Canyon Beat

Be prepared!

By Andrew Tonkovich

It was a busy night at the (Bob) Hunt room for November’s Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Park District (SMRPD) meeting, with a full agenda. And even busier next door, where a grateful crowd took in a winning transmission on two-way radios (don’t say “broadcast”) from new Fire Watch (formerly Canyon Watch) head Anthony Mack, taking over for the intrepid Connie Nelson. Mack’s an expert on FCC regulation and, it seems, community organizing. His PowerPoint and user-friendly primer educated residents on the value of and – thanks, Anthony – viability and availability of inexpensive, pre-programmed, easy-to-use Baofeng two-way radios, impressing both newbies and old hands. He talked two dozen attendees into buying these life-saving communication tools, previously expensive but now available, courtesy of Anthony, Bic Edwards, Mary Schreiber, Joanne Hubble, Danny and Emily Graham and other Canyon Watch, oops, now, officially Fire Watch, coordinators, for $40. Anthony’s pitch is online, and pairs nicely, soberingly, with the Netflix documentary on the Paradise Fire, if canyonites need further encouragement to prep for a mutual aid response to disaster.

Meanwhile, doing the people’s regularly scheduled business, SMRPD Prez Kevin Topp reported a friendly, if anodyne, meeting with District 3 Supervisor Don Wagner, gently discouraging the Supe’s queries about revisiting the Sil-Mod Plan, and instead inviting Wagner to allocate fairer (read: more, perhaps $20-$50 thousand, thank you) tax revenue-based funding of our singular governmental agency and community resource. Despite heroic fundraising (concerts, hamburgers, flea market) K-Topp shared frustration sent his way by locals who feel reliance on wedding rentals usurps access to playground and dog run. 

VP Tara Saraye reported on the Registrar of Voters’ implementation of the 2016 Voter’s Choice Act. SB 450 “authorizes counties to conduct any election as an all-mailed ballot election provided the jurisdiction provides ballot drop-off locations, vote centers and conducts outreach.” There’s more, including vote centers and early voting, at NB: The bill received a “no” vote from then-Assemblymember Wagner. Just sayin’. California’s primary is now earlier (March 3), so anticipate voter registration drives and precinct walkers. 

Fiat lux?
Some streetlights in Silverado, long extinguished, were recently activated. Contacted by residents, Edison and the county are investigating. Loss of phone service with both Cox and Verizon during recent SCE power shut-off disappointed many. The Inter-Canyon League is investigating.     

Bridled enthusiasm
The Orange County Polo Club at Rancho Silverado Stables last month hosted its first national weekend tournament. The recently constructed facility was the site of the National Arena Amateur Cup. Originally the Winston Polo Club, the OC Polo Club, horsin’ around since 1987 at various equestrian facilities, found a home, since 2015, at club owners Shelley and Denny Geiler’s new state-of-the-art center. With two polo arenas, stabling for 60 horses and a clubhouse, Rancho Silverado offers polo and riding lessons for beginners and players of all skill levels.

 RIP “Kobe” 1997-2019
Olive Hill residents recently lost one of the greats. Jim Mamer thinks he spelled his name Kobe. Neighbors Chris and Dayna Edwards corroborate, as their daughters named the stray orange tabby, who at full feline fighting weight came in at 16 pounds of pure muscle. “Smartest cat I ever met,” says Mamer. After the young tom showed up demanding kibble at their Kommers Lane home in 2001, the Edwards got him fixed. Famous, infamous, as an enforcer, he defended his turf against hapless and unsuspecting dogs, raccoons, snakes and possums, yet was gentle with kids. Report the Edwards, “After the fire, when the Modjeska House property was abundant with deer, he was seen running with a herd of them.” Long may you run, handsome fella.  


Secret Santa
Sat., Dec. 14 marks return to “downtown Silverado” of the annual open-air “Christmas in the Canyons” festival featuring food, music and holiday crafts. Santa arrives at 10 a.m., with activities he invites you to join till 4 p.m. To further celebrate the inter-denominational, pagan or faith-free occasion, Inter-Canyon League (ICL), which raised $11,000 at the recent Country Fair, coordinates a seasonal “Holiday Helpers” program helping assist neighbors anonymously. Last year, all nominated received aid.  See Donate at “Holiday Helpers 2019” under “committees.”

 Block Party
That’s the clever name of Library of the Canyons’ monthly (second Wednesday) kids’ hour dedicated to Lego play. Anytime they like, patrons of all ages can browse the new searchable online collection of digital archival images and oral history videos ( assembled by OCPL, including recollections by canyon locals. After the branch’s monthly book club consideration of a crime thriller, members read NPR “Morning Edition” contributor Heather Lende’s “If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-town Alaska” with gossip, local politics, eccentric character profiles and affectionate meditations on life in a rural burg, written originally for her community newspaper. Go figure.   

December 2019