Published on November 24th, 2008 | by Kristin Dispenza


An Alternative to Throw-Away Furniture

Meyer Wells workshop






Since the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 1800’s, there has been an uneasy relationship between good design and mass-production. In recent years, another concern has crept into the dialogue: sustainability. And for most buyers, inexpensive, easily-obtained — and disposable — furniture seems to carry the day.

But Seattle-based furniture design company Meyer Wells is interested in bringing craftsmanship and sustainability to the fore once again, and is making furniture that is anything but mass-produced: they do commissioned pieces, constructed from salvaged urban trees. Furniture designer John Wells and master craftsman Seth Meyer obtain trees which have been cut due to disease, damage, or development, and 99% of all their materials come from within 10 miles of the shop.

Meyer Wells is a triple bottom line business, and the company is addressing a wide range of social responsibility issues, from providing competitive salaries and health insurance for its employees to using the most durable and environmentally safe solvents, glues and finishes in their work. According to the company, “This is recycling taken to the next level.”


Image courtesy of Parsons Public Relations

Mayor: Crime Prompted Hazleton Crackdown

AP Online March 15, 2007 SCRANTON, Pa. – A crime surge in a former coal town prompted a crackdown on illegal immigrants, the mayor testified Thursday as he defended the ordinance against claims that it is unconstitutional.

Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta said violent crime spiked 60 percent between 2003 and 2006, driving businesses away and making residents afraid to come out of their homes. Within weeks last spring, he said illegal immigrants were arrested for fatally shooting a man, shooting a playground with a BB gun and dealing drugs. web site illegal immigration statistics

“People were demanding that something be done,” Barletta said on the fourth day of a trial to determine the constitutionality of Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act.

“I understand those who say the federal government is in charge of regulating immigration,” Barletta said. “However, these crimes are being committed on our streets.” The ordinance, passed last summer, imposes fines on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and denies business permits to companies that employ them. A companion measure requires tenants to register with City Hall. see here illegal immigration statistics

The American Civil Liberties Union sued to overturn the measures, saying the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration matters. Enforcement of the laws was barred pending trial, the first to examine local efforts to curb illegal immigration.

Statistics show that illegal immigrants were responsible for less than one percent of the more than 8,000 crimes in the city between 2001 and 2006, ACLU lawyer Witold “Vic” Walczak said.

“I don’t have a dollar for one of them,” replied Barletta, who is facing a budget deficit. “We don’t have a dollar or an extra policeman for one of them.”

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