‘God’s October surprise’
Rabbi David Wechsler-Azen of Sacramento’s Congregation Beth Shalom calls it “God’s October surprise.”

This year, the sacred Muslim lunar month of Ramadan and the sacred Jewish lunar month of Tishray begin at the same time, and as observant Jews fast for Yom Kippur on October 13, observant Muslims will be fasting to celebrate Ramadan. Early October also has a number of festival or special worship occasions for other religious traditions: Protestants celebrated World Communion Sunday on October 2; October 4 was the feast of St. Francis of Assisi; Hindus observe Navarathri (nine nights of spiritual struggle), which concludes with Vijayadashami (the 10th day of spiritual victory) on October 13; and Buddhists will conclude their season of reflection, called Vassa, on October 18.

Several groups that hope to turn this unusual confluence of holy days to good purpose among people of faith are calling for a day of fasting to end childhood hunger. The idea is that healthy adults will forgo eating from dawn to dusk on October 13 and will donate the money they would have spent on food to organizations working to end hunger, whether in the United States or around the world.

The call to fast was organized by the Tent of Abraham, Hagar and Sarah, an interfaith organization of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and has been endorsed by the National Council of Churches and the Islamic Society of North America, among many others. For more information about the day of fasting, call Congregation Beth Shalom at (916) 485-4478 or visit its Web site at www.cbshalom.org/Announcements/372.aspx.

Radio Free Davis
The low-power radio station serving the city of Davis, KDRT 101.5 FM, will host a Low Power Radio Roundup on the UC Davis campus October 8 and 9, with stations from all over California, Oregon and Nevada attending.

The event will feature workshops for those wanting to get started in community radio, as well as established stations looking to network with others.

Low-power stations broadcast a lower wattage than standard stations, targeting a specific town or neighborhood. That allows for more localized programming. KDRT has a high-school beat, a gardening show specifically tailored to Davis’ weather, and a Bike Talk segment dedicated to the city’s most popular transportation method. Another low-power station, KDEE 97.7, covers parts of Rancho Cordova. (See “Low-power blues"; SN&R News; July 22, 2004.)

Low-power-radio producers are people committed to the betterment of their communities, says KDRT station manager Jeff Shaw. The conference is open to anyone who is interested in the low-power-radio movement. Call KDRT at (530) 757-2419 to register.

How green was our valley
Advocates for the restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley have issued a new report detailing the proposal for the destruction of O’Shaughnessy Dam and replacing the water and hydroelectric power that the dam now provides San Francisco. “We look at several new things that are not in any previous reports,” said Ron Good, founder of Restore Hetch Hetchy, which released the study. “For how to take the dam out of Hetch Hetchy Valley, we have a specific engineering plan. Also new is a detailed discussion of how [it] can be restored and how humans can participate.”

Those opposed to the dam removal and valley restoration remain unimpressed. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), whose water system serves 2.4 million people with naturally filtered water from the dam, said that the new study does not change its stance.

“The proposal by Restore Hetch Hetchy does not reduce our concerns about the enormous costs, degraded water quality, loss of clean hydropower, reduced water supply reliability and legal barriers,” said SFPUC General Manager Susan Leal in a statement issued in response to the report.

Restore Hetch Hetchy put the price tag on the project somewhere under a billion dollars, saying that it would quickly pay for itself with consumer energy savings and expanded tourism. View the report at www.hetchhetchy.org.