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Welcome Back, Greensburg

“The Future Is Now”

kankas-tornado_mgFor those of you that do not get the Planet Green channel, let’s start with the narrative given at the start of the program by Leonardo DiCaprio:

On May 4, 2007 Greensburg Kansas was destroyed by EF-5 tornado. Left with nothing, this small farming community took an amazing leap of faith, they decided to build the greenest town in America. Eco-friendly homes and business’s began to rise out of the rubble, but the challenges have been enormous. Main Street is still a work in progress, civic buildings are just now being built and some of the townspeople continue to wait for new homes. Yet, the people of Greensburg remain undaunted, they are pushing forward everyday to accomplish their dream.

Knowing, if they are successful, a powerful message will be sent to the entire world, that if we work together we can achieve a sustainable future.

October 2008 :

Groundbreaking for Greensburg High School – Designed to LEEDs Platinum level, the building is completely designed around daylight and natural ventilation. Most of the year there will be no need to turn a light on in the school. All classrooms will be or have the potential to be naturally ventilated. There will also be on-site wind generation so that 25% of the power for the school will be green and sustainable energy. Clorox donates $500,000 towards building the new school.

FEMAville: Starting out with about 200 trailers, now only about 69 remain. You only get 18 months free, then FEMA will start charging rent, $50 the first month, then it goes up in $50 increments per month until it gets to $435. Lisa Stout is moving out of FEMAville to a friends house in Cold Water. Before the tornado she had just bought her first home only to have it destroyed. She talks to Dave Fisher the contractor as they walk the new location for her home, about 2 blocks from where her old one stood.

The Methodist Church holds services in their new church for the first time. After the tornado the congregation has gone from tents to trailers and now to a energy efficient, LEEDs certified, green building. Mary Merhoff goes back to work in the day care section of this new ICF fortified church. In case of bad weather, the hall doors are shut turning the hallway into a safe room.

045At the BTI John Deere dealership, owners Kelly and Mike Estes are hoping the new complex will be completed and operational by January 15, 2009. They have in-floor heating which will be fed by biomass boilers, wind turbines, and solar tubes that altogether gives them an estimated 38% energy savings.

The Engelkens are still living in FEMAville, building their new energy efficient home has been nearly at a stand still for 6 months because of over loaded contractors.

For Halloween, two of the kids, Taylor Schmidt and Levi Smith are dressing up like Steve Hewitt (city administrator) and John Janson (the ex-mayor).

Scott and Susan Reinecke are looking forward to moving their stained glass business into the new business incubator and out of the small trailer which shakes when the wind blows. Scott admits to having a fear of strong winds since the tornado. The trailers were purchased by the city to accommodate businesses until the incubator opens.

Steve Hewitt leaves for Washington D.C., to testify before a congressional committee regarding sustainable communities, what Greensburg is doing to achieve this goal, and push for Federal agencies to reverse their stand on not funding projects that are striving for the highest level of certification – LEEDs Platinum. The committee writes a letter to all involved agencies to allow funding for LEEDs Platinum projects.

044Ron Shank Chevrolet Dealership Grand Opening: Although not due out until November 2010, the Chevy Volt makes it’s very first public showing at the grand opening of the new eco-friendly facility.

This Halloween instead of ‘Trick or Treat’ they are having ‘Trunk or Treat’. Since everybody is still scattered, the folks drive their Halloween decorated vehicles to the art center where the kids can trick or treat from trunk to trunk (very clever!). Steve’s little cutie pie Gunner is dressed up like a spider this year, (last year he was soooo cute dressed like a skunk). Steve gets a kick out of seeing Taylor dressed up like him, calling Taylor a very good looking young man. But Levi is disappointed to find out John Janson won’t be there. It was great night of socializing and the kids could trick or treat safely.

I apologize for the delay in posting on the first episodes as my DVR bit the big one and had to be replaced. Thank you Planet Green for re-running the episodes, I was able to catch them all again and will post on the other two throughout the week.

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28 Responses to “Welcome Back, Greensburg”

  1. whamx.com Says:

    Welcome Back, Greensburg | Forced Green…

    On May 4, 2007 Greensburg Kansas was destroyed by EF-5 tornado. Left with nothing, this small farming community took an amazing leap of faith, they decided to build the greenest town in America…

  2. cady Says:

    wow, i remember hearing about the tornado, but i hadn’t heard how they were rebuilding. what an awesome idea.

  3. Linda Says:

    Hi Cady …. They have been working really hard to get the town back together. I think they have done an astonishing job and the folks are just super!

  4. IM Product Niches Says:

    it is so nice to see the progress they have made! 🙂

    IM Product Nichess last blog post..FREE Webmasters Resource Kit

  5. Solo Ad Explosion Says:

    I know it can be frustrating for those who are re-building but it will be worth it in the end.

    Solo Ad Explosions last blog post..The Keys to Budget-Based Lead Generation

  6. Linda Says:

    Hi Im … they are really doing great!

  7. Linda Says:

    Hi Solo … Yes, but it is 2 years since the tornado and they really need to have a home base again.

  8. Vibhu Says:

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    Plz visit and comment

  9. Barbara Says:

    The are doing a great job! It probably feels like more that two years to most of the people there, but they really have come a long way!

    Barbaras last blog post..Look Where Barbara’s Ladybug Has Landed!

  10. Lynn Says:

    I think I remember the news but hadn’t heard any updates on the town. Not sure if we have Planet Green but will definitely look for it.

  11. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … yes they have and the town is really rising from the ground!

    Hi Lynn … If you do not have Planet Green, just come on back and we will catch you up on how they are doing!

  12. Karen Says:

    I didn’t know about this. What an awesome undertaking. Your post is so interesting. I wish all our towns could be more green.

  13. LadyGrace Says:

    That kinda got me thinking about a book I just finished. Building from scratch. They much have a lot of faith and paitnce.

    LadyGraces last blog post..Photo Blog

  14. Heath Says:

    Thanks as always. In the next episode you’ll have to keep an eye out for my dad as he is on the trip to China. He didn’t have a mic on like the other three (Bob Dixson, Steve Hewit and Darrin Headrick) so he isn’t on as much, but he’s still on the next episode.

    To some of the other comments, to be honest, the town would not be doing this if not for being alomst wiped out. But I think one of the points to other communities (especially those that are expanding) is that you can do it now. There are some headaches, but then there are many more areas that see a huge bennefit.

  15. Frye Says:

    Ever since I moved to Kansas last year I’ve been compelled to check out Greensburg, feeling like I want to do something. Unfortunately, it’s a little over a 4 hour drive southwest of here.

    I still haven’t caught the series on Planet Green, it’s sitting on my DVR waiting to be watched. Thanks for the post, it gives you a good feeling inside knowing that things are turning better for the town and in turn the planet.

    Fryes last blog post..Poor Nezzy, Suffering From Electric Guitar Neglect

  16. Linda Says:

    Hi Karen … That is my wish as well. The folks of Greensburg have done a really amzing job in resurrecting their town.

  17. Linda Says:

    Hi LadyGrace …. Patience is a virtue and having to start over again is extremely stressful.

  18. Linda Says:

    Hi Heath … I will look for him and I bet he got an eyeful.

    I think your town took a great leap of faith to do this and even with the headaches, it will be very beneficial to all of you.

  19. Linda Says:

    Hi Frye …. If you cannot view it, just pop on over here and we will get you caught up.

  20. Warren Davies Says:

    I found this site through the adgitize network, wow it’s really great! I’ll certainly be returning regularly.

    This is amazing, I didn’t know about Greensburg at all. So the town was destroyed by a tornado, and they are rebuilding in an intelligent, green way? Such a great example of human spirit, reminds me of that old saying about lemons and lemonade.

    There’s so much power in a name, did you know we’re more likely to marry people with the same first initial as us. And the most common name a dentist is ‘Dennis’. There’s loads of example like this and what’s really bugging me is, would these guys still be doing this if the town was called redsburg?

  21. Linda Says:

    Hi Warren … No matter what their town name is, they would of gone green. They would of just made a snappy slogan out of it like “don’t let your brown eyes turn blue, redsburg is green!”… LOL! I crack me up!

  22. Heath Says:

    Warren, The town of Greensburg is named after a guy named Cannonball Green. Within a week (really less than a week) the city administrator, the ex-mayor and even ex-governer Sebilius had all came up with the idea of rebuilding in a more sustainable way. The main reason was that a town the size of Greensburg needed to do something to keep the nations eye on the town. (and with that help to rebuild with labor and donations) There has been news crews such as CBS Morning News that spent a week in Greensburg last year during the anniversary that flat out said they would not be there if not for the Green movement. So really it was more a matter of survival than a play on the towns name. It does fit, but it was more self serving to find a niche for the town to stay competitive in a area with small towns fighting to survive.

  23. Linda Says:

    Hi Heath … Thanks for coming by and leaving your great comment.

  24. Sadie Says:

    That’s so neat. It’s really great to see the town really coming together, and the rest of the country rooting for them. On top of that, for them to be “green” with their rebuilding, that’s just awesome.

    Sadies last blog post..Helen is the Biggest Loser

  25. wilson Says:

    This is the specialty of human being, Linda! Although the natural disasters can destroy our belongings, but it’s only for temporary, as we’ll fight and get our life back afterward…

  26. Linda Says:

    Hi Sadie … Yes, they have done an awesome job!

    Hi Wilson … Us humans are remarkable with our spirit and tenacity.

  27. ConnieFoggles Says:

    I heard about this town. What a remarkable group of people and what an inspiring story.

    ConnieFoggless last blog post..Memorial Day Weekend Visit

  28. Linda Says:

    Hi Connie … The human spirit is alive and well in Greensburg!

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