New Neighborhood Voice

Newsletter - Edition 9 - Section 2

September 7, 2003

Return to Home Page
Return to Section 1
Click on a thumbnail to view larger photos
1976 Aerial Photo of
Rock Canyon Circle
Western Dance
on Poppy Lane
Covered Bridge Near
Rock Canyon Circle
What's This? And Who's
What's Quetzalcoatl
doing here?
Where is he now?
Return to Headlines and Section 1

Rock Canyon Circle

Indians near Alum Rock Park

By Ed Allegretti

It was my pleasure in my youth to look for fossils and rocks along Penitencia Creek. I still very much enjoy looking for these today with my stepsons. Although we haven't found any whole fossilized clam shells as I did when a boy, we have found many good pieces of fossilized sandstone. The boys have also enjoyed locating all three colors of chert; red, yellow and green.

Once when I was a young teenager we were visiting people who lived on Poppy Lane. The gentleman of the house was proud to show me the red chert arrowhead he found in the orchard across the street from his place. That old orchard was part of what later became Rock Canyon Circle; the other part being the old Rock Canyon Club.

My parents bought the house from this gentlemen and I was happy to live across the street from a place where Indians once lived.

Of course, I wanted to explore this orchard and look for artifacts. There was also an old house on the property but the old man who had lived there was dead and his nephew, who inherited this small farm of about four acres, lived elsewhere. Fortunately, for an "archaeologist" as I imagined myself, no digging was required to find artifacts. The orchard was occupied by beechy ground squirrels who had dug many holes and left the contents of their burrows outside their entryways. Mixed amongst the dirt were various small artifacts that I enjoyed discovering.

Most common were small conical shells. Interestingly, the tips of all these shells were broken off. It seems the Indians would harvest these creatures, break off the tips, and suck out the contents for supper. Also very common were "baked" rocks which were used in their earthen ovens. Less common, but certainly more preferred for discovering, were the stone implements made of chert. I was fortunate to find several small scrapers used to clean deer skins for clothing. The best discovery was the single arrowhead that I found! Packed away somewhere in my garage are these artifacts that I still enjoy viewing every several years.

Some other items that I found on this old farm are no longer in my possession. These were the few pieces of Indian bones which no doubt were brought up from a grave below (several complete graves were found nearby in the 1930's when the Pattons were building their lovely pool on Poppy Lane). When professional archaeologists came to survey the farm as part of the process before it could be developed into houses, I showed them my discoveries. They did confirm that my bones were indeed human. They very politely asked if these bones could be borrowed for only a few days for analysis after which time they would be returned to me. Actually, a couple of weeks passed before I discovered these archaeologists back in the old orchard. I asked where were my bones? "Oh," they replied, "we of course gave those to the local Indians for re-burial." Really this deceit was not necessary since I would gladly have given those bones to their descendants. Yet, such manners are considered appropriate by those shameful people.

In my desire to be an archaeologist I only thought it worth my time to seek out and keep the Indian artifacts that I found (with permission of course from Mr. Shiro, the nephew who inherited the farm). What I unfortunately neglected, except in play, were the interesting artifacts from this farm. Since the old house still existed, minus the glass in the windows and most of the doors, it served as a wonderful fort. So did the barn, several small outbuildings, and the old water tank on top of a tower. We cut a hole in the side in order to get into the tank. I recall, when having our mock battles amongst these buildings, finding old glass bottles, newspapers in the walls that showed the house to probably have been built in the 1890's, old coffee cans and other tins, square nails, and even part of an old stone knife-sharpening wheel. Due to my neglect, none of these items were kept and all were taken away when the place was developed into tract houses.

The houses on Rock Canyon Circle, as I mentioned, and the street now lie over this former farm. However, most of Rock Canyon Circle actually covers the property that was once part of the Rock Canyon Club. This place was once like a small, private country club. Although it did not have golfing, it did have a wonderful swimming pool that I enjoyed many times, tennis courts, and horse riding. Some horses could be rented for rides in Alum Rock Park while some others were stabled there by their owners. Near the entrance was an arena where small, local rodeos were held. Truly, it was a great place to play and relax. Yet, like the small farm, it became valuable to developers in the late 1970's and both were replaced by tract houses.

Shortly before the Rock Canyon Club was bulldozed, there was a movement by many locals to have the place declared a cultural or historical resource in order to save it from development. Before anything official was actually done, the owners heard of this plan. Immediately the bulldozers came and destroyed the buildings, arena, swimming pool and tennis courts. Nothing was left to be declared a resource for the community.

Yes, the old farm and Rock Canyon Club are now completely gone. Yes, my few artifacts do remain. But, more Indian artifacts and probably some graves still are there. If you drive along Rock Canyon Circle you will notice that part of the development is on higher ground. This is not due to natural causes since previously both these properties were level. The part that contained the old farm was required by officials to be covered with several feet of dirt so that the old Indian settlement and graveyard would not be disturbed when the houses was built. Maybe some of the folks who live there now have some good ghost stories to tell?

Click here to see photos of Rock Canyon Circle and the surrounding area. Click here to read more about the Indians that lived in this area.

Return to Section 1

Best Kept Secrets of San Jose

Downtown Farmers' Market: Great produce and baked goods - and validated parking!

Why is it that everything worthwhile around here - well almost everything - is inevitably labeled "the best kept secret in San Jose"? Even Alum Rock Park, an enormous canyon of 725 acres (give or take), seems to be seriously unknown territory to people who live west of King Road. Who is guarding the sanctity of these secrets, anyway?

The San Jose downtown Farmers' Market is kept virtually terra incognita by someone whose job it is to put a cloak of intrigue and mystery over all the good sites in town. Only if one scrupulously searches the pages of the Mercury News on one certain day of the year does one become aware that such a market exists. And, even if the tiny notice is found, it is often incorrect or incomplete. Clearly someone with a vested interest wants to keep the market one of those best kept secrets - perhaps selfishly hoarding it for his own private use?

Did you know that the market is held every Friday in San Pedro Square from spring through fall? No? Well, join the crowd! And since you didn't know it exists, you don't know whether it has validated parking, right? Well, NNV wishes the average San Josean buena suerte in finding the market and depositing his car - all because of the careful work of the Bureau of Keeping San Jose's Best Stuff Secret (BKSJBSS).

After the Friday Farmers' Market at Town & Country Shopping Center was plowed under to make way for Santana Row a couple of years ago, your intrepid NNV editor confidently went forth to find the new one downtown. A tiny wisp of publicity had leaked out that the market would be at San Pedro Square. Your editor knew where that was.

That Friday morning, she eased her car along the right lane of Santa Clara Street carefully noting the numbered streets as they diminished from Third, to Second, to First, to Market - looking in vain for any signs indicating the location of the market or its designated parking. Not seeing any, she made a quick right into San Pedro Square where, finally, she found herself under a wide market banner hanging from the San Pedro Square arch. Knowing that she had reached veggie nirvana, she drove ahead assuming that she could pull into the most southerly of the entrances of the "square's" big parking structure. This was a mistake of the same variety that caused the catastrophe in Santa Monica this summer when an elderly gentleman drove into an outdoor market and couldn't get his car stopped until he had mowed down (and in many cases killed) a large number of patrons and vendors. There, but for the Grace of God, went your little editor, driving toward the fruit stands and mothers with strollers!

Just in the nick of time, she found her wits and made a sloppy three-point turn to get back out onto Santa Clara. "Well, since its entrance is blocked by a fleet of market trucks, that's obviously not the parking lot for the market," she thought to herself. So, shaken but not daunted, she took the next right turn off Santa Clara and arrived at a small parking lot.

"Is this the parking for the Farmers' Market," she asked of the young attendant. "Yes, this is it," he said, "that'll be $8.00." "Egads!" thought your chintzy editor, "I should pay eight bucks to save fifty cents on a bunch of carrots?"

"Isn't there any validated parking for the market?" she asked incredulously.

"No, ma'am - this is the parking for the market and it costs $8.00," he lied.

Backing out of the parking lot, your chastened-but-cheap editor decided to give the big parking structure between Market Street and San Pedro Square one more chance - this time approaching it from the Market Street side. Again, there were no signs indicating that this was or was not the right place to park for the market, but, at least it would cost less than $8.00, she figured.

After parking her car, propelled by adrenalin and righteous anger brought on by the frustrations of the morning, she marched right up to a plump, white-haired, official-looking man sitting at a table across from the Farmers' Market vendors. "Where are the signs around here?" she demanded. "How are you supposed to know where to park, anyway?"

The chubby guy just yawned and shrugged most irritatingly, but he was holding a little book of parking validation stickers in his hand. There was no sign on his table indicating that validation took place there. Of course not. That would be against the rules of the BKSJBSS!

Now that your editor has pried the lid off the secrets of the Downtown Farmers' Market, you too can dine on nifty produce, baked goods and even fresh seafood every week. She would like to make the Farmers' Market one of the worst-kept secrets of San Jose if not to thwart the BKSJBSS, then to bring in more fans of outdoor shopping for the sake of the hardworking vendors who pay for their spaces and who would never believe the lengths someone goes to in order to make finding and using the market as difficult as possible.

If you go to the market, you need to know that it opens at 10 A.M. and goes until 2 P.M. This year it opened on the first Friday of May and will run until the Friday before Christmas. You can take the "NNV Route" which is easiest from East San Jose. Just get on McKee Road and take it west. It becomes Julian, a one-way street. Get in the left lane and stay there until you get to Market Street where you take a left. Cross St. James and St. John and you can make an easy right into the parking structure. Take a ticket from the machine. Don't forget to have Santa Claus validate it. He'll stick up to two hours' worth of 20 minute stickers on it - even if you arrive at ten till two!

On the way back to the East side, take a right onto Market Street going south. Turn left at Santa Clara which of course becomes our own Alum Rock Avenue which will take you directly to Alum Rock Village, another one of those well-kept San Jose secrets. This route gives you a chance to get a good look at the Municipal Money Pit being built between Fourth and Sixth Streets and follow its progress from week to week. You can munch wonderful Farmers' Market apricots or peaches as you negotiate the one-lane slow-down which is inevitable in front of the MMP. Even if you're tempted, don't toss the pits.

Click here to see the money gushing into the Municipal Money Pit (actually, we should thank the San Jose Department of Public Works for providing this Web Cam to watch the progress).  Keep reading this section of NNV to learn more about the public art planned for the new City Hall.

NNV note: It came to NNV's attention that there actually are TV commercials for the Farmers' Market on KICU Channel 36 - particularly in the time slot allotted to Roy Avila's Sunday morning Community Affairs show, "Q. & A."  However, NNV stands by its assertion that the PR for the market (especially for non-TV viewers) is singularly wanting.

Return to Section 1

Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley 

We're in your neighborhood! 

By Janet Alexander - Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley

The Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley (WCSV) is an independent, nonprofit organization established primarily to provide high quality services for local injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. With a staff of three and a volunteer crew of approximately 150, we raise, rehabilitate and release over 5,000 birds and mammals each year. WCSV moved to its Penitencia Creek Park site just over two years ago when the County of Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department agreed to lease the property to the organization for a nominal fee, and the City of San Jose assisted in moving us from our former site and helped to get us up and running in our new location.

The following are just a few of the heartwarming stories that occur at the Wildlife Center each day, as a large group of dedicated volunteers care for the thousands of animals that come through our doors every year:

Cliff Swallows under the bridge 

Approximately 100 Cliff Swallows were rescued from a bridge being prepared for painting. They were hand-fed day and night by volunteers until they were ready for flight.

Jet-setting Burrowing Owl 

Incredibly a Burrowing Owl was found in the vent of an MD-11 Jet at San Jose International Airport. With its talon caught, the owl was unable to free itself. After four months of rehabilitation the owl was released. Due to ongoing growth and construction in the Santa Clara Valley the population of the Burrowing Owl has dwindled and efforts are underway to save this beautiful owl.

Physical therapy for a young Golden Eagle

Found by a security guard at a corporate site in South San Jose, the eagle had severe burns on its wings, probably from electrocution. Raptor specialists at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley successfully rehabilitated the eagle with medications and physical therapy over a two month period. With a wing span exceeding six feet, this powerful young adult male eagle was released back to the wild.

Caring members of the public deliver sick, injured or orphaned birds and mammals to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley in San Jose. Our skilled volunteers provide care and rehabilitation. Without help, most of these animals would perish.

The Wildlife Center sponsors an outreach program which works with all ages, from elementary schools to colleges and community groups. In addition, education classes are offered throughout the year to all WCSV volunteers and members free of charge.

Urban growth and increases in human population density have encroached upon the natural territory of Silicon Valley wildlife. This has led to the disturbance or destruction of habitats, a proliferation of injured and orphaned animals, and an escalation in the wildlife mortality rate.

The Wildlife Center was established in 1993 and has provided care and rehabilitation for over 150 species of common and threatened birds and mammals, totaling over 45,000 animals since opening its doors.

NNV Note: Janet Alexander is the Director of Operations for the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. Their Web site is outstanding - click here to see it. Click here for a photo of the Burrowing Owl. Click here for our FAQ on what to do if you find an injured animal. Use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this page.

Return to Section 1

The Sheriffs - Part 3

This time, Ed is caught carrying a gun

By Ed Allegretti

Not all dealings with the authorities end with much laugher as did the night we had to find our kids at the Country Club. (Click here for last month's Sheriffs story - use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this story.)

Once some elderly neighbors tried hard to rid their palm tree of pigeons. After many ingenious attempts, the pigeons would not go away. The gentleman of the house, knowing I once shot skeet and trap, asked if I would shoot them with his pellet gun.

Before accepting this assignment I decided to find out if it was legal to kill these birds. After contacting the Sheriff's Department, vector unit, humane society, animal control, and a few other agencies, I learned that these birds are not pigeons. What most folks believe are pigeons are actually rock doves. Further, they are classified as disease-carrying varmints and it is, or was then, legal to shoot them.

One warm morning I joined my neighbor and started shooting these varmints. Such an activity attracted the attention of several neighbors. One woman complained that my shooting these birds set a poor example to the local boys who were watching. When I explained that the cigarette in her mouth and the drink in her hand, especially at such an early hour, provided a poorer example to these boys she quickly went back into her house!

About 20 minutes after commencing my good deed for the elderly couple, a sheriff drove by. He was aware of my activity and just wanted to learn how all was progressing. We talked a bit and he went along his way.

Not long after this visit I noticed another sheriff car coming down the lane. However, this sheriff wasn't aware of my activity. As I continued to aim at the tree, I suddenly heard this sheriff yelling at me to drop my weapon. As I lowered the pellet gun and turned to look at him, I noticed his gun was drawn and aimed at me!!! Of course I immediately dropped the gun. He came up to me, pushed me against his vehicle, and started yelling harshly. I called to my wife to telephone for some other sheriffs because I was fearful of what would happen to me.

Despite my attempts to explain what was occurring, he frisked me and continued to yell. Thankfully other sheriffs arrived in minutes, pulled this sheriff away, and allowed me to explain my story, which they could easily verify from handling the pellet gun, talking with neighbors, and calling the sheriff who knew of my activities.

After some time the sheriff who had drawn his gun came up to apologize for his actions. He stated that he was driving down the street, saw me, and assumed I was using a rifle to shoot at some people. His overly emotionally reaction was due to his fear for his life. This incident actually gave me more respect for the true danger often faced by our local sheriffs and policemen. Did I ever shoot rock doves again? No!!!

NNV Note: You just knew Ed would have more run-ins with the Sheriff's Department. If you missed them, click here and here to read the first two stories in this series. We think this is the end of this series - but, knowing Ed, you never know!

Return to Section 1

------ Advertisement -------

For Sale: Yamaha Digital Rhythm Programmer. Chord DSS-1 digital sampling synthesizer.
Korg, complete including a Sony Mixer. Drum machine and keyboard also play through a stereo.
All only $200.00. Ask to see it at Y.S.I Thrift and Gift, 3151 Alum Rock Ave. Tues-Sat 10:00-4:00


To run your ad in New Neighborhood Voice, E-mail or call (408) 272-7008

Quetzalcoatl in City Hall

Is this plan part of a bigger conspiracy?

An Eastside picture story

It has been widely reported (well, by at least one source) that Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed Serpent sculpture will be moved from Cesar Chavez Plaza to the new San Jose City Hall. Click here to see the artist's conception of what it may look like there.

NNV suspects there's more to this story. Our fantasy goes like this: The City does want to move some "public art" to the new City Hall but Quetzalcoatl is not the real objective. They're counting on public outcry to derail this plan and they are prepared to quickly announce their "solution," which is to move the notorious Thomas Fallon statue from Pellier Park to City Hall. Then they can move Quetzalcoatl to the East side and chant, "Don't say we never gave you anything!"

Click here to see how the Fallon statue may look in City Hall. Meanwhile, Quetz knows that he has been banished from downtown. Click here to follow him as he wanders the East side looking for a home.

Return to Section 1

NNV Briefs

bulletEast Side not friendly? Harummph! Read this!
bulletAre YOU receiving your mail?  Or does it go to Sunnyvale?
bulletCommunity Health Fair and Alum Rock Arts Academy at ARUMC
bulletYSI 18th Annual Wildlife Festival in Alum Rock Park
bulletSanta Clara County Budget Update and Request for Comments
bulletEast Hills Community Association "Revival" Update by Tanya Freudenberger
bulletAlum Rock Youth Center - A FANTASTIC new resource for our community
bulletSAVE THE DATE: Sunday, September 21, PICO/PACT California Gubernatorial Forum
bulletNEWS FLASH: Shift or Shaft for the Eastside? BART to skip Alum Rock and Berryessa

East Side not friendly? Harummph! Read this!

There has been a recurrent theme in the Mercury News regarding the walkability of our fair city. The consensus seems to be that we live in an unfriendly area where the average person on the sidewalk averts his head in order to avoid eye contact with fellow walkers. This is not the case in our neighborhood!

NNV would like to nominate Alum Rock Avenue and McKee Road as quite walkable and populated with people who are just waiting for a friendly "Morning!" to nod and smile back. It is true that sometimes the people one encounters are reluctant to make the first gesture, but, with few exceptions, NNV has found that adults, in particular, welcome the intrusion in their solitude.

Of course, many folks one meets on the sidewalk here are new arrivals from other countries who are not quite sure of the American "etiquette of street encounters" and so they may seem to hang back. In many countries - and large cities in particular - it is not seemly to speak to strangers on the street. San Jose is no exception - casual greetings on the streets downtown would be inappropriate; there is an unspoken agreement among walkers in city settings that they won't make eye contact with strangers or speak to them. They are not exhibiting unfriendliness; they are demonstrating city etiquette.

Here in the Alum Rock area, there is a small town atmosphere where passersby are greeted from front porches and lawns and the expectation is that fellow walkers will nod and say hello. NNV has even had the pleasant experience of having other walkers (strangers!) who were going in the same direction match paces and walk along together for several blocks.

During NNV's frequent walks up and down Alum Rock Avenue, there are many folks who go out of their way to wave or even start up a conversation. NNV looks forward to those encounters despite a genetic proclivity for introversion.

Of course, there are teenagers on the sidewalk, too, and all bets are off as to whether they want to lock eyes with a grown-up. Another example of unspoken, but ubiquitous, etiquette! However, the other day, your editor was sashaying along down the hill (mentally mulling this edition of NNV) when she came across a boy with a skateboard. Supposing that he would prefer that she seem unaware of his existence, she looked skyward and all but fell off the curb when he said hello.

If you doubt NNV's experience is typical, give it a go. You may have to be the person who breaks the ice the first time you encounter someone, but you will find that the next time, you will be on the receiving end. We all have a great opportunity to model friendliness to the newcomers in our midst and help set the tone we want here in our neighborhood.

Return to Section 1

Are YOU receiving your mail? 

Or, does your valuable correspondence end up down the block….. or in Sunnyvale? 

Whatever happened to the sanctity of the U.S. Mail?

There is more mail woe being reported to NNV - but now besides rampant theft, it's sloppy, careless delivery that's frightening and outraging folks. Anna Scherl e-mailed that her mail is being misdelivered to neighbors and she is receiving other people's mail in her box. Worse than that, before a recent trip she went to the post office and filled out the stop delivery form only to discover when she returned that her mail was delivered every day. Thankfully, a loyal neighbor looked after the mail until she returned.

Some of her mail went astray recently (a not-uncommon thing, unfortunately) and Anna felt she was truly lucky that an anticipated valuable piece of mail landed in her friendly neighbor's mailbox. If it had ended up elsewhere, she's not sure it would ever have reached her. She has done the right things including telling the Postal Service people about the scrambled deliveries only to be patronized with excuses such as "Everyone makes mistakes!"

NNV has had similar experiences trying to get the mail turned off during vacations. We, too, have found that filling out a "vacation stop order" may or may not actually stop the mail so we have taken to putting a note in our mailbox for the mailman to pick up the day before we leave. So far, this plan has worked perfectly, but it won't work for someone like Anna who has installed a locking mailbox and can't safely leave a note out.

And, speaking of that lockable box, Anna has found that the mailman sometimes doesn't push the mail all the way through the slot. Despite being asked politely twice, the mailman continues to drive away leaving a hank of mail sticking out invitingly from the slot. It's no wonder Anna's frustrated since she has, A.) reported the problems to the right people, B.) filled out the proper forms and C.) gone to the lengths of installing a special mailbox. And she's still being treated as though neither she nor her mail are worthy of consideration or care.  Click here to see Anna's locking mailbox on our Letters to the Editor page.

NNV is interested to know whether such experiences are widespread. We think that we might get on the Postal Service's radar screen if we went to them with a complaint which reflected a wide pattern of poor service. So, please call us or fax us or snail mail us (and hope that the latter doesn't go astray) and let us know what sort of mail service you're receiving. If you have kudos for the mailman - we'd like to know that too.

Another related topic is the absolutely lousy vacation "stop" service which the Mercury News offers, but that will be a topic for another edition…….unless you find that you cannot wait another minute to unload your abominable experiences onto NNV! E-mail or call (408) 272-7008 or write 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127.

Crime Alert:

A July wave of mail theft in the Warner Heights neighborhood (near Fleming Avenue and Story Road) seemed to involve a small red hatchback car. Watch out for cars of that description in the neighborhood as well as any others that "visit" mailboxes. Call 911. Don't try to do anything heroic like engaging the thief.

Return to Section 1

Community Health Fair Offers Free Screenings and Services, Food and Even Door Prizes! 

Alum Rock Arts Academy for Kids Starting Soon - an after school program

If you've been wondering how all that healthful eating you've been doing (or not) has been impacting your health, you may just want to take advantage of Alum Rock United Methodist Church's free health fair on Saturday, September 27th at the church on Kirk Avenue.

Beginning at 10 AM, you can avail yourself of various health screenings and visit tables where you can get answers on many health issues and find the agencies which can help you. There will be seminars on hepatitis, cardiac care, diabetes, breast cancer prevention and even that pesky lifelong concern - your diet. The event ends around 2 PM.

Dr. Jimmy Chao will answer questions and other health experts will demonstrate exercise and massage techniques. It's okay to bring your kids because special activities will be arranged for them and there will be yummy (but healthy) snacks for sale including some which will reflect the diversity of the three congregations which meet at the church. ARUMC shares the facilities with the Burmese Christian Community Church of Silicon Valley and the Vietnamese United Methodist Fellowship.

Every September the United Methodist Churches hold their doors open to the community. This health-related event is just one facet of a month-long open house. On the following Tuesday, September 30th, ARUMC begins its Alum Rock Arts Academy which will offer individual piano lessons and clay art classes for elementary and middle school children. Enrollment brochures will be available in the church office. Call (408) 258-7368 for more information. Beginning in January 2004, they hope to start other instrumental music lessons, vocal and instrumental groups, drawing and painting, weaving and theatre arts. The Church is interested to know what specific classes the community would like to have available for their children. Please let them know!

Click here for the ARUMC Web site.

Return to Section 1

Youth Science Institute 18th Annual Wildlife Festival

See the animals, pet a snake and have a wild time!

Sunday, October 12, 2003, Alum Rock Park

Join us for a wild time at the Youth Science Institute's 18th ANNUAL WILDLIFE FESTIVAL on October 12, 2003 from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Wildlife Festival is a family oriented event held in Alum Rock Park in San Jose. Bring the whole family. Enjoy exciting exhibits, live animal presentations and educational programs throughout the day. Take a guided nature walk, relax to the tales of a Native American Storyteller, and enjoy the natural beauty of Alum Rock Park. Children can make nature crafts and participate in hands-on science activities. NNV will have a table where you can meet the editor and shoot the breeze on your favorite topics.

Wildlife Festival is appropriate for all ages and admission to the event is free. There is a $6.00 ARP parking fee. For more information please call the Youth Science Institute at 408-258-4322.

Click here to see a wild photo from last year. Click here for the Alum Rock Park YSI Web site. Click here for the Alum Rock Park parking fee schedule (there are significant discounts for seniors, veterans and disabled).

Volunteers Needed For Wildlife Festival 2003

YSI is looking for volunteers to help with the Wildlife Festival on Sunday, October 12th at Alum Rock Park. Volunteer opportunities include setting up and taking down the festival, preparing and serving food, assisting with children's corner activities, assisting presenters and more. Please call (408) 258-4322 if you are interested.

Return to Section 1

Santa Clara County Budget Update 

Supervisor McHugh requests your comments on proposed Phase Two reductions 

What will happen if the State eliminates $85 million in VLF funds to the County?

Following are a few quotes from Santa Clara County Supervisor Pete McHugh's County budget Web page:

"On June 20, 2003, the Board adopted a $3.3 billion budget for all County operations that included a $1.9 billion General Fund budget. These budgets do not maintain current service levels."

"The Board action on June 20 completes the first of three phases in balancing the County's budget over the next year. Phase One closed a $156 million deficit that did not include the impact of any State budget balancing actions."

"Phase Two will address these State impacts that may increase the County's deficit by up to an additional $135 million if the State eliminates $85 million in Vehicle License Fee (VLF) funds to the County. Just as the Board began its June Budget Hearings, it learned that Phase Two will also have to address an additional $11.1 million projected decline in local revenues."

"I plan to present the major departmental reduction proposals … in early September. After my staff posts these proposals, I urge you to contact me by September 30 for or against specific reductions. You may reach me by phone (408- 299-5030), fax (408-298-6637) or email ( Your comments will help strengthen my votes on October 7."

Click here for Supervisor McHugh's County budget Web page to see his budget proposals when they are available.

Return to Section 1

East Hills Community Association "Revival"

Meetings and elections planned

By Tanya Freudenberger

Are you interested in taking the lead with a few other neighbors to improve the quality of life in our East Hills community? Or can you recommend someone who would like to join a team of community members who have some time and energy to represent the voice of the East Hills residents in protecting the interests of this community? If so, please come Saturday, October 4.


bulletdoor prizes

The goal of this group would be to improve the quality of life in the East Hills area by: sharing our concerns with each other, deciding on projects to make our neighborhood cleaner and safer, working together to find the resources to complete our projects, developing a good relationship between our schools and community. The proposed (specific) boundaries are Alum Rock, Fleming, Jerilyn and Millar but would include the interests of neighbors inside the larger boundary area of Alum Rock, White, Fleming and Story.

You are also invited to join us at our planning meeting Saturday, September 13, 10:00 AM at the Joseph George Community Center. Bring a neighbor or two!! Please call Joan Cotta at 325-2633 or Tanya Freudenberger at 926-7035 for more information.

We are planning to issue a formal announcement through Joseph George Middle School, Horace Cureton & Linda Vista Elementary Schools, St. John Vianney LOC and Alum Rock United Methodist LOC of PACT, and - of course - New Neighborhood Voice. If you have any other ideas or resources for getting the word out about October 4 please let us know !

Tanya Freudenberger

You can use the NNV Community Bulletin Board to keep track of these and other community events.

Return to Section 1

Alum Rock Youth Center

A FANTASTIC new resource for our community - opening soon!

On August 27th, a group of about 25 excited and dazzled folks took a guided tour of the soon-to-be-completed Alum Rock Youth Center on White Road between Lick High School and Pala Middle School. The San Jose City Council approved this new, inclusive name for the youth center earlier in August.

Among the guests were Councilmember Nora Campos and the members of the St. John Vianney PACT LOC who started the drive for this youth center twelve years ago. PACT has been working with the City of San Jose, the Redevelopment Agency and the school districts since 1991, encouraging and guiding (and sometime prodding) this magnificent project along.

Click here for photos of Peter Freudenberger who was a five year old when his mother Tanya and others at PACT saw the need for this community resource. Pictured with Peter, now 17 and well over six feet tall, is SJV PACT leader Diana Wilkerson-Graham.

Next month, NNV will give readers a sneak preview as this marvelous building nears completion. The grand opening is tentatively planned for November.

Return to Section 1

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, September 21, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
PICO/PACT California Gubernatorial Forum

A big PICO/PACT Gubernatorial Forum will be held to give people an opportunity to express their concerns about the recall election and meet some of the candidates. Sunday, September 21, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, Overfelt High School Gymnasium.  See our Community Bulletin Board for more information.

Return to Section 1

NEWS FLASH: Shift or Shaft for the Eastside?
BART to skip Alum Rock and Berryessa

It looks like the East side will get the shaft (again) if the Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Corridor Policy Advisory Board (whew!) staff has its way with "shifting" BART plans to eliminate three stops, including Alum Rock and Berryessa.  

This would mean that Eastsiders would have to find a way to Milpitas or downtown San Jose to board a BART train, but it would NOT mean that the Eastside wouldn't be torn up while underground and above ground tracks are constructed. We know what the latter means after months (years?) of having Capitol Avenue torn up for light rail construction.

You can "voice your concern" - or raise hell if you prefer - by phoning the board members via the VTA at (408) 321-5680 or fax at (408) 955-0801. Do it quickly before the die is cast!

Click here to read the September 5, 2003, Mercury News editorial on this topic and click here and here for related stories. This is a developing story as the September edition of NNV goes to "press." Click here for a later story saying that the board has postponed the vote on this plan until September 24, 2003. Watch your local news for updates and we'll do more on this next month if the shaft turns. Click here for the VTA Web site for this Policy Advisory Board and select Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Corridor Project Information for more on this project. San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales is the chairperson of this board - his contact information is: Web SiteE-mail,  Phone (408) 277-4237,  Fax (408) 277-3868.

Our Community Bulletin Board will have information on the BART extension public meetings as it becomes available.

Return to Section 1

------ Announcement -------

The City of San Jose is currently recruiting for both Full Time and Part Time Park Rangers for their Regional Parks. Visit the City Employment Web site at for the job descriptions for these positions and/or contact Mike Will, Parks Facility Supervisor, City of San Jose, Alum Rock Park, phone (408) 277-3267, e-mail, for more information about these openings. NNV is happy to hear that the City is trying to fill some of the park ranger vacancies. There are also other interesting positions open on the City Employment Web site including a Part Time Puppeteer for Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.

If you know of other job openings of potential interest to our readers, e-mail


District 5 Community Update

Youth Center, Alum Rock Library and Community Summit

By San Jose Councilmember Nora Campos, District 5

Greetings New Neighborhood Voice Readers,

The much anticipated youth center located at 149 North White Road is scheduled to open in October* and will bring much needed services and programming to the youth of East San José. From the very beginning I have supported engaging the community in the development of our new youth center. This includes supporting a naming process driven by residents to find a name that would have meaning and significance to the community. During the City Council Meeting on August 19, I was proud to support the desire of the community to name the facility "Alum Rock Youth Center." I would like to thank everyone who participated in the process and I look forward to seeing you all at the grand opening of the Alum Rock Youth Center. That date has yet to be determined and will be announced in a future message.

The Alum Rock Library Public Art meeting is scheduled to take place at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, September 23 at the San José Convention Center. This project is scheduled to begin on time, previous delays in public art meetings will have no bearing on the timeline for the library and were the result of scheduling and logistical conflicts. I invite the entire community to participate in choosing the art work that will add flavor to our wonderful new library. On October 22 there will be a meeting regarding the moving of the Hillview Library. The meeting will take place at 7:00 pm at a location yet to be determined.

Finally, on Saturday, September 20 I invite you all to enjoy the 3rd Annual District Five Community Summit. Located at the beautiful and historic Emma Prusch Park, unique in nature, this summit is designed to educate and unify the community through city resource workshops, entertainment and a free community barbeque. This year's event will feature workshops from the Street Smarts Program, the Office of the Independent Police Auditor, and the Neighborhood Development Center. The afternoon's entertainment will include music from Lado Oriente and performances by the Filipino Youth Coalition, Tezkatlipoka Aztec, and SJSU Pride of the Pacific Islands. The 3rd Annual District Five Community Summit runs from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding any of these events, please contact my office at (408) 277-5157.

Moving Forward Together,

Nora Campos, Councilmember, District Five

*The center will be technically complete in October and ready for full beneficial use in November.

NNV Note:  Councilmember Campos' Web SiteE-mail

Return to Section 1

You Dig It?

Area gardeners, both "Master" and casual, share their wisdom and experiences with East side gardening and related topics here.

Mrs. Bumb and Henry's Tapestry of Flowers

Probably our area's most beautiful year-around flower display is at Mrs. Bumb's house at the corner of Highland Drive and Alta Vista Way. The selection of flowers changes with the season thanks to the green thumb of Henry, Mrs. Bumb's talented gardener.

Mrs. Bumb provides this luxuriant tapestry of colorful plants for the enjoyment of passersby. It's not even visible to the occupants of the house. When you walk or drive by, it will become obvious how they manage to keep these plants from becoming deer fodder. Motion-sensitive water cannons douse anything which moves a whisker in the vicinity.

Click here to see the September panorama.

Return to Section 1


September Hot Topics

By University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Bracey Tiede

Call the Master Gardener Hotline at (408) 299-2638 with your gardening and pest questions.  Also check out for local tips and events.

Ants: Control of ants is a constant struggle for many people so I'm repeating the process again this month. The first step of ant control is clean up any food crumbs or spills that might attract the ants. Store food in tight containers. Next, keep the ants out by caulking cracks and crevices. Use boric acid bait stakes or stations. Place baits in locations that are not accessible to pets or children. Control with baits can take several weeks. Sprays containing pyrethrin (not synthetic pyrethroids) can be effective if the directions are followed precisely. If ants are a problem in trees, control them by applying a sticky substance such as Tanglefoot on top of a tree wrap of tape or fabric. Check every two weeks to renew. The UC IPM pest note is found at

Olive Fruit Fly: This pest is a recent arrival in the Santa Clara Valley. The fruit is host to the fly larva that ruins the olives for eating. Homeowners can help reduce the spread of the fly and damage to their olives by using OLIPE traps. The OLIPE trap is widely used in Spain to reduce Olive Fruit Fly populations. See for more details. Here are tips for the best way to control the fly.

Remove all fruit from the tree through picking and pruning. Olive trees can withstand heavy pruning. Remove all fallen fruit and debris around the tree. Put the material in the trash container, not the yard-waste or compost container.

In the spring when the fly is actively breeding, put out OLIPE traps. These traps are made from one or two liter plastic bottles with 5mm (13/64) sized holes melted into the shoulder. The bottle is filled about 2/3 full with a 3-5% solution of ammonium carbonate. Ammonium carbonate is certified for use in organic orchards and is also called Baker's Ammonia. It is available from specialty baking stores or easily found online.

The flies are attracted to the ammonia bait, crawl inside the bottle and die. Use thirty to fifty grams of powder per liter of water to give a 3-5% solution. There are 28 grams in an ounce so a three-ounce jar of powder will do two liters. The holes can easily be made by taking a 13/64" size drill bit, holding it with vise grips, heating the bit on a gas burner and melting four or five holes into the bottle shoulder just below the neck. Hang the trap in the shade on the south side of the tree. Renew the mixture when the ammonia smell is gone.

Pest Notes: The University of California has a "Pests of Home and Landscape" website that covers many of the bugs, diseases and weeds that you may find in your garden or home. With a focus on the least toxic method of control, these pest notes can help you solve problems without harming beneficial insects, waterways, pets or people. The address is

Return to Section 1

What NNV Does to Protect Us and You from Viruses and Spam 

And what you can do!

As we wind down from the "Blaster" worm which infected many PCs in mid-August, let's review what we do to protect ourselves and you from viruses and spam and be sure the NNV Web site is reliable - and what you can do to help yourself.

What we do:

  1. Install all the latest Windows Critical Updates as they are released (we might wait a day or two to be sure there are not any immediate reports of problems caused by the updates but we don't wait much longer).

  2. Protect all of our systems by a firewall - in our case, we have a software firewall on each computer.

  3. Use anti-virus software with up to date virus definitions. The virus definitions are updated automatically and this software scans all incoming e-mail (to protect us) AND outgoing e-mails (to protect you from our unintentionally sending an infected e-mail to you).

  4. Use the anti-spam services provided by our Internet Service Providers (ISPs). We're impressed with the capabilities of these systems - they filter out most of the spam and keep it from ever reaching us with almost no false positives. It takes only an occasional check of the spam folders on-line to be sure we haven't missed an important message.

  5. Send our newsletter e-mails only to subscribers who have requested it and follow our Privacy Policy, which is that your contact information will not be sold, distributed or visible to others.

  6. Host our Web site and e-mails on a reliable system with redundant servers and backup power. Click here to read about how and where the NNV Web site is hosted.

What you can do:

  1. Follow Steps 1-4 above for your own computer (some experts say that you shouldn't need a firewall if you use a dial-up connection to reach your ISP and don't stay on-line for long periods of time).

  2. Follow the basic rules for spam: Never open an e-mail, and especially an attachment, unless you know who it is from. Never reply to opt-out of a spam e-mail - it's better to just delete the spam since most of these invitations are traps which will get your e-mail address on more spam lists. Watch out for identity theft e-mails - we got a very nice looking one which appeared to come from Citibank last month asking for our checking account number.

  3. If you suspect that you might be sending virus infected e-mails, you can send us an e-mail and we'll let you know.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions on any of the above. We're not in the computer maintenance business and don't recommend specific software products but we will respond to e-mail questions from our subscribers. E-mail

Return to Section 1

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

bulletDoes anyone know whether Shadow the beautiful cat has found a home yet?
bulletDid NNV really get those County guys to finish work on the Miguelita Creek Bridge?
bulletBut what are we going to do about all the graffiti on the bridges?
bulletWhat's happening (or not happening) at the Bill's Pony Ranch site?
bulletWhat's up with the old Alum Rock Feed and Fuel business?
bulletWhat can we do about all the non-working cars and other blight in our neighborhoods?
bulletWhat does "Common Dress" on the James Lick High School marquee mean?

Q. Does anyone know whether Shadow the cat has found a home yet?

A. As of this writing, Shadow is still camping out at Elizabeth Driedger's house. Elizabeth rescued Shadow from near death and has to maintain separate quarters for him because her own cats rejected him. She has to choreograph the various cats' comings and goings to keep them separated and this has really complicated her life. Several people responded to Elizabeth's search for an adoptive family for beautiful Shadow, but so far the right match hasn't been made. Click here to read Shadow's story. You can call Elizabeth at (408) 929-8923 or email

Q. Did NNV really get those County guys to finish the work on the Miguelita Creek Bridge and remove their signs and porta-potty or did it just happen?

A. Well, it seems to us like there are two possibilities. Either the powers that be read NNV and responded to our piece on the MCPPPee "ribbon-cutting" ceremony (that's what we like to think) or they were going to finish it anyway and NNV's timing was just pure luck. In any case, the work started just after the August edition of NNV came out. The porta-potty was conspicuously absent on 8/13 (the signs were removed a few days earlier). Our real concern was that they would do it just before NNV came out and we would have to delete our beautiful FAQ but we really didn't need to worry about that, did we?

Thanks to all the County people who worked on this project. It's very nice to see it look like it was intended to without all the construction distractions!

Q. But what are we going to do about all the graffiti on the rails of the new pedestrian bridge and under the bridge?

A. That's a real problem. If you see anyone suspicious around or under the bridges, please don't hesitate to call 911 to report them to the Sheriff. Graffiti that needs to be removed can be reported to the County's East Yard at (408) 494-2760. E-mails can be directed to or to Ron Neal, East Yard Road Superintendent at or click here for their on-line form.

As an alternative to graffiti, NNV announces our Public Art Contest. Click here for our first examples. Please e-mail your entries to (preferably as a jpg file attached to the e-mail). 

Q. What's happening (or not happening) at the Bill's Pony Ranch site these days? Seems like it just sits there moldering with no activity?

A. It does seem like a very slow process is underway after the Wham! Bam! - thank you ma'am! lightening-fast demolition which obliterated decades of East side history last winter. NNV recently asked a neighbor if he would comment on what's going on. He scratched his head (figuratively if not literally) and said that he was just as surprised as any one else that there wasn't more activity these days.

"Looks like some neighbors aren't satisfied with the plans and are holding up the works," he ventured. "However, the lot sizes they're quibbling about (for a project of single family homes) are just the same as most of those in the older neighborhoods on the other side of Alum Rock. They're planning two-story houses on 50' lots which is pretty ordinary density," he reckoned.

NNV guesses we'll just have to be patient as we wait for order to be restored in the 5100 block of Alum Rock Avenue. NNV would be happy to report "the other side" if some of those "dissatisfied neighbors" would like to share their point of view.

Q. What's up with the old Alum Rock Feed and Fuel business which unceremoniously closed last winter?

A. All that NNV has been able to ascertain up to this point is that it's deeply embedded in an estate squabble since a family death dictated its closure. Fans of Alum Rock Village would really like to see a good restaurant go into the site - or at least would like to see it remain a business property to add to the richening mix of The Village. It seems that no one is hot for more high-rise housing. The area could become a restaurant mecca, building on White Rock Café, Rafiki's, Las Delicias and the soon-to-be produce/deli in the pink corner building at 3157-59 Alum Rock. Good restaurants support other good restaurants as is evidenced by the restaurant center which Santana Row has become.

Q. What can we do about all the non-working cars and other blight in our neighborhoods?

A. A little publicity may help. Click here for our favorite blight. Do you know where it is? E-mail us a photo of your "favorites."

Q. What is the meaning of "Common Dress" on the James Lick High School marquee?

A. This message tells students that they're expected to choose their school wardrobe from a specific, very limited, list of items and colors. For instance, pants, shorts and skirts must be solid gray or black (no stripes, plaids, patterns or slogans). All shirts must be collared polo shirts in solid black, green-gray or white. Jackets and sweaters are similarly limited. James Lick logo shirts or jackets are fine, but no other logos are allowed. No blue jeans are permitted!

Accessories and shoes are limited and even backpacks must be plain black. The only hats permitted are James Lick hats and they can only be worn outdoors.

2003-04 will be the second year the school has imposed this "common dress". It prevents many potential problems, including the showing of gang colors and distracting competition among teenaged "clothes horses". The school does occasionally relent and allow students a rare "free dress day" which they earn by fulfilling some mission such as tidying the campus.

Interestingly, NNV had never noticed the lack of colorful clothing on the students at Lick - their bright young faces are what catch the eye!

Return to Section 1

You can send comments or letters to the editor (Click Here to see the Letters)

E-mail us at or fax to (408) 272-4040. Please limit letters to a few hundred words (shorter items are more likely to be used in the newsletter and read) and include your name and phone number in case we have questions.  Contributions may be edited for content and space requirements.  Want to write articles or essays?  Please let us know!

Community Bulletin Board (Click Here)

E-mail to let us know about your events of interest to our readers.

--------------------------- Contact and Subscription Information ---------------------------------
Copyright© 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.

Copyright© 2003, 2004 by Judy Thompson.  All rights reserved.  Updated 5/11/04.

Return to Section 1