Over the winter, Jack London State Park held its second annual Young Writers Contest, and last Saturday, April 22, they held a celebration for the winners and their families. Prizes were awarded in two age groups, elementary and middle school. You can read the stories on the park's website, www.jacklondonpark.com. I read a few of them, and I think Jack would be proud. The winners are Joseph Silva (1st place middle school); Andrew Riku Gilman (2nd place middle school); Deandrew Martin (3rd place middle school); Emma Ostertag (1st place elementary school); Layla Fahmi (2nd place elementary school); and Liam Daley (3rd place elementary school). Kristina Ellis, tours and education manager, coordinated the contest, and Sonoma County Poet Laureate Iris Jamahl Dunkle presented the awards.
April 22 was Earth Day, and on that morning a couple dozen hearty Glen Ellen residents donned gloves and garbage bags and fanned out all over Glen Ellen to pick up trash and spiff up the town. It was a big haul, and you never know what you're going to find. One person spotted what looked like a gun down in a gulley. A sheriff's deputy drove out and determined that it was a BB-gun. The clean up was organized by the Glen Ellen Town Forum. Thank you to everyone who participated. You are a great example of not just talking the talk, but literally walking the walk!
On Sunday, April 23, St. Patrick's Church honored Jeanne-Marie Jones for her service to FISH of Santa Rosa. FISH stands for Friends in Service Here, as opposed to FISH of Sonoma Valley, which stand for Friends in Service Helping. They're both wonderful, effective organizations helping the hungry and the needy in all sorts of ways. But back to Jeanne-Marie, who, at the age of 91, has just retired after many years as a volunteer and the last 15 as executive director of FISH. The church thanked her and gave her a silver Celtic cross as a token of their affection. They also packed the FISH food van with 845 pounds of donated food! The new executive director of FISH is a well-known face to many of you, Kaarin Lee. Kaarin and her late husband Mike Lee lived in Kenwood many years and were the owners of Kenwood Vineyards before selling to Korbel in 1998.
Linda Hale, who is on the Valley of the Moon Alliance (VOTMA) board, lets us know that the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) has teamed up with VOTMA and local sponsors to participate in their Farm-to-School programs this year. The idea is to have students experience locally-grown foods and learn about local farmers and growing seasons. This year VOTMA sponsored the Kenwood Preschool and fourth grade programs, and Cathy Fletcher sponsored the first grade class in honor of Donna Wilson, Kenwood School's longtime secretary who passed away recently. Experts say that the strongest predictor of what foods kids like at age eight is what foods they liked at age four, so Kenwood students are getting a chance to eat well and go local!
You know we've had a lot of rain this year, and one of the many benefits of that is a profusion of wildflowers all over the state. Cindy Belluomini recently spent three weeks visiting the super blooms in Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego, Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon, Carrizo Plains, and Pinnacles. While there were not too many blooms in Death Valley, Cindy said there were “blankets and blankets of flowers” in Carrizo Plains. She called the trip her retirement trial run, as she hopes to retire this summer from Morton Salt.
We are moving into graduation season, so please send us your graduation news - high school, college, post-graduate - your town wants to know all about it! We'll publish the college news as it comes in, and all the high school news in our June 15th issue, so please send in your information by June 9, including your future plans, be it more school, work, travel, the military, etc.
Thank you to everyone for sending in your news and photos for Village Chat. It's easy to do. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 833-5155 and chat me up!