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First Annual Cool Citizen Awards – 2009

May 20, 2009

At its annual All-Affiliates Conference held May 16, 2009 at Western Virginia Water Authority’s Spring Hollow Water Treatment Facility, Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition announced the winners of its new “Cool Citizen Awards”. These awards recognize individuals, organizations, and companies that have had the greatest impact toward reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are recognized to be a principal cause of global climate change. This year’s awards recognize work that has been done since the inception of the Coalition (2006) through the present, and the Coalition plans to make awards each year in the future for work done in succeeding years. Nominations for the awards were submitted by Coalition members, who number over 160. An awards committee made the final selections.

In keeping with the Coalition’s mission of promoting sustainable practices, award certificates were printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper, and were mounted in attractive “recycled” frames procured in local thrift stores. The award recipients also received gift certificates donated by Fork in the Alley Brick Oven pub and Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op, both members of the Coalition. Attendees at the event enjoyed snacks from Local Roots Cafe, soft drinks in recycled and recyclable aluminum cans, and Western Virginia Water Authority tap water served in reusable cups. Each nominee received a letter of recognition and a Green Awareness lapel pin.

Award Winners:

MEDIA (one winner)

WDBJ7’s “Mornin'” show – Lauren Cook and Bob Grebe – This local news and information show was cited for “Green Week, March 2009”; coverage of the Coalition’s compact fluorescent light initiative, and of the City of Salem’s endorsement of the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Other nominees in the Media category were: Sandra Kelly and “Prime Living”; Gene Marrano (“Roanoke Star Sentinel” / WVTF / Cox Communications); Meg Hibbert of “Salem Times Register”; Dan Radmacher and the Roanoke Times Editorial Board.

GOVERNMENT (two winners)

Gwen Mason, Roanoke City Council – Ms. Mason was instrumental in the formation of Roanoke’s Clean and Green Business Coalition. She pushed for establishment of target emissions reduction for the City of Roanoke, the first municipality in the Roanoke Valley to make such a pledge. She worked toward establishment of Citizens for Clean and Green, a diverse community group promoting energy conservation, efficiency and other green initiatives.

Kenneth Cronin, Director of General Services, City of Roanoke – Mr. Cronin directed the Virginia Municipal League award-winning effort to reduce greenhouse gasses, and has done numerous presentations throughout the state about how municipalities are dealing with climate change and energy management. The City of Roanoke achieved a 1.7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions under his leadership, and he is an integral part of the Citizens for Clean and Green committee.

Other nominees in the Government category included Charlotte Moore, Cave Spring District Supervisor, Roanoke County; Anne Marie Green, Director of General Services, Roanoke County; Jim Vodnik, Assistant General Services Director, Roanoke County; and Howard Packett, former mayor, Salem.

BUSINESS (two winners)

Breakell, Inc. General Contractors – This company is a leader in the sustainable business practices movement in Roanoke. President Stan Breakell was instrumental in founding Roanoke’s Clean and Green Business Coalition. First in the Valley to deploy a fleet of Prius hybrid sedans, Breakell continues to push the envelope on the sustainability front.

Roanoke Cement, A Titan America Company – Roanoke Cement was cited for its $12,000 grant to support measurement of community and government carbon footprints for Roanoke County and the City of Salem. The company reduced its own electricity use by approximately 6% in 2008 and received an Energy Star citation for energy savings.

Other nominees in the Business category were the Clean and Green Business Coalition and Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op.

NON-PROFIT (two winners)

Hollins University – Hollins has embarked on a program to make their entire campus “carbon neutral”. They measured their carbon footprint, the first establishment of this magnitude to do so in the Roanoke Valley. Hollins hosted a film festival “Putting a Chill on Global Warming” (2007) that served as the kick-off for the local campaign for responsible energy use, and they have brought outstanding expert speakers on the subject of global climate change and sustainability to Roanoke Valley.

US Green Building Council Southwest Virginia Chapter and Nell Boyle – During Ms. Boyle’s tenure as chair of this group, they hosted a wide range of programs to educate the general public about green building. This organization is the leading regional resource for sustainable building practices. Members include architects, builders, real estate specialists and professionals in related fields.

Also nominated in the Non-Profit category was Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT (two winners) – This award category recognizes individuals or organizations who may not fit into one of the other categories or whose accomplishments were of such importance as to deserve special recognition.

Rupert Cutler – Dr. Cutler was one of the original board members of Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition and served in that capacity until his appointment to Roanoke City Council earlier this year. He was a working director, regularly helping with events and activities, in addition to providing a solid foundation of experience and knowledge of the community. Board Chair Diana Christopulos said simply this: “Without the involvement and commitment of Rupert Cutler, our organization would not be what it is today”.

Jeff Barrie and “Kilowatt Ours” – The only award recipient who is not based in Roanoke Valley, Nashville independent filmmaker Jeff Barrie was cited for his masterpiece film “Kilowatt Ours” which has now been shown thousands of times around the country, including over twenty screenings sponsored by Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition. With just the right combination of alarm and hopefulness, “Kilowatt Ours” jolts people into action to conserve energy, reduce pollution, and save mountains from strip-mining. “It

is by far our best teaching tool; we love the film and we love Jeff for making it”, said Diana Christopulos. Mr. Barrie made a surprise appearance by video to close the conference, thanking the Coalition for recognizing his work.
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