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April 2011 Blog posts

Support SB 38 to allow rainwater harvesting in Illinois

For the past two years, I’ve supported legislation that calls for updating Illinois’ plumbing code to allow rainwater harvesting for non-potable (non-drinking) uses, such as flushing toilets or coolant systems. It just makes sense for Illinois to have what many other states do: a modern, green plumbing code that permits capturing and using rainwater in indoor systems. Putting our rainwater to use helps conserve our limited water supply, as every gallon of rain we use is a gallon of water from a finite source that we preserve for the future. Capturing rain also will help reduce stormwater runoff and send less water through our sewers, preventing flooding and sewer system overflows during storm events. And, residents, businesses and communities that want to incorporate…

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Live near work in Washington, D.C.

This program was featured on The City of Washington, D.C., has announced a new program to help local workers live near work or transit, by matching the housing assistance some D.C.-area employers provide to their employees. Through the Live Near Your Work initiative, the District will partner with a handful of employers on this pilot program to achieve several goals, including reducing car trips, boosting homeownership, and increasing walking and biking to work. Not only will employers benefit from their workers living nearby in stable housing situations and with less stressful commutes, but the broader community also will reap the rewards of reduced emissions and traffic. Building on MPC’s experience helping design and implement dozens of Employer Assisted Housing…

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IDOT adds bicycle “dooring” collisions to official list of automobile accidents

AP Photo

If you frequent Chicago’s roadways, you know cycling’s popularity has exploded in recent years. More people are biking to and from work, as well as for exercise or leisure. Many cite the great outdoors, while some tout the environmental benefits and others the financial benefit. Whatever the reason, more and more Chicago-area residents are ditching their cars in favor of bikes. Gov. Pat Quinn announced this week the Ill. Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) will now report “dooring” collisions as traffic accidents requiring police reports. Doorings occur when a driver or passenger of a parked car opens the door and hits a cyclist. These accidents typically result in serious injury or even death and, before now, were excluded from the moving violation…

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GRIP Phase I Report Released

The Gary and Region Investment Project (GRIP) launched when nearly 200 participants attended the GRIP the Future event on Oct., 27, 2010. Community leaders, business leaders, elected and appointed officials, and representatives of various institutions from across Northwest Indiana gathered at the Gary Genesis Center to identify a few key investments that can catalyze the region’s revitalization. In addition to those in attendance at GRIP the Future, some 650 residents and stakeholders took the GRIP Survey, helping to focus the region on key investments and criteria for selecting those investments, and marking a critical milestone in the effort to stabilize and reinvest in Northwest Indiana’s urban core. The GRIP Report provides an overview of GRIP the Future, including survey…

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Earth Day, emerging water contaminants, and your medicine cabinet

Happy Earth Day everyone! While our little planet exists the other 364 days of the year as well, the celebrations that take place today are a good prompt for mindfulness and hopefully a nudge toward rethinking personal and societal behavior. Ultimately, it's a good reason to stop and think about humanity's relationship to other species and ecosystems, and to question whether the ways we consume and dispose of resources really make sense for the long-term. With that in mind, here's a quick analogy for you— soil : people : : fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides : ??? The answer, of course, is pharmaceuticals (both prescription and recreational). There is growing awareness that the chemicals and biological agents we apply to our crops and laws are not fully absorbed by soil or…

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