Toledo’sImagination Stationcelebrated the opening of its new Energy Factory exhibit on May 13.
The EnergyFactory is the second exhibit developed in partnership with businesses in the Toledo community. Exhibit partners BP-Husky Refining and First Solar worked with Imagination Station team members and exhibit manufacturer Roto Studio tocreate several hands-on exhibits that educate visitors about oil refining and solar power, energy conservation, andalternative energy sources. The first part of the exhibit explores the oil industry with interactive exhibits that explain the oilrefining process; the story of oil from how it is created and extracted to its various products and uses; and a “Voice of theVisitor” area that encourages visitors to share their views on important energy topics. The second part of the EnergyFactory deals with solar power, and is located in an area of the museum where natural sunlight is abundant, along theMaumee riverfront. The exhibit contains photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight to electricity, and a number of interactivegames that allow visitors to explore concepts of solar power and the use of robotics in the solar power industry. Still otherEnergy Factory exhibits explore eddy currents (a property of magnetism), spin energy transfer, and electromagnetic fields.Imagination Station received Commission approval in May 2009 for just over $1 million in state capital appropriations thatwere used to conduct strategic facility and exhibit upgrades in preparation for the museum’s reopening last fall. The statehas invested nearly $12 million in the facility since its inception in the mid 1990s.
TheBoonshoft Museum of Discoveryis the recipient of an $800,000 grant from NASA to create an ExoplanetsExploration exhibit.
The addition of the new exhibit will be part of the Boonshoft’s overall planetarium renovation, andwill include a NASA theater, linking visitors directly to NASA scientists. The exhibit will educate visitors about theimportance of exoplanet discovery as part of NASA’s space exploration program.Exoplanets are planets outside our solar system, orbiting a star other than the Sun.The project also will incorporate a traveling component, and the development ofeducational support materials for teachers and parents. According to Boonshoft CEOMark Meister, the NASA grant is the largest federal grant in the museum’s history.The Boonshoft’s project is one of nine science center exhibits across the country toshare $7 million in grant funds. The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery has receivedstate capital appropriations totaling $1.5 million; the most recent funds receivedCommission approval in November 2009, and are being used to upgrade themuseum’s Wild Ohio Zoo.
Restoration work onStambaugh Auditorium’s Skinner organ continues, fundedin part by a recent capital appropriation of $925,000
, approved by the Commissionin November 2009. The organ had suffered significant water damage, prompting itsmillion-dollar restoration. Workers recently unloaded parts of the organ at Stambaughafter their return from a restoration facility in Connecticut. Skinner organs were theworld’s finest at the time the Stambaugh’s organ was installed in 1926. Therestoration project is not expected to be complete until summer 2011.
The Columbus Clippers baseball team received an Emerald Award from theSolid Waste Authority of Central Ohio for its recycling efforts atHuntingtonPark.
The Clippers worked with Rumpke, a waste management and recyclingcompany, to divert 97 tons of cardboard, 13 tons of grass clippings, and 110 tons ofmixed recyclables from the waste stream at Huntington Park. The Clippersorganization says it hopes to grow the program in future years, encouraging moreparticipation from fans and creating recycling-themed promotions to raise awarenessof the program. Huntington Park opened to a sold-out crowd in April 2009, and wasbuilt, in part, with state capital funds of $7 million.
The future of the Fairfield County Historical Parks Commission is uncertainafter the defeat on May 4 of a 0.5-mill property tax levy
, which would havegenerated $1.6 million annually to care for the parks. It was the tenth parks levydefeat since the Parks Commission was created in 1981. The park system iscomprised of 18 historic properties, including the 1824Rock Millgristmill, which isundergoing restoration. Rock Mill has received $150,000 in state capital funds throughthe Commission to help fund the restoration. The Parks Commission budget this yearincludes $127,400 from the county general fund, as well as some state funding,private contributions, and membership sales. Parks Commission Executive DirectorDavid Fey has stated the Parks Commission cannot properly restore and operate allof the properties that residents have donated over the years under its current fundingstructure. Members of Fairfield County Historical Parks met with Fairfield Countycommissioners after the levy defeat and agreed to research options for maintainingthe parks system, after Fey mentioned the possibilities of selling some of the land,