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GSBN:Strawbale family needs help



(cross posted to the Crest strawbale list, SB-R-Us, WWAT, SBAT-1,
Bale-ON, and GSBN.  Apologies for any duplicates)


Hi folks,

I received the letter below from Dawn Lovell (via the illustrious
Frank Meyer), and offered to spread the word and hopefully get these
folks a little assistance.


-- begin Dawn's letter --

My sister, Marina, and her husband, Michael, live outside Bemidji in
rural Minnesota, USA.  They purchased 80 acres of land there about 8
years ago on which to live a self-sufficient organic lifestyle.
Despite a setback of a fire in 1997 which resulted in Marina being
airlifted to the specialist burns unit in the capital city hospital,
they persevered and built a straw-bale house, using many
recycled/salvaged/donated items.  They have recently developed a
Community Supported Agriculture scheme (whereby people pay into the
scheme and are supplied with vegetables throughout the year).  Marina
teaches piano part-time in Bemidji.  She had been hoping to set up
her own business teaching at home last year, which would also enable
her to have more of an input on the land, increase their level of
self-sufficiency, and teach without the music school restrictions,
but this has been deferred (see below).

At the end of April this year their house burnt down.  As I
understand it, the finishing touches of sealing the wood inside which
should have been done last year did not get completed.  This was due
to the fact that Marina had decided to devote time instead to nursing
our father at home in Devon, England, for the whole of last summer
until he died.  When she returned home there were many other tasks
waiting for her to catch up on, as well as dealing with the
exhaustion and grief from the previous months.

The fire destroyed everything - the house itself, the nearby chicken
shed, all their personal belongings (including mementoes of Dad),
photos, addresses, clothes, toiletries, books, piano, food, kitchen
equipment, tools, solar panels, animal feed, horse tack, seed,
documents, etc as well as one of their cats and one of their dogs.
Unfortunately, adding further to their distress, they had been unable
to find/afford buildings insurance (the local agents were not
familiar with straw-bale houses) and therefore had been ineligible to
puchase contents insurance, and they had no savings, in line with
their lifestyle and principles.

They are now in the process of rebuilding their straw-bale house and
replacing the lost items as best they can.  Their local community
have assisted, with practical help, equipment loan, and fund-raising
events, but they have pretty much exhausted that avenue now.  Mum
(aged 76) has flown out there to spend the summer staying on the land
in an old trailer van (damaged by the fire but serviceable) to assist
in any way she can.

Is there any way you can help?  - Through your work and contacts do
you know of anyone who could give them money, or practical
assistance, or materials or equipment, or anything else that might be
of use?  They need to get the house built in time for the
fast-approaching raw Minnesota winter.

We would all be extremely grateful for any support.

-- end Dawn's letter --

A PayPal account has been set up to receive any cash donations:
DLovell@...

If you'd like to donate directly to their account in MN, it's "The
Mike Schumacher & Marina Lovell Benefit Trust Fund", held at
the Wells Fargo Bank in Bemidji.  Let me (billc) or Dawn know if you
need the routing number/account number.  I'd rather not broadcast
that on the net.



--
Bill Christensen
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