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December 2018

Yes, There is a Santa Claus

posted Dec 6, 2018, 4:34 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Dec 6, 2018, 4:34 PM ]

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Although the evening of December 3rd was quiet, a hint of magic permeated the air as folks began to gather in the inky stillness of North San Juan’s Post Office parking lot.  The silence of the evening was first broken by the sound of bells jingling in the distance. Then familiar strains of Christmas music began to swell. More and more families joined the gathering. Babies nestled snugly against bosoms as young children tightly clung to parents’ hands in the chilly night air. All was still and then it happened….

Santa’s Wonderland came alive! The evening’s stillness was broken by a chorus of oohs and aahs, then a symphony of joyous shouts punctuated by thundering applause. Winnie the Pooh, Snoopy, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, snow people, reindeer, even polar bears and penguins were there amidst the brilliantly lit display. Of course the man of the hour was Santa Claus. Accompanied by Mrs. Claus and elves Cassandra & Casey, Santa was there to meet every child, welcoming each boy and girl to sit upon his lap and receive a gift from his pack of toys. There were teddy bears and nutcrackers, drummer boys and mini-Santas. Every child received a gift. Home baked chocolate chip cookies, hot cider, and candy canes were set out for visitors to sample as they traversed the maze of colorful scenes and characters. A happy little model train chugged tirelessly around its track. A corner of the North San Juan had been miraculously transformed. 

Santa Claus is undoubtedly a super hero. His boundless kindness and generosity have great transformative power. Santa is also a shape shifter, not always manifesting as a jolly bearded man in a fur trimmed red suit.  Like many super heroes, he has alter egos or secret identities. Who could guess that young Peter Parker is Spiderman, or that mild mannered Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent is Superman, the man of steel? Or that friend and neighbor Ted Callison (pictured above) is Santa Claus?

A quiet, unassuming man, Ted Callison has lived on the corner of Oak Tree Road and Hwy. 49 for 43 years. A logger for 35 years, Ted raised four boys in that house. In addition to giving North San Juan a very special holiday tradition, Ted has been instrumental in creating a lasting legacy, Oak Tree Community Park’s ball field. Decades ago, he led a fundraising effort that raised $25,000 by cutting and raffling off cords of firewood, as well as hosting a luau across the road from the field. Owned by the school district, the ball field was built solely with donations and by community volunteers. Once the field was built, it was time to play ball; so Ted Callison served as President of North San Juan Little League for 14 years, and coached a generation of young athletes. “I had 117 kids playing baseball on that field,” he recalled. “Nevada City had a team playing out here every weekend.”

The Christmas display began thirty years ago and, “It’s been growing every year. I started it because Nevada City thought we didn’t have class up here but we do have class. That’s why I put “THE RIDGE” on the roof. I love Christmas! It’s my very favorite time of year. I’m a kid at heart. I love to see the smiles on the kids’ faces.”

Loves Christmas and smiling children? Gives a community their own ball field? Creates a world of wonder and instills joy in the hearts of children of all ages? Sounds like Santa Claus to me. Oh, and for those who may still wonder if he is the real Santa, I ask, is there any other kind?




Please Consider a Donation to Support the Resource Center

posted Dec 6, 2018, 4:32 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

The San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center gratefully acknowledges our community’s generosity and support throughout the year. We depend on that support to fund many of our services and activities, as well as the ability to keep our doors open and the lights on. WHEN CHOOSING WORTHY CAUSES FOR YEAR-END GIVING, PLEASE CONSIDER THE FRC. NO DONATION IS TOO BIG OR TOO SMALL AND ALL ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Donations maybe addressed to: SJR FRC, PO Box 630, N San Juan, CA 95960


Firewood Available at the FRC

posted Dec 6, 2018, 4:31 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Thanks to a very generous community member, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center’s woodshed now has a fresh supply of cut, split, dry firewood to distribute to local families. Although we strongly advise any one who needs assistance with heating and other energy needs to call LIHEAP at 1-888-524-5705, we are now able to provide several wheel barrow loads of wood on an emergency basis. Those who could use a little help staying warm this winter are encouraged to call 292-3174 to assure that a FRC staff member will be available to help with firewood.


Christmas Trees at the FRC

posted Dec 6, 2018, 4:30 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Dec 6, 2018, 4:35 PM ]

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

San Juan Ridge FRC Playgroup families were treated to a wonderful surprise when our good friends, Bill Pynchon and Rodger Rollings of You Bet Farm, arrived with a truck load of freshly cut, locally grown fir trees for the FRC to distribute to families.  These beautiful Christmas trees will be available to families at no cost during the Family Resource Center’s regularly scheduled hours in early to mid-December. Bill and Rodger are long-time supporters of the San Juan Ridge community; and we are very grateful for their ongoing kindness and generosity.


Fire on the Ridge Event Summary

posted Dec 6, 2018, 4:29 PM by Kristin Snell

by Pat Leach, North San Juan Fire Protection District Board Member and Fire Safe Council Defensible Space Advisor

NORTH SAN JUAN, Calif. November 11, 2018 – “Fire on the Ridge: How do we make our community more fire safe?” was a free public event hosted by the San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association intended to bring greater awareness of fire prevention and safety issues on the San Juan Ridge.

Summary: In this “New Normal” in California, all speakers reminded folks that fire needs oxygen and fuel. Remove the fuel and you have Defensible Space. California state law Public Resources Code 4291 requires a person who owns, leases, controls, operates, or maintains a building or structure in, upon, or adjoining a mountainous area, forest-covered lands, brush-covered lands, grass-covered lands, or land that is covered with flammable material, shall at all times create defensible space of 100’ around the structure. Obviously, there is much more in that law, and you can read it on home page.

Some of the takeaways from the meeting:

Cal Fire Jim Mathias, North Operations Division Chief identified the resources the State fire agency has available to respond, including Station 42 on Tyler Foote Crossing near Cruzon Grade, noting CalFire is the largest fire department in the country. Chief Mathias spoke of California’s 20 most destructive fires in acres, loss of life and structures noting the largest of these have occurred in the past 2 fire seasons – and they are trending to be worse due to the explosive nature of the dry conditions. He explained fires are often wind-driven with river canyons acting as chimneys, accelerating fire behavior, and sending fire brands (live embers) long distances, creating spots fires ahead of the fire front. He cautioned, the news about the current “Camp Fire” is not expected to be good.  When not on the fire-lines, Cal Fire provides grants and labor to accomplish reduction of hazardous fuels wherever there are “shovel-ready” projects. Challenges they face include coordinating with landowners, including Federal and residents preferring their privacy to safety. It was noted that with Goggle Earth – privacy is a myth as the Ridge was last captured this summer for anyone to view. Chief Mathias, who by the way loves his job and is very entertaining, brought maps of the Montezuma Fuel Break and the upcoming Sages Road brushing project.  (Update: NOD Chief Mathias was correct – The Camp Fire has now been named the most destructive in California history.)

NSJ Fire Battalion Chief Boyd Johnson said he was inspired to join the Fire department 30 years ago after experiencing the 49er Fire in 1988. He recounted the recent fires on the Ridge and how very lucky our community has been. Boyd mentioned the little known fact that late on the night of October 8, 2017, NSJ Fire responded to a power line that had been blown down on Highway 49 near Heesche, igniting a fire – which was quickly doused, but continued to re-ignite due to the energized line that was not turned-off for many hours. By that time, during the middle of the night, Cal Fire was the team to manage that incident, while NSJ Firefighters were sent to do structure protection in Rough and Ready – the night of the Lobo and McCourtney fires in Nevada County and intense fires in seven other Norcal counties. B.C. Johnson encouraged everyone to find a way to assist the NSJ Fire Department through becoming a Firefighter, Auxiliary member or office administrative volunteer. Even a few hours a month helps.

Jo Ann Fites, Fire Scientist had many examples and photos to share of her 30 years of experience, especially studying major forest fire behavior in the West for the Forest Service. Jo Ann was adamant that fire behavior can be modified by proper stewardship of lands, sensible fire resistant building materials and plantings. Spacing of trees to minimize crown fires and especially managing the ladder fuels along driveways, roads and within 100’ of a structure. When asked what the minimum requirements are, she suggested they could even be doubled. Jo Ann is seeking funding to provide abatement along major evacuation routes of up to 200 feet on both sides of the road. This would create a safer passage, while providing a valuable fuel break for firefighters by clearing of understory, removing trees adjacent to roadsides, cleaning the forest of dead and dying trees, and reducing the number of trees per acre to a sustainable number. (Minimum County standards are 10’ roadside brushing, with 15’ vertical limbing). If you are contacted by NSJ Fire about an upcoming proposed project, it is hoped you will seriously consider participating in this important process.

Donn Thane, Fire Safe Council of Nevada County Board Chair, shared how the FSC partners with fire departments, government funding agencies, the Firewise Communities and the public to provide education, chipping services, special needs assistance, defensible space advisory visits, community green waste drops, scotch broom challenge and hand equipment loaners. This volunteer agency has the most NFPA certified and in-training Firewise Communities/USAk nationally. That benefit means they have the experience to bundle projects county-wide and make best use of the programs they are always seeking grants for. Their services are available to all who ask and the commitment of its volunteers to serving our communities is undeniable. Donn mentioned the Tyler Foote hazardous vegetation removal project is expected to begin within the next three weeks, with brushing from Sages Road through to North Columbia Schoolhouse.

Chris Friedel, Yuba Watershed Institute Executive Director presented the mosaic of ‘Inimim Forest parcels. This patchwork of BLM encompasses nearly 2000 acres nestled between private property on a 30-mile long narrow ridge between the South and Middle Yuba Rivers. Chris described the YWI’s long term vision is a healthy, diverse forest that is home to both wild creatures and human beings and is ecologically and economically sustainable over centuries. To this end, members are involved in research projects for the understanding and protection of our native flora and fauna as well as for the development of a forest-based human economy. Chris showed maps of restoration work accomplished and work in-progress. YWI’s success in earning grants from Cal Fire is hampered only in its lack of deep-pockets to fund work done by contractors, ahead of reimbursement by these grants. So work proceeds more slowly than is desired. However, this valuable partnership with BLM is a useful model for all of Nevada County and beyond.

Pat Leach, North San Juan Fire Protection District Board Member and Fire Safe Council Defensible Space Advisor message was directed at two issues: 1) lack of proper street and address signs; 2) driveway and private road clearing of understory vegetation on the Ridge. Both relate to the safety of the Fire District’s citizens and its First Responders. Lack of double-sided signage with 4-inch tall reflective numbers and letters on a green background, has caused many delays in Firefighters and EMT’s locating fire and medical incidents during daylight hours and especially on dark and stormy nights. Pat is passionate about informing neighbors about the benefits of working with neighbors to accomplish shared goals for their road clearing. And she will describe in person the advantages of becoming a certified Firewise CommunityTM to tap into the support available (financial and labor based on individual circumstances). Pat stressed the plan models have been developed, we just need to work together – and it does not require 100% participation of a neighborhood.

San Juan Ridge Community Library Update

posted Dec 6, 2018, 4:27 PM by Kristin Snell

by Mary Moore, Librarian

OPEN TUES & THURS 11-7   SAT 10-4                                                  

Closed for these Holidays: Dec. 25,27 & Jan. 1, 2019                                   

Phone: 292-3008                                                                                              

Location: Next to Head Start on Oak Tree in North San Juan.


This is the fifth year we have been gifted with a Christmas Tree by Roger Rollings & Bill Pynchon of You Bet Farms. Thank you guys! To go with it is the book, Solstice Evergreen  The history, folklore & origins of the Christmas Tree.  (394.26 Karas)

I’m having trouble getting in the holiday mood this year.  Maybe I shouldn’t have sent all my present money to KVMR for the victims of the Paradise fire. I’m pretty sure the Grandkids will understand, but I am breaking a tradition.  In the book, Unplug the Christmas Machine (394.268 Robinson), he lambasts the materialism of the holidays (see pg 92 for the” RULES of GIVING”), and then gives great suggestions of how to simplify the whole season and create loving traditions to enjoy with family and friends.  To support that idea, we have lots of activity and cook books to enjoy with children, and many beautiful holiday picture books to read together.   Nourishing Traditions (641.5 FAL) also has some great ideas. I will even donate my book from home, Flight of the Reindeer.  After you read it, you will understand the scientific theories that explain the flying.

To help with “getting Mary in the mood” Roo, Nichole, Laura and the board  are hosting a “COOKIE EXCHANGE AND LIBRARY OPEN HOUSE,  SUNDAY DEC 16TH 12-3PM. We will have holiday storytime, cookie exchange and kids activities for the whole lot of you!

May I suggest a New Year’s resolution?  Come to the Library more often!  Happy Holidays!!!

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