Categories
FEATURES NEWS

Shanghaied Roller Dolls

WE BE JAMMIN’ (AND BLOCKIN’) in Astoria

Their first public derby bout, The Prohibitchin’ Party vs The Tease Party… set for August 18

“Hurricane”, belts out the resonant voice of Head Coach, Rusty House, and the slender vessel of Robyn Koustik, skate name, “Hurricane Ka-Ream-Ya,” pulls ahead of the pack, covered in pads, tights, and helmet, like a ballistic bobble head doll. She laps around the track, and attacks the other skaters with menacing intensity to progress through the mob of ladies on wheels, lacing their bodies together to prevent her advancement; she knocks, she swoops, she wriggles her way through the intimidating lot. There is so much action and strategy to get around the track, the skaters have to be mentally engaged without floundering on the basic skating skills set required to participate in roller derby.

The Shanghaied Roller Dolls set out on this skating odyssey about a year ago, after the suggestion of a derby league was tossed out on Facebook. A few initial meetings, organizational gatherings, and a contact with the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, all lead to the Fall 2011 formation of a budding roller derby recreational team, Shanghaied Roller Dolls. Practice began at the fairgrounds, which have been generously made available, when not otherwise engaged, since actual practice began in October 2011. One of the original founding, dread-locked members, Tara Allen, skate name “Kiss Me Dreadly,” recalls that early on it was apparent an experienced coach was needed. As a result of going to The Daily Astorian to announce the new derby team formation, and the solicitation of skaters, referees, and coaches (an extensive list of volunteers is required to help the team with everything from selling tickets to keeping track of skater points and penalties) the team found its first coach, Walt Sabe. An experienced flat track skater from “a totally distant past,” Walt came to the team to teach basic skating and equipment maintenance skills. At age 69, he comes to every practice and dons his skates, operating as an assistant coach to Rusty, and the skate coach.

“The minimum skills is the first plateau, they’ve got about six plateaus above that, (he laughs) part of it is learning the practice jams… a major plateau is learning how to think when they’re doing the practice jams,” says Walt.

Walt has been a tremendous resource to the team, as well as the help of established derby teams like Portland’s Rose City Rollers, and the now defunct Shadow City Rollers of Longview, Washington, which connected the Dolls to Bench Coach, Amanda Farmer, skate name “Scars Volta.” Completing the coaching team is the fourth coach for fitness training, Coach McBruiser, Orly Ben Jacobs, an active duty Coast Guard Member. Head Coach House not only appreciates having his coaches, but the huge advantage of the proximity of the one of the largest Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) member leagues, The Rose City Rollers, who have assisted The Dolls with numerous resources, significantly guest referees.

Tara remembers starting with her first pair of skates, a $20 pair of Chicago skates, a tall, leather, lace-up skate that had been rented out in Seaside, when people used to skate along the promenade. It was something to start with, but that style of skate really is not ideal for roller derby.

Julie House, married to the head coach.

“You need to able to squat down and bank your feet”, says Julie House, skate name “Petulant Frenzy,” she adds, “If you are going to put any money into derby, the first thing you should buy is the best padding you can!”

With that comment, Tara pulls up her pant leg, and reveals a large, bruised patch on her knee. The conversation turns to bruises, injuries, and equipment. Coach House admits this is inevitable when you bring derby women together. Among the investment of time, money, sweat, and tears, what makes this all-volunteer organization of women skaters, ranging in size and in age from early 20s to 40s, persevere? The answers are as varied as the team members, themselves; exercise, dramatic flare, adrenaline rush, me-time, spiritual and emotional victory, competition.

Coach House, skate name “Spicy Tuna Roll,” adds “These women (who participate in derby) are not like anyone else. It’s one of the things that keep myself and the other coaches coming back, and putting in the time, and going to the clinics, and doing the research, because these women are amazing, smart, and competitive!”

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is the international governing body for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby and a membership organization for leagues to collaborate and network. The WFTDA sets standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and determines guidelines for the national and international athletic competitions of member leagues. There are currently 156 WFTDA member leagues and 58 leagues in the WFTDA Apprentice program. Shanghaied Roller Dolls are currently processing their paperwork with the WFTDA to be an official “Apprentice League” Member. The first bout with another derby team, The Slaughter County Roller Vixens from Bremerton, Washington, is slated for September 15th. The next FRESH MEAT, an endearing term for new recruits training, begins Sunday, August 26th. For more information, visit www.shanghaiedrollerdolls.com, or check them out on Facebook at Shanghaied Roller Dolls Fans.

INAUGURAL BRAWL!
Sunday • August 19

Be sure to catch the Inaugural Brawl! on Sunday, August 19th at 5pm at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, where two teams, ‘The Prohibitchin’ Party’ and ‘The Tease Party’, both, comprised of Shanghaied Roller Dolls, will face off in their first public derby bout. Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com, or at the door for $10 (Ages 10 and under are free.). Come out and support these amazing ladies and badass mothers (Most of them actually are.) on wheels!

Categories
CULTURE FEATURES THEATER

In New Light: Four Original Plays by Keyaho Rohlfs

asocticketwindowA May Celebration and Much More than Melodrama at Astor Street Opry Company

Anyone familiar with the Astor Street Opry Company (ASOC) knows this hard-working theater group is responsible for bringing the community, and a great portion of those visiting the area, the fun melodrama, “Shanghaied in Astoria”. This humorous and historical musical provides audiences of all ages a great way to enjoy local theater, learn about the area, and have a great time hurling popcorn at the villains.

“IT’S THE HEART AND SOUL of the company and the community. We’ve become bigger than theater. It’s a tradition and an event that belongs to Astoria,” says ASOC’s Production Manager and Events Coordinator Judith Niland.

judyniland
ASOC Founder Judy Niland says "Bye-bye porta potties, bye-bye!!!"

It is this “backbone” of the ASOC repertoire, running every summer for the last twenty-eight years, that allows ASOC to be a great deal more than just this one production. So, too, is Judith Niland. Her tremendous efforts as manager, publicist, grant writer, event coordinator, facilitator, and artist, make ASOC a far bigger thing than just a community theater. Current ASOC Executive Board President, Chuck Meyers, speaks of her, alone, as having been the ASOC for the last 25 years. She has devoted a large part of her life to keeping the theater arts alive, well, and housed in Astoria. Having lead the capital campaign to acquire the permanent home for ASOC, and having spent the last quarter century developing the management repertoire for the theater, she, now, wishes to teach, share, and pass on the duties and traditions of this outstanding community theater.

“ASOC’s been my life’s work, accidentally, and it was Del Corbett’s life work, too. He’s the one that taught me.”

Recently, after spending time away from the theater to recover from foot surgery, Judith realized she could no longer perform the myriad of tasks, and juggle all the balls required to make the variety of theater at ASOC happen, forever. This wake-up call drew her attention to the need to educate and share the finer points and details of what it takes to run this theater, as a volunteer, with the other ASOC Board and Committee members. She wants to offer the opportunity to other volunteers to become proficient in the many facets of ASOC operations, as well as, allow herself more time for her own artwork. As a trained children’s book and fairy tale illustrator with a college education in Book Arts, her first love is drawing. Arthritis has kept Judith from returning to the book press, but she remains very passionate about pursuing her metaphysical design style and symbolic art.

Her health, while keeping her from some art forms and reducing her relentless participation with ASOC, allowed her the time, while recuperating from surgery, to read more, and, specifically, lead her to more of Seaside playwright, Keyaho Rohlfs’ plays. This inspired the upcoming ASOC Fundraiser, “In New Light”, three one-act plays and one monolgue written by Rohlfs.

“It’s great to remind the community that ASOC has always done other kinds of theater. That’s why we existed, and people forget about that…’Shanghai’s’ always been the vehicle to get there, but never the end result. You have to give those growing beyond the melodrama something else to do. This is a chance to feed some of that. His (Keyaho’s) work comes from a place in his heart and really touches people,” commented Niland of her interest in working with Rohlfs.

“Everyone loves working with him. He’s very centered, intelligent, and strongly spiritual. His stuff works on multiple levels. He doesn’t care if people get it, or not, as long as they walk away thinking.” She continues, “I found his plays to be trips into a real, yet, imaginary world full of odd heartfelt characters, connections, and synchronicities that are similar to how I shape my world. I have studied the metaphysical world ever since I was a teen, and it is something that brings me peace and balance. Life is all about how you feel, and his work helps me remember that, and that is what is real.”

Director of Rohlfs’ one-act play “Centerpiece,” Anne MacGregor, agrees that his work is like poetry that goes in and out of time and emotions, and leaves audience members to ask “What was that?”, “How’d we get there?”, and “That was really interesting, what was it?” She added, “His writing is so superior, he is a channel. Everyone picks up their own thing-it’s amazing. I don’t know what he’s going to do with his work, but I would go on doing it forever. It’s a dream come true for any good director.”

To say that Playwright Keyaho Rohlfs speaks freely about his work and writing process is akin to saying, writing plays is a cakewalk. He draws the comparison of his play writing to pulling stories from an orphanage of abandoned imaginary friends.

“When kids get a certain age they’re told no more imaginary friends. I always wondered what happened to all the imaginary friends- where did they go?”

So, he offers them a place to reside, in exchange for their stories, which he diligently puts to paper in the form of stage productions-one act plays, monologues, and full-length plays.

In New Light cast
A partial cast for In New Light with playwright Keyaho Rohlfs (center).

“The really cool thing about theater is how you can manifest all these imaginary friends, and make it real,” says Rohlf, and explains that he explores the barriers between real and imaginary, looks inside and outside the self to channel the voices he believes are out there, and, if listening closely, can be heard. When asked about the layered, spectral quality of his work, Rohlfs replied, “I think that when we can see the invisible realm, then, we have something to talk about, and when we feel the full force of nature, then we have something to share.”

In his work with Astor Street Opry Company, Rohlfs believes it to be much more than a community theater. “This playhouse is really special; it’s the most community-minded, community theater around. There’s activity here year ‘round, day in and day out for all ages. It has a really big heart.”

And no stranger to the Astor Street Opry Company he is. In the three years of ASOC’s New Works Festival, an original script writing contest that solicits, celebrates, and produces selected one-acts plays and monologues submitted from all over the country, Rohlfs submissions have been selected and performed every year. This festival was initiated in 2010, for which his monologue, “Tallulah” was accepted and produced. The festival performance was directed by ASOC Production Committee Chair, Anne MacGregor, who performs the role in the reprisal of “Tallulah” for the May Celebration fundraiser.

In 2011, his one-act play, “Centerpiece” was a final selection, performed by Patricia Shannon, Bill Dodge, and Ann Bronson. In this year’s festival, his comedic monologue submission, “Captive”, was produced. Performed by Aly Hansen and Kirk House with direction by Del Corbett, this funny, sweet and talent-filled piece is about a teenage girl who appears center stage, singing, dancing, juggling and believing she is being held captive by a crazy bunch of community theater people. Rohlfs participation in the ASOC New Works Festival for the past three years has brought critical acclaim to the ASOC. In the name of creating a new slot for original stage productions, ASOC has chosen Keyaho’s two previously performed stage pieces, along with two new one-act plays to perform in a showcase of his work. His beautiful use of language offers an astonishing depth of emotions, as well as an alluring sense of human nature. This May Celebration of “In New Light” offers a unique opportunity to enjoy poetic and eloquently written theater concerning relevant issues of our time. This is a fundraiser to kick-off the phase three of ASOC’s capital campaign to build indoor restroom facilities and an office.

In New Light: 4 One Acts in a Night
The four performances of “In New Light: An Evening of Original Artwork from Playwright Keyaho Rohlfs” will reprise two pieces previously produced for ASOC’s New Works Festival (Centerpiece and Tallulah) and include two new one-act pieces. Included in the showcase is “Centerpiece” with Tom Brownson performing the lead role, originally performed by Bill Dodge in the 2011 production. This one-act play finds an elderly, homeless couple who have fallen on hard times, brought about by the current economic meltdown. They seek shelter and comfort in the warmth of stage lights, reflecting, reminiscing, and celebrating their lives together. Anne MacGregor directs this repeat performance, again. She also performs the monologue, “Tallulah”, an elderly woman’s poetic monologue about an adventuresome life, well-lived, joined by the playwright’s very own jazz saxophone accompaniment.

Premiering in this showcase production are two new one-act plays, “Signing Out” and “Mahpiya”. “Signing Out” portrays a road weary musician returning to his hometown to visit his father in a nursing home. Here, he gets help from a plucky nurse, and makes some unexpected choices. In “Mahpiya”(A Native American word meaning “Sky”) several stories combine, as a girl surrounded by devastation, manifests her identity in a spiritual journey, spanning generations; this tale includes an interesting amphibian.

Directed by Keyaho Rohlfs and Anne MacGregor, the cast includes: Anne MacGregor, Patricia Shannon, Tom Brownson, Ann Bronson, Markus Brown, Barry Sears, Mark Erickson, Elias Enyart, Avery Hartzel, Tiffany Simmons, Brian Allen, Jane Hill, Julie House, Anabel Knight and William Grammer.

In November 2007, Astor Street Opry Company acquired a permanent home in Astoria. By July 2008, the first production on the new stage of “Shanghaied in Astoria” was up and running. Where the cost to purchase a theater space was covered through a designated capital grant and donated funds, the additional $125,000 needed to make the building a safe and a comfortable public space was not. In Fall 2010, the ASOC Board secured a mortgage with Clatsop Community Bank to help where grant monies were being discontinued due to economic cutbacks. After years as a vagabond theater troupe, being set back with every move, ASOC was finally housed in its own stable and improved theater building. Now able to settle and to grow, the theater added more family programming and an original script writing contest.

“We’re still getting used to using the building-during the daytime, at night, rehearsing at dark. That’s what we (ASOC) have to do now to maintain a theater, and keep it going financially. We have to have something playing all the time, said Niland. Niland, whose efforts and countless hours made the theater purchase a reality, is now squeezing in a new fundraiser into the very full ASOC theatrical calendar. Two weekends in May between “The Real Lewis and Clark Story: or How the Finns Discovered Astoria” and the start of “Junior Shanghaied” offers a time slot for some alternative theater options to raise funds for the third phase of the ASOC Capital Campaign which will make possible the construction of public restrooms and an office.

The Astor Street Opry Company (ASOC) presents a special performance fundraiser, “In New Light”, featuring four original pieces by Seaside playwright Keyaho Rohlfs. Three one act plays and a monologue will be presented on May 18th, 19th, 25th and 26th at 7:30 pm at the ASOC Playhouse located on 129 West Bond Street in Astoria, Oregon; doors open at 7:00 pm. This is a kick-off for ASOC Capital Campaign Phase Three “Pennies for Potties (or Big Buck for Bathrooms) Drive”. This evenings is a celebration of live and local entertainment with a special silent auction of original art and the unveiling of the“Yakko~Eino” Fundraiser Thermometer and the “Toilet Seat Pennies Toss” collection jar. Tickets for this fundraiser are only $8 for singles and $12 per couple and can be purchased by calling 503-325-6104 or online at www.astorstreetoprycompany.com.

Categories
CULTURE WORD

Nancy Slavin’s Moorings: An Author’s Journey to Publishing

Nancy SlavinFOURTEEN YEARS ago, author Nancy Slavin brought characters to life in the wilds of post-Exxon Valdez Alaska, a landscape of awesome beauty and magnificent devastation.The lives of millions, human, fish, and fowl, were changed forever by an environmental disaster of unqualified proportion. Slavin’s self-published, e-book, Moorings, looks at these altered lives, and asks the question: How do you do you move forward, if you have not mended the wounds afflicted on your self and your environment? “If you don’t deal with the past, it never really goes away, and if you don’t deal with the sediment that settles at the bottom of the ocean (from an oil spill), it poisons things; that’s the overlying metaphor for the book.” Since the book’s origin for a screenwriting class in 1998, and, later, taking shape as an award-winning Master’s thesis, Moorings’ character names, events, point of view, and how the story is told have all changed, but the essential story has not, and now that story is final, and available for purchase on-line at www.smashwords.com.

“I sent my book to one-hundred agents and editors, and met a lot of people through conferences. Everybody was always really nice. I probably have a stack of the nicest rejections you’ve ever seen… Even though the rejection letters were really nice, it’s a lot more fun to have people (be able to) buy the book, and really like it.” When Nancy finished graduate school in 1999, self-publishing was still considered a “vanity thing”, but over time, after numerous re-writes, countless and exhausting efforts trying to sell her book in the traditional publishing industry, and characters that refused to sit in a drawer and be forgotten, she took it upon herself, in the footsteps of Virginia Woolf , to self-publish. “I just decided my book was good enough to be out there in the world.” With the support and encouragement of family and friends, Moorings was published in March 2012 under the fledgling book press, Feather Mountain Press, formed by Slavin and writer friend, Elia Seely. “If I had to do this self-publishing thing, I’d like to do it with someone. I thought it would be more fun.”

MooringsOpportunities to self-publish have changed greatly. The founder of Smashwords.com, Marc Stoker, utilizes his skills to globally communicate information about books, on-line, “like a www.youtube.com for authors”. Stoker has created a website that really makes it easy to publish for a minimal royalty fee. His system “meat grinds” books to be downloaded to all technological formats from iPads to laptops with a print-on-demand option. Nancy says, since e-publishing, people have already started asking about a hard bound version, too. Writing and publishing are only the start of what it takes to get a book read; book tours, facebook posts, tweeting,and other promotional tools must be continuously engaged to sell a book. Nancy’s thesis advisor at Portland State University, and award winning author, Diana Abu-Jaber has published her own writing through traditional avenues, but still enjoys the use of social media to connect with friends, family, and fans. She commented, “It’s always been very difficult to get published– especially by a mainstream publisher. I do think that there seem to be new avenues opening up to writers that appear to be much more democratic. But, as you mention, if someone decides to self-publish, they will also have to do their own promotion, which is an enormous amount of work. I really enjoy social media like Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t see them as promotional tools– I just use them because I think it’s fun.”

Working fifteen years in various capacities for Tillamook County Women’s Crisis Center, Nancy was exposed to the stories that humans generate to cope with different behaviors, and, ultimately, drew her to the theme of her book. “What the story was about was that people don’t want to deal with how they behave…and make decisions that then have long term effects, sometimes all the way through an entire next generation. To me, that’s the metaphor of the oil spill, you just spew your shit and leave it there, and it affects things; it affects an entire system.” The main character, Anne Holloway, represents the youthful innocence and naivete that one embodies when the world is their’s to explore and to change. It is only after being dwarfed by the Alaskan landscape and its experiences, that Anne realizes she is the only thing she can change.”Self-awareness needs to develop from within and then grow outward…imposing it on people doesn’t work.” Nancy likened this to trying to get published in the traditional publishing industry. “After spending years trying to tell them(publishers) what my book’s about and to pay attention…the best I can do is say, here’s my book see what you think, and hope for the best.”

The vast, natural grandeur of the Alaskan landscape factors heavily into the stories shared in Moorings. “Alaska, as a setting, is its own character.” As a wide-eyed, young woman from the Midwest, not heeding of the words of John Muir (who thought Alaska should be seen last, because nothing else compares), Slavin took on the “Last Frontier”, first. She worked five summers in Alaska as a nature guide, interpreter, and storyteller, and was left in its awe. “Alaska deserves to have it’s own place as a characterization, because it actively does things to you like the characters(in the book) do to each other.” Writing is an emotional and spiritual process; Nancy laments the end of her work the characters she created in Moorings , and wishes them well. She, now, has other stories to tell, different characters to develop, but Alaska’s “big weight on her psyche” will not change. Her next book, focusing on sustainability and community, will also be set in Alaska. More information and extracts of Nancy Slavin’s writing can be found at www.nancyslavin.com, and find Moorings for your e-reader at www.smashwords.com.

Categories
FEATURES

Lower Columbia Time Bank

Lower Columbia Time Bank
Lower Columbia Time Bank crew (clockwise): Christopher Paddon, Pearl Rasmussen, Nancy Spaan, Theresa Barnes, Tallie Spiller (on the clock) Caren Black, Joseph Stevenson and Jennifer Rasmussen.

There was a time when we knew everyone in our neighborhoods, and may have even been related to many of them, a happy tribal existence, of sorts. All pitching in when one needed help, and every member filling a need, but in the fast-paced world of today, we barely know our neighbors much less what their needs or skills might be. Often friends, neighbors, and family members can be there to help out, but there are times when no one is available. Any part of our community, separated from family and friends, such as elderly or minority groups, may not have access to the help they need without paying for a service.

Hour-for-hour, you can invest your time in a new community economy

What if there was a way to rebuild a social network that helped people and their communities become more self-sufficient, and placed value and caring on everyday people needs. Voila! People are doing it, and the new system of time banking is working.

A time banking community offers voluntary help and services ranging from babysitting and dog walking to car repair and technical support from the people in your community. Time banking is like having an extended family to help out with rides to the to the doctor or the grocery store, help with chores around the house, or childcare. Time banking is a community “data-ing” service; a database of willing community members who care to offer their special or simple talents for the opportunity to bank “work hours” for use when they may need a lawn mowed, or help moving a piano.

The concept of time banking originated with founder Edgar Cahn in the 1980s. Time banking is meant to honor the unique talents and skills that all community members have to share, regardless of age, employment, or ethnic background, like teaching language, art, or music, helping with yard work or minor repairs, or simply running errands. By valuing the community as a resource for all its members as human beings with something to contribute, the time bank builds a rich infrastructure in the form of a community skills and services directory to promote exchanges that work beyond a price. Work value is redefined from what comes in a paycheck to what it takes to raise healthy children, build strong communities, revitalize neighborhoods, and make the planet a more caring and sustainable place.

Time banking brings people together, and turns strangers into friends. Have you ever wished you had someone around to give you a ride somewhere, help you run some errands, pick you up after you drop your car off for repairs, or just give you a hand when you need it? Who has never been stuck needing to move without sufficient strong bodies or, worse, yet, no truck!? Everyone has seen the bumper sticker proclaiming, “Yes, it’s my truck, and, no, I won’t help you move!” Luckily for the Lower Columbia region, a very different philosophy has been appropriated by an eight person steering committee, who have been working diligently to research and to bring the Lower Columbia Time Bank (LCTB) to the Northwestern Oregon and Southwestern Washington Coasts.

The LCTB steering committee is: Teresa Barnes, LCTB Financial Officer; Jennifer Rasmussen, LCTB Secretary; Pearl Rasmussen, LCTB Membership Coordinator; Tallie Spiller, LCTB Outreach Director; Caren Black, LCTB Adviser (Titanic Lifeboat Academy); Christopher Paddon, LCTB Supporter (Titanic Lifeboat Academy Board Member); Nancy Spaan, LCTB Supporter (Titanic Lifeboat Academy); Joseph Stevenson, LCTB Supporter, came together initially to find a Time Bank program that existed and could be employed as a template or mentor program. Having difficulty in locating a specific person to help with the set-up, they just dove into it, and, eventually, committee members discovered the Southern Oregon Time Bank (www.sotb.org) from Ashland, which provided a model they were interested in, and offered affordable software to establish the time banking on-line database for postings needs and skills to be exchanged.

For many of the committee members, the prospect of a better world through greater community connections factors prominently into the interest in creating a time bank. LCTB Founding member, Teresa Barnes, not only sees the time bank as the potential to develop a community give-and-take, sharing-based opportunity that functions outside of a strictly monetary system, but as an idea that fits perfectly into Astoria and the outer-lying communities.

“I never witnessed community-in-action until I moved to Astoria. There is already a strong tradition (of helping), here…(The time bank) arises out of a direct need from the community and sells itself.” Theresa is excited to share her skills, as well as her friends’ talents with the community. “Knowing that you can help each other out empowers a neighborhood”. She has already been approached by neighbors expressing their interest in the whole time bank idea. Teresa has been a resident of Astoria for the last ten years.

What is time banking?
Time banking is a tool by which a group of people can create an alternative model where they exchange their time and skills, rather than acquire goods and services through the use of money or any other state-backed value.

The hours earned or exchanged in a time bank are all of equal value, respecting each participant as an asset with something to offer the community, and accepting the fact that we need each other to build stronger communities. The current state of the economy makes this an opportune time to engage this “missing piece” to help with the political and economic future of the Pacific Northwest, commented LCTB supporter, Nancy Spaan. As the current economic system does not seem to benefit the general population, according to LCTB Adviser, Christopher Paddon, time banks offer people their own economy by enabling communities to be more neighborly and to put into action, the concept of reclaiming community economics. Time banks serve as a tool for creating the community that works for you, transforming communities into neighborhoods we want to live in versus communities we feel stuck in.

Caren Black of the Titanic Lifeboat Academy serves a very important role as adviser and mentor to the youthful and energetic LCTB volunteer staff. The academy provided the 501c3 wing to the Lower Columbia Time Bank, under which it has been allowed to fly. Raised in the midwest, Caren embraces the childhood memory of an era when neighbors helped one another in times of need. She recalls how communities valued and respected their citizens, based on what they would contribute to one another and the community, and not on their professional training, number of degrees, or salary.

“Health organizations believe time banks make people feel better, and cut the cost of health care . . . while some forms of barter are taxable, the I.R.S. has ruled that time dollars are not — because they value all work equally, work is done for a charitable purpose, and the exchange is informal and non-contractual.”
– New York Times (September 20, 2011)

Having grown up in and returning to Astoria after college, LCTB founding member, Pearl Rasmussen, felt a tremendous sense of community in Astoria after big storms hit the region. “Sometimes it takes a disaster for people to see what they’re capable of.” In the face of economic disaster, the time bank offers an appropriate response to helping each other. Pearl’s vision of the time bank operations builds bridges, and opens conversations between different parts of the community. In speaking with various community groups and encouraging participation, she has been able to make people aware of the skills they have to offer in a time bank exchange: reading a book to someone; speaking English with non-native speakers; helping with basic chores or repairs. The time bank serves as a “powerful tool for many community members to build self-esteem. It’s nice to have a conversation with people and see them sit-up a little straighter when they realize they all have skills to share.” Fellow LCTB founding member, Jennifer Rasmussen (no relation to Pearl) wants to support “cool things (happening) in my neighborhood, exchanging help, instead of money makes you a better neighbor.”

LTCB Outreach Director, Tallie Spiller appreciates a key tenet of time banking in the equal value placed in all work hours; everyone’s hour is equal to everyone else’s hour. “To give something that you want to give and then to be able to receive what you need is a really exciting idea.” Talking with different parts of the community, Tallie shares the concept and practice of time banking, “everyone sees how they can fit themselves into it.” The time bank benefits come from getting to know and to share with new people, and to become a bigger part of the community as a resource.

The LCTB staff is eager to initiate and to maintain the formation of LCTB; they stress the importance of flexibility in the growth and future of LCTB and its possible off-shoot time banks. LCTB, in its current form, desires to reach the communities all up and down the river, serving Southwestern Washington (Pacific and Wahkiakum Counties ), and Northwestern Oregon(Clatsop, Columbia, and Tillamook Counties).

How it’s going to work.
The launch date for the Lower Columbia Time Bank community tool is March 20, 2012. At which time the LCTB website, www.locotimebank.org, should be accessible for applications for membership, more information, and an orientation schedule. LCTB plans to make applications and membership available to those who are not on-line via telephone and postal mail. Applications are to be reviewed by the LCTB staff, and prior to participation, a quick and easy orientation is required to facilitate the use of the program. Completion of the orientation gains new members three time bank hours to start the exchange process. The time bank database allows participants to locate other time bank members’ “offers” and “requests” in their area to facilitate an exchange. Members make their own exchanges and report their own hours. Hours can not be swapped, sold, assigned a value, or given away. There are no membership fees and all exchanges are informal and voluntary. The all-volunteer LCTB staff is seeking technical assistance with the on-line software (Joomla!) and website.

For more specifics on time banking, prior to the launch date contact LCTB at lowercolumbiatimebank@gmail.com, or call (503)298-6709.


 

Time Bank
going back in time
Time banking is not barter. Barter economies have been in practice throughout history, but the idea of using time as a unit of exchange only appeared shortly after the Industrial Revolution. The origins of time-based currency can be traced both to the American anarchist Josiah Warren, who ran the Cincinnati Time Store from 1827 until 1830, and to the British industrialist and philanthropist Robert Owen, who founded the utopian “New Harmony” community. While both systems are based on the principles of mutualism and the labor theory of value, Josiah Warren’s currency was explicitly pegged to time as a measure of specific goods or labor. For example, 3 hours of carpenter’s work would be considered equivalent to 3-12 pounds of corn. Meanwhile, Robert Owen’s currency simply bore an inscription referring to a number of hours, which presumably could be exchanged for however many pounds of corn a farmer would deem adequate or labor of any kind.

The first successful contemporary time bank was started in 1991 by Paul Glover in Ithaca, New York. Following his idea, people began to exchange time, which led to the creation of a time-based currency—the “Ithaca Hours,” which even local businesses began to accept, and which still flourishes. Time banking and service exchange have since developed into a full-fledged movement, usually centered around local communities.

Categories
HEALTH

Darcy Wiegardt: Permanent Cosmetics Technician to the Coast

Darcy WiegardtIn the start of every new year, there is a hope, a wish to fulfill what has not materialized in years past, a fresh look, a yearning for new confidence. Darcy Wiegardt found an opportunity to not only take on this desire, but to put on a fresh face, permanently. Folks from the Pacific Northwest are no strangers to tattoos; sailors, hipsters, and the like, treat themselves to a body souvenir to celebrate special occasions or relationships, but permanent cosmetics offer selected, natural pigmentation to re-create everything from basic make-up to eyebrows for victims of facial hair loss and areolas in breast reconstructive surgery patients.

Darcy, who has been licensed and certified since 2003 in Oregon, which has a much more rigorous certification and licensing process than other states, initially began as a permanent cosmetics technician in Astoria on a part time basis. As things shifted in the job market and economy, she found herself able to join the group at Medical Spa LaCost as her primary job. After extensive training in Portland by Carol’s Cosmetic Tattoo, she took her well-honed skills to the coast to offer permanent make-up services: Eyebrows-color added to shape, to fill, to lift, and to cover scars above the eye; Eyeliner and Lash Enhancement-definition given to eyes by lining for a thicker, fuller look; Lips-volume and fullness added to improve lip definition with either lip line or full lip treatment.

In recent months, Darcy has expanded her abilities to help with areola repigmentation for breast cancer patient reconstructive surgery. Areola Repigmentation is the process of creating realistic, well-proportioned areolas with properly chosen pigments and skilled application. It is an ideal procedure for breast cancer survivors, breast augmentation recipients and anyone who is unhappy with the size, shape or coloration of their areolas. She is currently finalizing this training, and plans to offer areola repigmentation service in Spring of 2012.

Costs for this variety of services ranges from $350-$1800, and Darcy initiates the process with a consultation first, applying her experience with the clients interests to make the end product most satisfying. The typical procedure takes two sessions with the initial session being the main permanent pigmentation application, and after thirty days, the touch-up, or second session is completed to cover any variation or difference in the coloring.

“Permanent” is part of the procedural terminology; so, Darcy provides information to take the best care and make the cosmetic color last. However, pigmentation, being coloring, may fade with time and under certain situations, even more so. Darcy warns that sun, swimming, and the natural course of time will cause coloration to fade, and touch-ups may be required to keep the color fresh. Luckily, in the Pacific Northwest, extreme sun exposure is not too common! This procedure is safe and offers options to those suffering from allergies or who just want to look their best all the time. Darcy, who is a permanent cosmetic client, herself, says, her husband loves it because he does not have to wait forever while she gets ready to go out! Darcy enjoys giving clients more confidence and the opportunity to wake up looking great everyday.

Darcy Wiegardt
Permanent Cosmetic Technician
At Spa Lacost, 1428 Commercial
In Astoria, 503.338.5555
for more info visit: spalacost.com

Categories
FEATURES

Occupy Your Holiday: In this Economy, Give the Gift of Time

Holiday TimeThis holiday season give the gift of time; not a fine time piece, give a piece of your deliberate, hard-to-come-by time. Often, it is simpler to make up for insufficient time in the day by throwing material goods at the problem. “Sorry I can’t make it to your wedding. Here’s an extravagant kitchen gadget.” “Can’t make it to your soccer game, but I’ll pick up a new video game for you on my way home.” “Working late, won’t be able to go out with you, but will send some flowers.” These thoughtful gestures help cover the hole of one’s absence, but the cost really adds up, both in the wallet and in the relationships. The holiday season has become one huge materialistic bandage of consumerism to make-up for our lack of time to celebrate and to spend quality time together with our friends and family. Consumerism has come to be indistinguishable from the celebration of the Christmas holiday.

We purchase box upon box of material goods to spread the joy of the season, just to strike names off a list. Waiting hours to shop at the crack of dawn, we scoop up deals at the Post-Thanksgiving sales without regard of the impact on employees who lost holiday time with their families, in the name of our savings(money, not time). Spend your money and your time with great purpose, this season.

As pods of the 99% take over parks across America, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the biggest corporate event of the year for the 1%. Months of marketing and mounds of money have gone into convincing the general public that we must have e-toys and e-trinkets of all shapes, screens, and sizes. Some of these devices are even thinly disguised as tools to facilitate more on-line shopping. ”Occupy” and “Move Your Money” movements are focused on boycotting these same big banks in favor of community banks and credit unions, but who benefits by the mega-debt we go into this time of year in charging all these gift purchases? Big banks! Huge corporate banks make millions off merchants’ backs in credit card processing fees and, no doubt, more from the interest on the accrued debit amounts that take the entirety of the new year to pay off. All in the name of holiday cheer, we go whistling to the brink of fiscal disaster to buy frivolous fad items and must-have techno-tchotchkees that break, or are out-dated before the final payment has been made. (Do you know where your “Zoo-Zoo” pet is?)

Take back the holiday from the greedy corporate money mongers! Refuse to run-up a god-awful debt that leaves you financially whimpering long into the next year. Walk past the big box stores in favor of handmade gifts, home-baked holiday treats, or frame that special photograph for that special someone. Not only are handmade gifts more personal and affordable, but they offer an opportunity to be expressive or create something meaningful with friends, family, or neighbors. Spending the time together in the kitchen or making holiday cards and gifts can be the most treasured gift of all.

Give your time meaningfully to charitable organizations as a volunteer. Consider volunteering at a community food bank or soup kitchen with a friend. Sometimes the nicest thing we can do for ourselves is to do for others; it only costs some time, and can really warm up that holiday spirit. Giving to your preferred charities or not-for-profit organizations in the name of friends or family members spreads love by alternative gifting; donations in memory of those that have passed away in the past year are a sincere gesture that mean more than flowers or a fruit basket to a bereaved family. Take time to see children in holiday performances, or friends’ art in galleries, play productions, and chorale performances, but, most importantly, share things you and your friends and family enjoy, together. December 9th is the National Day of Sharing; make it last the whole month. Instead of stacks of presents, opt for items that can be shared or played together. Board or card games offer a fun opportunity to share time together versus on-line games shared with a screen in solitude. Even shopping downtown with a friend is more fun than solo cyber-consumption.

Shopping on-line may appear to be a time-saver, but do you really ever get the right size if you can not try it on first? Shopping locally, supporting local artisans, and keeping your cash in the community gives your hard-earned money to the 99% pool. It’s easy to appreciate the concept of “shopping locally”, but it is far greater to follow, especially when it means contributing to the economic health of your neighborhood. Local businesses appreciate the holiday traffic and strive to serve their customers up a more festive and enjoyable holiday experience. Community bazaars, art fairs, and craft shows offer many gift options and showcase regional talents. Local merchants work hard to supply customers with unique and interesting selections of outside-the-box fashion, toys, accessories, gifts, and art that reflect where we live. This holiday season, when considering where to spend your precious time and money, bring it home for the holidays!

Categories
FEATURES

Author Jan Bono: Life Time Learner & Life Teacher @KALA Dec 8

Jan BonoAT SEVEN YEARS OLD Jan Bono knew she would grow-up to be an astronaut, the president of the United States, a writer, or a teacher. Recent cutbacks to the NASA Space Shuttle Program may dampen her astro-aspirations, but with thirty plus years of teaching experience, and numerous years writing newspaper columns, short stories, plays, and blogs, running for the U.S. presidency may be her next undertaking. Her ability to find humor in the human experience defines her writing, from the magic of being a fourth grader to the joys of the holiday season.

Bono retired from public school teaching in June of 2006. Not one to sit and wait for things to come her way, she threw herself into play writing when she discovered a local community theater was holding a one-act play writing contest. Having never written a play or performed in a play, she took on the research of play writing with great gusto. Bono describes herself as, “one of those people who jumps in and paddles around.” No sooner had she dived in than she came out with first and second place in the contest with her newly written plays to be produced on the stage.

“I got bitten bad! When I won, I said ‘You mean I did it right?’” That was the start of her play writing career which, to date, includes nine one-act plays and a dinner theater mystery play. “A Christmas Trilogy: Three Holiday One-Acts” from her newly released short story collection, It’s Christmas!, will be performed in December by the Peninsula Players in Ilwaco.

Teaching is a calling for Bono and she gleans much of her material from her school days, having in November 2009 published “Just Joshin’, A Year in the Life of a Not-so-ordinary 4th Grade Kid,” a 63-story collection of humorous classroom anecdotes. Her frequent contributions to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series highlight her nostalgic and heart-warming tale telling talents, which she has compiled into short story collections. “I find humor everywhere. That’s what I do, (write) short, humorous stories. There’s something to laugh at every single day.” For over 10 years, she wrote a bi-weekly personal experience column for the Chinook Observer, which became, Through My Looking Glass, a collection of those columns.

“I write snippets of life and hope people find it entertaining.” “Recognizing the humorous experience and knowing that it’s universal, that’s why I write.” Having once found inspiration in a conversation overheard at a farmer’s market, she was caught paperless and called her home phone to leave the idea on her voice mail. Though rarely found without pen and paper, she commonly makes note of family quirks and humorous situations; she is currently putting together a collection of phone conversations with her mother, a ‘Jan Linkletter’s’ Moms Say the Darnedest Things sort of thing.

Jan has written an every-odd-numbered-day blog for nearly 3 years, with over 525 entries. The topics are wide-ranging, mostly inspirational with a Norman Rockwell-ian quality to her homespun, humorous posts, which all aim to be a little thought-provoking. Bono would love to make writing her full-time occupation, and fancies the idea of her books someday sharing the shelves with Dave Barry, Tom Bodett, and Erma Bombeck. Always the teacher, Bono still finds herself teaching adult writing workshops and incorporates life coaching into her busy schedule to help other adults live their best life and polish their writing for publication. She has facilitated a local writer’s group for the past 5 years, emcees a monthly “Authors’ Showcase” at an Ilwaco coffee shop, and also runs an editing business, TMLG Editing and Critique. She is currently in search of an agent to publish her cozy mystery novel. With many more writing projects on the horizon, Jan Bono is not content to rest on her past accomplishments.

“What I like to do best is write nice stories that are PG-rated, that have redeeming value and the essence of the human experience.” Look for her in your neighborhood, promoting her new book, It’s Christmas!, detailing humorous memories from her favorite time of year!

It's ChristmasIt’s Christmas! is a 226-page collection of 48 personal experience stories and three one-act holiday plays. The three holiday one-act plays will be performed at the River City Playhouse, 127 Lake Street in Ilwaco from December 2-4, 9-11 with Friday and Saturday performances at 7 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2 pm.  Books will be available for purchase at all performances, and may also be found for purchase on-line at janbonobooks.com.

Join Jan on December 8, Thursday at 7 pm for a reading and book signing of It’s Christmas! at KALA, the Hipfish Community Events Center on 1017 Marine Drive in Astoria. Happy Holidays-Shop Locally, Read Festively!