Saturday, March 27, 2010

A poignant story: the $618k death

Happier note: Friends of Salem Saturday Market springing back into action!

Composite image to illustrate the diversity of...Image via Wikipedia

Salem's Saturday Market is a gem, and the Friends of Salem Saturday Market are helping polish it to make it even more attractive. This great group offers neat tours of market vendor operations, which really helps you connect with and understand how market crops and produce come about. Here's a preview of some of the early season action this year -- join the Friends and take part!
Thank you for your support of Friends of Salem Saturday Market! Our first season was a great success, and we couldn't have done it without you. We've got even more free classes, events, and programs planned for 2010. We value your support, and we hope you continue to find value in our mission!

As an FSSM a member, you are invited to our exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of local farms and facilities. Your [2009] membership expires on April 1. Please renew today so you can join us on the spring tours detailed below. Return the form that you received in the mail, or find it here:

Send a reply email with your RSVP for these wonderful member-only events:

Hamblin Nursery: Sunday, April 25, at 1 p.m. --- We will visit John Hamblin's Nursery in Dallas. John has been a longtime vendor at Salem Saturday Market. He and his wife, Calene, sell vegetable & flower starts, hanging flower baskets, and potted flowers. At the tour, we'll see how the nursery operates, how to grow such beautiful plants, and more. The Hamblins will provide a tour, and then you'll have an opportunity to ask John questions while enjoying snacks. The nursery is 20 miles from the Saturday Market. Please let us know if you would like to carpool with other members. RSVP for this tour by Saturday, April 17.

Fairview Farm Dairy: Sunday, May 16, at 10 a.m. -- Do you know how goat cheese is made? Now's your chance to find out! Laurie & Terry Carlson invite Friends of Salem Saturday Market to their dairy in Dallas, where they make a variety of handmade goat cheeses. You'll see how the goats and other lifestock are cared for on this Animal Welfare Approved dairy. (And you'll learn what "Animal Welfare Approved" means!) The tour will include a walk around the property and the cheesemaking facilities, a look at baby chicks, a chance to bottlefeed baby goats, and a taste of that fabulous cheese. The dairy is 17 miles from the Saturday Market. Please let us know if you would like to carpool with other members. RSVP for this tour by May 1. (Space is limited, and a second tour may be added if needed.)

We will email you directions once we receive your RSVP & membership renewal.

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you again!
Board of Directors,
Friends of Salem Saturday Market

PS: The FSSM booth will be open at the Market on April 17. Stop by to say hi or to renew your membership in person! We will return every Saturday beginning May 8.
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Speaking of insanity: Why you should never back another Salem-Keizer Schools money measure

In the great tradition of the corporate pirates want to build monstrous boondoggles over the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and pave over French Prairie, the unguided missile known as Salem-Keizer Schools has condemned land in West Salem once owned by Governor Bob Straub (you might recall the gift he and his wife made that became the wonderful Straub Environmental Learning Center in the heart of Salem).

There is no justification for this project whatsoever except in the cozy world of contractor-school district relations, where spending money on boondoggle edifices and sports facilities is about the only thing administrators can do to feel like they've made a difference. The schools continue to operate on a model of a factory and a calendar of a farm, while failing to attain anything like the efficiencies of either.

A school district with its students' interests at heart would recognize that they are setting their students up for failure with their antiquated butts-in-seats-in-schools model of instruction and the huge expenditures on infrastructure -- shiny new buildings built with lots of shiny new money that ultimately does nothing but promote sprawl and the illusion that we're going to have a carburban future just like we've had for the past 50 years.

We won't. And the school district is guilty of gross malfeasance and willful blindness in condemning the Straub land. Of course, the present senior administrators will all be happily into their comfortable retirements before the chickens come home to roost on this one, and they'll get to be giving the tours for the shiny new buildings and they'll get to write the glowing press releases about how wonderful the buildings are and how they'll "facilitate enhanced world-class linkages and learnings" and other jargon-laden bs that is the distinctive hallmark of Edspeak, the language of a bankrupt elite. So it's all good for them -- even as Oregon and Salem's finances are swirling around the drain, they'll get to plow a bunch of money into shiny new buildings and when, later, there's no money for maintenance of the older buildings, their successors will cry poor and ask voters for more money "for the children."

Enough. The era of factory schools served by fleets of buses and armadas of parents ferrying their little snowflakes around is O.V.E.R. No more school buildings until the schools adopt a year-round, two-shift calendar and makes full use of the existing buildings and establishes small neighborhood school centers in the many vacant commercial buildings and school outposts in workplaces all over town.

Stop the Insanity: Protect French Prairie!

w:French Prairie southeast of ChampoegFrench Prairie s. of Champoeg -- now wouldn't that look much better with a fricking highway through it? Image via Wikipedia

One of the common traits of collapsing societies is a weird disconnect between what the elites do and what their societies needed in the final years before total collapse --- thus, you see in history once-mighty empires that dissolved into dust because the elites at the top would not do something simple and obvious, like safeguard the food or water supplies rather than spend their wealth on monuments to their own egos.

All over Oregon you can see this effect, where the elites propose ever-more grandiose highway schemes to destroy ever-more scarce resource land, even as the portents and omens saying that the end of the "happy motoring" years is here. Now comes this message of an absurd proposal to build a highway across one of the most beautiful and valuable lands in Marion County . . . a road that would be, like the pyramids, nothing but a gigantic sinkhole for wealth. Insane. Hunger is ravaging ever more people in Marion County and the rich see nothing in French Prairie but an opportunity to pave ever more farmland.

As Marie Antoinette supposedly said, "if they have no bread then let them eat cake." In Oregon it's "If they have no health care, if they have no job, if they have no food security, well, let them drive on roads destroying the land that could provide them with food and jobs and health."

Many of you have heard of a new development threat to French Prairie, namely the Coastal Parkway project--a proposal for a private, toll-road, freeway across French Prairie.

While there are east-west traffic problems, and this type of idea has come and gone over the past twenty years, the current one has some significant financial backing, and the promoters are hard at work trying to build support in local communities, with the county and the State.

Friends of French Prairie (FOFP) just put up a web page that contains all the info we've been able to collect to date, and we urge you to read it.

The promoters have scheduled a working session with the Marion County Commissioners on April 15, and we are running a petition campaign to deliver at that meeting showing opposition to this project from local farmers and residents.

Please contact us if you are willing to sign the petition.

All the best

Ben Williams
Friends of French Prairie

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