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4 — The PlainDealer

July 2009

Green is Good

As K er mit the F s not al ways easy being g ut it can be pr of ita ble! Ker ermit Frrog said, it’ it’s alw grreen, b but prof ofita itab

RECYCLING IN KANSAS NEWSLETTER, Vol. 21, No. 6, June 2009 Published by the Waste Control & Recycling Coalition; Margaret J. Miller, Editor, kanzania@yahoo.com CONSERVATION RATE ON ELECTRICITY FROM WESTAR If Westar customers can keep their electricity usage below 900 kWh per month, they will receive a lower rate under the $130 million increase which Westar received from the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) and now in effect. This change in rate design was proposed by the Citizens’ Utility Ratepayer Board (CURB) which saw the change as a way to provide an affordable initial block of energy to all customers and also encourage conservation in the summer. All customers will receive the lower rate on the first 900 kWh, and if they don’t go over that usage, they will never jump up to the higher rate. CURB urges all customers to use less electricity, such as by installing programmable thermostats, replacing old appliances and sealing up drafty homes. Your editor suggests spending time on hot days at the library or at malls; they are already air conditioned. Reducing demand on electric generation plants in the dog days of summer will defer the need to build more plants. (CURBside News, May 2009) NEW WIND-POWER BUSINESS FOR HUTCHINSON Siemens Energy has selected Hutchinson as the site of a $50 million wind turbine plant. The plant will assemble nacelles, the structures at the top of wind towers that include the generators, gears and electronics. The first 90-ton nacelle is expected to be shipped in December 2010. The plant will employ 400 workers. The company is also building a service center on the site and there will probably be opportunities for many subcontractors. The state is providing forgivable loans and Reno County is giving $2 million in cash. Hutchinson will give Siemens 109 acres in the Salt City Business Park. Local governments will build a rail spur. Gov. Mark Parkinson predicts the plant will anchor a new industry in Kansas. According to the American Wind Energy Assn., Kansas ranks third in the U.S. for its wind energy resource potential. Kansas now has about 1,000 megawatts of wind energy. It helps that the Legislature passed a bill this session that gives $5 million to wind energy manufacturers investing more than $30 million and creating 200 jobs. It is also good that Hutchinson is close to earlier wind-power development. Parkinson says that Siemens is an internationally known leader in wind turbine development. Siemens is based in Germany and is Europe’s largest engineering conglomerate. (Wichita Eagle, May 6, 2009) GREEN BUILDING RIDES OUT THE RECESSION IN OHIO Several Ohio builders and architects that specialize in environmentally friendly building techniques say their focus on green construction has helped them in the recession. R.J. Perritt of Homes of Amherst, Ohio, says, “If we weren’t doing anything with the green concept, we’d be dead in the water.” Panzien Construction of Mayfield Village, Ohio, said it has seen very little drop in the number of green construction projects. In fact, this company says the “vast majority” of the company’s projects want to register for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification through the U.S. Green Building Council. Most projects register while in the design stage. Ozanne Construction’s green construction efforts also have been insulated from the impact of the recession, said the project estimator for the Cleveland company. Doty & Miller Architects of Bedford say that 2007 and 2008 were its best years (Waste Recycling & News, April 27, 2009) RECYCLED COMPUTERS FROM OREGON TO GUATEMALA NextStep Recycling, a computer recycling business in Eugene, Oregon, renovates computers due for the landfill and loads them with Spanish and indigenous language software and ships them to Guatemala. There, INEPAS, a non-profit organization in Guatemala, places the computers in schools where parent councils have requested them. These parents volunteer their time, sometimes even their scarce cash, to keep the machines clean, secure and in good repair. Most of the computers are placed in poor areas where only 1% of public schools have computers. Many of the parents are illiterate. But they see the value of learning to use computers for their children. (Eugene Register-Guard, March 21, 2009) IN A NEW GERMAN SUBURB, LIFE GOES ON WITHOUT CARS In Vauban, Germany, the 5500 people live without private cars. In fact, street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden. Housing is in row houses, 4 or 5 stories high, designed to save energy. Every home is a short walking distance from transportation to a large city, Freiburg, near the French/Swiss border. Automobiles can be rented for longer trips. Many of the residents of Vauban have given up their cars to live there. In California, the Hayward area planning association is developing a Vauban-like community called Quarry Village on the outskirts of Oakland with access to the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART). (New York Times, May 12, 2009) DENVER TAXI COMPANY GOING ALL GREEN Metro Taxi of Denver is switching its fleet from conventional to hybrid vehicles. It is also using the used oil from its vehicles for heating, and is recycling a couple of thousand tires every year. Retired Master Sergeant Brian Horvath is using his expertise from a 20-year career in the U.S. Army to improve the taxi company’s performance. Since Denver is closer to the ozone layer, they need to reduce their carbon footprint. They are using specially made furnaces from Clean Burn Inc. to burn used oil. Horvath says that Metro will be able to save 2.7 million gallons of fuel annually once the fleet is completely converted.

Sedgwick County Extension Offers Program on Estate Planning and End-of-life Issues A program developed by Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service (CES) on estate planning and end-of-life issues will be presented on Tuesdays from July 28 to August 18, 2:00 p.m at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center in Wichita. Called “Legally Secure Your Financial Future: Organize, Communicate, Prepare,” it will feature talks by Sedgwick County Extension Educator Sarah Taylor, attorney Cathleen A. Gulledge, and health care professional Carolyn Harrison. To register for the event, which costs $10, contact Anita Monarez by July 22 at 316-660-0100 or amonarez@ksu.edu According to Sarah Taylor, Sedgwick County Extension Educator, a large proportion of Americans die without a will or an advanced health directive. “Many people believe that property will automatically pass on to their heirs without complications,” she notes.

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“Some people just never get around to making legal arrangements to protect their survivors. Others have the mistaken belief that assets have to be of a certain size before the heirs will be affected by a tax liability, the idea that estate planning is not important for young parents, concerns about the cost of preparing wills and important documents, and discomfort about discussing end-of-life issues with family members,” Taylor explains. She says information will be presented to participants to help them understand the kinds of personal information to gather, organize, and store so that family members can easily access them; recognize the legal documents that are essential in estate planning; realize the importance of family communication about legal issues; know how to select and work with an attorney; and learn how to prepare a plan to protect, distribute, and transfer their assets.

Plain Dealer, 07/2009  

Wichita Area Union Newsletter

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