St. Helena Star reports on Mark Prestwich hire

Editor’s note: Here’s the St. Helena Star’s report on the news we reported yesterday. In recent months, Bob Richardson left Grass Valley to become city manger of Auburn; Caleb Dardick left SYRCL to return to the Bay Area; and Jon Gregory left the ERC to go to a bank in Sacramento:

“Mark Prestwich, currently city manager in Nevada City, will be St. Helena’s next city manager,” as the St. Helena Star is reporting.

“On Tuesday the City Council approved a contract awarding Prestwich an annual base salary of $189,880. Prestwich was chosen from a pool of 49 applicants, following a nationwide search.

“According to a staff report, Prestwich has 21 years of experience with operations, project management and executive leadership in small, medium and large California municipalities. He has been city manager of Nevada City since 2014.

“Prestwich served as special projects manager for the city of Sacramento from 2006 to 2014, managing citywide strategic initiatives and innovation projects. He also assisted with the Napa Flood Control Project between 1999 and 2006, when he worked for the city of Napa Public Works Department and the City Manager’s Office.

“Prestwich will start work on July 31.” Mark’s letter of resignation is in the comment section.

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George Rebane scoops George Boardman on Prestwich departure

What a hoot! On June 25, The Union columnist George Boardman began his column quoting words from Nevada City manager Mark Prestwich on city policy.

He must have been unaware that two days earlier, the Napa Valley Register wrote that Prestwich was on his way to another job, city manager of St. Helena. On June 23, the Napa newspaper reported, “Mark Prestwich identified as finalist for City Manager.”

The planned hire also was reported on the town’s agenda as a “consent” item for Tuesday night’s meeting. Details at Staff Report.

Then George Rebane weighed in on his blog Tuesday night in the comment stream that the consent item was approved. It was “announced” at the Council meeting, Rebane said.

St. Helena’s vice mayor also emailed me that the city had hired Mark.

The two Georges have been jabbing at one another in the local blogosphere. “With fans like George Rebane, I don’t need any critics,” Boardman wrote on his own blog last month.

Rebane got Prestwich’s annual income wrong (it’s a base of $189,880) and couldn’t offer a start date (it’s July 31). The Union, meanwhile, hasn’t reported any of this.

We’ll miss Mark.

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“Ticket out of Nowheresville” or “Bring ’em home”? The choice is ours

Summer Academy (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

My son and I are at Sacramento State this week for “Summer Academies for High School Students,” a cool program. “Summer Academies provide high school students with the unique opportunity to explore various career paths during one-week, specialized courses while being introduced to the college experience.”

It’s a wonderful program — he’s in the health careers and biotech courses, based on his own interests — with top-notch college instructors. (For example, Dr. Christina Strandgaard earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition at UC Davis, her master’s degree in nutritional science from the University of Washington, and returned to UC Davis for her doctorate in endocrinology — a great role model for aspiring teens).

Other Summer Academy courses include cybersecurity, government, engineering and robotics, farm to fork, fashion, fire, forensics, law enforcement, multimedia journalism and theater and performing arts.

It’s a good opportunity for my son and I to visit and talk about careers over dinner. It’s also a good opportunity for him to be exposed to some ethnic diversity — in short supply in our community. Last year, our son took a summer writing course at Sac State.

After I dropped him off at the morning class, I grabbed a cup of coffee and The Wall Street Journal. I was drawn to an article titled “In Rural American, students chase big-city dreams.”

With a dateline in Mahaska County, Iowa it read: “Many young people in rural communities now see college not so much as a door to opportunity as a ticket out of Nowheresville. The result is a redistribution of educated graduates to urban areas, which is helping to widen the divide in educational attainment between urban and rural areas.”

This is a theme explored regularly on this blog.

Our magazine also is proud to feature the more positive outcome, what we have called “Bring Them Home.” These are stories about locals who went to college or the “big city” and returned to run successful businesses or land good jobs. Examples we’ve written about are James and John Arbaugh and Wendy Van Wagner.

I don’t know where our son will wind up. He’s been having a good conservation with a local pediatrician who grew up in Colfax, went Back East to medical school and returned home.

It’s going to “take a village” to bring these youths home. And the responsibility lies with more than the ERC. It rests with all our local institutions. We need civic, political and business leaders who can inspire our youth. So far, I don’t see enough of that.

The consequences could be dire, including for the retirees who will depend on younger people to take care of them.

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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-hanging 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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