Afternoon Shadow

Her shadow crossed his storefront everyday.

She never paused once, or glanced to notice,

The man inside who had fallen in love;

With this beautiful women he hoped to-

Share his life with, if he could just get her

Attention he would introduce himself.

His heart began to ache realizing

This is just a fools infatuation

Then one day as he was closing the store,

There she was just as he hoped for, real.

By Lorraine Stark

Fall Plant Sales for Native and Unusual Plants

Happy Fall! There are several ways to tell that we're into the fall season - a date on the calendar, the weather, and the fall plant sales. Ok, I admit we're only into fall by two out of three there, 'cause the weather sure isn't showing it.

We can't control the weather, but we can sure add to our yards by hitting up some of the sales. Here's a list of them.

Photo by Debbie LeBlanc Foster

Photo by Debbie LeBlanc Foster

Wing Haven Fall Plant Sale

UNCC Fall Plant Sale

  • Members-only 10/3. from 12-3. Definitely worth joining to get first dibs!

  • Sale - 10/4, 10/5 - 9-3

  • CAB building, UNC Charlotte. 220 CAB Lane, Charlotte, NC 28262

  • Plants are clearly marked: native plants, rare or choice plants, growing conditions.

  • Lots of people available to answer questions.

  • Parking on-site

  • All proceeds go towards the gardens and greenhouse

CPCC - Cato Campus Annual Fall Plant Sale

Grab lots of native plants that benefit our pollinators and wildlife!

Get your fall on, y'all!



Miles had no distance
Upon the seat of my bike
Peddling faster there
Without an itinerary
We arrived at real and
Imaginary places our
Only escort the wind
And I the captain of
The handlebars chose
Each route for our journey
On Saturday mornings
Riding my Schwinn
Now a fond childhood
Memory rests with the
Brake stand on

By Lorraine Stark

Creature Feature: Charlotte’s Web

Before you get the napalm out, let me take a moment and explain why you should just let Spidey hang out.
garden spider.jpg

What is it about just the very thought of spiders that makes our skin crawl? Just imagining their many little legs scurrying along is the stuff of nightmares for many. And the bigger they are, the more terrifying they are.

Which means that many of you would rather burn your house down than let an Argiope aurantia take up residence.

Don't know which spider I'm talking about? You've probably seen the large, lanky Yellow Garden Spider lurking around your yard in the mid to late summer. In fact, her large size and bright (dare I say beautiful) golden color make her hard to miss.

What? That thing is living in my garden? You may have just shrieked and run for your blow torch. But before you get the napalm out, let me take a moment and explain why you should just let Spidey hang out.
Yellow Garden Spiders are large, orb-weaving spiders, which means they weave circular webs. They have a vast territory and can be found all throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. Female spiders average between 0.75 and 1.1 inches in length, while males tend to only be about a third of that size. The big (dare I say beautiful again) ones you see are the females, with black coloring on the tops of their abdomens decorated with symmetrical patches of bright yellow. Towards the abdomen, the legs are reddish-brown and black towards the ends. Male spiders look similar, with brown all over their legs and much less yellow.

While they don’t write words, Yellow Garden Spiders weave a complex zig-zag pattern into their webs. They even have an additional claw on each foot to help them in their web-weaving activities. (While most spiders have two claws per feet, the Yellow Garden Spider has three.)

Which means, yes, they can likely be found living in your garden. But that’s actually a good thing, especially if you are a fan of tending to and caring for plants. Yellow Garden Spiders catch and eat insects in their web-many of which are pests that would happily munch away at your plants.

Yellow Garden spiders are also real-life Charlottes (you know, from Charlotte's Web. I hope I didn't lose you there). While they don’t write words, Yellow Garden Spiders weave a complex zig-zag pattern into their webs. They even have an additional claw on each foot to help them in their web-weaving activities. (While most spiders have two claws per feet, the Yellow Garden Spider has three.)

These patterns are called stabilimenta (or stabilimentum for an individual pattern). Producing silk for webs is a huge metabolic drain on spiders, which leads scientists to believe that stabilimentum surely must serve some purpose, but no one knows quite what that purpose is. Initially, scientists believed that stabilimenta served to give the webs stability (thus the name), but it's more accepted today that its purpose is to either increase or decrease web visibility, attract prey or a mate, or simply be a means to use up excess silk.

Interestingly, these spiders actually eat the central portions of their webs each night, allowing them to reabsorb the proteins in the silk back into their bodies and create more the next morning. They may also take in nutrients from tiny bits of insect stuck to the web.

At the end of summer, females produce three to four eggs sacs containing 300-1,400 eggs. The sacs look similar to paper bags and females will weave them into their webs to keep them safe over the winter. Each sac can release up to 1,000 spiderlings, but most won't survive into adulthood.

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Yellow Garden Spiders are venomous, but they are unlikely to bite unless they are provoked. If you grab one protecting its egg sac, it will bite, but the result in humans is little worse than a wasp sting. The venom is used to paralyze prey and also predigests its prey's insides.

While they may not be as useful in your yard as say, an opossum, the Yellow Garden Spider is unlikely to cause any harm. So maybe you should give Charlotte a break before you burn her web down.

kristen bio.jpg

Side by Side

Side by side they stood
A mirror of the other
A passing equal to,
One’s mother, one’s father.
Now both are gone
We face the void
Silence accompanies the wind.
There is no hand left to join the other
Their beauty remains in our hearts
A couple has died side by side,
Our meeting was as brief as a hummingbird’s pause.

By Lorraine Stark

CBD: The Shop

fred the frog.jpg
As I learned doing the research for what was supposed to be one article but instead turned into three, CBD is a complex subject.

I walked into Get Me Some Green in the Hoods CrossRoad Shopping Center in the same way I’m sure many of their customers do: with a head full of misconceptions. Admittedly, I hadn’t hit the books (Google) yet on the science and the history of CBD, so my expectations for a CBD store were a little more headshop/bud bar than health food store.I had imagined glass cases and shelves full of different CBD products - pills, vaporizers, gummy bears, and baked goods all for my choosing.

But in reality, Get Me Some Green had some classy wooden shelves with a sparse selection of pills, smokable hemp located in glass cookie jars behind the register, and a small assortment of creams and roll-ons. Oh, and one small jar of CBD gummies. They do have a green accent wall though behind the register, which livens up the place. The vibe is much more health food store than trendy bud bar.

Heather and Eric Wiskes, the owners of Get Me Some Green, say there is a very good reason there shop is set up that way: they want their customers to feel comfortable inside of their store. All of their customers. They want to have a place where you are comfortable to bring your kids-a place where your grandparents would be comfortable to shop. 

medi drops.jpg
We’re not a Walmart for CBD, we have very specific products for very specific reasons
— Heather & Eric Wiske

Heather and Eric’s goal is to help demystify CBD and the plants that it comes from and to help our community understand the potential health benefits. That’s why they say the only offer their trusted brands to their clients. "We're not a Walmart for CBD, we have very specific products for very specific reasons.” 


In creating a space that’s comfortable for everyone, Heather also wants potential customers to feel alright walking into the shop and asking questions, even if they don’t buy anything. She says her bottles are all on display because she wants her clients to feel secure in picking them up and looking at them, even if they know nothing about CBD, or everything they thought they knew was wrong. “We’re on a mission to provide education and high quality products, both local and national, to really demystify the plant to help the whole community.” 

And of course, she wants everyone to stop buying their CBD from the gas station. “Every business has their specialty. Gas stations know their gas. I know my CBD...I always encourage people first get educated before you go buy it. I don’t care where you buy it, but get educated. So if you want something in a specialty arena, go to that specialty store and get educated. And I’m not the only one in the area. There’s a couple of others that are really highly educated but do your due diligence. Anything you’re going to put into your body, do your due diligence.”

After leaving her shop and doing the research for this article, I can understand Heather’s insistence on wanting to educate the community. As I learned doing the research for what was supposed to be one article but instead turned into three, CBD is a complex subject. But hopefully now you know that all those stores aren’t trying to get you high, where its been all your life, and that if you have more questions, you can go ask Heather at Get Me Some Green (or one of the other CBD shops. Just not the gas station.)

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CBD: The Law

Hemp has a multitude of uses both historically and today: textiles, building materials, livestock bedding, bioplastics and, of course, potentially in health care. 

Last time we covered the science behind CBD and left you wondering where it's been all your life. Well, cannabis, hemp, and CBD actually has a rich history in the United States and around the world. 

It’s possible that CBD has been used medicinally since 2737 B.C., when Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung used a cannabis infused tea to alleviate many of his ailments, while the very first known cloth was made of hemp.

Spanish colonists originally brought the plant to the western hemisphere in the mid 1500’s, and a mere hundred years later, it had become a staple crop of the New England colonies. In fact, in 1619, the Virginia Assembly actually passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp. 

hemp ncsu.jpg

As cotton became more common place and part of American culture, mixed with the importing of other products, hemp production began to decline after the Civil War.

And it’s easy to see why. Hemp, the cannabis plant that does not produce THC, has a multitude of uses both historically and today. It can be used to make textiles, building materials, and livestock bedding. In modern culture, it also has the added benefit of being able to be used in bioplastics and, of course, potentially in health care. 

In agriculture, it helps to maintain healthy soil by adding diversity to crop rotations, the practice of planting different crops in the same plot of land in order to improve soil health. Different plants deplete and return different nutrients into the soil. By rotating crops, agriculturists are able to maintain the best possible level of nutrients without adding synthetic compounds.

As cotton became more common place and part of American culture, mixed with the importing of other products, hemp production began to decline after the Civil War. However, as hemp fell out of vogue, interest in marijuana and its potential medicinal effects began to rise. In the United States, medical cannabis was used to treat nausea, rheumatism, and labor pain, and was available over the counter. 

But by the 1930s, marijuana use became associated with Mexican and black communities, and politicians began to condemn it as a threat to poor, hard working Americans. In the era of the Great Depression, marijuana became linked with public resentment towards immigrants and the rising unemployment rate. By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act made the plant illegal in the United States-both hemp and marijuana. In 1970 the Controlled Substance Act banned cannabis of any kind. 

Fast forward to 2014, where a Farm Bill legalized hemp containing less than .3% THC to be grown for research purposes to study market-interest in hemp derived products. This past winter, another Farm Bill was passed expanding the 2014 Bill, allowing broad hemp cultivation and the “transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines for commercial or other purposes.”


The 2018 Farm Bill effectively removes hemp and hemp products from being classified as a federally controlled substance as long as the hemp is produced in ways outlined by the Farm Bill, follows all federal and state regulations, and is grown by a licensed grower.

The 2018 Farm Bill effectively removes hemp and hemp products from being classified as a federally controlled substance as long as the hemp is produced in ways outlined by the Farm Bill, follows all federal and state regulations, and is grown by a licensed grower. Additionally, in North Carolina, adding CBD to food or drink is also illegal.

However, current CBD regulation may change for North Carolina with impending legislation.The problem is, while the 2019 Farm Bill essentially legalized hemp, and by extension CBD so long as it's produced under the parameters of the bill, smokable hemp containing less than .3% THC looks almost identical to marijuana, which remains an illegal substance within the state. Therefore, law enforcement is unable to tell the difference between the two and wants smokable hemp to be banned. Initially, talks were in place to begin the ban this year, but that has recently been pushed to 2020.

So for the time being, this leaves CBD on the shelves and available for purchase, seemingly everywhere. For the final part of this series, I'll look at one CBD business and its role in our Matthews community. 

Top image via NCSU Industrial Hemp Research Program; bottom: example of Hemp Certificate of Analysis, including THC content.

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Cold Heaven

Down the block
He’s almost here
The glistening Frosty
Ice-cream truck
That you waited all
Day to come
Remember running so fast
When you finally heard
It’s pre-recorded song
You swore you could hear
It blocks away
You’d run inside
Quick, quick money please
Before he goes away
And dash outside again
And you’d have to run
An extra block
To catch the glistening truck
And all the time breathlessly
Thinking, Oh please wait for me
But you didn’t care
You were just a kid in
Love with the ice-cream truck
And nothing else
Could ever compare
On a hot summers day
I swear I hear
I’ve gotta run
I guess I’m still
A kid at heart
Please wait for me again

By Lorraine Stark

CBD: The Science


Have you noticed signs like these as you drive around town? At the health food store, at that sort of seedy looking Vape store, at the new place that just opened up down the street, even at the gas station? Overnight, it seems CBD appeared on the shelves of every business in the state, and everyone wants you to know that they have it.

But what, exactly, is CBD? You think maybe you’ve heard that it’ll get you high, or maybe that it’s a miracle drug that will cure all of your ailments (it’s neither). Or maybe you really have no idea and were too embarrassed to ask.

Luckily, in three fun-filled articles covered the science, the law, and the business of CBD, you can call yourself a CBD expert. Or, at the very least, have an educated conversation with your friends. 

Before getting into the scientific explanation of what CBD is, I need to preface this with a reminder that I am not, in any way, a medical professional. I have no scientific training beyond high school chemistry. Any errors I’ve made are entirely unintentional and a result of my own lack of scientific understanding. If I have made any in my explanation, I welcome any corrections. 

Now back to your regularly scheduled Beacon article. 


Let’s first start with what CBD is short for, which is cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is just one of many of a type of molecule called cannabinoids. These cannabinoid molecules are produced exclusively by plants in the cannabis family.

All cannabis plants produce cannabinoids. The two most famous cannabis plants are marijuana and hemp, but there are about 170 species total, including hops, hackberries, and some small species of evergreen trees.

Different cannabis plants make different cannabinoids. You've probably heard of THC, a cannabinoid exclusive to the marijuana plant that is attributed to giving marijuana its high.  Cannabidiol (AKA CBD) is another type of cannabinoid molecule that both marijuana and hemp create. While it doesn't get you high like THC does, CBD may have other positive health benefits.

The endocannabinoid system, may be influential in controlling our sleep, mood, fertility, appetite, memory and other bodily functions necessary to help keep the body in homeostasis, or equilibrium.

We even have an entire system in our bodies dedicated to these cannabinoid molecules, and it's active inside of you regardless of whether or not you partake in any type of cannabis or cannabis compound. This system, called the endocannabinoid system, may be influential in controlling our sleep, mood, fertility, appetite, memory and other bodily functions necessary to help keep the body in homeostasis, or equilibrium. If something interferes with your body’s ability to maintain its homeostasis, like an injury or a fever, that’s when your endocannabinoid system begins to put things back into order.

Scientists have identified three main components to our endocannabinoid system: endogenous cannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. 

The endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, are actually molecules made by our bodies similar to the cannabinoid molecules produced by cannabis plants. These endogenous cannabinoids bind themselves to receptors throughout your nervous system and provide a signal that it's time for your body to respond in some way. There are two known receptors that accept cannabinoid molecules, CB1 in the central nervous system and CB2 in the peripheral nervous system. The receptor the cannabinoids bind to helps determine your bodies response. Once the body has done what it needs to, enzymes break down remaining endogenous cannabinoids.

THC enters your body en masse and works by binding itself to the endocannabinoid receptors, but can’t be broken down by the enzymes, so it sticks around in your brain a lot longer than your endogenous cannabinoids. It’s not 100% clear how CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system, but it doesn’t bind with our receptors. Instead, it might prevent the enzymes from breaking down our naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoids, allowing them to have a greater impact. 


There are currently about 150 clinical trials worldwide testing CBD as a treatment for a wide variety of health conditions.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Since the body being out of homeostasis covers a wide range of illnesses and ailments, CBD may be able to help in the treatment of an assortment of problems by increasing our own endogenous cannabinoids.  A LiveScience article from this past June stated that there are currently about 150 clinical trials worldwide testing CBD as a treatment for “a wide variety of health conditions, including autism, alcoholism, skin conditions, and schizophrenia”. It also may help with anxiety, migraines, chronic pain, inflammation, epilepsy, and many other conditions. 

But, if CBD is so great, where has it been all your life? Why are you just now learning about it and your endocannabinoid system? Why is a self-proclaimed non-scientist writer for the Beacon the one to explain it to you? 

I will have all (at least most) of those answers and more for you in the next article in this CBD series. 

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Leo's Rage

You can't see him
but he's everywhere
mixing his potion of
heat and humidity and
if that wasn't enough
like a wizard he can
whip up thunderstorms
on a moments notice just
so you know it’s Leo's turn,
after all it’s August as he roars
in time with each strike of
lightning and as if we haven't
had enough he finds delight
knowing thermometers are
breaking new records while
beads of sweat become our
armor against his rage I'll be
thinking about the cooler days
and nights of autumn and crickets


By Lorraine Stark

Creature Feature: OH! Opossums (They’re the Rodent You Love to Hate)

An Opossum hath an head like a Swine, and a taile like a Rat, and is the bigness of a Cat. Under her belly she hath a bagge, wherein shee lodgeth, carrieth and sucketh her young
— Captain John Smith
Via Unsplash

Via Unsplash

Yes, they’re ugly and they hiss like cats and dash out in the middle of the road and made you almost swerve into a tree that one time because they decided to play dead. We’ve all got that story.

But really, you have it all wrong. For one thing, they’re good to have around. Honestly. You’ll see why in a minute. And they’re opossums, not possums. Possums are a completely different animal that live down under. Opossums aren’t even rodents. They’re marsupials. 

There are actually several dozen different species of opposums, but the one we are used to seeing is the Virginia opossum, or common opossum. They were dubbed “opossum” by Captain John Smith of Jamestown Colony, Virginia, from the Algonquin name “apasum”, which means “white animal”. Captain Smith wrote that “An Opossum hath an head like a Swine, and a taile like a Rat, and is the bigness of a Cat. Under her belly she hath a bagge, wherein shee lodgeth, carrieth and sucketh her young".

Opossums are originally from South America, but they migrated north about 3 million years ago during the Great American Interchange when previously isolated North and South American species migrated across the newly formed Isthmus of Panama. Genetic research suggests that all of today’s living marsupials actually originated in South America--the opposum is just the only marsupial one to have thrived in the United States and Canada.

Via Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia

In case you’ve forgotten your middle school life science lessons, Google’s dictionary says a marsupial is “a mammal of an order whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother's belly.” So opossums are one of the animals who carry around their babies in a pouch like kangaroos. Baby opossums are born after a mere 11-13 day gestational period. Mothers give birth to as many as 20 babies at one time that are so small, all 20 of them could fit into a teaspoon! Fewer than half of them typically survive, many never even reaching the pouch. As the babies get older, they start to move in and out of their mother’s pouch and will often ride on her back as she hunts.

Let’s talk about that playing dead thing real fast, before we get into why opossums are so great, since that’s the one thing everyone “knows” about them. “Playing possum” is actually an involuntary defense mechanism on the part of the opossum. When it becomes extremely afraid, it enters a catatonic state, making it appear dead, and less appealing for predators. But opossums actually have no control over when it happens.

Okay. So why do we like opposums? Besides the fact that they’ve been around since the dinosaurs, have a prehensile tail that they can use to wrap around tree limbs (though it is a misconception that they hang upside down), and have more teeth than any other North American land mammal--50 to be exact. 

If you’re still not swayed, here are the reasons why opossums really are good guys. First, they’re little tick vacuums. They eat the ticks that try to feed on them and they eat the ticks that try to feed on us. One opossum can eat as many as 5,000 ticks each season. And ticks aren’t the only pest opossums take care of for us. They eat cockroaches, snails, rats, mice, dead animals, over-ripe fruit, and snakes (including venomous ones like copperheads and rattlers). They’re pretty much Mother Nature’s yard exterminator.

Via Wikipedia

Via Wikipedia

“But what about rabies”, you ask? “I saw one foaming at the mouth--it was clearly sick”. Any mammal can get rabies. However, it’s extremely rare for an opossum to contract rabies. It is believed that their lower body temperatures, between 94 and 97 degrees, makes it difficult for the virus to survive. While it is possible to contract other diseases from an opossum, as long as you do not attempt to pet or get too close to an opossum (or any wild animal for that matter), and you do not handle any dead opossums directly, your likelihood of contracting a disease is extremely slim. (Oh, and the foaming at the mouth thing? That’s another of the opossum’s natural defense mechanisms. By excreting excess saliva, other animals think it is sick and will leave it alone). 

And if all of that is not enough to convince you, how about the fact that their blood contains a peptide that can neutralize snake venom? With further research, their blood might help scientists develop a universal anti-venom, saving lives all over the world.

If that doesn’t change your opinion of opossums from despised, rodent, road-kill to beloved, potential super-hero, yard exterminator, I don’t know what will. 

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Easy Actions for Sustainability

It’s hot and I’m bothered. 

Why?  Because I’m an unabashed, unapologetic tree-hugger.  I like big trees and I cannot lie! Because I’m a Central Carolinas Master Naturalist, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward and Habitat Host and Habitat Ambassador, and Audubon Ambassador, and Mecklenburg County Master Composter, and have  certificate in Native Plant Studies from UNCC I get a lot, repeat, a lot, of feeds to my Facebook account on all things environmental.

And folks, let me tell you, we’re in a mess.  Between habitat loss, mass tree-cuttings, use of exotic plants instead of natives, loss of environmental legislation, climate change, and the huge issue of plastic use (just to name a few), we’re in a big mess.

The question is, what the heck can we do about it???? As individuals we can’t set policy, single-handedly control elections, change the behavior of manufacturers.  But we can still take action and make a difference.

I’m going to be sharing a variety of ideas in the coming weeks.  What I’m hoping is that you find a few of them that you will commit to.

Let’s start with straws.

Let’s start with straws.  I’ve seen some articles that said straws are not a big problem in the overall scheme of things.  But straws are an easy thing for us to control, so let’s start there.

First, just say no.  When you’re eating out and a server gives you a straw, smile and give it back.  I always do it at the beginning of the meal so that it doesn’t get wet or dirty, and I don’t know what happens to unused straws at the end of the meal.  Are they put back into the box or thrown out because they’ve been on the table?

If you really want to use a straw, take your own.  There are so many options to choose from.  I’m including some pictures.  I found all these online.  They’re cheap and durable.

No more plastic water bottles

The next step?  No more plastic water bottles.  According to humans purchase 1,000,000 plastic bottles per MINUTE.  The really horrible thing is that the US only recycles about 23% of theirs. 

Butts don’t swim

Final idea for today: if you’re a smoker, please don’t throw your butts on the beach or in our bodies of water.  Please don’t toss them on the ground where they can be swept into our storm drain system, ultimately ending up in our streams and rivers.  Chemicals that leach from the cigarette are often toxic and harm wildlife, bodies of water, and the ecosystem.

Here’s a visual for you:  in 2018 the Ocean Conservancy’s annual clean-up resulted in 2,412,151 cigarette butts being collected.  According to those butts would line the distance of five marathons!

 If you’re someone who loves going to the beach, pick up trash while you’re there.  You’ll do a good deed and get some exercise.  Get your kids involved, too.

I was with a group of friends at a local coffee shop recently.  I always have a reusable straw in my purse, but I was really happy to see a friend pull one out.  Another friend questioned her about it and she replied that she only uses it on Thursday afternoons at the coffee shop.

Room for improvement?  Sure.  But it’s a starting point.  It’s a change and it’s moving in the right direction.

2810[high]5:Continuing Education Classes You Should Take at the Levine CPCC Campus this Fall

Plumbing 1-2-3 - Understanding the intricacies of your commode and how it works is probably the best party trick you could pull out of your pocket this fall-especially in the case of a flushing emergency. In 3 extended Saturday sessions, this class will teach you basic plumbing methods as well as the tools and materials you will need to install plumbing pipe work and fixtures. No book is required. Class is held on Saturdays 10/5-10/19 from 8 am to 5 pm.

Sewing I, II, & III -  Can’t quite find the perfect blouse to go with your outfit? Or have a vision of some throw pillows for your living room, but can’t find a match at Target? Sewing I & II at CPCC has you covered. Sewing I will teach you the basics of fabrics, patterns, and tools and is offered 9/3-10/1 on Tuesdays from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm or 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Once you’ve mastered the basics, Sewing II will help you master your proficiency and take your needle and thread artistry to the next level. Picking up where Sewing I left off, Sewing II is offered 10/2-10/30 on Wednesdays at the same times as its predecessor. Finally, round out the series with Sewing III, on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm during 11/6-12/11, where you where you will learn to create professional results by learning to understand and make adjustments to your patterns. 

The Art of Decluttering: Clutter Intervention - Are you a fan of the Art of Tidying Up and Marie Kondo, but just don’t know where to get started. CPCC’s the Art of Decluttering can help. Learn the basics of organization in class, then travel to your fellow student’s home and help organize as a group. Class goes from 10/1 to 10/29 and will meet on Tuesdays from 6:30 pm to 8:30 am and on two Saturdays from 1 pm to 4 pm.

Microsoft Office Boot Camp - Are your Excel skills far from excellent? Powerpoint presentations less than powerful? Microsoft Office Boot Camp can help your brush up on your Word, Excel, and Powerpoint skills in this two week intensive training from 9/17-9/26. Class meets on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm.

Retirement Planning Today - You know that it’s never too early to start thinking about funding your retirement. But has anyone told you the same goes for thinking about how you will be livin? In Retirement Planning Today, you will begin to create a plan for that chapter of your life. The class is appropriate for all ages and career levels - whether you are just starting out or considering retirement in the near future. Two sessions will be offered this fall, one from 9/26-10/3 and the other 10/1-10/8. Both sessions meet on Tuesdays from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

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Hats off to summer

Hats off to summer
To the creaking slap
Of screen doors
To fly-swatters
Once in reserve
Now on active duty
To the 1812 overture
On the Fourth of July
Accompanied by thunder

To fireworks
That make a
Black summer’s night
A kaleidscope of colors
To rainbows
That surprise you
After a thunderstorm

To white sheets
On clothes-lines
That flap
Like birds wings
To seagulls standing
By the shore
Watching waves like surfers

To making sandcastles
And finding hermit-crabs
To the sand in your shoes
When you arrive home

 To finding a homemade
Lemonade stand
On a hot day
To the smile
Upon the faces
Of the children
That serve you

 To front porches
With rocking chairs
To strangers
Who nod hello

To earlier sunrises
And later sunsets
For lazy times ahead

To summer
To all
It unfolds.


By Lorraine Stark

Via Unsplash

Via Unsplash