| For Christie Minami,
the Internet has provided a portal out of her Severn home and placed her
smack dab into Florida's heated debate over a potential archeological treasure.
Ms. Minami, an environmental engineering student at the University of Maryland, will operate an auction on the eBay on-line site to raise money to keep the Miami Circle from becoming demolished by a high-rise office building or moved to another site.
Ms. Minami became involved with protecting the circle, which was discovered only last summer, through a San Francisco artist named Kynthia. From there, Ms. Minami started [helping with the Save the Circle website] and devised the idea for the eBay fund-raiser.
Ms. Minami was no stranger to the Internet. She freelances as a webmaster for several Internet sites, and her computer room is filled with computer games.
"I decided, once I saw how important this site was, I wanted to help," Ms. Minami said.
Ms. Minami said the circle's historical and cultural potential struck her. Experts believe the 30-point circle may be a Stonehenge-like time piece created 2,000 years ago by the extinct Tequesta Indians.
Ironically, the Spanish word "te cuesta" translates to "it will cost you."
That is the challenge facing Ms. Minami as estimates have pegged the price of buying the land from the developer as at least $8 million.
Dade County, which tried to claim the land through an eminent domain decree, is locked in a court battle with the city of Miami to determine what should be done with the circle. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has pledged state funding of half of the cost, but the rest is up to private donors, including the Severn woman's efforts.
Ms. Minami admitted that she is anxious about pulling off her ambitious project.
"I'm kind of nervous," Ms. Minami said. "Everyone is like, 'This is such a great idea.' I just hope it works. I hope there are enough people out there who say, 'Yeah, this is neat. Let me help.'"
Ms. Minami will inspect the donated items for authenticity and quality. Then she'll put them on the auction block under the seller name of "visionearthsociety," an environmental group leading the project. At the end of a week, the highest bidders will get the objects.
Ms. Minami said she would be disappointed if the auction fails to bring in much money. She said, however, that a successful eBay auction and additional fundraisers, such as a tentatively planned benefit concert, would be a feat.
"I would feel like I really accomplished something. That I did something and I was actually part of history," Ms. Minami said.
The Internet's role in her activism hasn't escaped Ms. Minami. She noted that is has let a Severn woman, a San Francisco artist, and environmental leaders in Florida collaborate.
"It's amazing that people from anywhere-- around the country or around the world-- can work to a common goal," Ms. Minami said.
Contact Christie Minami
Auction Coordinator for Save the Circle .org.
ITEMS TO BE USED
IN THE AUCTION ON EBAY:
Send ONLY items that weigh UP TO 20 POUNDS (9 kilograms) and
can GENERATE MORE THAN $25.
Please mail items to:
Rivendell International Communications
7013 Wells Parkway
Hyattsville, Maryland 20782
ATTENTION: Christie Minami-- Save the Circle
For more information please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
VISION EARTH -- SAVE THE CIRCLE
1825 NE 149
Miami, Florida, USA 33181
(KYNTHIA'S 800# - helping Christie w/ auction)
CLICK FOR TABLE OF
CLICK FOR MIAMI SAVE THE CIRCLE HOMEPAGE