Friday, October 23, 2009

Sweet summer passing into autumn's chill, too soon!

Pumpkins and Gourds Everywhere!Image by cwalker71 via Flickr

The Friends of Salem Saturday Market (a membership organization, by the way -- makes a great holiday gift for your family!) notes that our wonderful market continues twice more before following Persephone into the nether regions for the long dark. But there are still some gatherings during the interim before the Market resumes next April:

Can you believe Salem Saturday Market is already coming to a close? There are only 2 more Saturdays before it shuts down for the season. This summer flew by!

There are still a lot of dedicated vendors out there each Saturday, selling produce, meats, hot food, flowers, crafts and more. Come buy directly from the producer while you still can, & thank them for braving this October weather!


The Market may be winding down, but Friends of Salem Saturday Market is a year-round organization, and we’ve got some fun events in the works. Here’s a sampling:

Oct. 31: Our first fundraiser – We’ll be holding a yard sale at our booth! All the proceeds from the sales at the FSSM booth go directly to supporting our mission and events. We’ve got a lot of great, gently used items for sale: MP3 players, purses, a scanner, books, home decor, baby stuff, and a lot more! Rain or shine!

November: Here’s another benefit for FSSM members! We’ve visited several farms, and now we’ve got a chance to see how crops are handled after they’re harvested. FSSM members are invited to take a tour of Ankeny Lakes Wild Rice Company. These local folks gather wild rice from Oregon, Idaho and Canada, and process, mix, season and package it in a facility south of Salem. We will email members soon with a date and invitation to this exclusive event!

Nov. 22: Sustainable Holiday Market - Straub Environmental Learning Center is hosting this second annual event at Willamette University. We’ll be there to educate consumers, explain our mission, and to sell gift memberships to FSSM. A membership to FSSM makes a thoughtful gift and is a wonderful alternative to combat materialism.

Dec. 13 & 14: Holiday Gift Market - We’ll be at this huge event at the Fairgrounds. As another fundraiser, FSSM will be hosting a “Gift Valet Service.” Our volunteers will hang onto your purchases while you continue shopping. All donations benefit FSSM’s msision. And, you’ll again have another chance to buy gift memberships to FSSM!

Our Board of Directors is hard at work planning more events and activites. Thanks for your support!

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Finestkind civic activism for Minto Brown tomorrow and Halloween

Minto BrownSome of the beautiful vistas likely to disappear soon. Image by voodooangel via Flickr

Some locals are doing what the City of Salem should have done well before ramming through the hasty sale of easements in Minto-Brown Island Park:
CARE ABOUT MINTO BROWN? Then make sure to let the City know what kind of plantings you’d like to see in the recently designated federal easement areas in the park.

Salem residents have an opportunity to influence the design of these two 100-acre parcels, including proportions of open space to woodland, and best locations for different kinds of vegetation (trees, shrubs, grasses), at these meetings:

Phase I (initial input from the public) – Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6-8 Leslie Middle School, repeated Saturday, Oct. 31, 10-1 Pringle Park Community Hall.

Phase II (presentation of two or three alternatives, opportunity for public feedback) – Thursday, Nov. 12, 6-8 Leslie Middle School, repeated Saturday, Nov. 14, 10-1 Pringle Park Community Hall.

Phase III (presentation of draft of final plan, opportunity for public feedback) – Tuesday, Nov. 24, 4-7 p.m., Salem Conference Center.

Join us Saturday October 24, or Saturday, October 31, for a walking tour to the easement areas, with an optional visit to areas previously restored under similar programs. We’ll meet in the Picnic Shelter parking lot and begin the tours at 2 p.m. Allow about an hour and a half. By the end of the tour you will know which sections of the park are included in the easement areas, and be prepared to offer your recommendations to the City at the public meetings.

Drop-ins are fine, but if you have questions ahead of time, or can let us know you’re coming, please email us at bassett3 [at symbol] or call us at 503-364-6806. And if you know anyone who might be interested, please pass this info on to them. Thanks.

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Alan Simpson, one of Reagan's old cronies, finds a strain of humanity and good sense somewhere deep inside. This doesn't even touch on what will be the real angle for many people: putting kids away for life is a fast way to bankrupt society to the point where law and order breakdown is inevitable.
A sentence too cruel for children

By Alan K. Simpson
Friday, October 23, 2009

Rather than serving in the U.S. Senate for almost 20 years, or having so many other wonderful life experiences, I could have served a longer sentence in prison for some of the stupid, reckless things I did as a teenager. I am grateful to have gotten a second chance -- and I believe our society should make a sustained investment in offering second chances to our youth.

When I was a teen, we rode aimlessly around town, shot things up, started fires and generally raised hell. It was only dumb luck that we never really hurt anyone. At 17, I was caught destroying federal property and was put on probation. For two years, my probation officer visited me and my friends at home, in the pool hall, at school and on the basketball court. He was a wonderful guy who listened and really cared. I did pretty well on probation. At 21, though, I got into a fight in a tough part of town and ended up in jail for hitting a police officer.

I spent only one night in jail, but that was enough. I remember thinking, "I don't need too much more of this."

I had a chance to turn my life around, and I took it. This term, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether other young people get that same chance.

On Nov. 9, the court will hold oral argument in Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida, two cases that will determine whether it is constitutional to sentence a teenager to life in prison without parole for a crime that did not involve the taking of a life. There is a simple reason the criminal justice system should treat juveniles and adults differently: Kids are a helluva lot dumber than adults. They do stupid things -- as I did -- and some even commit serious crimes, but youths don't really ever think through the consequences. It's for this reason that every state restricts children from such consequential actions as voting, serving on juries, purchasing alcohol or marrying without parental consent.

The Supreme Court recognized the differences between teenagers and adults when it held a few years ago, in Roper v. Simmons, that it was unconstitutional to impose the death penalty on defendants younger than 18. Locking up a youth for the rest of his life, with no hope for parole, is surely unconstitutional for the same reasons. The person you are at 13 or 17 is not the person you are at 30, 40 or 50. Everyone old enough to look back on his or her teenage years knows this.

Peer pressure is a huge part of youth behavior, whether one grows up in Washington, D.C., or Cody, Wyo. The guys will say, "Go get the gun. We'll pick up just enough money for tonight." And almost unthinkingly, you'll do it. There is simply no way to know at the time of sentencing whether a young person will turn out "good" or "bad." The only option is to bring him or her before a parole board -- after some number of years -- and give the person the chance to declare, "I'm a different person today" -- and then prove it.

Parole boards can examine how youth offenders spent their time in prison. Did they read books or work in the library? Did they make furniture? Get a college degree? Those are critical questions for review.

If at that review a parole board finds out that a miscreant hasn't changed, then keep him or her in prison. But some juvenile offenders make real efforts while they are in jail, and we should make honest adjustments for them.

We all know youths who have changed for the better. When I was a lawyer in Cody, the court sometimes appointed me to represent juvenile offenders, and parents who knew of my history often asked for help with their children. I once handled the case of an 18-year-old who stole a car and drove it to Seattle. I later hired him as chief of staff for my Senate office, and he turned out to be one of the most able of the people I put in that job.

I was lucky that the bullets I stole from a hardware store as a teenager and fired from my .22-caliber rifle never struck anyone. I was fortunate that the fires I set never hurt anyone. I heard my wake-up call and listened -- and I went on to have many opportunities to serve my country and my community.

When a young person is sent "up the river," we need to remember that all rivers can change course.

The writer, a Republican, was a U.S. senator from Wyoming from 1977 to 1996. He is among former juvenile offenders who have submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the petitioners in Sullivan v. Florida and Graham v. Florida.

Sigh. As if it needs to be said, not destroying the climate is good for the economy

How's the weather doing? – ¿QuĂ© hace el tiempo...Time is running short while the storm clouds build. Image by marcp_dmoz via Flickr

It's a measure of our insanity and suicidal ideation that this needs to be said.