Posts Tagged ‘Fresh to def

22
Oct
10

Hella Bus – The Rebirth

There comes a day in every blog’s life when it must leave the comfort of its WordPress home and step out into those bright lights of the interweb.  Friends, countrymen, netizens, Busridas – that time has come. THE HELLA BUS IS MOVING TO A NEW SITE.

This post marks the final time our pun-filled rants will grace this hallowed page.  But wipe away those tears blog-dwellers – a new dawn, a rebirth of sorts, lays before us.  Hella Bus now lives on the Bus’ new website – bigger, better, and more pun-heavy than ever.

We let you decide how to get to the newest iteration of Hella Bus – choose your favorite death/rebirth narrative!

The Biggie Version

The Bus Version

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12
Oct
10

R-52uesday! Saving Scrilla!

Last week I left ya’ll with the notion that turning saved energy into saved money, is perhaps an equally important outcome of the bad-ass-future-saving Referendum 52. Indeed for Aberdeen School District’s business manager, Tom Laufmann, saving cash through R-52 is his primary interest:

Philosophically, we should say it’s better for the planet.. But it’s about the money. We’re so short on money anyway, we don’t want to pay any more on utility bills than we have to.

Although we may be passionate going green, we always gotta remember the other green; keep the wise words of the Wu in mind (CREAM). This week I wanted to share some stories where energy-retrofits, just like the ones that will come with R-52, have helped schools save some dolla dolla bills, while cleaning up the environment at the same time.

Kiona-Benton School District

The district was not even thinking about energy retrofits until they spotted energy efficiency grants being dished out by the state. This inspired them to hire a company called Quantum to give their K-8 building the once-over. Quantum laid out what would be the most cost effective, and the state  bit into their suggestions like the juicy locally grown apple you gave your kindergarten teacher. Lighting, heating, and cooling systems were updated to be more modern and energy efficient. The cost? $380,000 total. This is important, because this sort of money is virtually impossible for local school districts to get their hands on (the district paid $150,000 in this case), which is why we need the force and funding of R52 to make it happen. We need not worry about R52 emptying the state’s wallet either, because repairing school buildings is expected to save the state $610,000 in new construction costs over 8 years, or more than $75,000/year on average. But back to the local – the Kiona-Benton school district will now be saving $20,000 annually, from repairing just one school building.

Burlington-Edison School District

In 2002 the district retrofitted lighting, water and ventilation systems at two schools and the district office building. The project cost $323,000, $278 thousand of which was paid by the district. Now the district is saving an estimated $35,500 each year. They’ll be counting stacks beyond their costs in only 8 years. And wait.. I think that means we’re using less energy too. Gettin’ paid to save the world… sounds kind of like working for the Bus.

Aberdeen School District

What about our buddy Mr. Laufman? How did he fare in his sustainable quest for cash-money? Well, retrofitting a school heater alone saves about $30,000 every freakin’ year. They also decided to switch out to more efficient lighting in the school gym. We are still waiting on numbers for energy savings, but students and faculty are already diggin it.

——

You don't even want to know what I can do with a trowel.

There you have it. Schools are already making it happen. Imagine what they could do with R-52 in place! Thanks for joining me for another Bustastic R-52uesday. I love having you all ❤

Shout out to the Sightline Institute for hooking up so much good info on the Referendum 52. The Bus will drive over soon for a many-handed-high-five. For those who haven’t checked them out yet, clickity clickity.

See the previous posts on R-52: Introduction, Kids Getting Smarter, Saving the Future

07
Oct
10

Hanging with the Lobos: Burque

 

Where are you Luke? I am your father! You come back here!

 

700 hot air balloons, five green chili breakfast burritos, four cute puppies, two days in Santa Fe, and one British indie rock band.

Just another weekend in Albuqurque, New Mexico for yours truly.

And I lied about the green chili breakfast burritos.  There were at least 10.

Read on for what to eat, where to be seen, and where..umm…you might not want to be seen in the land of the Lobos. Onwards!!!  Continue reading ‘Hanging with the Lobos: Burque’

05
Oct
10

R-52uesday! Rescuing the Future!

 

R-52 enjoying a day in nature. Still in pose.

 

Last time I rapped at ya, I mentioned that Referendum 52 is all different sorts of awesome for our student’s learning environment.  Well, it turns out it is equally awesome for Washington’s natural environment – predominately by reducing energy use. When we pass R-52, hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians will be gainfully employed to retrofit our state’s public schools. This means: new-fangled lighting, appliances, water-fixtures in schools, perpetually requiring less energy than their rusty old predecessors. Energy efficiency also stands to be improved simply from modernizing air circulation and insulation within our schools, 45% of which haven’t been updated since 1969.

Saving energy is a direct benefit to the environment at large because 17% our electricity in Washington is produced by our one remaining coal plant in Centralia. Factoring the potential energy savings from R-52 into the reality of coal production, we will be reducing our State’s CO2 output the equivalent of taking 130,000 cars off the road (meanwhile reducing other nasty byproducts of coal plants as well). The referendum explicitly prioritizes projects with the highest projected energy savings over the following 10 years.

For a more localized picture, we can also look to health benefits within our own urban/suburban environments. For the same reasons we will see students learning easier, retrofitting schools also improves the condition of the school-environment. Studies have repeatedly shown that energy efficient schools reduce the incidence of the flu and asthma attacks. This is a direct environmental benefit for Washington’s young folks and teachers.

One could also judge the benefit of reducing energy-related pollution by the reduction of energy costs to our schools. For some taking this monetary outlook is a necessity. Aberdeen School District’s business manager, Tom Laufmann, admits that counting bills is most important to him:

Philosophically, we should say it’s better for the planet.. But it’s about the money. We’re so short on money anyway, we don’t want to pay any more on utility bills than we have to.

Although we may be passionate about the importance of environmental improvements, Laufmann’s outlook is still effective for saving energy.  It’s always great when economic and environmental benefits go hand in hand.  Every dollar saved on energy via retrofits translates to less energy use and a cleaner environment. Tune in next week to hear stories from the Evergreen state where schools are already saving cash and saving the future at the same time.

See the other posts on R-52: Introduction, Kids Getting Smarter, Saving Scrilla

28
Sep
10

R-52uesday – Kids Need Oxygen?!?

Hello Bus People! Welcome to R-52uesday, the Bus’ new weekly column on our valiant hero, Referendum 52.

 

 

I love R-52sday! I don't even wrestle on Tuesdays anymore

 

Last week in my intro to R52, I mentioned that if this ish passed, kids in Washington are going to become smarter. When I first read that claim elsewhere I took it with a big ol’ boulder of salt (kosher variety). I assumed it was the kind of unwarranted promise we often get out of politicians, like when Dubya told us we could lower taxes and still give our grandparents lots of free drugs. Or better yet, in this past election season when a recently popularized Mike McGinn was telling us that a tunnel solution would be like frolicking in a field of daisies. To be true to my discerning Bus generation, I looked into the claim.

It turns out its not just politicos telling us that R52 is a force for good. The claim that repairs for energy efficiency lead to increased student performance is supported by more studies than cups of coffee I’ve had today (I wish that comparison wasn’t worth so much). Trusting in that thing we call “the scientific method”, lets assume for a moment that Washington students will benefit just like kids from places as wide and far Chicago, DC, Florida, and Canada where similar measures have been implemented. Perhaps the most interesting study I found was a 2002 paper by Mark Schneider titled “Do School Facilities Affect Academic Outcomes?”, and that paper alone has a whole stack of references to back it up (this explains all the coffee). The answer was a resounding YES.  Check out a bit of what the study concludes:

School facilities affect learning. Spatial configurations, noise, heat, cold, light, and air quality obviously bear on students’ and teachers’ ability to perform…But we already know what is needed: clean air, good light, and a quiet, comfortable, and safe learning environment…It simply requires adequate funding and competent design, construction, and maintenance.

One reason R52 is so prime for our support is that it should be absolutely the least contentious route to improving the quality of education in Washington. This is not about what we teach; we need not decide whether math or music is more important. We don’t need to create convoluted and often misdirected incentive schemes for our teachers. We don’t need to obsess over what style of standardized test is going to kick kids into gear. The solution R52 offers is beautifully simple: let the kids breathe. When classrooms are full of clean and oxygen-rich air, young brains will eat it up and stay awake and alert.

Classrooms with poor air circulation (what we have now) allow a buildup of the CO2 that we exhale, which can straight knock kids out (maybe it wasn’t the sound of your teacher’s voice). Washington is in desperate need for such a breath of fresh air; high school drop out rates hover around 20%, which I think we can all agree is lousy. More to the point, over 45% of Washington State’s school spaces were built or last remodeled prior to 1969 so we REALLY need this freshness.  When we pass Referendum 52 it will quietly work its magic and leave us with classrooms worth learning in.

So how do we get this thing passed?!?

  1. CALL SOME PEEPS and tell the whole city that R52 is Washington’s hero waiting to strike. The campaign to Approve R52 holds phonebanks every TUESDAY from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Washington Environmental Council office (1402 3rd Ave, #1400). Sign up here.
  2. Watch this VIDEO of our WA Bus homie, Isaiah, speaking about the need for healthy schools in Washington.
  3. Tune in to R52sday every week until the election.

See the other posts on R-52: Introduction, Saving the Future, Saving Scrilla

27
Sep
10

A simple equation

Claudia Kauffman

Robo-hula

= Best Bus Trip Ever (and limited web-graphic ability).  That’s right folks, the Bus dance party people (i.e. you) will be assembling on Saturday, October 16th to Bus(t) a move for Senator Claudia Kauffman!  There shall be food, there shall be friends, there shall be a great cause, and there shall be an elaborately choreographed group dance exhibition performed by the Bus staff – life is complete. RSVP right here!

Claudia is an all-star legislator in Washington’s all-star 47th district (Kent/Auburn) and we’ve got a great opportunity to help her out.  She is also the highest ranking female Native American elected official in the US of A!  That right there is worth a dance party.  Sign up and break it down!

Here’s what to do:

1) Sign up (above)

2) Count the days until October 16th

3) Change out of your blog reading clothes (jorts and a cowboy hat)

4) Put on your dancing clothes (morphsuits encouraged)

5) Bus(t) a Move and help an amazing legislator move Washington forward!

Here’s a little warmup for you:

27
Sep
10

Look what’s coming…

Each and every year, the Bus asks you one all-important, vital-to-the-good-of-society question: do you like candy? And the answer is, of course, yes. You love candy. You also love getting it for free… and also getting thousands of young people to vote.

All this can add up to only one thing: Trick or Vote is lurking just around the corner!

‘Tis true. The biggest non-partisan costumed get-out-the-vote canvass/candy party in Washington is back in action! This year is going to be the biggest, best, and all-around spookiest (here we go with Halloween puns, yes, already) Trick or Vote Washington has ever seen – no matter where you live in Washington, you’re near a Trick or Vote! Spokane? Hell yeah. Vancouver? Believe it. Seattle? Trick or Voting like a boss.

That means you and this year, you’ve got tons of options! Want to find the nearest Trick or Vote to you? Just go here and enter your zip code – you can RSVP right then and there. Want to be a Trick or Vote Captain or a Trick or Trainer? Most excellent! We want you too! RSVP just the same, and we’ll get you going from there!

As always, Trick or Vote is ALL AGES, and is going down on October 31st. Because we love parties, we’re throwing parties (see how that works?) after the Trick or Voting has gone down. Keep your eyes peeled for the performers and venues to be announced!

Halloween: not just for kids anymore, amirite??? RSVP today!