Molly Jo Stanley, Southeast Ohio Regional Director, November 30, 2022
As we transition from Autumn to Winter, may you and your loved ones stay warm and safe, be surrounded by good food and good company, and receive the quiet and rest intended in this season of darkness and stillness. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I am always reminded of the vast gifts of our region—the incredible talent of local artists and craftspeople, the delicious and abundant local foods and libations, and of course, the unparalleled beauty of our regional forests, rock shelters, and star-filled night skies. May this season of gratitude and giving fill your cup, and allow us all to give back to this place and the people who make our communities so wonderful.
Molly Jo Stanley
Southeast Ohio Regional Director
Chamber Chatter – Weekly Community Conversation
Fridays at 8:00 am
Meigs Economic Development Center
Holidays in the Country – Annual Fundraiser & Community Gathering
December 3 at 5:00 pm
Christmas in Ash Cave – Community Gathering & Hike
December 10 at 5:00 pm
Ash Cave (Hocking Hills)
Save the Date(s) for Audubon’s 123rd Christmas Bird Count! This year’s fantastic citizen-science event will be held from December 14th, 2022 to January 5, 2023. Everyone is encouraged to join in—whether you’re brand new to bird watching, or a seasoned ornithologist! Contributing your sightings is not only an excellent way to get outdoors this winter, but to showcase our region’s incredible ecological diversity. There are participating groups all across Southeastern Ohio, as well as across the state. Be sure to visit the Audubon Christmas Bird Count webpage soon and follow the steps to make sure you are ready to participate in the official bird count!
Be sure to check out the upcoming events with Appalachian Understories including their Late Autumn Nature Writing Workshop on December 3!
Electric Bus added to Athens County public transit fleet
Athens Public Transit added an electric vehicle shuttle bus to its fleet this month. The bus is blue, with orange flowers, green creatures and white text that says, “I’m electric” wrapped around its exterior—a design made by Passion Works artists.
“We definitely wanted it to stand out,” said Sarah Conley-Ballew, Rural Action director of Sustainable Energy Solutions.
The new bus is the only electric vehicle in Athens Public Tranist’s fleet. It is also the only electric shuttle bus operated by a rural transit agency in Ohio, Conley-Ballew said.
Bringing good jobs to coal country
Persistent poverty and traumatic job losses have plagued coal country for decades. These economic pains lead many in the region to prize remaining high-paid coal utility and mining jobs and to fear that further losses will translate into more downward mobility, joblessness and opioid addiction for residents.
But the region has a chance to pivot to a diversified clean economy with middle-class jobs for all, boosted in part by federal climate infrastructure investments. For instance, in southern West Virginia, the Appalachian Climate Technology Coalition (ACT Now), spearheaded by Coalfield Development Corporation, offers a bold, integrated vision (see also this video) of how investment in clean industries can create over 6,000 good jobs. That effort is happening with the help of a $62.8 million Biden Administration Build Back Better Regional Challenge award.
Instead of an economy dependent on extraction, ACT Now envisions 10 converging “opportunity industries” including sustainable manufacturing, electric vehicle transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, reforestation, reclamation and regenerative agriculture. These industries capitalize on the region’s natural and repurposed fossil fuel assets, including its energy export grid and transportation infrastructure, trades skills and work ethic.
Dixon Run & Blossom Solar Update
We are all feeling the impacts of climate change—whether you use a box fan, a window unit, or central A/C, the increasing number of high heat days means more energy use and higher bills. Clean, renewable energy can not only reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, but also move us toward affordable energy that keeps people safe.
This week, the OEC met with members in Jackson for a meeting about the Dixon Run & Blossom Solar projects, renewable energy, and energy democracy. If you weren’t able to attend, we would love to hear your ideas, questions, thoughts, and your vision for energy in your region!