Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jan. 12th, 2015, Community Headlines

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* "Justice for A’Ti event aims to end senseless violence" (2016-01-10, timesheraldonline.com) [archive.is/fWAey]: Hundreds of people were at the south auditorium at Vallejo High School celebrating the memory of A’Tierra Westbrook on Sunday — which would have been her 22nd birthday.
But even though the turnout for the day’s “Justice for A’Ti” rally was impressive, her mother, Senika Levias, was missing her daughter’s laugh. A’Tierra Westbrook was killed early in the morning on Aug. 3, outside her Benicia Road home, in a shooting that has yet to be solved.
The rally was organized with the goal of “ending the silence, to stop the violence,” according to the event’s programs. Speaker after speaker addressed the crowd, which flowed out the doors into the parking lot, with pleas to speak up, get involved and achieve justice for A’tierra and other victims of senseless violence.
The event, while somewhat somber in subject, was enough to let Levias know her daughter has not been forgotten. The turnout “has given me so much strength. It lets me know A’Ti was really loved, and that the community is ready for change.”
One change Levias would like to see is the involvement of more parents in the social media contacts of their children. Since her daughter’s murder, she has been more active on all kinds of social media and is disturbed by what she’s seen.
References to drugs, guns, fighting and sex have her hoping for greater vigilance by parents. “We need to look after our children more, our own families, our own houses,” she says.
Photo caption: The family of A’Tierra Westbrook poses for a picture at Sunday’s ‘Justice for A’Ti’ rally at Vallejo High School. Wearing their T-shirts produced just for this event, from left, are A’Tierra’s mother, Senika Levias, aunts Tiffany Shields and Regina Shields-Hailey, and grandmother Paula Shields, who had just noticed a photo of A’Tierra on the auditorium wall.
T-shirts made just for this event included the hashtags “#aMothersPromise, @JusticeforATi.”

* "Vallejo event to help those struggling to find jobs" (2016-01-11, timesheraldonline.com) [archive.is/Lw9DI]:
An event to help those who are struggling to find jobs is set for Saturday.
Vallejo Together, a grassroot organization, is putting together The Vallejo Professional File Expo to help the underserved population with all aspects of job seeking.
“It’s to break the barriers for our friends in need to get employed,” said Maria Guevara of Vallejo Together.
The expo will provide a variety of services, including resume building, dressing tips for job interviews, interviewing skills and even legal help with immigration and other issues that could hinder someone’s opportunity to be employed.
The organizers can also provide an address, phone number or email for those who need them to apply for a job, Guevara said.
Additionally, there will be professional photographers for profile pictures, barbers and hairdressers and make up artists at the expo.
All of the services are donated by local businesses and community members, as well as the Solano County District Attorney’s Office and the Catholic Charities of Solano County, Guevara saidd
“It is the beginning of the year and one of the resolutions for a lot of people is to get a job or a new job,” she said. “It’s something we can do to start 2016 positively.”
The event is open and free to anyone who needs help with job searching, and anyone who is looking to hire new employees, Guevara said.
Also needed is professional clothes and shoes to be donated to the job seekers Saturday.
Donations can be dropped off at 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., until Friday, at California’s Best Smog at 181 Couch St.
Those who wish to attend as a job seeker or employer, should call Guevara at 707-655-5381 or email vallejotogether@gmail.com. The expo is set for 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, at 520B Broadway.

* "Conservationist society to hear about audubon project" (2016-01-11, timesheraldonline.com) [archive.is/JrPCk]:
Those who appreciate birds and conservation are in for a treat as Cindy Margulis will speak on how the Golden Gate Audubon Society used Oakland’s Night Heron Rookery to promote bird-safe tree care.
Margulis, executive director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, will give her speech during a meeting of the Napa-Solano Audubon Society Tuesday.
“In 2014, Oakland’s Night Heron Rookery suddenly became the focus of a viral national media frenzy. The Golden Gate Audubon Society seized the moment to focus the public’s attention on bird-safe tree care, then went on to inspire a whole city to appreciate the astonishing bird life living right in downtown,” according to a news release from the Napa-Solano Audubon Society. “Cindy Margulis will present this rather wild and crazy story, with a lot of positive upside reminding us how local Audubon projects can really make a difference.”
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., and be held at the Florence Douglas Senior Center, 333 Amador St.
For more information, visit [www.napasolanoaudubon.com].

* "Bailey Art Museum features 50 years of imagination" (2016-01-10, timesheraldonline.com) [archive.is/sswmS]:
Photo caption: A display warning of an impending robot invasion greets visitors to the Bailey Art Museum in Crockett. Ceramic art, watercolors, a display of ‘scientific oddities’ and a large collection of robots are all part of the museum’s offerings, the result of the imaginations of Betty and Clayton Bailey of Port Costa.
A life-sized, silver, bug-eyed robot greets visitors to the Bailey Art Museum, giving only a small hint of what is to be found inside the downtown Crockett location.
Once through the door, the results of 50 years of inspiration, creation and imagination by Betty and Clayton Bailey greet you, from the collection of “unnatural history,” to the watercolors and ceramics of Betty Bailey, and Clayton Bailey’s robots and his own ceramics.
The “scientific oddities,” part of a thematic roadside museum, include a Bigfoot skeleton, the skull of mythical “jackalopes” and “catalopes” and the skull of a Cyclops, part of an exhibit by the Bailey’s that dates from their original museum location in Port Costa in the 1970s.
That location’s closure resulted in the storage of the displays at the couple’s home, necessitating a search for a new location. That search resulted in the gallery at 325 Rolph Ave. in downtown Crockett, about a block from the C&H refinery, which will see its third anniversary in May.
Inside that gallery, one finds Betty and Clayton Bailey, together since eighth grade, and their visions in art that have been constantly evolving ever since that first meeting.
In one room at the right of the gallery, Betty’s artwork lines the wall, currently focusing on watercolors depicting famous celebrities’ dubious “wisdom,” while Clayton’s ceramics fill floor and shelf space.
In the gallery’s main room, the large aluminum robots can be found, the culmination of junkyard discoveries and the creative process at work in Clayton Bailey’s.
In the museum, all of the creation are for sale, or as Clayton Bailey states, “everything has a price.”
He quipped the best reaction of someone coming into the museum was “How much is that? I’ll take it.”
He hasn’t always been a museum proprietor and “mad scientist,” however, as he was previously the head of the ceramics department at (then) Cal State Hayward. He retired in 1998 after 37 years of teaching.
The couple enjoy their gallery life, citing the need to only be there four hours per day on weekends. The gallery lets them meet people all weekend, and then go home and “work on things.”
And as often as not, those “things” will end up in the Bailey Art Musuem.
The Bailey Art Museum, at 325 Rolph Ave. in Crockett, is open weekends, 1 to 5 p.m., or by appointment. To contact them, call 510-787-1168 or 707-567-1695. Email: [clayton.bailey@)sbcglobal.net] or [www.claytonbailey.com].

* "Vallejo woman travels the world, hopes to inspire" (2016-01-11, timesheraldonline.com) [archive.is/7iy4E]:
Jerika Maher got bitten by a bug, and it’s changed her life ever since.
Luckily, it’s the travel bug.
In 2004, Maher, 24, decided to sell almost everything that she owned to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.
“I had a job in San Diego and was stuck all day, full time, behind a computer,” Maher said in an interview via video chat. “I knew that’s not for me. Just sitting there really made me realize I didn’t want to do that.”
Maher was in Bali, Indonesia, during the interview this month.
The Vallejo-raised woman and California State University, Sacramento graduate then made the commitment to pursue her passion.
“I’ve always had a fascination with travel. I was obsessed even as a child,” Maher said. “But like many people, I thought traveling abroad the world full time is too expensive and dangerous.”
But she made the first step. Maher traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, by herself.
“I opted for a one way ticket to Istanbul to teach English and I stayed for four months. And that what started this whole thing,” Maher said.
And it did. Since then, Maher has traveled to 12 countries in Europe and Southeast Asia, and coming home to California twice in between her travels.
“San Francisco Bay Area is still one of my most favorite places in the world,” she said.
Especially, with her family still living in Vallejo.
Maher’s mother, Linda, said she’s proud of her daughter.
“I’ve always wanted to do it myself and I didn’t do it,” Linda Maher said. “I wanted to go backpacking, staying at youth hostel, but she had the courage and did it, while I didn’t. I’m just so proud of her.”
Linda Maher said she tries to be supportive as possible of her oldest child, and only daughter.
“There still is apprehension on my part, especially with the state of the world today,” she said, referring to Jerika’s safety. “I know she’s met many people out there, but she’s so far away, there’s still that fear.”
However, Jerika Maher said the world is not as scary as what is portrayed.
“We hear all these horror stories about women traveling alone, and these monstrous things happening to them,” she said. “But you can do it safely. I’ve felt safer in the last eight months in Southeast Asia than I have been in California.”
She said the key is to do a lot of research before visiting a country and talk to people who have had experience in that destination.
“Traveling is not as dangerous as people imagined,” she said.
Linda Maher said she keeps in touch with her daughter regularly, and has been impressed with her resiliency and determination.
“As far as I’m concerned, after college and before starting a family that’s the time you should do everything that you wanted to do. She’s taking that opportunity,” Linda Maher said.
Though Jerika Maher said she’s been having the best experience through her travels, things are not always easy.
Loneliness can creep in, and she said she still has to take care of “regular things” from abroad, like paying off her student loans.
“I was sick, and there was no one to talk to or to take care of me,” she said. “That was the loneliest three days of my life.”
However, that is not enough to stop her from continuing her journey.
“I absolutely believe that travel is the best education in the world,” Jerika Maher said. “People often perceive traveling as going to the beach, but it can be much more.”
To share her experience, Jerika Maher is documenting her life as a professional traveler in her blog, [thepeoplemap.com].
She also wants to develop it into a professional website, from where she can make a livelihood.
Right now, she relies on income from teaching English and searching for the best deals using credit card mileage points to continue her journey.
Jerika Maher said she hopes her story can inspire others in her hometown.
“If somebody in Vallejo wants to travel the world, the violence and the drugs have to stop among the youth,” she said. “Remember that there’s an entire world out there. If I can do it, you can do it as well.”
And she’ll need to keep going if she wants to reach her goal of visiting 100 countries by the time she’s 35 years old, and meeting somebody from every country in the world.
Her next stops are Japan and home to Vallejo in February.

* "Lifetime of doll collecting goes on 1-day display" (2016-01-12, napavalleyregister.com) [archive.is/jfSUK]:
Patricia DeBord has been creating and collecting dolls for nearly eight decades. However, most of her dolls have been in storage since she moved to California from Oregon 15 years ago.
DeBord will turn 90 in July, so her two daughters, Lisa DelBondio and Lorna Knox, thought it was time to break the dolls out and put them on display.
“All of these dolls have been in storage, so they haven’t really seen the light in years,” said Mary Knox, DeBord’s granddaughter. The family took the dolls out of storage, dusted and cleaned them, and made any necessary repairs before displaying them at Redwood Retirement Residence in Napa on Saturday.
Mary, 18, said that the family had counted 167 dolls, many of which were handmade by her grandmother.
“I didn’t collect them so much as I made them,” DeBord said.
DeBord began making dolls with her mother when she was only 10 years old. She had dolls that represented the girls from “Little Women” as well as dolls from “Gone With the Wind,” which she loved. Most of her dolls, though, are original pieces that she designed herself.
Her father was in the Army, so DeBord moved often. During their time in Japan, she and her mother even took a doll-making class that resulted in them making a few well-detailed Japanese-style dolls.
DeBord went to Woodbury College in Los Angeles, now Woodbury University, for fashion design. She ended up marrying a man in the Army, Norman, with whom she continued to travel the world. The couple had four children – two boys and two girls.
Although she didn’t have much time to make dolls while she raised her children, DeBord continued to make clothing for the girls and their dolls. Norman would often bring dolls back from faraway places for the three women in his life.
As the children grew older, DeBord was able to begin joining doll clubs and started making dolls more frequently. Norman was always supportive, she said. “He enjoyed watching me make them and he’d set them up and take pictures of them.”
Her dolls vary in size, style and ethnicity. DeBord said that many of her designs were inspired by the different cultures she encountered throughout her life. In addition to Japanese-style dolls, she also made African-style dolls, Native American-style dolls, and European-style dolls. DeBord also created a Nativity scene complete with sheep and a manger (made by Lorna).
She has made handcrafted porcelain dolls, cloth dolls with embroidered faces, soft dolls with painted faces and even a doll made from spools. When the Register asked her how she came up with the spool doll, DeBord replied, “‘I don’t know. I just had spools.”
Many of her dolls were made with scraps, including clothes her daughters wore out or things that were given to her, she explained.
“I loved making them,” she said. “It was collecting the cloth, and picking out the different colors that I wanted, that I enjoyed.”
One of her favorite dolls is harlequin-styled. Dressed in black and white, the doll has a fashionable mole on her face and holds a masquerade mask. DeBord’s harlequin doll won a first-place blue ribbon in the United Federation of Doll Clubs Region 1 Conference in 1985. She ended up making the costume life-sized for her daughter-in-law to wear on Halloween.

* "From dump to gallery: Exhibition highlights trash turned art" (2016-01-10, napavalleyregister.com) [archive.is/bEwLx]:
How can someone persuade others to waste less and reuse more? One can lay out the facts and figures of conservation – or show, face to face, how inventively artists can turn trash into treasure.
This winter, the Napa Valley Museum is taking the second path.
“Trashed and Treasured,” an exhibit that opened last month in Yountville, is showcasing the work of a 26-year partnership between the Recology waste management firm and a host of artists. From raw materials gathered at Recology’s trash collection center in San Francisco, artists in residence craft works as diverse as typewriter-ribbon black dresses, mid-20th-century Modernist living room sets of scrap wood, and likenesses of a Disneyesque princess or Beatrice from Dante’s “Divine Comedy” – all meant to creatively call attention to the torrents of refuse generated in people’s daily lives.
The myriad ways of reshaping throwaways – and the nearly pristine condition of what people discard – can be the most eloquent message for conservation, according to Meagan Doud, curator of the Yountville museum.
“People would be surprised at what’s thrown away,” she said while the gallery was empty around noon Sunday. “A lot of the artists can’t believe the new-looking things that get thrown away, things that are still useful.”
“It’s not about beating people over the head asking ‘Why aren’t you recycling?’ It’s asking what else you can do with trash that could be useful, reimagining what your trash could be.”
Despite the weekend’s scarcity of visitors shortly after the holiday break, Doud said the recycled-art exhibit, which debuted Dec. 12 and remains on view through March 27, has attracted more committed visitors than many other showings in the Yountville gallery. “We get people staying for much longer – an hour, an hour and a half at a time – and getting engaged with the displays and the wall didactics,” she said.
“Trashed and Treasured” may mark the Recology art collection’s first appearance in Napa County, but the program has produced numerous works from more than 150 partners since its 1990 founding, according to curator Sharon Spain.
Each year, the company sponsors two artists in residence, who are invited to collect materials from the waste transfer center in San Francisco. An on-site studio provides the space for assembling art pieces and exhibiting them to visitors, and selected works are shown around the Bay Area at six to 10 exhibits annually.
“The underlying reason for this program is educational, to teach people about reuse and recycling and resource conservation,” said Spain. “We do a lot of tours for elementary-school children and the general public, so they have an opportunity to meet the artists and reflect on their own consumption patterns. This is an innovative way to get people to think about reuse.”
Messages embedded in the artworks can range from the polemical to the historic to the simply playful. At the Napa Valley Museum, Stephanie Syjuco’s replicas of 1950s living room furniture by the designers Charles and Ray Eames – but pieced from surplus lumber, old tarps, foam and duct tape – intended to point at economic inequality, shared floor space with the strangely soothing revolving motion of yellow sailcloth “petals” within A Spring Rain, a 2013 creation by Benjamin Cowden that Doud slowly cranked with the handle of a repurposed meat grinder.
Elsewhere in the gallery, a set of pale white embossings in quaint-looking cursive script were more than what they seemed at a passing glance. The creations by Julia Anne Goodman, made from rag-based paper, were in fact an homage to the lowly, anonymous women who combed the San Francisco landfill for fabric scraps to use for papermaking before the mid-1960s.
The chance to bring to light not only buried treasure but such long-forgotten stories is one way such artworks can touch the heart as well as the brain, said Spain, the Recology curator.
“Art has a way of reaching people that is unique,” she said. “It’s very different than just reading about something, because it creates an emotional response. It can be more profound.”

* "Q&A With the Proprietor of the ‘Ladybug Hotel’ " (2015-12-29, baynature.org) [archive.is/zfXIF]
“I first encountered the ladybugs that fall. We’d had a good amount of rain, so everything was wet and green and enchanted-feeling, and then here was this additional unexpected element…”


* "Democratizing Seeds, Soil, and Sun: SELC's Year in Review & What's Next!" (2015-12-21, Sustainable Economies Law Center) [archive.org/details/2015SELCYearInReview]: SELC got a lot done this year, and we couldn't have done it without supporters like you!
Here is our 2015 Annual Report as a (.pdf) [http://is.gd/H5tSrs] with links to give you some highlights of the many ways we've helped create more just and resilient local economies across the country.
In 2016, we have even bigger plans! We'll continue to build upon the work we did in 2015, and also launch new projects that grow our collective impact, such as:
Launching a 501(c)(4) policy advocacy organization that will catalyze widespread adoption of city, state, and federal policies to create local economic resilience;
Creating an international network of attorneys focused on supporting sustainable local economies;
Publishing a book about worker self-directed nonprofits;
Incubating SELC-like organizations in other parts of the country;
And so much more!
We're no longer just acting as a small-but-mighty organization. Going forward, we will be directly supporting grassroots policy campaigns led by communities around the US; new community-based law centers supporting worker coops, community solar projects, urban farms, and more in places that lack that legal support; and allied organizations that want to bring a worker cooperative academy to their community.
We're building a movement for just and resilient economies!
[www.facebook.com/theselc/] [twitter.com/TheSELC]

* "Sustainability in Action" (2015-12-29, Bay Area Green Tours) [archive.is/Tgb7O] [begin excerpt]:
Food for Thought Tour for Oakland's Skyline High School -
We were pleased to escort the Green Academy from Skyline High School to Laney College for a hands-on experience at the student-run Mindful Garden Collective, where students learned how these resources contribute to a more vibrant and healthy community, and how our food travels from seed to package. Our fabulous new tour guide Marley Benshalom was one of the co-creators of this beautiful and productive garden, located on the Lake Merritt canal. The space is used for producing affordable organic food, school projects, and an outdoor classroom hosting experiential lectures. Laney students are currently building bee boxes and a chicken coop, as well as hosting weekly workshops focusing on soil health, meditation, yoga and nutrition. [end excerpt]


Since the inception of the SAVE THE FROGS! Art Contest in 2009 we have received 14,219 frog art entries from 79 countries, helping to educate and inspire students, teachers, artists and environmental enthusiasts worldwide. The 2015 SAVE THE FROGS! Art Contest received 1,629 entries from 42 countries. Please go view the winning artwork at: [savethefrogs.com/art/2015]
Talitha "Tai" Stills was one of our most passionate supporters. I had the pleasure to work with Tai for several years when she served as Treasurer of the SAVE THE FROGS! Board of Directors. Tai had a long history of working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector, early on with environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club Palo Alto Chapter and later the Sierra Club National Headquarters. She was Executive Director for the Terwilliger Nature Education Center in San Rafael. Photo: Tai (left) and friend Roxanne (right) at the 2012 SAVE THE FROGS! Art Show.
You can read about a multitude of Tai's environmental accomplishments at [archive.is/qJ4Ox].
From the above article:
“A couple years ago Tai was moved by a presentation by Dr. Kerry Kriger that the Environmental Committee sponsored at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Tai became involved in SAVE THE FROGS!, and served on its Board of Directors as Treasurer for three years. In September 2012 she put on a major fundraiser – a Frog Art Show featuring 250 pieces of art, 60 of which Tai personally mounted and framed.”


Sat. Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rush Ranch
FAIRFIELD, Calif. – On the third Saturday of every month, the community is invited to Rush Ranch for free, fun, family-friendly adventures, collectively called “Get the Rush”. Activities are led by volunteers and they vary month to month. On Sat. Jan. 16, visitors can bring their whole family for a bird workshop and walk, blacksmithing and science discovery labs. Weather permitting, they can also enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides around the ranch. They can also explore exhibits and wander trails on their own. No reservations are necessary. Everything begins in the Rush Ranch courtyard and winds down by about 1 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy afterward. Rush Ranch is located at 3521 Grizzly Island Road near Suisun City, about 2 miles south of the Highway 12/Sunset Avenue/Grizzly Island Road intersection.

9 a.m. to Noon
Bird Workshop and Walk for Beginners: Guests of all ages are invited to attend a workshop from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. where they’ll learn about a citizen science project that is not only gathering information about hummingbirds, but focusing on the habitat upon which they rely. Participants of the workshop will receive a 'Hummingbirds at Home' kit, including wildflower seeds of native California flowers, materials for creating a hummingbird feeder from recycled materials, and more. Then at 9:30 a.m. the group will walk the trails, including some hills, and learn about the birds at Rush Ranch. Participants are encouraged to bring water, and binoculars if they have them. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Blacksmith Demonstration: Travel back in time by entering a historic blacksmith shop. See blacksmiths in action using authentic tools and equipment. Guests are invited to try blacksmithing too, and may even get the opportunity to make their own iron nail or other keepsake.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Science Discovery Labs: Visit learning stations with engaging science and engineering activities for families. The activities are hands-on and self-directed. Parents guide and supervise their own children. An educator will be on hand to answer questions, support the learning, and encourage the fun.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Horse-drawn Wagon Rides: Guests can admire the horses, feel the wind and take in the views as they ride around the ranch on a horse-drawn wagon. Wheelchair users are especially encouraged to board the wagon and experience the ride. The wagon’s design includes a wheelchair lift.

Rush Ranch is owned and operated by Solano Land Trust, in partnership with the Rush Ranch Educational Council, Access Adventure, and the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.  This month’s bird workshop and hike is hosted by the Napa-Solano Audubon Society. For directions and details, visit solanolandtrust.org. For additional questions, call 707-432-0150 extension 203.
Solano Land Trust protects land to ensure a healthy environment, keep ranching and farming families on their properties, and inspire a love of the land. For more information about Solano Land Trust, its upcoming events and to make a donation, visit solanolandtrust.org.

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