Welcome to the Marach 2013 issue of the Kent Environmental Council newsletter.
| ||Engaging in an Active Life |
One of the things that I love about the Kent Environmental Council is its engagement in the community--especially through education and activism. These are two things that are near and dear to my heart, and seeing what so many of us in Kent have managed to do over the years, it seems like a number of people feel similarly. One way to combine both of these loves that is becoming more and more common is through citizen science, or crowd-sourced research projects, where data are collected by volunteers in the community to contribute to a research project designed by someone in the field. Good examples of this research approach are the Great Backyard Bird Count, vernal pool monitoring, and now, KEC member Charles Frederick's newest research project on active living.
This is your chance to become as active in research as you are in your day to day life. Before March 22, collect photos showing examples of active living in Kent (good or bad), and send them with the proper documentation to Charles. By doing so, you will be helping improve our community and add to data showing where Kent is encouraging active living and where it has room to improve. These photos could show, for example, someone riding a bicycle on one of the bike paths around town, children walking to school, areas of sidewalk that are risky for pedestrian or vehicle drivers not paying attention to bikeriders. For each photo include when and where the photo was taken, what you found interesting about the scene, and a description of the weather conditions.
If you have any questions, contact Charles about this great way to get involved in our active community.
--Lisa Regula Meyer, Chair, KEC
| ||Active Living Main Topic of Discussion at KEC Annual Meeting in February|
Active living was the topic of discussion at the KEC annual meeting in February. Members Charles Frederick, Christopher Mallin, Harold Walker and Eugene Wenninger introduced the concept of active living and to explained that three focus groups--transportation, sustainability, and parks and trail development--were combined into one active living focus group and that the topic will be a priority for KEC in 2013. Click here to see a PDF of the PowerPoint slides presented at the meeting.
The principles of active living are as follows:
- Physical activity contributes to improved health and quality of life.
- Everyone should have choices for physical activity.
- Places should be designed for a variety of opportunities for physical activity.
- Development should be designed to encourage mixed uses, compact design and transportation choices.
- Buildings should be designed and oriented to promote active living.
- Transportation systems should provide safe, convenient and affordable access.
- Parks and green space should be part of a transportation network that connects destinations of interest to the community.
- Municipalities need to plan for ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration, promotion of facilities, behavioral supports, and policies that institutionalize the vision of active living and routine maintenance that ensures the continued safety, quality and attractiveness of the physical infrastructure.
- Community governing and planning processes need to address the impacts of the built environment and transportation choices on residents' ability to be physically active.
Active living also includes promotion of local foods, which is the interest of another KEC focus group. Active living benefits include better health, improved diet, local foods, transportation choices, destinations, neighborhood stability, mixed-use communities and more social engagement.
Since the beginning of the year, the active living focus group has established a year-long research project that will study the elements of active living (movement + transportation, place-making + neighborhood characteristics, and social participation + activism) within the city of Kent and help develop a series of projects or policy recommendation for residents, public officials and stakeholders.
The focus group will be reviewing Kent planning documents and seeking input to document existing conditions until March 22. The group then will take a month to conduct analysis mapping and synthesize the data, which will be presented at an April 22 panel discussion at KEC's spring forum at the Presbyterian Church in Kent. From April through October the group will be involved in the development of active living projects that will be presented to the community at KEC's fall forum. KEC is looking for interested persons to get involved in this process at all levels.
Getting involved with the project is easy. Just take five pictures of things you see in Kent that show the positive aspects of active living or negative aspects that prohibit active living, and write a short paragraph about the picture and issue. Email the material to Charles Frederick, or send it by postal mail to 532 Pioneer Ave., Kent, OH 44240. When information comes in from multiple people at one time, it is called crowd sourcing. Frederick will work with students at Kent State University and others to compile the data.
If you want to be more involved or want to learn more, come to KEC's active living focus group meetings at Scribbles coffee shop, 237 N. Water St., Kent, on March 6 and 20 and April 3 and 17. You also can contact Frederick by email, by phone at 330-678-5327 or by postal mail at 532 Pioneer Ave., Kent, OH 44240. Or join the active living conversations on Facebook.
| ||Environment in the News|
Record-Courier, January 26 -- "The River We Share" is the theme of a collaborative effort between Kent State University and the National Park Service on geology, biology, hydrology and educational programs focusing on the Cuyahoga River, which flows through both the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the city of Kent. The five-year agreement, signed last month, calls for joint projects and research and offers an excellent opportunity to develop future land stewards. The research and hands-on education opportunities will benefit both the students and the parks.
Record-Courier, January 6 -- The contract with Crooked River Adventures, a Kent State University- sponsored canoe and kayak livery, was renewed by Kent City Council for this year, with an option to renew the contract for 2014 and 2015. Crooked River Adventures has operated in John Brown Tannery Park for the last three years. Both John Idone, director of the Kent Parks and Recreation Department, and Mayor Jerry Fiala were in favor of the renewal. For more information about the livery, click here.
Akron Beacon Journal, February 12 -- Ben W. Lupo, the owner of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating, admitted to ordering his employees to dump brine, drilling waste and oil-based mud into a city storm drain on at least five times before being caught on January 31. [The stream is in the Mahoning River watershed.] According to Kurt Kollar of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the water in the stream looked clean but throwing a rock in to disturb the sediment brought up a big pocket of oil. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources permanently revoked the operating permits of these two companies but not the roughly 20 other companies Lupo owns. The OEPA said clean-up could take a week or two.
WKBN News, March 4 --Ben Lupo is appealing the shutdown of D&L Energy, claiming that D&L was improperly shut down. He faces federal charges for dumping drilling waste into the Mahoning River watershed. Officials said that all of Lupo's oil and gas industry businesses were shut down. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is planning to file a lawsuit against D&L seeking damages. Gov. John Kasich is asking why new permits were issued to a company with 50 citations, violations and injection-well suspensions going back over many years. The Ohio EPA has said that injection practices by this company [disposal of wastewater into injection wells] were responsible for four earthquakes that occurred in Youngstown in 2011.
Ohio Legislature, current session -- Ohio's legislature is considering increased regulations on fracking. HB 41 would restore local control. HB 42 would give medical professionals access to chemical information from fracking that could cause poisoning. HB 17 deals with many oil and gas law changes and includes giving medical professionals access to chemical information and banning injection wells, among other provisions. Be sure to let your senator and representative know your opinions.
| ||KEC Board Members Tour Greenstar and Kimble Recycling Facilities |
| Members of Kent Environmental Council board recently visited the Kimble recycling facility in Twinsburg and the Greenstar facility in Akron. Both companies opened their recycling facilities in June 2012, and both are very large and very modern high-tech single-stream recycling facilities that can process up to 25 tons per hour. During both tours, the company spokesmen talked about their commitment to recycling and showed the participants around their plant. Both facilities use manpower to aid the high-tech machines that sort the cardboard, paper, glass, metal and three categories of plastic (numbers 1, 2 and 3-7). Materials are then baled so they can be loaded onto trucks.
Kimble had a landfill in Dover and transfer and recycling facilities in Canton, Cambridge and Carrollton prior to 2007. In 2007, the company opened a transfer facility in Twinsburg, with limited recycling being sent to Canton until June 2012 when they opened the Twinsburg recycling facility. Kimble uses natural gas to power its trucks.
Greenstar started in Ireland and then moved to Houston,Texas, with recycling facilities there and in Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas; Tulsa and Oklahoma City Oklahoma; Des Moines Iowa; Howell, Michigan; Pittsburg and Allentown, Pennsylvania; Patterson and Manmouth County New Jersey; and Poland and Akron, Ohio. Greenstar also has specialized managed services in Normal, Illinois, and Kensington, Connecticut. In January 2013, Greenstar was bought out by Waste Management.
Both Greenstar and Kimble said that they have outlets for their recycling, even in a down market. Both talked about more than half of the paper being shipped to China. In response to a phone call to the Portage County Recycling Center about how the county would monitor waste stream if materials were really recycled and not landfilled, DuWayne Porter, from the Portage County Health Department, said that the county had no money available to monitor this and that it is not illegal to dump recyclables in landfills.
Both companies would like to serve Portage County by hauling trash and recycling it, but they would be willing to contract for the sorting only. With recycling, volume is extremely important, and the market is quite competitive.
The Portage County commissioners have approved a solid waste management plan that has been sent to other local jurisdictions within the county for their approval. The plan must be submitted to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency by April 15 for approval.
| ||Save the Date|
Seventh Annual "Who's Your Mama?" Earth Day and Environmental Film Festival
Event times vary
April 19 - Environmental Film Festival
5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Kiva Auditorium, Kent State University Student Center
April 20 - Main Street Block Party
11 a.m.-5 p.m.
East Main Street between Depeyster and Water streets in downtown Kent
April 22 - Fifth Annual Vegan Iron Chef
5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Akron Aeros Stadium
300 S. Main Street in downtown Akron
River Day Festival
10 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Plum Creek Park
KEC Membership Renewals Due; New Members Welcome to Join
It's time to renew your KEC membership this year or join if you are not a member. February was the deadline for all KEC dues. Remember, dues are the main source of income for KEC. We need your support to do our work. Just fill out the KEC membership form. Membership levels are $45, Sustaining; $35, Family; $25, Individual; $15, Golden Buckeye; $10, Student; $500, Lifetime; and $200, Organization. Enclose the completed form and your check made payable to: Kent Environmental Council and mail to: KEC, P.O. Box 395, Kent, OH 44240.