New Neighborhood Voice

Newsletter - Edition 9 - Section 1

September 7, 2003

Return to Home Page
Click on a thumbnail to view larger photos
Lots more
are in
Section 2
SJFD Battalion Chief Joe Carrillo

Ahmad and Abaan

Alum Rock Avenue, Pre-1900
YSI Wildlife
Festival in ARP
He was 5 years old when
PACT started on ARYC

Owl at WCSV

Mrs. Bumb and Henry's Floral Tapestry

Newsletter Headlines

Fire Season - No one wants to think about it!
"I Feel Lucky to Have Attended James Lick" by Wil Henninger
James Lick Principal Olmos Addresses the Community by Bernardo N. Olmos
Ponderables - Thoughts for our unsettled times from Abaan Abu-Shumays
Alum Rock Avenue - "One of the most delightful drives in the State" by Joan Destro
Rock Canyon Circle - Indians near Alum Rock Park by Ed Allegretti
Best Kept Secrets of San Jose - Downtown Farmers' Market
Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley - We're in your neighborhood! by Janet Alexander
The Sheriffs - Part 3: This time, Ed is caught carrying a gun by Ed Allegretti
Quetzalcoatl in City Hall - An Eastside picture story
NNV Briefs
East Side not friendly? Harummph! Read this!
Are YOU receiving your mail?  Or does it go to Sunnyvale?
Community Health Fair and Alum Rock Arts Academy at ARUMC
YSI 18th Annual Wildlife Festival in Alum Rock Park
Santa Clara County Budget Update and Request for Comments
East Hills Community Association "Revival" Update by Tanya Freudenberger
Alum Rock Youth Center - A FANTASTIC new resource for our community
SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, Sept. 21, PICO/PACT California Gubernatorial Forum
NEWS FLASH: Shift or Shaft for the Eastside? BART to skip Alum Rock and Berryessa
District 5 Community Update by San Jose Councilmember Nora Campos
You Dig It?
Mrs. Bumb and Henry's Tapestry of Flowers
September Hot Topics by UC Coop. Extension Master Gardener Bracey Tiede
What NNV Does to Protect You from Viruses and Spam - And what you can do!
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Does anyone know whether Shadow the beautiful cat has found a home yet?
Did NNV really get those County guys to finish work on the Miguelito Bridge?
But what are we going to do about all the graffiti on the bridges?
What's happening (or not happening) at the Bill's Pony Ranch site?
What's up with the old Alum Rock Feed and Fuel business?
What can we do about all the non-working cars and blight in our neighborhoods?
What does "Common Dress" on the James Lick High School marquee mean?
Return to Top

Fire Season

No one wants to think about it

We're in this together, folks!

As in other neighborhoods, September in our neck of the woods brings wistful thoughts of summer days at an end, the hustle and excitement of kids going back to school, and thoughts of the oncoming autumn. Unlike most other neighborhoods, however, here - in what the fire experts call our "Wildland Urban Interface" area - a tiny back-of-the-mind worry begins to grow daily as we watch the grasses on the hillsides become parched and dry. Deer coming to our watered landscapes to find a meal of something (anything) green announce to us that the fire season is upon us once again. With this edition, New Neighborhood Voice starts an exploration into the special relationship and responsibilities East foothill dwellers have with the San Jose Fire Department to protect ourselves and our way of life.

Late in August, newly-minted Battalion Chief Joe Carrillo paid a visit to Highland Drive for an interview with NNV. Chief Carrillo has in the past held the positions of Wildland Program Manager as well as Public Information Officer with the SJFD. He knows very well the hazards unique to residential areas on hillsides which abruptly abut fields and forests ripe with fuel every summer and fall. He also is well aware of the importance of educating the public so that we know how to prepare ourselves and our property for the possibility of a fire blowing through our neighborhood.

Joe defined our area as being part of the long foothill-hugging terrain running from the Milpitas border on the north to Clayton Road on the south. We are served by three fire stations primarily, Station #2, the headquarters station on Alum Rock Avenue, Station #19, a small four-personnel station on Piedmont Road which has a direct route into Alum Rock Park via Penitencia Creek Road, and Station #21, another four-personnel station on Mt. Pleasant Road. Station #2 houses ten firefighters plus Chief Jose Luna and, Joe says, it's the busiest station in the city. All of these stations have special equipment and capabilities for fighting fires and meeting other emergencies in areas like ours. Each station has a paramedic and some combination of brush patrols, water tenders, Urban Search and Rescue equipment and, in the case of Station #2, a truck with a pump, 65 foot ladder and an especially short wheel base which can negotiate tight switchback corners. Joe says that they believe that it would take twenty-five of the city's thirty-one engines to fight a major fire here in the Country Club area. Obviously, mutual assistance from other fire departments would be called in.

Joe says they use the acronym "CRAFT" to assess a home's resistance to fire. C stands for "construction" - stucco is the most fire-worthy, wooden siding the least. R stands for "roofing material" - composition and tile are the best, untreated wood shakes the poorest. A stands for "access" - fire hoses have a maximum reach of 200 feet. F stands for "fuels" which include everything flammable around a house including needles and leaves on roofs and in gutters. T stands for "terrain" - a fire crew must be able to get in and get out safely. In some cities properties are given a CRAFT-type rating. Each is given a numerical grade and the grades are shared with the community. Peer pressure can help persuade noncompliant folks to shape up their properties. We don't have such ratings here, but we do have expertise to share in order to help everyone improve their property's level of fire resistance and their personal preparedness. By the way, Joe put the word "treated" in figurative quotes as he mentioned "treated shakes." In order for such wooden shakes to be fire resistant, they need to be re-treated at least every five years!

NNV asked Joe to summarize the message he would like us to tell our readers. His PIO training was really evident when he succinctly pronounced, "Rely on yourself. Prepare your property. Give us (firefighters) a fighting chance." Next month, NNV will share do-able ideas and techniques which can optimize your personal preparedness, plus your property's and our community's resistance to a disastrous fire - and help our firefighters help us. This is truly a case where "we're all in this together!"

Click here to see Battalion Chief Carrillo. Click here to read Meaghan Clawsie's great story on the last big fire in our area (use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this edition of NNV). Click here for the SJFD Web site. The County contracts with the SJFD to provide fire protection in our unincorporated areas.

Click here for the Lick Observatory Web Cam, which is updated every few minutes.  The Web Cam has been pointed at the fires near Mt. Hamilton during the week of August 25, 2003.  Click here for some spectacular (and scary) photos of these fires.

Return to Top

"I Feel Lucky to Have Attended James Lick"

"And I encourage parents 'in the hills' to give their children that same opportunity"

By Wil Henninger, Social Studies Teacher at Silver Creek High School

Dear NNV,

As a graduate of James lick High School, as well as a former teacher at Lick, and the son of a recently retired Lick teacher, I would like to thank your publication for working on the school's behalf. I would also like to echo the many positive sentiments expressed by past contributors. Students at Lick have excellent academic opportunities, and continue to attend excellent universities like Stanford, Cal, Santa Clara, CSU Chico, and San Jose State, just as they did when I was a student there. Honor societies like CSF and NHS have always had strong chapters there. 

James Lick is a very unique place for many reasons. It is the oldest school in the district, and has classic 1950s architecture, complimented with the latest technology in renovated classrooms. It is also quite a beautiful place to learn. Classroom windows (quite rare in most schools today) look out up into the East Foothills. Quiet courtyards are shaded by redwood trees, and sunny spots have benches for lunchtime socializing. Another unique and important aspect of JLHS is its size. In my days as a substitute teacher, I set foot on many campuses. The atmosphere at JL felt closer than other schools. James Lick is family like, and very friendly, in part due to its small size. Students have more opportunities to stand out as individuals. 

Diversity is another of Lick's attributes. As a student at Lick, I was exposed to people of many different ethnicities and cultures. I remember "International Night", a tradition that still goes on at JL, as a celebration filled with music, dance, exotic delicacies, colorful fashions, and a special sense of community, all organized and performed by James Lick students and faculty. Diversity is truly worth such a grand celebration. Being a student at JLHS gave me an excellent education. I was VERY prepared for success in, and beyond the university. James Lick also educated me in community spirit. It gave me exposure to many different types of people. 

I feel lucky to have attended James Lick, and I encourage parents "in the hills" to give their children that same opportunity.

Wil Henninger
Lifetime East Side resident, Social Studies teacher, Silver Creek High School

Return to Top

James Lick Principal Olmos Addresses the Community

"We welcome all parents and community members to visit JLHS to meet our staff"

By Bernardo N. Olmos, James Lick High School Principal

Dear East Side Community,

It is my pleasure to welcome all of our students back to a new and exciting school year. We would like to especially welcome our freshman class of 2007.

James Lick High School has a strong academic program, complemented with an outstanding athletic program and a growing intramural program during the student lunch period. There are also a number of clubs on campus that welcome all students - Anime Society, Asian Club, Drama Club, East Indian Club, Filipino Club, Interact Club, Journalism Club, NCU Latino Club, Portuguese Club, and Project Earth.

Our counseling staff is here to serve the academic needs of all James Lick students. Parents are encouraged to call the counseling office to schedule appointments. The counselors meet with students and parents to plan an academic map. Setting academic goals is critical for the success of students.

Our teaching staff is outstanding and they are here to serve all students. We offer Advanced Placement courses in social studies, science, math, foreign language and computer programming. All advance placement courses are complemented with a regular full course curriculum. Our students are also lucky to have a magnet program focused on media communication.

A team of staff members led by Ms. Margaret Williams is in the process of developing a focus program for our incoming freshmen. We believe that as we continue to develop strong relationships with our students and parents, our students' academic growth will continue to excel. Our staff will be contacting freshman parents to further inform them of our progress in this effort.

We welcome all parents and community members to visit James Lick High School to meet our staff.

Bernardo N. Olmos

Click here for the James Lick High School Web site.

NNV Note: The Editorial "Feds 'flunk' a good school" in the September 5, 2003, Mercury News describes the profound flaws of the No Child Left Behind law and how these flaws undermine its worthy purpose.  Click here to read the editorial and click here to read how this law impacts James Lick High School in our interview with JLHS Principal Olmos.  Use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this page.

Return to Top

New Neighborhood Voice Founding Sponsors

Lifestyle Properties, Call Ellen Rauh at (408) 929-1925,

Caskey Country Club Properties, Call Larry and Barbara Caskey at (408) 926-5400

E.M.S. LLC, Environmental Management Systems, (408) 501-4200
A full service construction & demolition cleanup, hauling and recycling company

Eileen Parks, Windermere Silicon Valley Properties, (408) 251-5860
"When the follow through counts, call Eileen" - or e-mail 

Keith Bush, Artist/Sculptor, (408)-923-6666, 

MBA ARCHITECTS, Marvin Bamburg AIA, (408) 297-0288, 
Residential, commercial, industrial, historic preservation & mixed use projects; 

Return to Top


Thoughts for our unsettled times

From Abaan Abu-Shumays

The following is something to ponder:

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep ...
You are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ...
You are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness ...
You are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation...
You are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death...
You are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married ...
You are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful...
You are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder...
You are blessed because you can offer healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, you are wealthy enough to have an internet connection and power on, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings, and pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

Author Unknown

NNV Note: This thoughtful piece was sent to NNV for us to share with our readers by Abaan Abu-Shumays. She and her husband Ahmad were dedicated community volunteers before they moved away earlier this year. Click here to see a photo of Abaan and Ahmad and here to read Ahmad's story on volunteering in the math department at Lick High School.

Return to Top

History of Alum Rock Avenue

"One of the most delightful drives in the State"

By Joan Destro

Although there had been a road there for years, Alum Rock Avenue was officially established by the County Board of Supervisors in 1866, and in 1872 the State Legislature set down provisions for the City of San Jose to survey and improve the road to the Alum Rock Park.

Specifications for the road called for it to be bordered by two rows of evergreen trees. Eucalyptus trees were planted below White Road and Pine trees above that marched up the hill to Alum Rock Park. Alum Rock Avenue was pronounced by all who saw it as "one of the most delightful drives in the State." Countless photographs and tourist cards portraying its arboreal beauty were mailed from the Santa Clara Valley every year.

In the 1880s and early 1900s, Alum Rock Avenue was traveled by the Mount Hamilton Stage. The stage made daily trips from the Vendome Stables in downtown San Jose to Mount Hamilton Observatory. The first stage station was at Junction House, located on the corner of Mt. Hamilton Road and Alum Rock Avenue, the first horse-watering stage stop.

"Brick Hill" was a picturesque mile of brick road on Alum Rock Avenue just below the San Jose Country Club. The bricks there kept the horses from slipping on the steeper inclines and are still there actually, only paved over.

In 1906 the East San Jose Town Ordinance No.4 said: An Ordinance Protecting Shade and Ornamental Trees Situated upon the Highways within the Town of East San Jose, and Prohibiting the Placing of Notices of any kind upon Trees, Bridges, of Other Town Property upon the Public Highways of the Town of East San Jose.

Click here to see how Alum Rock Avenue looked more than 100 years ago. Click here to read more about how the City of San Jose had to build Alum Rock Avenue in the 1870s to reach their new park (use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this edition of NNV).

NNV Note: The Junction House and the Mt. Hamilton Stage are mentioned in Clyde Arbuckle's book on the History of San Jose. The stage left the Vendome Hotel and Stables at 7:30 AM so you could have heard the horses clip-clopping up Alum Rock Avenue by 8 AM. It took them five and one-half hours to reach the observatory but only three hours and 45 minutes for the return trip. "If clouds and fog had settled upon their route anywhere between the observatory and Junction House, no one, including the driver, could see the edge of the road. Only the horses, which knew every turn, could get them through safely."

Return to Top

Click here for Section 2 of the September 7, 2003 Newsletter

(This newsletter is in two sections to reduce the download time for this page)

--------------------------- Contact and Subscription Information ---------------------------------
Copyrightę 2003 by Judy Thompson, 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127 
Phone: (408) 272-7008, E-mail: Fax: (408) 272-4040 
E-mail and fax subscriptions are free. Your ideas and comments are always welcome. 
To Subscribe: E-mail with "Subscribe" in the Subject Line. 
To Unsubscribe: E-mail with "Unsubscribe" in the Subject Line. 
Privacy Policy: Your contact information will not be sold, distributed or visible to others. 
Opinions expressed by other writers and contributors are not necessarily shared by NNV.

Copyrightę 2003 by Judy Thompson.  All rights reserved.  Updated 9/5/03.

Return to Top