SEARCH: When the Big One Hits

When the Big One Hits

by Camellia Rains

Damaged asphalt roadDisaster can hit at any moment and usually when you least expect it. For this reason it is imperative to be prepared and to have supplies and a plan in place.

This was put to the test with my family shortly after 5pm on October 17th, 1989 when a magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocked the bay area, later dubbed the Loma Prieta earthquake.  It was a couple of days before my 13th birthday, and I was focused on the important things in life, while sitting in my backyard, fiercely devouring the latest article on my favorite movie star. All of a sudden, the ground started moving, and it felt like a roller coaster. When it was done, all I could hear was car alarms and my neighbors shouting.

I ran inside and found the house in disarray from things that had fallen off shelves. My parents were okay, and though I didn’t know it at the time, that’s when being prepared pays off.

Until that point, I always questioned … Continue reading in SEARCH Magazine’s Winter 2019 issue.

SEARCH: Preparing for Disasters Both Big and Small

Preparing for Disasters Both Big and Small

by Heather Roulo

Disaster preparedness itemsThe unexpected is all part of life. When disaster strikes, it is best to have already prepared so you can focus on coping with the tough situation.

It isn’t fun to think about disasters, which is one reason FEMA and the CDC briefly reminded people of how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. If that can’t make you smile, what disaster can? On the West Coast, the more likely threats might include earthquakes, fires, floods, winter storms, and the occasional volcanic eruption. If you’re close to the water, there’s even the rare tsunami. However, it is reassuring to realize that all of these threats are infrequent, and in most cases, do not require emergency action.

For most of us, the next disastrous situation will likely be a household injury, power outage, or a broken-down car. For that reason, at a minimum, you should have BandAids, a first aid kit, flashlight, a rainy-day fund, and a cell phone. With those things, you can handle the quick knocks life sometimes throws our way. If you live in a house, know where your gas and water shutoffs are and the location of your circuit breakers. Check smoke detectors regularly and have a carbon monoxide detector near fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.

If you have the chance, plan to help others by attending a first aid class and … Continue reading in SEARCH Magazine’s Winter 2019 issue.

SEARCH: Robots: Doing What We Can’t in Space

Robots: Doing What We Can’t in Space

by Jim Keller

kellerspaceToday, the farthest humans can go into space is the International Space Station, two hundred and forty miles above the surface of Earth. Humans have never ventured farther than the Moon, roughly 230,000 miles from home.

Today, robotic explorers are crawling on the surface of another planet, chasing asteroids, and even voyaging out beyond the edge of our solar system over, 13 billion miles away. Why are robots doing all the cool, science-fiction stuff?

There are a lot of good reasons to use robots in space instead of humans. First of all, we’re kind of squishy. Robots can be built to withstand the deadly environments in space, anything from extreme heat to extreme cold, vacuum, high-radiation, and more, without getting killed. Robots can also be built with sensors we don’t have, like magnetometers, spectrometers, and the ability to see ultraviolet and infrared light. In short, robots are doing things we can’t.

Even if it’s something we hope humans will do eventually, it’s important to send robots first. NASA landed seven Surveyor robots on the Moon before… Continue reading in the Fall 2019 issue.


SEARCH: Sea Otter Cuteness

Sea Otter Cuteness

by Vivianne Winter

California Sea Otter near MontereyIn December of 2018 the Oregon Zoo said goodbye to Eddie, the sea otter, one of the oldest sea otters in the world. Wild otters often live between fifteen and twenty years. Eddie celebrated nearly 21.

Eddie became internet famous in 2013 after a video of him slam dunking a toy basketball as physical therapy for this arthritic elbow joints was viewed more than 1.7 million times on the zoo’s YouTube channel.

When Eddie was orphaned as a young pup along the California coast in 1998, he lacked the skills to survive on his own in the wild and was taken to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for rehabilitation. Deemed non-releasable by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2000 he went to live at the Oregon Zoo … continue reading the Summer 2019 issue.

SEARCH: Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo

by Heather Roulo

Feature.wpz.RedPanda1.jpgWhen visitors come to Seattle, there are a few must-see sites. Besides the space needle and Pike Street Market, I insist my guests visit the Woodland Park Zoo.

Located near Green Lake in the northern part of Seattle, not too far from the University of Washington campus, Woodland Park Zoo boasts ninety-two acres of animals and attractions. Despite the large size, it is well-organized and very possible to see the zoo in one day or to pick your favorites and linger along the lush native-plant-lined paths. We go so frequently. The kids have learned the shortest paths between our favorite animals.Feature.WPZ.Giraffe.jpg

When our family hosted a Japanese exchange student, she was thrilled with the chance to interact with the animals. Young or old, the zoo entertains with its variety of animals, plants, education, and experiences. Where else can you be licked by a giraffe and experience how rough their tongues are?

The zoo also provides an opportunity to appreciate the diverse biosphere … read more in the Summer 2019 issue.

SEARCH: Amazing Mothers

Winners of the SEARCH Magazine Mom Celebration

It’s no surprise that entrants for the SEARCH Magazine celebration love their mothers. Essays about motherhood aren’t as easy as they sound. Too often, we fall into the trap of generic platitudes toward motherhood. Rather, each woman is an individual who reflects the passions and vagaries of life. To live well, and care for others at the same time, is definitely something worth celebrating. Moms are amazing people whose lives are especially appreciated during times of trial. These grown daughters wrote us to reflect on the events and history that shaped the amazing women who raised them.


Everyone loves their mother and thinks she’s special. My mother was no different. My grandmother, Eleanor, was the center of Mom’s world until she died when my mom was barely thirty-one.

My mother has caSumiko mom 2018 Picturencer now and is in the late stages of her nine-year struggle with Multiple Myeloma, a rare blood cancer in leukemia and lymphoma cancers that affects African Americans twice as often as the rest of the population.

Even in her valiant fight against cancer, my mom has been exceptional. August 10, 2018 was her ninth year as a cancer survivor. Her life expectancy after diagnosis was only about two and a half years. She has far exceeded all expectations, thanks largely to her amazing oncologist, Dr. Chainarong Limvarpus, at Sutter Solano Cancer Care Center in Vallejo. My mother was a black community leader. Together, we started Iconoclast Productions back in 1993, a San Francisco based media-arts non-profit that launched the African American Multimedia Conference in 1996 and the San Francisco Black Independent Film Festival.

She wrote grants for San Francisco Juneteenth Festival and the California Blues Festival, and helped to organize events like … read more in the Spring 2019 issue


You know that person that is a part of your life through every event, always has your back, and protects you no matter what?

For me, that was my mother. Throughout my twenty-two years of life, she has been through more battles than most and has come out stronger in the end.

IMG_3127My mom, Meegan Normandeau, is a mom of four and a retired flight attendant for Delta Air Lines. She worked long days traveling across the United States. She has an adventurous heart and at a young age traveled to Korea. She loved New York, and she knew how to embrace cultures of all parts of the world. Even though she loved her work, she made the sacrifice to leave it and become a stay-at-home mom. She continues to raise her children incredibly. She leads by example and shows truth in her words no matter what.

Just over four years ago, our family experienced the painful loss of my grandmother, one of the hardest things I had ever experienced. I know for my mom, it was devastating. My grandmother, Sharon, was a fighter that loved and lived life fearlessly. She had a heart of gold and gave her effort, time, and charity wherever she felt it just. I know that anyone who knew them both saw many parts of Sharon in her daughter, Meegan, both physically and in personality. As I got older, I also noticed read more in the Spring 2019 issue