Monday, March 25, 2013

2013-03-26 Northbay UpRising Morning Show

Wake up and Rise Up, with the Northbay UpRising morning show! Broadcast courtesy of, 89.5FM KZCT, out of Vallejo "the Gateway City to the Bay Area".
With a broad assortment of family-friendly neighborhood news from across the San Pablo bay area, including upcoming events, and positive & inspirational topics! With your hosts, Mis.D. & Dr.G., community reporters, Tuesdays, 6 to 9am

*Listen Live by clicking here*
Local Weather []
Listen to our other programs:
* "Mothership Connection", Saturdays 5 to 5:30pm []
* "Gathering of the Tribes", Thursdays 4 to 6pm []
and, also on
* "Poetry Rising", Saturdays 5:30 to 6pm

Interview with Ginny Browne and Linda Daniels...
about the...
"Participatory Design: PB Vallejo Publicity Design Contest"
For more specific information or if you have any questions, contact Ginny Browne [510-612-4826] or Aseem Mulji at 707-648-4041 or at [pbvallejo@ci.vallejo​].

Calling all creative types in Vallejo! The PB Vallejo public vote is just around the corner (May 11-18), so it’s time to start thinking about how to Get Out The Vote!
We want YOUR creative ideas for how to publicize the vote. Submit them here! Designs for flyers, bumper stickers, posters, buttons, keychains or even light shows--ANYTHING. Think outside the box!
How should we promote the PB Vallejo public vote in May? Enter the design contest and help choose the winner!

About The Challenge -
We want YOUR creative ideas for how to publicize the PB Vallejo public vote. Submit them here! Designs for flyers, bumper stickers, posters, buttons, keychains or even light shows--ANYTHING. Think outside the box!
Deadline: April 7, midnight

All Submissions should:
* Promote PB Vallejo and encourage all Vallejoans to come out and vote (submissions should not promote any specific projects)
* Include vote dates, May 11 -18, with May 13-17 at City Hall
* Include PB Vallejo and City of Vallejo logos
* Be easily produced or reproduced.
Be fun and creative!
Submissions may include the following optional items:
* Voter eligibility - All Vallejo Residents age 16 and older
* Voting locations - We know that voting will take place in City Hall from 5/13-17. Other voting sites are yet to be determined.
* Eligible documents for proof of residency (contact us for the full list)

The PB Vallejo Outreach Workgroup will choose several finalists to be displayed at the Project Expos, where the community will vote on the winner. The design with the most votes will be printed or reproduced and distributed around town. All finalist submissions will have to be approved by the City of Vallejo.

Click the “What’s Your Idea?” on this webpage (linked below the headline above) and upload pictures of your design. Include a short description if necessary.
You may also email your submissions to [pbvallejo@ci.vallejo​] or mail them to: Vallejo City Manager’s Office, Attn: Ginny Browne, 555 Santa Clara Street, Vallejo, CA 94590.
All designs, including those submitted by email or as hard copy, will be displayed here [], so be sure to check in and comment on your favorite designs!

More info about Participatory Budgeting:
[] []

Interview with...
Bob Hanson, about the upcoming "Walk Towards Peace"!

For three days, March 27th to March 29th, he and his friends with the Peace Advocacy Committee of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, will walk 30 miles from the "PEACE CENTER" to the "WAR CENTER", to join up with the annual Good Friday witness action against nuclear weapons development at the Livermore Labs. The route will involve a 12 mile walk on Wed., March 27 from Walnut Creek to the Peace Lutheran Church in Danville, where we will spend the night. On Thursday, March 28, we will trek 16 miles  from there to  spend a night at a Livermore church.  On Friday morning we will walk the remaining mile or so to the labs to take part in the 7:00 a.m. demonstration. 
More info: Bob Hanson [doctoroutdoors (]; Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center
[] [925-944-3366] [info (]

Interview with...
Carl Anderson of the "Livermore Conversion Project",

who along with the Ecumenical Peace Institute [] and others, are gathering March 29th, 6:45 a.m., for a witness gathering against nuclear weapons, titled "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?" with Rev. Phil Lawson (Pastor Emeritus Easter Hill United Methodist Church. After the service we will walk about one-quarter mile to the main gate, where there will be a Liturgical Dance led by Carla DeSola followed by an opportunity for nonviolent acts of witness.  Along the way Stations of the Cross will remind us of the extent of suffering at home and abroad resulting from the system of domination enforced by our military and its weapons.
Community gathering after the action will be held at Asbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Avenue, Livermore. For driving directions, transit info and further information contact the Ecumenical Peace Institute [] [510-655-1162] [510-654-4983] [PO Box 9334, Berkeley, CA 94709] []
The event is Wheelchair accessible
Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory [Vasco Road & Patterson Pass Road, Livermore] was founded to develop the hydrogen bomb and new weapons of mass destruction are still designed there.  For more than 25 years, people of faith and others concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons have gathered on Good Friday outside the Livermore Laboratory.
More info about nuclear disarmament:
* Western States Legal Foundation (in Oakland) []
* Tri-Valley CAREs (in Livermore) []

with music from Vic Sadot
[] []
No Nuke Blues []
Vic Sadot hosts for the Berkeley Fellowship Monthly Open Mic (BF MOM), 2nd Friday of Every Month. Sign-up for performers is at 6:30 pm and the show begins at 7 pm. We have 20 ten minute spots available. Featured Artist are selected about two months in advance by our rotating Hosts. Somewhere between 8 and 8:30 pm the Host will call on the Featured Artist.
* Vic will be the Featured Artist at OzCat Radio's monthly "Gathering of the Tribes" Open Mic in Vallejo on Friday, April 5.[]
* Vic is in the rotation at Pacifica Affiliate "No Lies Radio" [] along with many other topical songwriters and bands that you may not hear on your favorite radio station. Check it out!
Request Support at KPFA: If you know any DJ's at KPFA, you can call them and request Vic Sadot's "Courage To Resist" about Bradley Manning, "No Nuke Blues" with the new Fukushima verse; "The Kidnapping Coup" that tells the story of the US overthrow of democracy in Haiti in 2004; or any of your favorite songs from Vic's latest CD released on Sept 11, 2011 "9/11 Truth & Justice Songs".

More music from..
"Love is King" by the Funnel Heads
[] [justin (] [] []

"Where is your heart" by Irae Divine & Rankin' Scroo

"Under the Sun" by Arden Park Roots 

"Biscuit on my Six" by the Comfort Slacks
[] and check out the Comfort Slacks kareoke contest video![]

"City of Love" by Persephone's Bees

2013-03-19 "The "Shop Local" Movement Puts a Stake in Vallejo, California; Based in Redondo Beach, CA, Certified Locally Owned (CLO) initially targeted the Southern California communities around Redondo Beach"
REDONDO BEACH -- The Shop Local movement [] has officially put a stake in the ground in Vallejo, CA with the announcement of local consignment boutique, Mulligan's Attic as the first Certified Locally Owned (CLO) business in the area. CLO gives local businesses like Mulligan's Attic the tools to help raise awareness in the community about local businesses by increasing their visibility through certification. Mulligan's Attic is located at 2515 Springs Road in Vallejo, CA 94591.
 Based in Redondo Beach, CA, Certified Locally Owned (CLO) initially targeted the Southern California communities around Redondo Beach. However, businesses from a number of communities across the country are applying for certification, so this most recent addition comes as no surprise says founder, Heidi Butzine.
 "It's always been our goal to attract a network of locally owned businesses on a national scale," states Ms. Butzine. "It pleases me that the word about our organization has resonated to our friends in Northern California. Mulligan's Attic is exactly the type of business which we support."
 Mulligan's Attic is a family-owned business that was established in Vallejo in 2012. They have been on the hunt for treasures for many years, and now want to share the results of their successful search with their customers. The founders live and work in Vallejo and have been thrilled with the support and reception the store has received.
 Owners, Jeff and Stephanie of Mulligan's Attic were very enthusiastic about earning the designation as a Certified Locally Owned company. "Being a relatively new business in town, we're proud to show our neighbors that we're local residents with a business in the community. We support Certified Locally Owned and think other businesses in Vallejo will too," stated Stephanie.

 About Certified Locally Owned -
 Certified Locally Owned makes it easier for people to shop local based on a proud distinction and certification of locally owned and independent businesses across the U.S.
 The Certified Locally Owned(TM) program was created to help local shoppers easily recognize locally owned or independent businesses based on our certification.
 For more information, contact: Mike Mena at 310-316-0612 or

2013-03-22 "Florist makes surprise visits delivering ‘random acts of flowers’; Residents asked to nominate recipients"
by Jennifer Huffman from "Napa Valley Register" []:
WEDNESDAY - MARCH 20, 2013 - NAPA, CA - Juan Ramirez, a senior at Napa High School, gives John Prittie directions to the music room where music office secretary Gina De Luca was working. Prittie, of Beau Fleurs Flower Company, was delivering a surprise bouquet of flowers to De Luca. Jennifer Huffman/Register

Most people don’t mind being interrupted by a man delivering flowers, and Gina De Luca, music office secretary at Napa High School, was no exception.
On Wednesday morning, John Prittie, owner of Beau Fleurs Flower Company in Napa, surprised De Luca in a classroom near the school’s theater with a colorful spring blossom bouquet.
Prittie calls his deliveries “random acts of flowers,” a takeoff on the “random acts of kindness” movement. The florist created the campaign in part to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the family-owned business, he said.
The idea is to recognize someone who deserves a free bouquet of flowers, Prittie explained. That could mean someone who helps others — perhaps someone behind the scenes who might not always get the recognition he or she deserves. Or someone who faces adversity or assists those who do.
Anyone can receive a random act of flowers, Prittie said. Locals can drop by the shop to submit a name. Once a week, Prittie will pull a name from the nominations and deliver a free arrangement.
“I thought it would be fun if we could launch something involving the community that would be fun to do and spread good cheer,” Prittie said.
De Luca certainly was cheered by her flowers, hand-delivered by Prittie.
“I’m totally shocked,” De Luca said of her bouquet delivered in a glass vase. “Beautiful, creative, outstanding. I normally don’t get flowers.”
“I love them,” the secretary said, holding the vase and giving Prittie a hug.
To date, Prittie has received about dozen nominations and delivered five bouquets, he said. “The nominations are coming in but we’d love to see more,” he said.
In 1993, John and his wife, Kellie Prittie, bought the floral business, then located in River Park Shopping Center. Later they moved to the corner of First and Main Streets in downtown Napa. The business, which also sells garden and gift items, then moved to its current home on Silverado Trail.
The timing was right, he said. “I was looking for something to do that would make us part of the business community. I like to do anything creative with my hands. This seemed like the ideal thing. Next thing you know, it’s 20 years later and here we are.”
The business has survived for two decades, including the recent recession, by emphasizing quality and customer service, he said.
“If you just keep focused on those two items, then you can weather those storms,” Prittie said. “And I can’t say enough about the support we’ve had from our loyal customers. They helped us through that recession.”
Prittie said the weekly surprise deliveries should continue indefinitely. “I don’t see an end to it, as long as people are enjoying it,” he said.

2013-03-22 "Save senior programs"
letter by Donna Lass of Vallejo to the editor of "Vallejo Times Herald"
This is the time of year when cities and counties start looking for ways to balance their budgets. Our Vallejo City Unified School District is no different. The very subject of "budget cuts" brings fear into the hearts of employees of every government entity, as well as the citizens who avail themselves of the services offered.
Sadly, some of the cuts considered include programs currently offered at the Vallejo Adult School. Most of the programs being targeted are those of particular interest to our senior citizens, such as the Stars Program, a two-day-a-week program offering day care for seniors with dementia and ambulatory disabilities. This is a much-needed program to help seniors with disabilities, as well as a means to offer respite for their caretakers (usually spouses of the participants who are themselves senior citizens).
Other seniors programs being considered include memory-boosting classes, fitness classes, health and nutrition programs and presentations regarding Alzheimer's and Lewy Body disease, issues particular to seniors' needs.
Perri Tanner has been the director of these programs for more than 16 years. She is doing an amazing job of managing all the programs and classes. The programs have small fees associated with them. she has given much of her free time to direct fund-raising programs, soliciting donation from private businesses, and the private sector. The money is used to help defray costs of these programs.
Additionally, Ms. Tanner has a long history of contributing her time and talents throughout the City of Vallejo. She has been a friend to the entire community, and has a long history of community service.
All of the participants of these programs are senior citizens and their families. These folks have lived in this community for decades. I was born in Vallejo in 1941, and my father was born here in 1910. My children were born in Vallejo in the 1960s, and my grandchildren were born here in the 1980s. All of us have contributed to the City of Vallejo, as well as the school district, for more than 100 years. To abandon those who have been working and contributing to our community would be cruel.
I implore the VCUSD to rethink such cuts, and take the time to look into how these programs and services can continue to be offered to yet another generation of Vallejoans. Budgets can be adjusted, but the quality of life the seniors who use these services is at issue. Surely, discontinuing these needed and valuable programs is not going to save the school district -- especially since these programs are mostly paid for with funding from outside the school district, and nearly pay for themselves.
If you fellow citizens of Vallejo agree with this letter, please write your own letters or use this letter and let your representatives and senators know how you feel. We could lose these programs by the end of this school year.
Let the Vallejo school district know how you feel:
Dr. Ramona Bishop, Superintendent
Vallejo City Unified School District
665 Walnut Ave.
Vallejo, CA, 94592

2013-03-21 "Deaner garden cleanup slated for Earth Day"
by Donna Beth Weilenman from "Benicia Herald" []:
VOLUNTEERS will help clean the SRA on April 13. (Courtesy photo)

For the 16th year, the California State Parks Foundation will celebrate Earth Day with a “restoration and cleanup” effort, said Gretchen Krueger, CSPF media specialist.
On the list of 24 parks throughout the state that will get some sprucing April 13 is the Bencia State Recreational Area, particularly the Forrest Deaner Native Botanic Garden, more than 3 acres of planted and labeled California native flora.
But the foundation needs public help to clean the park, and Krueger said she is hoping at least 80 volunteers will enroll by April 8, when registration closes.
She said volunteers will install and replace plant marker and plant stakes, haul away compost to Dumpsters for recycling, plant native shrubs and plants, mulch and water the plants, clear garden paths and remove invasive non-native plants, and lay out weed block and mulch.
It’s been some time since the botanic garden received some Earth Day attention, Krueger said. In fact, the garden hasn’t made the Earth Day list since 2001.
That’s because the cleanup days rotate among California’s 280 state parks.
“The importance of Earth Day activities has never been greater,” Krueger said. “California’s state parks continue to be underfunded.”
Parks have experienced service cutbacks because of years of budget reductions, and Krueger said $1.4 billion in maintenance has been deferred.
Until hidden funds were uncovered in the parks department budget last year, 70 state parks were threatened with closure. Those included both the Benicia SRA and the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park.
The department’s new director, Anthony L. Jackson, has set priorities to assure better management of the department’s budgets, avoid closures and find ways to provide better financial support for state parks.
In the meantime, partnerships with the city of Benicia and the Benicia State Parks Association have kept the two Benicia parks open to the public.
CSPF, an agency separate from the state Department of Parks and Recreation, uses its Earth Day celebration to provide volunteers with a way to help parks, too.
“Businesses and individuals are sought to actively participate with their communities to help restore the beauty and glory of California’s treasured state parks,” Krueger said.
“Trail and campground improvements, trash cleanup, bridge building, tree planting, and wildlife habitat restoration are just some of the projects planned for Earth Day,” she said.
No experience is required, and volunteers of all ages can participate, she said.
In addition to providing labor, volunteers also are being asked to bring non-perishable food items. Collections from throughout the state will be donated to local food banks, she said.
PG&E is sponsoring cleanups at 11 public sites in Northern and Central California, she said. The company is giving a $210,000 grant to CSPF and participating parks for supplies and materials needed to complete Earth Day projects. Some of the company’s employees and their families will be working with the volunteers, too, she said.
“Helping to restore and preserve our state parks for the enjoyment of both current and future generations of Californians is a key part of PG&E’s environmental commitment,” said Ezra Garrett, PG&E vice president and community relations and chief sustainability officer.
He said the company has been involved in the program for a dozen years.
Since 1998, the CSPF Earth Day Restoration and Cleanup Program has attracted 78,394 participants who have given 326,582 volunteer hours, which Krueger said is valued at nearly $6.25 million.
Another $4.3 million has been raised for the Earth Day program, she said.
Besides PG&E, other partners in the project are the East Bay Regional Park District, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, Jack London Park Partners and Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods. Among the in-kind sponsors are Chipotle Mexican Grill, Fruit Guys, KIND Healthy Snacks, Noah’s NY Bagels, Peet’s Coffee and Tea and Starbucks Coffee.
Check-in for those working at the Benicia State Recreation Area’s Forrest Deaner Native Botanic Garden will be at 8:30 a.m. April 13, and volunteers will clean the garden from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day. Snacks, water and a lunch will be provide, but volunteers should bring their own sunscreen, hat, work shoes and gloves.
The park, on Benicia’s west side near Vallejo, is at 1 State Park Road. Those interested in volunteering may visit [] or call 888-98-PARKS (72757) to register.
Registration must be made by April 8, Krueger said, and parking fees will be waived for Earth Day volunteers.

2013-03-22 "Vallejo Admirals to play April exhibition against Pacifics"
by "Vallejo Times-Herald" []:
The Vallejo Admirals professional baseball team will take on the San Rafael Pacifics on April 6 in a preseason exhibition game at Wilson Park in Vallejo
First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
A team of non-roster invitees who are getting a shot to show off their skills will represent the Admirals against the Pacifics, who won the 2012 North American League championship.
The game will be free of charge. Food and beverages will be for sale at the park and the game will feature "unique in-game entertainment."
"I'm so excited to scout some of the talent we'll be looking at for our team," Admirals president and general manager Joe Fontana said in a press release. "I'm so thrilled to meet some of our fans and hope this game will help launch a great inaugural season for the Admirals."
Fontana assumed the title as president and general manager when he took over for Mike Shapiro in February. Shapiro is the Pacifics president and general manager and was assuming double duty for the two clubs before Fontana took over.
The Admirals and Pacifics are scheduled to play one another for the first official time on June 11 in San Rafael.
The Pacifics and the Admirals will hold a second open tryout on April 28 at Albert Park in San Rafael.
To register, contact the Pacifics front office at (415) 485-1563 or email

Remember to help those in need... with positive solutions!
In the beginning of 2012, "Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP)" created a Organizers’ Toolkit. We offer it here to any community based organizing effort, be it Rural or Urban []. WRAP issued a provocative and informative report in 2010 which bears viewing again today as folks consider how to deal with homeless people in San Pablo bay area. With proposals for sanctuary campgrounds, protest campgrounds, 180/180 Housing First programs, bouncing about, this report may be helpful... []

Monday, March 18, 2013

2013-03-19 Northbay UpRising morning show

Wake up and Rise Up, with the Northbay UpRising morning show! With a broad assortment of family-friendly neighborhood news from across the San Pablo bay area, including upcoming events, and positive & inspirational topics! With your hosts, Mis.D. & Dr.G., community reporters, Tuesdays, 6 to 9am

*Listen Live by clicking here*
8:30am - Interview with Anthony Adams
who is a Vallejo City Planning Commissioner, to discuss "" in Vallejo, a national organization whose motto is "Bringing back a sense of community to the neighborhood."
We are for neighbors.
For neighborhood barbecues. For multi-family garage sales. For trick-or-treating.
We're for slowing down, children at play.
We're for sharing a common hedge and an awesome babysitter.
We're for neighborhood watch. Emergency response. And for just keeping an eye
out for a lost cat.
We believe waving hello to the new neighbor says, “Welcome” better than any doormat.
We believe technology is a powerful tool for making neighborhoods stronger, safer places to call home.
We're all about online chats that lead to more clothesline chats.
We believe fences are sometimes necessary, but online privacy is always necessary.
We believe strong neighborhoods not only improve our property value, they improve each one of our lives.
We believe that amazing things can happen by just talking with the people next door.
We are Nextdoor. We are simply you and your neighbors, together.

Big Shout Out to -
 Today we served lunch to 100 friends in need.
 On the menu was ham & cheese sandwich with water.
 Thank you to this week's sponsor, The Bernard Family.
 We welcome our first time volunteers Desmond, Jamari, Raimel, Abby and Andrea.
 Big thanks to our Coordinator Mary Wilson for finishing off Phase 1 of our Encampment clean up and now on the first stages of Phase 2.
 If you would like to help our friends in need, please post below and we will contact you!!
 Together, We Can ♥

"Vallejo Independent Bulletin" invites you to get shaked down at Moschetti's![]:
By now most of you are aware of the Harlem Shake phenomenon all over the internet.
Well, the time has come for a full throttle Harlem Shake video VALLEJO STYLE.
Be at Moschetti Coffee, 11 Sixth Street, Vallejo on March 23 at 11 AM.
You know you can do better than the editor of this humble website...who will be behind the camera this time!! Costumes, insanity etc. welcome...but keep it family friendly. Bring friends! The more the merrier!! See you there!!!

In 1986 Sells developed a unique counseling program consisting of individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, conflict resolution, and a Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) in one of the three inner-city public middle schools in Berkeley: 
Sells is currently working with students in the Graduate Counseling Program at St. Mary's College and gives workshops on crisis intervention for youth to other school districts and agencies in the Bay area and beyond.
"Lost and Found, Healing Troubled Teens in Troubled Times" invites you into a counseling office at a contemporary urban middle school as students show up, open up, and share their pain. With help over time, they heal and find hope.

2013-03-19, Tuesday, 6 pm. potluck / 7 pm speaker
Owl Room, Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church [55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek 94596] [925-933-7850]
Suggested Donation: $20
Presented by the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center [] [info (] with Friendly Favors []

"Shriners Hospitals to offer screening in Fairfield"
by John Glidden from "Fairfield Daily Republic" []:
VACAVILLE — The Shriners Hospitals will offer a free screening clinic to help identify children in the area who can benefit from the expert care provided at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
The clinic is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Masonic Lodge in Fairfield, 412 Travis Blvd. Any children under 18 may be brought to the free clinic for an evaluation to see if they are eligible for treatment.
For more information, call Ken Wright at 425-8251.

"SPCA of Solano County hosts family fun day"
by John Glidden from "Fairfield Daily Republic" []:
VACAVILLE — The SPCA of Solano County will host its second annual Spring Family Fun Day from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the SPCA of Solano County, 2200 Peabody Road in Vacaville.
There will be fun and games and for the kids. Barbecue, sweet treats, water and soda will available for purchase.
There is a fee and event is for humans only. No pets allowed.
For more information, contact

2013-03-18 "Visitors enjoy idyllic countryside of Lynch Canyon"
by Reach Heather Ah San from "Fairfield Daily Republic" []:
Brandi Damman, left, and Donna Hinton with her horse "Tucker", rest after a ride at Lynch Canyon Park, Sunday. The park recently re-opened for the spring and summer months. (Adam Smith/Daily Republic)

FAIRFIELD — Brandi Damman sat on a picnic bench Sunday, basking in the late afternoon sun.
As she soaked in the views of the sprawling green hills at Lynch Canyon, she said she felt like she was in another country.
Lynch Canyon reopened its park Saturday and Sunday to eager hikers, bikers and horseback riders such as Damman. The open space park features 10 miles of trails and beautiful views of the Suisun Marsh, Carquinez Strait and San Pablo Bay.
For park visitors like Damman, Lynch Canyon is the perfect quiet retreat. She said she enjoys that she can take her 7-year-old horse Jypsy to the park and not have to worry about traffic and other noise disturbing her horse.
“It’s an awesome place to ride,” she said. “There’s no cars and motorcycles to worry about.”
Donna Hinton joined Damman with her 10-year-old horse Tucker. Both Hinton and Damman said they were glad Lynch Canyon didn’t close down because there are no other local areas where they can ride horses.
“With gas being so high, it’s nice to come out here,” Hinton said. “To have this here, it’s really nice.”
Hinton and Damman said they also like that there are separate trails for bikers and hikers, and for horses.
Lynch Canyon is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For directions to the park or information on park fees, visit [].

2013-03-18 "Hundreds come to see camel collection in Benicia"
by Irma Widjojo from "Vallejo Times-Herald" []:
Dina Gault of Benicia gets a kiss from Keesa the camel during the opening of the Camelot exhibit at the Benicia Historical Museum in which hundreds of camel memorabilia were on display. It was the first time Gault had ever touched a camel. (Chris Riley/Times-Herald)

BENICIA -- Brad Dake said he's impressed with his mother's camels' new home on Sunday.
Dake was a speaker at the opening of a new exhibition at the Benicia Historical Museum, Camelot! The Philly Dake Camel Collection.
Hundreds of camels were displayed in glass cases at the museum, also known as the Camel Barns. They will be available for viewing through August.
The event was attended by hundreds of people from all over the area. And, to the delight of visitors "Camelot" even included a live camel.
"It's a wonderful learning experience," Anna Rojas of Pleasant Hill said. The exhibition also included facts about camels, and the history of camels when they were brought to the United States to be used as pack animals in place of horses during the Civil War.
Phillys "Philly" Dake who died last year at 85, willed her collection of camel-related items to the museum. Of the nearly 4,000 items, 800 now call Benicia home, and about 300 are part of the exhibition.
"The museum is the perfect place for my mother's collection," said Brad Dake, who flew from New York to attend the event.
Philly Dake was a New York philanthropist and the widow of a former co-owner convenience store chain on the East Coast.
Brad Dake said he grew up with the collection when his mother started the hobby in 1953. The collection was kept at the Dake's home in Saratoga Springs, New York. The home's name was Camelot, the namesake of the Benicia museum exhibition.
"It was a lot of explaining to do to my friends, and guests," he said lightheartedly.
He said his clearest memory was cleaning every single item of the collection every year to get the house ready for guests who would visit for the annual summer horse races.
"(The cleaning) became an annual event for us," Brad Dake said.
The collection started by Philly Dake's father-in-law who acquired a set of ivory and camel-bone camels.
Once friends and family learned of Philly Dake's collection, it quickly grew, Brad Dake said.
"She would receive 20 to 25 camels each Christmas," he said.
The Sunday event also featured a live 900-pound camel, Keesa, brought by the Lyons Ranch in Sonoma, and a puppet show by Benician puppeteers, using camel puppets from the collection.
Even though Brad Dake was surrounded by camels all his life, Sunday was his first time he saw a live one.
"I don't even know why," Dake said. "When I heard that there will be a live camel, that put it over the top. I had to come (to the event)."
Museum Executive Director Elizabeth d'Huart said even though she wished more people had turned up for the event, she was happy to see many young faces in the crowd.
After working on the exhibition for months now, d'Huart realized something, she said.
"I'm a big fan of camels now," she said. "They are really cool and smart animals."
For more information, call 745-5435 or visit The museum is at 2060 Camel Road.

2013-03-17 "Inventor’s Lab sparks interest in science"
by Ian Thompson from "Fairield Daily Republic" []:
Julius Shepherd, 10, wires up his scribbling machine while working at the Lawrence Hall of Science's Inventor's Lab at the Norman C. King Community Center in Vallejo. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

Owen Houghton, 6, and his dad, John, create the frame of a structure using interlocking pieces at the Lawrence Hall of Science's Inventor's Lab at the Norman C. King Community Center in Vallejo. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

VALLEJO — It’s all about putting stuff together, said 11-year-old Nadeen Bakshi of Cordelia.
That’s whether it’s building metal bridges to span a table, as he did recently, or creating a working crane from tubing, tongue depressors and syringes, as he also did during his previous visit to the small hands-on science program that has taken up residence in a former Vallejo community center.
“Every Saturday, we do something different,” Bakshi said of the trips he and his mother, Sameeyah Bakshi, try to make to the Lawrence Hall of Science’s Inventor’s Lab whenever possible.
His mother found out about the 9-month-old program while collecting material she publishes in her newsletter for families who are looking for activities.
“It is awesome. There is a lot of room for growth (for teaching the sciences in the Solano County area),” Sameeyah Bakshi said. “We try to get here once a month.”
The program was started in May 2012, after the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley completed a study on which Bay Area counties were the most underserved when it came to science education, said Reyna Hamilton, the Inventor’s Lab director.
Solano and Napa counties were determined to be the best location for the lab. Talks with Vallejo landed the lab in the Norman C. King Community Center, which was previously slated to be closed down.
Hamilton and her staff first focused on getting the attention of Vallejo-area families and are now making a concerted effort to reach out to schools, libraries and youth-oriented community groups in the Fairfield, Suisun City and Vacaville areas.
“Now, about 75 percent of our attendance is from the Fairfield and Suisun City area,” Hamilton said.
Reaching out includes mobile visits to various locales. On a recent visit to the Vacaville Town Square Library, the lab offered an electronics connection workshop for two dozen children on how to make scribbling machines out of a paper cup, felt-tip pens, a battery-powered motor, tape and wires. Its next trips to the area will be to the Suisun City Library, which will host the Lab at 3 p.m. Wednesday, and to the Ulatis Cultural Center Library in Vacaville at 1 p.m. April 3.
The lab offers a free drop-in program that is open from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Children can take part in workshops that teach them how to design and build hydraulic cranes, battery-powered scribbling machines, wind turbines and electric motors. Or they can simply go on their own to build small metal bridges, create structures from small wooden planks or design a flying machine they can test in an 8-foot-tall wind tunnel.
Karla and Lonnie Shipman brought their sons from Vacaville for the first time recently. They loved it, they said.
“We want to get our boys into science because they like building things,” Karla Shipman said.
The lab offers a series of engineering design challenges on a monthly basis to inspire children to design, build and test their own solutions.
Last month, it was designing cityscapes with cardboard, corks, string and tongue depressors. During the upcoming spring break, which starts March 25 for the lab, one of the challenges will be creating zip-line gondolas and designing an amusement park with Legos, motors and computers.
Hamilton said she never ceases to be amazed with the youthful creativity.
“Kids are great for this because their thinking is a lot less restrictive than adults,” Hamilton said.
To learn more about the Inventor’s Lab, call 651-7161 or go to

2013-03-17 "Graffiti insider from New York explains culture"
by Irma Widjojo from "Vallejo Times-Herald" []:
Ben Meno of Vallejo city Public Works Department stands next to a big graffiti done by UKNO in the abandoned area of Richardson Park. (Irma Widjojo/Times-Herald) (XXXXX)

The words HARN, CHIN, UKNO written on the walls in Vallejo aren't gibberish. They're tags.
The tags are used to identify the graffiti creators, who don't call themselves "taggers."
OK, if that sounds confusing, read on.
 "It's 'writers.' It's a letter-based art. It might be a more complicated form of the letters. But in its purest form, it's writing," Eric Felisbret said.
Tags are chosen for many reasons: From a childhood nickname, to paying homage to a previous "writer," to a persona that the "writer" wants to be perceived as being.
Each "writer" can belong to a crew of artists, or several crews, the New Yorker said.
"It's a big part of the culture," Felisbret said. "It's a way to pull resources and collaborate on ideas."
The former graffiti artist has been documenting and studying the graffiti culture after immersing himself in the world since 1975, when he was 12.
Felisbret said it is very common for young teens to start spray painting. One reason is the lower legal ramifications they face as minors if they're caught.
For some, however, legal repercussions are the least of their worries, Felisbret said.
Although severe-enough vandalism can be charged as felony, "It doesn't really stop them, or slow the movement down. It's a non issue," he added.
As in Vallejo, authorities nationally have devised different strategies to curb graffiti. However, Felisbret said that won't stop the movement.
"It just raises the bar for them to become more creative, to become stronger and committed artists," he said of graffiti writers.
Felisbret said there are three ways to gain recognition in the graffiti world: Artistic values and social relevancy, location and quantity.
Those tagging on more risky or exposed locations get more respect, he said. This includes those scrawlings found on freeways or tall buildings.
However, those chasing quantity, Felisbret said, could support the critics of the "underground movement."
"There's not a lot of effort put in artistically. It's just quantity," he said.
Felisbret said he understands people's frustration when their personal property gets tagged.
"If I catch someone tagging my house, it will not end well," he said. "I always frown (upon) the idea of writing on people's personal property."
He said the culture has shifted since it started in the early 1970s.
"Personal properties like homes, cars, or religious institutions used to be out of bounds," Felisbret said. "But it seems like everything is fair game now."
He said many people have misidentified their tags with gang-related activities.
"There's a really big misconception that graffiti and gang graffiti are related," Felisbret said. "There's very little overlap. The artists really aren't violent."
However, because of the misconception, people have become afraid of the art, he added.
Unlike among gangs, there's no territory issues in the graffiti culture, Felisbret said.
Those who "write" want to expose their art to the public, and choose the streets as their media.
"It's street art," Felisbret said.

2013-03-17 "Reviving Mare Island: Urban decay as a visitor's allure"
by Jessica A. York from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
When it comes to urban decay chic, the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard is an explorer's wonderland.
Just in the past year, Mare Island has hosted night photographers and zombie invasions to sci-fi steampunk wedding and spooky haunted graveyard ghost hunts. The remaining swatches of abandoned-looking Mare Island have provided a fertile post-apocalyptic ground for visitors' imaginations ... and productions.
In an ironic comparison, the draw for visitors to Mare Island is one of mainland Vallejo's biggest concerns: so-called property blight -- its degeneration and unkempt appearance. The apparent desolation of parts of the former naval base exists even as developer Lennar Mare Island works to clean up environmental contaminants and draw in commerce and residential development.
Cupertino resident Steve Doll has been an occasional visitor, and photographer, of Mare Island for the past decade. In recent weeks, Doll took to the skies for a unique perspective with a wireless camera attached to a remote-controlled tricopter, a drone.
"The word 'drones' are getting a bad name right now, at least for hobby people like me, (but) I was flying super safe and I had other people with me and we were taking all kinds of precautions and weren't doing anything dangerous or disrespectful to the property," Doll explained.
 Recorded footage of the flight, available online at, takes in long stretches of old buildings close to the waterfront. Doll said he also recorded a music video for friends in several locations around Mare Island.
"(Mare Island has) kind of always been closed, and I guess that's what I kind of like about it. Especially on the weekends, when what few businesses are there usually aren't open," said Doll, a visual and graphic web designer. "It's kind of like a ghost town."
Jim Reikowsky, communications director for Vallejo Convention and Visitors Bureau, acknowledges and even embraces visitors' fascination with Mare Island's historic setting and even post-apocalyptic feel. Though Reikowsky is sure to correct those who refer to Mare Island as abandoned=.
"You sell what you got," Reikowsky said. "I tell people this all the time. Filmmakers and commercials, they don't want to see your best parts of town.... Mare Island, it's old. When you throw in the old buildings and things like dry docks and the cranes and just the big empty buildings, it's a gem for filmmakers."
The television show "Mythbusters" is a regular visitor, recently taping a segment on zombies. A security guard working on Mare Island recalled coming across a steampunk wedding, a genre that often embraces the steam-powered era and a historic feel. Modesto-based paranormal investigators, "Chill Seekers," also filmed a Web episode of their ghost hunt at the Mare Island in November.
Petaluma-based fine arts photographer and Web designer Tim Fleming has a project posted on his blog entitled Modern Ruins - The Spectacular Decay of Mare Island."
In a recent interview, Fleming lauded the interiors of Mare Island's empty buildings for their dust-covered window lighting, the historical significance of the former military base and more.
"I've always loved abandoned spaces," Fleming said. "There's maybe half a dozen factors that draw me in (to Mare Island.) The things that you find in there. It's a process of discovery, interesting objects and whatever. The textures. It's also kind of another world."

2013-03-16 "Mare Island firm moves to Benicia shortly after getting Vallejo loan"
by Rachel Raskin-Zrihen from"Vallejo Times-Herald" []:
With a few months left on its five-year Mare Island lease, and just months after getting a sizable Vallejo loan, Alamillo Rebar, Inc. has moved most of its operation to Benicia's industrial park.
In November it was announced that Alamillo got a $740,000 Grow Vallejo loan -- "an innovative economic development finance program created by the city of Vallejo in partnership with the National Development Council." It was meant to help city businesses grow and create local jobs, outgoing Economic Development Director Ursula Luna-Reynosa said at the time.
 The Grow Vallejo Fund is partially capitalized by some $200,000 from the city's federal Community Development Block Grant program allocation, and must stay in Vallejo, city officials said. The Grow America Fund underwrites the loans.
"We will be made whole," Senior Community Development Analyst Guy Ricca said of the Alamillo loan. "They need to be in Vallejo and hiring Vallejo residents, and if that doesn't happen, we have to get the money back."
The National Development Council and their Grow America Fund subsidiary has said they will replace the city's portion of the Alamillo loan, Luna-Reynosa said. The repayment's timing was not immediately known but the agency's local representative, Scott Rodde, said making Vallejo whole was its first response when officials learned what happened.
"This is the first time I've heard of this happening in more than 500 loans," Rodde said Friday. "The decision was made last summer and the loan closed in October."
It's the agency's job to vet potential borrowers, and the expectation is for them to stay in the city for the length of the loan, he said.
When the loan was made, Alamillo officials appeared to give no indication they were considering moving.
 "Keeping our manufacturing in Vallejo is a significant step at a time when our national economic policy is emphasizing the importance of increasing domestic manufacturing," company owner Joe Alamillo said in a November press release. "We are grateful for the assistance from the Grow America Fund and the city; we look forward to contributing to the economic growth of the Vallejo community."
Company CFO Chris Pereira said the decision to move was made around the first of the year.
While saying she "can't speak to the intentions" of company officials, Luna-Reynosa she has "no reason to believe that they intentionally misled anyone. The city plans to continue to market the Grow Vallejo Fund for the benefit of Vallejo businesses and the local economy."
Rodde agreed.
"Vallejo may have lost the corporate entity and maybe some jobs, but Vallejo needs a win and we're going to keep looking for a win in Vallejo," he said. "Vallejo's absolutely coming back."
Besides too-high rent, city management problems and inconsistent rail service are responsible for the firm's relocation decision, Pereira said.
Luna-Reynosa and Jason Keadjian, a spokesman for the firm's Vallejo landlord, Lennar Mare Island, said they're sorry to see Alamillo go, but wish it well.
"Alamillo has been a valued member of the Mare Island business community for many years, and our goal here is to retain businesses and help them expand, as many have," Keadjian said. In LMI's discussions with Alamillo officials, rail service was not noted as a reason for leaving, he added.
"We acknowledge the ability to sustain rail service without more users and a long term plan for sustainability has been challenging to achieve," Keadjian said. "But also, Alamillo listed a desire to purchase a site, and the ongoing environmental cleanup here prevents that at this time. We're happy they found a facility that will work for them, and that it's in Solano County."
Lennar has already begun marketing the 33,000 square foot space on Mare Island's Nimitz Avenue, Keadjian said. The steel rebar fabricator and installer firm set up shop here in 2007, creating some 40 local jobs, none of which will be lost in the move, Pereira said.
"Our administrative offices are still here, we haven't 100 percent moved, but we will in due time," Pereira said. "The main reason is the rent was lower by about half, and we're trying to cut costs. Two, we rely on the rail system quite a bit for bringing in materials and there's uncertainty with rail service with issues between Lennar and city of Vallejo."
Unable to count on rail service since contract negotiations between the rail service provider, the city and Lennar stalled several months ago, company officials made arrangements to bring materials in from Oakland, Pereira said.
Another factor in Alamillo's decision is the firm's inability to take advantage of tax benefits they were entitled to by being on a former military base, he said.
"Mare Island is a (Local Agency Military Base Recovery Area) and that's supposed to provide certain tax credits, but the zone here is mismanaged by the city and we were never able to take advantage of some of those benefits," Pereira said.
Luna-Reynosa called it "unfortunate" that despite its best efforts, city officials couldn't get the state to allow them to issue the LAMBRA vouchers "within a time frame acceptable to Alamillo Rebar." City staff continues to work with the state on this issue, she said.
"If we could have come to an agreement on the rent we might have stayed," Pereira said. "And rail service might have made a difference if the rent amount was closer."

2013-03-15 "Author gets 'Lucky' with Newbery honor, visits Vacaville, Vallejo"
by Rich Freedman from"Vallejo Times-Herald"
This just in. That hovercraft sighting along the L.A. freeway in 2007? It wasn't a reenactment from "Back to the Future III."
It was merely author Susan Patron after receiving news she won the coveted Newberry Award for "The Higher Power of Lucky. "
"After getting the call, I left for work as usual, driving to the library in downtown L.A.," Patron said. "But that morning my car skimmed along about two feet in the air above the other cars, the best commute on the 101 freeway ever."
When the American Library Announcement made it official, "my colleagues and I all screamed when my name came up on the monitor," Patron said. "It was a pretty major life moment."
Patron followed up her first "Lucky" with "Lucky Breaks" and "Lucky for Good."
Because Patron's books tackle many "real life" issues, it was selected for Solano Kids Read, an annual program sponsored by the Solano County Library Foundation.
Patron takes "Luck" to eight locations this coming week, including the Ulatis Community Center in Vacaville on Wednesday, Springstowne and JFK libraries in Vallejo on Thursday morning, and on behalf of the Vacaville Public Library, the Vacaville Town Square on Thursday afternoon.
"We think the book will resonate with many of our young readers, their families and classmates," said Juli Huston, one of the organizing librarians.
Living with her husband, René, in Los Angeles, Patron isn't without area ties. Her parents lived in Vacaville and her nephew and niece attended school in Vacaville.
"It feels like being invited to come home," Patron said. "I'm honored and grateful and very much looking forward to meeting lots of Solano Kids."
Many doors have opened because of "Lucky," the author said.
"One of the most wonderful was having the book published in other languages," she said. "I love the idea of 10-year-olds in Lithuania and Japan and France and Thailand, in a dozen far-flung countries, reading about a girl growing up in the California desert. Writing is like curling up in the mind of another person, a stranger, and it just doesn't get any more thrilling than connecting with kids very removed from me in age, culture, distance and language."
Patron takes what some would consider risks with her books, including actual names for some body parts.
"I learned as a librarian that almost any book has the potential to offend someone," Patron said. "To gain the reader's trust, to get the reader to suspend disbelief and become immersed in the story, I strive for authenticity and a deep inner truth. Anticipating what may offend would subvert these aims. And my feeling is that when we need to name a particular body part, it's great to have the precise and accurate word for the job without necessarily resorting to slang or euphemisms."
A deceased mom, absentee father, fear of losing a guardian and even a 12-step program are mentioned in "Lucky." Pretty heavy topics, yes?
"Yes," Patron said. "But then, kids are routinely exposed to family dissolution, death, and all kinds of addictions -- in their own living rooms and on the playground and on the screen. One way I demonstrate respect for readers, while taking their sensibilities and age into account, is by being as honest as I can be about the real world. We shouldn't pretend the bad stuff doesn't exist; instead, we need to give kids the tools to think, reason, make hard decisions and good choices, and have courage -- books can do this. Books don't harm kids; they arm them."
Patron said her sister, Georgia, is first to critique a new "Lucky," followed by Patron's husband, a professional bookbinder and native of Paris, France.
"It's wonderful that books are at the center of both our lives, though his field (rare book restoration) is extremely removed from mine," Patron said.
The common bond helped certainly more than language when the two met. Patron studied French in 7th, 8th and 9th grades.
"In other words, not much," she said. "He had about the same amount of English. We played chess a lot at first."

If you go -
Who: Author Susan Patron
When/Where: Wednesday, 9:30 a.m., Ulatis Community Center, 1000 Ulatis Dr.,
Vacaville; Thursday, 9:15 a.m., Springstowne Library,
1003 Oakwood Ave., Vallejo; Thursday, 11 a.m., JFK Library, 505 Santa Clara St., Vallejo; Thursday, 1 Town Square,
4 p.m., book signing only.


2013-03-16 "Dixon man prepares to compete in national martial arts competition"
by Catherine Bowen from "Vacaville Reporter" []:
Greg Trumble, of Dixon, competes in, and has won numerous, martial arts competitions. Retired from the United States Air Force, Trumble will be competing at the Golden Gate Internationals in April. (Joel Rosenbaum/

The bricks never had a chance.
With an exclamation and a powerful downward thrust of his wrist, the four 2-inch bricks lay, split in half, on the floor of Greg Trumbull's garage.
Following a four-year hiatus, the Dixon resident and karate expert is coming out of retirement for the Golden Gate Internationals Open Martial Arts Championship, which run April 5-6 in Santa Clara.
After his first demonstration, he destroyed two bricks using a rolled-up handwriting book, about the size of a coloring book, that belonged to his 9-year-old daughter.
"You can use things around the house as a weapon to defend yourself," Trumbull explained of his draw to "special breaks," which are one of his trademarks.
Though he has given up competitive fighting, Trumbull still participates in competitive breaking, taking on everything from stacks of bricks placed atop cinderblocks to boards and glass, which he shatters with his palm, wrist bone, elbow, thumb or head.
"I call them special-effects breaks, other people call them psycho," he said.
Initially inspired by Bruce Lee, the 54-year-old first tried karate as a teenager, hoping to defend himself against gang members in his hometown of San Diego who saw the once scrawny 15-year-old as an easy target, he said. Since that time, karate has become a passion that Trumbull has continued to pursue all over the world. He has numerous awards and trophies for his efforts.
Trumbull said he was immediately taken with the discipline and physical challenge it presented him.
He began training three times a week with conditioning that included knuckle pushups on his instructor's driveway.
After graduating from high school, Trumbull spent eight years in the Marines.
He received his first-degree black belt in April 1981 and later that year founded the Icelandic International Martial Arts Association while stationed in Keflavic, Iceland.
He later joined the Navy, where he served as a criminal investigator with the Military Police and was stationed in South Korea, where he stayed following his retirement.
Trumbull also had a three-year stint as a correctional officer at High Desert Prison in Nevada -- all three roles that he said were greatly aided by his martial arts experience.
He returned to California in 2004 and currently works as a civilian contractor at Travis Air Force Base, where he manages a medical equipment program.
The last time Trumbull competed in San Francisco, in 2007 and 2008, he won the Golden Gate Championship and 2008 San Francisco Nationals.
After becoming a Christian three years ago and starting to attend The Father's House, Trumbull said he was encouraged to use his "time, talent and treasure" to help others.
He opened and ran a number of schools while living in San Diego and Las Vegas, which he later closed, but hopes to use his knowledge to give back to the community and train others in the near future.
He is now focusing his attention on a new concept that combines crime prevention, awareness and self-defense. It's his hope, he said, to teach both traditional and non-traditional forms of karate within the community and help others learn how to defend themselves and "avoid becoming victims of senseless crime."
"It's my passion," he said. "I love teaching and helping."
As to his upcoming competition, Trumbull has three weeks left to continue training for an event that will pit him against men less than half of his age. However, Trumbull said he focuses less on the competitiveness and more on his love of the sport these days.
"Now, at my age, this stuff is just fun," he said.
For more information on the competition, visit

2013-03-15 "Baykeeper Wins Better Protection for the Bay from Oil Spills"
by Deb Self from "San Francisco Bay Keeper" []:
Baykeeper’s advocacy helped win new rules to reduce the risk of oil spills in San Francisco Bay by keeping large outbound ships from passing under the Bay Bridge in heavy fog.
The rules were adopted by the San Francisco Harbor Safety Committee February 14 and the Coast Guard announced that they were in effect immediately. Oil tankers, cargo ships and other large vessels are now prohibited from sailing out of the Bay when visibility is less than a half mile.
I serve on the Harbor Safety Committee, representing the public and the Bay, and I applaud the committee’s swift action in the wake of the January 7 accident, when the oil tanker Overseas Reymar crashed into the Bay Bridge. Visibility at that time was only a quarter mile. The tanker’s cargo tanks were empty, but it was carrying 245,000 gallons of bunker fuel used to run the tanker itself. It was a relief that the crash didn’t pollute the Bay, but this near-disaster made it clear that the Bay needs better protection from oil spills.
The new rules apply only to ships leaving the Bay. Inbound ships will be able to enter the Bay in foggy conditions, but they must use extreme caution. Baykeeper supports this, because it would be far less safe to have large ships circling just outside—or inside—the Golden Gate, waiting for fog to lift.
Baykeeper has been the lead environmental advocate for more protection for the Bay from oil spills since the Cosco Busan container ship hit the Bay Bridge in November 2007. That crash spilled more than 53,000 gallons of bunker fuel, killing thousands of birds and polluting Bay shorelines and nearby ocean beaches.
After the Cosco Busan disaster, Baykeeper advocated for rules to prevent future similar crashes, and many parts of the Bay were put off limits to large ships during fog. The Bay Bridge, however, was not included at that time.
Now, under the rules adopted this week, ships have to first radio their location and report any low-visibility to the Vessel Traffic Service, which oversees the Bay in a way similar to air traffic control at airports. The ships will be allowed to head out, by passing through the two widest spans between towers, only if visibility is greater than a half mile.
Baykeeper is continuing our ongoing investigation of the January Overseas Reymar crash. As we learn more, we plan to advocate for additional changes to give San Francisco Bay better protection from oil spills.
Read more about the January collision between the oil tanker and the Bay Bridge [].
Read more about the new rules to protect the Bay from oil spills [].

2013-03-18 "Questions remain as state releases Delta plan details"

by Barry Eberling from "Fairfield Daily Republic" []:
FAIRFIELD — Solano County will have to keep waiting for specifics on what the state’s $23 billion Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta plan will mean for local farms and the environment.
The Brown administration last week released the first four chapters of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, calling the occasion “a major milestone.” Another eight chapters are to be released in coming weeks.
“We are making real progress,” state Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said in a press release. “We are now closer than ever to finally safeguarding a water supply critical to California’s future and restoring vitality and resiliency to the Delta ecosystem.”
Solano County officials have yet to find out precisely how much habitat might be restored in the county to help make the Bay Delta Conservation Plan a reality. Nor are they certain what the state’s water management plans will mean for Suisun Marsh water quality.
Such parties as the Suisun Resource Conservation District, which represents Suisun Marsh property owners, are still watching and waiting. The mood would seem to fall between upbeat and downbeat.
“I think ‘wariness’ might be a good description,” Suisun Resource Conservation District Executive Director Steven Chappell said.
California and the federal government presently capture water targeted for Southern California cities and Central Valley farms in vast reservoirs in the Sierra Nevada foothills. They then release the water to flow through the Delta and pump it into aqueducts for delivery.
Court orders have interrupted water deliveries to protect the rare Delta smelt from getting sucked up by the pumps. Also, state officials have expressed fear that an earthquake could cause Delta levees to collapse, interrupting water deliveries.
Under the Bay-Delta plan, pumping plants would be built in the Sacramento River near Sacramento, north of the Delta and away from such rare species as the Delta smelt. Water bound for cities and farms would then travel under the Delta for 35 miles in two tunnels.
All of this proposed infrastructure – the tunnels, pumps and forebays – at its closest would be several miles east of Solano County, according to a Bay Delta Conservation Plan map.
The draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan chapters also call for restoring 145,000 acres in habitat over 50 years to help 57 species that have Endangered Species Act protection. Species range from the Delta smelt to the Suisun shrew to the side-flowering skullcap to the riparian brush rabbit to the Suisun thistle to the salt marsh harvest mouse.
A minimum of 65,000 acres of tidal wetlands and adjacent uplands – more than 100 square miles – is to be restored in the Delta to help rare fish. These restored areas are to primarily be in Cache Slough and Suisun Marsh areas of Solano County and in the south Delta, the draft plan said.
Another section of the plan said that “at least” 5,000 acres is to be Cache Slough area and “at least” 7,000 acres in Suisun Marsh, with “at least” 8,600 acres in areas outside the county. But this total falls far short of 65,000 acres.
All of this makes it unclear exactly how much of Solano County’s Delta and Suisun Marsh landscape might get reshaped in coming decades. Media officials with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife – the new name for the Department of Fish and Game – could not provide an immediate answer Monday afternoon.
Solano County Water Agency General Manger David Okita said the 5,000 acres mentioned in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan for the Cache Slough area sounds like a floor. Local officials would like to know what the upper limit might be, he said.
“The idea is to get them to be more specific on Cache Slough sooner rather than later,” Okita said.
The Cache Slough area is a rural area with farmland in the eastern county. Solano County officials have expressed fear that farmland and property tax dollars could be lost to habitat restoration, with no compensation for the county.
Solano County is doing a $125,000 study on the Cache Slough area. Okita said the study will show which levees would be the most practical to breach for habitat restoration and what the economic impacts of habitat restoration might be to the county.
Suisun Marsh property owners have their own concerns. The properties are mostly duck clubs that manage wetlands behind levees to create habitat for waterfowl and other creatures.
For duck clubs, priorities include keeping Suisun Marsh sloughs with the proper mixture of fresh and salt water to maintain managed wetlands. Another priority is promoting the value of managed wetlands amid a push for more tidal wetlands to benefit rare fish.
The district and state and federal agencies in recent years worked on the Suisun Marsh Habitat, Preservation and Restoration Plan. It calls for restoring 5,000 to 7,000 acres of tidal wetland in the marsh over 30 years, while also making it easier for duck club owners to do such things as shore up levees.
Now comes the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan saying that “at least” 7,000 acres in Suisun Marsh will be restored to tidal wetlands habitat. The minimum acreage listed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the maximum listed in the Suisun Marsh Habitat and Conservation Plan.
Chappell said no inconsistency necessarily exists between the two plans. He noted that the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan has a timeline that is 20 years longer than that of the Suisun Marsh plan.
The entire draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the accompanying draft environmental impact report are to be released by year’s end. Please go to to read the first four chapters of the draft plan.

2013-03-17 "Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District fights particulate pollution"

by Melissa Murphy from "Vacaville Reporter" []:
There is an adversary that floats through the air without much detection.
This enemy is about 1/30th the width of a human hair, so small it can bypass the body's natural defenses and get embedded in the lungs and bloodstream, causing lung and heart problems.
This pest is called particulate pollution -- a mixture of tiny particles and liquid droplets.
Fighting this culprit is a top priority for the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, which tracks PM 2.5 -- particulate matter less than 2.5 microns.
The particulate comes from a number of sources, including motor vehicles, residential wood burning, construction, manufacturing, farming, agricultural burning, mineral operations and food processing, according to Tom Hall, public information officer for the Yolo-Solano AQMD.
"We don't regulate cars and trucks, so it poses an interesting problem," he said.
The 330,000-resident district -- which includes Vacaville, Dixon and Rio Vista -- monitors the air and regularly tests for PM 2.5.
Mike Breuning, the district's only air monitoring technician, travels regularly to each test site, where he checks air quality. He can also monitor the air in real time online. Breuning is the "local boots on the ground," Hall said.
"It's our job to keep the public informed," Breuning said. "They need to know what the air quality is like for health reasons. Our main purpose is to see what's going on in the air."
Monitoring the air is also important to make sure the control measures in place are having an impact. According to Breuning, those measures are working.
The district called for 38 "Don't Light Tonight" days -- days when the district asks residents not to burn wood. Most were in December.
The Yolo-Solano AQMD also tracks ground-level ozone, or smog, which is formed when nitrogen oxides react with volatile organic compounds. Sunlight and warm temperatures aid the reaction, which causes smog concentration to rise in the summer.
Breathing smog, according to the air district, is said to have a sunburn effect on lungs -- healthy cells are damaged by exposure.
While cars and trucks are regulated at the state level, the district has several programs focused on reducing smog, including permit limits and the district's Clean Air Funds that subsidize the cleaning of local fleets and the development of alternative transportation methods.
"Our air quality is really quite good in the district," Hall said.
In 2012, the air district had 278 good days, 84 moderate days and four days that were unhealthy for sensitive groups. None of the days fell in the category of unhealthy or very unhealthy.
Additionally, the Yolo-Solano AQMD is offering rebates for lawn mower exchanges.
Under the program, residents who trade in a gas-powered lawn mower and buy a new eligible electric mower will receive a $120 rebate. Residents can choose from 29 eligible models made by 10 different brands. Participants can purchase their new mowers in local stores or online. To participate, fill out the form at or call (530) 757-3657. A packet including the forms necessary to participate will be mailed.
Questions on the program should be directed to Hall at (530) 757-3657 or
More information on the Yolo-Solano AQMD is available at
Air monitoring technician Mike Breuning checks the Ulatis monitoring site operated by the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District. (Greg Trott/

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2013-03-12 Northbay UpRising morning show

with your hosts, Mis.D. & Dr.G., community reporters

2013-03-07 "Bigfoot Sighting in Santa Rosa"
by Nicolas Grizzle []:
Can you see the Bigfoot in this picture? No, it's not a Magic Eye 3D image.

If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody is around, does Bigfoot hear it? If that tree is in the Mayacama Mountain Area of Santa Rosa, the answer might be yes.
We get a lot of press releases at the Bohemian, but when the email subject reads “Bigfoot in Santa Rosa?” it’s gonna get opened. And when as much work is put into it as the one we received yesterday, it’s gonna get read. And when there are blurry photos of what might be the elusive, mythical Sasquatch, you bet your ass I’m gonna post that online like it’s a cat playing piano with sunglasses.
As the story goes, a Windsor man walking his dog shot the grainy, shaky footage and stabilized the best shot he had. If you squint really hard, and forget that this is in a forest, and don’t realize that these guys sell Bigfoot hunting trips, it looks like it might be a thing. Not necessarily Bigfoot, but definitely a thing. And hey, Bigfoot is a thing, so the search is on!
The man contacted Tom Biscardi, a renowned Bigfoot hunter in Redwood City. After carefully reviewing the footage, and enhancing it through several filters, it was determined that this could be worthy of more investigation. Though the team is still trying to get permission to cascade upon the mountain, the Bohemian was invited to send someone on the news staff to tag along on the hunt. (We're just trying to find an issue with an open spot for a cover story, honest.)
This isn’t the first time Tom has reportedly been involved in a Santa Rosa Bigfoot sighting. Though his name was not used, it’s been reported he responded to a fake video made by Penn and Teller for their show, “Bullshit.” Biscardi also admitted to being hoaxed himself on the nationally-syndicated paranormal radio show Coast to Coast AM, which prompted the host to demand a refund to anyone who signed up for his live-cam Bigfoot watch after it was promised there would be Bigfoot, no matter how hard one watched.
I’m not in the Bigfoot biz, but I’m sure things like that happen all the time. There's no shame in getting fooled once, or twice, or a few times. Hey, everyone’s gotta make a buck somehow (one offer came to Penn and Teller for $5,000 just to use their fake Bigfoot footage). It can be tough to find the real thing, and you’ve gotta strike while the iron is hot. There’s no time to check the facts or ask the experts. Bigfoot is quick and elusive, and he might turn up one day at Matanzas Creek Winery sipping chardonnay and the next day having a picnic on a dormant volcano in Atlanta. It’s the luck of the draw. Just make sure to carry your worst video camera around at all times.

"‘BIGFOOT’ DNA SEQUENCED IN UPCOMING GENETICS STUDY: Five-Year Genome Study Yields Evidence of Homo sapiens/Unknown Hominin Hybrid Species in North America"

Contact: Robin Lynne,, 231.622.5362
Dr. Ketchum is available for interview or to answer further questions about the Sasquatch genome study and associated research on novel contemporary hominins at
DALLAS, Nov. 24--A team of scientists can verify that their 5-year long DNA study, currently under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” living in North America. Researchers’ extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.
The study was conducted by a team of experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology, led by Dr. Melba S. Ketchum of Nacogdoches, TX. In response to recent interest in the study, Dr. Ketchum can confirm that her team has sequenced 3 complete Sasquatch nuclear genomes and determined the species is a human hybrid:
“Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.
Hominins are members of the taxonomic grouping Hominini, which includes all members of the genus Homo. Genetic testing has already ruled out Homo neanderthalis and the Denisova hominin as contributors to Sasquatch mtDNA or nuDNA. “The male progenitor that contributed the unknown sequence to this hybrid is unique as its DNA is more distantly removed from humans than other recently discovered hominins like the Denisovan individual,” explains Ketchum.
“Sasquatch nuclear DNA is incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence. Further study is needed and is ongoing to better characterize and understand Sasquatch nuclear DNA.”
Ketchum is a veterinarian whose professional experience includes 27 years of research in genetics, including forensics. Early in her career she also practiced veterinary medicine, and she has previously been published as a participant in mapping the equine genome. She began testing the DNA of purported Sasquatch hair samples 5 years ago.
Ketchum calls on public officials and law enforcement to immediately recognize the Sasquatch as an indigenous people:
“Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry. Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a ‘license’ to hunt, trap, or kill them.”
Full details of the study will be presented in the near future when the study manuscript publishes.

Contact: Margli Auclair [] [925-933-7850] []
The Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center in Walnut Creek is pleased to announce the launch of its 16th Annual Art & Writing Challenge.  The contest is open to Contra Costa County high school and middle school students.  The students are invited to enter any of four categories: Essay, Creative Writing, Art (any medium) or Video.  All entries are evaluated by independent judges.
This year the students are being asked to write about or create art based on the following:

Mahatma Gandhi said "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves everyone blind and toothless."   When someone harms us, we often think of revenge. But there is another way. The offender and the victim can come together for reconciliation. The injurer can take responsibility and can at times make amends, and the injured and the community can forgive. Could you forgive someone who hurt you or someone close to you? Describe a situation when you forgave or were forgiven.

Have you or someone you know ever hurt another person and then taken responsibility to make things right? What happened?
How could schools use reconciliation instead of punishment when students inflict harm on one another?
The deadline for submitting entries is Monday, March 18th, 2013.  Students are asked to deliver or send their work to the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, California 94596. Writing entries may be emailed to:

Cash prizes ranging from $50 to $250 depending on grade level and achievement will be awarded to winners. The awards will be presented at a dinner on Saturday, April 27th at 6:00 p.m. at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek.
Flyers containing detailed information and contest rules may be downloaded from our education website:

2013-03-08 "Area youth get Arts Benicia showcase; Every school represented"
by Keri Luiz from "Benicia Herald" []:
THE  NEXT GENERATION art exhibit at Arts Benicia celebrates the work of Benicia students. About 250 pieces will be on display at the nonprofit’s Arsenal gallery, including “The Hatter That Went Mad,” above, by Benicia Middle School Advanced Art students.

“UNTITLED,” a sculpture by Daisy Hayward of Benicia High School.

The doors to Arts Benicia’s newest exhibit, Next Generation, featuring artwork by Benicia students, had only been open for a few minutes Thursday when the first visitors wandered in.
Among them were the parents of a student at Liberty High School. They had come to see their child’s work, a drawing of a leaf.
“We put that on the main wall. I don’t think they knew that when the came in, so they were very pleased and surprised to see their child’s work featured very prominently,” Arts Benicia Director Larnie Fox said.
“It was such a good piece.”
The annual event, now in its third consecutive year, features the work of students from all of Benicia’s schools.
It’s a popular event — but it had been discontinued some years before because of the work involved.
“I was strongly in favor of reviving it,” Fox said.
He knew the way forward was to get the schools to become more involved.
“We got the support from (Superintendent of Benicia Schools) Janice Adams —thank God!” he said. “She kind of nudged schools that didn’t feel like it was a top priority.”
The first couple years saw some hiccups that had to be worked through, Fox said, but “this year was totally smooth.”
The exhibit includes about 250 pieces representing the creativity of Benicia’s students, kindergarten through 12th grade.
This year, Fox said, there are “a lot of dogs. We have an undersea theme, and a dog theme; it is interesting to see how they go.”
The quality is very high, he said.
“It is very strong work. Kids see the world in fresh eyes,” he said. “There’s been a lot of adult artists that spend their whole careers trying to figure out how to get that same kind of freshness and honesty that children have.
“I think the secret to being an artist is not forgetting how to play when you grow up.”
Arts Benicia will have three events tied to the Next Generation exhibit. The first is an opening reception Sunday for the exhibit itself, usually a very busy event with the children and their families attending, Fox said.
On March 14, arts educators Susan Bunch and Susan Watts, who taught for many years in Benicia Unified School District, will give a presentation.
“These are two women that have really helped keep the arts in the public schools in Benicia,” Fox said. “They have worked really hard through the years to introduce new art programs into the schools as the schools do cutbacks in funding.”
Finally, Family Art Day, March 17, gives children and their parents the opportunity to work on an art project together.
“(The Children’s Art Committee) puts tables inside the gallery. Kids and parents work together to do projects, generally loosely based on the exhibition,” Fox said.
He said putting together the Next Generation show is an “enormously complex task,” involving great work by the Children’s Art Committee, led this year by Susan Sullivan, former principal of Mary Farmar Elementary School.
“They contact every classroom in the district, and private schools, and after-school programs,” he said. “To select the best of the artwork from all of these sources is a herculean task. The teachers do the jurying in the schools, but we have the teachers, liaisons in every school, then we have the committee people and staff.
“The committee has done an enormous amount of work to pull this off. They’ve done it really gracefully and without ruffling any feathers. It’s amazing how they were able to pull it off.
“It’s a real joy,” he said.

If You Go
 An opening reception for “Next Generation” is Sunday from 3-5 p.m. at Arts Benicia, 991 Tyler St., Suite 114. On March 14 from 7-8:30 p.m., arts educators Susan Bunch and Susan Watts will give a presentation with the focus, “How has art education changed through the years and how can parents encourage their children’s creativity?” On March 17, Arts Benicia will host Family Art Day from 1-3 p.m. For more information, call 707-747-0131 or email

2013-03-08 "For city kids, a ‘no’-free zone; Parents’ cooperative helps youngsters and their caregivers"
by Donna Beth Weilenman from "Benicia Herald" []
CHILDREN decorate their Easter buckets at The Gateway church’s cooperative, where dozens of children and their caretakers spend weekday mornings. From left to right, Naia Spencer, Caroline Kelley and Lulu Hall. Leewan Yeomans photo

CHRISTINE MELLOR THOUGHT SHE WOULD BE wrapping up her 40-year career caring for children in a couple of years. Then she learned that some Benicia mothers and child guardians couldn’t afford local preschools, day cares or other children activity centers.
Mellor also recognized that some adults who are responsible for children spend so much of their time isolated from other adults, they miss out on grownup activities and interests.
So she went to her minister, the Rev. Jerry Pollard of The Gateway, 1315 Military West, to suggest a church outreach effort to meet the needs of both children and adults — a morning parents cooperative for those who are the guardians of children from birth to 5 years old.
Each child brought to the church must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult relative or guardian, she proposed.
The church space would be made safe for children, so the youngsters have the freedom to play. Mellor had in mind a “no”-free zone, so the children would get encouragement to explore and engage, rather than hear the words “no” and “don’t.”
Children would have some structured times, too, spending part of each day learning about letters, colors and shapes. During snack times, they also would learn about table manners.
The church’s board heard her proposal. Getting its approval “was a piece of cake,” she said.
“You go to the board and say, ‘There’s a need, and I’ll fill it.’ And our pastor is amazing.”
THAT WAS NINE YEARS AGO. Since then, families have joined the parents’ cooperative, not only to help their children, but also to help themselves.
Those adults are the children’s parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and sometimes great-grandparents, Mellor said. “That’s one thing people in Benicia don’t realize,” that these family members “are socially isolated because of their kids,” she said.
That’s particularly the case among grandparents who find themselves the primary caregivers of young children.
Retirees often expect to be able to participate with their friends in adult activities, such as classes, special-interest meetings, recreational sports, hobbies and travel. But those expectations may end when they assume the responsibility of raising a grandchild.
Also isolated are those who speak other languages, Mellor said. And speakers of languages other than English are among those who meet through the parents cooperative, she said.
During the sessions, which meet from 9-11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, Mellor may hear Spanish, Mandarin, Tagalog, French, German, Polish, Japanese and the Dari dialect of Afghanistan.
“They all get along fine,” she said. “The children make their own way, and learn to communicate.” In fact, adults could take a tip from them, she said. “We learn better from children.”
Neither Mellor nor Gateway promote the cooperative, she said. Parents and guardians learn about it by word of mouth. But word has spread — to Hiddenbrook near Cordelia, to American Canyon and to Fairfield. Enrollment currently is 55.
WHEN THE CHILDREN AND THEIR CAREGIVERS arrive at the church, they start off with free play.
“They can climb. They can play with blocks. This gives them self confidence,” Mellor said.
But even then, under Mellor’s guidance, the children are learning to share and take turns. New youngsters may need to acclimate to the church’s surroundings, particularly if they have been living in an apartment or townhouse with few play area.
Mellor said children often are surprised that they’re allowed out of doors in the church’s play area, and can touch things in their part of the church building.
But even when the room is decorated for the holidays, those decorations are the type children can touch and handle, Mellor said.
Some also must get used to the cooperative’s snack time practices, she said. Family households often don’t sit down to dinner the way they once did, she said. “They just don’t do that anymore.”
Older children may have sports during that time, and work may prevent a parent from dining with the rest of the family, she explained.
But the little ones who come to the cooperative soon learn the rules about eating at the table: no toys at snack time, no leaving the table before being excused.
“I have a 14-month-old who can put a plate and cup in the trash,” Mellor said.
Mellor also has introduced the children to rules about their art projects and other activities. For instance, she may read them a book that focuses on the letter about which the children are learning. At the end of the story, each child can find something that starts with that letter.
Once they announce their discovery, they know they can play, but they must wait until every child gets a turn. “They learn their letters, colors and shapes. And they learn to interact with each other and respect boundaries.”
“WE HAVE ALL BEEN SO LUCKY to have her in our lives,” Leewan Yeomans, whose family has participated in the cooperative for four years, said of Mellor.
“Our family has been a part of this nonprofit co-op since my daughter was 10 months old, and she will be turning 5 this month,” Yeomans said. “We also have a six-month-old daughter who has (been) and will continue to be a part of this amazing program.”
She said she is proud to call Mellor a friend, “but she is so much more. Christine is dedicated to all the children that pass through this co-op. She treats each one of them like her own children and loves us all.”
To recognize what Mellor has done, Yeomans and others have collected a gift Easter basket they will give to Mellor during the cooperative’s Easter party March 29.
“With help from many of Benicia’s local businesses, we wanted to thank Christine, for creating and nurturing a safe and loving environment for our families to socialize and learn together,” Yeomans said.
When she and others sought donations from area businesses, Benicia companies responded. Those contributing to Mellor’s basket are Carla’s Salon, Nourot Glass Studio, Romancing the Home, Lucca Bar and Grill, Sailor Jack’s, Good Nails, Zen Spa, Kinder’s, Double Rainbow, Java Point, Artcentric, Camelia Tea Room, Benicia Bay Company and Rosanna’s. Yeomans said those donations will “make an amazing and memorable Easter basket for Christine Mellor.”
In the nine years Mellor has volunteered to guide the cooperative, she has seen new parents bring in their babies, and in years that followed, bring in those children’s siblings.
Sometimes, particularly in summer, the older children return to visit a place they learned to love.
It’s a place parents and guardians also have come to enjoy, she said. “I’m proud of the parents and the work they put in. It really does take a community to care for children. This is a cooperative, and a community includes children. And without the cooperation of the church, this wouldn’t be here. It’s an outreach.”
AT 64, CHRISTINE MELLOR has set aside thoughts of retiring. The cooperative operates on donations, and she never knows who pays or how much. “We’re still open!” she said.
She remembers an earlier time when children played in their neighborhoods. “My kids ran up and down the street. There were no locks on the doors,” she said. Children would visit each others’ homes, and neighbors watched over each other’s youngsters.
“The world has changed,” she said. “It’s different.”
Now, she said, Gateway’s parent cooperative “provides a safe place. People feel like it’s home.”
CAROLINE KELLEY, left, and Lulu Hall paint their Easter buckets at The Gateway cooperative.
Leewan Yeomans photo

2013-03-12 "Vallejo waitress writes first novel for son with orders for life"
by Sarah Rohrs from "Vallejo Times-Herald" []:
Vallejoan Gina Bortolussi has written and self-published her first book, 'Don of a New Day,' in between working one and sometimes two jobs. (Mike Jory/Times-Herald)

Gina Bortolussi of Vallejo is no different than most parents in her desire to send her child into adulthood with a sense of direction toward what is right. She just went about it a little differently than most.
Rather than heart-to-heart talks with her teen son, Bortolussi wrote a novel, using the perspective of someone far different from herself and her son to offer advice
A waitress who holds down two jobs, Bortolussi said her book, "Don of a New Day" is meant to offer insight and advice on tolerance, peer pressure, responsibility, the need for an open mind and to think outside the box.
"I would try to talk to him about various things and his response was 'Okay. Whatever.' So, I decided to take a different approach," she said.
"Don of a New Day" is along the lines of singer Jackson Brown's "Life's Little Instruction Book" which he wrote for his son as he was going off to college.
But, whereas Brown's book is a long list of things to do or not to do, Bortolussi's messages are conveyed through old-fashioned storytelling.
Partially self-published, the novel is about how Napa teen Jimmy copes with problems which seemingly attack him from all angles -- poverty, racism, his best friend's illness and thoughtless people who seem incapable of change.
Bortolussi said she would often get flashes of insight while taking orders at Gillwoods Cafe in Napa where she's worked for 13 years. As she scribbled down orders she would also write down things she wanted to tell Brian.
Bortolussi's book was, at first, 500 pages, but is now 160 pages after she chose to cut drastically and turn it into a young adult novel.
She was planning to give the book to her son when he graduates from high school, but he may get a chance to read it much sooner. After living with his father, the teen is getting ready to move back to live with her and finish high school.
The book is available on Amazon and through, the publisher's website. On April 2, it will be on the Barnes and Noble website, and on Kindle and iPad, she said. She hopes local bookstores also will carry it.
Bortolussi has written numerous poems and short stories, but "Don of a New Day," is her first novel and she is most nervous about her son's reaction to it.
She said he has set beliefs on how people should think and act and may be shocked at how some characters behave. She also said her parents were somewhat surprised she touched on a number of hot button issues.
Her goal, she said, was to present an ideal, but human, way for dealing with issues. As Jimmy confronts racism, rudeness and selfish people, he learns to stick to his principles and offer people kindness along the way.
In his last years in high school, Jimmy also learns the need to question things before embracing them, and see beyond appearances and labels, such as gay and straight.
"Truth is, man, I think everyone has beauty in them," says one friend to Jimmy. "Why would I dismiss people because of what shell they are in? Boy or girl, or black of white, or whatever? Souls are not about appearances, you need to see through appearances to see a soul."
One of Bortolussi's core beliefs is that the world would be a better place if people could just be themselves without being judged or persecuted.
A Vallejo native, Bortolussi grew up in the Napa Valley, but is now living in Vallejo again. Working and raising her son as a single mother, she has also earned seven Associate of Arts degrees through Napa Valley College.
She hopes to have public readings of "Don Of A New Day" at Copperfield's Books in downtown Napa, and other bookstores once the book becomes available to the public on April 2.
For more information about the book go to Facebook and click "Like" after finding the "Don of a New Day" page. Gina Bortolussi can also be reached via e-mail at
Gina Bortolussi
Age: 36
Family: Son Brian; brothers Kevin and Brian; parents, Nancy and Louis.
Hometown: Napa, now Vallejo
Occupation: Waitress and writer
Quote: "If we could just be who we are, the world would be a much better place."

2013-03-08 "FivePlay puts in rare area gig on behalf of Vallejo Jazz Society"
by Rich Freedman from "Vallejo Times-Herald" []:
FivePlay brings its melodic jazz to the Bay Terrace Theatre on behalf of the Vallejo Jazz Society. Left to right, Dave Tidball, Alan Hall, Tom Corman, Laura Klein, and Paul Smith. Courtesy photo

Tony Corman is tickled that the jazz quintet, FivePlay, has honored its mission statement playing "melodic modern jazz."
Now if he can only get some.
"I'm interested in feedback, but I have a hard time getting my own sister to tell me what she thinks," Corman said.
At least Corman knows he has some big fans with the Vallejo Jazz Society, who are bringing in the East Bay-based group Sunday, March 17, in a 5 p.m. concert at the Bay Terrace Theatre.
FivePlay's music "is beautiful, moving, and slightly off the beaten path," said VJS spokeswoman, Betty Chypres.
Corman is joined by his wife and pianist, Laura Klein, reedman Dave Tidball, bass player Paul Smith and drummer Jason Lewis, subbing for regular Alan Hall.
Corman said the goal of FivePlay is to play music that people will want to come back and here again.
"What I found is that there sometimes is a level of playing (with other groups) that is unbelievable," Corman said. "While I'm blown away by the accomplishments, I don't necessarily want to hear it again."
FivePlay, he noted, "is not trying to make high-end jazz for insiders."
"What I remember growing up is that I would love it when I would hear music I wanted to hear over and over again," Corman said.
FivePoint started in Berkeley in 2005, undergoing "many different configurations" since.
One constant has been Corman and Klein, somehow doing the husband/wife thing with aplomb.
"We don't always agree, but we negotiate in good faith," Corman said of his bride of 28 years. "It's great. I love her playing."
Since Klein is classically trained and an accomplished composer, "she comes with things from such a different angle," Corman said. "She can take the band places I wouldn't be able to. It's an absolute godsend to have her voice."
FivePlay only does a handful of gigs a year, mostly because "the scene isn't great," Corman said. "There aren't a lot of venues."
Still, there's no dearth of talented musicians, Corman said.
"I am constantly blown away by the level of playing," he said.
Corman realized music would have to be a paid hobby to augment a day job as technical writer.
"With a real lack of venues, I gave up years ago trying to make living," he said. "Better to choose a profession that does pay a living wage."
Still, he noted, "it doesn't mean you don't do it. It means you don't depend on it for money."
Corman is satisfied that there is a next generation of outstanding jazz players.
"I have no fear for the future of music," he said. "These young people do wonderful things."

If you go
What: Vallejo Jazz Society
presents FivePlay
When: Sunday, March 17, 5 p.m.

Where: Bay Terrace Theatre,
51 Daniels Ave., Vallejo
Tickets $10 general, $5 VJS members
Info: []; []

2013-03-09 "Go Vegan in Suisun City to Help the Environment; Eating less meat can help reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment"
by Jared Morgan from "Suisin Patch" online journal []:
You probably know about the adverse health effects of eating too much red meat — like the increased risk of heart disease — but did you know you could reduce your carbon footprint by eating less of the stuff?
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, as reported by Scientific American, the production of the meat in our meals causes more atmosphere-damaging greenhouse gases than the cars and factories of the world do.
Nitrogen- and phosphorous-based fertilizers used to grow feed for cows have also been linked to increases in harmful algae blooms in our lakes and oceans.
The nitrogen pollution associated with meat production causes $200-$2,000 billion in damage around the world every year. It also requires 20-50 times more water to produce 2.2 pounds of meat than it does vegetables.
Eating less red meat and more vegetables — and even occasionally cutting out all dairies to go vegan — can help you live a healthy life and reduce the demand for meat production.

2013-03-07 "Roller Derby has invaded Solano-Yolo Counties!"
from "Suisin Patch" online journal []:
My name is Annastasia (aka "Rage"), President of the SoYo Roller derby league, a start-up team of local skaters coming together to promote camaraderie and sportsmanship through the sport of roller derby. The purpose of the SoYo Roller derby league is to create an opportunity for local women athletes to achieve their maximum athletic and intellectual potential. Our members embody the highest standard of dedication, perseverance, respect, and motivation through intensive training, competition, and community involvement. This year we are committed to transforming from a start-up league to a fully sponsored organized league representing Solano and Yolo counties in organized league play. We are proud to represent these counties as the only organized flat track derby league in both counties.

What is Flat Track Roller Derby?
Flat track roller derby is the distant relative of roller derby from the 1970’s with the banked oval track, paid professional athletes (women and men), and wrestlemania style scripted scenarios. The being paid and scripted has been taken out of it, and we do it with athleticism and for the love of derby.  Originating in 2001, flat track roller derby is a fast-paced, strategic, team oriented sport which still includes the full contact aspect that many spectators long to see. A banked track is traditionally immobile and professionally constructed; this means anyone without the space, materials, and means of setting up a banked track is automatically excluded from the sport.  A flat track can be laid on any flat surface suitable for skates, and this simplicity of set up has made roller derby a do-it-yourself sport accessible to women who are ready to lace up their skates.
Photo Credit: Cruz Photography

Who are the SoYo Roller Derby girls?
We are business owners, office managers, teachers, students, wives, and mothers; however each week we transform into our own versions of Wonder Woman and become the SoYo Roller Derby girls.  Founded in May of 2012, what originated  from a conversation and an open call on facebook; has graduated to a league of women who have received their USA Roller Sports club charter and are looking to bout. All of our skaters train hard, and play hard. We have an amazing group of ladies, and are looking to add more!
The SoYo Roller Derby League and their team(s) are dedicated to providing an opportunity for all women to challenge and strengthen themselves physically and mentally through the sisterhood of roller derby while supporting our community through volunteering and raising money for local charities. We are on track to obtain our non-profit status, so we can give back to the community. The SoYo Roller Derby League is a grassroots, DIY, skater owned and operated league with a commitment to promoting fitness and health for woman of all ages and sizes and to maintain an inclusive skating culture.
Our practices are held at the Norcal Indoor Sports in Woodland, CA and we've recently added a location in Davis.
Photo Credit: Cruz Photography

Our Vision for advancement of the league:
We have been practicing like crazy, hosting training camps, and guest coaches. We hope to be able to set up a bout or two this season. This of course depends on a few things, like the number of girls ready to bout, financial status of the league to put on a bout, and volunteer support to run the bouts. We do not currently have any home bouts scheduled for the 2013 season, but we are hoping to get some scheduled soon.
Our Coach - WiLd ThInG (yes, we get cool names). Photo Credit: Rage Blockout

To join you or for more information:
We are hosting an open call informational night coming up on March 17th in Davis, at Woodstock Pizza 5:30-7:00pm. Come on out, meet the girls and coach and find out more about Derby. Ask all your questions, and hopefully come out for a practice with us!
RSVP to the open call here (or just show up): []
To find out more info about us:

2012-11-26 "Napa's New Candy Store: What Should It Sell? More candy shipments are still arriving at newly-opened Boom on Pearl Street in downtown Napa. What treats do you think owner Paul Slack should stock at his salon-turned-sweet shop?"
by Louisa Hufstader []:
Amid all the holiday-season hoopla this month, a new Napa retailer quietly opened for business downtown.
Boom, formerly a barber salon owned by Paul and Leilani Slack of nearby Bloom Creative Hair Design and Art Gallery and the cooperative Slack Collective Art Studios and Gallery around the corner, has been reinvented as a candy shop where customers can find classic wrapped sweets like Charleston Chews, Pop Rocks and Blow Pops.
Other nostalgia brands like Mary Janes (10 cents) are also among the merchandise assortment, but Paul Slack said he'll also carry 21st-century candies, many of which are shipping to the Napa store this week.
What candy brands would you like to see for sale at the new store?
Visit and let them know: Boom, 968 Pearl St., Napa: (707) 287-5988. Open daily except Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2013-02-22 "VFD taking applications for emergency training classes"
CERT Flyer-Spring Classes, 2013 []
The Vallejo Fire Department is taking applications for its upcoming Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training classes designed to help families plan ahead for emergencies.
The program is neighborhood-based and assists neighbors in working together to assess their provisions and help themselves until emergency responders arrive in the event of disasters or similar situations.
CERT training involves seven 4-hour classes over six weeks for a total of 28 hours and held in the evening weekly from 6 to 10 p.m.
The CERT program has trained more than 175 citizens in classes funded through a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.
The next weekly “Tuesday” classes start March 15 while the next weekly “Thursday” classes start March 14. Each class will run for six weeks and will be held at the VFD Training Center at 703 Curtola Parkway.
Participants must be at least 18 and each class is limited to 20 participants. Those who are interested can go to fire prevention office at 555 Santa Clara St., second floor, or send an email to to get an application.