In Memory of 9/11: Let Us Wage Peace

 

Community members walk in meditation around City Park, remembering 9/11 victims and contemplating a future with filled with peace. Photo: Joe Hennager

Community members walk in meditation around City Park, remembering 9/11 victims and contemplating a future with filled with peace. Photo: Joe Hennager

Today, like communities all across the nation, citizens of Iowa City held a commemorative service for those who died in the 9/11/2001 attacks. The messages shared were clear: While we honor and remember the victims of that day and the heroes who emerged, we must not let the events divide us as a nation. We are diverse in religion, custom, culture, and race; yet we are one people. The event was organized by the Consultation of Religious Communities, and hosted by Mel Schlacter, a priest at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Speakers included religious leaders from local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian congregations, as well as political leaders and representatives of firefighters, police, and national guard. Each speaker received applause, but none so loud nor so long as Ed Flaherty. His words are potent reminders of the priorities we must keep in mind if we truly wish to build a just and peaceful world. We share them with you here. ~Julia Wasson, Publisher


Reverend Mel Schlacter addresses the audience at the Shakespeare Festival Theatre in City Park, while members of Disciples Strings of First Christian Church prepare to sing a chant of peace. Photo: Joe Hennager

Reverend Mel Schlacter addresses the audience at the Shakespeare Festival Theatre in City Park, while members of Disciples Strings of First Christian Church (led by Dr. John McKinstry, far right) prepare to sing a chant of peace. Photo: Joe Hennager

We all speak today of healing, understanding, and peacemaking.

The images of September 11, 2001 are etched in our minds. But we need to be more concerned with what we have done with 9/11 than with 9/11 itself.

Yes, we mourn the loss of so many innocent victims. We laud the heroism of the firefighters and so many others. And we will always be outraged at the inhumanity of the attackers. But I don’t think that the 2,977 victims on 9/11 died to usher in a period of perpetual war.

We must remember that the tragedy of 9/11 was used as an opportunity for war—how to initiate war on Iraq was on the lips of our leaders the day after.

We need to add to our minds’ images the 6,236 U.S. armed services personnel who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan; the 40,000+ who bear visible wounds; the 400,000+ who bear the invisible wounds of PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder] and TBI [traumatic brain injury]; and, yes, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan dead. We must remember it all, if we are to heal.

We must do more than remember.

Children from the various congregations folded origami doves and cranes for community members to carry on their meditation walk. Photo: Julia Wasson

Children from the various congregations folded origami doves for community members to carry on their meditation walk. Photo: Julia Wasson

We must honor the victims of 9/11 by welcoming home all U.S. troops currently in Iraq by the end of this year. We must honor the victims of 9/11 by proclaiming loudly that the ten-year, $300 million-per-day war in Afghanistan, the longest in our history, has gone on long enough. Honor the victims of 9/11 by saying “NO” to a US military budget that is nearly equal to that of all other countries combined.

In the words of President Eisenhower, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Or, earlier words, “Wheresoever your treasure is, there your heart is also.”

Wars are much easier to start than to end. Let us take up the heavy, sweet burden of waging peace.

Ed Flaherty, President

Veterans for Peace, Chapter #161

Iowa City, Iowa

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Dr. Jason Bradley, Contributing Writer

Dr. Jason Bradley, Contributing Writer

Dr. Jason Bradley practices naturopathic and chiropractic medicine in Iowa City, IA. After finishing his undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and English Literature, he attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, where he attained his Doctor of Chiropractic, graduating summa cum laude.

Early in practice, he realized that his patients were coming to him with complex questions about metabolic and nutritional medicine and that naturopathy school was calling him. He attended Trinity School of Natural Health in Warsaw, Indiana, where he earned his Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, again graduating summa cum laude.

A lifelong learner, Jason recently completed a Master’s Degree in Journalism at the prestigious Adler School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa. While continuing to see patients, he is currently completing a Doctor of Nursing Practice at Frontier School of Medicine in Hyden, Kentucky and will sit for the Board Certification exam in Anti-Aging Medicine in April of 2011.

In his practice, Jason specializes in treating complex metabolic disorders, weight loss, fatigue, thyroid and adrenal imbalances and bio-identical hormone replacement therapies.

He has written for many publications, including The Chicago Tribune, Gannett News Corporation, Butterfly Women’s Magazine, The Rebuttal, Village Voice Media, Blue Planet Green Living and numerous local publications. He is a contributing expert to Stop Aging Now and Live in the Now magazines.

In his spare time, he is often found lecturing or teaching at the University of Iowa. He lives in Iowa City with his wonderful (and understanding) wife, Suzanne, and their two amazing daughters, Adeline and Violet.

Dr. Jason Bradley, ND, DC, FLT-HP, MA
General Practice Naturopathy
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement and Balancing
Acute and Chronic Pain Management
Certified First Line Therapy Provider
American College of Lifestyle Medicine – Professional Member
American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine – Professional Member
American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners, Diplomate-eligible (DABAAHP)
DNP Candidate, Excelsior/ Frontier School of Nursing Medicine, Community Family Practice
www.drjbradley.com

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Jason’s Posts

Americans Are Now Fatter and Dying Younger

Energy Healing, A Form of Holistic Medicine

Dr. Longworth provides an Energy Healing to a client. Photo: Julia Wasson

Natural healing modalities allow us to tread lightly on the earth while improving our health. They don’t require synthetic chemicals or an investment in expensive technology. And, they have been used in various traditions since homo sapiens first trod the earth.

Today, Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) interviews Maureen Longworth, M.D., who is board certified in both Holistic Medicine and Family Medicine, and is an internationally respected Energy Healer. Dr. Longworth practices medicine in Juneau, Alaska, and is visiting Iowa City through July 17. She will be teaching a Root of Healing Mini Workshop in Iowa City this Sunday and is available for private healing sessions throughout the coming week. More information is provided below. — Julia Wasson, Publisher


BPGL: What is Energy Healing?

LONGWORTH: Energy Healing is a global term to describe healing that occurs by creating a shift in the energy field. In a way, even prescription drugs and surgery are Energy Healings because a shift occurs. But when we speak of Energy Healing in holistic medicine, we mean the natural shift that can occur without drugs, herbs, or surgical intervention.

You might begin by comparing Energy Healing to any energy modality you know, like chiropractic, massage, Reiki, acupuncture or acupressure, etc. All of these are energy-healing modalities. Even prior to my certification in Holistic Medicine I studied many of these modalities. This tradition I have settled with is the most effective for my patients — and for me personally — for ongoing health and well-being.

The method of Energy Healing I’ve studied is a unique discipline that originated with Robert Moore in Ireland, when he blended his electrical engineering knowledge with ancient Eastern traditions he studied with renowned Eastern spiritual leaders. The result is a precise, scientific collection of a dual-component Energy Healing System that is simple for anyone to learn and easy to practice. It is much more common in Europe and in Israel than in the United States, because I am one of the only doctors here in the U.S. trained in it.

One aspect includes hands-on healing from a trained healer, working on points of the energy field that have been recognized for all time. These points were even identified in ancient caves, written in Sanskrit. The other component is a practice of focused awareness on prescribed energy points to self-balance one’s own energy field.

Dr. Longworth will be doing healing sessions in Iowa City this coming week. Photo: Julia Wasson

BPGL: When you talk about an energy field, what does that “look” like in practical terms in the human body?

LONGWORTH: The premise is that we each have an energy field surrounding our body and multi-dimensionally flowing through every cell of the body. The spine is central in our physical vertical plane, and the heart chakra in the horizontal plane. Think of it as a network of lines surrounding and through us that coalesce into larger and larger rivers of energy or meridians. The points we use for healing are where these powerful meridians intersect.

Energy is running through our respective energy fields. We feel it, and sometimes see, hear, or taste it. We all have had the experience of entering a room with people present that we don’t know. We can tell by the atmosphere if they just had an argument or a loving embrace. We all sense energy shifts all the time, though we often fail to consciously recognize it, as it is part of our automatic survival mechanism.

Even when we sit down on a plane next to a stranger, we can sense from our neighbor enough clues that we either speak to them or stay silent for the duration of the flight. It changes with our energy flow and theirs.

BPGL: How can a person learn to identify their own energy field?

LONGWORTH: In my classes, I teach ways to connect with these powerful energy points on and around your body through focused awareness. So when we focus on them with the mind, or activate them by hand, there is a domino effect on the energy flow, and the entire stream around and through us is altered toward a more balanced state.

Imagine a mountain stream where you remove a small boulder from the water momentarily and then return the boulder to the stream. Even if you could replace the boulder in its exact original position — which you can’t, because the movement has changed the stream — everything upstream and downstream from the boulder will be forever changed. That change will also be transmitted throughout the entire system, so all the tributaries will shift.

With Energy Healing, that subtle shift, even if temporary, affects the whole person on deep mind-body-spirit multi-dimensional levels, bringing the individual toward deeper balance. The body-mind-spirit gets a new experience of balance that it will remember and be able to access in the future. In fact, the movement toward balance is not new, but a returning to the perfection of balance in our creation.

Both the hands-on Energy Healings and the focused-awareness self-balancing exercises have a restorative healing effect on the energy flow that is already naturally running in the energy field. The densities and movements of energy are measurable and have been documented by scientists all over the world. (See the book The Field by Lynne McTaggart for a very readable summary.)

BPGL: What does a person feel after a typical session of Energy Healing?

LONGWORTH: The neurohormones shift. There can be an increase in some of the same natural chemicals people take drugs to induce or augment. Many people feel the shift, and it can be quite pleasant, but even people who don’t feel anything often have a shift in the everyday symptoms they are dealing with.

For example, after a head injury, someone may begin sleeping better or managing their anger with more control. Or someone with thyroid disease may need less medication for balancing the thyroid. A new diabetic may have more resilience in following a new eating plan that is healthier. Many people with chronic pain are able to get off of their pain medication and quit looking for external “fixes” after using the self-balancing, focused-awareness exercises I teach.

Energy is stabilized for people with too much energy or for people with not enough energy. Mood is shifted, and people with anxiety learn focused awareness exercises to control their anxiety and improve thinking and function, while people with depression can gain access to joy. Even people without symptoms comment on increased ability to mentally focus, remember details and formulate thoughts, simply as a result of the greater brain balance and health that is restored. All these things have occurred for my patients and my students.

www.alaskaholistic.com

BPGL: What happens during a healing session?

LONGWORTH: In an individual session, we spend some time talking about whatever you are focusing on in your healing. Then I do hands-on healing, activating points in your energy field. You don’t need to remove clothing, as the energy field is accessed through the clothing. In fact, the body does not need to be touched, if preferred, as the energy field extends to about 2 centimeters around the body, and the entire healing can be done on that etheric layer when someone is sensitive to touch on the body

To complete the individual session, I give a homework exercise for you to do on your own that is specific to what you are working on for your health. I select your homework based on what has come forward into my awareness during your session, when I am connecting with you. You’ll focus on these specific energy points that I give you to continue balancing your energy field on your own and to address the focus of your individual healing journey.

BPGL: What if someone has questions after their healing or wants to continue working with you?

LONGWORTH: Since I can connect energetically with people at any distance in any location, people are able to work with me long-distance from Juneau by phone and internet. In a long-distance healing, I still have the same components of talking time to discuss the person’s concerns and focus for the healing: a “hands-on” healing, where I connect with the points long distance, and a homework assignment designed for the person and the focus of their healing. I then follow up in person when people travel to the places I am visiting.

BPGL: You offer both classes and individual sessions. What are the advantages to doing one versus the other?

LONGWORTH: Some people prefer the class atmosphere, some prefer an individual session, and some like to do both. Anyone is welcome to try whichever they are drawn to. No experience is necessary.

BPGL: What are some reasons people seek out Energy Healing?

LONGWORTH: There is no problem that cannot be addressed with Energy Healing. It does not interfere with anything you are doing with your medical doctor or medicines you are taking. It only leads toward balance, and there is no such thing as “overdoing it.” So it is safe for anyone to learn and practice, or to receive Energy Healing.

Brain function is required to be able to participate, but children as young as four years old are successful doing the exercises. One of my four-year-old patients cured her bed-wetting by the third visit. Another child, who was experiencing a difficult divorce transition in her family and had been acting out in school, learned to use energy exercises on the playground to control her temper. And she is the one who figured out how to do it on the spot after learning some techniques in my office.

Maureen Longworth, M.D., board certified in Holistic Medicine and Family Medicine. Photo: Courtesy Dr. Longworth

BPGL: How can people learn more about Energy Healing?

LONGWORTH: I invite people who are interested to ask me if they have any question about what we can work on with their Energy Healing. I’m also happy to answer questions about my work. And, if someone has personal questions about their own healing, they can schedule an individual session or attend one of my classes.

BPGL: What kinds of topics will be covered in the workshop you will be doing in Iowa City on Sunday (and presumably in other places at other times)?

LONGWORTH: Attendees will learn self-balancing techniques for every part of their body, head to toe, and for every physical organ in the body. They will learn ways to balance moods and their thinking process to integrate their entire energy field and bring overall healing for all their chakras, or energy organs, wherever the energy transformation is needed.

By the end of the class, they will have practiced and learned several focused-awareness, energy-balancing exercises and a specific chakra meditation that they can use for their own healing process for their lifetime.

The full Root of Healing course is a comprehensive course covering the chakras and how the chakra system overlaps our understanding of anatomy and physiology. We’ll also discuss, specifically, how to use the chakras for one’s own medical diseases and health. The Root of Healing Mini Workshop I’m offering on Sunday is a half-day version, designed especially for individuals or groups who want to learn some of the techniques in a shorter format.

Note: Dr. Longworth’s class will be held on Sunday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time in Iowa City. Call to learn more, to register for the class, and to get directions to the session. Dr. Longworth is available for a limited number of healing sessions in Iowa City through July 16.

To arrange for a workshop or class in your city or to schedule a healing session in Juneau or a place she is currently visiting, please contact Dr. Longworth at 907.209.2005. Or, visit her website, www.alaskaholistic.com.

Sowing the Seeds of Sustainability

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Students in Backyard Abundance classes work together on a project. Photo: Courtesy of Backyard Abundance

Economics. Environment. Equity. Though the word “sustainability” means various things to different people, it can be pared down to just these three words. True sustainability must take into account all three concepts. The reason most of humanity does not understand this is because we cannot grasp how all three can work at the same time.

Students in the Seeds of Sustainability class consider the factors involved in achieving a sustainable future. Photo: Courtesy Backyard Abundance

Humanity is good at the economic portion. Capitalism focuses on economics and often neglects environmental and social issues; in many cases, economic success comes at the expense of the environment and social equity. Even capitalism does not always work: When our banks fail and need federal bailouts, we end up in a recession. Our economy is based upon the consumption of dwindling and non-renewed natural resources — how long can this last?

Environmentalism generally is concerned about the natural world and often touches on social equity. Environmentalists understand the need to be economically viable but struggle to compete in a capitalist society, where natural resources are seen only as goods to be bought and sold.

Social equity calls for the fair treatment and valuation of all people. In the US, where all are “created equal,” not all are treated as such based on any number of factors: race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status. The result is a growing number of disenfranchised members of society who see the world differently from the status quo and are looking for alternative ways to live.

Nature Provides the Answer

Using various criteria provided on cards, class members do an exercise in permaculture. Photo: Courtesy Backyard Abundance

Individually, these issues are daunting; braiding the three together and trying to solve the issue of true sustainability seems an impossible task. We do not have a successful working model or even a decent example… or do we?

Locally and across the country, people are whispering the potential answer around dinner tables, in garden patches, at meetings in local libraries, and in homes. As more people discuss the potential answer, voices are getting louder and more insistent that there is an answer. The answer is, in one word, nature.

Healthy ecosystems are based on interdependence and mutually beneficial connections. By following the time-tested principles and patterns rooted in nature, we can heal landscapes, communities, the planet, and humanity. Now is the time to learn new ways to improve local environmental, social, and economic health.

Backyard Abundance Offers Classes

Members of a Backyard Abundance class design a community area for sustainability. Photo: Courtesy Backyard Abundance

Backyard Abundance is one of many environmental groups in Iowa that is contributing to the solution. The group, which began in 2006 with a series of “abundant yard tours,” understands the importance of nature as a model for individuals, communities, and the planet.

To help others learn this inspirational model, Backyard Abundance is offering a series of fun and experiential two-day classes entitled “Create Abundant Landscapes.” Dave Jacke, a renowned ecological designer, author, and presenter, kicked off the series by leading a mid-March presentation and class entitled “Principles and Practices of Regenerative Design.” Mr. Jacke encouraged participants to re-frame our problems, looking at them through the lens of ecology to discover hope, empowerment, and innate skills.

If this sounds intriguing, you are not alone. The class and presentation drew more than 200 people. If you were unable to attend, you have another chance in June.

Envision a Sustainable Community

The “Seeds of Sustainability” class will provide a solid base of a holistic, ecological worldview, while simultaneously offering practical solutions that demonstrate how to create a sustainable, abundant community. Ecological principles form the foundation of this way of seeing, and offer concrete directions for finding solutions to multiple problems with maximum effect for least effort. These principles apply at all scales, from garden beds, to neighborhoods, to cities, to whole regions, and in every realm of human endeavor.

Designing a permaculture community takes input from all the members of the group. Photo: Courtesy Backyard Abundance

By the end of the class, you will be able to envision a sustainable and thriving community, apply nature’s ethics and principles to a wide range of issues, and understand your role in nature and in your community. In addition, you will connect with a group of like-minded people looking to forge ahead on the same road.

The class forms the foundation for other classes in the “Create Abundant Landscape” series. Upon completion of all classes in the series, you will earn a Permaculture Design Certificate. This internationally recognized certificate indicates that you have learned the skills needed to create vibrant, resilient landscapes and communities that model healthy ecosystems.

“Seeds of Sustainability” will be held in Iowa City at Willowwind School on June 12-13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pre-registration is required, and the class is limited to 30 participants. The cost of the class is $125 per person; group discounts are available. For more information about the class or to register, visit www.BackyardAbundance.org, email info@BackyardAbundance.org or call 319-325-6810.

Jen Jordan, Iowa City Recycling Coordinator

Backyard Abundance

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

Backyard Abundance – Reconnecting People to Nature

President Obama Celebrates Health Care Law in Iowa

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President Obama, speaking on Friday to a crowd of 3,000 about the health care law at the University of Iowa. Photo: Julia Wasson

When candidate Obama came to the Marriott Hotel in Coralville in 2008, an enthusiastic, even joyous, crowd welcomed him to Iowa. I wasn’t a complete believer. But I was, like most in the crowd, infected by the spread of Hope.

Today, I was once again in a crowd of supporters cheering on Barack Obama — now President Obama. This week, he made good on a promise he’d made when he first stumped in Iowa in 2007: He signed into law health care reform.

Since 15,000 people had applied for only 3,000 tickets, I expected that a crowd would be gathered outside of the University of Iowa Field House, where the speech would take place. People representing both the pros and cons of the health care debate stood along the roadside facing the Field House. There was no clear division between them, and I wasn’t always sure from their signs whether they were in favor of the new law or against it.

Health Care for Vets

Veterans Dick Shaffer and Bill Wallace "want everybody to have healthcare." Photo: Julia Wasson

Two older gentlemen holding a large dove of peace. As this wasn’t an anti-war rally, I was confused by the dove. The man on my right, Bill Wallace, told me they were both veterans. “We didn’t fight for nuthin!” he said. Confused, I asked what he meant by that.

His companion, Dick Shaffer of University Heights, Iowa, said, “A lot of veterans come from the war and don’t have adequate health care.”

Wallace chimed in, “We have excellent health care here at the Veterans Hospital. But we want every veteran to have health care.”

In Support of Health Care

T. Weaver Gullickson, Brian Gullickson, and Carolyn Anhalt hold signs in support of health care reform. Photo: Julia Wasson

Standing next to the vets were T. Weaver Gullickson and her son, Brian, both holding signs supporting health care reform.

“We couldn’t get tickets, and I wanted to be part of it,” Brian said. “I will exercise my First Amendment right,” he added, holding his sign steady so that I could photograph it.

Next to Brian, Carolyn Anhalt of Washington, Iowa, told a story I hadn’t expected. “I’m in the Shelter House,” she said. “I am in danger in [my] house. So I ran away.” Someone helped her find safety at the local homeless shelter, she explained.

“My friend is a single mom,” Anhalt said. “She told me, ‘The only thing I can afford is food [not insurance].’ I believe everyone is entitled to health care, whether they can afford it or not.”

Don’t Tread on Me

An unnamed man raises a banner in protest. Photo: Julia Wasson

“What do you think about health care reform?” I asked a man carrying a large banner that read, “Don’t Tread on Me.”

“I don’t like it,” he said.

“Why not?”

“None of your business,” he replied.

“What’s your name?”

“None of your business.”

“Do you want to talk about why you don’t like the health care law?

“No!”

So much for that conversation.

Kill Da Bill

Adam Sajewich says don't give health insurance to "the uninsured who don't work hard." Photo: Julia Wasson

Adam Sajewich, a University of Iowa student, was wearing a “Kill Da Bill” sign.

“I don’t believe that we should be giving insurance to the uninsured people who don’t work hard for a living,” he said. (I wondered what he and Anhalt would have to say to each other.)

“When I get out of school, my taxes will be absurdly high.”

He went on to say, “Zero Republicans voted for it, so that should send a message that no one agrees.”

Second-year medical student, Dustin Krutsinger was wearing a white medical coat. His sign read, “Does Obama care cover glasses for the Congress so they can read the Constitution?”

“This is just another thing in a long line of laws that are unconstitutional, coming out of both parties,” he said.

“The fact that Congress is going to make private individuals buy any product from any private company is blatantly unconstitutional.”

“Happy, Happy, Happy”

Mae Schatteman says she's "happy, happy, happy" about the new law. Photo: Julia Wasson

Inside the Field House, I asked Mae Schatteman, 86, how she feels about the health care law.

“I’m happy, happy, happy!” she said. “The people who didn’t want it will come to the realization a couple years from now that they’ll be glad. And they may need it!”

Her 93-year-old companion, who would only give her name as Eloise, said, “We need it.”

Eloise added, “I’m glad we don’t even have to change what we like. We can keep our own insurance!”

Enter the President


President Obama entered to rousing cheers and applause. He opened his speech with references to local events and the flooding that had devastated the state in 2008. Then he quickly got down to the reason he was here, in Iowa, as his first speech after signing the health care bill into law.

This is the state that believed in our campaign when all the pundits had written us off.  This is the state that inspired us to keep going, even when the path was uncertain.  And because of you, this is the place where change began.

Three years ago, I came here to make a promise.  Just a few months into our campaign, I stood at the University of Iowa hospital right around the corner and promised that by the end of my first term in office, I would sign a health insurance reform bill.

On Tuesday, after a year of debate and a century of trying, after so many of you shared your stories and your heartaches and your hopes, that promise was finally fulfilled.  And today, health insurance reform is the law of the land.

President Obama gave credit to the American people for persevering in the fight for health care reform, a fight for coverage despite pre-existing conditions, and a fight against insurance “premium hikes of 40% and 50% and 100%.”

Over the last year, there’s been a lot of misinformation spread about health care reform.  There has been plenty of fear-mongering and overheated rhetoric.  And if you turn on the news, you’ll see that those same folks are still shouting about how the world will end because we passed this bill.  This is not an exaggeration.  Leaders of the Republican Party have actually been calling the passage of this bill ‘Armageddon.’

A crowd of more than 3,000 filled the room. Photo: Julia Wasson

He paused, and surveyed the  crowd for effect. Then, with a characteristic wry grin, he said, “After I signed the bill, I looked around to see if asteroids were falling or cracks were opening up in the Earth. Turned out, it was a nice day.”  The crowd roared with laughter. He continued,

But from this day forward, all of the cynics and the naysayers will have to finally confront the reality of what this reform is and what it isn’t.

They will have to finally acknowledge that this isn’t a government takeover of our health care system.  They will see that if Americans like their doctor, they will keep their doctor.  If people like their plan, they will keep their plan.  No one will be able to take that away from you.

What this reform does is build on the system of private health insurance that we already have.  Will it solve every health care problem we have?  No.  But it finally tells the insurance companies that in exchange for all the new customers they’re about to get, they have to start playing by a new set of rules that treat everyone fairly and honestly.  The days of the insurance industry running roughshod over the American people are over.

The president went on to describe the main features of the health care legislation:

  • More “secure and more affordable” insurance for families
  • Tax credits of up to 35% for small businesses to provide health insurance for their employees
  • Insurance for adults and children with preexisting conditions
  • Preventing insurance companies from dropping people who get sick
  • No lifetime limits on health care
  • Free preventive care
  • Young adults being able to stay on their parents’ insurance policy to age 26
  • A $250 prescription boost to help seniors who fall into the “donut hole”
  • No cuts in seniors’ Medicare benefits
  • Free preventive care for seniors, “without deductibles or co-payments”

After outlining the benefits of the new law, President Obama acknowledged that not everyone is happy with it. A young man in the crowd repeatedly shouted out, “What about the public option?”

Photographers followed the president's every move as he worked the crowd on his way out of the room. Photo: Julia Wasson

Mr. Obama stopped and addressed the young man. “We couldn’t get it through Congress,” he explained. “There’s no need to shout. Thirty-two million people will have health care,” he said, and the crowd burst into cheers and applause.

The president went on to acknowledge that the fight is not over.

This is the reform that some folks in Washington are still hollering about.  And now that it’s passed, they’re already promising to repeal it.  They’re actually going to run on a platform of repeal in November.

My attitude is, ‘Go for it!’  If these Congressmen in Washington want to come here to Iowa and tell small business owners that they plan to take away their tax credits and essentially raise their taxes, be my guest…. If they want to have that fight, I welcome that fight.  Because I don’t believe the American people are going to put the insurance industry back in the driver’s seat. We’ve been there already, and we’re not going back.  This country is ready to move forward.

And from that point on, we were listening to a campaign speech that was designed more to ramp up the voters for the mid-term elections than to talk about health care reform. Even so, the speech fell on receptive ears, and the assembled crowd cheered and applauded the president’s remaining remarks.

Protesters and supporters alike lined the street before and after the president's speech. Photo: Julia Wasson

As he worked the crowd before leaving with the press corps tailing him, the crowd stayed intact. It was only after a last round of enthusiastic applause as the president exited the room that the spectators began to file out, too.

As I left the building among swarms of people, I acknowledged that President Obama was right. Though health care reform had been signed into law, the world had not cracked in two, and Armageddon had not arrived. It was a lovely spring day.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

IC Ecocabs — These Ecopreneurs Are on a Roll

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Bicycle, Blog, Ecopreneurs, Front Page, Iowa, Slideshow, Youth

Ecopreneurs Vik and Veena Patel are ready for another night of work, giving rides to passengers in downtown Iowa City. Photo: Courtesy: IC Ecocabs

Ecopreneurs Vik and Veena Patel are ready for passengers on the University of Iowa Pentacrest in downtown Iowa City. Photo: Courtesy ResourcesForLife.com

Today’s post is the first in a series about young ecopreneurs, written by University of Iowa student, Simeon Talley. Blue Planet Green Living is pleased to welcome Simeon to our team of contributing writers, and eager to meet the people he will be interviewing in the coming weeks. If you’d like to suggest a young ecopreneur for Simeon’s series, please let us know. — Publisher

Imagine that you’re a student at the University of Iowa, living not too far from campus. Running late, you find yourself in need of getting to downtown Iowa City in a hurry. Maybe you have a date, and it’s the first date. Or maybe it’s that last class of the day — the only class of the entire week that takes place at night. Regardless, you need to get moving. What are your options?

Driving? That takes too much effort. Walking? You surely won’t get there soon enough. Calling a taxi? After the wait and the expense, that’s completely out of the question. So what are you to do?

Call my friends, Vik and Veena Patel, who operate a pedi-cab service. They’ll pick you up and quickly get you where you need to go — all at no cost to the environment.

They’ll get you there on time for that first date (listen to the bells ringing) or just in time so that you’re not the last person to walk into class (envision awkward looks as you make your way in a crowded room to the second-to-last seat available).

Having previously lived in Texas, siblings Vik and Veena saw that, in some communities, people could catch a ride to and from work in a bike- or pedi-cab. So they did a little research on bicycle laws in Iowa City. After navigating their way through the legalistic language, they decided that pedi-cabs might be feasible in here, too. So, they bought a couple of bikes that had carriages welded to them and began their pedi-cab business. According to Veena, “Business has been good!”

Vik Patel receives a tip from an IC Ecocabs rider, and his next passenger awaits her turn. Photo: Courtesy IC Ecocabs

Vik Patel receives a tip from an IC Ecocabs rider, and his next passenger awaits her turn. Photo: Simeon Talley

Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, you can find Vik and Veena shuttling students to and from the downtown area. While most of their clientele are students, the community as a whole has responded positively to the new pedi-cab service. Iowa City is a reasonably walkable city and certainly a city friendly to cyclists. Additionally, most students don’t live too far from campus or the downtown area. Vik and Veena’s pedi-cab service has filled a unique niche in getting people to and from their destinations quickly and in an environmentally friendly way.

Separating themselves from their taxi cab competitors, the Patels don’t charge a fee for the rides they provide. They make their money solely through tips from customers.

If your initial reaction was one of slight confusion, you’re not the only one. But Vik sees this “as a way to build relationships and create a loyal clientele.” And it seems to be working. In only a few months, they’ve built a business that is sure to do well and become a consistent community favorite.

Soon Vik and Veena will have to pack up their pedi-cabs and place them in storage, as it’s kind of hard to ride a bicycle in snow. When the weather warms in the spring, they’ll start peddling again.

Every day, there are people right here in our own community — and in yours — who are making a difference while making a living in surprisingly creative ways. Ecopreneurs are involved in all types of businesses, from the fashion industry, to home construction, and to creating more sustainable travel opportunities through eco-tourism. Vik and Veena Patel are two young ecopreneurs who are already making a big impact, and they’ve just gotten started.

Simeon Talley

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living

A Stroll through the Farmer’s Market

David Garman sells whole grain sunflower bread. Photo: Lindsay Rice

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer will officially make her debut on Saturday, but Nature’s bounty is already being harvested. If your community has a farmer’s market, consider yourself lucky, indeed. Grab your canvas bag or a little red wagon, and gather up fresh, local fruits and veggies, plants, honey, and baked goods. Tables loaded with luscious, ripe produce are as much a feast for the eyes and soul as they are for the palate.

Whether or not there’s a farmer’s market in your community, we invite you to stroll along with Personal Chef Lindsay Rice through Iowa City’s downtown Farmer’s Market, sampling the wares of local farmers and other enterprising ecopreneurs. We bet your mouth will be watering before you’re finished reading. — Julia Wasson, Publisher


How about some garlic scapes from Adelyn’s Organic Gardens in Tiffin, Iowa? Photo: Lindsay Rice

What to have for dinner? It’s that ever-present question that we ask ourselves night after night, meal after meal. To keep things fresh, I love to take a walk through the farmer’s market to determine my dinner. Early summer at the Iowa City downtown market provides many ingredients to build wonderful meals. Farmers are offering great abundance from their fields now, including fresh strawberries, glistening radishes, green onions, fresh-baked breads, tomatoes, cilantro, and dill.

Sometimes an obscure vegetable can be the inspirational starting point. Hmm... What can I build around garlic scapes? Can kohlrabi slices line the salad plate? How about beets tossed in lemon juice and locally made olive oil, with a drop of Iowa honey?

Farmers are often all too happy to provide instruction and insight about what to do with odd vegetables. When the farmers of Adelyn’s Organic Gardens sold me a $1 bunch of garlic scapes, they told me to cut them like green beans, avoid using the pointy ends, and sauté or fry them with soy and ginger, and meat or veggies.

Eric Menzel from Salt Fork Farm just south of Mt. Vernon, Iowa, said to cut off the tough root and fibrous leaves of kohlrabi, then cut up the bulb. “It’s crisp and sweet,” he said. “Eat it raw, make a slaw, or mash it with potatoes.”

Farmers also often have creative ways of using familiar veggies. After all, they often have great abundances on the farm and quickly get creative when facing yet another pound of broccoli or radishes on their dinner table.

"Try roasting radishes," said the farmer from Pure Prairie Gardens, Mt. Vernon, IA. Photo: Lindsay Rice

The farmer from Pure Prairie Gardens, Mt. Vernon, Iowa told me to try roasting radishes: Slice or leave whole, toss with olive oil, and place in a roasting pan. Roast for 5–10 minutes, then take out of the oven, and sprinkle with sea salt. “Radishes are sweet, delicious, and retain color this way,” he told me.

Also try little cucumber sandwiches: Squirt a bit of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt on thinly sliced cucumbers. Then pile them on cubes of toasted sunflower bread that has been lightly brushed with farmer’s market olive oil. Ineichen Tomatoes from Blue Grass, Iowa has the best burpless cucumbers I’ve tasted.

Heap green lettuce leaves on a plate... Photo: Lindsay Rice

If you are short on time, the market also offers some ready-made items from local chefs and restaurants. Try incorporating Russian perogies, fried spring rolls, or fresh-veggie spring rolls as an appetizer. Cut the steps of making a sauce or dressing by purchasing Leaf Kitchen’s sesame or ginger salad dressings.

Cocina Del Mundo has great rubs and spices for the grill — like Citrus Honey Mesquite BBQ Rub and Smoked Alder Meat Rub (try them on lamp chops, beef or elk steaks you can also find at the market). They also sell packaged grain, bean, and soup mixtures that just need water and a touch of olive oil. Try exciting flavors like the Cashew Coconut Rice, and Bayou Rice and Beans packages.

Make a Mexican feast by starting with chicken, pork or vegetable tamales from La Reyna, a container of green salsa and a platter of roasted beets and radishes. Heap green lettuce leaves on a platter as an accompaniment. Or start with the tasty green leaves and pile Iowa-grown bacon from Pavelka’s Point Meats, along with sharp green onions, and juicy red or yellow tomatoes.

What to do with kohlrabi? Photo: Lindsay Rice

My personal favorite market catchall is a quiche. Roll out some dough, buy a dozen eggs from a Kalona farmer’s market stall and all the veggies that spark your fancy — plus an optional bit of meat from the market and a bunch of fresh herbs. Bake it all with that bit of cheese left in the fridge. Some of my favorite combinations include: asparagus, yellow squash, and tomato or spinach, ham, shallot, and dill.

There is no shortage of homemade desserts at the market. Cindy Cary gets up at quarter after four in the morning to bake 98 pies for the market, so you don’t have to. She has a variety of flavors: peach, cherry, red raspberry, apple, and pecan. Her small-tin pies cost $3 and are perfect for two, with a half-scoop of ice cream or yogurt.

Many vendors sell other tasty treats, like pumpkin bars, chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes and Rice Crispy treats. And if it’s a movie night, pick up a bag of Kettle Korn made in giant steaming poppers right at the market. And don’t forget to grab a delicately arranged bouquet of flowers from Barbara’s Country Flowers for your table.

Now go home and enjoy your very own feast. Summer won’t last forever.

Lindsay Rice

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

My 5: Earth Day, Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City, Iowa

April 22, 2009 by  
Filed under 2009, Blog, Environment, Events, Front Page, Iowa, My 5, Slideshow, Sustainability

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Today is Earth Day, and Iowa Citians couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful Spring day to celebrate. Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) joined other environmental groups in an Earth Day display at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City. Joe and I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few like-minded students, faculty, and exhibitors, and engaged in lively discussions with several of them. As we did on Saturday at the University of Iowa’s Green Summit, we invited today’s attendees to write their “My 5.” We’re pleased to share with you their responses to this question:

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

Guiling Tong

Guiling Tong

Guiling Tong, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa

Save the electricity such as:

  • Don’t put the room temperature too high in the winter and don’t put the room temperature too low.
  • Recycle the waste product.
  • Don’t waste water.
  • Educate the public about the problems of this planet that we are facing  now.

Shannon Pauly

Shannon Pauly

Shannon Pauly, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
Reusable shopping bags
•    Products with less packaging
•    Consume less
•    Reuse everything!
•    Energystar appliances

Tiffany Luebbers

Tiffany Luebbers

Tiffany Luebbers, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
Recycle
Use reusable bags (other reusable products)
Use industrial hemp as an alternative resource
Use more green products
Walk (ride bikes) instead of using cars and other motor transportation

Lee Carroll

Lee Carroll

Lee Carroll, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Recycle
•    Renewable energy
•    Less green gases
•    Use clean water more efficiently
•    Reduce the amount of trees we cut down

Christine Thompson

Christine Thompson

Christine Thompson, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Promote alternative energy sources
•    Teach our young that this is their world
•    Restrict business and industries that continue with polluting practices
•    Each American make a decision to reduce his/her consumption
•    Share with other nations our technology and advancements in energy conservation

Meghan Kasper

Meghan Kasper

Meghan Kasper, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    LEARN about how the things we do/consume have an effect
•    TEACH others about what we have learned
•    EXPLORE the face of the planet to grow a connection to her
•    SIMPLIFY our lifestyles
•    GET INVOLVED with others- don’t take on the load alone!

Scott Whiting

Scott Whiting

Scott Whiting, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•  Recycle,
•    Reuse
•    Eat less red meat
•    Reduce energy consumption
•    Buy local

Kade Wills

Kade Wills

Kade Wills, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Become a greener planet by recycling more
•    Find other sources instead a dependency on oil
•    Reinstate the ban on drilling at National Parks
•    Start saving more of endangered species
•    Create better means of disposable waste

Adriana Fisher

Adriana Fisher

Adriana Fisher, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Use more resources like solar and wind power instead of gas
•    Educate about birth control and get people to use it
•    Stop using so much stuff… reuse bags, don’t throw away so much trash
•    Stop countries from using nuclear power because the biohazard leftovers last for so long
•    Keep peaceful relations with other countries

Betsy Hood

Betsy Hood

Betsy Hood, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Use less
•    Stop reliance on fossil fuels
•    Use renewable resources
•    Walk or bike when ever possible
•    Raise awareness on issues of deforestation, desertification, pollution etc. the list goes on
•    Reduce, reuse, recycle. Most importantly, reduce.

Cindy Cochran

Cindy Cochran

Cindy Cochran, Kirkwood Community College faculty, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Support recycled products
•    Develop earth friendly cars
•    Buy locally
•    Reduce waste
•    Eat less beef

Marisa Dixon

Marisa Dixon

Marisa Dixon, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Recycle
•    Ride my bike
•    Shop at farmers market
•    Cut out processed food
•    Carpool

David Strass

David Strass

David Strass, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Recycle
•    Stop driving
•    Turn down thermostat/air conditioner
•    Walk to work if possible
•    Buy local foods

Violet H.

Violet H.

Violet H., Home-School student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Recycle
•    Walking instead of driving
•    Don’t  leave your water running
•    Turn off your lights when you’re not in the room
•    Raise your own organic food

Erini Anthopoulos, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Recycle
•    Use energy saving light bulbs
•    Ride a bike or walk instead of driving
•    Plant trees
•    Bring your own material bag instead of using a plastic one.

Alexa Johnson

Alexa Johnson

Alexa Johnson, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Recycle
•    Buy less things we don’t need
•    Public transportation
•    Be aware of home appliance use
•    Reuse water bottles and cans

Dan Kramer

Dan Kramer

Dan Kramer, DJKramer.com, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Utilize recyclable products
•    Stop purchasing bottled water
•    Create a compost unit
•    Preserve and protect our surface water
•    Use more environmentally friendly household products

Chelsea Beckley

Chelsea Beckley

Chelsea Beckley, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Use reusable bags
•    Recycle
•    Get rid of medications properly
•    Walk or ride bikes instead of driving a car everywhere
•    Exercise

Katrina Haywood

Katrina Haywood

Katrina Haywood, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Recycle
•    No more toxic dumping
•    Educate our children
•    Don’t litter
•    Do away with cigarettes

Jenna Driscoll

Jenna Driscoll

Jenna Driscoll, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Find alternative energy sources
•    Find alternatives to fossil fuels
•    Reduce CO2 emissions
•    Educate the public about being environmentally friendly
•    Have more fuel-efficient cars

Byron Stokes

Byron Stokes

Byron Stokes, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Consume more fruits and vegetables
•    Use public transportation
•    Use renewable energy
•    Recycle plastics
•    Buy organic goods

Kristine Elder

Kristine Elder

Kristine Elder, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
1.  Recycle
2. Save energy
3.  Walk more,  drive less
4.  Use less plastic bags
5.  Picking up trash off the street for a more beautiful world

Lynn Zeman

Lynn Zeman

Lynn Zeman, Iowa City, Iowa

•    Govt Energy policy
•    Renew/rebuild electrical grid
•    Café standards/alternative energy vehicles
•    Landfill issues
•    Water quality

Claire Eileen Core

Claire Eileen Core

Claire Eileen Core, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Food

o    Distribution of food in not only this nation but in the world is sickening. I don’t know the specific numbers but I know there is enough food grown in this world to feed more of the world’s population. Huge amounts of grain, corn and other crops are grown in this country and not fed to hungry people but to animal production. This isn’t an efficient system!
o    On the topic of ‘animal production’, CAFO’s are huge contributors to land, water and air pollution as well as unhealthy meat from these plants and make the family farm almost diminished. Which brings me to my next point…
o    Eat local, organic (and vegetarian)! It’s healthier for your self, your community and planet. YAY
o    Grow gardens for communities, neighborhoods and schools. It brings pride into the food you eat, teaches people how to be self-sufficient, brings back a connection to the earth, cost less than store-bought products, and so much more

•    Back to Nature. When people are in nature, seeing, feeling, knowing nature people will begin to care and love it.

Salama

Salama

Salama, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    I think we need to Recycle more, instead of everyone driving cars
•    We can car pool
•    Use less electricity when possible
•    And buy more efficient cars so less emission is being given off

Josh Reeder

Josh Reeder

Josh Reeder, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Cessation of the consumption of nonreplenishable resources
•    Get Outside!
•    Buy less “stuff”
•    Buy locally
•    Teach the above principles to prosperity

Lisa Bonar

Lisa Bonar

Lisa Bonar, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
1.    Start a war on consumerism, buy less, you don’t need all that STUFF!
2.    Talk to your kids, your friends, and people standing in the checkout line with you, about the resources used to make and transport all the STUFF television has convinced them they need.
3.    Write and call your legislators to persuade them to support legislation that will reduce our impact on the earth.
4.    VOLUNTEER, there are lots of organizations that are working to save the planet.
5.    Go vegetarian and eat organic as much as possible. A far higher percentage of crops goes to feed livestock than to feed humans. You can get 12 pounds of wheat from an acre, or 1 pound of meat. Intensive farming and livestock raising contributes an atrocious amount of pollution to the environment.

Sammy Pottebaum

Sammy Pottebaum

Sammy Pottebaum, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Make more of the energy we use in the household energy efficient/energy saving
•    Create more opportunities for bicycling downtown, or between cities.
•    Gardening in a variety of ways, dry farming, or hanging vines
•    Create more tax incentives to have energy efficient homes
•    Bring the downfall of Monsanto and strip malls

Natalie Niemeyer

Natalie Niemeyer

Natalie Niemeyer, Kirkwood Community College student, Iowa City, Iowa
•    Conserve energy
•    Conserve water
•    Find alternative energy sources
•    “GO GREEN!”
•    Reduce and recycle

DRAWING

Everyone who entered their “My 5” qualified to enter a drawing for a new Blue Planet Green Living canvas shopping bag or a copy of Greg Johnson’s book, Put Your Life on a Diet: Lessons Learned from Living in 140 square feet. The winners were:

Sammy Pottenbaum: Put Your Life on a Diet, autographed by Greg Johnson

Cindy Cochran: Blue Planet Green Living shopping bag

Earth Day 2009

Whatever your day included today, we hope that you were able to spend some time considering actions you can take in the quest to protect our planet. If you’d like us to publish your own “My5,” send it to julia@blueplanetgreenliving.com with a photo. Let’s make every day Earth Day.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post:

My 5: Green Summit, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Rescuing Architectural Treasures

Salvaged items sometimes include antiques. Photo: Julia Wasson

You might say the Salvage Barn is a temporary refuge. Architectural castoffs from another time (or, more accurately, times) line the walls, drawers, and shelves. Even the rafters get in on the act, with a antique plow and copper rain gutters hanging high over visitors’ heads.

Useful wood from older homes fills the aisles at the Salvage Barn. Photo: Julia Wasson

Walk through the aisles, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by rescued pieces that barely escaped burial in the landfill: wooden corbels; tongue-and-groove flooring; antique light fixtures; drawers full of doorknobs; a hundred-year-old, oak staircase; and even a picket fence.

True to its name, the Salvage Barn sells architectural items that have been saved from buildings in the nick of time, before being lost forever to the wrecking ball.

The origins of the Salvage Barn date back to 1991, when Roger Gwinnup, a board member of Friends of Historic Preservation, was approached by the City of Iowa City to transition its architectural salvage operation to a local group. The original salvage operation was intended to help a low-income housing project.

Gwinnup recommended that Friends of Historic Preservation take over the operation. After a year of negotiations, training and organization, the Salvage Barn opened its doors. Friends of Historic Preservation operates the Salvage Barn and salvage operations and the City of Iowa City provides the storage location.

Unique architectural features from the Salvage Barn add richness to the Slaubaugh-McInerny home. Photo: Shelly Slaubaugh

From the beginning, the Salvage Barn focused on rescuing reusable, hard-to-find building materials suitable for use by homeowners and builders to use for repairs and additions or changes to historic buildings. The FHP operates the Salvage Barn as a service to the city of Iowa City, keeping reusable building materials out of the landfill. It resides in a large pole barn on the grounds of the Johnson County landfill.

Volunteers meet on weekends at the invitation of property owners to carefully remove pieces of architectural interest from buildings that are in excess of 50 years old. “Experienced members work along side enthusiastic newcomers to ensure that the materials are removed properly,” the Salvage Barn website says. Often, some of the volunteers are the intended recipients of the day’s salvaged goods.

While Shelly Slaubaugh and Thomas McInerny were planning their new house, they wanted it to have the look and appeal of an early 20th century home. The couple helped the FHP salvage the floorboards, doors and trim from a house in Belle Plaine, Iowa. “I wanted an old house,” Shelly says, “and Thomas wanted nothing to do with the upkeep. He’s an architect, so he designed a Victorian arts and crafts house around the millwork we bought from the Salvage Barn.”

“We must have been pretty successful with the look and feel we were aiming for. We had some electrical work done recently,” Slaubaugh says, “and the inspector wanted us to place an outlet in the trim board we’d salvaged. When I objected, he asked, ‘How old is this place?’ He was very surprised when I told him it was just one year old; the walnut millwork already has a patina.”

Reclaimed wood floor gleams in the sunlight in the Conner-Leanhart living room. Photo: Julia Wasson

Proceeds from the Salvage Barn assist the FHP in their mission to preserve historic buildings in Iowa City. On occasion, however, owners of an historic home in another part of the state may benefit. Nik Conner and Sal Leanhart’s home in rural Cedar County was a hotel back in the days of stagecoaches and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Conner and Leanhart had been working with the Salvage Barn, finding just the right wood pieces to finish renovating their home, when the floods came. The first floor of their historic home had to be gutted, and the wooden floorboards were a complete loss.

When the director of FHP, Helen Burford, and Salvage Barn manager, Paul Kinney, heard the Conners’ news, they stepped in to help. The FHP donated antique wood flooring for the couple’s dining room. With the help of relatives, Conner and Leanhart cleaned up after the river’s withdrawal, then removed the ruined walls and floors. They installed beautiful, period flooring that makes the room look warm and inviting.

From the Salvage Barn they also received a door for their renovated kitchen and wooden spindles, which they use to support a counter top. The home is now a showpiece, with only a watermark on the stairway door to remind them of the hip-deep flood that had ravaged their property.

“We’re very grateful for the generosity of the Salvage Barn,” Conner said. And, for their part, the FHP is equally grateful that the architectural items they painstakingly remove from one home end up used and appreciated in another. It’s all part of the ethic of conservation that keeps members volunteering and the public donating, house after historic house.

FHP Director Helen Burford shows a mystery object stored at the Salvage Barn. Photo: Julia Wasson

FHP Director Helen Burford tells about an antique that is for sale at the Salvage Barn. Photo: Julia Wasson

“The Salvage Barn is one of the reasons why Iowa City is a special place,” says FHP Director, Helen Burford. “It is full of treasures that never cease to inspire homeowners, builders, architects and even artists to reuse or find new ways to use beautiful materials.

“It may take a little effort, but beneath a coat of paint, the intricate metal designs or even the warmth of old, long-grained wood are easily revealed. Working with these materials is a rewarding experience, one that is very different from buying something new.”

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living

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