Tahoe’s South Shore community full of pride

Members of Lake Tahoe Pride ride across the pride themed crosswalk in South Lake Tahoe. (Image: Lauren Lindley Photography)

While the South Shore of Lake Tahoe has a reputation for welcoming the greater gay community, proactive measures are still necessary because in other parts of El Dorado and Douglas counties acceptance, tolerance and inclusion are not always the norm.

“I don’t think we can ever fully relax and let our guard down. I think there is a big backlash against people who even identify as woke right now,” Janice Eastburn said. “That has become a dirty word. We need to remain vigilant so our rights and safety are protected as a people. I look forward to a day, someday, where I don’t feel like I need to say that anymore.”

Eastburn first moved to South Lake Tahoe 26 years ago from Sacramento. It was a welcome surprise to be accepted as a lesbian, to not feel harassed or treated differently.

The city of South Lake Tahoe became even more welcoming by passing a resolution in May to make June Pride Month in the city. (June is Pride Month throughout the United States and in several countries.) In the past city proclamations acknowledged Pride Month, but a resolution is almost like codifying it.

Eastburn is adamant the resolution is critical today “because of the growing division of hatred we see around the world right now.”

The number of hate crimes against the LGBT community is unknown because the South Lake Tahoe Police and Douglas County Sheriff’s departments didn’t return calls.

Even so, the world is not a safe place. The U.S. State Department issued a “worldwide caution” for U.S. citizens traveling overseas because of “the increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events.”

The Trevor Project, a national nonprofit focusing on suicide prevention for young people in the LGBTQ+ community, conducted a survey last year that found nearly 40 percent of LGBTQ+ people between the ages of 13 and 24 seriously considered ending their lives.

The American Civil Liberties Union says there are more than 500 state bills attempting to quash LGBTQ+ rights.

The current state of unease is a reason South Lake Tahoe Mayor Cody Bass, who is openly gay, advocated for the city’s resolution even though he can only point to a couple instances locally of feeling backlash against his sexuality in the 27 years he’s been in town.

“We want to be as diverse of a city and accepting of a city as we can. The LGBT community has long been part of South Lake Tahoe,” Bass said.

His bigger vision is having Pride events in June (possibly as early as 2025) throughout the basin and in Truckee to welcome tourists and unite the region. Truckee had its inaugural Pride Week in early June.

This could be a lucrative move. After all, the LGBT global tourism market is expected to reach nearly $331 billion this year and is projected to be more than $552 billion in 2031.

Lake Tahoe Community College in April raises the Progress Pride Flag on campus. (Image: Lake Tahoe Pride)

Lake Tahoe Pride

One of the most visible gay groups on the South Shore is Lake Tahoe Pride, which was started by Gregory Cremeans in 2010 after he and some gay friends were told by a waiter to leave a South Lake Tahoe restaurant.

By then, the Stateline gay bar Faces had been closed for four years.

Cremeans wanted this group to be inclusive—not just men, not just women, not just those who identify as homosexual—but allies as well. In other words, friends, family and others who support the gay community.

“We were just a group having social mixers,” Cremeans said. “I wanted us to be visible in the community. We would take photos and put them on Facebook. There would be people who would step out (of the photo) who weren’t out, then 10 more allies would step in. We needed to let the community know we are here and we aren’t going anywhere and we have friends.”

The first iteration was known as Lake Tahoe LGBT and Friends. Through the years the group has welcomed the growing alphabet that includes LGBTQIA+ or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and trans, queer and questioning, intersex, asexual or agender, and more. The name Lake Tahoe Pride covers the umbrella of sexual and gender identities.

Cremeans has seen a positive evolution from businesses in the last 14 years.

“Back in 2010 we had to call places and tell them we were coming. We had people who didn’t want us to show up,” Cremeans recalled. “Today, businesses call us and say they want to collaborate with us.”

The group has also been visible in the annual Fourth of July parade, where it has participated multiple years without negative consequences.

While Cremeans is still involved in the group, others have taken over in leadership roles.

Zephyr Kao’s goal with LTP is to build partnerships with other groups. They have done this by having trail building days with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, working with the city to paint rainbow sidewalk crossings, and collaborating with chambers of commerce.

Politics and activism are not what LTP is about. It’s about eating, drinking, hiking, skiing—doing whatever everyone else in Tahoe does, but doing so with people who aren’t going to discriminate.

“Even when we have celebrations like the sidewalk commemoration they wanted to have police there,” Kao said. “I want to live in a world where I think I don’t need protection. When you have police there it changes the tone.”

The thing about a group like Lake Tahoe Pride is it’s a safe place—especially with the growing homophobic, anti-transgender agendas of some people and communities.

Allies at schools

Another super safe space is the Ally Club at South Tahoe High School, which has been overseen by adviser Bridey Heidel since its founding in 2006. In that time it has grown from a sexual identity safe place to include gender differences as well.

Anyone may join—one doesn’t have to be part of the LGBT+ team. Ally by definition is a person who is supportive of this group.

However, in the last few years Heidel has seen acceptance take a noticeable backslide on campus.

“To me, unfortunately, (Ally) is still relevant because just when we started feeling like it was safe to go back in the water, so to speak, we had some politics come up during Trump’s presidency that took us backward in a lot of ways,” Heidel said. “Homophobia became rampant on our campus. Things we thought we had resolved in terms of derogatory slurs and hate words all resurfaced when he was president.”

Then came the pandemic, which Heidel said took a toll on students’ mental health and was hard on LGBT+ students who were in unsupportive households or were alone as they came out or transitioned.

Ally can’t meet online because of privacy issues; you don’t know who else is listening. This meant some students suffered along without support.

In 2016, between 80 and 100 kids were part of STHS’ Ally Club, now it’s more like 10 to 30.

Heidel believes the difference in numbers is in part because some kids don’t believe they need such a group, which she loves, but on the flip side “I am absolutely positive kids are not coming out right now” because of fear.

“My hope has always been to not have the club (because it’s no longer needed),” Heidel said. “But I don’t see it going away soon because of legislation around the country, and the homophobic, anti-transgender agendas.”

South Tahoe Middle School now has an Ally Club as well.

Lauri Kemper, who is on the Lake Tahoe Unified School District board, first got involved in school issues with the Family Life Committee in the early 2000s when her son was at the high school. She was impressed then about the outreach for gay students, as well as what Tahoe Youth & Family Services was offering.

As someone who didn’t come out as a lesbian until she was 30, Kemper knows she had it easier than young people who already have a plethora of issues to contend with.

Still, she is an advocate for inclusion at all levels. Kemper highlights the focus on kindness and other behavioral issues at the elementary school to foster compassion. She believes it’s important to be “intentional about inclusion.”

Lake Tahoe Community College started an Ally Club a couple years after STHS. This spring it hosted its inaugural GAYpril event where the Pride flag was raised alongside the U.S. flag for the first time.

Kemper was a speaker at the LTCC event.

Lake Tahoe Pride is a visible presence on the college campus with its annual scholarship for students who best demonstrate what equality means to them. This year two $1,000 awards were given.

Even bigger is that in May the scholarship has been endowed with $50,000 in local donations.

What Douglas County schools offer is unknown because calls were not returned. However, the school board has a history of being less than inclusive.

Skiers are out on the slopes at Heavenly. (Image: Heavenly Mountain Resort)

On the slopes

Heavenly Mountain Resort has a long history of welcoming the gay community. Lake Tahoe WinterFest gay ski week ran for more than a decade starting in 1996. The now defunct Lake Tahoe Gay and Lesbian Foundation had a short run at hosting a ski week as well.

Today, the resort hosts its own events.

“As allies, our goal is to ensure we host a consistent, annual celebration on-mountain to support the LGBTQIA+ community. Heavenly launched the Here & Queer coffee hour and began working with Lake Tahoe Pride’s leadership to attempt to bridge the gap between LGBTQIA+ employees/guests, and the local South Lake Tahoe community,” explained spokesman Cole Zimmerman. “During the 2022-23 season, we hosted our first annual Tahoe Region Pride Day at Heavenly, which was a huge success. This season, we doubled our guest participation at Heavenly, and we are looking forward to riding the momentum hosting the event next year and into the future.”

Heidel was a speaker at this year’s event.

The Pride events have expanded to Kirkwood and Northstar, the other Vail Resorts’ owned properties in the greater Lake Tahoe area.

It’s a mixture of locals and out-of-towners who participate in the gay ski events.

Tommy Todd, a ski school instructor at Heavenly from 2004-15, remembers early on going to his director asking if he could wear his uniform while giving tours during gay ski week. Yes, was the answer. Todd believes he may have been the only gay employee at the resort then, or least the only one who was out.

“Ski school is traditionally a macho-man kind of place. It feels a little bit like a police or fire station where it would be difficult to be out,” Todd said. “But people knew me as me, not as a gay instructor or manager.”

Vail Resorts has adopted “be inclusive” as a core value to ensure all of its resorts are welcoming.

“We will continue to lend our voice to efforts that educate, inform, and grow our appreciation for the experiences of our LGBTQ+ teammates and allies. We do this by supporting impactful legislation, like the Respect for Marriage Act, and organizing events and activities annually that recognize the significance of LGBTQIA+ communities,” Zimmerman said. “Together, we must all do our part to enable everyone in the LGBTQ+ community to live and work safely and free of hate.”

Ellen DeGeneres gets the last laugh

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay to laugh.

For an hour on June 30 Ellen DeGeneres had the sold-out Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa laughing and applauding, and wishing for just a little bit more.

The comedian is on a multi-city standup tour which she says will be her last. For those who prefer not leaving their couch, DeGeneres has an hourlong Netflix comedy special coming out this fall. This, too, she says will be her final one.

Even though the comic’s 19-year TV talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show ended in 2022 after she was accused of being the leader of a toxic workplace, this tour proves she is leaving on her own terms.

And apparently people want to see her. Two more dates were added in Santa Rosa, both selling out.

DeGeneres didn’t shy away from talking about her departure from being a television host.

“Let me catch you up on what’s been going on with me since you last saw me,” she said. “I got chickens.”

Then she said, “Oh yeah, and I got kicked out of show business for being mean.”

DeGeneres was adamant when she said, “‘I am many things, but I am not mean.”

She also reminded people this wasn’t the first time Hollywood showed her the door. DeGeneres was booted out of the biz in 1997 when she came out as a lesbian.

“Next time, I’ll be kicked out for being old. Old, gay and mean, the triple crown,” the 66-year-old DeGeneres said to applause and laughter. Looking around at the predominately female audience the comment might have resonated with many.

That’s the thing about good comedians, they can laugh at themselves, poke fun at others, and point out the absurdities that we call normal life.

It really was an enjoyable evening. Go to DeGeneres’ show if you can.

Feeling disconnected from the U.S. flag

I’m almost embarrassed to fly the flag of the United States.

In the past I put the flag out at the “normal” holidays, of which Fourth of July was one. I no longer have a flag or holder so now I don’t have to make the decision to do so or not.

The flag of the United States. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

In the past, though, I never thought twice about it. It seemed like the patriotic, American thing to do. I was proud to be an American, proud of what this country stood for, proud to call the United States home.

Proud is definitely not the word I would use today. Conflicted, sad, concerned, even scared—those are some of the feelings I have toward the United States today.

It’s not just the Trumpian cult. However, that does make me believe our democracy is threatened.

Don’t even get me started on the Supreme Court.

Our government overall causes me angst. The more I learn about what went on in the past, learn what I wasn’t taught, learn about the depths of racism, learn more about systemic poverty and the culpability of corporations, learn more about white men in particular quashing anyone who might be perceived as a threat to their power, well, I feel a bit overwhelmed.

But I keep wanting to learn. It’s incumbent we all become more educated.

There is no utopia. But what we have now in this country isn’t working for anybody except the 1 percenters.

I want to be a proud American again. Maybe one day. I’m just not sure how to get there.

Unfortunately, most of the U.S. flags I see today (other than at government buildings) are in the back of pickups, usually flying next to a Trump flag.

It’s like the Trumpsters have co-opted the U.S. flag. I see the U.S. flag as symbol of bigotry, hatred, divisiveness and ultra right-wing politics.

I want to say to hell with that. That’s why I’m at least flying the flag with this story.

Those stars and stripes are for everyone in this country. It’s also a symbol (good and bad) to many who don’t live here. The flag doesn’t belong to one ideology.

It’s time to take back the flag so it represents all of us and not just extremism.

Micro-plastics polluting Lake Tahoe at alarming rate

While nearly $3 billion has been spent on Lake Tahoe’s clarity in the past quarter century, what’s actually in the water was never a concern until the last handful of years.

Water isn’t the only thing in the lake and that’s a problem because most people who live in Tahoe are consuming water from the lake or from well water. Multiple studies have shown an abundance of microplastics are in Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe was the third worst lake for microplastics in a study published in the journal Nature last year.

Tahoe Water Suppliers Association (TWSA) is working with scientists at Tahoe Environmental Research Center in Incline Village and Desert Research Institute in Reno to combat the problem.

“(We) have done independent sampling of four in-takes. A very small amount of contamination was found on a scale of hardly anything compared to what is being found in other surface waters and what they are finding in bottled water,” said Madonna Dunbar, TWSA executive director.

A petri dish shows the microplastics found in Lake Tahoe. (Image: Katie Senft)

TWSA member are: Cave Rock Water System, Edgewood Water Company, Glenbrook Water Cooperative, Incline Village GID, Kingsbury GID, Lakeside Park Association, North Tahoe PUD, Round Hill GID, Skyland Water Company, South Tahoe PUD, Tahoe City PUD, and Zephyr Water Utility.

Dunbar said the basin has more than 50 water purveyors, mostly small ones that include individual neighborhoods.

Because microplastics are anything smaller than 5mm, which is the size of a grain of rice, they aren’t easy to see. Nor are they something to be picked up on a beach cleanup or by divers scouring the lake’s floor.

“Particles of greatest concern to human health are smaller than 20 microns,” explained Katie Senft, a staff research associate with TERC. For perspective, a human hair is 20 to 120 microns.

Senft in 2018 started studying microplastics at the beaches in the basin. A year’s worth of water samples were taken starting in August 2020. Her group took more samples than the Journal study did, but the results were similar.

When money surfaces Senft hopes to do more studies.

“I’d like to look at atmospheric depositions of plastics,” she said.

What wildfires blow in is a concern. When Senft and her cohorts took a sample of Lake Tahoe on Aug. 4, 2021, the Caldor Fire had not started, but the Dixie Fire was raging. They recorded a spike in microplastics that day. Just think of all those plastics burning, then floating in the air and eventually landing in your lungs, in the soil, in bodies of water.

“The year we did our monitoring work on Tahoe we got higher levels in the spring and summer. I think (this was because of) the spring run-off over roads and bringing everything that had settled on snow over winter with it,” Senft said.

One reason Tahoe has a microplastic problem is that once the particle gets into the lake it will take on average 650 years to leave, according to Senft. This is because of the “residence time”—or how long it takes a single drop of water to pass through the system. The size of Lake Tahoe is what makes for its long residence time.

“The longer residence time of a lake, the more likely it is to have a high abundance of plastics because it doesn’t have the flush,” Senft said. “That is one of the big pieces. We can’t really change that. That is why it’s important to think about what we can do to minimize the number of plastics entering the lake in the first place.”

DRI is working on a study in conjunction with the League to Save Lake Tahoe about how dryer lint is polluting the air with microplastics. So much of our clothing—fleece, rayon, polyester, acrylic, and spandexcontains plastic.

Monica Arienzo, an associate research professor with DRI, later this year expects to release findings from eight South Lake Tahoe citizen scientists who collected the output from their dryers by putting mesh over the outlet.

“We found a lot more material than we thought we would,” Arienzo said. “We wanted to look at dryers because it’s a possible source of microplastics into the environment. It can be in the air, travel longer distances, and get into streams. One reason to study it is it’s something that could be regulated by putting mesh at the end of a dryer or some other technology.”

Microplastics are essentially ground up trash.

“If you are worried about microplastics in the water, the best thing you can do is use less plastic. It has multiple benefits to each person and the planet,” Senft said. “Plastic bag bans and water bottle bans all help.”

Starting on Earth Day this year South Lake Tahoe banned all bottled water less than 1 gallon. Truckee approved a similar ordinance in January. Multiple jurisdictions in the area ban plastic bags, though Nevada is woefully lacking on these types of regulations.

Note: A version of this story first appeared in the Tahoe Mountain News.

Calif. lawmakers try to cloud transparency between electeds, public

Some lawmakers in California want to make it more difficult for the public and journalists to keep an eye on what is going on with elected officials and the bodies they represent.

Trust me, if I never had to attend another meeting again, my life would probably be better. But for journalists and the public to not retain the ability to attend meetings, well, I’d go to one every day to keep that right.

Assembly Bill 817 died this month in a California Legislature committee. It’s still important to know about it because it’s likely to be resurrected. The bill would have allowed meetings to take place virtually—all the time, not just in emergency situations.

Yes, I love that the pandemic allowed meetings and other events to be online. This meant I could be part of things without leaving home, as well as “attend” ones that were taking place where I wasn’t. In many ways it made me (and still makes me) more connected if I choose to listen. I love having this capability for webinars and political meetings.

The problem with this bill is that it would have allowed the electeds to be remote. That is the problem. That means the public and journalists then have only the choice to attend virtually.

Ginny LaRoe, advocacy director for the First Amendment Coalition, wrote in a recent email, “Consider what an all-virtual government meeting means for community members who make their voices heard on issues using tried-and-true tactics like holding signs, wearing matching shirts or buttons, staging protests outside halls of power, or even holding eye contact with officials. And what it means for journalists who do the important work of keeping Californians informed: When public meetings go entirely online, how can a reporter approach an official to get comment or connect with community members who have views on issues being considered?”

I can tell you a meeting full of people is impactful. Doesn’t matter the cause or the elected body. You can’t ignore the energy people bring. That is definitely representative, participatory government.

But even when you are the only speaker, it still feels more meaningful to look in the eyes of those who are making the decision. I know. I’ve also spoken as a member of the public.

It has been so valuable in my career as a journalist to be able to attend meetings in person. You see things the camera doesn’t catch. You see the whole room. You see who is paying attention and who isn’t, who is having sidebars, the facial expressions; this includes those who are officially part of the proceedings and those in the audience.

I have come up with so many story ideas from being at a meeting; stories that had nothing to do with the agenda.

Being in person also allows journalists (and others) to ask questions in the moment. Politicians (even at the local level) are good at not returning calls. But stop them in the hallway, well, I’m harder to ignore.

Sure this law would have allowed the public to live stream the event, which is not a guarantee now afforded in the Brown Act. That, though, is a lousy trade off.

Lawmakers need to be creating more transparency, not hide away on video without any personal interaction with constituents. They need to meet in public so anyone who wants to go to the meeting can. And they need to live stream every meeting so those who cannot attend in person can do so. Furthermore, each of those recorded meetings then needs to be online so they can be watched at an individual’s convenience, as well as act as a historical record.

Juneteenth should be more than a day off work

Juneteenth isn’t something I’ve ever celebrated.

Fourth of July, yes.

Memorial Day and Veterans Day—only if it were work related. Indigenous People’s Day—nope. If only I were paid to have the day off, did I pay much attention to these days. Otherwise, just another day on the calendar. I realize I could do better.

Juneteenth was not something I learned about in school. It’s a date Black people in particular have known about for more than 150 years.

Even with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, most of the South continued to enslave people until 1865 when the Civil War ended.

Texas was the last to learn the war was over and the Union had won. It was June 19, 1865, that word finally reached Galveston, Texas, that Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered.

Now that’s something worth commemorating. People celebrated that day and have every year since. Festivities spread throughout Texas and then to Western states.

In 2021, Juneteenth became a federal holiday.

While equality for all is still merely a quaint idea and not a reality in this country, recognition of Juneteenth is a step in the right direction. The ramifications of that war, of slavery, of inequality—they are all realities we still live with. They are topics that should be discussed at the dinner table, among friends, in schools and certainly in the halls of government.

I have no plans for Juneteenth other than working, but acknowledging it here and in my conscientious, well, that’s a start to giving this date its just due.

True fans hang around in the losing seasons

Giants struggle to put up wins this season. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Too many people seem to only be fans when their team or player is winning.

This certainly seems to be true of Giants fans. No longer is the San Francisco stadium full. I would bet this has more to do with the standings than the prices.

When the Giants were winning World Series (2010, 2012, 2014) the ballpark was packed. Food lines were so long you were in danger of passing out from hunger or thirst before ordering.

When the Giants (and I’m guessing this is true of most teams) are not doing great, there are more giveaways and deals to be had compared to when they are atop the standings.

I get it—it’s all about supply and demand. If the seats are full, no reason to entice people with a deal. If they are empty, better get them in however you can. After all, once they are in, they are bound to spend even more money on food or merch.

I actually like the fans at the ballpark now better compared to the winning years. They are the authentic ones; not the Johnny come lately, I just want to be part of the cool crowd.

Replicas of the World Series rings at Oracle Park in San Francisco. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

During the winning years some people were in business attire, even if it was business casual. Really. Men and women. They were there to be seen, not to actually watch the game. I bet some didn’t even know how to play baseball, let alone the players or the opponents.

As they started to win it was electric and jovial because the Giants were on fire. “Torture” became the common refrain by broadcasters and fans in 2010 because the Giants never seemed to take the easy route to the win column. It was fun to chat with other fans, roll our eyes and cross our fingers hoping for the best.

But then the wins kept coming and soon the crowd changed. The feel at the ballpark was different at times. You could tell people weren’t paying attention to what was going on on the field; they were there to socialize, to be seen, not to watch baseball.

Between 2010 and 2017 the Giants sold out 530 consecutive games. Now they are lucky to sell out opening day.

One bummer about not selling out anymore is fans of visiting teams can easily score a ticket. I swear the Yankees’ fans were louder last week than those in orange and black. I tried to shout them down, but I kept hearing “Let’s go Yankees” louder than “Let’s go Giants”. That was more demoralizing than what was going on on the field.

In retrospect, I’ll take those wannabe Giants any day over another team’s fan base filling “our” seats.

Live theater brings stories to life like no other medium

Something about live theater fills me.

The singing, the dancing, the acting, the lighting, the set, the costumes, the music. It all adds up to wonderful memories.

Put “Funny Girl “on your must-see list. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

More were created this month when I saw Funny Girl in San Francisco.

Katerina McCrimmon as Fanny Brice was incredible. What a voice. Considering I had watched the movie starring Barbra Streisand just days before I didn’t think anyone could rival her. Well, McCrimmon did. Both bring so much to the role.

Nick Arnstein was played by Stephen Mark Lukas. He didn’t quite have the same presence as Omar Sharif does in the film, but his voice is so much better.

The play followed the movie closely, with a few changes that only added to the stage production.

I can’t imagine performing in front of a live audience day after day, night after night. There is no room for error unless you are really good at improv.

It’s not like a TV show or film where do-overs are the norm. I’m not saying acting of any kind is easy, but before a live audience would seem the most difficult. And then to be on top of your game each performance, well, it really does seem like quite an undertaking.

When Funny Girl comes to a theater near you, be sure to see it.

One of the best shows I saw this year was Cole Porter’s Anything Goes. If I didn’t know these were high school students ahead of time, I would have never known. The main actress is destined for a career in theater and she still has another year before she graduates.

These were students at Chico’s Inspire School of Arts & Sciences. With the stage being the Paradise Performing Arts Center, it added to the professionalism of the whole musical.

Live theater really is captivating.

I credit my parents for my appreciation for the theater. They took me to community theater when I was growing up as well as to plays in The City. We were regulars at the high school shows, too. I’ve been to Broadway and the theater in London. It’s all magical, no matter the venue.

While I haven’t enjoyed everything I’ve seen, I applaud anyone willing to give it a go.

Toilet seat etiquette needs improvement by most of us

Trends come and go, but one I really don’t like that is taking place is men leaving toilet seats up.

Yep, another one of those inane issues that is roiling me—well, roiling is a bit strong, but it is annoying me.

It’s one thing the toilet seat is left up, even worse when it has not been flushed. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

With more and more places having shared bathrooms for men and women, I am having to put the seat down like never before.

Maybe men are just as annoyed to find that more and more they are having to put the seat up.

Proper etiquette, from what I found on the internet, is for the lid to be down. So, that means we have all probably been doing it wrong for a while. It looks nice, for one thing. But health reasons are the driving factor for a closed lid.

According to the Microbiology Society, “Research has found that flushing the toilet with the lid down could reduce airborne particles by as much as 50 percent.”

Researchers at University College Cork discovered the number of visible and smaller droplets after flushing dropped by 30-60 percent when toilet lid was down.

Those droplets contain a lot of nasty things.

The PlumbWorld website says, “The most obvious reason to leave the toilet lid down is because it’s more hygienic. Toilet water contains microbes of … well, everything that goes down it, to put it politely. Many bugs and infections have also been found in toilets, including the common cold, flu, E. coli, salmonella, hepatitis A and shingella. When you flush the loo, a bacterial-riddled spray—also known as ‘toilet plume’—is released into the air and sticks to your toiletries, bathroom surfaces and even your toothbrush. If that’s not delightful enough to contemplate, you’ll be pleased to know it can linger for ages afterward.”

With all of this lovely information, I’m going to start putting the lid down on the toilet—maybe even at home. I don’t really want droplets reaching my toothbrush.

Maybe we can help each other out by putting down the lid on all public toilets. This means putting it down before flushing.

Credit card law transformed women’s opportunities

I would be surprised if I didn’t use my credit card every week.

I like the convenience and building Southwest miles for free flights.

I pay it off every month. I owe that ritual to my parents. They taught me the importance of doing so, to not build debt. A few times in my life I carried a balance, but it quickly got paid off.

“Who cares?” you ask.

Women care.

It was 50 years ago that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 became law. Prior to that for a woman to obtain a credit card or loan either her husband, father or brother had to be a co-signer.

That’s in my lifetime.


Tanaka Chimbane, an accredited financial counselor and assistant professor of personal financial planning at Texas Tech University, told U.S. News and World Report, “It marked a monumental shift in how women could engage with the economy and opened new avenues for personal and professional growth. Access to credit meant that women could start businesses, buy homes, invest in education and manage financial emergencies independently.”

It just shows how long women have been treated as second-class citizens. That we had to be dependent on a man. That we could not be trusted with financial matters.

What BS.

I got my first credit card when I was 17. Yes, my parents were involved. I got it because I was on my way to college. It had a credit limit of $500. I remember this because after trying to charge my books I hit the limit.

My memory is that a friend of my parents worked for Bank of America and got me the Visa. He also got my limit raised.

This card was in my name. It was mine. I was responsible for paying it. (Yes, my parents paid for my books and four of my five years of college.)

But I was building credit in my name. I didn’t understand that at 17 or even at 22 when I graduated. I do now. Still, I can’t get over that it took an act of Congress to give the same rights to women that men had.

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