Mar 172013
Mayer's Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Mayer’s Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

NoC editor Danny Mayer is sponsoring a Town Branch Commons design challenge. He’s calling on area commoners to come up with an affordable and functional design to redevelop a portion of  151 East Vine Street, a .62 acre publicly owned surface parking lot that runs downtown between Vine and Water Street in Lexington, Kentucky. He will present the winning idea to a meeting of the city council, at which time he will formally request public funding for the project.

The idea for Mayer’s challenge began after the NoC editor read about a city leader’s recent admission that closing down surface parking lots on Vine Street is “clearly implementable” and “within the realm of do-ability.”

“I think it’s great,” Mayer said, “that city leaders are finally acknowledging the benefits of transforming under-used government property into human-scaled places of interaction and mobility. I want to do my part to encourage more of that thinking.” Continue reading »

Mar 062013

Film Explores African-Americans ‘Soul Food’ Habit

soulfoodjunkiesposterWEBOn Tuesday, March 26, the Lyric Theatre will host a free screening of Soul Food Junkies as part of the Good Foods Market and Café Film Series.

Soul food Junkies, which recently won the Best Documentary Award at the prestigious American Black Film Festival in Miami, explores the health advantages and disadvantages of soul food. A quintessential American cuisine with a rich history and an abiding significance to black cultural identity, soul food and its core celebration of all things fried and smothered has had lasting effects on the health of African Americans, both good and bad. Continue reading »

Mar 062013

The Kentucky Mourning Project

This is a press release/job add from ELandF projects.

ElandFLyndsey-fryman-performance-035WEBThe Kentucky Mourning Project will provide compensation for grieving/praying/singing/careful consideration on the thoughtless and detrimental environmental modifications wrought by ourselves within the area known to us today as the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

ELandF is looking for a Mourner to grieve for the loss of a relatively undisturbed sanctuary/habitat due to our own uncompromising devotion to consumer culture, to apologize to this earth place for our sad/mad lust for items and profit, and to offer up prayers of healing and forgiveness. Continue reading »

Dec 062012

The first 200 years in court

The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights created government and rights of, for  and by the people. Nearly since their creation, however, these documents have been under assault by corporate interests, which have attempted to connect corporate rights to citizen rights. Writing during the early republic, Thomas Jefferson warned“I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

With apologies to Mr. Jefferson, here’s a condensed walk through two centuries of court cases that have incrementally given corporations the powers allotted to the people. Continue reading »

Nov 082012

Portraits illustrate the dangers of toxic chemical exposure

On Tuesday 13 November at 7 pm, the Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center will host a photography exhibition focused on Kentucky women. Titled “Burden of Proof: Living with Toxic Chemicals,” the exhibit features portraits of three grassroots activists who are advocating for policies that would reduce women’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Kentucky photographers captured images of three Kentucky women who link their health problems, or that of their families, to environmental root causes.  The exhibit is designed to help convey their stories on film and foster dialogue with Kentuckians on the need for industry and policy action that can improve our health.

Guest speakers at the event will include other notable African American women taking action on environmental health and justice, including Eboni Cochran of the Louisville environmental justice group REACT, and Monica Unseld, PhD, health advocate and an expert in endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Elizabeth Crowe, executive director of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation (KEF), believes the exhibit will help raise awareness about the subject. “These women are claiming their rights to both a healthy body and a safe environment for their kids and grandchildren,” she says.

According to a study released in 2008, at least two hundred toxic chemicals are present in the umbilical cords of pregnant women. Exposure to these chemicals comes from contact with every day products, including canned foods, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, shower curtains, furniture and computers. Numerous studies have concluded that the chemicals accumulate in the body and are associated with skyrocketing rates of breast cancer, reproductive diseases, autism, asthma and other diseases.

African-American communities are often at a greater risk for health problems from exposure to chemicals through products and from exposure to pollution from chemical or fossil fuel facilities. For example, studies show that African-American women have higher levels of the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA), and cosmetic products designed for African-American women are linked to reproductive system disorders.  A recent report from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that after being diagnosed with breast cancer, which is linked to toxic chemical exposures, fifty percent of African-American women are more likely to die from the disease than white women.

“As a black woman, these statistics hit very close to home for me,” says KEF Community Educator Andrea Watts James, from Lexington. “We’re trying to spread the word in that we need to be careful what we bring into our homes, and also that we can work together for safer, healthier solutions.”

The event is free and open to the public and will feature light refreshments. “Burden of Proof” is sponsored by KEF and a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and will run through the Lexington Gallery Hop on November 16th.