Pennies for the Path

Today is Thursday. I like Thursdays. Not just because it is almost Friday. Thursdays are the day I pick up my CSA at Infinity Farms, and then stop by PCEI on my way home to visit the Jim LaFortune Memorial Groover. I’ve missed the last few Thursdays. I was the volunteer coordinator for the Palouse Sprint Triathlon. Our organizational meetings were held on Thursday evenings. There wasn’t enough time to bring Steve a beer and sit out on the deck. We put on another very successful triathlon last weekend. My Thursday evenings are now free again. I get to stop by the groover tonight. Think I’ll bring Steve a beer and one for myself as well.

We started last November with some cash donations from all of you, and a hole.

We held 2 rastra workshops one to build the basement to house the digester, and the 2nd story for the thrones….1 for Jim, and 1 for everyone else.

A deck and trim, made of Jack Carpenter timber harvested from all the trees that Jim fertilized on Moscow Mountain was added.

The digester was installed and hooked up just in time for a small family dedication in June. The initial deposit was the last remnants of Jim’s ashes. Morbid humor, perhaps..but Jim would have loved it.

Shortly after the dedication, the power to the water pump at PCEI went out, rendering their one indoor toilet useless. The groover has been a functional toilet facility since that day. Doors and windows have made this a more pleasant and private experience. We are in the putsy but fun aspect of finish work on the building. The railing has bike components, the light fixtures will be skis, aluminum raft frame material makes an excellent grab bar, and the clips I could not sell with Jim’s raft frame will make beautiful handles for the cabinets. Granite was donated by Esteban Kitchen and Bath for countertops, and tile has been installed.  Avista just made a large donation towards solar panels and LED lighting.

Deciding upon the site for the groover at the PCEI nature center was not easy. Wheeled access to the digester and water storage area was important, but the deck had to be accessible to the public. Building it into the hillside was key….the Palouse is hilly, and the campus of PCEI is no exception. Brainstorming the green construction was fun, and in line with Jim and my environmental ethics. Access to the facility is my life’s work. Individuals with disabilities need to be able to live, learn, work, and play in the communities they call home. Wasankari construction donated colorful stamped concrete for steps, and railings made of oars will soon be installed. But…what about the kids that can’t navigate stairs? What about all of my friends who have had or are in line for joint replacements? A graded hard surface pathway to the deck, while not as immediately gratifying as ski pole toilet roll holders, is needed and will be expensive. PCEI would like to have this project completed in time for their annual Animals of the Night event. This is a family function that corresponds with Halloween. To find out more about it, the groover project, and to make a donation so that ALL kids can poop at PCEI, go to their website: www.pcei.org

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