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February 2016

Saint Valentine’s Revenge

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:45 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Saint Valentine would be amazed to discover his name emblazoned on the many greeting cards and delectable treats that are marketed as gifts on his feast day. He would also be astounded and rather confused to learn that the Roman god of erotic love, Cupid, has been adopted as a sort of mascot on the day that commemorates Valentine’s Christian martyrdom at the hands of the Romans back in 269.

Although his skull is adorned with flowers and on display in a Roman basilica, Valentine has become far more well-known as a patron of romantic love than as a pious priest. Also the patron saint of beekeepers, epilepsy, fainting, and plague, Valentine’s popularity is definitely linked to Love; and he’s been pretty good for business, enriching the coffers of florists, confectioners, jewelers, romantic bistros, vintners, and greeting card companies. This is Saint Valentine’s revenge: Murdered at the whim of an angry, now obscure emperor, Valentine has survived as the bringer of tokens of love; and, accompanied by his winged sidekick, Cupid, Valentine’s name has achieved iconic status.

When one receives a card or a little candy heart asking “Will you be my Valentine?” it’s not likely a suggestion that one lay down one’s life as St. Valentine did for his faith. Rather, it’s a simple way to say, “I love you.” No muss, no fuss, sometimes a little cheesy, but almost always well intentioned. While still a patron of erotic love, Valentine’s sphere also includes fondness, affection, and good will. Love and friendship should be the most abundant commodities on Earth. Yet they are so highly prized because they appear to be rare.  Extending a hand in friendship, a kind gesture, a genuine smile, a warm heart cost nothing, yet such simple acts of kindness are precious beyond measure. And now I really must ask, will you be my valentine?


East Meets West

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:43 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Feb 4, 2016, 12:48 PM ]

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

On a cool, cloudy January morning a smiling delegation of five Tibetan Buddhist monks from India’s Gaden Shartse Monastery were greeted to the Oak Tree Campus by Grizzly Hill student ambassadors, Timo Berardi and Ireland Brown. After refreshing themselves with a quick visit to the games room and a warm cup of tea, the monks filed into the Oak Tree Lodge and greeted a group of Grizzly Hill and Ananda Living Wisdom School students, teachers, parents, siblings, neighbors, and friends. After a brief introduction, and a period of chanting, Geshe (Tibetan Buddhist equivalent of a PHD) Phuntso spoke with an emphasis on delivering some words of wisdom to the students. He urged them to conserve natural resources, study hard, do well in school, respect their teachers, treat their parents with kindness and consideration, and work hard to make their parents proud. The group then had the opportunity to ask questions, ranging from, “Why do you shave your heads? And “What do you eat?” to “How old are your chants” and “What is the highest number of incarnations of someone you know?”

After the presentation everyone was invited to stay for lunch. The preschool and art rooms were transformed into gracious dining areas that accommodated all who wished to share a lunch of hearty soup, rice, bread & butter, mandarins, and cookies. Led by their teacher, Cheri Smith, Grizzly Hill School’s youngest students sweetly serenaded our visitors with Mister Rodgers’, It’s You I Like. More questions were answered, photos were taken, warm smiles and embraces were exchanged. Then, just as it began to rain, it was time to load up the school buses and bid our friends a fond farewell.

Now that the dishes are washed, the tables are stacked, and we have resumed “business as usual” we fondly remember our friends from afar and the message of simple human kindness that they bore. We are grateful to Joseph Guida of Sierra Friends of Tibet, Grizzly Hill School, Ananda Living Wisdom School, Anjelica Duarte, William Kimball, Pascale Berardi, the Safeway Foundation, Tal Benrud, Nish Tully, and all our friends and neighbors for helping to make such a special day possible.


“The monks told us they usually meditate for six hours a day, and for sixteen hours straight once a month. Meditation can calm you. I was impressed that they could speak English so well. I want them to come again.”

Bryana Walker

4th Grade Student~Grizzly Hill School



“I thought it was great! I loved the story the Geshe told about the child earning his own money because it teaches children responsibility and that when you earn something you enjoy it more than when it is just being handed to you. River, my three year old daughter, enjoyed talking with the monks at lunch. She was really excited when she got home.”

                                                                   Krista Marchetti

                                                                                            Mother of Three



“I thought it was very interesting how they chanted for 45 minutes and how they used bells and drums and put on yellow hats. I think it’s important for them to travel and show other communities what they showed us.”

Myra Walker

8th Grade Student~Grizzly Hill School


 “It was fun listening to the monks chant. What was interesting was that monks can be any age. The youngest is 2 ½ and the oldest is 103. That’s a pretty old man. The youngest monks wake up before 6:00. Every day they have to memorize 72 words. The Geshe said that there is a difference between being reborn and being reincarnated. Reincarnation is when you choose to come back. Rebirth is when you have no choice. The Dalai Lama has been reincarnated 14 times. It would be fun to see them come back here. Every time the monks they seem to bring the rain.”

                                                                             Marshall Varner

                                              8th Grade Student~Grizzly Hill School


“The monks hold themselves with such grace and a sense of beauty and peace. I think that, without a spoken word, they are able to communicate that beauty and state of being. The thing that impressed me the most was the blessing of the food. They were so appreciative when the kindergartners sang to them. I could tell that the children and the monks were really happy. It was touching and beautiful to see.”

Anjelica Duarte



“My sons, aged 2 and 3, and I ate lunch with the monks. The soup was really good. My son dropped his orange. Then the monk picked it up for him. They were laughing and smiling at each other and enjoying the oranges together. At the end of lunch each monk took the time to thank everyone and say goodbye. I’d love to see them again.”

                                                                    Amber Nusser


“It’s such a reminder to the community of how much we value community traditions, and that in the bigger scheme of things we have relationships and sharing of spirit around the world with those who value peace and kindness. Having the Tibetan monks visit is such a gift to our children.”

Jenny Travers

Educator & Community Member




“I enjoyed seeing the way the Geshe communicated with the students and gave them special insights into their situation as young people. The monks’ good will was very uplifting.”

                                                                         Marc Ryan

                                                                    Music Teacher


Get Moving with RhythMystics Dance

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:37 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Taught by Junipher, “Rhythm Dance is a percussive dance where the dancers use a series of simple steps, claps, and snaps to create the music they are dancing to. The class includes expressing rhythm with the sounds of our bodies, steppin’, and body beats. I’ve been dancing my whole life. I’ve studied many dance forms, including tap, jazz, and modern dance. I’ve been teaching Rhythm Dance for six years in elementary and middle schools and I’ve danced with an adult troupe that’s performed in Hawaii and California.”

Rhythm Dance classes are open to anyone 10 years of age and older, including teens and adults. All dancers must be pre-registered to participate. A $5 donation per class is due upon registration.

For questions, or to enroll, drop by the Family Resource    Center or call 292-3174.

Classes are on Thursdays:

February 4, 11, 18, & 25, 3:45-4:45 pm.




Cooking Classes for Young Chefs

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:36 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Cooking teacher, Wendy Van Wagner, returns to the Family Resource present her popular series of cooking classes, Healthy Foods for Kids. “We will be preparing simple dishes that are good for you but also TASTE great!”

Cooking classes are on Mondays: February 29, March 7 & 14, 3:45-4:45 pm

Young cooks 8 years and older may enroll. There is no donation required for this class, but pre-registration is required.For questions, or to enroll, drop by the Family Resource Center or call 292-3174.


Community Legal Empowerment Project

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:35 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Feb 4, 2016, 12:35 PM ]

by Erin Noel, Attorney at Law

When:                Friday, the 12th, 2-5 pm

Where:              San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center,  18847 Oak Tree Road ~                                        North San Juan

What:                 Legal and Mediation Clinic                        

Cost:                  Free, donations welcome

Need a lawyer, but want more of a say in the legal process?  Need help, but cannot afford an attorney?  Not sure which form to download, or can you use a form?  Have a dispute but don’t want to go to court?  Want to enjoy instead of tolerate the legal process?  This clinic is for you!

 Do you have a dispute that you do not want to bring to court?  A need to understand more about the law before you make a binding agreement?  Need help resolving a landlord/tenant issue, code enforcement, easement or property law issue, need help with legal issues you do not understand?

Visit our monthly legal clinic!  Erin Noel is the clinic attorney, who has experience with court mediation, property and land use law, landlord/tenant law, and other areas of law.  If she does not have expertise, she may be able to refer you to another free or low cost lawyer, and help you to prepare the questions you have.

Walk in, or MAKE AN APPOINTMENT so we can better serve you. 

To make an appointment, please contact Community Legal at 265-3425.

This clinic is staffed by volunteers, and is not affiliated with PARTNERS Family Resource Centers, Twin Ridges Elementary School District, or Nevada County Superintendent of Schools.


San Juan Ridge Community Library Update

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:33 PM by Kristin Snell

by Julie Childs, Board President-San Juan Ridge Community Library

Hours: Tue-Thu 11am-7pm and Sat 10am-4pm        

Phone: 292-3008 during open hours

· Wi-fi and computers available for public use

· Work stations and comfortable seating

· Book sale shelf, DVDs for checkout, periodicals, children’s room

· Experienced staff on-hand

· An ever-evolving collection of wonders to listen to, read, and watch

In this new year our Library membership has grown to 510 patrons, with 40 people a day average coming in.  Without knowing our exact population, I believe that’s a big portion of our community up here, and a great expression of interest in our existence!

We have a fundraiser happening at Half Stock on the Ridge, on Feb. 20th at the NSJ Community Center, and the proceeds from the sales of beer and food will benefit the Library.  Look out for the advertisements with all the info, and come out and dance to Mojo Green!

Welcome to our new board member, Therese Tesene, joining her sister Tina.  We have so much appreciation for our board members and director who guide this sturdy ship along.

Lisa Rowe will be facilitating a Magic the Gathering game on the last Saturday of the month.  This month that will be the 27th.  Pre-registration is required.  Call Lisa at 292-3246 for more info and to register.

The Tapestry Project, ongoing Tues. 10-12, and Thursday 1-3, is a unique and evolving work of art, describing life and events on the Ridge.  We’re so lucky to have some dedicated and extremely gifted stitchers bringing their talents to this endeavor!  You can also join in, experienced or not, there’s a seat for you.



Let's Knit

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:33 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Feb 4, 2016, 12:51 PM ]

by Pascale Berardi, Fiber Artist and Teacher A class where you learn or rediscover the art of knitting, refresh your skills, finish abandoned projects, share patterns and more!

Where: Four Winds Pottery Studio, Willow Springs

When: Fridays 1-3 pm

Cost: $10/class

For more info, call Pascale at 292.3017


High School Town Hall Meeting at FRC

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:30 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

A town hall meeting with Nevada Union High School District Superintendent Louise Johnson will be held in the Oak Tree Lodge, 18847 Oak Tree Road on February 22, 6-8 pm. Hosted by the San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center, parents and members of the public are welcome to provide input on high school district planning, budget, and programs.



posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:30 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Feb 4, 2016, 12:50 PM ]

by Rose Leuty, Poet

Summer loves fall

Exposure softens

Secrets fulfill, expand

Yellow-orange to red-orange



Fall loves winter

Within we freeze, no one sees

Stark ice welcomes suns occasional spark

White stone, green stone


Winter loves spring

Hello, are you there?

I’ve been gone so long—have you?

Your color, you have color

My world everywhere


Spring loves summer

Penetrate my nakedness with your passion

Glow, glow, glow for all

Beauty, you see me don’t you

I’m all here to suck empty dry, yellow-dry

MMeeMeertMeet the Author

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Contributing writer, Rose Leuty, has lived on the San Juan Ridge for 27 years.  She has served the community by working at Grizzly Hill, Oak Tree, and Malakoff schools, North Columbia Schoolhouse’s Story Telling Festival, and as a 6 ½ year EMT/Firefighter with the North San Juan Fire Department. A regular visitor to the Family Resource Center, Rose edited her first published work, a memoir, in our computer lab. Rose explained “I wrote A Poisoned Egg Blooms, a memoir, with the socially hidden situations I experienced in mind, as well as to objectively look at and then release my past. I continue to write with a deep love of Nature and acceptance of the human condition.”

A Poisoned Egg Blooms can be purchased at Harmony Books and SPD in Nevada City, Two Rivers Gallery in Downieville, and on

Printed in this issue of Ridge Connections, Circle will be included in Ms Leuty’s next publication, a volume of poetry.


Focus on Community Wellness

posted Feb 4, 2016, 12:17 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Feb 4, 2016, 12:31 PM ]

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family    Resource Center

On January 26th a Health and Wellness Focus Group met in the Oak Tree Lodge to discuss health assets and challenges in the San Juan Ridge Community.  A group of eight community members, including delegates from the North San Juan Fire Department and the San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center, provided input to Valley Vision consultants, Sarah Underwood and Giovanna Forno.  In addition to considering substance abuse, cancer, diabetes, and mental illness to be among the most prevalent health problems, the group identified physical and emotional isolation, lack of adequate transportation, poor nutrition, and an insufficient number of primary health care providers to be the most pressing problems.  Excellent emergency medical care from our local firefighters, a peaceful rural environment, alternative medical providers and midwives, and organic farms were community assets.  This and other information discussed will be used when determining where future funding can best fill community needs.


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