February 25, 2007

Jo Jenner

A very special person, whom I was proud to call a friend, died last weekend. I met Jo Jenner at a discussion group we call The Salon in late 1992. She had recently lost her husband, Julian, and was spreading out a little into the community. I was struck, at the time, by her dignity and her sadness.

The Olympian had a very nice article about her impact on the community of artists in town and an obituary (link to search: search for ‘jenner’) with an excellent photo and details about her life that were new to me.

She was a generous, intelligent, sensitive, strong, and creative woman. The obituary has a story about her that gets to some of the kind of person she was, showing her sense of justice and her sense of humor:
Mr. Jenner's banking career led to a four-year posting in Hong Kong for the National Bank of Commerce in 1967, and Jo worked as a volunteer for several years with the Family Planning Council there. Her creation of a promotional poster featuring a pregnant man earned international media attention.
I hope that I am as creative, connected, and committed as Jo was when I’m her age. We’ll miss you, Jo.

Cross-posted at OlyBlog

Update 4/18: A commenter notes that there was a memorial for Jo this past weekend. I'm sorry I missed it. Our Salon had its own remembrance of her in a meeting shortly after her death. By the next meeting, we used the example that she set for us to re-energize the group.

Jo joined the Salon in its first year; she stayed with us for several years. She hosted our first feast. But as she got older and her energy waned, she made a choice to drop regular attendance and direct her energies in other pursuits. She did so with her usual grace and clarity, so that we all knew and understood what she meant.

The Salon is now in its fifteenth year. In the last year, though, it has been in a very low energy phase. Because of this, our last meeting was a discussion of whether and, if so, how to continue the Salon. Jo's example was our guide.

We wanted to honor her gift to us by making an open, clear, and intentional decision about continuing, rather than just fading away. Thanks to that clear beacon, we were able to realize that we did want to continue and recommitted to the Salon. Thanks, Jo.

February 14, 2007

Intercity Transit: Another Story

I write about Intercity Transit from time to time, most recently about a slightly wobbly trip home. I came across this story, on OlyBlog, describing our community's response to huge cuts in Intercity Transit's routes due to the dramatic reduction in tax support for the system due to I-695 (Eyman's $30 tab initiative).
When we heard how people were going to be stuck, some of us got together and organized the Oly Free Bus. We used our own vehicles on our own time paying for gas with our own money, and we tried to fill the gaps in transit service as best we could. At the time, I had a van equipped with a wheelchair lift, and I'm proud to say that for 13 weeks in the spring of 2000, my van was the only wheelchair accessible public transportation in Thurston County on Sundays. At first we tried running scheduled routes, to make our service as much as possible like what people had come to expect from IT. After a few weeks, we got enough publicity and enough public support that we were able to switch to more of an on-call service. A local business owner paid for us to have cell phones, and helped to pay for gas.
This is an example of the idealism and bias for action that I love about this town. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, so the rest of the story involves a letter from an attorney, working for -- you guessed it -- Intercity Transit. I can't wait for Part Two.

February 7, 2007

Heritage Project Progress

I’ve been scanning my grandfather’s slides this week. The cute little device to the left tracks the progress I’ve made against my estimate of 3700 slides. All of the last few days’ scanning has been from the years 1946, 1947, and 1948. Many of them are of trips: the Pacific coast, southern Oregon and northern California, Colorado, eastern Washington, and Mt. Rainier. There is another set of slides of boats and a river, from a box with a note of “Allen on the Hudson.” My dad’s younger brother Allen was a coxswain on crew boats. Since none of the photos are of Allen, I’m assuming that Allen took them on a trip he took to New York for a regatta or similar event. There are also a set of shots of a football game in progress (though they’re mostly of the fans in the stands holding up cards that spell out sayings or make pictures – you don’t see much of that these days), another that shows a building being built (is it the office my grandfather had next to his home in Edmonds?), and several shots of snow around that Edmonds home (I recognize it, though the trees and hedges sure were smaller).

Many of the photos suffered from the usual technical problems (focus was a problem with this batch) and age-related issues, especially scratches and some emulsion degradation. Still, there are several interesting images to share.

The first is from a July 1946 trip to Crater Lake and the Shasta area in northern California. This dramatic, if fuzzy picture is of snow removal on the round-the-crater highway. Remember, this is July! (Click on this and later images for a larger version.)

The equipment hints at the exotic, too, at least from this vantage, though it’s hard to tell just what it is, other than a snow blower.

The next image has “Garden of the Gods” written on the slide. A quick Web search tells me that this is in Colorado. There are other slides in this set that are labeled with Utah, so there was a road trip that summer in 1947. The image is also dramatic, sharp, and powerful. I find myself straining to the left to see what this is all leaning toward. There are similar images in the Web site linked above, including some that suggest the answer.

The third image is from a slide with the note: Pacific Ocean wreck; Long Beach Wash. I think that refers to the ship, not the car, which seems to be in good shape. And, yes, that car is on the beach, right next to the tide line. It’s something weird we do in this state, though I’ve never been a big fan; it’s legal – and, in fact, exceedingly popular – to drive on most of the beaches along the Pacific Coast. I’m sure the towing companies like it, too. I don’t know anything about the wreck, but it looks like it’s been there a while. Since this shot is from March 1948, you can sure there’s nothing much left of it today.

Finally, this photo of Wenatchee from Ohme Gardens is of mostly historical interest, since the quality is poor, especially in the upper right corner. But, you can be sure that the open fields of trees that the road cuts through have been replaced by buildings and development since the picture was taken in April 1948. I looked on the Web for newer photos from this vantage and found several that suggested that I was right, but none of them were really comparable enough to this one to show the change clearly.

February 3, 2007

The County Prosecutor Should Get It Together

This item in today's Olympian...
A former Thurston County paralegal secretary has filed an $86,000 sexual- and disability- discrimination and retaliation claim against the county and the office of Prosecuting Attorney Ed Holm.

Holm, who could not be reached for comment late Friday, was not specifically named in the claim, which was filed Jan. 9 with the county's human resources department by Susanne Davis of Lacey. Davis, who worked for about 14 years in the county's non-support office, left her job in fall 2004 on disability and was fired in 2005, said her attorney, William Michael Hanbey of Olympia.
Following this item from a few months back...
SHELTON - The Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office discriminated against three of its former attorneys because they are women, and the county now owes them $1.52 million in damages, a Mason County jury decided Tuesday.

The jury also found that the Prosecuting Attorney's Office retaliated against each of the three plaintiffs after they came forward with their discrimination complaints.
...brings to mind questions about the competence of the Prosecutor. I don't care how good an attorney he is, if the shop he runs can't avoid these kinds of problems, then he's not the manager that the job calls for.