Saturday, February 27, 2010

Buffalo Winter Fest - Saturday & Sunday

It's happening NOW in Buffalo. The Skyway off-ramp at Seneca St. is closed to traffic and has been filled with snow for tubing!

A huge Ice Maze has been constructed and has earned a spot in the Guinness Records Book as the World's largest.

The event is dubbed "The Powder Keg Festival". In addition to Skyway tubing and the ice maze, the Festival website reports:

It's the stuff of winter dreams, for adults and kids alike: Gathering with friends and family to enjoy hot food and refreshments, ice skating, broom ball, snowshoeing, carriage rides, and the polar bear swim.
Also, from 11am to 5pm, there will be a Buffalo Vendors Market on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, providing festival attendees a place to escape the cold and to check out local artisans and products.

The photos above are from today's report in The Buffalo News, which you should check out for a map of the location and additional details on the event.

I'm going to take Buffalo Rising's advice and head on down to the event today. As they stated, "get away from the computer, and go have some winter fun."

See you tubing down the Skyway off-ramp near the Pearl St. Grill & Brewery!

UPDATE: Sunday, February 28
Congrats to the organizers, volunteers and sponsors on a very successful event!

Photos taken by Joe Cascio prior to and during the event are here. Check out the overhead view of the completed Ice Maze below [click image to enlarge].

Monday, February 22, 2010

Government's Role in Energy Technology



5 PM, TUESDAY, MARCH 2, 2010

Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
Delaware at Tupper [Map]


Please join us for a forum exploring the role of government in promoting the use of renewable technologies as we make the transition from fossil fuels to a renewable energy based economy.


Robert E Knoer, Esq. comes to us with broad range of expertise in the field of environmental law. Mr. Knoer taught “Law and the Environment” at the State University of Buffalo from 1992 to 2007. He will speak on “Opportunities for Local Governments to Use Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Addressing the Cost of Government”.

Jessica Miller is an urban planning graduate student at the State University of Buffalo. She will talk about her experience developing ordinance guidelines for solar and wind installations for the city of Erie, PA.

Bill Nowak, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Research for New York State Senator Antoine M. Thompson, will brief us on Senator Thompson’s “Ten-Point Green Jobs Strategy. In the process he will bring us up to date on energy legislation passed in 2009, as well as current energy legislation before the Senate.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Business Gets Green: February 18th

Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Branch Library

1324 Jefferson Ave, Corner of Jefferson and East Utica [ Map ]
This is a wonderful facility - intimate but spacious.
Lots of Free Parking - 20 spaces in the library lot - and ample on-street parking.

for the 15 minute featured presentations:

  • Don Lewinski - National Grid's Small Business Energy Efficiency Program
  • ZoĆ« Holloman - Growing Green Works
  • David Griggs - Buffalo Niagara Enterprise
  • Bryce Bixby and Mike Conroe - Foit-Albert Associates - Rain Garden at Fletcher Hall
Descriptions of the businesses in the featured presentations, click here.

The Format for Business Gets Green includes 1/2 hour of 30 second Introductions by businesses, organizations and individuals.

The Introductions are followed by 4 - 15 minute feature presentations on businesses or issues that are of special interest, usually with Powerpoint slides.

If you would like to give one of the 15 minute presentations, please contact Bill Nowak with a 2-3 paragraph description of your presentation and dates (3rd Thursdays, even-numbered months) you can be available to present.

As usual, this session will be filmed for LCTV and YouTube. Thanks Jon Allen!
Videos of all of the past Business Gets Green sessions are HERE.

Save the Date
: Senator Thompson wants you to know that we are holding the 2010 Green Expo on Saturday, April 17th, 10am-6pm. Please save this date! For more information, click here.

Students planning Environmental Summit

Power Shift NY - Regional Summit

April 16-18, 2010

WHO: Students in Buffalo, Fredonia, Geneseo, Daemen, Alfred, Cornell, and elsewhere in Western and Central NY

Workshops, Panel Discussions, and a Direct Action

Environmental Action, Sustainability, Equity, Future Jobs

WHERE: University at Buffalo, North Campus

SEEKING: Speakers, Panelists, Event Sponsors

Power Shift New York is a not-for-profit, volunteer driven network dedicated to uniting a diverse movement of youth and student leaders to work collectively on advocating and promoting a sustainable and equitable future in New York. Student groups from every school will be encouraged to share how they have been environmentally active on their own campus and throughout their communities. With an expected attendance of 200-300 people, we hope students will leave the conference with connections to work with in the future, with new ideas, and with a motivation to continue making environmental progress beyond the conference.

We are seeking to obtain speakers and panelists to create discussion about various issues surrounding environmental sustainability, ranging from political action to sustainable business practices to how to green our own campuses. This also includes representatives from green businesses, not-for-profits, and organizations.

We are also looking for event sponsors to aid in covering the costs of this conference. This summit is being organized by student volunteers from around the region who want to make a difference in creating a sustainable future.

For additional information about the
Power Shift NY Regional Summit, click here.

A Website,, is under construction -- stay tuned!

Please contact Danielle Peters,,
for further information or to get involved.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hope for NY & U.S. High-Speed Rail

NY was recently awarded funding high-speed passenger rail from the federal government. But we won't be speeding from Buffalo to Albany and NY City on a high-speed train real soon, as suggested by the Adam Zyglis cartoon. The intent of the award is to begin "to lay the foundation for high-speed passenger rail". It's a small sum compared to the amount requested in the application: $151 million vs. several Billion dollars. Two other states fared much better: California received $2.34 Billion and Florida, $1.25 Billion. Possible reasons for the paltry funding to NY are reported in a recent article by Jerry Zremski in The Buffalo News. A table supplied by the White House shows the full list of funded projects.

But there is hope for additional funding, and plans are being made for the future. The U.S. High-Speed Rail Association envisions a Buffalo to Albany and NY City connection by 2025 (see Map below, magenta line). Interestingly, they see a Toronto, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Rochester connection happening sooner, by 2020 (Map, orange line). And even sooner, by 2015, they see connections completed in California, Florida, the South East and the Mid-West (Map, green lines). By 2030, the Association envisions inter-connections (Map yellow lines) permitting coast to coast high-speed rail travel between Buffalo and San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle.

[Click image to enlarge]

The timeline for the national rail system starts with the largest cities in the busiest corridors, and then grows to connect those together across the country, forming the backbone of a sustainable U.S. transportation system. Other components of the system would include connecting regional and commuter rail, light rail, streetcars, electric buses and, weather permitting, bicycles.

A national system of high-speed passenger rail will help revitalize our economy, reactivate our manufacturing sector, and create lots and lots of much needed jobs. Also, by 2030, another hope is that our national high-speed rail system will be powered by clean, renewable energy, helping end our dependency on foreign oil and slashing our carbon footprint.

For Buffalonians itching to get the feel of high-speed rail travel, as well as the feeling of the warm weather in Florida, watch the video below which previews an upcoming meeting, "High Speed Rail 2010",
March 4-5, in Orlando, Florida. Mobile link is here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fun Friday: Coal Humor

What if you could power an entire city for $100? In a world of ever changing climates, isn't nice to know that one thing stays the same? Coal -- cheap, abundant, clean...errrr cheap. [mobile link is here]