Posts Tagged With: respect


DSC08114 (Copy)I feel fortunate that I have a friend who not only brings me brownies, but will, at the merest suggestion, drive me downtown Murphys where we pretend to be tourists. That is Jan Stewart. Always ready to seize the day.

DSC08115 (Copy)I hadn’t been to Hovey’s tasting room in ages, nor had I seen this clever sign.

DSC08116 (Copy)Inside I was pleased and surprised by the variety of craft beers they support. The public likes wine but they also like good beer.

DSC08117 (Copy)Another sign drew us into Frog’s Tooth, a wine I’d never sampled.

DSC08121 (Copy)At 10:00 a.m. neither of us were in the mood for wine tasting, but they had a barrel full of good reds to be had for $12 a bottle.

DSC08126 (Copy)Of course, because of Mark Twain, frogs are a prominent feature in Calaveras County, but what I liked here is the warmth and friendliness of the staff. A very inviting atmosphere.

DSC08125 (Copy)This customer is wearing a shirt from a tasting room in  an old school-house, I believe she said in Grass Valley. It reflects the grammar school punishment of writing on the black board over and over again, I Promise Not To Hit Tommy, or some such. Cute.

DSC08132 (Copy)Town was loaded with motorcycles, all coming for the “Jumps”, as they relate to the Calaveras Fair and Frog Jumping Jubilee. Nationally famous after its small beginnings. I remember a picture of Little Flower, Governor LaGuardia who attended the Jumps as fascination with jumping a frog spread far and wide.

DSC08133 (Copy)Both bikers, the guy on the left hugged Jan and said,”I know you!”  He is her chimney sweep. His buddy said, “If anybody had told me I’d be a biker with multiple tattoos on my body, I’d have said yer crazy.” I had to laugh to find they are locals from Murphys. Tourists just like us.

DSC08141 (Copy)I liked this gal’s leathers and took a picture and she said, “No, no. You caught me with a phone and I’m constantly pushing people I know to put their damned phone away and look up.”  So, she posed for me on her bike.

DSC08143 (Copy)Creative. Guess we can call her Spider Woman, and, by the way, she is from Murphys.

DSC08130 (Copy)She looked askance at the big hogs lining the street and said, “If one of these guys tips his bike over, he will not be able to pick it up by himself.”  We concluded they are for show and pride of ownership as well as performance.

DSC08151 (Copy)There were some out-of-towners.

DSC08153 (Copy)I wanted a picture of this guy’s curled mustache because it reminded me of Joe Cardoza, a former neighbor and local character who grew his curled and waxed mustache about seven inches long for the local Whiskerino Contest. He had too much to drink and went for a haircut. Jack, the barber was a known prankster and cut half of his mustache off, I expect with Joe’s consent. I thought it was cruel, even so.

DSC08139 (Copy)There were street musicians.

DSC08154 (Copy)The Murphys Hotel hired a band. The courtyard was packed with people eating, enjoying the music and even getting up to dance in the tight space around the musicians.

DSC08159 (Copy)A couple local vets told us they placed 400 flags on veteran graves with Memorial Day coming up. They do it every year.

DSC08160 (Copy)Among  those who served I knew Norm Tanner and a couple others. Norm was a good friend to my husband. I’ll be sure to remember those close to me who were vets; I may not get to a grave, but there will be a knot in my heart has I put out the flag on my deck.

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DSC07645 (Copy)My friend, Paul Moeller is in a physical therapy unit in Sonora after a fall that broke his femur at the hip. He is 88 years old. I met him in 1980 when he was putting together a calendar of local activities and events to promote interest in the county. He did this as a volunteer and he came to visit my writer’s workshop. I had a batch of kittens at the time, and he took one of them home for his wife.

In 1982, he asked for volunteers to videotape events in the county and I answered the call. I later joked, that once he got his grip on you, there was no escape. Hardworking, indomitable, always a positive thinker, results oriented…it is to his vision and credit, a small rural county has a Public Access Studio while large cities like Stockton and Modesto do not.

DSC07650 (Copy)The Paul Moeller Studio was built by all we volunteers on an undeveloped lot owned by the Calaveras County Water District.  The CCWD Board granted permission for the studio out of respect for Moeller’s  dedication and hard work. He taped the North Fork dam, a federal project with CCWD as one of the integral water interests involved. The video taping continued for over a year during that project.

The County Board of Supervisors named the Studio after Moeller years later as a thankful honorarium. He has so many visitors, people at the rehabilitation center, ask,”Is he famous?”  We laugh and say, “yes.”

DSC07658 (Copy)Yesterday, I met with Ed Lark, the studio manager and Robert Creamer, an engineer from CCWD. Our volunteer group is negotiating to buy the land under the studio which involves separating the “back lot” from the rest of CCWD property. They want to sell their old office buildings. They’ve moved to new quarters but our interests are tied together.

DSC07655 (Copy)It involves, relocating water lines, surveying and conveying a new lot, access to the property that doesn’t go through the front part of their lot and so on.   Negotiations have been ongoing  since 2005. There are three volunteers left. None of us do programming anymore. Government works slowly. I rarely visit the studio for any length of time, but yesterday, I wanted to tromp the property and see for myself what the engineer had in mind.

DSC07661 (Copy)The engineer is very knowledgeable and accommodating and I got an education in planning. While interesting to me, probably boring to anyone else. But, the way the studio was built is an  unconventional story.

We had no funds so we charged $60 to put a program on channel. That money came from local businesses. There was no advertising, but the sponsors got credit for supporting each program. We operated that way for about ten years.

Moeller and a  supportive business man, Mearl Lucken, talked the bank into giving us a loan to build our studio.  The plan was for the Bret Harte High School woodshop class to build the studio labor free, for their education. When the foundation was done, school was over, the kids disappeared and Moeller decided we had to have a new plan.

The economy was in a slump. Enter local contractor Gary Hensley from Valley Springs. He had very little work. He quizzed Moeller about how much money he made from CCTV. When he learned that Moeller and all 230 volunteers, received nary a penny, he agreed to build the studio. His crew of five came early each morning, and worked for half a day. Volunteers handed up boards as the studio rose. They made the workers lunch. It was a jolly time. The inside, sheet rock, plumbing and air conditioning and so on, was done by contractors who worked for reduced prices to support our non-profit. The complicated electrical was done by Moeller himself.   The rest, as they say, is history. An amazing community effort.   What keeps me involved is respect for Moeller, and knowing that he accomplished all the above by dint of his personality and at the same time, he did other volunteer work in the county. Indefatigable.



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A friend sent me an email about this guy from Tacoma, Washington. Jim and I had a similar experience at Salt Creek Campground near Joyce, Washington. This is a short and very neat video.

Here is the picture I took at Salt Creek in September of 2014:


We experienced the same emotions and respect and the whole campground came to attention.


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It is an exciting thought to double your income in less than a year, like Red Emerson, the billionaire owner of vast tracts of timber land in the Sierra Mountain Counties like Calaveras, Alpine, Shasta. First you do a bit of Union Busting, so the employees in place of your operations have no one to report your shoddy practices that sometimes lethally ignore safe working conditions..

It helps to get a couple of politicians in your pocket before you go to Hildalgo, Mexico and hire by contract workers willing to sign on for forest tree trimming work, for two years, at 16.47 an hour. The Department of Homeland Security and Labor unearthed documents and evidence that these men were kept in the forest as virtual prisoners, working seven days a week, sleeping  in tents on the ground, eating rotting food with no refrigeration, for which they were individually charged $120 a week, and left to drink tainted water from a nearby creek. No sanitation facilities. In one affidavit, workers were threatened by men with guns to work harder or they would be shot in the head. Check the link from the Sacramento Bee below for details.

You can check out some of the details at the link below dealing with spotted owl habitat.

Sierra Pacific Industries has clear-cut large swaths of land in Calaveras County with local activists tracing and photographing the ugly patches from the air. What we have to offer here is tourism, natural beauty, lakes and rivers. But it costs us far more to repair the damage caused by SPI in dollars and lives, than we ever get from their operation in “good jobs” and wages. Run off from clear cuts clog streams and have caused mudslides, wiping out a bridge, and so on. WE pay to have it fixed, of course.

Just because it is called “private property” does not mean that someone should have carte blanche to destroy our infrastructure and environment. Everything should and could be done in moderation with care and respect for the land. When you go to the lumber store, don’t buy boards stamped SPI. Ask your dealer where your lumber comes from and don’t reward this obscenely rich, dirty handed owner of SPI, Red Emerson who considers himself above the law. He should be fined every cent he made off those workers.


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A week ago, Friday, a group of us  met at Murphys Pizza Plus to celebrate Paul Moeller. While there are many things to treasure here, Paul  is considered by the community to be “Our Local Treasure.”  Like a blogger, he always has his camera and takes pictures wherever he goes, a lifelong habit.  But his major accomplishment, among many, since retiring here in 1964, is having founded Public Access Television in 1983.  Our Board of Supervisors didn’t know what Public Access was. He had to educate  them before we could get consideration in the cable contract for channel access.  Paul  got a studio built in 1992 when we had no money.  And he produced over 3,000 shows for Calaveras Community Television, Public Access.  Except for studio equipment, those shows have been shot and edited on his own equipment.  I’m proud to say, I am one of the founding members of CCTV.

I wrote the reason for our celebration on the Pizza Parlor’s blackboard.  The mortgage on our  studio, named for him, has been paid off.  None of the counties around, Amador, Tuolumne, not the big cities closest to us, Modesto or Stockton, have a studio.  Only Sacramento has a studio. Our studio is considered the Jewel of the Mother Lode. We’ve had offers to rent it from Reno, Tahoe, Lodi and other entities. Claveras High School, and Columbia College at one time held video classes there. It is an exclusive and valuable asset to our community, just like Paul.

In 1992, Paul went to the carpentry class at Calaveras High and asked if our non-profit, CCTV raised the money, could the class build us a studio? Yes!  The class started the foundation upon Paul’s design and volunteer Betty Deakin’s professional drawing.  But then, school was out, and the kids and teachers all went home. Did I mention that Paul has a fierce work ethic, he is impatient and likes to get things done now?

Paul spoke to local Supervisor Dick Gorden and he said, “You know, we need a studio. Do you know anyone who could help us?”  Gorden knew Contractor Gary Hensley, who was trying to keep his crew working when work was slow. Hensley’s first question was:  “How much do you pay your people?”  Paul told him, we are all volunteers,  we pay nothing. “How about programs, and  mileage and gas and stuff like that”  Paul repeated, nothing, we don’t get mileage or gas, or video tapes. Everyone volunteers and pays for everything including their own cameras and equipment.  We pay nobody. Hensley was in.  With promise of help, the bank gave us a loan for $84,000 for materials, at 12% interest, secured by the County from funds from the Cable Company designated for Public Access.  Hensley is the guy in the center in the white shirt with his crew around him taking a break. Paul is videotaping.

The crew would come in at 6 a.m. and work half a day for us, then go to their paid job for the rest of the day. Our only cost was to bring a load of volunteers to unload lumber, have it ready for them, provide water and bring a picnic lunch for everyone before they left.  In three weeks, we had the shell of our building finished.  By the way, it sits on leased land belonging to the Calaveras County Water District with a very generous lease of $1 per year guaranteed for over 25 years.

Local contractors did work, and many of them donated their time. Even PG&E returned our check for a permit to hook up.

Paul called the sheet-rockers on stilts, acrobats. Once the electrician, plumber, air conditioning and window guys were gone, the rest was up to the volunteers.

Paul installed the many spotlights. We painted and got donated pieces of used carpet that we taped to the floor like a patchwork quilt.  Spray painted egg cartons became sound proofing on the ceiling. Paul found a second hand studio curtain for $700. ($5,000 new).  He built a stage and sets.

None of this would have happened if the Supervisors, the local business people, the water company and the community did not believe it could be done under Paul’s tenacious and unrelenting work habits. Always punctual. Always there, wherever and whenever needed or asked.  We’ve shared a lot of productive years together volunteering in this county. On Thursday, our “local treasure”  was in a serious car accident.  Somehow, he failed to see a red light and T boned another car at the intersection.

Paul was seriously injured and taken to Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. But, before they took him away in an ambulance, he took pictures-OF COURSE.

Before I got to his house yesterday afternoon,  he had already developed and printed pictures  for me to see.

Both cars were totaled. The wheel sitting in the middle of the intersection is from his car.

He had two shoots arranged for today, and was willing to cancel one, but the other he must do, he told me on the phone. Our Studio manager, Ed Lark, convinced him he would take over his  shoot and Paul could edit it. Paul  reluctantly agreed. He has another show on the 22nd that he expects to do.

He is soon to be 85 years old. His sternum and back have suffered major trauma. He can barely get up and down from a chair. It is even more painful to lie down and rest. He is walking with difficulty and is on major pain medications. He can lift nothing with his left arm. Could I find someone to help him with the shoot? I told him I would hire some-one to set up his camera and unload his van that he uses for location shoots. I then called his anchor person, Mearl Lucken, and asked him if HE could talk Paul into resting and let somebody else do his programs for a couple of weeks. Whatta ya’ gonna do with a guy like that? But, now you know why we have a jewel in the Motherlode, because our “local treasure” is a hard working, trusted and admired individual who never gives up.

Paul lost his wife of 65 years two years ago. He named his driveway, Martha Lane. He told me he pats her pillow every night and says goodnight to her. Now it is our turn to take care of  our “Local Treasure”, if he will let us.

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On Thursday, we set out to bicycle Davis, notably a bicycle friendly town with well-marked  lanes that can take you through a loop around town of about 35 miles. In high traffic areas, people are ultra considerate of bicyclers. They must have had bike riders on their city council.

Virginia and I were riding pretty sophisticated bikes, while Theo, weighing about 60 pounds has a small one-gear hard pumping  pedal bike.   Our first stop was a school playground for a rest.

The kids at this school have an organic garden. Besides standard fare, they had planted  and were learning about swiss chard, amaranth, quinoa, artichokes, herbs and sunflowers.

The bike trail runs by every school in Davis so kids can bike to school instead of bus, and many do. We saw walkers, riders, and  kids on the bike paths on their way to summer fun.

Virginia joked  that the freeway overpass at Chilies Road is the only hill in Davis.

Our goal was brunch at a favorite Davis restaurant, famous for their crepes and wraps, and fresh pastries. The kids enjoyed rich hot chocolate while waiting for their food. Theo had blueberry pancakes and sausage, but Owen  had a strawberry chocolate crepe that was the equivalent of a candy bar for his meal.

This was our turn around point at 6 miles. Davis has bike racks all over town and it is necessary to lock up bikes.  We could have taken a different way back to our starting point but the kids voted to return the way we came. We had passed at least four parks with playground equipment and they wanted a shot at one of them.

Within five minutes, Virginia’s tire went flat.

The same tire went flat a second time after another five minutes. It was obvious the tire needed to be changed.

Theo rested in a nearby tree.

Owen gave mom an assist and learned how the job is done. Done quickly, actually. Modern bikes are well-engineered for repairs on the road. Since Virginia has thousands of miles on her bike, she knows the necessity of on the spot tire changes.

And, their playground of choice has one of those (now banned by most schools and parks in California) a self-propelled merry-go-round.  They’ve been in parks and schools since I was a kid. It’s sometimes difficult to understand the over protective mind-set of decision makers. It probably has to do with avoiding law suits. (I promise not to rant.)

Later, at karate classes, the boys did some sparring.

Defensive skills are only part of the process. They learn values;  courage, attitude, perseverance, politeness, respect and consideration of others.

The littlest kids are a hoot to watch. Pure joy.


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