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gillikinj's Blog

Blowin' in the Wind: Clean Energy, Made in Michigan

The wind turbine pictured here is one of 32 harnessing clean electricity on Harvest Wind Farm in Elkton, MI. (I took this photo during a summer trip to the Thumb Area.) Michigan Wind 1, with 46 turbines, is another wind farm located just north of Elkton in Ubly, MI. Major energy companies like DTE and Consumers Energy are tapping into these and other wind farms in Michigan to supply electric power to their customers. Combined, both wind farms generate about 122 megawatts of electricity — enough to power roughly 35,000 homes.

Wind, solar and geothermal are among the most promising methods to generate clean, renewable energy. You can learn more about a clean energy future by reading Hot, Flat and Crowded, by Thomas Friedman, best-selling author and Pulitzer-prize winning columnist from The New York Times.

Is that REAL food you're eating?

Award-winning author Michael Pollan's latest book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto takes a stab at the overabundance of processed foods lining supermarket shelves, referring to them as "edible food-like substances" pretending to be food. Pollan makes a strong case for going back to basics when it comes to the food Americans ought to eat: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollan suggests we shouldn't eat foods our great-grandmothers wouldn't recognize. In other words, meals should be prepared with whole, unprocessed foods that are mostly fruits and vegetables.

An Economical Alternative to Faxing

At $1.50 for the first page and $1 per additional page for outgoing domestic faxes (international faxes are $4.95 for the first page and $3.45 per page thereafter), Canton Public Library offers self-serve faxing at reasonable rates. But did you know that in many cases, you can scan and email your document(s) for free — avoiding fax charges altogether? Canton Public Library has flatbed (letter-size) scanners you can use at no cost. Once you have your scanned documents, simply send them to the recipient from your web-based email account from the same computer you used for scanning.

Now Open: Canton Farmers Market

Here's a fresh idea: Stimulate the local economy--and your taste buds--at Canton Farmers Market! Now open every Sunday (rain or shine) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 25, the market is at historic Bartlett-Travis House, 500 N. Ridge Rd. (1/4 mile north of Cherry Hill Rd. in Cherry Hill Village). Shop for local produce, plants, baked goods, honey and more. New this year: Farmers Market Cook-off Series. For more details, check out the Canton Farmers Market website.

Read it ... and Sleep

Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night? If so, you're not alone. In fact, more than 25% of adults have had symptoms of insomnia at some time, and less than 10% have chronic insomnia. There are many remedies to help you get a good night's sleep and feel refreshed during the day. Explore our collection of materials on insomnia. You can also learn about other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Sweet dreams!

Now for Kids: Inspiring Books from "Three Cups of Tea"

Three Cups of Tea has been on the New York Times paperback nonfiction bestseller list for 108 weeks running (currently in the #1 slot) for good reason: Greg Mortenson, who is carrying out his mission to build schools — and peace — in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, is living proof of how one person can truly make a difference in the world. Now, Mortenson’s story is accessible to young children through the newly published picture book Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea. A Young Readers’ version of Three Cups of Tea has also just been published. My 8-yr-old son and I saw Mortenson in late January when he spoke to a packed auditorium (800+ people) at Ann Arbor’s Huron High School.

Finding 'Our' Voices

Finding My Voice, by author and NPR host Diane Rehm, is the Everyone's Reading selection for 2009. Fans of her award-winning radio show are sure to enjoy her memoir, but others will also find it inspiring as she recounts numerous and often painful obstacles she's overcome in her personal and professional life.

Are You a Locavore?

Locavore (noun): One who tries to eat only locally grown foods. Being a locavore is good for you, good for the earth, good for local farmers and good for the Michigan economy! Learn more about how and why to be a locavore; check out "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," by best-selling author Barbara Kingsolver, with Stephen L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver.