Take a photo tour of the Henninger Farm on Crothers Road
resist the deer on our
One day early in July a most unusual e-mail slipped in to NNV. It was a quiet little message, but so loaded with potential that your editor fairly leapt for joy. A lady named Carol Schultz wondered if NNV would be interested in her treasure trove of clippings and documents from fifty years of living on Holly Drive. Would we ever!
In the 1960’s, Carol wrote a column for The Weekly Mayfair, the newspaper that served our area for many years. Carol saved every article that she wrote and they tell the story of the daily comings and goings of folks in her neighborhood. She was also given some exciting writing assignments such as covering a 1961 press conference downtown “in the Golden Room of the Hyatt House” where Ronald Reagan was testing the political waters long before he ran for governor of California. He actually took the time to discuss with Carol the Threat of Communism, the major bugaboo of the time.
Carol also worked for more than twenty years at Calvary Cemetery where she absorbed the history and lore of the families buried there. NNV had always hoped to find someone who was knowledgeable about the intriguing old graveyard on Alum Rock Avenue so that we could learn the stories of the people who lived in our neighborhood before us – the “rich and famous” as well as the ordinary. Carol promises to share those stories with NNV!
Beginning with this edition, NNV starts what we hope will become a
long-running regular local history feature in the newsletter. We hope that older
readers will have their reminiscences pleasantly tweaked and that younger
readers will gain a new understanding of how things were back then. We
start with her first assignment when Carol “Meets (gulp!) Reagan – Becomes a
Now if you will just give me a moment to untangle myself from these parachute shrouds, I’ll be with you.
I’ve been on Cloud No. 11 for a week.
Yes, Ronald Reagan is every bit as handsome and charming in person as he is on TV--in fact even more so. This observation I was able to make first hand by attending the Press Conference for Mr. Reagan which was held in the Golden Room of the Hyatt House this past week. Never before have I been in such close proximity of so many local dignitaries, and therefore, I was quite awed with the whole situation. To mention a few in attendance, Congressman Charles Gubser; Mr. and Mrs. Don Yule (he being the executive director of the Republican Party of Santa Clara County); Mr. and Mrs. B.J. Scott Norwood, of Selby Lane (Mr. Norwood was chairman of the $100.00 plate dinner); Alex Hart (Hart’s Dept. Store); and Mercury News reporter, Harry Farrell. And then there was Mr. Reagan. He wore a burgundy colored jacket, navy blue slacks and tie, and his face was quite tanned, so when he smiled, it was dazzling. I rather thought his smile was a little lopsided, which added to his charm.
Not being schooled in newspaper etiquette … I asked Mr. Reagan his opinion concerning a local situation I had read about. It seems that in Sunnyvale it has been the practice for subversive groups (including the Communists) to hold their meetings in city-owned buildings. Two city councilmen were seeking to put a stop to this, but were voted down by the remaining five councilmen on the grounds it would be undemocratic to refuse the rights of any group to meet for any purpose, subversive or otherwise. Mr. Reagan gave his opinion and since I don’t take shorthand, I could not write it down verbatim, but the gist of it was that he (Reagan) was not a local resident and therefore not qualified to condemn the actions of a local community, BUT personally, he contended that the fight against communism has to start somewhere and when the communists can get away with such aggressions right under our noses, and we say “this isn’t worth fighting for,” they will have made yet another gain. And this I can quote verbatim, “They (the communists) predict that when we reach the final slice, our surrender will be voluntary because we will have been weakened from within--morally, spiritually, and economically."
… There were a few comments which held me spell bound. Mr. Reagan announced he was registered (and still is, until he can return home and re-register) as a Democrat, and it was only three or four years ago that he became active in behalf of the Republican party. When asked why he left the Democratic circle, he responded, “I didn’t leave the Democratic party; it left me.” Mr. Reagan is a great admirer of Thomas Jefferson, and it was by following Jefferson’s beliefs that landed him in the Republican party.
… Mr. Reagan also said that he was very gratified that his name had been mentioned for governor, but that he was a “ham at heart” and felt he could do much more by campaigning rather than by holding a public office.
… All in all, it was a very rewarding interview and one I thoroughly enjoyed because when Mr. Reagan left, he came up to me … put his hand on my shoulder and said he felt that there were a few people there who were not in accordance with all his views and he felt that I was (which I am). This so unnerved me that I am not clear as to my answers or what was said after that, but I do know Mr. Ronald Reagan is thoroughly charming, intellectual, and magnetic. And regardless of anyone’s political party, we must all do as he says and stick together to fight against a common enemy--Communism.
And he’s right.
NNV Note: Carol Schultz says that she eventually changed her mind about Reagan and changed party after his second term as president. “But, my,” she says, “he was a charmer!!!!!”
Click here for photos of Carol and Ronald Reagan in 1961 and Carol today.
He sees a snake of yellow surveyor's string
stretch through the green of his pasture.
A man with a badge and hard hat
whacks through brush.
In the distance, clusters of homes
bruise the hillside.
The sun climbs down the ladder.
Prune trees, unable to hold their thin ground,
A blur of bees looks for sweetness
among broken plums on the ground,
In the rings of their years
track the crimes against them,
as city workers divide the wood.
Grandpa Tony knows
they will come with wolves on leashes,
threaten him with a new life
Somewhere in the apricot orchard,
he hears his grandchildren
their voices tumble in the wind.
He wonders what they are doing there
in a season that will bring no fruit.
First published in Downtown Magazine.
NNV Note: Lara says, “My family was a victim of eminent domain during the 1950's here in San Jose. My maternal grandparents, Antonio and Mary Henriques worked for the Standish ranch near Milpitas. My grandmother was a housekeeper for the Standish family and my grandfather worked as a laborer. In a small worker's cabin they raised five children and managed to save enough money to buy their own ten acre fruit and walnut ranch in the Warm Springs area. My grandfather was proud of his orchards and enjoyed taking long walks among his trees every night after dinner. When the government took my grandparents' ranch from them through eminent domain, they bought a home in the suburbs. No longer able to walk through his orchards, my grandfather complained that the sidewalks were hard on his feet. Soon he gave up walking and instead sat for hours in the fenced in backyard staring at a lone spruce. His health began to decline and just a few years later he died.”
The above is part of a piece first published by the San Jose Mercury News, Opinions, My View, dated Monday, June 24, 2002.
Lara Gularte, a third generation native of San Jose, has been published in a variety of publications including Downtown Magazine, the San Jose Mercury News, the Santa Clara Review and the Monserrat Review. In February of 2002, Poet's Corner Press of Stockton published a chapbook of her earlier work called "Days Between Dancing."
Lara is currently working on a poetry manuscript about her pioneer ancestors. Part of this work is being translated into Portuguese by the University of the Azores and will soon be featured in Saber, a literary magazine in Portugal.
Lara is a graduate student in the MFA Creative Writing program at San Jose State University where she was a poetry editor for the University’s literary journal, Reed Magazine. In addition, she is editor of Convergence-journal.com, a poetry and art e-zine. She has left her day job as a Deputy Public Guardian for Santa Clara County Social Services and is moving to Magalia, where she will attend Chico State as a visiting student. And, by the way, she’s a James Lick High School grad - class of ‘65.
Click here for a photo of Lara.
|First Library Foundation “Parlor Meeting” Held for New Library|
|Santa Clara County Library Increases Fines and Fees to Help Offset Budget Cuts|
|County Historical Commission, Less Onerous Preservation Ordinance by Edward Allegretti|
|Alum Rock Park Quail Hollow Bridge Replacement from City Councilmember Chuck Reed|
|Youth Science Institute Buys Thrift Shop Building - Needs help to “Burn Mortgage”|
|California Pioneers of Santa Clara County by Edward Allegretti, President|
|A Real Princess (and Author) in San Jose!|
|Neighbor Gordon Edwards Dies on the Trail in Glacier National Park|
On Sunday, July 25th, the first East Foothills “Parlor Meeting” was held to acquaint neighbors with the San Jose Public Library Foundation and, in particular, to generate enthusiasm and build awareness, involvement and advocacy for our large, exciting new library branch being built at Alum Rock and White in “The Village.” About fifty guests joined Ed and Connie Allegretti at their home on Edgemont Drive for a Wine and Cheese “event” and for a presentation by San Jose Library Director Jane Light, Foundation Executive Director Marie Bernardy and Foundation Board of Directors President Jan Fox.
The Foundation’s mission is to build advocacy and support for the new and newly expanded library branches around the City. Of course, the currently-under-construction Alum Rock branch has captured the neighborhood’s imagination and admiration so hillside folks directed their questions and comments toward it. More “parlor meetings” are planned to acquaint a wider audience with the new library.
Among the Eastsiders attending were: Ellen and Gary Rauh, A.J. and Charlene Laymon, Jerry and Lynne Rosenthal, Dick and Tanya Freudenberger, John Leyba, Anna Scherl, Jason and Susan Papier, Frank and Dolly Andre, Ernie and Stacie Moreno, Tim and Michelle Harper, Richard and Bracey Tiede, John and Shirley Allegretti, Bud LoMonaco Jr., Gary and Kay Hane, Ski and Audrey Kavaleski, and Allan and Judy Thompson.
The Santa Clara County Library Joint Powers Authority Board approved an increase to fines and fees to help offset budget cuts for the Library. As of July 1, the overdue fine for adult feature DVD’s and videos will be $1.00 per day per item. Of course, Library materials returned on time are free. A new charge for reserving books and other materials is also going into effect. The first three reserves or “holds” placed on adult or teen materials at any one time will be free. Once a fourth hold is placed, however, there will be a $1.00 charge per hold. No fees are charged for reserving children’s materials. Another change is that the maximum number of holds allowed per card at any one time will be reduced from fifteen to ten.
The Santa Clara County Library has been ranked Number 1 by the Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings for three consecutive years. The Library is recognized for operating cost effectively and for its quality collections, staff, service and circulation of materials per capita. Uncertain State budget impacts and the loss of revenue due to the failure of March 2004 ballot measure are contributing factors to Library budget cuts.
The Santa Clara County Library serves the communities of Alum Rock, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Milpitas, and Saratoga. Two bookmobiles provide programs and collections to the unincorporated areas of the county. Adult and family literacy programs and services are based in Milpitas and Gilroy. The Library also provides literacy services to the residents of the City of Mountain View and inmates housed in the County Department of Corrections. For more information, check the website at www.santaclaracountylib.org.
NNV Note: The small Alum Rock branch of the County library system (on White Road) will be torn down and replaced by a parking lot for the new City of San Jose library which is under construction at the corner of White Road and Alum Rock Avenue. The new library will open in mid-summer 2005 and the old branch will be demolished at that time so there will be no gap in library services.
The regularly scheduled meeting of the Historical Heritage Commission was held on June 17 at 6:30 PM. In reference to the draft Historical Heritage Ordinance, the commission directed the staff that:
A structure must be at least 50 years or older in order to qualify as a landmark.
A committee will be formed to work with members of Stanford University and the Stanford Leaseholders Association to consider specific guidelines for the Stanford campus. Since the campus is already guided by a generally stricter use plan, this consideration is warranted.
A workshop will be arranged, probably in September, jointly with the Planning Commission of Santa Clara County to determine if they would agree to amend variance, fee and other permit processes in order to provide incentives for property owners to seek landmark or heritage status.
Although there will be an appeal process through the Historical Heritage Commission and then through the Board of Supervisors, a commercially zoned property in Santa Clara County can be designated an historical landmark without owner consent. A residentially zoned property must, however, have owner consent in order to be designated a landmark.
The commission will meet next on August 19th, 6:30 PM, in the Supervisors' Chambers in the County Office Building. There was no July meeting.
Click here for the Santa Clara County Planning Office Web site for the proposed ordinance and here for the meeting agendas and archived reports. Click here for our June/July article on this subject. Comments or questions can be e-mailed to Ed Allegretti at EAllegretti@rosendin.com or to the Historical Heritage Coordinator, Dana Peak, at Dana.firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch our Community Bulletin Board and Letters to the Editor for the latest on the HHC meetings and comments from readers.
At the June 29th City Council meeting, the council awarded the contract for the Alum Rock Park Quail Hollow Bridge Replacement. Construction is expected to be completed by year-end.
Within the Quail Hollow picnic area, there is an existing low-flow Penitencia Creek crossing (bridge) that consists of large pipes within the creek channel encased in concrete forming a roadway surface. The pipes are easily clogged by sedimentation requiring annual sediment removal; however, due to difficulty in obtaining permits, sediment removal has been sporadic. Presently the pipes are completely blocked, causing the creek to flow over and around the bridge and damaging the structure. This project will remove the deteriorating bridge and install a new prefabricated bridge above the creek channel for pedestrian and park service vehicle use.
Development of this project has required extensive coordination with the following regulatory agencies: USACE, NOAA Fisheries, Fish & Wildlife, State Fish & Game, SCVWD and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. This effort was successful and all required permits have been received.
You can view the staff reports at the following links.
Beginning in 1993, YSI began leasing the old Reed’s Sport Shop building at 3151 Alum Rock Avenue for its Thrift and Gift Shop. This year the 4,000+ square foot building (which also houses the beauty shop next door) came up for sale and YSI had to face the choice of finding another appropriate location or to gather their resources and buy the old building. There were no other buildings available which were large enough and close enough to home for the 100+ volunteers who operate the shop.
So, they bit the bullet and bought the property for $900,000 with the help of Lenders for Community Development, a non-profit agency which helps other non-profit agencies find low interest loans. Even so, loan payments will eat up an extra $3,000 each month from the shop’s annual $100,000 revenue, meaning that less money will be available to operate YSI’s programs until the building has been paid for. This loss must be coupled with the loss of more than $70,000 in annual County funding which has been cut because of budget shortfalls. YSI will need to find a way to cut more than $100,000 from its annual near-million dollar operations budget or find a way to burn the mortgage early.
A fundraiser, probably something along the lines of a “Grand Opening Event” to celebrate the purchase, is being tentatively planned. Fans of low-cost enriched science education for kids (and who wouldn’t want to be in that category?) will surely want to lend their support (and write a check?) to YSI in this time of need. NNV readers have a special connection with YSI since we have one of their venerable nature centers right here in Alum Rock Park.
Want to help today? Contact Daniel Margulies at YSI (408) 356-4945 X15 email@example.com. Or, send a contribution marked “Thrift Shop” to 296 Garden Hill Drive, Los Gatos, CA 95032 or donate on-line at www.ysi-ca.org.
Click here for photos of the YSI Thrift and Gift Shop. Use the Back button on your Web Browser to return to this page.
Attention history buffs! Are you desirous of learning more about Santa Clara County history? Do you have an interest in researching your ancestry, meeting with folks who share your avocation, or would you like to support local historical preservation? If so, you should consider becoming a member of the California Pioneers of Santa Clara County. This group was founded in 1875 with a membership consisting mainly of folks from older California families. Those with a strong interest in history are also invited to join.
The Pioneers publish "The Trailblazer" quarterly. This publication features stories about area history and historical events. The Pioneers' quarterly luncheons are well attended. They are held at Lou's Village where members gather for a good lunch, an interesting speaker and a time to chat with historians and friends (our next lunch is September 4th). In addition to these activities the group sponsors an essay contest yearly. Amongst the awards given at this June event is a $500 first prize. Have you written about a local history topic or are you perhaps considering doing so? Maybe you should submit it to the contest!
The California Pioneers are fortunate to own two historical properties in Santa Clara County: The Jackson/Pioneer Ranch in Morgan Hill and the Hacienda Cemetery in New Almaden. Currently the Jackson/Pioneer Ranch is leased to the County of Santa Clara County which has been working to restore the old buildings (lovely ranch house, servants’ quarters, barns, various outbuildings). Eventually this will be opened as a county park on the east side of Lake Anderson. The Hacienda Cemetery is an historic graveyard where many of the early settlers of New Almaden are buried. This graveyard is open to the public free of charge on Bertram Road.
If you would like more information about membership or activities, you are welcome to contact me directly at (408) 258-3269 or visit the Website at www.californiapioneers.com.
On a toasty June evening in downtown San Jose, a large contingent of Italian-Americans and a handful of other hearty souls braved the steamy back-room at Palermo Ristorante Italiano on South Second Street to meet Princessa Carlo Giovanelli (born Elettra Marconi). After all, who could pass up the opportunity to see (really close-up!) a person of such worthy heritage as the daughter of the Italian inventor, Guglielmo Marconi, who first transmitted long-wave radio waves across the Atlantic Ocean?
Marconi is considered the father of wireless telegraphy and thus is a revered icon here in Silicon Valley. He holds a special place in the hearts of electrical engineers such as NNV’s IT manager. Elettra, his daughter, augmented and arranged for the translation of her late mother’s (Maria Cristina Marconi) languishing book about the life of the inventor.
An extremely gracious and well-spoken lady, Elettra Marconi (a princess through her marriage to Prince Carlo Giovanelli), spoke in elegant English and wrote an elaborate message in each book-purchaser’s copy of Marconi, My Beloved. Incidentally, Elettra is a form of the Italian word for “electric” and she shared her name with Marconi’s yacht! Her mother “comes from a very distinguished Italian aristocratic family, going back to Prince Orsini of the Holy Roman Empire.”
The attendees’ name tags read like a Who’s Who of San Jose’s Italo-Americans with a preponderance of Corteses including Mary Liz (City Councilmember Dave’s sister) who along with her father, Eastside patriarch Dom Cortese, helped to organize and host the event.
Click here to see what the princess wrote in NNV’s copy of her book.
A man of mythical proportions has passed away. The noble heart of Dr. Gordon Edwards (“Doc” to many of his SJSU students and colleagues) gave out as he hiked a beloved trail of his favorite haunt, Glacier National Park in Montana late in July. He was 84 years old. Gordon was a revered scientist, mountain climber, author, faithful friend, caring neighbor, and significantly to us, a long-time reader and supporter of New Neighborhood Voice.
Much has been written about Gordon Edwards in the past two weeks in the journals of the areas where he spent his summers. A few links to some representative articles are below. A Google search on "Gordon Edwards Glacier" (without quotes) will yield even more detail. He lived a wonderful and fascinating life.
Glacier Mountaineering Icon Dies While Hiking on Divide Mountain (National Park Service News)
J. Gordon Edwards - Author of Climber's Guide to Glacier National Park (America's Roof)
Glacier's premier climber dies on Divide Peak at age 84 (Hungry Horse News)
In memoriam: J. Gordon Edwards (outtherewithtom.blogspot.com)
Legendary climber J. Gordon Edwards ... (outtherewithtom.blogspot.com)
Glacier Mountaineering Society Alpine Awards - Note the awards and photos of Gordon, his wife Alice and their daughter, Jane
Glacier National Park Web site
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I just got back from a week in captivity at the Kitty Hotel. When my folks went on vacation, they grabbed me and crammed me into my cat-carry box without even a tiny shred of pity or concern for my dignity. Of course I had sensed that something unusual was going down, but I can never seem to remember exactly what it will mean for me when the black suitcases come out from under the guestroom bed – I just know that I should be wary. But then I am always wary.
If you are a close reader of NNV, you may remember that my folks, the Thompsons, wrote about my brother Simon’s death of old age (18 ˝) last December. He was not really my brother. Actually, I didn’t even like him. Simon was a wimpy orange guy found as a baby on the streets of Placentia in Southern California, wearing a tiny green collar, for pity sake. He had no “cattitude” at all. I heard him hiss only once. That was on the day I was first “introduced to the household” as an adorable infant eleven years ago. He knew right away that he was no longer top cat at our house. Simon engaged in only one fight in his entire life. After suffering a drainage tube under his chin for a week as a result of that set-to, he gave up fighting forever. Just like that.
I think my folks got me just so they could name a cat “Schuster” so they could have a pair of felines named “Simon and Schuster” and chuckle and say that we use a “literary box.” I am a Northern California cat born of a feral mother and an unknown father. I like to think that my dad was a bobcat or at least a street tough. I have been in countless fights and have scars and notches all over my body as evidence. I can (and do) go ballistic at the sound of the tiniest pin-drop. You should see me up on the roof of our house sometimes. My folks always said Simon was a peach and that he was really docile. Me, they call a dickens!
What I really hate is when Judy thinks it’s funny to call us cats “Thompson Seedlesses” since our reproductive lives were nipped in the butt, as it were, by the veterinarian’s scalpel. Ha ha.
I hate the Kitty Hotel. But, then, I hate anyplace that’s not home. I do like Miss Tammy, the hotel lady. She treats me just as nicely as she does the snooty, pedigreed, perfumed fluffballs in the other cages. She doesn’t let my whining get to her – I like that in a woman.
I am suffering a mild upper respiratory condition this week – lots of sneezles and wheezles and watery eyes. I expect it’s from a bug carried by one of those dissipated glamour pusses. Judy calls it “catarrh” but, then, she can never resist a pun so I don’t trust the diagnosis.
Meanwhile, nothing smells right in my backyard now. Some other animals have been here. I can tell. And Judy says she actually saw a coyote in the neighbors’ driveway recently. In broad daylight. She doesn’t understand that I need to be here every day to defend our territory. Who does she think keeps all of those creatures out of our yard while I’m pent up at the “hotel,” anyway?
Click here for a few photos of Schuster.
High in the Crothers Road Alps, there is a small magical kingdom which overlooks the Alum Rock area and, indeed, the entirety of the Santa Clara Valley. The enchanted farm on “Henninger Hill” is the domain of Alan and Nella Henninger who preside there over all manner of beasts – large and small. To enter their gates is to transcend the ordinary and arrive at a calm and special realm where treats for the eye and for the imagination appear at every turn along the paths.
The view by day is indescribably vast. The view by night, with an infinity of sparkling, scintillating points of light, is breathtaking. It is doubtful that the Henningers’ sheep and chickens appreciate their milieu, but they, and innumerable cats and the donkey, Jenny, add their particular textures and voices to the tableau. Alan keeps honeybees which pollinate their flower gardens, fruit trees and vegetables – and perhaps yours as well. Nella bakes with honey and molds beeswax into intriguing forms.
Recently retired high school teachers, but longtime hillside dwellers, the Henningers are conscientious stewards of their land. They are in balanced co-existence with their little paradise. They exploit what the land wants to give them. They give back to the land its just due.
Click here for some scenes of Nella and Alan and the creatures which share their farm.
NNV Note: This story links to many other Web sites where you can see photos of the birds, insects and trees and, in some cases, listen to the birds' songs. Use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this edition. Some photos may take a long time to download unless you have a broadband connection.
Alum Rock Park has been in the news lately, that is if you are a birder, and you subscribe to South Bay Birds, the local computer hotline for the Bay Area. News flash! Two Phainopeplas (PhainoWHAT?) have been seen lurking and possibly breeding in a Pepper Tree visible from the Rustic Lands parking lot! That’s enough to bring birders from miles around to Alum Rock Park to search for these uncommon members of the Silky Flycatcher family. Normally one must travel to Mines Road east of Livermore, or down towards Panoche Valley, two birding hot spots, to see these elusive birds.
Sooo, WHAT is a Phainopepla, pray tell! Those of you who are familiar with our winter resident Cedar Waxwings have met a close relative. Both birds have soft sleek plumage. Phainopeplas are flycatchers, consuming insects and other bugs as a large portion of their diet. They are the only members of their family to occur in the U.S. Their main claim to fame is, you see, that these birds quite possibly have two breeding seasons. In the early spring they can be found nesting in the arid Mesquite brush lands of the Southwest feeding on insects, mistletoe berries and other fruit. After fledging their first nest of young, it is believed that they fly north into cooler, wetter, habitat to raise a second brood. It is this second brood that is of such interest to Bay Area birders. If they make it this far north you don’t have to drive so far south, buying gas and booking motels to see them. Not to mention, they are really interesting birds to have around!
Although Phainopeplas are flycatchers they have a close association with Mistletoe, often nesting in the clumps, eating the berries and dispersing this parasitic plant through their droppings. They will also feed on the fruit of buckthorns, elderberry, junipers, and yes, ornamental pepper trees. It’s the male that builds the nest and performs most of the daytime incubation of the eggs. The young are fed insects initially and then berries.
Just what does a Phainopepla look like??? They are sexually dimorphic, meaning in this case that females look different than males. Females might be mistaken for the Northern Mockingbird at first glance. They are a more uniform, darker gray and have a shorter bill. The males are shiny black with a distinctive white wing patch. Both sexes have red eyes and a ragged crest.
Yours truly has not yet had a chance to search for them. If the mood strikes
you to come out and try your luck, watch for a bird around seven-inches in
length, about the size of a Cedar Waxwing, with a direct but fluttery flight.
The distinctive call note is a low-pitched, whistled wurp. They may
already have moved on by the time you read this, but there is always next year?
The other bird that has caused a bit of a stir is a western Screech Owl that has returned to its summer cavity roost in an old Sycamore near the YSI building. It’s not that Screech Owls are particularly rare; they are just difficult to see during the day because they are happily ensconced in a nifty tree cavity, safe and sound. A particularly observant summer camper discovered it last year. She found an owl casting on the ground and looked up and there it was nestled in its tree cavity. To the delight and sometimes frustration of its human fans, this particular owl will pop up and sit on the rim of its cavity for all to see and of course, sometimes not. The lucky ones are treated to the full Monty, others might see half a bird or in my case just the tippy top of its head. Then there are those that get a beautiful view of alas - a tree cavity. Such is the life of a birder. This little fellow has been pretty consistent. If you don’t see it one day, come back the next or at a different time of day. Its emergence is no doubt predicated on what is going on in the vicinity of the roost. The cavity is located right above one of our summer camp tables so, mornings can be fairly noisy affairs. It will descend rapidly into its hole as though in an elevator, if the resident jays are fussing in the area.
This week I found a molted Screech Owl primary feather under one of our big outdoor lights on the side of our building. I’m thinking that this owl is hunting insects attracted by the light. Western Screech Owls eat a lot of insects and other bugs in addition to small mammals and birds. Indeed, this morning one of our summer camps was treated to this very owl casting up a pellet. I should be so lucky. One of our staff opened it and found the skull of a small rodent and exoskeletons from an insect. Years ago I dissected a Screech Owl that had been hit by a car. In its stomach were earwigs, lots of small dark beetles and three large slugs. Predators do not refuse an available meal!
Alum Rock Park has had its share of birding highlights this season. Come on over and have a try at sighting the Screech Owl and who knows what else you might discover while you’re at it!
Since I last wrote for NNV, the Black Phoebes that nested on the back wall of the YSI reared a second clutch of young. Three more young phoebes fledged to the world. The two Great Horned Owl babies were getting rather rambunctious by mid-May. By the end of the month they too had disappeared from their rocky ledge. Will they be back next year? We’ll be watching for them!
NNV Note: This is a continuation of Jason’s article which started in the June/July edition. Click here to read the first part.
By now everyone is aware that higher education costs have risen at a staggering rate. In fact, in the past decade, tuition costs for a four-year college have risen almost five times as fast as household income, making it much harder to pay for. Can costs continue to climb this quickly? Yes. But, while in the past the largest increase in prices has been in private education, we may now see the costs of public education increasing at a faster rate than private schools.
According to the College Board (www.collegeboard.com), in 2003-2004, 4-year private college tuition rates increased an average of 6%, while 4-year public school tuition increased over 14%! Taking a quick tour of my alma mater, SCU, shows that the rapid increase over the past 10 years in tuition prices (combined with an aggressive donation program) has translated directly into better facilities. On the other hand, touring SJSU recently with my brother, a graduate of the photography department, shows that many facilities are outdated and under-funded. With state budget deficits at all-time highs, cuts are being made to education, which accounts for roughly 55% of the total. The fact is, the cost of attending a 4-year public school is still only a fraction of that of a 4-year private school. At the same time, many facilities are aging, college attendance is up, and resources are being squeezed. For these reasons, I expect public college costs to continue to rise at disproportionate levels relative to income.
Because of this upward price pressure, we cannot assume attending college will be as easy to accomplish in the future as it is today. While many parents in the past did not feel the need to save for college (because they encouraged students to attend junior and state colleges), those same parents today would be wise to start a savings program as early as possible. And while the costs of saving for higher education has traditionally been shouldered by parents, with the price of higher education rising, grandparents and other relatives should consider contributing what they can towards a child’s future education costs.
I am always reluctant to quote the costs of saving for a future education. The costs I read in studies and the actual costs of college are not usually the same because financial aid currently plays such a big part in paying for college costs. (I discuss financial aid later in this article.) So, when I talk to parents, I talk about saving for some of a child’s education. How much depends on their financial aid calculations and ability to save. However, even the smallest amount saved now will add up over time, and creating a mindset of saving is paramount. So, regardless of ability, I encourage parents to save some amount regularly for education.
Some children, of course, will be eligible for more financial aid than others. Click here for a chart that shows the costs of college (tuition, room and board, books, and fees) and the monthly contribution to a tax-advantaged savings plan required to pay for the full costs of education. As shown in the chart, the required monthly contributions range from a low of $111 per month for a two-year, in-state, public school with 20 years until your child begins college to a high of $2,515 per month for a four-year private school if you don't start until your child is ready to start college. Again, very few parents would be expected to save the full amount. Note that the earlier you begin saving for a child’s education, the lower the required monthly payments are.
Remember that the chart shows the full average costs of saving for college, including tuition, room and board, books, and fees. The good news is that most parents are not expected to pay for the entire costs of college. According to the College Board (http://www.collegeboard.com/parents/article/0,3708,715-716-0-21385,00.html):
• A record $105 billion in financial aid is available in 2003-2004 to students and their families, an increase of 12 percent over last year.
• Almost 60% of undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid.
• Almost half of all college students receive grant aid.
• In 2002-2003 grant aid averaged almost $2,000 per student in two-year public colleges, over $2,400 at public four-year colleges, and about $7,300 per student at private four-year colleges.
• About 29 percent of students attending four-year colleges pay less than $4,000 for tuition and fees per year.
• Almost 70 percent of students attending four-year colleges pay less than $8,000 per year for tuition and fees.
These statistics clearly show that schools do not expect most parents to pay the full cost of a child’s education. And while education costs are rising, financial aid is helping to compensate. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the costs of college. If you start saving what you can today, you will be able to greatly help your future student.
To find information about student aid visit:
For a list of scholarship searches, visit: http://www.theoldschool.org
For financial aid calculators see: http://www.finaid.org/calculators/finaidestimate.phtml
Have a question about this article or other financial planning topics? E-mail Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next edition: How much should you save? Should you save for your retirement or for your child’s education first?
NNV Note: Jason Papier, his wife Susan and dog Scout live on Holly Drive with a beautiful view of the SJCC and its surrounding communities. Jason's financial planning firm, PW Johnson, is an NNV sponsor and is located just off Highway 101 and Mathilda in Sunnyvale. He provides financial planning services to clients who seek a long-term relationship with an advisor.
Area gardeners, both "Master" and casual, share their wisdom and experiences with Eastside gardening and related topics here.
Call the Master Gardener Hotline at (408) 299-2638 with your gardening questions or check out our website at www.mastergardeners.org/scc.html.
Ants: 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 www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html.
Yellowjackets and Wasps: These insects can be solitary or live in group nests above and below ground. Yellowjackets can be aggressive when defending their nests so avoid the area where possible. Paper wasps on the other hand will avoid contact. When eating outdoors, keep foods well covered. One strategy is to put out bait such as a piece of meat or an opened soda can some distance from the table before setting out the human food. Trapping the queens in the spring and workers during the summer can reduce local populations. See the thorough UC IPM pest note at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7450.html.
Pantry Pests: Do little moths fly out of cupboards? Are there small beetles in the corn meal or cereal? These pantry pests can be brought into the home in packaged food and spread to open packages of other foods. Both the insect and its waste products contaminate the food. There is no chemical control. Pheromone traps exist for the Indian mealmoth only. The traps do not attract beetles. Carefully inspect all food packages in the pantry and toss out those with any sign of infestation. Wash shelving with soap and water. Vacuum crevices to remove all insect bits. Store rarely used items such as pancake flour in the freezer or in an airtight container. The pest note has more at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7452.html.
Mites: The dusty days of midsummer are when mites get active especially after the homeowner applies insecticide that may kill mite predators. Although they look like insects, mites are actually arachnids related to spiders and ticks. Mature mites have eight legs but young only have six. Webspinning spider mites suck nutrients from the undersides of leaves, making for a silvery or stippled appearance. Some webbing may be seen, the leaves will turn yellow and drop off. Water-stressed plants are more susceptible. Spider mites have numerous predators including lacewings, assassin bugs, damsel bugs, minute pirate bugs, bigeyed bugs, and sixspotted thrips. Predatory mites are larger, pear-shaped, and without spots evident on the spider mites. See further information at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7405.html.
Pitch Canker: This disease arrived in 1986 and has spread through most of the Central Coast. Symptoms on native pines (especially the Monterey Pine) include branch dieback that may eventually result in the death of the tree. A fungus causes lesions that spread to girdle twigs and branches causing the tip needles to wilt, turn yellow, then red and fall off. Infected trees are often attacked by insects as well. Not all infected trees die and some trees actually go into remission. For aesthetic reasons, pruning of dead branches can be done but tree removal should be delayed unless the tree becomes a hazard. Susceptibility charts for different pines can be found at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74107.html.
Tomato Problems: Refer to the July Hot Topics for this topic. There's not much to be done at this point but it's useful to identify problems. Use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this edition.
Despite efforts to dismantle the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) program here in Santa Clara County, common sense once again prevailed and the program is set for at least one more year. UCCE is one of two non-mandated programs in the County (the Fire Marshal is the other). A budget analyst's recommendation called for dropping the two programs from the County Department of Agriculture.
Heavy lobbying by members of 4-H and the Master Gardeners and the public they serve resulted in budget approval for 2004/2005. The whole program will be moving its offices to the County Service Center on Berger Drive in September. The funding situation is not finally resolved, however, and the County Agricultural Commissioner, Greg von Wassenhove, proposes that the 4-H and Master Gardeners “hold out the tin cup” and raise funds to support Cooperative Extension. How this pans out over the next year remains to be seen. Keep an eye out for updates. And thanks to all of you who contacted the County to support the program.
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Every gardener has a favorite aha moment – when an obvious truth sank in that didn’t seem all that obvious earlier. One of my favorite aha moments occurred when I grasped the difference between California’s seasons and those on the East Coast. Yes, our winter occurs in January-March and the summer in July-September, just as it does there. But that’s where the similarity ends.
On the East Coast, in winter, plants are dormant, leafless, or dead. In California’s winter, plants get plenty of rain, and their root systems grow like crazy.
In summer on the East Coast, plants grow lush green, helped along by periodic showers, high humidity, and sunshine. In California’s desert-like summer, there is sun all right, but not a drop of rain. Plants that do best in California know how to survive six months or more without water.
This simple but subtle fact is lost on many gardeners, especially those accustomed to the East Coast climate. They go nuts trying to make sense of California’s seasons, wondering why a California garden needs so much water in summer. Gardening books are of little help, most having been written by and for East Coast gardeners.
Happy are those who grasp the essential facts about California’s unique climate, and who learn to adapt to California instead of forcing California to adapt to their ideas.
“Being from New York I always used to say that I missed the seasons back East,” recalls Barbara Springer of San Jose. “What I didn't realize was that I was overlooking the seasons of California and trying to make them fit into the East Coast model. I now have a new perspective where I look forward to each new ‘season’ of rains, germination and growth, blooms, seed collecting, and dormancy.”
Gardening with nature brings great rewards, not the least of which is a deeper knowledge of the place one calls home. Anyone can create a lush summer garden by watering, watering, watering. The real challenge lies in creating a garden that is appropriate to its environment, to its soil and its climate. Such a garden thrives without consuming large quantities of scarce natural resources.
The secret to keeping a California garden looking beautiful through summer lies in picking plants appropriate to the site. You can’t go wrong by choosing locally native plants, which are naturally adapted to your soil and climate. California is blessed with a great diversity of native plants, which have unique evolutionary mechanisms for staying alive during the long dry summer. Some like Holly-leaved Cherry grow extremely long, deep roots even as seedlings. Others like the Buckeye go dormant by dropping their leaves as early as July. Yet others like Sticky Monkeyflower reduce their rate of growth.
In this article, I will introduce you to five native shrubs and trees that will be, in your garden, the most unthirsty of plants, adding greenery without requiring frequent water. Best of all, they will increase the habitat value of your garden, attracting birds, bees, and butterflies. I am growing them all at my San Jose home, and can vouch for their reliable, unfussy nature.
Flat-top Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) is a 3’ tall and wide shrub that grows all over the state on hot, dry slopes. It does well in clay soils too. Its small linear leaves stay green the year round. In summer, it is topped with white pompom-like flowering heads that are a magnet for butterflies, bees, and flies of all kinds. I love visiting this bush in the late afternoon around 3 p.m. and watching the buzz of activity.
By fall, the flowers turn a reddish-brown, easily deadheaded, if desired, or retained for the change of color. Its large size and floppy habit make it suitable for placing in the back of large beds. Cutting it back to 6” in late fall keeps the woody growth to a minimum and the plant looking its best the year round. A garden visitor remarked it would be a good alternative to the commonly grown Rosemary. For me, a true summer favorite.
With its 3” shapely dark green leaves and mahogany stems, Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica) is easily the most handsome of shrubs in a garden. The flowers are not significant, but the large berries are showy when red, ripening to black. Wherever there are maturing coffeeberries, in the wild or in the garden, the birds are not far away.
Many selections are available. ‘Mound San Bruno’ is a compact variety. We are growing one from seed collected from Barbara Springer’s Ranch up the hill from our house. Although it has not fruited yet, it is one of the highlights of the front yard. Its lovely, upright shape is all natural, without any help from pruning shears. Every California garden deserves one.
Another plant in flower at this time is Narrow-leaved Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis). A 3’ tall perennial which dies back to the ground each winter, it is a favorite of butterflies as a nectar plant as well as a larval host plant. The tiny white-pink flowers occur in dense umbels, and draw butterflies like pins to a magnet. Added water can make it invasive, but clay soil and a minimum of irrigation keeps it well-behaved. Give it full sun and sit back, and let the swallowtails and monarchs beat a path to your garden.
Walking along the Coyote Creek trail last year, we came upon a small, multi-trunked tree which appeared to be the equivalent of an avian cafeteria. A variety of small birds were merrily darting in and out of its shrubby crown. Closer inspection revealed this was the Blue Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana), a local native that is covered with sprays of cream-colored flowers in spring and pale blue berries in early summer. It can have a long flowering and fruiting season, flowering on one branch, while fruit ripens on another, thus providing a reliable food source over a long period of time.
What makes the Elderberry particularly suited for the garden is its amenability to cultivation. Left to itself, it becomes a multi-trunked shrub. With suitable pruning of suckers, it can be trained as a single- or double-trunked tree that can grow to 20 feet. I have stood next to a massive specimen that could have been mistaken for a live oak! It can easily survive low water conditions, but it is also water tolerant and fast growing. Our 2-year-old specimen is already 10 feet tall. It is winter deciduous, so a good place to plant it would be to the south of a location where summer shade and winter sun are desired.
If, however, you want a tree that keeps its leaves year-round, I have an excellent suggestion. This year, I had a near-religious experience, courtesy of Barbara Springer, who is herself a native gardener and ranch owner. While hiking near her property in the east hills of San Jose, we came upon a mature Holly-leaved Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) in full flower. This majestic specimen, easily 25’ tall, was growing on the slope of a canyon. Innumerable insects buzzed busily about its white inflorescences, hovering and feeding, forming a veritable halo of activity. It was a revelation.
This remarkable California native remains shiny green even at the height of summer. It does so with the help of deep roots that can find water even when the surface is parched dry. Last year, we transplanted several grown from seed, and had the chance to observe their roots closely. A seedling barely an inch tall had a taproot a foot long. Now you know how this California native succeeds where other water-challenged plants fail. On the flip side, its growth rate is slow. You can help it along with periodic watering, but you’ll need to be patient and give it time to reach its full size.
The cherries, while not appealing to humans, are loved by birds. Its branches, impenetrable to large predators, create a safe space for our feathered friends. When young, this plant resembles a dense shrub, and can easily be shaped into a hedge. As a tree, it casts a dark shadow and makes for a good year-round shade tree.
* * *
There you have it – a few more plants to add to your garden without increasing your water bill. Click here to see some photos of these plants.
Remember that all young plants, native and otherwise, require moisture to grow and get established. If you plant in summer, you must water the young plants a few times a week until they are established. Native plants do not achieve their full drought tolerant status until their 3rd or 4th year when their root systems develop fully.
These plants are easily available at native plant nurseries such as Yerba Buena Nursery (Woodside) and Native Revival Nursery (Aptos). It won’t hurt to check with your local nursery first; some like Payless Nursery (San Jose) do carry a selection of native plants.
NNV Note: Arvind Kumar has been growing native plants in his Evergreen garden for three years. He volunteers at Lake Cunningham Park, introducing native wildflowers and other native plants.
NNV begins a gardening “first” with this edition. Reader Tracy Kelly suggested that we could do a great service for area gardeners plagued by deer munching on their prized plants by asking our readers to recommend “deer-proof” plants. So, we’ve started a new “page” which will work like our Letters to the Editor page. It also has some deer photos (we like deer – we just don’t like them eating our garden).
As readers send or e-mail us their suggestions of plants which they know from personal experience that deer don’t like (but which grow well in this area) we’ll add them to our list. We also would like to include fire-resistance and drought resistance information for plants recommended if it’s available. You can see the fledgling chart by clicking here.
Please share your experiences with deer and gardening – positive and negative; you might even want to get some horror stories off your chest! And, if readers suggest plants that their deer don’t eat, but your deer do, don’t hesitate to start a dialogue via this new page.
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I went out to lunch with a Chinese stockbroker at a Cantonese restaurant. When I tried to order a spicy Szechwan dish he said “Don’t! You eat Cantonese foods in a Cantonese restaurant,” and that he’d show me a good Szechwan restaurant another time for my spicy dish. So now I believe in seeking out the best dishes a restaurant serves, rather than asking for a hot-dog at The Ritz.
As an avid reader of New Neighborhood Voice, and a fan of Mexican food, I set
off to taste test Las Delicias, a neighborhood treasure. Tacos and burritos are
taqueria (fast) food. Las Delicias is a restaurant (slow and real food). Just as
my grandmother cooked, they have some great dishes and some regular dishes to
choose from. It is hard to know what to choose without grandmotherly advice. My
grandmother would just plunk down her best dishes in front of us and say, “EAT.”
No such help at Las Delicias.
We snooped around and saw the Quesadillas (Merced style #12,
$5; $7.50 with 2 fillings) with florer de calabaza (squash blossom) filling.
Wow, it came on a foot-long plate hanging over the edges like a 14” trout with
just a blur for a head and a tail. Fresh odors of homemade corn tortilla erased
any doubt that “here was a lunch-to-be-reckoned-with.”
If you want a laugh from the owner, or a disbelieving stare from the waitress (probably the real owner) try asking for an order of two quesadillas.
Not all is delicious at “Las Delicias.” The chips serve as a sobriety test and are best eaten after one of their galvanized pails full of ice and six Coronas (or in my case, Negro Modelos). They are best described as “Heritage Chips” left over from Spanish California times. However, the homemade salsa is dynamite. “Got milk?”
My personal favorites are the “Gorditas.” Damn the cholesterol, full speed ahead! Gorditas are little pita-pocket-like depth charges filled with cheese, chicken, or beef (Gorditas #19, $8.50 served with rice and beans). A la Carte, a taste test of two, is about $6.00 and a great combination with a non-alcoholic sangria.
Service is slow and caring, meals are bursting with flavor. Seek adventure.
If you want tacos and burritos go to “La Costa” at King and Alum Rock (that will
be a future review). However for the really good stuff at “Las Delicias”,
like Granny used to make, try the Quesadillas, Gorditas, and Chimichangas!
Click here for Robin’s photos of Las Delicias.
|Why were the murals removed from the Planned Parenthood Clinic windows in The Village?|
|Does anyone know who painted those murals? Did anyone take photos?|
|Is it true that the Community Justice Center at 12 North White Road has moved away?|
|Any news of progress in the purchase of the old Alum Rock Stables property?|
|How’s come Mark DeTar sent out a real estate advertising post card featuring NNV?|
|Could NNV have been wrong about the route taken by the newly reconfigured #64 bus line?|
A. Strangely enough, the answer is related to the new library branch being constructed in the neighborhood. There is a general sprucing up of the businesses in the vicinity of the library including a tightening of compliance with the City’s signage regulations. It seems that the size of signs which a business can display is based upon a percentage of the window space. The playful Planned Parenthood window murals were painted on the glass about six years ago as a “stopgap measure” to cover the marred and graffitied reflective surface. The city’s “signage police” deemed the murals to be advertising signage for the clinic and threatened large fines if they weren’t removed post haste. It remains to be seen just how long the newly silvered surface will look good.
A. Your editor created them but was not going to divulge this information unless someone asked - so your “Assistant Editor” had to ask. Actually, the murals lasted a lot longer than we ever thought they would. Click here to see photos of the murals and how the blank windows look.
A. Yep, here’s another case of County funding cut-backs. According to Dr. Mike Torrano, the chiropractor who owns the building, the County stopped leasing the space for the Sheriff’s deputies and the Probation Department representative who have had offices there for about five years. As of the first of July, the deputies have been assigned “downtown” and no longer have this handy place to hang their hats, use the “facilities” and write reports. Long-time community volunteers, Janie and Larry Tilbury, who live in the Lyndale neighborhood, ably manned the Justice Center phones every Thursday morning. However, the Tilburys say they’re not looking for a new volunteer position for Thursday A.M.s!
A. BABTT is still looking for an “angel” who can help them obtain a permanent driveway into the barn property. They’ve been trying for two years now to purchase and restore this unique equestrian and neighborhood asset. The property owner has patiently waited all this time to sell his land. As BABTT says, “He can’t wait forever.” The sticking point which needs angelic intercession is the City of San Jose’s insistence on only short-term assurance of the right-of-way onto the property (yes, this property is within the City limits since it is on the Alum Rock Park side of Canőn Vista). BABTT needs assured long-term access in order to make the commitments necessary for their investment of time and money.
A. Well, just to be a nice guy, Mark featured NNV on one of his July cards! Mark is one of NNV’s Founding Sponsors and he knows that we’re always hoping to increase readership. Mark feels that NNV is “doing a great service for the East Foothills community” (we hope you agree, of course) and he likes “to add a little value” to his marketing. Thanks, Mark! Click here to see Mark's card.
A. NNV was simply quoting the best information available at the time and that info said that the #64 buses would run east on Alum Rock Avenue to McKee Road where they would turn left, follow the curve down to Toyon where they would go right, follow Toyon to Penitencia Creek Road where they would take a left … and eventually arrive at the Penitencia Creek Road Light Rail station. BUT, the current information shows (some of) the #64 buses reversing that route so that a rider can catch a bus at the P. Creek station and eventually arrive at the corner of Alum Rock and McKee and continue on west (toward the Capitol Light Rail station and downtown) from there. Note that only some of the #64 buses actually come all the way up to the corner of McKee and Alum Rock so, for definitive information (and times), you can call VTA Customer Service at (408) 321-2300 or go to www.vta.org.
Click here to see your editor at the recently removed bus stop by the Country Club as she regrets her previous comments about the #64 bus drivers. Click here to read what she wrote on the #64 bus schedule in the last edition and here to read her encounter with the #64 bus driver.
E-mail us at JudyET@NNVESJ.org 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 take photos, write articles or essays? Please let us know!
E-mail JudyET@NNVESJ.org to let us know about your events of interest to our readers.
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Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson, 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127
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Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson. All rights reserved. Updated 10/29/04.