Going Green with Energy

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Beginning last Fall, the Healthy Blocks program has been working to improve the sustainability efforts of Brooks Landing and the Pocket neighborhood. One initiative urged residents to trade their old incandescent light bulbs for newer, more energy efficient CFL bulbs. Healthy Blocks also promoted supporting local businesses, like the Westside Farmers Market, to further reduce the carbon footprint. Another initiative included door-to-door outreach, providing information about free energy audits, conducted by NeighborWorks Rochester’s Energy Services.

An energy audit will test your home for many things including air leaks, insulation and your furnace. Then, the audit will provide solutions for you and your family as a result of the findings. These recommendations will show the most effective ways to make improvements from upgrading appliances to adding more insulation and other cost effective measures to get the most out of your home energy usage. An energy audit also confirms that your house is operating in a safe manner; carbon monoxide, exhaust methods on the furnace and gas leaks are all tested.

As an incentive for residents applying for an energy audit in the Healthy Blocks neighborhoods, they were entered into a raffle to win a free Energy Star appliance of their choosing (up to $750). Early this Spring, Healthy Blocks staff selected the winners! Penny Griffin from the Brooks Landing neighborhood and the Ruth Family from the Pocket neighborhood each received a brand new appliance just for signing up to do an audit.

Our green efforts will continue through this year. Up next, you will find some projects at the craft table at the Westside Farmers Market, teaching kids about sustainability. Congratulations to Penny and the Ruths!

For more information about energy audits and how you may qualify for a free audit, visit our website at: https://nwcprochester.org/programs-services/energy-services/energy-audits/

10 Ways to Save

By: Maggie Toro

  1. Carry a small notebook to document all your spending. Online trackers are also available, like Mint.com.
  2. Brown-bag it. You will save money each day by bringing your lunch to work.
  3. Check for coupons from local restaurants that you can use to reduce your eating cost.
  4. Avoid days when grocery items go up: the 1st, 2nd 3rd, 15th, 30th and 31st. Leave the kids at home, bring a list and stick to it.  Everything at eye level is the most expensive.
  5. Downgrade. Buy a converter box and TV antenna or eliminate cable all together.
  6. Carry small amount of cash if you are prone to spend.  Use a debit card to help you keep track of your monthly expenses.
  7. Look for ways to reduce cell phone charges. Prepaid cell phone is an option.
  8. Carpool with friends or co-workers to save money on gas or take the bus to work or school.
  9. Instead of going to the movies, rent a movie for a family night at home.
  10. Save at least 10 percent of your pay for an emergency fund. Once you have at least $1000 saved, put it in a CD account to make your money increase at the end of the CD term.

Tips on Community Branding

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Every community has a brand, whether formal or informal. What are some things you can do to positively brand your neighborhood?

Community Branding Tips:

1. Organize. Get together with other leaders in your area and figure out where you want to see your neighborhood. Come up with a list of short-term and long-term goals. Look at ways to engage your neighbors and move everyone toward a common initiative.

2. Get Involved. Continue communication with your neighbors, figure out a way to get people involved in your community. This can range anywhere from a block party to starting a forum to promote open yet respectful dialog. You never know what great ideas may come up!

3. Gain Support. While getting people more involved, see if there are any organizations that can help. Even if they can’t get directly involved, they can be a helpful resource.

For an additional resource: www.neighborhoodnotes.com

Community Branding Through Healthy Blocks

By Michelle Bilock

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For the past several months, residents in Brooks Landing and the Pocket have been developing community branding to be used in a neighborhood signage project. Committees formed and they asked residents to submit “design concepts” that would reflect the values and characteristics of their communities. Submissions of all sorts arrived- from slogans and phrases, to historical highlights, to hand or computer generated images.

Kristin Ward of the Pocket, a graphic designer by trade, emerged as a leader of the committee in her neighborhood.

“My kids and I rented a house on Kansas Street and had to move away.  We felt so homesick for our neighbors and for our friends at the dog park. We loved being a part of this community. Soon after we moved away, our current house came on the market.  We came to see it and put in an offer that very same day.  After we moved in, we felt like this house was meant for us.  There was truly ‘no place like home.’

I have enjoyed being a part of our neighborhood group, assisted by NeighborWorks® Rochester When this logo and sign project came up, I thought that offering my graphic design skills would be a wonderful way to contribute.  It has been a pleasure!” -Kristin Ward

Brooks Landing decided to work with Mike Governale who is the Interactive Art Director and Operator of RochesterSubway.com. His work as a graphic designer and his love of the city made him an obvious choice.

“This neighborhood has so many different angles to it; the different cultures, the activity, the great location… and such an exciting future ahead I think. I hope I can capture at least some of that unique flavor and energy. I want to give the neighbors something they can identify with and be proud of. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of this project!” -Mike Governale

The logo designs will be used as a representation of the neighborhoods moving forward. Initially, the logos will be featured on brand new neighborhood signage, including some banners and gateway signs. The funding for this project is provided by a generous grant through Citizen’s Bank.

An unveiling ceremony will take place to celebrate the completion of the project. For more information about the project and Healthy Blocks, please contact Anwar Pickett, the HB Program Manager – apickett@nwcprochester.org.

Kristin Ward: Wayland Publishing, waylandpublishing.com

Mike Governale: www.RochesterSubway.com, mike@rochestersubway.com

“Urban by Choice”

By Alyssa Deal

Henry David T.

I heard the term “Urban by Choice” from a NeighborWorks® Rochester staff member a few weeks ago. This staff member was referencing a conversation with a friend over the recent passing of a beloved board member, Edline Chun. “Edline was urban by choice, she could have lived anywhere, but she chose to live in the city” she did this to be a part of something bigger, on the individual level, neighborhood level, and city level.

Edline was a strong, influential community member, Neighborworks Rochester board member, RIT professor, artist, friend to many… and the list goes on. Many individuals are looking at Edline’s life as something to emulate, turning the end of an amazing life into a reminder of the importance of living with intent.

Take the time to think about why you are in this community. What kind of footprint do you want to leave? Whether in Rochester or another area, investing your time can have a positive effect. Live with intent.

3 Practical tips for living with purpose in your community:

1.     Understand who you are. Know who you are and figure out how your skills can be used to help others in your area.

 2.     Get to know your neighbors & neighborhood. Taking the time to get to know those around you helps build a stronger sense of community. You may be surprised at the hidden stories/treasures in your neighborhood.

 3.     Get plugged in. Start to get involved in your area. If you are uncertain about how to best contribute to the community, non-profits are one of many avenues. Develop a strategic ways to get involved.