January 2009

Minutes from the Sunday Supper Club,  January 11th 2009

Thank you to the New Baltimore Fire House for the use of their great space and to JL Combemale for organizing this for us.  Thanks also to all who helped clean up after the meeting- we had the facility packed up and cleaned up by 8:15!  If they’ll have us (JL is checking on availability) we’ll hold our Feb. and March meetings in the same spot.  [Update:  We are confirmed for the New Baltimore Fire House for February 8 and March 8.  Thanks again, JL!]

Five Minute Flash Reports:

Treasurer’s Report- Our current balance is $128.65.

Mosby Foundation- Although he couldn’t be with us at this meeting, Supervisor Terry Nyhous asked that we announce that the Mosby Foundation is seeking candidates for their Board of Directors. They’re looking for persons interested in the Civil War and history in general; responsibilities would include promoting heritage tourism and assisting with fundraising.  If you are interested please contact Terry Nyhous at 540-351-1655 or via email at tnyhous900@aol.com

Conflict Resolution/Mediation Course- The Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center in Warrenton will offer a 20-hr. basic course in mediation and conflict resolution skills, Thursday evening Jan. 29 from 5:30-9:30 PM and Fri. and Sat. Jan. 30 and 31 from 8:00AM to 5:00PM.  The training will be held at the Warrenton Visitors Center.  For more details please visit our web site calendar at: http://www.sundaysupperclub.org/?q=node/4037
For more information or to register contact Lawrie Parker at PDRC: Phone 540-347-6650 or email pdrc@verizon.net

Restorative Justice Training- PDRC will be offering Restorative Justice Conferencing Training on February 27-28 from 8:30AM-4:30 PM at the Warrenton Visitor Center.  For details please visit: http://www.sundaysupperclub.org/?q=node/4039

Inaugural Event Invitations

Pre-Inaugural Breakfast- The Winchester Democrats invite all to attend their breakfast on Sat. Jan. 18th  at 9:00 AM at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.  Breakfast will be provided by the women’s culinary group.  Tickets are $15.00/person.  Details may be found at: http://www.sundaysupperclub.org/?q=event/2009/01/17/day

“Fire and Ice”- John Anderson invited us to attend “Fire and Ice”: the 2009 Martin Luther King Memorial/Barack Obama Inaugural Hockey Tournament to be held Sat. Jan. 18th from 1:00PM to 7:00PM at his home in Broad Run.  Visit http://www.sundaysupperclub.org/?q=event/2009/01/17/day for more details and contact information for John.

Inaugural Watch Party- Erik and Maura Granered invite all to join them at an inaugural watch party on Tuesday Jan. 20th from 11:30AM to 4:00PM.  Maura writes:
“The party is an open house style, with invitees bringing dishes to share.  Erik and I are making Barack’s favorites: chili and BBQ pork.  Mainly this event is for folks to share in this great moment together.”  Please join your fellow Obama supporters at 360 Equestrian Rd., Warrenton.  To RSVP, contact Maura at 540-349-9187 (home) or 540-630-0048 (cell).

Community Announcements

Too good not to share:  Linda Swanson requested that everyone send her their recipes for posting on the Sunday Supper Club website.  We’re all eager to learn the secrets to our great dining at the SSC.

Facebook Page: The SSC now has a Facebook page.  If you are already on Facebook please look for Sunday Supper Club of Fauquier VA and become a member of our online group.  We’re already up to 12 members!  Thank you Linda for taking on yet another responsibility for the SSC.  If you are not on Facebook yet you can join at www.facebook.com.  It’s easy and quick and you can choose how much information to share.  As an added bonus, you might just discover long lost friends from high school and college.

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship:  Brian Hedges is in the process of helping to create a U.U. Fellowship centered in Rappahannock.  There are already more than 60 people who have expressed interest.  Please contact Brian for more information: phone 540-937-5565  email brian_scva@earthlink.net.

Conservation League Lobby Day- Monday Jan. 19th our own Bill Day will be heading down to Richmond to lobby our legislators on environmental issues.  For details on this contact Bill at 540-905-3342.

VDOT Study- Ike Broaddus informed us that VDOT is doing a study on the Rt. 29 corridor from Gainesville through the NC border.  He encouraged all to attend the Feb. 17th meeting at Lord Fairfax Community College as it is critical that we have a large showing of people to speak up for Fauquier County.  If we do nothing, VDOT’s tendency will be to widen 29 through all of Fauquier County.

Book Signing- Ellen Stofan (SSC member and our Nov. 2008 guest speaker) will be doing a signing of her book Planetology at Borders Books in Warrenton on Jan. 17th at 12:00PM.

Greening the SSC- In our continuing efforts to “reduce, reuse, recycle” the SSC would like to dispense with the use of our current water cups as these have a limited life span in the dish washer.  If anyone would like to donate reusable cups we’d be most grateful.

Guest Speaker

Tonight we were very pleased to be joined by SSC founding member Georgia Herbert who provided us with a fascinating presentation on the topic of uranium mining.  In addition to being the first and only female chair of the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors, Georgia has her own law practice in the Plains and serves as legal council for the Piedmont Environmental Council.

Uranium mining facts:
§    Uranium is ubiquitous in the surface of the earth.
§    Intensive deposits exist in certain areas; Virginia has a large seam.
§    Breakdown of uranium releases radium and radon into the environment
§    Uranium mining is not regulated by the federal government.
§    During the mining process ore is dug up and put through a leaching process.  Waste is then put into huge slurries/holding ponds.
§    For every ton of uranium ore pulled out, 2 pounds is useable.  85% of the radioactivity is left with the waste products.
§    Uranium mining has only been done in arid parts of the western United States.
§    Much of the mining has been done on Navaho and other Native American lands.  The Navaho now ban uranium mining on their lands. Follow these links to New York Times articles on this subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/12/opinion/12tue3.html?scp=3&sq=Uranium%20mining,%20Navaho&st=cse       http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/washington/07canyon.html?scp=4&sq=Uranium%20mining,%20Navaho&st=cse
§    Hideous environmental problems have been created; large superfund sites have never been cleaned up.
§    The “Church Rock Spill” in New Mexico contaminated waters up to 50 miles from the site of the dam break.  Go to http://www.ratical.org/radiation/KillingOurOwn/KOO9.html for a detailed account of this environmental disaster.
§    In the 1980’s the U.S. government bought uranium from the Soviet Union to keep it from getting into the wrong hands.
§    On Dec. 16th, 2008 the Department of Energy released a study saying they were going to sell our excess uranium supplies.  A quote from the “Excess Uranium Inventory Management Plan”:  “We have a supply of uranium that exceeds our need for decades.”
Uranium Mining in Virginia

Visit the Piedmont Environmental Council Web Site for in depth information:  http://www.pecva.org/anx/index.cfm  Click on “Hot Issues”.

§    When Georgia joined the staff of PEC in 1982 there was a moratorium on the books preventing uranium mining in Virginia.  PEC had everything to do with this legislation.
§    In 1985 a proposal to lift the moratorium was defeated.
§    Mining laws in Virginia divide mining into two categories: coal mining and everything else (uranium mining is linked with sand and gravel mining).  Unless Virginia develops a new set of rules to deal with uranium mining, radioactive waste will be dealt with in the same way as waste from a gravel mine.
§    While the prospective mines in Virginia would have a 15-30 yr. life span, the radioactive byproducts have a half life of four and a half billion years.
§    This issue is reappearing in Virginia because people who own land in Southwestern, VA with a significant uranium deposit wish to allow mining there.  A company called Virginia Uranium Inc. was created in Richmond 6 months after the creation of Virginia Uranium Inc. of the Yukon.
§    Water is perhaps the most significant means of dispersal of uranium and related radioactive materials in the environment.  Uranium is very soluble in acidic and alkaline waters and can be transported easily from a mine site.
§    The geology, hydrology and population of Virginia suggest that we do not want this industry here.  Mining has previously been done only in arid areas with a net evaporation greater than net precipitation.  The assumption out west has been that the tailings ponds would experience evaporation which would leave tailings piles which could then be disposed of.
§    In 2008 the General Assembly passed a bill which “Establishes the Virginia Uranium Mining Commission, as a legislative branch advisory commission to assess the risks and benefits of developing uranium resources in Virginia.”
§    A subcommittee of The Coal and Energy Committee has been tasked with investigating whether VA should lift the moratorium on mining.  We need to make sure the study looks at the right things.  Funding of the study is also an issue as the 100,000’s of dollars required for this study will require major cuts elsewhere.
§    The Virginia legislature has been asked to get information which shows places in the U.S. where uranium mining has been successfully accomplished.

Q & A

If, according to the DOE, we have already an excess of uranium, who are the potential buyers for the uranium mined in Virginia?

This is unknown though it appears that at the moment the proponents of this project are working on mining for investors.

What is a reasonable energy plan for Virginia?

The PEC challenges and doubts the population projections provided by the energy industry.  PEC supports the notion of revamping existing plants including the small plant near Front Royal.  The most efficient and cheapest way to meet Virginia’s energy needs is through conservation.

What can we do?

We must let our legislators know that this is an important issue for us. Local delegate Clay Athey has been very helpful on this issue and Senator Jill Vogel was one of only 4 senators to vote against the bill authorizing the study.  Stay informed on this issue by signing up for PEC email alerts (www.pecva.org) and by tracking legislation on the General Assembly website (http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm)

Save the Dates

You won’t want to miss the interesting meetings we have planned!

Feb. 8th – David Lambert addresses the topic of “You and World Hunger.”

March 8th -  Information Coming Soon

Here’s to another great and informative year with the Sunday Supper Club!!