Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Thieves steal garden's serenity

7/24/13 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

The Ina M. Daugherty Memorial Garden is a local oasis of serenity and inspiration. This private, church-owned garden is located adjacent to the First Presbyterian Church of Cottage Grove, at the corner of Adams and South 3rd St. It invites neighbors and churchgoers to enjoy the shade of old growth trees and drink in the sweet surroundings of fragrant flowering plants. It offers free serenity.

Recently, someone(s) decided to steal the serenity. In fact, they first went all around town and helped themselves to a selection of plants that didn’t belong to them. They tipped over a planted barrel downtown, yanked out geraniums at The This ‘n That store and then brought shovels to the Daugherty Garden. There, they brazenly dug up specimen size azaleas, hydrangeas and more.

That same week, vandals were also out wreaking havoc at Pine Meadows Campground. Six young males were allegedly drinking beer and walking through the campground looking for trouble. Perhaps they were the ones who tore the porch off the entrance booth and stole a golf cart. Later, someone sped through the Primitive Campground at 4:30 a.m. waking up campers and spinning donut circles in the ground.

Ina and Warren Daugherty would not be happy. They were givers not takers and believed in building up the community—not tearing it down. Like many of Cottage Grove’s pioneers, Mr. Daugherty was in the logging business. In the early 1920s, he and a partner harvested timber until the best of it was gone. Mr. Daugherty’s partner decided to quit but he persevered saying, “We’ve built the roads and made the investment, let’s harvest the smaller trees as piling. The opportunity is where you are-not someplace else.”

In 1923 Daugherty established a wholesale lumber and piling business. It was successful and eventually moved to offices above the Knickerbocker store on Main St. In the late 1940s, he purchased the Chambers lumber mill. To pay for it, he mortgaged everything he had, borrowed from family and went deeply into debt to finance the remaining one million dollars needed.

The mill was a success but burned down in 1950. Today, South Lane Fire Dept. sits on a portion of the property and the children’s park across the way on Harrison St. was a gift from Mr. Daugherty. One of many that enhanced our city.

As profits from his businesses came in the couple partnered in giving back to the community. Some of their money established the Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center. Some was set aside to build a new Presbyterian Church on Adams Ave. Ina was very active in church activities. Warren was not much of a church goer but a great giver.

Ina worked with the famous Italian architect Pietro Belluschi in designing the building that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1951, it is all wood and the style became known as Pacific Northwest Architecture. Mr. Daugherty donated all the lumber for the building and his wife helped with the design.

Later, the Benson property adjacent to the church was purchased from an endowment fund that the Daughertys had established in 1963. The house on the property was torn down and the site landscaped in honor of Ina, a longtime member and benefactor of the church. It was a proper memorial and recognition for one who loved flowers and was often found weeding in the church gardens.

Over the years, the property fell into disrepair: paths were washed away; vines, weeds, fallen branches, debris and general overgrowth obscured the garden’s original intent and beauty. It became obvious that a complete overhaul of the property was necessary.

In 2009 a volunteer work force headed by a master gardener, began a restoration project that continues today. Together, a small core of men and women, worked tirelessly every week. The first two years they hauled away dozens of truckloads of overgrowth revealing the good bones of the garden and (surprise!) a large cedar tree!

Slowly the shape of a classic urban garden began to emerge.
In 2011 a rose garden was established along with other perennials such as azaleas, daffodils, holly bushes, tulips and Japanese maples. The volunteers also tediously replaced 1,000 feet of path border while the weeding; pruning and general clean up continued.

In 2012, the garden underwent more major renovations and plantings. Nearly three dump truck loads of wet quarter-minus gravel were spread and compacted on the paths. Dozens more perennials were added, patches of day lilies were separated and spread throughout the garden and of course…more pruning and weeding.

Last summer, the garden was chosen to be on the South Lane Mental Health’s 4th Annual Town and Country Garden Tour. The Daugherty’s would have been proud that their investment was still reaping benefits for others to enjoy. And it was a dream shared for all who contributed time, money, energy and sweat equity.

Today, the garden is an on-going project bringing peace and joy to the workers and all visitors. There is also documented on-going vandalism and graffiti by young people. Now some anti-theft measures must be put into place because some yardbirds wanted landscaping material for their garden at no cost to themselves.

Today, more than ever, we must always be vigilant about our properties. Fortunately,  there are now available a variety of cameras, motion-activated sprinklers and lights that can be installed to protect our stuff. I’m not sure they can bring peace of mind but they can help. Maybe one can find the Pine Meadows campground golf cart!

It’s sad. We work. Thugs steal. It has ever been this way. So folks, look out for one another. Know your neighbors. Cooperate and communicate. Teach your children and your grandchildren that private property means just that.  It’s private. It belongs to someone else. Don’t steal, deface or tear it up. Respect is more than the Golden Rule. It's also good karma.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.

Please don't take away my newspaper news!

7/10/13 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

Last month, “The Oregonian,” our state’s longest continuously published newspaper, announced it would change its focus from conventional print to Internet news. Citing revenue losses of nearly 50%, financial advisors decided that cutting the payroll (journalists, support personnel and printing costs) and going online will somehow revive the business’ bottom line.

Since the disastrous downturn in the economy, this country has lost many prominent community voices in my favorite print publications. According to “Newspaper Death Watch,” 12 major metro dailies have closed their doors and another 12 are W.I.P. (works in progress) i.e. reducing their frequency of publication or adopting hybrid online/print or online only models—all since 2007.

The Oregonian’s new delivery configuration (announced by Advance Publications, Inc. the paper’s parent company) is difficult to understand. It seems that they will continue to print seven days a week. However, home delivery to 170,000 subscribers will only be on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday along with a so-called bonus delivery on Saturday.  City newsstands (selling about 15,000 per day) will receive deliveries on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I know this is going to make me sound like a Luddite (one opposed to technological progress) but I hope this doesn’t work. I have seen this happen in other media and publications. Those in power fire most of the veteran journalists and replace them with inexperienced, lower wage employees. Quality, all-around news coverage gives way to quick low-news briefs along with lots of AP–type syndicated news.

I love a daily newspaper with extensive reporting and a balance of local, national and global news: the obituaries, the comics, a variety of columnists, sports and the classified ads. And yes, I do read on-line news but mostly for the global perspective that I get from such websites as www.reuters.com. It’s a great resource.

So I don’t understand this generation’s lack of reading loyalty. Growing up in Los Angeles, I cut my news teeth on the L.A. Times. I was so addicted to reading their great variety of news that when we moved to Ventura in 1964, I subscribed to the Sunday Times by mail. (That quickly ended because it took 10 days to arrive at our house!)

Whether local or syndicated, I like my news fresh, interesting and trustworthy. A good newspaper can do that. In California recently I read The Tribune, San Luis Obispo. It was exciting to see the Oregon Women’s Track and Field team in color on the front page of the Sports section and read about the NCAA finals in Eugene. A real treat for a visiting Oregonian.

Another day, I read about vandalism in America’s National Parks. “Trashing Treasures” described how in Saguaro National Park, Arizona, park rangers were finding subway-style graffiti in the spiny forest. Recently, 45 of the park’s towering cactuses had been sprayed with black paint. That could be a death knell to the 150-year-old plants if the paint covers the green skin where they store chlorophyll to draw nourishment from the sun. I didn’t know that.

There was also some military news harking back to the days when I lived near Camarillo, Calif. and fighter pilots from Saudi Arabia were being trained at a nearby airport. If it was strange then, imagine how we would feel now. This news brief came from San Diego:

 “Japanese troops to train on California beaches…they will converge on California’s southern coast…as part of a military exercise with U.S. troops aimed at improving that country’s amphibious attack abilities.” The training was in response to China’s growing military might. China protested the event. Nevertheless, the drill with three Japanese warships: 1,000 service members and four combat helicopters was going to proceed. Forces from New Zealand and Canada were also taking part.”

Now, it’s true I might have been able to read the above on the Internet but it wouldn’t have had the same impact on a screen as holding it in my hand does.

My favorite on-the-road column was in the “Paso Robles Press” titled “It’s The Pitts” by Lee Pitts. It was a “can’t we all get along?” piece. Pitts, the editor of “Livestock Market Digest,” has written books such as “People who live at the end of Dirt Roads,” “Back Door People” and “These Things I Wish.” Here’s a few excerpts addressed to bridge the gap between urban and country folks:

“I’ll take the time to learn more about you if you’ll take a minute to learn about me.”

“I’ll try and keep my cows off the highway if you won’t dump your kittens off at the end of my road. We already have a cat.”

“I won’t ruin your neighborhood by moving a feedlot next door to your condominium if you won’t move next door to my feedlot and ask me to get out of town because I stink.”

“I will grant the power companies and telephone companies easements so you can have electricity and make phone calls…but please close the gates.”

“I will feed and water the wildlife for us all to enjoy but please don’t cut down my fences. And hunters, don’t shoot my cows. (They are the ones that look hungry.)”

I won’t throw my Lone Star bottles on your front lawn if you won’t throw your Bud Light cans in my front pasture.”

“I will buy your Chevrolet if you will buy my beef. Let’s all buy products “Made in America.”

I love his perspective. Columnists like Pitts make me laugh and think. So keep buying newspapers, folks. We don’t want to wake up some morning and say, “Where did my newspaper go?”

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.