Honoring “everyday” heroes: military personnel, police officers and firefighters

From the current issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:

THE CLIENTELE OF A RESTAURANT OR watering hole typically mirrors its community, including its “everyday heroes.” More and more we notice that proprietors in the food and drink business—restaurateurs, winemakers, bar owners—are reaching out to “everyday heroes,” including military personnel, police officers or firefighters, in unique ways.

On a recent visit to the Golden Era lounge in Nevada City, we met Fire Captain Pat Sullivan. He pointed to a bottle of George Dickel whiskey at the bar, with a leather notebook beside it, and told us the tradition of this “squadron bottle.”

Squadron bottles, as they are known, are legendary at establishments such as the Top of the Mark in San Francisco. World War II service- men would visit the The Mark and ask the bartender for their unit’s squadron bottle. Once the serviceman signed his name in a log book, he could drink from the bottle for free. There was only one catch: whoever took the last drink had to replace the bottle.

Now the tradition is celebrated at the Golden Era—this time honoring local firefighters. Pat learned about the “squadron bottle” from his dad, a World War II veteran, and he suggested it to the Golden Era’s owners, Steve and Cindy Giardina. They readily agreed and now the bottle sits at the bar. The notations in the notebook are inspiring to read: typically words of thanks for extinguishing various local fires.

The Nevada City Winery also is honoring its “everyday heroes” with wine and wine labels. The winery’s new Rüdiger Red (2014 Sierra Foothills zinfandel) and Rüdiger White (2014 Sierra Foothills chardonnay) are named after the “canine officer” of the Nevada City Police Department. They were created by the winery’s award-winning winemaker Mark Foster. Ten percent of the proceeds from the Rüdiger wine supports the community funded K9 “police officer” program.

Rüdiger’s image is the handiwork of local dog artist Kathryn Wronski, often featured in our magazine. The original painting of Rüdiger is going to hang in Nevada City Hall. In Hollywood, Kathryn’s artwork also has been on the set of popular TV sitcoms including “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

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What are George Rebane’s responsibilities to MIM as a board member?

I did not intend to write more about this topic, but I notice that hard-right political blogger George Rebane and his like-minded political “merry pranksters” are attacking me like pitbulls in the blogosphere for daring to bring up community concern about George’s political activism (on his blog, in The Union and on the KVMR News Hour) while he sits on the “nonpartisan” Music in the Mountains board.

Do not “shoot the messenger.” I know I’m on solid ground about this rising tide of criticism, and so is MIM. I am not the first to bring this up — just the first to publicize it.

I have been receiving unsolicited emails from longtime MIM patrons/volunteers/performers/past staff members about this. I have all their names. Some examples:

“George Rebane is a liability on the MIM board,” one of them read bluntly.

“I could not believe they would bring him onto the Board considering his awful blog. High fives for publicizing it. The times call for standing up.”

There are also a wide number of comments in social media about this.

“Board members need to censor themselves because it reflects on the organization. The last thing a BOD member needs to do is piss off a donor(s).”

One of George’s screeds that drew attention at MIM was directed at Hilary Hodge, who loves MIM and sings in the choir. “The Liberal Mind: Hilary Hodge cannot connect the dots” is here.

To me this is not a free speech issue; it is a judgment issue. Besides “free speech,” a board member also has certain responsibilities to the organization he or she represents. If I were a board member, I would recognize this and I told MIM as much. Most would. George seems to be digging in his heels, and so do his friends.

I did not intend to “publicize” this issue, which I learned is already on the radar of MIM.

But I found it outlandish to be berated this weekend by a board member when our business had agreed to distribute hundreds of their holiday flyers for free — with our paid distribution companies in Sacramento, Reno and other markets. It is a cost to our business, and it was a lot of extra work, but we are longtime patrons and donors to MIM.

In short, George should know as a board member that’s not how you treat your volunteers. That’s not how you treat your performers either.

There is some precedent here. Fran Freedle voluntarily stepped down from the board of the Penn Valley Cultural Center, the ongoing effort to raise money for a performing arts center in Penn Valley. At the time, Fran was advocating for a State of Jefferson. That’s OK, but I suppose a decision was made that it could impact fundraising. It was the right call.

At this point, I’m hoping it is a teachable moment for George Rebane, MIM and its board. I wish you the best and will continue to support the wonderful music of MIM.

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Heidi Hall having fun at one of our nonprofits

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Credit: Heidi Hall’s Facebook page

We are going to miss Nate Beason as our supervisor after eight years (the time we’ve lived here). We were more than happy to support Nate’s candidacy when he faced a contentious race against a tea-party candidate in 2012. Nate has integrity, he has raised our community’s profile with the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), he is a good listener, and he is diligent about responding to his constituents. More details are here.

I also look forward to the Heidi Hall era. Heidi will replace Nate as our Nevada County district 1 supervisor. She is intelligent, well educated (Pomona College, a favorite school of mine), compassionate and hard working. I am confident she will make great contributions to our community.

This weekend, I was delighted to see this photo on Heidi’s Facebook page. “Trains, Christmas and kids — Nevada City has it going on,” she wrote. We are big fans of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum. When his grandparents were alive, our son loved going to the Christmas celebration with them, visiting with Santa Claus and riding on the “rail bus.” It was a quintessential Nevada County experience and lifetime memory for all of us.

The museum’s executive director Madelyn Helling is a community gem and has become a good friend of ours. Each year, we make it a point to donate our cabin at Lake Tahoe to the fundraiser for the museum. I hope it helped raise some money again this year.

The museum has some ambitious plans. It hopes to bring its historic, 1875 Engine #5 (AKA “Tahoe”) back to life under a 5-year plan. More details are here.
 

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Federal officials to explore different route for Dakota pipeline

“Federal officials announced on Sunday that they would not approve permits for construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a dammed section of the Missouri River that tribes say sits near sacred burial sites,” the New York Times is reporting

“The decision is a victory for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of protesters camped near the construction site who have opposed the project because they said would it threaten a water source and cultural sites. Federal officials had given the protesters until tomorrow to leave a campsite near the construction site.

“In a statement on Sunday, the Army’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, said that the decision was based on a need to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.

‘”Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,’ Ms. Darcy said. ‘The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.'”

The rest of the article is here.

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The increasingly diverse United States of America

diversity-main-map-1180“Farmland outside a Midwestern city turns into a bedroom enclave of commuting urban professionals,” the Washington Post is reporting in an infographic. “A handful of non-white people move to Dubuque, Iowa. Already diverse cities become increasingly mixed with immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

“These are just some of the ways diversity is increasing in U.S. communities.”

The infographic is here.

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Meet Mr. Popularity

I often hear local right-wing activist and former Supe Todd Juvinall go on about how he has a real pulse on our towns, is so well liked and so on. Why, he even was going to run for Supervisor again against Heidi Hall. You go Todd!”No friends to show” lol.

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Music in the Mountains, what should we do?

We enjoy our relationship with Music in the Mountains — both as patrons and promoters for years. It is a wonderful performance group, embraces diversity, and in our “50s” with a teenage son, we are the next generation of patrons.

This season, tight on the budget like most nonprofits, MIM asked us to voluntarily distribute 500 of their flyers throughout the region for their “Holly Jolly Holidays” program for free.

We have a well-established distribution network throughout the region, thanks to our magazine’s success, which is why they approached us. We normally reserve this service for paid advertisers, but wanted to help out.

Sounds like a plan, but then we hear this from an MIM volunteer board member, George Rebane, who runs an extreme right-wing political blog. George is one of 15 MIM board members. He writes: “Jeff Pelline is both an embarrassment and a disgrace. His banal blog’s prime focus is to attempt engagement in the discussions on RR for which he is abysmally unprepared, so his alternative to build his readership is to denigrate RR and its readers on his own blog, and from time to time also to attempt to inject himself into RR’s comment streams. This Saturday evening he was successful because Jo Ann and I were at the Amaral Center attending a Christmas Sing Along presented by Music in the Mountains. When we got home the damage was done, and I have had to spend time cleaning up the crap. My apologies for not nipping this in the bud earlier.”

MIM: What would you do if you were us? What is your protocol for volunteer board members to show some dignity to your promoters? We are very disappointed.

Here’s a sampling of George Rebane’s “commentary”:

•”Minorities — “Unaware and Compliant Voters” is here.

•”The liberal mind: Hilary Hodge can’t connect the dots” is here.

•”The Pope and the Raghead” is here.

•”Obama is a self-declared Marxist” is here.

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