Happy Birthday, GIAC!

Thursday, 31 May 2012 15:47

 By Kristie Snyder,
GreenLeaf Editor

GIAC 1_smFor 40 years GIAC has met the needs of its community — often when no one else would — and it's time to celebrate. The Greater Ithaca Activities Center's annual festival, scheduled for Saturday, June 9 from 11 am to 6 pm, will serve as a giant birthday party, honoring "40 Years of Building Community through Celebration of Cultures."

GIAC was created in 1972 following the loss of the downtown YMCA to fire and the closing of the Northside House community center. To meet the need for recreational programs for City children, the City of Ithaca, the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), the Tompkins County Social Services Department and the United Way came together to found GIAC. It was housed in an unused school building on Albany and Court Streets, which, after a major renovation a couple years ago, remains its home. Today the Center operates as a department of the City, but still maintains strong partnerships with the ICSD and receives United Way funding. A unique structure as a non-profit City department allows the Center to seek grant funding, which supports many of its programs. "We're here for the community, whatever the needs are," explained Deputy Director Leslyn McBean-Clairborne.

Read more: Happy Birthday, GIAC!

 

Congo Square Market — A Meeting Place in the Marketplace

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 11:47

By Zuri Sabir

Trommelwirbel afrikanische Trommeln 2011

We can make clear what peaceful coexistence means. It means living in peace and friendship with another kind of society — a fully integrated society where the people control their destinies, where poverty and illiteracy have been eliminated, and where new kinds of human beings develop in the framework of a new level of social living.

— Paul Robeson, Paul Robeson Speaks

The Congo Square Market takes place weekly at Ithaca's Southside Community Center. Every Friday evening, its execution is simple and effective: tables for vendors are sequenced in a circle facilitating an equal flow of foot traffic to each business, and an innovative halo of protection from the sun is created by a system of wooden poles suspending white tarps, well supported by cables. Music plays through the evening, rounding out an indelible sense of home.

For three years now, with this year's run beginning Friday, May 4, Congo Square Market has provided the Southside community with fresh offerings — fruits, vegetables, juices, homemade foods from a variety of cultures — as well as cultural enrichment and inclusion in Ithaca's mayoral debates. But fresher still are the goals of spreading liberating ideals within Ithaca's black community and beyond.

Read more: Congo Square Market — A Meeting Place in the Marketplace

Empowered Highlights Local Energy Efforts

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 11:18

 

By Kristie Snyder, 

GreenLeaf Editor

Solar-panelTompkins County is famous for its cloudiness. And it's quickly becoming famous for something else — renewable energy. Despite all those clouds, there's plenty of sun and wind, and more and more Tompkins residents are figuring out how to curb their fossil fuel consumption with a variety of sustainable energy approaches, from the tried-and-true to the purely experimental. A new locally produced documentary film, Empowered: Power from the People, highlights many of these efforts.

"Locally there is a huge trend" toward renewable energy, said Director Shira Golding Evergreen. "Art Weaver told me Renovus [a local renewable energy installer] has had as much work in the past two years as in the previous eight combined."

Those featured in the film live throughout Tompkins County, from Enfield to Caroline and at many points in between, including the City of Ithaca. They include households with pricey grid-tied solar systems, and those with low-budget off-grid efforts that include innovations like iceboxes and vegetable oil-fueled generators. Local solar installers Renovus Energy make an appearance, along with founder Art Weaver's new project, Weaver Wind. Also featured are the forthcoming Black Oak Wind Farm, along with the Ithaca Biodiesel Cooperative. Local social justice media group Green Guerrillas shows off its veggie oil-powered bus, and Town of Caroline council members proudly give a tour of the new town hall, which may not be beautiful, but will one day pay for itself with features including geothermal heat and an impressive photovoltaic array. You're sure to recognize friends and neighbors, or maybe those folks up the street you've been meaning to introduce yourself to — the ones with all those solar panels on their garage. The people profiled come from all walks of life. "We're hoping everyone sees someone in the film that they can relate to," says Evergreen.

Read more: Empowered Highlights Local Energy Efforts

 

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