Weekend To-Do: Eagle Awareness Days at Bull Shoals-White River State Park

Photo Courtesy of Bull Shoals Lake/White River Chamber of Commerce

WHAT: Eagle Awareness Days

WHEN: Friday-Saturday, January 7-8

WHERE: Bull Shoals-White River State Park (153 Dam Overlook Lane) in Bull Shoals

Each year approximately 100 bald eagles visit the Bull Shoals area. Enjoy programs and activities centered around our national symbol. Activities include lake and river cruises, guided bird walks, guest speakers, live bird demonstrations, and live entertainment. Free except for lake and river cruises.

For a detailed schedule, contact the park at (870) 445-3629 or bullshoalswhiteriver@arkansas.com.

Friday To-Do: FFEAC Green Economy Group Monthly Meeting

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In Spring 2009, the City of Fayetteville hosted the Fayetteville Forward Summit, an open, inclusive, participatory event that brought forth the best ideas to create a compelling vision for the future of Fayetteville. The result of this summit has established a foundation for economic development – moving the City of Fayetteville Forward for a sustainable future.

The Fayetteville Forward Economic Accountability Council (FFEAC) was established to develop and carry out action plans from the conference. Its Green Economy Group will hold its monthly meeting tomorrow, between 8-9:30 a.m. at Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce (123 W. Mountain Street).

If you are passionate about helping Fayetteville grow its green economy, create jobs, increase tax base, save money on energy bills, minimize resource consumption and lower carbon footprint, come to the meeting!

For more information, contact Mikel Lolley at (479) 841-7801.

Thursday To-Do: Bicycle Advocacy for Central AR Monthly Meeting

Join Bicycle Advocacy for Central Arkansas (BACA) for its monthly meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, January 6 at the Oyster Bar in Little Rock. For more information, visit BACA’s website, www.bacar.org.

Thursday To-Do: Lignite Meeting in Benton

Germany mines lignite, as is shown in this photo of lignite strip mining. Photo courtesy of About.com.Geology.

State Representative Garry Smith (D-Camden), and the Natural Resources Research Center at Southern Arkansas University have scheduled a series of meetings discuss the potential for lignite mining in southern Arkansas.

The Arkansas Geological Survey has estimated that southern Arkansas sits atop most of the state’s 9 billion tons of lignite, a lowest-grade coal variety that can be used as a fuel source for power plants. Controversies surround lignite due to much higher carbon dioxide emissions from lignite-burning power plants than those that burn higher-grade coal. The resource has not been commercially developed on a large scale in Arkansas. Environmentalists are concerned because of strip mining involved with the extraction of lignite.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Center (607 North Market Street) in Benton.

More information may be obtained by calling Jerry Langley, assistant to the president for special projects at Southern Arkansas University, at (870) 235-5090.

Happy New Year! Pics of Japanese New Year’s Food

Happy New Year, everybody! Or as we Japanese would say, Akemashite Omedetō!

As many of my readers know, I’m a Japanese transplant to the Natural State. You can get a girl out of Japan, but you can’t get Japan out of a girl, so this author celebrates New Year’s Day religiously.

Japanese observe New Year’s Day like Americans observe Thanksgiving or Christmas. It is THE most important holiday for us.

Americans spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with their families and party with their friends on New Year’s Eve. There is no Thanksgiving in Japan, and although some Japanese celebrate Christmas with their immediate family, many Japanese spend Christmas with their friends, especially with their boyfriends or girlfriends. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, however, are for families.

The Japanese New Year is elaborate, especially when it comes to food. We spend several days before the coming year to cook special New Year dishes. Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m allergic to many of the ingredients in Japanese New Year dishes, so I cook a minimum number of dishes each year.

I managed to take photos of some of the dishes. Hope you enjoy them!

Thank you always for reading GreenAR by the Day & I wish everyone a happy 2011!

Japanese eat noodles on New Year's Eve. Noodles symbolize longevity. Most people eat buckwheat noodles, but since I'm allergic to buckwheat, I eat udon.

We eat ozōni, or a Japanese soup with mochi, on New Year's Day. Mochi is a sticky rice cake. How you cook ozōni depends on where you're from. I'm from Nagoya, so our ozōni is very simple. We put mochi in fish or kelp broth flavored with soy sauce, and serve with boiled spinach, fish cakes, and fish flakes. Since I'm allergic to fish and spinach, my ozōni has none of them.

Eddy holding up mochi. See how stretchy it is! Due to its stretchiness, many older people choke on mochi, some times passing away. So far in 2011, thirteen people have died due to mochi's stretchiness.

Clockwise, kouhaku namasu, kuromame, kurikinton, and tataki gobō. Kouhaku namasu is made from daikon radish and carrots. Japanese consider the colors red and white to be good colors, so we make kouhaku (red-white) namasu (slaw) to celebrate the new year. I used carrots from Jerusalem, Arkansas, to make the slaw. Japanese eat kuromame (black beans) because the color black wards off evil. The pronunciation for the word beans (mame) is same as the word active, so we eat kuromame on New Year's Day. Kurikinton, or mashed Asian sweet potatoes with chestnuts, symbolizes wealth because the color is similar to that of gold. I used Asian sweet potatoes that I bought at the River Market Farmers' Market to make this dish. Japanese eat tataki gobō, or burdock roots with sesame, because burdock plants have very deep roots, thus they symbolize a good foundation.

We drank a good bit of sake, beer, and champagne. Once again, they disappeared before I had a chance to photograph them. I snacked on dried squid dipped in soy mayo while I drank.

Save the Date! Lignite Meeting in Benton

Germany mines lignite, as is shown in this photo of lignite strip mining. Photo courtesy of About.com.Geology.

State Representative Garry Smith (D-Camden), and the Natural Resources Research Center at Southern Arkansas University (SAU) have been hosting a series of meetings to discuss the potential for lignite mining in southern Arkansas. The final meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, January 6 in Benton.

The Arkansas Geological Survey has estimated that southern Arkansas sits atop most of the state’s 9 billion tons of lignite, a lowest-grade coal variety that can be used as a fuel source for power plants. Controversies surround lignite due to much higher carbon dioxide emissions from lignite-burning power plants than those that burn higher-grade coal. The resource has not been commercially developed on a large scale in Arkansas. Environmentalists are concerned because of strip mining involved with the extraction of lignite.

In December 2010, SAU hosted meetings in Hope, Magnolia, and Hampton. Thursday’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Benton Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Center in Benton.

More information may be obtained by calling Jerry Langley, assistant to the president for special projects at Southern Arkansas University, at (870) 235-5090.

Monday To-Do: Tex-Ark Audubon Society Monthly Meeting

Audubon_LOGO_STACKED_COLORJoin the Tex-Ark Audubon Society for its monthly meeting, tonight at 7 p.m. at Texarkana College – Biology 119 in Texarkana. For more information, contact James Vaitkus, President, Tex-Ark Audubon Society at (903)793-6829 or JVaiGEL@aol.com.