Archive for September 2007

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

Ever heard of “global dimming?”
 
Neither had I until I watched  “NOVA” on PBS last night.
 
I thought it might be about the sun running out of gas or something but the science program was actually pointing out that  tiny airborne pieces of  soot, sulphur and ash along with thin clouds from airplane contrails are reflecting back the heat of the sun. But by allowing less sunlight to reach the Earth, global dimming is cushioning us from the full impact of global warming.Some climatologists are afraid if we try to stop global dimming by cleaning up the atmosphere, the full effects of global "warming" will be unleashed and we could see temperatures rising by up to 10 degrees by the end of the century – twice more than previously thought. Talk about your "catch 22."
 
Jet contrails. Contributing to global dimming?It’s pretty interesting stuff and you can find out more by checking out NOVA’s website.
 
I don’t think we’ll see bumper stickers that say “Save our Planet..Pollute More” anytime soon but it does give all those people who won’t be happy until we’re all back on foot or driving some form of hybrid vehicle something to think about.
 
Besides, I think most of us are a whole lot kinder to our planet now than we used to be anyway.
When is the last time you threw a bag of garbage out of the car?
We never used to give littering a second thought.
Now I won’t even toss a gum wrapper on the street and will probably bend over to pick up yours.
I think that public service TV ad in the 70’s showing the Indian with a tear in his eye and trash at his feet was pretty effective deterrent. At least it was for me.
 Iron Eyes Cody cries over spilt garbage
I used to take old oil, anti-freeze or most any other mystery liquid from the garage and pour it along the fence line or some part of the yard to keep the weeds down.
Not any more since discovering I could be arrested and charged with poisoning the underground water supply.
 
I no longer buy anything in aerosol cans..even if the propellant is supposedly safe for the ozone.
 
In fact, I’m thinking about resuming a money-making venture from my youth which will not only give me something to do in my retirement but help planet Earth at the same time.
 
On a Sunday afternoon in the fifties when my Dad would announce to the family that we were going hunting..it had nothing to do with guns or rabbits or pheasants.
We’d all pile into the car, head for the nearest country road, and go hunting for pop bottles.
My older brother would usually sit outside on the front fender while the rest of us hung out the windows staring into the grass scanning back and forth as Dad slowly drove along the ditch as close as he dared.
Eventually, somebody would yell, “there’s one.” The old man would hit the brakes, the tires would slide to a stop on the gravel and we’d dart down  to retrieve a Coke, 7-UP, Nesbitts or Pepsi bottle that someone had just foolishly thrown away without collecting the deposit.
 
I don’t remember my mother every worrying too much about Denny falling off the fender or any of us getting cut by broken beer bottles or rusty cans.
We were not intentionally trying to do our part for the environment. It was just a whole lot of family fun.
On a good day, we’d wind up with a couple gunny sacks full of empty pop bottles which Teddy at Dahl’s Texaco would redeem for two cents each.
Our next stop was in Brookings where we’d spend our windfall on ice cream malts and sundaes.
Now that I think about it, on the way home, I seem to remember tossing the Dairy Queen sack out the car window.
Ooops..

Thank You, Carolyn!

Posted: Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
No Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

One of Sioux Falls most popular eating establishments just won’t be the same after next February.
Carolyn Downs, executive director of “The Banquet” for the past 20 years, is retiring.
 
Keloland’s Lou Raguse did a nice story on her the other day but it’s hard to sum up the career of a person like Carolyn in a minute and a half..so let me add a few more personal observations.
 
I met Carolyn Downs for an interview shortly after she took the helm at the Banquet.
My first thought was..she’s too nice for a job like this. Dealing with a few drunken winos banging on the Banquet door for breakfast will wipe that smile off her face.
 
Carolyn DownsI was wrong, of course.
 
She has proven me wrong about a lot of things in the dozens of interviews that I’ve done with her since 1987.
I once asked her about those people who lined up outside The Banquet each day for free meals. How can they ever pick themselves out of the gutter if they keep getting stuff handed to them through the generosity of others? You know..the old saying, “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, TEACH  a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
 
Carolyn would always respond with her trademark smile and gentle voice saying, “Doug, you know we’re not here to change the world..but to give those who are hungry in our little part of it something good to eat. And when they’re here they’ll be treated with dignity, respect and love. It’s probably the only time and place they’ll get it.”
“Who knows, she adds, that may be all the incentive some of them need to try improve their lot in life” 
“You’ll have to come down here sometime, Doug, and see how many children we feed each day.”
“You can’t say they’re responsible for their situation, now can you?”
 
A few years ago, I did go and see for myself when a group of Keloland employees volunteered to serve breakfast at The Banquet.
Sure enough, there were several kids among those who showed up on that chilly morning for hot pancakes and sausages.
It broke my heart to see but it sure made me glad to know that The Banquet, Carolyn Downs and all the volunteers are there for them every day.
And it’s not only food. Carolyn is always organizing some kind of charity drive for her “clients”..from donations of warm clothing..or new school supplies…to toiletry kits for improved hygiene.
 
Before each meal, flowers are placed on the banquet tables and Carolyn leads the volunteers in a hand-holding prayer followed by her request that everyone spend a little time with the dinner guests and listen to what they have to say.
 
When there were rumors going around that The Banquet might be closing,  I was immediately on the phone to Carolyn for the inside scoop.. When the camera was rolling for our interview, it was the first time I’d ever seen here nervous or in doubt.
She has always had a way of using her smile and gentle persona to get what she needs for the banquet..from food and supplies to volunteers. People just can’t say no to her and she wouldn’t take no for an answer from them if they did.
But she was going to need a lot of answered prayers, a lot of money and a lot of people saying yes if she was to pull off a plan..not to close..but to move The Banquet several blocks away to a bigger building to handle the growing needs of the homeless and needy.
 
She need not have worried, the new Banquet at 8th and Indiana has been a big success with nearly 140 thousand of her special “guests” stopping by for dinner in the last year.
 
In our last interview for KELO, we talked about how Sioux Falls was changing…diversifying. I mentioned my concern that so many of our new residents don’t speak the language, don’t have jobs and wind up in trouble or on the streets.
 
“Come on, Doug. Is it really that big a problem?” Carolyn said with a disarming smile.
“I think there is room for us all, Don’t you?”
 
I think I can speak for just about everybody who knows Carolyn Downs that we’re awfully glad the Lord made room for this special angel in our town.