Amnesties and other special events

They say the newspapers are dying, but I still love the combination of daily news, print copy and photos, with the local slant, that you really don’t get other places.  I’m not a big fan of reading my news on line, and I like to read the local news during the week from the Sunday stack.  Sometimes I miss some timely news, like a gallery opening event, but overall it works for having interesting reading fodder at hand.

When I travel, I love having a few papers with me on the airplane, from my hometown, and from where I’m headed, or especially, have just been, especially if it’s a foreign site.  I wasn’t traveling, but picked up someone’s abandoned USA Today earlier this month at my local Panera Bread.

The article that caught my eye was one with the headline, “One day, 3,000 adoption from pet shelters, no fees.”  What a great idea!  So many shelters have a glut of animals waiting for adoption.  So January 24, 2009, was Change a Pet’s Life Day.  Pet food companies like Hill’s Science Diet and Pedigree donated to the cause.

This event not only accelerated getting the animals into new homes, but I’m sure also introduced some people to local shelters, and gave large-scale public awareness to the event as media picked up the call.

A once-a-year break from fees and penalties can really boost compliance.  Miami-Dade’s library system, like other municipalities’, has had amnesty days for patrons to return overdue or missing books without late fees.

During a February 2008 “Non-native (exotic) Pet Amnesty Day” at Miami’s Metro over 150 animals were turned over for proper care, without their owner’s facing a penalty.  South Florida has had problems with python owners releasing them into the Everglades.

Gun amnesty programs remove firearms from the streets.  And of course, our Florida tax holidays boost retail sales and give parents a welcome relief on the burden of back-to-school supplies and clothing.

I wonder what other amnesty programs could be dreamed up to boost economic activity and give the average consumer some welcome relief from the current day-to-day squeeze?

How ’bout an “amnesty day” for battery recycling…like they do in Downers Grove, Illinois?

Here’s another civic-improvement amnesty day… Free Tire Collection Events are held several times a year at the Seminole County Landfill, during which residents  can dispose of up to 10 tires, free.  This reduces unsightly and illegal dumping of tires and helps prevent mosquitoes.

Here’s an interesting idea for the corporate world.  Pegasus Communications has a …“semiannual ritual known as “Amnesty Day.” It’s a time for staff to clear several months’ accumulated detritus in order to move ahead with renewed vitality, energy, and lightness. Scheduled well in advance so everyone can clear their calendars, on Amnesty Day, anything that impedes work productivity is fair game.

Sounds good to me!

Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 11:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Facebook Charity Apps: (Lil) Green Patch and others


Facebook has quite a few apps (applications for the non-initiated, or perhaps non-inundated) that can be entertaining, and even help by minute increments to improve our world.

The precept of “(Lil) Green Patch” is that users of the app can help fight global warming. It works like this: the Facebook user “builds a Green Patch” with online friends, and the application shows a running count of the square feet of rainforest saved by everyone as they use the application.  Sponsors contribute the money which, minus expenses, is turned over to conservation groups like the Nature Conservancy.

A blogger named Ashley noted in Oct. ’08,  “The problem with this app [“(Lil) Green Patch”] is that all the plants have Caucasian faces. It’s so exclusionary. People have asked for plants with brown and black faces, but the developers refuse!”

I agree there could be more diversity in the faces to reflect a true global community, and wonder if the developers could really be so naive and uncaring as to refuse this reasonable request?

As of today, January 24, 2009, (Lil) Green Patch reported 5,811,857 monthly active users, and 96,124,167 Sq ft of rainforest saved, which is a little over 2,206 acres, or not quite 3.5 square miles.  (I apparently was responsible for 5 Sq ft of this territory as my “Personal Rainforest Saved, through tending my own little green patch.

Regarding other charity apps on Facebook, Green-writer Jennifer Kaplan on the website Ecopreneurist notes that Charity Navigator reveals that only seven out of over twenty–or about a third–were given 4-star ratings:

While I’ve enjoyed the fun of a virtual green patch, I think my time on Facebook will shift during 2009.


Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm  Comments (1)  
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Good out of Grief

annsaga1My beloved dog of 13 years left her body last night.  I had been struggling with realization that I would soon have to euthanize her.  Saga was a Weimeraner with the typical over-the-top enthusiasm and boundless energy that has come to define the breed due to some over breeding since their popularity in the States.  I’d had her since she was a puppy, and made so many of the first-time dog owner mistakes–bought her as the last of the litter, from a puppy mill store front, without knowing her parents or their history–thus encouraging the bad business of letting breeders multiply their profits by shipping puppies out of state, paying too much, having fallen in love with the breed but knowing too little about their needs, which include constant companionship, preferably 24-hours with their owners if not working as their original function, hunting dogs quarrying large game like wild boar or bear, which was their mission in their native Germany.  Of course the blue eyes of the young Weimer puppy cliched Saga’s appeal.

Later I succumbed to another ignorant move, and let her be bred to another of her breed.  The sire was an amazing fellow, handsome, and faultless, with the solid temperament that would have been a requisite for the dam by a responsible breeder, but really, no one needs to be generating more puppies, since mutts come in so many lovely shapes and colors and personalities, and every purebred out their displaces a possible home for a dog needing a rescue family.

However, I loved Saga immensely, and with the magnified affection and attachment that a deeply sensitve women would naturally generate for such an expressive dog, a dog that has stood in for the children I so desperately wanted but that my husband and I could not have.  A dog that I through so many factors such as being the default alpha dog in the small pack of Saga, my dear ex-husband, and me.  And also, having always had a keen interest in nutrition, health, and a life-time wish to be a vet, I understood and usually could figure out successful treatments for the various skin worries that frequently beleaguer the breed.  And then the fact that my ex rented different places before relocating to South America.  He didn’t love her any less, but Saga was my charge.

Saga developed a cough, which exacerbated, and degenerating into coughing up blood.  I then took her to the vet and Xrays discovered an advanced tumor on her lung.  I planned to have her euthanized but as life was still full in her waited.

Last night she got out of the house and was hit by a hit-and-run driver.  Much tragedy later, I was able to say good-bye to my beloved dog, as a fatal injection carried her last breath away.

I’m hoping to establish a memorial fund in her remembrance to make some sense out this sudden passing away and my grief, so I’m inviting my face book friends and anyone who’s ever loved and lost a dog to consider a small, even $5 donation to Guiding Eyes for the Blind… at their: donations page.

About this nonprofit:

How does Guiding Eyes help blind people?

Guiding Eyes breeds, raises, and trains guide dogs and trains students to work with guide dogs that have been carefully selected to match their individual needs. Our training programs and life-long follow-up support are completely free of charge and are made possible through the generous support of individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations.

How can I help Guiding Eyes do its fine work?

There are many ways to help. You can make a contribution every donation is important, regardless of its size. You can participate in one of our special events. You can become a volunteer puppy raiser, brood or stud foster, or early or home socializer. You can volunteer to do administrative work at our Headquarters and Training Center in Yorktown Heights, New York or our Canine Development Center in Patterson, New York.

Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Having been a professional proofreader in my past, I can’t help but get a kick out of some unusual translations between language that enter into marketing copy.  I recently had the wonderful opportunity to travel on the mafiabankrupt Alitalia airlines.  I say recently, because to me any travel is good travel.  I was disappointed that the gentleman at my check in from my original departure point told me I could not enroll there in their MilleMiglia Program because I’m always hopeful I’ll start doing so much travel I will be able to cash in a get a free trip, though I usually just get some subscription to a magazine I don’t really need cluttering up my reading bin in order to salvage use of miles.  Anyway, I was checking out the airline’s partners, to see if perhaps I was already a member of one of the affiliate airlines, and under Alitalia’s SkyTeam Partners, I got a chuckle out of the statement “The SkyTeam Awards scheme is one of the major advantages you get from the SkyTeam Alliance.”  Darn, an italian scheme I could be part of, and don’t even have to join the Mafia!

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment