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Spring cleaning of e-mail inbox yields lots of fresh story ideas

I never know what - or how much - is going to show up in my inbox. Readers send me lots of story ideas, but I can only write 52 a year. Just for the record, my deadline is a week before publication and I am usually booked four to six weeks in advance with a few backburner columns for the rare occasions when I have nothing else to write about.

As I celebrate my ninth anniversary as a Daily Post columnist, I'm sad to say that three people on my backburner list passed away before I could write about them.

So, just to give voice to every suggestion I can before it withers away in cyberspace, I thought I'd open my inbox and do a little spring cleaning. And I discovered that most of my readers' ideas were in different ways earth-friendly.

For instance, Kyle Jodice, of Snellville, wrote that on Earth Day last year he had an epiphany. Weary of all his kids' school fundraisers, he came up with a Web site store for "green goods" through which people could buy quality earth-friendly products online and organizations could reap a 25 percent profit by using this site as a fundraiser. To be a buyer and/or a booster, go to www.letsgogreen.biz.

Debbie Koke, from Connecticut, wrote about a recently formed Web site, www.dividetheride.com, to help busy parents form carpools to save time, gas and energy.

Gloria Bantekas, of Buford, frequently shares wonderful news about Tiny Stitches, a group that provides layettes for needy babies. Though their volunteer list grows exponentially, the hard part, as with any nonprofit organization, is getting enough money so they have materials to work with. But this year, Bantekas is elated that Jackson EMC generously granted Tiny Stitches $15,000 through the Operation Round Up program and BJ's graciously donated $2,000 to their cause.

Therapist Michael Casteel, of SOULutions in Atlanta offered a different kind of earth-friendly message. His mission is to "help people awaken to their wholeness and to contribute to the conscious healing and evolution of our planet, one heart and soul at a time." So to speed up the process, Casteel invites anyone knowing of an event that is pertinent to raising consciousness and awakening to wholeness to post it on his Web site at www.ConsciousnessEvents.com.

If wholeness means completeness, then I'd like to share an experience of my own. Last year, I wrote about one of the most agonizing afternoons of my life: Judging the Poetry Out Loud competition at Parkview High School. It was down to the wire between two contestants, and we judges finally conferred the title upon a senior. It gave me at least a little comfort to know that the runner-up, Alex Wharton, was a sophomore and could try again next year. The last column news to hit my inbox this week let me know that he did - and he won!

What can be more complete than a little poetic justice?

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.