Sunday, June 23, 2013

News and info for June 25th, 2013

Info from "Rush Ranch hosts astronomic event" by "Vallejo Times-Herald" []:
SUISUN CITY -- An event at Rush Ranch will give some answers to those with astronomical questions. The free event will start at 7:30 p.m., July 5, with a short presentation by Jim Jerrell, a local astronomy enthusiast. The presentation will be followed by a telescope viewing at dark, provided by Rush Ranch. Personal scopes and binoculars are welcome, but owners will be responsible for their set up. Attendees also should bring warm clothing and mosquito repellent. Flashlights should be covered with red cellophane, and late comers should dim their headlights. The event is sponsored by the Rush Ranch Educational Council and The Solano Land Trust Rush Ranch is near Suisun City, about 2 1/4 miles south of Highway 12 on Grizzly Isle Road. For more information call [707-689-2639] or visit [].

* Interpretive Hike: Getting the Rush ~ Every 3rd Saturday ~ 9am—11am docent guided hike over easy trails. Discover rare marsh plants, their delicate ecosystems, and see a myriad of avian and other wildlife while learning about local human history. Meet at ranch map on eastern wall of Nature Center.
* Blacksmith demonstration ~ every 3rd Saturday, 10am - 1pm ~ skilled docent, Virgil Sellars, displays traditional blacksmithing skills using authentic tools and equipment in the ranch’s historic blacksmith shop.
* Volunteer Improvement Day ~ every 1st Saturday at 9am ~ join our Land Steward Ken in taking care of seasonal chores and maintenance at the ranch. Bring your gloves and meet Ken in the courtyard.
(Photo by Tom and Steffini Muehleisen)

Info from "State could give $6.3 million to Solano open space projects" by Barry Eberling from "Fairfiled Daily Republic" []: The California State Wildlife Conservation Board will meet in Sacramento to consider state funding for open space and conservation projects, including three in Solano County whose request for funding totals $6.3 million, including a $2.8 million boost to the Solano Land Trust’s drive to buy Rockville Trails Estates. The Land Trust already owns 330 acres of this hilly land near Rockville Hills Park. Now it is trying to raise $13.5 million to buy the remaining 1,170 acres by a July 31 deadline. Another project would help preserve two properties in Suisun Marsh through purchases made through the nonprofit California Waterfowl Association, which involves former, private duck clubs within the 116,000-acre marsh, the largest contiguous estuarine marsh on the West Coast of the United States. “The purpose is to protect waterfowl habitat and wetlands habitat in the marsh and manage it at its highest quality,” said Jake Messerli of the California Waterfowl Association. Migrating waterfowl use the properties. Such rare creatures as the California black rail and salt marsh harvest mouse could live there, according to a state report. The association would offer hunting programs and educational programs.
(photo by John Lord

Info from "Diverse Solano, Napa agencies to seek 'Common Ground'" by Lanz Christian BaƱes from "Vallejo Times-Herald" [].
Common Ground brings together about 15 churches and nonprofit institutions that pool resources to whittle away at community problems and is a nonpartisan organization in the pattern of the Industrial Areas Foundation's Sacramento Valley Organizing Community, a larger nonprofit that works to develop local groups like Common Ground. About 1,500 people of various faiths and national communities had signed up for the convention, which was held Sunday, June 23rd, at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School. For more information, email [], or call [916-494-1603].

Info from "Tribal council added to fair's Cultural Pavilion" by Rich Freedman from "Vallejo Times-Herald" [].
Vallejo Inter-Tribal Council (VITC), already a steward of indigenous culture for nearly a generation, has been accepted into the Cultural Pavilion at the Solano County State Fair, joining the Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce, Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Filipino community members. The Solano County Fair runs July 31-Aug. 4. For more information, visit

Info from "Words alone can't describe Juliano's quest for Vallejo" by Rich Freedman from "Vallejo Times-Herald" [].
Kristy Juliano is inviting Vallejoans to join her in positive meditation behind the Vallejo library on the first Saturday of each month, to promote a 'positive energy' about the city. "There's no leaders, nobody telling anyone what to do", said Juliano, a 59-year-old lifetime Vallejoan. "I'll just be present, in prayer, in meditation, in silence," she said. "Whoever is called to come and be in that moment with me and whoever else shows ... all the more powerful. Some just don't know what they can do or where they can start," said Juliano, saying that yes, she is aware of bad things that happen here. "I acknowledge it, but I don't invest in it," she said. "It doesn't label my experience in Vallejo. Of course, it's sad. Those kinds of negative Advertisement things are happening and that people are on that kind of journey in their lives effects us all. How can it not? But we need to create something that counteracts that."

Info from "Pow-Wow gets OK to move to Solano Community College" by Rich Freedman from "Vallejo Times-Herald" [].
Vallejo Inter-Tribal Council and Solano Community College agreed to hold the event on campus in the summer of 2014. The drumming, the dancing, the beads, the feathers and about 4,000 visitors will migrate north, said council spokeswoman Midge Wagner. Wagner said higher fees and a new pay-to-park lot makes it difficult to keep the event in Vallejo. Meanwhile, she added, Solano Community College has inquired for several years to bring the Pow-Wow to Fairfield. Wherever the Pow-Wow landed, "we wanted to keep it in Solano County. There's no other (Native American) cultural event here," Wagner said. The Pow-Wow, she noted, "helps bring awareness to the Native culture. That's what our goal has been." The Vallejo event, added Wagner, has been "very successful" in offering authentic food, jewelry, song and dance. "It's not commercial as much as other Pow-Wows," Wagner said. The event is especially beneficial for non-natives who possibly stereotype Native Americans, said Wagner. "Maybe they can come to learn and understand that not everyone lives in teepees," she said.

Info from "Public input sought on Solano County budget" by Melissa Murphy from "Vacaville Reporter" [].
Solano Board of Supervisors conducted a public hearing at the County Government Center in Fairfield on Monday, June 24th, which gave Solano residents the option to add their views on the county budget for fiscal year 2013-14, whose recommended budget for next fiscal year is about $852 million, and which is balanced with a combination of money from state and federal revenues, fees for services, transfers from reserves and fund balance carryover from fiscal year 2012-13. The proposed budget contains significant growth in public safety and health and social services, a result of implementing the county's expanded roles in the supervision, prosecution, defense and housing of offenders and the delivery of health-care and social service programs. Additionally, the recommended budget proposes to add 151.3 full-time employees, primarily to address the expanded roles from the 2011 realignment in public safety and behavioral health and carrying out provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. That would bring the county's total budgeted positions to nearly 2,733. The full recommended budget is available online at [].

Info from "A rescue for Richmond's underwater mortgages?" by Carolyn Said from "San Francisco Chronicle" [].
A radical new program is being proposed as a way to help struggling homeowners that could lead the city to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages and restructure them to keep families in their homes.
Beleaguered by the foreclosure crisis, Richmond is on the verge of pioneering the use of eminent domain as a tool to seize and restructure loans on underwater homes, slashing many thousands of dollars off their principal. It's an untested approach fiercely opposed by banks, which say it's an illegal use of power that threatens mortgage lending and property rights. Richmond's City Council voted 6-1 in March to partner with a San Francisco firm, Mortgage Resolution Partners, as an adviser on the plan. MRP would line up investors to lend Richmond the money to acquire the mortgages and then would help refinance them into Federal Housing Administration loans, earning a flat fee of $4,500 per mortgage. Other local governments, including San Bernardino County and the city of Salinas, have considered working with MRP, but backed down under the threat of legal action from banks.

"UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: Making a Break for Freedom During the Era of Mass Incarceration"
Announcing the Newest Release from the "BRINGING DOWN THE NEW JIM CROW" Radio Documentary Series! Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow", points to A New Way of Life Re-Entry Program in South Los Angeles as a model for the kind of bold initiative needed to build what she calls a “new underground railroad” — a network of families, faith communities, and organizations dedicated to providing desperately needed support and love to those newly released from prison.
Listen here: [].
This 29-minute radio documentary weaves together the voices of Michelle Alexander, Susan Burton (founder of A New Way of Life), and five residents of this remarkable re-entry program for women, showing the human face of those our society stigmatizes as “criminals” and illustrating the essential role of the emerging “new underground railroad” within the growing movement to dismantle the U.S. system of mass incarceration.
After cycling in and out of the criminal justice system for nearly 15 years, Susan Burton gained freedom and sobriety and founded A New of Life Reentry Project in South Los Angeles. Ms. Burton opened her doors to other women returning home from prisons and jails, offering shelter, safety, leadership, and support to those seeking to rebuild their lives. Her story of perseverance in overcoming overwhelming odds and her dedication to the service of others is an inspiration to women across the United States, particularly formerly incarcerated women and those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Susan Burton and A New Way of Life have caught the attention of Michelle Alexander, acclaimed author The New Jim Crow, the best-selling study of the U.S. system of mass incarceration. Alexander points to Susan Burton's reentry program as a model for the kind of bold initiative needed to build what she calls a "new underground railroad" -- a network of families, faith communities, and organizations dedicated to providing desperately needed support and love to people at risk of incarceration, families with loved ones behind bars, and people returning home from prison.
This radio documentary weaves together the voices of Susan Burton, Michelle Alexander, and five residents of A New Way of Life, seamlessly incorporating plaintive music and insightful narration. The story shows the human face of those our society stigmatizes as "criminals," "felons," and "offenders," and sheds light on the tremendous hurdles they face upon release from prison, including the most basic and fundamental tasks of securing housing, work, and sobriety. The show features interviews and ambient audio recorded on site at A New Way of Life Reentry Project, and ties the emergence of the "new underground railroad" to the overarching movement to end mass incarceration.

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