Saturday, June 30, 2012

Analysis credits diagnostic change with increased cases of autism

“Autism Awareness” puzzle-piece ribbon magnet on a car
“Autism Awareness” puzzle-piece ribbon magnet on a car
Photo by Cynthia Parkhill
On Disability Scoop, Shaun Heasley summarizes a new study suggesting that changes to autism diagnostic criteria may be more responsible than anything else for rising prevalence rates.

Researchers applied current diagnostic criteria to data from a 1980s study on autism prevalence.

I appreciate this study bcause it corroborates my argument: that improved detection is responsible for an increased number of cases of autism. I disagree with highly-politicized reactions to autism prevalence rates.

From the June 29 summary on Disability Scoop:
“The original study, published in 1989, looked at hundreds of Utah residents ages 3 to 25 who were suspected to have autism. Clinicians used DSM-III criteria to assess individuals as ‘diagnosed autistic’ or ‘diagnosed not autistic’ and ultimately found an autism prevalence rate of 4 in 10,000 in Utah at that time.
“But when a research team from the University of Utah applied current diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV-TR to records from participants in the two-decades-old study, they found that most who were deemed to be autism-free at that time would receive the label today.”
Speaking for myself, it was immensely reassuring to receive diagnosis in adulthood. For people like me, whose challenges went undetected while we were growing up, this study is additional good news. From Disability Scoop:
“The analysis found that 59 percent of those who were ‘diagnosed not autistic’ in the 1980s would qualify as having autism today, while an an additional 38 percent of people showed some characteristics of autism. 
“Meanwhile, those who were found to have autism in the 1980s study continued to qualify for the diagnosis using the current criteria, the study found. 
“‘The results of this study demonstrate a significant effect on ASD case status attributable to changing ASD criteria, particularly with regard to individuals with intellectual impairment,” the researchers said. “An important caveat, however, is that we were unable to determine whether it was the broadening of the criteria themselves, or the interpretation of the criteria, which lead to this effect.’”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Great article about yarn bombing and libraries

Yarn bombing tag: "746.43"
Yarn Bombing @ Your Library: Installation with Dewey number theme

The Spring 2012 issue of The Idaho Librarian, an online publication of the Idaho Library Association, features a great article, “Getting Bombed in Boise: Yarn Bombing and Libraries” by Ruth Patterson Funabiki.

Attention paid to yarn bombing in this article goes a long way toward promoting it as a legitimate art, particularly one that is of benefit to libraries.

I recently embarked on an advocacy project of leaving yarn bombing tags at libraries. These small-scale items take the form of crocheted banner messages that wrap around a railing or tree branch.

The tags bear messages like “Support Libraries.” “Love My Library.” One recent creation bears the Dewey classification number for books about knitting and crochet.

(I was taking a class in cataloging at the time and was simultaneously savoring Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti by Mandy Moore and Leanne Prain).

I am glad to see The Idaho Librarian and the Idaho Library Association encouraging the art of a way to enhance libraries' programming and public image.

Like the article states, “yarn bombing offers library users an opportunity for artful free expression.” As a yarn bomber, I choose to use this free expression to advocate for libraries.

In modified format, this blog entry is adapted from an assignment for Cuesta College class CIS 210, to write a letter of introduction.

Yarn Bombing @ Your Library: Berkeley bike racks

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dewey-classification inspired yarnbombing tag

Crocheted yarnbombing tag, pink letters against a burgundy background, reads '746.43.' It's wrapped around the horizontal slat of a bench-back. An attached laminated paper tag displays the international symbol of the library and proclaims the crocheted piece to be the work of 'Yarn Bombing @ Your Library.'

At the George and Elsie Wood/St. Helena Public Library in St. Helena, Calif., I invited Anat Kolumbus to be part of my installation team for this yarnstorming tag, which displays the Dewey classification number for books about knitting and crochet.

New president for Autism Speaks

I learned this weekend, by reading a post on, that a new president, Liz Feld, has been appointed at Autism Speaks.

Disability Scoop reported that Autism Speaks’ president, Mark Roithmayr had resigned and that prior to a June 19 press release, there had been no apparent signs of an imminent restructuring at Autism Speaks.
“When pressed, officials at the organization said Roithmayr would be staying on for another month or so during the ‘transition period,’ but refused to talk further about the shake-up. Roithmayr did not return calls seeking comment.”
I found the news interesting because, as I've previously discussed, autism self-advocates have criticized Autism Speaks for having no people with autism on its governing board.

I am offended by this organization’s portrayals of people with autism as burdens to their family and society. Its depiction in “I am Autism” of a malevolent entity that wrecks families and destroys lives ought to be viewed as hate-speech.

Disability Scoop indicated that Feld does not appear to have personal ties to the autism community. It cites Ari Ne’eman, president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, stating he doesn’t believe the personnel swap is likely to bring significant change.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Media doesn’t cause bullying

"No Bully" T-shirt design
Photograph from project to create ‘No Bully’ refashioned shirt
In Google+, Deborah Petersen shared a link to a story from, which states that the boys who bullied bus monitor Karen Klein have received death threats via the Internet.

The story began when the boys behavior was posted to the Internet. From the article:
“The verbal abuse was captured in a 10-minute cellphone video recorded Monday by a student of Athena Middle School and later posted to YouTube. The video shows Klein trying her best to ignore the stream of profanity, insults and outright threats. One student taunted: ‘You don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they don’t want to be near you.’”
 The article states that Klein’s oldest son killed himself 10 years ago and that in the video she eventually appears to break down in tears.

I was interested in this story because of the inspiring way that people rallied to Klein’s support. For me, it showcased the power of social media to inspire people to do the right thing.

Again from the article:
“From around the world, small donations for Karen Klein poured into the crowd-funding site, at one point crashing the site and pulling in a staggering $443,057 by early Friday.”
When sharing the link, Petersen expressed concern that people quoted in the story blame the media for Klein’s abuse.

The story cites Stephen Birchak, whom it describes as a bullying expert, noting that children are growing up in a world of harsh political debates and reality TV shows in which berating people is part of the entertainment and that taking videos of people in humiliating situations and sharing the images has become all too normal.

“Kids are growing up saying,‘OK, this is how you treat your fellow human being and it’s OK to do those things,’” he is quoted as saying.

I share Petersen’s concern at the possibility that people blame the media for bullying.

From personal experience, I know that bullying and ostracism existed before reality television. I remember sitting in classrooms in which the student population seemed united in tormenting a substitute teacher.

Blaming the media only absolves bullies from having to be responsible.

Too many adults, parents and otherwise, still trivialize bullying and treat it like it’s no big deal. Some people even go so far as to blame the victims of bullying.

If anything, credit the media with raising awareness and shaping dialogue about the seriousness of bullying. Among these, the documentary film “Bully” is one very recent example.

In other issues raised by this story: I am heartened by the online support that was extended to Klein, but dismayed that the bullies received death threats online.

A person cannot say that bullying is wrong but then engage in threatening behavior. Their behavior gives tacit approval to the earlier abuse of Klein.

Read the article at

Note: This blog entry expands upon comments left in Google+ in response to the news article. Published June 26, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee.

Curated: online discussion of employment for people with disabilities

Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program and the American Association of People with Disabilities moderated #DEChat, about disability employment, 9 a.m. Pacific on June 22.

The subject was career help for young people with disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood, but I found it to be invaluable. I believe it to be of benefit to people of all ages who face issues related to employment.

Resources shared by participants include when and how to disclose a disability, costs and benefits to an employer and the importance of self-advocacy.

Participants joined via Twitter and this morning I curated #DEChat with Storify. Read it at

Some take-away resources:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Consumer Reports glossary of bottled-water labeling terms

Ashland Food Co-op logo stainless steel water bottles
From the Ashland Food Co-op website:
Reuseable water bottles are environmentally-responsible
alternative to single-serving bottled water has compiled a glossary of bottled-water labeling terms and what they say about the water’s origins. The essay cites a finding by SymphonyIRI Group: that sales of bottled water increased 2 percent, to $7.8 billion, from August 2010 to August 2011.

Terms include Artesian, Distilled, Mineral, Purified, Sparkling and Spring. Among the terms is P.W.S., which stands for “Public water source” or municipal water supply.

“Whatever the bottle says, don’t be misled by crisp blue labels and pictures of mountains,” the essay states: “Forty-seven percent of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is tap water that’s been purified, according to data from the Beverage Marketing Association, a trade group.”

Given the cost of purchasing something that I could get free from the tap, especially since the likelihood is that it was bottled from tap water anyway, I think it much more attractive -- and environmentally sustainable -- to use a refillable water bottle.

Read the complete essay at

My thanks to TapItWater for bringing attention to this essay, assisted by a re-tweet on Twitter by Matt Weiser of the Sacramento Bee.

Articles are not letters are not articles

If I were to update my 2009 Toastmasters submission about submitting effective PR, I would be sure to emphasize: pick a news article format or “letter to the editor.” Don’t submit a mash-up of both.

Monday, June 18, 2012

‘The Matter of the Master’s’: A response

In “The Matter of the Master’s,”American Libraries columnist Will Manley asks what will happen if the master’s degree in library science (MLS) withers away and dies?
 “The massive budget cuts of the last five years have forced school, academic, and public libraries to learn to function with fewer and fewer MLS holders, and library users don’t seem to know the difference. Can they tell that there are fewer new books to choose from? Absolutely. Do they realize that there are longer and longer waits for popular ebooks? Absolutely. Do they notice when main library hours are slashed and branches are closed? Absolutely. Do they know when a professional librarian has been replaced with a paraprofessional or even a clerical person? Rarely, if ever. To the average American, a librarian is a person who works in a library.”
According to Manley, governing boards are taking notice of this lack of public perception:
 “Yes, people still want libraries. That is precisely the issue. People want libraries so desperately that they are quite willing to sacrifice the cost of professional staff to get full hours and robust book budgets restored.”
 Manley states that an MLS is only as strong as the job market that supports it. The sole purpose of an MLS is to provide the skill set to work in a library.

Which leads me to what I view as another reason why the MLS is in trouble: universities are raising tuition and pricing MLS degrees out of reach. But in this case, I see two viable alternatives in community college education and in volunteer experience.

My certification and associate degree in progress are providing me with the skill set to be employed in a library. But they do not enjoy the status of an MLS degree.

(To cite but one example, the American Library Association does not charter student chapters at community or city colleges; only at four-year institutions with an MLS degree. As an un-chaptered student member I am barred from certain resources that student chapter members enjoy.)

Continuing my discussion of alternatives for acquiring the skill set to work in a library: I put what I learn through my classes to use volunteering as administer of a small church lending library.

I am a librarian not because I have an MLS degree (although I still hope that one day I will earn this degree as well). I am a librarian because I perform the function of a librarian. I consider the needs of library constituents and am guided by a mission statement and policy in developing a library collection.

I additionally spend time each Saturday volunteering at my public library. At the Lakeport main library I pulled hold requests and at the Middletown branch I shelve returns.

At both branches I enjoy steady hands-on experience.

Which  leads me to suggest that if the situation is as Manley states:  that the temptation is great to downgrade the position of a librarian and if -- heaven forbid -- the MLS should indeed wither and die, there are in fact avenues to produce qualified people with the skill set to work in a library.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Useful questions for information literacy

Among ideas being explored for the focus of a news curation team, Steve Buttry and Mandy Jenkins raise the question of how to evaluate, verify and attribute the information they curate.

In my writings, I've previously addressed the importance of information literacy. I had the advantage of taking a course that addressed precisely this.

In Internet Technologies and Information Services (Libraries Unlimited, 2009), Joseph B. Miller poses questions that a reader can ask when evaluating a website. I find it useful to refer to:
  • What is the apparent purpose of the site?
  • What is the identity of the resource? For instance, is the author well-known or clearly identified? Is the information verifiable in other sources? How objective is the perspective? Is there an obvious agenda or bias?
  • What about the publisher of the content — is it clear who sponsors the page? What is the domain location of [the] site (gov, edu, com, etc.)?
  • How complete is the information? Does it represent original content or just point to other sites?
  • How current is the site? When was it created or last modified?
  • What is the apparent audience level?
  • Is there evidence of scholarship, such as citations that can be checked?
  • Has the page been reviewed or recognized as important by others?
In the matter of attribution, I agree that it is a good practice to provide a link to the original source. I appreciate blogging as an ideal platform for including these dynamic elements.

Verification can be accomplished at least in part by verification sites like Snopes, which bills itself as “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.”

But it may also depend on the sort of follow-through that Jenkins describes as missing from a journalist’s recent use of a crowdsourced quote: “Had he even called this guy on the phone and asked a few key questions, the kid’s story would have likely fallen apart in a matter of minutes.”

Evaluation role is natural for curation team

At Digital First Media, Steve Buttry and Mandy Jenkins plan to launch a news curation team. The opportunity intrigues me because, as Jenkins rightly points out, “curation is what journalists have been doing since Gutenberg.”

One of the areas that most interests me in my perception of the team’s focus is the use and evaluation of emerging tools in journalism. To me, this seems a natural part of the team’s responsibilities.

Today's information curator faces a bewildering array and new tools are emerging daily. To have an accumulation of early reviews, best-practices and in-depth training would go a long way toward enabling journalists to navigate this rapidly changing landscape.

Like the weekly #DFMChat among Digital First Media journalists, perhaps the team could provide video-conference or live-Tweeting chats with an informed presenter who focuses upon a single tool each week and objectively shares pros and cons. The presentations could be archived for later reference.

This training would ideally be augmented with written how-to guides: step-by-step instructions combined with screen-capture stills, suitable for viewing as a PDF or printing out for ongoing reference.

A conversation about the role of the Digital First Media news curation team is taking place on Follow or contribute using the #DFMCuration tag.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

‘Join the Journalists’ on TV8

The recent presentation by Record-Bee newsroom staffers, “Join the Journalists,” was filmed for broadcast on TV8. According to the TV8 program guide for the week of June 11 to 17, the program is scheduled to air at 10:02 p.m. (Pacific Time) tonight, 11:04 a.m. Thursday and 5:01 p.m. Saturday.

Here’s a thank-you letter from Managing Editor Mandy Feder that appeared in our print publications:
On behalf of Lake County Publishing, I would like to thank everyone who assisted with our recent “Join the Journalists” workshop/forum at the Soper Reese Community Theatre:
Wilda Shock, in her awesomeness, helped with planning the event, introduced material, answered questions and showed people to their seats. Wilda is truly an irreplaceable advocate of our newsroom and the community.
Mike Adams, executive director of the Soper Reese Community Theater Committee, placed everything at our disposal to ensure a successful presentation.
Jane Ruggles let us in to the theater and helped with sound and lights.
Nick Biondo did the sound.
Allen Markowski with TV8 filmed the presentation for broadcast.
Newsroom staff, photographer Nathan DeHart and outdoor writer Terry Knight devoted their time to creating informative presentations about news submissions, photography, video and social media.
Thank you also to the more than 60 people who attended the presentation. You asked great questions, supplied fantastic feedback and joined us to promote what matters to your community.
Mandy Feder
Managing Editor
Lake County Record-Bee

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Discipline has caring quality

Cover image: Mastering Successful Work
Cover image: Mastering Successful Work
During the bus ride home today, I encountered this passage in Mastering Successful Work by Tarthang Tulku (Dharma Publishing, 1994):
“Discipline is often thought of in negative terms as a harsh restraint imposed upon us by an external authority. But true discipline has a caring quality that emerges from inner knowledge. It takes form when we understand the value of our time, our energy, and the goals we have chosen to pursue. Rather than forcing us against our will, it embraces the power of willingness.”
The passage resonated with me and when I read it to Jonathan he summarized succinctly as “an expression of freedom instead of restraint.” I have the freedom to choose goals and objectives and then commit to them with follow-through.

The focus of this chapter of the book is upon overcoming breaks in concentration that undermine quality of work. It suggests using awareness, concentration and energy as yardsticks to measure our work:
“The standards and measurements we apply in our work apply equally well in our personal life, and can also be used to assess the success or failure of organizations, educational systems, and even national and international policy-making.”
Between these three yardsticks, a balance or interplay must occur. According to Tarthang Tulku, it is possible to identify and correct imbalances in this interplay.

Monday, June 11, 2012

ASPCA funds feral cat spay/neuter

I couldn't resist sharing this update, posted today by Lake County Animal Care and Control on its Facebook page:
“Reminder: Thanks to the generosity of the ASPCA, we have $10,000 to spay and neuter community cats. If there are free roaming cats in your neighborhood, and your willing to return them where you found them, we will alter them, vaccinate them for rabies, and ear notch them for FREE! :-) Give us a call to find out more 707-263-0278”
This is great news for responsibly spaying and neutering Lake County’s feral cats and saving their precious lives.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

‘What does good service mean to you?’

“What does good service mean to you?” I decided to write about this question when I considered how readily I tell businesses that their actions have disappointed me. Do I as readily communicate about service that I consider to be exemplary? The purpose of this essay is to do just that.

Friday, June 8, 2012

‘Delete the adjectives’

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.” ― Harper Lee
 With its Facebook status update on June 7, I Love Libraries shared this great quote. When re-posting it, I commented that this quote would be ideal on the in-box for community news submissions.

Submitted press releases frequently contain unnecessary and subjective adjectives. The most notorious and overused is “delicious” when promoting a meal. Whatever the occasion, formal dinner or barbecue, the meal is nearly always “delicious.”

As if the person preparing the meal would ever strive for any other kind, right?

Unfortunately for the submitters, their notion of “delicious” is a matter of personal opinion and the media are in the business of reporting just-the-facts.

On one memorable occasion, every single item on a club’s bill of fare was absolutely revolting to me, a person with food sensitivities. Billed as “delicious,” the menu consisted of cold, clammy, chunky textures that I absolutely would not eat.

But my reactions to food textures  are equally subjective -- so while “delicious” was cut from the text, it was NOT replaced by the adjectives that, if asked, I would have supplied to the meal: “revolting,” “vile,” “inedible.”

If a person has difficulty separating fact from subjective opinion, he or she would do well to heed Atticus’s advice and delete the adjectives. It’s an effective place to start.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New fiction book about teen with Asperger’s

Cover art: Colin Fischer
Cover art: Colin Fischer
 Fresh from earning an A in my Cuesta College course, Connecting Adolescents with Literature and Libraries, the Young Adult (YA) genre remains one that I gravitate toward naturally.

Add my ongoing desire to curate a list of books that inform people with autism and the following lead was irresistible to me.

Publishers Weekly shared a link June 6 to a summary by Carolyn Juris of a YA editors’ buzz panel during Book Expo America.

As described by Juris, the title character of Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz’s Colin Fischer (Razorbill, Nov. 8, 2012) is a boy with Asperger’s syndrome:
“who is uncomfortable looking at others, who doesn’t like to be touched, and who needs index cards to recognize facial expressions. He also has keen powers of observation, which he uses to try to prove the innocence of the school bully, who is accused of bringing a gun to school and blowing up a cake in the cafeteria. Razorbill publisher Ben Schrank called Colin ‘an Encyclopedia Brown for a new generation,’ adding that anyone who’s ever felt socially awkward will relate to Colin, and perhaps come away from the novel a little more forgiving of themselves.’”
According to the book listing on, its release is set for Nov. 8. I hope that librarians in charge of collection development in Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma County libraries will consider purchasing this book. This is a book I would consider adding to my recommended books about autism.

Published Sept. 18, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Animal care director to speak to Democratic Club

My blog entry that promotes a radio broadcast about Lake County feral cats was cross-posted on Monday afternoon to the Lake County Record-Bee website. Today it appeared in the print edition of the Record-Bee.

A press release submitted this afternoon details another appearance by Lake County Animal Care and Control Director Bill Davidson.

Davidson will be guest speaker before the Lake County Democratic Club, at noon Saturday in the Rose Room at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, located at 3985 Country Club Drive. Davidson will share the inner workings of his department and provide an update on the feral cat issue in Lake County. This meeting is open to the public.

Davidson’s radio appearance is from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday during “Philadelphia Lawyer” on Saturday Salon, on KPFZ 88.1 FM.

The segment host, Ron Green, invites listeners to call in and participate. The number is 707-263-3435. The show is streamed live over the Internet via

Too much Facebook privacy can be bad

On Lifehacker, Adam Dachis suggests that being too private on Facebook can hurt you because “When you post nothing, everyone else decides who you are.”
“You don’t have control over what other people post about you. If you get drunk at a party and someone snaps a photo, it may end up online. Sure, you can untag yourself and try to control the possible damage from embarrassing stuff popping up, but there’s really no way to stop it all. You may not have active tags on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that photo won't still exist and won’t show up elsewhere. When people are constantly contributing information to Facebook, as well as other parts of the web, you’re always stuck playing catch up if you're trying to control how others talk about you.”
It certainly requires vigilance to keep up with people’s tags, which are entirely too easy to make.

People have added me to political groups entirely without my consent and I had to remove myself afterward. But for the brief time I was displayed in that person’s group, anyone could have formed an impression of my political leanings. They wouldn’t know I was added involuntarily.

Another person tagged me among more than 30 people in connection with an event that I wasn’t going to nor had anyone ever spoke to me about. Again, anyone seeing me tagged in connection with that activity could form all sorts of conclusions.

People’s intrusive tagging could easily skew my reputation, absent my direct input.

The solution, according to Dachis, is to publicly post what you want others to see:
“It’s fine to keep most of what you post on Facebook pretty private and only visible to the friends you want to see it. That said, if you want to look good in public you should be posting a few things that make you appear like the upstanding citizen you believe yourself to be. Share photos from fun family events, opinions about a gadget you really love or hate, and tame messages like regular birthday wishes. There are plenty of things you can share in public that don’t reveal anything private but show that you’re a good person.”
The flip side to this, of course, is that preemptive public sharing may force people into a more public role on Facebook than they desire or feel comfortable having. Where do you stand on this?

My thanks to ALA Techsource for sharing the Lifehacker commentary. Read the complete post at

Monday, June 4, 2012

‘Friends’ in Middletown to hold sale on June 16

It’s sale time again; I see bags of donated books and comings and goings by Friends volunteers when I shelve on Saturdays at the Middletown Gibson Library.

Friends of the Middletown Gibson Library is having its semi-annual book sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 16 at the Middletown Library. The sale coincides with the Middletown Days celebration.

I love Friends sales; in addition to supporting libraries,  I often discover great books.

According to a press release from Friends, a grocery bag full of books will cost $5 and paperbacks will cost $3 per bag. Books for sale include best sellers, children’s books, mysteries, spy novels, romance, cookbooks, self-help, reference and audio books.

Some selected quality books will be sold individually. Proceeds from the sale will be used to purchase new books and learning materials for the new library.

Friends is also in need of volunteers to help with set up at 7:30 a.m. and with take-down at 4 p.m.

Setup involves moving boxes of books on hand trucks to appropriate tables, setting up tables, tent awnings, signs and general help.  The 4 p.m. crew does all of the above in reverse.

Anyone who can help with setup or take-down is asked to show up at either time. For more information, contact Friends of the Middletown Gibson Library Secretary Fran Rand at 707-987-8546.

Published June 12, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hand-made grocery sacks extend life of T’s

Moving Wall logo, tablet weaving strap on bag out of pillowcase
Hand-made shopping bag with T-shirt logo and handwoven trim for straps
I had to retire a T-shirt from wear but wanted to preserve the logo because it had sentimental value for me. As it happened, I had a length of hand-woven trim that complimented the logo perfectly.

A flannel pillowcase formed the body of this tote and the tablet weaving formed the strap. I shortened the pillowcase by approximately half its original depth.

I cut the woven trim into two equal pieces and arranged the first piece so that it approximately divided the bag’s surface by thirds: pinning it up and back down again. 

I repeated this process with the remaining length of trim on the other side of the pillowcase; this gave me two handles for the bag.

I next turned the pillowcase inside out and sewed the bottom seam, catching both layers of fabric and the lengths of trim in my 1-inch seam allowance. Then, when the bag was right-side out again, I arranged the logo on the bag.

I made a second bag using a length of “Ram’s Horn” tablet-woven trim.

These hand-made bags are welcome additions to my household’s reusable grocery sacks plus I’ll have the pleasure at the check-out counter of saying I made the bags myself.

Shopping bag made out of pillowcase with tablet weaving trim
Another hand-made shopping bag, this with Ram's Horn tablet weaving

Saturday, June 2, 2012

EcoArts opens June 10 in Middletown

Nature’s Eye, created by Marianne Martinelli’s second-grade class,
Coyote Valley Elementary School

This morning, Jonathan and I took a walk down Highway 175 to Middletown County Trailside Park. There, artists have been working to install exhibits for this year’s EcoArts: Lake County Sculpture Walk.

Many of the pieces incorporate “found” or recycled materials.

One nice example is a wind chime made by People Services, Inc. out of bottles and CDs. During this morning’s viewing, I also enjoyed Nature’s Eye, created by Marianne Martinelli’s second-grade class at Coyote Valley Elementary School.

The artwork is being installed along the park’s central trail. The park is accessible on foot off Highway 175 or by auto via Dry Creek Cut-off.

The opening reception takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 10. Many participating artists are expected to be in attendance. For more information, contact Karen Turcotte at or 707-928-0323.

Reprinted June 5, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

Friday, June 1, 2012

Radio show to discuss feral cats

I got a news release this week from radio host Ron Green concerning an upcoming “Philadelphia Lawyer” segment on Saturday Salon, 10 to 11 a.m. June 9 on KPFZ 88.1 FM.

The topic will be “Feral and Community Cats: Lake County’s Trap, Neuter and Release Program.” Green’s guest will be Bill Davidson, director of Lake County Animal Care and Control.

As a cat lover, the issue of feral cats is of huge concern to me. Trap, neuter and release or trap-neuter-return (T-N-R) has the potential to save lives.

Lake County’s cat euthanasia rate is a distinction to be ashamed of: highest in California.

The Catsnip program, created by local veterinarians, has been operating since January. Guest commentary by Susan A. Cannon, DVM  and Chris S. Holmes, DVM, posted March 16 on the Record-Bee website, states that the Catsnip program will offer a limited number of free spay and neuter surgeries for community (unowned) cats for one year.

After that, the  veterinarians would like to see Lake County fund a minimum two-year pilot program in which vouchers would be offered for the spaying and neutering of community cats.

“Successful TNR programs have reduced euthanasia rates from 30 to 70 percent in Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey, San Diego, North Carolina, Connecticut and Utah,” Cannon and Holmes state.

I hope Lake County does all it can to support TNR because the alternative scenario is unthinkable as depicted by Cannon and Holmes:
“If you take a feral cat to the shelter it will almost certainly die there. It is hard to make a case that they are somehow better off being brought to the shelter where they will sit huddled in a small cage, stressed and frightened, exposed to contagious viruses, for the mandatory three days before they are euthanized. The modern TNR program stops the reproductive cycle and gets them back to where they came from within 24 hours. They can live out their lives and the population will decline over time because of natural attrition.”
The Lake County Animal Care and Control website invites viewers to call 707-263-0278 to learn about free spaying and neutering of all community cats.

Green invites listeners to call in and participate during the June 9 show. The number is 707-263-3435. The show is also streamed live over the Internet via

Published June 5, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee