What "60 Minutes" Didn't Tell You About Wilmington, Ohio

Tonight, the TV newsmagazine "60 Minutes"did a story on the economic crisis facing Wilmington, Ohio, a town of 12,000 people nearly all of whom are being laid off by freight corporation DHL.  If you missed the heartrending segment, you can watch it here.

Here's what Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" didn't tell you: there's a promising local effort to help the people of Wilmington -- and there are a few things you can do to help their plan become a reality without getting up from your computer.

Last Thanksgiving, I brought you the story of Taylor Stuckert and Mark Rembert, two recent college grads from Wilmington who postponed their Peace Corps tours to return home and help save the town they grew up in.  Their project, ENERGIZE Clinton County, has grown since then into a burgeoning local movement, complete with an office, two websites (the other one is here), a passel of media coverage, public meetings in Wilmington and elsewhere, and most recently a weeklong pilgrimage to Washington, where Taylor and Mark presented their case to Sens. Brown and Voinovich.  (I covered some of their progress here.)

Their proposal is simple: turn Wilmington and Clinton County into a Green Enterprise Zone, securing federal and state monies to build green industry and provide jobs for the skilled workforce laid off by DHL.  They've released a series of specific proposals to achieve this goal.  They've held well-attended meetings to raise awareness for their plan across Ohio and in the nation's capital.

And now, they need your help.

In response to the interest generated by the "60 Minutes" story (for which they were interviewed, but didn't make the final cut), Mark and Taylor have released a plan to provide at least some jobs in Wilmington as soon as possible.  You can read their proposal here (or a more detailed version here).  It involves home weatherization, an important goal for a town whose residents are caught in one of the coldest winters on record and lack money to pay even for heating costs.  Expanding an already-existing federal grant program for home weatherizations, the proposal seeks to hire over 1,000 laid-off Wilmington residents to weatherize the homes of their even-poorer neighbors -- cutting down heating costs and providing a much-needed financial boost to those who would be temporarily employed.

What Can You Do?

The "60 Minutes" story was excellent coverage of one of America's most economically-devastated communities.  But you don't just have to feel sorry for the laid-off Wilmington workers freezing in their homes right now -- you can do something to help them.  Join with Mark, Taylor, and ENERGIZE Clinton County and help Wilmington residents save their families and their community from being wiped off the map by America's economic crisis.

Tags: 60 Minutes, Clinton County, economic crisis, Economy, ENERGIZE Clinton County, Ohio, Wilmington (all tags)



Tips for Clinton County residents

And thanks in advance for whatever you can do to help.

by Nonpartisan 2009-01-25 07:44PM | 0 recs
thanks for the info

thanks, very informative.

by Charles Lemos 2009-01-25 09:48PM | 0 recs
You're most welcome!

Thanks for reading.

by Nonpartisan 2009-01-25 11:40PM | 0 recs
This is the sort of place for Obama's public works

This is exactly the sort of community that the Obama infrastructure initiatives must be designed for.

Roads, schools and public works construction. Fixing bridges, getting paychecks.

What also has to happen is transition to a more sustainable economy in these regions. DHL won't come back. People are using the internet more now and not sending so much paper around. This is not a case of anyone doing anything wrong. It is a change in the business. We simply don't need DHL as much.

In any case, new industries need to be created, and green technologies are a good idea. In order for this to happen the Obama administration will need to make firm long term commitments to fostering these industries. Tax breaks will not be enough. The government has to get into the business of issuing contracts for these materials, and foster the incubation of new companies to service these projects. What is important is that the work go to local firms nd not to big out of the area corporations.

by MediaFreeze 2009-01-26 07:29AM | 0 recs
Re: What "60 Minutes" Didn't Tell You

If we had single payer, those who won't find jobs soon could relocate to a place of jobs.  I applaud the individual communities' initiatives to bring jobs home, but the main reason people can't move isn't the housing melt-down, although that's a big one, it's medical coverage.  

The green jobs must be located in economically disadvantaged areas, but I think they'd get most bang for the bucks in inner city neighborhoods, that lack services and that need better schools and safer streets, and jobs that also train workers to make their skills valuable anywhere.

The Coast Guard trains kids to do stuff that is cutting edge, four or six years, and they're able to get great jobs most anywhere.  Green jobs must include high-skills training.  

by anna shane 2009-01-26 10:16AM | 0 recs


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