You have seen them along the highways and maybe at a vista point with their attractive metal plaque and prominent blue star featured on top. But have you ever wondered who put them there and for what purpose?
The Blue Star Memorial and Gold Star Families Memorial Markers were first put in place along highways to honor the World War II veterans in 1944. The garden club of New Jersey started the process by planting 8,000 dogwood trees. Immediately preceding the end of World War II, the National Council of Garden Clubs expanded the program to cover the highways throughout the United States. Continue reading
When I was a boy, my mother introduced me to mountaineering through a friend of hers who had undertaken many outdoor adventures. All it took was one trip into the mountains to convince me that this was a great sport. I joined the mountaineering club in Portland that my mother joined during the 1930s and have now been a Mazama for 55 years.
A couple of years later, I organized a trek down the Oregon Skyline Trail. My brother and I hiked 200 miles through mountains neither of us had seen before. And, we carried all of our supplies with us to prove the Seattle Mountaineers wrong. They had claimed that self-sufficient three week trips were impossible. It was a great adventure for teenagers who lived in Chicago at the time.
I also rendezvoused with the Mazamas in Mexico City to successfully climb the third, fifth, and seventh highest mountains in North America. It was one of their first major expeditions that was celebrated recently on its 50th anniversary. Again, we did it all ourselves.
But things change in half a century. Outdoor clubs now want to be about so much more than merely recreation. They want to be big businesses that have many members, many programs, many employees, and impressive facilities. That takes far more money than outdoor enthusiasts typically have. So they look for a money stream. Continue reading
Last month, National Employee Freedom Week (August 14-20, 2016) called attention to the rights of union members to opt out of union membership if they choose and to stop paying dues and fees to unions they do not support. National Employee Freedom Week has conducted surveys of union members and households. One of this year’s significant findings is that a strong majority of union members nationwide agree that if members opt out of paying union dues and fees, they should represent themselves in negotiations with employers. Continue reading
As I campaign for re-election, I occasionally hear about how some folks misrepresented the disagreements between Clackamas County and Metro. My opponents were not helping as they would have voters falsely presume our county commission just can’t get along with the regional government.
To give you a clearer picture…
No one at Metro has been or is representing Clackamas County interests…not with land use, transportation planning, or growth management.
The reality is our regional planners and Metro councilors have hurt our county.
On land use, it all comes down to how Metro has purposefully over-restricted the county’s buildable land supply for housing, industry, and jobs. Continue reading
Part 3 in Series
There are a lot of voices lately giving us all kinds of opinions on the Second Amendment. When posed with such a controversial and provocative subject, I prefer to go to original sources when formulating my own opinion and determining from those sources on how best to defend it. Continue reading
Now wild bee junk science and scare stories drive demands for anti-pesticide regulations.
As stubborn facts ruin their narrative that neonicotinoid pesticides are causing a honeybee-pocalypse, environmental pressure groups are shifting to new scares to justify their demands for “neonic” bans.
Honeybee populations and colony numbers in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere are growing. It is also becoming increasingly clear that the actual cause of bee die-offs and “colony collapse disorders” is not neonics, but a toxic mix of predatory mites, stomach fungi, other microscopic pests, and assorted chemicals employed by beekeepers trying to control the beehive infestations. Continue reading
The Dahlia: Daisy Family Compositae
Dahlia is a genus of bushy, summer–and autumn–flowering, tuberous perennial plants native to Mexico, where they are the national flower. The Aztecs gathered and cultivated the dahlia for food, ceremony as well as decorative purposes , and the long woody stem of one variety was used for small pipes.
In 1872 a box of Dahlia roots were sent from Mexico to the Netherlands. Only one plant survived the trip, but produced spectacular red flowers with pointed petals. Nurserymen in Europe bred from this plant, which was named Dahlia juarezii with parents of Dahlias discovered earlier and these are the progenitors of all modern Dahlia hybrids. Continue reading
Recently my family and I drove to Mount Rainier for a long weekend of camping, and a long weekend of camping grime and dirty fingernails – it goes with the territory. The weather smiled upon us and the mountain proved itself as spectacular as ever. We encountered a lot of snow low on the mountain near Paradise which made for slippery, short-lived hikes with a seven-year-old and his ill-prepared parents, but it was nevertheless beautiful. Other trails at lower elevations were a delight to explore.
We stayed at a campground where wood smoke filtered through tall evergreen trees in the evening and the smell of camp food occasionally wafted through our area. All of this stirred my memories of hitting various campgrounds, mostly around Oregon, as a child with my family. And while there is nothing quite like snuggling up with your parents or siblings in a tent when you are a kid, there is also something magical about going to summer camp without the parental units around. Continue reading
Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of Passage?
His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.
Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.
The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him . Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Continue reading
You know that startled feeling you get when a bee buzzes right past your ear or a mosquito appears out of nowhere and hums its gonna-getcha song before it lays in for the puncture? Those sounds can make you swat madly at the air, shake your head violently, and duck and cover with futility. Last week, as I hunched over the backyard garden beds digging out Japanese clover and the random tarragon that reseeded, I nearly jumped out of my skin from a loud vibration and whirring near my head. But contrary to the “yikes” feeling an insect stirs in me, this little engine sound delighted me. It came from an Anna’s hummingbird. Continue reading