Common Ground Fair
John Brooking, organizer of the Portland Bike Commuter Meetup, and Michelle Boisvert, organizer of Portland’s Critical Mass rides joined forces to bike 100 miles to MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair - in one day!
Here they are resting on the route and then arriving at the fairgrounds. They spent the weekend volunteering at the fair – and what a beautiful weekend it was (if a little crisp camping out at night)!
Green Streets organizer Sarah Cushman took the much easier route – carpooling with her daughter Cedar and neighbor Drew Masterman to one of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine satelite Park & Pedal lots and then pedaling 4 miles to the Fair.
Sarah reports: “Whizzing past the cars creeping along to get into the fairground parking lots was lovely – although we saw plenty of carpoolers. And the reception you receive upon entering the Valet Bike Parking site – people with bells and whistles and tamburines welcoming you through the tunnel, $1 off admission, and getting to head to the front of the entrance line – was wonderful! Plus we got to ride in the Human Powered Parade, which was a fun way to get our first glimpse of the fairgrounds – I don’t think we’d go to the Fair any other way now!”
Green Streets Day
Joyce Ann Menges commutes from North Deering to SMCC and writes:
“I participated in April for the first time and I’ve been using the bus off and on ever since. Actually, these days I try not to use my car during the week at all, as much as possible. Thanks for getting me started!”
Jon Sylvester writes:
“I commute every day with my wife, we chose to work at the same school to cut down on commuting costs and have some quality time to boot! And on the way home we can process in peace about our often crazy days at work, which can make getting home more relaxing.”
Green Streeter Colleen Ryan reports:
“I work from home, so I don’t have a commute, but I do most of my traveling (to meetings, shopping, and social events) by bike or on foot. More bike lanes would make me feel safer to bike more places.”
Regina Booth, environmental consultant at Spectrum Printing and Graphics – pictured at left celebrating Green Streets Day with co-workers Joe Biron, Scott Cronkhite, Wade Foster, Dave Phillips, Craig Sharkey, and Paul Wheeler (not in that order ) – all members of the site’s Green Team.
Hadley Schmoyer, the new Marketing Coordinator for Wright-Ryan Construction writes:
“I recently changed jobs and one of the motivating factors was to be able to be within walking distance of my work. Now I work a street over from my house for a company committed to sustainability and green values…a double win!”
Denis Noonan of Portland writes:
“I enjoy looking for an empty seat on the bus and more frequently sharing a seat. This is a new experience in Portland. Great to see more bikers and walkers. Let’s see how many make it past the first flakes!”
Candidates Forum on Sustainability
On September 28th, listeners gathered in the Glickman Library at University of Southern Maine to hear the responses of Maine’s 1st District Congressional candidates, Chellie Pingree and Charlie Summers, to a series of questions about environmental sustainability which were crafted by twenty co-sponsoring organizations (including Portland Green Streets). The event was moderated by Irwin Gratz, host of Maine Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” and will be broadcast on community television stations in 56 Maine communities. To view the forum, click here.
(Or for a list of stations it will be shown on go to www.trails.org\forum). The topics ranged from global warming and alternative transportation to wildlife and habitat protections and sustainable agriculture and fisheries.
On the topic of global warming, Pingree commented that “people are really committed to doing something about it and we don’t want to miss that opportunity.” Summers said that “the government has to do things to encourage alternative energy” in order to deal with our current dependence on oil.
Investment in alternative transportation was supported by both candidates, with Pingree stating that she “would like to see more transportation money for projects like that,” and that, “we have an incredible subsidy for our highway system, but not for public transportation.” Summers put the burden on the individual to make this happen, saying that, ”We can’t expect the government to do this for us. We have to be active participants in becoming an energy-independent country.”
When asked about supporting local agriculture and fisheries, Summers cited “increasing interest in buying foods locally. .. Everywhere you turn, you see more CSA’s and farmers markets.” Pingree agreed that “any time you can buy local – that’s a good thing.” On fisheries, she added that, “We’ve really been suffering with the demise of the groundfish,” and said that she “would love to be a part of how to change this.” Summers noted that, “researchers and fishermen both have to work together to replenish our fishing stocks.”
Across the board, both candidates agreed that environmental sustainability is a critical issue for the state of Maine and pledged that they would make it a priority, if elected.