10 Easy Ways to Go Green!

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1. Unplug your straightener, your kitchen appliances, your phone and laptop chargers. Use a power strip and switch it off when you leave the house or go away for the weekend, because appliances suck up electricity even when they’re plugged in and turned off–it’ll probably save you money on your bill, too!

2. Don’t overdo the heat in the winter and the AC in the summer–one degree really does make a difference, so when it’s cold, grab a blanket and some fuzzy socks instead of turning up the heat! 

3. Wash your laundry in cold water, because 90% of the washing machine’s energy goes to heating! Plus, it’ll keep the colors separate–an added plus. 

4. Use energy-efficient lightbulbs–they last longer and are much more environmentally friendly! 

5. Use rechargeable batteries–it’ll save you so much money, not to mention gas and the time it takes to make special trips to buy them! The real reason, though, is how many batteries you’ll NOT throw away for the rest of your life. 

6. Sign up for Online Bill Pay–it’s more convenient, easier to keep track of, and saves paper. 

7. Use a laptop instead of your desktop computer–and if you do use the desktop, shut it down at night, por favor! 

8. Bring your own bags to the grocery store–and if you forget, recycle the ones you’re given!

9. Don’t get receipts if you don’t need them, and if you have the option, have them sent to your bank email inbox!

10. Plant a tree, study outside, and spend more time appreciating the environment and communing with nature. 

A Bonus Way to Go Green from “The Daily Green”:
“Around 100 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used to send junk mail to Americans every year, according to greendimes.com. You can stop 75% of unsolicited mail by registering on the Mail Preference Service on the Direct Marketing Association Website (for a fee of $1). Within 90 days, most unsolicited mail will stop.”

 

-Hayden Field

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Inaugural Community Crawl at the 34th annual Terrapin Twilight Criterium

CommunityCrawlIf history repeats itself, thousands will congregate downtown this last weekend in April to watch the 34th annual Terrapin Twilight Criterium. Therefore, two PHIL sponsors, The Grotto and Pita Pit, will host the inaugural Community Crawl. Please visit these two local businesses while downtown this weekend. At the time of your purchase, tell the business employee which PHIL nonprofit organization you would like to support. One-third of your purchase will be automatically donated to that nonprofit!

The event will benefit nine Athens-area nonprofit organizations: Action Ministries, American Red Cross of East Georgia, Athens Area Habitat for Humanity, Athens Humane Society, The Cottage, Designated Dawgs, Nuci’s Space, Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation, and UGA Miracle.

 To learn more about PHIL-Athens, LLC, please visit www.PHIL-Athens.com.

 -Sloan Blanton

Home of Our Daily Bread Destroyed By Fire

Recently, Action Ministries Athens joined PHIL-Athens’ growing list of nonprofit organizations it partners with. PHIL-Athens is excited about moving forward with this nonprofit organization to combat local poverty.

However, on Monday evening, flames engulfed Oconee Street United Methodist Church, the site of Action Ministries’ soup kitchen. The cause is undetermined. Around 10:15 p.m., firefighters battled the flames until after midnight. The basement of the church, where Our Daily Bread serves people throughout the week, was damaged. The facility is currently closed off to the public due to the fire damage. The Action Ministries program office is still open for use across the street.

I visited the site later that afternoon, and could sniff strong, fresh ashes.

Action Ministries Athens is striving to continue to serve Athens-Clarke County despite the tragic fire.

“Financial donations can best help us address the current and future needs of Action Ministries Athens,” said Erin Barger, executive director of Action Ministries Athens. “We have already seen a tremendous outpouring of community support and we hope to see even more in the future.”

None of Action Ministries’ programs will be interrupted. These include case management services, educational programs, and the soup kitchen. The 2013 “Smart Lunch, Smart Kid” summer healthy meals program for children in the local community will still be occurring, as planned.

Athens First Baptist, located at 355 Pulaski Street, is currently hosting noon meals of Our Daily Bread this week with transportation from Oconee Street UMC to Athens First Baptist being provided by Milledge Avenue Baptist Church.

Financial gifts may be mailed to or dropped off at Action Ministries Athens, 717 Oconee Street, Athens, GA 30605. Donations may also be made online by visiting https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/ActionMinistries/GivingMatters.html and specifying “Action Ministries Athens”.

To donate without spending a time, please visit the PHIL-Athens site at http://www.phil-athens.com/index.php.

-Sloan Blanton

34th Annual Twilight Preview: April 26-27

It’s that time of year again! A semester dedicated to North Campus strolls, shorts and sandals, outdoor festivals and Twilight Weekend 2013! One of Athens most prestigious outdoor events, this year’s 34th annual Terrapin’s Twilight Criterium will be a lively weekend event dedicated to the high speed world of professional bicyclists. 

The tradition began in 1980 by founder Gene Dixon and was the first nighttime bike race of its kind within the US in over 60 years. The first Twilight featured only 40 cyclists, and today hosts over 150 cyclists in eight race classes. The laundry list of weekend events draws crowds of all ages to compose a fan-base of over 30,000 people gathered in downtown Athens. 

This year’s Twilight will kickoff with a bang on Friday April 26 with the Twilight Food Court and Expo as well as a new tradition: Twilight Americana Music, which boasts of live folk and bluegrass music performances in downtown Athens. To add to the excitement, The Grid qualifiers criterium is held from 10 AM-6 PM as crowds gather to cheer on their favorite professional riders as they compete for starting positions in Saturday’s main event. 

Saturday April 27 buzzes with day-long Twilight activities, beginning at 8 AM with Amateur bike races. Following the first race is a variety of daytime events including a 5K run, BMX Jam, Gambler bike ride, parade and of course the main event: The Terrapin Twilight Criterium. Each year, the women’s 40K and men’s 80k criteriums attract world renowned professional cyclists who compete on a 1K course from Clayton Street to College Avenue for a prize of $120,000. This year’s women’s criterium begins at 7:45 PM and is followed by the men’s finalist event from 8:45-10:30 PM.

But the fun does not end there. This year PHIL Athens has a chance to be a part of the age-old Twilight tradition with our inaugural PHIL Athens Twilight Community Crawl. Throughout the entire weekend when you visit The Pita Pit and The Grotto in downtown Athens, you can be a part of the PHIL mission. By mentioning PHIL at either of these locations, you will have the option to donate 33% of your purchase to a non-profit of your choice including: 

Red Cross of East Georgia 
The Cottage
Nuci’s Space 
UGA Miracle
Athens Area Habitat for Humanity
Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation
Designated Dawgs
Athens Humane Society

This is an event you do not want to miss! The 34th Annual Twilight Weekend will be a weekend beaming with endless fun & PHIL. See you there!

 

Annie Swenson

Communications Associate

Athens Area Habitat for Humanity: 24 Years and Counting

Homelessness is a grim reality for almost 634,000 people in the United States today according to NBC US News, and in terms of the world, that number comes to about 100 million according to the United Nations.

The truth is that it can happen to anyone, and quickly—simply having conversations with people living on the street affirms that they are just like you and me, and that unforeseen circumstances accumulated like a fast-moving snowball, hurtling them into their current situation.

Habitat for Humanity aims to change that, as well as eliminating the need for housing projects worldwide by building “solid, single-family homes built by volunteers and the future owners themselves,” explains their website.

But this fact hits even closer to home: Athens-Clarke County still has the highest rate of poverty of counties of more than 100,000 residents in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Athens Area Habitat for Humanity works to apply the international organization’s vision to three specific counties in the state of Georgia: Clarke, Oconee, and Oglethorpe. So far, they have served over 75 families in the community over a period of 24 years.

Partner families work alongside volunteers to build their new homes, which Habitat sells to them for no profit and no interest. Over time, residents of Habitat homes must pay back the cost of building with no interest, and 100% of these proceeds fund the construction of future Habitat homes. 

Athens Area Habitat for Humanity also runs ReStore, a thrift store which sells both new and used furniture and home accessories for up to 90% off the normal retail cost. Customers can buy furniture, home décor, building supplies, books, and clothing, all for the good cause of reusing & recycling items that would otherwise be thrown away. 

To find out how you can volunteer with Athens Area Habitat for Humanity, visit www.athenshabitat.com. Get involved with the UGA chapter at www.habitat.uga.edu, and check out ReStore at 532 Barber Street in Athens. 

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The UGA Equestrian Team helping out at an Athens Area Habitat for Humanity home in October 2009. 

-Hayden Field

Sources: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/10/15817686-number-of-homeless-unchanged-despite-efforts?litehttp://www.homelessworldcup.org/content/homelessness-statistics,https://picasaweb.google.com/AthensAreaHabitat/UGAEquestrianTeam#5391730228807104402

 

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Athens Twilight

There’s truly nothing better than springtime in Athens, Georgia (with the exception of football season, of course).  A highlight of spring in the Classic City is Twilight, a weekend surrounding the Terrapin Twilight Criterium Bike Race, an 80K race throughout historic downtown Athens.

Founded in 1980 by Gene Dixon, the Athens Twilight Criterium was the first nighttime bike race in the United Sates and has expanded greatly in the past few years.   What started as one race with only 40 participants has grown to eight separate races and over 150 cyclists competing in the main event.  Although Twilight is a world famous bike race, its popularity expands beyond cyclist fans and competitors: the race typically draws a crowd of over 30,000 spectators that line the streets of downtown Athens.

Twilight is set for the weekend of April 26-28th this year.   The qualifying races will take place that Thursday, but the real fun starts Friday with Athens Americana.   A musical festival entering its sixth year, Athens Americana features rock, country, bluegrass, and folk musicians local to the Athens community as well as national touring artists such as Deer Tick and Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers.  Although the festival will be held in participating venues including the Georgia Theatre, 40 Watt Club, The Melting Point, and The Green Room, Americana will take the downtown stage Friday evening and is open to the public.

Beginning on Saturday morning, the Twilight Kids Zone will be open for children of all ages to enjoy a variety of activities such as face painting, rides, moon walks, and music.  The Athens Orthopedic Clinic 5K Run also takes place that morning and is open to anyone who wishes to participate. The Twilight BMX Jam will go on throughout the afternoon.  Food vendors will be available in the streets of downtown Athens, as well as many different beer gardens.

The main event, the Terrapin Twilight Criterium, will begin with the women’s race at 7:45 that evening followed by the men’s race at 8:45. The course start-finish line is on Clayton Street at College Ave.

The PHIL team is counting down the days until Twilight! We have something great planned for the weekend, check out our Facebook this week to hear more!

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Spring Is Showtime

It’s spring in Athens, Georgia. A time for outdoor walks through the Botans, pick up team sports on North Campus, and concerts galore. It seems that spring time in the classic city is the perfect season for show-hopping around town. I’m here to outline the best shows that Athen’s music scene has to offer this semester.

What better place to spend a warm evening than on the rooftop of the historic Georgia Theatre? But this scenic view is not all that the theatre has to offer. This spring, The Georgia Theatre will be host to numerous notable talents for music genres of all types.

On April 5 of this year, a local Athens favorite will be lighting up the stage of the Georgia Theatre. for the last time before their hiatus effective April 6, 2013. That’s right my friends, Perpetual Groove, the acclaimed jam band has announced a leave of absence from touring, and has chosen Athens, GA as their last show. You don’t want to miss out on this historic night. Noted for their eclectic blend of southern rock, jazz and indie rock, PGroove is the perfect choice concert for a night out with friends looking to celebrate a taste of hometown pride. Tickets start at $20.

If you find yourself in the midst of American roots obsession, than look no further than this year’s new favorite rock band from the plains of Knoxville, Tennessee: The Dirty Guv’nahs. On April 12 this enthusiastic rock band, known by megafans as “The Guvs” will be taking on the town of Athens, GA with some of their popular melodies such as “Baby We Were Young” and “We’ll be the Light”. This show is perfect for a fun date on the town, or as a chance to put some of your favorite swing dance moves to work. Doors open at 7 PM and tickets start at $10.

If you’re interested if more of a smallscale venue, take a walk down the road to Athen’s 40Watt Club. A quaint venue that’s home to some of the biggest talents around the classic city. On April 4, poprock artist Nathan Angelo will stop by the 40Watt club for an exclusive performance with friend and local artist, Sam Heilig. This event appeals to all audiences in the mood for a night of upbeat music and fun entertainment with friends. Doors open at 8 PM and tickets go for $10.

If you want to switch roles from audience to performer, Athens is the place to be. Every Monday night, local coffeebar Hendershots hosts an open mic night for acoustic performers of all genres. From 7:30 to 11 PM It’s your chance to share what you have with the people of Athens, Georgia.

So if you are interested in attending a show, or performing one, look no further than the classic city itself. Home to an eclectic music scene for audiences of all interests, Athens Georgia can cater all your music needs this Spring.

Perpetual Groove, Behind the Scenes at the GA Theatre

UGA Miracle Dance Marathon 2013 Recap

From Saturday, February 23rd at 10 am until Sunday, February 24th at 10 am, more than 1,000 participants gathered in the University of Georgia’s Tate Grand Hall for the 18th annual UGA Miracle Dance Marathon. The dance marathon benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the event marks truly a one-of-a-kind experience—one that every UGA student should participate in at least once during their four-year stay.

For 24 hours, Miracle Kids and University of Georgia students alike share experiences, get to know one another, play on a blow-up bouncy slide, play video games, and, of course, dance. The event also features performances from UGA a cappella groups, a hypnotist, UGA fire baton twirlers, catered meals every four hours, and, best of all, a talent show made up of Miracle Kids from the hospital doing what they do best. Many UGA students also pledged to take the optional Standing Challenge this year—standing for a full 24 hours to honor those children who cannot stand.

The PHIL team was at Dance Marathon this year during Donor Hour to present a check that was around $11,000, and I had the opportunity to watch the awesome talent show—one of the boys did a magic routine that I would have paid to watch! I was also there while two families impacted by UGA Miracle and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta shared their stories, and those stories were two of the most touching I have ever heard. It really stirred something in me, as well as everyone around me, because as I looked around, everyone was wiping their eyes and completely engaged in simply listening. The experience really made me want to be a part of UGA Miracle next year.

This is the organization’s 18th year at the University of Georgia, and the 2013 dance marathon raised $346,289.13. Since its start, UGA Miracle has raised more than $3.1 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and last spring it was named UGA’s “Most Outstanding Service to the Community.”

-Hayden Field

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Profile: Mercy Health Center

Since Athens has some of the worst statistics nationwide in regards to the federal poverty line, there are many uninsured individuals around town in poor health. This environment presents a great need for humanitarian healthcare.

Mercy Health Center is one of many local nonprofit organizations assisting these individuals. A Christian health resource center that serves Athens and its surrounding counties, the clinic opened just over a decade ago.

Primary and specialty medical care is provided for all patients, as well as dental and pharmacy services. These services include: physical therapy, vision, gynecology, podiatry, pulmonary, women’s health, orthopedic, ENT, cardiology, dermatology, neurology, surgery, urology, and gastro.

Social service referral is also offered. To combat the major national health epidemics of diabetes, hypertension, and smoking, education is offered to patients that visit the clinic.

“It is an honor for me to volunteer at an organization as amazing as Mercy Health Center. I love how the staff and volunteers really seek to show professionalism and create an actual doctor’s office environment. We do this by dressing professionally, being on time, and focusing on the task we have been assigned. We count it as an honor to serve our patients and provide them with quality health care,” said Megan Settlemyer, a Mercy volunteer and RN at St. Mary’s Hospital.

“It is so cool to see some of the doctors who work at St. Mary’s volunteer at Mercy on their days off. Many patients have even told me that they would rather go to Mercy than the hospital or another doctor because of the quality of health care they receive at Mercy. They rave about how the physicians take their time to listen to their medical needs and really seem to care about them as individuals,” she added.

“I serve on the prayer team at Mercy, and my favorite part is listening to the patient’s stories. Many of them have overcome and continue to battle really tough situations. It is so encouraging to hear their perseverance and joy in the midst of their suffering. I always feel more blessed and encouraged when I leave because of the amazing patients who share their stories and a piece of their lives with us.”

Volunteers like Megan and her roommate and co-worker Jasmine Ye are the backbone of Mercy Health Center. One does not have to be in the healthcare field to volunteer at Mercy. Help is needed in the areas of building maintenance, fundraising, marketing, Spanish interpreting, administrative assistance, and emotional/spiritual care. To volunteer at Mercy, send an e-mail to volunteer@mercyhealthcenter.net with your contact info and availability. This should be a great addition to your resume on that brutal job search!

The medical clinic is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9:30 p.m., and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. till noon. The pharmacy is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. till 11 a.m. Meanwhile, the dental clinic is open on Fridays from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. If you know of anyone who needs medical assistance, please inform him or her of these hours.

Mercy Health Center runs entirely on donations from individuals, foundations, businesses, and churches. To donate needed funds, supplies, or equipment, please read the information on this website: http://mercyhealthcenter.net/how-you-can-help/.

-Sloan Blanton

The How-To’s of Recycling: Implications for the Future

What with global warming on the rise, the hole in the ozone layer, and the rainforests being chopped down, it’s easy to think that you—one solitary person—can’t do anything that will actually make a difference in the world or generate a truly beneficial impact on the Earth.

But there you’re wrong. Every single day, the average American—that’s you and me—produces 4.6 lbs. of solid trash. In a year, that adds up to about 1,460 lbs. America as a whole throws away 195 million tons of trash every year, and 85% of that goes straight to dumps and landfills. Some waste takes 100-400 years to decompose—and some never will, like glass. 72% of the waste America produces that could be re-used isn’t recycled, which means we definitely need to step up our game.

And that’s where you come in. Most items that we throw away on a day-to-day basis can be recycled, so in order to help out the Earth, Captain Planet-style, all we have to do is decide whether to toss it in the gray or the blue bin in our homes. A few frequently used items that can be recycled: glass bottles, paper, cartons, paper products, cans, and plastics (the types marked with a number 1 (PETE) or 2 (HDPE) on the bottom). Read up on the recycling guidelines of your local collector to be clear about what can be recycled in your area.

If every person realizes how much of a difference they alone can make by recycling, we will be able to conserve resources for our children and grandchildren, as well as supporting the recycling industry’s creation of over one million jobs. Keep up with the three R’s of Recycling—Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle—by doing your best not to waste resources each day and by re-using old items, such as clothes, to make new ones—like throw pillows (or other Pinterest-esque DIY ideas).

For more information on the how-to’s of recycling, you can peruse the sources I used: http://library.thinkquest.org/06aug/00442/wu3rs.htm, http://freegreencan.com/wp/world-recycling-how-america-stacks-up/, and http://www.wikihow.com/Recycle.

-Hayden Field

Trash building up.

Trash building up.