Friday, December 10, 2010

Oklahoma-based AES/Shady Point Calls Allegations Over Coal Fly Ash Site "Unsupported"

Update on Rosemary Crawford's activities on behalf of the citizens of Bokoshe, OK.

BOKOSHE, Oklahoma – An Oklahoma power company at the center of the environmental battle held a news conference to clear the air Wednesday. The fight is centered around a fly ash dump site in the tiny town of Bokoshe, in LeFlore County.

Related Story: Oklahoma Fails Small Town In Fly Ash Regulation

Fly ash is a byproduct of burned coal. It's full of heavy metals like arsenic and lead that are known to be harmful to people. For ten years, the AES power plant has been transporting fly ash off their site by the truckload and dumping at a site in Bokoshe. It's become the largest dump site of its kind in the state.Bokoshe residents are fighting to stop the dumping. They claim it's caused various health problems including cancer and respiratory issues."We have had a very bad rash of cancers and respiratory problems." Charles Tackett, Bokoshe resident, said.

They say they can't prove the connection, but the closest residents to the fly ash site have come down with respiratory problems and a host of cancers. In fact, some of the residents recently put up a sign that says welcome to Bokoshe, home of a toxic fly ash dump. In a news conference Wednesday, a spokesman for the power company denied any link to illness, said they're tired of hearing the false accusations, and that they're not going anywhere.

For the entire story including photos and video, visit

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sustainable Shawnee's Christmas Party!

Sustainable Shawnee's Annual Christmas Party was a blast as always. Enjoy the pictures of all the people who made 2010 a great year for our group. Thanks for everything!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Recipes from the 2010 Feast of Local Foods are here!

Sustainable Shawnee's 2010 Feast of Local Foods

Traci Westbrook has graciously provided the recipes for the wonderful food served at this year's Feast of Local Foods. Enjoy!

Traci's Recipes

Welcome 2011 Sustainable Shawnee Officers!

Sustainable Shawnee members elected new leadership 2011! Thanks to all the officers who have served this organization in the past and all the best to those just getting started!

President - Traci Westbrook
Vice President - Shawna Turner
Secretary - Melissa Odneal
Treasurer - Justine Thompson
Past President - Cody Deem

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recycling Centers Now Open at Lowe's

Lowe’s has recently installed permanent recycling centers in nearly all of its 1,700 stores throughout the U.S. to accept these items:

  • Rechargeable batteries (of up to 11 pounds)
  • Cell phones
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs (most Lowe’s have been accepting used CFLs since March)
  • Plastic shopping bags

For the press release, visit:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Walgreen's Launches Safe Prescription Drugs Disposal Program

Walgreens has launched the first ongoing, nationwide Safe Medication Disposal Program, a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of unused or expired medications. For $2.99, customers can purchase a specially designed envelope available at any Walgreens pharmacy counter that allows them to place, seal and mail prescription or over-the-counter medications they no longer use for safe, eco-friendly disposal. Once securely sealed, the envelope can be dropped into any U.S. Postal Service mailbox where it will be sent to an approved medication incinerator. Click here for the complete story.

A recent Associated Press investigation discovered trace amounts of a variety of pharmaceutical drugs in the drinking water supply of 24 major metropolitan areas across the country. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products are known to interfere with the normal growth and reproduction of fish and other aquatic life. Safely disposing of pills is a step in the right direction but reducing the amount of medication taken the US will greatly improve water quality. Discharges from waste water treatment plants and untreated sewage run-off into lakes, rivers and streams are by far the biggest source of pharmaceutical pollution. Presently, the EPA does not regulate pharmaceuticals as a pollutant so we must be extra vigilant personally to minimize the pills we take, especially hormone-related substances, which seem to have the most detrimental effect on wildlife.

Monday, October 4, 2010

From farms to feasts: Midtown restaurant in OKC to feature locally

Farm to table - the concept of using as many locally grown ingredients as possible for a meal - is carving out a spot in Midtown this month.

The restaurant Ludivine is scheduled to open in mid September in the Midtown Village area at Seventh and Hudson. The restaurant's menu is anything but static - as Ludivine's chefs scour Oklahoma's family-owned farms and ranches for ingredients, the meals will vary according to what they find.

"Rather than having an idea of the dishes you want to do, then trying to find the ingredients to fulfill that, you just take what's available from the farms, look and see what you have, then write the menu based on that," said Russ Johnson, owner and chef.

"The menu will vary a lot from week to week, and dramatically from season to season," he said. "Knowing where your food comes from and knowing the people who produce it - knowing what goes into it and what doesn't go into it - is really nice. It's something we've lost nowadays. People don't know a lot where their food comes from, and it's fun to try to change it.

Click here for the complete article. Sounds great!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Feast of Local Foods A Great Success!

Here's this year's team! Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen! We had 160 guests this year with seating indoors and out. Thanks to efforts of Traci Westbrook the food was the very best ever! Due to popular demand, we will post Traci's recipes from our meal on the website so stay tuned! Until next year, buy locally produced food whenever you can. It's healthier for you and the environment. Better still, it tastes outstanding!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center: A Great Idea for Central OK!

Located in Ada, Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center, wholly owned by the Chickasaw Nation, is operated by the tribe’s Department of Environmental Services. Start-up funds for the center were provided by a grant from the Environ-mental Protection Agency (EPA). The partnership of funding between the Chickasaw Nation and the EPA’s grant has managed to fully support the operation of the center. As a result, there is no charge for any of the services pro-vided by the ReUse Center; it’s free and open to anyone to drop off or pick up any item that the center accepts for reuse. Since opening, business has been brisk – up to 75 customers visit each day the center is open. And while the Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center has had a measurable impact on the environment – the center’s staff has accepted more than 32,500 lbs. of reusable material and redistrib-uted more than 29,000 lbs. since opening–the impact the center has made as a much-needed community resource was unexpected.

The ReUse Center now regularly sees families in need who have been referred to the center by various local social service programs and churches. The demand for items, especially for children’s clothes, furniture and basic kitchen/household goods, often exceeds the supply of items available. The Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center has also initiated a number of community outreach efforts during its first year of operation. They hosted an appliance and television recycling drive to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and every other Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The center accepts reusable furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, household and kitchen items, paint, cleaning products and building materials. For more information, call (580) 272-5451 or visit the Chickasaw Nation ReUse Center at 2205 N. Broadway in Ada.

Target Offers Recycling Stations At Stores Nationwide!

Target® has launched permanent community recycling stations in all 1,740 stores to kick-off a month-long cele-bration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Located at the front of each store, the recycling stations offer guests a convenient way to recycle aluminum, glass and plastic beverage containers, plastic bags, MP3 players, cell phones and ink cartridges. A full description of recyclables that are accepted is available at Target strives to be an environmental steward, taking a holistic approach to sustainability throughout its stores and operations. This includes building and maintaining energy efficient stores, improving transportation opera-tions and carrying a variety of eco-friendly products at Target and online at

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Comment Today! EPA Rules on Coal Fly Ash

Coal Fly Ash is affecting the health of Oklahomans, wildlife and water quality in our state. Please view this website, Take a look at the video produced by the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club for more information about conditions in Bokoshe, Oklahoma. The video was first screened at the OSN Annual Conference in June.

The EPA is setting new rules for the containment of fly ash and are asking the public for comments. There is no better time than NOW to make your feeling on this subject known. Oklahoma's lakes, rivers and streams already continue high levels of heavy metals and strict warnings on fish consumption have been issued throughout our state.

Comment Today and please thank Sustainable Shawnee member, Rosemary Crawford, for her tireless work on this issue.

New Hours of Operation at the Newly Staffed Homeland Recycling Center!

A Message from our President, Cody Deem:

There are many questions about recycling, now that Central Disposal is Shawnee’s waste hauler. While many details remain to be clarified, I had the opportunity to speak with Chris, who will be staffing the drop site on the Homeland parking lot on Independence (same site we are all used to). His job is to answer questions and assist us all by placing our recyclables in the proper bins. This is a tremendous step forward in Shawnee’s recycling efforts! The site’s operating hours are Mon-Thurs, 8 AM to 12 Noon and 1 PM to 5 PM; Fri and Sat, 8 AM to Noon. The gate will be locked during other hours. This restriction will take a bit of getting used to, but by having the staffed site will discourage the dumping of trash and prevent the contamination of recyclable materials. The attendant can also assist senior citizens and others who may need extra help.

More information will be forthcoming and thank you for persistently recycling!

Have feedback? Contact Us will your thoughts on the new recycling plans and we'll pass the information on to the City of Shawnee

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shawnee's Native Plants Park is Looking Good!

Sustainable Shawnee's own Tom Terry and Shawna Turner have been working hard to promote the use of low-water use plants and drip irrigation in Shawnee. Direct Colors Inc., a local decorative concrete company, acid stained the concrete pathway in the park and later Tom Terry with the Garden Clubs of Shawnee followed with additional plantings.

The park was created by the City of Shawnee and the Garden Clubs of Shawnee in 2009. Sustainable Shawnee with the assistance of the Oklahoma Water Conservation Grant program purchased the drip irrigation equipment in 2010.

The Native Plants Park is located on the corner of Main and Broadway. Come on by!

Top 10 U.S. Air Polluters: Do They Live Near You?

The Toxic 100 Air Polluters index identifies the top U.S. air polluters among the world's largest corporations. The index relies on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI), which assesses the chronic human health risk from industrial toxic releases. The underlying data for RSEI is the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), in which facilities across the U.S. report their releases of toxic chemicals. In addition to the amount of toxic chemicals released, RSEI also includes the degree of toxicity and population exposure. For the complete Top 100 air pollution emitters, visit

Top 10 U.S. Air Polluters:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's Local Food Week in Oklahoma!

June 13-20th

Local food is a valuable economic asset for the state of Oklahoma.
Any Oklahoman can celebrate Local Food Week in some simple way – by shopping at a farmers’ market or including locally grown food in the family’s meals during the week. A menu of many other ideas forcelebrating local foods is also available at
A full schedule of Local Food Week events. is available at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pesticides linked to ADHD in Children

What you bringing into your house?

Pesticides in foods are only part of the story. Soaps, dishwashing and laundry detergent, shampoos, toothpaste and many other household items also have chemicals in them that your family shouldn't be exposed to either. Consult the Whole Green Catalog for tested chemical-free alternatives for every imaginable product. Please consider making these changes. You'll be glad you did!

Study: A Link Between ADHD and Pesticides

Studies linking environmental substances to disease are coming fast and furious. Chemicals in plastics and common household goods have been associated with serious developmental problems, while a long inventory of other hazards are contributing to rising rates of modern ills: heart disease, obesity, diabetes, autism.

Add attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to the list. A new study in the journal Pediatrics associates exposure to pesticides with cases of ADHD in the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 4.5 million children ages 5 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and rates of diagnosis have risen 3% a year between 1997 and 2006. Increasingly, research suggests that chemical influences, perhaps in combination with other environmental factors — like video games, hyperkinetically edited TV shows and flashing images in educational DVDs aimed at infants — may be contributing to the increase in attention problems.

"I am very confident in the correlation in this study, because we controlled for quite a few things that we thought could play a role," says Bouchard. "Adjusting for those things did not change the results very much. Which indicates that there is very little potential for confounding in this association between pesticides and ADHD."

Read more at,8599,1989564,00.html

Whole Foods is Coming to OKC!

I always enjoy shopping at the Whole Foods Grocery in Tulsa and finally after much waiting, Whole Foods has announced a new location in the OKC area. A location has not yet been disclosed but read more about this exciting development in the Daily Oklahoman and stay tuned for more details!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Water Use It Wisely Conservation Week

Econundrum: 12 Most Pesticide-Laden Fruits and Veggies

The Environmental Working Group recently analyzed samples of 47 common produce items in the state that they're usually eaten (i.e., avocados were peeled, apples washed with water, etc.) then ranked them according to the amount and variety of pesticides the researchers found.

In descending order, the EWG's 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables:

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Sweet bell peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Kale
9. Lettuce
10. Grapes (imported)
11. Carrots
12. Pears

For the full list of all 47 fruits and veggies, go here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Community Vision: Sustainable Tahlequah is continuing to move forward with an eye on a greener and greater future for all residents.
By BETTY RIDGE Press Special Writer

Tahlequah’s future may not be exactly a Norman Rockwell illustration, but members of Sustainable Tahlequah have visions that could return many old-time values to a contemporary world.

During the first official gathering Saturday of Sustainable Tahlequah, which recently became an affiliate of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, participants discussed these ideas:

• Expanding the Farmers’ Market and community garden that already exist.

• Developing a network where producers are listed and consumers can find a place to buy the locally-produced items they need. Although much of the meeting focused on foods, members said this could also include other products.

• Establishing a community kitchen where people could get together to can and preserve foods that are grown locally.

• Educational efforts, including gardening classes.

• Old ideas such as barter (trading what you have for something you need that someone else has) and neighbors getting together to share the labor of planting, harvesting, building fence, etc.

For the complete article, visit

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homebuilder's Corner

EPA Releases Final Specification for WaterSense New Homes
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final WaterSense single-family new homes specification today, creating the first national, voluntary, water-efficiency specification for an entire new home. “Home builders can now partner with EPA and earn the WaterSense label for their newly built homes, helping to create livable communities and quality homes that are easy to maintain,” said Peter S. Silva, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “These homes will save homeowners as much as $200 a year on utility bills compared to their current homes.” More at

Tulsa Homebuilders to Launch Green Council

TULSA – The Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa will launch its Green Building Council on Jan. 1, enabling both residential developers and homeowners to use more environmentally friendly products. “I think it’s the coming thing,” said Phil Rhees of BMI Properties, who helped create the Tulsa council. He expects it to help advance construction of environmentally friendly homes in Oklahoma’s second-largest metro area. “I think we’re five years behind the national trends.” Larry Cagle of Cagle Construction will preside over the 25-member Green Building Council, which will partner with the interest group Sustainable Tulsa to help educate people on recycled and environmentally friendly product and construction options, connecting them to contractors, suppliers and service companies. Sustainable Tulsa unveiled its 2010 Tulsa Area Green Directory Tuesday to help fulfill that goal. “There’s some things we can do that will be short term, and a lot of things we can do long term,” said Rhees. “We have to start somewhere.” More here :::

OG&E Selects Norman for Jan. 2010 Smart Meter Energy Efficiency Project

Norman, Oklahoma has been selected to be the first city to participate in OG&E’s Positive Energy Community program. As a result it will become one of the country’s first cities to be blanketed with smart meters and hundreds of “energy portals” located in homes. Within the next couple of years OG&E will install 42,000 smart meters in the city. About 2,000 homes will have a programmable thermostat installed and other devices that are designed to help consumers monitor and control their energy usage.

With the new meters OG&E can remotely connect and disconnect electrical service and is notified immediately if there are problems occurring in the power grid. The programmable thermostats and graphical display units allow customers to easily understand how and when they are using energy and can help them make decisions that save them money. On average, customers who used the displays were able to save between 10 and 15 percent off their electric bills during the test in 2008. They did so by using power during off-peak times when the cost of energy is cheaper.

Click here for the complete article.

Sustainable Shawnee's Survey Results

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and hopes for the future with us. Click Here to review the survey results. All responses are completely anonymous.