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The Suburbanite
  • Earth Day turns 42: Focus on fracking at KSU Stark

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  • Earth Day to Sen. Oelslager: How do you feel about a moratorium to end fracking?
    State Sen. Scott Oelslager, R-Canton, may have received an unusual amount of voicemails for a Sunday, as local environmental groups provided a cellphone, and even dialed it, so those against hydraulic fracturing could leave a message for him.
    “We want to fill up his mailbox. It’s Earth Day. It seems appropriate,” said Eric Vaughan of Canton.
    He and his wife, Kristine Vaughan, participated in Kent State University Stark Campus’ annual Earth Day Celebration as part of the organization called Food and Water Watch.
    Their hope, they said, was to persuade Oelslager to support Ohio Senate Bill 213, a moratorium on horizontal fracking by the oil and gas industry.
    The Vaughans’ table was sponsored by TASK (Take Action Spread Knowledge), represented by Kristen Kolar of Akron and Tonya Higgins of Canton.
    “We work on a variety of issues. We’re focusing on fracking because it is happening right now in our own backyard,” Kolar said.
    Their third table at the event covered the H.W. Hoover Initiative at Kent, which hosts a class on environmental media. Students create a media presentation of clean water and challenges facing the local watershed.
    The Earth Day Celebration is the school’s fifth, said Jenny Huth, special events coordinator at Kent Stark.
    Each year since the dedication of the school’s pond and wetlands, the school has planted a new tree on Earth Day. This year, Greg Walker planted a Black Tupelo, also known as a black gum.
    Huth was happy to welcome new participants, including Canton Country Day School and the Canton Museum of Art.
    M.J. and Pat Albacete helped children create GeoArt with cardboard pieces and lots of tape.
    “Look, the kids are having fun, and they don’t even realize they are being educated,” Pat said.
    Some families watched storyteller Tess Shimko who presented, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” and educational show about recycling, that included singing and audience participation.
    Cathy Burns and Kate McCallum were on hand with the Green Apple Project, teaching people how to save energy and change habits.
    “College kids are the key,” said McCallum who explained that if she can persuade that age group to develop new energy-saving habits, as they become the leaders, the world will follow suit.
    At the end of the Kent lot was Ryan Cockrill from the Stark County Health Department, who said, with a laugh “I’m showing the programs we have, like water well and septic testing. But mostly trying to stay warm and not freeze to death.”