Blog : June 2011
Watch out Portsmouth! There is a new superhero in town with the power to save consumers up to 90% at local businesses. Right now we don’t know much about this new hero, except that he (or she) has a lime for a head.
What we do know is that the enigmatic figure is tied to this week’s launch of Seacoast Media Group’s Limelight Deals, a new variation on Internet deal sites like Groupon and Living Social with a hyperlocal twist.
The premise is simple: sign up online at Limelightdeals.com and receive offers to buy-in to big discounts at local businesses in your email inbox.
The first deal to hit subscribers’ inboxes sold out within just 12 hours. A total of 500 people signed up to pay just $1 for a $7 sandwich at Moe’s Italian Sandwiches.
Another Limelight Deal gave consumers the chance to score year round savings at over 90 local businesses. Close to 20 subscribers took advantage of a $25 one year membership and organic t-shirt deal offered by the Green Alliance, a seacoast wide green business union and consumer co-op. GA members can use their Green Card to access over $1,000 in savings at local businesses.
Greenovations located in Portsmouth's Bowl-O-Rama Plaza, is proving itself to be a truly green company by offering sustainable home-healthy products and is proud to introduce their new line of cork flooring by Vida Cork. The ingenious cork floors are produced from cork strips of wine cork blanks and are 100% renewable.
Greenovations is overjoyed by the fact that the production of the cork and the installation is eco-friendly. As Christopher Ring, the owner of Greenovations explained "sustainable business isn't a coincidence, it's a commitment." Vida Cork is produced with a low VOC finish and formaldehyde free binders in a facility with a bio-heat plant generated from unusable waste.
The Vida Cork flooring is created with a click lock system as to not use toxic glue or staples. Available in nine natural colors and patters this innovative flooring is great for any space in any home. The seamless appearance makes cork flooring a great alternative for hardwood or carpet. The natural feel of the cork is especially favorable for spaces such as kitchens.
To learn more visit the Greenovations showroom and check out the Vida Cork flooring!
Looking for something different to do with dad this Father’s Day? Summer Solstice at Clay Hill Farm is a free community event celebrating the great outdoors and honoring fathers, families and Mother Earth. The Sunday, June 19th event will feature local food, music, games, and family fun for all ages from 11 AM-2 PM.
Originally built in 1870 as a working farm, Clay Hill Farm has transformed into a 220-seat restaurant and special occasion venue nestled amidst 11+ acres of rolling lawns, protected woodlands, and colorful gardens. “This summer, we’re going to be showcasing local food by launching a new Made in Maine menu for the summer,” says owner Jennifer McShera. “100% of ingredients and products will be made right here in the Pine Tree State.”
“A lot of people are curious about eating a Maine only food diet these days,” she explains. “We want to bring together themes that are important to individuals and families.
As part of that mission, Clay Hill Farm will showcase Community Supported Agriculture on Father’s Day. Visitors will have the opportunity to support local farms by pre-purchasing shares of local agriculture from Moon Dance Gardens of South Berwick, Spiller Farm of Wells and Touching Earth Farm of Kittery.
Susan Anderson is excited to have her new kitchen. She recently purchased new countertops from Visions Kitchens & Design. Susan discovered Visions through a Green Alliance promotional discount and decided the offer was too good to pass up!
Since Ms. Anderson is a member of GA, she received a special Earth Day discount through the company. Visions also offers consumers discounts when they choose environmentally friendly products.
Anderson "likes [the kitchen] so much better" after Vision's installation. She is excited because the countertops are beautiful and low maintenance. The recycled countertops are made from a blend of acrylic and natural minerals. This means that they are certfied Green Guard and have no dangerous VOC offgassing.
When the business line at Greenovations rings, it’s not always someone inquiring about store hours or driving directions. Just as often, owner Christopher Ring finds himself fielding detailed questions about the products themselves.
What are the manufacturer’s credentials? How does it work? Where was it made?
“I learned pretty quickly that this wasn’t just a retail business – it’s an educational business,” says Ring, who opened his sustainability-focused home retail store a year ago this May. “The questions people call in with, they’d never ask of the bigger stores selling a similar product. So I think they have higher expectations when they deal with us.”
A catch-all building and remodeling depot, Greenovations offers everything from super efficient wall radiators to insulation, floors to countertops, cabinets to wood stoves, paints and coatings to solar tubes, attic fans, plywood and tiles, and accessories for just about every room in the house.
For Ring, all of them have a unique story to tell – whether it’s the butcher block made of wood dating back to the days of Christopher Columbus, or the efforts of Eco Timber Flooring to invest in sound forestry practices at their Bolivian farm, virtually giving away their operations to one-time “poachers” who then transformed the operation into a sustainable one.
“So their profit motive was actually outweighed by their ecological motive,” says Ring, expounding on the story of Eco Timber. “It’s things like that that make me feel better about companies, because it shows they’re willing to make the serious decisions about who they are as a company.”
The menu at Bob’s Clam Hut might not have changed much over the years – you can still get the same fresh seafood favorites on the docket since 1956. But beginning last week, what patrons dispose of and how is getting a major overhaul.
Last Wednesday, the Kittery eatery installed a brand new recycling center near its front entrance. The box is divided into three separate bins: one for trash, one for recyclables, and one for compostable food scraps, with a glass encasement above each detailing which materials should go where.
Contrary to popular belief, things like napkins, paper cups, and any food scraps (including meats and dairy products) are all compostable.
Bob’s General Manager, Pat Barrigar and Director of Organization Development, Eileen Conlon were aided in their efforts by Rian Bedard, owner of EcoMovement Consulting and Hauling. Since launching in 2009, EcoMovement has partnered with dozens of area businesses, helping them institute comprehensive recycling, composting, and waste-reduction programs.
Bedard was originally inspired by a similar system pioneered by Whole Foods. As General Manager of Me and Ollie’s in Portsmouth, in 2008 Bedard created his own version of the recycling system, helping the downtown bakery and eatery significantly reduce its waste.
The new recycling station is just the next in an ongoing process to help render Bob’s more green. Starting last spring, Bob’s, along with its brother restaurant, Robert’s Maine Grill (just across the street on Route 1) began the process of re-evaluating their serving and packaging materials, in an effort to render their business more environmentally sustainable.
She may have been the first woman engineer he’d ever hired, but James Petersen also saw in Sarah Carter a unique narrative thread that seemed to bind all of his standout acquisitions: the itch to come home.
“We’ve gotten our best employees the same way we got Sarah, which is to say she spent a good part of her twenties working for a large firm in a big city,” says Petersen, owner of the Portsmouth-based Petersen Engineering. “By the time Sarah got here, she’d had five years of solid fundamentals under her belt, so I felt like the beneficiary of her missing the culture of home.”
Like many college grads, Sarah Carter needed some time to enjoy her 20s. After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Vermont in 2003, she moved west to the mountains of Colorado. There the Maine native spent the next year working primarily at a ski resort, giving youth lessons and punching lift tickets, all the while enjoying the high, pressure-free air of the Rockies.
But it wasn’t long before Carter felt drawn back to a world at once more grounded and sky-bound: mechanical engineering. Leaving the high altitude and soft powder behind, Carter moved east to Washington D.C., where she landed at a job as an engineer at a large, high-profile firm. And while the work was rewarding – most of her projects involved large government buildings, both in and around the Beltway and throughout the country – after five years, Carter and her husband found themselves missing the comparatively laid-back New England.
Summer is a busy time for any New England painting company. Warm sunshine and long days make for the perfect conditions for outdoor painting. For Sean Sturk of Minute Men Painters, summer is also a great time of year to get busy giving back to the local community.
Sturk's Portsmouth-based painting company is a sponsor of the 3rd Annual Bobcat Bolt at Oyster River High School in Durham. “We’ve helped to sponsor and volunteered at the event every year so far,” he is proud to say.
Dedicated to the memory of brothers Josh and Nathan Hardy, the annual 5K and 10K attracts 500-1,000 participants each year. Josh died in 1993 after a courageous 18-month battle with brain cancer. Nathan, a Navy SEAL, was killed while conducting combat operations in Iraq in 2008. The two brothers attended high school at Oyster River, where both excelled in life as well as on the soccer field. The 2011 Bobcat Bolt is scheduled to start at 9:00 AM on June 25th.
Proceeds from the Bobcat Bolt will go directly to the Oyster River Alumni Association. The group will then make a donation to the Oyster River Teen Initiative for the purpose of building a youth center in Durham.
Minute Men Painters is helping the City of Portsmouth go green by facilitating downtown recycling. “We helped sponsor one of the recycling containers that will be installed in front of Breaking New Grounds as part of the Portsmouth Zero Waste initiative,” says Sturk. Currently, 44 percent of the community’s waste ends up in the landfill, while only 22 percent gets recycled.
Not often does a media group fight to better inform citizens of environmental issues as much as Now or Never Media, based in Portsmouth. By creating a weekly TV show entitled theGreenScreen.tv, Now or Never Media has begun to spread the word about potential solutions in the fight to become more green and sustainable. By profiling local businesses and citizens who are making strides to take part in the fight for environmental activism, Now or Never has taken advantage of the media to better educate the public on a wide range of environmental issues. By specifically emphasizing climate change theGreenScreen.tv hopes to free those who are stuck in their everyday complacency and create awareness for environmental issues that are ignored daily. Bill Rogers, the executive director and producer of Now or Never Media explains the importance of this Sunday's broadcast as well as potential solutions in his following statement.
“This Sunday we will broadcast our 13th episode of theGreenScreen.tv with an inspiring conversation – if I may say so myself – with Cam Wake focused on his work and how that relates to the Union of Concerned Scientists Indicators of Climate Change in the Northeast. After this Sunday (11:30 AM on WBIN TV) we will rerun some of our favorite episodes as we continue to record more before getting to broadcast more original episodes later in the summer. We are succeeding in what we set out to do: being part of the exciting solutions all around us. We are part of this energizing, inspiring activity. As such we are part of a social climate that spurs other such activity.
Since 2008, Kent and Linda Wien have been helping spread the word about the Green Alliance. Since the couple first discovered the GA, they have been switching over to more and more businesses associated with the alliance. So much so that Kent decided to become a LifeTime Sustaining Member. Find out why he became a sustaining member below.
Kent and Linda Wien discovered the Green Alliance in 2008 and have been using it as their only referral service ever since.
"So far, every business we've discovered through the Green Alliance has been fantastic. We started by changing to Simply Green biofuel for our house and then tried Little Green Homes for a closet addition, SEA Solar for a PV solar installation, and even switched to Dr. Nathan Swanson at Newmarket Dental. We've more than made our money back from our Green Alliance membership, so we thought it was time to sign up for life." Kent says.
For as committed to sustainability as Portsmouth has been, the town is equally dedicated to protecting its architectural heritage – particularly in the downtown corridor. Which is what makes last night’s decision by the Portsmouth Historic District Commission (PHDC) to allow a solar hot water array on top of Jumin’ Jay’s Fish Café so significant.
In a near-unanimous decision, the Commission voted to authorize the installation of nine 4-by-8 foot flat solar panel collectors and a 500 gallon water storage tank to the roof of the Congress Street restaurant.
The system will be installed by Jack Bingham of SEA Solar Store in Dover, with plans to begin construction within the next few weeks. Bingham, who two years ago installed a high-efficiency water-system system at the popular seafood restaurant, saw the decision as a coup for both his business, as well as the green future of downtown Portsmouth.
“This is a huge statement for the city of Portsmouth,” remarked Bingham. “Being the first commercial solar hot water system, we think other businesses will be able to see the viability and hopefully follow suit.”
Jay McSharry, owner of Jumpin Jay’s, was equally enthused about the decision.
“We’re hoping this can serve as a template that other businesses can replicate,” he said. “So we’re paving the way for others, while at the same time giving Jack a great model he can use to present to other businesses in the area.”
Coupled with the existing hot water system, Bingham expects the new solar array to generate upwards of a 56% annual savings for Jumpin’ Jay’s.
My name is Clare Lloyd Owen and I just returned home from my sophomore year at Roanoke College located in Salem, Virginia and I quickly have found myself being thrown back into the mix of a typical New England summer, days of rain followed by the tease of the beaming sun.
Finally this spring, after sometime pondering different majors I decided to focus on environmental policy. It may have been the courses that swayed my decision, with Overpopulation Problems, Environmental Sociology and Environmental Studies capturing my attention the moment I stepped in the classroom. Or it may have been the first moment I began hearing about environmental issues, flashing back to my days at Berwick Academy.
Now I find myself almost four years later back on the (sometimes) sunny seacoast, interning at the Green Alliance in downtown Kittery. After a few hours at our first day at The Green Alliance, we (myself and another intern, Lief) have already been thrown into the action. Writing blog posts and listening to interviews, time for adjustment isn’t needed here.
I have infinite love for the sea, the beach and the East Coast so I couldn’t be more pleased with the summer days that await me. From blogging about green companies and organizations, relaxing in downtown Portsmouth, to the much needed beach days resulting in satisfying sunburns, this summer is full of promise.
As gas prices climb higher and higher and the thought of filling up a gas tank leaves many cringing, there is a solution in sight. Ezee Bikes located in Exeter has a great line of scooters that offer endless benefits. These scooters, which can easily get anywhere from 2 -5 times the gas mileage as typical vehicles, make the choice easy: scooters are the way to go, especially during our beloved warm-weather season! Currently Ezee Bikes sells gas-powered scooters, but they are actively looking into carrying electric scooters .
The benefits of these scooters go beyond the cost of gas by simply making it easy to move. Scooters make for great transportation in small cities such as Portsmouth, and avoid problems such as parking and traffic, especially during the summer season. They are easy to use and operate, as even someone who has never driven a scooter can confidently ride one on his or her first try! One scooter rider commented "Transportation doesn't have to be a hardship; these scooters are an absolute blast to ride!" Also, scooters are great on college campuses and other areas where the number of people far, far exceeds the numer of available parking spots.
No longer is it hard to maneuver in cities, on campuses or just around town. These scooters are 100% street legal and have met the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Department of Transportation. This makes them great on just about any street. In summary, scooters make it easy to and FUN to get around!
Most breweries are known more for their beer than for their food. But Redhook Brewery’s dining, revitalized by an emphasis on local, all-natural food, may start rivaling the popularity of its nationally-known beer.
Today residents in Somerset, MA were forced to stop drinking their tap water. Neither drought nor overconsumption was the culprit. It was the careless actions of an employee working for a subcontracted landscaping firm who polluted the town's water supply with synthetic fertilizers. Residents were forced to line up around the block in order to receive bottled water. However, supplies quickly ran out and residents were left to fend for themselves.
It is the fly-by-night attitude of many landscapers that poses a direct threat to the quality of water in this country. Green Alliance is proud to know that our partner, Wade Landscaping, uses only organic lawn care practices. Wade Landscaping develops a personal relationship with all of their clients so there are no unknown subcontractors.
A local business such as Wade is safer for our health and our environment. Organic landscape practices make sure that there are no pollutants that end up in water supplies. This means that our community will continue to have plentiful, safe drinking water and the environment won't be flooded with nitrogen.