Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Sure enough, here's a link to comments on the Mayor's site.
You can find the video blog of this effort online in about a week's time, at MTV's Think sub-channel. Here's a link to the Missouri page there, and to an article about Chrissy from earlier this summer.
Wal*Mart's online presence offers a variety of information about the corporation's work in the field of sustainability.
In fact, one of the sub-channels of the site is decidate to just that phrase, and here's the link to Wal*Mart's Sustainability efforts.
At the expo, Wal*Mart was showing off its reusable bags, which are currently in play throughout the company's stores.
Here's a blip about the impact they're having:
Every year, nearly one trillion plastic shopping and grocery bags are used around the world. The vast majority are then sent to a landfill. To help reduce the number of plastic bags that are wasted each year, and to engage our customers in helping us reach our sustainability goals, we introduced reusable shopping bags in October 2007.
Made from 85-percent-recycled content, the bags hold more than twice the amount of an average plastic bag. Customers can find the black reusable bags in Wal-Mart stores and purchase them for $1 each. At the end of their life-span, Wal-Mart will recycle the bags.
Our estimates show that during its average five year lifetime, a reusable bag can eliminate the need for at least 100 disposable plastic bags. To date we have sold enough bags to eliminate the need for at least 400 million disposable plastic bags. In April 2008, as part of Earth Month, Wal-Mart gave away 1 million reusable bags, reducing the need for another 100 million disposable bags.
Before May 4th, 2007, Greensburg, Kansas was home to 1400 people, a handful of schools, numerous farms, shops and amenities. After a tornado ravaged the town, destroying 90% of its structures, Greensburg (located 2 hours west of Wichita) decided to rebuild--only this time, they decided to do it green.
At Tuesday morning's session, Daniel Wallach, founding Director of Greensburg GreenTown, hosted a panel made up of Greensburg's former Mayor, John Janssen; the school's Superintendant, Darin Headrick; and the City Administrator, Steve Hewitt. Speaking to a large, captive audience in Ferrara Theatre, the panel discussed their initiatives, challenges, hopes and decisions that have all played a crucial part in the LEED-certified reformation of a ruined town.
Most of the townspeople fled after the natural disaster, but many have returned, becoming completely involved in the rebuilding of the place they once called home. Not quite at the end of the school year last May, children were displaced from their classrooms, but the town built temporary facilities after considering the effect bussing them to other cities could have on the community as a whole.
The panelists also discussed the great cost at which LEED buildings are built. "It's not $.5 for Coke or a quarter for a candy bar--Middle America is expensive." Greensburg hopes to have 4 or 5 certified green structures, including its city hall, museum and a business incubator. The in-depth website, www.greensburggreentown.org, offers thorough information on the plans, its staff, its history, and ways to donate.
"You didn't hear the word 'LEED' a lot in Middle America," joked Steve Hewitt, "but you do now."
During the City Museum "dessert party," you couldn't miss the Schlafly Brewery stand, just inside the main doorway. There, co-founder Dan Kopman greeted people with: a) beer; and b) information about his company's intriguing role in St. Louis, along with a commitment to consistently greening its brewing operations. We stole Kopman away from the taps long enough to get a few minutes' of conversation.
GTH: We posted something up the other day about Schlafly and your environmental practices. Tell us about your philosophy in that vein, as a company.
Kopman: Local. It wasn't by design. Ten years ago when we were planning our new building, or you planning what we wanted to be as a brewer, we weren't thinking, "oh, we need to be green." We were thinking "how many nights do we want to be in a Super 8 in Omaha?" Let's just sell our beer locally, not other parts of the country. There's good beer all over the place in this country. Our long-term plan was to focus on our market. And everything we've done to this point has really been in the spirit of that mission. If we support other local food companies by buying their products and selling them at Bottleworks or if we have our farmer's market, where we tie farmers to consumers, it's all about encouraging people to consume locally. It's not about spending a lot of money to be green, it's just about doing it. Does that make sense?
GTH: But there are extra efforts like the garden at the Bottleworks that seem to dovetail into that effort, too.
Kopman: When you're growing it next to where you're serving it, that takes the lowest amount of fuel necessary to get it to the restaurant. It was a bad parking lot that needed repaving. It was cheaper to tear it up and do a garden, than to repave it. And we had plenty of parking spaces, so we didn't need more.
GTH: To what degree does your clientele understand this philosophy, as opposed to simply liking the food and the beer?
Kopman: They wouldn't come back if they didn't like the food and the beer. You can be as green as you want to be, but at the end of the day, you have to produce a certain level of quality that people want to come back for. We've always done that. That's always our mission: to brew some of the nation's greatest beer, right here in St. Louis. That hasn't changed. It's really pretty simple from that perspective. We're not trying to be something we're not.
GTH: Can you give us a sense of the conversations you've had with people tonight?
Kopman: They're impressed to see there's another local brewery. A lot of people come not expecting to find another brewery. That doesn't take away from what the city's largest brewery is doing; they do so much for the city, as everyone has heard about recently. But we're very comfortable in our role as St. Louis' other brewery. So there's been a lot of that discussion, explaining to people what our role is, and that we're not aspiring to be anything more. That's really important: to be comfortable in the clothes that you wear. And try not to wear someone else's clothing. And buying fewer new clothes is environmentally sound.
GTH: Tell us about your interest in green issues, generally, and where it began.
Roberts: It began with a concern with the environment. We have a lot of issues with greenhouse gases and people who are generally not educated enough about how they can benefit by recycling. As a developer with the Roberts Companies, we've decided to go green. We built the first single-family subdivision in St. Louis, called Roberts Place using insulated concrete forms, geothermal heating/cooling systems, energy sustainable building materials. We're also building Roberts Tower, which is the first Gold LEED certified mixed-use tower in Downtown St. Louis history. And we're building future buildings to at least be energy sustainable.
GTH: In terms of environmental efforts also being good business, can you address that a touch?
Roberts: There was a time when it was too expensive to build green, if you will, but because of the demand, manufacturers in the world are starting to mass produce energy sustainable materials that are cost effective for the business developer. But what's also great about it is that you'll recover your cost through lower utility bills and tax credits that you may get through legislation passed recently. And it's great for PR. It's good PR for developers, which is a good thing.
GTH: Do you think younger candidates and officeholders will come around to this way of thinking in the next couple years?
Roberts: I'm running for State Representative in the 64th District here in the City of St. Louis and my number one initiative is green tax credits. I want to incentivize the state and the City of St. Louis, to where everyone's home, their residential and commercial buildings, are energy sustainable. I believe the younger generations to come, those even behind me, will be aware that we need to do something right now. Our environment is suffering. We have to offset high fuel prices, so that people can continue to live a high-quality life.
GTH: What your take on the conference? Have you picked up anything new? Or has anything been confirmed in your mind?
Roberts: Yes to both. I did pick up a few new items today. I'm intrigued by a way to waterproof insulated concrete forms with a material that is recycled. It creates a film that is waterproof. And the new cork flooring. I remember when it was the regular tan color. Now it's every color you could imagine. And they're really doing some fun things with cork flooring. In terms of confirmation... is this a fad? Or it is something that's moving throughout the country? People are excited about these green initiatives. They're good, clean ways to help the environment, to save money and it's neutral. You don't have to be a Republican or a Democrat. It's right down the middle. It's just a good thing for us.
Monday, June 23, 2008
We'll have some video on this effort by tomorrow afternoon.
By the by: props to the people making that effort happen, as it requires equal measures of diligence and patience.
Though we were unable to attend the 3.5 hour round trip to the newest St. Louis Community College campus in suburban Wildwood, we at least want to note that tour taking place today. As one of the exhibitors at the trade show, we spoke briefly to a member of the college's staff and she said that the registration at the new campus was exceptional, with a number of the students making note of the green construction of the building. So much so, in some cases, that they were bringing back their folks, just to show off the designs and concepts.
Here's a link to the Wildwood campus of St. Louis Community College.
And, if anyone on the tour is reading this, we'd invite their comments below.
Here's a link to "St. Louis: After 52 Years, 'All America City' Again."
Those of you not from St. Louis - or those of you otherwise occupied on Tuesday nights - can access the last four episodes of this show at the program page for Earthworms at KDHX.org.
GTH08: Tell us about Grace Associates.
O'Brien: I'm a project manager for a real estate developer based out of Chicago. Currently, I manage the Blu City Spaces project in Downtown St. Louis. It's a 13-story, residential high rise. It's a rehabbed building. Other than that, I'm out looking for the next project.
GTH08: What's of interest at the conference? What brought you here today?
O'Brien: I'm currently in the process of getting LEED certified, that's what got me the entree with the US Green Building Council. I decided this would be a good thing to attend because we're thinking about doing some similar, high rise projects and we'd like to change a couple things if we replicate that building with some other buildings.
GTH08: What's been of interest to you at the trade show?
O'Brien: I was surprised to see the amount of general contractors here, getting a foothold into sustainable design and green building. That's awesome. There are some very innovative plumbing products that I didn't know were out there, yet. Those are very applicable to what I'm doing.
GTH08: There are still "a-ha" moments then, with products and services that you didn't know about?
O'Brien: Yeah, yeah. There's this innovative pipe that I was talking about that works in new construction and rehabs. It's pretty energy-efficient. There are a couple other ones that I've seen. There's some solar panel design over here that I haven't seen yet, and I'm a newbie to solar panel design. They're using them in ways (and at prices) that I didn't know were possible. That's been interesting.
GTH08: As a St. Louisan, tell us your impressions of the importance of this event and all the people that are coming into town?
O'Brien: Yeah, it's nice to have here. It's quite an honor to be the host city for such a thing. It's nice to be outside the box, a little bit. We can be egocentric in a lot of ways and it's nice to have some people come in to tell us how things are going right in other places.
GTH08: Can you tell about your involvement in the conference?
Sepic: Well, Brandyn Jones asked me to be the emcee and I was glad to do it, because green building is the future. Look at the price of everything, from fuel to building materials. I'm rehabbing a building in the Shaw neighborhood in South St. Louis and everybody that's done any kind of construction knows it's getting more expensive to do it. Going green and reducing waste is going to be a necessity, in just the economics of the situation.
GTH08: So this has a direct, personal appeal, then?
Sepic: Somewhat. Yeah, I'm not an architect. I'm doing this on the margins and learning as I go, but I've been interested in construction and this crowd's certainly public radio-friendly, so I'm glad to do it.
GTH08: Tell us about this morning's event.
Sepic: I was really interested to hear from Ray Anderson from Interface, a carpet company. It's a really resource-based industry, with lots of resource needs for carpet fibers. This guy has figured out ways to reduce the environmental impact of his operation. And he's making money at the same time. If you can do that in the carpet business, then any large corporation can follow his lead. I'm really impressed by that.
GTH08: What about the impact of this taking place in St. Louis? What's it mean to the town?
Sepic: I think it's great. This is a city that - and I don't know this as a fact - as far as rehabbing, it's one of the leaders, especially with the state tax credits. It's a natural fit for St. Louis, which is recycling buildings, essentially. It's important for us to talk about sustainability, waste and reusing buildings again.
GTH08: For people from outside St. Louis, would you like to give a plug about 90.7?
Sepic: I would. It's the NPR station here. Looking around, I think that we have many members here.
Patterson says of his site, "It's basically my take on the city and development. I don't hold anything back. I put everything out there and people are free to disagree with me in comments, and they often do. It's a good discussion."
Sunday, June 22, 2008
GTH08: So, Joyce, what's your involvement over the next few days?
Gorrell: My exact involvement is volunteering in administrative coordination. I'm excited to see people arrive and get details.
GTH08: You've been working the desk for a little while now...
Gorrell: I have been working the desk and it's a bit slow right now, but tomorrow morning things will pick up, when all the workshops start. Some pretty big speakers are on-hand in the morning and the exhibit hall will be set up.
GTH08: What's your sense of what's exciting people right now?
Gorrell: I know for a fact that at 850 registrants confirmed prior to on-site registration... this is the largest number any Greening the Heartland has brought in. I think it's great that St. Louis can be such a destination point for all the great Midwest chapters.
GTH08: As someone who's certainly a great advocate for St. Louis, is there anything you'd like for people to take away about this town?
Gorrell: I'd like them to take away a sense of pride in a city that's got a leg up on a lot of coastal cities, when it comes to green building. We've got the Alberici headquarters, which is world-reknowned, and other institutions that are popping up left-and-right. It's beyond a lot of people's realizations of what is going on here. Hopefully, it'll get people revved up, to continue on a course of green building.
Montgomery, an architect with TMA Architects, LLC, and Dr. John Sweet, trustee of the Wm. A. Kerr Foundation, lead 30 bikers from the St. Louis riverfront (now mostly under water) 11 miles west to University City, stopping at numerous sustainable buildings along the way.
They began their tour at the Kerr Foundation building, a former bathhouse built in 1895, that has been converted into a Platinum LEED-certified space, one of only two in St. Louis. With a rooftop garden, skylights, bamboo flooring and St. Louis' first wind turbine, this multi-use building is set in the city's industrial area, just north of the casinos and east of Highway 70.
After a lunch and some drinks, the group headed west to Grandel Square where they received a short tour of the EarthWays Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental education. It is located in one of the city's rapidly developing urban areas, Grand Center. At Earthways the group was shown more application for green living, from energy-efficient lightbulbs to recycled flooring to composting capabilities.
Next stop: Bowood Farms, an urban greenhouse and farm that grows its own vegetables and plants on site and in Pike County, Missouri. Formerly an auto repair warehouse, Bowood, located in the Central West End, also sells its own grass-fed bison.
Then onto the Solae and Cortex buildings, set in the middle of the Barnes Jewish hospital complex just south of the Central West End. All sides of both buildings are covered in windows, thus supplying natural light to nearly every work space.
After a quick break for some locally-brewed Budweiser, the tour rode north to the Roberts Place Homes, a gated housing development with high-efficiency windows, bamboo flooring, and geothermal heating and cooling.
Final stop: The Loop's Big Shark Bicycle Company, one of St. Louis' largest and most active bike shops.
GTH08: Tell us about your involvement with the proceedings tomorrow.
Finch: I'm a little bit of a last-minute guest. Jaime Lerner, one of the main speakers, couldn't make it. We've made arrangements to have him here, at least virtually, if not here in reality. I'll give a little intro, then we'll play one of his lectures, which he gave in Philadelphia two years ago. Then, in the afternoon, we'll catch up with Jaime; we'll call him on the phone and we'll do an audience Q-and-A with him directly.
GTH08: Our understanding is that there was a lot of excitement about his attendance, so to have him in even this form is a positive.
Finch: I think it is, I know that it's always a coup when someone gets him to speak. I know that two years ago we brought him to Philly. And in the clip we'll show, he got a standing ovation and really helped spark some changes that have changed the city in the past two years.
GTH08: Can you give us a sense of what energized, or motivated people so much?
Finch: I guess if you show up, you'll see why. My easy way to describe it is that he looks like Santa Claus without the beard. For some reason, you see him and right away you like him. He really knows what he's talking about and he's accomplished something that attendees are hoping to accomplish. With very limited resources, he was able to build what people say is the world's most-sustainable city, in a developing country like Brazil. I think it's really amazing what he helped make happen in his hometown.
GTH08: What would be a best-case scenario for what happens tomorrow?
Finch: I hope people get a sense of how difficult some things are, but also how easy some things are to do. One piece of advice that Jaime likes to repeat to everyone is "just start." The first step is always the toughest. Once we get started, we all kind of know what we want our cities to be, what we want our world to be. If we just take the first step, things will get much easier.
Being edited right now: our first piece of original video. Be on the lookout for that shortly.
Prettywarstl is the alias of Tom Lampe, a St. Louis photographer who is a prolific flickr user, but sorts down the really intriguing stuff into a stand-alone site dedicated to the rare, the lovely, the curious, the quirky.
If you're looking for information and news on St. Louis' GLBT community, you could do a lot worse than first checking into the Vital Voice. Though the paper's moved into a different, more all-inclusive (yet still progressive) direction in recent months, the GLBT focus is still there. The paper's distributed around town, including pockets of Downtown, but you can also get all of the info online.
Speaking of newspapers...: A couple days ago, we highlighted the St. Louis photographer and all-around visual artist Bill Keaggy. Well, the Riverfront Times, STL's alt-weekly, just wrote up an entire cover story on the fella. How's about that?
After passing through the variety of shops and the casino, itself, on the first floor, we'd recommend a walk across a small pathway, leading you into the the Four Seasons Hotel. Once there, take the elevator to the rooftop, the eighth floor. That area's got yet another bar and restaurant, along with a rooftop view that's definitely worth taking in. You get a nice panorama of Laclede's Landing to the east, Downtown STL to the south and a large slice of the Mississippi River, which is rather large these days, for sure.
Did we mention the Link is open 24-hours.
911 Washington Ave., Ste. 100, St. Louis, MO, 63101
Earth Share of Missouri
1222 Spruce St., Rm. 3.310, St. Louis, MO 63103
Lockheed Martin (Silver Sponsor)
107 Hermes Rd., Ste. 105, Malta, NY 12020
Uponor/Specified Systems, Inc.
11832 Dorsett Rd., Maryland Heights, MO, 63043
Spencer Finch, Director of Sustainable Development for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (a colleague of Jaime Lerner and one of the Sustainability Forum coordinators) is here to introduce the video and facilitate questions with Mr. Lerner live via phone in the Afternoon Breakout Session which will reconvene in the Ferrara Theatre.
Therefore, the morning Master Speakers Series will now extend until 12:30 p.m., instead of 11:45 a.m., followed by lunch in the Exhibit Hall.
GTH 08 Blog Central has been established at the America's Center!
If you have tasty tidbits, please send us a note @: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look to this space for frequent updates on programming, weather-related changes to events and (near) live-time updates from the halls.
We look forward to serving those here at the conference, and those of you checking in remotely.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Here's a link to the piece, written by Kaid Benfield.
As a teaser, here's the lead:
Every now and then I run across a story that is so good, that feels so right, that I thank my lucky stars for the freedom NRDC gave me to evolve my career into working for better, more sustainable communities. This is such a story, and it reveals an historic, diverse, inclusive neighborhood that is reclaiming its identity, restoring its infrastructure, empowering its residents, and securing its future. The community wins, and so does the environment, because the Old North neighborhood in Saint Louis is the very antithesis of sprawl.
Friday, June 20, 2008
We'll give you a sense of her talent. You can, for example, check out her eponymous website.
Or you can watch a bit of video, recorded at the aucoustically-stellar Sheldon Concert Hall, part of a performance captured by local PBS affiliate KETC. We'll embed the video here:
Here's a list of the exhibitors.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Here's a link to a pdf transcript of that interview.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
SCOT HORST, PRESIDENT, 7GROUP
8:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Scot Horst serves as chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Steering Committee and is widely recognized as a leader in the sustainable design movement. During his chairmanship, he has overseen the development of LEED for Core and Shell, LEED for Schools, Revisions to LEED for Existing Buildings, LEED for Neighborhood Development, LEED for Homes, LEED for Healthcare and extensive work on the next version of LEED that will establish a new structure for a single LEED known as the LEED bookshelf. This structure will normalize all LEED rating systems to 100 points, add a regional category, intentionally weight the credits, fix credits and align credits and submittals across all rating systems. He has also guided a revised and holistic structure for developing LEED through a new committee structure.
Mr Horst also serves as President of 7group a green building consultancy and the Athena Institute International, a non profit organization that focuses on sustainable materials and life cycle assessment.
Mr. Horst will speak on the LEED rating system and its role in market transformation. He will show how LEED is the center piece of a growing movement in the United States and will speak about the nature of that movement.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Schlafly Beer is a locally-produced brand with two brewing facilities in St. Louis. The older of the two is located Downtown, at the corner of Locust and 21st, a nice little walk from America's Center. With a brewpub, two music rooms and some of the brewing operation on-site, this Downtown STL venue is a popular after-work gathering place, with a host of community-oriented events booked into the multiple nooks of the Tap Room on weekends and evenings.
The Bottleworks is the newer operation, with several years of operation in suburban Maplewood. It hosts everything from cult films to poetry, with tours of the brewing operation scheduled several times a day. Adapted from an abandoned grocery store, the space has anchored the burgeoning Maplewood commercial district. It, too, features a large restaurant, with indoor and outdoor seating.
What's particularly notable about Schlafly is the company's commitment to the environment. The Bottleworks has an on-site garden and hosts as weekly farmer's market during the spring and summer. Members of the brewery's senior staff work on a local CSA and head up the slow food movement here. The company sends out a regular Green Notes e-mail, highlighting everything from the pub's organic food recipes to notes about internal greening operations.
While it's not STL-related, this News Hour piece on the greening of Pittsburgh would probably be of real interest to blog readers.
Monday, June 16, 2008
A long interview of Joe Edwards, the Loop's prime visionary, is one piece that quickly showed itself, a recent upload to the local text- and video-blog PubDef. It's got good info - and a quirky, soap opera-like piano track underneath the words. Hmm. Get past that and you'll get a decent sense of what the Loop's about. And we'll remind you that the district's one of the most interesting in town, and is a few minutes from Downtown by train.
How long have you been involved in Greening the Heartland and in what roles?
I founded/launched the conference with Nick Peckham in 2004. Nick, an architect, is a founding member of the Missouri Heartland Chapter in Columbia, MD. The first conference took place in Columbia and attracted approximately 400 people. My company, Resource Dynamics, Inc. (RDI) launched and managed all aspects of the conference and continued to do so for the following two years. Last year in Madison, the conference was combined with an existing conference that the Wisconsin Green Building Alliance ran. The managed all aspects and I was not involved.
What kinds of growth have you seen over the years?
The attendance has not necessarily continually increased. The second year we were in Chicago and had approximately 800 people attend. The following year we were in KC and dropped back to around 400. I understand that the attendance in Wisconsin last year was approximately 700. This year I anticipate that we’ll be somewhere between 700-800.
What excites you the most, personally?
What excites me is the rate at which green building is gaining recognition - the importance of the role it plays in addressing so many issues that are finally on most peoples radar screen’s now. Rising fuel costs, global warming, declining natural resources, economic viability, health and social equity issues - etc. etc. Green building is an important tool that must be incorporated/institutionalized into our building and building management practices. What also excites me is the growing number of people - growing in depth and breadth - in the field. We are far from mainstream, but on a fast track to getting there. It’s been exciting to see the progression from a point from where people thought a green building was the color green to most now have a general concept of what a green building really is.
What particular portions of the proceedings have you enjoyed the most over the years? Are there some events that stand out in your mind as particularly impressive and/or inspirational, a couple years on?
Another thing unique about GTH: it was really on the cutting edge as a regional U.S. Green Building Council event. Until this time USGBC Regional Chapter Conferences/Events were not happening - so to have this type of event originate in the Midwest rather than the typical west or east coast locations is notable.
What is the energy generated by such an event?
I think what stands out at all of the GTH conferences is connection. The people who are in this field are passionate, dedicated individuals who come to this event to connect, learn and grow – so there is a lot of very positive energy that pump attendees up to go back to their jobs not just with new ideas, tools and resources but also with a heightened level of energy and inspiration.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
We should note that the University City Loop's not a far jump from America's Center via Metrolink. You'll be dropped off near the old Wabash Station, and from there, you'd want to travel west, down Delmar. That street's been cited as one of the 10 great streets in America and you'll see a visible amount of construction still taking place, especially in the eastern end of the block (which lies in the City of St. Louis), where the area's first hotel is being built.
We've embedded a few KETC video links lately, and this one's got some info on STL's streetcar past and (hopeful) future.
A quite new concern, Stlouisgreen.com is a website offering St. Loiusans a chance to explore local, environmentally-sound products and services, as well as a nice blog with helpful hints for day-to-day environmental measures.
Bill Keaggy. His day job is at a hip Downtown "visual thinking company" called Xplane, but his public passions can be seen at his one-of-a-kind website. Bill Keaggy's collections become obsessions, which are then packaged for you to add to your own list of curiosities and hobbies. The man's published two books in the last year-and-change, one on found grocery lists, the other on unloved, tossed-away chairs. And while those pursuits might give you a hint at his eclectic personality, the site, loaded with myriad lists, compilations and projects, deserves a quick glance, at least; though, we warn you, you will be sucked in, so don't visit this site at work, unless you've got some time to kill.
Ordinarily, we'd recommend you use public transit to kick around St. Louis, for your errands and tourist needs, but even though the Scott Joplin House is located not very far from America's Center, a quick cab jaunt might be the best way to take in this off-the-grid-but-in-the-middle-of-the-city State Historic Site. While the home itself is a bit modest, there's a good amount of history here: about St. Louis ragtime, about St. Louis at the turn of the last century and about our shared history, shaped by race, class and passing time. These days, the companion building, the New Rosebud Cafe has been adding live performances to its schedule, often by...
The Black Artists Group. An organization that originated here, BAG was quite active in STL during the late '60s and early '70s, before members emigrated far and wide, joining cultural movements in New York, Chicago and Paris. While BAG was a historical entity, only, for about three decades, a core of musicians and multi-media artists have recently started to perform again, under the BAG umbrella. No two shows are ever the same; the group will, in fact, be performing during GTH, with a Rosebud show on Sunday, June 22, from 7-9 p.m.. You can sample just a touch of their music at their Myspace page here.
Friday, June 13, 2008
You might not often think of poets as particularly and riotously funny, but Aaron Belz has the ability to read at a stuffy gallery one night, before opening at a comedy show the next. His latest work, The Bird Hoverer, is a real treasure and he's been supporting St. Louis poetry through the Observable Books and Observable Readings project over the past half-dozen years. We claim him as our own, though we are sad to see him departing our town for a teaching gig in California later this summer. He's a gem.
For fans of hip-hop, few St. Louis shows bring as much to the table(s) as The Remedy, a weekly staple of community radio station KDHX. The show's description: "Raw hip hop from the past, present and beyond with DJ G.Wiz - the godpops of hip hop & DJ Needles - the godson." Both are among the finest DJs in St. Louis, with Needles just winning the Best DJ category in the popular, annual Riverfront Times Music Awards. You can find streams of the last couple shows at the station's website. Here's a direct link to the show's page.
A compendium of local blogs by and about St. Louisans, the STLSyndicate allows for a quartet of local blogs to chime in at a single aggregator space, with more a dozen contributors taking part in the discussion. Content varies day-by-day, as you'd expect in a town with as many strange and interesting events taking place as we do.
For comics fans, you might want to know that St. Louis has a lively scene of original, underground comic artists, many of them working both solo and as parts of rotating collectives. You can find a fair bit of their work at the University City Loop's Star Clipper Comics, or you can visit the website of the one of the ringleaders of STL comics, Ted May. There, you can find links to blogs and other project pages.
The busiest videoblogger in St. Louis is Bill Streeter, who has had impact both locally and nationally with his Lofistl.com, a compilation of live band recordings and interviews with local and nationally-touring acts. Though his early work sprinkled in a variety of really nice, pocket-sized STL documentaries, his recent posting shows a definite trends towards the musical. If you're into the rock, you'll enjoy some of these clips. Also, we'll post up soon a clip, or two, from his Lofisessions, a series that he's recording and producing at the City Museum.
What, in particular, is of interest to you at the Greening the Heartland Conference? Any particular workshops, symposia or speakers catching your eye right now?
Whenever you attend these conferences you have to do everything you can to take advantage of the opportunity to connect with, learn from, and be inspired by like-minded individuals and organization. There are topics across a number of the tracks that are of great interest to me professionally and personally and I see myself being drawn to a lot rof them – so it’s going to make managing time difficult to say the least.
Professionally my work spans both higher education and corporate markets and so it’s of great importance to me to learn from the presenters in these tracks as they represent my clients’ peers. This knowledge better prepares me to serve my clients with a broader and enriched understanding of what’s out there – you have to stay caught up. And of course my involvement with Old North St Louis draws me to the communities track.
In addition to attending presentations, and making a presentation, our firm, Mackey Mitchell Architects will also have a booth, where we will be featuring an effort to revitalize a park in Old North. Each attendee will have a card with some paper flowers. By stopping by to visit and sticking a flower onto our booth display, our firm will donate a total of up to $10,000 to plant shade trees for the park – so this is networking for a good cause. Please stop by to visit.
Of course, you have your own presentation, Neighborhood Transformation: Old North St. Louis and the Crown Village Developments. Tell us about what you plan to incorporate in that discussion.
Our discussion will be an informative overview about what’s been going in Old North over the last few years, the role community revitalization plays in making our region more sustainable, and a sense of the financial wizardry that has gone into reversing years of disinvestment and development inertia. We’ll talk in broad brush terms about the planning principles that have informed the work underway and what we hope to accomplish in the near future. We hope the message is clear – it’s not just the buildings we design but their relationship to one another that helps enhance sustainability.
Each of our 3 speakers has played very unique roles in what’s going on in Old North. Sean Thomas, Executive Director of the Old North Restoration Group comes more from the community development side, David Dodson, Regional Housing Community Development Alliance has a deep understanding of the financing tools that have helped spark the work underway in Old North, and my passion is of course planning and design. So I’m hoping within our 40 minutes we will have something for everyone.
For people outside the region, what would you tell them about the developments in Old North St. Louis over the past two, five, or 10 years?
I think when one considers the work of community revitalization one has to consider the principles of what’s behind the work and the energy and commitment of those behind it. Old North’s story of community revitalization is really one of transformation. The plot reads as the classic disinvested inner city neighborhood in which demolition over a few decades has exacted an incredible toll on its physical fabric and yet is a place which endures, has vitality, and a strong will and desire to grow. The work that has gone on in Old North is at a tremendous variety of scales done by a small and committed group of individuals. The driving force in Old North is grass roots based energy which is palpable and I can’t say enough about the level of determination. The principles which have fueled the work are at the heart of what it means to be socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable community.
How has the neighborhood's image changed within the St. Louis region in that timeframe? What particular pieces of the development puzzle drove that impression in positive ways?
I think the work and efforts we and our partners have had underway have earned some incredible press and recognition. In my heart, I think people are really hungry for a positive story, and whether you’re looking at any individual project or the whole chorus of activity, I think one can’t help but be impressed.To hit one project and say, that’s the key piece that makes it all possible, is really hard to do. We see the world as being an inherently connected set of pieces. The things you are doing today will open the door to even greater things tomorrow. For example, last weekend was the first week of the second year of our neighborhood farmers market – just to touch on this – last years effort was tough, but we learned lessons from it, fined tuned the venture, and brought on more skills and talents and had an incredible first day. As that event grows, right in the shadow of our 14th Street Mall revitalization project, Crown Square, and more people come into the neighborhood and see what’s going on, doors will be opened to even greater possibilities, and a new story will be told.
What are the best places to learn about ONSL online?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Well, there's good news and bad news here. The good news is that the International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Downtown St. Louis, not too long of a walk away from the convention hall. The bad news for St. Loiusans is that the quarter-century enterprise will soon be moving to suburban Arlington, TX, leaving our city's core without one of its quirkiest attractions.
Sounds like those of us in town need to finally get down there for a visit. And you (perhaps secret) bowling fans will surely want to amble down to the Museum, whether to roll a frame, or two, or simply to take in the wing dedicated to Hall of Fame Bowling Center Proprietors. (Really!)
Enjoy. Info here.
Today, we catch up with Emily Andrews, a member of the GTH 2008 Steering Committee and the Coordinator of the U.S. Green Building Council's St. Louis Chapter. We cover a lot of ground, so let's get right to the Q/A:
What's something that you've learned about, simply from working on the organization of this conference? In effect, have you had any "a-ha!" moments about products, services or trends?
One of the things that's impressed me in working on GTH 08 is how excited people are to be involved. We really drew deeply from our membership for the Steering Committee and subcommittees. People who have never been involved in Chapter activities got involved in planning the conference. It’s really been something for people to rally around and get excited about. Hopefully they won’t be too tired after this to keep up their involvement!
I'm also consistently impressed with all the great work going on around green building and sustainability across the Midwest . It’s easy to get caught up with what’s going on in California , the Pacific Northwest and the East Coast. And it's tough to compare ourselves to those regions. But when you take the time to really celebrate the positive and progressive work in the Midwest , you really uncover a lot of amazing people and hard work.
Are there any specific symposia, roundtables, speakers or sessions that you're particularly looking forward to during the conference?
I'm looking forward to the Greensburg , Kansas session. They have such an inspiring story. If a small town in Kansas can do what they’re doing . . . we can all take a cue from them. I’m also really excited to have representatives from the national USGBC at the conference. Rebecca Flora is the current board chair and she's kicking the conference off on Sunday. She's a great speaker and really has her ear to the ground. She comes from a USGBC Chapter, as the ED of the Green Building Alliance in western Pennsylvania . Her organization has done some really influential work at the legislative level to bring green economic development to western PA. I'm also excited about Scot Horst. He's the Chair of the USGBC LEED Steering Committee. I saw him speak at Greenbuild last year in Chicago and his energy and excitement about green building and transforming the built environment are pretty intoxicating. At some point in his career, he was an opera singer, so he's a real performer and really engages the audience. There are a lot of changes to LEED that will be launched at Greenbuild in November. Most will be very positive – streamlining the documentation and submittal process is sort of boring, but really necessary. The exciting changes will come with the addition of lifecycle analysis credits and regional credits which take into consideration the ecosystem in which you build. I hope we'll get a little bit of a sneak preview of those changes!
There are also a few breakout sessions that look really good:
Staying Green – Staying Competitive – Monday afternoon in the Corporate Track: The Cost of Green is a pretty well-known and well-respected tudy in the green building world that refutes a lot of myths out there that green building costs more. And Jason Hanline, with EMIS, is involved with the USGBC Chapter in Springfield , MO. He'll be talking about a strip mall that’s going green there!
The Chicago Story – Govt Track – Monday afternoon – I always like to hear what's going on in Chicago . The City of Chicago is a real leader in greening their built environment, maintenance and operations
There are also so many local, Chapter members that are giving presentations that I can't possibly single one out. They will all do a great job featuring the transformative work that’s going on in the St. Louis region.
Did the steering committee book this conference in any different ways than past events, in your mind? Are there some emphasis points that are new to this year's event?
While I've not been involved in previous GTH planning processes, I think the Steering Committee took a really different approach. For one, they THOUGHT BIG, setting the bar high and setting some pretty big goals for speakers, sponsorships, etc. And they've done a great job in putting together a really robust program. Having different topic tracks has helped to give the conference a different focus than previous years too. The Steering Committee really wanted to engage corporate decision makers – folks that are making design, construction and building maintenance decisions – in order to give them the tools to build green. I think we succeeded in bringing more folks like that to the table, which is really exciting. The green building movement is about bringing people together to build a good building – about integrating design, construction and the project team. I think the Steering Committee really took that to heart when planning the conference.
Are there any things about Downtown St. Louis that you'd like to point out to out-of-town guests? Any restaurants, sights or sounds that you'd totally recommend to people?
I could probably eat sushi every day, so I highly recommend Wasabi, which is within walking distance of the America's Center. And while we're talking about Asian food, Sen is another favorite – also within walking distance of America's Center. There's some drunken noodle dish there that I love to get with fried tofu. Very spicy with lots of veggies. Also along Washington , the Gelateria shouldn't be overlooked for a late afternoon pick-me-up, you can't really go wrong with some ice cream. And finally, local beer. The St. Louis Brewery and Tap Room is a quick cab ride away and is home to some of the tastiest local beer in St. Louis – Schlafly. We'll be sampling some on Monday at the City Museum
The architecture in downtown St. Louis is very impressive and since this is a green building conference, I would imagine folks would be interested in learning more. The AIA-St. Louis has a great bookstore just up the street from America's Center - http://www.aia-stlouis.org/bookstore.asp - where folks can get great St. Louis centric books on architecture and the built environment. Two buildings near America's Center worth checking out (and these by NO means are the only ones) are the Bee Hat building – because the lions blow steam and I just love that – and the St. Louis Public Library. The Library is such a treasure here. There are some renovations going on right now, but the great hall is worth a look. (I found this cool photo of the lions on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/raimist/314243981/)
The Mississippi River is an awesome body of water. If you have the time to stroll to the Arch grounds and take in the Mighty Mississippi, it's worth it – especially since it will probably still be high (flooding) come the conference.
I also love to catch live music and some of our city's best blues bars are pretty darn close. BBs Jazz Blues and Soups and the Broadway Oyster bar are a quick cab ride and a longer walk from the convention center. You could catch a local blues act, a national act or an open mic night at either place, depending on night. So bring your instrument if you're a musician and maybe they’ll let you sit in!
Do you get a sense that a lot of folks are finding GTH for the first time this year? What is bringing the conference to their attention?
I think we probably have a lot of first-timers. Of course, the conference gets higher attendance in its host city, so we’re seeing a lot of people from St. Louis who have never attended before. I think the conference program is drawing attention to the conference. We basically have three key note speakers lined up – we’re calling them Master Speakers – but they are all definitely key note caliber! Hopefully, there’s something for everyone at the conference. The sold out exhibit hall is also drawing attention.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
You can get a chance to learn about him at his official site.
Let's let Jim Kirchherr of Channel 9 pick up the tale below.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
10th Street Italian: Italian
An American Place: American contemporary
Anthony's Bar: Italian, American
B&T Pizza: Pizza
Breve Espresso Company: Coffee house
The Edible Difference: Deli, sandwiches, American, home-style, comfort
Flamingo Bowl: American
Kitchen K: Global fusion, American contemporary
Lucas Park Grille: Steak houses, American contemporary
Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafoods: Steak houses, seafood, American
Mosaic: Tapas, small plates, global fusion, American contemporary
Rooster crepe.sandwich.cafe: French, desserts, coffee house, American contemporary
Sen Thai Bistro: Thai
Swifty's: Deli, sandwiches
Tigin Irish Pub: Irish, bar and grill, pubs, American
Wasabi Sushi Bar: Japanese, sushi
Monday, June 9, 2008
Here's a link to the piece.
Taking part during tomorrow's show: Tim Embree, Special Assistant to Mayor Francis R. Slay, City of St. Louis; Mayor Linda Goldstein, Clayton, MO; and Mayor John Janssen, Greensburg, KS.
You can follow the conversation via podcast or streaming, at the station's website, www.kwmu.org.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
In Forest Park:
St. Louis Art Museum http://www.stlouis.art.museum/
In Grand Center:
Contemporary Museum http://www.contemporarystl.org/
On the campus of Saint Louis University:
Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) http://mocra.slu.edu/
Saturday, June 7, 2008
The University of Kansas has put out a release, detailing some fine news from Greensburg, with the state's flagship university playing a key role in the process.
LAWRENCE — The U.S. Green Building Council has certified as LEED Platinum the arts center for Greensburg that was conceived and constructed by 22 University of Kansas architecture students in the Studio 804 graduate design/build program. It is the first LEED Platinum building designed and constructed by students.
The Studio 804 building, known as the 5.4.7 Arts Center, also is the first LEED Platinum certified structure in the state of Kansas.And here's a link to the whole release.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Each Master Speaker will speak on Monday morning, then participate in a Master Speaker Breakout Discussion session Monday after lunch.
Monday, June 23, 9:00 - 9:45 a.m.
CORPORATE TRACK: RAY ANDERSON, FOUNDER OF INTERFACE
Ray Anderson is founder and chairman of Interface, Inc, the world’s largest manufacturer of modular carpet for commercial and residential applications and a leading producer of commercial broadloom and commercial fabrics. Since 1995, he has reduced Interface’s waste by a third, and plans to make the company sustainable by 2020. Anderson is featured in the documentaries The Corporation and The 11th Hour.
Because the commitment Interface has made is so unique, the community has embraced the company and lauded its efforts. Today, Ray is recognized as one of the world’s most environmentally progressive leaders on sustainable commerce, having served as co-chairman of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development during the Clinton administration; being recognized by Mikhail Gorbachev with a Millennium Award from Global Green in September 1996; receiving in 1996 the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of Year for the Southeast Region and being named in 1997 as the Georgia Conservancy’s Conservationist of the Year.
Here are links to a couple stories that might be of interest, as well: