Park­ing me­ters ‘yarn bombed’ for Lyme dis­ease aware­ness

Newark Post - - Local News - By KARIE SIMMONS ksim­mons@ches­

The park­ing me­ters along Main Street are look­ing more col­or­ful than usual af­ter be­ing wrapped in green yarn over the week­end by groups hop­ing to raise aware­ness about Lyme dis­ease.

Vol­un­teers from the Ne­wark Free Li­brary’s Yar­ni­vores and the Ne­wark-based club Knit To­gether in Love “yarn bombed” 86 me­ters on Satur­day to rec­og­nize May as Lyme dis­ease aware­ness month. The green yarn will re­main on the me­ters un­til the end of the month.

In ad­di­tion to yarn bomb­ing, which is a graf­fiti-style art form that in­volves cov­er­ing pub­lic ar­eas with yarn, vol­un­teers on Satur­day also at­tached in­for­ma­tional cards to the me­ters ex­plain­ing the symp­toms of Lyme dis­ease, proper tick re­moval and how to par­tic­i­pate in the na­tion­wide “Take a Bite Out of Lyme Dis­ease Chal­lenge.”

The groups, which last month yarn bombed trees along the James F. Hall Trail, ob­tained the city’s per­mis­sion to do the pro­ject.

The ef­fort was a dream come true for 50-year-old Mimi East­man of Wilm­ing­ton, who has had chronic Lyme dis­ease for the past 18 years. She has ded­i­cated much of her time to rais­ing aware­ness about the dis­ease and jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to do her first yarn bomb af­ter re­cently join­ing the Yar­ni­vores.

“Th­ese are two of my fa­vorite things to do: knit and raise aware­ness about Lyme dis­ease,” she said.

It was East­man’s idea to yarn bomb Main Street. She said she wanted their ef­forts to be seen in the most no­tice­able, high-traf­fic area in Ne­wark in or­der to make the most im­pact.

“It’s funny be­cause grow­ing up, I used to cruise the streets of Ne­wark with my girl­friends and now I’m putting yarn on the me­ters,” she said, laugh­ing.

Twenty-nine women, along with their friends and fam­ily mem­bers, spent hours knit­ting the cov­ers be­fore sewing them onto the me­ter poles over the week­end. East­man said each of the 86 cov­ers took be­tween one and four days to knit, de­pend­ing on the pat­tern and speed of the knit­ter.

She said sev­eral peo­ple walk­ing along Main Street stopped to ask her and the other vol­un­teers what they were do­ing.

“It’s not ev­ery day you get to see a park­ing me­ter with a knit­ted sweater on,” she said.

East­man hopes the green me­ters on Main Street get peo­ple think­ing about Lyme dis­ease so they are aware of the symp­toms, get di­ag­nosed early and get the proper treat­ment be­fore the ill­ness be­comes chronic.

Satur­day may have been her first yarn bomb­ing, but it won’t be her last. She said she wants to cover Main Street me­ters again next May and ex­pand the ef­fort to cover the clock near Grass­roots and the lamp posts down­town as well.

“There’s so much more we could do,” East­man said.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Lyme dis­ease, visit or­medis­easechal­lenge. org.


Laura Mackey poses with a yarn-bombed park­ing me­ter on Main Street.

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