rmast (3K)


Nov 24, 2008 02:11PM

rooting around


Radish earns kudos from Windy City 'zine

Radish recently received a pat on the back from Green Parent Chicago, an eco-friendly magazine for Moms and Dads who want to raise their families the natural way. Writes Green Parent Chicago, "Radish magazine, one of our favorite regional magazines on natural and sustainable living ... has a straightforward how-to this month (Aug. 2008) by Darcy Maulsby on how to keep backyard chickens for homegrown eggs." To check out Green Parents Chicago, visit greenparentchicago.typepad.com. To read the story about keeping your own flock, visit radishmagazine.com and click on "stories" at the top of the page.

'Taming the Truffle' sifts through science, finds humor

Mini-review: "Taming the Truffle: The History, Lore, and Science of the Ultimate Mushroom," by Ian R. Hall, Gordon T. Brown, and Alessandra Zambonelli (Timber Press, 2008).

3-1/2 Radishes

Thumbing through the pages of this book, I realized that it's not light reading or a "Dummies Guide to Truffles" for the weekend mushroom hunter. Instead, it's a technical reference and guidebook for someone with an interest in truffles -- or a major in biochemistry! Hall, Brown and Zambonelli demonstrate their passion for this mysterious fungus in scientific details throughout the book, which includes color photographs and maps. The book methodically covers classification of truffles, variations between regions where they grow and information to help hunters identify truffles of different species. The book is so exhaustive, in fact, I'd say it could serve as a handbook for someone who wants to start his own truffle farm. (Judged as such, I'd give it 4.9 Radishes, instead!) Even though it's easy to get a little bit lost in all the scientific talk, the authors definitely do have a sense of humor. Consider this explanation of the exotic Balsamia and Stephensia truffles: "Due to their scarcity and their high price, it is unlikely that one would be poisoned by them. It is more likely one would suffer from a hole in their wallet first."

-- Kathy Gleason, Bettendorf, Iowa

Scott Community College's paint program cuts carbon emissions

Scott Community College (SCC) in Davenport is cutting its carbon footprint with a new virtual program. For the past year, SCC's auto collision department has been using the Virtual Spray Program to teach students correct methods and techniques of spray coating without using a drop of paint. "The actual virtual spray program is a computer generated program that works with trackers on the ceiling and emitters located in the paint gun," SCC spray coatings facilitator Ken Hoggard said. The program simulates individual car parts like doors, fenders and hoods. The program is used in conjunction with live training, but it's a great way to eliminate actual practice time, Hoggard said. This way, students can practice "without putting V.O.C.'s (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air and wasting it on nonsense pieces." For more information, contact Ken Hoggard, khoggard@eicc.edu or (563) 441-4028.

-- By Laura Anderson

New report: A nutritious, organic diet protects against dementia

A new report says that eating better could protect your brain from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. According to "Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging," by Dr. Jill Stein, with the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Dr. Ted Schettler, science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, indicates that diet and nutrition are emerging as critical factors in brain health and health in general. The report also identifies protective foods that can decrease risk of disease, such as high intake of omega-3 fatty acids which is associated with markedly lower risk for Alzheimer's. The Mediterranean diet, which includes fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, nuts and olive oil also is linked to substantially reduced risks of both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, as well as dramatically lower rates of diabetes, vascular disease, recurrent heart attacks and metabolic syndrome.

Green cleaning supplies keep up with the harsh stuff

Back in the day, so-called green cleaning products weren't so great. These days, they're getting better, and a new, independent study proves it. Consumer Testing Laboratories, Inc., of Rogers, Ark., stacked Earth Friendly Products' eco-friendly dish-washing gel against Cascade. Dirty tumblers and flatware were judged for spotting, filming and soil removal. The result? The eco-friendly detergent cleaned just as well as the leading brand. "Lately there's been a lot of scrutiny on the effectiveness of using eco-friendly cleaning products. Some even state that they (the products) simply do not work as well as the standard brands," said Van Vlahakis, CEO of Earth Friendly Products. "This study proves that our phosphate-free line cleans just as well, and (it) doesn't clog our lakes and rivers and kill marine life." For more information, visit ecos.com.

Dancer takes to flight for the the environment

You won’t find Jennifer Monson on "Dancing With the Stars." However, the dancer-choreographer hailed by The New York Times as a downtown dance star has been testing the waters, reaching out and building new audiences in communities outside the mainstream dance world. After gaining wide acclaim with her multiyear, multicontinental "Bird Brain" project based on the migration pattern of ducks, geese, osprey and gray whales, Monson has herself migrated to a new environment. This past January, she joined the dance faculty at the University of Illinois.

Learn to D-I-Y with these workshops and classes for holiday decorations

Wanna learn to make your own wreaths, swags, ornaments and more? Check out these classes in the Radish region.

* Making a Holiday Wreath, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Dec. 6, Bickelhaupt Arboretum, 340 S. 14th St., Clinton, Iowa. $25. Call (563) 242-4771 for details.

* Nature's Noel, 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 6, Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Road SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Learn to make centerpieces, wreaths and swags from fresh greens. The event also features foods, vendors with handmade items, cookie dough, candy and live music. It's free to attend. Call (319) 362-0664 for details.

* Reusable Christmas, 1 p.m. Dec. 6, Hurstville Interpretive Center, 18670 63rd St., Maquoketa, Iowa. Learn to curb holiday waste. Join a naturalist for an afternoon of decorating reusable Christmas gift bags and recycling wrapping paper into decorations. Cost is $2 per person. Call (563) 652-3783 to register.

* Natural Ornaments, 10 a.m. Dec. 13, Wapsi River Environmental Center, 31555 52nd Ave., Dixon, Iowa. Decorate your home with ornaments made from natural materials. Participants will collect a variety of natural items and learn how to create festive decor. Call (563) 328-3286 to register before Dec. 12.

Rides, runs and walks

* Fulton Christmas Run/Walk, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Fulton, IL. (815) 589-4945.

* Jingle Bell Run For Arthritis, 10 a.m. Dec. 5, Peru, Ill. 5K. (815) 224-2799.

* Reindeer Ramble, 9 a.m. Dec. 7, IBEW Local 135, 1700 52nd Ave., Moline. 5K. (309) 788-0500.

* Jingle Bell Run For Arthritis, 9 a.m. Dec. 13, Life Fitness Center, 2222 Middle Road, Bettendorf, Iowa. 5K run, 2-mile walk. (319) 363-4403.

Celebrate the beginning of winter with solstice events Dec. 21

December 21 is the shortest day of the year, which means it's also the darkest. Why not take a break from the holiday hustle and seek solace and light with one of these old-fashioned celebrations?

* Celebrate Renewable Energy on Winter Solstice, 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m., The Mill Restaurant, 120 E. Burlington St., Iowa City. Call (319) 643-3160.

* Celebrate the Arrival of Winter, Maharishi Vedic Observatory, Maharishi Vedic City, Fairfield, Iowa. The observatory is unique in the world for its ability to display in one compact form the whole structure of the universe along with all the movements of the sun, the planets and the stars. Includes a lecture and tour. Call (641) 470-7000 for details.

* Winter Solstice, 5:30 p.m., Bickelhaupt Arboretum, 340 S. 14th St., Clinton, Iowa. Get details by calling (563) 242-4771.

* Winter Solstice Gathering, 7 p.m., Sherman Park, 2776 160th Ave., Calamus, Iowa. Learn some fun facts about the sun and discover the traditions of Yule and Christmas and the roots behind them. Call (563) 847-7202 for details.

Women's spirituality group forming at Prairiewoods

A new group for women is taking shape at Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center. Women's Sacred Circle is for ladies who are interested in gathering for spiritual growth, and its direction and activities it undertakes will be determined by the participants. All are welcome to come and share with other like-minded women. The group meets on the first Wednesday of every month, and December's meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Prairiewoods, 120 E. Boyson Road, Hiawatha, Iowa. For more information, call Mary Ellen Dunford at (319) 395-6700, extension 202, or visit prairiewoods.org.

Need a new recipe? Get a few good ones from Hy-Vee

There's nothing like a great new recipe to kick off the holidays. You can pick up a few new ideas at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Hy-Vee Club Room, 2900 Devils Glen Road, Bettendorf. The class, "My Favorite Things," will be presented by Hy-Vee meat department manager Bill Herrington and Club Room manager Cathy Norgard, who will share their tried-and-true favorites. Cost to attend is $10 per person. Call (563) 332-8496 to register. To find cooking and healthy-eating classes at a Hy-Vee store near you, visit hy-vee.com and choose a store from the drop-down list.

Giving back: Michael Woods

As executive director of the University of Illinois Extension Rock Island County, Michael Woods of Atkinson, Ill., has seen his share of bumps in the road.

Though threats of funding cuts loomed over extension programs earlier this year, for now things are intact, thanks in part to Woods' leadership.

"When you're dealing with people, you're always going to be tossed and turned around,'' Woods said. "It's worth fighting for the people we serve and our dedicated staff."

"Michael understands his office is community-driven (and) that volunteerism is what makes it go,'' said extension volunteer Roxie DeShane. "He knows no boundaries when it comes to bringing sides together to make a project come to life. His passion for making something work is the first thing you see. He has tremendous energy.''

That energy bleeds into Woods' personal endeavors, as well: growing grapes that go into local wines, and growing foods that end up on plates at his bistro in Atkinson.

"The beauty is that job and this job blend so well," he said. "Extension allows me many interests, as does owning the restaurant and vineyard."

-- By John Marx

Heavenly local breads are now online

Did you know? You can buy baked goods from the Sinsinawa Dominicans of Sinsinawa, Wis., online at their Web site, sinsinawa.org. These sisters bake caramel rolls, dinner rolls, fruit cakes, and many breads, including raisin, cinnamon and zucchini. Cost for baked items is $3.50 to $8 plus shipping. For more information, call (608) 748-4411, extension 11, or send an e-mail to bread@sinsinawa.org.


Burpee to offer world’s first sweet, seedless tomato

It's almost time for the new seed catalogs to start filling gardeners' mailboxes, and when they do, gardeners will have the chance to order the world's first sweet, seedless tomato. W. Atlee Burpee & Co. will release 'Sweet Seedless' and feature it on the cover of its 2009 catalog. During trials, the tomato proved itself to be very hardy and disease resistant, according to Burpee. Gardeners who want to get their hands on ‘Sweet Seedless’ can begin purchasing seeds through the Burpee catalog or Web site in January. Tomato plants will be available for shipping in spring. For more information, visit burpee.com


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