July 23, 2009

Unintentional memorial to a dedicated law enforcement official


Last month, 9-1-1 Magazine published my investigative story about changes in emergency communications during the 10 years since the Columbine High School shootings.

Sadly, the story became an unintentional memorial to a key source, Cindy Cline. She died last month. Cline was the shift supervisor at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office 911 call center during the Columbine shootings. She helped the center field hundreds of calls on April 20, 1999, including one from President Clinton. The call center was among the only segments of the law enforcement response that didn’t face scrutiny and harsh criticism after the tragic shootings. Cline was a national model for police communications.

The magazine did not post the story online because the editors want to drive print circulation. I want to respect their wishes. Contact me to read more of the story.


July 22, 2009

Real estate series focuses on energy

I continue my Associated Content series on real estate with several more stories about energy savings for homeowners. Here are some tips on buying a house if you plan to install a home wind turbine. Along the same lines, here are some things to look for in a new house where you might put up solar panels. I also posted an interview with a green real estate agent here in Fort Collins.

July 21, 2009

Find your reps’ health industry funding

Filed under: Politics,Publications — grahamophone @ 10:33 pm
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Doctors, legislators and the American public all agree on the need for health care care reform. Yet the federal government has not discussed health care for 16 years. I remember all the optimism two months ago and the discussions of how President Obama was taking a smarter, better approach than the Clintons.

It may be all for nought. It seems Congress will once again fail to pass meaningful health care reform this year. Even doe-eyed patriots who trust their government have to believe health insurance and industry lobbies have undue influence and are fighting reform.

Fight back. Tell your legislator you want health care reform. And find out how much health care PACs and companies are trying to influence your legislators. It’s hard to remotely track every lobbyist and every Congressional staffer, but you can track the campaign funding for each legislator. Here’s my favorite online campaign tracking tool.

I used the database to look up my representative, Betsy Markey. She has received at least $7,000 from health care PACs since the November election. See more details here.

July 8, 2009

It’s not easy flooring green

Filed under: Green living,Publications — grahamophone @ 9:48 am
Tags: ,

It would be nice if there was a little green sticker on products that would tell us it is organic, recyclable, locally and sustainably created, chemical-free, minimally energy-intensive and fair-trade-friendly.

800px-Bamboo_ForestBut there’s not. Nothing is that simple. Sustainability questions for every purchase can be overwhelming and depressing. For example, bamboo flooring is the new canvas bag. It’s the in-home badge of eco-honor. But the environmental benefits of bamboo flooring aren’t as cut-and-dried as the bamboo planks. Chemical inputs, embodied energy and other factors affect the eco-footprint under your feet. For more, read my Bright Hub story.  Also visit ReNew magazine for more sustainable remodeling stories.

July 7, 2009

Saving money in your fridge

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 2:07 pm

I’m not talking about cold cash. There are ways to save on energy bills with your existing fridge if you’re not willing or able to buy a new energy-saving model. Here’s my useful list of tips Bright Hub published last week.

Real estate series

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 11:59 am
Tags: , ,

Look for a south-facing roof if you want to install solar panels

Associated Content is publishing my new real estate series focused on useful information for home home buyers and sellers.

I started the series with information for home buyers on researching local schools. Area school ratings and quality can significantly affect property values and quality of life, so even buyers without children should research schools in the area.

I am also focusing on energy-saving information for homebuyers, beginning with a general overview of important features for those who want to reduce energy bills or install renewable energy. Paying attention to small features such as south-facing windows can significantly impact your heating costs.

July 1, 2009

Your representative didn’t read the energy bill

Filed under: Politics,Publications — grahamophone @ 11:14 pm

You must have heard by now that your Congressional representative didn’t read the so-called cap-and-trade bill last week. But only those who opposed the energy bill really care.

Everybody should care. It’s not just about the energy bill. It’s a symptom of a fundamental disorder in the federal legislative system. There is no good excuse for shoving through such long, overreaching and complex “don’t read, just vote” legislation. Al Gore would acknowledge global climate change won’t melt the icecaps while Congress waits a month to read, study and properly debate the energy bill.

It was virtually impossible for any representative to read the 1,200-page energy bill before the vote, particularly given that the final 300 pages were added at the last minute. Here is the full text. Put on a pot of coffee and find out what the House approved without discussion.

For some perspective, the American Clean Energy and Security Act is more than three times longer than the long and far-reaching PATRIOT Act. The energy bill is roughly the same length as “War and Peace.” It is also rumored that only one copy of the bill could be found on the House floor during the late-night discussion and vote.

Associated Content published my longer editorial on “don’t read, just vote” legislation. For more details on my congresswoman, who claims to read all legislation, read my Examiner story.

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