Future of the Dance Palace: a conversation with the Board President

Three more after forty-three

A conversation with Dance Palace Board President Ann Emanuels

“The Dance Palace began with a dream and was built by community members working together, giving of themselves and their skills. It will continue to thrive through our collective energy and commitment,” said Ann Emanuels, Dance Palace Board President in conversation last Monday morning.
Working over a four-month period, beginning in January 2014, the Dance Palace Board and staff created the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. They conducted extensive data reviews and interviews including internal staff and board surveys, town hall meetings, external reviews of key supporters, focus groups of young families and Latino community members and internal data reviews of programs and funding. Additionally, the process utilized benchmarking reviews comparing The Dance Palace with two other similar centers in the region. The research and interview process culminated with a two-day retreat involving all board members and staff.
Creating financial stability is the Strategic Plan’s principle goal, which includes fundraising, donations, grant procurement and membership growth. The Dance Palace requires $51,000 annually just to turn on its lights and open its doors. Insurance and interior and exterior maintenance are included in this figure as well. Historically, the Dance Palace received major funding from The Marin Foundation. Today less than two percent comes from the foundation, as the foundation’s focus has changed from supporting the arts to funding social services.
Looking forward, building financial stability also requires rebuilding community relationships, increasing awareness and appreciation of the Dance Palace, creating a sense of shared-ownership among the West Marin population and investment in the community center’s physical structure. These efforts enhance the public’s experience, which, in turn, create greater donor reinvestment.
And rebuilding community relationships also begins with selecting a new Executive Director, along with the refocusing of Board priorities. The Board has drafted a revised job description and prepared for a four to six month search beginning in January. While searching for a full-time executive director, the Dance Palace will be headed by an interim director. This person will continue operations and also serve as an outside consultant, and will, by default, be a third-party observer. The interim director’s comments will be important to assess administrative and facilities management procedures, as well as board and staffing efficiencies and the Palace’s role within the community. “This is an opportunity to revitalize the community’s interest and participation in the Dance Palace,” says Board President Ann Emanuels
To some the need to increase awareness and appreciation of such a venerable establishment as the Dance Palace might seem unnecessary. Yet, as with all long-standing institutions, sometimes they disappear in the public eye. “People assume we will always have a Dance Palace,” says Ann Emanuels.
The Dance Palace Board and staff envision a vigorous public communication strategy and a strengthened marketing program to help re-educate the public as to the community center’s vital role. This includes defining the Palace’s market niche, which currently encompasses senior services such as exercise classes, a book club and ceramics courses that complement vital services currently funded within the community, as well as providing meeting and event space, showcasing local artists, and producing significant performing arts programs.
The changing demographics in West Marin, including increasing cultural diversity, underscores the need for shared ownership of the Dance Palace. “In the early days, there were not enough old people supporting the Dance Palace. Now we don’t have enough young people,” says Emanuels. The Dance Palace, by definition, is a community center so it is important to support utilization of the space to share culture, ideas and talents, as well as to commemorate milestones such as births, weddings and memorials. All this develops a sense of ownership and participation among all community members. As an example, a standing room only performance last Sunday of the Latino Empowerment production of La Pastorela exemplified cross-cultural interest and unity throughout the community. Similar programs will be encouraged.
The success of programs and events very much depends on the quality of the facility. The new Strategic Plan also addresses the importance of having a positive experience with the Dance Palace. Investment, and more importantly reinvestment, of time and money happens when facilities are well run and maintained. To insure a user-friendly experience, increased financial stability will lead to upgraded restrooms, constructing a better stage and purchasing risers for better audience viewership. These projects may require a “project specific” fundraiser.
In addition to defining core values and a three-year vision, the 2014-2017 Dance Palace Strategic Plan encompasses fundraising, marketing/public relations, facilities and public access. The Strategic Plan can be found online at www.dancepalace.org. The Dance Palace Board and Staff encourage public review of the stated goals and objectives.
A community discussion regarding goals and objectives is planned at a Town Hall meeting January 26, 2015 at 6pm. The Dance Palace will provide soup and salad and asks that attendees bring a dessert item. Participation is heartily encouraged.
A complete job description for the position of Executive Director will be posted at www.dancepalace.org in two or three months.

 

 

Confessions of a Dragon Slayer

 

Confessions of a Dragon Slayer

 

The Yacht Club meeting was full of surprises for me.

Leaving lance and saber in my car, I decided to battle the dragon with my grandmother’s mantra “… Oh Lord help me keep my big mouth shut…” and repeated it frequently through out the well-run community meeting. Not a peep in that meeting.

 

The mantra first spoke in response to the 8,000′ rendering. Yikes! There was a moment of artistic appreciation for the design. I liked it; heresy…(I glanced around to see if anyone could tell), and held my tongue. Then there was the County’s mouthpiece (I’m so often cynical about ‘the County’), who turned out to be so much more, and illuminate quite well, the way things work ‘over there’ during the application process. Well-done Heidi!  I watched Heidi note taking through the meeting and left believing she actually values our input in her decision making process.

 

Another moment of tongue biting… on hearing about more acting out by some of us still believing vandalism is part of the dialogue. Why polarize by tearing down the story poles? old story; wrong story, bad press.

 

And finally, 8,000′ for a family gathering a few times a year…whoa…many of us have raised good sized families and convened extended family gatherings of 25 -50 people, in less than a quarter the size. In fact my family has had 4 sit down dinners for 50 in a less than 1000.’

Water waste, overwhelming size, the trees, light pollution… and distrust. And a cultural divide underpinning the whole mishegas.

Learning to live in a resource-depleting world has become a mantra to many of us…use less, buy less, be more, be here now (lightly), and leave no or little trace. We’ve migrated to or matured in West Marin with a sense of scale and consumption that is a touchstone for living our lives. We’re wealthy beyond belief when we look at the rest of the world, or even most of the country we live in.

 

Yet many of us who live here richly could not sell our homes and stay here, as our homes paid for our kids education, or our medical expenses, or our grand kids education and healthcare, and more. And our kids and the middle class whom we worked with in our careers, can’t afford to buy or find something to rent here. Nor can the young folks who work in and serve the community from baristas, to doctors.

 

The notion of a compound out of scale for the community is a metaphor for thinking out of tune with the community. While 8,000′ may seem small in a peer group of dragons, it dwarfs the shelters of our neighborhood, and community, and reflects an absence of local awareness.

 

I don’t really want to slay the dragon any more; just cut it down to a size where we’ll know he knows ‘…who the people are in his neighborhood.’

Rich Clarke,

Marshall

What was the GGNRA thinking?

Editor:

 

In Stinson Beach, Eskoot Creek currently flows northerly through the Golden Gate National Recreational Area’s (GGNRA) Park. Historically, Eskoot Creek flowed westerly, across what is now park- land, directly to the ocean. During a storm in February 2014, the creek flooded the park’s north parking lot and caused erosion damage at the northwest corner. The GGNRA’s repair configuration consisted of constructing two berms to prevent flow from exiting the park. The storm of December 11 again demonstrated that the creek will seek the shortest outlet to the ocean. The creek flooded the north parking lot and because of the new berms, the water had no place to go except to flood and damage the park’s northerly neighbors on Calle Del Pinos. Subsequently, the GGNRA breached one of the berms and the flood waters receded.

 

Marin County is advocating a special election in March, 2015, to create a district for constructing flood prevention improvements along Eskoot Creek. The financial impact will be an annual assess- ment of $250 per parcel for 20 years. There are a number of options that are proposed including dredging Eskoot Creek and bypassing storm flows through the GGNRA north parking lot. Although improvements are needed, the latter is the only viable option as it will prevent flooding on the down- stream properties, negate the cost of annual maintenance to Eskoot Creek, and will eliminate a primary source of siltation to the Bolinas Lagoon.

 

Marius Nelsen.

Stinson Beach, CA

 

West Marin Sheriff’s Calls

 

December 17-22

Wednesday December 17

San Geronimo Valley 6:01 am Small rocks partially blocking SFD

San Geronimo Valley 11:22 am Driver stopped for false tabs, suspended license, no insurance and expired registration. Vehicle towed.

Nicasio 9:20 pm Subject has been kicked off property multiple times but returns. Is sitting in car and will not leave. Subject arrested and booked.

Nicasio 10:56 pm Transformer is on fire dropping sparks onto roadway. Transformer isolated, roadway open.

Point Reyes Station 12:52 pm Driver lost, other car stopped for U turn from right shoulder. 1/8 ounce of marijuana in center console with lighter and two pipes, marijuana card present.

Point Reyes Station 3:43 pm One black cow on side of road, several others were about to follow. A deputy corralled the cow with some help and the bovine is back to pasture which is part of the Genazzi Ranch. There is still a break in the fence which owner promised to fix.

Woodacre 6:18 pm Civil dispute. Reporting party believes owner of house made entry and took two checks written out a year ago. This is an on-going issue Deputy will attempt to contact land owner by email.

Thursday December 18

Nicasio 2:34 pm Tree down at blind turn with a line coming down that is 10 feet from touching ground. Top of the pole is sparking. Roadway cleared, lines are hanging well above it.

Nicasio 8:51 am CPA completed at Nicasio School. School staff advised that school would be dismissed at noon the following day for winter break. Advised parent about emergency communication.

Lagunitas School Road 9:17 am CPA completed at Lagunitas School. School to be dismissed at noon the next day. Deputy walked the campus and spoke with the school principal.

Lucas Valley 10:02 am CPA completed. Walked school campus, spoke with school staff.

Forest Knolls 2:00 pm Fraud reported. Someone accessed reporting party’s bank account. Reported loss $200-300.

Forest Knolls 4:07 pm Caller reports squatters on the property who had a propane tank and food delivered earlier. Squatters contacted and were cooperative. They have a court order allowing them to stay until 1-9-15, and are attempting to find new housing in Fairfax.

Point Reyes Station 5:35 pm Reporting party lost wallet at unknown location, possibly near Bovine Bakery. Bakery does not have it.

 

Friday December 19

Stinson Beach 10:55 am. Alarm went off on entry door. All secure, property manager says.

Stinson Beach 12:15 pm Landslide about 10 feet deep. on Bourne Fire Road covering both sides of road

Woodacre 2:14 pm Caller is staying at friend’s mothers house and believes someone was in the house while caller was at the market. Caller does not feel safe. Items have been moved. No forced entry noted, pillows and stuffed animals moved and baggie with meth scrapings and straw inside. Subject has PTSD and military background, works with explosives. It may be the brother who entered but caller is going to move out.

 

Saturday December 20

Point Reyes Station 1:28 pm Vehicle abatement. Honda with smashed front parked for 4 days, unknown owner. Sticker placed on front drivers side window. Vehicle has major damage.

Inverness Park 5:22 am Subject parked on private road. Vehicle is now unoccupied but caller heard voices heard earlier.

Nicasio 9:29 am Former employee who was arrested the previous night for trespassing is back close to property and is on foot in Lucas Valley towards Big Rock. Subject was cuffed and double locked, transported to Cheda’s where his car had been towed.

Bolinas 12:00 pm Deer hit by car near hardware store on Olema-Bolinas Road and is still alive, trying to get up but keeps falling down. Humane Society notified.

 

Sunday December 21

Inverness Park 8:29 am Reporting party heard someone attempt to open her front door, saw a motion activated light on in carport. Heard loud noises. Deputy found no forced entry, unknown cause of noise.

Woodacre 8:40 am Female acting strangely, says she needs food, appears to be out of it and acting very odd. Fireman was able to talk her into going to hospital to verify that there are no medical problems.

Point Reyes Station 9:02 am Motorcycle rider down, injured and unable to get up, is. Ambulance and tow truck on scene.

Stinson Beach 5:34 pm Male subject flagged reporting party in vehicle, stating he was lost and has lost his bike. Is now waiting for next bus and refuses to talk to deputy.

Nicasio 8:30 pm Drunk male on reporting party’s property. Subject booked.

Forest Knolls 10:19 pm Caller reporting her brother has marijuana in the house. Subject released to KTL staff.

 

Monday December 22

Dogtown 10:54 am Two large potholes in the north bound lanes, two more on north bound between Olema and Point Reyes.

Bolinas 1:33 pm Reporting party is at the Firehouse wanting to speak with a deputy regarding service of restraining order for a homeless person. Area checked for subject to attempt service.

Nicasio 2:01 pm White van weaving and crossing double yellow lines.

Stinson Beach 2:24 pm Reporting party says he received a call from someone saying he was from the IRS, threatening and trying to get the caller to pay money. Call is recorded.

Chileno Valley 3:20 pm Reporting party was bike riding and found a purple daypack in a culvert. It appears to be dry and recently dumped and may belong to a Santa Rosa Junior College student.

Point Reyes Station 4:02 pm Reporting party received threatening message on answering machine. Unkown male said it was urgent she call him back or there would be “consequences”. Advice given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Factsheet: 135 Balboa

 

This information was supplied by Tim Westergren and Smita Singh. owners of 135 Balboa Ave. Locally they are represented by Chris Stanton of Inverness Construction Management. Their design staff includes Olson Kundig architects (Seattle) ; Lutsko Associates (Landscape architects) James MacNair (arborist); Adobe Associates (engineer); WRA (biologist); Historical architecture (Marjorie Dobkin)

 

Summary:

A single family home and a caretaker’s unit with an artist’s studio is being proposed for a 16.9 acre lot. The total proposed building area for the entire project is 8,297 sf, with a main house of 5,494 sf, creating a building ratio to lot size of just 0.011. In fact, this parcel will continue to have significantly more open space that all but a few residential properties in Inverness and Point Reyes.

The home is being designed to the highest environmental and healthy home standards (LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge). By separating the house into three structures, the architects are minimizing mass and maximizing energy efficiency, while being able to accommodate the owners’ large extended family for lengthy visits-which is the primary purpose of the project.

 

Both the house and caretaker’s unit were sited to minimize removal of native and healthy trees, while preserving the privacy for neighbors and the owners that the community values.

Further, the owners have employed licensed arborists to assess the health of more than 250 trees on the property, all 250 of these trees have been tagged for identification purposes. The tags mean the trees have been studied, not that they are marked for removal. After the home is built, this will remain one of the most densely forested parcels in the area with an estimated 1,000 trees on the lot.

 

Supporting details:

Structure Sizes:

Main House: 5,495 sf: 6 bedrooms/9 bathrooms/2 half baths

The main house is solely designed for the owners and their visiting extended families- thus the size and numbers. Until the owners retire, it will serve as a weekend/vacation home. Marin Environmental Health services defines any room that is NOT a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, living room, or mechanical room as a “bedroom”, for the purposes of determining the size of the septic system(s) for the property. Therefore, they list the main house and caretaker’s unti (sic) as having more “bedrooms” by including specific rooms, such as a study, as “bedrooms”.

Intensive consideration was given to the overall impact of the footprint, massing, and energy efficiency in the design of the three-structure design. Single car garage of 335 sf.

 

Caretaker’s Unit: 750 sf: 2 bedrooms/1 bathroom; with an adjacent artist studio that is 1,316 sf:, 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom (no kitchen).The property caretakers are young artists with a 3-year-old son. The intention is to make the caretaker’s unit, at the north end of the property, an attractive place to live year round, raise a family and look after the property-hence its design and siting. This area will be permanently designated as Affordable Housing in a deed restriction.

 

Meditation Hut: 294 sf

 

Pool 480 sf (water will be brought in to fill the pool)

There is no planned perimeter fencing around the 16.9 acres.

 

Water uses:

The existing well has sufficient water draw to serve the property. Water use will not impact nearby wells, as the “range of influence” in these geologic conditions is less than 100 feet. The closest neighboring wells are 228’ and 350’ from the 135 Balboa well. Two hydrological reports will confirm the limited range of influence. The well at Balboa was under constant use by year-round residents of a religious sisterhood and then the St. Eugene’s Hermitage (12 full-time resident monks) from 1980 to 2008 with no detrimental impact on neighboring wells.

The owners are planning to implement state-of-the-art green water storage methods for domestic use, irrigation, and fire safety for the property (and neighborhood).

 

Trees:

More than 250 trees have been studied and tagged for identification purposes on the property. They are not marked for removal. Most of the trees on the property have Protected (at least 10 inches in diameter) or Heritage (at least 30 inches in diameter) designations. The proposed structures are sited as sensitively as possible to minimize tree removal while preserving our privacy as well as our neighbors, and improving the overall health of the woodlands.

46 trees-14 of which are Heritage-are scheduled for removal on almost 17 acres of woodland with an estimated 1000 trees. According to a detailed arborist report, of the 46 trees scheduled for removal, only 3 are considered to be in good health. 28 native Oaks, Maples and Buckeyes are scheduled for planting. Working with the County, the owners’ intention is to gradually increase the number of trees. The project biologist has determined there will be no significant damage to wildlife. This private property has significantly more trees per acre than just about any other in the Inverness/Point Reyes area. Thus, the proposal meets the governing guidelines.

 

Environmental Sensitivity:

The proposed development exceeds all the environmental standards of the Coastal Zone. The proposed sustainable design and construction practices are equivalent to LEED Platinum standards and establish new Healthy Home standards for the removal of toxic materials from the building process, and enhanced workplace and safety practices.

 

Existing Structures:

There are currently six non-conforming and dilapidated buildings on the property (e.g., all but one have no foundations), including a large, steel shipping container. None of these structures are in any way useable and will have to be removed.

 

Future use:

There is no intention of ever renting the property or using it for a business retreat, B&B, or other form of hotel. The owners plan to keep this property in the family, for family use, in perpetuity.

Hermitage:

The Russian Orthodox group that had inhabited the property decided to relocate to new land in Oregon. After they already relocated, the church accepted a purchase offer by the current owners. The owners agreed to the church moving the consecrated chapel structure to Oregon in 2008.

 

 

 

The Orozco family faces huge challenges

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon I found myself driving through Chileno Valley with Rebecca Porrata in the passenger seat. The valley, recently anointed with precious rain, was a brilliant and stunning fluorescent green. We were reflecting on our blessings, and Rebecca was remembering the many years she had worked in this valley as a public health nurse for the County of Marin.

Rebecca was taking me to meet a family who has been visited with a double tragedy: two of their children have been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, a muscular wasting disease made known many years ago by the Jerry Lewis telethons.

Ernesto Orozco, Sr. works for the Shoreline Unified School District. He does landscaping and maintenance at all five schools. He transformed the grounds at the Bodega Bay School, according to Carolyn Connors, a certificated employee at Bodega Bay Elementary.

Muscular dystrophies are rather rare genetic disorders that cause weakness and muscle wasting, mostly in males, as it is located on the“y” chromosome. It results from a mutation in the gene that produces a protein called dystrophin, necessary for healthy muscle cells. Without it, muscle cells, including those of the heart and lungs, are easily damaged and weaken over time.

Sometimes when you walk into someone’s home for the first time, it just feels right. The warm, kind smiles of Ernesto Sr. and Maria Orozco belied the difficult financial struggles of their everyday lives, but reflected the love that keeps them going.Orozco2

We are introduced to the children: Laura age 16, in the 10th grade and Ernesto Jr. age 14 and in the 9th grade at Tomales High School. Ernesto is in a wheelchair most of the time, but is able to walk a few steps. At school, an aide helps him with his daily activities. Another son, Alberto age 11, attends Tomales Middle school and is the second son in the family with muscular dystrophy. Claudia is ten, and in the 5th grade at Tomales Elementary School. Ricardo, age four, will attend kindergarten next fall in Tomales. He currently receives preschool outreach services from the Shoreline Acres Preschool. Ricardo keeps everyone laughing with his delightful, ebullient personality. Ricardo has been tested and, thankfully will not get MD.

 

Like many parents who suspect something is not right with their child, Ernesto and Maria saw doctor after doctor. Each one told them there was nothing wrong, and that he would be fine.

 

But a parent’s intuition rarely fails. “He didn’t crawl. He didn’t go after toys. I knew there was something wrong but all the doctors kept saying he’d catch up when he began to walk,” Maria said. Years passed and frustration grew. Finally, when Ernesto began school in Tomales, the school nurse, Lenora Kwork, saw immediately that the family needed help and she began steering Ernesto and Maria in the right direction, first to obtain a correct diagnosis and then for referrals and follow-ups.

At the Coastal Health Alliance Community Health Center Dr. Michael Witte recognized the need for further evaluation and referred the Orozcos to specialists. After observing Ernesto’s gait, the specialist ordered a biopsy, which confirmed his suspicions. DNA tests narrowed down the exact manifestations of this genetic disorder, declaring it to be a combination of two devastating forms of MD. And after Ernesto’s ordeal came the realization that their younger son, Alberto, also had the disease.

 

They received the news in two matter-of-fact letters outlining the diagnosis and the prognosis for each boy. The purely factual description was actually comforting after years of uncertainty.

 

Because of the need for a wheelchair-adapted vehicle, the family has had to purchase a van that can accommodate two wheelchairs and the entire family of seven. Ernesto’s family came forward to loan him over $13,000 for the van’s down payment. The Shriners donated the wiring and outfitting of the wheelchair lift. But still the $20,000 balance leaves an almost $400 monthly payment for the next seven years. They’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul, trying to keep up. Despite their thrift and resourcefulness, the family finds this new payment a severe hardship.

 

“Sometimes, I lie awake at night and think about my family and our financial situation. It’s so scary I feel as if my head will explode,” Ernesto said.

 

SUBHEAD: Consider helping this family

 

Many people come to the end of the year realizing that they can make charitable donations in lieu of paying Uncle Sam The family will be most grateful for any donation.

 

Consider donating to the Orozco Family via West Marin Community Services. Stop by their office, 11431 State Route One, next door to KWMR to drop off your check, made out to “West Marin Community Services” and specify Family Emergency Fund. or send it to:

West Marin Community Services, P.O. Box 1093, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956.

 

All donations will go directly to the loan company to pay down the balance. You will receive a letter in the mail confirming your donation to a 501(c)3. And your heart will be gladdened with the warmth and love you’ve shared with a family who truly needs a little help.

 

Call 663-8361 for more information

 

 

 

IA meeting takes on Hidden Dragon

Anticipating an unusually large crowd, The Inverness Association, moved their monthly Wednesday, December 3 gathering from its usual venue, the tiny Jack Mason Museum, to the Inverness Yacht Club. The occasion was a discussion of the controversial 135 Balboa Hidden Dragon project, a 8,297 square foot compound (not counting the deck areas) proposed by owners Tim Westergren and his wife Smita Singh, that includes 17 bedrooms 14 bathrooms, a large second unit, several garages, a lap pool, and a plan to fell 48 healthy trees, many of them heritage and protected

The owners had originally been slated to attend, and many in the community were looking forward to hearing from them directly. However, it seems that Westergren and Singh had anticipated a small meeting, and when hearing that it would be large and public they cancelled, citing a need for more time to address the issues. Their representatives Chris Stanton of Inverness Construction Management and Sean Kennings were in attendance, as was Heidi Scoble, the planner from the Marin Community Development Agency who is assigned to this project.

The crowd filled the large Yacht Club room. The agenda had optimistically allotted 45 minutes of the meeting to 135 Balboa, but almost 3 hours later the Balboa project portion of the meeting wound down. The main issues, as outlined by IA Board President Nick Whitney are the scale of the project, the removal of trees, water usage and the size of the second unit. Debbie Daly, who has been instrumental in organizing concerned neighbors, added the precedent factor to this list.

Planner Heidi Scoble began by explaining the planning process in all its intricacies and “layers of review.” She urged those who submit comments to the Community Development Agency to “take out the emotion if you want to be heard by the decision makers.”

Chris Stanton addressed the crowd on behalf of the owners. He emphasized that Westergren and Singh have made every attempt to be transparent. He read from a statement prepared by them, and distributed a hand out citing among other things that they have “no intention of ever renting the property or using it for a business retreat, B&B or other form of hotel” Addressing the size of the project he emphasized that the main house is solely designed for the owners and their visiting extended families. Also, the second unit area “will be permanently designated as Affordable Housing in a deed” as well as the caretaker’s dwelling which will provide “an affordable housing option.” Clearly impressed by the size of the crowd he called for a “civil and fact based discussion.”

Bridger Mitchell gave a slide presentation of the plans and took the group through the various ultra modern structures. The two level main house is cut into the hill, thus obscuring the lower level from view in some directions. He also addressed the water concern, stating that the project will provide 18,000 gallons of water storage for the living units and 16,000 gallons for the pool. His use of a crutch as a pointer added a bit of levity to the occasion.

Things got lively during the comment portion of the meeting, which was divided into the primary concerns outlined above. Kathy Maxwell, who lives only 200 feet from the project, said that it feels like “a giant 747 just landed below my house.” She has met with the owners and mentioned several times during the meeting that she wants to be a good neighbor. She pleaded with the owners to scale down the project and cited the owners’ statement that they want to move to West Marin because it is unique and charming. “The house,” she says, “is certainly unique, but not charming.”

Tom Gaman, a professional forrester, addressed wind shear hazard that could result from cutting down so many trees. Nancy Bertelsen cited some tree removal in her former neighborhood that created a wind tunnel.

Amy Trainer, Executive Director of the EAC, spoke to the problem of water usage. “Fourteen toilets,” she said, “strikes some of us as obscene.” She urged the community to pool their funds and hire their own professional hydro-geologist who should assess the issue during a dry season, not now when we are getting some rain. Chris Stanton took issue with her evaluation of the problem and said that the owners are abiding by the strictest guidelines.

Elizabeth Whitney addressed the second unit, citing its proximity to a 1316 square foot studio that many people believe will eventually be combined into one structure. She called it “an insult to try to pull the wool over our eyes.” Another in the audience commented, “I hear studio (referring the many structures designated as studios), I see bedrooms.”

After each comment section Board President Nick Whitney asked for a show of hands of people who shared the same concerns. Most hands went up for each issue. When asked if anyone wanted to speak in favor of the project there were no takers.

Judging from the responses of Wednesday’s crowd there is widespread opposition to this project. Clearly the owners and their managers have their work cut out for them. Stanton attempted to address the concerns but didn’t always have the appropriate information at the ready. He assured the crowd that when the owners make their presentation in a few months that all issues will be addressed.

West Marin Sheriff’s Calls

 

Monday November 24

Forest Knolls 9:52 am 7-year old son told his mom that her boyfriend was complaining about him being hungry and holding his arms behind his back to restrain him. Deputies at the scene discerned there was ample food at house and that boy had a history of behavioral issues. Boyfriend stated that he had restrained the boy several months ago to stop boy from hitting him in the face with a stick.

Point Reyes Station 5:18 pm Caller reported a man behind the wheel of his car looking as if he were intoxicated. Deputies found traveler in question who was reportedly hungry and tired, not drunk. Girlfriend of driver stated that he would eat and sleep before moving on.

Bolinas 6:07 pm Woman reported that a check she had written to her friend was deposited with the wrong check number. Deposit amount was correct and woman was advised to call her bank to work out discrepancy between check numbers.

 

Tuesday November 25

Inverness 12:08 pm Wife called to clarify issue regarding a restraining order in place with her husband.

Woodacre 10:18 pm Neighbors reported a gathering, allegedly of juveniles, with between 20-40 associated vehicles.

 

Wednesday November 26

Dillon Beach 12:55 pm Reporting party stated that a washer and a stove were dumped on their property.

Forest Knolls 3:03 pm Woman reported that her partner burst into her residence and may have attacked her. Her partner is disabled and no signs of assault were found.

 

Thursday November 27

Dillon Beach 2:37 am Reporting party called to report that a boat and trailer had been parked there for over a year.

Inverness 11:51 am A bicyclist lost a driver’s license between Sir Francis Drake and Bear Valley. Reporting party was advised to replace driver’s license.

Forest Knolls 3:22 pm Reporting party stated that a small grey dog that looked like a Scotty had run by them and almost caused an accident.

Marshall 3:42 pm Mom reported that her son had gone abalone diving and was overdue. Son was contacted and stated he would call his mother.

Bolinas 7:10 pm Uncle and aunt reported that their nephew was being disruptive and physically violent. Family contacted and they stated that nephew has an angry disposition, but had not assaulted anyone.

Forest Knolls 10:43 pm Woman reported that she is a psychiatric nurse and has come home every night recently to find feces smeared across her driveway.

 

Friday November 28

Bolinas 11:46 am Deputies arrested someone on an outstanding warrant.

Stinson 3:39 pm A man made multiple calls to the police t to report that his view of the ocean was being obstructed by his neighbor’s recent construction. Man advised to check into County code ordinances.

Bolinas 4:33 pm Man initially stated that his boat had been robbed of $1,000 worth of fishing equipment. Man went on to say that items weren’t worth much and that he didn’t want to file a report.

Woodacre 9:49 am Woman reported that her dad, who had been taking care of her, was recently hospitalized and she was concerned about being alone. Woman allegedly sounded paranoid and anxious. Extra patrols requested for her area.

 

Saturday November 29

Olema 12:09 am Woman reported that there was a very loud party at the opposite end of the campground.

Point Reyes Station 6:34 pm Reporting party stated that five huskies were locked in a minibus with wood chips on the floor. Deputies advised caller that there was plenty of room in the bus for dogs to romp, and none of the animals was in distress.

Forest Knolls 6:34 pm Woman reported that her ex-boyfriend told her he has cancer and that he was threatening to kill her. Woman given advice on how to obtain a temporary restraining order.

 

Sunday November 30

Woodacre 12:13 am The fire department responded to the scene after electric wire were reported hanging from a tree over the roadway. Fire department asked sheriff’s office to close down the road since PG&E would not be able to address issue for several hours.

Bolinas 2:25 pm Two tackle boxes and eight fishing poles were allegedly stolen from a boat. Reporting party did not want to file a report.

Nicasio 9:27 pm Woman reported that a man broke into her house and left after she punched him the face.

West Marin Sheriff’s Logs

 

Monday November 17

Stinson Beach 12:09 p.m. Victim stated that brother attacked and possibly broke his finger after drinking alcohol for a long period of time.. Victim was out of town when reporting crime and stated he would be getting a restraining order upon his return.

Tomales 11:20 p.m. A welfare check was requested for an elderly resident who hadn’t been seen for a while.

Tuesday November 18

Point Reyes Station 1:28 a.m. Woman reported that she had just broke up with her boyfriend and is now living in fear of man’s AA sponsor. Man reportedly was at her house earlier and owns a lot of guns.

Bolinas 12:34 p.m. A company rented an electric sign to notify traffic of upcoming construction. Keyboard that comes with equipment is broken and sign now says, “Beaches closed, Zombies ahead.” Sign has been removed.

Nicasio 12:48 p.m. Man is using his broom to clean the street and his neighbor is telling him that he is not allowed to.

Tomales 7:15 p.m. Woman’s daughter is in a school program in Tel Aviv, Israel. Woman had heard about bombings in the area and now can’t reach her daughter. Mom wanted the sheriff’s department to make some calls to the Israeli Embassy and find out what is happening. Irate mother was referred to the State Department as this was beyond the scope of what local deputies typically address.

Wednesday November 19

Tomales 8:01 a.m. A person was arrested on charges of violating a restraining order, contempt of court and driving with a suspended license.

Tomales 12:14 p.m. Deputies tried to contact the victim of a crime to let them know that suspect was being released from jail but victim’s phone would not receive calls from blocked numbers. Deputies attempted to contact victim from unblocked number with no success.

Forest Knolls 1:56 p.m. Woman called to report that her roommate had borrowed her purse without permission and now is in San Francisco. Woman reports that roommate often borrows things without asking and would like advice on finding other housing.

Point Reyes Station 1:58 p.m. Man called to state that a tree trimming service received permission from his neighbor to cut down a tree on his property. Later, he admitted that PG&E had orders to cut back the tree for safety concerns but that he felt that tree trimming company went too far, and may have done so after seeking permission from his neighbor.

Woodacre 3:20 p.m. An attorney who had been recently hired in a divorce case could not reach the woman they were representing. They feared for her safety and wanted deputies to investigate. Woman contacted and stated she was fine but had a new cell number and hadn’t updated all her contacts.

Point Reyes Station 8:20 p.m. There was a domestic dispute reported and wife left home with child for the night to cool off.

Thursday November 20

Nicasio 11:30 a.m. Employees at Sky Walker ranch asked for extra patrol in their area after terminating an employee who they felt might act out violently.

Forest Knolls 1:58 p.m. Reporting party stated that someone had fraudulently used their debit card in Cupertino.

Lagunitas 9:52 p.m. Man charged with violating a restraining order after sending an email from Washington State to his ex.

Bolinas 11:14 p.m. Person was arrested and booked on charges of trespassing.

Friday November 21

Bolinas 8:40 a.m. Wife called deputies to report that she and her husband are having ‘domestic issues’. She states that it has only been verbal and that he has taken away her phone. Husband was dropping off son at school and also on another line when deputies tried to contact him. Wife stated that she would call deputies back when he got home so they could talk directly with him.

Inverness Park 9:17 a.m. Woman reported that she had received a call from a man stating that she had won $500,000 and that he needed I.D. and registration so he could send an UPS driver over with her big check. Deputies investigated woman’s claim and found that man was perpetrating a scam.

Woodacre 10:17 p.m. Around 12 vehicles drove to end of road and a large crowd of juveniles seemed to be gathering for a party. Party dispersed prior to arrival of deputy.

Saturday November 22

Woodacre 11:24 a.m. A woman called and stated that her tablet had alerted her to the fact that her computer had been hacked and also warned her that the hackers were on their way to her house. Tablet told its owner that they were on Carson and coming her way. Deputy who investigated found no sign of any hackers or evidence of hacking. She was advised that if she continues to have issue with Comcast, she should consider changing providers.

Point Reyes Station 2:16 p.m. A driver was cited for squeezing by a man walking slowly on crutches through a cross walk.

Forest Knolls 2:59 p.m. A woman was cited for drinking a 40 oz. of Coors in the park.

Forest Knolls 6:32 p.m. An older woman called deputies and stated that she believed she should go to Helen Vine Detox Center. Woman stated that she believed that she had one glass of wine today and agreed that she wouldn’t try to drive herself to Helen Vine.

Lagunitas 11:12 p.m. A woman called to report that she believed that there was a party going on next door with no adults and involving alcohol. Deputies found a gathering of adults who agreed to keep it down.

Sunday November 23

Point Reyes Station 2:22 a.m. Woman called to state that she believed, for a number of reasons, that a female acquaintance would be coming by her house shortly to vandalize her vehicle.

Dillon Beach 12:56 p.m.

Man reported that someone had broken into his house sometime over the past two weeks and had turned his hot tub on and broke the valve off that controls the water.

Tomales 9:10 p.m. Three black cows reported in the roadway.

 

Point Reyes National Seashore Workshops

 

Point Reyes National Seashore Superintendent Cicely Muldoon welcomed participants to two well-attended two and a half hour meetings on the Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan and planning process on Thursday and Friday, November 20 and 21. Muldoon was adamant in assuring participants at both meetings that ranching will continue in the Park.

The meetings, held at the Dance Palace, were a combination update on the planning process for a concerned community and an opportunity for civil dialogue among community members about ranching practices and Tule elk affecting the Park ranches.

The Thursday workshop began with a presentation on key ranching practices by the Park’s popular Range Manager, Devi Rao. The presentation was followed by discussions in small breakout groups with moderators and recorders selected by the participants. Each participant had an opportunity to participate in two of three discussion group topics: pasture management, diversification and succession.

For discussion purposes, pasture management activities described include “a variety of activities that are intended to enhance the quality and quantity of forage on ranchlands,” including soil preparation, seeding, nutrient management, harvest mowing, brush and weed control and fencing. A handout reported rancher interest in diversification opportunities as a way of dealing with “poor forage production years, reductions in the price of their products, or increases in the price of inputs such as grain and hay …”

Potential diversification activities included such things as farm tours and farm stays and collaboration with the Park on education programs for the public. The activities being looked at also include allowing modifications to ranch infrastructure to support ranch worker housing needs and the “small scale processing of dairy products,” as well as the on-farm retail sales of farm products.

The Friday workshop on Tule elk opened with a presentation by long-time Park Wildlife Ecologist David Press. He reported that what the Park refers to as the “D Ranch Herd” is now estimated at 95 animals. That herd spends time on A Ranch, B Ranch, C Ranch, D Ranch, E Ranch and “in surrounding areas with no cattle grazing.” In addition, some 25-30 male elk “spend time on ranch lands along Estero Road through the Home Ranch area.” This include a reported seven or eight elk that go north, over Sir Francis Drake Highway.

Press reviewed briefly the history of NPS developing ungulate management plans around the country. The tools for “directly managing ungulate populations to meet resource management objectives [include] contraception, translocation, and fencing as well as lethal removal by NPS employees, contractors, skilled volunteers, and/or a combination.” Press explained that the Ranch Plan will “present a range of alternatives to address elk on ranch lands. The alternatives will range from ‘no action’ on one end to ‘no elk in the pastoral zone’ at the other end.” Alternatives that include elk in the pastoral zone will also analyze limiting based on “population size, range, or both.”

Participants in the small group conversations that followed were asked to talk about both direct and indirect management of the elk population using the tools Press had identified. Translocation of elk outside the Park may not be an option as it requires the approval of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which will not approve moving elk outside the Park unless and until it can be established that the elk are free of Johne’s disease. Testing for Johne’s began in May 2014 and is expected to continue for two years. The Park’s goal is to sample 20 – 30 individual elk each month, alternating between the herd in the Limantour Wilderness and the D Ranch herd.

For the Tule elk workshop the participant groups remained together for the entire workshop. Each group talked about how to move the elk out of the pastoral zone and how to manage elk in the pastoral zone. Groups were asked to report out to the full assembly the three most significant considerations identified for each topic. Based on the oral reports, there was much support for having no elk remain in the pastoral zone and for construction of a fence to keep the elk outside the pastoral zone. The discussions may have been influenced by a compilation of “Elk Fence Fact” that some ranchers distributed at both meetings. It included selected excerpts from the PRNS “2001 Year in Review,” (Editor’s note: the proposed elk fence was not part of the PRNS “2001 Year in Review” but was included in the “Elk Fence Fact” handout)  Google Earth maps showing the location of a proposed four mile fence and a list of benefits, including that the fence would “… be easily, quickly and inexpensively ($350,000 to $300,000) constructed; and …eliminate the Seashore’s expenses of hazing elk in the Pastoral Zone and rebuilding fences destroyed by elk.”

Some groups declined to comment on how to manage elk in the pastoral zone citing such things as the failure to manage the elk in the past and the ongoing cost, coupled with the likelihood that the commitment would not be sustained given personnel turnover. Recognizing that the public likes seeing free roaming elk, one group suggested providing opportunities for the public to see the elk in the Limantour Wilderness as well as at Tomales Point. Only one group reported a total failure to agree on any aspect of the topic.

Comments following the public meetings were generally positive. Dairyman Albert Straus observed, “…this is a wonderful opportunity for the Park and farmers to work together to create a model of what is possible, in collaboration with each other. Working together I think they can create sustainable farming systems to help educate the public about revitalizing the farming community.”

EAC Executive Director Amy Trainer said, “EAC staff and board members really appreciated the opportunity to meet some of the Park ranchers we hadn’t met before and listen to their concerns about pasture management issues, diversification, succession, and Tule elk. We look forward to continuing this positive dialogue and helping figure out management strategies that meet our goals of wildlife and natural resource protection together with continued sustainable agricultural operations.”

Despite strong support for moving all of the elk out of the pastoral zone, there was at least one comment that “removing the elk will probably not happen.” And a word of caution came from MALT Executive Director Jamison Watts: “…echoing comments from many of the participants, I think we have a real opportunity to accomplish something really special in the park by supporting agriculture that’s both economically viable and environmentally sustainable. The question is will the decision-makers in D.C. let us.”

Asked for her comment on the meetings, Superintendent Muldoon responded: “…we are grateful for the community participation in the ranch plan workshops . . . . Open dialog between the park, park ranchers, park stakeholders, and other interested parties is critical to this process… The ranch plan is an exceptional opportunity to strengthen both the historic working ranches and the natural and cultural resources of the park. We look forward to the next steps and expect to release a document for comment this summer.”

The handout, titled “Ranch Comprehensive Management Plan Update November 2014,” is available on the Park’s website. For people unable to attend the workshops, the Park provided an additional public comment period that closed on Wednesday, November 26, 2014.

By Linda Petersen and Citizen staff