Tag Archives: community

Good garden!

Allison Demarest and the hoe-dag.

Allison Demarest and the hoe-dag.

Downtown Boise Community Garden

“What would happen if we all stopped believing that so much was impossible?”
— “Plenty”

Allison Demarest is planting an organic community garden and it’s a doozy: on an acre plot on Fort Street between 11th and 12th, in the heart of the Northend in Boise, Allison is planting hundreds of veggies in 20 raised beds and four in-ground beds.

The Boise Downtown Community Garden is not your run of the mill community and/or organic garden. Families don’t have their own plats and anyone and everyone is invited to take part. It’s a sort of dream come true for Allison, who is definitely a dream-come-true maker. At 21, this former sociology student/South African volunteer worker/New York community garden resident, has come home to roost, if you will, in her own back yard. After living and working in lush gardens in upstate New York, Allison was increasingly appalled at the lack of greenery and the proliferation of concrete. “(It) overwhelmed me,” she says.

So, “by the time I rolled into Boise, I felt called to start a community garden where people would come together to nourish themselves while nourishing the earth.”

That’s pretty much the basis of this garden where Allison wants to create: “a community space in my beloved home, Boise, where people could share their lives, growing food and growing in spirit.”

So far, she’s convinced The Cathedral of the Rockies to donate the land, which, by the way, is smack dab in the heart of the Hays Street Historic District. She’s getting water donated by United Water, the seeds donated from Turtle Tree Biodynamic Seed Initiative. Cloverdale Nursery came and dumped mounds of dirt for the garden beds. A horticulture class from Bishop Kelly donated a bunch of seedlings. And scores of others have put in time and sweat equity, including Eagle Scouts and about 350 high school science students who pulled heaping mounds of puncture vine from the garden. Expected gardeners include low-income families and residents at the WCA, refugees from Baby Steps at St. Michael’s — and really, anyone who wants to help.

“After everything is all set up (end of May-ish), we will be welcoming active gardeners,” Allison says. There will be a sign-up time sheet and participating gardeners who put in three to five hours a week will reap the benefits of a box of veggies at every harvest!

“We’ll have ‘store hours’ to accommodate evenings and weekends,” Allison says. If you’re interested, there’s a schedule online at the garden’s Web site: http://www.boisegardenstogether.org

The garden is also taking donations, including garden tools. “The only tool we have right now is a hoe-dag,” says Allison, “it’s a great tool — but we could use a few more!”

Allison, who’s passion is love of her fellow humans — “I guess more than anything I’m a lover of people — hopes the garden will send out deep roots.

“People need food more than ever right now, but the money is scarce. And the people who are giving are the neediest — which is something that really inspires me. I know the garden won’t be forever for me — but I do want to make it sustainable.”

By the way, Allison is a vegetarian (not a vegan) and her favorite veggie? Eggplant. Here is her favorite eggplant recipe (and her favorite dish to make and eat):

Eggplant Parmesan

One big purple garden fresh eggplant
A big block (or two if you love cheese like me) of fresh mozzarella
A quart-ish of yummy tomato sauce
Olive oil
Bread crumbs
3 eggs

1. Slice the eggplant into thin rounds, about 1/8th of an inch thick.
some people like the skin, some don’t. after it’s cooked you can’t taste it, so I just leave it right on there.
2. Dip each round of eggplant into mixed-up eggs and then into bread crumbs. Warning: this is messy!
3. With just a touch of olive oil in the bottom of a nice pan, fry each piece of eggplant until golden brown on both sides. I like to have a receiving plate w/ a towel ready for the eggplant after it fries to catch the extra oil.
4. In a baking dish (I often use a 9×13-inch Pyrex one) stack the eggplant, sauce, and grated cheese in layers beginning with the sauce.
5. Cook for a while… maybe 45 minutes… at 350-ish. During the last 15 minutes of baking, add lots of cheese to the top.
6. Just like a lasagna, eggplant parm is great if you let it sit for 15 minutes before eating so that everything has a moment to congeal.
7. Enjoy!


Good times

seattle-happy-hour2Yes, you can.

You can go out.

For five bucks or less, you can relax with a few friends, quaff a beer and munch a delicious appetizer or two at a number of local restaurants and lounges.

Here are some in the Boise area. If you know of more, send ‘em on in — order up!

The Gamekeeper Lounge, 1109 W. Main St. Old-school lounge in the Owyhee Hotel, very The Shining-esque. You can cozy up in one of the 70’s-style booths and keep an eye out for Idaho legislators.
Happy hour: 3-6 p.m. daily
Wow, look what you can get for $3: hot wings, nachos, finger steaks, snow crab bruschetta, chicken and cheese quesadilla, chicken strips, butterfly breaded shrimp, mozzarella cheese sticks, spicy chicken tenders, personal pizza (Canadian bacon, pepperoni or your choice) and mini-burgers. My favorites: the bruschetta and the quesadilla.

Pair, 601 W. Main St. This is the place to see and be seen with the best people-watching plate-glass window and trendy couch seat in town. Check out their new black and white “tuxedo” look, very classy.
Happy Hour: 3–6 p.m. Monday – Friday
This is another appetizer extravaganza! Three bucks gets you: a Mini Wimpi burger, Thai chicken Temaki hand roll (comes in a shot glass and served with chopsticks), artichoke/pesto/Gruyere spread, pommes frites with garlic aioli dipping sauce, edamame and hummus with warm pita bread.
Drinks, too. For five bucks you can chase your appetizer down with a tres cosmopolitan house-infused martini. Choose from: The Urban Blackberry, the Tangerine Dream Drop, the Strawberry Blonde Mojito, the Mango Tango Margarita, Rosemary’s Lemon Drop and the Thai Mai.
What about dessert? Try one of their Babycakes, $1.50, the cutest little cupcakes you’ve ever seen. Selection changes daily. I had the Pop Star: vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting, dusted with Pop Rocks. For $4 you can get Pair’s signature “Ding Dong” and for $5 you can order Chef Christine’s “legendary” bread pudding (served warm) with cream. Tip: Check out Pair’s “Bettie Ford” weekend brunch, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, all day Sunday.

Mai Thai, 750 W. Idaho St. Slip into this exotic Downtown lounge and restaurant for a mini-vacation.
Happy Hour: 5-6:30 Monday – Friday and an extra hour, 9-10 p.m. Friday.
With $5 you can order off the 99-cent appetizer menu and have enough left over for a $2 bottle of beer. Or take a little extra and get $5 2-for-1 well drinks or a $5 Mai Thai or $5 Mojito. What can you get for 99-cents, you say? Edamame, spring roll, summer roll, Imperial Chicken potsticker, chicken, pork or tofu satay and Thai wing, that’s what. For $1.59, you can order a vegetable potsticker, Thai toco or the three-flavored popcorn chicken. And for the $3.95 big-spenders: Asian chicken lettuce wraps, seafood packets and Lotus dimsum.

Bardenay, 610 W. Grove St. This trendy hot spot is turning into a Boise classic and why not? You can get the quintessential James Bond martini here, complete with gin, vodka (and rum) distilled onsite.
Late Night Specials, 10 p.m. – midnight, Wednesday – Saturday.
For $2 order up a chicken, pork, salmon or beef satay skewer, marinated and sauced. Or try a veggie quesadilla for $4.

Chandler’s Steakhouse, 981 W. Grove St. Chic, upscale. Home of the famous “10-minute martini.”
No happy hour here, but rumor has it that every evening around 5 p.m., complimentary burger sliders make an appearance. That’s right — FREE!

The Modern Hotel and Bar, 1314 W. Grove St. VERY modern. Very cool. Boise with a New York feel.
Happy Hour: 5-7 p.m. Monday – Friday.
Well drinks: $3.50. Most beers: $3. The entire wine list: $5.

The Crescent No Lawyers Bar & Grill, 5500 W. Franklin St. Another Boise classic but in the more laid-back way. Did I say laid back? I mean MASSIVE, it’s huge! Look for the bar’s monthly calendar of special events and food and drink specials. For instance, Wednesday, March 18 is National Forgive Mom and Dad Day and The Crescent will give you 2-for-1 appetizers if you bring in your mom or dad.
Happy Hour: 4:30-6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight Monday – Friday; 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday.
Selected appetizers $3.99 (Taco Tuesday!); well drinks and draft beers $1.50 – $4.50.

Good wishes!

Chad and his favorite Goin' Fishin' cupcake. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

Chad and his favorite Goin' Fishin' cupcake. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

This is a real recipe for success:
Take 1 heaping cup of Betty Crocker love.
12 wishes from Make-A-Wish kids across the country.
Stir in 12 wish stories and favorite cupcake recipes.

Betty Crocker and the Make-A-Wish Foundation are celebrating their new partnership with the “12 Wishes in 12 Weeks” Spring cupcake promotion. Here’s how it works: Betty Crocker is giving each Make-A-Wish chapter the chance to receive funding for one of 12 wishes that Betty Crocker is helping Make-A-Wish grant this year. You can help our local chapter get one of the wishes by voting at http://www.StirringUpWishes

Good interview

Gary Bermeosolo

Gary Bermeosolo

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

These days, it’s hard to be an optimist. But it’s good to know that the breed does still exist.

Meet Gary Bermeosolo. What follows is an interview I had via e-mail with Bermeosolo, who also happens to be a former well-known Idahoan. The interview was spurred by an article written by Bermeosolo for The Boulder City News in Nevada, where Bermeosolo now lives (see the previous post “Good View”). A number of readers sent the article to me and I was intrigued.

I sent Bermeosolo some questions and here’s what he had to say:

JH: Gary, can you give us a short bio, little about yourself and your ties to Boise?
GB: About me: Let me begin by sharing that I don’t consider myself a “journalist,” but I do occasionally get an urge to write. Consequently, our weekly Boulder City Newspaper, which is owned by the Greenspun Corporation, has agreed to publish my articles from time-to-time. My optimism article was the latest.

I was born and raised in the Boise area. I attended Cole and Koelsch grade schools and, after moving to Southwest Ada County, Meridian High School. I left Idaho for a four-year tour in the US Navy, but returned to attend BSU, where I earned a BA in Communication Arts.

I worked in marketing for a couple of years and then returned to BSU as their Administrator of Veterans Affairs. While working at BSU, I pursued graduate courses in Adolescent Psychology in preparation for working with the Idaho Legislature.
While working at BSU, I was elected to a four-year term on the Board of Ada County Commissioners.

After completing my term of office, I spent the next 20 years as the Idaho State Administrator of Veterans Services. During this time, I also had the privilege of serving as a Garden City Councilman, completing the term of a councilman who had fallen ill.

In 2001, I retired from Idaho State service. My retirement was brief, however. The Nevada State Veterans Home was having difficulty meeting stringent federal nursing home standards, so the State of Nevada hired me as a “consultant.” Three months later, they asked me to assume the administrator’s helm at the Boulder City Home. So, I have been enjoying the desert sun for over six years now.

JH: What prompted you to write an article about optimism?
GB: The optimism article is actually an old speech of mine, reincarnated. While serving as Idaho’s Director of Veterans Services, I was sometimes accused of being an “eternal optimist.”

At first, I was offended, but I later came to understand the accusation was actually a compliment. I felt compelled to write a speech about what it is like to be an optimist in a pessimistic world.

Today, with our economy in the pits, and all the resulting pessimism, it seemed like a good idea to update my speech into an article.

JH: What were the most surprising things you learned during your research on the subject?
GB: I think the thing that surprised me most was learning how few true optimists there are. Optimists are an endangered species. They need reinforcements!

JH: What kind of response has the article engendered?
GB: I’ve been surprised at the interest this article has generated. For me, it was just another article about something I am passionate about. I don’t think the article is particularly well written, so I am somewhat astonished at the interest it has generated.

Complete strangers are calling thanking me for writing it. This piece is getting more attention than any article I have previously authored.

JH: Why do you think this topic touches such a nerve with people right now?
GB: Timing. I believe people are depressed with the state of our Nation and they are looking for something, anything, to be positive about. That’s why we have a new idealistic President and that’s why there is a quiet revolution occurring to change the status quo.

JH: Anything else you’d like to say?
GB: My hope is that people will take the article seriously and understand that the more optimistic we are as a society, the more likely we are to realize positive change.

The journey begins with encouraging words, which alter feelings, which transform actions. Just being positive about the way we see ourselves will enable us to embrace accountability, be responsible, and finally, reach a state of self-actualization.

Good concert, good cause

bfc_image-1„Oh, give me ahome, where the buffalo roam…“

If you want to give a helping hand to your furry bison friends, plan on going to a concert at the Visual Arts Collective, 3638 Osage Street Wednesday. Tatanka 2009 is a benefit for the Buffalo Field Campaign. Along with a presentation from BFC’s co-founder Mike Mease, there will be rip-snortin‘ music from The Netson Family, The Magnetics, La Knots and Urb.

A little more about BFC: It‘s the only group that actually goes out in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter and harassment of Yellowstone’s wild buffalo. Volunteers from around the world defend buffalo on their traditional winter habitat and advocate for their protection.

BFC daily volunteer patrols stand with the buffalo sunrise to sunset, on the ground the buffalo choose to be on, and document every move made against them. They run patrols from cars, skis and snowshoes to protect buffalo outside the park, communicating via a network of hand-held radios. Tactics range from video documentation to nonviolent civil disobedience.

For more information about BFC, go to:

Good shopping cents!

images-2“My momma told me— you better shop around…”

If you’ve got that shopping bug but don’t want to dip into your grocery money, cheer up, call a friend, put on your shopping duds, jump in the car — and don’t forget your purse! You can get some great bargains, there are lots of sales right now. Here are a few places to get started:

Again Consignment Clothing, 222 East State Street in Eagle. Winter clothing is halp-price, but get this: they’re having a $3 sale, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 7! There’s so much going into the $3 bins, they had to rent the space next door! Tip: Get there early for the best stuff.

American Clothing Gallery, 100 N. 8th Street. Winter merch is 75% off!

Atomic Treasures, 409 S. 8th St. First Thursday discounts on EVERYTHING! Tip: They just added HUNDREDS of boots to their inventory!

Karen Louise Fashion Boutique, 625 W. Main St. EVERYTHING in the store is on sale, 25% to 50% off!! Tip: Open until 9 p.m. on First Thursday.

Helly Hansen, 860 W. Broad St. (Almost) everything in the store is marked down: 30% to 50%!

The Record Exchange, 310 N. 9th St. First Thursday special: $2 off any used CD or DVD ($5.99 & up) — ALL DAY LONG. In the gift shop: $2 off any sale gift over $5.99. In the coffee shop: $2 off 12-ounce espresso drinks.

Snake River Winery, 786 W. Broad St. 20 % off all case sales.

White House Black Market, 836 W. Broad St., $25 off your purchase of $125 or more, or $50 off $200 or more.

Know of any other good sales? Let me know and I’ll get spread the good shopping news: jeannehuff@gmail.com

For goodness sake!

jhuff1Dear Readers,

At the expense of being seen as “tooting my own horn,” I am going to toot away. As of today, Sunday, March 1, nearly 1,500 readers have stopped by “First, the good news,” since its Feb. 19 debut. About 120 have joined the Good News Army by enlisting on the “First, the good news” Facebook group.

“First, the good news” is now a bi-weekly column at the Idaho Business Review and this blog is linked to from the IBR Web site. Look for other news organizations to be linking to the blog: Boise Weekly, Idaho Press-Tribune and Fox 12, for starters.

So far, I’ve gotten a thumbs-up for “First, the good news” from:
— The Downtown Boise Association
— Mayor Bieter
— Boise’s economic development department
— Idaho Business Review
— Fox 12
— Boise Weekly
— Idaho Press-Tribune
— Tracy & Margo at 107.1 K-Hits
— Many well-wishers and supporters, from business folks to just plain folks

Coming this week, look for stories on:
First Thursday: What’s the haps
Interview with former Idahoan Gary Bermeosolo
Ain’t got no money but still want to party? Here’s how you can!
Walks like a man: Interview with Faith, the biped dog
Shop on a dime

That’s just what I’ve come up with so far. Send me YOUR ideas: jeannehuff@gmail.com.

Until then, start every day with “First, the good news.”