Bill Mahan, my dad, built the house I grew up in with a hammer, a tablesaw, and his own two hands. Pop was also a professional welder and a good mechanic. From houses to minibikes, I never saw a building project or a repair that he wouldn’t tackle. As a woodworker and proprietor of Marietta Wood Works, I enjoy envisioning furniture or cabinetry projects to fulfill a need or want, putting digital pen to paper to work out the details, and then heading out to the workshop to coerce the project into being from a pile of lumber. Dream, design, do … repeat. This process gives me a great deal of satisfaction. When I can pass along some woodworking skills to someone of the next couple of generations, I enjoy the process even more.


Helen Mahan, my mother, grew up during the Great Depression with only two books in the house, a Bible and a dictionary. As a young girl, I think she decided that she would own as many books as she could afford. Thanks to my mother’s passion for books, and to the Readers Digest Book-of-the-Month Club, the house Pop built looked a lot like a library. My youthful passion for reading evolved into a desire to write. A few years ago, I published my first novel, An Irish Miracle, and the follow-on story is currently in the works. There is more information about this first novel, a few of my short stories, and more on what’s coming next at Rob Mahan Books.


From the calorie-based, subsistence societies of our hunter-gatherer ancestors to the fossil-fuel-based, burgeoning societies that started the Industrial Revolution, energy has, and always will be, central to the human condition. So central, in fact, that wars have raged over access to cheap and plentiful energy sources. Available and affordable energy, above the levels required to maintain subsistence societies, has enabled rapid advancements in science and technology, lifting countless humans out of hunger and miserable conditions in just the last one hundred and fifty years. Yet for all our advancements, humankind has not progressed far from our ancestors, who picked up sticks from the ground and lit them on fire to stay warm. Taking the long view, as fossil fuels are mined and consumed, they will eventually become too costly and too difficult to recover to any longer be a practical source of energy. Since the late 1990s, I have been a self-appointed advocate for space-based solar power. This technology was first discussed in the 1960s. A virtually infinite source of clean, non-polluting energy, access to space-based solar power is a massive engineering project away from being humankind’s primary source of energy. Dream, design, do … on a grand scale. There is more information about this game-changing energy source at Citizens for Space Based Solar Power.


When too much tennis started to bother my knees, Linda and I bought a couple of Marin bicycles and took advantage of the Silver Comet Trail, a rails-to-trails non-motorized pathway running from near Atlanta all the way to the Alabama state line. We took our bikes with us to California, and wore out the Marins riding up and down the Pacific coast. The replacement Treks came to Michigan with us, where we have to haul them to access the non-motorized Border-to-Border trail nearby. The country roads around us carry a lot of farm traffic, have little if any shoulders, and just aren’t safe or relaxing for bicyclists. When an opportunity came up to help with a group promoting the construction of more non-motorized pathways in and around our community, we volunteered to help. After the first year, our non-profit group has made a great deal of progress toward our goal of healthy, active, and connected communities. There is more information on our project, our progress, and ways you can help at the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative.