Tours of 2003
In Manchester, Michigan, we met with college instructor Christina Snyder. Her class at Lawrence Technical School won a statewide competition for designing a "Zero Energy Home," utilizing creative passive and active solar applications.
At the Concord Grove Educational Center in Alto, Michigan, we attended a seminar on "light pollution." It revolved around the tremendous waste of energy involved with excessive lighting, practically everywhere in America at this point.
We were interviewed by the Cheboygan (MI) Tribune.
In Newberry, Michigan, we met with Nancy Kiplinger at the Michigan State University Extension. She said they had recently adopted the Minnesota Search Institute's "40 Youth Assets Program." Some of the asset categories include: positive family communication, access to theater, music, arts and literature in town, caring neighborhoods...
In Marquette, Michigan, we met with Dr. Fritz Hoenke, who is helping spearhead the Medical Care Access Coalition. This is a group of doctors in the area who offer free (or low sliding fee scale fees) to area residents without health care insurance. Each doctor sets aside so many hours a week for this in their practice.
In Hankock, Michigan, I met with Mike Aten, who is the executive director for Little Brothers (Friends of the Elderly). The program matches an "elderly friend" and a volunteer who spends quality time socializing in home, shopping, doing light chores...
Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa...:
In Custer, Wisconsin, we attended the 10th annual Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair. There were solar displays, wind turbine displays, talks on: solar ovens, bicycling, the ills of nuclear power...
In Stephen's Point, we met with University of Wisconsin Environmental Science Professor George Kraft. He told us 70% of the world's water is used for irrigation, 20% for industrial use and 10% for drinking and cooking. However, Professor Kraft also said that we were running out of fresh water because man was polluting, diverting and depleting it at an alarming rate.
In Stephen's Point, we also met with Professor Kraft's wife Susan, who has started the Community Coalition for End of Life Care in Portage County here. The coalition provides "death education" to area schools, work places and churches.
In Marathon City, Wisconsin, we met with Capuchin Brother Fortin. He spent 30 years in Central America. He said there was a lot of hunger, little clean drinking water, little health care...
In Merrill, Wisconsin, we were interviewed by the local NBC affiliate.
In North Morriston, Minnesota, we participated in the North Morriston 4th of July Parade.
We stopped at the New Melleray Abbey in New Melleray, Iowa. While we were there, I interviewed the Rev. Vitold Jordan who has developed "Yeshua-Do," a Christian Martial Ars based on Biblical values. (He was there on retreat.)
In Dyersville, Iowa, we stopped at the filming site for the movie "Field of Dreams." There was this ad hoc ongoing game going on there with a steady stream of tourists, parents and kids.
We stopped in Waterloo, Iowa, where we learned about "MET Transit Trolley Kids 2003." Each Friday, MET provides Trolley rides for youth ages 7 to 14 to parks and supervised locations throughout the city. (The cost is 10 cents, and adults ride free if accompanying kids.)
In Charles City, Iowa, we met with Victoria Nehls whose family is on Medicaid. For a paper at the local community college, Ms. Nehls suggested mobile dental clinics, staffed with supervised medical student interns, could travel throughout the various counties here.
In Osage, Iowa, we talked with Francis Morris, 82. She still bicycles around town -- on a low, three-wheel bicycle.
In St. Ansger's, Iowa, I met with Dean Church. A military veteran, some six years prior he started the first Vietnam Veterans of America chapter north of De Moines.
Traveling back into Minnesota, we did an "In Search of Lake Woebegone Tour." Lake Woebegone, a concoction of a mythical Minnesota town, is the brainchild of famed story teller Garrison Keilor. (While we never found Lake Woebegone (wink), we did find the "spirit" of it on the back roads of Minnesota, I would often say.)
In Duluth, Minnesota, we stopped at the Catholic Worker House where volunteers live in community in a cluster of homes. In these homes, they take in the homeless, providing shelter, food and help getting jobs.
In Duluth, we were also interviewed by the newspaper and appeared on the six o'clock news with one of the local network affiliate news shows.
In Hibbings, Minnesota, we met with Shela Arimond. She went on a mission rip to tanzania where she would walk to a dry creek bed with some rural villagers every day to dig for water. Sometimes they'd find it, sometimes they wouldn't -- and would go thirsty that day.
In Hibbings, we also visited the Greyhound Bus Museum (it started here) and we were interviewed for the cable access show: Voice of the People.
We then stopped in Ely, Minnesota at the north boundary waters. Here we toured the International Wolf Center.
In Bovey, Minnesota, we met with Phil Solem. In the late '70s, he and his wife sold their home and took the $15,000 in equity and gave it to the poor of Mexico. They then moved to the heart of Minneapolis where they turned an old, abandoned convent into a shelter for the homeless.
We then stopped in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, home of Judy Garland. We were interviewed by the local newspaper there.
One Tank Trips (Ohio)
In the Fall of 2003, we toured throughout Ohio.
We did a whistle-stop event in Hicksville, Ohio (that's the name). We also appeared in their local paper. I told the News Tribune there that kids have traded in active, wholesome pastimes for more sedentary, spiritually corrosive ones. Much of TV watching and computer use as a start.
We did some stumping in Edgerton, Ohio.
We were interviewed by the Wapakoneta Daily News. Wapakoneta is the hometown of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person (that we know of) to set foot on the moon. I said in the interview that the race to "conquer space" is, basically, "nuts." Especially, because the money could be so much better used on this planet -- to end, say, Third World hunger.
At the University of Dayton, I interviewed engineering student Allen Schulze. He passed up a lucrative summer job in the States, to work with Ethos Engineering in rural Guatemala -- to help people there put in small, vented ceramic stoves. (Many thee still cook on open flames in the home, creating all kinds of respiratory problems and burns, especially to young children playing by the fire.)
In Yellow Springs, Ohio, we attended a seminar on "Intentional Communities." This included things like "co-housing," including income sharing among 40 household currently in community at Sandhill Intentional Community in Missouri. The money goes into a pool to purchase one washing machine and dryer, cars to share, farm implements...
In Yorkshire, Ohio, we interviewed Dan Kremer on his organic farm. He believes artificial, toxic farm chemicals (pesticides, herbicides...) are creating all kinds of havoc in our systems. I also gave a talk at his yearly Organic Farm Festival.
In Ottawa, Ohio, we looked at migrant farm worker issues, including interviewing Putnam County Educational Service's Jack Betscher. He said his agency is working hard to provide innovative and quality educational training for migrant worker children, and their parents.
In Bowling Green, Ohio, I was interviewed by the Bowling Green State University campus newspaper.
At Findlay University I went to hear Allen Pinkham, a Native American activist for the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho. His contention is that hydro-electric dams along the Columbia River are destroying his people's salmon fishing.
I toured the Tower Automotive Plant in Bluffton, Ohio as part of a Chamber of Commerce event.
I was interviewed for a column in the Findlay Courier newspaper.
I met with Bluffton College professor Bob Antibus. He teaches environmental science. He said if everyone on earth lived like the "average North American" -- we need three earths!
I attended a Bluffton College seminar on racism. At one point it was noted that "colonialism" is the internalization of superiority. It is an act of aggression against a people by a country which takes land, exploits resources, including the indigenous people of the land. It destroys indigenous culture and requires allegiance to the conquering country.
(Lower Peninsula): Morenci, Manchester, Alto
(Upper Peninsula): Cheboygan, Newberry, Marquette, Hancock, Houghton, Calumet, Copper Harbor
Custer, Stephens Point, Wausau, Marathon City, Chippewa Falls, Merrill
Peosta, Epworth, Dyersville, Waterloo, Charles City, Mason City, Manley, Osage, St. Ansger, Toeterville
Minnesota ("In Search of Lake Woebegone Tour"):
Rose Creek, Austin, Waseca, Morristown, Fairbult, Northfield, Farmington, Duluth, Eveleth, Hibbing, Tower, Ely, Grand Rapids, Brainerd
"One Tank Trips" (from Bluffton, Ohio):
Hicksville (That's it's name, honest!), Edgerton,
Wapakoneta [hometown of astronaut Neil ("...One giant leap for mankind.")Armstrong],
Dayton, Yellow Springs, Yorkshire, Ottawa, Bowling Green.
Wausau, Marathon City,