Welcome Ken and Alexis to western Nevada County CA!

“Wet Ink” performers, including Alexis in back row with Mark Vance

With our declining, aging population, it is news when someone moves here — in this case all the way from Beijing (and Hong Kong and San Francisco before that).

I’m pleased to note that Kenneth Howe, a longtime journalist, and his wife, Alexis Alrich, an accomplished classical musician and composer, are now residents of western Nevada County, CA. My wife Shannon and I have known Ken and Alexis for years, both socially and professionally.

Ken and I worked together on the business section of the San Francisco Chronicle for years. At that time, Ken wrote about BofA, Wells Fargo and the banks, and I wrote about Chevron, United Airlines, Crown Zellerbach and some other big S.F companies. We have enjoyed classical music soirees at their apartment in The City, among other gatherings.

I left The Chronicle to help with the launch of CNET, as Editor of CNET News; Ken became the Chronicle’s Business Editor, then wound up moving to Hong Kong, where he was an editor at the South China Morning Post and Wall Street Journal. Then he spent a short time in Beijing, helping to launch an English news site for Caixin Media on multiple platforms. The two love to travel — their Facebook pages shows them touring Asia, from the Great Wall to the Hong Kong ferries.

We saw them here last summer when Alexis visited Grass Valley for the Nevada County Composer’s Cooperative “Wet Ink” performance at the Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley. She was one of the composers/performers with a composition called “Muse of Fire.” They have gotten to know some other locals such as Mark Vance and Howard Levine, enjoying Howard and Peggy’s B&B in Grass Valley.

A few years ago, Ken emailed me about my views of the area. We exchanged some views, and he read my blog. Like many others, Ken and Alexis were attracted to the area’s natural beauty and the Yuba River. It also was more affordable than much of Northern California.

They plan to retire here and will be in a semi-retired mode. Ken said he plans to freelance, work on a book, and perhaps dip a toe into local politics! Ha!

You will find them to be a delightful couple and welcome addition to our little community.

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Rebane once called STEAM education “specious”; now his TechTest is integrated into the local program

Local hard-right political activist Dr. George Rebane — a legend in his own mind — used to rant against STEAM education (a reasonable educational approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics).

One of the rants appeared on KVMR, where George is a commentator on the news hour (and a generous donor). “STEM is not powered by STEAM” he opined, seeming to insult the intelligence of arts students: “Preparing for a STEM career is hard, and not everyone is qualified to do so.  That is a prime reason why so many of our youth seek easier educational paths into adulthood and the nation’s workforce.”

“With all these important things going on, we suddenly see a new initiative from the progressive Left to revive arts education in our public high schools through a specious attempt to attract additional funding from established STEM programs.  This is done by injecting ‘Arts’ as a necessary and integral part of a complete STEM education – the new acronym then becomes STEAM.”

Well guess what? Rebane’s “Tech Test” is now part of the local STEAM Expo! “This year TechTestJr was part of the Nevada County STEAM Expo (http://www.nevcoexpo.org) held on Saturday the 25th of March at the Nevada County Fair Grounds at which time the test takers received their awards,” the good Dr. informs us on his blog. (BTW, as most STEAM students know, it’s “Fairgrounds,” not “Fair Grounds).

A change of heart or a breakdown in George’s own rigorous “critical thinking”? lol. The “Church Lady” sums it  up best:

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“TGIF: Take me to Mar-a-Lago”!

From an FBI investigation into his Russian ties, to the demise of the Health Care Replacement Act, it’s been a long week for our President! Let’s hope he gets out on the golf course. lol.


(Photo: Facebook)

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NU Clothes Closet

This is from Facebook:

A Good Share! Pass it on:
I am sending this email to inform everyone of a service you have on campus called the “NU Clothes Closet”. This is a boutique like space, created in one of the portables, where students can come shop for FREE for clothing, shoes, backpacks, and toiletries. I have it open to the students every Thursday morning. I started the “Clothes Closet” 4 years ago when it was brought to my attention that there were NU students in great need of clothing. Self esteem is fragile in high school age students and clothing plays a part in how they feel about themselves. The “Clothes Closet” helps by providing clothing and footwear appropriate for high school students to those who can not afford it or who are in difficult home situations where self esteem is constantly broken down. Not only do the customers get one on one styling, but we also provide emotional support and a good listening ear. Many of the cases have brought tears to my eyes, but also tears of joy when I see the smiles and expressions of great gratitude from the students visiting the “Clothes Closet”. This has by far been the most rewarding project I have ever worked on! We have made the effort to keep the “Clothes Closet” fairly quiet for confidentiality issues. The “Clothes Closet” is largely funded by scrip dollars provided by NU Connection. I also accept gently used and new clothing donations that are appropriate for high school aged students. If you have a student you think would benefit from the “Clothes Closet” you can contact the nurses’ office for a referral.

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Nevada County Railroad Museum reports record attendance in 2016

From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum recorded record attendance in 2016. “Our visitor totals (7,788) were an increase of 2,269 from 2015 totals; rail bus operations were the major reason for the increase,” the Museum said in its newsletter. “The rail bus operations had a multiplier effect; more sales in the gift shop and higher donations.”

In July through December, the Museum attracted people from 289 California cities (outside of the local area), 34 other states and nineteen countries, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

In May rail bus operations were initiated for the summer and fall seasons, as our magazine reported.  Passengers may board at either the NCNGRR Museum or the Northern Queen Inn in Nevada City. The 35-minute round-trip travels along Gold Run Creek past the Inn Town Campground and parallels a portion of the original route of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad.

In order to prepare for the upcoming rail bus operating season, the Sara Kidder is being refurbished. Wood is being resurfaced, seats are being painted, and the rail bus will be repainted.

—Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

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Rachel Maddow reposts tweet from local Democrats: a sign of their renewed organizing clout

Enterprising local Hilary Hodge (social media marketing manager, writer, and executive director of Sierra Commons) volunteered to launch and manage a Twitter feed for the Democratic Party of Nevada County just two months ago, and the account is now receiving national recognition — the latest kudos coming from prominent progressive political commentator Rachel Maddow, no less.

This weekend Maddow retweeted a tweet from “Nevada County Dems” (@NevadaCoCADems). It was a photo from the local Dems Twitter feed, which reported on Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s Town Hall meeting at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in real time this past weekend. The headline read: “Line at the in Grass Valley.” And it was a long line. (See screen grab below).

The Nevada County Dems and LaMalfa’s Town Hall meeting also were mentioned on Maddow’s show. “We (Nevada County) just got a shout out from Rachel Maddow! The resistance, of course,” wrote Heidi Hall, the newly elected District 1 County supervisor, on Facebook. Hodge added: “[Maddow] retweeted one of the Tweets I sent out from the Nevada County Democrats on Saturday.”

Maddow’s Twitter feed has 6.78 million followers. Her show on MSNBC has experienced gigantic ratings growth as MSNBC’s primetime audience grew more than twice as fast as Fox News in the first quarter, according to an MSNBC press release.

That is a big megaphone for the Nevada County Democratic Party — in what has long been a “red” county! The local left has been reinvigorated, as this blog has been reporting. This is the latest example. It comes amid a continued shift to the left in local politics, as we’ve been reporting. One of the reasons is here.

By contrast, the local right looks tired and shrill, at least judging from local opinion articles in The Union by longtime local hard-right activists Fran Freedle and Todd Juvinall. Freedle lashed out at The Union, and Juvinall lashed out at Hodge. Both articles were juvenile and had no merit. The local right needs more sophisticated-sounding spokespeople and some “new blood.” A memo from the local GOP leaders became featured political satire in the Sacramento Bee, drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jack Ohman. What a hoot!

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All the President’s Lies

“The ninth week of Donald Trump’s presidency began with the F.B.I. director calling him a liar,” David Leonhardt writes in the New York Times.

“The director, the very complicated James Comey, didn’t use the L-word in his congressional testimony Monday. Comey serves at the pleasure of the president, after all. But his meaning was clear as could be. Trump has repeatedly accused Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones, and Comey explained there is ‘no information that supports’ the claim.

“I’ve previously argued that not every untruth deserves to be branded with the L-word, because it implies intent and somebody can state an untruth without doing so knowingly. George W. Bush didn’t lie when he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and Obama didn’t lie when he said people who liked their current health insurance could keep it. They made careless statements that proved false (and they deserved much of the criticism they got).

“But the current president of the United States lies. He lies in ways that no American politician ever has before. He has lied about — among many other things — Obama’s birthplace, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq War, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud and his groping of women.

“He tells so many untruths that it’s time to leave behind the textual parsing over which are unwitting and which are deliberate — as well as the condescending notion that most of Trump’s supporters enjoy his lies.

“Trump sets out to deceive people. As he has put it, “I play to people’s fantasies.”

The rest of the article is here.

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