Kelsey Hurley from Monroe Community College presented to the RACOG board about her RACOG Community Resource Map that she worked on as part of a remote internship with the Tug Hill Commission. Her project is on the RACOG website and will also be available through the Tug Hill Commission’s map portal (www.tughill.giscloud.com). Kelsey is looking to continue to assist as she can with the project moving forward and was grateful for the opportunity. Also, Seth Lapp was at the board meeting to introduce himself to the board. He will be working as an intern this summer with the Tug Hill Commission through funding from the Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University and RACOG. His work will have him helping out communities with data collection and mapping projects.
Jerry Haenlin, Mike Lammey, and Jennifer Kellish represented National Grid at the RACOG meeting on April 17, 2018. Mike Lammey presentated to the board about the process of converting to LEDs for municipalities. Municipalities have the options to do a conversion, where the customer pays for the un-depreciated value of the existing lighting and equipment associated with it, but is a one time thing to get most if not all of their lights converted at one time. The other option they a municipality can do, is what is called their opt-in option. With this option, as National Grid needs to do replacements, they will convert over to LEDs. This process would take a bit longer to convert all street lights over to LED, but wouldn’t cost the municipality anything. In order for a municipality to opt-in, they need to send a written request to National Grid. National Grid won’t automatically replaced with an LED without this letter. It was a very informative presentation.
Heather Tanner, Executive Director for the Wilna-Champion Transportation Association (WCTA), presented to the RACOG board about the current status of the organization from a fiscal and operational standpoint. The non-profit operates on a limited schedule for the seniors and disabled in the area, providing a valuable service within the community. The program operates on a tight budget, which she mentioned was made more difficult when the area was designated under the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). She stated that being under the MPO makes the WCTA non-eligible for rural transport funding opportunities making it more difficult for a small organization like them to be competitive in getting grant funding for a new shuttle bus. Their current shuttle bus is a 2008 Ford E450 and is need of being replaced.
Mrs. Tanner stated that she rides the bus, so that she can give the riders the care and assistance they need. She helps them carry their groceries and assists them in many ways, that they otherwise would not get if WCTA was not around. She is very passionate about helping the elderly and disabled. WTCA continues to look for ways to upgrade their shuttle bus and hope they can find a solution. They want to continue providing this valuable service to their community.
Todd Burker a teacher at Carthage Central High School and who also oversees the Sustainability Corp student group there, presented at the RACOG board meeting last night. He talked about the efforts that the Carthage Central School District has undertaken with their high school and middle school in composting food waste. In one year they composted around 17,000 pounds of food waste. The compost is used in a garden at the school to help grow tomatoes and peppers for the school cafeteria. He mentioned other benefits that could be tapped into, like heat extraction from the compost pile and capturing the methane gas.
Mr. Burker talked with the board about ways that local governments can get involved with composting and using it as a way to help with protecting against climate change, be recycling food waste and tapping into the energy that is given off during the composting process. It was mentioned about communities in Vermont that currently do this type of thing. He did note that the villages of Carthage and West Carthage do provide leaves and woody debris needed to the school for their composting when they do their roadside pickup of this type of material. He said it takes 2 parts of brown material (wood chips, leaves, etc.) to 1 part of green material (food waste) to have a good formula for composting. Having a potential voluntary citizen program for collecting food waste was discussed as a potential starting point to see how a community composting project might work and what the pitfalls might be.
It was also mentioned that there would be a Climate Change Forum on March 21, 2018 from 7pm to 8pm at Carthage Central High School.