MACRoCk XIV is upon us!


The 14th annual Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoCk) will be occurring in Harrisonburg, VA on April 1 & 2, 2011. This year, MACRoCk will be hosting over 90 bands including Bouncing Souls, Capsule, S. Carey, Screaming Females, Turbo Fruits, Algernon Cadwallader,  Timbre, Super Vacations, Invisible Hand, 1994!, Pulling Teeth, US Christmas, Cannabis Corpse, Inter Arma, Pianos Become the Teeth, The Extraordinaires, Snack Truck, Dangerous Ponies, Snowing, Woe, Withered, Brooke Waggoner, Antlers, Gifts From Enola, Ocoai, Eternal Summers, Gringo Star, Air Waves, Arches, Andrew Cedermark, Sacred Harp, Heavy Cream and Pujol. MACRoCk will also host a variety of panelists speaking on topics such as Local Food, Booking in The Music Industry & Screen Printing.

MACRoCk was first put on by the student volunteers at James Madison University’s student radio station, WXJM, in 1997. Today, MACRoCk is an independently owned and organized organization, and is the largest independent music conference on the East Coast. MACRoCk offers a unique opportunity for bands, industry professionals and fans to interact and connect to support the music they love. With all the shows taking place in independently run and operated downtown music venues, MACRoCk was founded on a belief that corporate sponsorship and big business were not part of what makes music great. Through grassroots organization and an all-volunteer staff, MACRoCk strives to promote independent music, thought, art, business, and culture. This is MACRoCk’s 14th year, and it is going to be better than ever before. For more information about the conference, bands and tickets, please visit the MACRoCk website at www.macrock.org

FOIA Requests Sent to Richmond on Global Warming

On August 26, 2010 at a town hall meeting at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell stated, in response to a question I posed on global warming, that the science of anthropogenic climate change was debatable. When I countered that there was not significant debate on this issue, he replied, “I’m telling you, there is.”

At that same town meeting I also spoke with Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources and Senior Advisor on Energy, Maureen Matsen. She stated that the science is not clear that climate change is man made, going on to say that, in any event, addressing energy issues was synonymous with addressing anthropogenic climate change. The problem with this reply is that it implies that as long as we get the amount of energy we need, it does not matter that the source of energy is climate harming fossil fuels. When I suggested to her that the United States has hundreds of years of coal and natural gas, and, therefore, there would be no reason to develop renewables except for concern with greenhouse gases, she chose not to respond.

I thereupon sent freedom of information requests to both Governor McDonnell and the Secretary of Natural Resources, asking each to produce any documents they had to support their positions that anthropogenic climate change was invalid science or debatable. The response was: Continue reading “FOIA Requests Sent to Richmond on Global Warming” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Eastern Mennonite University Celebrates 104 kW Photovoltaic System

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber and Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner 'throw the ceremonial switch' to engage the 104.3 kilowatt solar panel array that will provide enough power to supply the total average annual electricity costs of nine homes in Harrisonburg.

Eastern Mennonite University dedicated and celebrated the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) project built so far in the state of Virginia in a public ceremony held Monday afternoon, Nov. 15, on EMU’s campus.

During the celebration in EMU’s Campus Center, about 150 members of the campus community, public officials and local neighbors saw the university’s president Loren Swartzendruber unveil the website dashboard with the flip of a switch, revealing live graphs showcasing the daily, weekly and monthly output of the solar system.

“Caring for God’s good creation is central to who we are as a Christian university,” Dr. Swartzendruber told the gathering. “Our planet does not have unlimited natural resources, and it is imperative that we utilize clean renewable energy such as solar as part of the university’s long-term commitment to creation care and environmental sustainability,” he added. Continue reading “Eastern Mennonite University Celebrates 104 kW Photovoltaic System” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

New LEED Office Building In Grottoes

Wellness Concepts Inc., Valley Leader in Green Building

Daniel and Cathie Atwell, owners of Wellness Concepts, since 1990, are building a new home for their business in Grottoes, VA. This is no ordinary building, as the Atwells, along with their contractor, Glen Stoltfus, are intent on making it the first Platinum, LEED certified building in the Central Shenandoah Valley.

LEED ( Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally accepted certification program that is a third-party verified, green building rating system. A building receives points for energy efficiency, using reclaimed materials, water conservation, indoor air quality, and waste mitigation, just to name a few.

This 18,000 square foot building has outside walls made with insulated concrete forms or ICF’s.   Continue reading “New LEED Office Building In Grottoes” »

This post was submitted by Sally Newkirk.

Greenhouse is Built for New Community Project

A greenhouse can be built in an affordable manner, like this one for the New Community Project in Harrisonburg. Photo: Diana Woodall

On a warm Sunday afternoon, October 10, members and friends of New Community Project in Harrisonburg met at 715 N. Main St and contructed an inexpensive greenhouse.

The project was done in conjunction with the call from 350.org for communities across the nation and world to take action to address climate change.  (350 stands for the Continue reading “Greenhouse is Built for New Community Project” »

This post was submitted by Diana Woodall.

Harrisonburg “Climate Work Parties” Join Thousands Across the Planet

On October 10, people across the planet will pick up hammers, shovels, and caulking-guns and join the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, the world’s largest day of practical action to fight the climate crisis.

Here in Harrisonburg, three different events are planned for Sunday afternoon: Continue reading “Harrisonburg “Climate Work Parties” Join Thousands Across the Planet” »

This post was submitted by Elizabeth Scott.

Hydrofracking Continues to be Discussed by Citizens

WHSV TV3 is reporting that a citizen meeting today in Broadway focused on the status of hydrofracking in Rockingham County.  While a special use permit to allow hydrofracking remains tabled by the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors and Carrizo, the company proposing the drilling, decided to leave the area, citizens and community organizations met to discuss actions and legislation needed in case hydrofracking is revisisted in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As noted in the story, an aid to Delegate Tony Wilt says his office, “has not yet been contacted by either side about bringing the hydrofracking issue up in the General Assembly’s next session.”

The hydrofracking story is within the first 2:30 of the embedded video.

Virginia Biodiesel Conference Convenes in Harrisonburg

Approximately 75 people convened today at the Virginia Biodiesel Conference.  Hosted by Virginia Clean Cities, the event sought to bring together producers, users, and policy experts to discuss the state of the biodiesel industry in Virginia.  Attendees included representatives from Red Birch Energy, Reco Biodiesel, Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, Public Policy Virginia, Virginia Soybean Association, and many more organizations.  Elected officials included Delegate Tony Wilt (26th House of Delegates District) and Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner, who facilitated the event in his professional position as the Fairfield Center.   Continue reading “Virginia Biodiesel Conference Convenes in Harrisonburg” »

EMU Signs Agreement to Build Va.’s Largest Solar Panel Array

Posted below is a news release from Eastern Mennonite University marking the formal announcement that the university will be proceeding with plans to install solar panels on the library roof. This effort, led by Tony Smith, the co-director of EMU’s MBA program, was first announced last spring. In April, the city council approved a rezoning to allow the construction of the project.

At the time, Smith and his colleagues hoped to install enough panels on campus to generate 1 megawatt of power. Over the summer, a number of factors prompted the university to scale back the solar project. The first phase, which began this week, will generate 104.3 kilowatts with panels on the library roof, and will still be the largest solar array in the state. The university plans a second round of construction to install panels on canopies above a parking lot, adding another 300 kilowatts of capacity. Continue reading “EMU Signs Agreement to Build Va.’s Largest Solar Panel Array” »

Cuccinelli Abuses Office

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (Image from AP)

Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli has filed a petition on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia to request the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the regulation of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.  The petition says that the hacked emails (“climategate”) of the scientists coordinating the International Panel on Climate Change (IPC) raise such doubts as to the integrity of the IPCC conclusions that the EPA should reconsider regulation. In general, the petition questions the validity of anthropogenic climate change, that is, global warming caused by man made emissions.

On July 29, 2010, the EPA denied the AG’s petition, citing the Continue reading “Cuccinelli Abuses Office” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Coffee Party learns about hydro-fracking

An example of a hydrofracking site in New York

The Coffee Party, a national response to the infamous “Tea Party” movement, is a group who wants to see co-operation and positive solutions in government. A local chapter meets on the second Saturday of the month in Bridgewater.

On Saturday morning August 14, about 35 folks showed up to learn about the current status of the controversial natural gas mining process known as “hydro-fracking” in Rockingham county. The presenter was Kim Sandum, director of the Community Alliance for Preservation, or CAP.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “hydro-fracking,” is an industrial-scale process that involves injecting toxic chemicals, sand, and millions of gallons of water under high pressure directly into shale formations. This toxic brew, along with any natural gas, is then extracted, or leaked to the surface. There is great potential for contamination of sources of drinking water, among other hazards, including destruction or damage of national forest and small county roads. Continue reading “Coffee Party learns about hydro-fracking” »

This post was submitted by Diana Woodall.

Faith and Civic Response to Climate Change

In the wake of the worst recession since the Great Depression and through the din of climate-gate and right wing media, there is a tendency to overlook just how deep and wide is public support for doing something about global warming.

All of the relevant scientific, governmental and business organizations have made it clear they accept the conclusions of the IPCC that man made climate change is serious and must be dealt with by dramatically reduced use of fossil fuels and more enlightened land use practices. While ExxonMobil and Shell Oil had already gotten on board, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) itself at first urged further research on whether the warming was man made (anthropogenic), but now even the AAPG seems to have thrown in the towel.

These higher level organizations have the serious responsibility and the wherewithal to understand and respond to the science, but what about organizations a tier or more beneath? Here I take a look at the positions taken by religious and civic groups, with particular focus on the Presbyterian Church and the Rotary Club. Continue reading “Faith and Civic Response to Climate Change” »

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Fitzgerald Releases Video on Development

Joe Fitzgerald, Democratic nominee in November’s Harrisonburg City Council election, has released a video focused on his thinking about growth and development. There are two seats open in this year’s election.

Harrisonburg Hosts Bike Virginia

Press Release from Harrisonburg Tourism

Bike Virginia the Shenandoah Expedition starts its journey in Staunton on Friday June 25, 2010, arriving in Harrisonburg on Monday June 28th. This five day tour takes cyclists through the magnificent country sides of Augusta, Rockingham and Shenandoah Counties.

The economic impact of Bike Virginia in 2005 calculated at 3.1 million dollars for a five day tour. Bike Virginia travels the Commonwealth in cycles (no pun intended).  ”Their last ride through Harrisonburg and Rockingham County was in 2004,” reports Tourism Operations Manager, Brenda Black.

The 2,000 Bike Virginia cyclists come in all sizes, shapes, and ages. This is a fun ride, not a race. The tour is designed for recreational touring, not fast pace-line riding. The average age on the tour Continue reading “Harrisonburg Hosts Bike Virginia” »

Give Me a Little K.I.S.S. Will Ya, Huh?

Keep It Simple, Stupid! (KISS)

I cannot recount the number of times I have been subjected to the over-used acronym-adage – K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). I first heard it in the military, then college lectures and most recently, while attending professional seminars and workshops. The more I am exposed to this morsel of unsolicited advice, the more I realize that it does not, at least not in any practical way, pertain to the human race.

First, human beings are complex organisms driven by complicated mental and Continue reading “Give Me a Little K.I.S.S. Will Ya, Huh?” »

This post was submitted by David Rood.

The Hydrofracking Challenge

The good news is that there is valuable, comparatively clean natural gas in the eastern U.S. The bad news is that the process for getting it is so new, so complex and so dangerous that states which have drilled first and then scrambled to regulate later have found themselves overmatched by a highly industrialized process which turns out to be highly hazardous.

Field and Stream magazine says drilling has exploded so suddenly Continue reading “The Hydrofracking Challenge” »

This post was submitted by Ruth Stoltzfus Jost.

Bishop Dansby’s Global Warming Presentation

See presentation on Global Warming given by H. Bishop Dansby to Bridgewater Rotary Club on June 15, 2010. Entire presentation lasts 20 minutes, and includes a number of video excerpts.  Go to the following link:http://www.bendansby.com/bridgewater/.

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Hope for Replacing Fossil Fuels

On May 19, 2010, the National Academy of Sciences advised the government “to take drastic action” to slow global warming. I don’t think the technical and economic problems are insurmountable. Rather, it is the political will that is missing, mainly in the conservative camp.

It may be that many conservatives are taking some of their cues from Senator James Inhofe. After all, he is Barbara Boxer’s counterpart on the Environmental and Public Works Committee. Inhofe has openly and loudly proclaimed that global warming is a hoax. His portion of the EPW website proclaims that 700 scientists dispute the claims of the IPCC on global warming.

Inhofe claims “An abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analyses, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming “bites the dust” and the scientific underpinnings for alarm may be “falling apart.” However, the only recent article that he cites, and on which he primarily relies, is “Heat Capacity, Time Constant, and Sensitivity of Earth’s Climate System,” by Brookhaven National Lab scientist Stephen Schwartz.

I corresponded with Dr. Schwartz and it turns out that Dr. Schwartz’s paper simply said was that the sensitivity of global temperature to CO2 rise was less than claimed by the IPCC report. Further, Dr. Schwartz has now revised the paper, doubling his figure on sensitivity. Even though the revised figure is still on the low side of the IPCC range, Dr. Schwartz told me by email:

“But if we consider the consequences of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, even for a rather low sensitivity the expected climate consequences would be anywhere from serious to severe to catastrophic.”

Serious to severe to catastrophic!  As you can see, Inhofe is playing fast and loose with the truth.

Most people turn off to the issue of global warming because they fear there is no solution. Although we will use a number of types of renewables as well as conservation and energy efficiency to meet the global warming problem, calculations using solar photovoltaic (PV) technology provide a quick and dirty way to assess the feasibility of accomplishing the task.

The total electric generating capacity of the United States is about 900 gigawatts (almost one terawatt). Eighty percent of the electrical generating capacity of the United States could be replaced by installing photovoltaics (PV) on existing rooftops (source). The cost would be about $2 trillion. If this capacity was implemented over a twenty year period, the per capita yearly cost would be $335.

Of course, we use more than just electrical power in the United States. The total annual use of energy used in the United States is 29,000 terawatt-hours, or 3.3 terawatts average power output (source).

About 85% of our power comes from fossil fuels, or 2.8 terawatts. PV generates about 10 watts per square foot, so you need 0.28 trillion square feet (280 billion square feet) of PV panels to replace all of the fossil fuel used the United States. That comes to 10,000 square miles, or 200 square miles per state. As already shown, over 1/3 of that is already available in rooftops. The cost would be about $5.6 trillion dollars, or $18,666 per person in the United States. Spread over 50 years, it would cost $373 per year per person to provide all of our energy needs with photovoltaics.

Another interesting calculation can be gotten by looking at the impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. This spill is expected to cost more than the Exxon Valdez oil spill ($8.5 billion), and the stock price of BP has dropped $18 billion (source). If we use a figure of $18 billion as the cost of this spill, for this amount of money one could build photovoltaic generating capacity of 9 gigawatts. Over an estimated lifetime of 50 years, the energy produced would be about 740,000 gigawatt-hours, which at a modest price $0.10 per kilowatt-hour has a value of $74 billion. The Deepwater Horizon well had the potential of 50M barrels, which at today’s oil price of $70/barrel has a value of $3.5 billion. Thus, the value of energy that could be produced by PV installations built from the cost of this spill would be 21 times the maximum value of the energy that would have been produced by the Deepwater Horizon well.

Might there be a message in that?

This post was submitted by Bishop Dansby.

Coop Reaches Goal! Celebration on Friday

FOOD CO-OP ACHIEVES GOAL OF $600,000
FOR MEMBER-LOAN CAMPAIGN

PUBLIC CELEBRATION SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2010

HARRISONBURG, VA – The Friendly City Food Cooperative announced that it has reached a major milestone in its effort to open a community-owned grocery store in downtown Harrisonburg. On Tuesday, May 17, members of the food co-op passed their goal to raise $600,000 by May 20. This significant accomplishment keeps the co-op on track to begin design and build out of the store.

Owners and supporters of the food co-op invite everyone to celebrate with them this Friday, May 21, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Blue Nile. The final amount raised by the loan campaign will be announced at 8:30 p.m.

The loan campaign had raised only $370,000 when the co-op signed a lease for the building last month. The lease carried a contingency that required the co-op to raise sufficient capital by May 20 to move ahead. With the successful completion of the member-loan campaign, the food co-op now plans to move ahead with final store design and renovations. In addition, candidates for general manager are already being interviewed.

Over the last year, more than 160 member-households loaned the co-op startup money to open and operate the store. The average loan amount was $3,750. As of Tuesday, the food co-op has sold 960 membership shares. “This is a great indicator of our potential for success,” said Ben Sandel, president of the food co-op’s board of directors. “Getting this far shows the community really wants the co-op to come into existence.”

While the Friendly City Food Co-op met its $600,000 loan-campaign goal on Tuesday, additional loans continue to come in from members. “More loans are needed to offset future cash needs,” said Sam Nickels, chair of the member-loan campaign. “The more we raise now, the stronger position we’ll be in as the store builds a foothold in the community.”
The entire community is invited to the Loan Campaign Celebration to share in the excitement, enjoy live music, food, and celebrate the four years of planning, the countless volunteer hours and the many generous loans that made this announcement possible.

###

All In: Friendly City Food Coop Seeks Last Loans to Open

It sounded ambitious (to an optimist), or crazy (to a lot of others): after four years of planning, fundraising and outreach, the Friendly City Food Coop committed itself to collecting more than $200,000 in member loans and adding a few hundred more member-owners, all within a month.

The coop – a member-owned grocery store that will carry local, natural, organic and fair trade goods – took its biggest step toward reality in mid-April by signing a lease for the old Mick-or-Mack building on East Wolfe Street, between Dollar General and the Post Office.

That lease, however, carried a significant contingency. It required the coop to Continue reading “All In: Friendly City Food Coop Seeks Last Loans to Open” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

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