The North Omaha Tool Library opens this Saturday!

The new North Omaha Tool Library opens its doors for lending this Saturday, March 31 at 9 a.m. at at 2417 Burdette in the Union for Contemporary Art.

The mission of the North Omaha Tool Library is to supply tools and instructional workshops to the community of North Omaha. … A tool library functions like a book lending library, just with tools. From shovels to sanders, we hope to collect a wide variety of tools that people can use to bring their projects to life!

The library is completely free and volunteer-supported, serving an area stretching from 16th to 33rd Streets, Hamilton to Spencer.

An article on TreeHugger yesterday discussed the growing popularity of sharing groups, clothing exchanges and other “collaborative consumption,” including the Berkeley Tool Lending Library.

Tool libraries and clothing exchanges inevitably bring with them the concern of pulling money out of the economy and taking business away from hardware and clothing stores. But Sami Grover at TreeHugger argues that this dilemma requires “a mental recalibration of what the economy is supposed to do.”

Sure, for each person who gets a free outfit at a clothing swap, that’s slightly less money pouring in to the retail and apparel industries—and slightly fewer jobs will be created as a result. But at the same time […] they have received the benefit they were looking for at zero cost to themselves, minimal cost to the environment, and all the while making an investment in social capital and community connectivity.

The economy must serve our well-being, not the other way around.

For more information on the North Omaha Tool Library, visit their website at omahatools.org.

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Catch me writin’ nerdy

Every once in a while, we here at The GoodTimes blog stumble upon some published research that we think might be of interest to you socially / environmentally / sustainably minded readers. All three of the following papers are published by the Social Sciences Research Network and provided for free.

Law, Environment and the Non-Dismal Social Sciences

Over the past 30 years, the influence of economics over environmental law and policy has expanded considerably. Whereas politicians and commentators once seriously questioned whether tradable emissions permits confer a morally illicit “right to pollute,” today even environmental advocacy organizations speak freely and predominantly in terms of market instruments and economic efficiency when they address climate change and other pressing environmental concerns. This review seeks to counterbalance the expansion of economic reasoning and methodology within environmental law and policy by highlighting insights to be gleaned from various “non-dismal” social sciences. In particular, three areas of inquiry are highlighted as illustrative of interdisciplinary work that might help to complement law and economics and, in some cases, compensate for it: the study of how human individuals perceive, judge, and decide; the observation and interpretation of how knowledge schemes are created, used, and regulated; and the analysis of how states and other actors coordinate through international and global regulatory regimes. The hope is to provide some examples of how environmental law and policy can be improved by deeper and more diverse engagement with social science and to highlight avenues for future research.

Continue reading

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A Month of Erin Wearin’ Goodwill – Week 3

Three weeks into my month of wearing Goodwill. I have enjoyed pairing my Goodwill merchandise with things I wouldn’t normally wear them with. I might have to keep going after next week!

The Marketing department was kind enough to take me on a day-before-my-birthday lunch. On our way back to the office we stopped to see where Goodwill was housed from 1960-2010. Purse and skirt from Goodwill.

Birthday girls are entitled to twirl their hot pink dresses in front of moon rock backdrops. This dress originally had poofy, sheer sleeves with huge polyester cuffs. I took them off to have a sleeveless dress for my friend Nick’s wedding last summer.

Shopping and donating at Goodwill is just another way of recycling. Cans or clothes, let’s keep them out of landfills! The polka dot blouse and drapey sweater were my Goodwill clothes for the day.

Oh, this red skirt? Banana Republic via Goodwill at 78th & Dodge. I’m looking for suggestions on how to keep a shirt tucked in neatly. Help!

This orange-red dress is one of my favorite things I purchased from our old store (see Monday field trip). Admittedly not the best dress for work, but it’s perfect for outdoor summer concerts!

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

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Top 5 thrifting tips for spring shopping

from Goodwill of Northern New England

Our friend Michelle at Goodwill of Northern New England has put together a list of 5 thrifting tips for spring shopping. Kicking off the list: Be prepared.

BE PREPARED: Have a list – just like shopping anywhere else it pays to have a prepared list of the items you have been searching for and or need. Write a list in a small notebook or use your smart phone. A list will help to keep you focused and on budget. Shopping in thrift stores can provide many opportunities to save but also to get carried away. Make a note of family member’s sizes, gifts ideas, brands, measurements of furniture, electronics etc.

She has four more — visit Goodwill of Northern New England’s blog for the rest!

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DIY: Wine bottle tiki torch

I was planning on saving this until it was closer to summer, but the weather here has been so summerlike lately — this next weekend’s highs are forecast to be in the 80s as well — that I figured I’d go ahead and share this.

from gerardotandco.com

We’re all about helping you find ways to creatively use the trash generated by wine drinking, whether it’s the corks or the bottles. And now we’re introducing the next best things to wine — hanging out in yards!

Indianapolis branding and design firm Gerardot & Co. has put together this delightful tutorial that shows you how you can turn your old wine bottles into tiki torches. With just a few tools, a little bit of hardware and an appropriate outdoor location for tiki torches you too can upcycle your way through the battle against mosquitos.

Remember to take the appropriate precautions any time you’re working with tools, glass and flames. DIY projects are all fun and games until somebody loses an eye or a house. And as always, if you take on any of these projects, or if you have any of your own recycling / repurposing / upcycling projects you’d like to share, post them in the comments here or send us an email to [email protected]!

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AbilityOne: Who are we?

Often times when I tell someone I work at Goodwill, the first thing they say is, “what store do you work at?” After a long conversation about Goodwill as an organization and about the many other programs, services and diverse work crew, they walk away with an immense amount of information. The real question is if they will be able to recall that information if they happen to stumble upon another Goodwill employee who does not work in the stores as well.

In working with this program I have had the privilege to meet many Goodwill employees — staff dedicated to their duties and coworkers and compassionate about the mission and community. The same staff that makes this organization what it is: good for you, great for the community.

Our workforce development AbilityOne staff work diligently to make certain our Federal Buildings, Offutt Air Force Base and the Veteran’s Hospital stay in tip-top shape. These employees have often been called “polite, thorough and a pleasure to be around” by many tenants and supervisors alike. They work tirelessly vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, mopping and scrubbing to ensure our tenants are able to work in a comfortable and inviting environment. They are the orchestrators of clean.

While they may not be as well-known as our wonderful retail department, they are an integral part of this organization.

We are AbilityOne and we are Goodwill too.

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A Month of Erin Wearin’ Goodwill – Week 2

We’re halfway through the month already!

This dress is from our 78th & Dodge store. It is one of my favorites, and I’m pretty sure it will be a struggle to convince myself not to wear it every day this summer.

Attempting to “spring up” a wool skirt does not make it any less itchy; however, the pockets make up for the itch. Please notice the mouse trap in the background. Rodents are not welcome around these parts.


Yellow tank tops and Goodwill history books: all you need to brighten up a Wednesday.

This is the skirt that I said would never wrinkle. Looks like it got me good. Revenge is a hot iron, pink skirt.


Here I am in my Goodwill shirt and necklace, fixing the decorations that I accidentally knocked over. Have a great St. Patrick’s weekend!

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

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A Month of Erin Wearin’ Goodwill – Week 1

A whole week of wearing Goodwill! To be honest, it doesn’t take much effort. They are all clothes I wear often. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been wearing:

My roommate asked if I was going fishing. I said no, just holding up these YouthBuild lockers in my Ralph Lauren via Goodwill sweater!

Polka dot shirt and skirt, both from Goodwill. I decided this is what the secretary at the Easter egg company would wear.


I took a quick trip to Minneapolis and wore this yellow jacket from our new store at 78th & Dodge out to dinner. The leather purse is from the Benson Park Plaza store.

Drizzly Minnesota days call for brightly colored cashmere. This Ann Taylor sweater only set me back $3.59 at 78th & Dodge! Notice my polka dot shirt from Monday? Packing for road trips is all about layers, my friends. Please excuse the blurry cell phone pictures. We didn’t bring a “real” camera to Minneapolis.

Back at the office, I’m wearing my green skirt while catching up on what’s been happening in Omaha. Fun fact: my shirt is actually a dress. How’s that for opening up wardrobe options?

Leaping with excitement for Friday! This skirt was super long when I bought it from our Bellevue store at 25th & Capehart. I’m talking way past my ankles, and I’m certainly not short. Now the only problem is trying to decide what to do with all the extra fabric.

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

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“For Once In My Life” screening March 26 at Film Streams

In 2008, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz invited The Spirit of Goodwill Band to play at the U.S. Mayor’s Convention for more than 1,000 guests from around the country — an exciting and stressful challenge for any band. But The Spirit of Goodwill Band was not just any band — all 29 members lived with at least one of a variety of disabilities — blindness, Down Syndrome, autism, etc.

“For Once In My Life” revolves around the struggles and challenges the band faced as they prepared for the show — learning more about themselves and the team as a whole — and it is being shown for free at 7pm on March 26 at Film Streams as part of the March “More Alike Than Different” Disabilities Awareness Month film series. The film will also be followed by a panel discussion, including Goodwill Executive Vice President Andy Bradley and AbilityOne employee Janet Johnson.

Don Simpson at Smells Like Screen Spirit said “‘For Once in My Life’ features both heartaches and triumphs; it will cause just as many smiles and laughs as it does tears.” Richard Propes at The Independent Critic said “If ever there has been a call, and an inspiring one at that, for the integration of individuals with disabilities into everyday society, ‘For Once In My Life’ is such a call.”

A limited number of seats are available for each screening, so be sure to make your reservations! You can reserve your advance tickets by emailing Maggie Wood at [email protected] or by visiting the box office inside Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater at 13th & Mike Fahey St.

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Six new gadgets helping people with disabilities

Some exciting new tools will soon be on the market to help people with disabilities take advantage of what the internet and other evolving technology has to offer. Mashable was at the 27th Annual International Tech and Persons With Disabilities Conference last week, where they were able to get a look at some of the newest products to be unveiled. They’ve highlighted six of their favorites at their site, including the HeadMouse Extreme from Origin Instruments:

from orin.com

HeadMouse® Extreme replaces the standard computer mouse for people who cannot use or have limited use of their hands when controlling a computer or augmentative communication device. The HeadMouse translates natural movements of a user’s head into directly proportional movements of the computer mouse pointer. The HeadMouse has a wireless optical sensor which tracks a tiny disposable target that is conveniently placed on the users forehead, glasses, hat, etc. It works just like a computer mouse, with the mouse pointer being moved by the motion of the user’s head.

The HeadMouse will track the user’s head with the user located in any comfortable viewing position relative to the computer display. Resolution of the HeadMouse is precise to allow a user to control the mouse pointer down to the minimum, pixel perfect, resolution of the computer display. This precision allows a user to perform such tasks as drawing, gaming, graphics work and Computer Aided Design (CAD).

Visit Mashable for the rest of the gadgets, and learn more about the International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference at their site.

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