Volunteer group plans bulb swap

Light for Change project to begin this month

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— Volunteers gathered Sunday to discuss an appropriate way to mark President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The group, which calls itself Change We Need, plans to replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs in homes around Routt County. The group will seek donated CFL bulbs, which use less energy than their counterparts, and plans to work with the Routt County Council on Aging and other organizations to find people who want new bulbs.

Nearly 20 people attended Sunday's discussion at the Solstice Building on Oak Street. Change We Need plans to distribute the bulbs the weekend of Jan. 17. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Jan. 19, and Obama's inauguration is scheduled for the next day.

Linda Lewis hosted Sunday's meeting and led the discussion.

"Clearly, we want to do it for people in need," Lewis said, referring to the installation of new bulbs. "But anybody who does this is going to be helping the environment."

Wal-Mart has agreed to donate some CFL bulbs, she said. The group plans to ask Ace at the Curve, Safeway and City Market for donations. The Yampa Valley Electric Association already offers one bulb per household, but Change We Need plans to ask for a direct donation of bulbs to distribute. Volunteers will install the bulbs.

The group calls the project Light for Change.

It's not a partisan effort, said Catherine Carson, who attended the meeting. She plans to seek a partnership with outgoing state Sen. Jack Taylor, a Republican, and his wife, Geneva, who sits on a board that manages apartments for seniors in Steamboat Springs.

Still, one of Change We Need's goals is to continue grass-roots involvement in Obama's administration.

"We all have to work," Carson said. "It's not something we can change by sitting back."

Noreen Moore said it was crucial for her to have a specific task.

"I know I'm here because I want to do something," Moore said.

The group seemed to have a firm plan for doing something in a couple of weekends, but it isn't yet sure who will get the CFL bulbs. Those who attended Sunday's meeting said they hoped to distribute bulbs in South Routt and the Hayden area, too. The group's ability to do that will depend partly on how many bulbs it rounds up.

Change We Need plans to meet next Sunday afternoon to finalize the Light for Change project.

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234

or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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