Nature

Monday, August 10, 2020

Marin Sanctuary Marks 75 Years of Arts and Gardens

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 3:30 PM

LOVE BLOOMS The Marin Art & Garden Center’s floral backdrops make it a destination for weddings as well as conservation. - PHOTO COURTESY MARIN ART & GARDEN CENTER
  • photo courtesy Marin Art & Garden Center
  • LOVE BLOOMS The Marin Art & Garden Center’s floral backdrops make it a destination for weddings as well as conservation.
Even in picturesque Marin County, the Marin Art & Garden Center stands out.

The 11-acre property in the town of Ross is an oasis of floral beauty and historic buildings, and the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the center hosts year-round events and programs on the grounds, including performances from resident theater company the Ross Valley Players.

This summer, as the country stays shut down due to Covid-19, the Marin Art & Garden Center remains open to visitors on foot or on bicycle who are welcomed to safely enjoy the spacious gardens for some much-needed respite. This month, the center celebrates its 75th anniversary, and Marin Art & Garden Center Executive Director Antonia Adezio hopes the grounds remain a fixture of Marin for many years to come.

“We’ve been here for 75 years and the world is a very different place, of course,” Adezio says.

The gardens were originally formed at the end of World War II by the women members of the Marin Conservation League, who also helped save Angel Island and Tomales Bay, among other Marin locales.

“(The Marin Conservation League) were very committed to the natural environment and the environment for people in the North Bay,” Adezio says. “We have that legacy, and there’s also the legacy of the groups that have come together to present programming and arts at the center, and that tradition is alive and well today.”

Working with the center for five years, Adezio is the nonprofit’s first professional executive director for many years, and she is helping raise the center’s profile along with expert horticulturist and garden manager Steven Schwager.

“He’s really taken hold of the gardens,” Adezio says. “People who come and see it now say, ‘I’ve been visiting here for 30 years and it’s never looked like this.’ And they’re right.”

Still, the massive property runs on a tight budget, and Adezio describes the nonprofit running the grounds as a small organization that does a lot with a little.

“We’re working to build our team and keep developing the garden for people to come and enjoy it but also to learn from it,” she says.

In light of the 75-year anniversary, Adezio invites Marin residents to look at the Marin Art & Garden Center with new eyes and to revisit the distinctive and charming gardens and buildings that were designed by mid-century master architects such as Thomas Church.

As the gardens remain open for foot traffic, the organization is also bolstering its presence online with its virtual art exhibition, “Rooted in Wonder,” featuring a video tour of works by painter Frances McCormack and interdisciplinary artist Miya Hannan.

“We have seen that during the pandemic it’s become more important to have a place like the gardens, and people are appreciating that they’ve been able to stay open and let people spend some time in nature,” Adezio says. “We want people to know that we are still here for them, they can visit and we hope to be able to gather again before long.”

Marin Art & Garden Center is located at 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. oOpen daily, foot traffic allowed sunrise to sunset, parking lot is available 10am to 4pm. Free admission and parking. maringarden.org.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Join This Weekend’s Socially Distant Cleanup on the Petaluma River

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 12:41 PM

SCOTT HESS; SCOTTHESSPHOTO.COM
  • Scott Hess; ScottHessPhoto.com

Each spring, the Petaluma River usually gets a revitalizing and refreshing environmental facelift courtesy of the stewardship and educational community organization Friends of the Petaluma River, who annually host a major river cleanup project on the first Saturday in May.

Yet, the trash and debris is piling up in the Petaluma River this summer after concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled the planned 2020 iteration of the Spring Petaluma River Cleanup scheduled for two months ago.

Now, organizers at Friends of the Petaluma River are ready to roll up their sleeves and get back to work, and the organization welcomes the public back to the river for a socially distant river cleanup event taking place on Saturday, July 25. Volunteers are invited to sign up online and choose one of several creek locations where small groups will meet to pick up trash from 8am to noon.

“While we can’t have our big gathering and BBQ, we can still work together to protect the Petaluma River,” Friends of the Petaluma River executive director Stephanie Bastianon says in a statement. “People are eager for a way to do good in our community and our annual river cleanup is a safe way people can come together outside, from a distance, and support our local waterways.”

The cleanup event, dubbed “Protect Our River from Six Feet Apart,” is meant to be a day of environmental volunteerism that will also keep participants as safe as possible during the pandemic. Organizers urge volunteers to bring their own water bottle and gloves and to wear sturdy shoes. Trash pickers will be provided, along with buckets, bags, sanitation wipes and gloves as needed. Registration and safety waivers are online now, and it is requested that volunteers sign up in advance to receive their preferred creek assignment.

The annual Spring Petaluma River Cleanup normally removes approximately 3,000–5,000 pounds of trash from the river and surrounding watershed each year. While this socially-distant event is expected to be smaller than the annual spring cleanup, which often includes many student and civic groups participating, the Friends of the Petaluma River still anticipates the removal of hundreds of pounds of trash from the river.

“The trash in our river impairs water quality and pollutes sensitive habitat,” Bastianon says. “It will also ultimately contribute to the astounding amount of trash that ends up in our oceans. With researchers predicting the plastic in our oceans to outweigh fish by 2050, we really need to act now to stop trash from reaching out oceans.”

In partnership with the City of Petaluma, Friends of the Petaluma River was formed in 2005 to celebrate and conserve the Petaluma River Watershed through education and stewardship activities.

The group manages Steamer Landing Park and the David Yearsley River Heritage Center where it hosts educational programs. Throughout the North Bay, the group's educational reach includes a watershed classroom that travels to local schools as well as youth nature camps like the award-winning Green Heron Nature Camp; an 'Adopt A Creek' initiative; the twice annual river cleanups; weekly 'Boating at the Barn' outings and the new after-school nature program, Friends’ Flickers.

In addition to the canceled spring cleanup, the Friends of the Petaluma River have also had to cancel several other community events and fundraising festivals, including the immensely popular Rivertown Revival this month. That event, which takes place at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center each July, was instead presented as a virtual variety show series on Facebook. Other planned events that have been canceled or postponed include the Transhumance Festival and the Wine & Whiskey for the Wetlands benefit event. As the Friends of the Petaluma River work to reschedule these events, the organization also invites the public to support the river through an online Clean Water Pledge.

The Socially-Distant Petaluma River Cleanup takes place Saturday, July 25, throughout Petaluma’s watershed area. 8am to Noon. Registration and additional information can be found at FriendsofthePetalumaRiver.org.
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Monday, June 29, 2020

Several North Bay Fall Events Already Planning Pandemic-Related Postponements

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 1:50 PM

The Gravenstein Apple Fair is one of many North Bay events canceling their plans this fall due to Covid-19.
  • The Gravenstein Apple Fair is one of many North Bay events canceling their plans this fall due to Covid-19.

Last March, Covid-19 forced California to cancel most social gatherings and events through the spring of 2020. Soon after, it was clear that summer 2020 would follow suit as fairs, festivals and other fun events were postponed or called off in the wake of the virus’s continued spread.

Now, autumn 2020 looks to suffer the same fate socially as the last two seasons. Many North Bay–based events and harvest celebrations are postponing their fall gatherings before July even begins, as Covid-19 continues to gain ground in the state and the Bay Area with increasing numbers of new cases each week.

In Sonoma County, fall traditionally begins prior to Labor Day—which is scheduled for Sept. 7 this year—as harvest-related events get rolling in August. One such event, now canceled, is Sebastopol’s popular Gravenstein Apple Fair.

Agricultural organization Farm Trails hosts the fundraising fair that celebrates the locally grown Gravenstein Apple. On the fair’s website, the Farm Trails team writes, “Though we can hardly imagine August in Sebastopol without the Apple Fair, we are fully on board with the County’s decision to cancel large gatherings. We are so grateful for the health care workers and first responders on the front lines and for all of the essential businesses (farmers/producers, nurseries, grocery store workers, postage and parcel services, etc.) who continue to sustain and support our lives during these unprecedented times. We are also appreciative of the sacrifices our entire community is making by staying at home to help flatten the curve.”

The fair organizers also note that Gravenstein apples will still be falling in Sonoma County this fall, and they hope to find ways to mark the occasion with virtual events or DIY activities.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that Farm Trails continues to make good on its mission to preserve farms forever in Sonoma County,” says Farm Trails Board President Vince Trotter, in a statement. “With our main fundraiser off the table, we’re certainly facing some financial challenges this year, but our farmers are fighting through this, and so will we. We’re cutting our expenses to the bone and looking at some creative ways to bring in revenue and make the 2021 fair better than ever.”

Other popular harvest and culinary events canceling their 2020 gatherings include the massive Taste of Sonoma wine-tasting extravaganza, the annual Heirloom Expo of food providers and enthusiasts best known for its giant pumpkin contest and the Sonoma County Harvest Fair’s Grand-Tasting and World Championship Grape Stomp Competition—though the Harvest Fair’s professional wine and food competitions will still be held remotely.

In Marin County, the arts are often a major part of the fall season, with festivals and fairs showcase both international and local artists and crafters.

One of Marin’s largest gatherings each fall is the Sausalito Art Festival, taking place on Labor Day weekend for more than 60 years. This year, the Sausalito Art Festival Foundation will pause production of this signature event due to the uncertainty of the pandemic and other current challenges associated with event production. On the festival’s website, the Foundation says it will plan a new iteration of the event “to meet a shifting arts and entertainment landscape.”

In addition to pandemic concerns, the Sausalito Art Festival Foundation writes that restrictions to access of the waterfront venue, competition for headlining musical talent and increased security costs and concerns are also factors in their decision to reimagine the event for 2021.

Another Marin fall staple, the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival, also recently announced its 2020 fest would be canceled due to Covid-19.

“For over sixty years our little festival has been a wonderful celebration of Mill Valley’s unique culture and community,” says festival executive director Steve Bajor, in a statement. “This year the responsibility to act prudently to ensure everyone’s safety is our top priority. Like so much we are missing, we are hopeful that the festival will return next year for us all to enjoy.”

Artists previously juried into the 2020 show will instead be featured on the festival’s website and will be invited to show their work in person at the next event, now scheduled for Sept. 18 and 19, 2021, in Old Mill Park.

Other fall arts events in the North Bay forgoing 2020 include Open Studios Napa Valley’s self-guided art tours, usually planned for two weekends in September, and the Sonoma County Art Trails, normally scheduled for two weekends in October. Still other major events canceled this fall include the Sound Summit music festival that celebrates Mount Tamalpais State Park each September at the historic Mountain Theater, and the Napa Valley Film Festival that was slated to happen in November.

“We appreciate the tremendous support and well wishes from our community during these uncertain times,” said Cinema Napa Valley Chairman Patrick Davila, in a statement. “Rest assured we will use this time to strengthen our commitment to our mission and develop new avenues to fulfill our vision. I look forward to seeing all of you in 2021 for our 10th year anniversary.”
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Friday, June 5, 2020

Join the Conversation With These Timely Online Discussions

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 1:45 PM

Acclaimed poet Nikky Finney appears in a virtual conversation on "the Witness We Bear" today, June 5, at 7pm as part of Bay Area Book Festival  #UNBOUND virtual program. - FORREST CLONTS
  • Forrest Clonts
  • Acclaimed poet Nikky Finney appears in a virtual conversation on "the Witness We Bear" today, June 5, at 7pm as part of Bay Area Book Festival #UNBOUND virtual program.
It seems that everywhere one looks in America today, there is unrest.

Police brutality has been on full display for over a week, with videos, photos and reports of peaceful protesters being met with batons and tear gas from police forces across the country. Those reports include Santa Rosa—where an unknown law-enforcement officer reportedly shot a plastic grenade at a protester less than 15 feet away on Sunday, May 31, fracturing the protester’s jaw, splitting his lip and knocking out four teeth—as well as a young man who was shot and killed by Vallejo police early on Tuesday, June 2.

Covid-19 had already created a tense situation before this week’s nationwide protests against police, having kept people isolated since March and causing massive spikes in unemployment as businesses across the Bay Area closed their doors due to the pandemic.

Add all of that to a country that has already endured three years of unprecedented presidential lying and social division from a former reality-TV star, and it’s a no-brainer that Americans’ mental stresses are at never-before-seen levels.

This week, several organizations are taking to the web to help those dealing with mental, social and health problems through online lectures, conversations and discussions that are sure to go a long way in opening up meaningful dialogue and affecting social change that benefits us all.

Today, Friday June 5, the Mental Health Association of San Francisco hosts a virtual event, “Real Talk: A Discussion About Police Brutality and Racism,” at 5pm via Zoom.

MHASF originally planned to facilitate a discussion with mental-health activist and writer Leah Harris on Friday, but due to current circumstances, they are instead facilitating this new discussion with the hosts of its ongoing "People of Color Support Group,” Dewonna Howard and CW Johnson. The support group regularly meets to discuss issues, coping strategies and resources relevant to people of color in the local community.

“This will be a safe space for anyone and everyone—especially our Black community members—to speak up, vent and talk through their feelings, thoughts and emotions surrounding the suffering and destruction taking place in our country,” wrote MHASF in an email sent out June 4.

Also today, June 5, the Bay Area Book Festival is rearranging its schedule of online events to present a timely discussion, “The Beautiful Witness We Bear,” at 7pm as part of the festival’s #UNBOUND virtual program.

The thought-provoking conversation will feature two acclaimed poets, Pulitzer Prize–winner Jericho Brown (The Tradition) and National Book Award–winner Nikky Finney (Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry). Twenty years ago, Brown was Finney’s student, and while much has changed since those days, their mutual dedication to bearing witness to hard truths through art remains ever-present.

In this conversation, the poets will share their own responses to the murders of George Floyd and other Black Americans, and they will discuss the protests against police brutality and the power of poetry to capture these human experiences. The conversation will be moderated by Ismail Muhammad, reviews editor for The Believer, board member at the National Book Critics Circle and Program Committee member at the Bay Area Book Festival.

Tomorrow, June 6, Book Passage hosts an enlightening conversation on women and politics with New York Times reporter and author Jennifer Steinhauer and New York Times Pentagon correspondent Helene Cooper, presented online at 4pm.

Steinhauer’s latest work, The Firsts, begins at the November 2018 midterms, in which the greatest number of women in history was elected to Congress. The book then chronicles the first-year experiences of those women, detailing their transitions from running campaigns to their daily work of governance.

Looking ahead, Point Reyes nonprofit group Black Mountain Circle hosts a Zoom Virtual event on mental health and well-being featuring Florence Williams, journalist and the author of The Nature Fix. The event, happening on Thursday, June 11 at noon, will make the connection between spending time in nature and our health, especially in the wake of a two-month stay-at-home order that’s kept many people in isolation. Now that some parks and beaches are reopening, Williams will discuss the role nature plays in making us happier, healthier and more creative.

Anna O'Malley and Donna Faure will join Williams on June 11 for this virtual discussion. O’Malley is executive director of Natura Institute for Ecology and Medicine in West Marin, and Faure is the executive director of Point Reyes National Seashore Association. The event is co-presented by Point Reyes National Seashore Association, Mesa Refuge, Natura Institute for Ecology and Medicine, and Point Reyes Books.
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More North Bay Summer Camps Are Going Online

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2020 at 10:19 AM

Kids (and even adults) of all ages can virtually learn the art of bookmaking with award-winning artist C.K. Itamura through the Healdsburg Center for the Arts this summer.
  • Kids (and even adults) of all ages can virtually learn the art of bookmaking with award-winning artist C.K. Itamura through the Healdsburg Center for the Arts this summer.

Summer has started for thousands of students in the North Bay, but many families are struggling to figure out how to spend the season, as the usual array of kids’ camps and outings is largely canceled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, several Sonoma County arts and education organizations such as the Alexander Valley Film Society, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts and Transcendence Theatre Company announced their plans for offering virtual summer arts camps in lieu of in-person programs.

Now, many other North Bay groups are jumping in the digital pool to provide their own virtual art experiences for kids in Sonoma, Marin and Napa County.

Healdsburg Center for the Arts is one of many nonprofit arts hubs that are temporarily shut during the stay-at-home orders related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Center also cancelled many fundraising events in the wake of the pandemic, including the beloved Healdsburg Earth Festival, the Healdsburg Art Festival and a number of popular art classes for adults and children.

“The past ten weeks have given us an opportunity to reflect on the benefits a community art center provides and we’ve had the opportunity to re-think about the future of the organization”, said Diana Jameson, Healdsburg Center for the Arts Board Member, in a statement. “We have discovered there is great interest and enthusiasm in the community for Healdsburg Center for the Arts to continue its creative endeavors, even during this public health crisis.”

To that end, the center is now offering online Bookmaking Summer Camps through a partnership with Book Arts Roadshow, co-founded by award-winning artist and former HCA board member C.K. Itamura. The camps are run over Zoom and offer the opportunity to explore the art and craft of making books while at home. The online sessions run select dates, June 27 to July 26, with sessions for ages 5–7, 8–12, 13–18, and even adults.

Bookmaking materials for the online sessions are provided by a grant from the Bill Graham Foundation. Packages of bookmaking materials will be mailed to registered participants ahead of the workshops.

“An online Bookmaking Summer Camp series for adults is included,” Itamura said in a statement. “Because bookmaking can be stress-free and fun and we’re pretty certain most adults can use a dose of that right about now.”

In addition to the Bookmaking Camp, local artist Jean Warren reformatted her popular Watercolor & Journaling workshop to make use of Zoom. Warren will guide students through watercolor painting lessons via video and email at a to-be-determined date. Register for camps and get more information at Healdsburgcenterforthearts.org.

When most people think “summer camp,” they think of the great outdoors, and usually the North Bay is a haven for kids to backpack, hike and explore in natural sites like the Laguna de Santa Rosa.

This summer, the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation knows that gathering, even in nature, is problematic in the face of a pandemic, so the group is inviting kids to join the Laguna Explorers @ Home program to explore the wonder of nature in their own backyards.

Aimed at kids ages 6–11, Laguna Explorers @ Home includes at-home activities that engage the senses, ignite curiosity and increase environmental literacy. The activities are designed for children to do on their own without much need for parent’s interference. The program also incorporates online meetings and circle time for discussion, play, and sharing with other children and Laguna camp staff.

Environmental explorations will run July 6–10 and July 13–17. Each Monday, explorers will pick up a pack at the Laguna Environmental Center, the pack comes with the materials needed for the week, including custom field journals, nature craft supplies, activity instructions, naturalist tools, game cards and more.

A Parent Pack will also be provided with instructions, website links and supplementary materials including “rewards” for participation that parents can give their child each day. Get more details and register for Laguna Explorers @ Home at Lagunafoundation.org.

Now in its 15th year of operation, the Napa School of Music has provided thousands of lessons to families in Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties, with approximately 400 students taking lessons every week from 16 top-notch teachers. In addition to private and group lessons, the school engages budding musicians in Music Camps, which are going virtual this year.

Beginning June 8–12, and running several subsequent weeks through August, the Napa School of Music’s camp schedule is packed with small-group sessions in guitar, ukulele, music recording and other classes that are designed for all ages and all skill levels, with instrument rentals available.

Beginner guitar, bass guitar and ukulele virtual camps will start aspiring musicians on the right foot with instructions in fundamentals and exposure to a repertoire of songs they can play with minimal skill.

Advanced virtual camps, designed for older tweens and teens, take the basic concepts of guitar, bass and ukulele to another level with new strumming concepts, advanced arrangements of popular melodies to learn and more. Other virtual camps include Musical Theater Camp and Songwriting Camp. Get details and sign up at Napaschoolofmusic.com.

In Mill Valley, the Marin Theatre Company is renowned not only for their stage productions, but for their commitment to community engagement. That includes the company’s Drama Conservatory, which provides classes, camps, workshops and performance opportunities for Bay Area children and teens. Approximately 8,5000 students participate in the company’s programs each year, and while the MTC’s doors closed in March due to Covid-19, they continued to engage with young actors and playwrights remotely in online classes through the Spring.

Now, MTC is introducing a new concept, Summer Camp in a Box, which was created as a way to bring summer camp activities directly to younger students so they can participate from the safety of home. The format is literally a box of theatrical supplies that can be picked up or dropped off. Boxes range from $50-$75, and scholarships are available.

Each box is themed and targeted at Kindergarteners-through fifth graders, and each box includes instructions and materials needed to complete drama activities, arts and crafts, games, recipes and more.

Themes range from “Living Literature,” which lets young ones act out classic kids books like The Magic School Bus, The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Dr. Seuss stories, to boxes based on Disney movies like The Secret Life of Pets and Frozen that let kids run wild with their imagination.

In addition to the Summer Camps in a Box for the young ones, theater kids in middle and high school can sign up for summer camps conducted virtually through Zoom, with an emphasis on acting and improvisation. All virtual camps for tween and teens are $100 and, again, scholarships are available. Register for MTC’s summer camps and boxes at Marintheatre.org.
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Giant Squid vs. Giant Douche

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Giant squid
  • NHK/NEP/Discovery Channel/AP

A giant squid was finally captured on video in its natural habitat. Why is this news? Why should the denizens of the North Bay care? Because giant squid are incredible, that's why.



Unfortunately, this clip is from ABC, the lowest common denominator of television news. So there's about 20 seconds of idiotic banter in this 45-second clip. Yeah, buddy, don't take a dip past TWO THOUSAND FEET.

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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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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nick's Summer Vacation: Hiking the PCT

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Former Bohemian classified ad rep Nick Curran is currently hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Having left in April, he plans to finish his journey in September. Periodically, when he staggers into a town, he'll send us an update. And man, are we jealous!

muir.jpg

Muir Pass, courtesy of the PCT

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail has been spectacular. You wouldn't believe how beautiful some of the passes have been. I've been hiking the John Muir Trail portion of the PCT since Mt. Whitney. Going over some of the passes has been very difficult. Muir Pass in particular was completely snow covered—I had to hike in snow for 12 miles to get through that particular pass earlier in the week. Muir Pass is proved to be the most difficult portion of the trail so far.

The other night, I hiked until about 10:30pm, when I reached the Middle Fork of the Kings River (about 7 miles south of Palisades Lakes on the PCT - if you happen to check out a map of the PCT). When I arrived, I was greeted by two sets of yellow-green eyes. I was completely in the middle of nowhere, surrounded on all four sides by 3,000- to 4,000-foot-high mountain cliffs.The eyes were really wide apart, and when I shined my flashlight towards them, the shapes (profiles) of the animals were just out of flashlight range. I noticed that the animals weren't moving, so I picked up a tree and threw it on the ground to show them who's boss; they still didn't move. I think that they were mountain lions trying to get past me and get a drink of water out of the river.

One of them starting walking around the back of where I was, but never came closer than about 25 feet. I was so tired from hiking that I finally just set up my tent and went to bed about 20 minutes later. It almost seemed as if they could sense fear, but I had a lot of adrenaline going for hiking for 15 hours straight that day, and was not about to back down, even though I was scared.Lake Palisides, from Doug McConnell's OpenRoad.TV

Arrived in the town of Mammoth yesterday. Mammoth is becoming a big resort town the likes of Aspen—they're even building a new airport here with non-stop to Chicago and L.A.

I will leave here this afternoon and get in to Yosemite on Friday. I haven't had a chance to make any emails for quite a while. When I have been in town, I've been too busy running errands to get to the computer.

Everything looks good as far as my plan to finish the trail by mid-September. I hurt both of my legs a few days ago from hiking too much. I hiked 38 miles a few days ago from just south of Evolution Lake to Vermillion Valley Resort (VVR) on Lake Edison. (They say hiking 17-18 miles through the Sierras is equivalent to walking 25 miles on flat ground.) The folks at VVR put me up for free at the resort so that I could let the swelling go down in my legs. All of the resorts and hiker-friendly towns have been great to the thru-hikers, we often get super-discounted deals and free supplies!

Well, 900 miles done, and 1450 to go. I think I'll make it. I miss you all a lot and hope to check in by the time I get to Tahoe in a few weeks.

Best Wishes,

Nick

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Save Our Parks

Posted By on Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 4:00 AM

As you bloody well should know, Gov. Schwarzenegger's budget proposal includes closing some 48 California parks this year to help offset the $6 billion deficit in part created by his refusal to close the yacht loophole or otherwise tax the very wealthy. Monday, April 7, marks Save Our State Parks day, an action day in which all who enjoy a dusty path, a big tree, the very ocean itself or a single fern are encouraged to mass upon Sacramento to signal protest.

Among the threatened parks is the Armstrong Redwoods SRA, a preserve in which most trees are 600 years old and which over a million folks visit each year. Freelance vlogger Travis Mathews of San Francisco submits his short documentary on Armstrong to remind us of why this very important resource is more than worthy of keeping open. Take the eight minutes or so to remember why. Mathews is available to do videos by request. Reach him at 415.730.2415 or travisdmathews[at]gmail.com.

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