“Lorraine’s Lowdown” gets Boardman’s briefs in a bunch at The Union

“Bored” Georgeman (https://www.gishgallop.com/author/bored/) Note to readers: This is not the real George Boardman’s photo; it is from a parody website.

The Union columnist George Boardman never graduated past the podunk San Mateo Times, so it’s hard for him to appreciate the talents of beloved and award-winning columnists at big-league newspapers such as The San Francisco Chronicle.

Although Amphlett’s San Mateo Times has all but vanished, Northern California’s largest newspaper, The Chronicle, earlier this month was named the state’s best large newspaper for the fourth year in a row by the California News Publishers Association. Woo-hoo!

The volume of Boardman’s corrections alone would disqualify him from being called a talent. He might as well just sign his name “CORRECTION:”

Let’s face it: George is no Herb Caen, Art Hoppe, Jon Carroll, Carl Nolte, Bruce Jenkins, Matier & Ross and so on.  I know it also has irked George to no end that Herb was a friend, longtime former colleague and neighbor of “Jeffy” on Nob Hill.

Transport yourself from the late Pulitzer-winning columnist’s home on Nob Hill to George Boardman’s haunt in “Lake of the Pines” (one of western Nevada County’s two “gated” communities) and bear witness to The Union columnist sitting in his BarcaLounger and fuming about the content in Lorraine Jewett’s new column, “Lorraine’s Lowdown.” (Where’s the R.L. Crabb cartoon?)

On his “blog,” George is gnashing his teeth because Lorraine had the audacity to run this in her column: “. . . the classy magazine published by Jeff and Shannon Pelline.” And it even got past the editors!

Boardman goes on to lecture us like a schoolmarm: “The word (‘classy’) was used by Lorraine Jewett in her column, ‘Lorraine’s Lowdown,’ where never is found a discouraging word. Lorraine speaks for herself, not The Union.”

“Never is found a discouraging word”? Meow George! As if George’s column is “investigative journalism.”

For the record — and George is too out of touch to know this — but The Union publisher has also complimented our magazine, as well as the annual art gallery guide that we publish for the Nevada County Arts Council. And so has the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Yup, George also got it wrong with his churlish remark: “You have to wonder what (Chamber Executive Director Robin Galvan-Davis) thought when Jeffy’s membership application showed up in the mail.”

If Georgie had bothered to get out of his arm chair and do some reporting (a recurring complaint about his work around town), our not-so-curious George would have learned that “Jeffy’s membership application didn’t show up in the mail,” as mischaracterized in his “reporting.”

To the contrary, Robin and Chamber President Joy Porter reached out to us to join. Joy came to our home, made a pitch, we had a good (and frank) discussion —and we decided to join. We also belong to the Nevada City and Truckee chambers.

Robin invited us to distribute our magazine at the Grass Valley Chamber ‘s Visitor Center, and the digital version of our magazine was promoted in the latest Chamber newsletter, along with a link to digital.sierraculture.com. George can pick up his own version there — for free.

“Bored” Georgeman’s column has become stale and boring, and I keep waiting for The Union to drop it. To his credit, George does top all The Union’s regular columnists in one category, however: corrections.

Scoop: Music in the Mountains and The Center team up in new program to advance our arts

The Center for the Arts and Music in the Mountains are collaborating in a new program that gives MIM a brand new home for some (but not all) of its classical music programs, we’ve learned. The pioneering deal between the two local arts and culture stalwarts underscores growing collaboration among our performing arts groups, providing an economic boon. As longtime local arts patrons, we applaud that!

The Center’s “Company-in-Residence” program was unveiled last night at its annual meeting and season preview at the Gold Miners Inn in Grass Valley (which our FoodWineArt magazine enjoyed). We flushed out more details in follow-up interviews with The Center and MIM to give locals “the scoop.”

Details are still being finalized, but the deal calls for the some MIM concerts and the MIM Youth Orchestra to perform at The Center’s renovated concert center in downtown Grass Valley in 2020. Both boards have signed off on the deal in principal.

The agreement comes as a $4.3 million project to renovate The Center is well underway. Work is set for completion in November and includes a 492-seat theater with retractable seating and flexibility to allow for “intimate cabaret performances, seated concerts, banquets and dance concerts.”

Other features include a state-of-the-art sound system, additional stage and backstage space, a welcoming lobby with expanded bar and concessions, and expanded gallery space.

MIM will continue to offer concerts at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, which includes the Amaral Center, as well as outdoor concerts such as SummerFest at “California’s most beautiful fairgrounds.”

But MIM is working on the logistics of renting The Center’s refurbished performing arts center for rehearsals; some concerts, such as chamber concerts and holiday choral concerts; and the MIM Youth Orchestra’s performances. The Center would be a tighter fit for MIM concerts that include the full MIM Chorus and Festival Orchestra — and, of course, its popular outdoor concerts.

Still, The Center could wind up hosting a significant amount of MIM’s future programming under the deal. The Center also is expected to sign other local nonprofits and performing arts groups under its “Company-in-Residence” program.

At the same time, MIM is moving its offices to the historic Old Post Office building in downtown Grass Valley from Searls Avenue in Nevada City. MIM told us it is excited to join the Grass Valley Downtown Association. (We are longtime members and have been the main sponsor of the GVDA’s annual Foothills Celebration).

The Center’s new stage

We are glad to see our local performing arts groups collaborating. It comes as Grass Valley-Nevada City and Truckee have been named California Cultural Districts, so the timing is ideal.

Nevada County’s nonprofit arts and culture sector generates $46.9 million in economic activity and supports 869 full-time equivalent jobs, making it a powerful economic engine, according to a new report.

The spending “pumps vital revenue into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages and other local businesses,” the report said. It also generates $5.1 million in local and state government revenue.

We are excited about this deal. Our Sierra FoodWineArt magazine promotes the local arts scene, we are Encore members at The Center (donating $1,000 annually as members), and we are regulars at concerts at MIM and The Center.

We have long hoped for more widespread collaboration in our towns and among different groups — which often are at odds, to our detriment. This deal between The Center and MIM is a shining example of going in the right direction. Good going to the staff and boards of both groups!

Here’s a video on MIM’s Young Composer’s project and “Prelude for Yuba Salmon,” which we enjoyed hearing at an MIM concert. More MIM videos are here:

Scoop: New team brought on to help renovate the National and Holbrooke hotels

Acme Hospitality managing partner Sherry Villanueva (Photo credit: Paul Wellman, Santa Barbara Independent)

Editor’s note: This article was updated on 2/4 with an official press release. I posted it in the comments section of this article.

Acme Hospitality, a seasoned food-and-beverage operator that helped create a burgeoning food, wine and art district in Santa Barbara, has been brought onboard to help with the renovation of the National and Holbrooke hotels, Sierra Foothills Report has learned.

“Both projects are making great progress,” said Sherry Villanueva, co-owner and managing partner at Acme Hospitality, in an interview. The hospitality firm owns seven restaurants and a hotel in Santa Barbara, she said.

Designer Jordan Fife is expected to continue scouting out hotels that would be well suited to acquisition and refurbishment, as he did with the National in Nevada City and Holbrooke in Grass Valley, Villanueva said.

“Jordan made some amazing contributions,” she said. “He had a vision that was driven by a love for these properties. He identified them and helped gather them up.”

She continued: “Eastern Real Estate needed an operator that could look at the operational flow of these properties. We have a proven track record and only the best intentions.” Eastern Real Estate, with offices in Boston and Santa Barbara, had collaborated with Fife on the National and Holbrooke.

Villanueva promised “my priority is to get the renovations done as quickly as possible,” working in concert with the cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City building departments and local contractors and tradespeople.

She was reluctant to provide a specific time for reopening the National, however. The Holbrooke will close in mid-February, as first reported on Sierra Foothills Report. “We tried to keep it open as long as possible. There is extensive plumbing and electrical work.”

The owners are sensitive to the Holbrooke’s claim as the “oldest continually operating” saloon in the West, so pop-up events are planned, she said.

Acme’s background

Acme Hospitality has won praise for its projects. The Santa Barbara arts district, affectionately known as the Funk Zone, is “the work of prolific Santa Barbara restaurant group Acme Hospitality,” according to L.A. Eater.

“They’re the ones behind popular places like the Lark, Lucky Penny, casual Spanish mainstay Loquita, and more than a few other wine and bakery tenants across the Funk Zone.

“Add in plans for Modern Times to grow a big new brewery and restaurant compound not far away, plus Phillip Frankland Lee’s projects at the Montecito Inn, and suddenly the Central Coast is looking busier than ever.”

Added the San Jose Mercury News: “The Funk Zone nestles up on the east side of State Street, between the ocean and Highway 101, offering an ever-evolving array of ways to eat, drink and play among converted warehouses that now house boutique wineries, taprooms and al fresco dining spots.”

Beyond work, Villanueva has made philanthropy a priority, according to Noozhawk.com. She volunteers on several nonprofit boards and takes service trips around the world with her family.

Her husband and two daughters have completed over 30 service trips together to places in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Bolivia and Zambia.  Villanueva graduated from UC Berkeley in 1984.

Local clerk-recorder candidate’s alma mater, struggling Valparaiso University, is set to close

Out of the blue (and gold), Barry Pruett is lashing out at me this morning in the local blogosphere for posting Cal Berkeley’s #1 ranking for a public school. I’m a proud, successful graduate, happily married for over 25  years and owner of a growing, regional business with a bunch of local advertisers. What’s his problem?

Meanwhile, this morning, the law school where Pruett went (according to his “resume”) — Valparaiso University Law School — will soon cease operation, according to a slew of news reports out of the Midwest.

You’d think Pruett — after losing the clerk-recorder’s race in every precinct to Greg Diaz in 2010 — and now suffering this embarrassment, would crawl under a rock, rather than throw them. Small towns are a hoot! His friends, if he has any, ought to tell him to let it go.

Here’s the news report:

“After nearly 140 years of training attorneys, Valparaiso University Law School will soon cease operation,” as the Northwest Indiana Times is reporting.

“Students, faculty and staff were informed Monday of the VU board of directors’ decision to shutter the doors of the school which has produced thousands of attorneys scattered across the globe.

“The decision to close the school came after a deal fell through earlier this month with Middle Tennessee State University to transition the Valparaiso law school to the Murfreesboro, Tennessee, campus. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission voted against MSTU creating a juris doctor program.

“It has been very painful for everybody,” Heckler said about the decision, calling it a ‘very sad day.’

The rest of the article is here.

“Love Walk” fills the streets of downtown Grass Valley

“A racial incident in downtown Grass Valley this week — where slurs were shouted at a Nevada Union High School student as he walked down Mill Street, according to his father on Facebook — has concerned local residents, including the Nevada Union High principal, and it is being held up as a teachable moment,” as Sierra Foothills Report reported, adding “There is also an informal downtown Grass Valley walk taking shape for 5 p.m. on Friday, as a way for people to show their support for this family.”

On Friday night, Facebook was lit up with “citizen journalist” reports of the “love walk,” which drew hundreds and hundreds of locals. This photo is from Debbie Lange’s Facebook page. “Today in my town ❤️❤️❤️,” she wrote.

Residents honor a beloved local and revisit the conundrum of suicide

“A man who carried a ladder to the side of the Foresthill Bridge to scale a fence and jump to his death was identified Thursday by authorities,” as the Auburn Journal is reporting.

“The man’s death took place late Tuesday at the 530-foot-high span, which is California’s highest bridge. . . . By the time deputies arrived, the man had jumped.

“Daniel Brooks 56, of Gold River, was identified by the Sheriff’s Office as the decedent. His body was found on the Auburn side of the canyon in the Auburn State Recreation Area by state Parks Department searchers. Brooks had used the ladder to scale a 6½-foot high fence along the bridge walkway.”

There has been an outpouring of emotions — sadness, grief, love, and sympathy — on Facebook as people have been learning about Daniel’s death, as he was a native and longtime local whom many loved and admired. I learned about this tragedy earlier this week from a friend whose mom knew Daniel for years and shared those feelings.

I posted some of Daniel’s artwork on Facebook, as well as a YouTube interview. Daniel’s origami artwork had been shown around town, at the Nevada City Winery, for example. He once had a shop on Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley.

The overwhelming response shows the power of social media to “connect.” There were hundreds of thoughtful comments, anecdotes, and photos.

“Feel so much in a funk — a sad week for Nevada County,” Debbie Lange wrote on Facebook, referring to the passing of several beloved locals.

“Taking an extra moment to admire Daniel Brooks’ work,” wrote Neil Sarchett, posting some of Daniel’s artwork.  “Rest In Peace, Daniel. You were a gentle and generous soul.”

“He was such a beautiful person,” said Valerie Moberg. ” I will miss his creative spirit and the love he expressed to all,” said Eileen Blodgett.

Others pointed to the conundrum of suicide: “If only he were here to see all the love (being expressed),” wrote another.

These feelings are not new, and our towns have collectively felt the pain of other locals who have taken their own lives. “The MB2 Foundation was started as a way to bring suicide awareness to other people who are suffering from depression and thoughts of suicide. Each year they host the ‘Turkey Trot’, a 5 and 10K run to raise money to support other non-profits in the area with the same goal,” as Anew Day’s website reads.

The nation explored the conundrum of suicide when comedian Robin Williams took his own life. As USA Today reported: “The fact that someone as successful as Williams could kill himself shows that suicide is ‘not about objective markers of happiness and success,’ said Dost Ongur, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chief of the psychotic disorders division at McLean Hospital outside of Boston.”

Here are some resources on suicide and suicide prevention:

The Mayo Clinic

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center

The YouTube video about Daniel is here: