Saturday, September 13, 2008

Village Mgr Search, Flouride?, and 10 cool towns...

Dear People: We received about 40 applications for our Village Manager position, so that will be the main focus of our work at our regular Village Council meeeting on Monday evening at 7 pm in the Bryan Center--including our executive session. Don Vermillion, our consultant, will be at this meeting to offer an update on his work. I need to spend more time analyzing and ranking the applications, but it appears there are a good number of promising, and diverse, candidates.

Mark your calendars: Public Forums with each of the three candidates we bring for full-day interviews will be held at 7 pm on:

1. October 7
2. October 13
3. October 20

Additional legislative business on our agenda includes two resolutions:

* Water/Sewer rate study: Because we are under Ohio EPA findings for the problems at our Waste-Water Treatment plant, and are planning to use loans to help cover many of those costs, we are requred to complete a study to determine what rates will be sufficient to generate revenues to cover the loan payments. This resolution authorizes the study and appropriates funds to pay for Woolpert Services to complete it.
  • One question I have for future consideration: Should we consider ceasing to fluoridate our water? On our tour of the water treatment facility, the director of our water treatment services very briefly mentioned that the price of fluoride was rising fairly dramatically and there were quality control issues. While fluoridated water has typically been seen as a cost effective way to distribute fluoride to everyone in order to prevent tooth decay, is it still a good idea? Briefly, it's my understanding that there's no health benefit to injesting fluoride, but there are some health risks associated with injesting higher levels of fluoride, and there are disputes as to what levels, precisely, are safe for children and adults, and about the sources from which drinking-water fluoride is currently derived. Many countries in the world--Germany, Sweden, Japan, etc.--no longer fluoridate their water, given the widespread availability of toothpastes, etc. with fluoride. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
+ Here's a letter from the CDC advocating continued fluoridation based on the current science.

+ Here's a statement--published by an anti-fluoride activist group--from a scientist, Dr. Harvey Limeback of the University of Toronto, who participated in a review of the EPAs standards on fluoridation; since 1999 he has begun to oppose fluoridation of drinking water.

* Lease Termination: After months of efforts to resolve problems due to a lack of adequate insurance coverage, we are terminating our lease with Stuzman Landscaping. I am very sad that it has come to this point, but we can see no other path forward at this time. The animal rescue operation, "The Ranch Menagerie Animal Sancutary," can provide satisfactory levels of insurance and will be taking over the lease, so the ostriches and emus will, we are glad, be able to stay.

There will also be a Visioning Task Force update, as well as reports from the Village Manager (esp. focusing on the cost of our Comprehensive Plan update), and from the various commissions.

Speaking of which, we had what I think was a good meeting of the Planning Commission on Monday. I was glad to see that we were able to buy a little more time for Non-Stop to work with the neighbors to resolve concerns about their office space on Davis Street, just behind the library parking lot, and to approve their moving into the Millworks property as permissable under current zoning rules.

Note: Planning Commission and the Miami Township Zoning commission will have a special meeting on Sept. 29th; Planning Commission will have a special meeting on the 1st; our normal meeting on the 13th is canceled.

In EC news, we discussed our forum on tire burning vs. coal burning with the Greene Environmental Coalition, the EPA/RAPCA, and CEMEX. Eli Hurwitz has been doing some good research on the issues. We have some specific concerns about the kiln's design that we would like to look into, so at least some of us are going to try to take a tour of the plant, as CEMEX offered. We are planning another forum, tentatively looking at a date in November. We'll be publishing an ecobeat article soon with some of our thoughts on the issues raised.

In my life, school runs apace--I've just finished cowriting a grant proposal with a colleague, have sets of essays from all my students--and I've been obsessing over the national election. And I've fallen in love again with early American writers--I can't seem to get out of the 17th and 18th centuries. Mary Rowlandson (is she the 17th century Sarah Palin?), Anne Bradstreet, early native writers like Senecan mystic Handsome Lake, the Mohegan Samson Occom, and the first African American to publish a book of poetry, Phillis Wheatley. There's great new research on these last writers that makes them much more complex than we used to believe, and their experiences more poignant.

However, some of you may realize that we've got a NonStop student living with us, James, from Texas, which has been good fun. James is featured in this Columbus Dispatch article about NonStop. Also, most of you have probably seen that at least one magazine thinks we're cool. (Not that we didn't already know that!)

One national election related item and I'll stop: take a look, if you have any doubts, at this striking graph that represents how little oil will be gained--and that little trickle starting only around 2025/2030--from future off-shore drilling.

Don't drill, baby!

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