Meeting minutes, Nov. 5, 2008

Minutes of  North Quabbin Energy Meeting on Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Millers River Environmental Center, Athol

Attending: Ann Dumont, Janice and Steve Kurkoski, Pat Larson, Brian Nugent, Tom Rich, Cathy Stanton

Announcements

  • Brian has been doing Winsert presentations galore!  He has presented at the Young Entrepreneurs Society in Orange, a church in Gardner (a connection made via the Garlic & Arts Festival), the Athol Library, and other groups.  He will be making some large winserts for S&S Appliance on Main Street in Athol. 
  • The next Hands Across North Quabbin Green Energy Task Force meeting will be held on Dec. 2.
  • Cathy spoke to the Athol-Orange Rotary Club on Nov. 3 about energy, conservation, and North Quabbin Energy.
  • We have several TV shows in progress at AOTV.  They should be aired by later this month.
  • Fisher Hill School in Orange has adopted the “Green Team” curriculum provided by Mass. DEP, and has convened its own energy committee at the school.  Pat will be doing a 10-session workshop with third and fourth graders starting in January, and would welcome ideas on curriculum and activities.
  • The Governor’s Winter Energy Costs Task Force Report is now available.  The report emphasizes conservation and efficiency, as well as expanding fuel assistance benefits and proposing emergency preparedness measures.  

Garlic & Arts Festival debrief

Since we hadn’t met as a group since the Garlic & Arts Festival, we reviewed how things went there.  Everyone felt this was a highly successful weekend, aided by the great weather and large crowds.  We would probably aim for four presentations a day, not six (the first and last ones of the day were not as well attended).  Presenters who brought props seemed especially well-received!  Steve and Janice are on the organizing committee again for next year’s festival, and they will be starting to line up speakers starting in April.  They talked about the possibility of offering a site tour as a presentation – i.e. show people the workings of the solar stage, etc. 

NQE Website

Cathy demonstrated the newly-redesigned website and asked for input and help in expanding the section of resources on renewable energy.  Anyone who wishes can now obtain a password and post directly to the blog attached to the website.  (See the instructions for this.)

Preliminary Home Show planning

We revisited our debriefing from last year’s Home Show and did some preliminary planning.  We need to clarify with the Chamber of Commerce whether NQE will be able to realize any revenue from the event.  If not, we may ask the Chamber to underwrite some advertising of the renewable energy presentations, which we had thought about buying.  Plans are in the works for a meeting at the Chamber to begin looking at dates etc.  We will begin to solicit vendors before the holidays, and will hope for the same $75 one-day fee.  We will set up a different speaker area, and will generate a list of speakers from our vendor list.

River Rat weekend

We also talked about possible plans for some kind of presence at the River Rat festival and race on April 11.  Cathy proposed that we organize some recycling bins and perhaps also march in the parade.  She will talk to Dave Flint to see what is currently done with trash and recycling from the event.  Janice suggested combining efforts/themes with whatever we do at the Home Show (eg. promote similar recycling messages for both).

Town energy committees

Warwick:

Steve and Janice spoke at a CET workshop in Hadley for municipalities, focusing on what their committee has been doing in Warwick.  (Slides from this presentation are now available online.)  They held another work day at the Town Hall.  The Highway Department is adding insulation and making winserts for their garage and salt shed.  The committee is planning to have a table (including a winsert demo) at the Nov. 29 Warwick Craft Fair.  

Orange: 

The town is going ahead with the energy audit by the Siemens Company under the ESCO contract.  The committee will review materials in early December and make recommendations to the selectboard for a possible investment-grade audit for the town buildings.  Diane Salcedo is developing a bibliography (mostly for kids) from the libraries’ resources.  The new Tully Fire Station is planning to include some renewable energy.

Athol:

Athol is also leaning toward using the ESCO strategy to upgrade town buildings’ energy efficiency.  The town committee has expressed support for an effort to add zoning for wind turbines.  John Jackson, the committee chair, has been doing great public service announcements on the radio on energy topics.  David Ames, the town manager, has been working on trying to attract companies for local power generation (especially from hydro power).

Transition towns

We decided to table our discussion about whether to pursue the “Transition Towns” initiative until a future meeting.

Next meeting:  Wednesday, Dec. 10, 7 p.m

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