April 15, 2008

On local economies

Judy Wicks’ perspective is askew of that of most small business owners. The founder, owner and operator of the White Dog Café in Philadelphia, 24 years running, has never been concerned with profit. Instead, she said, her goal has always been to run her business is an environmentally responsible, sustainable and local way — something she said anyone could do with a little effort and an open mind. “When I first signed up for wind energy, for instance, the electricity was 7 times more expensive,” she said during a phone interview last week from the White Dog, which is on the first floor of a building that is also her home. “But I look at the big picture, and if no one signs up for wind energy, then the cost is never going to come down.” Wicks is co-founder and co-chair of the national Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, which helps businesses engage in local living economies, which she described as participating in the global economy but remaining self-reliant, with goods that can’t be obtained locally traded fairly through win-win partnerships — that is, a restaurant in Louisville serves food from local farms and fair-trade coffee. Wicks will speak in Louisville this Sunday, April 20, as part of a seminar offered by the local Sustainable Business Networks. The free talk is at 7 p.m. at the Clifton Center, 2117 Payne St. A reception begins at 6 p.m. Hit www.sustainablebusinessnetworks.blogspot.com for more. —Stephen GeorgeNew munitions facility  Metro police have decided to locate a new storage magazine on top of Cardinal Hill, a relatively remote spot in southwestern Louisville that is currently home to the reservoir from which that part of the city obtains its water. And Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins, R-25, is pissed. His office began issuing some 50,000 robocalls over the weekend to let constituents know about the facility, which will store firearms, bullets, perhaps the occasional grenade, and other low-grade munitions obtained from crime scenes, as well as general supplies associated with bomb defusing. Major Rodney Milburn with Metro Police said the storage magazine — sometimes inaccurately called a “bomb bunker” — is less dangerous than having a car full of gas parked in your garage. Hawkins remained steadfast in his opposition to the facility, calling a community meeting for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Southwest Government Center. —SG