By Patricia Lynn Henley
Color Me Veggie
Members of the Marin Vegetarian Education Group were asked to stop distributing an eight-page coloring book at the annual Marin County Farm Day for school children on March 23 because one page declares, "Animals are my friends. I don't eat my friends." The group's goal is to promote a plant-based diet, and Marin County agriculture produces some of the best organic produce around, says spokeswoman Patti Breitman. At last year's Farm Day the vegetarians handed out "Sausage Patty," which describes the feelings of a girl raising a pig as a 4-H project. When the vegetarian group received a written invitation to participate in this year's Farm Day, it included a specific request not to bring "Sausage Patty." So Breitman chose the "I Love Animals and Broccoli" coloring book instead. The negative reaction surprised her. "I thought it carried a very positive message that kids should have, that vegetables are good for you," she says. Breitman was further distressed that petting calves and lambs was part of the Farm Day activities. "It was sad for me to see parents and adults encourage children to fall in love with these animals and to pet them and to be nice to them and to treat them nicely and then go home and eat them." Farm Day organizers did not return calls requesting comments.
Aid Drying Up
North Bay residents who suffered damages in the New Year floods may not be getting quite as much federal money as they hoped. The deadline to register with FEMA and file all supporting paperwork is Tuesday, April 4—but the government is no substitute for adequate flood insurance, says FEMA spokesman Ross Edmondston. FEMA grants cover temporary housing costs, but for folks without insurance the main form of rebuilding assistance is through 30-year low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration. So far, FEMA has approved grants of $936,000 to 722 Marin County residents; in Sonoma County the tally is $951,000 for 707 applications; and in Napa County it's $416,000 for 569 property owners. It appears that roughly 23 percent of Marin residents had flood insurance, compared to approximately 12 percent in Sonoma and 18 percent in Napa. Edmondston adds that interested homeowners can enter an address and zip code at www.floodsmart.org to get an overview of their vulnerability to flooding and to estimate the cost of adequate insurance.
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