Fire station paint job benefits Project Graduation
By John Sollman
BAY CITY Sept. 7, 2009 — August 22 saw the Bay City fire station swarming with 16 volunteers armed with paint brushes, scrapers, drop cloths and unbridled enthusiasm.
Bay City Fire Chief Don Reynolds
Two years ago, Bay City Fire Chief Don Reynolds explained, the voters approved a maintenance and operation levy for the Fire Department. Prior to the levy, Reynolds said, the department was slipping farther and farther behind in its ability to operate the department and maintain the fire station. The levy restored enough money to purchase much-needed equipment and perform overdue maintenance.
“This year,” Reynolds said, “the emphasis has been on upgrading facilities.” The department got a bit of a maintenance boost when a local Girl Scout troop, searching for a community betterment project, took on painting of the inside of the fire station. “And they’ve been doing a wonderful job in that,” Reynolds said.
But the outside of the building needed paint and other maintenance badly, Reynolds explained, much of it because of severe damage from the great December windstorm.
Reynolds looked to the Neah-Kah-Nie School District to find an organization willing to take on the job of painting the building exterior. The reason, Reynolds explained, is that Bay City has many kids attending NKN schools. Because the Bay City community has supported the Fire Department, Reynolds said, “we felt it was only fair that we try to support the schools where we possibly can.” The school district “directed us to the SAFE Committee, which is the Project Graduation group.” They took the job.
“We supplied the paint,” Reynolds said, “and they supplied everything else, including a tremendous amount of manpower. There were large areas which needed scraping before it could be painted.”
Within eight hours, they scraped the building and applied two coats of exterior latex paint “with as little muss and fuss as I’ve ever seen on a paint job with that many people,” Reynolds said. The volunteers consisted mainly of adults, “with a few senior kids who will be in next year’s Project Graduation, plus a few younger ones.”
The group spent 108 really tough man-hours, Reynolds said, breaking only for a 30-minute barbecue lunch. This was not a pro bono operation, Reynolds explained. “We set a price with them, as a fundraiser for Project Graduation.” Last year, they spent about $17,500, and they’re looking to spend about the same this year.
Project Graduation was paid one dollar less than the amount bid by a professional painter. Total cost of the paint job, including the paint and power washing of the building, done by Chris Norris of K&J Power Washing, was $4,463.56, of which $3,499 went to Project Graduation. K&J, Reynolds said, “made a hefty donation of their time for the project.”
“It’s only good business for us to help community organizations to complete their programs,” Reynolds said. “Our members come from the community, and every person who was helping with the project is a potential new member for the Fire Department. We’re tickled to death that we were able to help with Project Graduation.”
The Fire Department welcomes new members. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter can visit the fire station at 7:30 p.m. any Monday to learn more.
Christmas Eve in Korea, 1950
By John Sollman
The 1st Marine Division had just been evacuated from the port of Hungnam, North Korea. The First Medical Battalion, to which I was assigned, was bivouacked on a hill overlooking the city of Masan in South Korea.
A day or so before Christmas Eve, Father Reilly, our chaplain, whom I had met several years before joining the Navy, asked me to accompany him to a little Catholic church about a half mile up the hill from our compound. We walked up the hill, talking about our earlier acquaintance during his assignment to the Immaculate Conception Monastery in Jamaica, New York. I had been an altar boy in those days, and had served him at Mass on more than one occasion.
Father Reilly was seeking permission to celebrate Midnight Mass at the little church on Christmas Eve. The parish priest, a Korean, spoke little English, but he was fluent in Latin as were most Catholic priests of the day. It was not long before the two of them had completed their arrangements for the Mass. The Korean priest, more than happy to make his little church available to the Marines who had defended Pusan and Masan six months earlier, asked only that his parishioners be welcome to join us at Mass.
Shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, the devout began to assemble outside our compound. They came from all over Masan, Marines and Koreans alike. Somehow, someone had managed to locate a large number of candles, almost enough for everyone who came to attend the service. The air was still and the night clear and cold, but not oppressively so, quite unlike the nights up north. Our candles alight, the sounds of Christmas carols rising above the throng, our procession made its way slowly up the hill to the door of the little church. There, the Korean pastor welcomed us and threw open the doors, revealing the warm, inviting glow within. I turned for a moment, and looked back. Almost as far as the eye could see, the faithful with their flickering lights moved solemnly up the hill, the strains of their carols drifting over the peaceful countryside. Still singing, their candles still alight, they filed in, genuflected, and took their places in the pews on either side of the main aisle.
The throng soon overflowed the little church, and those outside gathered near the open door so that they, too, might participate in the worship. Fresh, green pine boughs, and white and red flowers adorned the altar and the creche to one side. The church was ablaze with the soft light of hundreds of votive candles, and the air was pungent with the mixed aromas of incense, pine, and beeswax. I was to serve at Mass that evening, alongside a Korean altar boy, and I accompanied Father Reilly to the vestry to prepare for the service. From inside the vestry, we marveled at the blended sounds of Korean and English as the congregation sang "Silent Night" a cappella, as Franz Gruber had intended when he penned it one snowy Christmas Eve many years ago. Having forgotten most of my Latin responses, my role was to pour wine and water into the chalice for the Offertory and the water for the Lavabo, and to hold the paten for Father Reilly as he distributed Communion.
It was a curious sight, the diminutive Korean altar boy in his cassock and surplice, and I, in my Marine Corps fatigues, towering head and shoulders above him. The Korean pastor, acting in the capacity of Master of Ceremonies at a High Mass, assisted Father Reilly as he said the Mass of the Nativity, the first of the three Masses a priest could say on Christmas. The Mass lasted almost an hour. Two brief sermons were given that evening, one in English by Father Reilly, the other in Korean by our gracious Korean host. The Mass concluded with the singing of "Adeste Fidelis," some singing it in Latin, some in English, and some in Korean.
We filed silently out into the clear, cold Korean night, the hamlet and valley below softly aglow in the pale light of the full moon and the millions of stars smiling down upon us. Basking in an inner glow of peace and tranquility, we filed, quietly and contemplatively, to our bivouacs in the village below. The ordeal of the north had ended, and, for a brief moment, the war seemed but a distant memory.
City mulls Goose Point evacuation
By John Sollman
BAY CITY Oct. 13, 2009 --- "What are going to be able to do about all those people who are going to be trapped down there, in Goose Point, and not be able to get out?" Fire Chief Don Reynolds asked the City Council at its October 13 meeting.
Presently, Reynolds advised, there is only one exit from Goose Point and the Public Works area in case of a major earthquake or tsunami. If there is a quake, Reynolds continued, the dike between the treatment ponds will collapse, and there will be no access whatever to the treatment plant and equipment stored there.
The Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad runs parallel to U.S. 101, preventing creation of additional routes out of Goose Point. Oregon Department of Transportation policy is to limit rail line grade crossings to as few as possible. Though the rail line is not in use because of storm damage, it has not been abandoned. There are groups working to get the line repaired and placed back in service.
Fire protection, Reynolds said, is addressed by requiring installation of sprinklers in all new construction in Goose Point. But the greater danger is residents' inability to exit the area following a subduction quake in time to escape the tsunami. "It only takes one car getting sideways down there, and you've got everybody backed up," he said.
One of the things we learned from the tsunami in Indonesia several years ago, Reynolds said, is that "people who stayed above the second floor of their hotel didn't have a problem." FEMA recently published a report, "Vertical Evacuation from Tsunamis," which Reynolds wished to put before the Hazard Mitigation Committee. A "small structure down there which would handle a couple hundred folks in a vertical evacuation mode might be worth thinking about," he said.
Mayor Shaena Peterson noted that such a structure might serve a dual purpose if located on the Museum property. "It's interesting to look at it as a viewing area and, in a worst-case scenario, as an escape hatch too," she said.
The idea of vertical evacuation first came to light following an article in the Oregonian several weeks ago, with an artist's conception of a proposed Canon Beach city hall on pillars to double as a vertical evacuation structure.
But, Reynolds cautioned, "there's money involved here, when we start talking about something like this." He said it could be a "plain Jane" structure with ramps instead of stairs. But where to come up with the money, he said, "that I don't know."
A FEMA mitigation grant would fund 75 percent of the cost, Reynolds explained, but to qualify for the money, we must produce a Benefit-Cost Analysis of one-to-one. That is, for each dollar spent, one dollar in value is returned.
But here's the rub. Tsunamis occur every 300 to 700 years. According to FEMA figures, a person is valued at about $3 million. If you multiply that number by the number of residents in Goose Point, you get quite a large number. But then, you must divide that by 500, the median value of the range 300 to 700. That casts some doubt whether the benefit-cost analysis would produce an acceptable ratio. But if it can be worked out, Reynolds said, "we could get it 75-percent funded by FEMA."
Councilor Helen Wright expressed concern that development was permitted in Goose Point when there is no way for residents to get out in the event of a tsunami. Peterson and several councilors expressed interest in the concept of vertical evacuation.
Councilor John Gettman cautioned that the City presently has no funding source for the required 25 percent match. He suggested that Goose Point property owners might agree to form a Local Improvement District "so they can contribute to that process."
Peterson said that the best the Council could do is inform the residents that the City "could come up with 75 percent if you people can pull together and do 25. That is what could happen for you. Then the ball's in their court."
In a related matter, the Council deferred to November consideration of a request by Millennium Properties to vacate the 16-foot alleyways in Blocks 10 and 13, Barview Addition, in Goose Point. In his recommendation to defer, Councilor Gettman explained that the Planning Commission did not know about vertical evacuation structures when it recommended approval of the alleyway vacation.
The best location for the structure, Gettman added, would be property at Salmon and Hare Streets, where it would more accessible to Goose Point residents. But, he said, it is possible the structure could be located in an area served by the alleyway vacation.
The Hazard Mitigation Committee will discuss vertical evacuation structures and benefit cost analyses October 21 and November 4.
Old shoes for the tennis court
By John Sollman
BAY CITY Dec. 22, 2009 — The shoe drive is on again, City Councilor Helen Wright announced recently. Remember the shoe drive? A year or so ago, the City conducted a drive to collect old sneakers and athletic shoes to resurface the tennis/basketball court. The sneakers collected on that drive were not enough to do the job.
Nike has developed a process to grind up shoe rubber to produce an excellent resurfacing material, called Nikegrind, for outdoor tennis and basketball courts. According to Helen, it would take approximately 2,500 pair of sneakers to produce enough Nikegrind to resurface the tennis court at the city park. Anyone who has played tennis or shot baskets on that court will attest to the urgent need for resurfacing.
Collection barrels may be found at The Cutting Loose Salon and The Landing in Bay City, and at the Idaville Store. Starting January 1, 2010, collection barrels will be found at all Sheldon Oil gas stations in the county. If we don't reach 2,500 pair this time, Helen said, another drive probably will be held next June.
Cash donations are also being accepted at city hall, if you'd like to contribute but have no rubber-soled shoes. You should make your checks payable to City of Bay City, with a memo directing that the money go to the Parks Fund for the tennis court.
Averill Trucking will store the shoes at the recycling center and truck them to Nike when there are enough to resurface the tennis court.
Also, Helen said, more collection barrels are needed. If you have something suitable to collect the shoes, call Helen at (503) 812-0293. The more barrels out in the community, the sooner Bay City will reach that magic 2,500 number and get its resurfaced tennis court.
Remember: Sneakers and athletic shoes only
BAY CITY, March 3, 2010 --- I seem to be messing up by the numbers, as we used to say in the Navy. It had been my intention to get a new Back Fence out each week. I've certainly fallen short of that goal. There's been so much going on these past months that I'm amazed that I actually find time to eat.
On a sad note, our City water-billing clerk, Jaime Heup, is very ill and in intensive care at SW Washington Medical Center in Vancouver. She had been feeling poorly a week ago, and finally took time off work to recover. But she didn't, and saw her doctor.
He said she needed to be in the hospital stat! (That's medspeak for RIGHT NOW!) The doc recommended St. Vincent's, but Jaime opted for SW Washington Medical Center as her family lives in Vancouver.
Lin Downey, who works with Jaime in the front office, went to see her Tuesday evening. She told me Jaime is on a ventilator, heavily sedated, and may need some hefty treatment with some of today's hi-tech medical gadgets. In short, she's a pretty sick young lady and needs all the help she can get --- medical and spiritual. It would be pretty nice if you readers could put in a good word with the Big Guy to help her over this hurdle.
Our little Eva is getting us pretty well trained. For a young pup, she's learned to read Sharline and me like a book. At least she's learning the proper places to leave her calling cards --- usually. When she's done her job, she comes to us chirping like a bird, wanting us to see what she's done. She knows there's a treat in it for her if she dropped it in the right place.
My good friend Robin Taylor asked me to spread the word about the VFW Auxiliary and Beta Sigma Phi Plant, Craft Sale and Flea Market on May 1 at the Bay City Community Hall. Cost for vendors is $15 per table. If you have an accumulation of stuff that's gathered dust through the years, and who doesn't, this would be the time and place to get rid of it and turn a buck or two in the process. And for those who have a hankering to pick up some odd or hard-to-find artifacts, here's your chance to go bargain hunting.
If you're interested in having a table at the plant and craft sale, you may contact Robin for more information and an application. You can reach her by phone at (503) 801-0505, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Sharline has two tables this year, one for her knitted items, and the other for our outdated artifacts and white elephants. As I said, cost per table is $15; checks should be made payable to Beta Sigma Phi and mailed to Robin Taylor at P.O. Box 674, Tillamook, OR 97141.
We finally had a long enough streak of sunny weather to get our lawn mowed. And you know what? It needs mowing again. We've had some deer wandering back into our yard --- they haven't been around much this winter. But maybe they'll crop the grass short for us so I won't have to mow so often --- don't I wish.
Sharline and I have enjoyed some really good breakfasts at the ArtSpace Café. And we always run into someone we know. That place is starting to get pretty popular. The food is all fresh and prepared from scratch. No canned stuff or boxed mixes. We got some scones there that were really great. I particularly like their oatmeal --- no comparison with the boxed stuff you get in the stores. You ought to stop down there some morning and try it out. They serve breakfast from eight to 11 a.m. Sunday through Friday. And they serve lunches, too, though I don't have the current days they are open for lunch.
And the Bay City Arts Center is celebrating its 10th year in Bay City. They've really been a great addition to our town. They worked with the City early on to help plan Bay City's vision for the next 20 years, and the City has partnered with them on several grants. Since the arrival of Amy Rangell, the Arts Center has added a number of regular features.
And there have been many specials as well. Sadly, Sharline and I missed one we'd really love to have attended. It seems that they had the Vienna Choir Boys performing on an evening we had to be in Portland. The older you get, the more time you spend in a doctor's office.
But back to the 10th anniversary. Mark your calendars. The 10th Anniversary Bash takes place at the Arts Center Sunday, March 14, starting at 2 p.m. There will be an Italian dinner and performance, featuring Kim Angelis, composer and gypsy violinist. I've seen her in action, and she's really great. Her concert starts at 2 p.m., followed by dinner.
Tickets are $15 per person. For reservations, call (503) 377-9620. The dinner presentation will be "Bay City Arts Center: 10 years in Films and Photographs."
And, finally, a welcome back to Ron and Vivian Matlack. They had spent the last week in Arizona for their daughter's wedding. At least they didn't have to go to all the way to India for the wedding as my daughter did last November.
And that's it. See you next week Over the Back Fence.
Over the Back Fence
BAY CITY, Jan. 15, 2010 --- It's January, and I'm madder'n h**l. I received a phone call from Diane Griffin, my good friend who had retired from a career in teaching in 2008. Diane, who was named Oregon Teacher of the Year several years ago, took a personal interest in her students' learning needs, and brought originality and freshness to her classroom.
Diane had an interest in science, and she brought to her Garibaldi Grade School classroom many things she and Terry, her husband, collected during their travels in Oregon's back country. Probably her most innovative contribution to her science classes was her salmon propagation program. Diane arranged to have the Trask River Hatchery deliver about 200 salmon eggs to her science class each January. She obtained an aquarium and aerating equipment and established a procedure to be sure the water was always cold.
The kids watched the eggs hatch into baby salmon, egg sacs and all. And when the egg sacs were consumed and the fish's bellies closed, she took her class to Patterson Creek in Bay City to let her students launch the fish on their way to the sea. Also included in the early field trips were visits to the Bay City wastewater treatment plant and a water-testing laboratory. The kids, very impressionable at their age, learned the importance of preserving the environment as a means of assuring the survival of our threatened salmon stocks.
Later, Diane obtained a grant and got a better aquarium with equipment to monitor the water temperature and oxygen level. I always looked forward to the spring, when Diane brought the kids to Bay City to release the little fish. Each year I helped set up for the fish release, and wrote an article for the newspaper --- with pictures.
Diane volunteered to return after her retirement to help her replacement set up the equipment and become familiar with the program. But it didn't happen. So Diane went to another teacher, who had expressed interest in the science project. But, there was no longer any equipment. Some high-level functionary at the school had made a decision to get rid of the equipment --- to sell it.
I cannot imagine how any educator with a modicum of brains could dump such a beautiful and effective program --- an opportunity to teach kids the value of protecting our environment in a way they enjoyed and understood. Sheer bureaucratic idiocy. It brings tears to my eyes to see that marvelous, innovative program die such an ignominious death. Institutional mediocrity has truly ascended to the status of a virtue. Sic transit gloria mundi!
Diane may be down but she's by no means out. She came to my house the other day with another idea. How about the library? This is a perfect place for kids, young and old, to witness the wonders of salmon propagation. The first step, she said, is to get an OK from the library board for a salmon propagation educational program. That shouldn't be a problem.
Next, she said, she'd round up some contributions from conservation-minded people around town, and purchase the needed equipment --- a tank with aeration, filtration and temperature control. The program could be announced through the library so kids could sign up for it. Then they would receive the same learning experience Diane offered in her classroom for so many years. They'd learn about nature and wildlife; see the eggs introduced to the tank; watch them hatch into baby fish; and see how the egg sacs under their bellies shrink until the little fish are ready for the stream. Then would come the fabled fish release, the program's high point, with visits to the fish ladder and other places of ecological interest.
I'm sure the Boosters would love to get involved in such a program, and perhaps the Bay City Arts Center as well. It's certainly worth pursuing.
Let me know what you think. You'll note that my Letters to the Editor page is up and ready for some input. Here is the perfect opportunity.
And, speaking of the Boosters, I should probably remind everyone that the next Boosters meeting will be Friday, January 29. Bring a potluck item to the Community Hall at 11:30 a.m., and an auction item if you have one. The Boosters have done very well with their auctions this year. I don't know what Linda Vining has in mind for her program this month.
At 2 p.m., following the Boosters meeting, Helen Wright will hold her second Bay City Centennial planning meeting. Anyone wishing to take part in our planning for this watershed event is welcome to attend. I'll give some particulars on the celebration in early February. For those who do craft shows, we're planning to have one as part of the Centennial. Maybe we'll decide to put anyone not wearing period dress in jail until a fine is paid. Who knows? Actually, we haven't discussed this, but if we do decide to do it, perhaps County Commissioner Chuck Hurliman would be willing to lend someone the getup he wore during the recent County celebration.
And about our little critter, she's certainly letting us know who's boss. But we seem to be experiencing some success in her potty habits. She prefers to go on a large disposable pad behind my recliner chair. She likes the privacy back there. And she had a great visit with my daughter, Carla's, two dogs when we made a recent trip to Portland to see a doctor. She hid her toys in the carrier, and played with my daughter's dogs' toys instead. And when Sharline and I returned to claim her, she marched straight into her carrier to wait for us to leave for home. She didn't want to be forgotten.
Our deer have been back in our yard for several days, but they've disappeared again. I suppose that the lousy economic situation is helping them some, because development and home construction in Bay City have come to a virtual standstill. Loss of habitat has been momentarily suspended.
Several people who have come to our house have marveled at our new front porch. Kelly Vice Construction built that for us. Really great work and a very reasonable cost. The guy knows his stuff.
And that's it. See you next week Over the Back Fence.
BAY CITY, Jan. 28, 2010 --- If you're like me, you've been watching the news about the situation in Haiti following the quake and aftershocks.
The other day I had a call from my friend, Ad Montgomery, about the quake. Addie's niece, Julie Manley, just returned from Haiti. Julie is a physician who practices in Raleigh, North Carolina. Julie also volunteered to help after Hurricane Katrina trashed the Gulf Coast several years ago.
Addie told me Julie said that the people were not getting deliveries of food and water. Medical practice gets pretty difficult if you can't get your patients the nourishent they need to survive. You can read about Julie's tour in Haiti in a future edition of the Fencepost, now written by Karen Rust.
I'd like to add a couple of things to whatever Karen might say. If you've read my scenario of a magnitude 9 quake and tsunami locally, you might have an appreciation of the difficulties Julie and other physicians faced in Haiti. When a quake that massive hits, devastation is instant and universal. Many are killed instantly, usually by structures collapsing on them. Many others are buried under the rubble or entombed within it.
Whatever infrastructure there once was is gone. Roads are buckled or covered with debris from collapsed buildings. Most roads are impassable, so it is very difficult for emergency personnel to reach the injured. Think for a minute of the millions left homeless and the hundreds of thousands needing urgent medical care. But you can't get to them!
Available food supplies run out within hours or, at most, days. Water is not available at all in most areas, because the water mains have been disrupted. It will take several days to get meaningful quantities of medical supplies, food and water into the country, but there will be no way at the outset to distribute the supplies to the people who need them.
At the outset, the airport at Port-au-Prince could accommodate only 37 landings a day, and there was little space to park aircraft pending their departure. Fuel supplies for departing aircraft were critical. The control tower was completely out of operation, and arriving and departing aircraft had to coordinate their use of airspace among themselves. After the U.S. assumed air traffic control, the airport's capacity was increased to slightly more than 100 landings per day. But space to store all the off-loaded supplies was at a premium. There was no satisfactory way to get the supplies out of the airport and into the hands of those needing them.
The greatest capacity to deliver supplies would come from the sea, but it would take about a week to clear debris from the harbor and repair the docks so they could be used to handle cargo. When the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier, arrived, her hangar deck was loaded with helicopters. The USS Bataan and other vessels carried helicopters, plus equipment to remove debris and clear roads.
But before clearing the roads, it must first be determined whether there are any people trapped under the rubble blocking them. Many people in the street when the quake hit would have been crushed, buried or entombed in the rubble of collapsing buildings.
Delivery by air poses its own problems, because, without crowd control, desperate people would race to get under a helicopter trying to deliver a load of food and water. With the load suspended by a cable under the chopper, the pilot would be unable to see the ground. He would have to abort the delivery if there were people crowded under the chopper. I saw pictures of this happening on CNN. For other air drops, as from a C130, a clear drop zone is essential. Practically every square inch of land in Port-au-Prince is occupied by buildings, either standing or in rubble, or by crowds of people desperate for food and water. When dropping supplies by parachute, you don't want to drop crates weighing 400 or more pounds on the people you're trying to help. When that stuff hits the ground, it's traveling about 20 mph. The goods inside are cushioned to prevent breakage, but the people are not.
Now, take the images of Port-au-Prince and transfer them to Portland or Salem following the Big One. Extreme difficulty delivering supplies or other kinds of help to folks in the Valley will delay delivery of any meaningful help to people west of the Coast Range. We won't see anything meaningful here for at least three weeks. We're on our own. And we'll be existing under primitive conditions for many months to come. It will probably take at least a decade to rebuild the place completely. In the coming weeks I will talk about planning for our own survival while waiting for help to arrive.
Now to more pleasant topics. Sharline and I had a delicious breakfast at ArtSpace last Sunday. We were both bushed from our trip to the new CostCo the previous day. And ArtSpace was packed! I guess word is getting around about the great food they serve.
We got an invitation to a birthday party for Dave Hurd and Quynnessa Kauffman on Feb. 9. This one is Disney-themed and looks like it will be a lot of fun. Sadly, that's City Council night, and I won't be able to attend. But there is another big event coming up on April 5: an Out of this World Dinner. Come dressed as Darth Vader or a Klingon. More details on this later. For reservations or information on ArtSpace breakfasts, lunches and dinners, call (503) 377-2782.
And, before I forget it, news about the puppy. We decided to call her Eva, after the little robot in the animated movie, "WALL-E." She's slowly getting the idea on where to go, but sometimes she forgets. Patience, patience, patience. I'll say this, though. She has settled in and can read us like a book.
And that's it. See you next week Over the Back Fence.
BAY CITY, Feb. 13, 2010 --- We had some nice weather recently, but it fell one day short of the prediction in The Oregonian and I didn't get to mow my grass. I should know by now not to place too much credence in those long-range weather outlooks. Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise, though, because now I have no excuse to put off removing the molehills from my yard. Those critters have been really active this winter. And now they've migrated from Oliver's yard to mine. The Olivers probably ran out of good dirt for the moles to dig through. In any event, I always save my mole dirt because it's really good for use in planters and flowerpots.
Little Eva, our new Chihuahua pup, is getting us well trained. She knows how to tell us when she has done her job on the poop sheet behind my chair: She sits in front of me and chirps like a bird. I go and look, and then tell her I'm going to give her a treat for being a good girl. Then she gyrates all over the living room in a veritable orgasm of unbridled joy at the thought of having earned a treat. And she certainly does recognize the word, "treat."
Sharline and I had a great breakfast at ArtSpace last Sunday. We always enjoy going there because the people are so friendly and the food so good. It's all prepared from scratch. We brought a couple of scones home to enjoy while reading the Sunday paper. They were great, but a little bit will go a very long way. That's another way of saying that they'll stick to your ribs. In spades!
Sadly, we had to miss Dave Hurd's and Quynnessa Kaufman's birthday party Feb. 9. That was City Council night. But I won't miss this opportunity to wish the both of you a very happy birthday. Sharline and I had hoped to have lunch at ArtSpace when our daughter came up from Lincoln City during the week, but the place was closed due to illness. Hope you guys are soon over your illnesses and back in full swing.
Helen Wright is continuing the shoe drive, and hopes to have enough of them by summer to make sufficient material to resurface our tennis court. And someone at the City Council meeting said Christie Clark had gone to local charities to collect the athletic shoes which had been rejected for sale or distribution. Thanks, Christie.
Mayor Shaena Peterson has asked for letters of support from area businesses and citizens for the resurfacing project. The letters would go a long way toward helping the City obtain the Nike $10,000 outright grant. That's right --- there's no match for this one. It's too good a bargain to pass up. Call the City office to find out where to send the letters.
And here's one for your calendar. Fire Chief Don Reynolds announced recently that the Fire Department will put on a breakfast at the fire hall Saturday, March 27, to support this year's SAFE project. SAFE is an all-night, alcohol-free party for graduating seniors at Neah-Kah-Nie High School. I'll have more on this later, so stay tuned. Sharline and I are looking forward to it.
My friend, Jack Graves, has opened a small art gallery in Garibaldi, right next to the bakery. It's in the building once occupied by Falcon and Charter Cable. He has a gallery and a studio in the building, as well as his new living quarters. Stop by some day and check it out.
In a history class once, it was asked what was the greatest accomplishment of the Romans. The answer: "Learning to speak Latin." I can buy that. I took it for three years and still can't speak it.
The same class, when asked where the Declaration of Independence was signed, said, "at the bottom of the page." I guess that's logical. You certainly wouldn't sign at the top. Or would you?
In social studies, it was asked where the Malay People come from. The answer: "Malaria." Close, but no cigar. That's where mosquitoes come from.
Then, in health class, the question was asked, "What happens when a boy enters puberty?" The answer: "He begins his adultery." Well, maybe in a couple of years.
They say that ignorance is bliss, and the students who came up with these answers were blissful indeed. But I can't take credit for these little bits of goody. No, indeed. I have friend, Robin Taylor, who has a veritable cornucopia of stuff like this. Some of it is a real riot. I'll share more of it someday.
And that's it. See you next week Over the Back Fence.
BAY CITY, March 20, 2010 --- I'm told it's spring. That short wintry gasp is behind us and we can look forward to a few nice days. Very few, as a matter of fact. It's amazing how The Oregonian's projection of beautiful weather can morph so quickly into more of the wet stuff.
But I did get my lawn mowed on that gorgeous Friday we had yesterday. Good thing, too. Today it's wet and breezy.
But warm, balmy spring weather does take its toll. A herd of elk, in the throes of vernal exuberance, carelessly wandered out into the bay during a low tide. Blissfully ignorant of the combined gravitational attractions of the Sun and the moon, elk never having been known for their astronomical acumen, they soon found themselves stranded on a sand bar by the rapidly rising waters of a spring tide. And it wasn't long before the incoming tide was lapping at their bellies and climbing up their rumps. Maybe the critters thought they were moose and got a hankering to munch on some kelp. Certainly they weren't after clams.
A friend forwarded me three pictures of about 20 unfortunate beasts marooned out in the bay. I surmise they made it ashore on the next low tide, because I haven't heard any stories of drowned elk washing up on Goose Point.
And all sorts of spring-like things are happening. The days are much longer, and it's now possible to have an evening meeting and still get home before dark. And, on that vein, Robin Taylor, president of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary in Bay City, told me that the ladies are now meeting in the evening. During the winter, they met in the afternoon. But now that we're into the longer days of spring and summer, the ladies will meet at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of the month at the Bay City Hall. Next meeting is April 15.
Don Reynolds, our Fire Chief, asked me whether I had followed his advice and checked my smoke alarms. Sadly, they both need batteries and I have to pick up some 9v batteries next trip to Tillamook. Maybe I should just put in the new and improved alarms with 10-year batteries.
Sharline and I attended the Bay City Arts Center 10th Anniversary Bash last Sunday. It just doesn't seem possible that the Arts Center has been in business a whole 10 years. They've certainly made a difference in our little corner of the world. They've brought symphonies and opera to Bay City, introduced programs to encourage children to express themselves in words and pictures, and partnered with the City on several grant-funded projects. Several years ago the Arts Center introduced West African Night, featuring a meal of West African foods and a program of West African story-telling, music and drumming. And we mustn't forget the Jew's Harp Festival --- I could go on and on.
But back to the anniversary. Kim Angelis, violin virtuoso and composer, presented a program of her works. That woman is amazing. She plays passages of the greatest complexity on her violin, all the while dancing about the stage. Talk about walking and chewing gum at the same time! That is multi-tasking taken to the nth degree. And she makes it look so effortless.
We enjoyed an Italian dinner after the concert. Pat Vining and the kitchen crew cooked up some great spaghetti and lasagna. During dinner we watched a slide show of events during the Arts Center's 10 years in Bay City. But come June 1, Pat told me, he's off to Alaska for one last shot of gourmet cooking for an up-scale fishing camp. After that, he said, he and Linda are off to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
For several years Amy Rangell has been the Executive Director of the Arts Center. But Amy is leaving --- going to Yellowstone to do some innovative things there. But new things are afoot. Dia Norris and Jason McAlexander are now co-presidents of the Bay City Arts Center. Replacing Amy are three volunteers. Leeauna "Loni" Perry will be the new Executive Director, Karen Hanson the Program Director, and Joe Wrabeck the Marketing Manager. (Joe attended a meeting of the Friends of the Library this morning and came up with some truly outrageous suggestions for levels of membership in that organization.) That guy's got a great sense of humor and a vivid imagination. He'll do well getting the word out about the Arts Center's activities.
The Arts Center business office is now open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for people to stop by, tour the Arts Center and talk about the kinds of programs they'd like to see. Then it's Karen's job to line up some interesting programs and Joe's responsibility to spread the word.
Every month the Arts Center displays the works of a different Artist of the Month. For several years one month has been set aside for students at the Tillamook Middle School. The Arts Center has gone one better this year. Artists of the Month for March are students at Tillamook High School. I've found that kids can do some pretty imaginative work. They're at an age where creativity-limiting inhibitions have yet to set in.
On Saturday afternoon, March 27, the Arts Center will feature a Tillamook County Pioneer Museum program. David Horowitz, Dorothy Hylton, David Mulholland and Gloria Myers will read the field notes of Dorothea Lange as she photographed Oregon during the Great Depression. Lange's photographs will remain on display at ArtSpace until the end of March.
Several years ago the Arts Center introduced a Teen Playwright Contest, which has been a really big hit. The Arts Center is now readying for this year's contest. Teen plays should be 30 minutes or less in length and involve at least six characters. Subject matter may cover a whole gamut of topics, ranging from life, family, things that rock, things that suck, whatever. The top three finalists will receive cash rewards plus staged readings of their plays by BCAC and TAPA actors. To enter, you must be between the ages of 13 and 19 years. Deadline is April 1.
And I haven't mentioned the regular recurring events. Life drawing, featuring nude models, is held Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. The Arts Center recently introduced a second drawing program featuring clothed models, which will be open to younger people who want to hone their artistic skills.
And there is the very popular Toddler Arts Group, which runs every Wednesday morning from 10 to 11 a.m.
The things I've seen during these last 10 years have been pretty impressive. And to think, it all grew from an idea by Helen Hill and Charlie Wooldridge 10 years ago. What a difference a decade makes. You can reach the Arts Center at (503) 377-9620. Or just click on Links in the Grapevine, and then click on the link for the Arts Center.
And that's it. See you next week Over the Back Fence.
City mulls traffic calming policy
By John Sollman
BAY CITY Nov. 3, 2009 --- The City Council, meeting a week early on Nov. 3, formally took up the problem of speeding and unsafe driving. As directed at the Council's October meeting, in response to concerns presented by Dian Blair and Maxine Scovel, Public Works Superintendent Dave Pace presented a written report on traffic calming devices for 16th Street.
Most cities, Pace noted in his report, set policies to address citizen complaints on speeding and unsafe driving. Bay City has never had such a policy. Scovel's concerns about speeding on Williams and 16th Streets go back four years. Blair told the Council that she stood out in the road on school mornings to assure the safety of children waiting for the school bus. She has amassed a volume of license numbers and is no stranger to unkind remarks and rude gestures from passing drivers. "The females are nastier. They detest me," Blair said. But, she noted, the speeding problem makes it imperative that she do something to assure the safety of neighborhood schoolchildren.
Pace said in his report that the use of speed bumps or speed humps, a broader, flatter version of a speed bump, depends upon a number of factors. These range from type of traffic, commercial or residential; type of roadway, arterial, feeder or local; volume of traffic; and physical characteristics such as grade and condition of the roadway.
The problem with Williams and 16th Streets, Pace said, is the incline. There are only two places on 16th Street flat enough to install speed humps, and these are at stop signs or sharp corners which would force drivers to slow down anyway.
There are radar speed signs, Pace said, but added that he didn't believe they would be worthwhile because they measure and record speed in only one direction. Pace suggested, as an alternative, signs asking drivers to slow for children. Pace also suggested stenciled signs on the road surface, and small ceramic bumps in the roadway, something like rumble strips on a highway, to get drivers' attention as they enter that section of the road.
Eventually, Pace said, he wanted to do some paving and drainage improvements to the roads, possibly even adding sidewalks and curbs in that section. But, he added, funds would be needed to pay for the improvements.
Responding to a question from Councilor Becky Smith, Pace said he didn't know the makeup of the speeders, whether they were local or on their way to another destination. When he once again has a full crew, Pace said, he plans to station people, in private vehicles, at both ends of the problem area to see where the drivers are going and how many are local. Pace said he would welcome volunteers to do the surveillance.
Mayor Shaena Peterson described the problem area as two blocks of moderate intensity with commercial zones at both ends. Peterson suggested that Blair give Pace her list of licenses, names and addresses of the drivers she has observed.
Pace also suggested distributing a flyer to neighborhood households, describing the problem and asking for their cooperation. He also said he would draft a policy for the Council to consider, and pointed out that many cities require citizens requesting installation of traffic control devices to pay for them.