The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 1997 · Page 12
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 12

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 4, 1997
Page 12
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SUNDAY MAY 4, 1997 THE SALINA JOURNAL Life SUPPORT GROUPS / B5 ALMANAC / B7 CROSSWORD / B8 B Tfc K Monument to ECYCLING David and Susan Millstein stand atop their roof, made with the same technique used to build concrete- hulled Liberty Boats during World War I. •1 :i Photos by The Associated Press The Mlllsteins' airplane wing-shaped house north of Baldwin City has become a favorite landmark for pilots to fly over. The second floor of the hub contains the master bedroom, and the right wing includes a greenhouse. taw Tires and other salvaged material get second life in Baldwin City house By BILL BLANKENSHIP The Topeka Capital-Journal Much of the material inside the home Is recycled. The dining room features wood floor- Ing from the old handball courts at Robinson Gymnasium at the University of Kansas. Joints from the old Johnson County Courthouse were used In the doors. "I flunked out of architecture school in the early '60s, so I'm a frustrated architect, I guess, but not really too frustrated." David Millstein He's restored older landmarks in downtown Lawrence. BALDWIN CITY, Kan. — The Millsteins live in a high-mileage home, but it isn't a Winnebago. The north wall of their wing-shaped house on a hill north of Baldwin City is built of about 600 old tires. And not just any old tires. "Steel-belted radials, 15-inch," says David Millstein with a bit of bemused pride in his voice. Millstein got the idea of incorporating old tires into a house from a New Mexico architect. Pack the tires with dirt, stack them atop one another, fill the chinks with concrete, cover the walls with insulation and stucco, and you have a wall that absorbs heat from the sun and earth during the day, then releases it slowly through the night. The result is a highly energy-efficient home that is warmer than the outside in winter and cooler than outdoors in the summer. One would think finding used tires would be simple. They sit in huge piles or in landfills everywhere awaiting the day someone figures out an economical way to recycle them. But Millstein couldn't use any old tire. "We had a design we wanted to maintain, so we used a certain size on the bottom and then we narrowed it up as we went along," he said. Dirt was pounded in with a sledgehammer until each tire weighed at least 350 pounds. "It takes two men — if they're working up to speed — about half an hour to pound one Visitors can see the way the tire wall of the Millsteins' house was built by examining the 800-square-foot barn made of 450 stacked tires. Each tire was packed with dirt until it weighed 350 pounds. tire. One fills. One pounds. Then you switch off," he said. Millstein and a friend "labored for about two months on the first four or five layers of tires, then school got out. We got the football team in here, and they knocked it out in a week and a half." See RECYCLING, Page B10 V COMMENT Watch this: TV junkie accepts challenge to tune out The silence you hear is the sound of my i unplugged TV set gathering dust. In honor of National T V-Turnoff Week, W!hicb, began April 24, my . spousal equivalent bet me * five bucks that I couldn't MARLI survive seven full days MURPHY Without television. I ac- Kansas City Star cepted his wager on the + spot, eager to prove I'm not the TV junkie he claims. ,... While I consider myself a casual TV viewer, he considers me a hopeless fanatic. "You're killing off brain cells!" he'll yell from behind the closed door of his office as I'm deeply engrossed in a rerun of "Frasier." When I don't rise to the bait, 'he'll holler, "Frank Lloyd Wright once said television is chewing gum for the eyes." I'll yell back, "Maybe Wright was wrong. Ever think about that, Mr. Crankypants?" Then I'll hear him thumbing through a book, which means he's scanning Bartlett's Familiar Quotations for another TV-bashing zinger. You can imagine how much this verbal volleyball adds to my viewing pleasure. We're highly compatible in most areas of our relationship, but our TV viewing habits weigh in on opposite ends of the scale. Until I met him, I watched television every night. Until he met me, he hadn't owned a TV since the day after the 1-70 World Series, when he sold his 12-inch black-and-white set at a garage sale. So it irks him that he's joined a household with a new Sony smack in the middle of the living room. And it irks me that he's irked. However, I've got to admit that my life has changed much for the better since I've followed his lead on "tuning out." Over the course of several months, I've weaned myself from a lifetime habit of nightly TV viewing down to "appointment television" — three favorite shows a week plus the news. By doing so, I've gained the time to read novels, get regular exercise and cook a dinner that didn't come out of a frozen cardboard box. I was honestly unaware of how much of a time- robber TV had become for me. 120 billion hours of tube time When we debate the impact of TV on our lives, we focus on the harmful effect that excessive tube time has on kids. The average preschooler, for example, watches 30 hours a week. Children spend 900 hours a year in school and 1,500 hours a year in front of the TV. The average child spends 28 hours a week watching TV and only 38 minutes in meaningful conversation with parents. But we rarely consider the negative effect that TV-viewing has on adults. We all struggle with a constant time crunch, yet research shows that the amount of leisure time we have has actually increased — from 34 hours a week in 1965 to 40 hours a week in 1995. So why does it feel as if we have less time available, instead of more? Because we've upped the number of hours we spend glued to the TV. Collectively, we watch 120 billion hours of TV a year. Adults watch on average more than four hours of TV a day, which adds up to two full months of nonstop viewing a year. That's more time than we spend in any other leisure activity, including reading, talking, relaxing, hobbies, traveling or thinking. And you read that right: We spend more time watching TV each day than we spend thinking. That's where National TV-Turnoff Week comes in. By unplugging for a week, we get a chance to really think about how much of our lives we devote to "vegging out" with the one-eyed monster. It's also an invitation to entertain ourselves the old-fashioned way, without "Barney" or "Baywatch." Nobody says tuning out — even for a week — is easy. It's Day 5 and I'm a caffeine-swilling, knuckle-popping wreck. (Who knew Ellen DeGeneres would pick TV-Turnoff Week to come out of the closet on "20//20," for heaven's sake?) But I'll survive. I only pray that "Chicago Hope" is preempted tonight by "Circus of the Soap Opera Stars." Marli Murphy writes from her home in Kansas City, North. SUGGESTIONS? CALL SHERIDA WARNER, LIFE EDITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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