Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Local Farmers Markets Offer Freshness, Variety

By Robert Sondak

My work with the Arlington Farmers Market began in the spring of 2007 when I sent a proposal to market manager Oakes Plimpton to provide nutrition services. I proposed to facilitate a community service-oriented food table that would circulate recipe flyers and a health newsletter and answer consumers’ food questions. I highlighted my background in dietetics at MGH and the Nutrition Education Outreach Project and my internship in nutrition at the Boston Food Bank. Oakes Plimpton read my proposal and in May of 2007 invited me to join the Arlington Farmers Market.

From June through October, I distributed recipes and conducted fresh fruit and tomato taste tests. These taste tests were conducted to educate people on the varieties of fruits and tomatoes available at the market. Three farmers were cooperative and contributed fruit and tomato samples for our demonstrations. Great Oaks Organic Farms gave us tomatoes. Kimball Fruit Farms provided peaches and heirloom tomatoes. Nicewizs Family Farms contributed a variety of fresh fruit. I noticed immediately that the fresh fruit and tomatoes looked fresh and were exceptionally sweet and colorful. In particular, the apples and peaches were far superior to anything that I had tasted at Star/Shaws supermarkets or even Whole Foods.

Great Oaks Organic Farms, founded by Steen Bentzen, is one of a select group of Massachusetts-based farms that is certified as organic. GOOF was certified as an organic grower by a joint program operated by the New England Organic Farm Organization (NOFA) and the Bay State Organic Certifiers. GOOF records are inspected yearly by the USDA to ensure that they are following federal regulations for organic farming.

GOOF does not use any insecticides other than a garlic-based spray. Bentzen elaborated that his insect problems are not severe because of the fertility of the soil. He went on to say that the soil has been built up from an initial 1.5 percent organic when he took over the farm to 10 percent organic today. GOOF grows a variety of salad and cooking greens like lettuce, kale and Brussels sprouts. In addition they grow tomatoes, including plum and beef-stake tomatoes. GOOF is located in Berlin off of Route 68, not far from Route 495.

Kimball Fruit Farms was founded by Allen and Forster Kimball in the early 1930s when they purchased a fire damaged dairy farm. They quickly planted apple and peach orchards. In the late 1930s, Allen's brother-in-law Harold Hill joined the farm staff. The farm struggled through the Great Depression and World War 2 with its changes in eating habits. Forster and Allen became the farm owners and Harold the harvester. In 1967 Allen died and Forster sold the farm to investors. Harold and his son Carl leased the farmland until 1999 when Carl purchased the property. The farm has continued and has expanded its core business today. They go to a total of 11 farmers markets, have an on-site farm stand, sell to the Chelsea Produce Market and have a successful restaurant distribution business. KFF is located in Pepperell.

Nicewicz Family Farms was founded by Julian and Catherine Nicewicz, who emigrated from Poland and settled in Clinton, Massachusetts. They purchased a farm in Bolton in 1929 and grew apples, peaches and pears. They also harvested blueberries and cranberries on a bog on the property. Their son Walter married Vera Veria from Hudson. They lived on the farm and raised four sons – David, Allen, Tom and Ken, and one daughter, Joann. The four brothers run the farm full-time, and Vera runs the farm stand. The farm business has expanded and they now sell at 11 farmers markets and have a ‘pick your own fruit’ program on the farm. In 1994 they received an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) wavier from the state protecting the farmland from future development.

Kimball Fruit Farm contains 4,000 apple trees that yield 12 to 16,000 bushels yearly. KFF grows over two-dozen different types of apples. The summer apples ripen in August and are not as sweet. This is particularly true of the Lodi, a green variety. The other summer apples include Puritan, Jersey Macs, Paula Red and the Red and Golden Delicious. The late fall or winter apples include Red Gala, Fuji, Cortland, Macintosh, Red and Golden Delicious and Empire. KFF is located in Pepperell near the New Hampshire border. KFF sells at 11 farmers markets like Arlington and Davis Square (Wednesday) and Central Square (Monday). Carl’s wife Marie sells at the Davis Square and Central Square farmers markets, and Carl’s sister Wendy sells at Arlington on Wednesday.

Nicewizs Family Farms grows 17 varieties of apples that yield over 10,000 bushels yearly. They grow summer apples like Paula Red, Vista Bell and Honey Crisp. They also grow fall and winter apples like Fuji, Red and Golden Delicious, Cortland and Macintosh. NFF is located out in Bolton off of Route 117. NFF sells at 10 farmers markets including Arlington and Davis Square (Wednesday) and Central Square (Monday). Allen sells at Arlington on Wednesday and his brothers sell at Davis and Central Square.

As December rolls around and cold temperatures set in, the peach and apples trees are pruned. They are cut back usually by 1/3 to stimulate new growth. Pruning in particular stimulates the main stem of the tree, the central leader. Pruning is used to channel the energy into better-formed apples. Pruning eliminates many small apples, which would contribute to mold and blight.

GOOF, KFF and NFF sell weekly during the farmers market season at three local farmers markets. They sell in Arlington, Davis Square, Somerville and Central Square. They sell at these farmers markets from June through November. The only exception is Arlington, which closes the last week of October.

The Arlington farmers market is located in the Russell Commons Parking lot and was founded in 1997. Pat Jones collected 300 signatures of contacts from her restaurant career and submitted them to the local board of selectmen. She contacted Oakes Plimpton from Waltham Fields Community Farm and a town resident to help manage the market. They applied for a zoning variance and opened on July 16, 1997. Over the past 11 years Arlington has grown to include 25 vendors incorporating farm grown produce, cheese, herbal teas, bread and pastry, Chinese vegetables, fresh herbs, flowers, meat and fish. Arlington is open from June through the last week of October.

The Central Square Farmers Market opened in 1978. This market is located in Central Square, Cambridge one block north of Massachusetts Avenue in the municipal parking lot adjacent to the Harvest Coop Markets. It is a moderate-sized farmers market with 12 vendors incorporating farm grown produce, cheese, herbal teas, bread and pastry, Chinese vegetables, fresh herbs, flowers, meat and fish. CSFM is managed by the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets. It is open from June through the last week of November on Wednesdays.

The Davis Square farmers market started up in 1979. It is located at Day and Herbert Streets one block east of Holland Street and the local Starbucks. It is a moderate-sized farmers market with 12 vendors selling farm grown produce, cheese, herbal teas, bread and pastry, Chinese vegetables, fresh herbs, flowers, meat and fish. DSFM is managed by the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets. It is open from June through the last week of November on Mondays.

I recommend that consumers stop by Arlington and purchase organic vegetables from GOOF. Steen sells very high quality kale and lettuce. I recommend the peaches that KFF sells. These yellow peaches are sweet and have an exceptionally firm texture. I also recommend the apples that NFF sells. These apples are sweet, tangy and firm. In the summer 2007 edition of Edible Boston, author Francis Moore Lappe recommended that we buy locally grown produce, even if it is not organic, over California organic foods to help reduce fossil fuel production. She elaborated that saving fuel will help fight pollution and global warming. Buying organic or low spray foods at the farmers market helps farmers financially and creates a consumer-oriented market place. Buying at the farmers market helps Massachusetts’s agriculture industry expand.

New England fruit growers have adapted Integral Pest Management to control pests while reducing pesticides, improving worker and food safety and protecting the environment. IPM calls for monitoring pests out in the fields during the growing season by an entomologist who will work to developing a pest control plan. KFF and NFF use IPM to grow apples and peaches in the multi-seasonal New England environment. If pest levels are low farmers, will not have to use pesticides.

The decision for some consumers is whether to buy organic or low spray foods. Francis Moore Lappe wrote, “I would buy IPM local over West coast organics because they place greater demand over pesticide reduction." I have bought West coast organic fruit over the past year at Whole Foods and the Harvest Coop Markets and have been very disappointed with the sweetness and texture of fruit. Whole Foods and Harvest Coop Markets in fact have organic fruit and locally grown fruits.

I have found the apples sold by NFF to be fresh, sweet and tangy to the taste buds. Most importantly, these apples are locally grown. The peaches sold by KFF are comparable to the organic peaches sold by Whole Foods in sweetness and taste. KFF and NFF are generous with the food left at the end of the day. They donate their excess food to the Boston Area Gleaners and to the Arlington Human Services Agency Menotomy Public Housing Project's market. At the Central and Davis Square farmers markets they donate excess food to the Cambridge-based hunger relief organization Food For Free.

Robert Sondak is a Spare Change vendor who likes to write about nutrition and food issues.

Diary of a Fallen Angel, A Novel by William Dean Collins

Chapter 5: Hunting the Renegade Lion

As twilight crept through the Black Forest, the Three Witches of Fate, who had been standing on the shoreline of the Morbid Lake, each mounted their brooms, shouting, “Broom fly!” in succession. One by one, the three witches shot into the early evening sky, soaring into the upper echelon of jungle trees in search of permanent habitation. Now that the sun had set, the witches were in their own element; the cries of the night would be their guide.

After hours of flying at a high altitude, coupled with listening to the cries of the night, the Three Witches of Fate sensed they had finally reached their destination high atop the Camouflage Mountains, a loftier mountain range than the Evergreen Mountains.

The witches entered a giant cave with stalactites and stalagmites, giant bats and thousands of colonies of ants and snakes and other night crawlers. Once inside the cave the Three Witches of Fate, Hezekell, Mizekia, and Shirbella, immediately entwined their minds, yet again, to summon all of their magical tools together with a powerful incantation:

“Here now we sisters exist in this cave,
Yet we don’t even have potions, or crystal ball, or slave!

Let the Powers of Darkness now send us our tools,
So that we can get busy and open our schools!”

While the witches enumerated their magic spell, every syllable echoed throughout the cave. After having finished this major change there followed the loudest, most powerful explosion ever heard from a class 1A spell!

The air smelled like rancid sulfur from the smoke of the detonation, which billowed in every direction. The spellbinding, however, was successful, as after the mist cleared there remained in its place a wide variety of witchly necessities, all neatly arranged in their respective categories in jars, boxes, and secret chambers. There were:

Aged potions: 1,000 jars each of termites (for Wolfsbane), fish heads (for Nymphamarus), and omnivorous treats (for Chattermouth); 100 jars each of 500-year-old herbs and fungi, poisonous mushrooms, fermented bat wings, toad skins, stolen voices, and human fears and worries; 50 jars each of owls’ feet, rabbits’ feet, and human tongues; and 10 jars each of ground elephant trunk and ground walrus tusk.

Three wands: one made of aspen with a ruby tip for Mizekia to see the present; one made of silver with an emerald tip for Hezekell to see the deep, dark past; and an invisible one made of jungle tree root with a sapphire tip for Shirbella to see the future (only Shirbella and the Grand Wizard can see this wand).

One crystal ball for the witches to share.

Three spell books – Spell of the Ancient Void, for Hezekell; Contemporary Incantations for Mizekia; and Sorcery of the Hereafter for Shirbella.

One box of disguises for use in the mortal world.

And the witches’ three pets – Hezekell’s aardwolf, Wolfsbane; Mizekia’s raven, Chattermouth; and Shirbella’s cat, Nymphamarus.

Now that things were falling into place, the Witches of Fate could focus their attention on their mission to hunt down the Renegade Lion of the Black Forest.

As the Black Forest itself is hundreds of square miles, there are many small villages located within its boundaries. Besides Smalltown there is the Woodman’s Village, Poppytown, and the village of Jove, where the base of the Camouflage Mountains is located.

Now the village of Jove is a quaint little dwelling where everyone knows everyone else’s business; the world’s best-kept secret will not be found there. The total population of the town is 76, twelve of whom were the village hunters (until yesterday!).

The fur hunters of Jove were Lloyd Stewart, Bent Haverhill, Valska Gentry, Ronald Wentworth, Wendell Maxwell, Alexis “Butch” Buchanan, Wayne “Whitey” Waxman, Simon “Buster” Sneed, Marshall “Specs” Martin, Lucas “Mack” McGillicuddy, Chad “Riff” Rifles, and Benjamin “Benny” Pageman.

It all started yesterday around 7 a.m. Business was as usual. The village hunters were gathered in a band, ready to begin their morning ritual: hunting for animal pelts. (The village of Jove has long been famed for its fine linens, furs, and other refined garments.)

The boys were collecting together all the necessities for the hunt while waiting for Benjamin “Benny” Pageman to return from the village dog kennel. (Besides being one of the village hunters, Benny was also the town dog trainer.)

“Hey Buster,” Lloyd said. “Go see what’s taking so Benny so long with those bloodhounds. It’s almost 7:30 – he should have been back 15 minutes ago!”

“Come on, Specs, let’s go take a walk and see what’s up with Benny,” Buster said.

“Why’s everybody always electing me for extra duty?” asked Specs. “Can’t anybody else around here do anything but me?”

“Yeah, we can,” Buster replied. “It’s just that we trust your quick instincts on important issues.”

“Do you really mean that, Simon? Or are you just saying that to impress me?”

Buster responded angrily. “Number one: who needs to impress you? Number two: Of course I don’t mean that, you big dope! And number three: stop calling me Simon – I hate that name!”

“But that’s your name,” Specs said, confused.

“See? That’s what I’m talking about – you just don’t get it, do you? Why can’t you just call me Buster like everyone else does?” Buster asked, exasperated. “How come you always gotta be so formal, anyway?”

Specs sounded relieved that Buster’s tone of voice was less severe. “I don’t know, I was raised that way, I guess. Anyway, I’m sorry – I didn’t know you hated your name so much. Really, I mean it. I really didn’t –“

“OK already! Why do you always gotta keep ramblin’ on about nothing all the time, anyway?”


While Buster and Specs performed their daily bickering, they were wandering through the woods without noticing the oversized lion tracks directly in their path! It wasn’t until they approached the road to the kennels, Millhouse Road, that they became suspicious of their surroundings.

“Oh my God!” cried Buster. “Man, how long have we been walking inside of these giant lion tracks? I can’t believe we ain’t been noticing this!”

“Wow! Look at the size of them suckers,” Specs exclaimed. “That thing must be at least 10 feet tall to make tracks like that – man, I’m outta here!”

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere! The only chance we got is to stick together!”

At the same time that Buster and Specs were finally noticing their surroundings, a most amazing phenomenon was taking place on Millhouse Road, a winding road shadowed by pine trees with their strong scent. Ravens, crows, and deer dotted the scenery, as well as large bats hanging upside down in trees, taking their morning nap and awaiting night to hunt.

It was 10 minutes past seven o’ clock when Benny was about to unlock the cages and release the hounds for the daily hunt. Just as he lifted his eyes and wiped sweat from his brow, he caught sight of the most horrifying flying creature he had ever seen! Never before had he witnessed such a wingspan on any living creature. Not only that, but the wings were made of thick fur, not feathers. Benny was so in awe of the magnificent physical specimen that he couldn’t take his eyes away. It was as though he were in a trance. Benny was trying very hard to define what he was actually gawking at. He never thought, “I am in danger.” It never even dawned on him that he was about to become the Renegade Lion’s next meal. He imagined himself insane. On the one hand his mind was telling him he was gazing at a lion; on the other hand, everyone knows large felines have no wings! Even so, he kept investigating and scrutinizing, trying to distinguish for certain what the hell he was gaping at. By the time he realized he was in peril, it was too late!

As the gigantic lion descended on Benny like a plane coming in for a landing, he quietly and quickly seized Benny by the neck and shoulders, simultaneously tearing into Benny’s shoulders with his large talons and ripping Benny’s head from his body with his teeth! With blood splattering everywhere, the lion consumed almost all of Benny’s body, leaving a small portion of each leg from the knees down before silently flying away unimpeded! The only positive point was that Benny was dead within three seconds.

When Buster and Specs finally arrived at the hound house, their worst fears became an undeniable reality – Benny was dead. The dogs were all still locked in their cages, amazingly quiet considering what had just transpired. The two remaining members of Benny’s eaten body were clear evidence of what had taken place. But it was still a mystery to Buster and Specs, who were totally confounded by the facts at hand.

But all of these events unraveled so silently and swiftly that Benny’s family members weren’t even alerted, though the family residence was fewer than one hundred yards from the kennels, and you could hear a pin drop in the early morning hours. Benny was dead in three seconds.

Diary of a Fallen Angel, A Novel by William Dean Collins

Chapter 4: The Three Witches of Fate

The time has come to formally introduce The Three Witches of Fate.

The Three Witches of Fate were originally angelic beings gifted with supernatural powers designed by God, who trusted them to oversee the fates and destinies of mankind. They guided the possibilities and events of human affairs so as to lead mankind to righteous, godly and prosperous lives. However, because the Three Witches of Fate were secretly involved with Gladismere’s plot to destroy the light and end mankind’s existence, God cursed them – they fell from grace and became the ugly and vile beings they are now.

Their appearance on the Blueprint of the Universe came billions of years before the creation of mankind. Like man, the Three Witches of Fate, Hezekell, Mizekia and Shirbella, were given free will to do good or evil, right or wrong. God gave them a chance to do his will, or follow their own selfish inclinations.

Shirbella, Hezekell and Mizekia, three sisters of prophecy, evolved in the void with Gladismere and other spiritual entities known as the Eternal Ones.

When God created the universe, Eternal Ones both favored God’s Plans and opposed them. Those in favor of God’s Plans were given special gifts, powers and Eternal Missions. Those opposed were separated from the universe and placed into the outer darkness. These beings hate light and prefer darkness. Originally, the Three Witches of Fate found pleasure in the eyes of the Lord; however, greed, lust to become flesh, and deceit caused them turn their backs on their responsibilities, forcing God to hex them with an eternal curse: to roam the earth with hideous, vile forms and behavior and to eat dung and raw guts of the dead! The Three Witches of Fate were also sentenced for a short time to Central Hell, a place inside the core of the earth where wayward mythical entities are sentenced to contemplate and repent their evil doings. Some are sent to learn the woes of Full Scale Hell, a place of never ending suffering.

Unlike the inescapable Full Scale Hell, Central Hell has far less torturous fires and many ways out. Repentant behavior, duration of sentence, magic and spells are popular ways of escaping Central Hell.

Many varieties of strange creatures can be found in Central Hell: Wicker-Walkers, Grungies, Haggies, Vampires, Werewolves, Wizards, Witches, Trolls, Goblins, Gargoyles, Closet-Monsters, Breath-Stoppers, and Dream-Haunters, to name a few.

After many months of contemplation and preparation for escape from Central Hell, Mizekia, Shirbella and Hezekell finally put their minds together and devised an incantation, enabling them to escape Central Hell. Together, they said:

Since time has begun
Our story has been one!
Our number is three,
and we look like trees!
If you gaze into the crystal ball,
you will not have to look hard, you will see us all!
From the center of the earth, to the top of the sky,
Let us give birth to ourselves, so that on our broomsticks we can fly!

There was a loud explosion, and a cloud of smoke was all that remained where the Three Witches of Fate had stood. Holding spell books in their left hands, the Three Witches of Fate magically reappeared inside the Morbid Lake sitting on their broomsticks, covered with disgusting putrid matter and surrounded by one thousand Haggies!

Amphibious, mythical creatures (half witch and half sea-horse), remain in water because, like The Three Witches of Fate, they prefer putrid decaying matter to living food. Haggies are tiny and only reach 10 to 12 inches in height, and live for long periods of time, twice the life span of mortal men. Mischievous little pranksters, Haggies prefer fooling people more than hurting them. Their powers last only from sunset to sunrise, thus Haggies, like Vampires, sleep by day. Haggies spells last only 12 hours, and are found abundantly throughout the Morbid Lake!

One of the most fascinating differences between the Three Witches of Fate and mankind is their emotional and chemical make-up. Mankind experiences Happiness, Sadness, Hate, Love, Fear, Envy, Anger, Dignity, Responsibility, Sexuality, Pity, Remorse, Embarrassment, Shame and Excitement. Wizards and Witches feel Power, Amusement, Purpose, Fear, Envy, Want, Need, Depression, Anger and extreme Embarrassment.
Wizards and Witches not only lack almost half the emotions mankind has, but also cannot chemically withstand three everyday mortal concessions: perfume, incense and cinnamon. Perfume sprayed directly on the Three Witches of Fate can knock them out for hours. A whole bottle of perfume poured directly onto the Witches’ bodies could theoretically put them in a coma for months, or even years! Incense causes violent nausea and profuse vomiting, and cinnamon sprinkled directly on their causes severe burns, blisters and boils.

The Three Witches of Fate have hideous and grotesque features, which camouflage them in the Black Forest. Their flesh looks like rotted, truncated tree trunks oozing with insects. Their noses are about a foot long each and vary in shape, but always resemble a tree branch. Their heads are oblong, crooked, cone-shaped masses of bumps and bruises, with open wounds all over their faces. They are mostly bald but for sparse green hairs, like new born grass, all over their bodies, sharp as porcupine needles.

With Hezekell standing at four and a half feet, Mizekia at five and Shirbella at five feet six inches, the three witches’ anatomies are grossly disproportionate. For example, Hezekell stands only four and a half feet tall but her nose is a good 12 inches long – that’s almost a fourth of her height!

Because the Three Witches of Fate spent many eons searching the Archives of God, reading and the Blue Print of the Universe, and the Halls of Mighty Words of Power, Hezekell, Mizekia and Shirbella are very wise and know many chants and spells. Like Gladismere, The Three Witches of Fate envy mankind and have been on a mission with Gladismere since the beginning of time to blot out mankind’s existence. The conspiracy to destroy the light and mankind has been the most ardent wish of the Three Witches of Fate since they discovered mankind’s presence on the Blue Print of the Universe.

The Three Witches of Fate conceived the advanced technology of melding and occupying the flesh. Gladismere’s “discovery” of melding and “his plan” of usurping bodies in the distant future were all ideas induced upon him while shisconing with the Three Witches of Fate. This original form of copulation is a combination of mental telepathy and desire. Ultimately, beings are produced when the shiscone of an Angel or Wizard is spoken into the desired entity. If this happens to be a human, it must be a virgin female. Mortal offspring of supernatural beings retain the power of their immortal parentage while adopting the more fair attributes of their human connection.

A woman cannot resist the power of a Wizard or Angel’s shiscone. Once she has been chosen the Wizard will hypnotize and seduce her when she is deep in a trance. If the Wizard or Angel fulfills a human female, she loses all desire for mortal ways. Offspring of these unholy unions live naturally for thousands of years.

Through this association, the Three Witches of Fate have become extraordinarily wise beyond any mortal standards, and thus stumbled upon many helpful tidbits of knowledge and wisdom to help fuel their fiendish plots against humanity. In fact, one of the more profound facts the Three Witches of Fate acquired about Gladismere is that, although Gladismere has millions of eyes, there is one central eye that is the core of his being, the very heart of his soul! When the Three Witches of Fate transported Gladismere from the void to the future it was only his central eye that was melded with the Spirit Condenser. Without consent from Gladismere, the Three Witches of Fate secretly conjured a spell that melded his central eye, which is the smallest of all his eyes:

As Necessity has devised,
Our motives are in disguise.
For this reason only,
Send the small eye that is lonely.
It would not be at all wise,
To meld all of Gladismere’s eyes!
The weight would be too great,
And the danger we could not regulate!
But the effects of this spell will be put on hold,
Until after the weightlessness spell has been told!

After the Three Witches of Fate escaped from Central Hell and magically reappeared inside Morbid Lake, they set up camp and established a base of power where they would be able to utilize all of their resources and maximize the effect of their combined attributes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Countdown to the Election: Spare Change News for 10/23 - 11/5

Here at Spare Change News we're not supposed to endorse a presidential candidate in the upcoming race. While we can't tell you who to vote for, we can tell you to vote. In fact, we demand that you vote! You can brush up on the ballot initiatives in this issue, and while you're at it, change our nation's future by dropping by the polls on November 4.

VOTE NOVEMBER 4: 2008 Ballot Initiatives

Confused about the proposed laws on the Massachusetts ballot? Spare Change writer Matthew LeBlanc explains Question 1 (State Personal Income Tax), Question 2 (Possession of Marijuana) and Question 3 (Dog Racing).

Following the Election Online
Matthew LeBlanc

There is plenty of information about the presidential race available online, overwhelming even the most avid web surfer. Traditional news outlets like The New York Times or may be the first place you turn to learn about the election, but political blogs and polling sites are good sources as well.

From Wall Street to Pine Street: The Widespread Ramifications of the Financial Sector Fallout
Ed Larsen & H.J. Pound, MPH

You don't have to be a big shot on Wall Street to be effected by the financial crisis. Nonprofits, government employees and private citizens are feeling the impact too, and it's a struggle that's hitting close to home. Fourteen percent of the Massachusetts workforce is currently employed by nonprofits, a sector that relies heavily on corporate backing, according to a National Public Radio report. The fallen corporate giant Lehman Brothers gave $39 million to charities and nonprofits last year, including many Boston organizations that now have to turn to other sources for funding.

Pre-Election Blues
Marc D. Goldfinger

In Reno, Nevada, a small group of tents populated by homeless people sprang up by the railroad tracks, people with nowhere else to go. Within a short time there were over 150 tents, so close to each other people could barely breathe, filled with people who had come to Reno to look for work. There was no work to be had. But this wasn't only happening in Reno. It was happening in Seattle, Washington; Athens, Georgia; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. Tent cities were born all over the USA as the foreclosure explosion took off, hurricanes hit Texas and Mississippi, and the stock market crashed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sneak Peek: Spare Change News for 10/9 - 10/22

Barack Obama vs. John McCain: What They'll Do About Homelessness (Or Not)
Shea Davis

In a campaign where political parties are rallying behind the call for change, what changes do Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain promise to Americans experiencing poverty and homelessness?

Panel Examines MA Initiatives to End Homelessness
Brittaney Kiefer

State and city officials said at a Sept. 22 panel discussion at Suffolk University's Law School that they were optimistic about the state's new initiative to end homelessness in Massachusetts by 2013. "The stars are aligned right now," said Shelter, Inc. executive director Tom Lorello, one of the six panelists at the public policy forum, "Ending Homelessness in Massachusetts: New Thinking on an Age-Old Problem," hosted by the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee and Suffolk University's Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service. But one panelist did not seem to share this optimism -- Senator Dianne Wilkerson, who worried that the Wall Street crisis would have a negative impact on people living in poverty.

Boston Residents Reflect on Shaky Economy
Brittaney Kiefer

Despite President Bush signing the $700 billion economic bailout package into law, many Boston residents said they have not been reassured by the government's plan. In downtown Boston last week, business owners and residents said they are anxious about how the changes on Wall Street will affect them. Many business people are already seeing the repercussions from an economy that has been on a downward slope for months, and some fear the worst is yet to come.

Voices from the Streets: Rosh Hashanah Reflections
Shifra Freewoman

As I sit down to write, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is approaching. This period is focused on self-examination, making amends and forgiveness. I think the focus on amends and forgiveness can be helpful to people of other traditions and non-religious folks as well.