By Andrew Tonkovich
This arch-folksy, yet winningly sincere, column results mostly from listening to neighbors, activists and elected leaders who share their news and perspectives with your (un)humble scribe. There’s lots to report, or so they tell me, and so I tell you. For instance, Ranger Sue McIntire, our departmental doyen of all things Arden (“historic resource manager”), brags justifiably about the near completion of a Stanford White-designed fountain on the grounds of the historic Helena Modjeska house, with careful removal of modern additions and repairs to one of Madame Mo’s favorite features, revealing the cracked and worn, but gorgeous, original. OC Parks crews are completing further restorations, in addition to clearing creek and adjacent property in anticipation of El You- Know-Who.
Lucille Cruz, super-librarian, asks you to admire another gorgeous annual artifact of bespoke canyons culture, hung in the library window in celebration of literacy and the public good. Local library boosters again created a much-coveted unique handmade quilt, posing as fundraising raffle prize. Canyon pride is the theme, ‘natch, and anyone would be proud to display or sleep under this beauty. Odds of ownership lean toward those purchasing mucho tickets, with a winner chosen 6:30, Monday, Dec. 21. Two nights later, St. Nick arrives to delight kids and parents.
Silverado-Modjeska Recreation and Parks hosted a Thanksgiving potluck organized by Big Mike, and celebrates Senior Lunch Bunch on Thursday, Dec. 17, with a holiday cookie party. Director Chay Peterson seems pretty darn pleased about the success of the 45th annual Silverado Country Fair. Despite low attendance due to high temps, admission and vendor proceeds (delivered to Inter-Canyon League at its November meeting) were down. “However,” speculates Peterson, “the heat must have driven the rest of us to drink ‘cuz the ‘first ever’ ICL saloon did quite well.” Beer-soaked dollars go to the general fund to help neighbors suffering harm from, you guessed it, storm damage.
Up a creek
Geoff “Slow-Hand” Sarkissian and Linda May say the big Inter- Canyon League news is Connie Nelson’s (go figure) and Assistant Sheriff’s Department Emergency Coordinator Vicki Osborn’s securing of permission from California Fish and Wildlife to clean portions of Silverado Creek of dead alders and potential mud debris. Ditto Joanne Hubble for Modjeska. ICL volunteers will do the actual work, with everybody counting on cooperation from homeowners to sign paperwork, which transforms them ipso on the facto, into official ICL DIY volunteers, who can then perform cleanup themselves. See the “creekbed cleanup” tab on ICL website, and submit your online application now.
Potential flood zones, points out local environmental teacher-activist Joel “Naturalist for You” Robinson, are also habitats. He urges thoughtful and prudent pruning, pointing out that the Pacific-slope flycatcher nests in those dead alders, the endangered arroyo toad burrows in perfectly lovely sediment, the slender salamander digs rotten wood, and Mr. Western Pond Turtle happily hibernates in muddy water. Robinson can provide an even longer roster of permanent and visiting residents, and offers that, “As flooding has always been a natural, reliable occurrence in the canyon, I suggest human residents prepare and modify their own dwellings versus modify the dwellings of wildlife species perfectly adapted for floods and other aspects of canyon living. Thanks for the consideration!” (You’re welcome!)
Take a bough
Paul Netter, So Cal Edison’s media relations rep, shares impressive stats by way of the utility’s side of storm preparation. When Netter says tree trimming, he’s not talking tinsel, bows and lights. In fact, he counts an estimated 2,800 trees of different species and various growth characteristics in our arboreal environs, all potential threats. SCE inspects them in both canyons through its vegetation operations, respecting the January nesting season, and also following a fire management schedule. So those fellows in helmets and gloves riding cherry pickers out in front of your property in recent months represent just one of at least 1,600 individual trims so far this year alone, in addition to complete removal and overhang limb corrections, not counting responses to downed trees after recent wind storms. Edison staff is assigned to OC’s fire prevention council and attends monthly meetings for vegetation control and fire prevention.
In non-storm news, one local spouse and proud mama insists on mention of a young canyon thespian’s second (!) appearance in South Coast Repertory’s near-legendary annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” Cast three years ago in the role of “Boy Ebenezer” Scrooge in the long-running show, this holiday season finds one Louis Alvarez Tonkovich back on stage, this time as Peter Cratchit. Through Dec. 27.
Finally, need an end-of-year tax deduction? People tell me you might consider donating to support the work of any of our fine canyon do-goodniks, who welcome your generous contributions: Silverado Children’s Center, Helena Modjeska Foundation, Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, Naturalist for You, Modjeska Ranch Rescue, Friends of the Silverado Library (ICL). God bless them, every one.