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February 2017

February 4, 1977…40th Anniversary of Oak Tree School Fire

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:10 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 1:29 PM ]

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Lovingly created by the San Juan Ridge Community, Oak Tree School sits peacefully atop a leafy knoll. Strewn with picnic tables and granite outcroppings, her grassy lawns welcome visitors, inviting them to linger a while and enjoy red-winged blackbirds’ songs rising from a nearby pond. The beautiful oak-studded site was carefully chosen for a school that was designed and built by the San Juan Ridge Community back in the mid 1970’s. The original Oak Tree School was a hand-crafted wonder that embodied the dreams and aspirations of a generation. It was a source of pride and joy for the builders, the teachers, the students, their families, and the community. Then on the evening of February 4, 1977, shortly after its completion, the beautiful new school was consumed by fire.

Alternative school sites were set up around the Ridge so that children continued to be educated while another school was built upon this lovely knoll. As the legendary phoenix is utterly consumed by fire, then reborn to rise from its ashes, so Oak Tree School was reconstructed, rising from the ashes of its predecessor.

History teaches us that we are not immune to change. Although darkness may descend upon the sunniest of days, it does not last forever. Oak Tree School stands as a testament to that.  A dedicated, perseverant community oversaw the rebuilding of an edifice that has endured as a place to educate, gather, and help meet the basic needs of a diverse rural community. She remains our pride and joy.


Valentine's Making Workshop

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:07 PM by Kristin Snell


at the



THURSDAY ~ FEBRUARY 9th ~ 3:45-4:45pm



No drop-ins~Please call 292-3174 to register.


Games Day Returns

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:06 PM by Kristin Snell   [ updated Feb 2, 2017, 1:45 PM ]

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Led by Joshua MacAran, GAMES DAY will return on February 27th and continue on Monday afternoons through April 3rd.

A Brattleboro, Vermont native, Joshua now resides in Camptonville with his young daughter and wife Michelle, who teaches Family Yoga at our weekly Playgroup. Actively playing board games since he was ten, Joshua describes how a fun pastime has evolved into a career.

by Joshua MacAran, Educator

I'm a man who has worn many hats.  I worked in grocery stores and food service for many years and found that I enjoy customer service immensely. After an adult diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome at age 26 and a gradual realization that serving bagels with a smile was not impacting the world in a way that felt meaningful, I decided that I wanted to help others learn to be social faster and with less pain than I did. I stumbled upon Epic Revolution Sacramento (a social group for Autism/spectrum teens and young adults) and have been providing a playful place to work on social competence for the last 4 years. I also developed and run a Dungeons and Dragons group as a social learning avenue. 

I'm an avid gamer ever since I can remember.  I played a lot of video games back in the day, but since I met my wife and had a child I've moved away from putting my energies into screen time and move more toward games with physical components and physical opponents.  In my work with Epic Revolution I use circle games, sports, board games, card games, and occasionally video games to promote learning in a fun and relaxed environment.

I've also come to recognize the important connection between mind and body.  I'm a trained yoga teacher and one of my missions in my work is to convince all those geeky gamer types that they'll enjoy their games (and everything else!) more and feel better if they get off the couch and run around a bit each day.  I'm also passionate about helping driven overachievers relax and learn to enjoy life more.  I guess you could say I'm an advocate of the middle path.

Send your kids to Games Day to let out some energy with dodgeball, tag, soccer, frisbee, and a host of other active games.  We'll also provide a variety of challenging, stimulating, and fun games with an emphasis on skillsets such as word use, basic math, multi-level thinking and strategic planning, cooperation, negotiation, understanding other perspectives, deception detection, focus and reflexes.

Editor's note:

Although FREE, all GAMES DAY participants must be pre-registered with a permission slip and emergency medical form on file.  We hope that you will be able to take advantage of this special opportunity.  Participation is limited so be sure to sign up soon, as enrollment is on a first-come-first-served basis.  Fun is guaranteed!




Welcome, Camryn!

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:04 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center happily welcomes Bitney College Prep High School freshman, Camryn Ahhaitty, who will be interning here for this semester. Camryn’s internship at the FRC is part of Bitney College Prep High School’s new alignment with Big Picture Learning, a national education reform movement. Her advisor, Daniel Elkin, shared his enthusiasm for the internship program. “I’m excited about the program and I think it’s a great thing for kids to get out into the world.”

When asked why she chose to intern at the San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center, Camryn explained, “My mom and sister and family went to school here at Oak Tree; and I thought it would be really interesting to have this experience. I want to get into social work. I think it will be interesting to help people and to get to know them. I’m excited to work here!” A lifelong resident of the San Juan Ridge, Camryn attended Grizzly Hill School and took afternoon violin classes here at the FRC. In addition to being a student and an intern, Camryn is an artist who paints and draws, as well as beads. She is also a self-described “pro mini-golfer and bad comedian.”

We are delighted to have Camryn’s help at the FRC on Wednesdays, beginning February 1st. We are grateful to her for choosing us and to Bitney College Prep High School for making her internship possible.


ART with PENNY at the FRC

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:03 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Oak Tree’s Art Room will be bustling with activity on Wednesday afternoons as accomplished artist Penny St. Claire mentors young artists throughout the month of March. With degrees in Math and Biology, as well as a Masters Degree in Education, Penny has a rich history as a working and teaching artist. She has been teaching art for thirty years and currently teaches ceramics at her Four Winds Studio in North San Juan. The series of mixed media classes will include journal making, drawing, ceramics and collage. Although this activity is FREE, all young artists must be pre-registered with a permission slip and emergency medical form on file.


Who?     Boys and Girls 3rd Grade and up

Where? San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

When?  Wednesdays 1:00-2:30 pm/ March 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29

How?     Call 292-3174 or drop by the San Juan Ridge FRC to enroll.




Car Donations Keep Doors Open

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:02 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Many thanks to those who have donated vehicles to the San Juan Ridge Community Library and Family Resource Center! Your donations help us to serve our community. It’s easy to donate a vehicle. Just call the Center for Car Donations at 877-411-3662 and tell them that you want to donate a vehicle(s) to the San Juan Ridge Community Library. They’ll take it from there. Thanks again for thinking of us and helping us keep our doors open.


North San Juan Incorporation...To Be or Not To Be?

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:01 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

On the evening of January 25th, a meeting was held at the North San Juan Community Center to discuss the possibility of incorporating the San Juan Ridge. Although referred to as “North San Juan”, the proposed incorporation is projected to adhere to the borders of the entire North San Juan Fire Protection District, thus encompassing most of the San Juan Ridge.  When incorporation proponent, Brad Peceimer, was asked to cite some advantages of incorporation, he responded, “Being able to control our own destiny without having interference from the Board of Supervisors, as well as being able to expand municipal services, such as a sewer system which would allow for some development such as a laundromat; basically being able to control our own money to serve the interests of our own people. We are looking into limited controlled development, such as a hardware store. I think we can do better on the Ridge.”

When asked for his opinion on incorporation, forty year San Juan Ridge resident and former Nevada County Planning Commissioner, Kurt Lorenz, responded, “The Ridge has historically benefitted by being an ignored stepchild in Nevada County. Creating a municipality that would be the largest by area in Nevada County in order to capture local taxes would create a political nightmare on the Ridge. I think this proposal is very ill-advised.”

The next meeting to discuss this issue is tentatively scheduled at 1:00pm on Saturday, February 11, at the North San Juan Community Center. Further information on the proposed incorporation can be obtained by contacting Brad Peceimer at (530)913-6426 or , or accessing:


Practical Humanism—A Core Curriculum

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:00 PM by Kristin Snell

by Reverend Lewie Pell, Lifetime Youth Worker, Yogi, Spoken Word Activist

“We cannot solve the problems of our time with the same mind that has created them.”                                                                                     - A. Einstein

As a parent, teacher, and pastoral minister to homeless and runaway youth – now retired – I have been envisioning the following proposal to help our education system produce a ‘new mind’ among us for the transformation of our world.

At every level of youth education – K through l2 – there might be a core curriculum devoted to the study of what it is to be truly human,  to learn to embrace the deepest and most valuable aspects of the human reality – on an experiential level.  Therefore the approach to this multidimensional project should take primarily a practicum approach – encouraging with each subject offered student participation, inter-active activities such as role-playing; sharing circles that encourage active listening; journaling etc.

Subjects would include but not be limited to : developing a loving, affirming relationship with oneself;  the vital role of compassion and acceptance in human life;  how to communicate skillfully;  how to make choices that are inclusive of others’ desires and needs – to focus on the highest good for all people, nature, creation;  in problem-solving how to be solution-oriented;  how to develop and live by universal ethical standards common to all the highest and most profound teachings from all traditions of humanisticly oriented thought (including all religions’ ethical teachings);  how to focus on similarities rather than differences;  how to find the good and positive in all situations – finding seeds for deepening awareness and growth in any challenge one meets; appropriate and inappropriate uses of power – individual and collective / power with vs. power over;  how to live ones life in perpetual awe and appreciation of the wondrous creation we are so intimately a part of;  how to develop a sense of ‘giving back,’ of loving service to others as an integral part of living a happy, meaningful life;  how to develop and nurture one’s one creativity in response to any and all of life’s situations;  how to differentiate between healthy pride and self-deluding ego;  how to learn to forgive . . .

Each class might begin with a sharing circle emphasizing openness, non-judgment ,acceptance – and confidentiality.  Readings could include stories like Aesop’s fables, the Jakarta/sufi tales; inspirational favorites chosen from the facilitator’s own library of great poetry, art, humanistic wisdom teachings, etc; the learning and practice of using positive life-affirming affirmations; the offering of the facilitator of a particular ‘problem/challenge in story form with invitation to students to come up with their solution – maybe in dyads, then shared with all,

(For available curricula ideas and materials:; www.instituteofnoeticsciences/Education-Worldwide Explorations Program.)

Please contact Rev. Lewie Pell, lifetime youth worker, yogi, spoken word activist at for any reactions, suggestions.


San Juan Ridge Community Library Update

posted Feb 2, 2017, 12:57 PM by Kristin Snell

by Julie Childs, Board President-SJR Community Library

Hours: Tue. & Thur. 11 am- 7 pm, Sat. 10 am - 4 pm

Phone:  292-3008

· Wi-fi and computers available for public use

· Work stations and comfortable seating

· DVDs for checkout, Book sale shelf, Periodicals, Children’s room

· Experienced staff on hand

· An ever-evolving collection of wonders


A lot of us have been having inside time, and maybe a quiet time finally to read, with all this wet and snowy weather. Your library now has over 10,000 items.  You can refresh your literature here! We’ve been getting donations from Marin county via our county library, a lot of brand new-in-print titles. Inside this now gorgeous “portable,” we have a warm and dry Library, busy with computer users, DVD perusers, stitchers in the back room chattering away, book returners and borrowers, periodical browsers, book sale shelf lookers, children doing kid things, and best of all, we have Mary and Roo!

This new year we at the library want to thank all who’ve volunteered time, given money, and donated in other ways to help keep us up and running. Grace Mack and her evolving mural, thank you!!! If you have a desire to do a little extra for your community this year, we always need volunteers who can give two hours a week to some fun work.

We’ll be having a big fundraiser on Friday, February 10 at the Shady Creek Event Center. We are so lucky to have Joe Craven and Bruce Macmillan come and rock the evening! There’ll be a dinner at 6 pm and music at 7. Shady Creek is a beautiful place and the food will be spectacular. Tickets can be bought ahead at the library, Family Resource Center, and Mother Truckers, also at the door. This will be a fun night that will go far to support our library!

The Tapestry project has two works in progress now. They are meeting here Tue 1-3 pm, and Thur 10 am-12 pm. There’s always a place for you to join in around the linen, no stitching experience is necessary. An added wonder is the presence of Carol Meals and Leatha Welker serenading us some Tuesdays from 1-3!


Kudos for Cantada

posted Feb 2, 2017, 12:55 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

San Juan Ridge Community Library’s Roo Cantada has been honored for her work on behalf of our public libraries by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. In January, Ms Cantada was presented with a “Certificate of appreciation for your leadership and contribution to the administration and progress of the County of Nevada while serving as a member on the ‘YES for Nevada County: YES on Measure A Committee.’”

Measure A was a ballot measure that secured funding to expand and enhance library services in Nevada County. Although not officially a member of the Nevada County Library system, it is hoped that the San Juan Ridge Community Library will receive a portion of that funding. Since opening its doors in June, 2014, our little library has become a Ridge institution that has issued 644 library cards and now houses over 10,000 items. Many thanks to Roo and to all those who have worked to create and maintain a library of which we can be proud!


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