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Gift economies help save money, reduce waste, form friendships

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman, Staff Writer

The night before Liesl Clark’s husband left on a trip, he realized his suit needed to be altered.

Luckily, they found a stranger who tailored it for free — thanks to the Buy Nothing Project, an experiment Clark started on her home of Bainbridge Island with her friend Rebecca Rockefeller.

"There was no money that exchanged hands, but there was a human connection made," Clark said.

Buy Nothing is a gift economy is which people offer items and services they have, and ask for things they need, via local Facebook groups. There’s no exchange of money and no bartering.

After watching plastics wash up on the shoreline at every high tide, Clark and Rockefeller created an app called Trash Backwards that helps people reduce, reuse and recycle, with suggestions for what to do with 2,000 household items.

When their blog post "100 Things You Never Need to Buy" become popular, they started Buy Nothing to help people achieve that goal.

In the past five months, Buy Nothing has spread across the country, with about 40 local groups from Florida to California. Two of the newest groups are in Woodinville and Carnation/Duvall.

Buy Nothing has allowed people to give and receive oddly specific items, Clark said — for example, a computer charger, 60 spoons, birthday party decorations, batteries and an 8-year-old girls’ bike.

Tiphanie Eichholz, who serves as an administrator for the Carnation/Duvall and Woodinville Facebook groups, also said that even obscure requests have been answered. One woman posted a request for odd wool socks to make sweaters for goat kids. "She was very successful, to the point where she had to tell people she didn’t need them anymore," Eichholz recalled.

But, "it’s more about meeting people than about the stuff," Eichholz said. "It’s a great way to meet your neighbors," she added.

Clark also focuses on the relationships and connections formed between people through Buy Nothing. Within 10 days of starting the Bainbridge Island group, she met two women older than she, who she wouldn’t have met otherwise. She now counts them among her best friends.

Buy Nothing lends itself to forming connections because it can make people feel vulnerable to explain why they want something, or to offer something they’re afraid people won’t want.

But the benefit of that is that people realize how much they have in common.

"Our self worth is actually wrapped up in our stuff," Clark explained. She added, "We’ve kind of lost our ability to accept just a gift, or to receive … You don’t always have to have an equal thing to give back in return."

As a filmmaker who’s traveled to Nepal for an archeological project, Clark also wonders how a gift economy could affect our society.

"Traditional societies have lived with gift economies for 90 percent of our existence, if you look at the anthropology," she said. "In the developed world, can a gift economy exist in parallel with the market economy?"

She’s not sure it will work, but she wants to try.

To join a Buy Nothing group, see facebook.com/groups/BNWoodinville or facebook.com/groups/459733077470101 (for the Carnation/Duvall group.)

Buy Nothing Woodinville is looking for an administrator..

Bothell Scout earns Eagle rank

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Kyle Horn Eagle Scout Pictured in the front row is Kyle Horn with his scout team.

Kyle Horn, a member of Boy Scout Troop 574, Bothell, achieved his Eagle Scout rank this summer.

The Northshore community will enjoy his Eagle Scout project. 

Kyle organized the project in coordination with King County Parks & Recreation to rebuild four benches at Bothell Landing and improve the landscaping.

Kyle has enjoyed scouting with Troop 574 for six years. Of his many fun memories, attending the summer residence camps has always been his top experience.

Food drive benefits Maltby Food Bank

  • Written by Karin Hopper

BFMK food driveCourtesy Photo. Chef Bobby Moore (front, left) and his team. They collected food donations for the Maltby Food Bank and rewarded donors with a cup of butternut squash soup.Willows Lodge’s Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen (BFMK) conducted a food drive in the parking lot of the Woodinville Albertson’s on Monday, November 25, collecting food donations to support the Maltby Food Bank. 

To help encourage donations, BFMK provided a complimentary cup of butternut squash soup to anyone who donated a non-perishable food item to the food drive. Those donating $5 or more also received a cup of soup.

The Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen team collected more than 385 non-perishable food items for the Maltby Food Bank. 

Holiday DUI patrols return

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Hopefully 2013 will be different than the last five holiday seasons. From 2008-2012, an average of 49 people died in traffic crashes in

Washington between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. 

DUI is still the leading cause of traffic death, however it doesn’t have to be that way and that is why between November 27, 2013 and January 1, 2014 extra officers will be looking for drivers under the influence on Washington roadways.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently asked people what the goal should be for the number of traffic deaths in Washington. Everyone indicated they would like to see fewer people killed. But when asked what the goal should be for their family members, everyone responded, "zero." Visit www.WAdrivetozero.com to see what residents think about zero traffic deaths).

To reach zero traffic deaths takes effort from everyone. Please join law enforcement in working toward zero traffic deaths. Make sure all the people who were at your Thanksgiving table are also around to celebrate the New Year.

Visit www.WAdrivetozero.com to review important safety tips, such as:

• Call 911 if you see a suspected DUI driver on the roads.

• If you drink, use marijuana, or take other drugs, don’t drive. Make plans before-hand for how you’ll get around.  *If you are hosting a party, make sure your guests get home safely! Plan to have sober designated drivers available. Buy a few extra air mattresses so guests can stay the night. If it’s an office party, limit alcohol, provide shuttle service or book hotel rooms. Remember, as a party host, you are liable for the actions of the people who leave your party intoxicated.

• Talk with your children about alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Help them understand the ways alcohol and marijuana use can harm their bodies, their brains, and their future. Let them know that they can call you instead of ever getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking, using marijuana or taking drugs. www.starttalkingnow.org

• Give the best gift of all at the Holiday Season with the Designated Driver Gift Card found at http://wadrivetozero.com/gift-cards/.

• Addiction is a complex issue. If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol, marijuana or drug abuse, call the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1 (866) 789-1511. http://warecoveryhelpline.org/

For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website, www.wtsc.wa.gov.

Northshore School District places on the College Board’s annual AP® District Honor Roll for fourth year in a row

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Northshore School District has been named to the Advanced Placement (AP®) District Honor Roll for the fourth consecutive year and is one of two school districts in Washington state and one of nine in the U.S. to be on the AP® Honor Roll every year since it was established.

Since 2011, Northshore School District has increased the number of students participating in AP by 7 percent while maintaining a 70 percent rate of students receiving a qualifying score of 3 or better on all AP exams.

The majority of U.S. colleges and universities grant college credit or advanced placement for a score of 3 or above on AP exams. This translates into tens of thousands of dollars saved by Northshore families on college tuition.

More importantly, many more students are better prepared for the rigors of college level work through their participation in AP courses in high schools.

The AP District Honor Roll was started by the College Board, the parent organization for AP, four years ago. Inclusion on the list is based on the following criteria:

• Increase in participation in/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent in small districts;

• Increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska native students , and,

• Improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2013 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2011, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more that 70 percent of its AP students are scoring a 3 or higher. The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) enables students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. AP provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both. Taking AP courses also demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them.