March 7, 2007 minutes

Minutes of North Quabbin Energy Meeting on Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Millers River Environmental Center

Attending: Jane Manring, Tom and Joanne Rich, Cathy Stanton


  • The article on hydropower by Allen Young (based on his tour at the Energy Expo) is finally posted on the NQE website
  • Tom Rich’s letter to the editor about the new Athol business park was published in the Daily News. He received a request from someone in Greenfield for a copy of the letter, but has had no other responses to date. He will try to stay on top of what is happening with the business park and will keep us informed.
  • Home Show
    Cathy made a suggestion about having a table at the North Central Massachusetts Home and Leisure Show, which is being re-started by the NQ Chamber of Commerce after a hiatus of several years. Diane Lincoln has encouraged us strongly to be there. It will cost us $50 for the table fee. The group decided that this would be a good idea, and that we can “recycle” many of the materials from our table at the Energy Expo without having to do much new work. If the Home Show continues next year and if we decide to do another Energy Expo, there is also the possibility of combining the two, as has been done in Franklin County. This could increase our audience, reduce our workload, and make the Home Show offerings “greener.”
    The four people at the meeting all volunteered to sit at the table, but would welcome additional volunteers so we can shorten these shifts and/or have more than one person in attendance at a time:
    Saturday, March 31 9 – 1 Jane
    Saturday, March 31 1 – 4 ??
    Sunday, April 1 9 -1 Cathy
    Sunday, April 1 1 – 4 Joanne and Tom
    (Note: Tom also suggested that we could have a petition for Athol residents to sign if they wanted to encourage the town to require the buildings at the new business park to be energy-efficient.)

Recycling show on AOTV
Cathy will contact AOTV to see about the availability of the studio in mid-May. We will aim for the week of May 14 if possible. Tom brought a list from Phil Leger showing what the new Athol transfer station (scheduled to open in July) will accept for recycling. Cathy will contact Phil and other possible speakers once we have some possible dates from AOTV. (Note: After the meeting, Tom contacted the Phillipston Board of Health agent, and she is very interested in participating on the panel.) Everyone present expressed confusion about the system of throwing all recyclables together into one crusher. We thought that it would be a useful piece of education to be able to explain to people how this is possible. Tom is going to look into the possibility of getting us a tour of a recycling facility, with the hope that we could film some footage of the process (or perhaps find an existing video that we could show as part of the TV show).
We hope that Steve and Janice Kurkowski will follow up on their idea of producing skits/ads as part of the show. These could be done on the spot or pre-taped.

River Rat parade
Of the four people at the meeting, only Joanne will be able to walk in the parade on April 14. It seems that there is interest in being part of the larger presence with the Environmental Center, Seeds of Solidarity, etc., but we need someone who will take the lead on deciding what to do (make our own puppets/signs? just help with existing plans?) and then planning it. Our sense was that there might not be enough interest to have a distinct NQE presence within the larger group, but there was no opposition to this happening if someone wants to organize it.

Millers River Environmental Center building
Pat Larson, Steve Kurkowski, and Cathy Stanton did a walk-through of the MREC with Dave Small on Monday of this week. There is a wide range of projects we could work on, including:

  • making insulated window shades
  • adding insulation to walls (perhaps find grants for this?)
  • replacing old fluorescent lights with newer ones (w/ electronic ballasts)
  • replacing light switches with motion-sensitive switches
  • insulating or replacing the attic floor
  • insulating or replacing the front door and perhaps other doors
  • exploring ideas for photovoltaic panels once basic conservation work has been done

Many of these ideas would lend themselves well to fundraising efforts (eg. people or groups could underwrite small segments of the overall project[s]) and perhaps to grant-writing as well.
Given the other plans for this spring, it seemed to make sense to start working on this during the summer. In the meantime, we will continue to keep it as an agenda item for meetings, to generate other ideas for tasks and funding sources.

Next meeting
Wednesday, April 4, 7 p.m. at MREC