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In Marin: Currents

Masked Bandits

by Kasia Pawlowska

First there are the tracks, 3 to 4 inches, found around the house. Then the droppings, usually close to trees. And then the overturned garbage cans. If any of this rings a bell, you’ve probably had an encounter with raccoons. “Generally speaking, most wildlife nuisance problems can be solved with some simple behavioral modification on our part,” says Kate Lynch, education program coordinator at WildCare. Here, she gives some tips to keep your home raccoon free. discoverwildcare.org

COVER UP Keep your trash cans secured and make sure raccoons don’t have access to any food scraps in your green bin.

DON’T FEED WITH SEEDS Bird feeders bring dropped seeds in your yard, and that attracts rats, mice and in turn, any animals that might eat a rat or a mouse, including skunks, opossums, raccoons and coyotes.

BATTEN THE HATCH Keep your pet door closed at dawn, dusk and nighttime, to prevent surprise indoor incursions.

PUT A LID ON IT Open-air compost piles will bring a variety of uninvited guests, including raccoons and rats. Consider a closed compost container.

INDOOR DINING Only feed pets inside. Never leave pet food out in the yard.

Last Straw

by Kier Holmes

According to information from the World Economic Forum, by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic than fish pound for pound. And despite recent groundbreaking inventions successfully clearing the littered seas, plastic straws continue to end up in our oceans, with straws among the top 10 items found during beach cleanups, the Ocean Conservancy says. Turns out the plastic tubes are too lightweight to be easily recycled, so they become trash and often end up in the ocean, polluting the water and eventually killing seabirds, marine animals and fish. But thanks to the efforts of Surfrider Foundation, Marin businesses such as Picco Restaurant, Buckeye Roadhouse, Sam’s Anchor Cafe, Insalata’s and Smiley’s Saloon are instigating a wave of change by swapping plastic straws for paper. Also, passionate students involved in the Straws Upon Request campaign are trying to convince management at restaurants to only offer straws on request. How can you help? Before ordering, say “No plastic straw, please,” and say why. Here the Surfrider Foundation gives some important numbers to keep in mind.

8 million tons of plastic are dumped into oceans every year
50% of plastic is used once and thrown away
500 million drinking straws are used every day
91% of plastic isn’t recycled
1,200 species are impacted by plastic through ingestion or entanglement
90% of all floating ocean trash is plastic
450 years for plastic to degrade

Hello, Yellow

by Kasia Pawlowska

You may not want to be called yellow-bellied, but maybe it’s time we retire that idiom. These foods feature the bright color and offer all kinds of health benefits.

Sweet Corn

NUTRIENTS Fiber, vitamin E, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-5, folate, phosphorus
BENEFITS Lowers cholesterol, improves vision, prevents anemia, aids digestion
GET IT FROM Organic leek and sweet corn steamed dumplings at Harmony Restaurant (Mill Valley) harmonyrestaurantgroup.com


NUTRIENTS Bromelain, vitamin C, manganese, thiamine
BENEFITS Supports immune system, helps keep bones strong, reduces inflammation
GET IT FROM Tres al pastor tacos at Copita Tequileria y Comida (Sausalito) copitarestaurant.com

Yukon Gold Potato

NUTRIENTS Vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, carotenoids, potassium
BENEFITS Manages blood pressure, neutralizes free radicals, supports muscles and nervous system
GET IT FROM Grilled filet mignon at Rickey’s Restaurant (Novato) rickeysrestaurant.com

Yellow Bell Pepper

NUTRIENTS Niacin, folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium
BENEFITS Aids eye health, regulates blood pressure, helps control muscle and nerve function
GET IT FROM Rainbow salad at Urban Remedy (Larkspur, Mill Valley, San Rafael) urbanremedy.com

Golden Beet

NUTRIENTS Beta carotene, fiber, potassium, iron, folic acid
BENEFITS Aids in bowel function, helps fluid control and electrolyte balance, strengthens bones
GET IT FROM Golden beet bruschetta at Sweetwater Music Hall cafe (Mill Valley) sweetwatermusichall.com



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