Where Does the Time Go??
Some days it feels like I spend all my time fighting fires when what I really want to do is make and share kites, and relax occasionally with my wife. Fact is that I haven't touched a kite all week. So though it may be a bit boring, I thought I woulkd share with you some of the challenges we've spent our time on recently.
Division 16 Rule Changes: Oregon State Parks doesn't have enough money. So they are proposing rules to "better manage" public use of our beaches. The rules basically say that groups of people need to get permits. This not only affects large events, but also weddings, family reunions, and potentially, a bunch of friends that want to fly kites together.
Permits require a 10 day application process, a $100 fee, and proof of insurance. Insurance. Ugh! Business and non-profits have event coverage. But if a family wants to purchase a rider, it can easily cost $1000.
In the past two days, I've reviewed the proposals, sent letters to State Parks, my legislators, and the Governor. I've contacted local newspapers and Chambers of Commerce. And I've networked with local kiters.
One part of the proposal I particularly like is the requirement that events "adjacent to a body of water" must hire certified lifeguards. And last time I checked, the Pacific Ocean is a body of water. So yes, kite festivals, volleyball tournaments, and sandcastle contests now need lifeguards...
The proposals provide State Parks with broad authority to require permits for an increasing number of activities on our beaches, and also provide broad authority for denying permit requests. I think State Parks should be helping more people use our beaches.
For more information on the rules changes click here. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Kite Safety: A few weeks back, I reported that some friends flying larger kites on our local beach were told by park rangers that they were generating too much attention and that the parks couldn't keep up with trash and toilet issues. But a week later, the conversations changed from toilets to safety. (Funny how that happens!) Seems large kites may be unsafe. But what is a large kite?? According to State Parks, a kite that is anchored is large.
Now ask a kiter and they will tell you that any kite can be anchored. And most will tell you that large kites can be flown without anchors. It isn't preferable, safe, or smart. But it can be done.
Just before the recent Lincoln City festival, we were told that fliers arriving early were not covered by the weekend permit and could be cited. I called our legislators and eventually the permit was extended.
I also took a kite to the beach Thursday and flew it without an anchor. In fact, I shared the line with some visitors walking by. Here's a shot of their 11 year old son -- on crutches - flying a 120. Since he has no anchor, he must be safe...
Personally, I think that the kite "safety" issue is a result of the problem discussed above. Parks doesn't have money and is reacting by limiting beach use. (Note that the permit rules were written before our friends were confronted on the beach.) My response is to urge the city to help maintain our beach wayside and deal with toilets and trash.
We have a meeting scheduled for mid-November to talk though these issues. If email follow-up is needed, I'll let you know.
Mr. David Gom: Just when you thought the stuff was running so deep that your shoes were a loss and you hoped only to save your watch...
Readers on FaceBook have probably noticed a number of posts by a Li Lei in Weifang. He is posting pictures of inexpensive kites for sale. And many of those kites may look familiar. Li previously worked for Fortune Comes Kites who were criticized for offering kites designed by other firms like Into the Wind. In fact, you could visit their site and find photos lifted from the ITW catalog and featuring the kids of ITW employees.
So this week, Li reports on FaceBook that he has just sent a large shipment to a new American account. The happy buyer? A Mr. David Gom.
I responded that readers should know David Gom is not David GomBERG and that I don't do business with Li. The discussion got interesting before it suddenly disappeared. Here are a few excerpts from the public posts:
While I have my suspicions, I can't say for sure whether David Gom is real or not. I just don't want people being confused or mis-lead and thinking I'm buying these imports. Check out Li Lei and David Gom on FaceBook and see what you think.
Animal Shelter: Susan is an advocate for animals and once served as President of the Humane Society in Salem.
Two years ago, our county sheriff announced that funding cuts would force the closing of the local shelter he runs. Big problem! The public responded by funding a 5-year operating levy. And now we're having intense discussions about how the money can best be spent.
Earlier this month, I testified to the Country Commission. I observed that law enforcement was focused on catching bad guys -- and that is how it should be. But a consequence of that was the Shelter was not a priority. Meanwhile, we have the Shelter staff, the local Humane Society, and the Friends of the Lincoln County Animal Shelter -- all doing good work and all rubbing each other the wrong way. I suggested the County get everyone at the same table and working together.
This week, the county announced plans for forming an Animal District, a funding commitment, and an Animal Shelter Oversight Committee. Good news! I'm encouraging Susan to apply.
And what about Kites? We have a container arriving Monday. Container -- as in the huge metal things your see trucks pulling around. So we'll spend the day sorting cartons and getting product into storage. And we'll spend the night rubbing ben-gay on sore muscles!
No new designs in this delivery. But plans for January include a series of light weight or indoor glider kites, a collection of G-Kites cellular creations, new Japanese-style roks, display banners, and an oversized Sled that is bigger than average. So we're calling it the "BA Sled".
We also have plans for a number of new inflatables and lifters before year end.
Meanwhile, Tuesday, Susie and I fly out to South Africa where we'll be working with kites and kids in the townships outside Cape Town. Then we perform for the Cape Mental Health International Festival. It is one of our favorite festivals and causes.
Our administratiuve assistant, Michelle, will be staffing the phones here. Be nice to her! She's new... ;)
Have fun and we'll see you on a field somewhere soon!
Lest anyone think we have nothing good to say about Chinese kite design, let me be clear. We support original works coming from Chinese producers -- just as we do any other kiter.
Here's an interesting piece from Weifang, made in the Peter Lynn tradition.
I'm taking orders now for a one-time purchase of the Scorpion. It's a bigger kite - about 40 feet -- priced low at $750. Place orders by November 1.
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