Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Planning Commission Energy Meeting Yields Many Ideas

On Tuesday, we attended the Rutland Regional Planning Commission's energy meeting. On the agenda, was a discussion of how the RRPC should use the $40,000 they have been awarded this year through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), aka "stimulus money." At the meeting, a thoughtful discussion unfolded where everyone in attendance (about 30 people or so) got a chance to speak to how they thought these monies should be used. An emphasis was placed on how these funds would benefit the entire region. A few solid ideas were teased out. Two in particular caught our attention.

Many in attendance expressed support for investing the money in Stafford Technical Center to allow students to work on an alternative energy project involving solar and wind technology -- teaching students how to install and maintain solar/wind hardware. The solar arrays and wind turbine would be located on campus (or nearby), which would create a high profile project that draw attention to alternative energy as well as our investment in teaching area technical students valuable skills in green careers . While STC only serves a handful of high school in the region, it does have a broader benefit if we look at it in terms of job creation.

Another suggestion that got some support was using the $40K to create a new staff position at the RRPC. The position, as it was discussed by the group, would organize a regional energy committee to replace the individual town energy committees. In the capacity, the staffer would be available to go after grant dollars, tax credits, and other energy opportunities for the towns and cities in Rutland County. 

We like the latter idea because a staffer could potentially secure money for the former STC project as well as any number of other energy initiatives throughout the county. However, money should be used to create an entirely new position -- putting more responsibilities on the current RRPC staff doesn't seem fair or particularly efficient. A qualified individual with a background in development/grant writing and a sincere dedication to energy conservation could potentially be a valuable asset to the county. 

Through the entire discussion, one theme that seemed to be unanimously agreed upon was energy conservation and efficiency. More than anything changing people attitudes about energy conservation requires a change in culture. And that's difficult work. To be sure, it's not impossible; it's just slow, incremental change. But in the end, conservation and efficiency -- responsible energy use -- is the real solution.

For more information about the RRPC's energy committee click here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Northwest School Gardens in the Herald

Our friends at Northwest School were in the Rutland Herald today showing off the amazing job they've done with their garden. Kudos to Meggen Hanna for all her hard and work and dedication to bringing fresh food into the classroom. Read the full article here. (Photo courtesy of Vyto Starinskas)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

SR Media Roundup: Bag the Bag Press (Old)

Here's a vid we found on YouTube about the kickoff to SR's "Bag the Bag" campaign back in November. Thought we'd post it for posterity. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Local Bound: No Parking? Think Again

Our co-chair Jim is back in the Rutland Herald today with his Local Bound column. This time, he's talking about the city's "huge" parking problems. Read it in the Herald, and check out Jim's past LB columns at the Local Bound Archives.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SolarFest This Weekend!

Mark your calendars: July 10, 11 & 12, 2009
"For 15 years, demonstrating the power of positive energy! SolarFest 2009 promises to be our best festival ever. Join us for three days of world-class musicians, dancers and performance artists, a stellar line-up of speakers, and over 90 workshops on renewable energy and sustainability topics. All for the price of a weekend festival ticket! You won't want to miss this year's SolarFest! Gates open at Noon on Friday and at 8:00am on Saturday and Sunday."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ron Krupp Book Signing & Discussion @ Annie's

Annie’s Book Stop will be welcoming Vermont author Ron Krupp in celebration of his newly published book Lifting the Yoke: Local Solutions to America’s Farm and Food Crisis on Friday, July 10 at 7:00 P.M.

Mr. Krupp will be discussing farm and food issues including the Food Crisis, Farm Bill of 2008, globalization of farming, obesity increase, loss of nutrition in children and adults, world hunger, and local change through alternatives as farmers’ markets, natural food co-ops, and more. He will be signing copies as well.

Ron Krupp has been involved with local farm and food issues in Vermont for 39 years. He started one of the first farmers’ markets in the early 70’s in Brattleboro. Twenty-nine years ago Ron published The Green Mountain Farmer, a monthly Vermont newspaper dedicated to farm and food issues. He was a commercial organic/biodynamic vegetable grower for 15 years. He has been doing farm and garden commentaries on Vermont Public Radio for 12 years. This is his second book. His first book is The Woodchuck’s Guide to Gardening.

This Event is free & open to the public!

Annie’s Book Stop
170 South Main Street
Rutland, VT 05701
(802) 775-6993

SR Media Roundup: Food, FOX, and Funny...

Here's some interesting vids that got caught in our internets this week. Enjoy.

A PBS interview with Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner about the disastrous impact of industrial agriculture and the failure of the American food industry.

A classic FOX News shoutfest about the new House energy bill.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Ban de Soleil
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJeff Goldblum
Stephen Colbert's provocative solution to global warming.