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January 2019

Martin’s Dream

posted Jan 15, 2019, 4:24 PM by Kristin Snell

by Diana Pasquini, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

As I sit here in my cozy foothill home on the first day of this new calendar year, my thoughts turn to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American social movement that he came to personify. Dr. King’s dream, that one day people would be judged, “not on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character,” resounds within me.

Back in 1956, when we had just moved from western Pennsylvania to Miami, Florida, which was not the sprawling international city that it is today, we had no car. One day my mother decided that we needed to explore the area by visiting Miami’s downtown. With me in town, she walked up our sun-bleached street to the nearest bus stop on Hwy 1. When the bus arrived and the doors opened, we ascended the steps, dropped our coins in the slot, and proceeded to find a seat. We had only traveled a block or so when the driver veered off the road, the bus lurching and bumping as it pulled to a screeching stop on the graveled shoulder. He turned, red-faced, menacingly glaring at the passengers. Neither my mother nor I had any idea of what had happened to inspire such a drastic response, but everyone else on the bus did. All eyes turned to me, a little white girl who had chosen to sit in the very last row of the bus. When he saw that the wide-eyed child wasn’t relocating, without further cues, he furiously growled, “Move!” The folks surrounding me on the “colored only” back seat whispered that I needed to get up and move forward, and do it quickly. That was my first experience of racism.

Although the law of our land no longer permits “WHITES ONLY” or “COLORED ONLY” signs on public toilets or drinking fountains, there is still a sense of separation that exists in our world today. Ageism, sexism, racism, and a general lack of tolerance may not be politically correct, but are alive and well. The girl in the back of the bus has spent much of her life struggling to understand the roots of prejudice. Years ago she concluded that consciousness of “The Other” is somehow built into human DNA, that in primordial times, such discrimination may have aided in the survival of our species. Perhaps there was a time when it was valuable to separate, fear, and eradicate based solely on superficial differences. The girl in the back of the bus wants to believe that, as our species evolves, that gene will diminish and one day disappear. She harbors the hope that once that nasty trait is gone, we will no longer be judged by our race, age, sex, religion, caste, class, culture, sexual orientation, politics, philosophy, economics, or any other superficial characteristic. And, in keeping with Dr. King’s dream, our judgment of the content of one’s character will consist of assessing our own character first.

If you are a person who makes resolutions at the beginning of a new year, perhaps you might consider infusing the spirit of Dr. King’s vision into your own. The girl on the bus would advise you to look at yourself and the world around you, then do whatever you can to help. As Dr. King said, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?”


Original Coloring Page by Gem Visuals

posted Jan 15, 2019, 4:22 PM by Kristin Snell

Don’t Blink

posted Jan 15, 2019, 4:19 PM by Kristin Snell

by E. Mack, Writer

First time, I did not know; it was only for a couple of seconds. In fact the first several times were mostly the same. It wasn't until I referenced a map some time later that I noticed North San Juan. I guess it was the name that originally got my attention. Wow! I've got to slow down. I was living and working in Lake Tahoe at that time and regularly visited some friends who lived all along historic highway 49. Further explanation unnecessary. That was back in the '80s and I was on my 1980 1100 yamaha: very fun, very [too] fast and my main form of transport back then. Never would have guessed that I would one day call NSJ my home; now, for the last nearly eight years. Happenstance brought me back and subtle allure kept me.

Here are zero traffic lights, only one gas station, one post office, one small grocery, one Nick's-knack's, one fantastic deli, one delightful Mama's Pizza, the fine Ridge Cafe serving delicious original cuisine, and the Brass Rail with pool tables, occasionally hosting live music plus always an abundance of friends and neighbors. There are two other fine eateries: Petersons Corner and Toki's, [which is temporarily closed for renovation]. Each extend promise of now and future excellent dining-out adventures.

There are of course, many others including: High Sierra Metal Works for all that is metal, Sweetland and McNeely's nurseries for all that is garden, or get your car expertly tuned at Lenny's Shop. Of course your spiritual needs are addressed by at least one church and we have the outstanding Oak Tree Library complete on the inside and beautifully illustrated outside with its namesake 'oaktree' set in an iconic mural by a very talented local artist. Then there is the North Columbia Schoolhouse and Grizzly Hill for academics and Milhous for livestock needs and feeds.

We have Milano's Inn to accommodate all of our visiting friends, the open-to-all Oak Tree park adjacent to the library, the Family Resource Center, Willow Springs Yo’Garage, Bali Banjar for Indonesian furniture, etc., and Ananda Village with an assortment of services and activities. We are also very proud and blessed to have Mountain Bounty Farms and others to provide us with locally grown, healthy organic produce. I have my own garden for tomatoes and other culinary and medicinal requisites. Traditional medical, dental and chiropractic are also local. Proximity to larger metro areas is reasonable. Two of the five young Americans I'm proud to call my children live here as well. What more could I possibly want? 

We have our own recycling plant [dump] and two cemeteries to handle the overflow. Although I walk through them with my dog on a regular basis, I'm not planning on taking up residency anytime soon.

At right around 2000 feet the climate in the foothills is for the most part very pleasant. Early spring brings rain and some snow, just enough to take care of things. Late summer comes with the occasional distinct aroma of burning mixed conifer spiced with scotch broom. The ensuing grapevine buzz concerning the magnitude of potential threat from forest fire comes with the smoke. Most are distant enough to rise only to the level of reminder of what could happen should a whim of Mother Nature threaten your space.  Since here, I've only prepared to evacuate once; just last year. It was a wonderful and awesome sight to witness full size commercial jets unload their bellyfull of red retardant at treetop level perhaps a mile from where I anxiously sat with my car packed and ready to flee. Those firefighters certainly deserve major kudos from all of us for the monumental job that they perform for us all. 

Over the last several years I've witnessed the ebb and flow of the seasonal traveling population and the struggle that these mostly young people face. North San Juan is a mecca for that segment of our society. This tiny community has a big heart though. Somehow, it all works out for those folks. Community outreach is huge here in NSJ with a well organized food distribution program for everyone in need, both young and old. It's free with no hoops to jump through. Our NSJ Center sponsors a multitude of venues which cater to all of our residents. Arts and crafts abound here and are encouraged in our community. 

I've tipped my hat already but they deserve another mention-our fully capable local Fire Department as well as our other most important first responders both Sheriff and EMS who each consistently demonstrate their courage, ability and fairness on a regular basis. Last but certainly not least is that group of dedicated, hard-working, brave men and women of the California State Police and Cal-Trans who keep our roads safe and clear and free to travel.

Tons of outdoor activities are also available from a multitude of rivers and mountains both major and minor. The Ridge and our beloved foothills are all there and beckoning us to come and explore and enjoy. Memories waiting to be created abound; your imagination the only limit. 

Though I could never have guessed, North San Juan has added itself along with a big checkmark to my very short bucket list.

At home now, E. Mack



Could We Use Your Help? Yes!

posted Jan 15, 2019, 4:18 PM by Kristin Snell

by Kristin Snell, San Juan Ridge Family Resource Center

Visitors to the Family Resource Center sometimes ask how they can support our work and if we could use their help. The answer is: Yes! And there are many ways to help. We warmly welcome volunteers for one-time projects and events, or in some instances, ongoing positions. Volunteers assist us in critical ways; staffing fundraisers and events, picking up trash along Oak Tree for the Adopt-A-Road project, delivering items for the food pantry (so many thanks to Nancy Lorenz—we could not offer food pantry services without you!), sorting and shelving donations for the clothes closet, and more.

In order to tackle projects and maintain the beautiful Oak Tree School campus, we periodically organize work days. We will host our next community work day on Wednesday, January 30th from 11 am-3 pm. Weather permitting, we plan to do yardwork, pick up trash for Adopt-A-Road, and paint picnic benches. Indoor tasks should it be rainy are to clean and organize various spaces around the campus. Please RSVP for the work party in person or by calling 292.3174. We would like to hear in advance from anyone planning to help out so that we can prepare tools and a plan for what to accomplish. We will provide refreshments for all volunteers. If you cannot attend the work party but would like to work another day or are interested in volunteer work of any type, please contact us—we would certainly love to hear from you.



posted Jan 15, 2019, 4:17 PM by Kristin Snell

by Hank Weston, District IV Supervisor—Nevada County Board of Supervisors

It is hard to believe but twelve years, as your District IV Supervisor, are ending in January 2019. I have been involved in Nevada County for over 30 years now. First as a Unit Chief and the Fire Warden for Nevada County starting in ’88 and continuing in the City of Grass Valley and as an elected Director on the Fire District Board in Penn Valley, and now, as the District IV Supervisor.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the Fourth District but even more importantly the County as a whole. Over the course of my tenure, the decisions that are made, things that are done, the first thing that goes through my mind is, “Is this good for the whole county? Is this what we want to see in our County?” This has been my guiding light as I have wrestled with questions on any given issue, explored ways to confront challenges faced by the County, and addressed the ever-changing landscape known as public policy.  

Another point that I would like to share is that the staff in our County are outstanding. I worked for 45 years in the Fire Service and you become a family and you think, “Ok, that was the greatest career,” but then you move over and take on a whole new role. I have been so impressed by the County staff here at all levels. I mean, starting from the top with County executives and department heads, to mid-level program managers and supervisors to front-line administrative staff all the way down to the janitor - Just very, very intense dedicated and passionate people.

Recently someone asked me, “Well, what did you accomplish?”

Well, I have a list somewhere I could point to, but the truth is I did not accomplish it by myself. County staff, community partners, dedicated citizens and my colleagues who are here now and those who are no longer here – it was them. It’s not Hank Weston; we as a group and team have moved this County forward. Don’t get me wrong, not everything was perfect, but if it was, we probably don’t belong in this business, but we did what we thought was right with the information and options available to us at the time. The whole premise of my decision making has been, and is, when it comes down to a decision, “Is it the right thing to do?” Another guiding principle.

I also could not have served without the support of my beautiful wife, Kandy, of 47 years acting as my sounding board and my two daughters. They have been always there – with solid support and encouragement. In fact, my daughters would tell me, “Go for it, Dad, go for it,” and it truly has been a great, great experience and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

But there is someone else I would like to thank as well – you the public, and all of my constituents. I will never forget you. I really will never forget all of the friendships that I’ve gained and what it means to have a community like Nevada County.

In addition, to no surprise for those of you that know me personally, I have kept my sense of humor through this whole experience. That, to me, is very important. And while there are times when it gets a little heated, or pressured, it is important to keep your sense of humor – this helps bind us together and remind one another that we are not so different from each other in the end – we all want the best for our community, even if we may disagree on the approach to get there.  That is important in governing. So, thank you again, I have really enjoyed being part of this County and serving you to the best of my ability. It’s been a great ride. Thank you.


Action Community Team News

posted Jan 15, 2019, 4:16 PM by Kristin Snell

by Pat Leach, SJR ACT member

Greetings once again from the SJR Action Community Team (SJR ACT)! We are digging into the important work right away in the new year. In our inception, the team identified three areas we wanted to begin our work. While we know there is a LOT to do, we decided to start with Transportation, Homelessness, and Law Enforcement/Opioids. Our progress with the Transportation Commissioners Office has been phenomenal and bus is due to be in place by July 2019.

Our next big EVENT will be a Point in Time Count ON JANUARY 24th from 11-3pm (see flyer below). The purpose of the event is not to track the unsheltered, but rather count them to help secure resources and assess what our needs are on the Ridge. We will be serving FREE hot meals, giving away warm clothes and other supplies and having live music and fun! Our survey will help SJR ACT interface with county services to help the residents of the ridge and help improve their quality of life. Gift cards will be available to those who qualify and complete survey. If you or someone you know is housing challenged, couch surfing or living in their car or tent, PLEASE tell them to about this event.  JANUARY 24TH 11-3PM AT THE COMMUNITY CENTER!


San Juan Ridge Community Library Update

posted Jan 15, 2019, 4:14 PM by Kristin Snell

by Mary Moore, Librarian

OPEN TUES & THURS 11-7   SAT 10-4                                                  

Phone: 292-3008                                                                                              

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

Happy New Year from the San Juan Ridge Community Library! It has felt very “community” lately in the past month as we celebrated the holidays together for our first Holiday Open House Craft and Cookie Exchange. It was a lovely day, complete with carols sung by our very own Nichole DaLuz , thoughtful crafts by Mary Moore and of course tons of tons of amazing cookies! It was a delicious gathering of young, wise and everyone in between! I even snuck in a great story while everyone munched and glued. Many thanks to Tom Wade, who generously donated a beautiful set of wooden blocks for our kid’s area. If you missed it, don’t worry, I think it will be a tradition from here on out! The patrons at the library were generous and kind during the holidays and we thank everyone who contributed to our welcoming atmosphere.

As we move into the new year and the colder months, we hope to see more BOOK check outs! Reading is a great way to spend those rainy afternoons cuddled with blankets and a cup of something warm. The new year is also a time to clean out those tough spaces you’ve been procrastinating about. Audio books make house work, driving and other tedious projects fly by. We hope that “Reading More” is one of your new year’s resolutions!

We would like to welcome Renee Wade and Bethany Thomas to our board. Renee has been with us for a few months and is our new board secretary and Bethany became officially the VP in December. We also have one more position available if anyone wants to join our amazing board of Directors. It is a volunteer position and meetings are once a month. Inquire at the library or send us a message on Facebook.

We would also like to thank our volunteers Laura Savage and Ruth Heyser. Your incredible dedication is so appreciated! Thank you for keeping our AV department tidy and for wrapping and protecting our collection. You two are the best!









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