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Cell tower plan on hold/IFC to host a spiritual feast/Permaculture is taking root

Cell tower plan on hold

A proposed ordinance that would allow the installation of cell phone towers in the neighborhood service centers of Lynwood Center, Island Center and Rolling Bay got its first look by the City Council Wednesday.

Introduced by City Councilman Jim Llewellyn, the proposed ordinance would aim to improve inconsistent cell phone reception.

“I know it’s sometimes hard for this council to get into the 21st Century,” Llewellyn said. “This would do that.”

Llewellyn, who introduced and saw the failure of a similar ordinance a few years ago, said cell phone reception on the island should be more reliable, particularly in case of emergencies.

He also said the city, which hasn’t updated its wireless communications code since 1997, is well behind other jurisdictions when it comes to regulating cell towers.

That’s evident, he said, in the details of a dispute in West Blakely, where residents are upset about a new cell tower that’s set to be affixed to a recently extended utility pole. Neighbors say the taller pole is blocking their views.

Llewellyn said better regulations could prevent similar disputes from happening elsewhere.

The proposed ordinance earlier received a negative review by the Land Use Committee, which unanimously recommended its rejection.

The full council wasn’t as harsh Wednesday, but neither was it supportive.

Once the ordinance has been reviewed by City Attorney Paul McMurray, it will come back to the council, perhaps at the Nov. 28 meeting.

Council Chair Chris Snow said events at West Blakely are telling.

“It’s a clear indication the code needs to be given another look,” he said, adding that technology usually outpaces regulation. “Maybe we can never catch up.”

– Chad Schuster

IFC to host a spiritual feast

On the Tuesday before the traditional Thanksgiving holiday, the Bainbridge Island/North Kitsap Interfaith Council is inviting islanders to embody the spirit of giving thanks.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” will be the theme of the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The service is free and open to all.

“It’s a chance for the community to come together to worship and celebrate together from all religious traditions,” Interfaith Council vice president Kent Chadwick said.

Guest speakers, including Joanne Tews of Helpline House, Tom Crowley of Cross Sound Church, Fran Korten of Yes! Magazine and high school student Dante Garcia, will discuss how their experiences in community building relate to the “Be the change” theme, which was inspired by the words and example of Mahatma Gandhi.

Following the talks, attendees will be led in songs and prayers from a variety of faiths.

For more information call Rev. Dee Eisenhauer of Eagle Harbor Congregational Church at 842-4657.

– Tad Sooter

Permaculture is taking root

A farm, a forest, a lawn – three land uses that seem, at first glance, to have very little in common.

But for Chuck Estin and a growing local community interested in permaculture, the simple idea that land need not be divided into distinct productive, natural and living spaces is the foundation of a movement.

To that end, Estin has founded a permaculture guild on the island, whose third meeting will take place today Holly Lane Gardens.

Participants can attend a morning workshop on permaculture design, an afternoon introduction to mushroom culture in greenhouses, or both. No fees or advance notice are required.

Permaculture encompasses a method of creating sustainable local ecosystems that also produce food for human consumption – replacing traditional lawns with a combination of farm and forest.

For Estin, it represents a path to creating “sustainable, healthy communities living in harmony with the land.”

“Permaculture is doing things the way that nature does things,” he said. “It’s very efficient – minimizing the amount of work it takes to get a yield by copying nature.”

In October, a workshop focused on principles of permaculture and on sheet mulching.

The guild’s activities going forward will consist of monthly Saturday workshops and Wednesday night meetings, with a primary goal of teaching hands-on skills in order to offer “a real, practical way of promoting community sustainability,” Estin said, through increasing local food production, water catchment, alternative energy and economics, and permaculture domains.

The term “guild,” taken from medieval artisan communities, also refers to groups of plants that grow well together.

In addition to agricultural methods, Estin hopes to expand the concept of natural “support systems” to the community level.

“One of my visions for the island is that it would have neighborhoods that are working together, designed together, so they can share their resources and their gardens and work together,” he said. “The times and the population are coming together to be very receptive.”

The permaculture guild workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Nov. 17 at Holly Lane Gardens, 9432 Holly Farm Lane. Participants can attend either the morning session from 10 a.m. to noon; the afternoon session from 1 to 4 p.m., or both. Some components are hands-on; bring a power drill and a 5/16-inch drill bit if it’s handy. Visit www.biosdesign.us for more information.

– Brooke Jarvis

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