Recent local blog posts

Thrifty Thurston – 5 Hikes Under and 5 Hikes Over 5 Miles Near Olympia

Thurston Talk - Thu, 05/05/2016 - 6:00am


One of the best things about living in Thurston County is the proximity to great hiking. Whether you are looking for a hike close to home for the whole family, or an all-day excursion to the Peninsula, you are sure to find something that suits you. Check out Thrifty Thurston’s five hikes under and over

Something Wicked Presents Academy X: An Improv Show Inspired by X-Men

OlyBlog Home Page - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 1:50pm
Event:  Wed, 05/18/2016 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm

 On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Harlequin Productions’ celebrated improv troupe, Something Wicked, presents their newest comedy show, Academy X: An Improv Show Inspired by X-Men. The performance takes place from 7:00 PM until approximately 8:30 PM at the State Theater in downtown Olympia. 

“It’s an improv comedy show inspired by the X-Men comics and movies,” said Something Wicked leader Mark Alford. “However, you don’t actually need to know anything about them to enjoy our show.” 

Improv fans can purchase tickets at or by calling 360/786-0151. Admission is $15 with $10 rush tickets available at the Box Office 30 minutes before the show.


     WHO:               Harlequin Productions presents Something Wicked

     WHAT:             Academy X: An Improv Show Inspired by X-Men

     WHEN:             Wednesday May 18, 2016 from 7:00 PM to approximately 8:30 PM

     WHERE:          The Historic State Theater – 202 4th Avenue East, Downtown Olympia 98501

     PRICE:             $15 general, $10 rush tickets (available at Box Office ½ hour before curtain)

     TICKETS:        Tickets and info available at, or by calling 360/786-0151

     NOTE:              May contain mature content logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

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Local FASTSIGNS® Donating Portion of Sales to American Red Cross

Thurston Talk - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 1:30pm


Submitted by FASTSIGNS® of Olympia  During the month of May, FASTSIGNS® of Olympia – Lacey will donate $5 of every order received to the American Red Cross. “Disasters strike every day across the country and we’re proud to support organizations like the American Red Cross that are dedicated to help those in need,” said Grace Kendall, franchisee of FASTSIGNS

Man in legal limbo in Thurston jail

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 9:32am

Roughed up and jailed—Using the justice system to punish eccentricity

By Roger-Duane Calhoun

Editorial note:  Roger Calhoon has been incarcerated in Thurston County since last summer and he is not your everyday person. One may not agree with what he believes, but he has his reasons. Twice he has been sent to Western State Hospital for evaluation, yet he remains in the County’s jail. And after eight months of imprisonment, no trial date has been scheduled.

This article concludes with a statement by Mr. Calhoun’s friend, Mr. Leonard Rusby, who provides an update and more detail.

My name is Roger-Duane Calhoon and I am in need of help from a group like  the American Civil Liberties Union. Thank you for your time in this urgent matter.

I was pulled over on the Interstate-5 here in the Thurston County area of Washington State the morning of Sunday, September 13, 2015.

120 Days & Counting

The reason they said was for speeding.  This however turned into a felony ‘attempt to elude’ charge that for me, with no prior criminal record, would carry a sentence of zero-to-sixty days, if convicted.

As of today, January 11, I have been in the Thurston County Sheriffs Jail for 120 days and counting.   The passenger window was broken to gain access to the inside of my car; I was pulled out of the driver’s seat onto the ground face down and unnecessary excess force was used that dislocated my right shoulder.  My dog, my constant companion, was stolen from me, spayed, chipped, and adopted out in just two days by Thurston County’s Animal Services.  The car was impounded.

This police action started with a gun pointed at my face at point blank range.  Thurston County Sheriff Jail then violated the 72-hour rule to get me in front of a judge in court.  They have violated my 60-day speedy trial rights.

All for exercising my rights and freedom to travel

For not agreeing with the Public Defender attorney, Arnold Christian Cabrera and Pat O’Conner, they had me sent against my will and consent, to Western State Hospital—a state-run mental hospital—for a 14-day ‘competency evaluation’, beginning November 10, again without my consent!

So you know, on and off from 2007 through 2013, and from January, 2014 and on, I have been exercising my right to travel without a commercial driver’s license, without registration or plates from the Department of Licensing and I have had very little trouble in doing so. However, since Sunday morning, September 13, 2015, when I was passing through Olympia, my life has changed completely.

Here is my story

I was heading north bound on I-5 going to Stanwood, Washington to see my mother and to help with her physical therapy after a stroke paralyzed most of the left side of her body.   I was going home to be with her and be her caregiver in her golden years.

Instead of what should have been a properly conducted traffic stop, the car I was traveling in had the window broken out, I was thrown to the ground on the I-5, my right shoulder dislocated, and my best friend, a border collie-blue heeler mix, has been stolen.  I have been arrested.  I have been falsely imprisoned without due process of law.

On December 21, they held a trial in Thurston County Superior Court by acting Judge James Dixon, to send me back to Western State Hospital (WSH)— against my will and without my consent again—for 45 days to ‘restore competency’ in order for me to stand trial.  Two doctors from WSH are saying ‘other employees’ witnessed psychiatric behavior from me during the time I was forced to be there for 14 days.  This order was made because I am exercising my rights and do not agree with them on a matter of my right to travel.  They do not like this as you can imagine.

They have in this court order to use psychotropic drugs on me like Risperidone, which has many bad side effects, and is known to cause psychosis and psychotic behavior.  It has been known to cause permanent movement disorder, Tardive Dyskinesia, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, increased risk of suicide, high blood sugar levels, dementia, and increased risk of dying, just to name a few!

I do not want these drugs in me at all.

Roger Calhoon’s situation April 17 update by Leonard Rusby (with assistance from Carol Willey)

Leonard Rusby has viewed the police dash-cam video of the arrest and has had many conversations with Roger  during his  incarceration at Thurston County Jail and  Western State Hospital.

Roger was traveling by automobile, on his way to visit his mother who had a debilitating stroke and had lost most of the use of the left side of her body.  He was to help with physical therapy, and to give the current caregiver a short break from 18 months of 24/7 caregiving.  It has now been 7 months longer, nearly 26 months altogether!  His mother isn’t even able to use a wheelchair to be taken for walks because there is no ramp on the house and it is too difficult to get a wheelchair in and out of her room.  She is put in the sitting position on the edge of her bed two times daily to eat meal and receive some herbal remedies. She eats snacks lying down.

While traveling through Olympia, Washington at a light traffic on Sunday morning, September 13, 2015, just two hour’s drive from home, Roger was pulled over for speeding.

Roger passed information to the officer that was not looked at.  Neither the officer or other officers involved, acknowledged what was clearly written on the car.  “Stop, Private Property!  Please take note, I do not consent to federal police enforcers, legal jargon, unlawful search and seizure, touching me or my property in any way.  Fee schedule starts at 100,000.00.”

Roger felt threatened, he said, because the officer was acting ‘suspicious’ and had his hand on his weapon.  Roger left the scene looking for a better place to pull over with more people to be potential witnesses to anything that might transpire.  He couldn’t find a good place, a shopping center, or other populated area and decided to pull over again on a nice straight stretch of road clearly visible in both directions.

This time, the officer approached with weapon drawn.  Roger talked with officer through the driver’s window lowered a couple of inches.  The officer finally put his weapon back into his holster after having pointed it into Roger’s face.

Roger was unable to resolve the problem by talking with the officer through the window.

The officer demanded that he exit the car.  The officer did not comprehend what Roger was saying, or was apparently not properly trained in dealing with a ‘private American’.

Another officer placed spike strips in front of the car in case Roger tried to leave again.

Yet another officer approached on the passenger side.  The officer on the driver’s side passed a baton over the car to the officer on the passenger side and gave the order to break the passenger side window to gain access; the door locks were unlocked and Roger was pulled out of the driver’s side, forced onto the ground into the prone position.  Another officer (not with the Washington State Patrol) then forcefully pulled Roger’s right arm back and up into an unnatural position with way more force than was required (since Roger was not resisting his circumstances) and his shoulder was dislocated.

Roger in no way fought with the officers!  His voice stayed low and calm the whole time.  He was in no way threatening.  He was simply not consenting to their jurisdiction or to the proceedings.  He has not yet recovered the full use of his right hand and arm.

Roger’s much loved constant companion, his dog ‘Whisper’, was stolen and taken to Animal Services where she was spayed, chipped, and adopted out to a new owner within just two days.  The dog was to be used for breeding.  When asking about Whisper, Animal Control simply stated that the dog was treated as a ‘stray’ because Washington State Patrol had said that the driver was ‘uncooperative’.

The car was impounded and a search warrant was obtained. A half-eaten jar of home grown fruit was confiscated because they thought that it looked like ‘mushrooms’ and the surveillance cameras that Roger had installed were removed.  They are not believed to have been listed on the search warrant.

Roger was taken to jail, then taken to a hospital to check on his dislocated shoulder, then returned to jail where he was scantily clad and placed into solitary confinement. There he remained on a cement floor for approximately 96 hours (4 days).  No one came to tell him anything.  The 72-hour rule to be brought before a judge was violated.

In an effort to learn about what was happening and what he was charged with, he reluctantly agreed to talk to a public defender. He was hauled into a small hearing room in shackles and was video-taped.  He was not allowed to say anything and no public defender came in.

He’s now been incarcerated over 7 months including a 2-week stay at Western State as well as another 38-day stay at Western State that was supposed to be 45 days.  He was sent there to be ‘evaluated’ to see if he was competent to stand trial.  He exhibited no behavior that would suggest that he needed any behavioral modifying drugs, and, thank goodness, the doctors at Western State did not administer any!

A non-bar association lawyer was hired who cited RCWs and the court’s own rules to show that the case should be dismissed; however, the court and public defender are not acknowledging any of their own RCWs nor will act on any of the legal motions Roger has made.

The right to a speedy trial has not been waived and Roger is still waiting after seven months!  No court date has been set.  There is no meaningful dialogue going on between Roger and the public defender, though Roger has requested time and time again to see all of the paperwork put together by the public defender on his behalf.  Nothing except the police officer’s reports, dash-cam video, and a few notices of upcoming hearings have been received from the public defender.

The public defender has essentially done absolutely nothing. He has not done anything that Roger has asked of him!  He will only help Roger, if Roger agrees to a ‘guilty plea’.  The jail and public defender are acting like qualified doctors in making a judgement about Roger’s competency not being what it needs to be to ‘stand trial.

Even the food boxes at the jail say right on them, “Unfit for human consumption”!

By sending Roger to a mental institution, they are creating a ‘history’ of being at a mental hospital that can be used against Roger at a later date.  See what they do?  They chip away at personal sovereignty in order to gain greater and greater control.

All rights reserved.

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The ancient Order of Moss

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 9:23am

Bryophyte property rights and pressure-washers

By Liza Rognas

A caution to those planning their annual trip to the chemically noisome, noxious, aisles of the nearest box-store to buy the stuff that kills-the-moss-in-lawn-grass:

Don’t do it!

Anti-moss chemicals poison humans, aquifers, and soil. They harm critters we see, and those we don’t. Besides, these chemicals don’t work—hence the annual trip to spend too much money on them. Give it up, lawn addicts. Moss is more powerful than you can ever be. Moss has enormous strength. It can leap tall buildings in a single bound. That’s why it also grows on your roof.** Moss , verdant and spongy, was sprouting elderly whiskers eons before our human ancestors were asking each other if anyone would be embarrassed if they stood-up on their hind legs and took a look around during the next new moon.

Most of us living west of the Cascade Mountains reside on what was once, and still remains, a mighty, primordial, coastal, forest floor where mossy Brachytheciaceae, a Bryophyte, has dwelled for millennia. The soil knows that Moss is supposed to grow here. Trees know that Moss is supposed to grow here. Moss knows it’s supposed to grow here. It’s traditional. It’s got rights, Moss does! It holds thousands, perhaps millions—of years in property rights to this place that are deeper in the soil than any puny title certificate of human ownership, with taxes due, can claim. Somewhere there’s an ancient contract about Bryophyte right-of-way enforced by a judiciary of slugs, and militias of ferns and Cedars. Here’s where Moss grows! Every human effort to create a perfect lawn (a new tradition, even in human time) only enriches chemical companies while irritating and disrespecting the ancient ecosystems and plant folkways of this place. There’s beauty in Moss. Accept it. Gaudy, nouveau-riche, Kentucky Blue Grass lawn seed mix, with weed-b-gone & fertilizer added, just looks silly. Let the grass grow in Kentucky where it won’t get confused. You live in the South Sound. Take pride in your Moss!

About that Moss on your roof . . .

As it turns out, I asked my roofer about moss a few years ago during a conversation about his estimate. He gets a lot of business during the fall/winter rainy season from homeowners who send their teenagers up on the roof in spring to spray-off the moss using a pressure washer. Sure, the moss is stripped off, but the immense pressure also rips away composition particles coating the shingles, forcing water into and under areas of the roof that would normally remain dry, fixed, and overlapping. Roofs are meant to shed water, not collect it. Once a pressure washer strips away the pebbled texture affixed to the composition tiles, and they begin to absorb—not repel—moisture, all bets are off. The roof has been compromised. Those high-pressured streams force open overlapping shingles and widen punctures around nail holes.  Later, gutter-gushing fall/winter rainstorms can and will result in roof leaks that would not have manifested if the spring-cleaning homeowner, and the reluctant teenage laborer, had done this instead:

Use a sturdy push broom! Start at the roof crown and push-sweep down while firmly agitating the broom’s brush back and forth to loosen and then dislodge the moss. It takes longer, but it works.

Pay the kid, and let her keep the cool old Frisbee she found up there.

Liza Rognas is an academic librarian and a research professional, and has been a community food security activist and researcher for 20 years in Washington State.

The post The ancient Order of Moss appeared first on Works in Progress.

May has been known as the Mental Health Awareness Month for many years

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 9:17am

By Carole Willey

Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) is followed by July 7– 15 known around the world as MAD PRIDE Week and during October the US celebrates the Disability Awareness Month and assigns the first week Mental Illness Awareness Week.  Many Washington mental health consumers are totally unaware of the 40-year movement known as the Consumers/Expatients/Survivors Movement understandably so because of the oppressive views our society.  I want our community to know of this movement in hopes to open discussions and dialogue of cross issues of movements collaboration on important issues of our times.

For the May issue I have submitted three separate articles. The first, “Crossroads to change campaign”, concerns the Mental Health Awareness Month.  The second article, which I have submitted to several websites national and international with Roger Calhoon’s permission, is titled “Exercising my freedom and rights in America today’.  Also in this issue is a reprint of Panagioti Tsolkas’ excellent article, “The Ecology of a Prison Nation” (Earth First!  June-July 2015). These articles show what is happening in our county, our state.

Cross movements of mental health and environmental healthcare reform, prison / jail reform, environmental / climate change, Idle No More, Black Lives Matter, and most importantly protecting Natives’ Movements are connecting, forming partnerships, and joining large social justice movements across our Earth to save us all.

Below is a campaign I started with the help of several local advocates and activists in 2010. I want WIP readers to be aware.  Knowledge, courage, boldness and gumption to merge for collective direct action is what we seek.  But our action with “conviction to let our beliefs move us to action”–FEJ that is needed most to promote and support a sustainable, consistent, on-going, varied actions to make true change toward reform and move society away from the views of the one percent to our collective’s—we are the 99 percent!

Carole Willey, BSW

© 2016

The post May has been known as the Mental Health Awareness Month for many years appeared first on Works in Progress.

Crossroads to Change Campaign

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 9:15am

By Carole Willey

The 1999 Mental Health Quality Review Team Report found 68 percent of those surveyed had their rights violated in involuntary hospitalizations, known as a civil commitment—substantive constitutional procedural due process violations—civil rights violations. I founded the Crossroads to Change Campaign to expose these violations and work towards mental health (MH) reform. For 25 years I have been dedicated to educating various groups about these violations and other MH issues of forced treatment known as forced medication in Washington State.

This campaign’s focus is expose violations of MH civil commitment as documented by the Spokane County’s Mental Health Quality Review Team in their report entitled: “Investigation and Survey Results Regarding the Legal Representation by the Spokane Public Defender’s Office for the Involuntary Treatment Act Hearing Process,” dated November 29, 1999 and a second Spokane Report entitled: “Civil Commitment / Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) Survey Results” dated June 24, 2002.

These reports provide a historical viewpoint of due process violations in involuntary hospitalizations.  Carole Willey has been the only gatekeeper of these reports and working against the continued inaction of the state agencies and legislators since moving to Olympia, WA in 1998.

CCC’s Vision

The Crossroads to Change Cam-paign (CCC) was establish to educate Americans about civil right violations in US healthcare practices, to exposure these violations, and provide evidence that in Washington State people with mental disabilities are regularly detained in involuntary hospitalizations/civil commitments while experiencing a lack of due process.  CCC was also established to expose the varied methods that cause psychiatric coercion and mental health (MH) forced medications. Its goal is to voice the need for mental health reform at all levels of treatment and create a call to action for people to become involved.

Another of the campaign’s goals is to educate consumers, survivors, and former patients across the state about their rights. By being informed on outpatients and inpatients issues, it will empower and  guide them towards more mental health self-determination, which will allow them to embrace mental health recovery and to enhance their lifestyles to attain health and wellness.   CCC purports a sustainable mental health environment as opposed to a crisis-driven, oppressive existence, and profit-driven mental health care system.

Email Carole Willey about inappropriate handling of mental health providers or facilities —


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That’s what you get for not having any money

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 9:10am

(with a tip of the hat to Col. Alvin Thomas, USA ret.)

They said I did a felony / ‘though I weren’t the one to blame
At trial I met my lawyer / she didn’t hardly know my name
The jury and the judge appeared to spacerate and snooze
But when the prosecutor pointed / they rose as one, and cried “J’accuse!”
They say / you’re wearin’ gray pajamas for the next year, sonny
And hey / that’s what you get for not having any money

The other driver caused my car wreck / at the ER they was impressed
By my fractures, severed arteries, and post-traumatic stress
But when they asked for my insurance / and I said, I’ll pay you when I’m able
They told me, give us back those sutures, boy / and get down off our table
The little intern signed my discharge / there’s the door, he said
Now when you get home take two aspirins / and call us if you’re dead

I was hoboin’ in search of work and feelin’ most alone
So I went down to the corner to call my baby on the phone
I said, Hello Central, won’t you give me number nine
She said, your baby’s with a friend of yours / ‘cause you ain’t got a dime


So if you’re starving, homeless, unemployed / or some other kind of sick
Don’t complain if you gone insane / you crypto-Bolshevik
You strive to stay alive / just to be born and die a midget
While capitalism’s invisible hand is givin’ you the middle digit

When I got old and dived in dumpsters / it sure weren’t no surprise
That the lonesomes and privations got me presently demised
St. Peter then explained to me the bleak unvarnished facts
‘Though you inherited the earth / you could not pay the estate tax
Now I know eternal torment is a punch line short of funny
But don’t you get my Boss all mixed up with the Easter Bunny
Hey boy, here’s what you get / here’s what you get
For not having any money

— R.W. Walker

The post That’s what you get for not having any money appeared first on Works in Progress.

Women farmers feed the world

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 9:07am

Quercetin, lovage, and eggs

By Liza Rognas


The pride and certainty of the high, delighted, voice delivering this pronouncement demanded I lift my eyes from the Tugboat Annie’s menu in my hand and meet the triumphant ones of the young child beaming at me over the high back of the connecting booth’s seat.

One arm was hooked over the back of the booth, balancing her tallest tippy-toed reach, to offer me, palm-up, a colorfully foiled ovoid that did, indeed, look just like an egg; albeit one leaking a bit of chocolate goo onto sticky fingers.

“Egg.” I confirmed.

And then, because one must play along under these circumstances, I asked, oh, so slyly, “Chicken?”

Glee widened her smile even brighter, and she stretched up her neck, dutifully responding, with a crowing call:

“C’ Luck! Luck! Luck! — ARooOO! Doo–ooOO!! DO-Loo-DOOooOOoo!!”

A startled silence surrounding our two booths resulted in some murmurings and a Momma’s Voice commanding, “Sit Down!” that my young friend ignored with a frown, and a poochy-mouthed pout only an irritated 3-year old can achieve.

The egg was gone by then, leaving melted bits of colorful, brown-rimmed, foil in her plump palm while her mouth and tongue maneuvered around chocolate.

“Chocolate egg? Yummy!” I said.

“Yummy.” She agreed. And then, “Socklet . . .shocklet.”

“SIT DOWN!” Momma’s Voice commanded. And she did, in a slow slide so that smiley black eyes, followed by her grin, then her gooey hand, and finally her riotous auburn curls, disappeared behind the booth, leaving only a glimpse of a listing butterfly barrette before total invisibility claimed her.

Almost immediately my lunch companion joined me and we ordered. Her birthday present was prominently placed on the table—Young shoots of Lovage growing from a 4-inch pot I’d bought from the Evergreen State College Organic Farm stand.

Our order had just been placed on our table when up popped the 3-year old, craning her caramel-colored neck and pointing a French-fry at the leafy-topped plant visible over my friend’s shoulder.

She looked me square in the eye, determined to resume our naming game.

A windy, “Ffff-uh-ERN!” puffed from her mouth.

I shook my head. Pointed. Said, “LOVAGE” very slowly. “LOVE- adge”

She popped the French-fry in her mouth, chewed, swallowed, considered. And then, framing her sweet face in her cupped hands, she gazed at me with utter, devoted, tenderness, and crooned softly:

“Wuv ooh too, wittle bee.” In a cadence that could only have been a mimicry of her mother’s loving voice.

And then she disappeared—again.

It’s May. Greeting cards and so many advertisements demand we shop for and about, our mothers. Let’s just thank our mothers, those women (biological mothers and others) who gave us a loving nest from which to grow. As a community, local and global, we must also give thanks to the many women who grow our food, especially those nearby. You’ll see them at the Farmer’s Market. Thank them! Here’s the local farm map:

According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Women play a decisive role in household and national food security. In rural areas – home to the majority of the world’s hungry- they grow most of the crops for domestic consumption and are primarily responsible for preparing, storing and processing food. They also handle livestock, gather food, fodder and fuelwood and manage domestic water supplies. In addition, they provide most of the labor for post-harvest activities. Worldwide, women’s work often goes unrecognized, and, worldwide, women lack the economic and political leverage necessary to gain access to resources, training and finance.

On a global scale, women produce more than half of all the food that is grown. This number has not changed by any significant amount in over 100 years. In sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, they produce up to 80 percent of basic foodstuffs. In Asia, they provide from 50 to 90 percent of the labor for rice cultivation. And in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, as well as in Latin America, women’s home gardens represent some of the most complex agricultural systems known.

Small-scale, local agriculture

The US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA-ERS) reports that the number of women-operated farms more than doubled in the 25 years between 1982 and 2007. That number is growing. Female farmers now make up the fastest-growing sector of the country’s changing agricultural landscape and nearly 1 million women – approximately one-third of total domestic farmers – list farming as their primary occupation.

ALLERGY TEA RECIPE: A Nod to my Grandmother: Doris Bell Staigmiller (1910-1976, Eden, MT) who had over an acre in “garden” production, and who cooked, canned and, froze, food for an extended family for most of her life.

Mix equal parts of the following: 1/3 organic green tea, 1/3 mint, 1/3 combined nettles, lovage. It lives in the refrigerator in a concentrated form. I drink it hot or cold, mixed 1:2 with hot (not boiling) water or sparking water & ice. I often squeeze a lemon into it. Sometimes I add red chili pepper.

Allergy Tea

LOVAGE: Apiaceae: Levisticum officinale

My grandmother called it, “soup plant.” It looks like celery on steroids. It tastes like what “Green” meant back when ancient gods and goddesses were mixing up plants with colors and flavors and giving them “attributes.” The etymology of the name means “Love” and enjoys a rich heritage in various languages. Choosing my own family heritage, I cleave to: Liebstöckel.

Other than nostalgia, the sight and smell of Lovage produces great comfort to those who know it. It offers important, anti-inflammatory, “attributes,” that benefit those, like me, who live in the forest and are allergic to, oh, so many, spring pollens. Lovage and Nettles, are high in many flavonoids, among them, Quercetin. The anti-inflammatory attributes of Quercetin were noted back in the days when Titans walked the earth and when Greek scholars left their sponges, chitons, and peplos behind in the baths to run naked into the streets shouting, “Eureka!” at the tops of their lungs.

Quercetin is a blood-thinner, so many cautions to those with various heart & blood ailments who swallow medications for same. Be careful here. Quercetin should not be lightly taken.

My spouse makes gallons of “Allergy Tea” for me every week this time of year: equal parts of the following mix: 1/3 organic green tea, 1/3 mint, 1/3 combined nettles, lovage. It lives in the refrigerator in a concentrated form. I drink it hot or cold, mixed 1:2 with hot (not boiling) water or sparking water & ice. I often squeeze a lemon into it. Sometimes I add red chili pepper.

The Evergreen State College organic Farm is now selling Lovage starts. Fresh nettles are now at the farmers’ markets and shooting up in pastures and forest edges everywhere. Saute them with mushrooms, shallot, and finish with lemon juice.

Wear gloves when you pick and chop nettles. Or don’t, and relish the alive needle-pins nettle leaves prick into your skin. It’s good for you. Builds character! I know someone, named Frederica (Dr. Bowcutt), who can pick nettles leaves, roll them inside-out and just pop them in her mouth with no prickles. Give it a try, but don’t rub your eyes afterwards.

For further reading, consider the following references for Lovage & Nettles. And always, always, consult, a 3-year old, for delight.

UPTON, R. Stinging nettles leaf (Urtica dioica L.): Extraordinary vegetable medicine (Original Research Article) Journal of Herbal Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2013, Pages 9-38

Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb, Y., Varvara, G., Pandolfi, F., et al,. INHIBITOR EFFECT OF ANTIOXIDANT FLAVONOIDS QUERCITIN, AND CAPSAICIN IN MAST CELL INFLAMMATION. European Journal of Inflammation (BIOLIFE, S.A.S.) [serial online]. May 2013;11(2):353-357. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed April 11, 2016.

Liza Rognas is an academic librarian and a research professional, and has been a community food security activist and researcher for 20 years in Washington State.

The post Women farmers feed the world appeared first on Works in Progress.

For or against fossil fuel industry profits?

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 8:57am

Sanders vs. Clinton

By Emily Lardner

WHERE DO THEY STAND?Hillary ClintonBernie SandersAgree climate change is a problemYesYesSupport a carbon taxHasn’t saidYesRefuse campaign contributions from fossil fuel industryNoYesOppose frackingTo some extentYesOppose Arctic drillingYesYesOppose offshore drillingNo became Yes 12/15YesStop subsidizing fossil fuel industry/support fossil fuel divestmentNoYesStop extracting fossil fuels from public landsNoYesOppose KeystoneNo became Yes 9/15Yes

 The math hasn’t changed: as the website points out, echoing Bill McKibben’s 2012 article in Rolling Stone, “we have 5 times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate.”

The political framework hasn’t changed: corporations have assets—reserves of oil, gas, and coal—which, if sold, produced, burned, will make life hell for all of us. The magnitude of this issue brings to stark relief the contradictions between corporate interests and the interests of the people and other living beings on the planet. Without regulation, the fossil fuel companies will go after profits, wreaking environmental havoc on everyone.

So where do the candidates stand?

The Republican candidates have no intention to regulate the fossil fuel industry—they won’t acknowledge climate change as a problem. The Democratic candidates agree it’s a problem, but their proposals to address are fundamentally different.

The differences in the candidates’ positions reflect their different commitments. As Sanders explains it, “this is every kind of issue all at once: the financial cost of climate change makes it an economic issue, its effect on clean air and water quality make it a public health problem, its role in exacerbating global conflict and terrorism makes it a national security challenge and its disproportionate impacts on vulnerable communities and on our children and grandchildren make acting on climate change a moral obligation. We have got to solve this problem before it’s too late.” Clinton’s position reflects her commitment to lightly regulating the industry from which she benefits. The trouble is, while Clinton and the fossil fuel industry benefit, everyone else suffers.

Direct action in May

This May, is organizing peaceful direction actions in strategic places around the globe to “keep it in the ground” including in Anacortes, WA. As May Boeve, president of writes, “If we are to succeed in stopping the worst effects of catastrophic climate change, it will be because we have been able to keep fossil fuels in the ground. With thousands of projects proposed all over the world (even with the recent decline of coal, there are 2,400 coal-fired power plants currently under construction or being planned), the work is just getting going.” Speaking to the core issue—the regulation of the fossil fuel industry—Boeve writes:

“An economic transformation at this scale—from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy—will not happen without resistance from the powers that be. The fossil fuel industry is, after all, one of the most profitable in the history of profit, and no stranger to fights with movements. The greed fueling fossil fuel expansion is also fueling inequality on an unprecedented scale. This was apparent even before the largest leak in history revealed how the oil and gas industries take advantage of the particular scourge of offshore tax havens…

“In May, we will be mobilizing around the world with many of our partners to “break free” from fossil fuels. Breaking free from the violence and destruction of extractive industries is more urgently needed than ever, but in many places we’ll be mobilizing where we know it is hard to mobilize. For those of you who can join us, we hope you will. And for those who can’t, we hope you’ll join with us from afar—because solidarity that is global, visible, and loud is our best defense against those who would silence dissent with violence.” (

Peaceful direct action Sunday, May 14, at 9 am

The Shell and Tesoro refineries near Anacortes, WA are the largest source of carbon pollution in the Northwest and refine 47% of all the gas and diesel consumed in the region; this system must change—within years, not decades. Join us May 13th, 14th and 15th as we take mass action to Break Free from Big Oil and hasten a just transition to 100% renewable energy.

Emily Lardner lives and works in Olympia, Washington.

The post For or against fossil fuel industry profits? appeared first on Works in Progress.

Peace activists stand trial in Tacoma

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 8:52am

In protest of nuclear weapons

By Leonard Eiger

On August 10, 2016 the eight activists crossed the blue line onto Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, which represents the largest operational concentration of nuclear weapons in the US arsenal, in an act of nonviolent civil resistance. Some staged a die-in, spreading ashes around others’ bodies on the asphalt, while two members of the group attempted to deliver a letter to the base commander urging him to uphold international law regarding nuclear weapons.

Bangor Eight defendants

Bangor Eight defendants (L to R) Anne Hall, Mary Gleysteen, Ann Kittredge, Michael Siptroth, Emilie Marlinghaus, Betsy Lamb, Peggy Love, Elizabeth Murray

All were charged with trespassing onto a closed military installation and released on the same day; they were arraigned in November 2015.

The Trident submarine base at Bangor, just 20 miles from Seattle, contains the largest concentration of operational nuclear weapons in the US arsenal. Each of the eight Trident submarines at Bangor carries up to 24 Trident II (D-5) missiles, each capable of being armed with as many as eight independently targetable thermonuclear warheads. Each nuclear warhead has an explosive force of between 100 and 475 kilotons (up to 30 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb).

The eight defendants, who call themselves the Bangor Eight, are Mary Gleysteen of Kingston, WA; Anne Hall of Lopez Island, WA; Ann Kittredge of Quilcene, WA; Betsy Lamb of Bend, OR; Peggy Love of East Wenatchee, WA; Emilie Marlinghaus of  Bend, OR; Elizabeth Murray of Poulsbo, WA; and Michael Siptroth of Belfair, WA.

The Honorable David W. Christel, United States Magistrate Judge, presided over the April 1, 2016 trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Tacoma. Attorney Ken Kagan, who has represented nuclear resisters for many years, assisted the defendants. Kagan represented five of the defendants, while Lamb, Murray and Siptroth acted in their own defense (pro se).

Judge Christel accepted the motion by the government to exclude a wide range of evidence that could be used in the defense including necessity defense, international law, in-force treaties, and policies of the US government regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

The prosecution opened, stating that there is a “thin blue line” [on the roadway entering the base] marking the boundary of Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. All protest and other forms of speech are allowed outside of the blue line. The defendants crossed the line, were ordered to leave, and did not comply. Therefore the court should find them guilty.

Kagan opened for the defense by saying that, “each person has a very definite point of view as to why they were there” He further stated that he would, “let the testimony unfold as it will.” He then offered the August 10, 2016 letter, which the defendants attempted to deliver to Commander Zwolfer, to be entered into evidence.

The Judge examined the letter and stated that he found, “no foundation for this” [the letter], and would hold defendants’ exhibit 1 for decision later in the trial. The letter was ultimately entered into evidence.

Although the defendants felt severely hamstrung by the court’s decision to disallow the many reasonable defenses they sought to use, they nevertheless proceeded with their testimonies. The defendants spoke eloquently and passionately on their own behalf. The defendants were called, one at a time, by Judge Christell.


Betsy Lamb was the first to take the stand. She said, “it is so important for me to stand up and call our nation to lead the international effort to abolish nuclear weapons.” The judge allowed her to read portions of the August 10  letter  into the record. Lamb said that, “we [as a nation] need to conform to what we expect of other nations” and that “we were calling on Capt. Zwolfer” to act in good conscience. “In my defense, I say only that as a person of faith and conscience, when I see something as wrong as our proliferation of nuclear weapons systems and their current and proposed use, I have to act.” Lamb asked the judge “to step outside the box that is contiguous with your comfort zone. Act in whatever way(s) you feel appropriate to address the menace of nuclear weapons. Perhaps—for one thing—here today, find our actions justified, as an initial step.”

Mary Gleysteen told how, in 1955 as a child of a military family living in Quantico, Virginia, her mother allowed her to drink from the “colored only” drinking fountain, telling her “if you see something that is wrong you need to say or do something to correct it.” Her growth in activism went from signatures to action; from protesting weapons shipments from Bangor to Vietnam to protesting Bangor’s first-strike ballistic missile submarines. Gleysteen stressed that she has engaged in every form of “legal” protest over the years all to no avail. She has also spent decades leafleting at Bangor and “felt compelled by the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing off Nagasaki” to take action. She concluded by stating that her opposition to nuclear weapons  was based on the belief that their presence at the base is “immoral, irresponsible and unsafe.”

In defense of her action on August 10, Ann Kittredge spoke emotionally of her sense of duty to her (and other people’s) children and grandchildren. While her testimony was brief, it was strong and to the point.

Emilie Marlinghaus listed the names and ages of her children and grandchildren to illustrate why she took action against nuclear weapons—her first ever. Following the death of her husband, and having raised her children, she came to the realization that those skills developed through her early life would serve her well in her new life of activism. This new life began with protests against the Iraq war. To explain her passion for activism Marlinghaus quoted the Trappist monk Thomas Merton. “I want my whole life to be a protest against war and political tyranny. No to everything that destroys life. Yes to everything that affirms it.”

Elizabeth Murray, who spent 27 years as an analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency, explained how her experience as a government bureaucrat made her understand that so often the “last thing on [the government’s] mind is collateral damage” when making so many decisions involving the potential loss of lives through the use of “kinetic action.” Murray also quoted Robert Shetterly, the painter of Americans Who Tell The Truth. “Dissent is the prerequisite for democracy.”

Michael Siptroth began  by quoting Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson. “We’ve never said protests are the answer, but protests create space for the answer. Protest is disruption. Protest is confrontation. Protest is the end of silence, and what protest does is it creates space for other work to happen.” Siptroth went on to say he would not “be silent as my government prepares for war, developing weapons of mass destruction while depriving millions of people basic human dignity and peace,” and violating “domestic and international law.”

Peggy Love shared that she was born on August 8, 1945, between the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That has been an important reminder for her. August 2015 was the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings and her 70th birthday—the first  without her husband Jerry who died of cancer and had worked with Naval nuclear reactors during his career. Love could not acknowledge her 70th birthday without speaking out against the nuclear weapons at Bangor. “I did what I believe to be the act of a good citizen… exercised my first amendment rights.”

Anne Hall, an “ordained minister in the evangelical Lutheran Church” and who has lived “most of [her] life as a Christian,” has tried to “live as Jesus taught me to live.” Hall referred to the story of the Good Samaritan. “We are called to love most of all the people we are taught to despise.” She said “Jesus would be appalled by nuclear weapons” and that “he would have stood in front of trains bringing nuclear weapons into a base,  blocked roads and would have done everything he could” to abolish nuclear weapons.

Hall also spoke of the history of leafleting at Bangor. How at the height of leafleting efforts there were leaflets on bulletin boards all over the base, and that some people left their jobs as a result. She spoke of her vision of people at the base going on strike, refusing to work on nuclear weapons. She stated how the nuclear danger is as great or greater than it was during the Cold War; how the rest of the nuclear nations are modernizing in response to US modernization and Russia is angry about NATO expansion. On August 10 she “wanted to communicate to base workers and the public that the only way to avert the increasing risk of nuclear war is to work with every ounce of our strength—both domestically and globally—to outlaw nuclear weapons and to put in place comprehensive safeguards so these weapons will be dismantled and abolished forever.

In his closing arguments, attorney Kagan argued that under the trespassing statute, in this case, the first amendment (attempting to convey a crucial political idea) justifies the defendants’ attempted entry, and therefore does not constitute trespassing under this statute as there was no obstruction or vandalism. The trespassing statute, 18 U.S. Code § 1382 – Entering military, naval, or Coast Guard property, can be enforced “if a person enters for a purpose prohibited by law.”

Judge Christell found that Kagan did not present adequate justification to support his argument and, based on the factual findings, found that each person had entered the base that is within the jurisdiction of the US without prior authorization and for a purpose prohibited by law or lawful regulation, constituting a violation of section 1382. Having found them guilty and moved to sentencing.

During sentencing the government called one witness, Christopher Crane, Operations Officer for Bangor Base Security. Crane explained that he and others from the base visited with members of the Ground Zero Center community (GZ) before theAugust 10 action and learned about the groups basic plans for the weekend. He further stated that he and his team had already made an action plan before the meeting with GZ. The action plan was designed “to cover all possible scenarios” and was approved by the “commanding officer of the base.” The total number of base personnel involved was about 25, “taking people away from their regular jobs.” Crane cited 70 to 75 hours of preparation to handle the protest.

Kagan, in response, said that 70 to 75 hours of preparation was “overkill” based on the history of Ground Zero’s nonviolent actions at the base. The organization has a flawless safety record, utilizing trained Peacekeepers who ensure everyone’s safety and act as liaisons to law enforcement personell.

Although the government did not ask for confinement or fines, it did recommend one year of supervised probation and community service; 100 hours for Kittredge, Love, Marlinghaus and Murray; 150 hours for Gleysteen, Lamb and Siptroth; and 200 hours for Hall. The graduated community service hours were based on the defendants respective prior records of barment letters and convictions. In addition, the community service would have to be conducted with an “organization unrelated to nuclear disarmament.”

Kagan told the judge that these are “people with deeply held values who are deeply concerned” about our nation’s nuclear weapons policies and practices. He quoted a sign at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station that said, “Pardon our noise; it’s the sound of freedom,” going on to say that, “well, what this group did is part of the cost of freedom.”

Siptroth spoke to what he called the narrowness of the prosecutions overly strict interpretation of the law. He told the court that the sentences handed out will not stop the defendants from repeating their actions in the future. “We will be back here again and again until you understand that you are trying to impose a very narrow legal interpretation.”

Judge Christell accepted the government’s recommendation of one year probation, and did not impose the recommended graduated community service hours; he gave a flat 100 hours to all defendants. He agreed to the government’s recommendation that the service be conducted with an “organization unrelated to nuclear disarmament.”

While the verdict was disappointing, all agreed that they had presented a worthy collective defense. Even though the defendants were precluded from providing reasonable defenses in this case, those defenses are based on legal precent and treaty obligations the U.S. government continues to ignore— the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Advisory Opinions of the World Court on the Legality of Nuclear Weapons.

The U.S. Navy has plans for a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines, costing nearly $100 billion, which will accelerate the rapidly developing submarine nuclear arms race. It has been estimated that by the time the new generation of ballistic missile submarines are put into service, they will represent 70 percent of the nation’s deployed nuclear warheads.

Ground Zero’s NO To NEW TRIDENT Campaign ( is working to de-fund the Navy’s plans for the next generation ballistic missile submarine.

For nearly forty years Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action has engaged in education, training in nonviolence, community building, resistance against Trident and action toward a world without nuclear weapons.

The post Peace activists stand trial in Tacoma appeared first on Works in Progress.

Chamomile Tea

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 8:37am

The shadows framing the wall
and slanting on the ceiling
reveal more than I can see
with all their revealing.

The branches of the trees
are stark, crisp, inviting me
to reach out, hold on, ride
like a trapeze artist, swing.

This is my first midnight
movie in this intimate
theater, trying to sleep
on a freshly-poured concrete

grey couch above the streets
of Seattle while she breathes
in her bed of feathers
in stark relief in the next room.

In this tree house of an apartment
the outside rushes in like birds
from all the windows squaring
this room. These things I am seeing

here this night no one ever sees.
Last week on the same couch,
she saturated me with chamomile tea
and told me that she loved me.

Plain. Simple. In one honey breath.
It was hard to swallow, to drink in
the nature of whatever those words
were revealing as she sat underneath

the same patch of wall and ceiling
where I should be sleeping now.
Years from tonight, I will remember
her leaning back on the couch,

too much heavy lifting from months
before and before I started to know
her. She will not want me
to document it all in poems.

With crooked lines I will try
to break open the heart of her.

—Sandra Yannone

The post Chamomile Tea appeared first on Works in Progress.

The ecology of a prison nation

Works in Progress - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 8:32am

Living in a police state

By Panagioti Tsolkas

In the summer of 2013 I wrote “The Ecology of a Police State” [EF!J Vol. 34 No.1, Brigid 2014], a polemic drawing connections between repression, bloated law enforcement budgets, and the success of the environmental movement. A year later, the country burst into anti-cop rebellion. I don’t think environmentalists-as-we’ve-known-them can take much credit for instigating the protests which unexpectedly spiraled out of Ferguson, Missouri. But the more important point is that the environmental movement can and must start to view struggle against a police state as a basic part of a long-term winning strategy for defending the Earth. The time is ripe to further the conversation that “The Ecology of a Police State” started, and there is no clearer indication of the police state’s existence (just in case you weren’t yet convinced) than the industry of mass incarceration in the US, which spends billions in public money employing cops, guards, prosecutors, and judges to keep us in line.

Shackling the Earth

For the last decade there have consistently been well over two million people incarcerated in the US, not to mention the millions under “correctional supervision.” That’s a 500% increase since the ‘80s. For conversation’s sake, let’s set the starting line of this jump at the 1979 McDuffie riots in Miami, started in response to the brutal killing of a Black motorcyclist on December 21 at the hand of four white cops who were acquitted by an all-white jury. This incident (along with several others across the country) can be viewed as an indication that, despite all the counterinsurgency and COINTELPRO efforts of the police state, which had crushed social movements throughout the ‘70s, the pot was boiling over beyond control.

While white supremacy was a driving force behind the rise in mass incarceration policies, the prison-boom statistics also overlay neatly with the rise of anti-industrial sentiments from the burgeoning ecology movement, specifically the rise of environmental justice (sparked by the hostage-taking of EPA employees at Love Canal in 1980) and the mass movement capacity demonstrated by the anti-nuke movement. From Toxic Tresspassing: The Story of the Love Canal Uprising (via

Few people know how a hostage-taking incident transformed a shy housewife from the working-class community near Niagara Falls into one of the founding mothers of the environmental justice movement. Spark-plug community organizer Lois Gibbs traces the electrifying arc that led from sick children to an international rallying cry for human rights. Because, says Gibbs, “It is just not right morally or ethically that somebody with a corporate interest, with a dollar interest, is making a decision each and every day in this country about who lives and who dies.”

It’s almost entirely poor people, with an extreme disproportion of people from Black and recent-immigrant communities, who find themselves locked up. Black and Latino men make up more than 60% of the prison population, but only 15% of the male population in the US.

As soon as it became obvious that the US was going to learn a similar lesson to that of the Roman Empire 1,600 years ago, the state embarked on an unprecedented social experiment some have called the War on Crime. Rather than accept the inevitable demise that comes with over-extending your reach and building an economic foundation on theft and slavery, the US would try to stretch out its empire by throwing those deemed most likely to revolt into the criminal justice system.

According to a US Department of Justice report, in 2006 over 7.2 million people were in prison, on probation, or on parole (released from prison with restrictions). That means roughly one in every 32 Americans were held by the “justice system.” This is the highest number of captives in human history—higher in number and percentage than Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia in the 1930’s.

Mass incarceration has proven very effective in quelling domestic dissent by imprisoning potential rebels. And, yes, those are millions of people who might otherwise be making hostages out of the government officials who rubber stamp the permits that poison their children as they did at Love Canal, or burning strip malls to the ground ala LA in ‘92.

On the other hand, the police state employs otherwise unemployable young men to do their bidding in places like the rural mountains of Appalachia, where the energy industry has blown communities to bits for coal and left them begging for the crumbs of prison guard jobs to repress their poor urban counterparts.

Prison Nation

But that ain’t all

Those are reasons enough to incorporate anti-prison work into the eco-resistance movement. But it turns out that the prison facilities themselves—where people who may otherwise be our friends and neighbors are locked in warehouses—are also sources of great environmental concern. Even the EPA seems to agree. Writer Jonathan Simon refers to prisons as metaphorical human toxic waste dumps. As it turns out, many prisons are toxic waste dumps in a very literal sense.

From being massive users of water and energy, to generating massive amounts of sewage and toxic pollution, these places are essentially the population of a small town packed into a facility the size of a factory farm—with a similar output (antibiotics and all). And their sweatshop-like factories are notorious for violations related to industrial contamination, much like the Mexican maquiladoras that they mirror.

The environments surrounding prison and jail facilities share common, unique characteristics—what could be called prison ecology.

Despite the prison industry’s attempt to paint itself green with LEED certifications, it continues to be an ecological nightmare resembling a post-apocalyptic sci-fi setting, where political prisoners sit in solitary confinement for decades on end in a prison built on top of a toxic abandoned mine site (as is the case with ADX in Colorado, built next to a designated EPA superfund site in a uranium mill town with poisoned water).

Or how about the coal mine site in Pennsylvania where a recent report shows that prisoners at the Fayette State Correctional Institution in LaBelle have been experiencing an increase in cancer rates? The report, put together by the Abolitionist Law Center and the Human Rights Coalition, says that the culprit is a nearby coal ash dump. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11 prisoners died from cancer between January 2010 and December 2013, another six have been diagnosed with cancer, and eight more have undiagnosed tumors or lumps. More than 80 percent of 75 prisoners responding to the investigators experienced respiratory problems.

Picture this as the setting of a dystopic graphic novel: You are a prisoner locked in a cell as floodwaters raise around you (as happened in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina), the rising waters cause a gas leak which sparks an explosion killing and injuring inmates (like in Pensacola, Florida, last year), and just as you’re forced to drink water tainted by a massive chemical spill (West Virginia) you find out that you are on top of a leaky landfill (Rikers Island, New York) and next door to a crusty old nuke plant whose license should have expired, but didn’t, and they have no real plan to evacuate you in the case of a meltdown (Hudson Valley, New York), and no one gives a FUCK. You try to fight back, but that only lands you in solitary confinement, where newly-installed solar panels power the flood lights that stay on all night long (Washington and California).

In light of all that, the regular occurrence of prison uprisings and riots shouldn’t come as a surprise, not to mention the frequent-but-rarely-reported food and work strikes. But tension from the inside has not been enough to undermine the system of mass incarceration.

Serious pressure needs to increase from the outside as well. This is where the need for anti-prison environmental campaigns and actions can and should come in. In a similar way that organizing and litigation surrounding health concerns resulted in successful challenges to California’s overcrowded prisons and led to unprecedented plans for prisoner releases, environmental concerns could also force the government to face their failures at meeting their own public health and safety regulations, for prisoners and for communities near detention facilities.

Prison ecology

With all this in mind, the seeds of an anti-prison environmental movement are being planted in the fertile soil of the grassroots direct action network. With any luck, and a ton of hard work, they will grow roots deeper and further out, into mainstream eco-groups. But as with all growth, its time in the germination stage will influence the rest of its life.

One place where this is starting is the Prison Ecology Project, an offshoot of the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), which is getting off the ground this year. HRDC is renowned for its monthly magazine Prison Legal News (PLN), published by current and former prisoners, which serves as the premiere resource of jailhouse lawyers and activists, with readers in most every one of the 2,200 prisons in the US, as well as many of the nation’s approximately 3,000 county jails and detention facilities.

The Prison Ecology Project will initially consist of research and education on the intersections of mass incarceration and environmental degradation. The project also aims to track the permitting process of existing and proposed facilities. Direct action environmental groups such as Earth First! and Rising Tide could take the research of Prison Ecology and push it out onto the frontlines of the eco-resistance, taking environmentalism to a place it has rarely ever seen before—into one of the deepest corners of the belly of the beast.

The stated priorities of the Project include addressing the following: Environmental justice (health and safety) for those incarcerated and those in surrounding communities, prisons built on toxic waste sites, with contaminated water supplies, etc.; general impact of prisons on water quality and quantity; contamination due to sewage discharges from prisons; impacts of prison construction, expansion, and operation on plant and animal species listed for protection; prisoners’ participation in the environmental movement; and greenwashing of prisons via LEED certifications, etc.

From supporting prisoners to shutting down prisons

The FBI’s Green Scare created a new category of political prisoners, and the ecological resistance movement learned many hard lessons because of it. The country became aware that caring too much about protecting the Earth could land you in prison. We learned something that our predecessors who have struggled for liberation in recent decades have faced—that mass incarceration and its chilling effects presents one of the largest obstacles to social change that the US empire has placed in front of us.

But resistance has presented a chance to expose the façade of freedom in this country, and strike close to the core of industrial society. It’s time for the environmental movement to find its niche in the anti-prison struggle, beyond mere prisoner support and towards effective attacks on the prison system—the central industry responsible for maintaining the existence of a police state and the capitalist economy that it serves.

To recap briefly, from “The Ecology of a Police State”:

[I]t’s crystal clear that global ecology will never be stabilized as long as the police [and their prisons] have anything to do with it.

That’s right. Stopping the tar sands’ atmospheric climate bomb, keeping GMOs out of our food, and defending wolves’ ability to restore biodiversity depends on getting rid of the fuzz. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new movement initiative that aims to reduce the CO2 parts per million (ppm) by simultaneously slashing the cpms (cops per million). Cops are not only the industrial empire’s first line of defense against, well, us. They are also massive usurpers of the public financial resources that might otherwise be put towards restoring the Earth.

Where the Earth First! movement was once known for its epic wilderness corridor proposals in the ‘80s which became a basic foundation for the future of conservation biology, I think this plan too will shape the face of the ecology to come.

The Prison Ecology Project offers revolutionary ecologists an avenue to take the offensive against the prison industrial complex. And though it’s still in its infancy, it came out swinging in March [2015] with strong comments on the proposed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of a new proposed federal prison on a mountaintop removal coal site in Kentucky.

Panagioti is an organizer with Everglades Earth First! and a former editor of the Earth First! Journal. He longs to see the demise of the 30-plus jails and prisons in his home watershed.

This May 14, 2015 article was reprinted with permission.

The post The ecology of a prison nation appeared first on Works in Progress.

Seasoning Community Philanthropy with Newman’s Own and The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound

Thurston Talk - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 6:27am


Philanthropy can be a daunting word. It often brings to mind big names like Bill Gates and his global outreach or Paul Allen’s state-wide initiatives. But anyone can give, in any amount, for the greater good. Two shining examples of such giving are the Newman’s Own Foundation, founded by actor Paul Newman, and The Community

Lucas Clifton Keeps His Promise to Run Mother’s Day 5K with His Mom

Thurston Talk - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 6:15am


Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1914 and it’s been a joyous highlight of spring ever since. But for some the day is bittersweet, dimmed through distance, absence, or tragedy. Take time to celebrate your mom—or alongside her—at the second annual Family Support Center of South Sound Mother’s Day 5K on May 8 and benefit

Birders Delight at the Annual Grays Harbor Shorebird and Nature Festival

Thurston Talk - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 6:05am


Attention residents of Grays Harbor: Prepare to be inundated with hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world. This weekend, Hoquiam will become the center of the world for shorebirds as they make their annual migration from South America. Some of these birds will travel over 15,000 miles, making a quick stop in our

Old Growth Mountain Dulcimer Club Meets to Strum the Strings and Have Some Fun

Thurston Talk - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 6:00am


Ellen Rice, coordinator of the Old Growth Mountain Dulcimer Club, insists that a dulcimer is easier to play than you may think. “Mountain dulcimers have been called the ‘potato chips’ of instruments because they are quickly addictive,” says Rice. “I found a dulcimer at a folk song weekend,” she tells me. “I was very frustrated,

Tumwater Now Owns Old Brewhouse Tower

Janine's Little Hollywood - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 11:52pm

Above: The City of Tumwater acquired the historic Old Brewhouse tower from owner George Heidgerken and his development company, Falls Development LLC, on April 29. Photo of the tower taken in October 2014.
By Janine
Blow the whistle for all to hear! The City of Tumwater, at long last, now owns its historic, 110 year old Brewhouse tower.
City of Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet announced at Tuesday evening’s council meeting that he met with Old Brewhouse owner George Heidgerken on Friday, April 29, who signed a letter of agreement, thus turning the tower over to the city. 
At a February 16 public hearing about a proposed planned action land use ordinance, Heidgerken suggested the possibility of “donating” the tower to the city. 
A 14 point letter of agreement was drafted, creating a separate land parcel which includes the Old Brewhouse and necessary easements for site access and utilities, and a public trail and boardwalk. Other points of the letter provide economic incentives for Heidgerken to get to work on the rest of the brewery property. 
The Old Brewhouse is a historic landmark, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The structure has been on a watch list by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.
Kmet thanked staff for their hard work in sealing the deal, calling the actual signing of the paperwork a bit “anti-climactic.”
Kmet said that arrangements have already been made for the tower’s security and insurance. City staff are in the process of applying for a state grant for the tower’s restoration and working to identify other prospective funding options.
“I think it will go down as a memorable and historic moment, having the building now in public hands….We’re obviously going to need help from the community…to start a capital campaign to restore the tower,” said Kmet.
The acquisition committed the city to rehabilitation of the structure which is estimated to cost about $5.6 million.
Also at the meeting, council passed the final version of a Brewery Action Plan. Councilmembers last looked at it in June 2014, and recently added two new sections that include the Old Brewhouse tower and the efforts around the creation of a multi-faceted regional craft brewing and distilling center.
The last whistle blew at the modern brewery in 2003. Ever since, redevelopment of the brewery properties has been a city priority.  As part of a visioning process, the city hired a brewery project manager, assistant city administrator Heidi Behrends Cerniwey, to foster economic development and partnerships. 
Recent ownership changes of the modern brewery south of Custer Way, the passage by council late last month of a master plan for the 32 acre historic site north of Custer Way, and the acquisition of the Old Brewhouse tower all indicate that Tumwater could be on the verge of change.  
“…Everything seems to be incremental…the additions and accomplishments give me goosebumps because we’re doing good stuff. We have a very bright future,” said Councilmember Nicole Hill.
For more information about the Brewery Action Plan, the Old Brewhouse and the terms of the letter of agreement, the Planned Action for the historic property owned by George Heidgerken, groundwater monitoring, and other Tumwater land use and transportation issues related to the brewery, go to and type key words into the search button.
Above: Inside the Old Brewhouse tower, looking from the third floor down to the second floor and the first floor. Photo taken in October 2014. 

Ice Chips Owners Named 2016 SBA Washington Encore Entrepreneurs of the Year

Thurston Talk - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 1:53pm


Submitted by U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2016 Encore Entrepreneur winners are Beverly Vines-Haines and Charlotte Clary, owners of the sugar-free candy company Ice Chips; which uses a natural sweetener called Xylitol (zye-leh-tohl).  Read a full story about locally owned Ice Chips in this ThurstonTalk article. The award honors a

Harlequin Production’s “The Language Archive” Explores the Power of Love

Thurston Talk - Tue, 05/03/2016 - 1:41pm


Submitted by Harlequin Productions  On May 5, Harlequin Productions premiers The Language Archive, a romantic comedy by Julia Cho running until May 28. I sat down with the show’s director, and Harlequin’s Managing Artistic Director, Scot Whitney, to discuss his latest project. What made you select this show as your next directing project? I started

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