Published first on the Progress News, April 12, 2021

Last week I talked about Pittsburgh’s P4 redevelopment framework, a model built on equitable and balanced consideration of People, Place, Performance, and Planet.  If you’re interested in learning more, you can check out Pittsburgh’s progress at

We have been working hard to develop our own framework for the future, based on theories such as P4, taking advantage of the Oil Region’s own unique makeup of people and place, harnessing the power of our bucolic setting, and prevailing over the challenges of rural life, such as social isolation, organizational and institutional disconnection, and a general lack of resource accessibility or availability.

Our primary challenge at present is to find effective ways to reach the people and ideas scattered throughout our region.  This column is one way that I am able to reach out to all of you with my ideas, and keep you updated on the progress of our assorted projects, but I am also searching for more ways to allow you to share your ideas with me. 

The simple fact is that we think best when we have plenty of opportunities to talk to each other.  Our brains do amazing things when they are stimulated by new sights, sounds, thoughts, and experiences.  So, especially in a geographically dispersed area like ours, it’s crucial that we find ways to better connect ourselves, both internally and with those outside of our region, and Stay talking. 

We all know the challenges of communication today.  In-person communication is starting to trickle back, but even in the best of circumstances it can be near impossible to carve out time to drive somewhere, sit down and have a meaningful conversation with someone.  Digital communication, whether it is email or social media, feels overwhelming and chaotic most of the time.  And even our good ol’ phones are bombarded by spam calls and texts.  There is so much noise, and so much competing for our attention, that we’re not really communicating at all most of the time. 

We have a few opportunities coming up for you to break through the noise and engage with us.  Anyone is welcome to join in these events: send me an email, give me a call, or check out

  • Every Friday, from 1-3, I am at Divani Chocolatier in Foxburg to chat and brainstorm.
  •  April 28th at 7pm will be the first meeting of the AC Valley Team at the ACV School Cafeteria.
  • The School Farm is taking shape, and we will be holding a ribbon-cutting in May.  This is an excellent opportunity to get to know each other and share ideas while we work in the dirt.

More is coming, including a fun-filled event at the Fuchs building in Emlenton during SummerFest, so if you have been reading these columns, saying to yourself “I should talk to her,” go ahead and reach out!  If you have ideas as to how we can better connect people, organizations, and institutions, to help us all share our knowledge and skill with each other and to help us solve our complex problems of equitable social, educational, and economic accessibility and opportunity, please share them!