Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Permi-Fuss

Posted By on Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 4:00 AM

On Saturday, August 30, officers of the Minneapolis Police, Minnesota State Troopers, Ramsey County Sheriffs, Saint Paul Police and University of Minnesota Police pulled over the Earth Activist Training Permaculture Demonstration Bus, also called the Permibus. Without providing proper justification, the police told the people to exit the bus and explained that they would be detained. The only reason the police gave was that they were conducting a routine traffic stop. The police then told Stan Wilson, the driver and registered owner of the Permibus, that they were going to impound the bus in case they wanted to execute a search warrant later on.

After more than an hour of being questioned by Stan and Delyla Wilson regarding the legalities of their detainment and their bus' impoundment, the police informed them that the bus, which is legally registered as a passenger vehicle in the state of Montana, was being impounded for a commercial vehicle inspection. Despite these claims, the Permibus crew was not allowed to remove anything from the bus, including computers, toiletries and 17-year-old Megan Wilson's shoes. The family-members could only remove their dogs and chickens from the bus and were left standing on the highway as their home was towed away.

The group was driving to a friend’s house in Saint Paul after teaching Urban Permaculture at the Bedlam Theatre in Minneapolis. The family had been traveling throughout the United States on their Skills for a New Millennium Tour teaching homesteading, citizenship and life skills. A donation supported project, the Skills tour is dedicated to providing tools for sustainable living, including Permaculture, to anyone who is interested."We believe that any solution that is not accessible to the poor and urban areas is not a real solution for the future," Delyla Wilson says. Permaculture is a design system with ethics and principles that can be applied to food production, home design and community building. The goal is to increase sustainability in food production, energy production and social systems.

In the past month, the Wilson’s would park the Permibus at several local businesses, respectfully contacting the appropriate precincts and receiving permission to park in their lots. In these interactions, as well as other casual discussions with Minneapolis and Saint Paul police officers, the Permibus crew found the local police to be supportive. This view changed, however, when the Permibus was seized."If the combined law enforcement of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and the State of Minnesota can pull over and impound a vehicle and home used to teach organic gardening and sustainability, one has to wonder what it is our government really fears," Stan Wilson says. "After all, we seek to teach people that the real meaning of homeland security is local food, fuel and energy production. For that we have had our lives stolen by government men with guns."

As of now, the family has been unable to ascertain the current status of the Permibus despite their repeated efforts. Mr. Wilson was told that Officer Palmerranky was the inspector in charge of the case and would provide the family with more information regarding the search and seizure. Neither Officer Palmerranky nor his supervisor has yet to return Mr. Wilson's calls.

The loss of home and possessions has been particularly difficult for seventeen-year-old Megan Wilson, who has dedicated herself to making positive changes in the world. She was the youth keynote speaker at the Local to Global conference in Phoenix AZ, has taught conflict resolution at youth shelters and is the outreach coordinator for the Skills for a New Millennium Tour, the family’s traveling educational project."While I understand that the world we live in is not as it should be, I strive to live and teach in a way that shows the world how life could be,” she says. “What I don't understand is why I can't get dressed for an evening out with friends in my own home without armed men stealing my life out from under me."

Megan’s family, along with their dogs and chickens, are currently being housed in the Twin Cities. For more information on the seizure of the Permibus, the Skills for the New Millennium Tour or Permaculture, the Wilson's can be reached at 406.721.8427. See pictures and read stories at www.permibus.livejournal.com.To help, contact the following numbers and demand the immediate release of the Permibus:Precinct one in Minneapolis, MN: 612.673.5701

Mayor Rybak: 612.673.2100

Ramsey County Sheriff, Bob Fletcher: 651.266.9300

(Dial 311 or 612.673.3000 if calling from outside Minneapolis.)Help with the tow fee, impound fees and legal fees by sending a donation. Contact the Wilson’s for a local address or donate online at www.earthactivisttraining.org/donate.htm.

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