July 2009

Minutes from the Sunday Supper Club July 12th, 2009

Thank you to all who joined us on this beautiful summer evening as we enjoyed our second meeting at the lovely Poplar Springs.  Our green “double feature” was a great success with Michael Rainger leading off the evening with his presentation on energy conservation followed by Tim Mize on how to have a “green” green lawn.

Five Minute Flash Reports:

Treasurer’s Report- David Roos filled in for our trusty treasurer this month and announced $25.00 in contributions at our June meeting which brings our balance up to $251 and change.  We do have a few large web site expenses coming up (details to follow) so any and all contributions would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to Poplar Springs- Howard Foer, the owner of Poplar Springs was unfortunately unable to join us this evening;  Michael Rainger stepped in for him in  welcoming us to Poplar Springs.  Michael informed us that Poplar Springs has been “going green” for quite some time, beginning the transformation by converting to geothermal in 2002.  Poplar Springs also has their own secondary water treatment plant and has recently switched to all CFL light bulbs.

“Talking Trash”-  Trish Ethier of Fauquier County Environmental Services joined us again to give an update on recycling in Fauquier County.  While the state of VA mandates a 15% recycling rate, in 2008 Fauquier came in at double that with a 31.4% rate, up from 28.9% in 2007.  Trish provided us with a few other quick facts about the county’s recycling program:
§         The Fauquier landfill was a pilot program for producing methane and has the largest methane production for a landfill of its size.
§         With the exception of Remington, the satellite convenience sites are now open 7 days a week with late hours of 11:00 to 7:00 on Thursday.  The site in Remington is closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
§         Glass no longer needs to be sorted by color but can all go in the “mixed glass” containers.  As there is no market for glass in Virginia, this glass is crushed at the landfill and used on the premises.
§         Shredded tires are also used on site.
§         Retail plastic bag recycling is now available at all sites.  Bags should be clean, empty and dry.  Shrink wrap and bubble wrap are also accepted but not blue or black bags or bags with strings.
§         There is a site at the landfill for dumping dry wall, used lumber, toilets, etc.
§         The County is working on a plan to pulverize brick and concrete for use as road fill.  This will be for sale by the truck or bucket load- if you have 5 gallon buckets to dispose of the landfill will happily take them.

Fun recycling fact:  A plant in Oak Hill Virginia plans to manufacture over 200,000 graduation caps and gowns from recycled soda bottles.

Scribe’s note- I confess to plagiarizing the title “Talking Trash” from David- it was too good a headline to pass up.  Also, if you missed Trish’s appearance at the SSC in March, I highly recommend you read the minutes from her presentation as it was extremely informative.  Thank you Trish for all you do for the community and for your contributions to the SSC (including, hopefully, the recipe for your wonderful pasta dish!)

Green Drinks Meeting- Michael Rainger invited us all to attend the July 22nd “Green Drinks” meeting which is being held at Poplar Springs from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.  A nominal cover charge of $5.00 will apply. This meeting is a joint effort of “Green Drinks” and the Balanced Growth Alliance and they are hoping for representation from the SSC as well.

Web Page Upgrade- Linda Swanson talked to us about our upcoming web expenses which include our annual $200 hosting fee as well as a necessary software upgrade which may cost another $200.  A few of our more computer literate members are going to try doing the upgrade themselves but if they are unable to do so we will need to pay our hosts to take care of this.  If you are able to make a contribution to this effort, we would be greatly appreciative!

Future Speakers- The moment you’ve all been waiting for finally arrived as Linda announced our August 9th and Sept. 13th speakers.   In August we’re excited to be welcoming Dr. Margaret Flowers, Baltimore pediatrician and co- chair of Physicians for a National Health Program(PNHP). PNHP is a non-profit research and education organization of 16,000 physicians, medical students, and health professionals who support single payer national health insurance.  For more on PNHP and Dr. Flowers visit:http://www.pnhp.org/ and http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/13/baucus_raucus_caucus_doctors_nurses_and

September’s meeting will feature independent photographer Ken Garrett as our speaker.  Mr. Garrett specializes in archaeology, paleontology and ancient cultures world wide with numerous magazine photography credits including National Geographic, Smithsonian, Time, Life …  Mr. Garrett is also the photographer for the recently released book,Journey Through Hallowed Ground. For more on Ken Garrett, please visit: http://www.kennethgarrett.com/about/about.shtml

Donna Lipinski provided us with a follow up to a question that was asked last month concerning what constitutes an “independent contractor.”  She kindly provided a handout listing the factors which determine independent contractor status.  In brief:
“Independent contractors include individuals or entities that carry on independent businesses, contract to do a piece of work according to their own means and methods, and are subject tot control only regarding the results.”  I’ll attach the handout to the minutes for those interested in more complete information.

Community Announcements

The “Footprints to Change” exhibit will be opening at the African American Historical Association in The Plains on Sat. August 1st.  This exhibit will incorporate four specific periods in history: “From Africa to Jamestown,” “The American Revolution,” “The Underground Railroad in Fauquier,” and “Social Movements.” Please visithttp://www.aahafauquier.org/ for more details or to make a contribution to this exhibit. Volunteers are needed to help with final touches on this exhibit.  If interested contact Julie Turner at jturnerdcc@verizon.net.

The Fauquier County Democratic Committee will once again have a tent at the Fauquier County Fair from Thursday July 16th through Sun. the 20th.  If you are interested in helping with this effort please contact David Roos at davidmroos@aol.com.

Linda Swanson encouraged all to check out Free Speech TV at http://www.freespeech.org/

The Communities of Peace Dance Group will be meeting on Sat. June 25th in Gainesville.  Please email communitiesofpeace@gmail.com or call 540-341-2859 for details.

“Mom’s for Safe Wireless” will be meeting Monday July 27th at 7:00 PM in the Bull Run Library in Manassas.

Linda Dulicai announced “All Natural Truth or Consequences”, this month’s installment of her “Tea and Learn” series being held at Wegmans in Gainesville on the last Friday of each month from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.  For details visit www.the-healthy-zone.com or call Linda at 540-428-1949.

The Annual Butterfly Count at Airlie will be held Sat. July 25th from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.

Tom Benjamin provided us with a flyer on the Fauquier Community Farm.   The first crops were planted early in 2009 and the farm is harvesting many crops, including turnip greens, spinach, peas, lettuce, zucchini, beets onions and green beans.  As of July 1st 2009 volunteers at the farm have delivered over 1,000 pounds of fresh produce to the Fauquier Community Food bank.  Visit http://www.fauquiercommunityfarm.org/ for more information or call 540-270-2508 to donate or volunteer.

Unfortunately with the delay in getting out these minutes many of these great community events are now in the past.  I’m sorry for the late information and encourage you to check the SSC web site, www.sundaysupperclub.org, for current information on upcoming events!

Guest Speaker – Part 1

Michael Rainger opened our “green” evening with a great presentation on “Energy Conservation for Fauquier County”.  His PowerPoint presentation included information on “Power Politics”, the vulnerability of our current power grids, and suggestions for ways in which we all can make a difference in reducing energy consumption.

A few highlights:

Fauquier County saw a 20% increase in electrical energy consumption from 2007 to 2008 for a total cost of around $2.5 million.  County-wide finite energy consumption and associated expenses are around $4 million per year.
Professionally conducted energy audits help discover ways in which we lose energy and suggest ways to prevent or manage loss through simple techniques such as sealing windows and doors and adding insulation.
New technologies exist which will also lower our energy consumption: solar power generation, passive solar, blocking solar, wind power generation, geothermal…
Minimize “phantom power” needs by unplugging cell phone chargers, coffee pots, and other appliances when not in use.
Be creative in thinking up ways to lower your own energy needs.
Watch the documentary “Kilowatt Hours: A Plan to Reenergize America.”  Information available at http://www.kilowattours.org/

Michael had us break into groups and brainstorm ideas for reducing energy needs.  Most of the ideas were already on Michael’s helpful handout “150+ Sustainable/Better Living Practices to Save You $”.  I’ve attached the handout to the minutes.  Michael’s goal is to grow the number of suggestions to 200 and beyond.  If you generate any creative ideas please share them with Michael at info@intragroups.com so they can be added to the list.

In closing, Michael emphasized that now is the time to develop a sense of urgency around conservation and to engage everyone around us on this important mission.

Guest Speaker – Part 2

We were pleased to have Terry Nyhous with us to introduce Tim Mize, the second speaker of our double feature.  Mr. Mize spoke with us about his work with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Program’s new “Green” Lawns Program.  The Cooperative Extension has offered to farmers nutrient management plans aimed at helping the farmers to get the most out of their crops and livestock while doing the least damage to the environment.  As of July 1st the VCE is now offering similar plans to help with lawn management.

This program involves a three prong attack:
Soil tests and subsequent recommendations for individual homeowners.
Programs for lawn care professionals.
Work with retailers to encourage them to have certain products available for the consumer.

The program provides important information on lawn maintenance:
Correct use and calibration of spreaders
When and how much to water
Management options for crabgrass, grubs, etc.
Fertilizer and pesticide suggestions- when, what and how much to apply
Importance of maintaining the proper soil pH

A few interesting facts:
We use more chemicals to maintain our lawns than farmers do in maintaining their fields.
Fertilizing in the spring tends to increase crab grass by creating too much nitrogen availability.
If you apply too much fertilizer the excess runs off into the ground water supplier.   While run off from one house doesn’t have much effect, run off from 25,000 houses creates a serious problem.
Virginia soil tends to have a low pH
Although Zoysia grass tends to need less water than other grasses, it’s not recommended for VA as we’re slightly above the line where it grows well.
Cool season grasses grow best here- fescue and fescue blends.

Participants in the “Green” Grass program will be visited by an extension volunteer who will collect a soil sample and measure your total lawn area.  You will then receive a lawn care handbook and a customized lime and fertilizer plan for your home.

Interested in participating?  Or volunteering?
Please contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension Fauquier Office at 540-341-7950 ext. 10 or email tohlwile@vt.edu for an application.  Cost for participation is $20.00
At the moment the program is being targeted to residents in the 20186 and 20187 area codes only.

The “Green” Grass program is still under development.  A web site will be up and running soon.

Tim Mize extended a big thank you to Prince William County for all their help in establishing this program.

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

Aug. 9th-  Dr.Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Care Program will help us understand the complex issues surrounding health care reform and will explain the arguments behind the push for a Single Payer Health Plan.

Sept. 13th- Acclaimed photographer Ken Garrett will share with us about his work on the book “Journey to Hallowed Ground” and other exciting adventures.

Oct. 11th- Karen White of the Afro-American Historical Association joins us to speak about the great work of the AAHA and their newly (as of October) published book.