Gardner to speak on dying

Former Gov. Booth Gardner will speak in support of the Death with Dignity initiative at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, April 13, at Lewis Hall in Burton. His co-speaker will be Kay Longhi, President of Compassion & Choices for Washington State.

The former Democratic governor, who has Parkinson’s Disease, has chosen to campaign for this end-of-life legislation. The presentation and discussion will provide an opportunity to more clearly understand the initiative, its intent and potential results based on an Oregon law that has been in effect for 10 years.

Backers of the Death with Dignity initiative are attempting to get it placed on the November 2008 ballot, which requires they secure more than 100,000 signatures by June 30. The initiative, according to backers, seeks to protect a person’s right to die in accordance with his or her beliefs. It also supports better pain care, treatment of depression and hospice services during end-of-life care.

Gardner’s presentation is part of the Sunday Morning Conversations, open forums held by the Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship. Lewis Hall is located behind the Burton Community Church, which is at 23905 Vashon Highway S.W.

Okimoto wins book award

Vashon author Jean Davies Okimoto has won the 2008 Green Earth Book Award in children’s fiction for her book “Winston of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming.”

The awards were issued by the Newton Marasco Foundation, a Virginia-based nonprofit that works to inspire responsible environmental stewardship. Seventy-five books were nominated for the awards in three categories: children’s fiction, young adult fiction and nonfiction for readers up to 21 years old.

Okimoto’s book, illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell, is about a bear named Winston who rallies other bears to save their icy home of Churchill, Manitoba, after he notices that it is slowly melting away.