October 3, 2008 · Updated 1:44 AM
Last Friday, my son Duncan and I paid our respects to Hazel Wolf.
Along with about 900 others, we attended the overwhelmingly
wonderful memorial service in Seattle at Town Hall, celebrating her life and legacy.
She was a tireless activist and advocate for social justice and
environmental protection, and a model for how to successfully blend determination
and persistence with good humor and compassion, bringing people of all
walks together to make the world a better place.
Hazel was born on March 10, 1898 and lived for almost 102 years.
Duncan and I were among the 600 guests at the gala party honoring
her 100th birthday. We've known Hazel for 20 percent of my life, 83
percent of Duncan's - that's 10 percent of Hazel's life - and cherish the
inspiration and insights that friendship has given us.
As Duncan and I entered Town Hall, sunlight streamed through
the stained glass windows, a string trio onstage played Bach chamber
music, friends smiled, greeted, hugged. On stage, in lieu of banks of flowers,
was a small forest of live, potted evergreen trees, the two largest adorned
with ferns and flowers. Protect our remaining ancient forests had been one of
the many items on Hazel's agenda, and it was as a member of Seattle
Audubon's board of directors that I came to know her (she served as secretary for
over 30 years!) and admire her, and work with her and others to protect our
The celebration was rich and varied, just like Hazel herself. It was
an apt reflection of her. And as it turned out, she had helped plan it out.
Her guidelines included that it be a fundraiser (for Kids for the
Environment, an endowed fund that benefits young people and nature through
education), that there be friends of many races in the service, that there be
a voice for children, and that if anyone attending wasn't registered to vote,
to "snag `em."
We were inspired by the opening drumming by a Lummi
spiritual leader. Ron Sims' welcoming remarks reminded us what a tidal wave
Hazel could be, making us believe that the world could be a better place.
The dazzling vibrancy of Leschi Elementary Choir's rendition of "Lean on
Me" brought a standing ovation, as did Pat Wright and the Total Experience
Gospel Choir's "Reach Out and Touch." We were transported through
decades of activism by this wisp of a woman who didn't hesitate taking on the
big ones, standing firm, and bringing people together to work out solutions.
The world did not pass Hazel by. She wouldn't allow it! Carpe Diem!
Seize the Day! Last fall she broke her hip. She'd just been to testify
about dams and salmon on the Snake River. She couldn't finagle escaping the
confines of Providence Hospital to join labor and environmental activists
in the WTO protests. So instead she shared her concerns, with all who
were near, about the consequences of corporate globalization and her
support for decent working conditions and protecting the environment
The last time my kids visited with Hazel we were at a mutual
friend's birthday party in Seattle. It was a hot summer day and we'd left off
haying in the Valley for a few hours. We found a shaded breezy spot on the deck
- overlooking the sparkling Sound - and sat with Hazel and swapped some
stories. "Isn't is wonderful, isn't it just wonderful!!" she said looking west.
For me, that was like her baseline: optimistic, marveling at this life,
at this earth that sustains us ... which naturally leads to thoughtful
care-taking of what we have and persistent vigilance and reminders to "do the
right thing" to those who are careless, make a mess or for whatever reason
take more than their fair share. And her hopes for this wonderful world
centered on ordinary folks - and kids. "Everything connects -
absolutely everything ... You can't solve all the world's problems. But you can
take on one project at a time, and then another. You can do that your entire life."
I know Hazel would be happy that Duncan and the other kids were
there - along with the governors, the senators, and all those adults - to
celebrate her life and spirit.
Port Blakely may want to shove the Treemont subdivision onto the
toe of Tolt Hill, but friends and neighbors aren't rolling out the welcome mat.
People who think a big subdivision leap-frogging into the rural area is
a bad idea are joining together to appeal the recent Hearing Examiner's
decision which gave the project a green light. Concerned citizens are
invited to a 4 p.m. meeting this Sunday, Feb. 20, at Jubilee Farms, which is
located on the "back" road to Carnation,
between the Tall Chief and Carnation golf courses. For more
information, call (425) 222-4558 (leave message if no one picks up.)
Then, in the opposite direction, is the ill-conceived Falls
Crossing project Puget Western wants to plop down right above the Falls. One
can't help but wonder if the attorney for Puget Western would have had
so many uncomplimentary things to say about the Department of Wildlife
scientist who concluded that the project was not in the best interest of
creatures great and small if that scientist had said the project was a good idea.
And if she'd said it was a good idea, would her superiors have tried
to muzzle her and downplay the legitimacy of her findings? And as for
the citizens who highlighted their concerns for this public servant, Bravo!
Keep on talking! Falls Crossing is a bad idea. Good science and good
social science will hopefully prevail over the chance for one more big
developer to make more money without truly investing in the community.
Recently there has been a surge in the number of virus "hoaxes"
being propagated on the Internet. While hoaxes are generally not damaging
to your computer, they do waste bandwidth, disk space, and other
resources. Is there any cause for alarm? Most, if not all, have turned out to be
nothing more than hoax e-mail. If you receive a "virus warning" e-mail from a
friend, or another colleague, please don't forward it on to others until you
check the URL below.
(Save the URL in your Favorites.) This is a handy reference list for
determining whether the threat is real or not and also has some useful info on how
to prevent being the victim of a virus attack. (This information courtesy
of Jeff Hogan at the Snoqualmie Valley School District.)
News Notes items may be
submitted to Janna Treisman
at Box 1329, Fall City, WA 98024; or phone (425) 222-5594 or