Tootsy Rollers line up for drills during a recent practice in Ballard.


Elizabeth Lyke (DisLykeHer) watches the Seattle Derby Brats in action. There are more than 200 junior roller derby leagues around the United States, including teams in Portland, Eugene, Port Orchard, Walla Walla, Olympia and Spokane.


Destiny Draag (Zoom QT), front from left, and Evyn Mar (Snow Fright) perform drills at Tootsy Rollers practice in Ballard.


Much like their older counterparts, junior roller derby players accessorize with bright tights, tutus, laces and socks.


Samantha White (Panda-dorable), 9, secures her helmet during a friends and family bout with the Tootsy Rollers CQ in Ballard.


One of the Tootsy Rollers teams, the Turquoise Terrors, huddle during a friends and family bout in Ballard. The Seattle Derby Brats CQ were one of the first leagues to host an elementary division, ages 8-11, where the girls can learn the game and how to skate.


Aurora McCarter (Tick Tock), 11, second from right, and her Orange Crush teammates prepare for the Tootsy Rollers’ friends and family bout. McCarter said she doesn’t like other sports, but has taken to roller derby. “I like how I can show off my talent,” she said.


Seattle Derby Brats practice around traffic cones in a facility in Ballard. Seattle and Tucson formed two of the first junior roller derby leagues in the country in 2007.


Makena Kerns (Ruby Twister) CQ, 9, prepares for one of the Tootsy Rollers’ monthly friends and family bouts in Ballard.


A couple of teammates hold hands while one of their helmets is adjusted by an adult during Tootsy Rollers practice in Ballard.


Members of the Tootsy Rollers’ Orange Crush team, including Aurora McCarter (Tick Tock), 11, center with mouth guard, huddle before competing against the Turquoise Terrors in Ballard.


Sophie Maskill (Brady O’Flyer), 9, left, and Audrey Dietz (Pop Roxx), 10, kid around after Tootsy Rollers practice.


Lahela Kalawa CQ, (Flyin’ Hawaiian), 13, springs up in a huddle with the Juniors Division II teams at a Seattle Derby Brats practice in Ballard.

Isaella Abrego-Abrego, right, and Ermelinda Abrego, workers from Panama, carry baskets of ripe coffee up a steep hill at Ricardo Calderón Madrigal’s farm in Costa Rica. Weather changes allow cultivation of coffee at higher elevations but threaten many farms lower down.

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SANTA MARIA DE DOTA, Costa Rica — A mile above this rural mountain town, coffee trees have produced some of the world’s best arabica beans for more than a century.

Now farmers are planting even higher — at nearly 7,000 feet — thanks to warmer temperatures.

“We noticed about six years ago, the weather changed,” said Ricardo Calderón Madrigal, whose family harvests ripe, red coffee cherries at the higher elevation. He sells beans to some of the most notable coffeehouses in the U.S., including Stumptown Coffee of Portland and Ritual Coffee in San Francisco.

Standing among healthy coffee trees near the upper reaches of his farm, Calderón says he knows he is lucky.

Calderon is one of the few Costa Rican coffee farmers benefiting from the shifting weather pattern, while most of his fellow growers have found themselves on the losing end.

Yields in Costa Rica have dropped dramatically in the last decade, with farmers and scientists blaming climate change for a significant portion of the troubles.

Many long-established plantation owners have seen trees wither or flower too early. Some have given up. Others are trying to outwit changes in temperature, wind and rain with new farming techniques and hardier tree varieties.

Like many tropical crops, coffee cannot tolerate extreme high and low temperatures, and it needs dry and wet seasons. Costa Rica and other countries, such as Colombia, with sophisticated coffee farms and mills appear to be noticing the impact of climate change first.

These problems are helping push up the price of a latte or espresso at coffee shops everywhere.

Most important, the fate of coffee in Costa Rica could be a bellwether for food production — and prices — globally, as farmers around the world cope with mudslides, droughts and creeping changes in temperature.

To read more about how climate change is affecting crops, visit: Climate change takes toll on coffee growers, drinkers too written by the very talented, Melissa Allison. Photos and videos were shot by myself, and the multimedia presentation edited by Danny Gawlowski. (Thank you both!)

Francisco Flores, a fifth generation coffee farmer, believes climate change has adversely affected his coffee farms in the Volcano Poás region of Costa Rica.

Workers at Francisco Flores’ coffee farm measure ripe coffee cherries at the end of the day in a transport truck.


Omar Calderón Madrigal drives a coffee transport truck down to the Beneficio Los Angeles mill. His family is planting coffee at high elevations, near the rural town of Santa Maria de Dota. Thirty years ago, they had difficulties growing crops at these elevations.


A Panamanian worker carries coffee picking baskets at Ricardo Calderón Madrigal’s high elevation coffee farm in Tarrazú. Calderón Madrigal said his family is able to produce coffee in elevations that were inhospitable several decades ago.


Low clouds drift over the tall, steep hillsides in Tarrazú. Roberto Mata, general manager for Coopedota in Santa Maria de Dota, said the harvest season usually does not have rain in this region. “In this year, so far, we haven’t had even one week without rain.” he said.


Seasonal coffee workers from Panama mingle at the end of the day after picking coffee at Ricardo Calderón Madrigal’s family coffee farm above the small, rural town of Santa Maria de Dota, Tarrazú. The farm employs around 40 workers from Panama for about two months. Coffee is the economic lifeblood of this mountainous area south of San Jose, the capitol city.


Sickly, yellow coffee plants can be seen at Francisco Flores’ coffee farm in the Volcano Poás region of Costa Rica. Coffee used to grow well on this hillside, but rain, wind and cold make it difficult for the plants to produce.


A seasonal worker carries a bag of coffee at the end of the day at Francisco Flores’ coffee farm. Flores said it is difficult for him to see coffee businesses that have been open for generations now close. “I have a heartache in my heart.” he said. “I have coffee in my blood. I love coffee.”


Coffee plants blossom in January, several months earlier than normal, at Francisco Flores’ farm. Ill-timed rains cause what is called “floración loca,” or “crazy flowering.”


Nancy del Socorro, 22, of Nicaragua, picks coffee at Francisco Flores’ coffee farm.


Michael Abrego, 24, picks coffee at Ricardo Calderón Madrigal’s family coffee farm above Santa Maria de Dota, Tarrazú. Abrego listened to a small radio playing reggaeton.


Omar Calderón Madrigal, right, measures coffee with workers at his family’s farm located above Santa Maria de Dota, Tarrazú. “Coffee cultivation is very important because there is no other means of life,” said Ricardo Calderón Madrigal, his brother. “It’s the only alternative we have in order to survive in this region.”


A portrait of Ermelinda Abrego is taken after working at Ricardo Calderón Madrigal family’s coffee farm. The workers receive $2 per cajuela, or measurement, of coffee. The farm employs around 40 workers from Panama.


Michael Calderón Castillo (left) and his father, Ricardo Calderón Madrigal, unload coffee cherries. The family sells to a variety of companies, including Stumptown Coffee of Portland. Calderón Madrigal is unsure how climate change will affect future generations. “Only God will know,” he said.


At the end of the day, seasonal coffee workers load and measure ripe coffee cherries at Francisco Flores’ farm in the Volcano Poás region of Costa Rica. Ronald Peters, executive director at iCafe, Costa Rica’s national coffee agency, believes climate change will affect all crops eventually, not just coffee. “It is going to be a problem of the food we eat in the future,” he said.


Migrant worker Mamerto Abrego, 29, holds his son David for a portrait outside of worker housing near the coffee mill in Tarrazú. Roberto Mata, general manager at a nearby coffee processor, said the harvest season usually has no rain. “In this year, so far, we haven’t had even one week without rain.” he said. “That’s terrible for the quality, terrible for the pickers and terrible for the trees.”


Mauricio Brenes, 57, from Costa Rica, walks past Beneficio Los Angeles in Tarrazú at the end of a workday. Roberto Mata, general manager of nearby Coopedota, said adverse weather has been affecting coffee farmers. Last year, too much rain came during the harvest season. The year before, he said, farms didn’t have enough moisture.


Hands, blacked by the coffee cherries’ sugar and the plants’ soil, measure the harvest.


With the last moments of sunlight peaking through the clouds, seasonal workers load and measure coffee at Francisco Flores’ coffee farm.


Jose Marie Abrego, 2, naps at the end of the workday at Ricardo Calderón Madrigal family’s coffee farm during the harvest. Abrego tagged along with her mother picking in the fields.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST MAGAZINE: HELL ON WHEELS


Researchers say something as simple as a couch dumped in a roadside ditch can send shudders of curiosity – and delays – through traffic.


“Traffic is filled with people who think the roads belong only to them, that being inside the car absolves them from any obligations to anyone else,” says Tom Vanderbilt, author of the 2008 book “Traffic.” Such attitudes are one reason our streets feel less civil and conflict seems to be rising.


Richard Dyksterhuis lives in the Bitter Lake neighborhood and advocates for sidewalks in parts of Northwest Seattle he calls “LOST” for Lesser Outer Seattle Territories. He wants to “complete” Linden Avenue North and other important streets by adding curbs, planting strips (“twin barriers against traffic”) and 7-foot-wide sidewalks.


Mayor Mike McGinn’s transportation initiative says we’re “overly reliant” on cars and should make walking, biking and riding transit the “easiest ways to get around.” The mayor says he doesn’t hate cars. But “I’ll own up,” he admits, “to being hostile to this tunnel consortium that’s pushing this project for profit at the expense of community.”


Rana Levy, 25, a Los Angeles transplant, says she feels comfortable biking around Seattle. “Women are kind of an indicator species on bike-friendliness,” adds Mia Birk, Portland’s former bike coordinator. Make cycling safer and more women will bike. Testosterone levels go down, civility up.


Our rush-hour traffic ranks fourth worst in the country, says digital mapping company Navteq. Only New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco are worse.

SEATTLE NO PANTS! LIGHT RAIL RIDE


Participants wait at the Columbia City light rail stop during Emerald City Improv’s second annual Seattle No Pants! Light Rail Ride.


A participant salutes during Emerald City Improv’s second annual Seattle No Pants! Light Rail Ride.


Nate Strong, 26, picks up his belongings at the light rail stop during Emerald City Improv’s second annual Seattle No Pants! Light Rail Ride.

URBAN FARMING: DUCKS


BJ Hedahl says her ducks aren’t a lot of trouble. “They’re lower maintenance than chickens and I think (the eggs) taste better.” Hedahl currently hosts workshops showing locals how to raise ducks in their yards.


BJ Hedahl raises two types of domesticated ducks, khaki Campbells and Indian runners, in her backyard in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood. The colorful duck eggs sell for $6 a dozen out of her home.


BJ Hedahl says duck eggs are richer, denser, with yolks bigger than your chicken variety.


Khaki Campbells and Indian runners, both varieties of domesticated ducks, are a tad skiddish if you get too close.


A young Humboldt penguin, who hatched in February, swims for the first time inside the Woodland Park Zoo’s public outdoor exhibit Monday, May 9, 2011 in Seattle. Five new chicks were introduced the rest of the colony on Monday, and now can be seen in their 17,000-square-foot habitat that replicates the Punta San Juan coast in Peru. Two small bands on the young birds’ wings can identify them from their elders.


A young Humboldt penguin, who hatched in February, swims inside the Woodland Park Zoo’s public outdoor exhibit Monday, May 9, 2011 in Seattle.


A young Humboldt penguin stretches at the Woodland Park Zoo Monday, May 9, 2011 in Seattle. Humboldt penguins are an endangered species, and are native to South America.


A three-month-old Humboldt penguin swims underwater Monday, May 9, 2011 in Seattle. According to the Woodland Park Zoo website, Humboldt penguins are endangered due to human involvement. Their nests, made of guano, are considered a valuable fertilizer, and are disturbed and destroyed during the nesting season. Offshore fishing in South America also affects the birds, as well as oil spills, tourism and introduced predators.


With its head above water, a three-month-old Humboldt penguin swims Monday, May 9, 2011 at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. According to the Woodland Park Zoo website, Humboldt penguins can live around 20 years in their natural habitat and up to 30 years at zoos.


A three-month-old Humboldt penguin swims next to the glass Monday, May 9, 2011 in Seattle. According to the Woodland Park Zoo website, the birds eat anchovies, herring and smelt in the wild.


Tiny bubbles follow a Humboldt penguin swimming at the Woodland Park Zoo Monday, May 9, 2011 in Seattle.

A few weeks ago, I miraculously cleared the Washington State Reformatory security desk with a dolly stacked high with lighting equipment and cameras. My friend and photo/prison blogger extraordinaire Pete Brook and Seattle Weekly reporter Keegan Hamilton helped me push the load of gear through several security gates, and into a classroom used by the University Beyond Bars program.

Pete, an art teacher at the Monroe prison, organized the “Non-Sufficient Funds” exhibit to showcase artwork from 12 of his students at Vermillion Gallery in Capitol Hill. Proceeds from the show, which runs through May 14, benefit the University Beyond Bars program.

More than 50 acrylic paintings, drawings and mixed media pieces— created during a year’s worth of weekly studio sessions— are on display and definately worth enjoying over a tall, cold one. (Vermillion has a great happy hour, btw. Just get their before seven.)

My job that afternoon was to photograph his pupils. All of the portraits are currently hanging with their biographies at the gallery.

About the show, via Pete:

The title of the show, Non-Sufficient Funds, has a few meanings: First, it refers to the stretched resources of volunteer-based rehabilitation programs within prisons across America, which is what this particular exhibit is advocating for. Research indicates that inmates who maintain contact with the outside world and who engage in educational and vocational programs experience a much lower rate of recidivism.

Second, it is a commentary on the financial burden the Prison-industrial Complex places on US society. Due to harsher sentencing laws and the war on drugs, the prison population has quadrupled since 1980. Now, in times of economic crisis, serious questions are being asked about the amount of tax dollars spent on prisons.

Finally, it refers to the scenario when a prisoner receives a letter or package has insufficient postage, and no funds available in their prison account fund to cover the difference. “Non-sufficient funds” is stamped upon the return correspondence. Many of us are unaware firsthand of the rigid structure the penal system requires. Mail sent to inmates in violation of policies can lead to punishment. Prison libraries and other media are also highly censored for various reasons. Non-sufficient funds hopes to shed some light on the way art and education in institutions benefits society as a whole and we hope it encourages a dialogue and additional advocacy.

A side note: My dad was a was a long-time, mental health counselor who worked with alongside rehabilitation programs at the Wyoming Honor Farm outside Riverton, Wyoming. He said that treatment works. Not all of the time. But, in his experience, rehabilitation programs and counseling significantly reduces recidivism.