Avon Growth News, 12-24-04 to 1-19-05

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1-5-05: Why stop at 5 lanes?

1-19-05: Pay Raises

1-19-05: New Stores

Hydrocarbon Heresy: Rocks into Gas

2003 ARTICLE from Sierra Magazine

``Look over a highway planner's conceptual drawings for a new freeway, and you'll most likely see blue skies and little traffic. But those rosy images fail to account for the high levels of polluted air that new and expanded urban roadways bring with them.

In Las Vegas [Nevada], Sierra Club members hope they have found a way to make the process a bit more realistic. When the federal government failed to consider health consequences as well as mass-transit alternatives in its proposal to widen U.S. Highway 95 from six to ten lanes, the Club sued to stop the project. It's the first time a suit has been based on scientific research linking traffic generated pollution to cancer.

It likely won't be the last. Studies have connected highway pollution to increased childhood leukemia risk in Denver, tagged vehicles as the culprit for air-pollution related cancer risk in Southern California, and linked heavy truck traffic to elevated asthma rates in Buffalo.

Club-sponsored research concluded that widening U.S. 95 would cause up to 1,400 more cancers per one million people over 70 years, more than ten times what the EPA considers a serious risk. Even in the gambling capital of America, that's a chance many people don't want to take.

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Sierra Club Press Release April 22, 2002

``Health Experts, Sierra Club challenge Highway Authority to consider Las Vegas [Nevada] highway cancer risks

[The Highway-95 project will widen five miles of the highway from six to ten lanes. Two elementary schools, a high school, two community centers, a day care facility, twenty-seven apartment buildings, and over 380 single family residences abut this stretch of the highway.]

On Monday, the Sierra Club and health experts announced a new effort to require the Federal Highway Administration to consider and mitigate the increased risk of cancer before expanding Highway-95. The Sierra Club kicked off their campaign on Earth Day, Care for America Day, here in Las Vegas by announcing that they have filed a lawsuit under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The Sierra Club's suit will require the federal government to study the research showing that an expanded Highway 95 will increase the risk of cancer to nearby children and other residents. Further, they want the Federal Highway Administration to mitigate for any increased health risks. Their aim is to protect school children and people live and work near the highway.

Two major health studies released in 2000 demonstrate a connection between vehicle emissions and the risk of cancer in communities adjoining heavily traveled highways. One considered all cancers, one studied childhood leukemia. A third, recent study looked at lung cancers and other cardiopulmonary diseases.

Dr. Ronald Rosen, an associate professor of medicine and a pediatric hematologist/oncologist, said, "We already know that we have major health problems associated with air pollution in Las Vegas -- asthma, bronchitis, allergies, and more. But these studies suggest the impacts may also include more cancer risks, and that's something every Las Vegan should be concerned about."

Jane Feldman, Conservation Chair for the Toiyabe Chapter, Sierra Club, said, "We asked the Federal Highway Administration to consider these major studies and they refused. So we asked independent scientific experts to analyze whether these studies have relevance for our community. They concluded "clearly our children and our neighborhoods are put at risk with this expansion project! They estimated that the increased exposure to air pollution will likely result in 1,446 cancers per million people! And still the Highway Administration will not study the risk."

The Highway-95 project will widen five miles of the highway from six to ten lanes. Two elementary schools, a high school, two community centers, a day care facility, twenty-seven apartment buildings, and over 380 single family residences abut this stretch of the highway.

Leana Hildebrand, native Las Vegan and spokesperson for the Sierra Club, noted, "It's bad enough that Las Vegas has the highest level of asthma in the country and fails to meet Clean Air Act standards for major air pollutants. Now we hear that emissions from increased traffic levels lead to increased risk of cancer! We need to be sure our neighborhoods are protected."

Ms. Feldman concluded, "It is possible to make transportation safe here in Las Vegas - we can design highway projects that consider all the risks, we can get cleaner fuel and cleaner cars, we can provide the public with transportation choices - so all of us can breathe easier!"''


NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 9-24-04, By Kim Smith

``Bad news for county's air, water

Area ranks among nation's most polluted

Two environmental groups reported bad news this week for Lorain County's air and water. One survey ranked the Cleveland metro area as having the sixth-highest level of soot pollution in the country in 2003, while another contends that fish in the Black River contain higher levels of mercury than are safe for consumption.

Zach Corrigan, an attorney with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group [PIRG], said high ground-level ozone and fine-particle pollution means people around the nation are breathing unhealthy air. "There are hundreds of premature deaths, asthma attacks and respiratory infections due to air," he said.

The Cleveland metro area, which includes Elyria and Lorain, had seven 'smog days" in 2003, and 27 times when the air quality exceeded the eight-hour smog standard. Columbus, the other Ohio city on the large metro area list, ranked No. 15.

The largest sources of smog and soot pollution are power plants and vehicle emissions, said Heidi Griesmer, spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ...''


NEWS ARTICLE from the Morning Journal, 12-18-04

``WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday identified 225 counties in 20 states that don't meet new clean air standards designed to protect against one of the tiniest but most harmful pollutants -- microscopic soot ...

Failure to comply could mean a county will have to limit development and its state could lose federal highway dollars.

Ohio had the most counties of any state on the list, with 32, mainly in Northeast Ohio including Cleveland, Lorain, Akron and Canton ...


NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 1-16-05, by James Hannah, Associated Press

``Public begins to hear implications of oil production peaking

YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO -- Until about five months ago, Mel Hutto had never heard of "peak oil," the belief that global oil production will decline and never return to the levels that have nourished American lifestyles.

Now the 66-year-old retired business consultant says he will change his lifestyle and campaign in his hometown of Bellingham, Wash., about the need to reduce reliance on oil.

"We're going to be without oil. The whole industrial culture will at some point start breaking down," said Hutto, who, out of curiosity attended a fall conference on the topic in this southwest Ohio town. "I tried to think this wasn't real and wasn't really going to happen." ...

"It's beginning to move more to the mainstream of public discussions," said Frank Laird, associate professor of technology and public policy at the University of Denver's Graduate School of International Studies. "There is a lot of unease about oil and energy."

The notion began in the 1950s when geophysicist M. King Hubbert predicted that global oil production would peak between 1990 and 2000. The prediction -- based on production profiles and estimates of oil reserves -- was largely confined to scientific circles ...

The world uses about 80 million barrels of oil a day, and consumption continues to increase. U.S. consumption alone is expected to grow nearly 50 percent in the next 20 years ...

Matthew Simmons, who has been researching oil depletion and peak oil for 10 years, said the peak might already have occurred.

"We don't have the data to say it will happen in five years or it happened last year," said Simmons, president of the Houston energy-investment advisory bank Simmons & Co. "It might be two or three years or it might be seven."

About 200 people in November attended what was billed as the first national conference for laymen on peak oil. The session was held in Yellow Springs, home to Antioch College ...

The main speaker, Richard Heinberg, believes that oil production will peak within five years. Once production begins to decline, the oil-reliant U.S. economy will begin to shrink, and transportation, power and other oil-dependent products and services will become much more expensive, he said in an interview.

"It means the undermining of the whole way of suburban life that has been developed in America," said Heinberg, who wrote "The Party's Over," a book describing the imminence of peak oil ...''

On the other hand:

ARTICLE from Harvard Magazine, March-April, 2005, By Erin O'Donnell

Hydrocarbon Heresy: Rocks into Gas

[The cell employs two diamonds, each about three millimeters (roughly one-eighth-inch) high, which sit with their tips facing each other in hardened precision frames that are forced together, creating intense pressure in the small space between the tips. They compress a small metal plate that holds the sample. The device can generate pressures greater than those in the center of the earth (3.6 million atmospheres) The methane generation experiments use pressures in the 50-100,000 atmosphere range, corresponding to the earth's upper mantle.]

``Geologists have long believed that the world's supply of oil and natural gas came from the decay of primordial plant and animal matter, which, over the course of millions of years, turned into petroleum.

But new research coauthored by Dudley Herschbach, Baird research professor of science and recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry, questions that thinking. Published last fall in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study describes how investigators combined three abiotic (non-living) materials -- water (H2O), limestone (CaCO3), and iron oxide (FeO) -- and crushed the mixture together with the same intense pressure found deep below the earth's surface. This process created methane (CH4) , the major component of natural gas. Herschbach says this offers evidence, although as yet far from proof, for a maverick theory that much of the world's supply of so-called fossil fuels may not derive from the decay of dinosaur-era organisms after all.

Herschbach became interested in the origins of petroleum hydrocarbons while reading `A Well-Ordered Thing,' a book about the nineteenth-century Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, who developed the periodic table. Written by Michael Gordin '96, Ph.D. '01, a current Junior Fellow, the book mentions a theory long held by Russian and Ukrainian geologists: that petroleum comes from reactions of water with other abiotic materials, and then bubbles up toward the earth's surface.

Intrigued, Herschbach read further, including `The Deep, Hot Bio-sphere' by the late Cornell astrophysicist Thomas Gold. An iconoclast, Gold saw merit in the Russian and Ukrainian view that petroleum has nonliving origins. He theorized that organic materials found in oil -- which most scientists took as a sign that petroleum comes from living things -- may simply be waste matter from microbial organisms that feed on the hydrocarbons generated deep in the earth as these flow upward ...

The diamond anvil cell, developed at the Carnegie Institution, can create the same pressures found as far as 4,000 miles beneath the earth's surface ... Diamonds are an ideal material for such experiments, Herschbach explains. As one of the hardest substances on earth, they can withstand the tremendous force, and because they're transparent, scientists can use beams of light and X-rays to identify what's inside the cell without pulling the diamonds apart ...

"The experiment showed it's easy to make methane," Herschbach says. The new findings may serve to corroborate other evidence, cited by Gold, that some of the earth's reservoirs of oil appear to refill as they're pumped out, suggesting that petroleum may be continually generated. This could have broad implications for petroleum production and consumption, and for our planet's ecology and economy ...''

Harvard Magazine, March-April 2005: Volume 107, Number 4, Page 10

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MEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 1-19-05, by KATIE GALLAGHER, Morning Journal Writer

``26 percent raise on table for job of Avon mayor

AVON -- Raising the mayor's salary 26 percent during the next four years to bring it to a level paid to mayors of nearby cities was discussed during a work session last night by City Council.

The mayor's salary is currently set at $73,231, according to Councilman Mark Julius, chair of the finance committee.

The finance committee has recommended that the position receive a 7 percent raise in 2006 and 2007 and a 5 percent raise in 2008 and 2009, Julius said, which would bring the mayor's salary to $92,431 in 2009.

The police chief currently makes more money, at $76,985, than the mayor, Julius said.

The increase to the mayor's salary would put the position at a slightly higher rate than the police chief's salary and would put the position on a level with surrounding communities, Julius said ...

The mayor of North Ridgeville currently receives $81,000 and the mayor of Westlake receives $112,000, Julius said.

Councilman Gerald Gentz, a member of the Finance Committee, said the reason for the increase was carefully plotted out.

''The mayor of this city, because of the city that we are and will become, needs to be a leader,'' he said.

As the executive officer of the city, Gentz said he doesn't believe anyone should be paid more than the mayor.

Councilman Larry Kroeger said he was uncomfortable with the percentages suggested, but believes the increase is necessary.

''I think this is a necessary step to do to get us back in line,'' he said.

Gentz pointed out that the reason for the large percentages is because previous councils have not looked at the issue.

''When you don't do that, you fall behind,'' he said.

Council also discussed additional compensation for the president and members of City Council beginning in 2006, compensation for the secretary to the mayor, compensation for the clerk of council and compensation for the newly created position of full-time senior center coordinator.

The finance committee has recommended that council receive a raise of $1,500, increasing the salary from $6,000 to $7,500, Julius said. The chair of council would receive an additional $3,000, as is currently the case, he said.

With both the secretary to the mayor and clerk of council currently receiving $37,231, the finance committee has recommended that the secretary to the mayor receive raises equating to $44,000 at the end of three years and the clerk of council receive raises taking her salary to $44,500 at the end of three years, Julius said.

Council held a lengthy discussion about the salary for the new senior center coordinator for which the suggested salary has been $48,000.

Julius said he knows it is an emotional issue for people in the community that residents are hoping will move forward, but the suggested salary will put the salary for the new position over the salary of some of the city's current employees.

Discussion of the issue was not complete by press time last night.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 12-15-04, By Julie A. Short

``Loft brings international, national and local artists together

AVON -- Add The Loft to Avon's list of unique boutiques and galleries shoppers should visit this holiday season. The shop opened on the second floor above French Creek Fiber Arts in Olde Avon Village (36840 Detroit Road) where customers can find jewelry, paintings, sculptures and framed photographs.

Co-owner Liz Adamson has been making jewelry for about two years and never planned to open a store of her own. Her beaded pieces include necklaces, earrings, watches and bracelets made from the finest crystals.

"Details, which is located in the Village, carried the jewelry and still does," Adamson said. "I used to sell the items wholesale and attended jewelry shows. I found it wasn't the direction I wanted to go in. Ron (Larson) approached us about coming to the Village. It's been a great place for us so far. We really appreciate Ron's vision for the Village."

Adamson co-owns the shop with fellow Avon resident Barb Piscopo. The two also own OmniAccess, a sales and marketing firm.

"Barb is basically the curator of the shop," Adamson said. "She holds things together and negotiates with the artists. We decided that one of the best ways to sell the jewelry was to surround it with other beautiful art. The Village has been a wonderful place because each of us is an independent retailer, yet we are very good about sharing our efforts. Because of the location of the Village, most people park and stop at every shop. It may be difficult to find us at first, but we are worth the search."

Twelve international, national, regional and local artists can be found at The Loft.

"We have items from a cold cast bronze artist from Ireland," Adamson said. "We also have a sculptor from Arizona and a painted silk artist from Iowa. Local artists include Avon resident Jo-Ann Schmauch who does color photography and Avon resident Carol Bohr who does black and white photography. Debbie Brink's line of Pure Enchantment products includes personal care products that are wonderful, including soaps and creams. All of our artists are willing to do commission pieces and custom design."

Also featured in the shop are items from "The Nut Man." Corlette Thomas Baylock has created "art on the half shell" for years and his work has been featured in galleries throughout Cleveland. Baylock paints faces and pictures on pistachio shells.

He incorporates nutshells into painting, mirrors and even clothing such as ties and shirts. "The nicest part about the shop for the artists is that they only pay us rent and they receive full commission for their pieces," Adamson said. "That way they are able to earn exactly what they should for their art."

Beginning in January [2005], The Loft will offer additional services including jewelry repair, professional desktop photography services (restoration, retouching and compositing), designers' bead club (upscale beads, gemstones and pendants) and individual or small group jewelry design classes.

"We've only been open a short while and we've far exceeded our expectations," Adamson said. "We are considering taking extra space within the Village should something open up in the future."

The 500-sq-ft. Loft space and the Fiber Arts shop are housed in a building that was the original grocery store in Avon many years ago.

The Loft is open Thursday noon-8, Friday and Saturday noon-6, and Sunday noon-4. Call 934-3113 for more info.


NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-19-05, By Julie A. Short

``Seek the Unique changes ownership, adds new items

AVON -- Soon shoppers will be able to seek new items at Seek the Unique in Avon (36785 Detroit Road) as the store will undergo minor alterations to its merchandise offerings as new owner Marge Samosky puts her mark on the longtime gift shop.

"I'd like to put in more inspirational-type items," Samosky said. "Items of a spiritual nature such as angels and fairies. I'm keeping things the same for now, but have a number of items on sale so that I can clear some inventory out to begin adding new items. I'd like to add a lot of embroidery items from things like shirts to napkins."

The Avon Lake resident purchased the store after seeing an ad in the newspaper that the store was for sale.

"I loved the store from the minute I walked in as a customer," Samosky said. "I had always wanted to own a gift shop and this seemed like the perfect store. The previous owner, Julie Wolf, is going to concentrate her efforts on her custom home decorating business."

Samosky's business experience includes many years as a restaurant and tavern owner. Most recently she was a manager for the Eatza Pizza restaurant chain.

"I moved to Avon Lake in May and loved coming into Avon to shop at all the interesting stores," she said. "I want Seek the Unique to be a homey place where people can come in and relax and drink some tea that I plan to always have available. I'm anxious to meet the residents of Avon."

The owner also hopes to bring a variety of interactive elements to the store including book signings and spiritual readings.

"We already have our first book signing lined up for January 29," Samosky said. "Jeannie Morse, co-author of The Magic Fan will be here to sign copies of the children's book. We will have coffee and muffins available during the signing."

Other activities include a visit by Evsttarr, an angel card reader on Feb.5.

"We are also going to have REIKI sessions here beginning Jan. 22," Samosky said. "As I begin to clear more merchandise out, I will have a better feel for how much space is available for other activities."

As with Wolf, Samosky plans to be actively involved in the French Creek Association, and has already signed on as a member. She will also continue selling items for members of the Red Hat Society.

The sale of the shop allows Wolf to spend more time with her growing home-based business, Bejeweled Interiors. She owned the store for two years.

"I will be doing decorating consulting for people," Wolf said "I assist with furniture placement, painting, wallpaper, faux finishing, etc. I can also sew pillows, drapes and other home interior items.

"My dream of owning my own store has been accomplished," she continued. "Now I'm on to bigger dreams."

To reach Wolf, call 440-328-4266

Samosky has changed the store's hours of operation. Seek the Unique will be open Tuesday and Thursday 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and Sunday 12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. For more info, call 934-0343.''

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