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Posts Tagged ‘burlington’

Trust Vermont to figure out how to do this.

The state had a highway rest stop in Guilford that was overwhelmed with visitors. The toilets could not keep up. Portable toilets were brought in to help, and everyone hated them.

“State officials,” says the Federal Highway Administration website, “needed a solution that could be designed and built quickly for the next foliage season.

” ‘We were looking for an alternative because we couldn’t continue with that high level of frustration,’ said [Dick Foster, director of the Vermont Information Center Division of the state’s Department of Buildings and General Services.]

“To further complicate matters, the welcome center was slated to be replaced by a newer facility in 2000, so the ‘quick fix’ also needed to be low cost. Tom Leytham, an architect who had designed other rest areas in the state, suggested the concept of using a Living Machine to Foster. …

” ‘I’d heard about Living Technologies, who had come up with a very elegant, simple solution that cleaned wastewater through a natural process involving plants.’

“Leytham drove Foster to South Burlington, Vt., where Living Technologies had installed a Living Machine to treat municipal wastewater. …

“In December 1996, in response to an inquiry from state officials, Living Technologies proposed a sewage-to-reuse system to reduce flows to the leachfields by recycling treated wastewater back into the restrooms to flush toilets. The Living Machine could be installed to serve the existing facilities at the Guilford center, and because the system was a modular design, it could be moved to another rest area when the center was relocated.

“In only eight months, the system was approved by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services, and installed by Living Technologies.”

The rest of the FHWA story by Molly Farrell, Liz Van der Hoven, and Tedann Olsen is here.

Katie Zezima at the NY Times adds more: “In a wing of the building, in the glass greenhouse, visitors look down on the vegetation from a grated ledge. The room, which offers spectacular mountain views, smells like a combination of mulch and chlorine.

“The building is heated and cooled by 24 geothermal wells. A similar system lies under the sidewalks to melt snow in the winter.” More from Zezima here.

Photo: Federal Highway Administration

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/00mayjun/vermont.cfm

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Once upon a time, mine workers were paid in paper chits that could be redeemed at the company store. (Remember the song “Sixteen Tons,” by Tennessee Ernie Ford and “I owe my soul to the company sto’ “?)

A while back I saw a story in the NY Times about refugee gardens, and there was a picture of someone using wooden coins to buy produce. It turned out that people were not being paid in wooden coins as miners were paid in paper. Instead, the City of San Diego was encouraging poor residents to pursue good nutrition by giving them wooden coins for shopping at farmers markets.

The coins were really just a footnote to Patricia Leigh Brown’s story, which focuses on a national movement to help immigrant farmers get back into the occupation they know best.

“Among the regular customers at [San Diego’s] New Roots farm stand are Congolese women in flowing dresses, Somali Muslims in headscarves, Latino men wearing broad-brimmed hats and Burundian mothers in brightly patterned textiles who walk home balancing boxes of produce on their heads.

“New Roots, with 85 growers from 12 countries, is one of more than 50 community farms dedicated to refugee agriculture, an entrepreneurial movement spreading across the country. American agriculture has historically been forged by newcomers, like the Scandinavians who helped settle the Great Plains; today‚Äôs growers are more likely to be rural subsistence farmers from Africa and Asia, resettled in and around cities from New York, Burlington, Vt., and Lowell, Mass., to Minneapolis, Phoenix and San Diego.”

Read how it works. (And click on the slide show to see the wooden coins. My eyes were drawn to them because my father’s favorite “good-bye” line to toddlers always was, “Don’t take any wooden nickels”!)

Photo: Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times
Khadija Musame, right, with a customer from Somalia at the New Roots Farm stand in San Diego.

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A sunny day for outings. First to the fabled Korean grocery, where salmon and pickled radish were cheap — if you don’t count the gas for the trip.

Then to the town forest for a walk with the Father in Chief.

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