Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The struggle for the solar future subject of program Saturday afternoon at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster.

Solar Power Struggle
Professor Richard Hutchinson of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston will speak on "The Struggle for the Solar Future" at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
An inquiry into environmental change and the obstacles and opportunities in the path of the renewable energy transition.
Sponsored by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Silent Auction to support Meals on Wheels tonight

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of poster touting upcoming silent auction to benefit Meals on Wheels.

Brown thrashers among the many species to be seen on World Peace Wetland Prairie during Sunday's Earth Day celebration

Please click on image to Enlarge view of one of the many species of birds feeding and picking nesting sites on World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 17, 2009. The elusive brown thrasher is often able to slip into the thickets before a camera can capture its image. But the attraction of scattered brush piles and the excitement of mating season can make them a bit careless.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Don Grimes visits friends on April 15, 2009, in old office at Regional Planning Commission

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Don Grimes, former city manager of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and former head of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission in Springdale, Arkansas, on April 15, 2009, while visiting old friends.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sale barn or 500-student apartment complex next to National Cemetery?

Ward One meeting held a week ago in the Town Branch Neighborhood is to be shown on Cox cable channel 16 at 11 a.m today and again at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
City16 Government Channel schedule available online.

Apartment-builders' plan for the sale-barn property is presented during that meeting and several people who live in the neighborhood comment on the idea and even suggest alternatives.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Honeybees and all pollinators threatened by pesticides

Please click on images to ENLARGE view in top photo of honeybee on redbud and bumblebee in second photo on redbud in a chemical-free area around World Peace Wetland Prairie on April 8, 2009.

Honeybees in Danger
Sunday 12 April 2009
by: Evaggelos Vallianatos, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
When I was teaching at Humboldt State University in northern California 20 years ago, I invited a beekeeper to talk to my students. He said that each time he took his bees to southern California to pollinate other farmers' crops, he would lose a third of his bees to sprays. In 2009, the loss ranges all the way to 60 percent.
Honeybees have been in terrible straits.
A little history explains this tragedy.
For millennia, honeybees lived in symbiotic relationship with societies all over the world.
The Greeks loved them. In the eighth century BCE, the epic poet Hesiod considered them gifts of the gods to just farmers. And in the fourth century of our era, the Greek mathematician Pappos admired their hexagonal cells, crediting them with "geometrical forethought."\
However, industrialized agriculture is not friendly to honeybees.
In 1974, the US Environmental Protection Agency licensed the nerve gas parathion trapped into nylon bubbles the size of pollen particles.
What makes this microencapsulated formulation more dangerous to bees than the technical material is the very technology of the "time release" microcapsule.\
This acutely toxic insecticide, born of chemical warfare, would be on the surface of the flower for several days. The foraging bee, if alive after its visit to the beautiful white flowers of almonds, for example, laden with invisible spheres of asphyxiating gas, would be bringing back to its home pollen and nectar mixed with parathion.
It is possible that the nectar, which the bee makes into honey, and the pollen, might end up in some food store to be bought and eaten by human beings.
Beekeepers are well aware of what is happening to their bees, including the potential that their honey may not be fit for humans.
Moreover, many beekeepers do not throw away the honey, pollen and wax of colonies destroyed by encapsulated parathion or other poisons. They melt the wax for new combs: And they sell both honey and pollen to the public.
Government "regulators" know about this danger.
An academic expert, Carl Johansen, professor of entomology at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, called the microencapsulated methyl parathion "the most destructive bee poisoning insecticide ever developed."
In 1976, the US Department of Agriculture published a report by one of its former employees, S. E. McGregor, a honeybee expert who documented that about a third of what we eat benefits from honeybee pollination. This includes vegetables, oilseeds and domesticated animals eating bee-pollinated hay.
In 2007, the value of food dependent on honeybees was $15 billion in the United States.
McGregor also pointed out that insect-pollinated legumes collect nitrogen from the air, storing it in their roots and enriching the soil. In addition, insect pollination makes the crops more wholesome and abundant. He advised the farmer he should never forget that "no cultural practice will cause fruit or seed to set if its pollination is neglected."\
In addition, McGregor blamed the chemical industry for seducing the farmers to its potent toxins. He said:
"[P]esticides are like dope drugs. The more they are used the more powerful the next one must be to give satisfaction" and therein develops the spiraling effect, the pesticide treadmill. The chemical salesman, in pressuring the grower to use his product, practically assumes the role of the "dope pusher." Once the victim, the grower, is "hooked," he becomes a steady and an ever-increasing user.
No government agency listened to McGregor.
The result of America's pesticide treadmill is that now, in 2009, honeybees and other pollinators are moving towards extinction.
In October 2006, the US National Research Council warned of the" "demonstrably downward" trends in the populations of pollinators. For the first time since 1922, American farmers are renting imported bees for their crops. They are even buying bees from Australia.
Honeybees, the National Academies report said, pollinate more than 90 crops in America, but have declined by 30 percent in the last 20 years alone. The scientists who wrote the report expressed alarm at the precipitous decline of the pollinators. Unfortunately, this made no difference to EPA, which failed to ban the microencapsulated parathion that is so deadly to honeybees.
Bee experts know that insecticides cause brain damage to the bees, disorienting them, making it often impossible for them to find their way home.
This is a consequence of decades of agribusiness warfare against nature and, in time, honeybees. In addition, beekeepers truck billions of bees all over the country for pollination, depriving them of good food, stressing them enormously, and, very possibly, injuring their health.


Evaggelos Vallianatos, former EPA analyst, is the author of "This Land Is Their Land" and "The Passion of the Greeks.

Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association's green-infrastructure project report online

Green-infrastructure report from Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association project

Friday, April 10, 2009

Earth Day celebration on April 19, 2009, at World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on image to ENLARGE to read details of the poster.

Bird-watchers welcome every day from dawn to dusk!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Zoom lens shows proximity of proposed and newly built multifamily housing in Town Branch neighborhood

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of the Washington County Sale Barn from the west balcony of the Fayetteville Senior Center on South College Avenue in Walker Park.

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of the top of the Washington County Sale Barn and, a few blocks further west, the top of newly built student apartments west of Hill Avenue and, beyond that across the railroad, the east slope of Rochier Hill, which also is slated for multifamily residential development. The white roof in the foreground is that of a business on South School Avenue.

Fritz Gisler joins city administration as Government Channel manager

Monday, April 6, 2009

Would student apartments be more appropriate than a livestock auction barn next to National Cemetery for veterans? Not likely

Everyone is welcom at today's 5:30 p.m. meeting of Ward One residents and the Town Branch Neighborhood at the S. Hill Avenue Church of Christ near the intersection of 11th Street and S. Hill Avenue to hear and discuss a proposal to rezone the Washington County Livestock Auction Barn for student apartments. The area is shown on Google Maps below.

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The sale barn in the view below is at right and the national cemetery is at left. WOULD STUDENT APARTMENTS be any more appropriate next to the National Cemetery than a sale barn? The cemetery was created in 1867 and the sale barn in 1937.

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Please share information about the 5:30 p.m. April 5 (TODAY) meeting of Ward One residents at the Church of Christ on South Hill Avenue in Fayetteville.
Attorney Bob Estes is to present a proposal to have the Washington County Sale Barn rezoned so that student apartments may be built on the land in the Town Branch Neighborhood. If the rezoning is accepted, then a North Carolina company will buy the land and build the apartments.
The cattle-auction facility was constructed in 1937 by the grandfather of the current owner.
Cattle are brought in early each week and auctioned on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. There is no permanent housing of a large group of animals.
Because of the north slope's being well vegetated, stormwater runoff to streams in each direction is relatively clean, much cleaner than the runoff from the Hill Place Apartment complex being constructed three blocks to the west.
Closing the sale barn in south Fayetteville would greatly inconvenience ranchers and farmers in south Washington County. In fact, having to travel to Springdale to buy and sell cattle could be final factor in some landowners deciding to sell out and stop farming.
All this would come at a time when encouraging local production of food and protecting the rich soil on the prairies in the river valleys is high on the agenda of many people and many conservation organizations.
Closing the sale barn could affect the local farm economy and several other businesses in south Fayetteville that rely on local farming. It would encourage more unneeded housing to be built in rural areas while allowing more unneeded apartments to be built in a city where empty apartments and condominiums are plentiful.
Anything that damages the agricultural economy of Northwest Arkansas will reduce the effectiveness of such ongoing efforts as the FNHA's green-infrastructure project, the Beaver Lake and Illinois River watershed-protection efforts and the efforts of OMNI Center, the Sierra Club, Audubon Arkansas, the League of Women voters, the Ozark Society, the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Ducks Unlimited and many other conservation organizations to protect and improve our environment and counter the threat of global climate change.

Town Branch Neighborhood Association meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday April 6, 2009

Ward One City Council members, members of the Town Branch neighborhood association and the public will hear a presentation from a developer seeking to rezone the Washington County Sale Barn property to allow construction of student apartments. Everyone is welcome to the meeting in the church at 1136 S Ellis Avenue south of the intersection of S. Hill Avenue and Eleventh Street at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 6.
For details, please call 479-444-6072 or visit http://townbranchneighborhood.blogspot.com

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ward One council members, residents of south Fayetteville to meet to discuss proposal to build student apartments on Washington County Sale Barn land

Town Branch Neighborhood Association meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday April 6, 2009

Ward One City Council members, members of the Town Branch neighborhood association and the public will hear a presentation from a developer seeking to rezone the Washington County Sale Barn property to allow construction of student apartments. Everyone is welcome to the meeting in the church at 1136 S Ellis Avenue south of the intersection of S. Hill Avenue and Eleventh Street at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 6.
For details, please call 479-444-6072 or visit http://townbranchneighborhood.blogspot.com

Earth Day at World Peace Wetland Prairie from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday April 19, 2009

Members of the Town Branch neighborhood association and the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology present the fifth-annual Earth Day celebration with activities for kids and adults. Wildflowers will be planted in the butterfly garden and peace-circle garden on the east portion of the city-owned nature park by children and adult volunteers. Ice-storm damaged limbs will be removed by those who wish to help. Volunteers may dig out fescue grass or remove Japanese honeysuckle that is suppressing native plants in parts of the western 2 acres.
Musicians and poets will be invited to play, sing or read in a pleasant outdoor setting.
Still on the Hill and Emily Kaitz are the headliners.
Several activities for youngsters will be provided by volunteers.
Parking is free from 1 to 5 p.m. at the the Hill Avenue Church of Christ south of the intersection of S. Hill Avenue and Eleventh Street, and street parking is legal in much of the neighborhood.
Everyone is welcome. For details, call 444-6072
or visit http://worldpeacewetlandprairie.blogspot.com
World Peace Wetland Prairie is at 1121 South Duncan Avenue in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lioneld Jordan visits with senior center patrons on April 1, 2009

Please click on image to ENLARGE:

Reagan family farm north of Arkansas 16 exemplifies the kind of land that must be protected in the cities of Northwest Arkansas to save Beaver Lake

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Bill Reagan pointing to the line of trees along the fence on the south edge of his family farm along the north edge of East Fifteenth Street.

The Reagan family has owned the land for many years and Bill said that he has bought it from his mother and will keep it in the family. The farm is prairie that has been used for cattle grazing and other agriculture over the decades. It is an example of a heritage farm of the sort identified in the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association's Green Infrastructure plan. Its rich soil captures water where falls and does not cause flooding downstream with its limited stormwater runoff entering the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River without causing siltation or pollution. See Google map with view of Fifteenth Street area in a preceding post on this subject.
Democrat-Gazette on widening of Arkansas 16

View Larger Map
Please use controls and cursor to move the image, zoom in or out and trace the whole route discussed at the meeting yesterday. The Reagan property is near the middle left part of the image above.
If you use your cursor to travel north of the open Reagan property between Washington Avenue and Wood Avenue from 11th Street up to near 9th Street you can see the 7 wooded wetland acres that the Partners for Better housing board is trying to buy to dredge and fill for a low-income housing development. Water drains from north of Jefferson School, all the way from north of MLK Boulevard (former 6th St.) down to 15th St. and into the Town Branch of the West Fork of the White River and is slowed and purified by the moist-soil area where the tiny branch overflows.
This portion of the Beaver Lake watershed is under extreme threat. Thanks to the Reagan family and others for keeping a bit of green infrastructure intact and allowing a small part of the rainwater to stay it falls.