Upriver Community

21 11 2008

The shrinking economy has brought about much speculation about how we’ll be living in 6 months, next year and even further down the road. My favorite crank James Howard Kunstler fictionalizes one kind of future in his novel World Made By Hand. The news has suggested we’ll all be isolated and hunkered down in front of the TV as it’s the cheapest form of entertainment. People are stocking up on guns and ammo. Wal*Mart will be the only food supplier or there’ll be no food except what we can grow in our personal victory gardens. Food riots? More economic stratification? Outright collapse? Who knows!

Personally I don’t find fear mongering very useful. We can, however, examine various possibilities and they can help motivate us to work toward a positive outcome.

We don’t have a lot up here, but we do have community. We also have the unique problem of how to connect 5000 or so people that are spread out along the 50 mile stretch of Highway 20 from Newhalem to Birdsview and beyond. We’re diverse. We have Tarheels, back-to-the-landers, retirees, communes, city folk, old hippies, new hippies, teenagers, Republicans, Democrats, Independents and every stripe in between. Within our diversity, we all have a few things in common: We love the Upriver area despite its challenges and we all have to drive Downriver to meet some of our needs. We do have our free monthly paper and we can still sometimes pick up the Courier Times at Albert’s, but there just hasn’t been any way for us to keep in touch or disseminate news amongst ourselves.

Hopefully by next year that all can change. KSVR‘s General Manager Rip Robbins was up here last month telling us about his exciting new project … for us! He has applied for a federal grant and since we’re under-served (we knew that), we’re eligible for a public radio station. Local radio! For us, by us. With the school involved, teens could host their own music shows. The rest of us can have local talk and news programming, some NPR shows, and very importantly broadcasts from the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Imagine! Radio reception in the house and from a local station no less.

So how is it that I knew about this and you didn’t? Well, I haven’t seen you at our monthly AWARE meetings now have I? Rip Robbins was there last month and Michelle Coda also gave a presentation about the nascent Upriver Coop. (A little bird has been twittering about the prospects of a coop blog for keeping us all updated on that front as well.) Last night we learned about a campaign for public financing for Supreme Court Justices in Washington. It was a fun and informative discussion. Honest!

So there you have it! I expect you to make a New Year’s resolution to interact with your community. Come to the next AWARE meeting on January 15th. If you can’t wait that long, there’s a tentative date of December 1st set for an opportunity to find out how to appeal your recent property assessment at a meeting hosted by AWARE at the Senior Center with Commissioner Sharon Dillon and a representative from the Board of Equalization. I’ll update here when I know for sure on the date.

So while Wall Street is going in the tank and people are finding it harder to make ends meet, let us meet and support each other.

Before you drive Downriver to shop for Christmas, stop by Sauk Mountain Gallery, Sauk Mountain Pottery, M Gallerie and our other local shops first. You might just save yourself a trip *and* make a local merchants holiday brighter.

Let’s meet monthly and discuss our Upriver issues.

Let’s let our imaginations fly and plan some radio programming. Get the kids involved!

While we’re planning, we can also plan our modern victory gardens and we can plan on a CSA share next spring from Jericho Farm.

Check out some of the other farmers, ranchers and producers that I’ve featured on this blog over the past year and see where you can buy local food. After all, we don’t have a Wal*Mart here and, frankly, we don’t need one.

Oh and, if you stocked up on guns and ammo, well, let’s go plinking! 🙂

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