Male Suspect Seen Entering OVEC Office ...
Or is That Suspect Male Seen Entering OVEC Office?
by Viv Stockwench
Our full-time staffers have all been women, causing some to
speculate that OVEC stood for the Ohio Valley Estrogen Coalition. Though, of
course, many excellent men (no doubt all in touch with their feminine side) have
been involved with OVEC from our nascent moments.
Call us what you will, the "E" in OVEC can no
longer stand for Estrogen. We done hired a man as OVECs new full-time
organizer. Yup, gone are the days when, deep in contemplation, we could fling
open the office bathroom door and scream out, "Hey, Ive got a great
But we are not kvetching over that one little lost liberty
(anyway, whats that compared to the PATRIOT Act?), instead we are rejoicing
in our new organizer, Dave Cooper. Dave fills the vacancy left by Laura Formans
I dont envy Dave, stepping into the job held by a much
beloved and effective organizer, whose death at a stop-mountaintop-removal
protest, some say, makes her a martyr.
Filling her position takes courage. But apparently Dave doesnt
see it that way. He says this is the job hes been working towards all his
Dave Cooper, OVEC's new organizer extraordinaire, in a rare moment of
inactivity. photo by Janet Fout
The first day of his new OVEC life began before 9 a.m. on May
1, when Dave learned that his debut task would be to organize a bus trip to
Washington, DC (see related article). Your basic baptism by fire, especially
when you consider I left town for a week (without phone or e-mail!) and Janet
and Dianne both were already super busy on other tasks.
Dave pulled it off like hed been organizing all his life.
Indeed, like all the OVEC staff, Dave was an unpaid activist for years before
finally getting a paid position (or should I say before accepting a massive pay
cut by leaving behind his other job). Hes a long-time member of OVEC, as I
learned when I cleaned out some of Lauras files before Dave moved into her
former office. In her files, I found notes from Dave to OVEC dating back to at
least 1994 hed jot down an excellent suggestion or send a sweet
Dave hails most recently from Lexington, Ky., where he was a
mechanical engineer at 3M and a member of the Sierra Club and Kentuckians For
The Commonwealth. He often traveled to OVEC protests and he filed several
reports from the scene of the coal sludge disaster in Martin County, Ky. He
served as president of a neighborhood association, working to rebuild a park,
create community gardens and generally spruce up his neighborhood.
Daves outspoken activism was perfect training for his
future OVEC job. He regularly attended Lexington City Council meetings, fighting
a boondoggle $100 million water supply pipeline project proposed by the
privately owned waterworks. He founded and was elected president of a citizen
group, NOPE (Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extravagance), fighting the pipeline.
NOPE stopped the pipeline!
OVEC is so lucky to have landed Dave with all his activism
experience. Weve got to admit that his engineering capabilities will come in
handy, too. We do so need some shelves in the office. Plus, you just never know
when youll need an engineer. At a recent meeting, I was writing peoples
suggestions on one of those easel-sized notepads one coincidentally made by
3M. I struggled to get a filled-up sheet flipped over so I could write on a fresh page. The paper kept sticking at the top of
the pad. I whispered something to Dave about lousy 3M products and he whispered
back that it was a giant sticky note I was supposed to tear the sheet off
and stick it on the wall. Oh, right, of course, I knew that. We later found out
he helped design that particular easel and pad system.
Janet too has been impressed with Daves skills. Apparently
his organizing ability goes beyond people to office files, piles, drawers and
cabinets. She came into the office one morning, opened up the cabinet where we
keep coffee and tea and other stuff. She looked inside, stepped back and took a
deep breath, shocked. You could actually see the entire selection of tea
available and could find the coffee filters without digging. Now we will really
be caffeine achievers.
Daves looking forward to meeting OVEC members. Hes
already thinking about what our next campaigns will be, once we stop mountaintop
removal and establish a clean elections system in the state. Welcome aboard