Kenwood Press

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Glen Ellen Telegram: 09/01/2019

Glen Ellen Telegram

I’m certain that this is an unpopular opinion - I like poison oak. Of course I don't want to trek through it with bare skin and I know it is basically a parasite, but I think it is a beautiful plant. And it's especially gorgeous this time of year when it starts to put on its fall color show (and thankfully becomes that much more obvious). Steve and I live on the edge of the Eldridge open space corridor and so we consistently enjoy the wild nature at our doorstep, both plants and animals (and even fungi)! Our wildlife camera on the driveway has captured everything from mountain lions and bobcats to fawns and jackrabbits. The creek near us is often visited by herons, river otters, and beavers. This time of year, there are many “families” moving through. We've enjoyed watching a family of quail whose babies are so tiny when they first hatch that all you can see of them is the rustling of the dry grass. And now the turkeys are out in force. Just this morning, at dawn, I was out in the lovely chill air and an ambulance siren pierced the peaceful moment as it echoed through the valley. I was about to feel tense and upset, but then I realized that the turkeys were “answering” back in that funny way that only they do. Fall is coming.

And school has started! At our local public elementary school, day one was Monday, Aug. 19, and it was full of first day excitement, smiles, jitters, and even tears. Long-time parent, student-advocate, and alumnus of the school Celeste Winders shed a few tears as she realized how close she is now to promoting yet another child (her youngest) from this school that she loves. If you know Dunbar School, then you really know just how special this place is. And the year is starting off with some incredible new and returning/expanding programs that are definitely worth touting. Principal Jillian Beall is excited to share that the AVID program is continuing, as is the garden program and several exciting arts collaborations are expanding or beginning this year. The school garden is still in recovery (fence work/sheds/greenhouses - look for community work dates soon) but the beds are beautiful with ripe tomatoes and flowers. During the first week, third grade teacher Peter Graff brought his class out to the garden to harvest tomatoes and make salsa from scratch. Then they all sat down and enjoyed dipping the chips. Librarian Tracy Salcedo was honored to be out there helping with the lesson, watching the students “find their joy in the garden, in nature.” Garden teacher Alissa Pearce says that classroom lessons typically begin after Labor Day and that each class comes to the garden once a week. Plein Air is once again providing amazing arts education funding throughout the valley, and at Dunbar that means 12 art lessons per classroom each year. The program is called “Art in Action” and includes exposure to various famous artists, styles, media, and techniques. These will be taught by long-time Dunbar teacher/artist Beth Beirmann. The second arts collaboration is with Transcendence Theatre Company, where, through their Arts and Values Education Fund, they have envisioned and sponsored the Dunbar Elementary School Arts Integration, which will include “two teaching artists providing in-school arts education integration curriculum that culminates in an original school production.”

The Jack London Yacht Club is hosting a party for distribution of funds that they collected through the “Jack to Jack” race last spring. The grant recipient party will be on Sunday, Sept. 8, at Valley of the Moon Winery, 3 p.m., to hand out grant checks to local organizations in the community and thank the volunteers who made Jack London Yacht Club's first year so successful. Tommy and Dick Smothers, recently back from New York, where they were inducted into the Comedy Institute Hall of Fame, will be handing out the grant checks. Get ready for a fun afternoon. Tickets are $30 for members, $40 non-members. Reservations are required. Members can show their membership card for free raffle tickets. A link to tickets can be found on their website,

The Buzz from Around the Bend

Broadway Under the Stars is wrapping up on the weekend of Sept. 6 with their always-fun Gala Celebration at Jack London State Park. Tickets may still be available at their website,

Have you marked your calendar for this year's Glen Ellen Village Fair? Sunday, Oct. 13, noon-5 p.m. The theme this year is “Small Town, Big Heart.” If you would like information about the fair, would like to sign up for a booth (very few spots remain) or the parade, please email Please join the volunteer fair planning committee at their next meeting: Monday Sept. 9, 6 p.m. at the restaurant space in the Jack London Saloon.

The next Glen Ellen Forum general town hall meeting will be Monday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. at Dunbar School. At the last meeting we heard about all the great works of the projects and traffic/safety committees. Have you noticed that the crosswalk was painted in the middle of town? Garbage cans and parking lot cleanups at the post office? Beautification is definitely afoot! The Forum is sponsoring a family meal in the back picnic area of Morton's on Sunday, Sept. 29, details pending. Ellie Insley, vice president of the board of directors for the Sonoma Ecology Center, spoke about wildlife-friendly and water/fire-wise landscaping. They are working with Sonoma Ecology Center, Cal Fire, and the county to develop a program for communities to access information.

The Glen Ellen Historical Society is working to save historic documents and the library materials from Sonoma Developmental Center. They have publicly expressed grave concerns about the recent steam plant shut down and what that means for the vermin and mold problems and other aspects of building decay. They are making a push for more community members to step up to lend their voices, signatures, and financial support to their efforts. Go to either their website,, or Facebook page. They can also be reached at P.O. Box 35, Glen Ellen, CA 95442.

As always, if you have any Glen Ellen-related news to announce, please email or call 707-996-3352.

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