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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Prior to Thursday evening’s City Council session at City Hall, Greencastle Sustainability Committee member Steve Fields (left) and John Garner (third from left) present the annual Sustainability Awards. Winners were (from left) Putnam County Hospital, represented by Jeff Mace; Wasser Brewery, represented by owners Chris and Angie Weeks; Youth Leader of the Year, Madeline Piscetta of DePauw University; ETA International, represented by Teresa Maher; and Citizen of the Year Anthony Baratta.
Banner Graphic/ERIC BERNSEE
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The Greencastle Commission on Sustainability honored three businesses and two individuals Thursday night prior to the Greencastle City Council meeting.

The Commission on Sustainability honored ETA International, the Putnam County Hospital and Wasser Brewery, as well as Madeline Piscetta and Anthony Baratta for their efforts to make Greencastle and Putnam County a more environmentally friendly community.

The line between Business of the Year and Best Practices becomes blurred when looking at the efforts of ETA International, the Putnam County Hospital and Wasser Brewery.

The Putnam County Hospital and ETA International are being honored as Businesses of the Year.

Putnam County Hospital is once again a leader in sustainability in Greencastle and Putnam County.

During the past year PCH updated all lighting, inside and out, to LED. Also upgrades to air handlers settings have saved thousands of dollars each month. Motion sensors were installed in closets and various rooms throughout the health care facility. Water savers were installed on faucets.

Putnam County Hospital also opened its grounds for community gardens.

Recognizing the public’s desire to learn about renewable energy and its technology, as well as employment opportunities, ETA International hosted solar panel (photovoltaic) installation certification workshops in Greencastle.

ETA will have another workshop in March 2018. This sustainability workshop is designed for beginners and those experienced with electronics/electricity. The class will receive hands-on experience with a working PV system to conceptualize a design, compare costs of various sustainability products, dismantle, trouble shoot and reinstall to ensure proper operation, along with an emphasis on electrical and rooftop safety.

Wasser Brewery, located on the corner of East Franklin and North Vine streets, is being honored for best practices.

Wasser founders Chris and Angie Weeks have repurposed a structure that has housed an auto parts store and an auto dealership, among other things over the last 50-plus years.

Wasser received a grant from the Department of Rural Development to install high-efficiency windows. The restaurant and brewery depends on local food sources for its menu and has tables and a bar built from local lumber.

Wasser Brewery also donates spent grain used in the production of beer to local farmers, avoiding hundreds of pounds of waste.

A year ago, Anthony Baratta presented these awards as chairman of the Greencastle Sustainability Commission. Now he is being recognized as Outstanding Citizen of the Year.

Baratta served on the Greencastle Sustainability Commission from 2013-16. He helped create the Office of Sustainability at DePauw University and has been on the staff since 2012.

The Greencastle resident helps oversee a number of successful initiatives at DePauw that reach out to the community, including the DePauw Campus Farm and Move Out — a partnership with Putnam County Family Support Services to donate or sell discarded items — and the Sustainability Leadership Program.

Over the past two years, the Sustainability Leadership Program has grown from a small cohort to 60 students, the largest program of its kind in the country and an innovative opportunity for students to implement sustainability initiatives in Greencastle and at DePauw.

A 2010 DePauw graduate, Baratta and two dozen DePauw students spoke to more than 1,000 students across regional high schools and debuted a 20-student “Sustainability Leadership Institute” summer high school workshop.

Baratta is currently pursuing a master’s degree in sustainability from Harvard Extension School.

Madeline Piscetta, a senior at DePauw University, is the Young Leader of the Year.

Piscetta has been instrumental in a number of sustainability projects at DePauw.

She is in DePauw’s interdisciplinary program, is an Environmental Fellow as well as the co-curricular Sustainability Leadership Program, where she serves as a “student project manager.” Her current project focuses on “zero waste” initiatives. Piscetta and her team oversaw the implementation of the “Green-to-Go” reusable food container initiative in DePauw dining halls. The goal is to eliminate more than 244,000 disposable containers per year.

During her time at DePauw Piscetta has planned a “Water Music” concert, which brought together art and science to raise awareness for water quality and water scarcity issues. She has also worked on the campus farm and worked with DePauw Greek houses on recycling initiatives.

Piscetta interned last summer at the World Wildlife Fund at its U.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she helped plan the annual Fuller Science for Nature Symposium, which was conducted in November.

The Greencastle Commission on Sustainability meets at 5 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Greencastle City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.