Sludge spoils White House gardenMichelle and Barry, so contrary,

how does your garden grow?

With help from Hill and Bill,

the answer's nil,

so the Obamas have nothing to show.

Mike Krumboltz, writing recently on Yahoo Buzz, says First Lady Michelle Obama dreamed of growing an organic garden at the White House.

But that plan has been thwarted by icky goo in the ground.

As a result, the veggies aren't quite what the first lady had in mind. Daily Finance reports the National Park Service tested the soil in the vegetable patch and found "highly elevated levels of lead" from sewage used as fertilizer.

Turns out the Clintons' gardening team used sewage sludge for fertilizer. Sounds gross, but it's actually fairly common.

Kent Madison of Echo uses sewage sludge from Portland to fertilize his feed crops. It's not intended for vegetables and other crops for human consumption, however.

As a result, it means the White House's organic garden will never attain organic status. The certification process doesn't allow using sludge as fertilizer.

Krumboltz points out another problem: If the Obamas' daughters, Malia and Sasha, weren't into eating their veggies before, it's going to be that much harder to get them to eat them now.

- Dean Brickey

Kick up your heels for deals Thursday after 5 p.m. is going to be a great day to be in downtown Pendleton.

Here's what you can expect : live music, food and beverages and a chance to win a shopping spree. It's all sponsored by the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce ambassadors and the Pendleton Downtown Partnership.

You can pick up a map of participating merchants at the corner of Main and Court streets, where the music will help kick off the fun. Then, visit the businesses for special deals and grand prize entry forms, which means the more merchants you visit, the better your chance of winning the grand prize.

Of course, there's also the 50-50 tickets being sold by the ambassadors, so there's cash on the line, too.

The evening ends at 7 at Main and Court for the prize drawings.

What a kick!/

- Skip Nichols

Plug and play in PendletonDon't sit at home and watch TV or play on the computer.

This Sunday, Aug. 16, at Blue Mountain Community College, 2411 N.W. Carden, there's a chance to make new friends or get involved in a club or to volunteer.

Pendleton Connect: Discovering Ways to Plug in to Opportunity and Community runs from 1-3:30 p.m. and will show you how much there is to do in Pendleton. There's free food, music, children's games and, best of all, a drawing for two SeaPort Airlines tickets.

There will be information on how you can volunteer, meet people or learn about different community organizations.

For more information, call the Parks & Rec Department at 276-8100.

- Skip Nichols

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