The Press Newspaper
Wind turbines that are providing energy to Oregon Schools also provides educational and curriculum advantages for the district’s students.
The “Wind for Schools” program allows students a more hands-on approach to alternative energy as students monitor and analyze the turbine’s performance in real time.
Dennis Slotnick, an environmental science and biology teacher at Clay High School, participated alongside representatives from SUREnergy and Chevron last week in a proposal to increase usage of wind turbines in the school district.
Slotnick’s presentation states that “any school can teach about wind energy with hands-on alternatives, and we do more than that at CHS.”
Output from a residential Skystream turbine already on campus helps Slotnick build a database curriculum for students. Slotnick’s classes have played a part in researching the benefits of wind turbines from the Skysteam 3.7 turbine operating at Clay’s Wind Research Facility.
Even if farmers in Ohio ran an effective campaign against it, the chances of defeating a ballot initiative sponsored by a coalition of animal welfare advocates were still only 50-50, according to calculations of the Ohio Farmer Bureau Federation.
Weeks after the OFBF and other farm organizations, the Humane Society of the United States, and Gov. Ted Strickland announced a compromise that resulted in the coalition not proceeding with the ballot measure it said would decrease abusive practices on farms, the issue remains a hot topic in the agriculture community.
Ohioans for Humane Farms was poised to submit more than 500,000 signatures to the secretary of state to meet the June 30 deadline for placing the measure on the November ballot when Gov. Strickland contacted the parties to find an alternative solution.
Under the compromise, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which was established after voters last fall strongly supported Issue 2, will remain the primary vehicle for establishing farm animal care practices.
On Thursday, July 15, Charles Hymore was refurbishing a former body shop he
bought at the intersection of Dearborn, Dover and Greenwood streets in East Toledo at approximately 6 p.m. when he let his three-year-old male Yorkshire terrier out the building to go to the bathroom.
“I have a big overhead door that I cracked open about a foot,” said Hymore, an Oregon resident. The dog was on a leash, which was connected to a 10-foot cable and secured within the building. The dog was out for just a couple of minutes, said Hymore, when he went to let it back inside the building.
“I didn’t want him outside for long because I was not there with him,” said Hymore, who is very attached to the dog, which he’s owned since it was a puppy.
“So I opened the door, and the cable was there, but the black and white checkered leash and my dog were gone.”
SUREnergy made a proposal to the board that could result in making Oregon City
Schools Ohio’s largest wind-powered district.
Oregon Schools Superintendent Michael Zalar says the building of commercial wind turbines on two campuses could result in a significant future cost savings in utility bills.
“If this is a project we’re going to do, it is going to be a project we’re going to do with permanent improvement dollars, not with operational dollars,” said Dean Sandwisch, school district business operations manager.
“Another thing the project is doing with (Clay High School environmental science and biology teacher) Dennis Slotnick involved is really going at it from the two-pronged approach of educational benefit and economic benefit. I think we are really taking that approach,” Sandwisch said.
Making the presentation was Bryan Rathbun, assistant sales director at Sandusky-based SUREnergy, and Bill Caughey, a consultant for Chevron and SUREnergy. Rathbun deals mostly with school and municipal projects for the renewable energy company.
School officials maintain that Chevron would be involved in arranging the financing and provides no money towards the project, and the project would include no additional burden on the taxpayer.
“There are actually a couple different aspects to the project that we are looking at,” Rathbun said. “Some of them are likely to change. What we have right now is, we’re applying to implement six different turbines at two of the different buildings.”
If approved, there would be construction of four or more turbines capable of offsetting 25 to 60 percent of Clay High School’s utility costs, state SUREnergy presentation materials. More studies would be needed to confirm the size and structure of the project.
The proposal also includes two small commercial wind turbines at Eisenhower Middle School that SUREnergy says would offset 85 to 100 percent of that school’s utility costs. The equipment will be leased by the school district.
SUREnergy suggests that the district uses the Northwind 100 kilowatt turbine, which is one of the few American wind turbines currently available. The unit has been in production for 10 years and has over 100 installation sites around the world, with over 10 years of proven performance. Many of the internal components found in this turbine are made in Ohio.
Safety and technology features of each turbine include three independent braking systems, 24/7 live monitoring from Vermont, a permanent magnet direct-drive technology that eliminates the need for gears, an automatic start-up and restart, and a power corruption factors that helps to reduce costs even if there is no wind. Lighting protection includes receptors in blades, nacelle lightning rod and surge protection,
The proposal states the construction of new wind turbines would stabilize overhead costs by keeping the district’s overhead electrical costs at the same flat rate for 15 years. This would provide short- and long-term savings by protecting against unstable and uncertain electrical costs.
Slotnick also spoke on the success of a residential model turbine already installed at Clay’s Wind Research Facility, and his thoughts on establishing commercial turbines on campus.
“The most important thing is there is the educational component that has to do with students collecting data, assessing bird impact, and determining the outputs,” Slotnick said, “and, as far as the school, the energy production is the economic advantage. It’s actually not going to cost any more money, but it’s going to save the school money.
“It’s a very strong move in the direction for maximizing our resources right on campus with wind energy, saving taxpayers, and being a great educational tool for our students, for our community, and the electronics program, and the biology program to be watching the bird study. It would benefit the physics classes, and the physics science group would be studying this, comparing the data.”
A board member asked if the agricultural students could access the data, and Slotnick responded that, “This data share is critical for everybody.”
Tornado victims who are in need of assistance to meet both immediate and long-term recovery needs are urged to contact WSOS Community Action, Inc. caseworker Lisa Mora at 419-836-8986.
WSOS, a private nonprofit Community Action Agency, is helping to oversee distribution of funds available through the Lake Township Long-Term Disaster Relief Fund.
Among the funds available to help victims are the proceeds from a benefit concert held at Metcalf Airport July 11. More than 6,000 people attended the fundraiser, which brought in more than $57,000 in cash and gift cards valued at $6,650, said Teri Michalak., chairman of the event. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will be donated to the relief fund.
Michalak added that donations are still coming in and those unable to attend may make monetary donations to State Bank, 301 N. Main St., Walbridge.
Mora will meet with victims to assess their needs, both immediate and long-term. After the assessment, she will present recommendations to a seven-member committee comprised of church representatives, government officials and members of the community. The committee reviews applications and oversees dispersal of the funds, based on need. Officials say they are concerned that some victims may not be aware of the availability of the assistance because they have been displaced from their homes.
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