Boardman’s column in The Union: Part of the problem, not the solution

(Photo credit: The Union)

Some things never change around here, even when you return refreshed from a great family vacation.

I laughed out loud when I read George Boardman’s curmudgeonly column in The Union this week. It reminded me of what our high school physics teacher, Mr. Newman, used to ask our class: “Are you part of the solution, or part of the problem?”

This week, crotchety Mr. Boardman (the paid weekly columnist) opines: “While California is among the nation’s leaders in job creation, Nevada County remains stagnant. The population gets older because our youth go away to college, find good paying jobs with a future elsewhere, and don’t come back.”

Sure, the Economic Resource Council has to shoulder some blame, as I’ve written before. That’s not news.

But our other local “good old boy” institutions also have to share some of the responsibility, including the ones that Boardman staunchly defends such as The Union (which pays him).

What youth would want to come back to read Boardman’s “get off my lawn!” columns week after week — or experience his world view, for that matter? Many of his columns ridicule the reasons (not to mention the communities) that make California “among the nation’s leaders in job creation,” to borrow his words.

Boardman epitomizes the aging demographic. And his resume is not much to write home about, either, even for a small community newspaper.

Instead of just criticizing the ERC — the low lying fruit — The Union and Boardman ought to look in the mirror and think about their own role in creating a dynamic community or merely a retirement home.

The Union ought to find some more dynamic columns to inspire the same young people that the community seeks to attract.

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Music in the Mountains 2017: SummerFest and Amaral season

From the current issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

MUSIC IN THE MOUNTAINS HAS BEEN A PIONEER in shaping the region’s performing arts scene. For its 36th year, MIM is offering an exciting SummerFest program, some new musical venues and more classical music concerts throughout the year. Some of the concerts feature the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera. Here’s the lineup for MIM’s signature summer program:

St. Joseph’s Cultural Center
Featuring the Music in the Mountains String Quartet with special guest Natsuki Fukasawa on piano of the Dvorak Piano Quintet and string Quartet.

Castrejon Estate
Featuring The MIM String Quartet with special guest Neil Tatman on oboe featuring the Mozart Oboe Quartet, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and more.

Nevada County Fairgrounds
“A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Songs of Leonard Cohen” is the successful creative production of foothills musician Paul Emery.

Nevada County Fairgrounds
McCoo and Davis have enjoyed tremendous success through the years as recording artists, performers and authors. They have received seven Grammy Awards and earned 15 gold and 3 platinum records, and enjoyed starring roles on television and stage.

Nevada County Fairgrounds
Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet and 1812 Overtures, plus Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto featuring soloist Natsuki Fukasawa.

Nevada County Fairgrounds
Patriotic favorites, including Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

For tickets and more information, visit

The Amaral Season

Music in the Mountains presents the 2017-2018 Amaral Season at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley and the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Peace Lutheran Church
Ryan Murray, conductor; Music in the Mountains Chorus & Orchestra

Amaral Center at Nevada County Fairgrounds
Andrew Grams, conductor; Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera

Amaral Center at Nevada County Fairgrounds
Ryan Murray, conductor; Music in the Mountains Chorus & Orchestra

Amaral Center at Nevada County Fairgrounds
Mei-Ann Chen, conductor; Andrew von Oeyen, piano; Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera

Amaral Center at Nevada County Fairgrounds
Dmitry Sitkovetsky, conductor and violin; Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera

(Photo: Barry Sweet)

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“This place is packed!”

(Donald Trump version of Edward Hopper’s famous painting “Nighthawks” from Facebook).

Art memes mocking Trump go viral is HERE.

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Esoteric: A fashion show, art and music

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Practice Yuba River safety

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Rest in Peace, Jim Firth

We are out-of-town, but I learned on Facebook that Jim Firth of Grass Valley has died. “Sadly, we lost Jim Firth today,” Debbie Lange wrote.

I did not know Jim well, but I know some people in our town did not treat him well when he tried to enter local politics as an “outsider.” Some of the behavior crossed a line.

I will remember Jim’s big smile, his own respectful nature, and his passion for politics.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s family.


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Print newspapers still dominate in Britain

The Sunday Times, 6/18

We brought our laptops to London, but I’ve been enjoying Britain’s print newspapers: at breakfast, in our room — or in the lobby of our hotel, sometimes with soft piano music playing in the background. The newspaper selection at the front desk is endless, like at a library: The Daily Telegraph, The Times and the Financial Times are my standbys.

The newspaper are all full of thoughtful stories, and bright, colorful photos and graphics — all on a broadsheet, not shrunken down like their U.S. counterparts. It’s a throwback to the ’70s, when U.S. print journalism was much healthier.

This morning’s edition of The Sunday Times has a “thumb sucker” (newspaper talk for a “think piece”) on’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7bn (£10.7bn) last week.  The headline was more clever than what you read at home: “Alexa, what should we do next? Take over the world Jeff.”

The page included a big photo of Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos, along with a well-done writeup. “Amazon’s tentacles are spreading into every corner of the economy,” it noted. This was print journalism in all its glory.

As the Guardian noted: “Of course, the long-term trend for print is irreversibly downwards, but in the UK at least it still dominates much of people’s media consumption, and newspapers like the Mail and Telegraph are likely to see their profitability remain robust for many years to come.

It added: Half of Britons still buy print newspapers and a further 10 percent read papers bought by others, compared to only 31 percent who read stories online on newspapers’ websites daily, according to Deloitte report on media consumption in the UK.

Even in the online world, some of the newspapers also are resisting “paywalls.” An announcement on the Guardian’s online site reads” “Unlike many others, we haven’t put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. Support us at £5 per month.” At home, it’s akin to the YubaNet model (not The Union).

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