Sunday, June 21, 2009

NOT-FOR-PROFIT AQUARIUM MAKES BETTER SENSE FOR CLEVELAND

The below letter was well articulated as to why supporting a non-profit public aquarium serves Cleveland and the region--ant its future in a superior way--in contrast to a for profit aquarium---as was the proposal for the Power House. I have withheld the author's name, but he has many years experience working in the professional public aquarium profession.



I’d like to clear a few things up since there has been tremendous support of our project to bring an aquarium back to Cleveland. As most everyone in the area has heard, there was an announcement made by the Jacob’s Investment Group, that an aquarium is proposed in their powerhouse building on the west bank of the flats. First and foremost is that this proposed Jacob’s aquarium is in no way, shape, or form affiliated with the Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. The most striking difference between these two projects is that the proposed Jacob’s aquarium project is a private, for-profit aquarium and The Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. is a public, non-profit aquarium dedicated solely as a cultural resource for the city of Cleveland.

We initially approached the Jacob’s Investment Group, among other local development groups, with the possibility of hosting the new Cleveland Aquarium and there were some continuing discussions. Recently, however, they developed their own proposal. There were some discussions on collaborations between the two parties, however upon further examination of their proposal, we believe that it is too limited in size and scope to be successful and we feel that the location is less than ideal. I hope to summarize the benefits of our project as well as detail more of the differences which I hope you will agree makes The Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. a much better project for the City of Cleveland and its residents.

Let me start by saying that new Cleveland Aquarium project has a very rich history here in Cleveland. Some of our supporters and trustees were employees of the fondly remembered original Cleveland Aquarium, which was located in Gordon Park and closed in 1985. Furthermore, many of the trustees are currently employed at its current “temporary” location at The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Combined with the long history of the original Cleveland Aquarium, the legacy of the new Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. is taking into account the future generations of Cleveland families. For more information on the history of The Cleveland Aquarium and its significant contributions to other public aquariums and the aquarium hobby worldwide, I encourage you to visit our website at www.clevelandaquarium.org.

The trustees of the new Cleveland Aquarium, Inc, have been working to bring a public aquarium back to Cleveland for a number of years. This project has literally thousands of hours from volunteers from the community in acquiring equipment and supplies from both defunct and remodeled aquarium projects including the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Columbus Zoo, the Fortworth Aquarium in Texas and most notably a large selection of tanks and equipment acquired from the former SeaWorld of Ohio. All of this valuable equipment is currently being stored in warehouses in Cleveland and its surrounding areas awaiting our soon coming announcement of this grand project.

The trustees of the new Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. are dedicated in making this project an iconic cultural institution for Cleveland, not a roadside attraction, which is intended to work in synergy with other local institutions such as the Rock Hall, The Natural History Museum, The Botanical Gardens, The Cleveland Playhouse, The Cleveland Art Museum, The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, etc in continuing the educational and intellectual groupings of museums and attractions that Cleveland is well known for. The non-profit Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. will include much more than fish tanks, it is intended to be a leader in all areas aquatic including research, conservation, education, and contribute significantly to aquatic veterinary advancements and aquatic animal husbandry issues. Furthermore, it is intended to work closely with the large aquarium hobbyist community that is prevalent in Northern Ohio.

The Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. believes that a non-profit institution ensures that the aquarium will not be profit driven, instead proceeds go to valuable programs in the areas of scientific studies, outreach, saving endangered animals, educational programming, etc. Typically, these non-revenue generating programs cut into the bottom line profits of for-profit institutions, whose sole goal is to make money for its investors and as a result are often limited in the scope of what they can do. The trustees of the Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. believe that the goal of a non-profit institution is to educate, conserve, and learn. Our project does not intend to pay rent, have to return investments, or repay debt. It will be primarily financed by philanthropy and grants. The money saved can therefore be spent on the above described programs creating a greater impact in aquatic animal science and education. Additionally, non-profit institutions are also eligible for a wider variety of research and educational grants than for-profit institutions.

The Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. will be a medium sized institution of about 100,000 to 125,000 square feet, similar in size to institutions such as The New England Aquarium, The Newport Aquarium and the original phase of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The non profit model of the project is intended to to be an economic engine for the city of Cleveland, by keeping the economic impact in the Cleveland community and not to funnel money out of the area since a significant part of the proceeds are to be spent locally. One important aspect of the project is that the exhibits will not be “shoehorned” into a building not designed for an aquarium. This model has proven unsuccessful in several instances since corrosion and weight issues are vital considerations in a properly designed facility. The Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. will have many habitats exhibiting a wide variety of freshwater and marine fish, as well as aquatic mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

The Cleveland Aquarium, Inc. is not only about an aquarium, but a catalyst for downtown development. It is about creating a lively and attractive place where people in all stages of life and diversity can come to dine, shop, and spend quality time, all the while allowing them to learn and grow in important aquatic related issues. We are committed to the rejuvenation and growth of the Downtown area, and view the Aquarium as a stimulus for a great deal of needed development. To accomplish this goal, we are in collaboration with the world's leading aquarium architect, Peter Chermayeff , who led the modern aquarium renaissance in 1969 with The New England Aquarium in Boston, and has to date designed many of the world’s leading aquarium institutions including the National Aquarium in Baltimore, the Tennessee Aquarium, the Lisbon Aquarium in Portugal, the Osaka Aquarium in Japan, and the Genoa Aquarium in Italy. Current projects include an aquarium Alexandria, Egypt and also one in Triast, Italy.

We sincerely hope that you continue to agree with our vision of a truly world class aquarium and will continue to support this project in any way you can. Please stay tuned for a pending announcement and ways you can help.


Author Name withheld until further notice

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Warren City School Board Approves Lawn Chemical Use On School Grounds

Here is another brilliant decision by this most august group of educated people. This is the letter I wrote to the school district business administrator--who ultimately made this decision. After having gave all the information the board needed to make the right decision to STOP having the lawn sprayed.... They indicated "they needed more information" So, essentially, they must approve of it.



Mr. Donnelly,

I, and many have been closely monitoring your dialog with concerns from the few parents who have wised up and stepped forward to question what is obviously no one else's but YOUR irresponsible decision to use lawn chemicals on school grounds. Your smug reasoning, to say the least, is utterly disrespectful to the tax-paying parents of this school district, whether they are informed about the issue yet.….or not.

Your justifications in using lawn chemicals are truly archaic in every conceivable way---and in fact, for those in the know, are catch all cookie cutter dialog spewed out by the lawn care services themselves. Had you read the information I provided you with, there would be no questioning this issue.

Your justification for need is solely from a mere cosmetic standpoint---that in many places is flat out illegal to use such products simply because someone may have become conditioned with the perception of what a lawn should consist of---and look like---by these companies. Their mission is to sell people on a regimen of chemical applications, much like cell phone sales people sell us a plan for the phone. Please listen once again... A LAWN DOES NOT HAVE TO BE MONO-CULTURE! Please de-program the thinking injected by the lawn care industry.....and start actually thinking.

By using these products, you are in fact killing the soil's natural ability to maintain a healthy system of checks and balances--by killing 95% of the beneficial organisms in the soil--that achieve this natural system of checks and balances---and hence, the lawn is left without a natural immune system (so to speak)---making it even more susceptible to so called 'pests' that these companies apparently set out to destroy in the first place.

Now we become hooked on this never ending “drugs-for-the lawn” cycle because it cannot maintain itself without a chemical trying to do what nature used to do for free. And, because you think a lawn must consist of blades of grass only---instead of a healthy bio-diverse lawn and soil. Your rationale that 'the chemicals are watered down’ is one that takes root (pardon the pun, please)...in the traditional sales pitches of the lawn care services. It is such a weak and pathetic justification. When we witness some 2 out of every 5 households participating in this monkey-see-monkey do nightmare….. It is simply unbelievable to see a school---a supposed institution of learning and better example setting---jump on the bandwagon too!

That's right Mr. Donnelly...the chemicals are “watered down” and winding up in our drinking water. See the annual drinking water report. I also think they’ve watered down our ability to use common sense! “Watered down” you say… Hmmmm…. Just enough here….and just enough there to all add up someday and make someone sick. Just enough, when all added together from everyone else doing it…..to contribute greatly to the pollution of our local waters. That’s brilliant thinking from our educating body in this city! “Watered down” just enough to contribute ’just a little’ to more breathing problems when children, pets and adults are forced to smell and expose themselves to what equates to a chemical fertilizer factory stench in their backyard each spring.


Indeed, all this because your best answer is that you have done it for years and nothing has happened to you. Bravo!!! I smoked for 40 years and I’m fine, so that must mean smoking is just a swell thing to do, right? Well, you really don’t know if or when being exposed to such chemicals right on your lawn could harm you personally, But….how do you know someone else isn't being affected? Many allergic reactions are mistaken for hay fever--when in reality, they can be traced back to chemical exposure. Something else you would have learned had you read the latest information well documented by leading world health authorities.

To me, it seems you’re willing to take a risky approach to this issue and listen to whatever the lawn guy tells you while ignoring the known facts. As a business administrator and perhaps one well schooled in business, you likely know that taking risks is what helps such people reach the top of the ladder of success, however, please leave this risk taking mentality to your business endeavors, and leave it OFF our school grounds!

Have you read the labels on these chemicals and the suggested safety preparation methods for using them? If you did, you have to be out of your mind to want to use them just for the sake of green grass--which by nature, is not supposed to be green all year 'round. Thanks for helping turn our waters green too. There are so many things that place our health at risk these days. Why add one more just for the sake of green grass!

The sad thing about all this is that you are choosing to do what countless other communities and school districts have made the wise decision NOT to do. Had you read the information, you would have learned this as well. Additionally, you are not only wasting tax payers money by getting yourself into a never ending spray regimen. You are denying people the RIGHT TO KNOW!

You are also denying the school science classes a chance to develop an educational pilot program which could be aimed at creating a safer, less oil, money, and energy dependent property….. which could not only look gorgeous....BUT, be the envy of other schools--and the give the district the kind of progressive kudos schools in only the most progressive cities receive.

There are so many exciting and progressive ideas in how we chose to landscape, so that we lighten our impact on natural resources---implemented elsewhere---but here---still waiting to be tapped due to an unwillingness on your part to learn. Because of decisions like yours in a time when we should know better about these things, we leave the burden for the next one to undo all the resulting mistakes. How costly will that be in dollars and sense in the future.

Use your business management sense to figure that out. All the above opportunity you deny the schools the chance of---simply because you chose to remain on the bandwagon of mediocrity and remaining in denial, Shameful! Congrats! Our own school science classes teach of the harms and threats contaminated runoff poses to our water resources, yet you chose to be a part of the problem.


Lastly, the anal obsession in society with the lawn these days would have one believing that the final product will be used as a food supply for the community----And maybe to reap a financial profit. But NO... Not even that benefit can result. (unless you eat this grass…..but be sure to wash off the poisons with the contaminated tap water) It is all just about the idea etched in our minds by the lawn care fad through various media advertising sources---that anything in the yard other than a blade of grass is taboo. Well, you can keep the health risks, no matter how minute you may feel they are---And I will err on the side of safety. I'll take the harmless dandelion. Maybe I will make a salad, wine, or medicine. You, on the other hand can drink a shot of the lawn chemicals! If you still insist the grass needs to be green…then cut it once a week so that those beautiful little yellow, white, red, and violet flowers never show their harmless faces again!

Cheers!
Robert Carillio
Concerned Citizen of the District
330-393-4448


P.S. I know you may find this letter very forward to say the least, but it is a reaction out of your total lack of regard and disrespect for those who have brought forth this important issue---and choosing to stick to your personal agenda. Instead of altering your opinions to fit the facts, you are altering the facts to fit your opinions. I tried approaching you with the utmost respect and you chose to patronize the issue and then blow it off. Indeed, this has been unacceptable and inappropriate behavior on your part--and as tax paying citizens, we demand more accountability. This letter and your replies will be shared with our wonderful audience. I hope that you share mine.