Saturday, January 23, 2010

Leadership changes at the Task Force

The Board of Directors held their annual elections at the January meeting. Robert LeSuer was elected to the position of president, Bryant Williams was elected vice-president, Linda Cook was elected treasurer and Tom Shepherd was elected Secretary. The board appointed Peggy Salazar as the interim executive director for 2010. Peggy's commitment to the organization as past-president and impressive record as an active volunteer gives the board great confidence that she will help the Task Force through the upcoming year as we continue to provide relevant environmental programming to the Southeast Side community and advocate for environmentally sustainable growth.

The board of directors has a lot on its plate this year, and we are dilligently working to improve the organizational structure, which will in turn increase the value of the Task Force to the community. We'll continue to post important announcements both here and on our website

Sunday, January 17, 2010

SETF hosts Asphalt Operations Services, possible buyer of Wisconsin Steel site.

On Thursday, January 7th, SETF members and community residents braved the wintry weather to listen to a presentation by Al Meitl, manager of Asphalt Operating Services (AOS). AOS has plans to purchase 135 acres of the Wisconsin Steel site, located near 106th and Torrence Ave, with the intent to build a new liquid asphalt storage facility. This meeting was the first of several for the company to inform the community of the impact their facility will have. The 17 meeting attendees learned about how the AOS operations require barges to bring in raw materials and diesel trucks and rail for transporting final product to their customers. AOS claims that the increase in truck traffic along Torrence Ave would increase by upwards of 100 trucks/day, but that will not impact the service level of the road and will have minimal impact to current traffic patterns. Attendees raised concerns about the noise of the proposed operations, and we were informed that outside of the trucks and rail, the facility runs quiet. Odors may be a concern, however, and the company will be using a state of the art biofiltration system which efficiently converts sulfur containing compounds (those that create that hot-asphalt smell) into elemental sulfur that gets trapped in the filter.

If approved, AOS would like to start construction of the facility in early 2010 with the plant to begin operation by winter 2010 and be fully operational in early 2011. Mr. Meitl predicts the new facility will create 30-45 new jobs for the area.

A public meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 18, 2010 from 7 to 9 PM at St. Kevin Church, 10509 S. Torrence Ave. A special hotline has been created for those who have questions or concerns, and they can call 1-773-729-7545 for more information

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Upcycling at SETF

Members and neighbors joined in the creative fun on December 3rd at the SETF office.  Using glue and scissors, they fashioned Christmas decorations from old cards, plastic glasses, discarded Cd's, milk cartons and other recycled items.  The creative juices were flowing!  It was fun to watch each person's style develop as the evening wore on. The ladies were so engrossed in their projects, they didn't want to bother taking a break to enjoy the refreshments.  And while there were no penalties for incomplete projects, Linda Cook stayed until the very last minute, determined to finish all of hers.  Everyone deserved an A+ for effort.

Trying to keep her fingers out of the glue!

              Neatness counts!

Measuring up the final project.

Everyone was so helpful.

Milk carton birdhouses.

Sharing ideas.

Holiday Cheer With Finkl Steel

On December 18th, Richard and Linda Cook and I were guests at Finkl Steel’s annual Christmas party. The party was held on the uppermost floor of what use to be an old plastics factory. The expansive room was bordered by lighted Christmas trees, lights twinkled from the rafters overhead and tables dotted the floor. There was even a snowy vignette of life-size snowmen flanked by mistletoe reindeer. It was a virtual wonderland.

The room was full of employees, guests and carolers from the nearby university ambling about. And while we enjoyed the vast selection of delicious food and the wonderful wine bar, we were none the less surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Al Underys of Finkl came to our rescue and was gracious enough to join us at our table spending a substantial amount of time explaining to the Cooks Finkl’s move to the Southside. Using his handheld technology, he was able to show our Indiana members the exact location of the new site. Al also took the opportunity to introduce us to a number of other Finkl employees.

We were having such a good time sharing in the holiday cheer that we regretted having to leave the party early in order to beat the traffic home. I’m especially sorry that I didn’t get to play bean bags – the competition looked mean.

Thanks Finkl Steel for having us as your guests. We look forward to working with you in 2010.

The carolers were lovely.

Linda Cook looks on as Al Underys pin points Finkl's new location.

Posing for the camera.

Mr. and Mrs. Frosty were the judges of the beanbag competition.