Archive for the ‘education’ Category
I just received this notice from Nathan Rutz of Ohio Citizen Action informing me that we are again being forced to defend ourselves against this abomination that Cleveland Public Power and the City of Cleveland promote.
Dear Gloria —
In 2012, after facing widespread public opposition to their plans for a new garbage incinerator on Ridge Road, the City of Cleveland fired project developer Peter Tien for incompetence and claimed they were going back to the drawing board.
However, the City has continued to pursue this project behind the scenes, even thoughsome new consultants (Gershman, Brickner and Bratton) just told Cleveland City Council last week that a new “gasification” plant would be far more expensive than other options.
The city has now asked Ohio EPA to issue an air pollution permit for the proposed garbage incinerator on Ridge Road. The draft permit, which was issued on May 10, 2013, is very similar to the one proposed last year, and can be found on the Ohio EPA’s website at:http://wwwapp.epa.ohio.gov/dapc/permits_issued/1010783.pdf
The Ohio EPA and City of Cleveland Division of Air Quality have just announced that they will hold a public hearing on this permit on Wednesday, June 12th, at 6:00 p.m. at the Estabrook Recreation Center, 4125 Fulton Road.
Loud and clear, the citizens of Cleveland told Mayor Frank Jackson and city officials that we want a strong recycling and composting program, not a highly polluting and unnecessary garbage incinerator. Apparently they didn’t get the message.
Please plan to come to this hearing, bring your “No Cleveland Incinerator” signs if you can, and be prepared to testify against this proposal. We will be preparing some additional information for you to use, but wanted to get the word out about the date right away.
Also, please call Mayor Frank Jackson’s office, 216-664-3990, and tell the mayor that the city should withdraw this permit and go back to the drawing board.
Cleveland Campaign Organizer
Ohio Citizen Action · 614 W Superior Ave, 1200, Cleveland, OH 44113, United States
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Investment News Daily reports today:
“Jefferson County, the largest county in Alabama, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in November and is currently arguing in court for the right to cut payments on more than $3 billion in bonds issued to fund its sewer system. Harrisburg, Pa., filed a month earlier because of massive debts from an incinerator project. Stockton, Calif., may soon become the largest city to declare bankruptcy in U.S. history. It currently is in a 60-day mediation period”.
Read the entire article here.
I believe bonds were tossed around as a possible way to pay for Cleveland’s “trash to energy” boondoggle.
The financials for this fiasco doesn’t add up in more ways the one.
Then, there is THIS story about Harrisburg Pa, its trash incinerator and now, it will miss payment on general obligation bonds.
The City of Cleveland needs to start over on their “reduce recycle, and reuse” program.
I still maintain that one of the reasons for pushing so hard for an inadequate plan is because of the tonnage of debris from demolition which will need to be disposed. If it could be burned within the city, tipping fees and all other costs would be much smaller.
It has never been about “clean and green” energy and what the citizenry of Cleveland desires.
Back to the drawing boards and I hope this time we get something innovative and substantial.
may just have something to say about all that.
As more people opt for walkable bikeable communities with boutique commercial districts, South Euclid’s elected officials buy into an outmoded business model with the promise of it “being green”. You tell me how taking 144/54 acres of green space and replacing it with much less is “being green”. Obviously, someone is keeping South Euclid’s government occupied so they don’t see all the studies showing that those communities with parks for walking and biking are the ones where people are now settling. I haven’t seen any studies lately on the hordes of people moving to be close to “big box retail”. I have seen a lot of news articles about the eyesores and blight left behind when “the big box” moves to the next community willing to sell its soul.
I am thankful for my friends Susan and Carla and so many others willing to devote precious free time to combating Mitch Schneider’s latest venture to make his investors and himself rich and to make South Euclid/Cleveland Heights poorer. Here is the link to their face book page:
Here is an email I received from Susan earlier today. I asked her if I could post it on my blog because I want her reasons for standing up against this development known. Please sign her petition asking for sustainable land use and take the time to read what she has to say. It’s good stuff. Oh and those of you talking about “class warfare” shame on you. We are into this together and when we allow what makes us all “rich”- the beauty of our land to be plundered- those “selling out” for the short term are the ones who are waging class warfare. You are taking what made our area prosperous and selling us all into poverty.
If you feel that we have enough big box retail in the Heights Hillcrest area and need not destroy precious green space to build more, you may wish to add your name to the petition linked here:
Here’s the long story of why I’ve directed so much time and attention to this:
You may or may not know that I have been involved with a group called Citizens for Oakwood. We’re trying to save 144/54 acres of green space – the former Oakwood Country Club. We’d like to see it become a public park (and improve it’s ability to be a sponge for stormwater by allowing it to be a passive park). First Interstate/Legacy Capital Partners would like it to be big box retail. Of course, Jane Goodman, city council person in South Euclid where he’s begun the rezoning for big box process, promises that this will be a green infrastructure exemplar. Since South Euclid is in such a fiscally dire situation, it is clear to most that it is not a lack of retail, but rather downward (economic) pressure that is driving this. I think most adults know that we can’t buy our way to prosperity. Some are still fooled I guess. What was that Bush said about fool me once, keep right on foolin’ me – I’m feelin’ foolish?
It has raised three issues for me and for many of us.
1) Golf clubs are dying – Landerhaven was first, Oakwood is now, Acacia is next (now that it’s out of litigation). Then which golf/country club private course will fall to a developer? Seneca just sold to Metroparks. Hmmm… Which golf course will go next? While the focus will undoubtedly be on our poor relation, the City of Cleveland, you are aware, I’m sure, that poverty is creeping outward, just as population has. Now it’s also the inner ring that’s feeling the pressure. Please consider the golf courses and work with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to help these clubs to stay green space. By the time all the planners have finished their studies and identified the "value" of green swathes to our Lake, big box retail may have ruled the day and the tiny municipal governments in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights despite our efforts. I have tried to make the argument that this is more valuable to South Euclid and Cleveland Heights as open green space from a water quality and quality of life standpoint, but I don’t have the metrics. Tacit knowledge is much harder to convey in a world where everything is a transaction. South Euclid just rewrote their entire comprehensive plan to accommodate this development. They did it in two weeks with two people. For golf courses, the WRLC exemplar is Orchard Hills – admittedly "out there", but still a good example of what could be "in here".
2) The downward pressure might be lessened if these balkanized municipalities had merged years ago. I’m going to keep exploring this for our future. It would be good to fold in the value of water absorbing green space when that muni mapping becomes a part of that discussion. The idea? What if Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, University Heights and South Euclid were one suburb? What white collar efficiencies might be gained? And could those efficiencies result in some greater resiliency and redundancy in our shared green space?
3) At a forum sponsored by Future Heights on land use and Oakwood, Terry Schwarz mentioned that the metric for jobs and parkland is 1 job per acre. I realized that agricultural land has no metric. Why is this important? Because, growing food, farming in the city has no value. It may not now, but it will shortly. The day will come (sooner than later in my estimation) when refrigerated trucks from the valleys of California will not arrive in NEO. We will need to be reliant on what can be grown and raised locally. We may tear down buildings just to be able to farm. Impending doom – energy crisis? Yes. It is upon us. We may look back and say, "Boy! We sure wish we’d saved this land for growing food!" 154 acres is a substantial bit-o-farmland. I’ll be meeting with farmland and farming experts to discuss how to discover per-acre metrics for ag land so that local food can enter these planning discussions.
In an article in Ecowatch Journal, it is noted that new project efforts at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens will include this issue: "Based on existing work being done in the region and success stories in other cities, identify barriers to implementation of green infrastructure as targets for future action and develop strategies to overcome them." Funny. I asked NEORSD if there might be a land use aspect to their big stormwater plan. You know like, residents of municipalities that have retained green space would get a tiny automatic credit. They said – no, NEORSD doesn’t get into land use. I guess NEORSD will be in these discussions though. Land use and such best management practices as downspout disconnects where appropriate (most places in NEO) are the low hanging fruit of addressing our water quality issues. Mother earth is a filter. We have abused her mightily, no doubt, but she is still there, still willing like any mother to help her children.
It may be too late for Oakwood unless we all come together to stop this madness. We’re not giving up, but South Euclid’s government seems to have. They’re in a deep hole at Cedar Center – $19 million deep. What could be another piece of Ginny Aveni’s County Greenprint – the Emerald Lace that connects our Emerald Necklace, the Cuyahoga River Valley and Lake Erie, may be paved to put up a parking lot. No pink hotel, no boutique – big box retail. We don’t plan to stop our arguments now and we hope you’ll raise your voice as well and participate in this democratic practice. We need to do everything we can to keep the bulldozers from rolling over Oakwood. At rallies for SB5 I heard the now familiar chant, "This is what democracy looks like!" Letting our elected officials know how we feel is democracy. Democracy isn’t just voting; it’s a state of being, a way of life.
My son has graduated from college and moved away to Seattle for work. There he can take public transportation, ride his bike, pay his college loan instead of a car loan and visit the wonderful parks that the city has protected. How I hope that someday he can move back to Cleveland Heights and appreciate similar amenities here – NEO – the region that woke up and got busy turning what seemed like a burden into a blessing! This would be an even better story of how Cleveland beat Wall Street. That’s the story I want to hear when I’m passing into another world.
Currently we’re all feeling the downward pressure. It’s palpable in Cleveland and the region, in the state, in the nation. We just want our fellow citizens to look farther, longer and with an eye to water quality, air quality, quality of life. We want them to see that there is a world water crisis that will not bypass the Great Lakes. We want them to think not so much about the hardship they’re enduring, which will increase in the near term, but to consider the outcomes in the long term, however difficult that may be. We’d like to make a gift to future generations. As Ellie Strong said speaking of the "little old ladies in tennis shoes" who saved the Shaker Lakes, "to each generation there is something to save."
Today is Earth Day. We have been celebrating this day for 41 years now. On first Earth Day I was a student at BGSU. My first memory of that day isn’t much different from many spring days on campus-kite flying, sidewalk chalk art, boys playing guitars and girls with long flowing hair listening to folk songs. There were impromptu debates on how our earth would not survive if we continued our dependence on oil and gas. Chemically altered food would poison us and our children. Our streams and rivers would die with fish and wildlife gasping for breath. Nuclear power was coming to a town near you and would be the death of us all. In fact, the peace sign so familiar to us all, began its career as an anti-nuclear power symbol which soon encompassed “no war” as well. It sounds like those discussions were dark, bleak, and desperate.
Not so, many of my college friends had plans for the solutions to all of the dire situations that could be our future. All they had to do was graduate, have their degree, and change the world. Many changes in our world did come to pass. Two of the biggest was the 1970 Clean Air Act and the 1972 Clean Water Act. An act spurred in part by our own “crooked river, the Cuyahoga catching fire, not once but twice because of chemical sludge from the refineries and industries along its bank. Today, a towpath trail is being designed to wind along that same river. Fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles have returned to its banks, and when the spring air warms, sculls will again be seen skimming across its surface.
Meanwhile, our state and federal legislators are preparing to gut our laws that insure clean air and water to our citizens. At the same time, they are considering opening our system of state parks to drilling and “fracking” for oil and gas. Fracking, a term so new that I had to add it to my dictionary. Surface mining in Old Brooklyn was recently held off by a group of determined citizens, their councilman, and the City Planning Commission. soon, we will be protesting the largest “trash to energy” incinerator in the nation using unproven techniques with no assurance that the technology is safe for humans within the confines of Cleveland at the Ridge Road transfer station.
There are those who would tell you that we cannot compete if we do not relax the laws put in place 40 years ago or if we do not embrace unproven technology to pay for energy. These same people rely on our memories being short. Now, that we can see across the river and the smokestacks are mostly silent, they believe that they can eliminate the laws that allow us to breathe easier and make us safe from chemical poisoning.
I would say this to all of you. Now, is not the time to relax laws to make it easier to use the same old fossil fuels and chemicals that continue to pollute our air, but rather it is the time for Cleveland to innovate the new technologies that will carry us into the 22nd century just like those who came before us made us an industrial powerhouse in the 20th century. We should be on the cutting edge of the new technologies needed for energy that does not pollute our environment. Yes, this may be expensive in the short term, but will be well worth the benefits overall. Consider the alternative of cheaper in the short term, but more expensive in the long term with more health costs, less quality of life, and cheaper for whom the consumer or for the owners of the corporations getting the breaks. Take a look at your latest utility bill. You are conserving all that you can, and still the bills are rising. Our dependence on gasoline is increasing due to less mass transit and the price just keeps on rising. Taxes, fees continue to rise while corporations continue to say that they cannot afford to do business in Ohio. Really, who says so?
Forty one years later, the phrase :If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem is just as true today as it was then. Do not let fear guide you. Stand up and tell your legislature that now is the time for new ideas and new solutions. It is not the time to prop up corporations that are dinosaurs which will only die a slower death if they are allowed to gut the clean air and water laws. Get out, take a walk, drink the fresh air, contemplate the wonders of the earth, and know that you can preserve them for future generations. Use your vote.
Yesterday, I read the Plain Dealer article about Smith’s Dairy going “green” and remembered a field trip from my elementary school years. Today, the same article shows up in the day’s roundup over on Crain’s so I took it as a sign to blog about that field trip.
Every school had a few-the “special” kids. In the 1950′s, there were no special education classes that separated anyone from the “mainstream”. We were just all in it together. Field trips were always a challenge for our teachers with ALL the kids because we were a “rowdy” bunch. The “buddy system” back then was a “must”.
For purposes of this story, “Jimmy” had not one buddy but two buddies. Basically because two of the boys had a disagreement on whose turn it was to team up with Jimmy. By now, you know the lead character’s name in this story is not really Jimmy, but the name is inconsequential, and, it is better to protect the “innocent”.
At our elementary school, there was a traditional sequence of field trips. Kindergarten was a walk through the picturesque town of Shreve and our first trip to the Town Library which was located in the Town Hall topped off with a picnic on school grounds. First grade was a trip to the train depot, boarding a passenger train for our trip to picturesque Wooster followed by a picnic and afternoon of play at Wooster Park.
Second grade was one of the FAVORITES handed down from class to class-Smith’s Dairy in ORRVILLE followed by a picnic and an afternoon of play at Orrville Park. Needless to say at seven years-old as fascinating as watching bottles being washed, placed on a conveyer belt system and filled with milk, capped, and then, boxed would be– the making of the ice cream was the piece d’ resistance. Each of us would be receiving an individual cup of ice cream to be consumed at the park with our brown bag lunches. Before we received this treat, we were told that we would need to find our “buddies” and walk through the HUGE walk in freezer where the ice cream was stored for distribution of our ice cream treats
To this day, I believe that I remember How VERY, VERY cold that walk-in freezer was. No one tarried in that place! Later, as we sat at the picnic tables eating our lunches and ice cream. Someone noticed that “Jimmy” was missing. Everyone immediately looked at the two boys that were assigned to be his buddies. Both of them thought the other one was responsible for being his buddy, and therefore, NO ONE had been his buddy. Obviously, a classic example of miscommunication between teacher and student.
The last time anyone remembered seeing him was right before we walked into that big freezer. Miss Plantain (another alias) screamed and went to wake up the bus driver for the long drive back to the dairy. Twenty minutes later, they returned with a nearly frozen Jimmy in tow. He had been found sitting on a tub of ice cream patiently waiting for rescue by one of the Smith Dairy truck drivers.
We all had to sit through a lecture on responsibility and how when given a task we should follow through. To this day, I do not how our teachers thought we shouldered more responsibility than they did for Jimmy sitting on a block of frozen ice cream waiting for rescue.
Having read the comments on this Plain Dealer article and this one, I couldn’t help but wonder why the commenters attack the very people that need help more than any of us. How do the borrowers who are victims of predatory lending become the cause of the problem? I believe that the statistics show that at least 80% of the loans are being paid. And are we ignoring the fact that at this point in time 10% of conventional loans are 60 days past due? What are the causes of THAT statistic? How have the women, children, and chronically ill who rely on Medicaid become the reason that an HMO contract is seen by a hospital as too restrictive and not sustainable?
The poor in this country are our children who certainly are not perpatrators but victims and our elderly that live longer lives without resources. I grant that there is a group of people who have made poor choices that end up the recipient of public assistance, but how large a percentage? And when we focus on that segment do we diminish our ability to solve the social issues that cause extreme poverty?
For the majority of us, I think that the underlying emotion that fuels this animosity is fear. After all, many of us in this country are just a heartbeat away from that which we fear. And if not a heartbeat, just a phrase away. Downsizing will certainly start rolling off the lips of employers for many reasons.
Now is not the time to be fearful and attack the victims of what has occurred. Now is the time to be bold, to invent new ways of dealing with runaway healthcare costs, to innovate new ways to create jobs and to educate our children so that they will be prepared to compete in the world. A sure way of losing what we have is to jealously guard it from unseen “foes”.
I believe that the opportunity here in NEO to reverse twenty years of poverty has never been better. We have the talent, the resources and the capabilities to become very prosperous here if we don’t forget that inclusiveness serves a better purpose than exclusivity. The possibilities for innovation are almost endless-new ways of educating our youth, creating jobs through new industries, approaching healthcare from the viewpoint of wellness instead of sickness, collaboration among businesses to create an enterprise mind set….
I believe that if we heed these words of Hubert Humphrey:
It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.
when moving forward that we indeed will be prosperous. We as a society–forget government– cannot forget the children, the elderly, the sick, the needy and the disabled. We should not be looking elsewhere for the answers on how to transform our region. It is not up to the government. It is our task. We must be fearless.
I just read over on RealNeo that Alenka Banco is opening Josaphat Arts Hall and her Convivium 33 gallery to artists this weekend so that the can sell there wears/wares during the Sparx in the City Gallery Hop this Saturday Sepember 20 and Sunday September 21 from 10 a.m. til 5 p.m.
The really cool thing about this wears/wares sale is that you can arrive early at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday pay $5.00 and be part of an exclusive dealer/public preview. You ask me why should I get up early and pay money when I can arrive at 10 and pay nothing? I’ll tell you why because ALL of the admission fees will benefit the Max S. Hayes art students (CMSD) where my friend Mary Beth Matthews is chair of the Art Department.
Mary Beth is an amazing woman who has also found the time to be a founding member of the Women’s Enterprise Network. We are a group of women dedicated to empowering women of all ages to do what they want to do.
Tim and I have a busy weekend but I am going to be there at 8:30 a.m. Saturday “with bells on” as they say.
I just received an email from our friend Bill McDermott. If you have attended one of the Midtown Brews events, you probably have had the pleasure of making Bill’s acquaintance. A chemist by trade, he is extremely knowledgeable about alternative energy especially, solar and shares his research freely with the Brews crowd and at RealNeo where he has a blog. He reads extensively and freely shares what he learns with the rest of us. In essence, he is my newspaper clipper on all things green.
The email was to promote the upcoming Ohio Solar Energy Tour coming our way this October. Here are the specifics for the Northeast Ohio Solar Energy Tour. Notice that Bills’ house is one of the featured sites. His wife and he are also hosting an all day Open house during the tour. Note that the Kious Straw House is also on the tour. Next year will probably feature the Shaker Lakes straw structure.
I noticed that there is a combined Wayne/Holmes Tour scheduled for that weekend. Since those are my old stomping grounds, I must check out the particulars for that tour as well. I grew up outside the quaint village of Shreve located in Wayne County but as close to the border as possible. County Road 1 was the delineation between the two counties.
Who says exciting things aren’t happening in NEO and Ohio? I beg to differ.
Conversations enhance knowledge, provoke analysis and strenghten beliefs as well as cause discomfort when met with a challenge to tried and true axioms that don’t appear to fit any more. The conversations that I have had lately have underscored many of the things I have read, heard, and believe but many of these conversations have provided a chance to revisit many topics as well as make me see that sometimes my vision has been not quite where it should be.
On Saturday, Tim and I had two friends from North Broadway for dinner. Two tidbits of conversation stuck with me and later, were enhanced by what I read. The first conversation covered the internet and online communities. Our friend says that one of the greatest things about the internet is the ability to communicate with people all over the globe about subjects that intrigue us. The flip side, he says, is very troubling to him because more and more we are becoming isolated from the people next door, down the street, and the day to day community is suffering because we do not see a responsibility to our fellow man. The next day, I picked up this book Time For Truth by Os Guinness.
This quote took me right back to the conversation of the night before;
“The discipline of living in truth is urgent today because modern life reduces community and accountability to its thinnest, thereby tempting us to live in a shadow world of anonymity and nonresponsibility where all cats are gray. In such a world, becoming people of truth is the deepest secret of integrity and the highest form of taking responsibililty for ourselves and our own lives.”
I can’t help but think that community is going to be more important rather than less important in our combined futures. I wonder will we be prepared?
The second tidbit had its roots in education. It is strange that no matter who I have a conversation with here in Cleveland Ohio eventually there is a thread that talks about education-early childhood, the special challenges for middle school learning, high school drop out rates, and/or higher education. The story our friends’ related is hard to imagine but nonetheless I am sure is quite accurate. A few days before, they had attended bible study in their neighborhood. A young man had struggled to read the verses of scripture he had been assigned. He stuck to it, and got through it, but our friend said he was almost certain that this young man’s reading level was probably at third grade. He was a young man in his 20′s and my friend said that the young man had determination and desire but where was he going to find a good paying job with such a dismal ability to read? And then, Ed Morrison posted this, at Brewed Fresh Daily. How do we indeed go forward as a community if we do not see that the education level of our community as a whole defines who we are and what we hold dear.
If we do not strive to educate every child in our community regardless of where or how he or she was born, what does that say about us as a community. And this question came to mind, as we look for ways to attain “brain gain” instead of “brain drain” are we forgetting that gaining brains is directly related to the overall brainpower of the existing community? How comfortable and safe will highly educated people be in a community with a 61% dropout rate? Should we be fostering an educated community rather than looking outside ourselves for new blood? In the seventies, when I taught in the Cleveland Public Schools the beginning of the migration out of Fortune 500 companies began. One of the top reasons for leaving was a sustainable workforce. Almost forty years later, we are still talking about the gap between workforce development and skills training and the needs of the business community. How when we were told so many years before are we still debating whether education is important?
Should we ask the college students in our midst how we should improve education at the elementary and secondary level? How would they have changed their early years so that they would be better prepared for college? When I was a junior at BGSU, one of my classes-reading development, I believe, required that we spend x number of hours tutoring students in reading. Since I was a student in the college of education, I had a lot of interaction with school children from the BG City School System. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the library at 9 a.m. on a Saturday and the student I was tutoring was a college freshman. This young man struggled mightily trying to read his textbook, and I tried to show him how to try to read for content rather than words, but he just wasn’t there.
As I walked back to my dorm very slowly, I wondered where we were going when we were teaching remedial courses at the University level. Now, forty years later, we still have remedial classes, tutoring, and additional help at the University level. Should we be doing things differently? Should we accept that not everyone needs a fullblown four year college education? Should we be stressing workforce and skills training? Should there be different tracks in high schools? Are traditional schools not what is needed in the 21st century? Educational change has moved ever so slowly at the grade school and high school level. Is it time for change? There are glimmers of hope in spots throughout Northeast Ohio, but how could we work together to make it work better and faster so that our children become part of the new knowledge economy and prosper. How do we make it so being born in Ohio is an advantage?