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Transportation steeped in civil rights; Pacific garbage patch expert returns; urban and regional farming apps

Marc Lefkowitz  |  08/02/11 @ 12:00pm

? At least one group is making a connection between the transportation agenda in the U.S.-where highway construction totals 80% of all spending-to a mounting civil rights concern. The Leadership Conference's "Where We Need to Go: A Civil Rights Roadmap for Transportation Equity" finds minorities and low income populations facing an unequal burden from transportation spending. From a higher proportion of pedestrian fatalities to higher rates of obesity are the legacy of priorities shifted from fixing the broken sidewalks and promoting safer streets for walking and biking to building highways. The report found that most welfare-to-work jobs are in areas without transit access, and that incentives to sprawl are hurting many low and middle income earners who cannot access jobs.

The report concludes that, "an equity agenda should favor incentives to fix existing infrastructure and develop vacant or underutilized property within metro areas.

"The federal government should end requirements that most funds be spent on highways. We must invest in transit options that will enable low-income people to reach a greater variety of job opportunities-including transportation projects in outlying areas. Federal law should create incentives for states and localities to provide jobs to people from low-income communities, including: dedicating transportation funds toward the recruitment, training, and retention of underrepresented workers of local residents, the chronically unemployed, lower-income people, women, and minorities."

See the report here.

? Catch up on how the size and make up of the giant floating 'garbage patch' in the Pacific Ocean with the world's foremost expert on the subject. On Wednesday, August 3rd from 6-8 pm, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History welcomes back Dr. Marcus Eriksen, Director of Project Development with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, as he gives an update on his research on marine debris. Eriksen will also provide hints for building boats for the Third Annual Great Lake Erie Boat Float (to be held on September 10).

Marcus has plenty to update us on having just returned from another expedition to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and visits to all of the world's oceans since he was last here in 2009. Marcus is also a bit of an expert in building boats out of recyclable materials. He has built 15 boats, including Bottle Rocket which he sailed down the Mississipi River, JUNK which he used to sail across the Pacific Ocean and The Cola-hoga which he sailed in the 2009 Boat Float in Lake Erie.

? Do you have obsolete computers and cell phones, worn out tires, and old household chemicals that you'd like to dispose of properly? City of Cleveland Recycling invites you to clear your house of these unwanted items by dropping them off at:

The Division of Waste 3727 Ridge Road (Also known as the Ridge Road Transfer Station) Wipe your harddrive and bring your unwanted computer to a roundup on three Saturdays: August 20th, September 10th and 17th. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Collected computer equipment will be upgraded and distributed to schools or recycled. Cell phones are accepted, too. No televisions or other electronics are accepted. Get rid of scrap tires by dropping off up to 10 tires per household/vehicle from Monday, September 12th through Saturday, September 17th. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. No tires with rims will be accepted. Cleveland residents only. No businesses. Avoid caustic spills or hard-to-clean messes! Properly dispose of your household hazardous waste on the first Friday of each month at the Division of Waste. It also will be accepting household chemicals the same dates and times as the computer roundup.

? Food and Water Watch, an organization dedicated to ensuring food, water and fish are safe, accessible and sustainably produced, is road tripping through Ohio in August to promote healthier and more sustainable agriculture in the Farm Bill. In Cleveland, they're hosting a Food Policy Summit with Community Greenhouse Partners to talk about our current food system. Lakewood LEAF hosts Petitioning for a Fair Farm Bill at the Lakewood Library to bring together local food activists and gather petitions to ask Senator Brown to support a Fair Farm Bill.   ? Summer Sprout-the community gardening program in the City of Cleveland-is accepting applications to start a garden. The city's Community Development department currently invests $141,000 to support 147 Summer Sprout gardens and 4,000 gardeners throughout the city. Applications are now being accepted for new gardens for the 2012 growing season. Go here for more information and an application. Applications are due on or before 5:00 p.m. September 30, 2011. ? Or perhaps your farming ambitions are larger in scale. If so, you can lease a farm in the Cuyahoga Valley under the Countryside Initiative, which invites farmers to live and farm in the park using sustainable methods for direct, local, and retail sale. Currently, CVNP has 11 farms in operation under this program including a vineyard and winery, vegetable and egg operations, livestock, and pick-your-own and community-supported vegetable farms. This year's farms are located in Valley View and Peninsula, and are suitable for fruit and vegetable production, management-intensive grazing operations, and integrated crop-livestock enterprises. The farm in Valley View includes a residence (rehabilitated), a small cottage (not rehabilitated) and 31 acres of fields. The farm in Peninsula includes a residence (rehabilitated) and 27 acres of fields. Go here to download the RFP.  ? Sabrena Schweyer, co-owner of the Akron-based Salsbury-Schweyer, Inc, has joined six garden authorities to answer questions in a weekly Plain Dealer column, "Ask the Ground Crew." Her advice for Northeast Ohio gardeners: "Imitate nature's system. Add compost to create good soil, plant for diversity, and remember that water and insects are valuable parts of the ecosystem. So don't take them for granted."

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