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.

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    Thanks in advance (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Nonpartisan on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 11:45:57 PM EST
    for whatever you can do to help these folks.

    Excellent diary!! (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jen on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 03:31:06 PM EST
    Thank you for posting this! Will do what I can and pass this important diary on! It's US that are going to save this country -- not our corporate sponsored politicians.

    Thanks so much (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Nonpartisan on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 08:07:49 PM EST
    The good folks in Wilmington need all the help they can get from folks like us.

    Signed it (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Lena on Wed Feb 04, 2009 at 11:28:40 AM EST
    These movements need to spring up in all the hard-hit corporate town communities. Wonder if Obama had anything in his stimulus package that addresses such places on a more comprehensive scale?

    Anyway, thanks for letting us know.

    Holy Sh*t (1.00 / 1) (#6)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 12, 2010 at 11:15:56 PM EST
    Serious spam.