These videos are for those of you who have jobs, or responsibilities, which prevent you from taking random days or hours off at a time. Commissioner Marshall was absent from the second day of the retreat because he has a job which does not allow him the flexibility of daytime hours off. (The first day of the retreat was on Presidents Day.)
The topics of discussion ranged from the ever popular litter and trash collection, to special tax districts, fire and emergency response, animal control and the animal shelter, and one of my favorites, electronic records. Most presentations were made either by the county manager or clerk but the current Deep South Solid Waste Authority Chairman Kevin Beals was first up to talk trash.
Over the summer, crews at Rutgers University's Livingston Campus
began transforming a 32-acre, 3,500-spot parking lot into one of the
largest solar canopy arrays in the nation. The array will have a
capacity of 8 megawatts, enough to power 1,000 homes.
The canopy is more than just eco window dressing — Antonio
Calcado, Rutgers vice president for facilities and capital planning,
expects that with the financing structure, grants and energy
credits, the investment will return about $28 million to the
university over the next 20 years. A previous solar project had a
similarly rapid payback.
“Combined with the electricity we produce, it's a winner all
around,” says Calcado. “We're an institution of higher
learning—we teach this stuff—so we should also lead by
example. It's a living laboratory in many respects.”
Lead by example: now there's an idea!
An idea that might even attract businesses.
A new Harvard School of Education study,
“Pathways to Prosperity,”
recommends that educators place a stronger focus on vocational education
and apprenticeships, rather than aim to send every high school student
“We are the only developed nation that depends so exclusively on its
higher education system as the sole institutional vehicle to help young
people transition from secondary school to careers,” says Robert Schwartz,
academic dean of the college and co-author of the study.
This produces many problems: lots of people don’t get a college degree
who would like to (can’t afford to go; can’t pass),
lots of people who do still can’t get a job,
and let’s not get into
the Profzi scheme for Ph.Ds.
Here’s a partial solution:
“We need to do a better job exposing our students to different career
pathways so that they understand what options are available to them
Prisoners have to be released from prison or the county jail into the same community, and can’t get a job because they’re ex-cons, and often not even an apartment. Result? Homeless ex-cons turning to crime.
Female ex-cons in Lowndes County have some places they can turn to for
housing. Male ex-cons have only the Salvation Army, and they have to leave
there every morning early.
In Atlanta they’ve examined their situation and determined that
housing is the most central issue.
Which would we rather do? Pay as much per year to send them back to jail
as it would cost to send them to college?
Or find a way to provide housing for them?
Local tax dollars need to be spent in a way that benefits
the entire community, and not just a few. Maybe we can
afford to do something about getting ex-prisoners a place to live and jobs so they stay
out of crime and improve the local economy.
Actually, can we afford not to do that to reduce incarceration expenditures?
Members were in agreement that while there are many students graduating from area colleges, they are moving to other cities to find higher paying jobs. Some board members agreed the local workforce needs improvement to enhance the work of current employees, improve the skills of unemployed individuals, and create more job openings.
Can’t argue with that.
The controversial aspects of the Wiregrass Power, LLC biomass project
are not discussed in the article. Instead, the tiny accompanying solar plant
gets some press:
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