Blog : January 2011

Share Your Love Gourmet Dinner - Early Valentine's Anyone?

By sarah | Jan 20, 2011 | in

February 9th RiRa is hosting Share Your Love, an annual event that benefits the Cooking Matters program of Share Our Strength. Cooking Matters is a program that educates at-risk adults, teens, and kids on how to cook for themselves in a healthy and nutritious way on a small budget. Local chefs love volunteering their signature dishes because they know the money raised will go to such a worthy cause. Tickets are $100 per person, but for all the gourmet food and fine wine it is not a bad price at all, and that isn't even considering the fact that you are supporting the health and well-being of deserving people from Exeter to Dover to Portsmouth.

Green Alliance Business Partner Beach Pea Baking Co. is one of the featured establishments. If the $100 per person tab isn't your quite speed, stop by their Kittery location and ask them what they are bringing to Share Your Love and get a free loaf of bread for every $20 you spend when you show your Green Card.

For more information and to buy tickets go to www.strength.org/portsmouth

 

Video Blog: Shawnee Peak MLK Jr Day

By sarah | Jan 19, 2011 | in

 

Shawnee Peak MLK JR Day Jan 17 2011 from Peter Boardman on Vimeo.

Skiing on a Monday?  Who can do that? Well, Sarah gave me the day off from the office, and sent me up to Shawnee Peak to see what the skiing on MLK Jr. day was all about.  I woke up extra early for the 2 hour drive North from Kittery Point, picked up my friend Ben, and headed to Bridgton.

We got there around 9:30 am and it was a brisk 11 degrees outside.  No worries though as the sun was shining without a cloud in the sky.  I went up to the office and talked a bit with Melissa Rock, Director of Marketing and Communications.  She gave me the run down: temperature, active lifts, open trails, etc. Everything was running and the conditions were awesome.  We got suited up and hit the slopes for the rest of the day. 

Put away that shovel and put another log on the fire!

By sarah | Jan 19, 2011 | in

For property owners, snow removal may be the least appealing aspect of New England winters. 

For homeowners, it means the physical burden of shoveling heavy, wet snow, and/or breaking out a snowblower to clear the driveway. For commercial property owners, it can mean waiting for an already-busy contractor to clear parking lots and other areas for which property owner has legal responsibility for.

But help has arrived, in the form of Cornerstone Tree Care. Yes, one of the Green Alliance's original tree care companies has expanded their snowplowing and snow hauling operation, and stands ready to help you, even in midseason.

That's right; even while most snowplowing services are booked solid, Cornerstone is accepting new customers. And they have a great deal to boot: 25% off any plowing contract or individual plow job in Cornerstone's coverage area of Portsmouth, Rye, and Kittery (not including Kittery Point).

Warm Hands, Warm Hearts

By sarah | Jan 19, 2011 | in

With the help of patients and Seacoast residents, the cardea center for well-being was able to collect four full bins of blankets, gloves and mittens for Cross Roads House through cardea’s holiday aspiration, Warm Hands, Warm Hearts. Cardea was honored to “pay it forward” by granting gift certificates to contributors for a full evaluation at cardea for themselves or a loved one.

The cardea center for well-being takes a holistic approach to health-care and sustainability. The general creed is that we do not need drugs to stay healthy, and that the body is generally more resilient than we may believe, deeming their methods, “sustainable healthcare.” Cardea sets an innovative exemplar for human health, and environmental health with the knowledge that health is more than just managing emergencies after the fact. Good health means creating a stable, balanced and energized nervous system, where an imbalanced system would result in a shift in a person’s physiology, which spawns illness and symptoms. Cardea’s clients have been relieved of symptoms like migraines, digestive problems, anxiety, muscle spasms, and depression. Not only do these clients experience relief, but also higher levels of function.

Green Cabinetworks Blogs About the Green Alliance!

By sarah | Jan 19, 2011 | in

One of many things we do for our Business Partners is blog about new projects, new green initiatives, or anything they do in the community.  It sure feels good to get the same kind of recognition reciprocated back to us.  Green Cabinetworks of Dover is so proud to have joined our growing ranks of Business Partners that they blogged about us! 

Green Cabinetworks has been offering beautiful cabinets sourced from FSC certified and/or local forests since it was founded this summer.  As part of what they do in their efforts to be less impactful on the environment they also have a blog on their website that helps inform and educate everyone on what we can do to live better while shrinking our ecological footprint.  After joining with the GA they have given us a plug on their blog as a great source for discounts and information on green businesses in the region!

Thanks Green Cabinetworks, we like what you're doing, too!

Read their blog post on us by clicking here.

Local Sustainable Entrepreneurs Share Knowledge and Expertise with Green Home Seminar Series

By sarah | Jan 19, 2011 | in

By Peter Boardman

When one thinks cityscape, the first thing that comes to mind is not usually “green”. This is reserved for pristine woods and untouched fields, however in today’s world these landscapes are few and far between and buildings are popping up everywhere.

Luckily, there are people like Christopher Ring to make sure that “green” becomes the term you think of when you consider the built environment. Ring is the owner of Greenovations, a retail building and construction equipment store where, according to Ring, “every single one of the products is manufactured at the highest standards of sustainability.” Green building has been Ring’s passion since he started building green houses with a friend in New York State. Through this experience Ring learned about the positive impact one could have by changing the built world. He decided that the best way to help advance the cause of green building was to provide a catch-all source for everything a truly green home would ever need, and Greenovations in Portsmouth was born.

Buildings and cities can be part of the catalyst for change towards a truly environmentally sustainable world, rather than blight to it. To spread this idea Ring is organizing five seminars to help educate the Portsmouth community on the principles and benefits of creating a sustainable, eco-friendly built environment.

Ring's seminars will offer anyone who is interested a chance to learn the information that they are not getting from conventional builders, a chance to bring the public together with local green building and exterior experts from landscapers to interior designers.

Portsmouth Green Drinks “Recycles” for 2011 Events

By sarah | Jan 18, 2011 | in

By Peter Boardman

Portsmouth Green Drinks is doing a little bit of old fashioned “recycling” in order to jump-start and reinvigorate its networking and speaker series for 2011. With a new organizer and an exciting line-up of speakers the event is sure to be a “must” attend for Seacoast greenies. Held at Portsmouth’s super-green martini bar, Two Ceres Street, this season of sustainable mixers promises to be as engaging for socializing and networking as they will be informative.

On the third Thursday of each month, sustainably minded Seacoast community members will meet up at Two Ceres St. in Portsmouth for informal social sessions known as “Portsmouth Green Drinks”. At these sessions attendees normally mingle and introduce themselves around the room, listen to guest speakers, have a few drinks, and engage in topics of interest. Typically with a mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business, anyone who’s interested is welcomed to join in. The events are unstructured and usually very simple. It's a great way to make new contacts, and also a way of catching up with people you already know. Everyone is encouraged to invite someone else along, so there’s always a new crowd to keep things interesting. Basically, Green Drinks is a self-organizing network of eco-friendly community members.

Green Drinks is part of a worldwide effort to unite like minded individuals with cities all of the country including Concord, NH and Portland ME getting in the Green Drinks game. The basic guidelines for the events follow a code which specifies the events must be: non-profit, run responsibly, decentralized, agenda free, local, self replicating, simple to organize, free form, regular, and most of all fun! With each year, a venue volunteers their space and a promoter is appointed from within the community. This happens to be Portsmouth's third year holding the event. For those who are familiar, last year, the events were also held at Two Ceres Street. Located right next to Pocos on the waterfront in Portsmouth, Two Ceres Street features many eco-friendly aspects including a floor made from recycled plastic milk bottles and a bar made from kirei board, a strong, lightweight, and environmentally-friendly substitute for wood made from rapidly renewable and reclaimed agriculture fibers, as well as no-VOC paints.

January Green Card Holder of the Month - Virginia Claus

By sarah | Jan 18, 2011 | in

Our Green Cardholder for January is Virginia Claus, who is deeply involved with the burgeoning localization movement in New Hampshire. While being a doting mother of two young children (as well as keeping five hens and a trio of rabbits), Virginia somehow finds the time to run "Living the Local Life", a blog with valuable content on events, recipies, and green living ideas. In particular, Virginia is very involved in the "locavore" movement, which emphasizes eating food items that have been grown or reared locally. She also tends to her own gardens and grows food during the warm-weather months, while being an active patron of several Farmers Markets that remain open year-round. Her site acts as a clearing house of ideas and information on local living and healthy eating, including terrific recipes, information on local companies, and other helpful content on the Seacoast green scene.

And her appreciation of local food was evident at a recent romantic dinner with her husband at Green Alliance Business Partner Clay Hill Farm Restaurant in York, Maine. "Our dinner at Clay Hill Farm Restaurant was amazing! It was just a great atmosphere, and absolutely beautiful with all the new snow on their grounds," she exclaimed. "With two small kids to take care of, my husband and I don't get out as often as we used to. I almost felt a little guilty, but the staff at Clay Hill Farm put me at ease!" Virginia used her Green Card at Clay Hill Farm to receive 20% off her tab, and she also loves the emphasis on local foods that Clay Hill Farm embraces, as that aspect is near and dear to her heart.

In addition to using her Green Card at Clay Hill Farm, she and her daughter also patronize Acorn Organic Salon. "I get my haircuts and highlights done there, and now I'm taking my five year old daughter, " she noted. "I'm trying to keep her away from potentially harmful chemcials found in many salon products, and I know I can bring her to Acorn without hesitation." Combined with the 20% discount she receives at Acorn's flagship location in Dover, as well as its new salon in Exeter, it's a no-brainer for Virginia!

Congratulations to Virginia, who lives a very busy, but very sustainable lifestyle that many of us can learn from and celebrate!

Pepperell Mill Campus reinvents itself as its own green stimulus package

By Jim Cavan | Jan 18, 2011 | in

For many New England mills and the communities around them, the road to closure is a painful one. And it’s become a road all too familiar to residents in the Biddeford-Saco area.

During the region’s 19th century heyday, Biddeford’s Pepperell Manufacturing Company was the heart and soul of the local economy, with the complex occupying over 4 million square feet at its turn-of-the-century peak. But the advent of mass electricity – which meant Southern cotton growers didn’t have to ship their product north to be processed – began to take a steady toll on the mill over the decades. By 2006 all production had stopped, and in 2009 the mill was put up for sale.

For a while it looked as if the 21st century would be the death knell for Pepperell, which seemed doomed to follow the outsourced-driven fate of countless mills before it. Instead, one local entrepreneur also saw it as an opportunity to remake the mill in an equally 21st century light – one that was as green as it was bright and forward-facing.

In 2004, Doug Sanford acquired a significant portion of Pepperell Mill, called the North Dam Mill. His goal: to transform the aging hulk into a sustainable community of businesses and residences that would serve to reinvigorate Biddeford’s downtown.

Now, five short years later, Pepperell is in the midst of a genuine renaissance – one that is as focused on job creation as it is on sustainable commerce and practices. The rejuvenating complex now serves as a home for retail stores, manufacturing companies, non-profit organizations, fitness studios, and 54 residential apartments.

In a way, the aging mill has become its own green stimulus package. Not only is Pepperell Mill Campus providing commercial space to revitalize the mill itself; they’re also patronizing other local businesses – including lumber yards and construction companies – to help give the mill a much-needed makeover.

“We hope one of the byproducts of doing this project will be the creation of more jobs,” says Scott Joslin, Director of Construction and Planning for Pepperell. “We feel we have the potential to create over 700 permanent jobs, and that doesn’t even include the over 400,000 man hours of work associated with construction and development.”

Hitting the Slopes Without Breaking the Bank

By sarah | Jan 18, 2011 | in

Skiing and riding in New England. The fresh mountain air. The thrill of cruising down the mountain. The fresh snow. The good times with friends and family. The sticker shock.

Sticker shock? That’s what a lot of winter sports enthusiasts feel these days when they get to the ticket window at major New England resorts, which have been hit with rising insurance and energy costs, as well as the fickle nature of a weather-dependent business. In fact, several major New England ski resorts now charge over $80 for an adult weekend lift ticket. This is particularly true as large, out-of-state corporations now own many ski resorts, and seem more concerned with increasing earnings per share, rather than creating winter memories.
 

But some ski resorts remain committed to keeping skiing and snowboarding affordable. Locally-owned Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, Maine is one resort that allows families to maintain a budget while still having fun on its wide variety of terrain, through a combination of reasonably-priced single-day lift tickets, and extensive promotional deals.
 

“Our philosophy is to keep skiing affordable and accessible for the whole family,” said Melissa Rock, Shawnee Peak’s Director of Marketing. “New Englanders should be able to afford big mountain skiing without spending a week’s pay.”
 

It’s not just that Shawnee Peak keeps its weekend and holiday pricing for full-day lift tickets in the mid-fifty dollar range (as well as under $40 on non-holiday weekdays), or that kids age 5 and under ski free with a paying adult; it’s the extraordinary abundance of deals available every day of the week. 
 

Green Alliance Sponsors the Kittery Road Race in May

By sarah | Jan 17, 2011 | in

For all those of you out there who love running, but for some totally unexplained reason don't feel like even thinking about it when the number of inches of snow on the ground is higher than the number of degrees on the thermometer, we have something for you to look forward to!

This May is the Fifth Annual Kittery Fire Association 5k Run and Walk!

The Green Alliance is a sponsor of this event that supports the Kittery Fire Association and it's programs.  Last year GA Director Sarah Brown ran in the race and had a great time.  What she didn't think was so great was the lack of a recycling program and the huge amount of waste that resulted.  This year, as one of the event sponsors, the GA is going to organize the recycling program at the event.  We will put up several specially marked (with our beautiful logo) recycling bins for runners and spectators to put their used water bottles etc.

Now that you've had a few weeks to think about your New Year's resolution and reflect on it, you might add getting ready for a 5k to the list.  It is a great way to get more active, spend time training with friends, and feel accomplished when you complete it.  Also don't forget that you're supporting the programs of the Kittery Fire Department, too.

For more information and to register, go to www.kittery5k.com

If you're one of the first 200 registrants you will receive a t-shirt that will have logos of sponsoring organizations... that's right you'll have a t-shirt with the GA sunflower on it!  Also, every runner will get a coupon in their race packet for a reduced price on membership in the Green Alliance.

OPINION: When it comes to government bureaucracy, LePage wants it both ways

By Jim Cavan | Jan 14, 2011 | in

By Jim Cavan

Green Alliance Media Director

In the wake of November’s electoral red tide, environmental activists across the country harbored a legitimate concern that the incoming Republicans would have the EPA squarely in their sites.

Likewise, green Mainers of all shades have been looking to Augusta, anxious to see whether newly-elected Governor Paul LePage will make good on campaign promises to curb bureaucratic red tape, particularly with regards to the states Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

This past Friday, LePage gave his constituents their first glimpse of reform, announcing his nomination for heads of the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

LePage tapped Darryl N. Brown, founder and president of Main-Land Development Consultants Inc., to head the state DEP. Norman H. Olsen, a fourth-generation fisherman who has held numerous state and international posts, was tapped to head the DMR, while Phillip A. Congdon – an engineer – will head the DECD.

Commenting on how they would approach their new posts, the three struck similar chords: “My goal is to cut the project approval time [in the DEP] in half,” said Brown. “I am absolutely convinced it can happen.”

He'll certainly be in a good position to do so: Brown is the founder and president of Main-Land Development Consultants (MLDC), an engineering firm that helps steer businesses through state and local permitting and environmental surveying. Brown's company has represented many notable clients and causes, including the 10-year planned expansion at the Saddleback ski area and the voter-approved proposal for the Oxford County casino.

GA Business Partner Cuzin Richard Organizes Charity Comedy Show

By sarah | Jan 13, 2011 | in

February is a time to reapply yourself to your New Year’s Resolution, or at least have a few laughs and forget all about it. If your resolution involves giving to local causes then a Portsmouth promoter is making it possible to kill both birds with one stone.

On February 12th the Portsmouth Music Hall will host to the Tenth Annual Comedy Xxtravaganza, headlining Mike McDonald and featuring Joe Wong, Ken Rogerson, and Matt D.

Every year since 2002 Richard Smith, owner of Cuzin Richard Entertainment Associates (CREA) organizes a “Comedy Xxtravaganza” and gives portions of the proceeds to causes in the Seacoast. This year the beneficiaries are the Seacoast Family Food Pantry and the Green Alliance.

Cuzin Richard, as he is known by many in the area, has been committed to local causes for decades, especially ones concerning the environment. He puts his money where his mouth is in several ways, even including a protest of the Seabrook nuclear plant in the 1977 that ended in a free ride in a police cruiser with 13 other protesters. Don’t worry though; he now supports his causes in ways that do not end in court appearances, but rather in laughs, good times, and of course, money for worthy causes.

Cuzin Richard is currently the co-chair of the Pierce Island Commission, which helps protect the tiny island just off Portsmouth's Prescott Park. Smith has also been a member of the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs since 1980 and of New England Parks and Recreation since 1985. His connection to the environment goes back even further than that. After high school in the early 1970s he worked in Hawaii where he became involved with the Save Our Shores movement.

Smith became a pioneer of the music and entertainment scene in Portsmouth and the Seacoast in the mid 70s, bringing The Cars to Pease for one of their first big gigs and producing and even founding many annual events over the years such as the Portsmouth Jazz Festival, First Night Portsmouth and the White Mountain Jazz and Blues Festival.

For the last ten years Cuzin Richard has brought his entertainment promotion expertise to his support of local causes in the form of an annual comedy show. He likes to schedule it on Valentine’s Day weekend. “Nothing quite says 'I love you,' like shooting Smuttynose beer out your nose," quips Smith. The “Comedy Xxtravaganza” has many sponsors including Smuttynose Brewery, Taste Magazine, and Seacoast Media Group; all members of one of the night’s beneficiaries, the Green Alliance.

Thank God Almighty...Ski at Last!

By sarah | Jan 13, 2011 | in

As New England digs out from yesterday's mammoth Nor'Easter, the big winners include schoolkids, who are getting at least 1-2 days off rom school), as well as Winter sports enthusiasts...including skiers and snowboarders.

At Shawnee Peak, the storm delivered 16 beautiful inches of soft snow just in time for the upcoming Martin Luther King holiday weekend. With Maine and Massachusetts' schools closed on Monday, it's a perfect time for a long weekend of skiing, or even just a day trip.

While most resorts do not offer any discounts on holiday weekends like this, it's worth noting that the Green Alliance discounts at Shawnee Peak - 20% off a full day lift ticket, 25% off an appetizers at Blizzard's Pub, and 50% off rental packages - are in full force this weekend. Heck, just with the $$ you'll save on a full-day lift ticket, you'll be glad you joined the Green Alliance this month at our special promotional price of just $25 for one year's membership!

And for you night skiers, you'll be glad to know that Shawnee Peak will have night skiing available all three nights this weekend, including Sunday night. What could be better than getting in a few runs before, after, and during halftime of the big playoff game this Sunday?

So grab you Green Card and get on up to Shawnee Peak, where you can sample the mountain's wide variety of groomed and ungroomed terrain! With 16 soft inches to complement the resort's superb, energy-efficient snowmaking system, you'll be thanking God almighty that you're skiing at last!

A Grain of Magic Salt

By sarah | Jan 13, 2011 | in

By now, you’ve probably shoveled, snowblew, or been plowed out after the major Nor’Easter our region endured on January 12. And in many instances, we can thank hardworking plowing companies or state-affiliated crews for their efforts. But even after the snow has stopped, problems remain, sometimes right in your own driveway or your neighborhood’s sidewalks.

Many plowing companies and road maintenance operations use a combination of salt and calcium chloride to de-ice roads and sidewalks. This certainly helps reduce vehicle accidents and pedestrian slip- ups, but these substances have negative impacts on vegetation, human health, and the environment. In fact, the recently-elected mayor of Moscow has banned the use of chemical de-icers on the city’s sidewalks as result of years of resident’s complaints about the impact on their health. Considering how corrosive these salt/chemical mixtures are, it’s no wonder that roadside grass, trees, and shrubs often are in much poorer health than other vegetation only 10 feet away.