Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekly TV Show on Sustainable Living in the High Country

Session Topic:
Weekly TV Show on Sustainable Living in the High Country
Name of convener:
Sue Counts
Email/Phone: 828-355-9116
Kathy Copley, Cindy Ball, Judi Scharns, Martha Erzmann, and Sue Counts

Main points from the conversation:

Group wanted a variety of programs. Welcome someone to a new idea and meet them where they are. (Be inclusive and not judgmental--aware of who you are turning off). Involve children and puppets to introduce show each week.....and WHAT will we feature today???
Group came up with about 75 topics such as: Recycling, Indoor Farmer's Market, Elkland Arts
Center (Puppet Show), Historic Preservation, Green Industry, Transportation, Food Production,
Energy Center, Youth Programs, Animal Welfare, Litter Education, Sense of Community, Value
of Tourism to the High Country, Liberty Community Parade (4th of July), Todd Mercantile, Local Farms, Farm City, Choose and Cut Program/History, Sustainable Tourism, Natural Products, "Putting Food By", Zero Waste, MountainKeepers, Conservation and Preservation of our High Country Farms and Land, Women in Agriculture Programs, Alternative Agriculture, Your Carbon Foot Print, USDA Certified Value- Added Community Kitchen, New River Organic Growers, ASU Energy Center, The Energy Audit, CSA's, 4-H Super Summer, Cove Creek Heritage Days, Wind Energy in the High Country, Maverick Farm Dinners, The Farm at Mollie's Branch, ASU Sustainable Agriculture Program and Farm, Harvesting the Mountain Herbs, Riparian Buffers and Zones, LEAD Camp for Girls, Master Gardeners, Environmental Field Day, Seed Exchange, Green Mother Goods Store, Marketing Local Authors and Cottage Industries, Entrepreneurship, The New Green Generation "Kids in the Creek", Water Conservation Projects, and many, many more.
Start date: Earth Day 2009.

Action steps:
* Continue conversations with MTN.
* Write scrips.
* Find sponsors.
* Puppets and children.
* Start Date: Earth Day 2009.

The Intrinsic Rights of Nature in Community Decision-making

Session Topic:
The Intrinsic Rights of Nature in Community Decision-making
Name of convener:
Lumini Merced
glenda short, kate colclasar, erin singer, martha enzmann, wendy patoprsty, will kovalchik, andrea gimlin, lumini merced

Main points from the conversation:
we're a part of nature, respect for nature
change attitude from nature as commodity to survival resource to collaboration/co-creation
inspire decision-makers to protect nature in all their deliberations
speaking for nature, so nature has a voice
recognizing the intrinsic rights of nature
neighbors and tourists who don't care and who dump trash
raising awareness/education - KIDS: start early, make it cool, peer pressure
experiential activities, owning experience
"no child left inside", nature deficit disorder
- the PUBLIC: signs, eg adopt-a-street, adopt-a-stream
public television
signing pledges, eg when teenagers get their first drivers
have them sign a pledge not to litter
taking personal responsibility/ setting example
Environmental Ethics course at ASU Sustainable Development program
PACT (Protecting, Advocating, Conserving Together) has certified Wildlife Habitat project
there a list of the community assessment?

Action steps:
support and volunteer for existing organizations and new community events:
Mountain Keepers, PACT, Genesis, Headwaters Festival, Music on the Mountain
children's education: continue and support environmental awareness programs in local schools
tourist education through guided eco-walks, Visitors Centers, Chambers of Commerce
legislative policy: research legal precedents set in other communities
speak for rights of ecosystems in Town Council and County Commissioner
letter to editor

Systems for Individual and Community Calamity Response

Session Topic:

Systems for Individual and Community Calamity Response
Name of convener:
Lynda Connor
Brent Summerville, Travis Thompson, Nita Obrien, Ellie Lyne, Ron Redmon, Sam Zimmerman

Main points from the conversation:
We feel we have a general lack of preparedness for major calamities such as longer term fuel
shortages, grid failure, major natural events: floods, snow, storms, wind, ice.
Some individuals are resilient already (campers, they have the skills, tools and supplies) but some are not ready at all (elderly, just not prepared).
We need both self and community assessments.
Community assessements involve identifying sources of water (springs), lists of elderly people or
people in need (churches may have this), food resources, people with tools, skills, chainsaws,
generators, solar/wind with battery storage, 4wd equipment...
How do we prioritize help - triage?
Firehouses are central - could be source of info, supplies
Need to setup a plan, much like a fire escape plan in a house, where does the community gather, is there a list of the community assessment?
Analogy: airplanes are ready for a crash, they talk about it and educate the people, even though it is an uncomfortable thought, you have to plan for such an emergency. We need to educate the
community and be ready for major calamities, even though this is an uncomfortable subject.
Communication - before the calamity, use newspaper, radio, craigs list, rays weather for education and to pubicize community meetings for assessments, planning, education.
Plan for AM radio as a possible emergency communication tool after calamity - generator for
WATA? Crank radios at households?
We had a gentle warning with the gas shortage - we realize that even the gas station attendants
need a plan for how to handle the gas lines, a plan will help minimize the craziness.
Brent is going to Turtle Island, Eustace is pretty ready for this.

Action steps:
Meet with local officials to learn about existing emergency preparedness systems.
Educate public on findings (existing systems and plans)
Provide a handbook to the community
Help folks perform self-assessments of preparedness
Help communities do community assessments
Apply for federal funding for demo/pilot project of community preparedness
Identify gaps in the system and address them

Sustainable Food Systems

Session Topic:
Sustainable Food Systems
Name of convener:
Liz Aycock
Angie P., Tom P., Cindy B., Tracy M.,Karen B., David H., Deidre S., Lumini, Nancy S., Margie M.,

Main points from the conversation:
Gmo's are portrayed as safe. Nature is perfect already, GM is an uncontrolled experiment with
unknown effects. Can we ban gmo products/seeds or label them? Allergy concerns. Bee
populations are in decline. Gmo's are portrayed as safe - More education needed. GM's do not
reduce pesticide use. Farm Diversity= higher food yields. We need less monoculture and Big
agribusiness. Less than 1% of our nation are farmers. Balance energy needed to cultivate vs.
Pesticides. Tractors use biodiesel. Nutritional value of organically produced food is higher in
phytochemicals. GM foods have an effect on fertility in studies done on rats. Biodiversity is
declining. NC State does research in GMO's. NCSU also has Center for Environmental Farming
Systems in Goldsboro.

Action steps:
Attend the Farm to fork Summit in Raleigh March 2-3rd.
Attend High Country Local Food Summit March 26 @ Apple Barn In Valle Crucis.
Talk to Local School Board about implemeting policy to buy local and organic.
Talk to ASU about Buying local and organic.
Help Change policy in state institutions about food buying. (Still purchase the cheapest food but
only within a 100 mile radius)
Save or move the community Kitchen "Creative Food Ventures"
Develop a Local Food Council
Encourage our elders to teach us to grow food, can and preservation techniques.
Local Government to pass resolution banning GMO's from our community in order to protect organic farms and genetic integrity.
Ask State for a "Bottle Bill"
Create economy/tourism that is based around local food. Ex. Hardwick,VT and Woodbury, Iowa
Encourage the Chamber of Commerce to help with Food economy.
Create a local food only restaurant maybe in conjunction with Community kitchen.
Create a community Compost facility. Help Jay Carter with his compost battle.
Establish contracts with businesses to handle surplus foods.
Create Neighborhood gardens.
Share unused farm space with community.
Work with local restaurants and grocery stores to buy locally produced food.

Resilience is the Resource

Session Topic:
Resilience is the Resource (How do we access ourselves our skills "skills and stuff
Name of convener:
Nita O'Brien
Donna Lisenby, Debbie Golembieski, Kendal McDevitt

Main points from the conversation:
Create both on line and hard copy resource guides for the "area" (Watauga County)
Compile a list of resources which are already in use or developed or are being developed so we can support and utilize them more ie. "Craigs list", "", "Community Exchange System", "", "NC Wastetrader"
Have a local barter or system which we could exchange services and goods by lists and "green
dollar" value.
Share scrap resources which we would other wise put in the landfill, discard or burn such as
pallets. Also connect together people who could buy needed goods at more reasonable price by
buying in quantity or wholesale together.
Utilize the already existing book located in Green Mother Goods inside the door to the left where
you can put you business cards and share information about your skills.
Have a community Exchange day where you bring your "stuff" and take what you need. (Maybe
once every 2 months)
Do research and then compile a hard copy and on line resource list that can be updated as needed and ask Mountainkeepers to make this list available to it's "list" of interested folks on line.
Possibly create a recycle "job" to organize the Community Exchange day and update lists. Create
the one line and hard copy guide and keep it updated. Have it sortable for usability.

Action steps:
Research all above existing services and compile and give this to Mountainkeeper for initial
Utilize what services we have in community and educate about the resources.


Session Topic:
Name of convener:
Marsha Story
Marsha Story, Shannon Isaacs, Stephen Phillips, Loretta Clawson, Lisa Doty, Kendell McDevitt, Lexie Danner, Denise Grohs

Main points from the conversation:
Pasteboard containers @ green boxes in the county.
Pasteboard collection site inside the town limits or possible curbside pickup.
Pasteboard collection site at grocery store locations.
Grocery store deli containers be made of corn based materials or use #1 or #2 recyclables.
Reduction of plastic bag use
The possibility of banning plastic bags.

Action steps:
Reduce the use of plastic bags by:
Use reusable bags which can be purchased or hand made.
Approach legislation regarding plastic bag banning.
Train grocery store clerks to ask consumers if they've brought own bags or to use paper.
Ask grocery store chains to offer reusable bags as a reward incentive.
Involve elderly, churches, scouts troops, etc. in constructing usuable bags
Promote awareness by:
Puppet show to kids
Recycling literature be distributed through tax bills, ASU Meet & Greets, websites, water bills,
newspaper, MTN,and Community Bulletin Board
Clean Up competitions (sororities, fraternities, etc.)
Letter writing campaigns to local papers

Local Energy

Session Topic:
Local Energy
Name of convener:
Brent Summerville
Sam Zimmerman, Tracy M, Liz Aycock, Marnie Werth, Jack Callahan, Eula Fox, Winston Kinsey, Karen Bowman, Scott Shards, David Holden, Angie Pate, Ged Moody

Main points from the conversation:
Interests: wind energy, public education on options; conservation is a big resource, lights on at
night, 2nd homes using energy with noone at home; residential scale, community-scale, larger
community scale (1000+ homes); how public officials can make it happen?; how to educate the
realtor community, ie. remove fears about wind energy ruining everything; work on the town of
Blowing Rock ban on windmills; FIX THE RIDGE LAW, yes windmills are exempt, but Roy
Cooper has caused confusion, we need a clarification of the exemption; make Town of Boone 1st
wind-powered town in WNC (a new windmill on Howard Knob; Hull, MA is an example);
develop landfills like the Energy Xchange; Eula has 15 acres of windy land, want a string of
windmills, what does she do (ASU can help with an assessment and next steps); interest in
developing a community energy system in Foscoe.
Barriers - costs, financing, incentives are built for business more than communities, lack of energy awareness (using electricity uses lots of coal which has widespread impacts);
Biofuels - local farmers grow feedstock, collect waste oil, community seed crusher, community
biodiesel processor, use in tractors and home heating (off-road use is cheaper)
Some communities require solar thermal (Israel, Botswana...)
What about Hydrogen and compressed air (need renewable infrastructure to create these storage media).
We need all of these things - better choices by individuals (energy conservation, home design,
install renewable energy, cars, appliances), community-scale solar, wind, hydro, biofuels; and larger community-scale systems like a string of utility-scale wind turbines for county/regional impacts.
Producing our own energy using the renewable resources that we have (wind, sunshine, existing
dams for hydro projects, feedstocks for biofuels)

Action steps:
Watch movie - Kilowatt Ours
Goto to see where your electricity comes from
Contact you representatives. Bev Purdue (consider Cliffside a MAJOR pollutor); Tarleton (no
Mountain Top Removal Coal).
Demand BREMCO install community PV and wind, not just give out CFLs; goto annual meeting
and voice your opinion
Distribute packets of info on options, costs, impacts, contractors for renewable energy (ASU
energy center can help develop, Town of Boone can help distribute)
Indentify any opportunities for pilot projects on the community scale (wind, solar) and submit a
proposal to state legislators with a petition saying "this community wants to be more resilient by

Housing, Neighborhoods, and Walkable Communities

Session Topic:
Housing, Neighborhoods, and Walkable Communities
Name of convener:
Kimberly Marland

more than fits in this box... J. Phoenix, K. McFadden, A. Burgess, J. Bond, R. Brantz, L. Mason,

Main points from the conversation:

Private Development or public initiatives?
Affordable housing needs and definition?
Model needed for non-profit land development for mixed housing
Boone's town government is restricted by State laws in funding, incentives, etc. for affordable
housing initiatives.
Town & Gown Committee important to work through issues of student housing and faculty/staff
housing needs.
Neighbors are important to community success.

Action steps:
Provide education opportunities for the public to learn about housing possibilities, federal and
state tax incentives for improving and building new energy efficient housing.
Create a variety of zoning possibilities for residential construction.
Recognize the importance of the human environment and caring.
Have a "Get to Know Your Neighbor Day" where everyone meets their neighbors.
Encourage reduction and reuse of construction waste to reduce amount dumped in the landfill.
Create an example of desireable high density single family housing in Boone as a showcase.
Evaluate setbacks, height req's, parking, landuse buffers, etc. in development requirements to
encourage better land use.
Encourage public input and opinion about potential housing options.
Explore a Watauga based manufactured housing business to produce a variety of well-built, energy
efficient, good looking housing options for area residents.
Be involved in the process. It won't happen by itself!

Historic Preservation

Session Topic:
Historic Preservation
Name of convener:
Rennie Brantz

Nancy Spann, Angie Pate, Kathleen Janowiak, Mark Kirkpatrick, David Williams, Kate Colester, John Bond

Main points from the conversation:
Barn Again Project- use unemployed to help restore historic barns in the county. "Habitat for
History" WPA project? Hickory Ridge Homestead- use for a new cultural museum, open it
up for Appalachian crafts. Blair Farm off Bamboo use for cultural museum? Mary Henson home off Bamboo could that become a new visitor center? Walking tours throughout town, in ground
markers designating historic sites. DVD of walking tours set up on continious loop @ Jones
House, possibly a class project of ASU students to provide the map . Year around Farmers market on the old Shadowline property.

Action steps:
Need historical markers in town
Historical walking tours
Appalachian crafts site needed

Healthy Individuals, Healthy Interdependence, Healthy Communities.

Session Topic:
Healthy Individuals, Healthy Interdependence, Healthy Communities.
Name of convener:
Deborah Tallarico
Jo Ann Orr, Crystal Simmons, Patrick Beville, Deborah Tallarico

Main points from the conversation:
*The concept of resiliency originates with people in their ability to overcome hardship. Studies
conducted on individuals in community going through difficult times recognized 40 "protective
factors" that contributed to their resiliency. Some of these factors include personal attributes, the
environment, spiritual attributes, and parental involvement. The number one contributing factor
to resiliency for an individual is to have at least one consistent caring adult in their life.
- more information on this research can be found by googling : resiliency and protective factors
*The individual being is a microcosm for the macrocosm of community. As we individually create
health/ sustainability within and around ourselves, we contribute to the health/sustainability and
well-being of our community.
*Integrative medicine (allopathic medicine in conjuntion with complimentary, alternative , and
world cultural health practices) is seen and experienced as a holistic factor contributing to
individual and community sustainability and resiliency.
*The benefits of individual Mind-Body-Spirit connecting practices were discussed and suggestions
were made that when one is connected deeply to one's own body, one is simultaneously connected
more deeply to the Earth and to the present moment (where action is possible).
*An analogy was made of an individual to be rooted in one's own body as a tree in the earth for
optimum health/ resiliency.
*A comprehensive list/ resource /coalition of integrative health practices/ practitioners is deemed
important for community well-being.
*A suggestion was made that perhaps Boone could create and sustain a Holistic Healing Center/
A Healing Resort.
*Resources suggested: the book - "Healthy Organizations"

Action steps:
Identify a network of Integrative Health Practitioners and create a comprehensive list for public
Continue caring for ourselves and each other.
Practice sustainable and healthy living.
Support each other in our healthful living practices.
Be the change.

Environmentally Responsible Economic Sustainability

Sssion Topic:
Environmentally Responsible Economic Sustainability
Name of convener:
Jim Deal
Jim Deal, Glenda Short, Debbie Golembieski, Mark Kirkpatrick, Kathleen McFadden, Chris Joyell, Kimbe

Main points from the conversation:
Improve Environment; Emphasize Green Businesses/Entrepreneurialship; Cottage Industries;
Arts as a Business; Ecotourism/historic markers; Windmill Farms; Build and Support local
Communities; Build Green Homes: Conservation and Energy Efficient with Green Space;
Partnerships with University; Appalachian Enterprise Business Start-ups; Energy
Audits...retrofits old homes; Incentives for programs to build all building with energy efficient
considerations and water use restrictions; Interface wtih Home Builders Association Green
Building Committee; Local Foods System and year round farmer's market; Water Conservation
Issues and Study in relation to Todd Community water intake; Green spaces in planned
communities to include outdoor recreation (mountain biking, etc.); Encourage Cluster
Developments that incorporate green space and smaller lots.

Action steps:
* Funding for study and action on expanding Watauga County and the region's ecotourism-to
include trails and recreational opportunities.
* More outreach and community education from ASU Appropriate Technology and Energy
Center, etc.-better utilize University resources in our community - helping people understand the long-term savings.
* Education on many topics, expecially Green Building Certification, LEEDS, and others; tax
incentives and tax credits; developing codes for new government buildings (county & town lead by example)
* Explore and support Cottage Industries - help with startup funding.
* Encourage with incentives cluster development.
* Local government support for local food system (year-round farmer's market) and local cottage
industry retail spaces.
* Building a green collar workforce - local green businesses such as a windmill manufacturing &
* Revolving fund to loan money for green building, energy efficiency retrofits - pay back with
savings on energy costs over time.

Economic Development

Session Topic:
Economic Development
Name of convener:
Rob Taylor
Melissa Hanson, Bunk Spann, Gary DeLuke, Patrick Beville, Tim Futrelle, Kathleen McFadden,
Elif Kars

Main points from the conversation:
- Keep jobs local
- Reuse of shadowline facility as manufacturing facility
- Reuse of high school as renewable R & D facility
- Community wind power
- Research Triangle Park Model - Boone being mini research park
- University is a fundamental Strength
- Appalachian Enterprise Center
- not just train green jobs, create local green jobs
- Community Colle involvement
- NC State model of green job training - 2-3 weeks
- New High School facility gets kudos for using the facility as a future training tool for students
- Need housing for lower paid locals
- Need jobs beyond ASU, tourism, second homes
- Migrant workers are important and should be considered
- Budget cuts give opportunity to lead by example.
- Local food, agriculture a important possibility - Viticulture - Ginseng
- Products for local consumption supplied by local labor
- New industry should be sustainable - not just jobs for jobs sake - (i.e. company makes platic

Creating Job Opportunities

Session Topic:
Creating Job Opportunities
Name of convener:
Virginia McCleod
Judi Scharns, Virginia McCleod, Kendall McDevitt, Karen Baughman, Kristen Cockerell

Main points from the conversation:
Brain stormed ideas for new jobs in Watauga.
Make Affordable Recyclable bags (maybe Watauga Opportunities)
Purple Piping link waste water to making clean drinking water. Link with Watauga RiverKeeper
Training for re-localization of food systems (food) teaching gardening
Expanding Service learning into community and for profit ASU and Watauga High.
(Watauga/High Country Corps. Employ coordinator
Policy coordinator for green jobs, remove barriers
Community Life coordinator for off campus housing (like dorm RA)
Affordable pet sitting/animal care
Resource Recovery - (10 jobs) Talk to legislators about barriers
Storage for Don't Throw it Away, expand the program off campus. Coordinator for RETHINK,
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Service to those in need.
Coordinate wiht Senior Center & other outreach organization like Social Services
Community Exchange/Community Money - Like Boone Bucks - Keep it local Include
Network and link farmer's and buyers Publications & Directories online sortable
Year round farmer's market
Affordable, quality childcare for all times of day.
In home Senior or single person health care and assistance.

Action steps:
Continue to explore what exists and develop plans to address areas of need.

Creating and conserving healthy water systems

Session Topic:
Creating and conserving healthy water systems
Name of convener:
Wendy and Andrea
Donna Lisenby, Donna Duke, Crystal Simmons, Erin Singer, Kristin Cockerill, Wendy Patoprsty,
Andrea G

Main points from the conversation:
Storm Water
Waste water Land application systems
Pharmaceuticals in Water
Sustainable Water Use

Action steps:
Storm Water:
develop ordinance concerning storm-water runoff and reuse/building code
find models from other mountain communities
financial sustainability for the new storm water solutions i.e. creating jobs and funding
educate contractors
Waste water Land Application System
Support State Law concerning a change in the 100,000 gallon per day withdrawl for private entities
Educate citizens concerning the reporting of massive water withdrawl from their streams and
creeks in their communities.
Use "purple piping" technology to create a new system which would redistribute and recycle
treated water from the WWTP to use on golf courses/ski resorts etc... and as a result creating
green jobs for a more sustainable community.
Pharmaceuticals in the water
create a take-back protocol
research drug company programs, if any
media campaign to educate and address: pharmaceutocals are bad in our water, don't flush them, use take-back program if available.
Sustainable Water Use:
not allowing water infrastructure to generate urban sprawl
get a statistical study or analysis of how various water conservation measures can conserve water.
exactly "how much" water can be conserved by what means. (if everyone had to install a dual
flush toilet how much water would be conserved and how much would it cost and who would pay
for it and compare to other alternatives)


Session Topic:
Name of convener:
Rennie Brantz


Marsha Walpole, Dave, Diane Tilson, Kathleen Jan., Rennie Brantz, Jo Anne Orr

Main points from the conversation:
Individual composting bins offer an immediate opportunity to make a difference. Bins need to be
colorful, inexpensive, accessible, and explained.
A public composting program for town and county is a long range goal. It will cost upwards of
$2.5 million to start and then will need to be sustained with public funding.
Best way to start public composting would be a pilot project, probably in Boone
Important to success of composting will be education: individually, in schools, to public at large.
There is still a great deal of resistance to composting because it requires changes in traditional
Partnerships will also be important between country, town, ASU, Ag. Extension. ASU is doing a
good deal as is the county. Efforts between town, county, and ASU are being coordinated. Is
more room for cooperation and expansion if resources can be made available.
We also discussed numerous technical issues: use of wood, plastic, temperatures, worms.
Benefits of composting? Reduced waste and savings for public, new green jobs, a new
environmentally friendly world view, stronger sense of community through cooperative efforts
We also noted that current economic downturn has affected recycling and composting costs and
We need to work with producers to reduce packaging and wasteful use of materials. Stores could
charge for plastic bags or give credit for using your own bag.

Action steps:
1. Inventory existing composting programs and availability.
2. Establish attention to composting in schools--curriculum revision, educational programs, etc.
3. Make recycle and composting bins available more readily by town and country--May require
writing more grants or renewing grants.
4. Contact local food stores about reducing use of plastic bags.
5. Form Country wide composting committees.

Coalition Building

Session Topic:
Coalition Building
Name of convener:
Ryan Griffith
Participants: / 828 258 8737
Judith Pheonix, Deborah Tallarino, Bunk Spann, Jack Callahan, Will Kovalchik, Melissa Hanson, Rob

Main points from the conversation:
1. Networking between all groups and form 1 umbrella group, i.e. RiverKeepers, Partners for
Watauga Future, App Voices, etc.
2. Not reinventing the wheel.
3. Larger coalition of all groups.
4. Community is more than the sum of its parts; build a strong community of people.
5. Breaking down barriers between groups.
6. Sharing skill needs.
7. Networking meetings.

Action steps:
1. Develop Board of Directors for umbrella group.
2. Collective calendar of group events.
3. Quarterly meeting of groups to discuss events and post to collective calendar.
4. Collective e-mail address.
5. Create Google list serve.
6. Volunteer Staff:
7. Calendar / Coffee hour / Quarterly.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Building Our Green Collar Economy

Session Topic:
Building Our Green Collar Economy
Name of convener:
Ged Moody
Donna Lisenby, Lumini Merced, Kimberly Marland, Nita O'Brian, Sam Zimmerman, Travis
Thompson, Brent Summerville, Travis Thompson, Debbie Golembieski, Liz Acock, Ged Moody

Main points from the conversation:
Sustainability has a financial component
There is a fallacy that going green is more expensive, we need to combat this
Our Green Collar Economy Opportunities exist in the following areas:
1. Building Efficiency (building, testing, designing, retrofitting) these area include all of the trades that touch the building industry.
2. Renewable Energy Infrastructure. Designers, Installers, Educators. This includes solar
thermal, photovoltaics, biofuels, wind, micro-hydro...
3. Manufacturing; attracting the manufacturers who will make the components that comprise the green economy. It makes most sense to build things here that match our resources and what we use: examples: Solar Thermal Panels, Wind Turbines, ...
4. Recycling. This includes facilities for recycling a broader array of good (like #5 plastic
containers). This also includes repairing used or worn out items, and broader resale opportunities (like the ReStore)

Action steps:
Shifts in tax incentives to allow more than just businesses to benefit fully.
Build a local biofuels infrastructure including farming and processing.
Write grants to community-oriented support each of these areas: building performance,
renewable energy, biofuels, green manufacturing,
Work with local utilities to best understand how to partern to meet the demands of Senate Bill3 so that the whole community benefits fully.
Work on a local landfill gas co-generation project
Workforce development/training in green technologies (high school & community college)
Have the education system partner with economic development activities in order to attract new
Set up an eco complex, where on companies waste products are the inputs for the next companies products, and so on...
Identify and use the coming glut of BIG BOX spaces.
Develop a region-wide energy efficiency and production plan (integrated) with a goal to make the region energy independent.
Have community and university SET GOALS for efficiency and Renewable Energy production.
Place a Green-Bulletin board, possibly and electronic board, in a prominent location in town to
promote our achievements, goals and events.
Do an inventory of all green technologies and efficient building project in town. Place the results
in a google map, where you can click on the projects/infrastructure.

Bridging Divisions in Community

Session Topic:
Bridging Divisions in Community
Name of convener:
David Holden
Matthew Finck, Will Kovalchik, Jo Ann Orr

Main points from the conversation:
Group acknowledged division in the Watauga County community between families that have lived
in the county for generations and those who have moved here in the past 10 or 20 years. Group
also acknowledged division between the ASU community and the rest of the people in the county.
At times long-term families feel powerless in the face of newcomers and the university, leading to
fear and resentment. At times the university has made decisions that have exacerbated these
Action steps:
Group acknowledged that there are few venues in which real conversation actually takes place.
Such orchestrated conversations as the one held in this event today should happen more often and
reach out to wider segments of the community. Political discourse, such as meetings of the town
councils, county commission, and board of education, provide other opportunities for discussion,
but are often emotionally charged in such a way that real dialogue does not occur.

Alternative Transportation

Session Topic:
Alternative Transportation
Name of convener:
Stephen Phillips
Participants: / (828)264-1845
Lynne Mason, Tracy Mahalik, Margie Mansure, Jack Callohan, Et. Al. (There were about 15 people)

Main points from the conversation:
How to Encourage Alternative Transportation
Need for Sidewalks and Bike Lanes
Expanding the Bus System / Mass Transit
Pedestrian / Bicyclist Safety
Need for Crosswalk Safety
"Smart Growth" Land Use Concepts applied to Alternative Transportation
Need for Park and Ride Facilities

Action steps:
How to Encourge Use of Alternative Transportation
Make parking more expensive
Charge for public parking
Reduce parking requirements
Invest in Infrastructure Improvements
More sidewalks, bike lanes, bus routes
More connectivity and safety enhancements
Promote multi-use sidewalks and wider sidewalks
Apply Smart Growth Land Use Concepts to Alternative Transit
Concentrated areas of development to encourage walking
and reduce dependence on automoblie
Promote connectivity of neighborhoods through sidewalks/bike paths, and
greenway trail networks

Funding Sources:
Public Funding (Taxes, Dedicated budgeting for Alternative Transit)
Private Funding (Required sidewalks, bike lanes as part of development)
(Fee-in lieu sidewalk funding toward higher priority areas)
Grants (Ice-T Grant, State, National
Establishment of a non-profit Greenway Organization to promote expansion
Provide for Bicycle Parking
Positive Incentives to use Alternative Transportation
How to Encourage Alternative Transportation
Need for Sidewalks and Bike Lanes
Expanding the Bus System / Mass Transit
Pedestrian / Bicyclist Safety
Need for Crosswalk Safety
"Smart Growth" Land Use Concepts applied to Alternative Transportation
Need for Park and Ride Facilities
Coupons at local businesses for those who use bus system
Point reward system for those who use bus system
Community Challege/Contest to use alternative transit
Encourage Park and Rides
Encourage Major Employers (ASU, Hospital) to promote alternative transit
Encourge Hotels/Tourist to use alternative transit

Affordable Housing

Session Topic :
Affordable Housing
Name of convener:
Marsha Walpole
Donna Duke, Eula Mae Fox, Ellie Lyne, Diane Tilson, Ron Redmon, Linda Conner, Marnie
Main points from the conversation:
Median salary in this county is too low to afford the median priced home or the median rent.
The homeless and "precariously housed" are increasing. Many elderly are precariously housed in
homes that cannot be upgraded or made more energy efficient because of the home's
state of disrepair.
Home prices have not dropped even though the economy has slowed. Land prices are so high that
cannot afford to build small homes even if they want to.
Many people drive in from other counties to work, this lessens the feeling of ownership in the
community as well as increases job turnover.
"Affordable" is defined in different ways by different groups.
Habitat for Humanity is a great resource but only builds about one home per year.
Action steps:
Incentives for builders who build affordable homes.
Encourage absentee home-owners who are selling homes to consider rent-to-own.
Charge a 10% fee to developers who build neighborhoods of more than 10 units to go into an
affordable housing fund.
Build "Katrina Cottages" in the High Country.
Form a clearing house for services to connect people needing housing with low-interest loan,
organizations and
inexpensive housing.
Chamber of Commerce should ask all government entities to come to the table to solve affordable
housing issues. Collaboration between entities affected because they cannot attract employees
because of housing issues such as Board of Education, Watauga Medical Center,
ASU and County Government should be mandated. When they come together,
they should be prepared to do business formally.
Because Watauga County has a tourism-driven industry, second home owners could be taxed
because they do not contribute year-round to the economy.

This where the conversation ended...this is also where it continues.

Community Conversations Topics

The topics from our recent Community Conversation on January 24th will be posted individually so that it will be easier to have a conversation via this blog on these issues.

We will continue to hold these community conversations periodically so if you have any topics you want to discuss with the community plan on coming to our next conversation and bringing along your ideas.