Losing our loved ones

My parents died in the same week in spring 2007, and the feeling of loss has been difficult as an “only child” and caregiver. I’m sending my thoughts this week to Kerry Minard Martinez of San Diego and her sister Kathy Van Orden of Redondo Beach — my (BFF) best friends forever — long before it became a social-media word. We grew up together as next-door neighbors in the Los Angeles area, and they were more like sisters than just friends —a learning necessity for a boy who is an “only child.” We went to grade school together; wrote in coloring books together “Look, Jeffrey is coloring with both hands”; and swam in the ocean and built sand castles together on summer vacations at San Diego (photo, circa ’60s). Now Kerry and Kathy are coping with grief in their family: They lost a beloved aunt and uncle this spring, and now are grieving with their ailing dad in hospice. They have been exemplary caregivers to their dad in recent years. “Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.” — Patti Smith

SNL brings in Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro for epic Michael Cohen-Mueller showdown

I’ve enjoyed Saturday Night Live most of my life. When I was a freshman at Cal, we used to gather in the TV room on the sixth floor of Priestley Hall to watch Saturday Night Live. When I went to graduate school at Northwestern, we visited The Second City, whose ties go all the way back to the show’s 1975 premiere and original cast members Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.

We’re still watching SLN. Tonight Ben Stiller lampooned Michael Cohen as Saturday Night Live took on the Trump lawyer after his office was raided by the FBI. What a hoot!

Trump’s strikes on Syria risk retaliation, escalation in a war he wants to avoid

“Last week, President Trump promised to withdraw from Syria. This week, he opened a new front against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad that risks drawing the United States into a broader conflict there,” the Washington Post is reporting.

“By attacking Assad late Friday, the Trump administration says it sought to warn the Syrian leader against what Western nations said was his use of illegal chemical warfare agents, following the gassing of civilians near Damascus last weekend.

“The administration calculated that the need to send a signal to Assad over chemical weapons outweighed the possibility of provoking a response from his allies, Russia or Iran, on the battlefield in Syria, elsewhere in the Middle East or even in cyberspace.

“The risk, analysts say, is that the United States would then end up in a cycle of escalation that entangles the American military more deeply in the Syrian conflict than the administration intended.

“’Given the linkage between Russia, Iran and Assad, an attack that we would consider limited and precise might be misconstrued by one or more of those three parties and justify from their perspective a retaliatory strike,’ said retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik, a senior fellow at the Institute for the Study of War. ‘Then what do we do?’”

The rest of the article is here.

San Juan Ridge Mine: From mining gold to farming cannabis?

This is a letter from the San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association regarding the latest actions of San Juan Mining Corp.:

Dear SJRTA members and neighbors,

The San Juan Ridge Mine property in the North Columbia Diggings continues to be a major focal point for our organization, and there are some developments with the property that are worth sharing at this point. Recently the San Juan Mining Corporation (SJMC) CEO hired a sustainable development and landscape architecture firm called Phronesis.

Together SJMC and Phronesis have hosted two meetings on the Ridge and plan to host several more. The apparent goal and process thus far has been to engage a number of active community members (approximately eleven in the first meeting and twenty in the second) in a facilitated discussion on how to develop the mine property with alternatives to mining. Under the banners of “live, work, play, learn”, a proposed development plan is in the works by Phronesis that may include uses such as camping and recreational, workshop/entertainment, residential (clustered, single unit and/or cohousing), cannabis and/or other agricultural operations, business/studio space and light industrial.

Other possibilities include green waste composting or other biomass projects and environmental education. Many of the brainstorming ideas for alternative uses mirror those suggested through the SJRTA community surveys and workshops. And of course any proposals will be subject to scrutiny both by the community and the county planning department.

While these recent developments are encouraging and give hope to our community there is still much to carefully consider moving forward. We are grateful to the San Juan Mining Corp. and particularly to its CEO Tim Farley for engaging the community and exploring these concepts in a positive and productive manner.

We are committed to steadfastly opposing gold mining efforts on the property but now must balance that goal with the benefits and potential impacts of future development endeavors on the property. We continue to search for “win-win” opportunities that support sustainable efforts on the property that meet our mission and shared community values.

We will continue to work with SJMC ownership and our local community leadership to find solutions to this complex issue. Additionally we remain committed to representing our community’s best interests and keeping you informed.


Sol Henson
President, SJRTA

Sierra FoodWineArt magazine Spring issue

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover of our spring issue, which we will begin distributing next week — in a full-color print magazine, online and in a custom format for mobile phones.

An excerpt from the introduction: Prosperity has come to our region in different forms, starting with the Gold Rush. In the late ’60s, a “back to the land movement” led to a burgeoning arts and culture scene, thanks to the arrival of beat generation poet Gary Snyder, folk singer Utah Phillips, San Francisco artists David Osborn and Charles Woods and countless others. In the ’70s, Snyder became the first chair of the California Arts Council.

Now a new era of prosperity is further redefining our region — as a destination for arts and entertainment, farm-to-table cuisine and historic boutique hotels, B&Bs and inns. Grass Valley, Nevada City  and Truckee have all been designated as California cultural districts, thanks to the Nevada County Arts Council’s efforts.

In addition, locals and out of towners are now investing tens of millions of dollars in the region, refurbishing historic buildings such as the National Exchange Hotel and The Stone House, expanding performing arts centers such as The Center for the Arts, even recreating downtowns such as the Truckee Railyard project ($25 million for phase one alone).

Our issue explores the projects throughout the region and introduces the entrepreneurs who are making it happen — all this following on the heels of the renaissance in downtown Sacramento and Reno. (Photo: Will Edwards)

Enjoying the Foothills Celebration in downtown Grass Valley

We were proud to be the title sponsor at this year’s Foothills Celebration, the food and wine tasting extravaganza in downtown Grass Valley. We had a blast visiting with locals and out-of-town visitors from Reno to Sacramento where our magazine circulates. We appreciated the “thank you’s” from locals such as Lisa Swarthout and others. We had a wonderful time visiting with locals ranging from Nate Beason to Gary and Chris Smith, Phil and Anne Starr, and the other wineries and the local merchants, such as Steve Rosenthal at Tess’ Kitchen Store and Jake and Christina West of The Olive Grove.  Here are some photos:


The Rebanes donate $1,000 to Dan Miller’s campaign — and don’t even live in his district

According to campaign finance reports, JoAnn and George “extreme political rightwing blogger” Rebane donated a hefty $1,000 to Dan Miller’s Supervisor campaign in District 3 — but don’t even live in that district.

I guess the Rebane’s fear that a Hilary Hodge victory would give progressives a 3-2 majority on the County Board of Supervisors and turn our little hamlet into a Commie State.

Mrs. Rebane also is a member of The Union’s Editorial Board.

Small-town politics are a hoot!

The campaign finance report is here: document-13