Sunday, October 28, 2012

Conservation Easement and Student Projects Discussed at Last Meeting

Kathryn Brandl, Maurice Loridans, and Loren Demerath met last Monday to talk about the Rhino’s to Makers Fair ride planned for November 10th, starting at 10:00 a.m.  Maurice corrected Loren’s notes from last time, saying he meant the bus system is like a wrecker service for cyclists.

Noted that drivers who wave to pedestrians or cyclists don’t realize you can’t see them well behind their windshield.  In mentioning friendly beeps from cars, Maurice said he wishes people would roll down their windows and say hello rather talk to him with their machine.  Carolyn and Loren talked on the radio show that day about how it can startle cyclists.  

Loren and Feico described their positive meeting with Scott Rawles and Margo Schidler of Centenary College.  Scott is Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and Margo is Director of Strategic Communication.  Scott was agreeable to the idea, which would be that Centenary would serve as the entity that would receive the property rights and easements.  There would be a memorandum of understanding establishing this as a cooperative endeavor between Centenary and ABS; Centenary would serve as the deed-holder/agent and ABS would serve as the manager that would report to Centenary.  Scott asked ABS for a formal proposal, which he will then forward to Centenary President David Rowe.  Scott also said an agency account within the college could be set up as soon as we need it.  ABS was awarded money from Caddo Parish to set up the conservation easement, and we can deposit that into the account to draw on as need be.  The money would be used for acquisition of rights of passage.  The School Board and Community Renewal are two property owners we would approach, as well as the Leroy Scott Estate on the Bossier side.

Jon Soul and John Fontaine walked the new big loop of the trail with an eye towards liability issues.  John noted we would want to crush the car at Bridge Monte Carlo, as well as eliminate the sharp staubs that exist on the new trail.  The section going east is difficult to follow and work needs to continue there to establish it as a trail.  Way points and GPS would help.  Several allies of ABS were noted as a potential helpers in that surveying-like capacity.

Loren said his students in Urban Sociology will be presenting their independent projects to ABS in late November and early December, and anyone is welcome to attend.  These are a range of proposals for the city, or for Centenary.  Loren will also be issuing personal invitations to specific community leaders and government or college officials who are potential partners on the projects.

As an example, Loren described a proposal being developed by one of his students for an outdoor equipment rental facility that would serve both Centenary students and the community in general.  Potential partners include the mountain bike club, LOCO, and the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society.  The latter group meets on the Centenary campus the second Tuesday evening of each month, and which gives a membership discount to Centenary students.  Maurice noted that the Bayou Chapter rents kayaks to members at a discount, though they’re kept on Slago road outside of town.  There is plenty of great paddling around; Lake Bistinaeu has canoe trails that the Ozark Society has marked.  The time of year with the lotus blossoms is beautiful.

Feico reported that Grace Peterson would like to update the community through the radio show on how the state government is trying to promote more growing of local produce.  She’s been developing community gardening, but now is at work on the second phase of the program, urban farming, where there is now enough production to sell to restaurants and markets.  Valencia has been very successful under Deborah Coleman.  Leia Lewis of Sankofa--a recent radio show guest--has a community garden that has been paired with an educational and job training program.

Maurice noted that the model doesn’t work if you don’t have someone living right there.  Maurice said he has a lot of his produce taken in the community garden he used; it requires “eyes on the field.”  And a close-knit neighborhood will escort away folks that don’t belong.  Fences work too, he noted.

Also, these days, you don’t plow, that’s passe; nowadays you build raised beds.  And you can get intensive production out of an empty lot.  It was noted that in the front yard nobody has it in their heads that it’s free for the taking.  People do think that when it’s in an empty lot.  They might not have had a problem at Valencia because it’s a long walk with your loot over the field and people sit on the porches overlooking that area.  

It was noted that having a permanent Farmers Market would be nice.  Noma’s done a great job but the festivals take precedent and push her out.  There’s no market now, being pushed out by the Revel, but it’s a great thing in our prime North Louisiana month of October.  We could use a place that stays shaded or that’s even indoors.  In Latin America they have permanent markets that are often indoors and that expand into the streets on market days.

It was noted that in other places people seem to go outside more often.  In Quebec and Montreal there is a heavy cafe life outside.  Here, there are places to sit, though, such as at Starbucks, Guiseppe’s, Fresca, and Zoccolo; they tend to look at parking lots; perhaps a screen would help, but maybe the marketing of seeing people sit there is a draw.  Rhino’s has pleasant spaces outside in back, as well in front.  It’s surprising when its a gorgeous day in December or January and nobody’s outside.  Kathryn has seen more people outside in Minneapolis on a 20 degree day than here in the 70’s.

All who are interested are encourage to come to next Monday’s meeting and hear about exciting stuff that’s happening.  We’ll be meeting at the Wright Math Building, as usual, at 6:00.

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