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 "NextDoor.com" 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 -
VALLEJO TOGETHER CARE TO SHARE MOBILE UNIT FRIDAY (2013-03-15):
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![http://ibvallejo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1641&Itemid=1]:
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!!!
COUNSELING TROUBLED YOUTH: A CONVERSATION WITH JAN ELISE SELLS, M.Ed., M.A., M.F.T.
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 [www.mtdpc.org] [info (@mtdpc.org] with Friendly Favors [www.favors.org/MDPC]
"Shriners Hospitals to offer screening in Fairfield"
by John Glidden from "Fairfield Daily Republic" [http://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/solanocounty/shriners-hospitals-to-offer-screening-in-fairfield-2/]:
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" [http://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/solanocounty/spca-of-solano-county-hosts-family-fun-day/]:
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 email@example.com.
2013-03-18 "Visitors enjoy idyllic countryside of Lynch Canyon"
by Reach Heather Ah San from "Fairfield Daily Republic" [http://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/fairfield/visitors-enjoy-idyllic-countryside-of-lynch-canyon/]:
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 [www.co.solano.ca.us/depts/rm/countypark/lynchcyn.asp].
2013-03-18 "Hundreds come to see camel collection in Benicia"
by Irma Widjojo from "Vallejo Times-Herald" [http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_22814350/hundreds-come-see-camel-collection-benicia]:
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 www.beniciahistoricalmuseum.org. The museum is at 2060 Camel Road.
2013-03-17 "Inventor’s Lab sparks interest in science"
by Ian Thompson from "Fairield Daily Republic" [http://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/features-local/inventors-lab-sparks-interest-in-science/]:
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 www.lawrencehallofscience.org/invent.
2013-03-17 "Graffiti insider from New York explains culture"
by Irma Widjojo from "Vallejo Times-Herald" [http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_22810389/graffiti-insider-from-new-york-explains-culture]:
Meno of Vallejo city Public Works Department stands next to a big
graffiti done by UKNO in the abandoned area of Richardson Park. (Irma
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.
'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
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."
former graffiti artist has been documenting and studying the graffiti
culture after immersing himself in the world since 1975, when he was 12.
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
For some, however, legal repercussions are the least of their worries, Felisbret said.
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.
in Vallejo, authorities nationally have devised different strategies to
curb graffiti. However, Felisbret said that won't stop the movement.
just raises the bar for them to become more creative, to become
stronger and committed artists," he said of graffiti writers.
said there are three ways to gain recognition in the graffiti world:
Artistic values and social relevancy, location and quantity.
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.
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.
properties like homes, cars, or religious institutions used to be out
of bounds," Felisbret said. "But it seems like everything is fair game
He said many people have misidentified their tags with gang-related activities.
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.
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
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.
'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.
footage of the flight, available online at www.hovership.com, 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
"(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."
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
"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" [http://www.timesheraldonline.com/ci_22805656/mare-island-firm-moves-benicia-shortly-after-securing]:
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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,
"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
"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" [http://www.thereporter.com/news/ci_22805673/dixon-man-prepares-compete-national-martial-arts-competition]:
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/JRosenbaum@TheReporter.com)
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 www.goldengateinternationals.com.
2013-03-15 "Baykeeper Wins Better Protection for the Bay from Oil Spills"
by Deb Self from "San Francisco Bay Keeper" [http://baykeeper.org/blog/baykeeper-wins-better-protection-bay-oil-spills]:
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 [http://baykeeper.org/blog/answers-needed-why-oil-tanker-hit-bay-bridge].
Read more about the new rules to protect the Bay from oil spills [http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_22590801/coast-guard-shipping-officials-pass-new-rules-restrict?].
2013-03-18 "Questions remain as state releases Delta plan details"
by Barry Eberling from "Fairfield Daily Republic" [http://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/solanocounty/local-impact-of-state-delta-plans-still-uncertain/]:
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 http://baydeltaconservationplan.com 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" [http://www.thereporter.com/news/ci_22810416/yolo-solano-air-quality-management-district-fights-particulate]:
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 ysaqmd.org/mowers 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the Yolo-Solano AQMD is available at ysaqmd.org.
Air monitoring technician Mike Breuning checks the Ulatis monitoring site operated by the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District. (Greg Trott/GTrott@TheReporter.com)