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Nokomis East Neighborhood Association April 1st News
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News From the Bottom Up*

City of Minneapolis to Receive Award for Green Initiatives
Newark, New Jersey, April 1, 2009

Greenwash Globe Award
The Emerald City Globe Award to be presented by the North American Greenwash Society.
Photo courtesy of NAGS
  Minneapolis City Hall
Minneapolis City Hall's green roof sets an example. Photo by Chris Gregerson (
After reviewing a field of 174 nominations, the North American Greenwash Society (NAGS) has chosen the City of Minneapolis to receive its prestigious Emerald City Globe Award for 2009.

Judges cited several initiatives that have helped make Minneapolis “a great innovator in promoting the future of green-friendly cities.”    The list includes City Hall’s famous green roof, the repainting of 3,412 traffic light bases to a brighter shade of green, and of course, the City’s beautiful chain of emerald-green lakes.

Sustainability Category
Internal initiatives have been directed towards sustainability.  Minneapolis is the first city to fully embrace a reduction in office consumables. For instance, last year, city officials banned all disposable drink cups in City Hall.  Nearly $23,000 has been saved to-date by replacing the ubiquitous petroleum-based Styrofoam cups with washable, flea-market ceramic mugs and glasses.

Green Technologies Category
Minneapolis is also mentioned for being at the forefront of new technologies that reduce dependence on renewable resources. An estimated 35,000 trees will be saved annually by re-using sheets of office paper up to ten times.  Using a new “time release toner” technology (developed by the Asahi Business division of Toyota), laser and photocopier documents like public records, meeting agendas and official memos will “refresh” to a blank state in approximately 60 days after printing.  Minneapolis Communications intern, Annette Rybak (no relation to the City’s Mayor), stated that, if successful here, the new technology is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the cleaning industry alone.

The City now also generates some of its own power.  As any pundit will tell you, City Halls everywhere generate plenty of hot air. And, as every high school student knows, hot air rises. That simple fact is behind a new system of return-air ducts in City Hall.  Vents collect hot air at ceiling height where it gains speed as it rises towards rooftop exits. But before the hot air can escape into the city, it pushes its way through the blades of a dozen lightweight turbines, causing them to spin.  Those turbines are attached to nano-generators that produce enough electricity on a busy day to run the four motors in the City’s clock tower or dozens of Blackberry charging stations.  Although there is a 30-year payback period on the $1.2 million investment, NAGS considered it a “showcase part” of Minneapolis’ portfolio of green technology.

Recycling & Re-use Category
Minneapolis has taken recycling to new heights. Used cooking oil from the City Hall Cafe is now recycled and packaged in spritzers that replace light oil and WD40 as lubricants and squeak preventers. Old and worn-out independent Boards and Commissions are being recycled into shiny new City departments, providing hundreds of new jobs in this tough economy. And, the City proposes to save $12 million in election costs over the next eight years by simply recycling elected officials that wish to remain in office.

Pushing the Green Category
The Mayor of Minneapolis, RT Rybak, was mentioned for being “the greenest mayor in America.”  Like all the applicants, Rybak touted green as his favorite color.  But the judges were impressed by the Mayor’s list of personal favorites, like green tea, contributions of greenbacks, green limes, and green lights when riding his bicycle.  Not surprisingly, the Mayor wears green contact lenses, green boxers, and his trademark teal-green neckties are hand-made from recycled green silk campaign tees.  It was also noted that Rybak is the only big-city mayor who personally drives a green Toyota Prius to publicity events.

The North American Greenwash Society, based in Newark, NJ, was founded in 1999. Its stated mission is to “spread the good of greening throughout the Americas.” The Mayor is expected to receive the award during the annual American Paint Manufacturer’s Conference on April 15. Mayor Rybak couldn't be reached for comments.





* Note: Any resemblance in the above story to actual fact may be coincidental and could be disregarded, depending on your mood. April Fools!

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