Caleb Dardick to step down as SYRCL Executive Director this fall

Editor’s note: I received this email from SYRCL. We are looking forward to
Caleb’s next adventure:

After six years at the helm of the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL), Caleb Dardick will step down as Executive Director following the 20th anniversary of the Yuba River Cleanup on September 16th.

“Working to protect the Yuba River has been the most rewarding work of my career. I cannot thank SYRCL enough for giving me this opportunity to serve the Yuba watershed community. However, the time has come for me to return to the Bay Area to support my wife as she starts a new career there, just as she supported me in returning to the Yuba watershed in 2011 to lead SYRCL. I look forward to completing my memoir about my family’s adventures traveling in a VW bus to India in the early 1970s before settling in Nevada County as part of the ‘back to the land’ movement, and coming of age along the banks of the Yuba,” said Dardick.

“When I helped found SYRCL more than thirty years ago to defend the Yuba against new dams, I never could have imagined what SYRCL has become today – a science-based organization with the capacity to truly protect the river and restore the watershed. SYRCL has thrived under Caleb’s leadership, and though we are sad to see him go, we are deeply appreciative of his service,” said Joe Bell, SYRCL’s Board President.

“Today, SYRCL is leading the opposition to Centennial Dam on the Bear River. Just as we stopped dams on the Yuba, I have no doubt we’ll protect the Bear and Yuba Rivers from this dangerous project,” predicted Board Secretary John Regan. “Just look at all the wins we’ve secured during Caleb’s tenure: we worked with community groups and dedicated activists to keep the San Juan Ridge Mine from reopening, stopped a Canadian power company from building a hydropower plant at Daguerre Point Dam, held a leadership seat at the dam relicensing table, and we challenged an ill-conceived plan to trap and haul wild salmon around dams. Not bad work for just six years.”

“I have enjoyed working with Caleb along with many community groups and concerned citizens to advocate for our local state parks,” said Nevada County Supervisor Hank Weston. “SYRCL was a prominent partner to the County of Nevada in creating a powerful coalition that not only saved the parks from closure but also secured millions in state funds to reopen the Bridgeport Covered Bridge and install solar power at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. These significant accomplishments illustrate the power of local government, community-based organizations, and engaged citizens working together to achieve shared community goals.”

State Parks Chief Ranger Matt Green commended SYRCL’s proactive response to the combination of state budget cuts that left the South Yuba River State Park understaffed as annual visitation exceeded 700,000 people coming to the park. “Our partnership with SYRCL and the River Ambassador program has been a force multiplier. Thanks to these dedicated and well-trained volunteers, the message that we all have a responsibility to keep the river clean and safe has reached over 28,000 visitors.”

SYRCL’s science-based restoration work from the Yuba’s headwater meadows to the goldfields of the lower Yuba River has earned the respect of local and regional partners. Currently, SYRCL has over 1,000 acres of meadow restoration underway plus a half dozen salmon habitat restoration projects in the lower Yuba River.

“Caleb has put into practice a science-based, collaborative approach to restoring the Yuba watershed, which is bringing greater ecological health to the Yuba and building strong partnerships for continued progress,” said Eli Ilano, Forest Supervisor for the Tahoe National Forest, citing joint efforts to restore mountain meadows in the Yuba watershed.

“Caleb follows in the tradition of SYRCL Executive Directors who have left the community stronger and more committed to protecting and restoring the Yuba watershed, and the river in better condition,” said Elizabeth Soderstrom who was the SYRCL Board President when Caleb was selected as the new Executive Director. “When Caleb started, I asked him to lead the community in a strategic planning process which resulted in a Strategic Action Plan with some very ambitious program goals – all of which Caleb has delivered on!”

“There is never a good time to leave a job you love. The Yuba will always be my home and I will continue to root for SYRCL’s continued growth and success,” said Dardick. “Words cannot fully express my deep appreciation to the Board, Leadership Team, staff, members, volunteers, donors and community for your support and encouragement.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vivaldi Concertos at St. Martin-in-the-Fields

We enjoyed a candlelight concert tonight at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, a landmark church in the heart of London. In previous visits, we’ve attended Christmas concerts at the church. The first time we visited the church, we created a “work of art” with brass rubbing materials in the crypt, a fun family activity.

A church has been on this site in Trafalgar Square since medieval times. The present building was constructed in a Neoclassical design by James Gibbs in 1722–1726.

Renowned violinist Joshua Bell — who has performed in Grass Valley, thanks to InConcert Sierra — is Music Director of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the celebrated chamber orchestra.

Tonight we saw a performance by “Trafalgar Sinfonia,” the new name for the New London Soloists Orchestra. It featured Vivaldi Concertos, including “The Four Seasons.”

The crowd clearly enjoyed the performance. It was a balmy evening, just turning dark as we left. We grabbed one of London’s iconic black taxis and headed back to our hotel.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Juvinall’s blog is blocked on the Oxford Tube

The Oxford Tube, an express coach between Oxford and London, is the highest frequency long distance coach route operating in the United Kingdom.

It touts 4G Wi-Fi, so I fired up my laptop to catch up with the “news” from home.

All of the local news websites and blogs worked fine — except for one: Former Nevada County Supervisor Todd Juvinall’s “Sierra Dragon Breathe (sic).”

The Brits know a cesspool when they see one. You can’t make this stuff up!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Scoop: NCERC executive director resigns for a new venture-capital job

We’re in London, but we still can get the local “scoop.” While enjoying lunch at Wiltons this afternoon, an email arrived on my iPhone announcing that Jon Gregory had been named venture banking manager and Vice President at Five Star Bank in Sacramento.

I emailed Jon to confirm: “Hi, Is this your new job? Is there an acting ED at the ERC? Cheers,”

He responded: “Hi Jeff, I’ve followed some of your vacation posts! Sounds like you are having a great visit. Yes – sent you another brief note on LinkedIn. . . . The executive committee is currently exploring multiple options, including potentially an interim E.D. Best, Jon”

Then Jon emailed me this press release:

“The Nevada County Economic Resource Council (ERC) announced today that Executive Director Jon Gregory, who led the organization for the past 3 and ½ years, is leaving to become Vice President and Venture Banking Manager at Five Star Bank. Five Star Bank was founded in 1999 in Sacramento by a group of local entrepreneurs (including entrepreneur and commercial development icon Buzz Oates). The Independent Community Bankers Association ranks Five Star Bank among the top 25 independent banks in the nation among its peer group ($500 million to $1 billion asset size), coming in at #18 in the nation. Five Star Bank has 6 offices ranging from Elk Grove in the South to Redding in the North. Gregory will be working across the full region, including the Sierra Foothills.

ERC Chairman of the Board, Mary Owens, stated, “We believe this is a win for all. NCERC is on solid footing financially, and we’ve put a strong foundation in place for executing on our recently completed 3-year strategic plan through the Task Force and Committee structure we’ve established. A search is already underway for a new executive director who is a certified economic developer.” And, she went on, “in his new role as Manager of Venture Banking at Five Star Bank Gregory can more effectively add value to our efforts by bringing new sources of capital, expertise and connections to Nevada County’s entrepreneurial and tech-based businesses.”

According to Gregory, “Five Star Bank has been very proactive about being entrepreneur, venture, and tech-business friendly, and intends to expand its efforts in this regard. We have aspirations to be like Silicon Valley Bank is in the Bay Area, which became the banking partner for thousands of tech businesses.” He continued, “I’ve known CEO James Beckwith and SVP/Chief Banking Officer Mike Rizzo for over 10 years and together we strongly believe there is a growing opportunity for entrepreneurs and tech companies to start, grow or relocate in Northern California outside of the Bay Area. We want to help them flourish.”

Gregory expressed positive sentiments about his time at the helm of the ERC, stating “I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to lead the ERC and assist the board of directors, volunteer stakeholders and staff in bringing forward a number of initiatives, renewing a strategic focus on tech and growth companies, and combining it with a recognition of the importance of the unique cultural arts and outdoor amenities that make Nevada County such a special place.” Gregory plans to actively volunteer on ERC Task Forces relevant to his new role at Five Star Bank, and he will continue to serve as a General Partner of the Virtual Reality Accelerator Fund.”

Meanwhile, here’s the oysters I enjoyed for lunch at Wiltons, a longtime favorite:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

London’s culture is too expensive for young people

Editor’s note: An unfortunate sign of the times.

“Part of what makes London such a great city to live in is all the amazing things to do here. Heck, it’s a large part of what this website is dedicated to. Every day here at Londonist, we get press releases about amazing new shows in some of the world’s best galleries, the latest theatre productions or a museum reopening. That’s all great for some, but a look at the prices is a reminder that London isn’t so welcoming for all,” according to

“Young people earn a lot less than older generations. A lot of this is to do with experience — more experienced workers earn more, and that’s only fair.

“However, it goes further than this as wages are systematically biased against under 25s. The government imposed a national living wage that’s £7.50 per hour, which was introduced in 2015. That wage is behind the advised London Living Wage currently sitting at £9.75 per hour, but still, it’s something.

“Except not if you’re young. 21-24 year olds don’t qualify for this wage — apparently because they’re less productive — so instead they earn £7.05 per hour. Even they have it much better than 18-20 year olds who for their labour receive a minimum of £5.60 per hour.

“Therefore many young Londoners have less income, meaning they have to be highly selective about what they spend their income on, especially regarding forms of entertainment. When it comes down to seeing an art exhibition for nearly £20, or streaming some TV at home — often for free — the decision becomes a financial one.”

“Recently we overheard a discussion that stated ‘young people today don’t appreciate classical art.’ Perhaps they would if only they could go see it.”

The rest of the article is here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Rains of Ruin

The morning paper. It’s been a terrible spring in London (two terrorist attacks and now this), and some of the locals are wearing it on their faces. Visitors like us are being greeted with smiles. Londoners have fortitude, though, going back to WWII.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Attending an age-old ceremony in London

Editor’s note: Our first night in London was decidedly “old school”:

“On two successive evenings each year in June a magnificent pageant of military music, precision drill and colour takes place on Horse Guards Parade in the heart of London when the Massed Bands of the Household Division carry out the Ceremony of Beating Retreat.

“It is an unforgettable evening as 300 musicians, drummers and pipers perform this age-old ceremony. The Retreat has origins in the early days of chivalry when beating or sounding retreat pulled a halt to the days fighting, a return to camp and the mounting of the guard for the night. Today, Beating Retreat, has become a major event in the Army’s ceremonial calendar, delivering an evening of spirited marches as well as poignant and evocative hymns and anthems of special significances to our fighting forces everywhere.

“The salute is taken by Her Majesty The Queen or another member of The Royal Family.

“The participants of Household Division Beating Retreat are drawn from the bands of the two Household Cavalry Regiments and the five Foot Guards Regiments which make up the Household Division.”

(Source: Beating Retreat)

Here’s an iPhone video from our son:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment