New Neighborhood Voice

Newsletter - Edition 25 - Section 2

April 3, 2005

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Click on a thumbnail to view larger photos

Might Alan's bees
have mites?


Small native garden
in San Francisco


Ed Allegretti,
gentleman farmer


Miguelito Bridge
"Little Man"


Lake Linda Vista


Miss Tiny

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The Foundation (AREF) Hosts Community Party at NHU Library to Aid ARUSD Kids

Event helps put Alum Rock Educational Foundation on Eastside’s radar screen

“Dreams of Tomorrow,” a fundraising event for the Alum Rock Educational Foundation drew a capacity crowd to the library at National Hispanic University on a Friday evening early in March. Initiating what they hope will become a steady stream of “events” which will help the Foundation become the household word it needs to be, AREF arranged a late afternoon social gathering which featured messages from community leaders, local politicos and educators, as well as lots and lots of kids from the Alum Rock school district.

There were exhibits of student work throughout the library, musical performances by the excellent Alum Rock Jazz Band Ensemble and Mariachi Tradicional, plus vignettes from The Wizard of Oz by kids from Cureton Elementary School. Your NNV editor unfortunately arrived too late to snap photos of the jazz ensemble and had the misfortune of having her camera go kaput midway through the mariachi performance - thus the predominance of mariachi band photos. However, readers may have seen the March 17th Mercury News “The Guide” coverage of the Foundation and “Dreams of Tomorrow” which featured nifty photos of the jazz band kids.

The event’s title, Dreams of Tomorrow, represents the Foundation’s mission to “improve, advance and enhance education” for the children of ARUSD. Please see the NNV editorial at the beginning of this edition. And, please mark your calendar for the Foundation’s next fundraiser, "Alum Rocks Again," a joint venture with the Alum Rock Jazz Program featuring Professor David Eshelman. It will be a jazz extravaganza at Le Petit Trianon on Friday, June 17th. Watch the NNV Community Bulletin Board for more information.

Click here for photos from this event and here for the AREF Web site.

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East Hills Preschool Receives Grant for Butterfly Habitat

26-Year Anniversary and Dedication Ceremony

Late in March, the East Hills Preschool announced it received a $2,000 grant from a citywide program, San Jose Beautiful, for the creation of a natural Butterfly Habitat on the preschool’s premises, a long-term project that will be celebrated at its upcoming 26th year anniversary event on May 14.

“We are so excited to finally have our Butterfly Habitat,” said Peggy Susoeff, the East Hills Preschool teacher who wrote and applied for the grant. “We believe that learning is an active experience and we continuously strive to create an environment that enhances a child’s self-image, self-direction and self motivation.”

The idea of the Butterfly Habitat began when Peggy Susoeff joined the preschool eight years ago and decided to leverage the school’s backyard hillside to plant various butterfly-attracting plants so the teachers could have a hands-on Life Science segment to incorporate into their overall curriculum. The goal of the Habitat is to teach students that they are the future stewards of the earth and that their job is, even at this young age, to learn how to care for it.

About the Habitat
A butterfly habitat is a collection of plants that attract and sustain butterflies as well as their larvae commonly known as the caterpillar. When areas get developed, natural habitats get destroyed leading to possible loss of species that depend upon certain plants to survive. The East Hills Preschool Habitat will show children how it is possible to bring some of these habitats back by planting and eventually observing the butterflies in their natural environment.

The largest plant group incorporated in the preschool’s Habitat is the Milkweed, which is the only plant the Monarch larvae can eat. Parent volunteers and their children have been involved in the planting of the Habitat, which is currently half way done and was expected to have been completed late last month.

Grant Application Process
The Preschool received the grant from San Jose Beautiful after two months of extensive paperwork and fulfilling the application requirements, which consisted of submitting application forms, developing a comprehensive 3-year garden plan and collecting in-kind donations from the local community and families, which had to be equal in value to the amount of the grant.

Dedication Ceremony
Completion of the Butterfly Habitat and the 26th year anniversary of East Hills Preschool will be celebrated at an open house event that will feature a special singing performance by this year’s preschoolers, an exhibit of their artwork and a dedication ceremony for the Butterfly Habitat.

When: Saturday, May 14
Time: 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM
Where: East Hills Preschool, 14845 Story Road

About San Jose Beautiful
San Jose Beautiful, founded in 1986 by the San Jose Mayor and City Council, operates out of the City’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department and provides funding to schools, neighborhood groups and other non-profit organizations who wish to improve visible public areas to make San Jose a more beautiful place to live, work and visit. Click here for the San Jose Beautiful Web site.

About East Hills Preschool
East Hills Preschool has been in operation since 1979 with two of its three teachers, Nadine Williams and Debbie McMillin, working there for over 20 years and Peggy Susoeff joining them in 1997. The school offers four separate three-hour-class sessions, with a ratio of three teachers to every 24 students, and has a total enrollment of 86 children. Through a very stimulating and loving environment East Hills Preschool, maintains a high standard of education and requires parental involvement, which is a key factor to the preschool’s continued success. For more information about East Hills Preschool, call 408-923-8616 or visit

Click here for a photo of Butterfly Habitat.

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L.U.C.H.A. - An Ambitious New Small Autonomous Elementary School

Little kids learn to love learning! Parents get involved!

Early in March, ARUSD board trustee, Tanya Freudenberger invited several guests including your NNV editor to L.U.C.H.A. school’s Thursday evening Open House. We joined a large crowd of proud parents and children filling the cafeteria at Clyde Arbuckle Elementary School, which shares its campus with the much smaller L.U.C.H.A. school. Following a rousing welcome, the crowd disbursed to various classrooms around the campus to see and hear presentations by the bright-eyed, enthusiastic children.

The themes of the presentations included demonstrations of applying the scientific method to prove a variety of hypotheses. As your editor recalls, this used to be material which one might encounter in high school – or more likely, college! To the little L.U.C.H.A. kids, this is duck soup!

L.U.C.H.A. (pronounced loo-cha) is one of the “small autonomous schools” which started up in the Alum Rock school district last fall. The initials stand for “Learning in an Urban Community with High Achievement.” The public elementary school is a collaboration among PACT (People Acting in Community Together), the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District and the San Jose State University LEAD Center.

The small (about 240 students) K-5 school offers individualized attention to all students through smaller class sizes of about 20 children. The curriculum reflects each child’s interests and strengths. Personal education plans are created through collaboration among students, teachers and parents.

At L.U.C.H.A. all parents are encouraged to volunteer at the school and they receive support and advice on extending learning into the home. Parents have a voice in school decision-making. The school offers an extended day so students have more opportunities to master all their subject areas as well as taking part in enriching activities such as art, P.E., music, science and social studies.

PACT would like to see more small autonomous schools at more San Jose campuses and involve many more children. If you would like to know more about the small schools movement, you can call Kendra Ferguson at the New Schools Center at (408) 295-6008 or PACT at (408) 998- 8001. If you would like to call L.U.C.H.A. school, the number is (408) 928-7150.

Click here for L.U.C.H.A. school photos.

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NNV Briefs

bulletThe Big, New, Wonderful Berryessa Library Branch Opens With Flair
bulletIs Water Damaging Your House’s Foundation? by Ellen and Gary Rauh
bulletOn the Avenue (Alum Rock Avenue) - Fluffy tree parade gussies up Alum Rock Village
bulletOn the Road (McKee Road) - Rains + Neglect = Hazardous holes
bulletThe Farm Kitchen “We were expecting twins, but got quintuplets” by Deva Luna
bulletBeth Gonzales, Eastside Advocate, Off and Running for City Council’s District 7 Seat
bullet"A Teacher for City Council" - Beth Gonzales is the right choice by Judith Knutson
bulletEnjoy a Buffet Lunch - Rotarians will host San Jose Library Foundation speakers
bulletARUMC’s Interim Pastor Addresses the Church Community by Lee Hayward
bulletEast Side Heroes - Second annual East Side Heroes Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner
bulletCall to Artists - San Jose Public Art Program
bulletNeighbor-Artist Peggy Forman's Big Spring “Open Studio” Show

The Big, New, Wonderful Berryessa Library Branch Opens With Flair

Enormous crowd swamps the Grand Opening ceremony on March 12th

Who would have thought that the opening of a new library branch would bring out a crowd numbering in the hundreds? There were cars lined up all the way to the east end of Noble Avenue - probably to the consternation of the folks who live along the street whose driveway access was suddenly compromised.

Perhaps the crowds reflected the pent up lust for library materials caused by the weeks-long hiatus between the closing of the poky little Noble branch and the opening of its great new replacement. Library users came with large bags in which to take home their next batch of free entertainment. They listened patiently and cheered sporadically through an opening ceremony which featured San Jose’s Mayor Gonzales, their district’s City Councilmember Chuck Reed, the City Library System’s Director Jane Light and assorted introductions of all the people whose dedicated work made possible a major new asset to the Berryessa community. The crowd was especially enthusiastic – and whooped accordingly – at hearing that the library came in under budget. And, there was much grateful applause at the news that Church of Latter Day Saints volunteers helped move all the materials from the old library into the new library saving about $10,000 in moving fees!

Once the crowd funneled through the entry doors and fanned out into the bright shiny new spaces, the building came alive. There were happy gasps of surprise and pleasure as the library goers looked for their niches and found a little bit (or a lot!) of everything for everybody.

The Library’s public art by local artist Joe Saxe achieves his desire to “convey a general sense of wonder and a fascination with discovery and learning that the public library system allows us to pursue.” His two large (about 8’ by 9’ and 6’ by 7’) “windowboxes” – one just inside the front entryway and the other over the mantel above the fireplace in the Community Living Room – are painted in storybook primaries in a smooth straightforward style which invites the onlooker’s eye to linger over the sweetness of the details. In the children’s area, he has painted murals directly on the surface of the walls. Vivid complementary paintings high on the wall at one end of the children’s large library area were painted by another local artist Angelo Lopez in 1995 for the original Berryessa Library.

A necessity for twenty-first century libraries, Berryessa Library has an Internet Café with Internet accessible computers and vending machines. There are special spaces for teens and more than token-sized places for adults to read comfortably. Within its 2,600 square feet, there are group study areas, 51 computers, a storytelling area and a meeting area which can seat 124 people. On misty-moist opening day, a bright fire in the fireplace drew visitors to its warmth.

Close to $10 million was spent on this new community resource. NNV thinks this was tax-payer money very well spent. And it was gratifying to see that this branch has a simple name to which everyone in Berryessa can relate.

Click here for photos from the Berryessa Library Grand Opening.

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Is Water Damaging Your House’s Foundation?

Don’t wait until you’re ready to sell to find out!

By Ellen and Gary Rauh, Lifestyle Properties

In over 26 years of selling real estate we’ve witnessed hundreds of property inspections of many kinds – termite, foundation, roof and home among them – and have concluded that the most frequent and often most expensive problems have one thing in common: water. This is especially true for homes located on hillsides where we must contend with gravitational forces working contrary to our goal of keeping water away from the house.

Water damage caused by roof or plumbing leaks are obvious and common examples of costly repairs that homeowners may experience when selling their home; they’re usually the result of deferred preventive maintenance such as keeping showers and bathtubs caulked, repairing or replacing leaky faucets and replacing missing or damaged shingles or tiles on the roof.

But how many of us check gutters and downspouts and ensure that the soil around the foundation is sloped away from the house? Foundation problems are by far the most expensive defects to remedy but you can help reduce the likelihood of significant foundation settling by ensuring that water from storms and irrigation does not collect against the foundation. That means keeping your gutters clean, fixing broken downspouts, directing the water from downspouts so that it runs away from the foundation, ensuring that the soil around the foundation is sloped away from the foundation and positioning or adjusting sprinklers so that they don’t spray toward the foundation. If it is not possible to grade the soil away from the foundation then consider having a contractor build a solution such as a French drain that will collect storm runoff and divert it away from the house.

These measures coupled with diligent maintenance of the interior plumbing and roof will help ensure that there are no expensive surprises when you sell your home and will also give you peace of mind.

If you’d like references for licensed inspectors and engineers, you can call us at (408) 929-1925 or E-mail

Click here for photos of how to damage your house's foundation.

NNV Note: Ellen and Gary Rauh are super community supporters and their business, Lifestyle Properties, is a Founding Sponsor of New Neighborhood Voice.

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On the Avenue (Alum Rock Avenue)

Fluffy tree parade gussies up Alum Rock Village

Alum Rock Village takes on a Winter Wonderland aspect every spring when the ornamental pear trees strut their stuff – parading down both sides of the street sporting big snowball clusters of blossoms. Spanish-speakers in the neighborhood say the trees look like las palomitas – or popcorn.

Since palomitas comes from the Spanish word paloma which means dove, it seems we’ve come full circle. Now we’ve got little doves sitting in pear trees. How far behind can the partridges be?

Click here from photos of pears, popcorn and palomas.

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On the Road (McKee Road)

Rains + Neglect = Hazardous holes

Take winter rains and add a bucketful of neglect and see what happens to our Eastside streets. McKee Road east of Toyon has really taken it on the chin this year as have the tires and wheels of the many cars which must traverse this busy stretch. The pothole picture has just been outrageous! Part of the problem (not a new one in this neighborhood) is that the street is a checkerboard of alternating City of San Jose jurisdiction and County of Santa Clara jurisdiction. Sometimes it seems even the City and the County can’t agree on who’s responsible for the repairs.

NNV went out on a rainy Friday carrying the official NNV yardstick and nearly got run over while attempting to document the remaining potholes which were not filled when a crew filled some even more egregious ones earlier. Reader Sonja says she still has to veer right to avoid the jagged grooves. Veering to avoid potholes is a perilous necessity on our McKee Road.

And click here for the pothole picture.

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The Farm Kitchen

“We were expecting twins, but got quintuplets instead”

By Deva Luna

My grandparents built the house I live in, on Mt. Hamilton Road, with a spacious kitchen, and large windows overlooking the lights of San Jose. It has a real front door, mandated by the building codes, but we never use it; we come in through the kitchen.

I can tell it's Spring; kitchen window sills are covered with baby heirloom tomato plants, and there's a huge cardboard box on the floor with a light bulb and 20 baby chicks. In our house, we carry on traditions - we are goofy for seedlings and chickens, and have more of each than we really need. We also have a difficult time getting rid of things, so it's lucky tomato plants die on their own when winter comes. Our chickens, on the other hand, even though they only really lay eggs for a couple of years, can live on in happy retirement until 12 or more. We have to keep building chicken condos to house our "senior citizens" and last month were up to 34 hens and one busy rooster.

Last winter, we got to talking with our neighbor Susan (also chicken-crazy), and we decided to share an order of spring chicks from Murray McMurray, a mail order hatchery in Iowa. Their catalog is a wonder! Who knew there were so many kinds of chickens?!? Top-knots, feathered feet, spotted and striped, naked necks, game hens, bantams, long tails, colored-egg layers - the list goes on and on. How to choose? For a minimum of 25 chicks, they will ship you whatever you like, even one of each.

We pored over the catalog (also online at, worried over telling the different ones apart, and ordered 25, plus the offered "free exotic chick." Then fretted over the post-office's slowness. There were calls back and forth between Susan's house and ours, "Are they here yet?" Like waiting for a baby, but without the swollen feet.

Finally they arrived, in a tiny box. Hmmm, they're small, but it still seems like more than 26. The hatchery, in a fit of generosity, or to keep our babies warm, threw in an extra 25! This really messed up our ability to sort them out, plus adding a few complications. We were expecting twins, but got quintuplets instead. This is how we ended up with 20 chicks in our kitchen.

We can't put them out until their feathers grow in, and it's warmer. And we need to build another condo or two.

We find them adorable and fascinating, they alternate racing around and instantly falling asleep in place. My Aunt Mae comments that baby chicks are very time-consuming. "You have to sit and watch them all day!" Every evening, after dinner, we take them out of the box and play with them, trying to hand-tame them. They are still small, and stay on a towel on the kitchen table, but I know what's coming, 20 teen-agers testing their wings and playing bump-chest with each other. The kitchen is going to seem pretty small then.

NNV Note: Deva Luna lives in a three-generation home in East San Jose, with 100 tomato seedlings, 50-plus chickens, and one porch cat. She is a Master Gardener, works as a landscape designer and teaches gardening through Santa Clara Adult Education.

Click here for chick photos - just a bit late for Easter.

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Beth Gonzales, Eastside Advocate, Off and Running for City Council’s District 7 Seat

Sixty people attended the kickoff for Beth Gonzales. The honored guests were Fred Keely, former Speaker Pro Tem of the Assembly, now Assessor of Santa Cruz County, former Mayor Susan Hammer, and Council Member Judy Chirco, Distrct 8, who spoke highly of Beth and her leadership skills. Also attending were neighbors, friends and students from Yerba Buena and Oak Grove High Schools.

After the short ceremony, people walked the neighborhoods with information pamphlets. This week, ESTA, The East Side Teacher's Association endorsed Beth.

Click here for Beth's campaign Web site.

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"A Teacher for City Council"

Beth Gonzales is the right choice

By Judith Knutson

You know the type - a person who is never fulfilled unless doing something for others. A relentless advocate for those in need. Always finding ways to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live a better life. The first person in line to demand rights for all. The last person out of the room when meeting with those who can make these things happen.

Beth Gonzales, vying for a seat on the city council from District 7, is just such a person. She is a woman from a small community who sees the big picture. A 30-year resident in the district neighboring Alum Rock and District 5, Beth has been a relentless worker to improve the "livability" of all who live on San José's greater east side. She started small, working with and advocating for, her students in the East Side Union High School District. The more involved she became with her students, the more she got to know their families. In that process, she recognized that these people needed a voice, and she has become that voice. Her plans for working with the council include securing more and better jobs for residents, affordable housing, and, of course, more effective schools for all children, K-12.

Why, you ask, is this article appearing in NNV, whose readers are overwhelmingly from district 5? The answer is that Beth works for all of the residents that live in the eastern arc of San José's urban boundaries. She is a woman who deserves (and has earned) the support of all those who live in the general area. You can help put a dynamic advocate on the council who will work for you as well as her own specific constituents. Talk to your friends who live in District 7, contribute to her campaign, write letters for the SJ Mercury News editorial page. Call her with your ideas and priorities that encompass the greater East Side community. Be assured, she will listen and act on your behalf. Call (408) 365-3205 or E-mail

NNV Note: Beth may live in District 7, but she’s long been a force in our Eastside neighborhood. She has been a major, major PACT (People Acting in Community Together) leader at St. John Vianney Church. She worked tirelessly to help our neighborhood get the ear of local politicians during the Alum Rock Park/Crothers Road Landslide crisis, she helped improve traffic problems on Alum Rock Avenue and she was an early catalyst – and long-term advocate – for the excellent Alum Rock Youth Center facility.

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Enjoy Buffet Lunch Meeting with San Jose East/Evergreen Rotary at the Country Club

Rotarians will host San Jose Library Foundation speakers – you’re invited!

For their April 19th meeting, the San Jose East/Evergreen Rotarians have invited spokespeople from the San Jose Library Foundation to speak to them about our new Alum Rock Library Branch as well as the other new and refurbished library branches around the city. The Foundation representatives will bring graphics and displays and share the latest information about the progress being made in our spectacular new branch which is quickly materializing at the corner of Alum Rock Avenue and White Road.

It will be a 12 noon luncheon meeting and the public is invited (having lunch is optional, but arrive at noon anyway). The cost of the buffet luncheon is $15. If you are interested in attending (lunching or not), please call (408) 272-7008 by Monday, April 11th. This is a great opportunity to lunch at the Country Club, learn more about our libraries, and meet the Rotarians of East San Jose and Evergreen whose meaningful service projects directly impact our community and the world.

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Alum Rock United Methodist’s Interim Pastor Addresses the Church Community

Rev. Mary Parker-Eves’ full time replacement expected in July

By Lee Hayward

In the midst of our sorrow and tears, Mary's memorial service came as a day of celebration - remembering Mary's life and service not only here in this immediate community, but beyond. Her legacy of compassion, servanthood, patience, bridge building, and possibility lives on in each of you. For although the witness and focus at her memorial was appropriately about Mary, it was also a witness about you, the people of Alum Rock Church. Your inclusiveness, courage, and welcoming spirit is alive through every act lovingly offered through you at her celebration of life ... and continues on in you, your presence and your ministry.

And this is good, because although at times such as these when it is good to be in a connectional church such as the United Methodist Church - when, in the midst of our grief, the denomination calls on another to step in and provide a congregation with interim pastoral leadership - it is also good that you instinctively already know what it is you will have to do ... to step up for a time, be the people that God calls you to be, to surrender your individual preferences for the good of the whole in order to continue to deal with our grief - and at the same time, move on ... if for no better reason than to honor Mary's ministry - and give praise and honor to God's name.

So I am here to say thank you to you and to make one of several requests I will make in the coming weeks and months prior to July 1 when you will receive your next full-time pastor - that you will not only continue to do what you've already been doing but you will step up to additional calls to be in ministry together.

If you don't know it already, I'm only here part-time, to be a conductor - like the conductor of an orchestra if you will - keeping the beat of the music, making sure that the individual ministers that you are, don't skip a beat, and offer the best music you can make together. It's the expectation that I'll be here with you the better part of most Sundays, leading with you in worship, preaching, participating in your after-worship meetings, being available for consultation, at times in person, many times by phone, often by email.

What several of you may not know is that I'm keeping my day job - which is an appointment by Bishop Shamana to extension ministries, most particularly one of overseeing leadership development, management training, and executive coaching for NASA.

This is probably a good thing - because you won't have a chance to get too dependent upon me. I won't be in the mix of persons under consideration for your full-time appointment this July. So, the next four months will be a time for you individually and as a congregation to become even more deeply committed to each other as to yourselves, to discover things about you that you never thought imaginable. And yes, I will be with you too - to offer guidance, reassurance, comfort, encouragement, and the experience that comes with being a pastor for over 25 years. As for me, I will be grateful for the opportunity to experience you in a different way, for I have been an observer from several vantage points during the past 30 years.

Now I'm not as much on the sidelines looking in. I'm looking forward to working with you to keep moving on, with enthusiasm, with expectation, with hope, and excitement - not avoiding our immediate sorrow - but as someone said about Mary, we'll be able to move through the trembling of our fears in order to achieve something greater because of our commitment to our God and Christ's call.

Although there are always unexpected notes in a live orchestra's performance, I truly believe that we will make good music together as we seek to continue to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

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East Side Heroes

Second annual East Side Heroes Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner

East Side Heroes is an up-and-coming non-profit corporation that is committed to improving the quality of life for individuals and their families within our diverse communities through educational scholarships, innovative student-led community-improvement projects, and personal life-long mentorship that will help produce the next generation of problem-solving leaders.

The East Side Heroes' Scholarship pays tuition for qualified 8th and 9th grade students, who have already been accepted into a private high school, but cannot afford to attend. To qualify for the East Side Heroes' Scholarship, students must have over a 3.0 GPA, come from a low-income household, and demonstrate the desire and commitment to graduate from college and assist their community through East Side Heroes' student-led community-improvement projects and peer-mentoring. To ensure success, East Side Heroes provides life-long mentorship, assistance, and guidance to all of its scholarship recipients.

This year's East Side Heroes 2005 Scholarship Recipient is Sara Zuniga. Sara is an 8th grade student at River Glen Middle School, who has dreamed of attending and graduating from Notre Dame High School since she was 5-years-old. Sara lives in East San Jose with her parents and 2 younger sisters. Sara currently has over a 3.5 GPA and recently won 1st place in a math contest held at the NASA Ames Research Center. Sara dreams of attending either Santa Clara University or Stanford for college to eventually become a lawyer. She already enjoys tutoring and helping her fellow students.

Notre Dame is a private, Catholic, College-Preparatory High School for girls in the City of San Jose. Notre Dame was founded in 1851 by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Notre Dame educates young women for success and leadership in a global and technological society. Notre Dame prepares its students to live as well-educated, self-confident, and socially responsible women, sustained by religious faith and guided by spiritual values. The estimated tuition at Notre Dame for the four years that Sara will be attending is approximately $41,000.

Event Information:

Master of Ceremony: Vice Mayor of San Jose: Cindy Chavez.

Cost: $150 per individual seat at the dinner. Event Sponsor: $1,500 (includes a Table of 10 seats and Honorable Recognition at the event).

The scholarship dinner will be on Friday, April 29th, 2005 at the American GI Forum, located at 765 Story Road. Check-in and buffet will begin at 5:00 PM. The program is from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM.

Contact: Christina Sanchez at (408) 391-5706 or e-mail:

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Call to Artists

San Jose Public Art Program

As part of the City's ongoing Capital Improvement Program as well as special bond projects, the City of San José is undertaking construction, replacement or expansion of several public facilities. Many of these projects will have a public art component. This is a call to artists for the general artist pool used for public art projects within the City. The application deadline is April 22.

Public art budgets can range from $25,000 to $250,000. These budgets include design, fabrication, installation, all required insurance, and all costs associated with the public art.

Artists who are U.S. residents are invited to apply. Artists who have received or completed public art commissions of over $25,000 from the San José Public Art Program between 2001 and 2004 are ineligible to apply. Artists who have previously applied to the pool are encouraged to re-apply.

For more information, see or call (408) 277-5144 ext. 18 or E-mail

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Neighbor-Artist Peggy Forman Invites Public to Big Spring “Open Studio” Show

Take scenic jaunt to Portola Valley – Enjoy Peggy and fellow artists’ fabulous creations!

Rock Canyon Circle neighbor, artist Peggy Forman, and three of her gifted friends (professional artists all) will hold their Spring Open Studio show at the studio of artist Jan Schachter in Portola Valley on Saturday, May 7th and Sunday, May 8th, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Peggy says the scenic drive (thirty-five minutes long if the traffic cooperates) from San Jose is well-worth the trip to see beautiful art in a working studio.

Peggy writes:

(Besides herself) the artists showing their work are Jan Schachter who does functional stoneware, Lois Anderson who does functional textiles, and Judith Content who does textile designs and jewelry. Jan also makes the porcelain pieces which I draw on. She has had her platters in Sunset magazine with food displayed on them, she has a piece in the Smithsonian, and she's in many books and professional magazines.

Lois makes fabulous bags, scarves, vests and who knows what she'll have dreamed up this time. Her craftsmanship is impeccable and her fabrics and the way she combines them is very creative. Her work is very popular.

Let's see, where to begin with a description of Judith's work. Amazing. It lights up the room. She makes wall-hangings from strips of Thai silk that she dyes using a Japanese method called Shibori (raw silk is wrapped tightly around wine bottles and then dipped in special dyes). She also makes tiles usable as trivets, but entirely too beautiful for that!!! She has jewelry as well. Judy shows in the best shows and galleries.

The drive up to Portola Valley is going to be well-worth it to anyone who makes the trip. Everyone is welcome (although there is no wheelchair access) and encouraged to come see beautiful art in a working studio. Almost all work is available for sale.

See the NNV Community Bulletin board for directions to Portola Valley and click here for our article on Peggy Forman’s show at Café Pomegranate in last month’s edition.

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Canis latrans

America’s – and Alum Rock Park’s – Barking Dog

By Dorothy "D.J." Johnson - Youth Science Institute

Little Wolf, Prairie Wolf, Song Dog, Varmint, all names for that most cunning and abundant of the wild North American Canines, the Coyote. The name Coyote derives from the Aztec word Coyotl, which is loosely defined as trickster. Figuring heavily in North American myth and legend, the Coyote has been portrayed as crafty, sly, good, bad, foolish, adaptable, intelligent and much more. The coyote’s reputation remains intact today.

Coyotes were originally found on the treeless prairies of the central Great Plains. An increase in farmland and extirpation of the Gray Wolf led to a dramatic increase in Coyote populations. They are now found in every state but Hawaii, from the Canadian Artic to Central America. Coyotes have also moved into suburban areas throughout the U.S. and have been found around major cities including New York. There are now more coyotes in North America than there were at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The primary reason for the Coyotes great success is their incredible adaptability. Excellent hearing, vision and sense of smell coupled with the ability to vary their social structure enable the Coyote to accommodate to a diversity of prey items and habitat. They can hunt as individuals or cooperatively like wolves. Generally, solitary Coyotes will hunt smaller prey, often stalking for 20-30 minutes before pouncing. Coyotes hunting in groups will also hunt small prey by “double teaming” them. One Coyote will dig at a burrow while another individual waits at the escape hole. Groups of Coyotes can prey on large game such as Pronghorn Antelope and deer, if available, by running them to exhaustion.

Coyotes are classified, along with other Canids or dogs, as carnivores. They are opportunistic predators and are considered by many to be omnivorous. They will make use of a large variety of plant and animal foods. In wild and rural areas the average diet is rodents, rabbits, reptiles and amphibians, insects, carrion, acorns and berries. They will prey on barnyard animals and livestock especially during the birthing season. In more suburban areas the opportunistic Coyote may turn to easier prey such as pet food, pets, human food waste and the small mammals attracted to it and garden vegetables. It is thought that bird feeders that attract small mammals are also a source of attraction for the Coyote.

The basic social unit is the breeding male and female. Breeding season varies with geographic range. Coyotes breed at two years of age and have one litter per year. In California breeding occurs during January, February and March. An average of six young are born during March, April and May. The young are nursed up to two months, with regurgitated semi-solid food first offered at three weeks.

The male Coyote provides protection and food for the mother and offspring until they are able to hunt for themselves. The young will remain around the den until they are six to ten weeks of age and will then accompany the adults on hunting trips. Young Coyotes are usually independent by nine months and disperse by one year. Young may travel as far as 100 miles in search of an open territory. In some instances, yearlings may stay with the parents as helpers, forming a pack rather than dispersing. A typical pack may consist of six adults, yearlings and young. Mortality is high, with human interference, internal parasites and Distemper contributing to the greatest losses.

Coyotes will usually dig their own dens but may place them under a downed tree or improve an old badger, skunk or foxhole, rock ledge or crevasse. Entrances are enlarged to about one foot in diameter. Den sizes range from four or five feet to fifty feet deep. In urban areas dens can be located in storm drains, under storage sheds, in vacant lots, parks or golf courses or any other dark, quiet place.

Coyotes are most active at night and during early morning and evening hours. In areas where they are not disturbed by humans and in cooler times of the year they may also be active during the day. Young Coyotes tend to be more active during daylight hours than adults.

The Coyote is the most commonly heard wild animal today. Many an evening campfire has been graced by the familiar Coyote howl. This form of Coyote communication has earned them the nickname Song Dog. Howling is used to keep in touch with other Coyotes and to strengthen pair bonds. Males will use howling and urine marking to announce their territories and warn other males away. Barking is thought to be a threat display when protecting a kill or den. Canis latrans, the scientific name of the Coyote, means “Barking Dog.” Yelping is often heard among the pups and young animals as they play. Huffing is a quieter form of communication usually reserved for calling pups back to the den or closer to an adult.

Vocalizations are not the only source of communication for this adaptable Canine. When showing aggression their tails become bushy and are held in a horizontal position. Movement and placement of their ears are used to show mood and rank in the pack.

The Coyote has been known to interbreed with the domestic dog (!), the Red Wolf and possibly the Gray Wolf. (Crosses with domestic dogs are called Coydogs.) This can make identification of the purebred Coyote difficult. Generally, they have been described as a medium sized collie or shepherd-sized dog. The coat is gray to reddish gray with rusty legs, feet and ears. The throat and belly are whitish. The nose is more pointed and the black tipped tail is bushier than a domestic dog. The tail is held down between the legs when running. Coyote eye shine is greenish gold. Size varies according to geographic range. Coyotes are larger to the North and East, smaller in the South and West and lighter in color. Weight range is approximately 20-50 or more pounds with males being heavier. In California the weight range is from 22-25 pounds.

The Department of Fish & Game has estimated a population of 250,000 to 275,000 Coyotes in California. A large population resides here in San Jose. Coyotes are seen and heard around Alum Rock Park and their eerie “songs” are well known to the residents in the area.

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You Dig It?

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

April Hot Topics

By University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Bracey Tiede

Call the Master Gardener Hotline at (408) 282-3105 (our new telephone number) with your gardening questions or check out our website at

Powdery Mildew: This fungus produces a white powdery appearance on leaves and sometimes other plant parts. It can be found on roses, dahlias, chrysanthemums, peas, chard, and squash. Some rose varieties are so susceptible that you should consider 'root pruning' (dig up) the plant. An effective non-toxic spray can be made with baking soda. To each gallon of water add 2.5 tablespoons of horticultural or salad oil and 4 teaspoons of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda and mix well. Use a fine sprayer and apply to affected plants. This can also help prevent black spot on roses and foliar vegetable diseases. Some plants may show some sensitivity when temperatures are warm. See the Pest Note on Powdery Mildew at for more information. Or take a look at an extensive article written by MG Allen Buchinski at

Peach Leaf Curl: Unfortunately there is nothing to be done now to stop or cure it. To control it, spray Bordeaux mixture or a fungicide in mid December through February. Mark your calendars for later this year. Some people remove diseased leaves or prune infected shoots, but this has not been shown to improve control. The new leaves that are produced are generally ok, but the vigor of the tree suffers some. See for more information.

Irrigation: If you haven't already done this, now is the time to check your irrigation system to be sure it's in full working order. If you have drip lines, open the ends and turn on the water to clean out the lines. Close the end of the lines and check that each emitter or sprayer is working properly and isn't clogged. Check popup sprinklers for full spray and for proper placement of water. This can be done by placing small cans such as pet food or tuna cans on the lawn and water for ten minutes. Check the cans to see that each contains a similar amount of water. Remember that plants grow larger during the winter and may be blocking the water spray from reaching the plants or lawn. Also unneeded spraying of shrubs can cause disease problems. Be sure to clean out any screens in valves too. A check of the timers that control your system is due as well. As spring rains lessen, lawns and water-thirsty plants will need extra water.

Fertilizing and Pruning Acid-Loving Plants: Now is a great time to fertilize your acid loving plants such as azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. Use a fertilizer specifically formulated for them. Now is also the time to prune them. Shaping smaller plants or heavier pruning of large shrubs may reduce next year's bloom somewhat but the trimming will invigorate the shrubs for heavier blooms the year after.

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Bees With PMS?

Reduced bee pollination could result in 1/3 less food production!

By Alan Henninger, Crothers Road Beekeeper


It's the hot topic among beekeepers. Even though 90% of all the bees in a hive are female, it's not what you’re thinking. PMS, parasitic mite syndrome, is a combination of parasitic mites, viral and bacterial diseases that has been devastating bee colonies here in Santa Clara County and throughout the U.S. and the world. At best, for the bee, it results in a shorter life and decreased ability to work. At worst, it causes deformed or paralyzed bees, and the eventual demise of the colony.

Varroa mites, parasites that are about the size of a pinhead and attach themselves to adult bees, larva and pupae to suck out their body fluids, are usually cited as the source of the problem. The syndrome, however, appears to be more complex. In addition to varroa mites, there are tracheal mites, who live inside the bees; there may be pesticide-poisoning originating from both inside and out of the hive, and a host of bee diseases that may be the cause either individually or in combination.

The real problem is that beekeepers forgot the lessons of Darwin. The continued use of the same pesticides to control the mites and antibacterial drugs to control and prevent disease have bred mites and diseases that are resistant and can no longer be treated by available means. The cause and effect relationships are not yet understood. For example, are the mites and/or diseases able to invade and kill a colony because the colony has been weakened by pesticides that have been used in agriculture and gardens, or used in the hive to kill mites?

If someone sprays or uses pesticides on their lawn or garden, the effects appear in the hive. If the substance used is fast acting, the bee dies in the field. Scratch one bee. If the substance used is slow acting or is potent for a long period, the bees bring it back to the hive. Scratch one bee colony. The answer(s) isn't known. What is known are the results. In 2003-4, Nella and I lost 90% of our colonies, and in 2004-5 the number was 60%. For us, personally, the losses aren't devastating because bees aren't a major source of income; but, for commercial beekeepers, who are losing thousands of colonies each, it's a disaster.

And, for society, the effects are significant because one out of every three bites of food you eat depends on bee pollination. If the syndrome continues, you might not have to worry about keeping the New Year's resolution to lose weight. The lack of bees could solve your problem. This year, the shortage began in January with almond pollination; now it's moved to cherry pollination, and on to seed pollination - broccoli, carrots, onions, squash, beans, alfalfa, etc. And so the effects multiply.

What's the solution? The silver bullets, miticides and antibacterials, used by beekeepers in the past, no longer work. My answer, and the answer of many beekeepers around the world, is to breed syndrome tolerant or (better) resistant bees. Based on the idea that feral swarms have survived without medication, I believe these swarms possess the necessary genetics from which to breed resistant domestic bees. Thus, I am capturing all the swarms I can, and will breed queens from those colonies that survive.

An acquaintance, who has a large queen breeding operation in Chile, calls this "The Bond Test" - live and let die (after the James Bond movie). Because of his size, he has instituted the "Accelerated Bond Test" in which he is purchasing varroa and disease infested frames of bees and putting them in his survivor colonies to speed up the process of natural selection. For us, the process will take longer because we have so few colonies.

Other solutions involve using different breeds of bees. Russian bees appear promising, but they come with their own set of problems. Several domestic queen breeders claim to have developed resistant queens, but, apparently, they are very aggressive. The ultimate resolution will probably be a combination of solutions - genetic resistance, restricted or non-use of medication and the restriction of or changing the application timing of sprays and pesticides.

However, if you are hoping that the lack of bees will help solve your weight problem, I have misled you. Bees don't produce fast food.

Click here for photos of Alan and Nella’s bees.

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“America’s Happy Gardener,” The Bob Tanem, Will Speak in Our Neighborhood

See him up close, ask gardening questions, learn good stuff!

How about morning coffee with Bob Tanem – in person – sharing his enormous gardening wisdom and answering your anxious horticultural queries – all right here on McKee Road? What could be better on a Saturday morning when you’re itching and twitching to get into your spring gardening than consulting the guru of greenstuff face-to-face?

Bob Tanem whose pleasant voice you hear every Sunday morning on KSFO 560 AM radio will be at Foothill Presbyterian Church at 9:30 AM on Saturday, April 9th perfectly ready to wrestle with your gnarly questions about plants, garden pests, fertilizers, sprays, composting and organic gardening.

If you think your soil is compacted and your yard is a gardening challenge, you need to know that Mr. Tanem, in his retirement from being a professional nurseryman, has developed a garden from a dirt parking lot! He calls it “New Beginnings” and he can probably inspire you to begin something wonderful and new chez vous.

He’ll bring his popular books, of course, and you can look at them and decide if you want to consider purchasing his tomes on annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs, plus gardening month-by-month – all written with a focus on local gardening conditions. This could even be a great opportunity to start your holiday shopping very early – at least for the gardeners on your list.

Have questions? Call the church office at (408) 258-8133.

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Curtis Horticulture,, (408) 259-9974, CA Lic #826409

Ecological landscaping services: design/consulting, renovation, maintenance

Specializing in native and drought-tolerant landscapes. We live and work in the neighborhood.


A Planter Box in San Francisco

Native gardening in really small spaces

By Arvind Kumar

It is the quintessential San Francisco street, going up a hill at a 20 degree grade, flanked by sidewalks and townhomes. The expanse of concrete and stucco is unbroken on each side of the street except for the occasional planter bed.

My friend Sandip has two such beds, one on each side of the steps leading up to his porch. The one on the right contains a mature lavender bush, 5’ tall, wonderful to brush against on your way in and out. The other bed was full of weeds when I saw it last summer, and my offer to plant natives was accepted with alacrity.

In the care of a deft gardener, planter beds bring cheer to the entire neighborhood. Sandip’s schedule does not permit daily or weekly garden maintenance, and what is needed is a drought-tolerant, low maintenance plan that looks attractive for most of the year with periodic watering and occasional pruning.

At 56”x51”, this is not a large bed, but it is typical of the small spaces available to the city gardener. Site-specific considerations include: fast draining soil, western exposure with 3 hours of direct sun in the early afternoon, and proximity to a stucco wall. This Bernal Heights location does not get the morning fog that is common elsewhere in San Francisco. These factors dictate the choice of heat-tolerant and drought-tolerant natives.

The following plants were selected, all perennials except for one. They combine spring and summer bloomers; some were chosen for year-round foliage contrast.




1 Verbena lilacina year-round blooming perennial
5 Eriogonum grande rubescens summer blooming perennial
5 Achillea millefolium spring blooming perennial; deadhead
4 Salvia spathacea spring blooming perennial; cut back in Dec
4 Aster chilensis summer blooming perennial; cut back in Jan
2 Artemisia pycnocephala perennial; prune flowering stalks for neatness
14 Lasthenia glabrata spring blooming annual; water to extend life

I presented two alternate plans to my friend, one with a somewhat naturalistic placement of plants in threes and fives in a seemingly random order, the other with a classic, constrained grid order. Based on his input, the installation was completed based on the latter plan.

The bed is anchored by a lilac verbena (Verbena lilacina), a lovely green bush with nearly year-round display of purple flowers beloved of butterflies. Coming from Cedros Island in Baja California, it is not strictly a native but a close cousin. The shocking pink flowers of four hummingbird sages (Salvia spathacea) will complement the purple of the verbena.

They are flanked on the front by a paprika-hued yarrow (Achillea millefolium), and on the side by rosy buckwheat (Eriogonum grande rubescens), a summer-blooming pink-flowering native of the Channel Islands. Diagonally across from the verbena are several California asters (Aster chilensis) whose green leaves contrast well with those of Beach Sagewort (Artemisia pycnocephala), a lovely ground-hugging gray bush. All these perennials are intermingled with the annual goldfields (Lasthenia glabrata) which puts out a long bloom of small golden daisies in spring.

This plan was installed in December 2004, and was doing well after the extensive rain in early January. Due to the small size of the bed and the dense planting plan, it was decided not to mulch the bed. Sandip will have to be vigilant in weeding the bed as often as weeds come up, and in allowing the natives to grow. Once the natives are full grown and have covered all the ground area, weeds will have a harder time coming up.

Click here for the layout for Arvind’s friend’s garden.

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

Mississippi Missives Part II

Ed found “strong anti-Christian sentiments” (and more) in the Bay Area

By Ed Allegretti, Ellisville, MS

Late last year, my wife and I made the decision to sell our house in San Jose, California, and move to Ellisville, Mississippi. When informing many of our friends of this decision they of course asked, “Why are you moving to Mississippi?” - especially since I’m a life long resident of California as were my parents and grandparents. These frequent questions caused us to reflect before we were able to articulate the specific reasons for our move.

As a boy, I developed a strong interest in history and in particular that of the War Between the States and the causes for the War. Although I never visited the South in my childhood, I decided to do so when I found in recent years the need to use accumulated vacation time. Thus, Connie and I decided to see Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, which we did during a few trips.

Certainly we very much enjoyed touring the lovely antebellum towns of Natchez, Columbus and Holly Springs. During one such excursion we drove through Laurel where we were happy looking through the older neighborhood of grand houses. On this trip we stayed in Hattiesburg and then in Wiggins where we have friends. Of course we were pleased by the historical sites and buildings that we saw but with much surprise and pleasure we experienced the kindness and courtesy of the good people of Mississippi.

Actually, we enjoyed the friendliness of folks so much that we decided to return again to Mississippi and specifically to the Hattiesburg area. Of course, since we were interested in architecture and old houses, we scheduled appointments with some local realtors to show us places that were for sale. I think it is needless-to-say that after again experiencing the courtesy of the people and the affordability of the housing (the Bay Area is unfortunately too overpriced) we developed the notion of possibly moving to Mississippi.

Aside from the housing costs and friendliness of people, we had other factors to consider such as schools for our boys (ages 9 and 16), work, cultural and religious values, etc. As folks in the area know, the economy of Hattiesburg and Jones County is strong while most of the public schools are rated very well. In addition to the regular public schools, we have the University of Southern Mississippi and Jones County Junior College.

Yes, the good schools and the vibrant local economy were strong influences but the real deciding factor for us were the spiritual and social values of the people - particularly the people of Jones County. As a political conservative, Southern sympathizer (one of my ancestors actually settled in Itawamba County, Mississippi, in the 1830’s where he farmed about 520 acres and his sons fought for the Confederacy during the War), and as a Bible believing Christian, it is easy to understand why we chose Mississippi. In San Jose and the Bay Area it has become increasingly difficult and unpleasant to live because of the extreme liberal values, acceptance of sodomy, and strong anti-Christian sentiments. Since the people of Jones County are definitely more Christian, we felt we’d find more friends by relocating and would have a much better environment for our boys. Probably no Mississippians doubt the wisdom of our move which both Connie and I believe the Lord led us to make.

As I mentioned during one of our visits to the area, we looked at real estate for sale. A house that particularly pleased us is the one we decided to buy. It is located officially in Ellisville but somewhat between that town and Laurel. So, why may you ask Ellisville/Laurel and not Hattiesburg? Although we like Hattiesburg with its plentiful shopping and available jobs, we found Laurel and Ellisville to be more charming. We like the character of the old downtowns, the smaller size of the towns, of course the friendly folks, the many festivals and activities we’ve seen advertised, the museum and country club, and the slower pace of life.

Since we wanted some land for animals and an older house, we bought our place outside of Ellisville. By our standards it is a lovely old house (built in 1927) with much character. A couple of Jones County friends asked why we didn’t move further out into the county since this area is somewhat “crowded.” Both Connie and I laughed because we come from a county of about 1.7 million people, so how could anywhere in Jones County be crowded to us!

We appreciate being part of Jones County and namely because of the friendliness and good values of the many people we’ve meet during our visits. No doubt as I find work, become a member of a church, and start to be active in some local organizations, I’ll continue to experience the courtesy and good morals of the local people.

Click here for photos of Ed's livestock.

NNV Note: Ed Allegretti wrote this article for the Laurel (Mississippi) Leader Call and has been asked to write regularly for them about life in Silicon Valley vs. Mississippi.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

bulletLittle toy plastic man by the Miguelito Bridge railing? Do you guys need glasses – or do I?
bulletDid NNV readers identify your front deck fox? Red or gray?
bulletIs Alum Rock Florist still called “Alum Rock Florist” now that it’s on N. Fourth Street?
bulletIs there a new rash of car break-ins in the East Highlands area?
bulletDidn’t NNV promise to let us know when the PBS show on Alum Rock Park would be on?
bulletWhy isn’t the lake which forms in front of Linda Vista Elementary School ever eliminated?
bulletHow is Miss Tiny, the abandoned lamb, doing?
bulletIs it true that the City of San Jose wants to annex the Lyndale neighborhood?

Q. In the March NNV you guys mentioned that a concrete repairman "with a sense of humor” had embedded a plastic toy man in the new concrete repair which fixed the damage done by the wacko driver who hit the Miguelito Bridge approach railing in February. I sure don’t see any little toy plastic man stuck in the concrete there. Do you guys need glasses – or do I?

A. NNV assures you that there really was a red man (actually a tiny fireman wielding a teeny-weeny axe) and we got down on our all-fours (actually our all-threes with our fourth holding the camera) and snapped a photo of the little guy shortly after he appeared. Good thing too! In a matter of days, the finishing touches were put on the patch job and the miniscule man went missing. He was most probably part of the debris left by the accident which took out the bridge approach railing and perhaps he’s missed by his former small owner. NNV hopes the concrete guy cleaned the wee firefighter’s concretey legs and took him home for his own little boy.

Q. Did NNV readers identify your front deck fox? Last month you wondered whether you had a red one or a gray one or a hybrid.

A. Neighbor Richard Brown assures us that it was a gray fox which visited the NNV deck in February. However, ex-neighbor Judith Knutson tells us that before she moved away she had red foxes visit her yard “not infrequently.” She says she misses the animal parade which goes on in the neighborhoods near Alum Rock Park and remembers the peafowl as being her favorite visitors – except “in the early morning when they would perch in the trees outside my bedroom and squawk as only they can do.” She does not miss the cavorting raccoons who considered the roof above her bedroom their nocturnal playground.

Q. Is Alum Rock Florist still called “Alum Rock Florist” now that it’s had to move to 1040 N. Fourth Street? Is it true that the shop rent would have gone up to $8,000/month? What’s going to move in?

A. Yep! NNV phoned Bonnie King the owner of our one-time neighborhood shop and noted that she answers the phone with a friendly, “Alum Rock Florist …” even though she’s nowhere near Alum Rock. She says that some new customers wonder at the name, but she’s not planning to change it because it’s what her old established clientele has been used to for fifteen years.

She related the story of the 300% rent increase which brings Kelly Moore’s rent up to $12,000/month. “But, they’re corporate - not little guys like the rest of the shops in the building!” Bonnie said that for a while it looked as though she might be able to move the shop to a location in the little shopping center where the Drying Shed restaurant is located. However, it would not have been available soon enough, unfortunately. She and her family still live in our neighborhood near the old shop and she misses her easy “commute” – not that a ten minute drive is such a burden.

It’s quite possible that a not-so-wholesome tenant might move into the empty 3,000 square foot florist space. There have even been mentions of a pool hall coming in. Bonnie says that the other small tenants, the beauty shop and Bud LoMonaco’s business, are waiting for the other shoe to drop. She’s upbeat about her old regular customers loyally sticking with her and says sometimes they even bring her Eastside goodies from Peter’s Bakery or Rafiki’s when they come to visit.

NNV guesses we can still consider Alum Rock Florist to be “our” florist – especially since it has Alum Rock in its name! If you want to call Bonnie and chat – or order flowers of course - her number is still 258-2152.

Q. Is there a new rash of car break-ins in the East Highlands area?

A. NNV is not aware of a rash exactly, but did hear from one reader whose car was broken into early one morning in mid-March near the big concrete East Highlands sign at the Brundage Way triangle. The break-in was witnessed and reported to the Sheriff’s office before the reader even knew his car window had been smashed. A big thank-you to the neighbor who called the Sheriff – it looks like you prevented a theft! Readers, please let us know if this was an isolated incident or if your vehicles have been broken-into.

Q. Didn’t NNV promise last spring to keep the community apprized of the dates that PBS’ “California’s Golden Parks” show on Alum Rock Park would be shown? We’ve seen nothing on the NNV Community Bulletin Board about it.

A. Oh, woe! This was a promise we couldn’t keep. It seems the various PBS stations have what could euphemistically be called a “fluid” schedule. The more we tried to pin them down, the more it became like trying to nail Jello to a wall. We believe that by now they have all shown the Alum Rock Park show at least once. One station told us last summer that they’d be showing the program this month. When we phoned them last week to get the date, they said they had shown it last October and didn’t know when they’d be showing it again. They suggested that we call them “every couple of months” to check. Hello? Is anyone minding the store?

Q. Why isn’t the mini rainwater lake which forms in the student drop-off area of Linda Vista Elementary School ever eliminated? Didn’t PACT get the City and the County to address that problem several years ago?

A. Here we go again with a City jurisdiction/County jurisdiction situation. Lake Linda Vista grew to awesome proportions during the rains of March and there were few stretches of the school’s frontage area that weren’t under water. On Read Across America day, one of the volunteer readers at Linda Vista read through chattering teeth as her cold, morbidly moist tootsies kept reminding her that she’d waded from the street to the sidewalk.

County Roads people say that their jurisdiction ends across the street from the school. The City’s Department of Transportation went out and patched some big holes, according to "Joe." He said a crew used base rock and drain rock as temporary patching. "It really needs a hot stamp treatment for a permanent fix." However, he said, the responsibility may actually lie with the school district! (No wonder PACT couldn't get this one sorted out.) After Joe's crews went away and new rains came, Lake Linda Vista was just as vast as ever - but maybe not as deep.

Click here for a photo of Lake Linda Vista.

Q. How is Miss Tiny, the abandoned lamb, doing?

A. NNV visited Henninger Hill Farm early in March and had the pleasure of seeing robust Miss-Not-So-Tiny come to the gate and bleat for her lunch. Nella Henninger obliged whiny Tiny with a bottle of milk which Tiny polished off with lambent ease before she repaired to her lamb’s quarters where she is learning the lambada which she is mastering at a lamentably early age. Click here for a look at the larger lamb.

Q. Is it true that the City of San Jose wants to annex the “County Pocket” Lyndale neighborhood and make it part of the City?

A. Yes, that seems to be the drift. At a recent meeting of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association, a representative from Councilmember Nora Campos’ office spoke to the 35-40 people in attendance suggesting nicely that the neighborhood could be annexed – and no longer be an unincorporated “county pocket.” It was the perception of at least some in attendance that the City would really appreciate having the neighborhood willingly come into the city’s fold, but, that, if necessary, the City could impose city-dom on it – opposition or no! It seems that Lyndale is fair game because it covers fewer than 140 acres which is some sort of arbitrary size limit. As it happens, Lyndale is much smaller than 140 acres.

Click here for a Letter to the Editor from District 5 Coordinator Francis Zamora clarifying his statements at the meeting.

Neighbors who spoke with NNV said they believed that the general consensus among association members is that they would like to continue with things as they are. They like the County services they enjoy and especially appreciate the Sheriff’s department. Supervisor Blanca Alvarado in whose district Lyndale lies, has long pushed for the neighborhood to be annexed to the City. Some Lyndale-ites don’t understand why she doesn’t support them in wanting to remain unincorporated.

The question arises: are all Unincorporated County Pockets vulnerable to being annexed into the City of San Jose? The answer, at the moment, seems to be yes, if the pocket is small enough. It’s not clear whether the 140 acre rule will always hold true. NNV asked for some clarification from Councilmember Campos’ office, and was told that they are aware there are “questions and concerns regarding annexation.” Francis Zamora e-mailed that “Our City’s Planning Department is currently putting together some information which will provide background as well as the process.” He said that it’s not yet available, but should be in their office in the next 3-4 weeks. We can hardly wait. Really!

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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 take photos, write articles or essays?  Please let us know!  And don't miss our new Letters page on Deer, Fire and/or Drought Resistant Plants if you'd like to share information with our readers.

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

--------------------------- Contact and Subscription Information ---------------------------------
Copyright© 2005 by Judy Thompson, 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127 
Phone: (408) 272-7008, E-mail: Fax: (408) 272-4040 
E-mail subscriptions are free. Your ideas and comments are always welcome. 
To Subscribe: E-mail with "Subscribe" in the Subject line. 
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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© 2005 by Judy Thompson.  All rights reserved.  Updated 4/13/05.

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