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Breathing new life into abandoned buildings

by Ogi Overman

Breathing new life into abandoned buildings

Now that we have a president who, from all indications, is going to “go big,” let’s take the hint and follow suit at the local level. Already the signs are cropping up that folks are re-energized, reinvigorated, rediscovering their lost sense of optimism. They’re letting the creative juices flow, ready to jump in behind our new chief and follow his positive and optimistic lead. Even before the last votes were counted in Missouri, plans were in the works for several local events designed to lay the groundwork for better days ahead. I’m sure there were many more, but among the ones that I was aware of were a Community Sustainability Gathering to make folks aware of some proposals for “reducing local carbon emissions, reducing energy usage, and conserving resources”; three different get-togethers sponsored by MoveOn.org to chart a local agenda to work toward health care reform and other pressing needs; and the local Sierra Club lending its considerable support to the Open Space Committee to ensure that several pristine tracts of land stay that way. And those are only the beginning. I’ll be weighing in on these local initiatives for the greater good and, hopefully, getting involved in some capacity. The seismic shift is already underway.

But, unfortunately there’s still some unfinished business to attend to. In order for us to have the full attitudinal adjustment we deserve, we have to make a clean break with the policies of the last eight years. All of them. If the Duh made one good decision, forgive me but I am not aware of it. His and Cheney’s and Rove’s stench will linger for a bit, and there’s not a lot we can do about it except let it dissipate over time. Sean Coon, my office suitemate in the Dusty Dunn Ballroom high atop Ritchy Towers overlooking historic Hamburger Square, calls it “shaking off Bush.” We’ve got eight years’ worth of accumulated scum that will require some work to get rid of. There is a load of residual bitterness and pent-up anger that may not subside until he is finally and mercifully out of office. He is, after all, still finalizing some 90 federal regulations making it easier to drill near natural parks, pollute the environment, ignore endangered species and other onerous yet typical legislation, so all we can do for the next two months is keep a wary eye on him and let the shaking-off process work. But the healing hands of time do work, so one day soon we’ll be able to lay this tragic chapter in the nation’s history to rest and

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