Monday, May 3, 2010

More local talent wins recognition--NEN members create award-winning film

Sahalie Falls on the McKenzie River; Willamett...Image via Wikipedia


Thursday, June 3, CHEMEKETEN, 370-1/2 State Street
(above Cooke Stationery), 7:30-8:00 p.m.,


NEN members Laurelyn Schellin and Susan Watkins are having a special Salem showing of their award-winning Chemeketan Fish Lake & Hackelman Creek naturalist 30-minute film that received first place in "THE BEST OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL 2010" for Best Educational Film.

The film won against entries from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska and British Columbia after being entered in the competition by Salem's Capital Community Television Channel 22 (CCTV), which aired the film eight times.

Fifteen Salem canoeists and kayakers participated in the film which was narrated by NEN member, and Chemeketan paddle chair and trip leader, Laurelyn Schellin. NEN member Susan Watkins was the photographer.

Join us for a paddle trip, to classical music, around a beautiful mountain lake near the headwaters of the McKenzie River. Laurelyn and Susan will attend an Awards Reception in Olympia WA on May 15.

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A most important story: Grading hurts learning

Cover of "Punished By Rewards: The Troubl...Cover via Amazon

For an extended treatment of this issue, see Alfie Kohn's "Punished by Rewards."

I give it an A+ ;^)

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Bennett for Mayor

Amazing that we're still slogging through the process of legalizing urban hens in Salem and that the proposal being considered is the most bureaucratic, top-heavy, and burdensome thing imaginable. This WWII poster reminds us that, until places like Salem bought into the plastic, TV-imposed, suburban ideal, Europeans and Americans have always kept poultry nearby.

At least Chuck Bennett has seen the error of his ways and wants to bring the issue back to City Council so that his blunder can be rectified -- his mayoral race opponent has treated the issue with derision, contemptuously dismissing all the people who are trying to make Salem a better, smarter, less wasteful place (Word document). Pitiful:

I watched the city slog through this for months and months. It gave me a stomach ache, I’m sensitive to chickens, can’t even eat them anymore. I haven’t taken a stand on this issue. But I don’t think it is a major concern when our city’s budget is shrinking and we are laying off firefighters, yet we are consumed week after week with the chicken issue at city council. The process should be changed, it took way too much time and there are more important issues to be concerned with.

Any mayoral candidate who doesn't see the connection between our just-starting budget troubles and peoples' need to start learning to care for hens at home has a huge blind spot and a huge gap between their rhetoric about sustainability and any practical action. Because of his past opposition to urban hens and his role in the year-plus-and-still-going foolishness at city hall over this issue, Bennett was very vulnerable on this. A smart challenger would have jumped on the urban hens issue hard, rather than sniffing that it's just not important. But instead Bennett is in the odd position of being the much stronger candidate, even though he opposed urban hens. Weird.

[No, I'm not saying that you should decide who to vote for in the mayor's race based on urban hens. Rather, I'm saying that this is a very useful issue for distinguishing the candidates because it shows, on the one hand, a candidate who took the wrong position, has figured it out, and is working to fix his mistake vs. a candidate who hasn't bothered to think the matter through at all and is unhappy that people insist on sticking with the kinds of citizen involvement that politicians all claim to favor . . . until it happens. There may never be hens at LOVESalem HQ -- but whether there are or not, we're far better off with a mayor who can admit having made a mistake than with one who wants to double-down on it by complaining that proponents ought to just go away and leave the poor city council alone. Blaming the urban hen advocates for the gruesome and dysfunctional process that the Salem city council imposed on them is totally clueless about how city government works, or fails to.]

Control needed badly

Learners take responsibility for their educati...Image by Development Works Photos via Flickr

Say, I have an idea -- take the same money and put parents and volunteers and older kids and mentors with the kids to select and read books with the kids in the control group for the same amount of time that the other kids are playing with techno-teacher.

Not only are you likely to get better comprehension (the point of reading, after all) but you'll get a huge host of benefits that the techno-toys not only don't provide but positively negate.

But hey, the ed biz is fast becoming just a way to route money to big contractors to "prepare" kids for the expensive testing regimes provided by other big contractors. So techno-teacher makes a certain amount of sense . . . after all, we wouldn't want to admit that all our spending on computers and techno-toys and TVs in schools is actually counterproductive (which it is).
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Nice nature note from NEN Neighborhood Notable

Ken S., a Northeast Neighborhood (NEN) board member, sends this nice note to remind us to enjoy the beauty around us:

Greetings NorthEast Neightbors (NEN) folks and friends,

Now is the time to enjoy an annual highlight of our walkable, liveable Salem NEN neighborhood . . . the annual native camas prairie bloom in the State Fairgrounds parking lot adjacent to our north boundary. See attached photos. The plants that were commonly used by the local Calapooia native Americans as a food staple, camas bulbs, are blooming at their colorful purple maximum in the state fair parking lot south of Sunnyview Avenue from 17th Street NE to 24th Street NE.
You can walk in to view this eye candy from NEN's NE Quad 2 at:
1) 17th Street just past the last NEN home on the east side of the street;
2) 18th St. NE @ Garfield St. NE pedestrian path access;
3) 21st St. NE @ Garfield St. NE pedestrian path access;
4) 23rd & 24th Sts NE North Loop pedestrian path access.

By my calculations (acreage and plant density), some estimated 250,000 camas plants are blooming. Scattered in among the stunning purple blooms are approximately 35 white blooms, which may be the poisonous "death camas." My challenge to you . . . see how many of these rarer plants you can find!

With another week or so the growing grass will overstory the camas plants and make them harder to view. Also, the Oregon State Fair maintenance folks will soon mow the field after the bloom has completed. A smaller but substantial number of camas blooms are also visible in the Oak Grove west of 17th Street at Silverton Road.