Meeting minutes, February 22, 2010

Attending: Neil Anders, Hal Gillam, John Jackson, Janice and Steve Kurkoski, Pat Larson, Jane Manring, Roberta Newman, Brian Nugent, Linda Paquet

Announcement:
* The film “In Transition,” about Transition Towns, will be shown this Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Warwick Town Hall.

Home Show
* Food brochures: Linda Paquet brought a draft of the updated local food brochure for the group to review. Janice will proofread when the final version is ready. We will print 100 black and white copies for the Home Show plus some color ones for the nine town libraries.
* Vendors: We are still courting some vendors.
* NQE table: Pat is working on signing people up as volunteers. Cathy will do photocopying and buy coin envelopes for seeds the day before the show. Jane, Linda, and Cathy are working on the local products map and other items for the table – perhaps a pot with herbs growing in it, and a sign to explain how and why to plant seeds in pots. We are still working on getting seeds. Janice suggested having measuring spoons for people to scoop out small amounts of seeds into coin envelopes.

Retreat
April 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
We’re asking people to contribute $10 toward the rental of Earthlands and to bring a vegetarian or vegan dish for lunch. We will address some core questions:
* What is the role of North Quabbin Energy as a regional energy group?
* How can we support town energy committees in their work?
* What keeps us motivated for the long haul?
* Where do we stand with the weatherization projects we’ve been talking about?
* How can we be true to our mission of educating both ourselves and our neighbors? (Linda showed materials from her tour this week of the West Stockbridge town buildings, which have just installed a huge PV system, which is the kind of tour we have talked about doing more of as a group. Neil talked about going to Katywill, an intentional “green” community in Colrain.)

Athol library series
The library’s green series is looking for suggestions about future speakers. We brainstormed some some ideas about this. Neil will check with Chris Martenson about the possibility of speaking. We also talked about Francis Moore Lappé, Thomas Wessels (author of The Myth of Progress), Peter Sinclair, Bill Kauth. We will ask Larry Buell for suggestions too. It seems that there is interest growing again about the Transition Towns model, and we could perhaps invite Tina Clarke to come back (although she’s already on the series speaking about another topic) to talk about that.

Town energy committees
* New Salem: The town got $134,000+ in block grant funds for thermal efficiency/weatherization of town buildings.
* Orange: Orange got $150,000 in block grant funds to pay down their energy performance contract. Orange had a meeting to talk about how to meet the first four criteria of the Green Communities requirements. The committee donated books on energy topics to the elementary school libraries. The town is exploring the idea of putting PV on the capped landfill.
* Warwick: Got $6,000 in Clean Energy Choice funds, which they want to put toward buying a solar system. The contractor they’re working with is agreeable to making this a community effort and using the installation as a training session. The town is buying a number of little data loggers to do their own monitoring of energy use at the school, which teachers and students can help work on. They had a speaker come to talk about the Stretch Code.
* Erving: Erving also got some funding through the block grant.
* Athol: Pat Roix and Kristin Marquis are developing an informational brochure. There will be a special town meeting in the spring to vote on adopting the Stretch Code.
* Royalston: They are working on their mission statement and on getting news into the town newsletter on a regular basis. FRCOG will present their draft plan on March 3 for the town to fulfill the Green Communities criteria; there was a very good showing for the initial planning meeting on this. The committee would like to have a page on the NQE website for their news. They are planning to propose putting some PV panels on the capped landfill.

Stretch Code/Green Communities
We talked about some of the frustrations with understanding and promoting the Stretch Code, and whether it’s worth promoting the other four criteria if the Stretch Code seems to be the sticking-point for a town to meet the five objectives for the Green Communities Act. Hal raised a question about whether towns in the area might want to brainstorm other ways to fulfill the requirements, since the state allows for DOER to waive any of the criteria as long as towns can demonstrate that they’re meeting the intent of the objectives. Hal volunteered to facilitate a conversation about this with people from the town energy committees and NQE, and to think about good options. We talked about either April 10 or 17 from 11 to 1:30 at the Environmental Center, with NQE providing good food and guests being invited from town energy committees, building inspectors, perhaps some builders.

Forest Visioning
Tonight is the last opportunity for public comment on the state’s new forestry policy.

Next meeting
We will meet next at the Home Show on March 20, then at our April Stretch Code meeting, and then at our Earthlands retreat on April 24.

Back to North Quabbin Energy home.

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