Community Voices - Dan Roddy

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Dan Roddy-4Dan Roddy is the Facilities Operations/Painting and Rental Property Manager at Oberlin College.

Q: What word(s) or image(s) would you use to describe this community and why do you choose these?

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Community Voices - Ann Cooper Albright

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AnnCooperAlbrightAnn Cooper Albright started Girls in Motion 12 years ago when she saw a confidence gap growing between middle school boys and girls.

An Oberlin College Experimental course (Exco) now helps Oberlin College students train other students to be mentors who run the Girls and Boys in Motion program in the middle school.  

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Community Voices - Maureen Simen

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Copy of Maureen SimenMaureen Simen received her BA from Michigan-Flint in English and Social Sciences.  She then pursued a Masters in Reading Education from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.  She has years of experience in curriculum design and development, as well as educational technology.  Currently, Maureen works at the Bonner Center for Service and Learning as the Coordinator for America Reads.  Outside of work, she enjoys fixing up her house as well as relaxing and reading the classics.  Her love for reading is seen in her job, where she inspires college students involved in the America Reads program to volunteer in many schools around the Oberlin area to promote literacy.

Q. What is the America Reads program?

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Community Voices - Carlos Mendez

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CarlosCarlos Mendez is going to be a senior at Oberlin High School this year. A Ninde Scholar himself, this summer he worked for the Aspiring Ninde Summer Scholars program as a Summer Fellow. As a Fellow, he assisted the Summer Instructors and acted as a role model for the Aspiring Ninde Scholars. Carlos is very committed to sustainability and also attended the Foresight Prep at Oberlin summer program in which he and his group members identified impactful solutions for food related challenges.

Q: What is your name?

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Community Voices - Leonard Gnizak

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Copy of Leonard GnizakLeonard Gnizak is in his 36th year of teaching music.  Currently, he is the Director of Bands at Oberlin City Schools, a post he’s held since 2004.  Mr. Gnizak has been a community partner to four generations of Music Mentors since the program was started in 2005.  He holds a B.A. in Music Education from Cleveland State University, and has studied Clarinet with Ted Johnson of the Cleveland Orchestra.  In 1988, he was elected Teacher of the Year by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

Q. How did the Music Mentors project first come to be?

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Community Voices - Bradley Hamilton

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Bradley HamiltonBradley Hamilton is a junior at Oberlin College and hails from South Carolina.  He is majoring in Neuroscience and is on both the track and cross country team.  Bradley currently volunteers with the America Reads program and has been involved with college run activities such as STEM night to get Oberlin kids more interested in math and the sciences.  He sees community involvement as a very important and rewarding part of his time at Oberlin College and hopes that others are inspired to get involved in any way they can.

Q. So Bradley, have you seen any of the environmental digital signs at the library, in the public schools, around town, or in the AJLC?

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Community Voices - Ayana Imann Morrison

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Ayarna MorrisonAyana Morrison is going to be a senior at Oberlin High School in the fall. This summer she was a Ninde Summer Fellow. As a Fellow, she was a role model for the Aspiring Ninde Scholars during their summer program. She was especially helpful in matters of cooking, visual art, and writing, as these are some of her talents.

Q: Emily Clarke: Okay so can you say your name and something about yourself?

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Community Voices - Ashley Hale

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Copy of Ashley HaleAshley Hale is a fourth year, Dual Degree student majoring in Economics and Trumpet Performance. She was born in Oakland, California but is immediately from Seattle, Washington, where she began playing the trumpet in 7th grade. In her time at Oberlin she has been involved in many non-profits in the area by way of the Bonner Scholars Program. She is currently one of the coordinators of Music Mentors, a position she's held since her freshman year, and is a tutor for the Ninde Scholars program as well as at The Backspace - an after school activity center for middle and high school students. She has one more year until she completes her degrees here and is looking forward to seeing what life has to offer after Oberlin.

Q. Could you start with a description of what you’re doing?

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Community Voices - Tyler Gogolek

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TylerGogolekinHydropinicGarden2Tyler Gogolek is a hydroponic farmer who lives and works with his family in Oberlin, OH. He has over twenty years of growing experience with garden mums and produce and is committed to sustainable farming practices. In January of 2014, Tyler attended a hydroponic grower training where he learned the systems of hydroponic crop growing and produced his first crop in February of 2015. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water without soil. This method of farming offers sustainability through water conservation because the water is constantly recirculating and uses 70-80 percent less water than traditional soil farming methods. Tyler's Farm's mums and produce are available at farmer's markets in Northern Ohio as well as local restaurants and retail locations.

Q: How is it you came to live and work in Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Joy Harrison

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Optimized-Joy HarrisonJoy Harrison has been a Prospect Elementary teacher for three years. She lives in Oberlin, and feels that it is a place where real change can happen--that if you can make something work in Oberlin, you can make it work somewhere else.

How long have you been working at Prospect?

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Community Voices - Aliya Rednour

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AliyaAliya is going to be a senior at Oberlin High School this fall. This summer she worked for the Aspiring Ninde Scholars Summer Program as a Summer Fellow. As a Fellow, Aliya acted as a role model for the younger Ninde Scholars in facilitating discussion and keeping a positive attitude. After high school, Aliya is considering going to school for nursing.

Q: So if you want to just introduce yourself, say anything that feels relevant.

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Community Voices - Ralph Potts

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Ralph PottsRalph Potts is the General Manager of the Cable Co-op and has been a member of the Oberlin Community for nearly three decades. His business has provided an alternative to large corporations for the community's cable and internets needs for over 28 years. He also serves as the President of the Board of Trustees of the Oberlin Business Partnership.

Could you tell me a little bit about the Cable Co-op?

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Community Voices - Jim and Anne Helm

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Anne Helm GardenJim Helm is a Professor Emeritus of Classics at Oberlin College, and an active member of the Kendal at Oberlin community. Jim is chair of the Wood-shop Committee, and currently the Vice-President of the Kendal at Oberlin Residents Association.

Anne Helm is trained and certified as a Master Gardener in the state of Ohio. Anne volunteers at places such as Oberlin Community Services, and has volunteered in the past with teenage parents and their children at Wilkes Villa, a low-income housing development in Elyria. In addition, she maintains 3 of her own gardens and 6 communal gardens around Kendal at Oberlin.

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Community Voices - Melissa Thompson

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MelissaThompsonbyCarolynBurnhamMelissa Thompson is an Oberlin resident who has made sustainable changes in her home and daily life as a result of POWER (Providing Oberlin With Efficiency Responsibly). She has lived with her husband and three children in Oberlin for over thirteen years and believes that being environmentally conscious is a natural part of being part of this community.

Q: How would you like to be referred to as?

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Community Voices - Steve Dupee

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dupeeSteve Dupee (amppartners.org photo)Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

An image that comes to mind immediately is right here on my business card with wind turbines in the background, illustrating the community’s commitment to environmentally responsible power supply resources to meet our community’s electric needs with a focus on sustainability and carbon emission reduction.

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Community Voices - Carol Lasser

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Carol Lasser  HusbandCarol Lasser is Professor of History at Oberlin College and has lived and worked in Oberlin for 36 years. She has a long history with the Ben Franklin and the owner, Krista Long, and serves as a member of the board of the Bill Long Foundation.

Q: What are some words or images that you would use to describe Oberlin

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Community Voices - Kelly Molesky

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Kelly Molesky photoHow have you interacted with the Dashboard?

Well, I work at the Oberlin Public Library, so it’s in my library. I turn it on every morning. I have also noticed over time how people will come in just to look at it, which is kind of cool. I think kids get a real kick out of the animation with the squirrel. I am also realizing that it is a great way to advertise the programs going on here. And yeah, it’s a cool tool.

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Community Voices - Sal Talarico

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Sal PicMr. Sal Talarico is the Finance Director for the City of Oberlin and manages the city’s finance department.  He has served the City of Oberlin for 15 years, and a total of 20 years in the public sector.  The finance department is responsible for financial reporting, liability, property and health insurances, utility billing, revenue collections, accounts payable, payroll, treasury and investment management, income tax collections and administration, and debt management. 

What words/images would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Alison Ricker

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alison rickerAlison Ricker is a Science Librarian at Oberlin College. She has held this position for thirty-one years. She has also collaborated with other science librarians in Ohio to present a poster at the 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science Meeting, on digitization projects in the sciences among the Five Colleges of Ohio.

 

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Community Voices - Ian Yarber

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Ian YarbergIan Yarber is the head of the Recreation Department of Oberlin. He oversees recreation-related activities around in the town. He was born in Oberlin, and returned here about 17 years ago. Ian has a three year-old daughter.

Q: What comes to mind when you think of Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Krista Long

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10408886 10205315515192490 303125158256278654 nQ:  What words/images would you use to describe Oberlin? 

A:  Let’s see…progressive, beautiful, historic, small town, musical.

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Community Voices - City of Oberlin, General Maintenance Division Employees

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Will BlackmonWill Blackmon Johnny MooreJohnny Moore

 

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Community Voices - Matt Adelman

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feve interiorMatt Adelman (whose wife is the Assistant Director of the Oberlin Project) is an Oberlin resident and one of the owners of The Feve. He genuinely loves Oberlin and is committed to care for both the environment and the Oberlin community. He has taken steps with The Feve such as a recycling initiative, a lighting retrofit, and fundraisers for local non-profits.

Q: What are some words and images you would use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Tom Geller

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Tom Geller is a freelance writer who chose to use the services of Providing Oberlin with Efficiency Responsibly (POWER) to insulate his home.

Q: How did you hear about POWER?

I’ve been around Oberlin for about five years now. It’s a small town, so you find out about everything pretty soon. I’m actually friends with somebody whose mother is one of the people who runs POWER. Also, I’d gone through a different program called CHIP, which the city offers, and I found it really lacking. I figured I’d give POWER a try; I’d seen the signs around and so forth.

Q: Why did you contact POWER?

Well, [my house] was a fixer-upper when I bought it. I bought it really cheap: The entire kitchen had to be torn out, there was no insulation in the attic, there were a lot of problems all over. And so I did a few things when I first bought it, including putting insulation in. But I knew that the windows were leaking and the insulation wasn’t great, and so forth. So really [contacting POWER] was just out of need. It’s too bad [the work] couldn’t have been done before the winter started, but the insulation company was too busy.

Q: When you bought your home was energy efficiency a consideration?

To be honest, I didn’t really think so much about energy when I bought the place: I knew I was going to improve the place. And when one of the original contractors said, ‘Yeah well, we’re tearing out these walls we should put in insulation,’ I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, I never even really thought of that’ -- that when you tear out walls, you put up new insulation... so it really was kind of the last thing on my mind. But then with the polar vortexes coming through, it became forefront of my mind.

Q: Have you done any previous work to improve the energy efficiency of your home?

No, this was the first home I owned. But I did do some work before POWER got here it: It just wasn't as good as what they did.

Q: How would you describe your initial walkthrough with POWER?

It was great, especially compared to the CHIP program, which was very badly run. [Greg Jones] came over, described the program, and gave me some papers. [Later] they sent somebody to actually do the assessment, and he was terrific. They put a big fan in the door and they close off all the windows and such and basically see how airtight the house is. It was a good six hours of stuff, and the guy was really good with me. Then I got Ritsko insulation, who were terrific, who actually did the work. So, pretty much from beginning to end it was good.

Q: Have you saved money on energy?

It’s kind of hard to tell, because they only did the work a couple of months ago. And it was sort of as the polar vortexes were ending, and my energy bills had been so variable up until then. I will say that the first thing I notice is that smells stay around in the house longer: It's not as drafty. That's for better or worse, of course.

Q: How would you define sustainability and what actions have you made to contribute to sustainability?

I think, generally speaking, the lifestyle I enjoy is not sustainable in any way. I’d say that's true for Americans generally -- and I don't pretend that it isn’t. And there are small things that we do: I’m glad that Oberlin has a recycling program, for example... But, yeah, my energy consumption personally is way out of line with what I give back to the world generally.

Q: Do you have any final thoughts?

I really do want POWER to do well. They did such a good job by me, and God knows there are plenty of places in Oberlin that could use it. The housing stock here is not great, and partly that’s because the value of the houses is so low. If you have a $40,000 house and it's going to cost $10,000 to fix it up, well, it's not as worth it, because you’re never going to get more than $40,000 for it, no matter how fixed up it is.

So having something like POWER makes it possible to make the houses more livable and certainly more energy efficient.

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A New Years Resolution Idea - The Oberlin Pledge

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ID-100299611

Each January is a new start for many people.  If offers a proactive person the opportunity to start again. Regardless of whether a person believes in New Year’s Resolutions, making commitments at the start of a new year can teach a person how to make, set, and work toward achieving goals. 

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Community Voices - Laura Brua

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Laura Brua 2

Lauri Brua is a fifth grade teacher at Prospect Elementary School. She uses the Environmental
Dashboard as a teaching tool in her classroom, and makes sure that her students go home with an awareness of energy use and environmental issues, along with a sense of their own power to address these challenges.

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Community Voices - Thomas Bethel

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Tom BethelThomas Bethel is the Mastering Engineer/Managing Director of Acoustik Music, Ltd.. Prior to starting his own business, he served as Oberlin College’s Director of Audio Services and Concert Sound for 26 years. During his time working for Oberlin College, he recorded over three thousand concerts and did live concert sound for hundreds of live events.

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Community Voices - Tanya Rosen-Jones

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photo

Tanya Rosen-Jones is the owner of Rosen-Jones Photography. She is an Oberlin alumnus who studied History. She now lives in Oberlin with her husband, who also graduated from Oberlin, and her two sons. She hails from Berkeley, California.

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Community Voices - Mark Fahringer

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Mark FMark Fahringer is a Coordinator at The Salvation Army Oberlin Service Unit. He also has volunteered as a Board Member and Board Chair for the Catholic Action Commission of Lorain County. In March 2009, he was awarded the Bishop A.J. Quinn Peace and Justice Award for efforts in immigration reform.

Q: What words/images would you use to describe Oberlin? 

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Community Voices - Jan Miyake

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160Jan Miyake is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Oberlin Conservatory, and a client of Providing Oberlin with Efficiency Responsibly (POWER).

How did you hear about POWER?

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Community Voices - Jerry Anderson

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Jerry AndersonJerry Anderson is the owner of Watson’s Hardware, located at 26 South Main Street in Oberlin. He believes in making full use of available materials.

Q: What words/images would you use to describe Oberlin?
A: Coming from your point of view, zero carbon.

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Community Voices - Manuel Espinoza

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Manuel EspinozaManuel EspinozaWhen Mr. Manuel Espinoza first came to Oberlin in 1964 for a job interview at the local barbershop, he knew right away that he wanted to stay. A self-identified “people person,” he enjoys interacting with his clients and making them look good, one haircut at a time. 
 
Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?
 
A: Oberlin…Lively, animated. Entertaining. 
 
Q: Why would you choose those words?
 
Because I go through other towns and you hardly see any people on the streets. But you come to Oberlin and there’s students walking around, any day of the week…Most outside towns, Saturdays are busy days. Oberlin, every day you’ve got movement in town. From here, you can see all the people going to the Feve, walking by and going to the banks…and just the different people—the different countries walking around. It’s pretty cool.
 
Q: How is that you came to open your business in Oberlin? 
 
A: It was back in 1964. I was an apprentice barber...Grew up in western Ohio and went to barber school in Toledo. I had my apprentice’s license but I couldn’t find any job that I really wanted to do over there. And then I was working as an apprentice hod-carrier—you mix mud for a plasterer—I set up the scaffolding and put the ladder up, and mixed the mud and the plaster, would do the walls…One day we were working in Toledo at a hotel and he [my boss] went out to lunch and came back with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and there were three job openings in the wanted section. One was in Bedford, one was in North Ridgeville, and one was in Oberlin. Went to Bedford and interviewed there…They said I could come work the next day. Then I drove to North Ridgeville…and I went to Ron’s Barbershop and he said I could start the next day. And then I came to Oberlin and it was about noon and the kids were leaving their art lessons at the museum and we were at the crosswalk…and I said yep, I think I’ll stay here….I came in here…and I applied and he said yeah, you can start working tomorrow. So at noon, when he closed up the shop, we went over to a place called Martin’s Inn—a monthly rental place—and I got a room there for a month. And the next day I came to town. 
 
I started working the next day, which was the first part of October. I had a year and a half apprenticeship and then in…March I came to work and Perry, my boss, says, “If you want to buy the barbershop, you should buy it today,” he says, “ ’Cause I’m retiring. If you don’t, you’ll be working for somebody else tomorrow.” So I bought it. And he packed up his tools and left, just like that. So that was pretty cool…That was about 1967. 
 
When I was over there [in a different location], I got married and sent my wife to barber school and she was cutting hair. And we cut hair together—she was very good, she was excellent. We ended up getting a divorce…We remained good friends…She was looking for a place to open her own business and I said, well, come back to Oberlin. I said, you’re a hair stylist, a barber stylist; I’m just a barber. We’ll get along fine, you’ll have your customers and I’ll have mine. So she had a place right up the street, right next to Gibson’s—it was called A Cut Above—and she had a really good business going…I had Renee working with me, then after that, I just worked by myself. It worked out pretty good and I’ve been by myself since then. I call it quality control. 
 
Q: Can you briefly describe the nature of your business and its function in the Oberlin community? 
 
A: My business is making people look good.
 
Q: The word sustainability can be used to describe actions that promote the economic, social, and environmental well-being of a community. What does sustainability mean to you as an Oberlin resident and a business owner?
 
A: I don’t know how much a barbershop would apply to that, other than good grooming…Well… the town itself…you don’t have to go out of town to get whatever you need. Most of your needs are here. With that, I’d say Oberlin does pretty well. Self-sufficient, self-sustaining.
 
Q: I think longevity is part of it too, what you were saying about how you’ve been here since the 60s. I would say your business has definitely been sustainable. 
 
A: I think I’ve changed when there needed to be change. When the long hair came in—in the mid-70s, the late 70s—Renee and I went to hair design school and learned to cut long hair and women’s hair and all that…You’ve got to go with the flow, not to extremes, just enough to rock the boat. So we changed as the times changed. I’m probably the first barbershop to have appointments. In town, no barbershops had appointments…I was the first guy who had a woman with me working as a barber. She got first chair…I was second chair—I deferred to my wife’s talents!
 
Q: What sustainable practices have you incorporated into your business practices? 
 
A: I think one of them is the appointments because a lot of my clients, customers, they have time constraints. I have professors and college students and they have x amount of minutes to go between classes or before classes start and they’ll call up and set up an appointment. They’ll be in and out and guaranteed they won’t have to wait. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve done. That, and consistency in the quality of the haircuts…I do all right, cutting hair. After 50 years…that says it all.
 
Q: Is it difficult to handle all the scheduling? What kind of system do you have worked out?  
 
A: The system is—I go at 20-minute intervals. A good hair cut, the actual cutting action of the hair, takes about twelve minutes. To cut it right, make it look good. But you also have the set-up time, the client coming in.  So I have a five-minute window. If you’re five minutes late, I’ll have to hurry your haircut and it’s not going to come out the way I want it to. And then the guy that has an appointment has to wait and he shouldn’t have to wait. So my thing is, if you’re five minutes late, I have to reschedule you, unless there’s nobody coming in afterwards. So my customers know that I’m not going to wait. The walk-ins are welcome, but they’ll have to wait if I have an appointment…I think that’s what’s kept me consistent. 
 
The people who come here come here of their own volition, so it’s a great working environment. No one comes in here because they have to. You come here because you want to…50 years and I love my job. And if you love your job, you never spend a day at work. 
 
Q: What sorts of economic development would you like to see in Oberlin? 
 
A: I don’t know…I think specialty shops would probably be the best because anything else, you have…Walmart and all that competing with you and they’re going to undercut you and cut prices just to get people. And people are more bargain hunters than quality buyers and they’re going to go over there. An example in hair cutting: you’ve got Best Cuts, Fantastic Sam’s—these are like the fast food of haircuts. They serve a good purpose because there’s families with four or five kids and that’s a big chunk to pay out to give them haircuts, so you’re going to get them at half price…and they’re kids—kids are cute whether you cut their hair good or bad…I think unique stores would probably last longer [downtown] than anything that would have to compete with the big “box stores” as they call them…I never worried [those stores]. In my business, if I lose a customer, it’s not because of somebody else—it’s because of me. 
 
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Community Voices - Donna Shurr

Posted by Emily Belle
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Optimized-DSCN0153Donna Shurr has been teaching Family and Consumer Sciences at Oberlin High School since she moved to the town in 1998. She is involved in many volunteering pursuits such as managing the Oberlin Backpack Program, which gives eligible students from Prospect and Eastwood Elementary Schools meal items and snacks to bring home for the weekend.

Q: Have you had any interaction with the Environmental Digital signs in the Public Library, The AJLC, or Prospect Elementary School, and if so, what do you think about it?

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Community Voices - Glenn Gall

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GlennGallWebGlenn Gall is an activist, a writer, and a farmer living in Oberlin. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Huntington University, and has training in permaculture and grazing techniques. He proposes the use of natural systems as a multidimensional approach to the problem of climate change. More of his ideas can be found on the website: reverseglobalwarming.org.

Q: What comes to mind when you think about Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Peter Comings

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254158 1893056859527 3870992 nPeter Comings is a resident of Oberlin who grew up in town and came back a few years ago with his family because of the positive, forward-thinking mindset he sees here. One of his hopes for Oberlin is that people come to see themselves as important parts of the sustainable, progressive actions Oberlin is taking.

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Community Voices - Janet Haar

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photo1Mrs. Janet Haar, the director of the Oberlin Business Partnership, likes to call her business a “three-legged stool”. The OBP combines a chamber of commerce, main street organization, and visitors’ bureau all into one. Haar followed son Blake New (men’s soccer coach for Oberlin College and owner of Slow Train cafe and the Local) to Oberlin after he implied that her work was needed in Oberlin. He was right. Janet Haar has done a great deal for the community. She is constantly thinking about the future and what would benefit her business in the long-run. Economic and environmental sustainability plays a key role in not only her professional life, but in her personal life as well.

Q: Could you briefly describe the nature of your business and its role in the Oberlin community?

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Community Voices - Marleen Watling

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Optimized-IMG 20140606 140956173Marleen Watling is a librarian at the Oberlin Public Library. When the weather allows, she bikes all the way to and from her home in North Ridgeville 3 days a week. Biking has become a real positive force in her life, as a way of not only reducing her energy use, but also of feeling healthier and more connected to the environment.

Q: What are some words or images you would use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Robert Q. Thompson

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Robert Q. ThompsonRobert Q. Thompson is a chemistry professor at Oberlin College. He has invested time, money, and effort into installing solar panels in his home and has created an energy-efficient and green household. He has lived in Oberlin and worked at the college for thirty-two years.

 Q: What was the process of making your home more ‘green’ like for you? What did it teach you about environmental design and construction?

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Community Voices - Charles Horton

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Optimized-Charles Horton Image 2Mr. Charles Horton, Oberlin resident and entrepreneur, is the proprietor of Custom Cleaning Services located in the Industrial Parkway. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Mr. Horton came to Oberlin more than thirty years ago “with the intent of starting a business.”

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Russell Benjamin

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RussellBenjaminRussell Benjamin is a woodworker and a contractor. He is interested in green and energy efficient construction and community development. In addition to living in Oberlin, he also lives in the Pemaquid Peninsula in Maine. He is a strong proponent of education and enjoys travelling.

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Alan Mitchell

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Alan MitchellAlan Mitchell is Oberlin Community Services’ Food Coordinator and an active Oberlin resident, exemplary in his care for others. Alan grew up in Oberlin and after being away for a decade, during which time he attended college and serving in the Navy, he returned to raise his family in an environment he feels can teach his kids essential values.

Q: What word(s) or image(s) would you use to describe Oberlin:

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Community Voices - Barbara Pierce

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Barbara Pierce FlagBarbara Pierce, an Oberlin resident and the first post-war blind student to attend Oberlin College, has worked for the last 40 years for the National Federation of the Blind, advocating for the civil rights of blind people. She is a leader nationwide as well as in the Oberlin community.

Q: What word(s) or image(s) would you use to describe Oberlin:

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Community Voices - Lisa Kavanagh

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Lisa KavanaghLisa Kavanagh is a retired Oberlin resident with a rare mitochondrial disorder caused by Lyme disease who is passionate about influencing change towards a sustainable future. Although she only has a few hours of energy a day, she is very active through online forums, writing letters, and making environmentally conscious consumer choices. More than anything she makes sure she starts with herself, nurturing a holistic philosophy with the natural environment.

Q: What word(s) or image(s) would you use to describe Oberlin:

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Community Voices - Ron Bier

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Ron BierRon Bier is a Chemistry and Environmental Science teacher at Oberlin Senior High School. While he hails originally from the east side of Cleveland, he and his family currently live in Amherst, Ohio.

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Community Voices - Shirley Owens

Posted by Emily Belle
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Shirley OwensPhoto by Yvette Chen OC '16A lifelong Oberlin resident, Ms. Shirley Owens is General Manager of Quick and Delicious restaurant, located at 311 South Main Street. She believes in creating community through the continuous beautification of neighborhoods, and by making good-tasting food accessible to everyone. Ms. Owens is thankful that Quick and Delicious is equipped to serve people of all ages and abilities, giving customers the opportunity “to eat what you’d like to eat” in “a place where family and friends gather and hugs are free.”

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - David Gard

Posted by Jake Holtzman
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FaceDavid Gard was hired the end of September 2013 as the Executive Director of the Oberlin Project.  Prior to the Oberlin Project, David Gard worked at the Michigan Energy Council as the Program Director. David completed the Erb Institute MBA/MS Program at the University of Michigan, worked as a design engineer, and served in the U.S. Navy. He grew up in Cincinnati, OH and has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.

What excites you about the Oberlin Project?

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Community Voices - Pastor Andy Call

Posted by Anita Peebles w/o YC
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call 2Andy Call is Pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Oberlin. He moved to Oberlin in Summer 2012 with his wife and their three children. Andy is enthusiastic about the renovations at FUMC, especially the improved children’s classrooms. He says, “It’s an exciting project because it will provide a safe, clean environment for children to be and we are doing it in a way that we think is responsible with the resources we have.”

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Barbara Fuchsman

Posted by Anita Peebles w/o YC
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fuchsman2Barbara Fuchsman has been an Oberlin resident for 43 years. She is a layperson at the Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. She works closely with the Santa Elena Project that supports human rights for workers in Guatemala. She enjoys gardening with her husband. 

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Amanda Schmidt

Posted by Anita Peebles w/o YC
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amanda schmidt picAmanda Schmidt has lived in Oberlin since 2011. She is Assistant Professor of Geology at Oberlin College and is active with the local Baha’i community. She studies human-landscape interactions, primarily in China and enjoys traveling with her 8-month-old son Colby. Amanda and her husband are competitive mountain bikers and race locally in mountain bike and cyclocross races.

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?
A: I guess Oberlin reminds me of a friendly New England college town. I went to grad school in the northwest and there aren’t towns like this. Definitely friendly, and it’s kind of an eccentric town. Very accessible.

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Community Voices - Kim Koos

Posted by Shane Clark
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Optimized-Kim KoosKim Koos is a teacher and IB Coordinator at Prospect Elementary School. Aside from her passion for education, she loves spending time with her family, swimming, reading, and gardening. She is also very artistic and loves to create items in various mediums.

Q: What are some words that come to mind when you think of Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Greg Jones

Posted by Shane Clark
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Optimized-gregjoneswideGregory Jones is Oberlin’s Energy Advocate, part of POWER’s initiative to help homeowners improve their energy efficiency. In his free time, Greg enjoys fishing and is a self-proclaimed ‘sports nut.’ Cleveland teams, all the way. 

What are some words or images that come to mind when you think of Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Dori Tiller and Shelley Clagg

Posted by Anita Peebles
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Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
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shelleyclaggDori Tiller and Shelley Clagg are committed residents at John Frederick Oberlin (JFO) Homes who put together a recycling program at the John Frederick Oberlin (JFO) apartment complex. For both of them, recycling and reusing have come to feel very natural, and they are working hard to share this spirit with other members of the Oberlin community.

Q: What are some words or images that come to mind when describing Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Fr. Robert Cole

Posted by Anita Peebles
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Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
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Fr. ColeFr. Robert Cole has been Pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oberlin for 5 years. Born and bred in the Cleveland area, he is glad to be serving several churches in the Cleveland Diocese. Fr. Cole has been a priest for 41 years.

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Chuck Annable

Posted by Shane Clark
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Chuck Annable picChuck Annable was the President/Horticulturist at Green Side Up Garden Center. He recently sold it to his employees.  He is an avid traveler and has visited 49 of the 50 United States. He loves to hike, canoe, and explore natural areas.

Q: How did you come to own Green Side Up Garden Center?

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Community Voices - David Snyder

Posted by Anita Peebles
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Optimized-david snyder.YCPhoto by Yvette Chen OC '16David Snyder has been a resident of Oberlin since 2006. He serves as the Clerk of the Oberlin Friends Meeting. David has long engaged in environmental activism and shared  that he inspired his parents to get involved in the nuclear freeze movement in the 1970s.

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Che Gonzalez

Posted by Jake Holtzman w/YC
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12042013 YC CheGonzalezPhoto by Yvette Chen OC '16Oberlin resident Che Gonzalez is a librarian at the Oberlin Public Library. A few years ago, she started a home-based business for affordable, healthy foods. Gardening since she was a kid, Ms. Gonzalez grows many of her own vegetables at home.

Q: Some people think of “sustainability” as actions that improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the community? How would you define “sustainability” for yourself?

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Community Voices - Anita Lock

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Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
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AnitaMrs. Anita Lock has lived in Oberlin for 10 years. After visiting Oberlin when she was 15 and getting a flavor of the community, she thought, “I hope someday I’ll live here.” She is the proprietor of One-On-One Tutoring of Lorain County and is a music educator. Mrs. Lock also hosts “All Things Irish,” which airs on WOBC 91.5 FM every Saturday from 4-5pm.

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Valerie Hardnett

Posted by Jake Holtzman w/YC
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12042013 YC valeriehardnettWords to describe Oberlin.

Diverse, unique, different, different perspectives religions and people, traditional

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Community Voices - John and Anne Elder

Posted by Anita Peebles
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phpGv2iotAMJohn and Anne Elder are residents of Kendal at Oberlin. John served as Pastor of the First Church in Oberlin UCC from 1973 to 1991. Anne was a Supervisor in the Lorain City Schools from 1973 to 1991. John enjoys papermaking, printmaking and watercolors. Anne is a Court Appointed Special Assistant to advocate for children in the court system.

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - David Hill

Posted by Anita Peebles
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Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
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davidhillpicDavid Hill has been Pastor of First Church in Oberlin UCC  for ten years. He serves as President of Oberlin Community Services, a local social services organization. Pastor Hill enjoys integrating music into worship experiences, especially jazz.

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Midge Brittingham

Posted by Anita Peebles
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Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
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MiidgeheadshotMidge Brittingham has been a resident of Oberlin since 1969. She is an alumni of Oberlin College, class of 1960, and is the mother of two Oberlin graduates. She served many years with the Oberlin College Alumni Association and is an active layperson at Christ Episcopal Church in Oberlin. She and her husband Smith enjoy hosting meals for international students at their house each Sunday night.

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?

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Community Voices - Ms. Margaret Christian

Posted by Jake Holtzman w/YC
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I am a second year Oberlin College student majoring in environmental studies and
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12042013 YC margaretchristianPhoto by Yvette Chen OC '16Think about all the places you have walked. Have you walked to the public library? Or to school? To pick up some groceries downtown? Or to friend’s house?

Margaret Christian has walked back and forth a countless number of times to these places and to others. Why not drive a car instead? There are a number of reasons she could tell you, from health reasons to environmental ones. There is also a fundamental difference for Ms. Christian in the way you perceive the town as a walker. She says, “I see the changes of the seasons, I see the cans that are left behind.” So perhaps walking can be a learning experience as well, explains Ms. Christian. A way to get in touch with the surrounding environment and to gain a better sense of the community, with all of its unique characteristics and rich history. Ms. Christian personally likes to walk to the Westwood cemetery, because it is a place she can come back to, remember and learn about the people that were here who make up the history of the town.

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Community Voices - A.G. Miller

Posted by Anita Peebles
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Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
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Optimized-AG Miller photo.YC         Photo by Yvette Chen OC'16A.G. Miller is Professor of Religion at Oberlin College. He has lived in Oberlin with his wife Brenda Grier Miller since 1991. In 2001, he and several other Oberlin community members started the Oberlin House of the Lord Fellowship, part of the House of Lord Pentecostal churches.

Q: What word or image would you use to describe Oberlin?

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A Flexitarian Diet Lifestyle

Posted by Michaela Joyce
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Michaela Joyce is a single mother that works full time at a local restaurant and
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I have been thinking about my eating habits since I went visit my brother in Colorado, who has recently adopted a strict Vegan diet. Not only does he not eat any animal products, he abstains from eating any type of processed food. This adjusted nutritional lifestyle seems like a very difficult task. I’m not sure if I have the willpower to currently take such a drastic step in my own life. His new nutritional lifestyle made me reflect on my daily food choices. How does the food I eat affect me, and furthermore, how does it affect the environment? I never took time to think about how my food choices affect the environment. An Introduction to Ecology course at Lorain County Community College recently opened my eyes to my narrow scope of my food choices.  It also offered me a fresh perspective and challenged me to begin looking at my food and the environment through a broader lens. During my Ecology course is when I first heard the term flexitarian. It means someone who is a vegetarian and allows meat in his or her diet on occasion. I started thinking about the different food choices that I can make that can positively affect the environment without going to the extreme.

This idea of becoming a flexitarian is appealing to me, because even though I care about the environment and my own health, I am not ready to take such drastic steps in my life to become a full-fledged vegetarian. Instead, I want to push myself to make better food choices rather than feel guilty about eating meat or processed foods on occasion. I believe that eating a completely vegetarian diet is hard and can be costly. With the adoption of a flexitarian lifestyle, I can make changes while also bending the rules to suit my personal tastes. Also, I have a young son that loves his macaroni and cheese and I would not feel right restricting his food choices. However, he will still be affected by this lifestyle change because grocery shopping as a flexitarian will directly affect what I put on the dinner table. He will unknowingly reap the benefits of our newfound nutritional lifestyle.

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Community Voices - John Memmott

Posted by Shane Clark
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Optimized-John Memmott

John Memmott is a semi-retired teacher who spent many years in the Oberlin public schools. He’s also a long-time sea-kayaker and avid photographer. Recently, he’s gotten involved with getting the Environmental Dashboard system set up in Prospect Elementary. 

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Environmental Dashboard

Posted by Gabriel Moore
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My name is Gabriel Moore and I'm a first-year from South Carolina, hoping to bec
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121111 HBD DashboardTeam

Technology to display video has come a long way since its start in the 1800’s. From analog to digital, VHS to BluRay, and even as you look at your computer, how we receive information (and entertainment) via a screen has changed drastically in order to make a more informed society. But are we informed about the right things in all the right places? While information about the world continues to grow and become more easily accessible, how about what’s happening in Tappan Square this weekend? Or what is my favorite local business doing on the sustainability front? How is the electricity and water I use daily moving through the City of Oberlin? With the launch of the new Environmental Dashboard at Prospect Elementary School and the Oberlin Public Library, this information will be more accessible and relevant to Oberlinians than ever.

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Oberlin Project Community Conversations Translate Into Next Steps

Posted by John Bergen
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I grew up in North Newton, Kansas (if you don't know the state, its right near t
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For the last few months, members of the Oberlin Project Community Engagement Team have been engaged in Community Conversations, chances for Oberlin residents to meet together and discuss what they would like to see for the future of Oberlin. These Community Conversations were held from October through early February, and involved over 120 members of the Oberlin community from a wide diversity of backgrounds. Conversations covered topics such as improving our downtown, creating opportunities for youth and seniors, and expanding city recycling. Many Oberlin residents expressed a commitment to working harder on sustainability; one participant commented on an evaluation form, “I can dig in my heels a little deeper. I am part of the solution.”

The Oberlin Project is a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and other local partners to improve the sustainability, resilience, and prosperity of our community. It supports the goals of the City and College to create a climate-positive community by 2050.

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Community Voices - Steve Hammond

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Optimized-steve.hammond pic

Steve Hammond has been Co-Pastor of Peace Community Church in Oberlin for 33 years, along with his wife Mary. Steve and Mary are both Protestant Chaplain Affiliates for the Oberlin College Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Steve was the youngest of 18 children in his family. He enjoys running and hanging out with his grandchildren.

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Community Voices - Linda Arbogast

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Linda Arbogast is Executive Director of Oberlin Community Services. She lives in Brownhelm Township with her husband, Bo, and their three children on an organic blueberry farm. Both Linda and her husband were Peace Corps volunteers in Sri Lanka.

Linda Arbogast photo

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Solving the Carbon Problem

Posted by Ben Jones
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Ben Jones graduated from Oberlin College in 1996 with majors in English and Envi
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"I think I've figured out the carbon problem," says my seven-year-old son. It's Monday morning, early, and I'm still half asleep. He stands next to my bed, already dressed and dancing with excitement.

Rewind a day or so. He and I lay on our backs in the mid-afternoon sunlight, staring up at the sky, wearing t-shirts in mid-November in northeast Ohio. It is almost 70 degrees. "Isn't this great?" he says.

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Adventures in Sustainability

Posted by AJ! Clonts
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AJ! Clonts was born in Murphy, North Carolina and moved to Ohio three years ago.
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My fiancé, Sharon Pearson, introduced me to the world of sustainability. Much of my life I had some knowledge of recycling and energy saving practices: however, I did not realize the full impact I had in making my community a better place, both now and for generations in the future.

Upon arriving to Ohio from North Carolina, my recycling efforts began quite simply, with saving aluminum cans and taking them to a recycling center for money.  With further knowledge and education, I began recycling at home by sorting metals and plastics labeled as recyclable for trash day, using a recycling bag as a separator. This bag was placed next to the trashcan as a reminder to consider recycling over throwing our waste away. After a short period of time, we were filling up the recycling container much faster than the “regular” refuse container.  In fact, we do not place the refuse container out on the curb but every few weeks.

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When in Doubt...

Posted by David W. Orr
David W. Orr
David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies
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on July 30, 2012
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We've warmed the Earth by more than 0.8°C, with that much more likely on the way. A 2°C increase by 2050 is likely with absolutely no assurance that we can stop it there. Even in the early stages of climate destabilization we're now witnessing weather extremes that were not supposed to occur until mid-century or later.

There's more. Since CO2 remains in the atmosphere for a long time, we have committed posterity to centuries of rising temperatures, rising sea levels flooding coastal cities, ecological chaos, and collateral effects including famine, violence, political and economic turmoil, and psychological trauma. This is emphatically not an argument for doing nothing. On the contrary, the stark reality ahead is the best reason we have to act with the kind of urgency and creativity that we once showed in World War II and in the creation of the Marshall Plan. The picture is clear: If we humans want to hang around for a while we will have to quickly "disinvent fire" or else we'll fry. The big numbers that govern climate and Earth systems don't give a damn about Capitalism, the Dow Jones, or the American Dream. They work with no remorse whatsoever.

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