Foothill Flowers turns 50

Our family enjoyed attending the 50th anniversary celebration of Foothill Flowers in downtown Grass Valley on Friday. Champagne was flowing, proclamations were read, and Marie (AKA, “Grass Valley’s Flower Lady”) looked radiant.

We mentioned the anniversary in our magazine’s fall issue. The store also is a stop on the new “Gold Country Vintage Road,” a scenic loop designed with vintage shoppers in mind.

“Mom and Pops” such as Foothill Flowers are the backbone of our local economy. We are regular customers. (The historical photo is from Searls Historical Library. The one with colorful Fourth of July bunting is by Kial James; it has been published in our magazine).

img_7031 img_7033 img_7032 nchs002-1-historical-society-3

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Nisenan Heritage Day: “Return of the Salmon Doctor” on Nov. 12

(Photo: Akim Aginsky)

(Photo: Akim Aginsky)

The Nevada City Rancheria and its Foothill Nisenan Tribal members in partnership with Sierra College-Nevada County Campus, CHIRP (California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project), the Nevada County Library, the Nevada County Historical Society and Sierra Streams Institute, invite the public to attend their seventh annual Nisenan Heritage Day. Enjoy the festivities on Saturday, November 12, from 10 am to 4 pm at the Nevada County Campus of Sierra College, located at 250 Sierra College Drive, in Grass Valley, California.

Nisenan Heritage Day presents a unique opportunity to experience a taste of living history, and a day of community building with cultural education as the Nisenan, CHIRP, and Sierra College celebrate this year’s theme: ” Return of the Nisenan Salmon Doctor.” Nisenan Salmon Doctoring has been silent on the land since the coming of the Gold Rush but is being gently re-awakened by the Tribe. The event will take place in the Gymnasium, Building N13, and will feature California Native American artisans, speakers, Traditional Dancers, and more.

“We have a wonderful lineup of educational speakers and guests again this year,” says Shelly Covert, Nevada City Rancheria Tribal Council Secretary and spokesperson, “a smattering of some of the best within the Native community. Presenters will include Judith Lowry, Dr. Sheri Tatsch, Sage LaPena, Peggy Berryhill, Heyday Books, Dr. Leanne Hinton and Tribal Council Chairman Richard Johnson discussing the lifeways of the Nisenan, the recognition and termination of the Nevada City Rancheria, the Nisenan cultural revitalization, and their vision for the future of the Nisenan people.

‘Top notch’ Native artisans and master basket weavers will showcase their original creations. The 2016 Nisenan Heritage Day T-Shirt with a fresh new logo designed by Judith Lowry and David McKay, will also be available. Nisenan Heritage Day is an “all age friendly” event – admission and parking are free. Lunch will be available for purchase from the CHIRP Indian taco booth. Visit for more information and to make a donation to CHIRP.

—Nevada City Rancheria

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Davies of Grass Valley Chamber and ex-city manager Holler reunite in Mammoth Lakes deal — well almost

“There is always something happening in Mammoth Lakes,” was the proposed events strategy slogan. No kidding!

Keith Davies and his wife, Robin Galvan-Davies, CEO of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, and former Grass Valley City Administrator Dan Holler almost teamed up together again in Mammoth Lakes, where Holler is now town manager.

But the three-year, $450,000 proposed contract with the Davies’ Sierra Nevada Destination Services for event planning was withdrawn when a conflict of interest came to light between Holler and Davies, according to The Sheet, a local weekly newspaper in Mammoth Lakes. The deal had gone before the town council earlier this week.

“As Holler acknowledged Thursday, the Davies’ rent Holler’s home from him,” the Sheet reported. “The Davies and Hollers also socialize together. Holler said that as of Thursday morning, based on various conflicts of interest between he and Keith Davies, that Davies had verbally withdrawn his name from consideration as Special Events Director.”

The article pointed to a report in The Union “that Davies and Holler together loaned NCTV $10,000 in 2013.”

The proposed 18-page contract was listed on the agenda of the Mammoth Lakes Town Council meeting this week. It is here: agenda_item_9. “Staff recommends Council approve the proposed agreement with Sierra Nevada Destination Services to support economic development efforts through the implementation of the Town’s Special Events Strategy with first year funding of $125,000 and authorize the Town Manager to sign the agreement, subject to final legal review,” it began.

“After a mid-meeting recess, Mayor Shields Richardson announced that the agenda item was being pulled, so it never came up for discussion,” the newspaper said.

The report in The Sheet, an article titled “Friends with Benefits,” is here.

“So while $125,000 seems like a big number, $100,000 of it is already dedicated to various events, meaning there’s only $25,000 on the table in the first year which would be discretionary, and $50,000/year thereafter.”

The Sheet concluded: “So what happens from here? Holler said the town will either fly another RFP completely or it can approach the other people/firms which previously expressed interest and either did/did not make a formal proposal last time around.”

In an unsolicited email to this blog on the weekend, Davies wrote: ” As you know I am no longer the Co-CEO with the Chamber as I resigned my position in May to pursue another adventure, which by the way I got, and Robin is now the CEO.”


Here’s  Peaches & Herb singing “Reunited and it feels so good,” one of my favorite tunes from the ’70s:

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Trump won’t commit to accepting election results if he loses: “I will keep you in suspense”

“A defiant Donald Trump used the high-profile setting of the final presidential debate here Wednesday night to amplify one of the most explosive charges of his candidacy: that if he loses the election, he might consider the results illegitimate because the process is rigged.

“Questioned directly as to whether he would accept the outcome should Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton prevail on Nov. 8, Trump demurred. ‘I will keep you in suspense,’ the Republican nominee said. Clinton called Trump’s answer ‘horrifying,’ saying he was ‘talking down our democracy.’

“After a sober start, the candidates shifted gears into a series of fiery exchanges over their fitness to serve as president and character traits. But over the course of the third and final debate, they delved deeper into their substantive differences than they did in the first two forums and offered a clearer contrast in the directions they would take the country. They drew sharp distinctions on the economy, trade, terrorism, immigration and hot-button social issues including abortion and guns.”

The rest of the article is here.

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Nevada City sweating it out on Measure C

I notice some “powers that be” and public safety officials in Nevada City are sweating it out on Measure C, a 3/8 of a cent sales tax increase. They are turning to social media blitzes and a full-color postcard that we picked up today.  “Let’s keep Nevada City safe,” it read.

A lot is a stake, including the possibility of higher homeowner fire insurance premiums for residents.

But I wonder if some of Measure C’s most vociferous proponents realize they’ve been their own worst enemies — and have lost some credibility in the community.

These are some of the same people who needlessly piled on and excoriated former mayor and community leader Reinette Senum at a City Council meeting for making some controversial statements about the Dallas police shooting. Senum — who has been widely honored for her community service — apologized twice for her words. (By contrast, 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still “taking a knee” for his own beliefs.)

But the hateful attacks and calls for a boycott of Senum’s restaurant didn’t cease — in some cases egged on by public safety associations. Now these same people need to muster community-wide support — a two-thirds majority is required to pass Measure C.

In addition, Measure C is only the latest in a series of tax increases on the ballot to maintain the “status quo” in city services.

Some residents point to a “business as usual” mindset at City Hall. I do notice that City Hall salaries no longer are easily found on the City website, as in the past. That fuels a perception of arrogance.

Many people are wondering if it inevitable that police and fire consolidation occur in the community because of a declining, aging population. Are the tax hikes just kicking a can down the road? Others wonder whether Nevada City can remain an independent incorporated city in the long run. The town faces some real challenges in the years ahead — and the festering divisive politics and personal vendettas only makes matters worse.

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Remembering the Loma Prieta earthquake from The Chronicle newsroom

Publishing Chronicle during Loma Prieta earthquake

Publishing Chronicle during Loma Prieta earthquake

The Loma Prieta earthquake celebrates its 27th anniversary this week. I was sitting at my desk in The Chronicle newsroom when it struck at 5:04 p.m., working on an article about the proposed leveraged buyout of United Airlines under CEO Stephen Wolf and the airline’s soured labor relations. The shaking began and the screen went dark, and I cursed about losing the article, which was halfway finished.

The shaking scared a reporter sitting next to me, whom we’d just hired from Forbes magazine in New York. Being a native Californian and having experienced other earthquakes (such as the 1971 San Fernando earthquake), I said: “Don’t worry; just get under your desk. It will pass.” But the shaking continued and it had me worried: besides losing power, ceiling tiles began dropping to the floor at our offices at Fifth and Mission Streets downtown.

I began to wonder what it was like outside. After the shaking stopped, we collected ourselves. I checked to make sure that my fiancée  — now my wife, Shannon — was OK. She worked down the street at an architecture firm near the Bechtel building. I checked on my parents, who lived in Bodega Bay.

The scene outside was eerie: Few cars were around, and people wandering in the streets. Older buildings with cracks all over were visible, debris had fallen into the streets, and sirens were blaring all around. A big fire had broken out in the Marina district, where Shannon lived. It was chaotic, to be sure.

I thought of my grandmother Clara, who had survived the 1906 S.F. Earthquake and told me stories about it. Her dad disappeared for more than a week, helping with the rescue efforts. She didn’t know whether he had died or not — until he showed up at the house one day a little disheveled.

World Series

The Giants were playing in the World Series against Oakland, which probably reduced the number of casualties because traffic on the freeways was lighter than usual.  A section of the double-decker Nimitz Freeway in Oakland collapsed.

At the newspaper we began gathering what information we could. It was “gum shoe” and “all hands on deck” reporting, gathering the news on foot, in the streets, not via phones. We dictated anecdotes back to the newsroom and gathered in the newsroom to review our notebooks, largely in the dark, adding another quote or detail to the stories.

We worked into the wee hours of the night, with flashlights, to put out the morning newspapers. We published an edition against difficult odds — on Macs because the in-house Coyote computer network was knocked out. We had a makeshift generator to run the presses. I’ve included a photo from a Facebook page we share called “S.F. Chronicle Alumni and Memories.” It shows the Page One editor Jack Breibart and others gathered around him.

I’ve also included a letter of thanks from the editor Bill German:


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The Union columnist Boardman blames “sloppy note taking” and “ham-handed typing” for his latest error

On Oct. 10, this blog noted the latest error by George Boardman, The Union’s paid weekly columnist, mistaking the top-selling organic liquid and bar soap brand in North America for “soup.” And he also misspelled the entrepreneur’s name, writing “Dr. Bonner,” not Dr. Bronner.

George wrote this lame correction in this week’s column:

“CORRECTION: Sloppy note taking and some ham-handed typing turned a mention of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap in last week’s column into Dr. Bonner’s Magic Soup. I apologize for the error.”

No, George, the real issue is that you are clueless (AKA, “sloppy” intelligence). As one reader here wrote: “I couldn’t resist commenting over there Jeff:  Magic SOUP? Would that be the kind with mushrooms? Does anybody at the Union spell check his articles. The name is Bronner and its soap, not soup. What a geezer.”

Memo to The Union’s management (AKA Don Rogers and Brian Hamilton): Don’t you think it’s time to “retire” George’s column? It’s an embarrassment to serious journalism. Oh, and

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