Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TheSpillSite.com - Gulf farmers asked to flood fields for migrating birds

TheSpillSite.com - Gulf farmers asked to flood fields for migrating birds:
"A federal conservation agency said Monday that it would begin paying some gulf region farmers and ranchers to flood their fields so that migratory birds can find alternative rest and nesting grounds to oil-fouled habitats."
Good idea!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Millbury and surrounding areas turned down by FEMA

A "no" from FEMA because of hard work?:
"A FEMA rep told FOX Toledo, the area was not declared a disaster area because of the response from local, state, federal and volunteer agencies.

'No matter what the letter said, we appreciate the 3000 volunteers plus that came out to help. I know the letter said because of that we didn't qualify but the people here really appreciate all the people in the area that came out to help them,' said Millbury mayor Michael Timmons

“The outpouring of support we got from the entire region we should be proud and if need be we've proven we can take care of ourselves,' said Hummer

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Prime minister: Haiti needs help to rebuild - Haiti - MiamiHerald.com

Prime minister: Haiti needs help to rebuild - Haiti - MiamiHerald.com:
"``We are intent on rebuilding a stronger, better Haiti from the ground up, a Haiti capable of realizing her full potential as a self-sufficient, independent and democratic nation,'' he said.

On Thursday, the first official meeting of the full Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC) will take place in Port-au-Prince. Bellerive is co-chairman of the commission along with former U.S. President and U.N. Special Envoy Bill Clinton.

Under the terms of the reconstruction, the commission must approve all projects, from schools to hospitals to roads. At the same time, countries are asked to donate money to a trust fund. So far, only Brazil has signed a $40 million payment, and the Haitian government has been criticized for not having a clear plan on what a new capital should look like, and how to remove an estimated 1.5 million quake victims from public plazas and private lands."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Various updates

Have many things to share but only 15 minutes to write, so here goes:

  1.  I heard from Wesley in Haiti last night.  He and his mom are doing well.  He is still interested in starting his photo business.  They are using the tents we gave them :).  BTW to make the story even better, I was speaking with Andy Hartnett when we were working in Ohio and learned that he had helped to demo the house.  So people in BonaResponds (but of course not a BonaResponds trip when in Haiti!!) started the house and finished rubbling the house.  NICE!
  2. The Saturday we will be helping CYC in Buffalo's Botanical Gardens.  Come on out 11AM on Saturday (or meet at Murphy at 9AM). 
  3. Next Sunday June 27th (wow where did June go?) we will have a local workday in the Olean area.  Bill H will be here from Texas to work with us!
  4. Olean High School, Olean Middle School, Archbishop Walsh Academy have been great helps in collecting school supplies for Haiti.  If you have some please drop off at the Allegany Park and Shop, or bring them with you to any of the work days.  
  5. Had a wonderful talk with Bob Parsons who ran the Pearlington Recovery Center where we worked on the spring break 2008 trip. He suggested that anyone who wants to volunteer in the Gulf get training at a local zoo or bird sanctuary.  Good idea!  Also he will be collecting school supplies in the Greenville SC area (yep, same location as Fr. Pat).
  6. The Ohio trip went well.  They still need much help so if you have some free time, I definitely encourage you to go help.
  7. We definitely have to get going on fundraising!  For for us (BonaResponds) and for FoodForHaitiNow.  We have lost all momentum on this front.  Costs from Ohio will probably be about $650 (gas, chains for saws, food).  

Out of time.  More soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is Foreign Aid Bad for Africa? Shirt Charity Spurs Debate - TIME

Is Foreign Aid Bad for Africa? Shirt Charity Spurs Debate - TIME:
"There are some critics who argue that all foreign aid — whether from individuals or nonprofits or governments — is keeping Africa back. A vast body of research shows that foreign aid has done little to spur economic growth in Africa — and may have actually slowed it down. 'The long-term solution is not aid. It may seem cruel that aid should stop, but really it should,' says Rasna Warah, a Kenyan newspaper columnist and editor of the anthology Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits, a call to arms against aid. 'Africa is the greatest dumping ground on the planet. Everything is dumped here. The sad part is that African governments don't say no — in fact, they say, 'Please send us more.' They're abdicating responsibility for their own citizens.'"

While this is talking about Africa, clearly it also impacts Haiti and thus to answer the questions that will arise...we are only sending a few that will be generally distributed.

The school supplies, food, and soccer balls are being shipped to schools and orphanages which should dampen their negative impacts on the economy since these are groups that can not afford it any other way. It is not a question of buy or not buy, but of buy or go without.

Monday, June 14, 2010

BonaResponds on Toledo Ohio TV

We ran into the 13ABC reporter and cameraperson at the volunteer center.  Here is their story on volunteering (and specifically on BonaResponds)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Good day, hard day

  • Good day.  We did trees all day.  Wow.  From before 9 AM to 8 PM with one break for dinner. Add heat and you have a really tiring day.  I think everyone is tired now.  I know I am!  Indeed I do not remember being this tired.  Going to be an early night.
  • More pictures are being uploaded as I type....here they are: BonaResponds Ohio Tornado Set
  • Have 4 more people here tonight.  So our total is 11 even though Emily and her sister did not make it.  nor did Jeff.   
  • There was a gigantic "spread" at the fire department.  Lots and lots and lots of food.  From Spaghetti and meatballs to Salsbury steak and potatoes.   Not quite as many choices for vegetarians but still ate way too much: spaghetti with ketchup, salad, and watermelon. 
  • After eating we went back and worked for almost 2 more hours on the site.  
  • Tried to go bowling but seemingly EVERYTHING closes about an hour earlier than even Haiti time.  So we got  ice cream at the grocery store instead.
  • Chris (the professional tree person from Canton) is really good.  I am sure we are all learning much just by association. His friend Scott (and his some Drew) made it is after work today, with 2 BobCats! 
  • Tomorrow (Sunday) we have to clean up the church area and then will go out for an hour or so before coming back for the service.  
  • One of prouder moments was when Pete cleaned out the church's gutters.  Why?  Just because they needed to be done.  

Sleep time.

Short update from Ohio

Good day of tree work in Millbury Ohio. We worked with many local volunteers and family members/neighbors.

* The work was mainly clean up after heavy equipment had been through, but still very much needed. We did down three damaged trees and cut up several that were down.

* Laura and the United Way people at the fire hall in Millbury have several jobs lined up for us tomorrow.

* Jen and Phil got in late tonight. Emily and Anita are coming in the morning as is a professional tree guy who called tonight and is coming in to help from Canton. He will be bringing his tree climbing equipment which will help on several.

* We are staying at the First Presbyterian Church in Clay Center. It is an almost perfect set up with two big rooms separated by a kitchen. No showers, but otherwise ideal.

* here are some pictures of the day.

* The number of trains and the amount of traffic on streets at night remind me of Randys Rangers camp circa 2007 in Pass Christian MS

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reminder on Haiti collections

Things we are collecting for Haiti...all can be dropped off at the Allegany Park and Shop or to Jenifer Spencer upstairs in Murphy Building on the West side of SBU.

  1. School supplies--we have adopted two schools (about 1000 students total) in Leogane. We also will be giving them to various orphanages in both Leogane and Port au Prince. Notebooks, crayons, pencils, calculators, back backs, pens, etc.
  2. Used computers--We are working with various groups (most notably Robert Obas and the New Haiti Project) to collect, repair, and ship new and used computers to schools, Churches, and orphanages in Haiti. This has the potential to make a HUGE and lasting impact to the people of Haiti.   The computers must have processor speed of AT LEAST 1.4ghz and can not be older than 10 years old. We will ship to Massachusetts where a group will clean, fix, and ship. 
  3. Soccer Balls--working with various schools, clubs, classes, HelpCreateChange, and ToysRUs, we hope to ship over 500 soccer balls to Haiti.  
  4. Children shoes--We have 8 boxes of shoes (about 160 pairs) ready to go to MissionSoles.  They will be given out with the help of the "Sunday Project" mainly around Port au Prince.
  5. Money--We are still quite a bit short on our goal of feeding 100,000 people.  This money must be raised by September.  Make checks out to BonaResponds.  Can be mailed to BonaResponds, Box 231, St. Bonaventure NY 14778) (See FoodforHaitiNow.org for more information).

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Updates on Ohio

Updates on Ohio--
We have had several contacts with people in Ohio today.

Short version: much work to do, so come one with us!  or meet us there!!
  1. It is very difficult to assess damage from afar, but it seems like Millbury is a bit ahead of surrounding towns in their clean up process.  The fire chief and a member of the Board of Education both felt that they were well along in the clean up process.
  2. The MainStreet Church is acting a volunteer and distribution center.  We have had a couple of discussions with them.  They have two locations.  One was destroyed.  The other is helping with recovery both physically and spiritually as two members of their congregation died in the tornado.  They are having funerals on Friday and Saturday.  It is a very sad situation and they are doing better than could be expected.  They have been VERY helpful to us in finding work and even in attempting to arrange a place for us to stay.
  3. ISOH/Impact has arranged much work for us (as in we can not run out of work).  They are helping in several smaller towns in the area (including in Michigan).  We might be working in any of them, but the most tree work seems to be in the  Delta area.  Ironically ISOH/Impact was very active in Biloxi (medical mainly) in and around Yanqui stadium where we had many meals! So we might have met them after Katrina!
  4. Tom and others from Chicago are going to try and meet us there!  As is Gina from Cincinnati.   Andy (back from haiti and an original BonaResponds founder) is also coming!  As is Phil, Nate, Jen, Emily, Laura H, and hopefully you! :)

BonaResponds to help in Ohio

This past Saturday a series of deadly tornadoes swept across the Mid-West.  Especially hard hit was Millbury Ohio.  Approximately 50 homes were destroyed and another 50 severely damaged. In addition many farms, parks, and churches were damaged.

BonaResponds will be going to help this Fri-Sunday.  The base of operations will be the Mainstreet Church at 705 N Main Street in neighboring Walbridge OH.

We'd love to have you along to help!  It is a short trip but I am sure we can make a big difference.

You can meet us there (for the entire weekend or for just a day) or there will be two vans leaving SBU (one at 8:00 AM on Friday and one at approximately 5PM (stay tuned for exact times).

Please come prepared for the work.  Bring work clothes (boots, gloves, etc), a sleeping bag, personal items, toiletries, sun block, a digital camera, a good attitude!  You will also be responsible for food in transit.  Food will be provided while in the Millbury area.

You do not have to have any tie to SBU or have been a past BonaResponds volunteer, but it is extra nice if you have been!  (Wear your BonaResponds shirts or at least an SBU shirt if at all possible :)  If not HODR or any other shirt will do...lol.)

We do ask that you have had a tetanus shot within the past 7 years and you must be accompanied by a parent or other adult if under 18.

Stay tuned to the blog and the BonaResponds twitter account 

Please email BonaResponds@gmail.com to let us know you are coming!  or you can call 585.376.0231 as well.

I am sure it will be a good time and that we will be helping many people in their time of need.  So please come out.  You will like it!  Guaranteed :)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Millbury: Picking up the pieces

Millbury: Picking up the pieces:
"The agonizing process of cleaning up the eight-mile wake of the tornado that ripped through Lake Township is just beginning.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Monday, June 07, 2010

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

toledoblade.com -- The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio:
"It seems almost unbelievable that a force of nature in a matter of a few seconds could do the damage that was done,' Mr. Strickland said.

He said 50 homes were destroyed in the four-county area and at least 50 were severely damaged. The governor added that the worst damage was in Wood County.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tornado aftermath video from Millbury Ohio

Video from Millbury Ohio

A country ‘forgotten’: Missoula professor shares experience after visiting area still reeling from disaster

Good article!

A country ‘forgotten’: Missoula professor shares experience after visiting area still reeling from disaster:
"How could this situation, one that is quite frankly unimaginable for anyone who isn’t here to see, smell, hear and breathe it, be allowed to continue? It as if, four months after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, no reconstruction work had been done and Americans were living in the ruins of the buildings, cooking meals, bathing their children, struggling with each other for scarce resources, and living their lives without much hope for the future.

At 3 p.m., the temperature at Croix des Prez is close to 100 degrees, but, as I’ve found, inside people’s “houses” the temperatures are at least 10 degrees hotter. Made of corrugated tin, scraps of wood, plastic, tarps, even paper, the homes are more like ovens at this time of the day
and later:
"perhaps most troubling about this story, is the fact that approximately $37,000 per individual Haitian has been raised by various aid organizations for disaster relief in Haiti. According to a recent CBS news report, in most cases only a portion of the money raised has been spent. In the case of each organization, the rest of the money is being held in abeyance for “long term” development in Haiti’s “future.”


- Sent using Google Toolbar"

5 killed in heavy storms sweeping through Midwest | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

5 killed in heavy storms sweeping through Midwest | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment:
"Wind tore off most of the home’s roof and ripped open the north side of house, exposing a bedroom and a closet where sweat shirts and dresses were still on their hangers. In the front yard, a sliver of aluminum siding from a neighbor’s barn was wrapped around a teetering telephone pole.

The front yard was littered with decades of memories: a Loretta Lynn album, a porcelain lamp and a green golf bag were among the recognizable items.

“My heart sinks,” Gooden said. “I worked a lifetime for all this.”

He said he’d like to go in the home to retrieve items such as his wife’s jewelry or his NASCAR collectibles, but that it was too unsteady.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

BonaResponds possible trip to Millbury Ohio

Notice Board announcement:

The following will be posted on teh notice board at SBU this morning:

"BonaResponds-Millbury Ohio

In response to a series of tornadoes that went across Ohio, BonaResponds is planning a relief trip to Millbury Ohio this coming weekend.

We have been in contact with local officials in Millbury and it seems like the trip is a "go". But they will be getting back to us after further meetings and assessment of needs before we know for sure.

Like all BonaResponds events, this will be open to all. Costs are being worked on, but it is most likely this will be a free trip.

Family and friends and alumni from the Ohio area are especially welcome!

Most details are still being worked out (like where we will stay, when we will leave, etc). Current plans are for a group to leave either late Thursday or early Friday to establish contacts, secure sleeping quarters, and begin work. A second group will leave after three PM on Friday. Current plans have us getting back to SBU LATE on Sunday/early Monday AM.

Sleeping arrangements are unknown but expect them to be primitive so bring sleeping bags and tents if possible. Work clothes (boots etc) as well as being up to date on tetanus shots is a must.

More details will be forthcoming and be sure to check http://BpnaResponds.org and our blog, and twitter account (@BonaResponds) for more up to date info

(BTW as long as we have your attention: we will also be working NEXT weekend (June 19) in Buffalo and then the following Sunday (the 27th) in Olean.)"

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Going to school in Haiti after the earthquake | Education | The Guardian

A good article on the schools in Haiti. From the difficulty in funding, to the lack of supplies, and dirty/crowded conditions.

Going to school in Haiti after the earthquake | Education | The Guardian:
"In Nwayo, a camp of 3,000 people outside Croix-des-Bouquets, children who do have access to school have begun attending a 'child-friendly space', where they can play safely, away from the troubles of the camp.

'The majority of kids did not go to school before the earthquake,' says Reuben Emmanuel, principal of the child-friendly space at Nwayo. 'Now they are in the child-friendly space taking the opportunity to have some education.'

The article ends with a funny line (funny since I went in absolutely filthy clothes and have no hair:
""A lot of strangers come here," one eight-year-old boy told me, as he ate sweet plantains from a little Tupperware box during his morning break at Fleur de Chou. "I like them. I don't know if they have helped us, but they wear nice clothes and have long hair.""

Common Ground - June 10

Interesting angle as to why relief was slow to come to Haiti:

Common Ground - June 10:
"“Regrettably, the most prevalent explanation in the media for the sluggish delivery of aid was that authorities anticipated rioting by the violence-prone Haitian people. This well-worn, racist narrative attempted to transform Haitians from victims of an earthquake to perpetrators of a security threat....

Early on, the US could have exercised the option to use C130 transports to drop supplies in Port-au-Prince, but Secretary of Defense Robert Gates rejected this option, insisting that “air drops will simply lead to riots.”"

- Sent using Google Toolbar"