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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

SWEL Timebank - Making Your Volunteering Pay Off!

Q: What is S.W.E.L. Timebank? 
A: It stands for Shoreline, Woodway, Edmonds, Lake Forest Park"Timebank."

SWEL Timebank is a local group, that is helping people in the community connect their skills
in a way that is a mutual benefit. The group formed last year after an "Aging Your Way" workshop held at City Hall in Shoreline. 
Q: What are the benefits of joining?
A: Joining the SWEL Timebank gives you access to the talents, time, and skills of your neighbors, while giving you an opportunity to help others in meaningful ways. It's a great way to get connected with others in your community.
Forest Stewards volunteering in
restoration project
Q: What are the benefits of joining?
A: Joining the SWEL Timebank gives you access to the talents, time, and skills of your neighbors, while giving you an opportunity to help others in meaningful ways. It's a great way to get connected with others in your community.
Q: What kind of services are typically offered by Timebank members?
A: Timebank services encompass many forms of services, skills, and assistance: animal care, life coaching, tutoring, teaching crafts and hobbies (knitting, fishing, etc.), running errands, cooking, reading aloud, housecleaning, sewing, taxi service, hair cutting, computer help, gardening, yard work, and more...

Q: How can we get involved?
A: Next get-together -

Wednesday, April 11, 20127:00 - 8:30 pm Lake Forest Park Library17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, 98155(inside Lake Forest Park Town Center, lower level, below
Come meet SWEL Timebank members, meet other people interested in timebanking, and ask any questions you may have. Bring an appetizer or dessert to share!
SWEL Coordinator for more information on how to get involved and put your skills to good use!

Here's more information about what SWEL has been up to and is about  from local SWEL founding member,  Jan Stewart. 
Local SWEL Timebank Showcased at Aging Your Way Summit
(Showcase was sponsored by AARP, United Way and others) 
Over 700 Baby Boomers attended workshops held all around King County in 2010 to envision what they want in their communities to support them as they age.  This Aging Your Way initiative from Senior Services produced citizen-driven efforts with a range of themes, including Arts, Entertainment, Housing, Transportation, and Local Economies.   Last week, the Aging Your Way Summit was held in Seattle to showcase twenty-one programs.  Our local SWEL Timebank was one of Local Economies Programs that gave presentations to many of the 250 key leaders who attended the summit from nonprofits, government, and business, as well as individual community members in the Puget Sound area.

SWEL Timebank launched in our area in late 2011 to serve Shoreline, Woodway, Edmonds and Lake Forest Park, and now its membership is starting to grow.  
Timebanks offer an effective means for sustaining and the strengthening the communities they serve. That’s why they are found all over the world.  There are hundreds in the United States, with an increasing number in our region, including on Bainbridge and Lopez Islands, in Marysville and Renton, on the Eastside, and West Puget Sound in Kitsap County. 

Guiding Principles:  Communities of support, strength and trust are formed by people helping each other.   The contributions of all individuals are valued equally, including those overlooked by the monetary economy.  The unique gifts, talents and resources that each person has to share are honored, regardless of age, employment or ethnicity.   The exchanges of talents and skills within a Timebank create connections throughout the community, expanding networks of family, friends and neighbors.   The result is a natural mutual support system, and a kind of local gifting economy that matches community residents’ needs with local resources.

Aging in place becomes easier when seniors can get help with the things they may no longer be physically able to do, while staying connected and engaged by offering any number of skills acquired over a lifetime.  But Timebanks aren’t just for seniors.  For people new to the area, or for those whose family has relocated elsewhere, the Timebank can be a ready-made community network.  Members ease the pressure within their budgets of having to pay for all the services they need. 
How it works:   SWEL Timebank facilitates exchanges of volunteer time between individuals through a web-based system connecting members, allowing them to list, exchange and track services, while having the comfort of knowing all members have passed a basic screening process.  Unlike bartering (a two-way taxable exchange of goods and services based upon monetary value), exchanges of time within the Timebank are all valued equally.  Time hours have no monetary equivalent, are non-taxable, and exchanges are for services only.  (Any expenses are paid by the recipient.)  The Timebank is more of a Pay-It-Forward system:  When you volunteer to help someone through the Timebank, you receive credit for that time into your account.  Then, your time hours are spent by having any member do something for you. 
Volunteering with benefits!   Members are able to volunteer their time doing for others the things they enjoy doing, and receive help with the things they would rather not do, or are unable to do for themselves.  For example, you might help your neighbor by doing errands or shopping while she is recuperating from surgery.  She may have earned some of the time spent on your help by giving music lessons to someone else, who earned time credits by training another person’s dog.  The dog owner may have earned his credits by painting your living room, or by preparing Thai food for another member’s birthday party.  The possibilities for the types of exchanges in this self-organizing system are virtually unlimited.

SWEL Timebank holds monthly potlucks, where members can meet in a social setting, get to know each other, or arrange exchanges.  The potlucks also serve as venues for potential new members to learn about SWEL, go through an orientation process and join.  The next potluck will be held April 11th at the Lake Forest Park Town Center Library.  For more:  See SWEL’s Facebook page or the website at .

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dr Art Kruckeberg 92nd Birthday Celebration

Happy Birthday Art Kruckeberg! 
Dr Art Kruckeberg and assistant Roland (adopted son)
and friends celebrated his 92nd Birthday at Kruckeberg Botanic Garden
Friends, Family and Kruckeberg Garden Foundation celebrated Dr Kruckeberg's 92nd Birthday 
yesterday at the garden. 

Dr Art, spent the afternoon reminiscing and "holding forth" on his career and topics of interest.
Art talked about lots of subjects, including the future of the garden that he and his wife Mareen created at their home in Richmond Beach. He said they bought the property in 1958, and started gardening "the very next week." He also pointed out the building the party was held in, a small house that serves as an office and home for Roland (above), was originally a run down garage. His father-in-law remodeled it and resided there until his death.

Dr Kruckeberg is a professor emiritus of Botany at the University of Washington and author of many important botanical and gardening texts.
Art's favorite plants featured at the party
One tree that the Kruckebergs planted long ago at the garden is now huge. It is a Sequoia tree that was measured yesterday at 3ft level to be 19ft in circumference!
California Sequoia tree
sequoia semperviron

Lovely fountain sculpture was created in
dedication to Mareen Schultz Kruckeberg.
It is located right next to her greenhouse.

He and his wife Mareen Kruckeberg developed their property into a magnificent botanical garden over the decades. Almost all of the plantings, both native and exotic were grown from seed. Mareen started the MsK Nursery there and began selling some of the plants propagated on site.
MsK Nursery
Hrs -
Open Friday-SundayMarch 1 to October 31: 10 am—5 pm 
The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden is now a City of Shoreline Park as of 2008. It is a very unique garden, nestled within the Richmond Beach neighborhood. 
Sign at Park Entrance20312 15th Ave NW
Shoreline WA, 98177
And the Kruckeberg Botanical Garden welcomes Spring!
The garden offers a great array of plantings to enjoy. Many are starting to bloom now. But the garden is fascinating any time of year.

Many spring plants are on view, blooming and for sale.
Rhodadendrons are already in bloom at
Kruckeberg Botanic Garden
Delicate Faun Lily grows near the
house amidst an array of Cyclamen
The garden has three distinct areas. The Upper Garden, in the front yard; the Green house area, which leads down the path to the lower "Meadow." The garden features many "Champion Trees" which are either the largest in the City or State.
An Oregon Ash is a City "Champion Tree"
designated in the Community Backyard Wildlife
Grove in lower meadow area
Dr Kruckeberg's work on the garden features his interest in promoting native plants. He has written several texts and books on NW Natives and was one of the founders of the NW Native Plant Society.
Tall Oregon Grape  featured in
lower meadow area
Many of the lovliest species to be seen at Kruckeberg Garden are very small and close to the ground, so remember to step carefully and look closely for treasures near your feet.
Cyclamens are found throughout the garden. They have many different
patterned leaves and colored flowers. According
to Mareen Kruckeberg, the seeds are carried by
ants and that's one way they spread!

Flowering Tree near Garden house
So Happy Birthday Art Kruckeberg! We are so proud to have you as a citizen of Shoreline and enjoy your legacy in the garden!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Nurse Logs and Dead Trees = New Life

Healthy Forests, Even in Urban Areas Need Dead Wood!
This "Nurse Log" is a tiny garden hosting a little hemlock
two different colored huckelberry bushes
and some ferns (also, unfortunately some English Ivy

Why? Because they actually nurture an incredible amount of plant and animal life.
Ancient Cedar Stump hosts new growth. Hemlock trees'
often get their starts by seeding in dead cedar.
The roots of the new trees frame the old stump.

KUOW, local NPR station featured the Nurse Log in it's series "More Than a Tree" this week, on interesting Northwest Trees.

"There's more life in this nurse log....than there ever was as a standing tree" says Larry Daloz, author and naturalist. "May our legacy, what we leave behind be richer than what we found when we came."

In Paramount Park there are many examples of "nurse logs" and stumps hosting new life.
It starts with a log or stump. With our restoration project in 2001 we added a great deal of LWD (Large Woody Debris) to add complexity and life giving dead wood to our wetland.
It starts with a dead stump and lichens and mosses
begin to break down the wood.
Then more life takes hold like ferns, small trees, and shrubs which continue to break down the dead wood. 
Sword Fern inhabits an old stump intentionally
placed in Paramount Park Natural Area

Also, many standing dead trees become habitat, providing food and nesting places for birds, insects and small mammals.
Old Tree Snag in Paramount Park with lots of holes created
by industrious woodpeckers
Red Breasted Sapsucker - ph credit, Steve Schneider

Paramount Park is the largest wetland in Shoreline at about 6 acres. The wetland restoration project originating in 1998 by Paramount Park Neighborhood Group, recreated wetland ponds and reconnected existing wetlands to the east to the stream system of Littles Creek, tributary of Thornton Creek. It is located in the SE section of Shoreline just north of NE145th, The wetlands and ponds are great places for stumps, logs and dead wood to host new life.
Stump in the lower pond hosts sword ferns, and a good sized
tree (Oregon Ash?)
Another stump in the upper pond hosts a healthy growth of salal bush and provides a lovely reflection.

Upper Pond with salal covered stump

To restore healthy forests, especially in urban areas, we must make a point to include "Large Woody Debris, logs, old stumps to bring diversity and "feed the forest" and provide opportunities for new life.
"Shamrocks" or the NW equivilant "Oxalis"
cover this old stump next to Littles Creek

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"This Is a Breaking of Faith" - Majority Leader Lisa Brown

 WA State Capital- Olympia

Last night was a "Roll Call Hall of Shame" according to Rep Gerry Pollett (D-46)at the State Capital.  Democrats who watched TVW last night witnessed a rather shocking display of disloyalty when three Senate Democrats crossed the "aisle" in a "take-over" move by Senate Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and Sen Ed Murray issued this statement early this morning on the Senate Democrats Blog about the actions of the renegades.

“This is a breaking of faith and the bipartisan agreement we reached last year. Since the fall, we have worked personally with ranking Republican Sen. Zarelli in countless meetings. Our team consistently asked to see a Republican counterproposal to our ideas. We saw it on day 44 of a 60-day session this year. We continued to meet with our Republican counterparts and seek a bipartisan solution. It didn’t come. Promising and not delivering is not how you write a budget.
“Skipping a pension payment, gutting state services and subverting the public process is not how you write a budget. Ignoring the stories of the people who spent 12 hours in committee hearings talking about how their lives would be changed by the budget cuts we faced, the people who would lose a quality education, the people who feared they would become homeless – disregarding our citizens – that is not how you write a responsible budget.”

The three Senators who joined forces with Republicans were Jim Kastama (D-25, Puyallup), Tim Sheldon(D-35, Potlatch) and Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue). This maneuver was considered a rarely used tactic. But according to the Blog "Northwest Progressive Advocate" 
Washington State Senate Republicans, acting in concert with three Democrats in Name Only (Jim Kastama, Rodney Tom, and Tim Sheldon) have seized control of the floor of the Legislature’s upper chamber, effectively turning the remainder of the Senate Democratic caucus into the minority party with a week left to go in the 2012 regular session.......
.......The Republican takeover of the Senate all but guarantees that there will need to be a thirty-day special session called to continue working on a supplemental operating budget. House Democrats have made it plainly clear that the Senate Republicans’ budget proposal will be dead on arrival in the House, and Governor Chris Gregoire – whose signature is needed to enact any budget – has also strongly condemned it.
The end result, for the time being is that  Senate Republicans with their three Democratic allies, have virtually ensured a special session and have in effect hijacked the budget process.

Publicola summed it up -
Republican budget leader Sen. Joe Zarelli (R-18, Ridgefield) passed his budget shortly after midnight, Saturday morning, 25-24, with three Democrats joining all 22 Republicans in an impressively disciplined, well-calibrated series of votes starting Friday afternoon as the GOP wrested control away from the Democratic majority.

So why does this matter you ask? Because a lot is at stake. Education, Environment, funding for the "social safety net", and everything else that the State government does is all at risk. Many items that people care about are in effect, being held hostage by this action.

This happened amidst other earthshaking political developments this week. Congressman Norm Dicks announced his intention to retire, and two long-time Seattle Democratic Representatives also announced their retirement. Rep Phyllis Guitierrez-Kenney (D-46, N Seattle) and Rep Marylou DickersonD-36, Ballard). have both served in Olympia for over a decade.

The drama will continue for the rest of the session, which had been scheduled to end next week, but may not, after last night's happenings.

And of course, today are the Republican Caucuses!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rep Cindy Ryu's Rescue and Evacuation Bill Passed - Headed for Governor's Desk

Rep Cindy Ryu (D-32)

OLYMPIA—The Senate today agreed unanimously with state Rep. Cindy Ryu that air rescue and evacuation services deserve a regulatory safe harbor that will help them to continue operating in Washington state.

“Relieving businesses of unnecessary regulatory burdens is good for them, their workers and our economy,” said Ryu (D-Shoreline). “We worked closely with consumers and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to ensure that consumers will continue to be well-protected without adding a costly layer of government mandates.”

Travelers subscribe to air rescue and evacuation services such as Global Rescue LLC to ensure they will be rescued from potential disaster in case of serious injuries, earthquakes, political instability or other threats to life and limb.

Travel-rescue contracts have traditionally been regulated as subscription services in Washington.  But a review of these contracts by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner concluded that technically the law requires them to be regulated as insurers.  Ryu’s reform prevents air and rescue services from being reclassified as insurers and subjected to extensive—and expensive—new regulatory costs.

Industry spokesman Mel Sorenson told lawmakers in January that it was “exceedingly likely” that the industry could not continue serving Washington residents and businesses without the regulatory safe harbor provided by Ryu’s legislation, House Bill 2188.

“Air rescue and evacuation services can make the difference between life and death for some travelers, while providing peace of mind to others,” said Ryu.  “Keeping these services available to our citizens is important, and the unanimous House and Senate support we received shows that we achieved this goal while maintaining high standards of consumer protection.”

The measure now needs only Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature to become law.

Cindy Ryu was elected in 2010 to the State Legislature, representing the 32nd Leg District. She posed for a photo with other "Freshman Legislators" there yesterday. The Freshman Democrats are tackling budget problems, by proposing different solutions.

Finally, the chance to talk about real revenue reform
 with my freshman colleagues
Andy BilligConnie LadenburgDerek Stanford,
Luís Saul MoscosoKris LyttonCindy RyuJoe Fitzgibbon,
Gerry PolletChris ReykdalSharon Wylie and Steve Tharinger