Monday, November 1, 2010

Fireworks at Woodlawn Lake at 8 pm Tuesday November 2, 2010

Planet K's little publicized fireworks spectacular again takes place at Woodlawn Lake, November 2, 2010 at 8 pm.

Because this isn't publicized much beyond the clientele of the store it is often a surprise to folks who happen to be out and hear and see the industrial size display from a distance.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

VIA plans Bus Rapid Transit station for shoping center Bexar County is destroying

While Bexar County has been plotting the destruction of hundreds of jobs and dozens of businesses at Northwest Center, VIA Metropolitan Transit has been going forward with plans to build a Bus Rapid Transit stop at the shopping center.

Supporters of Bus Rapid Transit claim that such stations inspire nearby development such as shopping centers. In this case the shopping center exists but Bexar County has decided to destroy it in the name of flood control without considering the impact on jobs and the community and without examining flood water retention systems that would allow the center to continue to exist.

Friday, May 14, 2010

County could boost economy while preventing destruction of jobs, businesses and buildings of Northwest Center

The county plans to tear down Northwest Center on Fredericksburg Road in order to put in a retention pond to control flooding.  Hundreds of jobs will be lost and the quality of life of thousands of residents along Fredericksburg Road will be affected negatively.

Flood control officials apparently don't know about the work of San Antonio based Aquabank Inc.   This company's innovative rainwater and gray water storage solutions would save Northwest Center, the jobs and prevent flooding. 

Below the asphalt or concrete of commercial parking lots is base material.   The base material supports the surface and stabilizes it.  Aquabank Inc uses the voids in the base material to store rainwater and gray water. 

If Aquabank's technology was applied to the center the area under the parking lots could be transformed into large water storage tanks.   All the flood waters that the county rightly worries about could be stored and more probably for less than the cost of condemning the center.

I only hope that the officials responsible for this will become educated to this alternative and change course.  Call your county commissioner and Judge Wolff without delay.

County says businesses need to be out by September 1st

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

2nd Thursday Poetry Series at Bihl Haus features Jim La Villa-Havelin, Josie Mixon and Carmen Tafolla, April 8, 2010

 From Bihl Haus Arts:
"Come Spend Some Time with Jim"

This Second Thursday, April 8th, The Second Thursday Poetry Series at Bihl Haus Arts, 2803 Fredericksburg Road, features Poet Jim LaVilla-Havelin for this official 2010 National Poetry Month event.  The series includes a poetry workshop by Josie Mixon commencing at 6:00 p.m. followed by open mic at 7:00 p.m. with a special open-mic appearance by Carmen Tafolla.  Featured guest, Jim LaVilla-Havelin, will present at 8:00 p.m.

This poetry event is set against the exhibit "Wordworkers," pinhole photographs by Melanie Davis Rush of 22 of San Antonio's most important authors accompanied by poems in their own hand scrawled on the gallery's walls.  The exhibit was organized by Jim LaVilla-Havelin.

Poets Jim Brandenburg, Mo Saidi, Carolyn Sanchez and Josie Mixon are hosting this event co-sponsored by Bihl Haus Arts, a multi-disciplinary, non-profit arts organization, and Voices de la Luna, a quarterly poetry and arts magazine.

Jim LaVilla-Havelin is the author of three previous books of poems, Rites of Passage(Charon Press, 1969), What the Diamond Does Is Hold It All In (White Pine Press, 1978) and Simon’s Masterpiece (White Pine Press, 1983).  His poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies including: The Texas Poetry Calendar (Dos Gatos Press), Between Heaven and Texas (University of Texas Press), Is This Forever, or What? (Greenwillow Press), and On Turtle’s Back (White Pine Press).  LaVilla-Havelin has read his poems at coffee houses, bars, galleries, bookstores, universities, schools, theaters, and parks throughout the northeast, and Texas for over forty-five years.

LaVilla-Havelin is an arts administrator, educator and critic.  He is the Director of the Young Artist Programs at the Southwest School of Art and Craft, and the Coordinator of National Poetry Month events in San Antonio.  A fifteen year Texan, LaVilla-Havelin, lives with his wife, the artist Lucia LaVilla-Havelin, in Lytle, Texas.

Bihl Haus Arts will conclude it's celebration of National Poetry Month with the One-Day Friends Exhibit and Reading by John Philip Santos on Thursday, April 22nd.  He will read from his new memoir, "The Farthest Home Is in an Empire of Fire (A Tejano Elegy)."

All events are free and open to the public.  Bihl Haus Arts is located on Fredericksburg Road across the street from Tip Top Cafe.  Parking is outside the gates of the Primrose Apartments, over flow parking is in the Redeemer Church parking lot on Fredericksburg Rd.@ Quentin.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Disney and other publishers / authors losing over 1 trillion dollars per year to offline lending

Eric Hellman uncovers a gigantic conspiracy to share books offline, and here's the kicker:  for now it's still legal.

Although, the secret copyright treaty being negotiated currently will certainly further limit the activities of these so called "librarians", for now such sharing activities are not just legal.   They are even being encouraged unwittingly by civic and business organizations.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A small collection of Teaparty jokes: "How many Tea Partiers does it take to change a lightbulb?"

I ran across these on the Facebook group, "The Teabusters- 1,000,000 Strong Against the Teaparty Movement" in comments by James Clarke.

Q: How many Teapartiers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: What, are you saying you want to euthanize the old one?

Q: How many Teapartiers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: You know who else changed light bulbs? The Nazis!

Q: How many Teapartiers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None- changing the light bulb is government takeover of the Utility companies!

Q: How many Teapartiers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One to break the old one, and thousands to protest the expense of replacing it!

Q: How many Teapartiers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None, they live in the complete darkness of their minds and have no use for light.
(this one is from

Q: How many Joe Liebermans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One- but it takes him awhile to decide whether or not its in his best interests.

Q: How many Sarah Palins does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One, but she quits halfway through!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Funding found for initial work on Westside Creek park. Ground breaking December 16, 2009

From Rod Radle, San Antonio Alternative Housing Corporation:

San Antonio, Texas December 16, 2009 — The San Antonio Alternative Housing Corporation (SAAHC) is sponsoring a ground breaking ceremony to announce the start of construction for the first linear park to be created on the Zarzamora and Apache Creeks. The mile long park will provide a picture of what future public development will hold in store for San Antonio residents on four major creeks located on the Westside and inner city.

The linear park is being developed on a bank of constant level creek just north of Elmendorf Lake. The area has been for years a mass of overgrown vegetation, with lush plants, tress, numerous birds and animals. The park will open up this natural jewel for the first time for citizens to appreciate and utilize for their own physical and mental health. It is anticipated that the area will become active with school children and adults as its natural riches are discovered.

Eleven years ago, SAAHC, with participation of numerous public taxing entities, formed one of the first developer sponsored Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) in San Antonio. The TIRZ was formed primarily in order to create sixty-five, affordable homes for families in the Rosedale Subdivision. This financing mechanism allowed lots to be developed and sold for 1/3 of their cost, thus allowing families to afford homeownership in one of San Antonio’s lowest economic neighborhoods. The TIRZ finance plan also envisioned the creation of a linear public park beginning at General McMullen and finishing at Commerce Street near Our Lady of the Lake University.

Needless to say, when the park was first thought of there was no major push for the development of the creeks on the city’s Westside. But the timing couldn’t have been better, with Roberto Rodriguez championing the cause with numerous citizens for strategies for creek development through the Westside Creeks Restoration Project. Committees are working on developing the Alazan, Apache, Martinez and San Pedro Creeks, working closely with the San Antonio River Authority, as well as the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. This linear park will provide a hands-on example of what will become a reality for public spaces on these creeks in the coming years.

The groundbreaking event will mark the start of construction on the park, which is being developed by SAAHC on land owned by the City of San Antonio (COSA). Once completed, the COSA will maintain the park, adding it as another linear park in its care. The park will be comprised of two paths, one concrete for bikes, skateboards and pedestrians, and a second cinder path for exercise. Lighting will be featured throughout the pathways. Benches, tables and exercise stations will also be strategically placed along the paths to take advantage of the views of the creek. The park is scheduled to be completed and opened to the public in spring of 2010. The $700,000 project will be fully funded through TIRZ proceeds, with interim financing provided by the San Antonio River Authority.

The San Antonio Alternative Housing Corporation (SAAHC) is a nonprofit organization established in 1993. The mission of SAAHC is to provide decent rental and ownership housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income people in Texas; to provide housing education and ownership counseling through a community home ownership association; and to promote and create business development, job training, health and social services.

The start of the park will be at near the intersection of Matyear and Landa Street.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Paseo del Arte: Expanding the San Antonio River Walk documentary to air on KLRN Tuesday November 10 and Sunday November 15, 2009

Here's a 30 second promo for the documentary" Paseo del Arte: Expanding the San Antonio River Walk".  It will air Tuesday November 10 at 9 pm and again at 1:00 pm on Sunday November 14, 2009 on KLRN.  Be sure to set your DVR . 

Monday, November 2, 2009

Who did the fireworks show at San Antonio's Woodlawn Lake, November 2, 2009? Why it was the folks from Planet K!

If you were surprised to see fireworks over San Antonio's Woodlawn Lake from 8:00 to 8:15 pm on November 2, 2009 it is probably because you do not frequent any of the convenient locations of Planet K, featuring "the best selection of imported cigarettes, pipes, vaporizers, incense, underground books, erotica and more".

Perhaps it is because of the sponsor perhaps it is because the sponsor doesn't care to publicize the event but the Texas Fireworks show sponsored by Planet K did not make it into the Express News as far as I can tell.

The show was in celebration of Dias de los Muertos and took place in 2007 and 2008 as well.  The San Antonio celebration benefits the Little Church of La Villita, the Bexar Area Harm Reduction Coalition and the San Antonio Aids Foundation.

In Austin, Planet K's fireworks show takes place on Halloween night. Below is video of fireworks at the lake from 2008

Planet K Fireworks November 2nd

Darkness Despair | MySpace Video

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Read Greg Harmon's column on CPS Nuke duplicity in the Current

The San Antonio Current has matured into an important publication. Greg Harmon's web article, Nuke Collider: San Antonio delays $400 million nuke bond vote over Toshiba cost surge is a must read.

One can only hope that Mayor Castro will now take the time to seriously consider his political future and the future of our city. In this press conference he really looks like a man who is trying desperately not to admit that he was taken in by the nuclear cabal at CPS.

Greg reports on the lack of interest on the part of Castro and the city council in the Rifken Report: San Antonio: Leading the Way Forward to the Third Industrial Revolution.  An executive summary of the report was prepared by Solar San Antonio as well.

In the video below be sure to check out CPS's interim managers admission that CPS knew about the cost estimate increase for a week and a half. (The reporter's question and his answer begins about 4 minutes into the video.)  I didn't see a follow-up asking why they hadn't told the mayor, council and citizens about it immediately.  Also check out In the video of the press conference 4:21.  Then watch as the mayor tries to explain that the process has been a good one even though CPS lied to him and he and the city council couldn't be bothered to look at alternatives and citing how good CPS has been in the past to justify trusting CPS now.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kay Bailey Hutchinson site slams "Tricky Ricky" Perry

KBH is a liar and hypocrite, but at least she isn't Rick Perry and "Tricky Ricky" is a fine nickname.

Her YouTube channel, TrickyRicky2010, has some excellent Republican on Republican action.

By promoting the nuclear plant expansion San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will be remembered

Mayor Castro,

You are making a defining mistake for your career. Your vote in favor of the nuclear expansion will haunt you for your lifetime. For generations you will be remembered as the man who could have stopped the project but who made sure it moved forward.

Whenever workers who mine uranium are made ill, you will be remembered. Whenever land where the uranium is mined becomes permanently unusable because of radiation, you will be remembered.

When San Antonio is saddled with a plant that no one else will invest in because alternative sources of power became available, you will be remembered.

When we become dependent on foreign sources of uranium, you will be remembered. Whenever there is a planned release of radiation, you will be remembered.

Whenever there is an breakdown, you will be remembered. When water is not available for other uses, you will be remembered.

When future generations for the next 100,000 years have to deal with the radioactive waste produced by your plants, you will be remembered.

Nothing else you will do will be remembered as long as your decision to build the reactors will be.

Whenever Democrats consider candidates, you will be remembered as the man responsible for making new American nuclear plants, nuclear pollution and nuclear ruin possible.

Put it to a vote of the people. Then perhaps you will be remembered as the man who avoided making a mistake that would have harmed millions of people for thousands of years.

Friday, October 23, 2009

AHIP health care anti-healthcare conference interupted by Billionaires for Wealthcare

From the Billionaires for Wealthcare:

AHIP is the powerful insurance lobby that spends 5 million dollars a week trying to kill health care reform. Billionaires for Wealthcare is a grassroots network looking to stop them - with song.

• AHIP and other insurance and HMO interests spend nearly $5 million per week undermining real health care reform, including a public option.

• AHIP has resorted to out-right lying and scare tactics to block health care reform. They sent letters that lie to seniors about what health care reform means for Medicare, and they issued a report on the costs of health care reform legislation that is so misleading even the reports embarrassed authors distanced themselves from the way AHIP used their work.

• Every year, 45,000 people die because they cant get access to the health care they need. Yet AHIP continues to stand in the way of health care reform that would provide coverage to millions of Americans because the industry is more concerned with protecting profits than saving lives.

Lyrics to "Public Option Annie"

(to the tune of "Tomorrow" from Annie)

Michael Soto announces for State Board of Education district 3. Primary election March 2, 2010

Jefferson neighborhood resident Michael Soto has announced his candidacy for the State Board of Education district 3.   The Democratic Primary is March 2, 2010.

From Michael Soto:
Dear Friends,
I have decided to run as a Democrat for the State Board of Education in District 3 because the current Board too often puts politics and personal gain ahead of our children's success. I can't sit idly by while Texas schoolchildren fall behind their peers in other parts of the nation and the world.

The State Board's duties include:
    * setting academic standards for Texas public schools;
    * approving textbooks for use by Texas students and teachers; and
    * overseeing the investment of the Permanent School Fund, an endowment for purchasing schoolbooks.

Our future and our prosperity rely on having State Board representatives who understand global competition and who look out for the academic success of every Texas child.

The time for change is now. According to the San Antonio Express-News, there remain unanswered "questions about ethical conduct over the board's management of the massive school fund" and "dissatisfaction with [SBOE] policies" throughout Texas. Distractions such as these are unacceptable. Rather than tackle the real issues facing Texas schools, the State Board, as the Dallas Morning News recently reported, has been bogged down by "divisive questions" raised for crass political effect.

The swirling controversies are a cause for alarm, and for me they are a call to action.

We need new leadership on the State Board of Education.

My commitment to you and to our future. It's time for the State Board of Education to get back to the serious business of preparing our children for success in college and in their careers. With your support, I'll work tirelessly to put Texas kids first. You can count on me to:
     * rely on educational experts, not on partisan attack dogs, as we develop school policies;
    * listen to teachers and public school administrators--our front-line educators--when it's time to adopt new standards and new textbooks;
    * restore public trust in how Texas manages its Permanent School Fund; and
    * prepare Texas public schools for a longer school year and the highest academic standards so that our children are ready for twenty-first-century opportunities.

My recent efforts in the San Antonio ISD school board race left me genuinely inspired by our community's devotion to its schools. I know that my fellow South Texans want my story--from public schools in the Valley to Stanford and Harvard to a career as a college professor--to be available to all of our children.  As public school parents, my wife, Celina Peña, and I want nothing more than for our son and his peers to have the same opportunities that have blessed our lives.

I hope you will join me in creating a stronger future for all Texas children by listing your name as a supporter, by contributing to our campaign, and by spreading the word to your friends and family.


District Three includes the central and southern parts of Bexar county and includes all of Wilson, Medina, Frio, Wilson, Karnes, Atascosa, McMullen, Bee, Live Oak, Jim Wells, Duval, Brooks and the northern and western parts of Hildalgo county including small portions of McAllen and Edinburg.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Remember our San Antonio mayor and city council infamously as "The Nuclear Eleven"

From Eric Lane:
The “Nuclear Eleven” is how this City Council should forever be remembered if they vote “Yes” on the proposed two new nuclear power plants.

It looks like City Council and the Mayor will be making the ultimate decision regarding the two new nuclear power plants proposed for STP.  But that decision will have a much vaster impact.  If they vote “Yes,” this City Council will, as we all know, for the first time in 30 years give the green light to restarting the nuclear power industry in this country. The implication is that they have studied this issue thoroughly and completely and have decided that nuclear power is in the best interests of San Antonio, South Texas, Texas, and, by extension, the United States.

Since there will be no public vote, these eleven folks have taken it upon themselves to make that ultimate decision.  If they vote “No,” other than upsetting a few very large business interests, most people will carry on with very little concern.  CPS will go back to the drawing board and come up with alternative energy scenarios.  And a huge, potential monstrosity will have been averted. 

If City Council votes “Yes,” then they should be held accountable for that vote.  It won’t be good enough to simply disappear into the political ether.  Why?  Because by voting in the affirmative they are guaranteeing San Antonio that we have nothing to worry about by going nuclear.

If there are cost overruns, if water becomes too scarce to run the nuclear plants, if uranium becomes too expensive or we become dependent on foreign uranium, if nuclear waste cannot be protected for the next 100,000 years, if there is an accident, a security breach, radiation leaks or any other number of potential risks, then this City Council and this Mayor should be held accountable by being remembered forever as the “Nuclear Eleven.”  They should not be allowed to hide in the fog of memory. 

It would be the height of irresponsibility to vote in the affirmative if City Council cannot guarantee there will be no problems.  The time to stop a problem is before it starts.  Not after.  If anything goes wrong the “Nuclear Eleven” should and will be held accountable.  From the day of any cost overrun, incident, or problem, their names, their political careers, their legacy will be forever tied to the Council vote on the nuclear power plants.

It won’t matter if the vote is 6 to 5, this City Council and this Mayor will forever be known and remembered as the “Nuclear Eleven.”

Eric Lane
Consumer Energy Coalition
P.O. Box 100806
San Antonio, TX 78201

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nuke advocate Patrick Moore cites China as a good example for wise and safe investing.

Patrick Moore said  "You think China would build 25 to 50 more nuclear plants, like they are proposing to do, if they thought the technology was risky or exorbitantly priced," at a pro-nuclear rally in San Antonio according to an October 13, 2009 article" CPS Energy Board Unanimously Approves Nuclear Power Expansion" by Jim Forsyth.

So apparently, we should build new nuclear plants because the Chinese communist dictatorship believes that it is safe technology.  These are the people who have brought extreme economic and environmental destruction upon their nation first through poor central planning and now by allowing out of control development and manufacturing.

Moore was in San Antonio as an employee of a pro-nuclear astroturf group that was founded by a public relations firm and is funded by the nuclear industry.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jefferson UMC to host free festival, November 7, 2009 9 am to 3 pm

Jefferson United Methodist Church invites its neighbors to their Fall Festival, Saurday November 7, 2009 from 9 am to 3 pm.  It was originally planned for October 3 but was rescheduled due to rain.

The festival is free, with hot dogs, lemonade, water and blood pressure screenings.

There will be fun, games, pet adoption services and music.

Tables and spaces may be rented by local businesses and non-profits as well.

The church is at the corner of Donaldson and Wilson at 758 Donaldson across from Thomas Jefferson High School.

In recent years the church has connected to the community through its popular thrift store, a hostel for groups traveling to San Antonio for service projects, a renovated combination basketball and 4-Square court and by hosting the Jefferson Community Garden on Gramercy.

Deep Crack in Florida Reactor a Sign that Aging U.S. Reactor Fleet Should be Shut Down

From Beyond Nuclear:
Takoma Park, MD – A deep crack just discovered in the concrete containment wall of the Crystal River nuclear reactor on Florida’s west coast signals a disturbing trend in on-going cracking and corrosion and other dangerous wear-and-tear symptoms among the country’s fleet of aging reactors, Beyond Nuclear stated today.
Progress Energy, reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on October 7 that maintenance workers had found a deep crack in the concrete containment wall of its single-unit Crystal River reactor. The reactor is of the same pressurized water reactor design as the notorious Three Mile Island Unit 2 that melted down in 1979 as well as the Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo, OH, which was potentially weeks from a core melt accident in 2002 due to severe corrosion that had eaten through the wall of the reactor pressure vessel.

“The crack in Crystal River’s reactor containment building is the latest in a disturbing trend,” said Paul Gunter, Director of the Reactor Oversight Project for Beyond Nuclear. “As this country’s reactors age – with many extending their 40-year licenses – there is an ever greater risk to public safety due to cracking, corrosion and other problems of degradation. But historically, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has simply looked the other way, allowing the reactor owners to operate the plants in a dangerous state rather than mandate an immediate shutdown.”

Workers at Crystal River who were cutting through the concrete wall in a maintenance procedure found a half- inch wide crack just nine inches from the outer surface wall of the all important reinforced 42-inch thick concrete dome. The length of the crack has not been reported.

In addition to the age-related problems at Crystal River and Davis-Besse, Beyond Nuclear has tracked similar concerns at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station near Shippingport, Pennsylvania, where corrosion had eaten a rust hole through the reactor steel containment liner. Similarly, at the Oyster Creek reactor on the New Jersey shore, the discovery of reactor containment liner corrosion has become a contentious issue in federal court. 

Oyster Creek, the country’s oldest reactor at 40, recently received a 20-year license extension from the NRC. Crystal River is also seeking a 20-year extension.

The specific cause of the Crystal River cracking is now under Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) special inspection. The NRC acknowledges that it is evaluating whether containment cracking is a potential generic issue at other reactors of similar design. The Crystal River nuclear power plant had been shut down for refueling and maintenance. Workers were cutting an opening in the nearly four feet thick containment wall to remove and replace worn steam generators. Workers encountered the gaping crack nine inches from the containment dome’s outer surface and reported the defect to the NRC in a Daily Event Report.

“It’s time the NRC fulfilled its Congressional mandate to look out for public safety instead of risking lives to save nuclear utilities money,” said Gunter. “The Crystal River crack presents the NRC with an opportunity to keep this plant shut down and to seriously re-evaluate whether it should be granted a license extension,” Gunter concluded

Thursday, October 8, 2009

League for Public School Justice advocates for better schools in San Antonio Independent School District

Begun by five mothers in response to SAISD plans to close Carroll Academy, Horace Mann Academy, and Travis Elementary Schools, the League for Public School Justice (L4PSJ) is acting as an advocate for the community and a watchdog.

On their website you will find information on wasteful spending within SAISD including a half million dollar garbage truck that according to them is not being used to eliminate costly contracts with private trash carriers.  You'll also find questions about an SAISD contract with HeadStart.

Also interesting is a log of stories in the mainstream media concerning SAISD.  Along with links to the story is pithy and pointed commentary on the story and the facts the story concerns.

On their website you will also find news on membership and activities.

You can follow founder Michelle Reyes on Twitter.  Her tweets concern more than just the school district but seem to be up to the minute on SAISD developments.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

CPS announces Nuke-tricity® program for supporters of nuclear power. Coaltricity® on the way!

CPS Energy recently announced a new sister program to Windtricity® and Solartricity® which allow ratepayers to encourage clean renewable safe electric generation.

CPS's Nuke-tricity®
program will allow individual ratepayers to participate in the risk of a nuclear investment in a real and tangible way. When the expanded South Texas Nuclear Project begins producing electricity, members of Nuke-tricity will receive electricity at the exact total cost of production.

Yardsharing website and idea leads to a thriving front yard community garden

I forget how I ran across but I did and the idea of creating a community type garden in one's own front yard appealed to me.

I mentioned it to a neighbor I had met at Green Drinks and when she said "yes" my wife and a neighbor friend from church got interested and she brought her daughter.  The next door neighbor on one side, an accomplished flower gardener, provided some tomatoes and the on the other side our neighbor came over to dig and established a square foot garden for her and her two young nephews.

The non-gardeners among us got some help from Drew Willem of Time Dollar Community Connections which is supported in part by the Green Spaces Alliance, (who are also supporters of the Jefferson Community Garden behind the Jefferson UMC.)

We've had more people in our yard and stopping by than we ever dreamed possible.  The nephews are showing my wife flowers and their cats are dropping by.  Neighbors and passersby stop by to chat.  It is great.

We even have some eggplants and peppers on the plants, and the chard and lettuce is fine for munching.  Our compost must have had some tomato seeds in it because we got lots of volunteers where we had planted carrots, or maybe they were tomato seeds after all.

So, it has been a lot of fun so far and has been an easy way to build up community.  Stop by and see it sometime.  Better yet, make plans for your own yardsharing community garden.

It took us just three weeks from running across the idea to getting things in the ground and growing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

What does the "i am an FFN" billboard mean? What's an FFN?

Recently neigbors in the Jefferson area have been treated to a change from the usual beer advertisements at the corner of Hildebrand and Fredericksburg Road.   An enigmatic billboard proclaiming, "i care for children. i am an FFN" has appeared. 

An FFN is not a new professional designation but instead is bureaucratic language for unlicensed family members, neighbors and friends who care for children, the disabled and the elderly.   FFN's are contrasted with FCC's -regulated Family Child Care providers.

This particular  billboard is sponsored by the City of San Antonio and is part of a campaign to persuade the family members, neighbors and friends who care for children to act more like preschool teachers to prepare children for school.  You can learn all about the campaign at  The effort on the part of the city dates to 2000. 

A paper detailing the advantages of using families to care for children in San Antonio, "Benefits of Home Childcare: "I wouldn't just go to a stranger." by Sarah Wood, Sarah. and Amal Bassou is online. 

Both the National Women's Law Center and the Annie E Casey foundation are involved in work organizing or educating the families, friends and neighbors who care for children.

In many parts of the country FFN's are paid by the state.  In some of these the SEIU, Service Employee's International Union, is attempting to be allowed to organize them so that they can qualify for health benefits and negotiate with the state for better payment.  Here is a link to a May 7, 2009 SEIU powerpoint explaining their work to organize FFN's.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Candlelight Vigil Sunday October 4 at CPS Headquarters at 7 pm

Please join Energía Mía for a Candlelight Vigil focusing on a safe, affordable, non-nuclear energy future
Sunday, October 4th at 7:30 pm, outside the offices of CPS Energy at 145 Navarro

The CPS Energy Board of Trustees will vote the following day, Oct 5th, on whether to spend an additional $400 million and commit the city of San Antonio to more nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project. We hope that CPS Energy will protect our health and economic well being by supporting clean, safe and affordable energy through efficiency and renewable energy instead of nuclear power.

Learn more and take action online at:

Should San Antonio Put the Brakes on Nuclear Expansion? What do the experts recommend? October 3, 2009 at 1 pm

Cindy Weehler, of the Energia Mia Coalition, will speak this Saturday, October 3, at the next meeting of the San Antonio Area Progressive Action Coalition. 

The topic will be, "Should San Antonio Put the Brakes on Nuclear Expansion?  What Do the Experts Recommend?"

The meeting, free and open to the public, will take place this Saturday, October 3, at 1 pm, at the SAAPAC Center, 7122 San Pedro, Suite 114.  The SAAPAC Center is in the back of the Ocean Dental Building, at the NE corner of San Pedro and Sprucewood, 2 blocks inside Loop 410.

Please come to this informative session and learn what's really going on behind the decision to go nuclear.  And please invite friends and neighbors who may also want to hear the latest on the single biggest expenditure ever considered by CPS Energy and the City of San Antonio.
Photo by koert michiels used under creative commons.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Citizens Gain Ground in STP Intervention Over Water Concerns. Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel Admits Four Additional Water Related Contentions for a Hearing.

From SEED, a statewide citizens action organization:

Citizen opposition to two proposed nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project (STP) continues with another success. Yesterday the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) Panel ruled that South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) had failed to adequately analyze the environmental impacts of radioactive contaminated water and water availability, issues or “contentions” raised by concerned citizens in their Petition to Intervene in the proposed expansion at STP. The Order is of national significance since STPNOC is the first in the nation to request licensing in 30 years.

“Citizens intervening in the South Texas Project’s licensing process gained significant legal ground yesterday when the ASLB Panel ruled that four additional contentions be admitted for a hearing,” said Karen Hadden, Executive Director of the SEED Coalition, one of the Intervenors. “Intervenors now have a total of five admissible contentions, with seven contentions related to fires and explosions and losses of large areas of the plant still pending.” The licensing process is likely to be delayed as a result of additional contentions. It was delay and construction problems that led to the first reactors at STP coming in six times over budget.

SEED Coalition, Public Citizen and the Bay City based South Texas Association for Responsible Energy (STARE) are Intervenors in the case. Attorney Robert V. Eye went before the ASLB Panel in June and argued the admissibility of 28 contentions challenging the license application for two additional reactors, Units 3 and 4, at the South Texas Project.

The first contention admitted in yesterday’s order is:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bihl Haus hosts Rx art events October 10 and November 12, 2009

From Bihl Haus Arts:

Rx Art: Take your medicine.

Preview Reception & Fundraiser
Saturday, October 10, 2009, 6:30 to 9:00 pm
Tickets: $65 ($75 at door) @

Dear Friends of Bihl Haus Arts,

Is Art medicine? We say 'yes!' at Rx ART: Take your medicine, an exciting exhibit that features artworks by health care professionals who are also artists.

Our Preview Reception and Fundraiser kicks off on Saturday, October 10, at 6:30 pm with drinks and fine hors d’oeuvres at this gallery and poolside event. At 7, after our opening ritual, sample some of the best food in town provided by Brasserie Pavil (named the best new SA restaurant), Bistro Bakery, Tycoon Flats, and Whole Foods.

Enjoy art play and spin art, and have your say on our poetry wall! Experience healing laughter through the art of improv comedy with ComedySportz. The Children’s Bereavement Center, Inspire Fine Arts, Very Special Arts, Voices de la Luna, and the San Antonio School for Inquiry and Creativity, along with Bihl Haus Arts, will show you how they use arts for healing in our community. The George Prado Trio provides live music. Poolside dancing begins at 8 pm! Dress is artsy/casual.

Can't make it on Oct. 10th? Then how about joining us on Thursday, Nov. 12, 6-9 pm for another Rx event:

"A Taste of Place"

Champagne Tasting & Book Signing with

Dr. Kolleen Guy, Author of When Champagne Became French

Dr. Guy will offer sparkling wine lovers a taste of her fascinating book, When Champagne Became French (John Hopkins, 2003), about the origin and development of the Champagne industry. She’ll explore Champagne's purported healing properties as well as its relationship to other regions that produce sparkling wines. Scrumptious hors d'oeuvres will be offered to complement the tasting of 3 wines--a New World and an Old World sparkling wine and a true French Champagne. There's not a lover of the bubbly who would want to miss this event! Seating is limited, so to reserve your seat early or to learn more about this event, please go to

Rx Art tickets, available at, are $65 ($75 at door), or purchase a bundle of 10 tickets for $500 (a savings of $165). The Champagne Tasting with Dr. Kolleen Guy is $75, or purchase tickets for both events for $125 (a $15 savings). All proceeds benefit non-profit co-organizers Bihl Haus Arts and the Health and Healing Consortium. Your purchase may be tax deductible. We’ve also developed a number of very exciting Rx Art workshops. More on these soon, or you can learn about them now at

Please come to support Bihl Haus Arts. We can't do what we do for our community without your help! To read more about Rx Art, see the wonderful recent article by Jasmina Wellinghoff in SA Woman at

Hope to see you at Bihl Haus Arts on Oct. 10th and again on Nov. 12th!


P.S. As always, please feel free to forward this email and to print and post the attached invitation in conspicuous places!

Bihl Haus Arts ( is a not-for-profit contemporary art gallery located at 2803 Frdericksburg Rd., inside the gates of Primrose at Monticello Park Senior Apartments. The gallery, open Fridays and Saturdays 1-4 pm or by appointment, is made possible in part with the generous support of The Potashnik Family Foundation and Primrose.