Lorraine’s Lowdown: He ain’t lion about COVID

Pat Warner Has Lived Here Since 1988, and he appreciates our town’s idiosyncrasies. Pat recalls when flashlights put GeeVee in the national spotlight. “Back in ’98 I turned on the TV late one night and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was on so I gave it a watch,” recalls Pat. “Imagine my surprise when he was right in the middle of a regular segment in which he showed actual newspaper clips of local police blotters and our very own blotter from The Union was featured. It was something like, ‘A caller in Grass Valley reported seeing an abandoned car without headlights that had two flashlights duct-taped to the hood and two taped to the roof.’ The audience went nuts! All I could think was, ‘Yep, that’s our town…’”

Longtime resident and self-proclaimed “River Rat” Pat Warner appreciates our town’s idiosyncrasies, including an incident when flashlights put Grass Valley in the national spotlight.
Submitted to The Union

The State Is Not Going to Swoop In with COVID Cleanup Cash or Pandemic Protection Pennies. The NevCo Fairgrounds, like 52 other state fairgrounds, is pretty much on its own financially. Monies generated by horse racing wagering that the state distributed to fairgrounds was cut in 2011, all but eliminating state support. That’s why a volunteer work party is scheduled May 1 to spruce up the fairgrounds in the hope there will be a fair this August (sign up at http://www.NevadaCountyFair.com). “The fairgrounds are state property,” explains fairgrounds CEO Patrick Eidman, “but we are almost entirely self-funded and dependent on revenue from events and facility rentals, which we haven’t had for more than a year. Many thanks to everyone planning to participate in the May 1 volunteer day…”

Here Is a New Website that drills down COVID info to the county level — CDC COVID Data Tracker: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view

The Parade Must Go On! People worried that the permanent street closure of downtown Mill Street might preclude GeeVee’s every-other-year Fourth of July parade can rest easy. “Mill Street will still be designed for truck traffic such as fire trucks, delivery trucks, etc.,” says City Manager Tim Kiser. “This area will allow for parades, car shows, Cornish Christmas, Thursday Night Markets, and other events.” Lost parking spaces is also a topic that alarms some folks. “Thirty-seven spaces were lost when the city closed Mill Street and we created 11 new spaces by restriping the Church Street parking lot,” Tim explains. “There are more than 500 public parking spaces downtown and another 900 spaces downtown that are privately owned. The city is also actively looking at options to create even more spaces…”

Porter the Loveable Labrador has been the mascot and helper during Gold Country Senior Services firewood delivery days. Now he’s reassuring people who receive COVID vaccinations at the Dokimos clinic at the former Ol’ Republic Brewery site in NevCity. One of Porter’s “daddies,” Rich Fuxjager, volunteers at the clinic. Porter dons an adorable lion mane hoodie and greets people as they arrive. Porter also comforts anyone who needs a furry friend to pet after they receive their Faucie Ouchie…

Rich Fuxjager volunteers at the Dokimos COVID vaccination clinic at the former Ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City, aided by his loveable Labrador, Porter.
Submitted to The Union

Jackie and Gary Milhous visit with Porter, dressed as a friendly lion, after receiving their COVID shots at the Dokimos vaccination clinic in Nevada City.
Submitted to The Union

Historical Scenes Painted by Artist Mim Meakin are featured at Flour Garden Bakery in the Glenbrook Basin this month and next. Mim used to paint landscapes, portraits, and florals until she had a meaningful encounter with Eleanor Kinitzer, director of the Cornish Choir. Eleanor took the choir to Cornwall, England, in 2000, and Mim went along. “We visited the towns of Penzance and Bodmin, Nevada City’s and Grass Valley’s Sister Cities,” says Mim. “During the trip, I was privileged to witness Eleanor accept the title of ‘Bard’ to honor her work preserving Cornish Traditions.” After the trip, both women found themselves working at the Holbrooke Hotel. “Eleanor urged me to paint local historical scenes. Once I started, I simply couldn’t stop! On a later trip to Cornwall, Eleanor presented my artwork to the mayors of Penzance and Bodmin…”

Historical scenes painted by local artist Mim Meakin are featured at Flour Garden Bakery in the Glenbrook Basin this month and next.
Submitted to The Union

Mim Was a Member of the Cornish Christmas Choir, which Eleanor also directs. “The last year I sang in the choir, I actually fainted,” Mim remembers. “I was taken by ambulance to the ER because I was dehydrated. I turn 87 in June, so have decided to step back from singing with them, but I may join them when they sing indoors in nursing homes, etc.” The Cornish Christmas Choir presented Eleanor with the first-ever painting Mim created of the North Star Mining Museum. A final note: at that elaborate Bard ceremony two decades ago, Eleanor chose “North Star” as her Bard name…

The Cornish Christmas Choir presented director Eleanor Kenitzer with the first-ever painting artist Mim Meakin created of the North Star Mining Museum.
Submitted to The Union

You Missed Your Chance if you’ve always meant to stop by the nonprofit Alta Sierra Biblical Gardens on Old Auburn Road off Highway 49. It has been COVID closed, and a November house fire on the property helped make that closure permanent. The gardens would have celebrated their 50th anniversary in June. The 11 acres of trails with a baptismal pool and chapel are shuttered for good, says Paula, who asked me not to use her last name. The gardens were partially funded by a suggested $1 donation at the gate, plus income from weddings and memorial services – none of which occurred during the pandemic. “My husband and I took over in 1998,” says Paula, “but there is a lot of maintenance. With liability, hiring laws, and restrictions, it is impossible to open up as there are no funds.” Paula says the couple is getting an appraisal on the property and then a private party is taking over…

“The Difference between Genius and Stupidity is that genius has its limits.” – Alexandre Dumas fils (1824-1895), French author and playwright…

There are no limits to the happy stories I love to receive at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com

Read More:Lorraine’s Lowdown: He ain’t lion about COVID