Weather down under

Typical street greenery in the Redfern area.

Typical street greenery in the Redfern area.

These photos represent a spectrum of the open, green, urban spaces I found in Australia during our first week or so of the recent trip Down Under by UW-Stevens Point’s COMM 373 (Communicating Social Change) class.

I was fortunate to be able to chronicle the trip through my Portage County Gazette column. The first of four weekly posts from Sydney and the surrounding environs is linked here.

Read on to see the photo gallery. Continue reading

Land and water fund, others still in danger

 

Last week was all about thankfulness.  Now, a week into the holiday season and with winter apparently ready to hit us full on, it’s time for a little crankfulness.

Being cranky is easy when we look outside to see a cold, dreary, dank, dark world. But doing something about a bad mood doesn’t have to be difficult.  In this case, I’m talking about counteracting our continued destruction of American outdoor values.

My son sam and brother-in-law Fernando enjoying a sunset on the Cape Final Trail on the Grand Canyon's North Rim in 2007. The Grand Canyon is one of many national parks that have received LWCF funding.

My son Sam and brother-in-law Fernando enjoying a sunset on the Cape Final Trail, Grand Canyon’s North Rim, 2007. The park is one of many funded by the LWCF.

Before we get there, a little scene-setting is in order.  I’ve been hoping recently for at least a bit of warmer, drier weather to finish up the fall yard and garden cleanup – getting rid of the decay and dead remains of that which once brought beauty and hope, the growth from warmer seasons when it’s easier to focus on good things in life.

In winter, we may be prone to looking around and detecting rot and putrescence that eventually freezes into a lump of useless, ugly blight.  You know what I mean:  Congress.

Not all of Congress. It’s primarily one guy, who also happens to be the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources –Rob Bishop of Utah.

Never was there a congressman whose first name more aptly described his relationship to the American people.

He’s the guy holding up reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program which for 50 years provided the country with many of its spectacular and well known outdoor recreation opportunities, along with immeasurable benefits to communities, regions and states that used the fund for park and recreation projects.

Continue reading

Kudos to city, Sentry for willingness to save park

The small green space next to Sentry’s downtown building.

We all got a reminder Nov. 4 of the good that can happen when citizens speak up and both government and business listen to them.  The right thing just might get done.

Big thanks are in order for both Sentry Insurance and the City of Stevens Point for examining an eminently reasonable solution to a proposal that could have killed off a small park downtown.

The issue came before the Historic Preservation/Design Review Commission Nov. 4.  Citizens argued that Sentry’s plan to add more parking to its lot on the 1200 block of Clark Street would take out a number of mature trees and probably the very best open, green space in the center of downtown. Continue reading