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Frank Hyman
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I read that article in the Atlantic, and I thought the writer was "out to lunch". And not an organic one either. One of her themes was that some of the children in CA schools were from migrant farmworker families and that these school gardens were just a way for middle class families to keep these hispanic kids working in agriculture. She made other really spurious points and apparently has a history of writing contrarian claptrap. I suspect the editors didn't agree with her at all (as her points don't hold water for anyone with basic knowledge of schooling), but they were excited to have a writer that would stir up a vigorous response. Which she did. Frank Hyman
We share the cost of the yard waste bin with a neighbor, so it costs us about 60 cents a week for someone to haul off anything we can't shred with the mower and use as mulch. We think that's a good deal. Also, by shredding the leaves with a mower the volume is reduced by more than half, so they don't take up much space and even then for only a few weeks. We immediately pitchfork the shredded leaves into a wheelbarrow and then spread them as mulch in flower and shrub beds before the end of January. Not buying store-bought mulch and not buying those paper leaf bags saves us a bunch of money. We think that's a pretty good deal too. Some people have suggested making the yard waste collection service 'free' by paying for it through property taxes. Sounds good, but it would mean raising about a million or so with a property tax increase. And if we can afford to raise taxes that much, would we really want to spend it on gathering leaves?--or on beefing up transit so grocery clerks can get to work, or on underwriting more Habitat for Humanity houses so stable renters can become homeowners?--or even on getting ahead of the potholes? Frank Hyman
Durham's reputation is partly influenced by having two newspapers--the Herald-Sun and the N&O-- covering the town, meaning that two reporters are competing to scoop each other on stories that will get readers. The kinds of stories the attract readers tend to have mayhem of one kind or another. There was essentially no coverage of problems in Raleigh's local government until they put a pitbull of a reporter on that scene. Most reporters do a good job but are not always that tenacious without the competition from another paper. Other cities in NC and similar sized cities around the country by a large measure, only have one newspaper covering the local scene. Without competition there is simply less pressure--and fewer eyes and ears--on the local government/civic scene. So readers get less info about the problems that invariably exist. And often the leadership of these local, solitary, daily papers is tied into the local booster club and is happy to omit coverage of stories that would give their community a black eye. Frank Hyman
One of my many delightful discoveries in Denmark, was that they ran their utilities not above the street or under the street, but under the sidewalks and the sidewalks were made of stone or concrete pavers. That way, 2 guys with handtools could open and close up the sidewalk and access any utility work without disrupting the street traffic or leaving a bunch of poorly filled openings in the asphalt or butchering the trees. Oh, to live in a place where good design is common place. Frank Hyman
The Real Question: Will thr bartender be checking ID's of those with a nom de blog ? :-) Frank Hyman
@ sign Good questions. Too bad you're not proud enough of your opinion to sign your name. FWIW, the PA's dues structure are a sliding scale--you pay what you can afford. Can't pay $35? Do like a friend of mine and pay $5 and become a member. But you'll hafta sign your name to join. The message was approved by Frank Hyman. (can 'sign' say the same?)
@ nemontemi99 Thanks for setting a good example of being a reasonable and pro-active citizen. Like JFK said, "Ask not...." Several households on our block also clean up the leaves from our street gutters and don't find it to be a burden. Adding vacuum leaf collection to city services would cost millions annually (operations and equipment) that could be spent on potholes, affordable housing, transit, greenways, police, job training, recreation centers, parks, summer jobs for youth, litter cleanup, etc. Could all the people advocating for vacuum leaf collection please suggest which of these other municipal needs the council should short-change instead? Frank Hyman
"Hope the PA is kicking themselves for that endorsement." How soon they forget. Without PA' s endorsement, instead of Brenda Howerton on the county commission, you would be dealing with Fred Foster, who received the Durham Committee's endorsement along with Joe Bowser and MIchael Page. So where do you guess Foster would be on this issue and others? And behind Foster in the polls was Victoria Peterson. Which of these two would you prefer to be dealing with? I've got two--make that 3-- problems with the kind of comment I quoted at the top. 1) People offering pointed opinions based on their ignorance rather than their knowledge of the situation, meaning Howerton vs. Foster. 2) Acting as if the issue of the day is the only one that counts during an elected official's 4 year term. Regardless of where Howerton comes out on this issue, snark like this won't help your next issue when you need her vote on something else. 3) That the poster has insufficient confidence in the quality of their own opinion to use their full name. For those who read these posts, you may also have noticed that those who are willing to post with their full names have the more thoughtful and informed opinions. And that conversely, those who hide their identity are using that option as a way to safely throw out some uninformed and poorly constructed barbs about other citizens. The newspapers require the full names of writers in order to post a letter to the editor and they have no lack of submissions. And if you compare the quality and civility of the signed letters with the anonymous email comments you will see a stark difference. Anonymity is for cowards. With so much at stake and with so many challenges for our city, state, nation and planet, we need citizens with some cojones to step up to the plate using their names, rather than snarky cowards filling up the marketplace of ideas with uninformed, half-thought out, mean spirited notions. Bad money drives good money out of the financial marketplace (as we've seen lately) the same way that uncivil and uniformed commentary can drive good commentary out of the marketplace of ideas. Frank Hyman
My wife and I worked with a community gardening group called SEEDs to persuade our city council (Durham, NC, pop. 220,000) to allow people to have backyard hens. There was a fair amount of resistance and skepticism at first, but eventually a pro-hens ordinance passed by a unanimous vote. The basic steps on getting your local government to allow hens?: 1) Get organized, 2) Get allies, 3) Don't give up. Frank (
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2009 on A Tale of Missoula Chickens at Garden Rant
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I used to be an IPM scout (that's integrated pest management) for tomato farmers in SC. One of the many useful things I learned about that can't-do-without-it-but-can-drive-you-to-distraction crop is that many of the diseases we see on tomotoes in our garden--esp. early blight--actually come from the greenhouses where the transplants are started. And once they get in your soil, you'll be stuck with them indefinitely. So best to start your own or to buy transplants from a trusted local grower. In sub-tropical and rainy SC, late blight was rare to non-existent. I think it likes the cooler weather, where early blight likes it hot. And if you use soaker hoses, the disease won't spread as much as when you use sprinklers--which splash the fungus spores around. Finally, if you do see the disease--scouting every other day is a good practice--pull the leaves with the either blight and trash them, so they aren't sowing more spores. If all else fails, rig up an big umbrella! Frank (
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2009 on Here's News Nobody Wants at Garden Rant
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