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Nov 16
2009

Calculating Dams

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , Sebastopol , Science , planning , international , environment , education , economy , construction , conservation , carbon , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

When it comes to building new reservoirs and hydroelectric plants, there are good dams and bad dams. A new online-calculator developed by Sebastopol’s Conservation Strategy Fund is a tool designed to help tell them apart.

What’s the difference between a good dam and a bad dam? CFS President John Reid offers examples of each.

 

Check out  the new web-based HydroCalculator here! development of this new online tool was made possible with support from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Oct 22
2009

Community Benefit Agreement

Posted by Bruce Robinson in unions , Sonoma County , Rohnert Park , nonprofit orgs , jobs , housing , environment , energy , employment , corporate responsibiliyt , construction , community , business , activism

Bruce Robinson

A  new “Community Benefit Agreement” between the developers of the big Sonoma Mountain Village project in Rohnert Park and a coalition of labor, housing and environmental groups could set a new standard for cooperation between factions that have more often been adversaries.

David Grabill with the Housing Advocacy Group was one of the first to contact Codding Enterprises about the Sonoma Mountain Village project. He recalls that after some encouraging early meetings, it soon became apparent that it would be more productive to engage the full Affordable Development Coalition in the ongoing talks.

Kirstie Moore, development manager for the Sonoma Mountain Village project (seen fully built out in this artist's rendering), says the lengthy negotiations with the Affordable Development Coalition (ADC) were a learning experience for both sides.

The voluntary agreement with Codding Enterprises is legally binding for  Sonoma Mountain Village is concerned, but for other development projects, says ADC Director Marlene Dehlinger, it represents a standard to live up to, not a requirement that anyone else is obligated to meet.

Oct 01
2009

The Greening of Greensburg

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , teens , speaker , solar , planning , housing , government , farms , families , environment , design , construction , community , climate change , carbon , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

Just two years after being leveled by a tornado, Greensburg, a tiny town in the middle of Kansas has become a model for green rebuilding.

Nearly 95% of the town's homes and other buildings were destroyed by the storm, as seen in this photo, taken a week after the tornado hit.

The green rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas cannot be attributed to an unlikely enclave of progressive thinkers in the American heartland. Rather, says Daniel Wallach, (right) founder and Executive Director of Greensburg GreenTown, the fact this has happened in a small, deeply conservative town makes it even more significant.

FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) was quick to respond to the Kansas tornado that flattened Greensburg, in part to improve their public profile after the Gulf Coast hurricanes. But Wallach says the agency had to be persuaded at length to buy into the green vision that the community shared.

There's an extensive photo gallery of the damange caused by the tornado and the new buildings that have emerged in its wake on one page of the Greensberg GreenTown website. Another page hosts their design competition for eco-friendly homes. "The Chain of Eco-Homes"  has attracted 150 entries, which can be viewed and voted for online. The winnign design will be built as part of the town's ongoing effort to promote itself as "a living science museum" on green consrtruction and muncipal planning.

Sep 27
2009

Highway 101 Work

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Sonoma County , construction

Bruce Robinson

Driving Highway 101 through Rohnert Park will be more complicated for the next two years, as the road is widened and reconfigured.


Located in Rohnert Park, this project will modify the Wilfred Avenue/Golf Course Drive Interchange by constructing a new bridge undercrossing structure linking Wilfred Avenue to Golf Course Drive, and modifying the existing ramps. This project will also  realign and widen Highway 101 from 4 to 6 lanes for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lanes between  the Rohnert Park Expressway overcrossing to the Santa Rosa Avenue 0vercrossing, a length of approximately 1.6 miles.

The first big change affecting traffic in this section of Highway 101 will be implemented early on the morning of September 29th, explains CalTrans spokesman Bob Haus, and will affect southbound traffic as it approaches Rohernt Park from Santa Rosa.

 

The scope of the work area, and the anticipated final result can be seen in the images below. The upper photograph shows the work area as it was before the project began, while the second image has been modified to show the configuration of the new lanes, ramps and bridges.

 

 

 

 

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