Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The National Journey Begins

Good Morning Neighbor:

Well, it appears the first time I will meet the panel I am working with on Chemical Emergencies will be through a conference call the first week of October.  I will then fly to Baltimore, Maryland in November for our first face-to-face meeting.  I am so blessed that Ben Nelms wrote the article below that will come out in the paper today - he truly validates the impact I will be trying to make on this journey.  

Also, I am extremely excited about the impact that the Environmental Institute of Georgia is having on our local community with the upcoming dedication of the Fairburn Nature Preserve and our Rivers Alive cleanup.  I encourage you all to visit our home page at to learn more about all that is taking place to improve the quality of life of Georgians.  

Your neighbor,


Constance L. Thomas, Chair
South Fulton and Fayette Community Task Force
Ph. -770-314-6999

As Margaret Mead once said:

Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A New Vision

Good Morning Neighbor:
I had the privilege yesterday of going to Callaway Gardens – biking the trails, enjoying the beautiful scenery and at dusk watching the vividly colored hot air balloons glide over the tree canopies.   I was reminded in all of this that the initial vision of the Callaway family is what made my day so possible.  Vision followed by action that expands to incorporate the talents of others for the higher good is truly what makes all positive change materialize.
It was a vision of a community that made it possible to shut down the operations of the Philip Services Corporation.  And, it is a vision that needs to dominate the National Chemical Emergencies Work Group.  It could easily be said that there is no way this group will have a unified vision - especially when you look at the list below of those who will be serving.  However, it will only take two or three to begin the vision of change.
I remember making a point to never take a tour of PSC or go to their website to see how big and mighty they were.  I did not want anything to obstruct my vision and this will be my goal in this work group setting as well.  I will keep thinking of the young families who I saw that very first day holding their shirts over their nose and mouth – especially the young children and babies who were having difficulty breathing.   I will remember a standing room only crowd at Bethany United Methodist that was begging for answers as to why they were sick and no answers were given.  
A vision of a new road map of action that will be outlined for any community harmed is what is needed.  I am open to any and all suggestions as to how this should look.  Please email me with what you would like our government to do within those first few days of toxic exposure.   No thought is too small - send anything you feel would be of benefit.  Our hearts and minds working together is what will make all the difference.
Your neighbor,
Chemical Emergencies Work Group
Andrea Kidd Taylor, Morgan State University, chair
Scott Deitchman, NCEH/ATSDR senior liaison
Dana Goodson, RESOLVE facilitator
Montrece Ransom, NCEH/ATSDR staff
Membership [pending confirmation]
Bill Benerman Denver Department of Environmental Health
Nathan Birnbaum, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
John Bresland, U.S. Chemical Safety Board
Susan Cibulsky & Amanda Niskar, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Kathleen Curtis, Clean New York
Jacque Darbonne, Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services
James Eaton, Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab
Fleming Fallon, Bowling Green State University
Michael Greenberg, American Academy of Clinical Toxicology
James Griffin, American Chemistry Council
Joseph Hughes, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Nancy Hughes, American Nurses Association
James James, American Medical Association
Erik Janus, CropLife America
Kimberly Jennings, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Todd Jordon, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Betsy Kagey, Georgia Division of Public Health
Mark Kirk, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
James Madsen, U.S. Army Medical Corps
Jacqueline McBride, Love, Peace and Prosperity International, Inc
Maureen Orr, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Paul Orum, NGO Chemical Safety Consultant
Susan Palchick, Hennepin County
Clark Phinney, Maine Oxy
Darius Sivin, International Union, UAW
Derek Swick, American Petroleum Institute
Constance Thomas, South Fulton and Fayette Community Task Force
Anthony Tomassoni, Yale University School of Medicine
Wanda Welles, New York State Department of Health

As Margaret Mead once said:

Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.