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Sierra ski resorts improve environmental ratings

By Jeff DeLong • November 25, 2008

The nation's ski resorts are saving energy and otherwise going increasingly green, improving annual scores for protecting the environment, a conservationist coalition said Monday.

Twelve of 19 ski resorts graded in California showed improvement, with one -- Kirkwood Mountain Resort -- going from an F last year to a B in what one resort operator attributed to better communication with those doing the grading.

The improving trend at many Sierra resorts was largely attributed to expanded efforts to cut energy consumption and install green energy technology, members of the Ski Area Citizens' Coalition said.

"Resorts are walking the talk when it comes to reducing global warming gases," said Patricia Hickson of the Sierra Nevada Alliance, a coalition partner. "We love seeing this green trend."
In the Lake Tahoe area, Alpine Meadows, Boreal Mountain Resort, Homewood Mountain Resort and Squaw Valley USA received A grades. The rest got a B or C, with Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort getting a D.

Since 2000, the coalition has ranked the environmental performance of ski resorts on a numerical basis. Points can be lost for resorts that expand ski runs or build new lifts, snow-making systems or condominiums and added for recycling, supporting renewable energy and expanding mass transit.

The industry has been skeptical of a rating system it says penalizes resorts making improvements on the slopes or base.

"Historically, if you turned a shovel of dirt, you got knocked down," said Bob Roberts, executive director of the California Ski Industry Association. That's the case at Northstar, spokeswoman Jessica Vanpernis said. She said efforts on behalf of the environment, from construction of green buildings to habitat management and mass transit, were far overshadowed in ranking by condominium and hotel construction projects at the resort.

Washoe, city candidates go green at Reno forum

October 10, 2008

Wind turbines, digital billboards, a water initiative and building green were among the issues that drew more than 100 people Thursday night to hear from local and state candidates at an environmental forum in Reno. Sponsored by the Sierra Club, Nevada EcoNet and Scenic Nevada, candidates were talking green in the California Building at Idlewild Park.

Democrat Gary Schmidt, a candidate for Washoe County Commission in District 4, called for dumping Waste Management as the garbage company because of the high cost of taking things to its landfill and collection stations. He said local officials should find a way to cut those costs or provide for free dumping, cheaper than enforcing laws against dumping in the desert and organizing crews to haul away the cars. He also said recycling should be promoted more, saying businesses on East Fourth Street pay for old appliances, but "people still haul old refrigerators out to the desert."

Republican Neal Cobb, a candidate for county commission in District 3, said he has led clean-up campaigns for 20 years and agreed more needs to be done. "They will lock us out of recreational areas if we can't take care of them," he said.

Asked about legalizing digital billboards, Reno Councilman Dave Aiazzi said he wants to allow a digital billboard if the company agrees to tear down three or four other billboards. He's seeking a fourth term in Ward 5 in the northwest.

His opponent, Wayne Melton, said Reno should become the "biggest green city in the world," and people would come here to see what the city has done.

Aiazzi also wants a sculpture garden near the University of Nevada, Reno's new greenhouses near Wells Avenue, where people could check out the new alternative energy technology and get answers. "Some people want to know if a wind turbine makes a lot of noise," he said.

Reno Councilman Dan Gustin, running for a second term against Tom Herndon in Ward 1, said the greenest building is already built, applauding the conversion of the old Sahara building downtown into the Montage condominiums that opened Thursday night.

David Ward, running at-large against Councilman Pierre Hascheff, said the city should design buildings that "are green to begin with." He said the city has had to spend $50,000 to retrofit the new downtown events center to handle solar panels on the roof.

Hascheff touted work the city is doing, such as testing new storm drain systems to make sure they don't send polluted water into the river.

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Glenshire goes Green

By Seth Lightcap, Sierra Sun
April 29, 2008

Combing the campus for trash, planting trees and flowers galore, and learning about recycling were but a few of the green lessons celebrated at Glenshire Elementary's Earth Day on Friday.

Campus beautification efforts included planting petunias, replacing trees, and an intensive trash hunt. Parent volunteers and Villager Nursery representative's Rob Van Dyke, Karen Brunings and Stacey Luna helped the children hoe and shovel the new Parent Teacher Organization-purchased plants into the gardens surrounding the school.

Between grounds projects, the classes participated in watershed lessons with Nicole Deas from the Sierra Watershed Education Project, Map and Compass activities with Mark Keim of Teachers Association for Outdoor and Adventure Education, and recycling projects with Chris Siebelink. After the day of digging and learning, the campus sparkled with new life both in green space and green minds.

Attached photo: Volunteer Roz Van Dyke and Glenshire students Jenna Harris, 8, Victoria Stewart, 9, Curtis Krommenhoek, 8, dig a hole for a tree that was later planted in front of Glenshire Elementary. Photos by Seth Lightcap/Sierra Sun

Nevada EcoNet

Nevada EcoNet, a Reno-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was organized in 1990 under the name "Environmental Leadership" to serve as a primary source of environmental information and education. It the goal of EcoNet to keep people informed, and to encourage informed action, on the important environmental issues impacting our region and quality of life. Our intention is to draw upon local resources and through knowledge, information, and action create a useful resource for the community at large.

For access to the local 'green guide', environmental calender, and other documents, please visit the website.

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