“What’s in your wallet”? Thousands of dollars seized for alleged local drug crimes — not Capital One plastic

In a popular commercial for the Capital One credit card, actress Jennifer Garner is joined by her proud dad. Wearing red and blue to match the Capital One colors, the father-daughter team ask ‘what’s in your wallet?’ (See the ad below).

In our neck of the woods, however, “what’s in your wallet?”could wind up being thousands of dollars in cash (you know, “Benjamins”) seized by local law enforcement for drug crimes at local establishments and roadside stops.

Examples abound in this posting that a reader sent from The Union. (For the uninitiated, a violation of HS 11351  is “possession of drugs with intent to sell” and HS 11377 is “possession of methamphetamine.” You get the point.) What’s in your wallet?


#MeToo: Social media flooded with stories of harassment and assault

“Women are posting messages on social media to show how commonplace sexual assault and harassment are, using the hashtag #MeToo to express that they, too, have been victims of such misconduct,” reports The New York Times.

“The messages bearing witness began appearing frequently on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Sunday, when the actress Alyssa Milano posted a screenshot outlining the idea and writing ‘If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.’

“Tens of thousands of people replied to the message. Some just wrote ‘me too,’ while many others described their personal experiences of harassment or assault.

(Dozens and dozens of women in our area — from all “walks of life,” all ages and all professions — also participated with signed names on Facebook, a reminder of the power of the internet in our towns. Some of the descriptions detailed their own personal experiences).

The New York Times article continued: “The author and poet Najwa Zebian wrote: ‘I was blamed for it. I was told not to talk about it. I was told that it wasn’t that bad. I was told to get over it.’

“Other celebrities who took part include Anna Paquin, Debra Messing, Laura Dreyfuss, Lady Gaga and Evan Rachel Wood.

“Men also expressed their support. The comedian and activist Nick Jack Pappas wrote: ‘Men, Don’t say you have a mother, a sister, a daughter… Say you have a father, a brother, a son who can do better. We all can.’

“Since The New York Times published an investigative report on Oct. 5 detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, social media has provided a galvanizing platform for women to discuss their experiences.

“The #MeToo movement is not the first to use social media to highlight abuse against women. In 2014, a #YesAllWomen campaign drew notice on social media after a man cited his hatred of women as his reason for killing people in Southern California. The activist Laura Bates started the #EverydaySexism campaign in 2012 to document widespread sexism, harassment and assault.”

The full article is here.

Exclusive: The Center for the Arts plans a dynamic, $3.8 million makeover

From the Fall issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine, now circulating:

Fresh from helping Nevada County become a prestigious state Cultural District, The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley is launching its first-ever capital campaign to transform its downtown facility into a dynamic, state-of-the-art performance center that maintains an intimate ambiance, our magazine has learned.

The improvements, estimated to cost $3.8 million, will help cement western Nevada County as a destination for the arts, drawing visitors and locals for generations to come.

“It will greatly improve the audience and artist experience,” says Amber Jo Manuel, The Center’s interim executive director and director of development since fall 2016.

The renovation is set to begin early next year and be completed by year-end 2018, just in time for a celebratory New Year’s Eve gala. The enterprising plan is being closely managed to stay on budget, with an experienced team of staffers, board members and community stakeholders.

The project will add 200 seats, offer more comfortable seating, a bigger stage, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, more energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), ADA compliance, and repair roofing, among other improvements.

The campaign is benefitting from the community’s passion for the arts, and it includes a grassroots fundraiser planned for spring. Donors will be offered naming opportunities throughout the venue, including the building itself.

The renovation is needed. The building, donated to The Center in 2003, faces $500,000 in deferred maintenance, and it demands a more modern space.

The Center has presented a wide range of world-renowned performers, including Joan Baez, Jeff Bridges, Jackson Browne, Judy Collins, Melissa Etheridge, Michael Franti, Wynonna Judd, Willie Nelson, and Wynton Marsalis.

It has presented speakers such as food activists Alice Waters and Michael Pollan, and Mt. Everest mountain climber Melissa Arnot. And it has introduced up-and-coming talent, including Rising Appalachia, Birds of Chicago, and Las Cafeteras.

The Center has won the prestigious FestForums’ Innovation Award for California WorldFest, presented by the organizer of Woodstock. It also has helped make western Nevada County an exciting venue for the arts, drawing patrons from all over Northern California and Northern Nevada.

Executive Director Julie Baker retired this summer after eight years of leadership, and helped draw world-class performers to Grass Valley. She is launching her own consulting firm, Julie Baker Projects, and will continue to support The Center. “Julie worked hard to bring high quality programming to our community,” says Board President Betsy Swann Brown.

Manuel will lead the Center as it embarks on this new chapter, and she is well qualified for the role. A native of Nevada County, Amber Jo worked the past 17 years in marketing and development for nonprofit arts groups in the Bay Area and New York City.

Before joining The Center last fall, she led a $33 million capital campaign for San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater’s second stage, The Strand Theater, which opened in May 2015.

Prior to ACT, Manuel was involved with capital campaign fundraising and development efforts at both California Academy of Sciences and Berkeley Repertory Theater. In New York, Amber Jo held the title of Individual Giving Director at the Roundabout Theater.

She and the board have built an experienced local team to renovate The Center for the Arts building. KVMR board member Diane McIntire, a general contractor, designer and project manager, has helped manage the project.

The local team of Tru-Line Builders, whose owner is Daniel Swartzendruber, and Brent Daggett Architect/Planner were chosen to handle the project in a competitive process.

The contractor and architect have been working together with the project manager since the beginning to manage the budget and alleviate delivery problems using the “integrated project delivery” (IPD) approach. Under IPD, the architect, general contractor and the client work together to complete a project that is on time and on budget.

Grass Valley is supporting the project, discussing plans for expanded downtown parking as well as shuttle busses to and from The Center during performances. The city’s Mayor Howard Levine is an artist and innkeeper, and he believes the project will build community and boost business downtown.


We had a “sneak peek” at The Center’s new floor plans. Guests arrive at the front entrance at 314 W. Main Street, and walk past the box office into a refreshed 1,500 sq.-ft. welcome lobby with new offices, a conference room, and expanded bathrooms on one side, and concessions and an expanded bar area on the other side.

They pass an art gallery on the way into the auditorium, which has a new orientation. Patrons walk into the back of the auditorium rather than one side. From the rear entrance, they face a new stage, which extends past the existing building to make room for more seats.

The auditorium’s seating plan allows for flexibility depending on the show. Patrons will no longer have to cross in front of the stage during performances to access the lounge or the lobby.

Retractable seating allows The Center to host concerts that require fixed seating, a dance floor or cabaret seating—or various combinations. The expansion also adds potential for banquet rentals for gala events. By increasing the seating, The Center will be less dependent on renting outside venues and will be able to expand its mission in its own home.

Examples could include seating for up to 506 patrons; tiered seating with cabaret (262 seats, plus cabaret seating for another 172 people); and tiered seating with dance (262 seats and substantial room for people to dance).

The stage is about 2,000 sq.-ft. The plans also include a much-improved backstage area for artists, such as two additional “green rooms” (for the artists), a dressing room, a rest room, shower and storage area.

“The Center’s capital campaign is not only an investment in the building, but will allow The Center to continue to grow a sustainable business while ensuring its legacy as the performing arts institution of Nevada County,” according to a donor brochure.

The Center’s improvements will include a state-of-the-art Meyer Sound System. Berkeley- based Meyer Sound founders John and Helen Meyer are global audio pioneers. They make a range of high-end audio products, and are known for their ability to enhance, through electronic means, the acoustic of a concert hall or auditorium.

Francis Ford Coppola hired Meyer Sound to build subwoofers for a custom sound system for movie theaters screening Apocalypse Now, putting the “whomp” into explosions and helicopter rotors.

“Meyer systems are becoming a fixture of the classical world, from the Bay Area to Berlin,” according to The New Yorker. “The system can give bloom to a somewhat dry acoustic, as at Zellerbach Hall, in Berkeley, and it can supply a cleaner sound for amplified jazz and pop, as at Svetlanov Hall, in Moscow.”

Center’s current seats were salvaged from a ’50s movie theater and are almost 75 years old. New retractable seating will increase comfort and flexibility. The Center will soon display a prototype of the new seats in its welcome lobby. The new seating plan will allow The Center to book more “big name talent” in a more enjoyable setting than the Vets Hall. The theater will remain intimate with no seat more than 59 feet from the stage.

For more information about The Center’s capital campaign, visit TheCenterForTheArts.org/contact-us or call 530-274-8384.

(Photo: Angel Aguilar, John Taber, Brent Daggett Architects)

Our home-town heroine Moorea Seal is “crushing it” in Seattle

Moorea (Credit: Vickie Maio, SeattleMet.com)

As regular readers know, Christopher Seal is one of my favorite locals. Christopher recently retired as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Nevada City. He is generous, approachable, and also exceedingly well educated and traveled, and smart.

He and Gae Goodrich Seal are proud parents of  Moorea Seal McDaniel, who has built a highly successful retail business in Seattle, which has been featured in People and Sunset (https://www.mooreaseal.com/).

Now she’s kicking it up a notch in one of the hottest towns in America (home to Amazon.com and Microsoft).

“Moorea Seal, if you haven’t heard, is crushing it lately,” as SeattleMet.com is reporting.  “Not that that’s news. But she’s just released her latest book, Make Yourself at Home, out now (pro tip: If you scurry over to Elliott Bay Books, there still might be a few signed copies laying around), and the author-entrepreneur is officially opening her new flagship eponymous storefront downtown this weekend.

“The Belltown spot has gone the way of the dinosaurs—’our first space was kind of a test,’ says Seal, who built up her company that started as an online Etsy shop then its own website, before going brick-and-mortar mode in 2014. ‘There’s a lot of bootstrapped beginnings to make things work as they will,’ she adds.

“Now, Moorea Seal is located at 1012 First Avenue in the renovated Standard building, conjoined with Cone and Steiner’s newest locale.”

“There will be the same affordable brands you know and love—Dolce Vita, Baleen, BZR, Poketo, Upper Metal Class. But look for newness in the form of mid-range to high-end products, things Seal’s been obsessing over and excited to bring into the store. “It’s exactly like my book: [We’re] trying to create a space that really supports how we want to project ourselves as a company, and how we want our customers to feel.”

When our son was younger, we visited Christoper at Trinity Church and he took us on a tour. He gave Mitchell a brick from beneath the church, which is steeped in history. Michell has hung onto it as a keepsake. Congratulations Christopher and Gae on Moorea’s success!

Fall issue of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine

Our lifestyle magazine’s Fall issue is now circulating, and our exclusive reporting includes a dynamic, $3.8 million makeover of The Center for the Arts; a premium cigar humidor opening at Stucki Jewelers, a chic retail trend; and plans for The Stages at Northstar and Truckee Art Haus & Cinema – two big arts-related projects that will invigorate Truckee-Tahoe.

Click HERE to read an enhanced digital version of our new issue:
How our region is poised to grow, thanks to arts & culture
* “Beer & Brats” and Oktoberfest
* “A few of our favorite things”
* A Golden Place: Amador County
* A fruitful wine grape harvest
* Reno’s Chamber Music Festival
* Auburn Symphony Turns 30
* InConcert Sierra, Music in the Mountains concerts
* Open Studios Artist Tours

(Photo: Olof Carmel)

Peanuts creator Schulz’s widow flees Santa Rosa fire, home destroyed

I’ve been a fan of Peanuts and its creator Charles Schulz since childhood — reading the comic strip in the Los Angeles Times when I was growing up.

Dad was born in Sebastopol in Sonoma County, and Schulz built his first studio there. As it turns out both are buried in the town — a few hundred feet from each other.

When we’d visit with our son, I’d show him this bench, which included all the Peanuts characters. He’d sometimes sit on the bench and we’d talk.

Schulz’ son Monte used to live in Nevada City, and he’s now in Santa Barbara.

I was saddened to learn that Charles Schulz’s home in Santa Rosa burned in the fire:

“The widow of the late Charles Schulz, creator of the iconic Peanuts comic strip, escaped the fire racing through Santa Rosa this week, but the hillside home the couple shared since the mid-1970s was destroyed, according to family members,” the San Jose Mercury News is reporting.

“Jean Schulz fled her home at about 2 a.m. Monday and is now staying with family, her stepson, Monte Schulz of Santa Barbara, said Wednesday.

“’She is very resilient,’ he said. ‘She is energetic and pragmatic and very tough.’

“Jean Schulz is president of the board of directors for the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center built in Santa Rosa two years after the cartoonist’s death in 2000. Most of his collection of original comic strips, artwork and memorabilia featuring characters Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts Gang, is housed at the museum, which was untouched by the fire.”

The rest of the article is here.