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Plans filed to open rural business that teaches green living classes; Highberger confirms plans to run for statehouse


It is a little hard to think about being green on a day like today. Walk outside, and you are more likely to turn blue. But plans are in the works for a new rural Lawrence business that will teach people to be green all year.

Local herb expert Tamara Fairbanks-Ishmael has filed plans with the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department to open Good Earth Gatherings at her home at 858 E. 1500 Road.

Fairbanks-Ishmael plans to convert a barn on the property into a classroom where she'll have instructors who will teach classes on topics such as art journaling, creating miniature gardens, dying fabrics, working with wool, and making your own lotions. (Ohhh, lotion to rub on the iceberg formerly known as my nose would feel good right about now.) Other topics will include food preservation, arts and crafts, home decorating and other similar classes.

Plus, there will be many classes on herbs and herb gardening. Fairbanks-Ishmael runs the Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group, which attracts a monthly gathering of about 50 people. She said the success of that group was one of the reasons she decided to pursue the idea of Good Earth Gatherings.

"I have seen people throughout the area have a real quest for knowledge on things that are self-empowering," Fairbanks-Ishmael said. "Herbs are very self-empowering. They are medicine you can grow in your backyard."

(I hope that is true because I currently have my hand emerged in oregano in hopes that it will help me reattach my frostbitten left thumb.)

If this business sounds familiar to you, perhaps you remember that in late 2011 Fairbanks-Ishmael filed similar plans and ultimately got them approved by the Douglas County Commission. But she said family demands stopped her from opening the business. Her permit expired, so she has filed the paperwork again.

This time she said she's on a clear track to open the business. She hopes to begin offering classes in either the late spring or early summer. Or in other words, about the time I regain feeling in my frozen right foot. (Unless, of course, this basil in my sock starts to kick in.)

In other news and notes around town:

• I have a quick bit of political news to pass along. Back in November, I told you it looked like there was a good chance that former Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger was going to run for the seat in the state legislature being vacated by Rep. Paul Davis, who of course is running for governor. Well, Highberger has confirmed to me that he has made the decision to run. He has recently sent off the paperwork to the Kansas Secretary of State's office. Look for a more formal announcement in the future.

Highberger will run as a Democrat, and that means there will be a primary election for Davis' seat in August. Abbie Hodgson, a former staff member with Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson, filed for the seat months ago.

Highberger served six years on the Lawrence City Commission in the 2000s, including a stint as mayor. Highberger is an attorney by trade. He previously was a staff attorney for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and now is a partner in a private practice in downtown Lawrence.

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  • Comments

    Clark Coan 4 years, 5 months ago

    Boog will probably win because of his name recognition. I like Boog and think his heart is in the right place, but to be effective in the Statehouse you need to be (1) be proactive and push for your constituents' agenda, and (2) speak out with a loud voice (a soft-spoken voice will not get heard).

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