Sunday, October 12, 2014

Medicare Advantage Warning- Move Over to Traditional Medicare While You Can by Larry Weigel

I just received a phone call from an 80 year old client who is very upset and distraught with her United Health Care Medicare Advantage plan.  The plan, called “Medicare Complete” dropped three of her doctors out of their network in September, and now her doctors are working with her to help pay for her medical treatments the remainder of the year.  She said her doctors were all unaware of being dropped and told her other physicians are being dropped out of networks throughout the country.

Her doctor said the Advantage plan is turning into an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) to reduce costs for the insurance providers. Fewer doctors’ sign up for HMO’s which limits medical treatment options for seniors. And most seniors don’t want an HMO.  I have a single payer fee for service Medicare Traditional Federal plan which I can use anywhere in the country.  I don’t need a permission slip from an insurance company to tell me which doctors I can use.

This is an example of what would happen if Congress approves the Health Care Compact bill signed into law in Kansas by Governor Brownback in April 2014.  There is a movement in Congress and within our legislature in Kansas to privatize Medicare and change the peace of mind Single Payer fee for service plan (Traditional Medicare) into an insurance sales market called Medicare Advantage.  The politician’s surely must know the insurance companies have made billions of dollars in profits from the Advantage plans.

Those who want to repeal Obamacare are basically saying let’s give back the generous tax payer subsidies to the insurance companies so they can continue to make their guaranteed profits.  President Obama’s Affordable Care Act legislation reallocated about $156 billion in federal tax payer dollars by stopping the corporate welfare gravy train, and he is being nailed to the cross for doing it.

By the way I am a registered Republican so this is not a political statement at all.  It’s about doing the right thing for the seniors I represent. Medicare folks have no voice or no vote and that’s why I am passionate about what I bring to the table for them as their Medicare coach.  I work for them not the insurance industry.

I just saw a T.V. clip a few days ago where Mitch McConnell called in to a Kentucky sports show and said we need to completely strip and repeal Obamacare because Obama took $700 billion out of Medicare. (Now someone just sent me a video on twitter  blasting Obama’s 700 billion alleged theft from Medicare which is a total lie.. and we traced it back to the ruthless and notorious mis- information group called the Heritage Foundation.)  Obama reallocated $156 billion out of the pockets of the insurance companies. The next time you hear a politician tell you I will repeal Obamacare, ask about the $156 billion going back to the insurance industry.

More than $282 billion of tax payer subsidies have been given to insurance companies between the years 1985-2010 unnecessarily simply because some members of Congress want to privatize Medicare. But there is no evidence it provides better care but considerable evidence that during these years tax payers have been fleeced because the private programs cost more to administer and provide no savings as well.   Enough already. 

As a Medicare Coach I support all of the benefits granted to the Medicare folks under Obamacare. I repeat.  I support all of the Medicare benefits granted to the people I represent under Obamacare.  Seniors, please, practice this statement and don’t be afraid to say it out loud and in public. Saying it is your only voice in the matter and maybe those politicians who say they represent you might hear it.  But if you remain silent, you have no voice or no vote.

For all the 450,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Kansas, repeal of Obamacare takes away all those enhanced benefits like closing the donut hole which has already saved seniors billions of dollars.  It’s time to speak up and tell those politicians who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it is not going to happen, so please shut up- because talk like that only threatens the enhanced benefits we have already received, and you are trying to take them away from us.

WARNING:  If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, I recommend you move back to Traditional Medicare fee for service.  This is what my 80 year old client is doing and I told her I would share her story so others don’t get into the mess she is in.  She was sold a Medicare Advantage product and got a real sales pitch, and now that the Affordable Care Act reallocated the billions of subsidies, the insurance providers who sell Advantage plans are pulling the rug out under their members because there is no one in Congress stopping them.

If you are thinking of buying a Medicare Advantage plan in Kansas think again, because Medicare Advantage is not a fit for a rural state like Kansas.  We no longer recommend anyone buying a Medicare Advantage plan because what we have predicted is now coming home to roost.

Once the tax payer gravy train pipeline was shut down with the Affordable Care Act, the companies are dropping doctors, pharmacies and many of their plans to guarantee stockholder share values won’t drop and profits will remain high.

Wait until I tell you what is happening with the Prescription plan renewals.  Only about 13 percent of Medicare members change plans or even look to see if there is a better plan out there.  Insurance companies are dropping pharmacies (I had a client call yesterday from a client almost in tears) to tell me her plan dropped her pharmacy.  Another called to say a real expensive drug I was taking is now no longer available to me.  Formularies change each year, and premiums change. Where there is confusion there is profit.

We have 500 members who renewed their member fee with us and already my assistant is saving our members thousands of dollars. She did an annual Part D prescription review this morning and saved a couple (age 86) more than $1500 dollars. 

So if you are on Medicare have someone review your prescription plan.  The Area Agencies on Aging can help as well as SHICK.  We do much of the same for a first time fee of $295 per person, but we are able to enroll and change plans for our clients on line and do all the follow up and then are here when you need us throughout the year.  A renewal member pays $125, and on average we can save them around $400.  I paid a guy $300 last year to rake my leaves.

We can also move clients out of Medicare Advantage plans which I suspect will be many as more Advantage members learn about changes in their plans.  I hope this helps all Medicare folks and adult children who can relate to the situation my 80 year old client is now facing if it was your mother.   It causes unnecessary stress and worry.

Seniors are drowning in Medicare information and screaming for knowledge. That’s where we can help.

Larry Weigel
The MEDICARE Coach™
1011 Poyntz Ave
Manhattan, KS 66502
www.mymedicarecoach.com

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Larry Weigel: "Private Medicare Advantage Carriers Stand between the Patient and Their Doctors -Not the Federal Government" @ Medicare Coach


So often we hear opponents of the Single Payer Federal Medicare program say: “Don’t Let the Federal Government Stand between You and Your Doctor.”  Or, “get government out of the way and let the private sector handle Medicare.”

But, in 2003, when Congress created Medicare Advantage it took away the oversight power from state regulators, and their legal authority to impose sanctions on Medicare Advantage carriers when abuses occur.

This lack of state supervision has allowed insurance companies to expand their role as gatekeepers between the patient and their doctors including overbilling of providers.  The Center for Public Integrity investigation published in June of 2014, “found as much as $70 billion of improper payments to Medicare advantage plans from 2008 through last year.”

Congress granted the oversight authority of Medicare Advantage plans to the understaffed and underfunded government run Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services organization (CMS), but the agency cannot keep up with the demand for audits.

In March of 2014, CMS officials said they were “constrained in the number of program audits we can conduct each year due to limited resources.”  According to the Center for Public Integrity’s August 2014 report, “The agency is only able to audit about 30 Medicare Advantage companies a year, about one in ten of the 300 operating.”

Recently, we received a call from a Medicare Advantage beneficiary in Kansas City telling us her doctor would not accept her Advantage plan.  Then she scheduled an appointment at the Cleveland clinic, and her Medicare Advantage carrier said they won’t pay because the clinic is an out of network facility.

Traditional Medicare (the government kind) will pay anywhere in the United States wherever a medical provider accepts Traditional Medicare.

More benefit payment problems with private Advantage plans are now occurring around the country because lack of state regulation. 
The Center for Public Integrity reported in an August 19, 2014 article, “When Minnesota retiree Doug Morphew needed surgery last year, he expected his Humana Medicare Advantage plan to step up and pay the lion’s share of the bill.”

Morphew said, “The health plan had told him over the phone he would owe just $450 for the two days he spent in a St. Paul hospital recovering from the operation to repair an aortic aneurysm.”

“Less than a month later, Humana hit him with a bill for $6,461.66 claiming the surgery was not covered because the hospital was “out of network,” the article stated. 

In an interview with the Center for Public Integrity, Morphew said, “Humana paid the bill, but only after several months of fighting with them after he filed an affidavit with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office last year.”

“It was a nightmare,” Morphew said.

This is just one example of why, our Kansans to Preserve Medicare group opposes The Health Care Compact bill passed by the Kansas legislature in April of 2014, to grant private insurance companies the authority to take away the management of Medicare from the Federal government for the 450,000 Medicare beneficiaries living in Kansas.

Any politician advocating this non-sense of removing Kansas from the Federal Medicare program must be challenged. Every Medicare beneficiary should stand up and be counted to protect their guaranteed Medicare benefits already in place.

Even though we have very few of our 500 coach members on Medicare Advantage plans, we will no longer recommend these plans for any of our new members because insurance companies along with some members of Congress advocating these Advantage plans,  have now turned the private side of Medicare into a Medicare Advantage insurance market.

It is a product sale that provides a substantial source of income for the carriers. Membership is growing in these plans because of generous tax payer subsidies provided to the insurance carriers which allow them to attract new members with additional benefits not provided to those enrolled in Traditional Medicare plans.

Some members of Congress who want to privatize Medicare are looking the other way, and allowing lobby pressure to cloud their judgment, but fill their campaign coffers with lobby contributions, as they continue to offer generous tax payer subsidies to Medicare Advantage providers without addressing the fairness issue for Traditional Medicare members who do not receive these extra overpayments and extra benefit perks.

Buyers beware as you watch the “Too Good to be true” Medicare Advantage commercials on T.V. coming soon.   Medicare Advantage plans do have maximum out of pocket risks of up to $6700.

If you want to lower your premiums, you can get a Medicare Supplement high deductible insurance plan for $35 per month under Traditional Medicare with a maximum out of pocket risk of $2140, and avoid the “out of network” provision, and go to any doctor of your choice in America who accepts Medicare.

Larry Weigel
The MEDICARE Coach™
1011 Poyntz Ave
Manhattan, KS 66502

To receive blog update alerts, send your email address to larryw@keatinginc.com   We have partnered with the Kansans to Preserve Medicare group and now their list has grown to more than 550 members.  Very few Medicare members are aware of the Health Care Compact Bill and need to know, so please forward these email updates to your Medicare friends and encourage them to get involved.  Or, go to our website www.mymedicarecoach.com to read past posts about Medicare issues affecting Kansans and Medicare beneficiaries living in the other eight states who are part of the compact group. (Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia.)
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sustainability Action Newsletter, 11 August, 2014

"Collaborative consumption - trendy new name for good old fashioned sharing - is good for the economy, good for the environment, and good for building community" - Annie Leonard, Story of Stuff Project

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CLICK HERE >>  http://www.sustainabilityaction.net to donate by PayPal
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RESPONSIBLE ENERGY VS. FUKUSHIMA DAI-ICHI  

IMF calls for strategic taxes on energy to curb environmental damage
Energy taxes in much of the world are far below what they should be to reflect the harmful environmental and health impact of fossil fuels use, the International Monetary Fund said in a new book.  Under its chief, Christine Lagarde, the IMF has delved into the impact of climate change, arguing that tackling the fund's core mission of economic instability is impossible without also addressing environmental damage.  Progress toward global greenhouse gas emission control has been slow as nations fret about the impact any measures could have on economic growth.  The IMF's book argues higher energy taxes should not hurt growth if done right.  Higher energy taxes would prompt people to shift to cleaner fuels or more fuel-efficient vehicles on their own, allowing governments to lower other taxes on consumption or income.  Read more at - IMF urges higher energy taxes to fight climate change.

We suggest readers avail themselves of the following sources for news on the nuclear demise:  Japan for Sustainability - http://www.japanfs.org/Japan Focus - http://japanfocus.org/Fukushima Update - http://fukushimaupdate.com/;  and Fairewinds Energy Education - http://www.fairewinds.com/.
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KANSAS CITY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMISSION
Wednesday, 
13 August 2014, 4:00-6:00pm
Mid America Regional Council, Rivergate Center 2nd floor, 600 Broadway, KC MO
 
The Environmental Management Commission promotes environmental awareness and resource efficiency to the City's leaders and staff, to assist the progress of Kansas City toward sustainability.  The General public is encouraged to attend and observe meetings and to join and participate in its efforts.  More information is at KC Environmental Mgt Commission
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LAWRENCE SUSTAINABILITY ADVISORY BOARD
Wednesday, 13 August 2014, 5:30pm
Public Works Conference Room, City Hall ground floor, 6 East 6th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The
August agenda includes: Bicycle & Pedestrian Advocacy/Advisory Committee, and ClearPath GHG emissions inventory resultsThe S.A.B. meets monthly to discuss any and all aspects of furthering sustainability policies and practices by the City of Lawrence government and private persons.  The public is welcome.  Minutes are finalized in about a month after each meeting - http://www.lawrenceks.org/sustainability/sab.
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LAWRENCE PEDESTRIAN COALITION
Wednesday, 13 August 2014, 7:00pm
Carnegie Building Conference Room, 200 West 9th St., Lawrence KS 66044

The August agenda is not yet available.  The Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition is a joint effort of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods and the League of Women Voters.  Monthly meetings are open to the public.  For more info go to Lawrence Pedestrian Coalition, or contact Laura Routh .
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SUSTAINABILITY ACTION ¤ MEMBER MEETING
Thursday, 14 August 2014, 6:30pm
Lawrence Creates, 512 E 9th St. (9th and NJ), Lawrence KS 66044
Local Solutions for Transition to a Sustainable Economy

Possible discussion topics:
  • How to make a Board Capacity Plan
  • Board member recruitment
  • Begin planning Sustainability Action 2015budget
  • Begin planning Annual Giving Campaign
  • 3-year turnkey plan for both community gardens
  • KPC hosting Jan Spencer talk & workshop
  • Perma-blitz planning
  • Plans for reskilling workshops
Everyone is welcome  -  http://www.sustainabilityaction.net/
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KKFI COMMUNITY RADIO ¤ ECOLOGICAL SHOWS THIS WEEK
Listen at KKFI-FM 90.1, or web-streaming at http://www.kkfi.org/
(courtesy Mike Murphy, KKFI Programming Committee)

Friday, 15 August 2014, 9:30am  ¤  Bioneers Radio Series
Bioneers presents "Hanging On: Treetop Truths for Disruptive Times".  "Queen of the forest canopy" Nalini Nadkarni is riding a new current of innovative scientists uncovering previously unexplored wonders in the forest canopy.  Her imaginative passion supersedes the boundaries of science to inspire and enlist people from all walks of life, transforming the truth of trees into environmental and social healing.

Saturday, 16 August 2014, 2:30pm  ¤  Women's International News Gathering Service   
On this week's installment of WINGS will be "Women Against Nuclear Power from Fukushima to SanOnofre"Demonstrating, educating, lobbying - women are translating the lessons of nuclear power disasters into policy demands.  Sometimes they win.  Participants include Ayako Oga, demonstrator in Tokyo; Mary Beth Brangan, filmmaker and anti-nuclear activist; Miki Bay, Fukushima survivor; US Senator Barbara Boxer; and the late Barbara George, founder and director of Women's Energy Matters.

Monday, 18 August 2014, 6:00pm  ¤  locally produced Eco-Radio KC
This week's EcoRadioKC will have have another of their ecologically minded shows.
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KANSAS AND MISSOURI FARMERS' MARKET DIRECTORIES
(courtesy of Cole Cottin & Linda Cottin)

New season, new markets, new hours - find what's new this year.   In order to find any of dozens of farmers' markets in Kansas and Missouri, use these searchable data bases for both states.  They are - Kansas Farmers' Market Search by Location, Missouri Farmers' Market Search by Location, and Missouri Farmers' Market Search by Map.  Wherever you are, there is probably a market nearby!
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DOUGLAS COUNTY FOOD POLICY COUNCIL
Monday, 18 August 2014, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS 66044

The Food Policy Council seeks to identify the benefits, challenges and opportunities for a successful, sustainable local food system.  By advising the Douglas County Commission on public policies that will support local producers, preserve local agricultural resources and land, and create more local jobs, the F.P.C. hopes to improve the community's access to a local food supply and distribution networks.  For more info go to Dg County Food Policy Council.
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LAWRENCE BICYCLE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Tuesday, 19 August 2014, 5:00pm
Eudora Parks & Recreation,1638 Elm St, Eudora KS
 
The August agenda is not yet available.  The Bicycle Advisory Committee works to improve bicycle safety and awareness through education of motorists and non-motorists, develops bicycle plans and maps, and advises the City and County Commissions on bicycle priorities and needs.  The agenda and information can be downloaded atBicycle Advisory Comm | agendas.
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CITIZEN CLIMATE LOBBY ¤ LAWRENCE CHAPTER MEETING
Wednesday, 20 August 2014, 7:00pm
Lawrence Public Library, Meeting Room A, 707 Vermont St. Lawrence, KS 66044
(courtesy Emily Reno)

Citizens Climate Lobby is an all-volunteer, bi-partisan organization that works to inspire the political will for a livable climate.  They advocate for carbon-fee-and-dividend as one solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while returning the money to households in order to offset the tax and make alternative energies more attractive investments.  Bring a dish to share on Saturday and listen to the National Call live!  For more information contact Emily Reno at 785.840.6880 or Frank Schawaller at 785.550.1939., or visit their website - citizensclimatelobby.org.
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"DIG IN!" DINNER WITH FRIENDS & FARMERS ¤ CULTIVATE K.C.
Sunday, 21 September 2013, 6:30pm - $$$
Historic City Market, 20 East 5th St., Kansas City MO 64106

Cultivate Kansas City, a not-for-profit that educates and organizes around local urban agriculture, is holding their annual fundraising dinner to share good food, camaraderie, and this year's successes at growing more growers in Kansas City.  The dinner will be under the stars at the Historic City Market, prepared by chefs Michael Foust, Charles d'Ablaing, and Renee Kelly, who specialize in farm-to-table cuisine.  For more info, and to sign up to attend, go to - Dig In, KC: Cultivate KC community dinner.
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THE GREAT MARCH FOR CLIMATE ACTION
Sunday, 21 September 2014
New York City, NY

The Great March for Climate Action began in Los Angeles, California on March 1, 2014.  They have traveled on average 15 miles per day through Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska (the focal point of the Keystone Pipeline), are now in Des Moines IA, and will end in Washington, DC, on 1 November - The Great March for Climate Action.  However, President Obama and many of the world's leaders will meet in NYC in September for a climate summit called by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  So several contingents of marchers are traveling ahead by bus and train to be in New York on 21 September to put pressure on the gathered leaders to take bold, ambitious and just climate action.

The folks with Bold Nebraska have organized a People's Climate Train (Amtrak) offering a 10% discount off normal rates for folks traveling to the march, which will depart from Nebraska on 16 September, reach the Chicago area on 17 September, and New York City in time for the march on 21 SeptemberCan you travel to NYC for the 21 Sept Climate March? Click here for some travel options.

A pipeline organizer in Kansas, Lori Lawrence
, has chartered a bus to NYC for the march, which will originate in Wichita KS and make stops in Kansas City, Columbia and St. Louis MO,  on the way to New York. Several Pipeline Fighters have already purchased tickets to join this round-trip bus ride, and tickets still remain.  Click here for details on the chartered bus from Kansas to NYC.
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NONVIOLENT PROTESTS PLANNED FOR WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA DECIDES ON KEYSTONE XL

Between the release dates of the Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), it became clear that the State Department and their hired contractor had gamed the system with flawed conclusions by the consultant, ERM, Inc.  Over 100,000 citizens have signed a "pledge of resistance".  Each person committed to risk arrest if necessary to stop Keystone XL, and President Obama has felt pressure in a way he never had before.  It is thought his decision may occur unannounced, so protectors of the land and air need to be ready when the time comes.

With over 400 volunteer action leaders trained in 25 cities nationwide, the local sit-in actions will be deployed when and if the Obama Administration recommends approval of Keystone XL.  Chances are there's one near you.  To stop Keystone XL, you can take the next step and sign up with your local pledge action.  You can Find your nearest Pledge of Resistance action and sign up to be part of it.  The passive resistance actions will be at places like the State Department, EPA and Federal offices, oil industry contractor ERM offices, and branches of TD Bank.  If you click the above link and plug in your zip code, you will learn where the nearest action is to you.
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NORTH AMERICAN PERMACULTURE CONVERGENCE
Friday-Sunday, 29-31 August 2014 - $$$
Harmony Park Outdoor Center, 79503 298th Street, Clarks Grove, MN 56016

This is going to be a gathering of hundreds of permaculturists, from long time practitioners to new initiates, PDC instructors, growers, professional consultants, researchers, and organizers.  The program will include a keynote by David Holmgren (by Skype), dozens of workshops, discussion groups, working groups, presentations and talks, a vendor and outreach exposition, a seed exchange, a bioregional caucus, and much more.  A co-sponsor is theKansas Permaculture Institute.  The setting of Harmony Park is quite inspiring itself, consisting of several permaculture projects such as the Center for Deep Ecology and Wild Again Permaculture Food Forest - Harmony Park Permaculture.  Lots more info and the early bird registration rates until 15 August can be found at - http://northamericanpermaculture.org/.
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MERCURY POLLUTION: A GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS
Tuesday, 9 September 2014, 6:30pm
Overland Park Lutheran Church, 7810 W. 79th St., Overland Park KS 66204

Craig Volland, Chair of Sierra's Air Quality Committee, will be making this presentation.  Half of the top predatory fish in the U.S. lakes are seriously contaminated with mercury, prompting Kansas to intensify its fish consumption warning for large mouthed bass.  The mercury menace is analogous to climate disruption with coal burning being the cause of both.  Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, and is of special concern to women who are pregnant, or for children during development before birth or in the first few years of life.  Of the 25 largest mercury polluting coal plants, #2 is Missouri's Amaren Labadie Energy Center in Franklin County MO, and #25 is Kansas' Westar Jeffrey Energy Center in St. Mary's KS - America's Biggest Mercury Polluters.  Craig's knowledge of mercury contamination began with his attending the First International Conference on Mercury as Pollutant in 1990 in Gavle, Sweden.
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AUTUMN UPCOMING CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS

PERMACULTURE IN THE SUBURBS ¤ TALK & WORKSHOP BY JAN SPENCER
Free evening talk: - FREE
Wednesday, 24 September 2014, 6:30pm
Co-op Extension Service, Dreher Building, 2110 Harper St., Lawrence KS 66046
Inexpensive day workshop: - $$
Saturday, 27 September2014, 12:00noon-5:00pm
Fire Station #5, 19th St. at Stewart Ave., Lawrence KS 66046
The Kansas Permaculture Collaborative is proud to bring to Lawrence,Jan Spencer, to give two presentations on "Permaculture In The Suburbs".  As part of the early wave of permaculturists, Jan has transformed his quarter acre suburban property in Eugene OR into a highly sustainable and productive permaculture and solar homestead.  Jan has been organizing and promoting permaculture for 25 years, and is currently a hub of activity among his neighbors and the greater Eugene community.  He previously devoted time to gaining a college geography degree, fighting nuke plants and computer chip plants, living communally in the Ozarks, acquiring urban planning literacy, and reducing his ecological footprint.  Jan's presentations will cover: a history of suburbia, the peak oil and climate reasons for transforming suburbia, suburban transformative elements, Eugene assets and case examples, sustainable urban planning, resource reallocation and reprioritization, and the overall benefits for ecology-economy-energy.  Learn more at Jan's website - Suburban Permaculture - Eugene OR.

PRAIRIE FESTIVAL 2014 AT THE LAND INSTITUTE
Friday-Sunday, 26-28 September 2014  - $$
The Land Institute, 2440 East Water Well Road, Salina, KS 67401
This annual meeting of the eco-social-agro activists takes place on the land in amphitheaters, barns, meeting rooms and camp grounds.  Speakers include Dr. Ted Burk, Kristine Tompkins, Dr. Ken Levy-Church, and more.  Films and tours will also be featured over the weekend.  Registration is open with info and a form at - The Land Institute - 2014 Prairie Festival.

GROWING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES ¤ 7TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE
Tuesday-Wednesday, 7-8 October 2014, 9:00am - 6:00pm - $$$
Grand River Center, 500 Bell St., Dubuque IA 52011
Dubuque is one of the most captivating and "sustainable" cities in the Midwest.  The city's 12 sustainability principles provide a framework for its strategic planning process.  Collaboration will be a common thread in the keynote addresses, in the more than 20 workshops and tours, and in the exhibits.  Storm Cunningham, CEO of ReCitizen, will present the luncheon keynote address on TuesdayGil Penalosa, A former commissioner of Bogota, Colombia, will give the luncheon keynote on WednesdayPenalosa is passionate about using parks and streets as both public places and avenues of sustainable mobility for walking, cycling and public transit.  Workshops will include: complete streets, effective stakeholder engagement, outdoor LED lighting, urban forestry, and more.  Registration for the conference is now open at http://gscdubuque.eventbrite.com.

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR
Saturday-Sunday, 25-26 October 2014, 9:00am-7:00pm -  $$
Kansas Expo Center, 17th & Topeka Blvd., Topeka KS 66612
Mother Earth News, the long running journal of ecological lifestyles, has held popular fairs in Lawrence KS, Puyallup WA and Seven Springs PA.  This year the midwest fair will move to Topeka KS where Mother Earth News is based.  It's a fun-filled, family-oriented sustainable lifestyle events that feature dozens of practical, hands-on demonstrations and workshops from the leading authorities on: Renewable Energy, Small-Scale Agriculture, Gardening, Green Building, Green Transportation and Natural Health.  And a full slate of exciting, informative workshops are dedicated for children ages 17 and under, who are admitted free.  There also will be dozens of inspiring speakers such as Joel Salatin, Gary Paul Nabham, Sylvia Bernstein, Bryan Welch, Ira Wallace, and more.  Along with dozens of national booths, there will be many local booths including: Sustainability Action, The Kansas Rural Center, Good Energy Solutions, Climate & Energy Project, Green Wish Kansas, Maggies Farm, and more.  For more info go to - Mother Earth News Fair_Topeka_2014.





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Join the Sustainability Action Network by clicking this link - Become a Sustainability Action Member - and follow the instructions. The Sustainability Action mission is to bring awareness of the global crisis caused by climate change, energy vulnerability and economic instability to communities in the Kansas River bioregion, and the tools needed to re-skill and re-localize our economy and create a more socially just and ecologically sustainable world. 

Sustainability Action Programs include:
1) Kansas Permaculture Institute- formal training of permaculture designers, and issuing them PDC Certificates - Kansas Permaculture Institute.
2) Kansas Permaculture Collaborative - freely and informally sharing knowledge and resources about sustainable food production and dwellings -Kansas Permaculture Collaborative.

3) Bicycles & Alternative Transportation - promoting bicycles, complete streets, ride sharing, and electric vehicles, including infrastructure and pro-active regulations - Lawrence OnBoard | Community Supported Transportation

4) Local Community Currency- fostering money literacy, and implementing a local currency, either cash or electronic or both, that will transition to a sustainable local economy and weather global economic instability.

5 Sustainability Action Newsletter- informing and encouraging people to be active in the Sustainability Action Network, or other action-driven groups.

6) Energy Conservation & Renewables - reducing our carbon footprint by promoting a carbon diet, an energy diet, conservation, and decentralized renewable energy.
7) Prime Farmland Preservation - protecting Capability I & II farmland from urban development and industrial land uses.

8) Water Rights and Watersheds - protecting the water commons from privatization and contamination, and restoring watersheds.
 
9) Collaboration with sister organizations - building synergy with the combined talents and creativity of like-minded groups to achieve a transition to sustainable local economies. Groups such as: Films for Action; The Light Center eco-village; churches and civic groups; Kaw River Valley Food System farm-based economic development; Cultivate Kansas City;Transition Kansas City; Kansas River Valley Growers fighting for local water rights; the National Sustainable Energy Network; the Kansas City Food Circle, and more.

S
ustainability Action sponsored organizations:
1) Lawrence Creates - local tool sharing, recycling, and community shared innovation incubator - Lawrence Creates

2) Lawrence Fruit Tree Project - educating and inspiring the community to grow and steward perennial food plants and increase local food sovereignty - Lawrence Fruit Tree Project


"THE TRANSITION COMPANION" ¤ AVAILABLE FOR $27

As a guidebook for local transition communities, Rob Hopkins has published this sequel to the original Transition Handbook.  For your copy, e-mail Michael at and arrange for pick up.  If you want it mailed, shipping will be additional.

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