Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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Village Chat: 08/01/2019

Village Chat for August 1, 2019

volunteer group in front of barn
St. Francis Winery employees at the Pony Express Ranch on Joe Martin Day. Linda Aldrich with horse, far right.
Joe Martin was the founder of St. Francis Winery, and a really good guy. He died in 2015, and to honor his legacy, St. Francis started something called Joe Martin Day.

The winery's website explains, “Joe Martin spent his lifetime giving back to others. Much of his time and resources were spent helping those in Sonoma County less fortunate than him, particularly children. It was with this in mind that we began Joe Martin Day, a company-wide day of service helping others in our community. Each year, St. Francis Winery closes all operations for the entire day so employees can devote meaningful work to a cause in our community.”

On June 25, The Pony Express Ranch, just up the highway across from Oakmont, was the happy recipient of Joe's legacy.

Pony Express founder Linda Aldrich wrote, “The projects were many, beginning with a new metal barn that the wind will never blow down. Next came a beautiful bridge that can hold horses and humans through rain, sleet, hail, and high waters. With a fresh coat of new paint our big red barn has never looked better. Inside, our tack room and classroom got a spectacular new look that was a delightful combination of form and function.

“Outside, our arena sparkled in newly painted white fence and many loads of much needed new sand. A team of hardworking landscapers gave our walnut trees a trimming and cleaned up our field of dreams. Water, electricity, and Internet were run underground as dumpsters were filled above ground.

“Lunch was delightful, as was the incredible company that we had the pleasure to keep on this memorable day. The Pony Express wishes to send deep and heartfelt thanks to each and every person that showed up on behalf of St. Francis Winery and Joe Martin Day!”

The goal of the nonprofit Pony Express is to help kids develop relationships with horses by caring for them and completing a variety of horse-related exercises, and in the process learn trust, respect, communication and teamwork, making them better able to make good choices and set healthy boundaries in their lives. Their mission statement reads, “The Pony Express is a community-based organization dedicated to mentoring kids and committed to creating life skill and leadership learning opportunities through the use of horses as teachers, healers, and agents of change.” You can learn more at

Lately we've been getting so many travel photos, from literally around the world. Here are some more:

couple on bridge
John and Marie Theilade in Christchurch, New Zealand.
John and Marie Theilade sent this photo after “punting” on the Avon River in Christchurch, New Zealand, back in February.

Chuck and Toni Casamento and Curt and Marchelle Carleton with Himba tribe
L to R: Chuck and Toni Casamento and Curt and Marchelle Carleton with Himba tribe people on the border between Namibia and Angola.
In April, Marchelle and Curt Carleton, and Toni and Chuck Casamento were in Africa and sent in a picture of the Himba tribes people on the border between Namibia and Angola. Marchelle said that they are one of the last remaining nomadic tribes who live as they have for hundreds of years. “We were thrilled to spend the day with them. It really was the most amazing experience we've ever had. We were so fortunate our guide spoke their language - so they took the time to show us, for example, what each part of their clothing meant. They don't wear shoes and we saw them carrying water on their heads from the river to their village - it was a LONG ways away. They put this red ochre on their bodies to protect their skin against the harsh climate and sun. The women tend to do the labor-intensive work and the men handle the cows.”

Marchelle said that there are only two million people in Namibia, so the whole country is quite sparse. They also saw the Sossusvlei red dunes area and the Skeleton Coast with its desert animals.

Linda Sevier on safari in Zululand
Linda Sevier on safari in Zululand.
Linda Sevier was also traveling in Namibia and South Africa a few months ago. She wrote that highlights included “Sossusvlei to see the spectacular apricot-colored sand dunes, Cheetah Conservation Fund founded by American Laurie Marker to learn about the amazing research they are doing as well as seeing the rescued cheetahs up close, visiting the Himba tribe, animal viewing at Ongava Game Reserve where we saw a one-week-old baby rhino, and one of seven elephants at the watering hole at the Lodge decided that drinking from the guests' pool was much tastier. Very exciting, especially for the little boy swimming in the pool. Our last stop was Thula Thula Game Reserve in Zululand, home of the heartwarming book The Elephant Whisperer. It was so fun to meet elephants Nana, Mabula and Frankie and all the other animals Lawrence Anthony and his loyal staff have rescued over the years.”

Walt Panus and Lee Anne Birka at Motorcycle Week
Walt Panus and Lee Anne Birka at Motorcycle Week.
Walt Panus, J&W Automotion, and Lee Anne Birka, bartender at the Jack London Lodge, were at Laconia Motorcycle Week, the oldest motorcycle rally in the country, in Weirs Beach, Laconia, New Hampshire in June, and sent us one from the road. Thanks, Lee Anne!

Charlie Schlangen on the way to Royal Ascot
Charlie Schlangen on the way to Royal Ascot.
Here's a first for us - Charlie Schlangen of Kenwood went to Royal Ascot in London, and even remembered to take his Kenwood Press along. He said, “I had a great time, but lost all my bets!”

A polar bear on the Svalbard Archipelago.
A polar bear on the Svalbard Archipelago.
Victor Reus of Glen Ellen wrote, “Just got back from a trip to the Arctic, starting in Longyearbyen on the Svalbard Archipelago, the home of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and heading north towards the North Pole. Longyearbyen is a sort of wild west Norwegian town; one main street and lots of people carrying guns, which are required if you walk beyond the perimeter several hundred yards away. Strange fact: it is illegal to die in Longyearbyen, the reason being that the permafrost keeps ejecting burials. Got to 81° north latitude, about 600 miles away.

He said he had “lots of Attenborough moments” - polar bears hunting reindeer and seals (not very successfully), walruses, Beluga and minke whales, arctic foxes on the hunt, and birds of all type, including arctic terns, kittiwakes, puffins, auks, and petrals. Victor's pictures are amazing. I wish we had room for more than one.

Karen King, Yaak River Falls, Montana.
Karen King, Yaak River Falls, Montana.
The Rev. Karen King, of St Patrick's Episcopal Church in Kenwood, spends the spring and summer in Montana where she also has a ministry, and sent in a snap from Yaak River Falls, Kootenai National Forest, Montana. That looks like a religious experience to me.

Nancy and Rob Novak in French Polynesia
Nancy and Rob Novak in French Polynesia.
Meanwhile, Nancy and Rob Novak, who are sailing around the South Pacific on their sailboat Shindig, sent in a photo from an atoll in French Polynesia called Fakarava. “We were snorkeling on the South Pass near the “Wall of Sharks” dive location. We tried to get a shark in the photo but they were not cooperating.” That's an impressive amount of planning for a KP photo op. You win!

Thank you to everyone who sent in news and photos. You can do it, too, and it doesn't even have to be about travel. If you have an item of interest for Village Chat, email it to, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP


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