Right to Breathe:
Defending Impacted Communities
Friday, May 16, 2014
In neighborhoods across our nation, simply taking a breath of air is risky business. For years, oil refineries, coal plants, and other industrial facilities have escaped Clean Air Act requirements, allowing them to spew deadly pollutants into the air shared by nearby communities. Residents are left with a difficult decision: stay indoors or breathe in pollutants that can cause lung and heart disease, cancer, brain damage—even death. Mobile sources such as cars, trucks, ships, and trains also create vast amounts of air pollution, often disproportionately impacting poor communities.
Join Earthjustice attorneys Paul Cort and Emma Cheuse for a teleconference on how Earthjustice is fighting to protect communities from the impacts of burning fossil fuels.
Deborah Cipolla-Dennis (@CipollaDennis) traveled to Sacramento, California on March 14th to attend California’s largest anti-fracking rally and participate in four local organizing events throughout the State’s Central Valley.
Saturday, March 15th California’s capitol was buzzing with more than 4000 fractivist from as far away as San Diego. A diverse crowd of indigenous people, farm workers, and environmentalist came together to bring a message to Governor Jerry Brown that fracking will not be welcomed where 50% of the nations food is produced.
Cipolla-Dennis along with two men from Weld County Colorado that have been directly impacted by fracking have met with local organizers in Sacramento, Merced and Delano in the past week. Shane Davis (@fractivist) and Rod Brueske (@rkbrueske) shared their stories of being run out of their homes and poisoned by fracking. Cipolla-Dennis brought the hopeful story of Dryden and New York and how we were able to ban fracking and protect our way of life. California laws are very similar to New York laws and the same type of zoning ordinance can be enacted at both the city and county levels.
The group, coordinated by Robby Diesu of Stop the Frack Attack and Reed Steberger of Earthjustice, are making a final stop in Los Angeles on March 21st to meet with a fenceline community that has been experiencing oil development for many years and is now threatened by fracking coming to their community.
Published on Jan 20, 2014
Highlight of the “Shale Gas Potential In NY” presentation in Oneonta 1-17-2014. Lou Allstadt, retired VP of Mobil Oil calls for a statewide ban on fracking in New York. Music: folk singers before the presentation singing Woodie Guthrie’s tune This Land is Your Land.
The results are in and they are fantastic!
DRAC supported candidates won all around:
Town Supervisory – Mary Ann Sumner
Town Council – Jason Leifer and Greg Sloan
Highway Supervisor – Rick Young
County Legislature – Martha Robertson and Mike Lane
Tomorrow Tuesday 11/5/13 is Election Day. Polls open 6 AM – 9 PM.
Some polling place have changed: http://www.tompkins-co.org/boe/For_Voters/Where_to_Vote/Index_Where_to_Vote.html
DRAC Roadside Rallies:
7.30-9 AM Rte 13/366 (NYSEG intersection).
3.30-5 PM TAKE YR PICK please show up with a sign: Rte 13/366 or Village of Dryden four corners intersection.
So what if you are there alone? Stand tall! (& thank you.)
Please VOTE, and put a little extra effort into encouraging others to VOTE. In local elections, every vote counts. Best wishes to the candidates in all the lively local races!!
VOTE Tuesday NOVEMBER 5th
Despite being upheld twice in court, the ban is vulnerable!
DRAC supports these candidates:
Mary Ann Sumner, Jason Leifer, Steve Stelick, Greg Sloan
Some Polling places have changed!
Voter registration and polling place location info: lwvtompkins.org/voting.html
Alert your family and friends.
Week after next, Tuesday November 5, is Election Day. We must remind everyone of the need to vote, the date, and the candidate names.
PLEASE join us for super fun Road Rallies:
- Tuesday October 29 from 3:30-5:00 PM at the Rte 13/366 intersection.
- Thursday October 31 from 7:30-9:00 AM at the Rte 13/366 intersection.
- Monday November 4 from 7:30-9:00 AM at the Dryden four corners intersection.
- Tuesday November 5 Election Day at the Rte 366/13 intersection.
Bring your signs – we’ll have more. Any amount of your time, is greatly appreciated.
If any of you want to do separate rallies – such as at the main Freeville intersection during rush hour, or other times at the above locations, or in Ellis Hollow, please go for it – let us know if you want help.
Wednesday October 23: “Reading the Landscape for Regeneration and Resilience,” an interactive tour and presentation with Ben Falk!
Interactive Site Tour, 4-5pm @ Dilmun Hill Student-Run Farm, Ithaca NY
Presentation, 5:30-7pm @ Plant Science building room 143, Cornell University, Ithaca NY
Ben Falk, M.A.L.D., Whole Systems Design, LLC, will use the student farm for exploring small-scale permaculture, discussing improvements that can be made to traditional agricultural operations and backyard gardens to make them more ecologically enhancing and resilient to flood, drought, pests and other stresses.
Free and open to the public; sponsored by Dilmun Hill Student Farm, Cornell Garden-Based Learning, CU Collaborate and the Toward Sustainability Foundation.
Directions to Dilmun Hill: http://cuaes.cornell.edu/cals/cuaes/ag-operations/dilmun-hill/contact.cfm
Directions to Plant Science: The Plant Sciences building is located on Tower Road between Bradfield Hall and Kennedy Hall on the Cornell University campus. When entering Plant Science from the ground level at the parking circle, this room is accessed by walking up the set of stairs immediately to the right.
Wednesday October 23, 7 PM: DEC’s LNG Rules • FERC & Natural Gas Storage • Port Ambrose LNG
Come learn: how to submit comments; what points to make in your comments.
Keith Schue with Sandra Steingraber and the “Return of 30 Days” Website
First Unitarian Church, Ithaca NY
306 N. Aurora Street, on the NW Corner with E. Buffalo: http://unitarian.ithaca.ny.us/Newcomers/How-to-find-us
Enjoy homemade snacks and conversation following the program.
More Info: Sandy Podulka, email: email@example.com
The Return of 30 Days: Infrastructure Regs: http://www.thirtydaysoffrackingregs.com/index.php
Wednesday October 23, 7:30-8:30 PM: “Nature Wars: the incredible story of how wildlife comebacks turned backyards into battlegrounds,” the Elizabeth E. Rowley Lecture.
Jim Sterba, Acclaimed Journalist & Author
Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell University, Ithaca NY
Thursday October 24, 6:30-8:30 PM: Tompkins County Deer Management Forum
With Jim Sterba & others, moderated by Sharon Anderson, TC CCE.
Location: Ithaca High School Cafeteria, 1401 N Cayuga Street, Ithaca NY
Time: 6:30-8:30PM (Poster session 6:30-7PM, Panel discussion 7-8:30)
Additional information: http://www.cornellplantations.org/event/sterba.panel.discussion
Saturday October 26, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.
Information, drop off/collection sites near you: http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/
Saturday October 26,1:00-5:00 PM: Haudenosaunee Perspectives on Fracking and the Movement for a Ban
HBC Building, Kittredge Auditorium, 900 Crouse Avenue
Syracuse University, Syracuse NY: http://www.syr.edu/about/pdf/NorthSouthCampus2012.pdf
Speakers: F. Jacques, C. Waterman, M. Lemke, R. Vogelsang. In 2009, the Haudenosaunee issued a statement calling on New York State to ban the permitting of natural gas drilling, inspiring allies to get serious about living up to our agreements to protect our shared resources…Please join Haudenosaunee representatives, movement makers, community organizers, and student activists for an afternoon of our shared history protecting New York State from hydrofracking. Info: Emily Bishop firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday Oct. 30, 7 PM: Marcellus and Utica Shale Gas Potential in New York State
Hollister Hall Auditorium (Room B14), 527 College Avenue/4 Central Avenue (?!)
Cornell University, Ithaca NY: https://www.cornell.edu/maps/
Speakers: J. Acton, L. Allstadt, B. Brock, J. “C” Northup. Co-sponsors: Tompkins County Council of Governments; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County ; Tompkins County League of Women Voters; Cornell Sustainability Hub; Sustainability at Ithaca College; Ithaca First Presbyterian Committee on Justice; Peace and Integrity
of Creation; FracTracker Alliance. Facebook event info: https://www.facebook.com/events/166168313590436/
Fri/Sat, November 8/9: Watershed Woes: Six Mile Creek, Climate Change, & Us.
1-5 PM & reception, Friday; 10 AM-5 PM Saturday. Exact locations along Six Mile Creek in Tompkins County, NY being arranged. Indoor/outdoor workshops on climate change in the Great Lakes and locally, walk & talk along the creek about Hemlock Wooly Adelgid/invasives and our water supply; lively sessions on building resilience and coping with climate change grief & activist burnout. Reception Friday, refreshments Saturday. Free to the public. Community conference sponsored by Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Sustainable Tompkins, & Freshwater Future. Contact email@example.com and watch here for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/355996531202719/ , www.cayugalake.org .
Tuesday, November 12, 6:30-8:30 PM: Hydrilla Public Information Meeting & Hydrilla Hunter Volunteer Thank-you
Borg Warner Room East, Tompkins County Public Library
101 E. Green Street, Ithaca NY 14850
6:30 PM: Thanking and recognizing the volunteers around the lake who helped train and educate many others to watch for hydrilla this past summer.
Please attend for refreshments, information, & appreciation!
7:00 PM: Stay for the public information session to be presented by members of the Hydrilla Task Force of the Cayuga Lake Watershed.
Friday, November 15, 11:00 AM-5 PM: Finger Lakes Research Conference 2013, hosted by the Finger Lakes Institute
Hobart and William Smith Colleges Scandling Center, Vandervort Room
300 Pulteney St., Geneva, NY 14456
Please plan to attend the 2013 Finger Lakes Research Conference that will highlight panelists discussing land use, invasive species, and nutrient management within the Finger Lakes region of New York. In addition, a number of research posters will be displayed. Poster session information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Advance registration required. Info, speakers, schedule, directions: http://www.hws.edu/dailyupdate/NewsDetails.aspx?aid=17129
Saturday December 7, 11 AM-6 PM: Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair
First Baptist and First Presbyterian Churches
Dewitt Park, Ithaca NY
The Fair offers holiday shoppers an opportunity to choose gifts of charitable donations, rather than more “stuff”. The refreshments are great too! Many of your favorite local nonprofits will be there. Come support them and find positive gifts for family & friends. Website: http://www.ithacaaltgiftfair.org/
Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner attended the Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking forum in Los Angeles, California in July.
Speakers included scientists, journalists, legislators, policy experts, and activists spanning a wide range of perspectives on the issue. Supervisor Sumner participated in a working group focused on access to information and citizen engagement.
The summary of the forum has just become available and can be viewed on their web page along with a webcast of the full forum.
KEEP THE BAN! VOTE NOVEMBER 5th
Sumner & Leifer
WANTED: Dryden voters! We must get out the vote for a Town Board that will uphold Dryden’s fracking ban.
Despite being upheld twice in court, the ban is vulnerable!
Make no mistake, the opposition is organizing:
- To take the 3 open seats on Town Board–with substantial backing.
- To revise the comprehensive plan that guides Dryden’s development.
- To overturn key protections that maintain the town’s character.
DRAC supports the re-election of members who enacted the Ban in 2011:
Town Supervisor – Mary Ann Sumner
Town Board – Jason Leifer
Check your polling place; it may have changed. Register to vote if you are not.
Vote November 5th
Alert your family and friends
Solar Tour Dryden – Date change from June 22nd to June 23rd
2-4 pm, 26 Quarry Rd, Ithaca, home of Nancy Norton and Buzz Dolph. This older house was moved from Fall Creek area, gutted, insulated and upgraded. There are 2 solar arrays, totaling 28000 kw. Also of interest are other structures on the property that have examples of heat exchangers, on-demand hot water heaters and composting toilets.
Taken from Ithaca.com – Article by Katherine Clement
Hop on the Town of Dryden website for board meeting minutes, contact information for dog control and now fresh produce from the local farmers. The Dryden Department of Planning created a virtual tour of everything from local farm stands to breweries in and around Dryden on the site’s Virtual Farmers’ Market. Not only connecting farmers with local residents but educating residents about the values of shopping local as well, the Dryden Virtual Farmers’ Market is mapping new terrain for future markets.
“People have suggested the possibility of having a farmer’s market in Dryden for some time,” said Dan Kwasnowski, director of planning for the town of Dryden. “However, from the grower’s perspective, it is more attractive to go to the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. And the Town of Virgil has a market, so in reality a physical farmer’s market doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
The stars aligned for this Virtual Farmers Market, when the Agriculture Program Leader, Monika Roth, at Cornell Cooperative Extension contacted Kwasnowski interested in creating a website and map from a list of local farmers. After extending the list of farmers, Kwasnowski handed over the project to the department’s GIS Tech, Josh Bogdan, to develop the template and icons.
“The site was created to allow farmers of all sizes to market themselves, but also we really wanted local residents to be able to find locally grown and raised food,” said Kwasnowski.
The site includes several farms from Dryden to Brooktondale, CSAs to horse farms, and all types of produce. A map marked with red cow heads, yellow wheat plants, and other variety of icons dot the Tompkins County area offering site goers an overall look at the areas farms. If you’re thinking of testing your green thumb, the site shares the location of local community gardens and contact information. The site encompasses all local produce including meats, eggs, poultry, berries, and breweries.
There seems to be no limit for this site’s abilities to connect local people with local growers and the creators made this even easier for farmers by forming a “Join Our Market” page. Here farmers can change anything on their information page or ask to be added to the site. A series of questions allow farmers to fill out their information and create an easy connection for people to find them.
“There is something really neat about knowing where your food comes from,” said Kwasnowski. “I know a lot of people, and so I know some people who raise pigs. But if I didn’t already know them, then how would I find out where to buy local food?”
Feeding into all forms of social interaction, the site offers a mini twitter feed for farmers to post events and new products. Even with this hip use of social media, the site creators ask for suggestions on how to improve in the “Contact Us” page.
“It isn’t just Dryden,” said Kwasnowski. “Because we’re really trying to provide a service to residents, we wanted to show everything within the region. As word spreads and the information comes in we’ll just keep adding to the website, and we don’t see any need to limit it.”
Whether you’re looking for fresh locally made cheese or need to feed the urge to create a freshly picked blueberry pie, the nearest local dairy farm and u-pick berry farm is now a click away at the Dryden Virtual Farmers Market. For your convenience check out dryden.ny.us/virtualfarm/.
Finger Lakes Land Trust Celebrates First Link in Emerald Necklace &
New Trail and Boardwalk in Dryden
The Finger Lakes Land Trust invites the public to celebrate the first link in the Emerald Necklace and the opening of a new trail and a handicapped accessible boardwalk at the Roy H Park Preserve on Irish Settlement Rd in the town of Dryden on Friday, May 31 from 3:00-5:00 PM.
Brief remarks and a ribbon cutting will be followed by hikes, bird watching and a reception at the preserve. Ribbon cutters will include Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, Martha Robertson, NYSDEC Regional Director Ken Lynch and Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner along with Land Trust representatives and volunteers.
In November 2010, the Land Trust purchased a 169-acre property in the Town of Dryden, creating an important link in the Emerald Necklace—a greenbelt that will ultimately connect 50,000 acres of public open space that extends in an arc from east to west around Ithaca. The parcel connects Hammond Hill and Yellow Barn State Forests with the Land Trust’s Roy H. Park Preserve and a Cornell Plantations natural area, all together creating a 7,500-acre block of public open space. The conserved property protects wetlands and wildlife habitat including a great blue heron rookery and 6,000 feet of land on Six Mile Creek, the source of Ithaca’s drinking water.
This winter, the Land Trust worked with architects and engineers to construct an ADA accessible boardwalk as well as a hiking trail that connects to adjacent Hammond Hill State Forest and its 20 miles of multi-use trails popular with hikers and cross country skiers.
Parking for the dedication event is at Hammond Hill State Forest, about 15 miles from downtown Ithaca. Participants have the choice of taking an easy, one mile hike from the parking area to the dedication or riding a shuttle provided by Cornell Outdoor Education.
Registration for the event is requested by May 29. Please call 607-275-9487 or visit www.fllt.org to register or for more information.
The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a membership supported, not for profit land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the lands that define the character of the Finger Lakes. Since 1989, the Land Trust has conserved more than 15,000 acres of our region’s forests, farms, wetlands, grasslands and lakeshore. More information can be found at www.fllt.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2013
Contact: Brianne Nadeau, Brianne@Rabinowitz-Dorf.com 202-265-3000, c 202-494-5736
Fracking Ban Stands in New York Town; Victory for Local Communities
In case pitting community rights against the oil and gas industry, industry loses yet again
ALBANY, NY – Local residents and elected leaders in Dryden, N.Y. are celebrating victory today in a closely watched case over local fracking bans. A state appeals court ruled in favor (PDF) of the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, affirming lower court decisions upholding the towns’ right to ban oil and gas development activities — including the controversial technique of fracking — within town limits. The legal battle first began in 2011, and industry is widely expected to seek review of the ruling by New York’s high court (the Court of Appeals).
“I’m proud to represent the Town of Dryden and I’m especially proud today,” said Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner. “We stood up for what we knew was right. And we won. The people who live here and know the town best should be the ones deciding how our land is used, not some executive in a corporate office park thousands of miles away.”
The case in Dryden has taken on special significance. More than 20,000 people from across the country and globe sent messages to Sumner and her colleagues on the Town Board, expressing support for the town in its legal fight.
Dryden’s story began in 2009, after residents pressured by oil and gas company representatives to lease their land for gas development learned more about fracking, the technique companies planned to use to extract the gas. During fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, companies inject millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the ground to break up rock deposits and force out the gas. Residents organized and educated for more than two years under the banner of the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC), ultimately convincing the town board to amend its zoning ordinance in August 2011 to clarify that oil and gas development activities, including fracking, were prohibited.
“We love our town. We’re proud to be from a place that doesn’t back down from a tough fight. And we’re inspired by the outpouring of support we’ve received,” said DRAC member Deborah Cipolla-Dennis. “Now it’s our turn to support communities across New York, and in Pennyslvania, Ohio, Colorado, and elsewhere that are standing up to the oil and gas industry.”
More than 159 municipalities in New York have passed bans or moratoriums on fracking, prompting a nationwide groundswell: some 350 communities across the country have voted to take official action — from non-binding resolutions to improved protections to outright bans.
Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with the public interest law organization, Earthjustice, represented the Town of Dryden in the appeal. “Today’s victory stands as an inspiration for communities seeking to protect themselves from the consequences of the fracking-enabled oil and gas drilling rush,” Goldberg said. “The oil and gas industry largely has been deregulated at the federal level. While state officials struggle with the decision whether to permit fracking, local officials have stepped in to fill the gap. Today’s ruling signals to local officials that they are indeed on solid legal ground.”
Just six weeks after Dryden prohibited fracking in 2011, Anschutz Exploration Corporation (a privately held company owned by a Forbes-ranked billionaire) sued Dryden over the zoning provision, claiming that localities did not have the right to ban industrial activity. Dryden successfully argued that their right to make local land use decisions, enshrined in the home rule provision of the New York State Constitution, applies to oil and gas development. In February 2012, a state trial court judge agreed.
Following that ruling, Norse Energy Company, a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign-owned oil and gas company, filed an appeal, with today’s decision being the result. Shortly after filing its appeal, the company declared bankruptcy.
“The first oil and gas company to sue us backed down. The second went bankrupt. They both lost against us in court,” Sumner said. “When will the oil and gas industry get the message: bullying communities isn’t good for business?”
For a copy of today’s ruling, please visit: http://earthjustice.org/documents/legal-document/pdf/dryden-appeal-decision
Our second public information meeting will be held on May 1st, at the Varna Community Center. We have chosen our installers: Solar Liberty, out of Buffalo, will do the photovoltaic installations and Renovus Energy from Ithaca will to the solar hot water installations. They have offered our communities great pricing and the more people sign up for PV (electricity) systems, the lower the price to each buyer. At the meeting they will tell you the details of the products they offer and will answer any and all questions.
Solarize Tompkins SE has gathered information on several different financing options. There are grants and loans available in our community so you can go solar in 2013.
Everyone is welcome to attend the public meetings but only those who own property in Dryden, Caroline, or Danby will be able to enroll in the program this year.
SolarizeTompkinsSE.org for more info.
Learn the Details of the Solarize Tompkins SE Program
On Tuesday evening the Solarize project will announce its installers and give details of pricing and enrollment. Our excitement is RISING WITH THE SUN!
Dryden Fire Hall, 7:00 pm, Tuesday April 23
Kick the fossil fuel habit. Go solar in 2013!
For the complete schedule of public meetings see SolarizeTompkinsSE.org
Solar Power 101
Thursday, April 11, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County Educational Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca
What are photovoltaics? What is solar thermal? How do they work and what incentives and rebate programs are available so I can put them on my house?
If you’ve been asking some of these questions, come find the answers at this introductory presentation. Anne Stork, an environmental studies professor at Ithaca College who supplements her home power with solar panels, and Guillermo Metz, Green Building and Renewable Energy Program Coordinator at CCETC, who lives off the grid with solar and wind, will give an overview of solar electric and water-heating systems and try to answer all your questions about putting solar power to work for you.
$10 suggested donation, but no one will be turned away. For more information and to register, contact Guillermo Metz at email@example.com or 272-2292.
Impacts of Gas Drilling On Human and Animal Health
What: An educational forum
When: April 16, 2013, 7-9 PM
Where: Unitarian Church, 306 N. Aurora St., Ithaca, NY
Sponsored by TCCOG (Tompkins County Council of Governments)
Co-sponsored by the First Unitarian Social Justice Council
What we know and what we don’t know – Adam Law, MD, Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy
Why animals make good sentinels for human health – Michelle Bamberger, DVM and Robert Oswald, Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell Universit
On Saturday morning 20 people enjoyed a house tour on Irish Settlement Rd where Stuart and Zoe have had their wet cold basement transformed.
The house, more than 100 years old, has balloon framing and a dug basement with field stone walls. The first winter Stuart and family spent in the house they spent more than $2500 on electricity. They installed a wood stove and used the baseboard heaters as supplement, however the stack effect of heat leaving through the attic and pulling cold air in through the basement left the house drafty and never quite warm enough.
Last summer they asked Snug Planet to come in, do a blower door energy audit (that part is free), and then analyze the results. After carefully considering all options, they decided to hire Snug Planet to seal the basement (lined walls and floor with industrial strength plastic sheeting and sealed at the rim joist with spray foam), insulate the attic (capping those balloon framed walls with rigid foam insulation sealed carefully to the framing), install a heat-exchanger water heater, and change out old appliances for energy star rated appliances.
An expensive project, you say? Well, yes, but Stuart and Zoe have spent 2/3 less on energy this year than they did last winter, they are more comfortable, the wood stove now heats the house comfortably on all but the coldest days, and they enjoy more efficient appliances.
They made the choice to borrow the money for the changes, and they signed up for the on-bill system through NYSERDA and NYSE&G. They have a 15 year loan @ 3% that will stay with the house if they decide to sell before the 15 years have passed. They pay monthly through their utility bill, which, even including the loan payments, is only 1/3 of what they had been paying.
All of us in attendance learned a lot, and I got to meet a bunch of new folks interested in energy efficiency. Out of those 20 who came, 13 were people I met for the first time.
I hope to see you at the April open house! April 17th, starting at 6:30 pm at 23 Lewis St in Dryden village. The Wakemans have installed solar panels on the barn behind the house on their village lot, and Dan has all the production numbers to show how that has effected their bottom line.
Remember to visit SolarizeTompkinsSE.org to complete the interest survey if you think you would like to have more information about getting solar power for your house. Look for announcements of Solarize public meetings coming up at the end of April.
DRYDEN — When Cathy and Dan Wakeman moved into their mid-1800s home on Lewis Street in the Village of Dryden, they immediately saw the potential for installing solar panels on the roof of their barn.
“It’s a south-facing barn,” said Cathy Wakeman, the Dryden Town Talk columnist for The Ithaca Journal. “Also a great place for raspberry bushes.” But that was in 1991, and the Wakemans were just starting a family. At the time, installing solar panels did not seem viable. However, harnessing power from the sun was always a dream of theirs, and they kept it alive for two decades as they put money aside, did their market research and kept records of every electrical bill.
They focused on practical ways to make their home more efficient — and environmentally-friendly — by replacing the old windows, insulating the basement and investing in high-efficiency appliances. They also heat 90 percent of their home with a centrally-located woodstove.
That’s the first step to a “greener” home, said Dan Wakeman, whose home will be the April 17 stop on Solar Tour Dryden. The tour, which runs through the summer, is designed to inspire those interested in transitioning to solar or other alternative energy sources, said Marie McRae, the tour’s organizer.
The next stop on the tour will be at Firefly Farm in the Town of Dryden, which features a “carbon neutral” farmhouse. The tour is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and is sponsored by the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC).
Making the leap
In 2011, the Wakemans were finally able to install solar panels. “The initial investment is, of course, a hurdle,” Dan Wakeman said. “But we realized these are our peak usage years with our four boys at home.” The market looked good, and he had done his homework and continues to keep track of all his usage in a neat binder.
They purchased a top-of-the-line solar array and installed it on the barn, right above the garden and the raspberry and blueberry bushes from which Cathy makes jam.
“We put in a little bigger (system) than we needed,” he said. “We were looking ahead.”Their next goal is to replace the family minivan with an electric, solar-powered vehicle.
Although the return on investment has been slow, that’s not the point for the Wakemans, whose gas and electric bill went down from $120 per month to $85 after they installed the panels. Currently, they generate more power than they use with the extra currents going to their neighbors and feeding back into the electrical grid.
“I’m pleased with it regardless of the return on investment period, and frankly very excited that our electrical footprint is not just small, but actually negative,” Dan Wakeman said.
March and April are good months for instantly generating power, he noted, because the sun hits the barn’s 45-degree angle roof just right.
DRYDEN — In an effort to curb dependence on fossil fuels, a Dryden group has decided to take it one house at a time. That’s the idea behind a new monthly “kitchen-table conversation” called Solar Tour Dryden, sponsored by the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition.
The home tour is designed to encourage homeowners interested in switching to alternative fuel sources to learn from those who have already made the change. The next open house will take place from 10 a.m. to noon March 16 at 812 Irish Settlement Road. Attendees will learn how the homeowners tightened up their historic house and cut electric usage by 75 percent, according to the DRAC website.
“(The tour) is for people who may not know where to start,” said tour organizer Marie McRae, a member of DRAC and Solarize Tompkins County. “It’s a place where people can ask questions and get ideas.”
The first tour took place at the home of Bob Armstrong, who installed a large solar array that helps heat his home and powers his electric car.
According to the town’s Sustainability Report, 5 percent of Dryden homes in 2010 were heated with fuels other than fossils fuels. McRae said that DRAC members would like to see a significant increase in the percentage of households using solar power in the near future.
McRae also encourages homeowners to take a survey at Solarizese.org to find out how their home can be a candidate for solar panels. The towns of Caroline and Danby are involved in the Solarize project, which helps take some of the obstacles out of installing solar systems. The objective of Solarize is to quadruple or quintuple the solar installations.
First ‘Solar Tour Dryden’ Event Warm, Well-Lit in Midwinter
Five upcoming tours showcase renewable energy in Dryden, NY homes
On February 19, a slick, snowy night, a dozen folks came to Turkey Hill Rd in Dryden to learn about solar panels and geothermal heat. They sat around Bob and Betty’s kitchen table, warmed by the earth and lighted by sun energy, they munched popcorn, and talked about solar installations.
There was a wonderful exchange of information. The visitors brought great questions and “..even the dog had a good time,” said Betty.
Bob and Betty have tightened the house envelope some (by increasing insulation and weather stripping around doors), but it is still a circa 1850s farmhouse with the leaks and creaks of old age. First they installed solar panels to provide electricity for their lights and running the furnace. Then when the furnace needed replacing they decided to install a geothermal system. That required more solar panels. They sized the new array so they could charge an electric car, too. The whole nine yards.
Have you wanted to learn more about tightening up your house, adding a solar electric system or maybe geothermal heat? Did you know that there are rebates and credits to help pay for these improvements? Come take part in “Solar Tour Dryden”, sponsored by the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC). Each month for the next 5 months we will sponsor an open house in a home where the owners have tightened up to conserve energy, or added a solar or geothermal system, or built their house “green” from scratch.
Our next Solar Tour open house will be on March 16th, 10-noon, at 812 Irish Settlement Rd. Learn how Stuart and Zoe tightened up their historic house and cut their electric usage by 75%.
This is a great opportunity to sit around the table with a Dryden neighbor, learn about their system, and ask your questions. Learn what works and what doesn’t work. We hope that you will come away from these visits with more understanding of how the use of energy conservation measures and alternative sources of energy can benefit your family, your wallet, your home, and your community.
February 25th, 7:00 pm, Unitarian Church in Ithaca (corner Aurora and Buffalo)
The League of Women voters is hosting a forum on the question of “what kind of renewable energy can we look to to sustain our local area as well as the state and the nation?”
Speakers: Guillermo Metz, Jonathan Comstock and Francis Vanek
This program wants to bring at least 30 new solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal (hot water) installations to Caroline, Dryden, and Danby in 2013. By working with state and county organizations, area residents, and solar energy installers, Solarize Tompkins County SE will streamline the installation process, making solar energy installations easy and affordable for area residents, farmers, business owners, municipalities, and institutions. See their website for more information.
Have you wanted to learn more about tightening up your house and adding a solar electric system or maybe geothermal heat?
In February we will start our tour on Turkey Hill Road at an older home where the owners have tightened the house envelope and then installed ground mount solar panels plus a geothermal heating/cooling system. The whole nine yards. The solar panels run their lights and the geothermal pumps and also charges their electric car.
FEBRUARY 19th, 7:00 pm, 301 Turkey Hill Road; home of Bob Armstrong and Betty Singer.
Come take part in the DRAC sponsored “Solar Tour Dryden”. Each month for the next 6 months we will sponsor an open house in a home where the owners have tightened up to conserve energy, or added a solar or geothermal system, or built “green” from scratch.
It is your opportunity to sit around the table with a Dryden neighbor, learn about their system, and ask your questions. Learn what works and what doesn’t work. We hope that you will come away from these visits with more understanding of how the use of energy conservation measures and alternative sources of energy can benefit your family, your wallet, and your home.
The remainder of our schedule will be posted here soon. The open house visits will occur in the third week of each month. Check back soon for more information.
Governor Cuomo needs to decide whether to release the SGEIS by February 6 We are in sprint mode to target him until then. Please participate in one or more of the following events.
Please take 2 minutes to call Governor Cuomo and tell him not to release the SGEIS and move ahead with fracking. Also share around! 866-584-6799
Sunday, February 3, 12:30 – 4:00 , Ithaca: Visualize Resistance
Rally starts on the Commons in Ithaca, and moves to “Fracking 101”, including a introduction to Direct Action, at the Unitarian Church Annex on Buffalo St. and Aurora, 2:00 – 4:00. Everyone is welcome.
Monday, February 4 (9am-2pm, Albany): Rally to Stop Fracking Approval by Governor Cuomo ; Hearing Room B in LOB
The legislature will be able to question DEC Commissioner Martens (who testifies at 9:00 am) on their secretive, dysfunctional and undemocratic process. We need to pack the room and be there when DEC Commissioner Martens testifies and for the entirety of his remarks. Following the Commissioners testimony we will gather in the Million Dollar Staircase for a rally and a press conference to unite and demand that this fatally flawed process not move forward. We’re asking everyone to wear blue and bring a jar of the clean water from your tap to hold up as well as signs. Our message to Governor Cuomo is this – we are organized and we will not let up or give up. Bus leaving from Wegmans at 6:00 am.
Tuesday, Feb 5 – Rally/ press Conference in Binghamton, 11:45 – 2:00
DON’T FRACK OUR HEALTH With the health of Southern Tier residents at stake, Governor Cuomo called for a health study on fracking, which consisted of 25 hours of scientist’s time. The results of this have been kept secret, and he is set to move ahead with fracking with no public input. Our health and that of our families is worth more than a secret, rushed study!!
We will meet at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Hall at 11:45 am for a rally and press conference. Speakers will include Dr. Sandra Steingraber and others TBD! The Hall is reserved until 2 pm for a potluck immediately following the rally! Please bring a dish to pass, and allow some time to relax and eat! 183 Riverside Drive, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Binghamton
Thursday, Feb. 7 Athens, PA: Psychological Impacts of Life in PA Gas Fields Community Shale Network Program THURSDAY Feb. 7, 7pm “A Silence of the Lambs – Exploring the Psychological Impacts of Life in the Pennsylvania Gas Fields” will be presented by Diane Siegmund at the Unitarian Universalist church of Athens and Sheshequin (UUAS), located at112 North Street in Athens PA, on February 7 at 7pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Press Contact Info:Darcey Laine, Co-Moderator, Community Shale Network firstname.lastname@example.org 607-220-4152
A decision to move forward with fracking in New York could come any day. If there ever was a time to take action to protect your water, air, land, food supply and the future of this planet, now would be it.
On Monday, we’re going to Albany in force as DEC Commissioner Joe Martins testifies at a legislative hearing on the proposed budget. Afterwards, we’ll thunder over to the Million Dollar Staircase and rally with friends and public figures. Additionally there will be a delivery to Governor Cuomo’s office of water from around the state.
WHAT: Budget Hearing and Rally to Ban Fracking
WHERE: Capitol Building, Albany NY
WHEN: Monday, February 4
TIME: 9:00 AM (bus Departs at 6 AM)
DEPARTS: 6:00 AM
LOCATION: 34th St & 8th Ave, NW Corner
SIGN UP FOR THE BUS HERE.
For other buses around the state and more information, please click here.
Tom Reed (R) is the U. S. Congressional Representative for the 23rd District which includes Dryden. He will be hosting a Town Hall meeting on Saturday February 2, 2013 beginning at 12:30pm at the Dryden Town Hall located at 93 East Main Street in Dryden.
Reed has stated his support for bringing extreme methane extraction using high volume hydraulic fracturing to New York. Please come to this Town Hall meeting and express your views on this and other National issues.
Tompkins County Supreme Court Judge Philip Rumsey ruled Tuesday afternoon that the town’s zoning amendment is not preempted by state law. Dryden was sued in September by Denver-based Anschutz Exploration Corporation after passing an amendment to its zoning ordinance in August that clarified that Dryden’s zoning prohibits extractive industries.
Full Excerpt from Ithaca Journal
You can download the decision HERE.
TO DONATE TO THE DRAC “KEEP THE BAN” FUND
please make checks out to DRAC and send them to DRAC, PO Box 1094, Dryden, NY, 13053