So here's what I'm up to:
1) Working on a proposal for our small town's City Council meeting next Tuesday.
For what? A USDA Rural Development program that provides funding specifically for rural libraries through low-interest loans and grants! Yesssss.
There is even an empty storefront in town that is move-in ready and more than four times the size of our current library with room to grow (the entire upstairs could be remodeled). If one can even wrap their mind around it, the size of our current library is probably . . . 1000 square feet? Maybe less? And one-third is taken up by the bathroom and storage rooms. I know. Insane. It used to be the City Office.
All we need to do is convince our City Council that this is a good move for the entire town. Obvious, duh - but we are expecting the worst.
2) Following South Dakota's legislative season, specifically the Midwife and Birth Center bills.
The GREAT news is that two of the three bills have been "passed to the floor", meaning that the entire senate will have the chance to debate and vote on the bills. In years previous (since 1994, actually), the bills have never even made it out of committee in either the house or senate.
The third bill, SB107, presented this morning "as amended", is proposing a state-sponsored task force to get everyone at a round-table discussion about Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) in South Dakota and then draft legislation that works for everyone. Bills for CPMs licensure have been unremittingly batted down for over a decade now, so CPM advocates are changing their tactics, hoping they can finally work something out.
Predictably, all the medical lobby and Secretary of the Dept of Health were adamantly opposed to the bill "as amended", saying, literally, that there is no common ground [between the Dept. of Health and CPM advocates], the small number of homebirths in SD "aren't worth the cost" [of the task force], and that "There is no place for the CPM in the care of women and children in South Dakota".
The entire testimony can be heard at SDPB's STATEHOUSE. Scroll down and find "18th Legislative Day" and click on "02/10/2010 Complete Meeting" - the midwife bills start at 35 minutes and goes until the end.
EDIT: If you have trouble getting it to play on Realplayer, like I did, go with Option 2 on the SDPB's Help Site. It worked for me.
If you have any interest, it would be worth listening to. Especially the wicked opposition to the legal right of 26 other states (and counting): access to a Certified Professional Midwife. On a broader spectrum, I have learned a lot about how government works through listening to the committee meetings and the House in session.
3) Helping a friend start a thrift store in our small town.
She had the building anyway, so, logistically, it has simply been a matter of re-organizing and gathering stuff to sell. She is also aligning herself in a rotational basis with all area non-profits, giving them a percentage of her profits every quarter.
It has been interesting. She didn't know much about thrift stores, so we scoped the thrift shop my MIL volunteers at - then brainstormed prices, lay-out, and general rules. Since then, I've served as cheerleader, supplier (raiding our house for stuff to thrift), and zealous dumpster diver.
Love it. Dumpster diving comes natural to me! I've been finding treasures in other peoples garbage since I was little. And will tell you: I've been absolutely appalled at what is in our town's dumpster for rural residents. The dumpster is free, I might add, in a campaign to prevent garbage burning, a dirty habit of rural residents passed down through the generations.
Here has what I have found - in PERFECT condition, mind you.
- Dollhouse, complete with all dolls
- Barbie backpack with rollers and pull-handle
- Dora floaty-suit for a little one at the beach
- Graco toy stroller
- Child's sleeping bag
- A bag of clean socks and bras
- Stuffed pig
- Barbie horse trailer
- Several bric-a-brac figurines and candles
- Wall mirror