Alumni news and photos


Nov 30, 2005:  Member exchange: Dominican nuns farm suburban plot to feed hungry


Noreen Warnock at Ohio Citizen Action's 30th anniversary celebration in Columbus

COLUMBUS -- "Along the former country roads just east of Columbus, shiny new neighborhoods chock full of look-alike homes cover the landscape. In the middle sits a 160-acre holdout. Shepherd's Corner at Dominican Acres is described on its Web site as an 'ecojustice ministry.' But that lofty term belies a simpler mission: to feed the hungry and reconnect people to the earth... Noreen Warnock, the coordinator of the Greater Columbus Foodshed Project of Simply Living, applauded Shepherd's Corner for focusing its donations on immigrant populations. 'I think it's really important that someone is addressing the fact that we are many cultures in our community now,' Warnock said," Moniqe Curet, Columbus Dispatch, November 24.

Noreen Warnock was the 1997 winner of the Howard M. Metzenbaum Metzenbaum Ohio Citizen Action Award. She also served on the board in the mid -1990s and joined the staff as Columbus Program Director and Environmental Campaigns Director from 1998-2001.

Nov 2, 2005:  Mayor, council president face off for Cleveland mayor

CLEVELAND -- "Low-key City Council President Frank Jackson emerged as the favorite to be elected mayor on Nov. 8 by finishing a convincing first in the eight-way nonpartisan primary in which Mayor Jane Campbell placed second... Councilman Jay Westbrook, who supported Campbell in 2001 and now backs Jackson, said Jackson's refrain could resonate with voters in Cleveland, which ranks as the nation's 12th poorest big city. It ranked No. 1 until August. 'Is it a place that I can educate my children?' Westbrook said. 'Are the streets safe for mom and dad? Is this a place with an economic future?,'" Thomas Sheeran, Associated Press, October 28.

Jay Westbrook was a founder of Ohio Public Interest Campaign (now Ohio Citizen Action), and has been a Cleveland City Council member since 1980.

Oct 3, 2005:  Debanuj DasGupta

NEW YORK -- "As the nation is abuzz with the issue of same-sex marriages, hundreds of Asian and Pacific Americans came together at the Queer Asian Pacific Legacy conference held in the first week of March in New York City. More than 400 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Asian Pacific Americans gathered at the event. They came from around the country to the regional conference which was meant to facilitate networking, organizing, agitating, educating, and building capacity, according to organizers, who noted Asian Pacific Americans are among the fastest growing minority groups in the nation," newsindia-times.com.

"I am a mangement consultant for non-profits and social justice foundations. I am working to set up a donor advised fund in New York City, that will raise and distribute money for Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual and Transgender groups in the global south. I live in the upper east side of Manhattan," Debanuj Dasgupta.

Debanuj was a Field Canvasser and Program Assistant for the Akron Office from 1997-1999

Jul 31, 2005:  Reading between the pipelines

Atossa Soltani
Amazon Watch director Atossa Soltani meets with U'wa people in Colombia.
LONDON, ENGLAND -- "Occidental Petroleum adopted its first human rights policy in December last year. . . Most importantly, the code commits the US energy company not to operate in territories predominantly populated by indigenous people without the prior consent of local communities. This requirement represents a key provision in the International Labour Organisation's convention 169, which addresses the rights of indigenous and tribal people groups. . . The comments come on the back of a high profile campaign against the US oil company for its exploration activities in the cloudforests of north-east Colombia. The campaign, which lasted almost a decade, was led by the region's 5,000 strong U'Wa people. An alliance of pressure groups such as Rainforest Action Network also took up the cause. The company cited economic reasons when it eventually withdrew from the disputed territories in 2002. Yet campaigners insist that the decision had more to do with the public relations liability of continued indigenous opposition. 'On paper their [Occidental's] policy looks good', admits Atossa Soltani, director of Amazon Watch, a group that campaigns to defend the rights of indigenous people. 'We're waiting to see how they implement it, though. The true test of it will be how much they try to force their latest project on the Achuar people,' she continues, referring to a group of 6,000 indigenous living in Peru's northern jungle where Occidental exercises two oil concessions," Guardian, June 27, 2005.

Atossa Soltani was a field canvasser and office manager in our Akron office, 1983 - 1984.

Jul 10, 2005:  Sarah Straley

Sarah Straley, Steve Gordon, and Art and Cindy Strauss

Sarah Straley, Steve Gordon, and Art and Cindy Strauss at the Simply Living Community Dinner.

COLUMBUS -- "Sarah Straley now works at Simply Living, a membership organization founded in 1992. Simply Living --
  • Offers courses on voluntary simplicity, deep ecology, discovering a sense of place, perspectives on the global economy, and choices for sustainable living.
  • Sponsors the Greater Columbus Foodshed Project, which is working to help increase our ability in central Ohio to feed ourselves on local farms and from food grown in community gardens and backyard gardens; helping grow local markets for locally produced food; and educating people about food issues.
  • Holds member events, such as vegetarian potlucks.
  • Explores Low Power FM and similar broadcast opportunities to bring the Simply Living message to a wider audience via the airwaves.
  • Runs the Simply Living Bookstore and Resource Center for Sustainable Living and Simply Living Products at the Clintonville Community Market, 200 Crestview Road, Clintonville.
  • Offers ecologically-sound paper and office products of the highest quality at affordable prices. Retail products are available at the Clintonville Community Market, and a full line can be found in our price list.
  • Sponsors learning groups on intentional community, health assurance, true work, eco-psychology, and mindfulness with money. Publishes a bimonthly newsletter, available in hard copy or on-line.
Sarah Straley was a canvasser in our Columbus office in 2002 - 2003.

Jul 6, 2005:  Battling the Beast Within

David Williams, Fran McCaffrey
David Williams, Fran McCaffrey
AMHERST -- "David Williams retired from Invacare Corporation in 2003, where he was Director of Government Relations for 13 years. Prior to his tenure at Invacare, Dave held a number of elected and appointed policy-making positions at the local, state and federal levels of government. He served on the Zoning Board and Council in the City of Garfield Heights, Ohio. Appointed to the U.N. Committee on the International Year of the Disabled and the board of the National Organization on Disability, Dave had an instrumental role in helping to craft and pass the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. He served as a member of the Senior Staff to Governor of Ohio and the Director of a state agency under Governor Dick Celeste from 1983 to 1991. Since that time he has earned a reputation as one of the pre-eminent spokespersons on home health care and disability rights issues, commuting to Washington to meet with Members of Congress on a frequent basis. . . In his retirement, David returned to college to study creative writing with an emphasis on poetry. He is regularly invited to make speeches and presentations which include motivational speaking. He continues to make frequent contributions to healthcare trade publications as a free-lance journalist and commentator. His first book, Battling the Beast Within, was released in January 2005 by the Cleveland Clinic Press," Cleveland Clinic.

David Williams was a board member during the 1990's.

Jun 16, 2005:  Trish Lanahan

Trish LanahanCOLUMBUS -- Trish Lanahan is the Building Environmental Community Organizer for the Ohio Chapter of the Sierra Club. "So how do we get the poisons out of our air and water, increase the clean energy choices available to us, keep a highway from being built in our backyard, and make sure industries are held responsible for their messes? By working as neighbors together, motivated by common concerns and shared values in pursuit of real-world solutions. The Sierra Club's "Building Environmental Community" campaign invites you to join us in doing just that. It's a plan to pull you in and make you an active participant, part of a community built on five core principles: Our neighborhoods should be safe, healthy, and poison-free; Working together, we can solve our problems; Everyone has a part to play; Bad actors should be held responsible; Participation is power," Sierra Club.

Trish Lanahan was a canvasser, field manager, and canvass director in our Columbus office, from 2001 - 2003.

Jun 5, 2005:  Cuffs out for visit to Congress Hotel

James ThindwaCHICAGO, IL -- "A leader of a group of activists from Chicago Jobs With Justice was suddenly handcuffed as their noisy noontime visit rattled the managers of the Congress Plaza Hotel. The building’s security guards seized James Thindwa as he tried to hand a letter to a manager, seeking a meeting with Schlomo Nahmias, representative of the hotel's owners. The group sought to voice their concern and support for the hotel's employees who have been on strike nearly two years, since the hotel management's final contract offer to the employees, represented by UNITE HERE Local 1, proposed wage cuts and a freeze in health care contributions. Those witnessing Thindwa's detention refused to leave until he was released. The group had entered chanting, 'Schlomo, come out,' and waving 'Jobs With Justice' signs, but had quieted and moved to a hallway after demanding Thindwa’s release. . .The security guards soon released Thindwa and he again joined picketers outside," Chicago Jobs With Justice, May 24, 2005.

James Thindwa was our Columbus Field Canvass Director in the 1980's.

May 29, 2005:  Nathan Sooy

Nathan Sooy

GREEN BAY, WI -- Nathan Sooy is the Northeastern Wisconsin director of Wisconsin Citizen Action. "Before that I had been doing church-based community organizing with the Michigan Organizing Project. [My son] Ben (remember Ben? -- I remember him hugging Howard Metzenbaum's leg at a function) is 20 and just finished up his first year at college. Ben is studying for the ministry and he is a musician and songwriter. Can you tell I am proud of him? Nick is in 5th grade and is almost 12. Smart kid and a heck of a nice guy. Nick started studying Karate. We will see where that goes." Nathan Sooy was the Associate Program Director in our Cleveland office from 1987 - 1989.

May 29, 2005:  Colleen Trickett

Colleen TrickettCOLUMBUS -- "My name is Colleen Trickett, owner of Green Girl Basics. I founded Green Girl Basics in 1999. It all started when I found a book on soap making. I went right to work searching out suppliers for Coconut oil, Palm Oil, Olive Oil, and other vegetable oils and butters. these supplies were impossible to find locally. I ended up having to mail order most of my ingredients in 50 pound pails. So, with my $250.00 investment in soap supplies, I became a soapmaking addict. Luckily people loved my soap and I was able to make a profit doing what I love. I started learning more about chemistry and also starting researching the properties of oils. All our recipes are original formulations exclusive to Green Girl Basics."

Colleen Trickett was a Field Manager in our Columbus office at the end of the '90's.

May 29, 2005:  Scientific inquiry: Is the White House helping researchers reach the 'right' conclusions?

Merrill GooznerWASHINGTON, DC -- ". . .the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has drawn repeated attention to conflicts it perceives on low-profile boards that oversee public safety issues. Merrill Goozner, who heads its Integrity in Science project, believes that scientists who accept research money from drug companies should be barred from panels that oversee drug approvals. . . .Goozner recently found that 10 members of a Food and Drug Administration panel that examined cardiovascular risks posed by painkillers including Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx accepted research money from their makers. The panel voted to allow sales of all three, and Goozner believes that industry ties factored into the decision. Two of the drugs, Bextra and Vioxx, were later voluntarily withdrawn from the market by their makers, Pfizer and Merck," Sabrina Eaton, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Merrill Goozner was our first Cincinnati Program Director. Above, in 1978, he opens our first Cincinnati office.

May 27, 2005:  Alumni galore: Photos from Ohio Citizen Action's 30th Anniversary and Awards Reception

Fauss, Melnyk, Thindwa

Gloria Fauss, former Columbus Program Director; Sue Melnyk, former Statewide Field Canvass Director, and James Thindwa, former Columbus Field Canvass Director, at the Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley.

May 19, 2005:  Erik DuMont

Erik DuMont

CLEVELAND -- Erik DuMont is the National Field Director for the Alaska Wilderness League. "Since 2001, I've been working in DC for the Alaska Wilderness League, working to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Tongass National Forest. I attached a picture from my trip last year to the Arctic Refuge. The picture is from the shore of the Beaufort Sea."

Erik DuMont was a field manager in our Akron office from August 1997 to January, 1999.

May 2, 2005:  Kristen Plambeck

Kristin Plambeck

CLEVELAND -- Kristin Plambeck is an art teacher in the Cleveland Public Schools and is on staff at WCSB 89.3 FM, the student-run radio station of Cleveland State University.

Kristin Plambeck was a phone canvasser in our Cleveland office in the early 1990's.