After the, um, highly interesting meetings I attended the other week, the meeting of the county's renewable energy committee was like a breath of fresh air. This is a positive group, one that seeks to promote positive change in the county. When I thanked them at the end of the meeting for such a pleasant change of pace, I was told that their positive attitude was possible because they have no power. (Thus, no power struggles?) Maybe, but I like to think it is because this is a group of positive thinkers. Anyway.
We met at the county recycling center.
I love to see how things and places really work and to be able to go backstage, as it were.
The recycling center does an Earth Day open house thing, which I went to last year. Sixth-graders from the several schools in the county tour the place and do activities. There are numerous recycling/energy exhibits by various vendors and groups. (I tried to find my photos from last year and they had disappeared from my hard drive. Gremlins.)
Besides its regular employees, the center also employs a number of developmentally delayed people from the Adult Development Center who sort the material to be recycled before it is bailed (paper and cardboard), crushed and bailed (cans), or pulverized (glass).
They have a free cycle kind of thing going for paint.
My camera battery tragically died before we were done. I wish I could have shown you the glass crusher bin. Picture an outdoor enclosure of concrete blocks about 10 feet by 20 feet and about 3 feet high. They pile glass bottles in there, then run a crushing machine -- sort of like a small tractor that runs on two big rollers instead of on wheels -- over the glass to crush it. We joked that allowing kids with BB guns to break the glass could be a prize for good behavior at the local schools. The manager said that running the crushing tractor is the most popular job at the center.
Later that same day I went to the good-bye party at the library for the departing library director. He is a local guy who went away to school, got married, served with his wife as Americorp volunteers in the Pacific Northwest teaching the children of migrant workers, then came back to live in Polk County. He has energized the library, which had a perfect location and a wonderful facility -- the old Ben Franklin store on Main Street -- and great community support, but may have been in danger of being *just another library*. Through his effort kids who would never have entered the library have found a second home. There are after-school reading groups and game nights and scads of other programs. Matt is moving on to become the director of libraries for four vo-tech campuses (campi?) in northwestern Wisconsin. A great move for him, but we are sad to lose his enthusiasm and talent. Happily, his assistant librarian, also a creative and intelligent and energetic person, has been hired to replace him.
The tributes left by the after-school kids speak to Matt's popularity.
My camera battery died (again) before I could get a photo of my favorite of the sidewalk scrawlings: "Our library is the BEST!"