Canyon Beat:

Canyon news, rhymin’ Simon edition

August 2019

By Scott Breeden

Orange County Public Works has been in Silverado, working to avoid future problems with bridges over troubled water.

A few years ago, large rocks (riprap) installed under bridges, such as the Kitterman bridge, were covered with concrete grout. Water was supposed to flow over the grout, protecting bridges from erosion and debris. Unfortunately, water eroded the creek bed around the grout, putting the bridges in danger.

This time, all the old rocks (and grout) are being hauled off and replaced with new rocks from Corona.  Actually, the new rocks are on gravel, on top of special black fabric used to hold rocks in place without grout.

Silverado’s old rocks might be recycled into road base, which could wind up as part of a street in Corona. A county inspector did not know why the no-grout technique was not used last time.

I am a rock
A Southern California Edison contractor recently encountered unexpected resistance to progress near the Ladd Canyon bridge. He had expected to replace a power pole one morning, but due to a large underground boulder that nobody knew about, by 4:30 p.m., he was still trying to jackhammer in a new pole hole.

At the zoo
Live animals returned to the Library of the Canyons, July 17, for a Wild Wonders presentation featuring Snowpea the porcupine, A.J. the Amazon parrot, Frisco the ground hog, an alligator named Dulce, Boba the African pygmy hedgehog, and boa constrictor Moon. No petting of animals, this time, for the mostly five-and-under crowd. (Porcupines have about 30,000 quills.)

Three days later, a 90th anniversary celebration at the library featured refreshments, live music, and a historical display by Fran Williams.

Silverado’s library began in 1929 in a log cabin post office where postmaster Elsie McClelland found space for about 30 donated books. When Miss Elsie retired, she was given the cabin to live in.

Besides former library cats Alis and Megan, another historical animal was the Six Mile Crow. When Silverado’s library was threatened with closure in 1995, residents were told that another library was only six miles away. But that was “as the crow flies,” not road miles. So citizens rallied, with the Six Mile Crow as mascot for the ultimately successful effort to save the library.

My little town
Partly due to weddings preventing some residents from using the Silverado Park, the Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Parks District (SMRPD) recently raised the park’s 12-hour reservation charge.

The issue could be viewed as a question: Whose park is this? Similar questions about public benefit  in the canyons could also be posed as points to ponder.

When bicyclists going up Silverado Canyon Road take up the whole lane, residents driving home who try to pass them are sometimes harassed. Whose road is this?

Most of the 50 preschoolers attending the Silverado Children’s Center do not live in the canyons. Whose children are those?

The event calendar on a local “celebration of community” website consists mainly of advertising for a single business plugging its appointment-only “historic wine tours” at $55 a pop. What community is that?

The sound of silence
SMRPD’s Santiago 250th Year Anniversary committee did not reply to email asking who would cash checks made out to “Festival de Santiago.”  When asked who “Festival de Santiago” was at the July 16 SMRPD meeting, and again in subsequent email, they again declined to name names.

Documents released earlier showed estimated festival income of $7,275 and expenses of $5,780. Advertising accounted for about half the expenses. Besides participation fees of $200 to $250 each some income was expected from “underwriting opportunities” of up to $1,000 each for advertising, entertainment, security, etc.

Fourth of July report: “Modjeska always has a parade. Hot dogs at fire station.  Cute kids on bikes.  Dogs.  Patriotic umbrellas.”

Also this year, some vehicles, including a dad-powered kiddie wagon, rolled briskly down Silverado Canyon Road from Station 14. Then there was a potluck picnic in the park. Advertising was a note tacked up at the post office. Underwriting opportunities included potato salad.

Hearts and flowers
Now winding down its flowering season, a native shrub under some of the Silverado Canyon Road oaks is heart-leaved penstemon, also known as heart-leaved keckiella.

This tall native has bright red tubular blossoms an inch or so long, and it likes to climb through and over other shrubs, like toyon, for support. Red penstemon flowers plus white toyon flowers, plus leaves that are green, look a lot like getting ready for Christmas day in summer.

The next time you clear brush, first check for heart-leaved penstemon. If you don’t give Mother Nature a heart attack, she might reward you with little green valentines.

Did you find nine Paul Simon record references?