For two weeks straight now, the Epicenter has most often been closed, as we’ve been on site for the Habitat house. This past week, we hosted a 19-person group from St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania. We got a lot done.
They have just left for Grand Junction to fly back.
It’s been a long two weeks. It’s time for a rest. We’ll see you after the holiday.
In June of 2011, a team of four (Marc O’Brien, J. Vernal Dilworth, Nicole Lavelle, and Rose Lavelle) will ride across America to share the Alabamboo story. The Alabamboo initiative is a growing movement to bring sustainable bamboo production to Alabama, thus strengthening the economic and social fabric of the rural south. They converged this week in Greensboro, Alabama to build bicycles from Alabama-grown bamboo.
They will then pedal west for two months, stopping at various locations to shed light on Alabamboo, sustainability, alternative transportation, and the benefits of bamboo all in the hopes of shaping a positive future.
One of their destinations is Green River, Utah!!! They’re estimated to arrive in the second week of July and stay for two nights (or forever?!). We’ll keep you updated on the specifics as they get closer to Utah. While they’re here, we’re planning a public critical mass through Green River and a reclaimed setting dinner (see #001 and #002 for more info), location TBD (the abandoned missile base possibly?).
We wish them a wonderful ride, and we can’t wait until they get to Green River!!!
One rider Jason Vernal Dilworth (Utah native!!!) came to Green River back when Epicenter was just getting started (Decmeber 2009?), so we can’t wait to welcome him back! Another rider, Nicole Lavelle, is going to be our October Epicenter Frontier Fellow!!! Marc and Rose have never been to Green River, but we bet this won’t be their last visit.
We are planning to build a workshop in Greensboro, Alabama that will be the future home for building Common Cycles. This facility will create jobs and empower local residents with access to affordable and sustainable transportation options. The bamboo bike facility and cross-country bike ride is a small part of what Alabamboo is aiming to accomplish. We’ve partnered with Marsha Folsom, wife of former Alabama Governor Jim Folsom, to develop this ride as one part of a much larger bamboo initiative. Marsha is helping lead a movement to have bamboo grown as a sustainable agricultural crop in Alabama in partnership with Washington-based Booshoot Gardens. Booshoot has developed technology to produce bamboo tissue culture for propagating bamboo rapidly at a large scale—and Alabama is ripe for growing it. We branded the initiative “Alabamboo” as the first step to making Alabama mean bamboo the way Florida means oranges, Idaho means potatoes and Maine means lobsters.
The final decision was very tough, but after a day of deliberation we’re proud to announce our next AmeriCorps VISTA: Chris Lezama of Daly City, California!
Chris Lezama contacted us on March 20 on behalf of Brute Labs (informally) to discuss a possible collaboration between Epicenter and himself (or with Brute Labs potentially). Since then, we’ve spoken with him on the phone and emailed back and forth discussing social change, buzz words like “design thinking”, Girl Talk, Brute Labs, Project M, AmeriCorps NCCC, and many other topics. We learned that Chris is heavily saturated in theory of social change, did two terms of AmeriCorps NCCC (once as a Team Leader in the South post-Katrina), and currently is a collaborator with Brute Labs. One day, he inquired that he might be interested in the AmeriCorps VISTA position we were hiring for and so he applied. We were pretty surprised that a long-term conversation just might turn into a new crew member…
Even though we had contact with Chris before the interviewing process, it was still a very tough decision. The applicants were intelligent and dedicated (one even came from Iowa to interview!). But, in the end, Chris asked us the right questions. He was the only applicant that understands Epicenter within the context of Green River, and he was informed enough to understand Epicenter in relation similar organizations across America. He both sees the bigger picture and understands our place in Green River.
Chris Lezama is going to be a great addition to our crew. We look forward to finally meeting him in person in August when he’ll begin his year-long service to America in Green River, Utah.
On last night’s train, Megan Deal arrived to Green River for her first visit ever. She rode from Chicago on Amtrak 28 hours. Tired of her computer, she will be getting her hands dirty working on site for the Habitat house. She’ll be helping to lead the group next week arriving from St. Joe’s College as part of the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge.
We’re thrilled to have her here for 12 days. She’s a big emotional boost and another set of hands that is much needed. With her help today, the formwork for the Habitat house was completed early.
Please join us tonight at 6pm for the grand breaking ceremony for Epicenter’s first designed and built house! This is also the first Habitat house to ever be built in Green River. The Mayor, the Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country’s board members, and the prospective partner family will be in attendance. The ceremony will only last thirty minutes, so don’t be late for this historic event!
If you can’t make the event, make sure to follow the progress at the HFHCC blog.
The Frontier Fellowship site was launched on February 4, 2011. We sent out QR code stickers on April 4, 2011 to select allies in select cities. Obviously, it might be too early to see much of a difference, but so far we’re seeing no major change. It seems that our allies in San Francisco and Seattle are doing the best job! Only time will tell…
So, here the standings (as of 13:55 on May 11, 2011):
Grand Junction, CO +2 +40%
San Francisco, CA +21 +51%
Chicago, IL +4 +57%
New York, NY +12 +60%
Seattle, WA +14 +156%
Northampton, MA +1 +5%
Birmingham, AL +0 +0%
Atlanta, GA +8 +20%
New Orleans, LA +0 +0%
Portland, OR +6 +21%
Boston, MA +4 +50%
Eugene, OR +0 +0%
Tthe highest traffic day is still February 4 with 149 visits. Some interesting news is that our highest traffic source is direct traffic (not from a Google search, Facebook, or this blog). From that we can conclude the URL is getting passed around via email, SMS, word of mouth, and the QR code! For now, we will let this experiment rest, but we’ll update you if we see anymore interesting results.
And the winner(s) is/are: Kelly Gregory, Brett Randall and Kelsey Jones!!!
Last month, Maria sent out batches of QR Code stickers to distant Epicrew members (more info on that here), and this was by far our best submission. They’ll each win a screen-printed prize and bragging rights. To be included in future experiments or see larger versions of the photos below email email@example.com. Stay tuned for our QR Code experiment findings.
001// Our Adventure Route
002// The Railroad Revival
003// Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros singing Home (photo taken exactly at the moment he sings ALABAMA)
004// The Bay Ferry (USA! USA! USA!)
005// Trolleys Galore!
006// The Best Irish Coffee
007// Board-form concrete at Ghirardelli Square
008// Marina Point overlooking Alcatraz
009// The Golden Gate Bridge
010// We love bicycles! We hate hills!
011// Lombard Street
012// BART station
013// BART train
…which translates to 25% more water than Monday (the river is very wide, especially for a western river). We’re currently at 70% volume, with 100% being “flood stage.”
Today begins with dark grey skies, some rain, and thunder. We’ve been hearing rumors of a flood for the past week. We’re hearing stories from the floods of ‘83 and ‘84, and of the most recent one in 2006; there was even a comment that the river may jump its banks and divert back to the historical river meander.
The mighty Green River remains one of the most uncontrolled rivers in the West (meaning: not many dams). There is the big Flaming Gorge Dam north of us just inside Wyoming, which has had to release some of the water because it’s at capacity (that’s why you see the jump in flow in the graph above). And we have a small diversion dam here just north of town, where the Riverhouse is, that provides irrigation water into town. After that, there are no dams until after the confluence with the Colorado.
According to the National Weather Service, water levels for the Green River have a 10% chance of cresting 61,000 CFS, 50% change of hitting 46,000 CFS, a 90% chance of reaching 36,000 CFS. Flood stage for the Green River is 29,000 CFS (source: Moab Times Independent). As of this posting, we’re at 16,200 CFS.
Real time date from the USGS is available on this website.
Our town is aware of this possibility of flooding. They have experience with it. And fortunately, the Epicenter office sits at the highest ground in town, with the houses we live in being within a couple blocks. There is also a system of earthen dykes that are inspected yearly. Those most in danger the most include the farmers, whose crops and homes are often located riverside, and those living north of the dykes (outside city limits). The others in danger are, ironically, City Hall, the State Park, and the state road shed, which have been built in the flood plain, within the old river meander (the government can do/build where what it wants!).
We’ll keep you updated. You can keep track yourself online at the USGS website, updated hourly.