Turner, Journey, Bon Jovi, Creedence, Led Zeppelin, U2 (!), Aerosmith, Bob Seger, and ZZ Top -- can't we at least have a Kinks Kover band, huh??

I realize those are a lot of frivolous questions, so maybe I'll stick to bugging him about the sewer system. Because we citizens won't get an opportunity to vote on it directly. It will be put to City Council. And we know that City Council is not likely to vote against our mayor, although they showed some spine today by voting to reject a deal to pay off local business man and charter school magnate David Brennan's downtown hotel debts.

There is a local group forming to oppose the sewer move. Get the info here.

Lectures for Arabian leaders

Hey look who is lecturing the Arab leaders:

George W. Bush.

and

Osama Bin Laden.

Birds of a feather?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Down but not totally out

The title of this post could reference Hillary Clinton, but I'll save her for a bit later. I'm the one who has been down -- with some kind of bug that would not go away. Not a normal cold. Not the flu. But something that brought about fever, swollen glands, scratchy sore throat, lung congestion -- and would not go away on its own. I'd think I was getting better only to feel the symptoms coming on again.

Finally the fever came back and the swollen glands made my face balloon, so I gave up and last Thursday went off to the doctor who didn't have a clue, but sent me to get X-rays for possible pneumonia (negative), prescribed an antibiotic, and set up an appointment for me with an eye, ear and throat specialist. That appointment is for two and a half weeks from now. Sheesh. I sure as heck hope I'm not feeling like this in two and a half weeks. The antibiotic seems to be helping and I think I can drag myself back to work tomorrow.

Sitting in the waiting area of the X-ray clinic, I happened to overhear three nurses at the desk discussing the presidential race. They were all white middle-aged women and they were all for Hillary and adamantly so. One of them stated rather loudly that if Hillary wasn't the nominee, she'd be voting for McCain. The others nodded in agreement. Here in front of me was living evidence of what exit polling and pundits have been blathering about for weeks -- Hillary's base support.

If I'd felt at all well, I might have spoken up and tried to get them to consider how awful it would be to vote in McSame for president. And yet, I kind of know what they are feeling. Once again, women are supposed to be nice and step back so that the men can take the leading roles. The saddest thing of all is that there are really no great prospects on the horizon for women -- other than Hillary -- to step forward and vie for the prize. A very depressing NYT article mentions a couple of women here and there, but confirms that the pickings are slim and the road is still very difficult for women to gain power in government.

It would be great if Obama picked a woman for VP. But the chances of that happening are slim to none, because that would "weaken" the ticket in the eyes of all the male pundits, politicians and bloggocrats. If he really wants to convince me that he's the candidate for change and for a new form of politics, he would ignore the conventional wisdom. What do you want to bet he goes for a white male southern conservative democrat to balance the ticket?

I'm going to vote for Obama, no doubt about that. But if he wants my active support, then he needs to think long and carefully about what to do about women of a certain age who feel the glass ceiling smashing down our hopes once again. If he doesn't pick a woman VP, he could take up some of Hillary's core issues, especially health care, and take a more progressive stance that meets the needs of working people.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

E4S in Akron -- no more waste!

It's easy to get depressed about environmental issues -- so what a big emotional boost to attend the E4S event "Waste is a business opportunity" at the new Ohio Brewery on Main Street this evening. The event was packed, and the networking non-stop. What is more, the future for reducing and reusing waste streams is looking much brighter.

We heard some short testimonials from local business people, who shared what their companies are doing with and to various forms of waste. Shearer's (makers of chips and other food products) sells their used cooking oil to a company that extracts the nutrients to use in dog and cat food products. The potato peelings are sold to a company that turns them into cattle feed. Another company uses the potato peelings to make biodegradable "leather." The company also collects and resells shrink wrap to a local toy company that recycles plastic. They are working on installing heat exchangers to reuse the heat from the cooking process to heat the buildings and offices. Shearer's saved 200K by initiating sustainable practices last year and made an additional 200K by turning waste streams into profits.

GoJo Industries also sells plastic waste and donates soap to local charities who distribute it to those in need. Zerolandfill is an organization that recycles samples of fabric, brick, and other items used by architectural firms that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The samples are distributed to local artists and educators who can use the materials for a wide variety of arts and crafts projects. They are looking to expand into Akron, as there are many local architectural firms with resources to recycle.

A Piece of Cleveland harvests good wood from buildings that are being demolished. The materials are then turned into new pieces for the home, such as counter tops, built in furniture and so on. The owner of this company spoke with great passion about "upcycling" building materials and providing the purchaser with a "rebirth certificate" for each piece, detailing its point of origin and historical context.

The most exciting news of the evening hands down was a new process from PolyFlow, that supposedly can take all plastics, not just one and two, and turn them into a reusable polymer. That also includes compound plastic items as well as rubber tires and carpets. Sounds incredible, sort of a 21st century alchemical miracle. The man who spoke said the business plan is to lease the technology and establish plants all over the world.

E4S makes sure that people in the audience are thinking and connecting about the topic of the night, and we were instructed to talk in small groups to answer questions about waste streams in our daily lives and how we deal with them...or not! I talked to a young architect working in downtown Akron. He has worked to get everyone to turn off their computers every night when they go home, which saves a whole lot of energy. They are also going to invest in rain barrels to put at the corners of their building with drip lines attached and spread throughout their building's landscaping.

I thought about the school district in which I teach and how unsustainable so many of its practices are. Shouldn't all the food waste be going to a company like Paygro, which turns food and green waste into usable products such as mulch and soil enhancers. I've seen custodians toss fluorescent light bulbs into the trash, which is a huge no no, but who's paying attention? We let kids buy water and sports drinks in plastic bottles, but don't provide recycling for those plastic bottles or for aluminum cans. And we won't even talk about how much is left turned on and plugged in over night and the weekends.

Valley Park Association, Summit County Metro Parks, and a representative from Akron's E4S is expanding their Akron event calendar and by tonight's turnout, we can only hope for more green and sustainable business opportunities locally. Lots of movers and shakers were in the audience tonight, including folks from the Ohio EPA, KSU radio, The Sierra Club, CuyahogaGreenPrint, which is actually getting up and running -- look for a web site soon and invitations to join in the movement to turn our village green!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blogging ennui

May has been a blogging bust here at the Village Green. The first word that came to mind was a fancy one, "ennui" -- which, according to dictionary.com means:

...a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom: The endless lecture produced an unbearable ennui.

In other words, sometimes you have to put a cap on it or satiety will wipe you out.

Sometimes you need a respite. I've been down with a virus, so I've been doi
ng little more than reading actual books, not blogs. Watching some television. NBA Finals. The weird last four weeks of House. Making plans for the garden as planting time approaches. I've managed to get some weeding done and have a few new perennials waiting to go in beds.

I tried to find a spice bush locally. We had one in the garden in Granger. I remember looking forward to it's amazing fragrance every spring. So I looked on Ebay and found a grower with Spice bushes for sale in Indiana. Two 24" bare rooted plants are on their way via US mail.

Obviously the garden is a good place to lose the ennui and find some renewal. Blogging energy is beginning to return! I'm going to the Akron E4S event this week at the new Ohio Brewery on Main St. The topic is
"Waste is a Business Opportunity." I hope to see lots of local interest in reducing and reusing various waste streams. Looking forward to blogging about it!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Eddy Arnold RIP

We had some Eddy Arnold records in the house when I was growing up, probably the only country western recordings in the family collection. I liked his baritone voice and the guitar playin'.

Thanks to YouTube, we have some vintage Eddy to play here tonight, along with noted Nashville studio guitarist Hank Garland.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Post Cincinnati Blues

















The sun bounced off the magnificent city skyline as I drove from Kentucky into Cincinnati. What a beautiful view and a thrilling downhill drive across the river and into the city!

Found a very cool vegetarian restaurant called Myra's Dionysus. Now how could a vegetarian theatre person resist such a place? The menu was packed with enticing items. I settled on the gado gado and oh -- it was yummy and spicy! I'm so glad I have three more weekends in Cincinnati scheduled for next year so that I can explore more of Myra's menu.

No theatre-going this time. The selections on offer were just not as appealing as lolling about in a luxury hotel room in a humongous bed reading some books I've been wanting to finish for a long time. (reviews to appear here soon).

Saturday morning, up and ready to depart for conference meetings, I noticed a couple dressed to the hilt, her with an enormous hat. Ah ha, must be Kentucky Derby bound, which reminded me that it might be fun to watch it while dining at the hotel restaurant sports lounge after the meetings for the day concluded, which I did -- only to choke on my meal as the poor filly Eight Belles "broke down" as they say.

Later, I went online to read more about what happened, as the NBC coverage was stunningly insensitive to the moment. The celebrations and the corporate sponsorship were given just about all of the post-race airtime except for a small segment in which we heard the not very expert announcers first speculate that Eight Belles may have had a heart condition, only to be interrupted by a brusque veterinarian report that she broke both ankles and had to be euthanized -- and now back to the winner's circle.

Online chat and comment boards brought out a number of interesting points about the current state of horse racing. Thoroughbreds these days are being bred for light bone structure and heavy muscles, not for soundness. Horses in the US are forced to race too early. A number of comments zeroed in on the age of the horses, stating that two years old is too early to be pushing these horses to run full out as their bones aren't fully developed.

"The sport is at least as inhumane as greyhound racing and only a couple of steps removed from animal fighting, " is the way one NYT columnist puts it. Read the rest of his article here.

I must confess I have enjoyed watching the horses run -- in the past -- but I never liked seeing the jockeys whip them. I also don't care for all the assumptions that people place upon the animals, humanizing them by ascribing words such as "heroic," "gallant" and so on. Eight Belles was a beautiful creature and deserved to live out her life in a pasture somewhere where she could run if she so pleased.

On Sunday, I departed Cincinnati after a very successful conference, feeling good about the year's work, and looking forward to the following year. But as luck would have it, on the drive home I started to feel rather wretched and by the time I got home (in record time -- I really stepped on the pedal this time!) I was shivering with fever and starting to feel a nasty illness come over me. My break down wasn't even close to tragic, and I know I'll be up and about again soon. But still hovering over my illness is the thought of that poor horse and the conditions that lead to her death. I'm not watching the Preakness or the Belmont, I know that much.

Friday, May 02, 2008