Giving Thanks the American Way: Inhumane Turkey Dinners
What the Frack?!
Field Assignment Leads to Invaluable Experience
I am a Public Relations major with a minor in Regenerative Studies. My minor study was the inspiration for our first field assignment. The John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative studies ( located up the hill from the farm store, in case you were wondering) has started a series of projects that are aimed at teaching the surrounding Pomona sub-communities about sustainability. The series of projects is known as the Sustainable Communities Initiative. I heard about the initiative through word of mouth at the Lyle Center. There are six students, referred to as ‘fellows’, that have been hired to work on this project. The fellows are currently engaged in working with Westmont Elementary in the Pomona Unified school district. The sustainable initiative grew from a small garden project at Westmont.
I aspire to promote sustainable practices, and engage communities through public outreach for my future career. So, writing a story on this sustainable initiative has been a wonderful opportunity for developing professional skills for what I hope to do for a living.
I used the internet to look up information on the initiative. The only thing I could find was the application that the director of the project posted when he was looking to hire students.
My sources were very pleasant to work with, and I was able to establish rapport with all three of them. One of the fellows is a student I have worked with in the past at the Lyle center. She was very excited to share her insight on the project. She was thankful that I had taken such interest in the work they are doing.Our crazy,student schedules were difficult to coordinate, so we did the interview via email. It worked swell. She was able to reflect on the questions I sent her for a few days, and replied with very thoughtful and informative answers. The principle of Westmont Elementary was another one of my sources. She was also extremely willing and passionate in sharing information about the project. I was able to really understand the emotion invested in this project through her interview. This interview was conducted over the phone. My most informative source was the director of the Lyle Center,Dr Kyle D. Brown who is also the director of the project. Our interview was in the traditional face-to-face style.
This field assignment has opened new doors for me that I am very enthralled about. After my interview with Dr. Brown, he asked if I would be interested in collaborating with him to help them with publicity for their project. He viewed my communication skills as a useful resource. I am honored and excited to help inform the public about the amazing work the Lyle Center is doing. The professional experience I will gain from doing PR for sustainable projects will be invaluable.
Tragedy Strikes in Good Ol’ San Dimas
It’s not every day that a house goes into complete combustion, and a human body is found dead inside a parked car of the fiery mess less than a mile from your own home. This past Monday, this exact scenario played out only two minutes from my house. I live in the quite town of San Dimas, not too far from campus. Minimal criminal activity goes on in this little western themed town. So, waking up to what felt like an earthquake along with multiple helicopters flying overhead at 5 a.m. Monday was out of the ordinary. When I found out that a person had been found shot to death inside a taxi cab parked in front of the burning home in San Dimas, my stomach churned.
The body found inside the taxicab was slumped over the steering wheel with gunshot wounds to the head. Investigators claim that the wound was self-inflicted. Homicide detectives have decided that the fire of the home was intentionally started by the deceased man who appeared to be severely burned when found. It is unknown, by public investigators anyway, what prompted the individual to inflict the fire and the suicide.
Neighbors claim to have known the deceased man as either Terry or Candice, and stated that he lived with another man that went by the name of Jessica. They were in a relationship, dressed as women and shared the home according to surrounding neighbors. No victims were found in the home and no arrests have been made.
I feel skeptical. Nearby residents heard the two men fighting the night before, and even witnessed Terry/Candice waving a gun around in the front yard. He threatened any one that attempted to approach him, so neighbors backed off. My question is: where in the world is this guy’s known boyfriend? Was this really a suicide?
Maybe it was the journalist instinct within me, or maybe it was the mere fact of how bizarre of thing had happened so close to me… but I absolutely had to see the crime scene. When I got there, I could smell the char from the house, and death in the air. Very ire to say the least. I laid flowers down along the driveway, and crept past the caution tape surrounding the house. The place was a blackened mess, and the taxi in the driveway sent chills down my spine. No matter which way you look at it, this is a tragic, unfortunate thing. I hurt for the human race when such things happen. Being in the presence of the disaster made my soul tender the entire week. A life was lost, and I want to know why.
What Lobby Are You Sitting In?
Last week I was fortunate enough to experience a little taste of culture from India.My eyebrows were looking rather bushy, so I made my way to the local Threading Store. My feelings toward this trip to the threading store were nothing extraordinary. Why would they be? It was not something I had never done before. In fact it was something I typically do every few weeks. Thinking nothing more than sexy brows would come from this trip, I was surprised to be leaving the store with so much insight and such unique designs painted on my hand.
As the woman called me over to begin my thread, I noticed artistic designs covering the top of her hands. I was intrigued and entranced by what I saw. My curiosity was amusing to her. She chuckled as I played 21 questions with her about the lovely paint stained into her skin. She explained to me that the paint was a “Henna Tattoo , or more traditionally known as Mehndi. The word Mehndi is derived from a Sanskirt word, and is a ceremonial art form which originated in ancient India.
The intricate designs are traditionally applied during special occasions like weddings and during Muslim and Hindu festivals. The henna is a flower-based dye that rests on the surface of the skin rather than permanently inserted underneath the skin. I really liked the natural aspect, which inclined my interest in them even farther. But to my dismay, I was not getting married, nor was I going to be involved in a religious festival.
Not to fret, the threading lady assured me. The act of staining one’s skin is a Vedic custom. These customs are centered around the idea of “awakening the inner light.” So, using henna can be symbolic for a multitude of happy times, and not just for marriage or religion.
In previous visits I had told her about my son, Zeno. Instinctively she asks me about him every time I step foot through the store. She offered to do a henna painting on my hand as a representation of the light I have found through Zeno.
I love the way henna incorporates the symbols of culture in such a beautiful way. My henna experience was very spiritual and symbolic. I saw it as a metaphor of life. The time spent on detailed work blossomed into a beautiful design, which then later faded, and eventually disappeared into dust.