Sunday, December 13, 2009

Green jobs growth buck the trend


'Green economy' growing in California despite recession - San Jose Mercury News:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Free admission to Ecotarium and Higgins tomorrow

AuburnSchools Smithsonian Magazine presents Museum Day. Enjoy free admission to many local museums on Saturday, 10/26.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Healthier school lunches

Good article here on the bill in Congress now called the Child Nutrition Act

DrAyalaWash. Post: School Lunch Punch: The wisdom of spending more money to provide healthier meals.

Whole foods has a program to assist with making lunches healthier called school lunch revolution.


The lunch box is an online tool to help plan healthier choices from Chef Ann Cooper (the self-named renegade lunch lady who teamed with Whole Foods).

5 tips here:

Some local programs along these lines

BEDFORD Kids Cooking Green Lori Deliso 781-863-6375
BOSTON Countdown to Kindergarten Sonia N.Gómez-Banrey 617-635-6816 26 Court Street 6th FL
Boston, MA 02108
CAMBRIDGE City Sprouts Jane Hirschi 617-876-2436 25 River Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
FRAMINGHAM McAuliffe Regional Charter Public School Ben Zimmerman 847-477-4616 25 Clinton Street
Framingham, MA 02155
NEWTONVILLE John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club David Sellers
NEWTONVILLE Waltham Fields Community Farms Claire Kozower 781-899-2403

Benefit of climate legislation and other environmental acts

Business often speaks of the cost side of environmental law, what about the benefits?

This is something often ignored on the local level as well - what is the benefit of spending money on open space or clean water for our town. They tend to be longer term strategic interests.


So, given that the Waxman-Markey bill would curb emissions over the next 40 years, it’s a pretty simple job to tally up the potential benefits: about $1.5 trillion on the middle-of-the-road estimate. The benefits could be as low as $382 billion or as high as $5.2 trillion, depending on how you fiddle with the numbers.

Since Waxman-Markey is meant to cost about $660 billion, that means the bill provides $2.27 in benefits for every dollar spent, the brief concludes. That doesn’t include extra benefits—cleaner air from a cleaned-up power sector, for instance. And it suggests that even tougher greenhouse-gas targets in the Senate version of the bill would make an even more compelling economic argument.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Some goals for a school in the new age

Got this through the FCC's blog on broadband via a whitehouse tweet

whitehouseFCC Chairman Julius Genachowski blogs an update on the National Broadband Plan

Later that afternoon, I participated in a panel about education and broadband. I could not stop thinking that every high school student in the U.S. should be able to watch the Feynman lectures on physics online (requires Silverlight 3.0) from their home as many times as needed until they truly understand why physics and math are both important and cool. Every parent should be able to look up their child’s homework assignments for next week on the web. Every teacher should be able to access the best pedagogic content in the world to meet their student’s needs. And ours kids must be able to go to school without carrying bags weighing 20lbs. How to get there is a great challenge, as broadband is actually just a small piece of this puzzle. We will be looking at a different facet of broadband and education Wednesday afternoon in a workshop on broadband’s impact on job training programs

Access to Feynman is a moving and a great example. That application needs low delay/latecy characteristics, something say 6Mb Mobile Broadband service will fail to support because of the delay characteristics.

Here I listed a set of applications to be support a minimum service.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good tweet on what local government can do to combat obesity

from CR ...

Ways your local government can help prevent childhood obesity

* Zoning restrictions on fast-food restaurants near schools
* Taxes on high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks
* Increasing access to healthy foods in underserved neighborhoods through supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience stores
* Eliminating outdoor ads for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks near schools
* Requiring calorie and other nutritional information on restaurant menus
* Rerouting buses or developing other transportation strategies that ensure people can get to grocery stores
* Collaborating with schools to develop and implement a "Safe Routes to School program" to increase the number of children safely walking and bicycling to schools.
* Building and maintaining parks and playgrounds that are safe and in close proximity to residential areas.
* Regulating play space, physical equipment, and duration of play in preschool, after-school, and child-care programs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Everything passes ...

Sometimes you have a town meeting and it's almost a formality.

Such was the case last night.

Everything the town leaders wanted they got including the meal tax, which to my dismay will raise the price of a Bud Light and a mai tai by ... oh a several tenths of a percent. But the point is it's the principle of a tax on restaurants and bars which will hurt the servers (in theory) more than anyone. The amount is a pittance, but then again it opens the door.

The hotel tax I voted for and believe in. To put it nicely additional "services" are required for the many transient residents of town recently. Umm ... ya. Get a police scanner or ask around at the barbershop and you'll understand what's going on there - it's the seedy underbelly of town really at this point and of some concern for residents. I wouldn't let your kids have parties at the motel if you care about them IMO. Not to mention additional emergency services needed.

I suppose the argument can be made given the disproportionate number of DUIs the town gives out that serving in restaurants needs to be offset for the dangers that are presented by those under the influence on our roadways. But to me there's less of a case there because those costs are borne in large part by those who get caught.

The other motions all passed too.

Nick made some good points that we have the money. Of course this is a bit duplicitous when the alarm cry comes (every year it seems) that we need spending freezes and the like that we're in dire fiscal emergency. Then again that seems to be the MO for keeping costs in line in the local government. Otherwise as mentioned all this money gets set aside for months or even years without positions being filled. This whole business needs to be streamlined and I think my hope is the eventual town manager will reorchestrate some of it.

I mean we have $1.2M in the reserve account. And open positions etc. The budgets have ballooned in the past 5 or so years and we need to appreciate the facts there that the cost of doing government here locally is growing way faster than income required to pay for it.

Then again on the other side, given the hurt in the real estate market I'd imagine collections may suffer for it. Although according to the TA collections are actually ahead by $25K locally. Here we go again - the little town that could is overacheiving expectations.