Friday, March 06, 2009

Sustainable Belltown News

Sustainable Belltown
"It's hard to believe that another month is coming to an end, and with it, Winter almost gone. With Spring finally on it's way, we are continuing to talk at meetings about gardening in the city.

On March 11th, Pam and Bob Peterson are hosting Sustainable Belltown at The Concord at 2929 First Avenue. The meeting will be at 7pm in the owner's lounge. Our guest speaker will be Kit Harris, a Master Gardener who specializes in container gardening. While the weather is still chilly, Kit will concentrate not just on container gardening, but on indoor planting and growing as well. For anyone who has wanted to get that kitchen herb garden to perfection, or to grow indoors or out on the balcony, it's a great time to get together and find out more about the often forgotten garden space we have in the heart of the city. If you would like to come over to The Concord, you can rsvp by emailling, and we'll save you a place at Pam and Bob's. :-).

So, if you have been considering growing a lush jungle filled with incredible herbs, beautiful plants or just want to green up your space and raise the oxygen level, come on along. Here is where we start. For myself, I'm eyeing a bare balcony and remembering that more plants improve the air quality of a neighborhood. I will be moving out of doors in the warm weather, but am very very happy to start indoors!!

Pam and Bob are planning to share their incredible home made bread, and will provide some wine . . . please bring a wine glass and a bottle of organic or local wine or a local, organic or home made appetizer of your own to share. Seattle produces great chocolate, and I'm going to try to bing some decadent locally produced chocolate with me this time! Find out what great seasonal delicassies are available at the market, or try out boulengerie organic French pastries on Fourth . . . the possibilities are endless, and the evening is so enjoyable when we can sample each others finds and creations.

Last month, Sandy Perniz talked with us about community gardening and the p-patch system in Seattle. Seattle's p-patch system has grown and now there are community gardens in almost every neighborhood, with waiting lists of folks who would like to begin gardening for pleasure as well as to produce food for themselves and their community. In Belltown, there are around 80 names on the p-patch waiting list. After our meeting, we heard from the p-patch trust that they will be filing for grants with the County and Park levy to be able to consider purchasing the adjacent parking lot to expand the garden. It's a big undertaking; the vision is really sustainable, and Glenn from the p-patch trust will be on hand to tell us about the proposal and how it's going.

If you are a hearty soul, and really have the bug for gardening, please join us in the Courtyard at the Olympus for a soil building workshop. We'll learn to fill a "worm bin" and get started in the manufacture of good earth . . . can be done right in our apartments and on our balconies . . . This class will be on March 21st, and all attending will need to help chip in to pay for the rather intensive training. The weather is still a little ify in March, but a few of us have decided to take on this activity out of incredible curiosity or a desire to really 'dig in' to gardening from start to finish, or maybe just because worms are 'cool'. Whatever reason drives those of us who choose to do this, we have been invited to have a station at the Olympic Sculpture Parks 'Kids Climate Day' on April 18th to demonstrate and help kids explore the worms as well. So, let me know at the meeting or via e-mail if you are ready to "dive in" to earthworms.

Another upcoming event that might appeal to a slightly broader sustainable crowd is the upcoming GreenFest being held at the Seattle Convention Center on March 28th and 29th. March 28th is the evening that we are all encouraged to turn out all of our lights for an hour. This is an international effort I believe, and I'm hoping to hear more about it, so if you have taken part in this before, either in Seattle or another city, It would be so cool to hear your experience, and thoughts on that event.

Thanks again to everyone who is working hard to put things together for us. Thanks to Bob and Pam, not just for hosting this month, but for the great articles and ideas that they find. Thanks to Cynthia and Mack for hosting last month, and to Cynthia for reaching out into the community to find great speakers and workshops. We are starting to build a community growing and finding out what's going on in our neighborhood. Piece by piece we keep putting things together to form a whole, sustainable community.

I hope to see you all on the 11th,


More About Sustainable Belltown

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

One Problem I Have Avoided Mark 19: 16-22

Mark 19: 16-22
"Just then a man came up to Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good deed should I do to have eternal life?"

Jesus said to him, "Why ask me about what is good? There is only One who is good. If you want to get into that life, you must keep the commandments."

The young man asked him, "Which ones?"

Jesus said, "'You must not murder, you must not commit adultery, you must not steal, you must not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'you must love your neighbor as yourself.'"

The young man said to him, "I have kept all of these. What do I still lack?"

Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me."

But when the young man heard this statement he went away sad, because he had many possessions."
Now, I'm not sure I can claim never to have told a lie, and as a happily married man, there is a definite limit on the amount of love I'm giving my neighbor.

But that young man's last problem --- too many possessions --- I think have solved!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Slogging Ahead on State-by-State Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP)

I'm determined to crank out at least a minimal addition to my "State-by-State Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP)" list everyday. Tonight I added Michigan. Only 30-odd states to go.

This state-by-state listing of Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP) resources is intended to catalog what's out there, so we can see where the holes are, cross-pollinate, and of course improve delivery of services. I just don't see such a list anywhere else so rather than bitch, I'm working on it.

I really need to figure out how to get more people involved. I'm just one guy and a volunteer at that! Any and all ideas are welcome!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Harman-Turner Bill to Fight Rape in Military

Rep. Jane Harman and Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH) reintroduced legislation directing the Department of Defense to develop a comprehensive strategy to prevent rape and sexual assault in the military, and to vigorously prosecute those who commit those crimes. In FY 2007, 2,688 sexual assaults were reported, according to DOD.

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