Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Rural Action News

Ohio Consumers’ Counsel to Speak at Rural Action Annual Meeting
Sustainability Award Winners Announced
By Kelsey McCoy, VISTA for Media

Rural Action’s 2008 Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday, July 17 from 7-9 pm at the Athens Community Center. Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, Janine L. Migden-Ostrander, who oversees the state agency that represents the interests of Ohio’s 4.5 million residential households with their investor-owned electric, natural gas, telephone and water companies, will speak at the event.

Migden-Ostrander will discuss the impact of Ohio Senate Bill 221 on residential consumers. SB 221 is Ohio’s Energy Bill, which will require a reduction in electricity demand of 22 percent by the end of 2025. Utilities will be required to make alternative energy 12.5 percent of electricity sold by 2025. SB 221 will have a positive impact on our energy future, but also provides challenges for Ohio consumers. Migden-Ostrander will address what this means for the southeast Ohio region, including opportunities for involvement. The Rural Action Energy Committee, a group of citizens who meet regularly to examine energy issues in southeast Ohio, is committed to including the voices of local stakeholders in the discussion during the interpretation phase of Senate Bill 221, the time after it is passed and before it is executed.

Also planned for the Annual Meeting are Board of Director Elections and the presentation of Rural Action’s Sustainability Awards. The awards recognize people, businesses, and organizations working for sustainability in our region.

This year’s winners are:
Lifetime Achievement Award: Marshall and Betty Lowe
Livelihood Award: Greg Kremer
Business Award: Kroger Company

A Book Sale will be set up throughout the evening, with titles such as Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Desserts and refreshments will be provided. Free childcare will be available.

Please contact Cat Fincun for more information about the event: 740-767-4938 or cat@ruralaction.org.

Click Here to read Migden-Ostrander’s biography.


Rural Action Hosts Meetings About Water Resources Assessment in Five Counties
By Mary Steinmuas, Director of Community Development

Two community meetings were held late in June in Athens and Meigs Counties regarding the water resources assessment done by the Huntington District of the Army Corps of Engineers. The meetings, attracting County Commissioners, Township Trustees, agency representatives,
business owners and economic development representatives, and other elected officials, gave the Corps an opportunity to share information gathered regarding water resources as well as to get information from the general public about their major concerns and issues. Both meetings
discussed issues in terms of four categories: environmental infrastructure, economic development, ecosystem restoration and food risk management.

In Meigs County, citizens were most concerned about flood plain maps and the need for revisions. Also high on the list were sedimentation and flooding in the Leading Creek watershed, and creating jobs and attracting businesses to the county. In Athens County, major concerns were lack of riparian buffers, access to rivers and streams for fishing and recreation (boat ramps), Acid Mine Drainage, and repetitive flooding in Nelsonville, Athens, Chauncey, Trimble and Glouster. The Corps of Engineers will add the community's concerns to their report which will be completed in September. Three more meetings in Gallia (July 10), Scioto (July 29), and Lawrence Counties (July 31) will take place in July. For more information, contact Mary Steinmaus or Tom Redfern at 740-767-4938.


AmeriCorps Summer VISTA Update
By Tori Patterson, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

The eight Summer VISTA members working with Rural Action are currently in their third week of service, with their projects now well underway. With three work sites – Rural Action, Community Food Initiatives, and the Appalachian Nutrition Network – these VISTA members are working on a variety projects that are making a difference in southeast Ohio.

At Rural Action, Leo DeLuca is working with the Youth Act Program, helping with day camp and summer service learning activities. A 2004 graduate of Ohio University, Leo worked as a substitute teacher in the Athens County school system and as a full-time VISTA member at ReUse Industries before coming to Rural Action. Leo’s current work at Rural Action includes coordinating an art show for local youth. Their artwork will be exhibited in the storefronts on High Street in Glouster beginning in early August.

Kevin Fletcher and Vaughn Stewart are both working with Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture Program, providing support at the Chesterhill Produce Auction every Thursday and compiling research for the upcoming website www.ohiofoodshed.org. Both are recent graduates of Ohio University. Kevin is an Athens native and Vaughn originally hails from Chicago.

Working with both the Monday Creek Restoration Project and Sunday Creek Watershed Group is Kim May. A recent OU graduate, Kim has been conducting research on subsidence holes in the Monday Creek Watershed and helping to plan activities for the Rural Action Watershed Day Camp, coming up next week, July 14-18.

Two Summer VISTA members, Daniel Hatfield and Aaron Lemley, have been working with Community Food Initiatives. Daniel recently graduated from OU and has been the layout coordinator for the InterActivist. Aaron will return to his studies at OU in the fall. They are currently working with Community Gardens Manager, Liz Shaw, on the Hope Garden project to educate youth about all aspects of growing and preparing their own food.

The Appalachian Nutrition Network also has two Summer VISTA members serving with their Summer Feeding Program. Emily Roe and Katherine Keener, both current students at Ohio University, have been helping to provide meals for children at the Nelsonville ANN site. These VISTAs have been working to educate the children about healthier diet choices, and with the help of Rural Action’s Sustainable Agriculture program, ANN is sourcing some of its meals locally this summer.

Our Summer VISTA members will finish their terms of service on Saturday, August 16th. We appreciate their service to southeast Ohio and look forward to the many great projects they will complete over the next five weeks!


Rural Action Says Farewell to Media VISTA
By Tori Patterson, AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

You may notice a different tone in the Rural Rambler in its next edition, as its talented editor – Kelsey McCoy – is completing her year of AmeriCorps VISTA service this week.

A 2007 graduate of Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College with a degree in magazine journalism, Kelsey joined the Rural Action VISTA team last July. Since then, her work as the Rural Action Media and Communications Developer has been indispensable.

Kelsey has followed in the footsteps of former media VISTAs, producing the weekly Volunteer Action radio program on WATH, coordinating Rural Action’s press coverage, and editing this very blog; but she has also struck out on her own, editing our first Rural Report newsletter in two years, revamping the annual report for 2007, and writing the content for our new website, which will be launched later this month. You will notice a fresh perspective in all of these sources, thanks to Kelsey.

As part of the Development and Communications Team, Kelsey also played a vital role in organizing our annual November fundraiser and coordinating media efforts for the first Adventure Auction. As a fantastic editor and writer, Kelsey has brought journalistic professionalism to our publications. Her insight will be greatly missed!

In August, Kelsey will be moving on from southeast Ohio to attend graduate school at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She will be studying mass communication and teaching a course in public speaking and freshman composition.

Best of luck Kelsey!


Check Out the New Produce Stand in Eclipse!
The Eclipse Produce Stand features delicous fresh products from Shade River Organic Farm, Willow Run Organics, Cowdery's Farm, The Chesterhill Produce Auction and other fine local people growing fine local food. Their hours are Wed. through Sat 3:00-6:30 and Sunday 11:00-2:00. Stop by and talk to friendly volunteer Cecelia Rinaldi and owner Robin Webb.

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