Pedestrians: please be responsible and safe
I talked to a nice police officer last night and asked him if I could drive with my fog lights on. He said that in inclement weather conditions where you need peripheral vision they can be on. I said, "I need to use them to see all the Ashland deer cluelessly crossing in front of me, and Ashland peds who bomb out in the crosswalk looking the other way, texting, snubbing, wired with earbuds, and wearing the darkest vegetable colors I have ever not seen."
The officer said that it is the pedestrian's responsibility to engage a car and not bomb out in front of it. Somewhere in my car is an ODOT chart — safe stopping distance marked at the 85 feet mark (for a speed of 25 mph). I am always thinking about the 85-foot buffer on Siskiyou Boulevard. It is a long way for a safe stop, and I wish I was allowed that for yellow lights too, but it is the law.
Ashland peds, skateboarders and cellphone zombies always bomb the crosswalk in front of me. When I stop I sometimes hear tourists say, "They are soooo nice to peds in this town!" I think to myself, "I hope the texter behind me doesn't rear-end me now." In the spirit of good will: Dear Ashland peds, please be responsible crossers and take that extra three seconds to look at traffic flow. Bicyclists, set a good tone and don't do the wrong way riding crosswalk hack.
Let the Ashland deer continue to do their clueless crossing, but dear peds, please be responsible.
Join a Neighborhood Food Project today
At the same time that our Congress has decided to eliminate people from food stamp (SNAP) eligibility and reduce the amount of food that the eligible are allowed to receive, lobbyists are busily protecting the interests of powerful corporations who are toxifying the food chain and seeking taxpayer subsidies to do so. As the need for emergency food goes up (in Ashland, up 25 percent from last year), food is being extracted from the shopping carts of those in need of help. The recovery has not yet reached those in the lower range of income.
I encourage people to contact their representatives to ask that they work towards maintaining current funding for the SNAP program. Meanwhile, if you want to make an immediate and positive contribution to soften the blow of our esteemed Congress, please consider joining up with the Neighborhood Food Project in your town. This is a community-based way to help our own without having to wait for a government mandate. It's simple. Community members agree to contribute food on a regular basis and coordinators come to your house and pick up your bag of food every other month.
Become a donor or a neighborhood coordinator and make a huge difference in about one hour/month. Help us reach our goal of 1 million pounds of food delivered to Jackson County food pantries since our first food pickup in 2009. Go to www.neighborhoodfoodproject.com to see how you can help today.
Leaf blowers are bad for soil in garden beds
Leaf blowers are noisy, but did you know a gardener who uses one on your garden beds will end up costing you more than one who uses a rake and broom?
Leaf blowers kill the tiny organisms in the top few inches of the soil that are essential to plant health. I worked in the landscape business for over 20 years, and I can tell you that when leaf blowers are used in the beds, homeowners need to replace their landscaping decades sooner because so many plants fail to thrive. That costs thousands of dollars!
You have a choice; you don't have to accept the use of leafblowers. You can tell your gardener to use his only on paving and decks. Say you understand it may take a little longer to tidy up using a rake and broom, and you will pay him for the additional time. Tell him he doesn't have to remove every fallen leaf. You'll come out ahead — less noise, less expense, better ethics.