Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Poisoning Marion County for Profit: Brooks slated for yet more airborne toxics

Air Pollution Smoke StackAir Pollution Smoke Stack (Photo credit: EnvironmentBlog)Hey Marion County Neighbors!

Don't you just love the smell of burning plastics in the morning?

Feeling like the air near Salem is just too darn breathable? Wouldn't you rather breathe in tons and tons of hazardous pollutants and see particulate toxins enter the foodchain right here in the heart of the Willamette Valley by landing on produce and fields and in streams?

Then you're in luck! Agilyx Corp. wants to satisfy your craving for more pollution for you!

They're proposing to build a plastic trash burner up in Brooks, already the epicenter of air-quality insults in Marion County. In other words, they propose to dump millions of tons of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere over the project lifetime, while spreading a fine dust of toxic particulates and hydrochloric acid all over! What nice neighbors, eh? Oh, and they don't plan to pay anything for using our sky and our precious world-class farmland as their free toxics dumpsite.

And don't worry about the PVC -- they say they're going to screen out the PVC wastes first, since PVC combustion releases incredibly toxic and nasty products. And we all know that mistakes never happen when plowing through tons and tons of waste garbage that all pretty much looks the same and arrives in truckloads!

Here's the abbreviated notice. (pdf)
What does Agilyx Corporation do that affects air quality?

The company proposes to construct and operate a pyrolysis energy reclamation facility. They will produce a synthetic crude-oil like product from plastic feedstock. The feedstock will consist of plastics not feasible for recycling. The feedstock must be pre-screened to remove polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics. The oil product will be sold to off-site customers.

The proposed operations will emit Particulate Matter (PM), Fine Particulate Matter (PM10/2.5), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2),Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Greenhouse Gases (GHG), and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) to the air. Additional detailed information regarding operations and emissions can be found in the review report.

Table 1
Criteria Pollutant Proposed Emission Limit (tons/yr)

Particulate Matter (PM) 24
Fine Particulate Matter (PM10) 14
Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) 9
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) 39
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) 39
Carbon Monoxide (CO) 99
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) 39
Greenhouse Gases (GHG) 74,000 (67,100 metric tons)

Table 2
Hazardous Air Pollutants Proposed Emission Limit* (tons/yr)
Individual HAP (HCl) 9
Combined HAPs 24

*HAP PSELs are being established to ensure the source remains a minor source of HAPs pending further emission factor verification analyses.
For more on the criteria pollutants, see http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/forms/annrpt.htm

Comments due: Written comments due: 5 p.m. September 5, 2012

Where can I send my comments?
Patty Hamman, Regional Permit Coordinator
(503) 378-5305 or Toll Free (800) 349-7677
750 Front Street NE, Suite 120
Salem, OR 97301-1039
(503) 378-4196 (Fax)
Where can I get technical information?
Karen White-Fallon, Permit Writer
(503) 378-5315 or (800) 349-7677
750 Front Street NE, Suite 120
Salem, OR 97301-1039
(503) 378-4196 (Fax)
Where can I get background information?
Information about this project is viewable online by clicking the following link(s):
Permit (pdf)
Evaluation Report (pdf)

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Help support transit in Salem -- Apply for the Cherriots Advisory Board

logologo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Cherriots - Salem Keizer Transit

Salem-Keizer Transit is creating a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) consisting of community members representing a broad spectrum of transportation and community concerns. Ideally, the CAC will include a balanced membership including users of the system, students, business community members, and at-large community members.

The CAC's mission is to assist Salem-Keizer Transit and the Board of Directors by encouraging and promoting services, and transportation decisions that meet the needs of the Salem-Keizer community. The CAC will also help communicate the Transit District's mission and programs back to the community. The CAC accomplishes this mission by providing the Board of Directors and staff of Salem-Keizer Transit with input on matters that go before the Board of Directors. This may include providing comments on transportation plans, programs and studies, project funding priorities, transportation-related legislation, and community transportation concerns. The CAC also assists in publicizing transportation projects and plans to neighborhoods, business groups, student groups, and other stakeholders; while soliciting input for feedback to the Transit District.

Salem-Keizer Transit is in the process of accepting applications for the Citizen Advisory Committee. Applicants are required to fill out an application and submit it by August 31, 2012. Salem-Keizer Transit will then make recommendations for appointments to the committee to the Board of Directors, who makes the final decision. New members will be notified about the time and location of the meetings. Typical appointment to the committee will be a two-year term. For the inaugural appointments, half of the membership will be appointed for a one-year term of service. Once an application is received, it will remain active for two years. Your application will be considered for any openings, unless a letter is submitted withdrawing your candidacy.

Download the application from our website at www.cherriots.org or call 503.588.2424 for mailing options. The application can be submitted via fax to 503.566.3933 or via email at carneys@cherriots.org.

Contact Info: Sadie Carney
Director of Community Relations

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Great Salem Public Library free offering, Weds 8/8 @ 7 pm

True-color picture of Saturn assembled from Vo...True-color picture of Saturn assembled from Voyager 2 images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A free all-ages program,
Astronomy for Everyone:
Size & Scale of the Universe:

7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 8
Anderson Rooms at Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty Street SE.

Retired astrophysicist Kevin Manning, a former NASA consultant, will present an exciting, family-oriented exploration of the universe, the stars, and other celestial wonders. Following an indoor presentation which includes video footage and hands-on activities, participants will go outdoors (conditions permitting) to view celestial objects in the night sky, such as the rings of Saturn and the craters on the Moon, through a telescope.

Dianna Clark
Office Assistant /Administration
Salem Public Library
585 Liberty St. SE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-588-6071
Fax: 503-589-2011
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Permaculture Intro Series at Straub Aug 15/22/29 + Sep 5

Permacultural aspect: helping animals in a veg...Permacultural aspect: helping animals in a veggie garden; harnessing and maintenance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Four-Part Workshop Series: Introduction to Permaculture Design
Instructor: Kendy Radasky

Four Consecutive Wednesday evenings, August 22 -- Sept. 5, 6 - 8 pm
At Straub Environmental Center (1320 A. St. NE, Salem)
Permaculture is a design system that enables humans to interact in a positive and regenerative way with our surroundings, as we consciously create lifeways that emulate natural patterns such as diversity, connectivity, resilience, flow, and cycling.

This introductory workshop series will give a taste of the principles and applications of permaculture, and provide an opportunity to see the depth and breadth of its roots. It will be a jumping-off point for understanding how natural systems work and how we can design human environments that produce food, shelter, and energy. It will also provide participants with models of community organization and engagement by which they can strengthen their support network and encourage others to do the same.

The hands-on learning focus of this workshop series is key to its content. The workshops will be taught using lecture, images and videos, group discussion, exercises, and other methods that suit a wide variety of learning styles.

The first workshop in the series will serve as a great beginning to the 4-workshop series, though each of the workshops may stand alone as well (i.e. attendance at the first workshop is not required to attend any of the other three).


August 15th: Introduction/ Designing with Nature
This workshop will introduce to you the guiding principles and potential applications of Permaculture. We will also explore a number of approaches to the process of design – learning how to integrate systems for efficiency, abundant yield, and beauty. Lecture, discussion, and hands-on, interactive (indoor) activities will help us reach our goals.
August 22nd: Cultivated Ecology and The Living Soil –
Food Forests, Guilds, and Soil Regeneration

Have you ever noticed that there is no waste in a forest? Come to this workshop to learn to emulate natural forest systems in designing and thinking about your yard and garden. We’ll discuss the importance of perennial plants (especially trees) in natural systems and how to harness the innate skills of a variety of plants in caring for your garden. We’ll use an outdoor, hands-on project to explore various ways of improving the life and health of your soil.
August 29th: Water Harvesting / Earthworks and Wastewater Processing
It’s all about water. In this workshop, we’ll discuss ‘water security’ and how to obtain it through passive and active rainwater harvesting. We will also learn about greywater systems design (to make double-use of your shower, sink, and washing machine water) and the power of bioswales to clean polluted wastewater before it leaves your site. Our hands-on project will focus on using simple tools to locate and lay out a swale on the land around the workshop site.
September 5th: Urban Strategies & Social Permaculture
Permaculture is so much more than growing food or harvesting rainwater! It can be practiced on any scale (even an urban apartment) and its principles are very effectively applied to localized social and financial systems. We will learn about small scale urban permaculture strategies as well as skills for projects in re-localization and community-building.

Contact Kendy Radasky to sign up or for more info: kendyrad@gmail.com.

Cost is $5/workshop or $15 for the series. See flyer attached and more info below.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

An example of the great (non)bills you can get through Solarize Salem

Ever since installing our solar photovoltaic (PV) system, we get these great letters from PGE telling us how much power they are buying from us in the summertime, which they bank and draw against all fall and into the winter. This year we only had to pay for juice used starting in Mid-January.

Given the horrible interest rates and all the financial uncertainty of investing in markets, solar could be the smartest balance of risk and reward ever. Give Solarize Salem a look if you want help understanding how solar can work for you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An important perspective hits the blogosphere

PentagonPentagon (Photo credit: gregwest98)A guy who has done seriously high-level work in military procurement world reaches some conclusions that might surprise you, given his background in the Red States and in the Mil-Ind Complex (MIC). Let's show some traffic love to a new and different voice in the blogosphere.

Hit that link, and check it out: http://timetothinkaboutit.com/
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Monday, July 16, 2012

A unique story about a unique Oregonian

GeerCrest Farm

Vesper Comes to Portland!

Sunday, July 29th at 7pm. Clinton Street Theater
Come join us for the Portland Premiere of Michael Turner's Epic Film on the Life of our Fourth Generation Farm Owner- and learn about the spark that created GeerCrest.
We are so excited to share Vesper's life with our community in Portland. The film is 90 minutes and suitable for all family members. $5 entry goes towards film showing and production costs. Read about the film and see a trailer here.

Vesper Comes to Bend!

Tuesday, July 31st at 6pm. Old St. Francis School
(McMenamin's History Pub)

Join us on the other side of the mountain as we travel to Bend to spread the word about Vesper. Call the farm if you are here in the valley and want to carpool to the show! For those of you in the area, we can't wait to join you for a special Vesper evening!

Vesper at the Coast!

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 7pm.
Cannon Beach History Center

In the fall, we bring Vesper to all our friends at the coast, and all who want to catch the film again - you will want to see this movie more than once, trust us. Join us at this amazing history museum complete with the original Cannon Beach Cannon- sure to be an amazing evening of Oregon History.

Vesper at home- hers and yours!

Saturday, July 28th at 7pm. St. Edwards Church, Silverton
St. Edwards was Vesper's Church and the community wants to share her legacy with all who wish to enjoy the film in Vesper's hometown. Come down for the evening to see the film and share an evening with our farmers.

Any time you wish.... dvd of film available for purchase at the farm and at every screening, $10 each

Be There! Loucks Auditorium, Tuesday July 17, 6:30 pm

Photovoltaic systemPhotovoltaic system (Photo credit: Wikipedia)With the compressive economic contraction accelerating and financial prospects very uncertain from here out, NOW is the time to jump if you have good solar potential (unobstructed southern exposure is best) on your property.

Solar is a very smart investment here on the 45th parallel, and the competing options for your investment funds are looking pretty scary these days indeed. Sure, solar isn't a get-rich-quick scheme -- after all, it may take 7-10 years to get your money back. But that's an extremely safe, sure 10% - 7% return on investment that also does good for your community and planet at the same time. There are few if any such great investment options available to average folks these days.

If you haven't explored solar for your property yet, make time to go hear Rob talk tomorrow at Loucks Auditorium, next to the Salem Public Library on Liberty St.
Solarize Salem and Solarize Mid-Valley

Time to capture free energy from the sun during the third year of Solarize Salem. And this year it will be even more pocketbook-friendly because we’re bringing you the lowest install price in the country, again. You can join the sixty homeowners that have installed more than 186 kW of solar pv over the past two years, now for the low price of $4.15 per watt installed. Unable to buy? Learn about the 20-year SunRun lease program that requires a one-time payment that you can take as a tax credit.

Our first workshop occurs 6:30, Tuesday, July 17 at Loucks Auditorium, where we’ll hear about the benefits renewable energy and solar water heating from Energy Trust’s Rob DelMar. You’ll also have a chance to meet our contractors form Benton Electric and Sunlight Solar, who will be offering their services in our expanded service area that includes Marion, Polk, Yamhill, Benton and Linn counties.
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"Seeding Studies" -- more evidence that Big Pharma is a criminal enterprise

Imagine an industry with the morals of a sub-prime mortgage broker, the self-righteousness of Ted Haggard, the quiet good taste and class of Lady Gaga, and the restraint of Rush Limbaugh.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the American pharmaceutical industry.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Matt Damon rocks

Matt Damon:
I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn't trade that education and experience for anything.

I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself -- my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity -- all come from how I was parented and taught.

And none of these qualities that I've just mentioned -- none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success -- none of these qualities that make me who I am . . . can be tested.
My teachers were empowered to teach me. Their time wasn't taken up with a bunch of test prep -- this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn't promote real learning.  No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.

I shudder to think that these tests are being used today to control where funding goes. I don't know where I would be today if my teachers' job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.

I honestly don't know where I'd be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn't be here. I do know that.

This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can't imagine how demoralized you must feel. As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I'm not alone. There are millions of people just like me.

So the next time you're feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called "overpaid;" the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that's been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. ... Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Schools vs. Education

I'm very interested in alternatives to traditional schooling such as this.   The one bright spot on the horizon as our economy continues to contract is that we will, sooner or later, be forced to admit that we cannot maintain anything at all like our current schools system.

Why am I so eager to see the end of schools?  It's not because I'm eager to dis-employ teachers, but because the factory school model is such an abysmal failure.

My most profound meta-memory -- as someone who was always at the top of any class taught on the standard regurgitation-of-instructor-presented-content model, which was all my schooling (K-12, plus 4 years undergraduate, 3 year MS degree, 3 year law degree) -- was that this form of school is a criminal waste of time in that it mainly exists to teach a secret curriculum of conformity and obedience in the guise of educating young people about "subjects," which are nothing but arbitrary categories imposed on knowledge for the convenience of pedagogues.

I once struggled to explain this problem to someone on a beautiful spring day in Oregon, which meant that there were at least three different weather systems visible in various parts of the sky, producing a lovely variety of different clouds in view.  So I talked about how schools "teach" about clouds.

I said that what I remember of my "education" is that I would have been "taught" the proper scientific names of those clouds, and shown a picture of each one, and at some point been tested on my ability to match those cloud names to photos.  And I would have been terrific at it.  And completely ignorant.

That is, at no point would we have gone outside to look at clouds.  At no point would there have been any discussion of what sorts of clouds one might expect to see during different times of the year, how they form, how they move, or whether they're the same all over, or whether different places have different kinds of clouds.  We would never have made observations of clouds, or built histograms of clouds, or been encouraged to come up with better names that we could remember.  We would never have been invited to think up some questions about clouds or, heaven forbid, develop ways to investigate our questions. For sure we would never have been asked to wonder how clouds affected us.  Or whether they were a daytime thing, or if they were present at night (and how could we find out?)

Nope.  The only thing that would matter, the hallmark of learning, was being able to match the damn latin names with the standard textbook photos.  In nearly every subject, year after pointless year, my "education" consisted of being taught an empty vocabulary completely devoid of actual content.  Because my brain happens to be really good at thinking symbolically and in catching and manipulating words, I'm an educational superstar, always with a great GPA.  And knowing just about nothing useful from all that time wasted "getting an education."  Meanwhile, people much smarter than I, people whose minds insisted on having tangible content to match with the words, were labeled as "slow" or even "learning disabled" because they hadn't figured out that understanding didn't matter, school is just a word game.

This is why the move towards even greater standardized testing is so profoundly evil.   Ramping up the emphasis on standardization and competition (rankings/grading) in schools is only aggravating the worst of what makes our schools so dismal now. ADDENDUM: as so often happens, the cartoonist says in a few frames what I bury in a cloud of words: http://xkcd.com/803/. Most of my teachers oscillated between the lower two responses. And that was well before standardized tests ruled the earth.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Study Says Induced Traffic Effect Too Often Ignored | Planetizen

Ever wonder why Salem plans to "solve" traffic problems by creating more inducements for more traffic?  How about because we always have.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How a school district blows $172,000 over Wi-Fi “hazards”

Fear is the mind-killer.  With so many very real threats to our well-being today, it's sad and scary that people obsess over phony threats like this -- and force others to respond to their delusions.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

More great stuff at Marion-Polk Food Share: Food Preservation and Community Cooking Classes

Upcoming Food Preservation Classes from OSU Extension Services 

in the Mid-Willamette Valley 

All classes begin at 6:00 PM. Pre-registration is required; space is limited. 

Cost: $10.00 per session. Pre-registration and pre-payment required. Contact debra.driscoll@oregonstate.edu or tonya.johnson@oregonstate.edu

Salem: Marion-Polk Food Share

  • Tuesday, July 24 - Preserving Fruits 
  • Tuesday, August 14 - Preserving Tomatoes and Salsa 
  • Tuesday, September 18 - Pressure Canning
 Community Kitchen Classes
Magic Marinara – Tuesday, July 10, 5:30-7:00 p.m., $10
Instructor Dawn Manke has a magnificent recipe that she describes as “so simple and versatile it’s genius!”  Roasting seasonal vegetables right out of the garden, she will teach you to create some frugal and healthy variations on a basic marinara that is equally at home as a sauce for pasta or as a basis for chili or a yummy salsa verde. Class will include a light supper. 

Register through Friday, July 6 by calling Kat Daniel at Marion-Polk Food Share, 503-581-3855 extension 322.  Class limit: 10.

 Kids in the Kitchen – Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue, 
Tuesday, July 17, 4:30-5:30 p.m., FREE

Join OSU Extension Summer Intern Amy Comer to learn to make some red, white, and blue food that is both fun and good for you!  Bring your mom or dad to the Community Kitchen to help you create a fruit flag, Patriotic Parfait, and Cranberry/Blueberry muffins.  Class size is limited to 10 children plus their parent helpers.

Register by calling Kat Daniel at Marion-Polk Food Share, 503-581-3855 extension 322, no later than Friday, July 13.

Waste Not, Want Not
Wednesday, July 25, 5:30-7:00 p.m., $10

Tim Branaman presents a healthy way to stretch vegetable “scraps” into a delicious Portuguese vegetable (vegan) soup that you can stretch even further with the addition of staples from your kitchen. Join Tim for a step-by-step demo and then a light supper of soup and quinoa salad:  a nice boost of protein after your busy day.
Register by calling Kat Daniel at Marion-Polk Food Share, 503-581-3855 extension 322, no later than Friday, July 20.  Class limit: 10

Monday, July 2, 2012

Petitioning Salem City Council to Support Move to Amend

Check out marionpolkmovetoamend.org for information on the local drive to persuade the Salem City Council to endorse the growing national movement to recognize that only people -- and not corporations -- are people.

The councilors have advised us to get as much input from as many Salem residents as possible, it is perfectly reasonable for the councilors to be sure a good chunk of Salem residents are behind this movement.

Brochure about Move to Amend: http://movetoamend.org/move-amend-brochure

List of Cities and States already accepted or in progress: 

City of Salem your council ward

Salem Neighborhood Associations Map