Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Michael Shuman Speaks - We Should Listen

2009 Is Here, So Is Sustainable Glasgow!

It is really pretty amazing how far we have come in about four months of actively trying to ignite this movement. Thanks to John Rogers and our intrepid intern, Lauren Ray, we are now a corporation. We have an address and a PO Box, we have a bank account, we have preliminary Bylaws and a skeleton of a Board and officers. Thanks to David Downing, we have a working logo, we have reserved a URL ( and we are in the process of designing a real web site, stationary,etc. We even have some preliminary funding worked out from the EPB and TVA. Sustainable Glasgow, Inc. is for real!

Lauren has a pretty long list of "next things to do" in order for us to start making progress on our first projects which will begin to impact our local economy and our desire to enhance the quality of life here in Barren County. Now is the time when we need to double-down on our efforts to have a semi-permanent year-round retail place for local producers to sell their products to local consumers, and to arrange for garden plots to be available on public lands this growing season.

Something else that might interest readers of this blog is the upcoming 2009 Kentucky Fruit and Vegetable Conference and Trade Show. For some reason I woke up early this morning and heard a news story on this on WCLU. After a bit of web research, I discovered this link to information about the conference and the Kentucky Farmers' Market Association. I have made arrangements for Lauren to attend the conference so she can network with the association and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture folks. I am sure she would love to have some other SG members come too! Check out the link and plan to attend if you can.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Localism Article in USA Weekend

In case you missed it, the USA Weekend supplement to the Courier Journal had a great article on localism. Here is a link to it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Obama and the Hope For Better Food Policy

Thanks to John Rogers for a lot of things relative to the organization of Sustainable Glasgow, but most recently we owe him thanks for sending us this article from the New York Times. I have to admit that I too was very disappointed with Barrack Obama's choice of Tom Vilsack at Secretary of Agriculture. As the article points out, he is not the worst possible choice, but he is far from the best. Overall, it seems clear that the Obama administration has so many problems in its plate as they take office, that reworking our farm policy and food policies will not be any where near the top of the agenda.

All the more reason for us to get to work trying to solve the problem locally, and that is what Sustainable Glasgow will be doing in 2009. We have an ambitious agenda, but one that is doable with the dedication of our team and the cooperation of local government. Stay tuned to this very spot for updates on that agenda coming very soon!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Food for Thought...or How to Reduce Waste

This is a great article about a family in California who have reduced their waste to nearly nothing by buying smart, recycling and planning ahead...Just another "sustainable" principle in action........

It may inspire others. I know I am going to work on this as a goal for 09....


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Great Community Band Concert

I feel compelled to post a note of praise for our own local Community Band. They performed their annual Christmas concert on Sunday at the Plaza Theatre. It was really, really good. I have always been impressed by their performance but I can tell you that they have improved on that and this performance was outstanding.
There is something special when the performers are all local volunteers who have nothing to gain but the pleasure of performance for the community. I was really proud of them. The greatest pleasure that I have had in experiencing live performance has been in many of our local productions, this one included.

What a great LOCAL asset!
Kudos to the Community Band!

Don't miss their next performance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Meeting tomorrow

Let me remind you again of our meeting tomorrow, Thursday, December 18. For those of you attending for the first time, we meet in the vacant storefront below Alexander Law Office on the East Public Square, downtown.
I will have it open at 6:30 so that we can get our meeting started fairly promptly at 7:00 AM.
Continental breakfast, coffee and orange juice will be served.
All are welcome and invited and encouraged to attend.
We look forward to seeing you there. Let's get geared up for a great new year with an abundance of exciting possibilities.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Upcoming Meeting- Thursday at 7am!

The next regular meeting of Sustainable Glasgow will be Thursday, December 18th at 7am in the vacant space below Alexander Law Office on the square.  Continental breakfast will be provided.

The tentative agenda is as follows:

1.  Minutes of Previous Meeting

2. Legal Matters- John Rogers/Lauren Ray
Presentation of by-laws (to be approved)
Process for electing officers

3.  Logo Discussion- David Downing

4.  Operations- Lauren Ray
How Can Glasgow Help?
IDEA Perspective- Dan Iacconi
City of Glasgow Perspective- Mayor Pickett
Barren County Fiscal Court- Judge Greer
Other Local Initiatives- David Downing, others

5.  Next Steps
Discussion of membership fee/benefits
Contribution levels/benefits
Establish criteria for being a "local" business

6.  Technology Demonstration
Basics of Blogging

7.  Adjourn

And in case you are wondering who I am and why I am posting on this blog...
I am Lauren Ray and am originally from Glasgow.  I graduated from WKU in 2006 and then ventured off to Charleston, SC where I worked in real estate for a little over two years.  I have just returned to Glasgow on my way to Nashville and am very interested in helping the members of Sustainable Glasgow achieve a local, sustainable economy in the Glasgow/Barren County area.  I would love to hear any of the ideas and/or suggestions you have for the group.  You can always leave comments on the blog or you can reach me at

Hope to see you all at the meeting on Thursday!



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Amen Brother

This link to an article in today's New York Times makes an excellent point. The time has come to end the Department of Agriculture and replace it with the Department of Food.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The New City Sign Ordinance

It is with great pleasure that I share with you the new City ordinance dealing with random signs placed within our fair city. This copy came from SG member, Linda Wells, who also worked tirelessly to get this finally passed. Now, let's all volunteer to help the city enforce this! I am going to start sending the enforcement folks (I am pretty sure that would be Larry Baldock plenty of pictures of signs on the road right of way right now. I think I counted four within the short drive between my office and my house! Cleaning this mess up will go a long way toward making our community more attractive and enjoyable to live in.




THAT, WHEREAS, the City of Glasgow is re-focusing its efforts to enforce the placement of signage throughout the City for both safety and aesthetic concerns; and

WHEREAS, the City’s existing Ordinances do not sufficiently address the matter;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY ORDAINED by the City of Glasgow as follows:

Section No. 1. This Ordinance shall not apply to any sign located on the property to which it relates, but shall apply only to off-premises signs as defined below.

Section No. 2. The following definitions shall apply for the purposes of this Ordinance unless the context indicates or requires a different meaning.

A. "Directional Sign." A sign conveying directions to a premises other than the premises on which the sign is located.

B. "Outdoor Advertising Display." Any advertising display identifying, describing or illustrating, and which directs attention to a product, person, business, service or sale.

C. "Special Events Signs." Signs or advertising displays which relate specifically to a scheduled special event. Special events shall be defined as not to exceed thirty (30) days.

D. "Signs." Any type of sign described in subparagraphs A, B and C above, as well as any other publicly displayed placard, banner, board or marker bearing information, or advertising.

Section No. 3. No sign shall be erected or placed on any right-of-way, whether it is a City street, way, or alley, or a State highway, which specifically includes the placing of a sign, by any means, upon any street, sidewalk, curbing, or upon any utility pole, tree or post along and adjacent to the streets and alleys of the City.

A. However, any licensed real estate agent or real estate auctioneer, after first obtaining express permission from the Code Enforcement Officer, shall be permitted to place an auction sign within the City’s right-of way, so long as the sign is removed within twenty-four (24) hours of the conclusion of the auction sale. This exception shall not apply to any other rights-of-way but City rights-of-way.

Section No. 4. No sign shall be erected or placed in such a fashion or in such a location as to obstruct the flow or view of traffic.

Section No. 5. Special events signs shall be removed within five (5) calendar days from the final day of the event and all special events signs shall contain the event date on the sign itself.

Section No. 6. No directional sign or outdoor advertising display shall be erected or placed in any residential zone, with the exception of real estate signs advertising the sale, rental or lease, and signs relating to home occupations, which are governed by §158.078 of the City’s Code of Ordinances, or signs for permanent identification for the dwelling (i.e., house number).

Section No. 7. All signs as defined herein shall be kept and maintained in a good state of repair.

Section No. 8. With the exception of billboards, which may only be erected adjacent to the rights-of-way of U.S. Highway 31-E, Kentucky Highway 68-80, Kentucky Highway 90, and the Cumberland Parkway pursuant to §111.20, et. seq., of the City’s Code of Ordinances, all signs, as defined herein, shall not exceed six (6) feet in height and ten (10) feet in width, inclusive of all mounting apparatus, unless another Ordinance, relating to a specific application or circumstance, provides otherwise.

Section No. 9. So long as it complies with all other provisions of this Ordinance, and so long as it is constructed and placed with the express permission of the property owner, a permanent, off-premises, free-standing, directional sign or outdoor advertising display relating to a business, or grouping of businesses, whose offices, stores or facilities are at another location, may be larger that the dimensions set forth in Section No. 8 above, but shall not exceed twelve (12) feet in height and twenty (20) feet in width and shall comply with all other applicable planning and zoning regulations. All permanent, off-premises, free-standing, directional signs or outdoor advertising displays shall be constructed with substantial, permanent, weather-resistant materials.

Section No. 10. Any sign located, or left remaining, in violation of this Ordinance shall be immediately removed by the City’s Code Enforcement Officer, or his designee, if the sign’s removal may be accomplished by simply pulling it from the ground or removing it from a pole, tree, post, etc., and any such sign shall be temporarily retained at the City Landfill for a period of fourteen (14) days to allow the rightful owner an opportunity to reclaim it. After fourteen (14) days, the sign shall be disposed of at the City Landfill. In the event the sign is affixed by a more permanent means, and its owner can be readily identified, the Code Enforcement Officer shall notify the owner, in writing, of the violation, and further notify the owner that the sign must be removed within ten (10) days from the receipt of the written notification and it shall be assumed that the notification is received within five (5) days from the date affixed to the notification. If the sign’s owner cannot be readily identified, or if the sign is not so removed by the owner within the prescribed time period after written notification, the Code Enforcement officer, or his designee, shall remove the sign by all necessary means and the owner, if readily identifiable, shall be liable to the City for the costs associated therewith, including the cost of labor.

Section No. 11. Any person violating this Ordinance shall be deemed guilty of a violation and shall be fined, upon conviction, not less than fifty dollars ($50.00), nor more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00), with each day that any violation or failure to comply occurs, or is continued, constituting a separate offense.

Section No. 12. The provisions of this Ordinance are severable. If any provision of this Ordinance or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this Ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application. Further, this Ordinance is intended to be read in harmony with other Ordinances addressing similar matters and the provisions of this Ordinance supersede prior Ordinances only to the extent that they directly conflict with one another.

Section No. 13. This Ordinance shall take effect upon its passage and publication according to law.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Santa stops early in Muhlenberg County

If you didn't see this morning's Courier Journal (and at the rate their fortune is declining that might soon include everyone), this article is cause for celebration in Muhlenberg County and it could be cause for celebration right here in Barren County as well . . . if our elected representatives put two and two together. I know this is not particularly about our initial goal of a sustainable local food economy. But it is all about a sustainable overall local economy.

As we all have discussed, one of the biggest problems with Glasgow's economy is the amount of money we generate, but then allow to leak out of circulation to other communities and corporations. Perhaps one of the largest leaks is the "in lieu of tax" payments that are a part of your electric bill from the EPB. This matter was pretty fully addressed recently in the Glasgow Daily Times at this link , but this new great fortune for Muhlenberg County makes it even more interesting.

Here is what I mean. Since the inequity in distribution of these payments by TVA is based upon the Commonwealth of Kentucky's problematic law which distributes the monies based upon where TVA owns property instead of where the power is sold, and since one of TVA's largest investments in Kentucky is in Muhlenberg County (Paradise Steam Plant, the one made famous in the old John Prine song, Paradise), large amounts of money collected through your power bill in Glasgow wind up being sent to Muhlenberg County as a result of this wacky law. Up to now, few state legislators were willing to change that law because of the horrible impact it would have on Muhlenberg County. Well, now they are rich and perhaps it is time for a reckoning.

If our state representatives reading this blog will take the hint and get this leak fixed by converting Kentucky's TVA in lieu of tax distribution formula to send the money back to where it is collected (like most other TVA states do), suddenly about $1 million per year will stop leaving Glasgow's economy. Instead it will be returned to our schools and governments who actually consume TVA power. That amount of money would go a long way toward our sustainability.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Twittering is Sustainable

Articles like this one from today's Courier-Journal clearly point to something . . . the way we communicate with each other and the way movements sustain themselves is completely changing. When giant newspaper empires like Gannett cannot keep their business solvent when they are the dominant newspaper in a large metropolitan area, we all must realize that the world is changing and that chaos reigns. However, in chaos there is opportunity.

Since our movement is brand-spanking new, we have no legacy systems to deal with. Further, we are born in a place and time that is endowed with the currency of the new media economy -- ubiquitous broadband. I propose that we use this currency as the core of our methods to unite the people attracted to Sustainable Glasgow into community that gathers data, shares information, and coordinates responses in a near organic manner. While this blog and web site is a reasonable beginning, we can do much, much better.

To that end, I am hoping all SG members will start using Twitter. You can see a bit of how Twitter works on the left side of our web page under the heading "Twitter Updates." If you will become a little adventurous and click on the link below that heading where it says "Follow Billy Ray on Twitter" you will be coached to sign up for a Twitter account and start following me. Once you do that, I will be notified and I will also take the option of following you. This is how this new phenomenon of social network grows organically and exponentially. Once we are all following each other then each time any of us has an idea or a notification for the group, then that person will use their internet connection or their cell phone and issue a "tweet" which the rest of us will immediately receive. That's how it mimics an organism like us; when one touches something hot, that message immediately gets relayed to the brain and then all other cells in the body know about it and they coordinate a reaction!

I am planning on putting a demonstration of this and other social networking technology on the agenda for our next meeting. Hopefully, ahem, one of our interns will be there to demonstrate this technology which that generation is already quite expert at using. If we are going to change the world, starting with Glasgow, we must learn to use the media currency that is going to survive our present economic meltdown.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1 Update

Just a bit over two weeks until our December meeting and things are really popping! We have just over seventy folks now who have asked to be members of our listserv. Over the last week, this web site has been visited by over three hundred folks. The buzz about our movement is palpable. So, this post is about things we need to ponder before we meet.

Name/Logo Issue. By far the most popular post on the blog is the one about our logo. There seems to be a consensus for the logo on the upper left position but many would like to see it altered by placing the recycling arrows inside the little rooftop. I hope David is reading this and will give us something like that to review. Another bone of contention is the tag line and the lack of reference to Barren County in our chosen name. I have an idea that might address these issues. How about developing a number of tag lines that can be used depending on the application for the logo. Some have suggested the tag line might be altered to say Fueling Glasgow's Economy With Barren County's Bounty. I like that just fine and it really says it all about what we are about. Bounty does not just mean foodstuffs, it can refer to our talent, our resources, or our businesses, as well as our agricultural products. Another way to embrace the totality of the county would be to use something like for our URL. Further, if other tag lines are developed with "Barren County" in them, we could always use a tag line with the logo that embraces the fact that we are about a sustainable economy for the region, not just for the benefit of the residents of the 42141 zip code.

Legal Stuff. By the next meeting we should have a state approved corporation, but then we need to immediately get to work on By Laws, the structural underpinnings of our movement, which will lead to decisions about a Board, Officers, dues structure, etc. Be thinking about you ideas for foundation beliefs of our movement.

Funding. Its not a lot, but the EPB did approve my proposal to provide some seed funding to get SG moving so long as TVA approves SG as a real economic development entity for our community. I don't think that will be a problem and, so long as they approve, they will match the EPB's contribution, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000. So, we have that going for us as well as our plan to start signing up members and asking for a modest annual membership fee.

Interns. I have my eye on a couple of recent graduates, one with a degree in marketing and one with a degree in both History and Political Science. One is Haley Crow and the other is my daughter, Lauren. We just moved them back to Glasgow after a two year stint in Charleston, SC. They don't plan to stay with us in Glasgow for long, but while they are here it would be nice if they would do a few things for us like: set us up with a P.O. box, phone number, URL, email addresses, Facebook site, checking account, real website, finalized logo - stationary - marketing pieces - apparel items, a filing system, a good start on our goal of a database of local producers and some information about each of them, etc. You know, just dozens of tasks that we now need to become a viable and operational entity. If you come across either of these potential "community organizers" please encourage them to get us going while they search for their dream careers in Nashville.

Things we all can be doing right now. Make time to watch the recent Bill Moyers Journal mentioned by William Travis in his post here. In one hour you can get a fantastic understanding of the power of creating a sustainable local food economy.
Support our fledgling new local restaurants in Glasgow. For example, if you have not yet been to the Sunday brunch at The Station, you have missed one of the finest brunches available anywhere. Now all we need to do is to convince them to buy from local producers and to promote that on their menu!
Pay attention to money that is leaking out of our local economy and help plug the holes. A great example of this is the recent decision by WBKO to charge local cable operators for access to their television programming. This decision will take an additional $160,000 out of Glasgow's economy over the next three years. WBKO management, and those who pay WBKO for advertising, should hear from us about this attack on our economy!
Pay attention to the calendar. While spring planting season certainly seems far away right now, it will be here very soon and we want to have a year-round retail facility for local producers, we want to convince local producers to convert some of their crops and animal operations to local production and retail to utilize that facility, and we want to be ready to weigh in on local government budgets as necessary to help promote the investments necessary to support a sustainable local food economy.

"Losing Local" is a national issue

This is a great community website that discusses a little bit of everything. During the election I spent a lot of time on here.

There is a great diary discussing many of the issues we have been considering. I encourage everyone to read through the comments. Lots of interesting links and ideas.

People all across the US are concerned about losing their local businesses, local interest and local thinking....