WinterSpring #COTM January 2017

The 501-C-3 Files

by adam and sophia Bogle

WinterSpring  (Resources for Coping with Grief)

We have all known people who are grieving. And we have all known the awkwardness of trying to come up with something meaningful to say or do. These days, through Facebook mostly, it seems we get to be “in-the-know” more often than we did in the past. How many Facebook posts do we see now from a friend to learn that their mother, sister or even their dog has died? In the past our only option other than to post a comment was to “like” it. At least now there is a sad face. I would venture to say that many of us are not well versed with death and the grieving that comes with it. But it is inevitable, and coping with the loss of loved ones is really part of living. What we need are a few tools to learn to work through this process that comes about many times in our lives. That’s where WinterSpring can help.

WinterSpring offers phone support, assessment, group grief support to people of all ages with individual peer support, resources, referrals and education. Whether it is loss of a parent, a child, or a beloved pet, there is help for you, or a good resource to send to help others you know may be hurting. Here are just a few examples of how WinterSpring is making a difference.

“Jessica’s” story:  Jessica’s mother died in a car accident when she was just 7 years old. Even after considerable time had passed, she was showing signs that things just weren’t right. She wasn’t interested in the activities she once loved, and had regressed into herself, seldom talking. Fortunately, her school got her connected with a WinterSpring children’s program that meets once a week to support children who are experiencing grief. She was in a group of about 7 kids who were all experiencing their own losses. Jessica connected with one of the counsellors there, Christine (who has an English accent). They played dress up together with Christine becoming the Queen. And when the Queen said that she too had lost a close friend in a car accident, Jessica’s face lit up. She started to realize that she was not alone and that she could share (and process) her sadness. And she was able to start to break out of that shell of depression.

“Randal’s” Story: After the loss of his mother several years earlier, Randal had been acting out in middle school. He would get really angry, and frequently was violent. Then one year, just after mother’s day, his behavior really took a turn for the worse. He had been told to “be tough” after the loss. Again, thank goodness for teachers. One of his teachers who knew that his mother had died, got him into one of the WinterSpring on-site school-based grief groups. As the other teens shared their stories, Randal’s behaviors started to improve. One of the rituals they did was to paint the name of the loved one on a little rock, and they planted a tree and pansy garden, and the kids would place their memorial rock in it. Even though Randal didn’t share much with the group, the teacher noticed that he would frequently go to the memorial rock garden and weed and caretake it. Meanwhile his outbursts got to be fewer and fewer. 

One thing I am finding to be surprisingly useful is their website: www.winterspring.org. There are many resources there about dealing with loss. In fact just today I sent along the packet about “Loss of a Family Pet” to a friend who’s dog of 14 years passed away. (Yes, I learned about it through Facebook.) It was so much better than the flimsy “I’m sorry” that sometimes is all I know how to say.

Do you have what it takes to help others with their grieving? If you think you do,  WinterSpring offers Bereavement Skills Training. The next workshop is March 4th, and is a training for professionals who encounter people in grief and for people who would like to be volunteers for WinterSpring. 

I believe the biggest thing though one can do to help WinterSpring (other than donating money) is to just be aware of the program, to use its website, and to tell others who may be in need of their services.  Let’s not hide behind thinking that everyone will just get over it.

Call them at 541-552-0620 or go to their website to find out how to help, or how to get help.

Ashland Culture of Peace Commission #COTM for February 2017

The 501c3 Files

By: Adam and Sophia Bogle

Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC)

“An enemy is a person whose story we have not heard.” 

Gene Knudsen Hoffman (founder of Compassionate Listening)

This last summer, if you were walking by Chautauqua Square (in front of the Black Swan) you may have noticed a “circle” of chairs.  On and around those chairs were several people trained in compassionate listening, compassionate speaking, and implicit bias.  These are ACPC Peace Ambassadors, and they call this process: “Circling on the Square.” No, they weren’t preaching. Twice a week, they would make themselves available to the public to listen to passersby’s answers to “What does a culture of peace look like to you?”  Also on their sign was the related question, “How are you contributing to a culture of peace?” People from all walks of life would stop and share what was on their hearts and minds.  At times, theatre goers and actors, merchants and shoppers, local students and unhoused families would find themselves sitting together discussing the obstacles to and the values underlying peace.

Peace Ambassadors are just one of the teams that comprise the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission, explained the ACPC Executive Director, David Wick, when we recently sat at the Bloomsbury Coffee House along with Joyce Segers (One of their Peace Ambassadors).  The ACPC listens to all sides of issues, networks, and, like “Circling on the Square”, it brings diverse people together to hear each others’ views. Wick described how the Peace Ambassadors knew they were making an impact. “Some people would pull their car to the curb, hop out and explain that they’ve been noticing the circle and awaiting a moment when they had time to stop; others would make return visits.” Their personal stories would unfold: A local professional talked about how they feared potential aggressive actions toward their business; a former attorney lamented that his economic views fell on deaf ears; a young married father was distressed about rent to income ratios. The Peace Ambassadors have found that listening is a powerful tool as it allows people to connect, to hear their own voice, and to get in touch with their own wisdom. Some business people have mentioned that this active listening seems to have added an element of respect and has perhaps contributed to the reduced aggression between housed and unhoused people”

The influence of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission is widespread. From one on one talking to encouraging political change. In early October, the ACPC held a forum for mayoral and city council candidates.  The values of accountability, inclusivity, and authenticity guided candidates to address solutions to problems instead of attacking opponents. During their Eleven Days for Peace (September 11 through 21), the ACPC held nightly vigils on the Plaza, each one addressing a shadow side of peace (addiction, racism, sex trafficking, etc.)  The speaking format set the stage for transmuting frustration and helplessness into compassion.  The energy of these public gatherings was electric; even without the benefit of being indoors, safe space was maintained. Both locals and visitors were magnetically drawn to the circles, one elderly gentleman even separated from his extended family as his curiosity and interest was so piqued. Some folks who remained outside the circle were moved to tears.  One participant whose anxiety was intensified by the vigil, engaged in distracting behavior.  As with all ACPC activities, compassion for this person’s angst was expressed.  Then the participant sang a most touching song and became calm.

Wick clarified that the ACPC is not a city commission. It is a public, citizen-run commission which has the flexibility to take on roles that the city and other NGOs can’t do.  Yet the ACPC is endorsed by the City Counsel, and some people with the ACPC meet weekly with Mayor John Stromberg discussing the development of a culture of peace.  The ACPC has roots in Pathways to Peace and the United Nations designated “Peace Messenger Initiative”.

If your own curiosity is piqued, consider attending an ACPC community meeting: 4 pm Wednesdays or the free Talking Circles at 11 am Tuesdays, all of which take place in their office at 33 First Street, Suite 1, Ashland (across from the Post Office).  For more information, go to www.ashlandcpc.org.   

community works

Community Works is the focus of the Ashland Sneak Preview’s 501c3 Files #COTM

The 501c3 Files is published monthly in the Ashland Sneak Preview.

By: Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle

Focus On: Community Works

FREE TOYS!

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about the organization that makes these free toys possible. At the end you will see how and when free toys are available. First though, I want to tell you three stories about people who found the courage to reach out and find the resources they needed to rise above a bad situation. That is what Community Works does. It provides the tools to help people out of abusive situations, empowering them to change their world. The names in these stories have been changed to protect privacy.

Martina called HelpLine last year simply looking for a referral for legal assistance. When she was invited by the HelpLine volunteer to talk a little more, Martina revealed that she and her children were being abused by her husband and that she wanted to get a restraining order against him. So HelpLine connected Martina with Community Works advocates who were able to provide support and information about resources to help her on her journey out of her abusive marriage. With this assistance, she applied for, and got, a restraining order. She also applied for and got a grant from the DV Foundation to change the locks on her home and install other security measures, and she continues to attend Community Works support groups for survivors of domestic violence for ongoing support and guidance as she continues to rebuild her life free from abuse. community works

John came from a home of abuse and neglect and married young to escape his unsafe home, but it wasn’t long before this relationship turned abusive. John was afraid to tell anyone that he was being abused by his wife because of the stigma and shame he felt at being a male victim. He suffered in silence for years, until one day he heard about Dunn House Shelter. (This is  Community Works’ shelter for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.) He called HelpLine for more information and they connected him with a Community Works domestic violence advocate. Within 24 hours he had a room at Dunn House Shelter. While living there, John attended support groups and worked one-on-one with advocates, setting goals for his future, finding support and reassurance, and taking steps to reclaim his life. He stayed at the shelter for just over a month while he worked on finding new housing and deciding how he wanted to move forward with his life. Eventually he rented a room from a coworker, set his sights on college, and plans to attend classes at SOU next year. 

Alison was 16 when she ran away from a severely abusive home. She lived on the streets and “couch-surfed” with friends. She wasn’t in school, wasn’t working, and felt that life had nothing to offer her. But everything changed when she found out she was pregnant. Somehow this impelled her to find the inner strength and resilience to try to make a better life for her and her baby. She called the HelpLine, which connected her with the Youth and Family Services program. From there she got onto the wait list for housing and meanwhile her case manager and mentor helped her apply for the Oregon Health Plan and get prenatal care. After just a few months, Alison was placed into the Transitional Living Program. Finally she had a safe place to call home! Supported by her case manager, she attended life-skills and parenting classes. She lived in the TLP for less than two years, and in that time she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, found a job, and got a promotion which helped her moved out of TLP housing and into her own apartment. 

Thank you to Amy Beard, the Development Director and Community Educator for Community Works for sharing these moving stories. The power to change your life is always within you but it helps to have resources!

Ok back to the Free Toys. This December 22nd Community Works will have their annual Toy Giveaway. These are the extra donated toys that have accumulated throughout the year. To find out more call: 541-779-4357 (The help line). There are no eligibility requirements. Just fill out a form with the ages of the kids and they hand you a bag of toys!

If you would like to donate to Community Works and Dunn House, keep in mind that there are older kids that need some love too. Sports equipment, new art supplies and books for teens are things that would be very welcome. Go to www.community-works.org to make a financial contribution or to learn how to volunteer.

Team Overland Logo

TEAM OVERLAND November #COTM

The 501c3 Files: TEAM OVERLAND

From the November Ashland Sneak Preview

In 2008, Matthew Havniear deployed as a Marine to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His company found themselves embroiled daily in heavy firefights. The city was in ruins, mined and dangerous. Upon his return from Afghanistan in 2010, Matt was diagnosed with service connected Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Concussion Syndrome. He struggled with the symptoms and searched for healthy outlets, but only found long waits and clinical approaches from doctors. Knowing that he needed to find a better outlet for stress management, he immersed himself in volunteer work. During these first few months back Matt  realized that he was benefitting from being part of a team and serving the community but he knew he needed more.

Matt’s late father Dale Havniear, was an avid outdoorsman and taught Matt the importance of staying connected with nature. So Matt made efforts to get out on the land, but mostly only made solo trips. One day Matt was out with a fellow vet driving through the woods when they started talking about the restorative power of the wilderness. It was on this trip that the idea for Team Overland was created. Matt and his friend realized that it was the combination of being part of a team and staying connected to nature that could help vets reintegrate into civilian life. The military teaches you that being part of a team is crucial to survival and there are few opportunities out there to combine teamwork with the healing power of being out in nature in civilian life.overlandphoto

So what is Team Overland? Essentially it is organized outdoor adventures. Overlanding is defined as self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, it is accomplished by mechanized off-road capable transport  (Team Overland prefers Toyota Trucks and 4Runners) and tent camping.

Team Overland provides trips to veterans that are looking for a healthy way to manage their personal stress. They provide camaraderie, encouragement and a support system for veterans suffering from not only mental disorders, but also physically wounded soldiers as well.

After the military, many veterans feel disconnected and alone. They experience a lack of camaraderie as they return to the civilian world. The way you need to work together on these Overland adventures gives vets a way to re-wire their brains. Previous associations of off-trail dusty driving as a potentially life ending trip changes into a fun and exciting way to hang out with friends and to see areas of our beautiful Southern Oregon that most of us don’t get to see.

Matt describes Team Overland in his own words: “We encourage members to positively manage their stress by providing healthy social environments and by planning activities that improve cognitive coping skills. We inspire our team members, and encourage veteran reintegration. On the trail, we work as a team to overcome the obstacles encountered on the way to our destinations. Team Overland is unique in that it is not exclusive to just military members. We want to have an impact on veteran reintegration and we believe that that  it is only possible by having an organization with veterans and civilians working together. At Team Overland, we value and lean on our non-military members. We noticed early on that the civilians were passionate about “sharing the burden” of service. We have found that our approach builds bonds between military and non-military members through the shared interest of outdoor adventure and teamwork on the trail.”

In addition to providing these adventures, Team Overland frequently hosts fundraisers for other worthy causes.  Their next Overland Adventure is a guided trip to the beautiful Upper Rogue River to one of their favorite and secret spots. Remember, Team Overland is not just for vets, so if you want to find out where their secret spot is, visit them at www.teamoverland.org. Also, we shouldn’t have to say this, but women can obviously be veterans too, and Team Overland has taken groups of all women Overlanding. If you have a warm spot in your heart for a locally grown non-profit that is providing a service that is unique for our veterans. Please visit their site and donate. 

Activity is Down, Prices are Up in the Rogue Valley

The latest statistic for home sales have come out, and they tell a slightly unsurprising story. At least for those of us in the housing market. And that is that while the median sales price is on the rise, the number of homes sold has declined over this some period of time last year. There are many ways to read stats, but this is how I look at it. Number of sales is down about 10% from this time last year. And the number of homes available is also down about 10%. I think there is a correlation there. Couple that with the days on market is down 13%, it tells me a story that there would be more sales if there were more houses for sale. Prices are up across Jackson County about 9% year over year. But I believe we are getting to a point where sellers need to be Image titlea little cautious to think that that trend will continue into 2017.

Wages are not rising 10% a year, so at some point there will be a leveling off of the value of homes that are affordable by the local buyer.

The one area that the stats show an increase in the number of units sold though is new construction. After many years of no construction, the demand for new homes is certainly there, and evident in the stats.

If you would like a more detailed set of statistics emailed to you, drop me a line at clientsupport@tenrealtygroup.com

#COTM Resolve

imgres-1The 503c3 Files
By: Adam Bogle

Resolve
(formerly Mediation Works)

I don’t think it matters if you are a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, or Tea Partier (calling them Partiers kinda makes me want to be one), I think one thing everyone can agree on is that the criminal justice system in this country is completely broken. With more people incarcerated per capita then almost every country in the world, this is definitely an issue this country needs to do something about. The question is what…and is anyone doing anything about it already?
The good news around here is that there is a local non-profit who is tackling this issue, and making a real difference in people’s lives. Just one part of what Resolve does is a Restorative Justice program, and when young people are involved, there is a program called Victim Assistance, Youth Accountability (VAYA). Their key goal is not to punish an individual who has committed a crime by incarceration, but instead to heal the relationships that have been harmed as a result of the crime.
As they refer to it, there is a ripple effect for every action we take…either good or bad…and when an individual commits a crime, the victim is affected in ways that the “criminal” doesn’t recognize. And when faced with the results of the ripple effect, both the criminal and the victim can come together to make things right.
One local story involves a young man named Alex. (While most everything at Resolve is confidential, Alex came forward publicly with his story) When in his teenage years, Alex had a bad relationship with alcohol, and regularly drank to the point of being disoriented and out of control. On one such evening, Alex was drinking and wandering the neighborhood with no real idea of where he was. Not being able to find his way home, he punched his arm through a neighbors window and proceeded to pass out on their couch.
Imagine the surprise and feelings the neighbor had when she found a strange man in her house. Police were called, and Alex was charged with Burglary and Criminal Mischief.
This case could have gone through the justice system, and had large impacts on Alex’s life and prospects for his future. Instead, he went through a month long program with VAYA where he learned of the ripple effect caused by his actions including the fear he had created for the victim.
Alex and the neighbor agreed to meet in person (with assistance) and had the opportunity to talk about the incident so that they could repair the harm and move forward. It was a successful and powerful meeting. The neighbor saw that Alex was not the scary criminal she saw when she found him in her house, but a kid who was going through a rough patch in his life. She also got to see that he understood the negative effects that he had caused in her life.
Four years later, Alex called Resolve out of the blue to thank them for the positive impact that VAYA had on his life. Alex said “There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I didn’t think of VAYA, the impact it left upon me was tremendous. I constantly wonder how different my life would look behind bars in a cell in Portland.” Alex is currently serving in the Marine Corp. He says “I want my career after the military to have affiliations with restorative justice programs similar to Mediation Works (now Resolve).”
And this story represents just one arm of what Resolve does. They teach Mediation to local schools, organizations and community workplaces. In fact, I personally went through one of their training sessions just a couple of months ago. One of the volunteer jobs I have is to be an Ombudsman for the local Realtor Association, to help resolve conflict that Realtors or the public have with each other in the event of a bad real estate transaction.
Resolve also provides professional Mediation and Facilitation services in the valley. For more information, to get help or to donate or volunteer: go to www.resolvecenter.org. They are located at 1237 N Riverside Ave #25 in Medford. (541) 770-2468

Appraisals are slower and more expensive than ever. What’s up with that?

Why do you hire a Realtor? Because things change in the market ALL of the time.

It is what keeps it interesting for people like me who like change. Not all change,  ( I do not particularly care for loose change – I gotta jar for that)  but most change keeps things from getting dull and static.

So the latest issues we are having are with appraisals, and/or appraisers.

This is a function of a system in Oregon that makes getting licensed to be an appraiser very time consuming, expensive and difficult. And the regulations put on them by legislation what was passed in the wake of the financial meltdown of the mid 2000s, such as Dodd-Frank, made filling out the paperwork onerous, and put appraisal management companies in as middlemen who take a cut of the appraisers money.

The main hurdle is that appraisers must do an apprenticeship with an existing appraiser. But with the existing system, there is not incentive for an appraiser to take a new person under their wing. It basically just costs them more time, and there is no personal benefit. So at this time, it is my understanding that there are very few appraisers waiting to come into the system. Too much red tape, and not enough profit.

Add that to appraisers retiring, and business being very brisk at the moment, there aren’t enough people for the job. What's Up With Appraisals?

Which leads to 3 big things I am seeing.

1. The average appraisal in our area right now is out almost 4 weeks, and compared to other areas of the state that is actually good. If you are looking in Klamath County, it is closer to 8 weeks

2. Appraisers are cherry picking the easy appraisals, and passing on the more difficult ones. What appears to be happening with the difficult ones then is they fall to the bottom rung of appraisers who are so bad at their job that they can’t get hired unless no one else wants it. So the hardest appraisals are going to the least qualified appraisers.

3. Lenders are offering extra money (charged to buyers generally) to get their appraisal picked up quicker. So they add a Rush charge of a couple hundred bucks. But that just pushes out the buyers who are waiting their turn longer, and to compete they have to pay more money.

Okay, so that was just sort of complaining. What can we do about it is the question. Knowing that it takes 45-60 days to close a house with a loan is one thing. Added patience is needed.

Ordering the appraisal as quickly as possible. This actually hurts potential buyers, because they could pay for an appraisal on a house, then discover that the foundation is bad. I like to have inspections completed before spending the money on the appraisal, but that is getting harder to do in this market.

We as Realtors have been working on this issue with the legislature and the Appraisers board to try to solve if for a couple of year now.

But what we need are consumers who have been hurt by this challenge to complain to their legislators and work on getting a fix. Because as the appraisers keep retiring, this problem is just going to get worse.

 

The Maslow Project: From getting help to giving back

501c3 Files

The Maslow Project

By Adam and Sophia Bogle

This is a success story about a young woman who was helped by the Maslow Project. And while it is your quintessential success story with the best kind of happy ending, it is only one of hundreds of stories of success that have been made possible through The Maslow Project.

What is the Maslow Project? Simply put, they are a local non-profit organization that provides advocacy and supportive services to homeless youth and their families. It is named after the psychological theory proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943. Here is a basic synopsis: The most basic physiological needs of food and shelter must be met before the basic safety needs of health, well-being and a sense of belonging can be met and only when these are met to some extent can people start to address the human need to do well at something and then to give back.

Now on to our story. Serina Quast was a junior in high school when she first heard of The Maslow Project. Her high school counsellor had noticed that Serina, after having been a really good student had dropped her grades dramatically and had basically dropped out of school.  When she met with Serina to check in, she explained that her parents were going through a tough divorce and it was hard for her to be around at home so she started staying with friends and relatives. The Maslow Project definition of being homeless is any living situation that lacks fixed, adequate and regular nighttime housing. Thank goodness for counsellors that are on their game!

Maslow Project assigned Serina a Case Manager who made sure that wherever Serina was staying was safe and acted as her advocate to help her get food stamps.  Serina was blown away by the level of caring and told me: “I found it surprising that there were so many people willing to help me to succeed and that my community wanted that (success) for me. Walking with my class at graduation was one of my proudest moments. I realized I did that. I put in the work.” After high school she went on to college in Portland and graduated with highest honors. Then, to bring this story up to date, Serina heard through Facebook that there was a job opening at Maslow Project and she jumped at the chance to give back. She started working the front desk and is now the Community Outreach Coordinator where she goes out to talk to people about what Maslow Project does and what it did for her. This really is the ultimate fulfillment of Maslow’s theory.

I asked her what she would like to say to other kids out there having a hard time and  this is what she said: “You are not alone. There are so many people out there who care. And that we (Maslow Project) are here and that it’s not just us. There is a whole community of people that believe in this mission of supporting homeless youth and their families.” She added that “Success is different for everyone. It could mean high school, or GED or even getting away from drugs, or escaping domestic violence. My story is not really typical. The average age of kids we help is ten years old and usually it is the whole family that is experiencing homelessness.”

While the resource center is a handy place for meetings and distributing supplies, the folks at the Maslow Project aren’t just waiting for kids to walk through the door. Their focus is on reaching out to meet youth where they are. They have teams that go out on the street and they have school-based outreach with case managers and family advocates in both Jackson and Josephine counties. If you are in need of some help yourself you can call (541) 608-6868.

One of The Maslow Project’s best fundraising events is coming up October 1st: The Southern Oregon Smoked Salmon Festival. Come out to support a really effective and passionate organization that is making a huge difference in our community.

Go to www.maslowproject.com for more information.

ScienceWorks is for Playing with Science

501c3 Files

By Adam and Sophia Bogle

Science Works Hands-On Museum

I will fully admit that science was not my favorite subject in school, and that I do not get warm fuzzy feelings when I think of going to museums. So you well may wonder why I am writing this article at all. And here is the thing. I was talked into going to ScienceWorks by some friends (smart friends) and found that it is nothing like my boring science classes and also nothing like the “don’t touch anything” museums I remembered at all! I also thought it would just be for kids but nothing could be farther from the truth. When my wife, Sophia and I went to go check it out the first time, we completely lost track of time and spent hours exploring and discovering and just playing. Sophia’s favorite is the air tube where you can fold paper and make it fly; that and the bubble room! Personally, I just love to play in Divinci’s garage. The pegboard marble wall is wonderful due to its sheer simplicity. Time seems to vanish in this room as I connect pieces of wood, and pipes and springs to watch a marble make it’s way down the wall. 

ScienceWorks really has something for everyone. Want to solve a Rubik’s Cube or surround yourself in a giant bubble?  Or how would you like to learn to cut through a piece of metal with the energy of a pepperoni stick meat torch?  Just today I was wandering around the place and saw a very grandmotherly type at one exhibit playing with blocks building a tower while talking to a friend. And elsewhere 7 year old boys were tossing bolts at magnets to see if they could make them stick. Everyone gets to play at ScienceWorks!

There are many different programs at ScienceWorks, including a fantastic summer intern program that provides opportunities for high school students to volunteer and grow through the experience of taking leadership and the responsibility of the experience for others. I was talking with one of their interns, Jordan, about what he liked about being an intern at ScienceWorks. He proudly told me this is his second summer interning and that he had more than 150 volunteer hours in so far. His favorite part is helping the younger children learn, and getting to know them on a personal level. 

Asha, is a senior intern this year who had been told from some friends that it was a great place to get her volunteer hours she needed for school. Yesterday she was dissecting plants with 5-8 year olds. Boring, right? But it apparently it wasn’t. Because the plants were carnivores and inside were the bugs that had been caught who upon the dissection of the plant were freed from their captor…only to be pounced upon by 7 children with tweezers and magnifying glasses. I won’t tell you what happened next, but Asha said that “parts and pieces ended up in my hair, and it was completely gross…it was really awesome.” 

A great example of a ScienceWorks success story is Heather, who used to visit ScienceWorks on school field trips. She was so inspired by the unstructured yet playful and scientific environment that she decided to study science in school. This led to a degree from SOU, and then on to a PHD from Stanford University where she has continued what ScienceWorks started for her. Currently she is working in the field of battery technology.

And I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention beer. In the fall ScienceWorks puts on Brews and Boogie. With various microbreweries and restaurants providing libations, live music and awesome carnival games.  We attended the annual fundraising event for the first time last year, and it is now a must attend event for us. The highlight was certainly the fire shooting carnival game that seemed like it was straight out of a CBS Survivor challenge, where you shot a tennis ball from a giant slingshot…and if you hit the target a fire cannon shot huge fireball into the air. 

We love this place. The people who work there love the place. The people who volunteer love the place. The only people who seem to not love ScienceWorks are the people who have never been and think it is either a place for kids, or a boring museum. Become a member or just go visit. You will not be disappointed! 

To see all of the amazing things they do and to become a member, visit their website at www.scienceworksmuseum.org.  

Pokemon Though Town to Learn The Area

Have you been hearing the fanfare and craze that has been the Pokemon Go game?IMG_2729

I am finding it to be rather amusing. This game is based off of another game by Niantic (which is actually Google)  The other game is called Ingress, and is a location based game that is worldwide. It was the biggest game in the world that no one had ever heard of. It was a combination of geocaching and capture the flag.

One of the things you did when you played Ingress was you found places of art, worship, and places of historical interest and took pictures to submit to Ingress to become “portals”.

This was brilliant on the game makers part, because they got real world locations and pictures geotagged without having to go out and take the pictures themselves.

And it is this platform that they based the Pokemon Go game on.

Now what does this have to do with real estate you might ask?  Not too much. But it is a great way to get to know a new area. Because to play the game, you need to find all of these places of interest.

Even after having living in Ashland for 10 years, and the Rogue Valley for 15, when I started playing Ingress a couple of years ago I found all kinds of parks and statues and churches, etc…. that I didn’t have any idea where they were before, or even that they existed.

And when I travel to new towns, I play the game to get to see the details in the town that otherwise I miss. For instance my wife and I went to the Sundial Bridge in Redding and the botanical park there because we were playing this silly game. But that bridge is really cool, and I am glad I got a chance to see it.

And if you are in the Rogue Valley playing Pokemon Go…I can tell you where every portal in the valley is. So when we are looking at houses to buy…I’ll point them out so you can capture them, or fight imaginary creatures, or whatever it is one does in Pokemon Go.