SNG Environment Committee Agenda for Sept. 20 meeting

Seward Neighborhood Group Environment Committee Agenda

Date: Monday, September 20, 2010
Time: 6:55-8:55 p.m.
Location: Matthews Center Craft Room

General Business

1. 6:55 Call Meeting to Order and Assign minutes. Set Next Meeting (October 18?) Who will reserve meeting space?

2. 7:00 Approve Agenda & 9/1 Meeting Minutes – Have April and May minutes been approved? If so they should go to the board and be posted on the website.

3. 7:05 Annual Meeting Wednesday, November 3, 6:00 – Matthews Center Multipurpose room, potluck dinner, silent auction, SNG Board election, Committee Reports and other updates. We plan to advocate and carry out a low waste/no waste event. We must clear this with the SNG Board, Seward School Administration and provide guidelines/details to attendees. We have compostable bags. Diann Anders has (needs to be confirmed) compostable plates, etc. that she can bill us for, if the Board decides to do so. Committees should provide a year end report (written) and oral (no time set yet) presentation. Who will do what? I suggest people with projects should each write a paragraph or two. Format would be a preliminary bulleted set of summary highlights followed by the detail paragraphs.

4. 7:15 Remaining Funds are as follows: Education $1076.22 ($923.78 spent; Diann Anders said she would run a report on this for us. Should be done beginning of next week. Stewardship $5000.00 Energy $12,000 ($2000 of which is committed to Center for Energy, thanks to Development Committee – targetted for Energy Audits. Could be used for buydown of attendance at Community Energy Service Workshops or other related activities. DISCUSSION ITEM – We would need to verify CEE’s plans re this. Any other ideas? See Also SNG Housing Program. Cash $ 15.00 These figures were revised this fall, allocating 100% of the original allocation instead of 80% as we had been originally advised. NRP recalculation of allowances for Seward from discussion with Jack Whitehurst on 9/1/10.

New/Ongoing Business

5. 7:25 Working with the SNG Housing Program to Advocate for Conservation. Doug Wise, new NRP Housing Coordinator (, xt.102, hrs Mon thru Thurs, 1:00 to 5:30.) Doug sent the following: “The Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) has issued their final RFP for neighborhood organizations to partner with CEE on the Community Energy Services program. The applications are due October 25. It is my understanding that when CEE previously issued a RFP, SNG decided not to apply because there was not a housing coordinator in place. The primary responsibility of the neighborhood would be to market the program and assist in setting up community meetings.

Although SNG is not a partner, CEE has offered the program to Seward residents and about 100 residents have attended the community meetings. The advantage to SNG becoming a partner would be to insure that meetings will continue to be offered in the neighborhood and the neighborhood would be eligible to apply for challenge grants offered by the City. However, CEE has indicated that residents participating in the program prior to us becoming a partner would not count toward our numbers for the challenge grants.

CEE is requiring attendance at an informational meeting by a staff person and a board member in order to apply. I am planning on attending the meeting at 5:00 on September 22 and am asking for a volunteer from the board to attend with me. Please contact me if you would like to attend. After the meeting, we will report back to the board and the board can decide if we should apply.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this matter.”

Any suggestions for Doug? Can the $2000 allocated for “audits” be used in this program as a direct subsidy to participants? Doug suggests he meet with one or more interested Environment Committee participants following the Environment Committee meeting.

6. 7:40 – Seward Neighborhood Enhanced Recycling and Curbside Compost Collections Project Updates – Mike Trdan These documents have been circulated to the list in DRAFT forms. Grant Application – version submitted in April Grant Budget Page – Draft Map of pilot area – Draft Draft of project responsibilities We have a number of concerns about this program

7. 8:15 p.m. Toxics Reduction/Air Quality Projects Pesticide/Lawn Chemical Reduction plans – Ricky and David Weiss have proposed a comprehensive plan to educate neighbors about the health and environmental impacts of pesticides and other yard chemicals. They have done extensive preliminary work on this and are ready to move ahead on several specific measures.

Ricky and Carol had a conference call with the Regional Manager of Chemlawn on Tuesday and came up with three specifics which he agreed to. He will warn anyone concerned about nearby chemical applications ahead of time: he sent a Materials Safety Data Sheet detailing a pesticide being applied up to 6 times a summer to neighborhood customer’s lawns; he will meet with the Environment Committee to discuss their practices, including their marketing plans for more sustainable lawn care practices.

Ricky and David are suggesting a campaign to grant recognition to blocks/block clubs who go chemical free with their yards. David has developed an informational flyer about the health and environmental risks of pesticide application. They are working on other educational materials. We also have access to information on green lawn care practices from other sources.

Wood Burning – Dave Gagne has offered some excellent suggestions in regard to the problems that illegally operated woodfires present for the neighbors. As you know, a copy of the ordinance has been circulated a number of times, as have Dave’s suggestions for an educational campaign. A flyer summarizing the ordinance was circulated with utility bills. A spirited discussion has been taking place on Seward-E-Democracy about the topic. The Committee needs to discuss and set up recommendations about this for the SNG Board and for our council member.

8. Renewable Energy – 8:30 Minnesota Solar Tour – October 2, 2010 – Jim and Jane (who live across from Matthews Park) will be participating again this year. Seward Coop will not be participating. The Matthews Center won’t system won’t be participating this year, but we should consider it for next year.

Matthews Center Solar Installation – Rick Greenwood – Updates? Suggestions? DISCUSS – Recommendations for expenditures.

Make Mine Solar Educational Workshop – An opportunity for interested Seward and other Minneapolis residents to participate in a bulk buying program for solar hot water heating (several installations in Seward). Longfellow Community Center, September 23, 7:00 – 9:00, FREE (3435 36th Ave S Minneapolis, MN, 55406. Note that a similar program was carried out in Southeast Como through their NRP program. Should we consider assisting with this program financially?

This workshop is for people interested in participating in the Solar Hot Water Bulk Purchase Program – Make Mine Solar H20 being created by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society. It is planned that a few installers will be there to talk with about your potential installation. If you have already had a site assessment, please print it and bring it with you. If you would like to schedule your site assessment now, please go to:

Topics will include:

* The basics about solar hot water and how it works * The basics of the bulk purchase program * How you can promote this in your neighborhood * Cost, rebates and tax credits * How to choose an installers and next steps Contact Laura Cina if you have questions: 612-963-4757

9. Problems with City Inspection approaches to yard and garden regulation – We need a recommendation to send to the SNG Board to pass on to our city council in regard to aspects of these problems. We strongly recommend that someone from Inspections be request to attend an Environment Committee Meeting to lay out the various code “violations” they ticket relating to yards, gardens, and household exteriors, and ways for residents to receive assistance by the deadline. We secondly recommend that the ticketed resident be given three weeks from the postmark of the notice (All Notices should be Mailed) to comply.

10. Updates 8:40 p.m. Hiawatha Power Line Plans HERC expansion Power pole issues Energy Conservation/Renewables – Windsource has been cheap the last two months. $ .62 per 100 kWh. in August and $ .97 per 100 kWh in September instead of the nominal $3.53 per 100 kWh. Forty eight Seward residents signed on to Windsource as part of their Energy Challenge. How about all you other Windsource users? Sign up with our team. Energy Challenge – Seward is in 4th place on the Energy Challenge – Seward, Mpls 148 Members / $88,274 Saved / 1,018,521 lbs CO2 prevented. Carol passed out 30+ invitations to join the Seward Energy Challenge Team on 9/14 at the CEE Energy Workshop, which had 60+ attendees, jamming the Multipurpose Room. A number came from outside Seward, but there were many of our Seward neighbors. Go to: to see how we’re doing.

2nd Ward Report (CM Cam Gordon) Environmentally Related Items – Trdan Opening on Citizen Environmental Advisory Committee (CEAC) City investments –solar power installations Any others?

11. 8:45 p.m. Other business- All

12. 8:55 p.m. Meeting Adjourns

Calendar Items

September 22, 6:30 to 8:30 – “Alberta Tar Sands: Minnesota’s Dirty Oil Secret”, three great speakers. O’Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium, University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, RSVP Jessica Tatro 612-659-9124 Reception at 6:30 catered by the Birchwood.

September 23, Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (Formerly Congregations Caring for Creation), Don Shelby on Energy Conservation and Climate Chamnge. Music by Sara Thomsen. No. Mississippi Regional Park, Mpls, I-94 at 49th St. N. in the Interpretive Center. Resource event 3:00 to 5:00 for faith leaders, dinner available 5:00 to 6:00, meeting for all, 6:00 to 7:30.

September 25 – Seward Neighborhoo Group 50th History Celebration, Sunday, Oct. 3, Eagles Club, 6:00 p.m.

October 1 to 3 – Seward Arts Festival Check Seward for details

Oct. 2, Minnesota Solar Tour – go to for sites and map. Jim and Jane’s site is pictured.

October 5, Wine Tasting to Benefit SNG – Tuesday, 6:30 to 9:00, Eagles Club

Check the SNG website at, sign up for SNG e-mail (contact


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