West Marin Sheriff’s Logs


Monday January 12

Marshall 4:40 pm Party called dispatcher to get a report number for a boat accident that occurred last week.


Tuesday January 13

Marshall 11:53 am A school bus driver found 6 rounds of .22 caliber rifle bullets on the floor of his bus. He had just dropped off 38 kids at a central location with 200 already waiting kids. Juvenile was located and sent home for the day.


Wednesday January 14

Dillon Beach 10:39 am Man called deputies because his next door neighbor had workers completing masonry work and was concerned about debris and dust getting into his house.

Woodacre 12:49 pm Woman seeking advice about a restraining order that the father of her son has filed against her.

Woodacre 2:21 pm Reporting party stated that the stove in the living room was causing the upstairs to fill with smoke.

Point Reyes Station 4:27 pm Bus driver found a wallet on his bus and turned it in to the sheriff’s office.

Point Reyes Station 4:45 pm Storeowner reported that a white male in his 60’s with quality taste had just stolen a bottle of wine. Total loss estimated at $35.

Bolinas 10:50 pm Deputies warned the owner of a barking dog about ongoing complaints regarding the vocal canine.


Thursday January 15

Tomales 1:44 pm A woman called deputies to report that there was a real estate agent on her property who wouldn’t leave. Real estate agent called deputies at the same time to tell to other side of the story.

Bolinas 3:24 pm Home owner reported that a boarded up window in their house was broken through and alcohol stolen. Window had been broken during previous similar incident two weeks ago. Approximately $150 worth of alcohol stolen.

Point Reyes Station 4:02 pm Storeowner reported that the same man who had stolen a bottle of wine yesterday was back in the store. Caller advised to call dispatch back if man leaves.

Point Reyes Station 4:23 pm A registered nurse called deputies to report that a client had made statements alluding to suicide. Woman apparently was not happy with a medication she was taking that could not being refilled until tomorrow.


Friday January 16

Point Reyes Station 8:24 am Man called deputies to report that his ex was at his house to pick up their daughter in violation of their custody order. Deputy checked in on custody order and verified it was a temporary order without mention of specific drop off and pick up times. Parents advised to agree on visitation schedule and confirm through their respective attorneys.

Stinson Beach 10:56 am Man called deputies to report that he thought that there were Canadians illegally camping in the area.

Tomales 12:11 pm Woman called deputies after receiving a notice from a collection agency for an account she was unaware of. Woman checked her credit report and found four fraudulent credit cards and five AT&T accounts opened in her name. Report given to woman to address identity theft issues.

Nicasio 1:35 pm Man called to ask about regulations around shooting off firearms on his property.

Nicasio 2:30 pm In an unrelated incident, a man called to report shots fired in the vicinity of his home.

Bolinas 2:50 pm A man called to report that a man he knows had asked him for money at Smiley’s and became angry when man refused. Deputies checked into the incident and confirmed that ‘angry’ man was only joking around.

Inverness Park 3:47 pm A dad called to report that he was having a problem with his grown daughter. Deputies reported to the scene and reported, that “situation mediated between wonderful daughter and great old man.” Clearly, no love lost between any of the parties involved.

Woodacre 6:14 pm Deputies received word regarding the traffic death of a local resident and had the woeful task of contacting the deceased woman’s mother to inform her of the tragic event.

Lagunitas 7:49 pm Reporting party called deputies to report that the driver of a large truck was throwing rocks at their vehicle.

Point Reyes Station 8:53 pm Woman called deputies to report that her ex-husband had stolen $2000 from her home. She then found him down by the creek, where he reportedly was high on prescription pain medicine.

Saturday January 17

Nicasio 12:46 pm Reporting party stated that someone drove through a fence and onto a field, damaging the property. Off roader allegedly took down some signs during his trek and left behind a broken taillight.

Inverness Park 2:47 pm Woman called deputies to report that either an animal or a person had carved something into her deck. Carving looks to spell out “Lopez”. No word on which local critter might have the penmanship abilities, or the opposable thumbs, to pull off random act of vandalism.

Stinson Beach 10:44 pm Reporting party’s brother is drunk and lying on the roof of a restaurant. Reporting party states that yesterday brother had alluded to being suicidal. Brother arrested for being drunk in public.


Sunday January 18

Dillon Beach 8:34 am Reporting party called to report that ten campers had been yelling threats at other campers when they were asked to quiet down. Party of ten were up until 4:00 am partying and it seemed like they were ready to get start again. Subjects asked to leave.

Inverness Park 4:45 pm Reporting party stated that they found a cell phone in the road and are waiting for its owner to call. They stated that if they didn’t hear from them soon they would drop it off at deputy station.




Cuba, Christmas and New Year’s 2015

A family trip

By Linda Petersen

My daughter Saskia van der Wal, her partner Alexis Zayas, a Cuban citizen, and my granddaughter Ariana spent the holidays with Alexis’ family in Cuba. The trip had been long planned, well before the recent changes in US policies. As usual, they spent most of the time visiting family. Several of Alexis’s family members are involved in the tourism business in the Viñales Valley, west of Havana.


SUBHEAD: First a word about the Viñales Valley


Tourism centered on the Viñales Valley is developing. The area has been protected by the constitution since February 1976, and it was declared a national monument in October, 1978. The Viñales Valley has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since November,1999 for the outstanding karst landscape which is characterized by sinkholes and caves and underground drainage systems. It’s also known for traditional agriculture as well as vernacular (local) architecture, crafts and music.


Transportation everywhere in Cuba is a challenge, with streets cluttered by horse-drawn carts, the occasional ox-cart, cyclists, walkers and food vendors. Without easy means of getting from one place to another, time slows down as one accepts and adapts to lack of transportation and internet and phone service beyond the island.



SUBHEAD: Daily life in Viñales: finding food is a daily adventure


Says Saskia, “The most common street vendors sell “pizza” which is really like a toasted bread with lots of cheese and sometimes ham. The few stores in town were always full of empty shelves. There are the “dollar” stores that sell products in the “cuc” currency which is close to the American dollar equivalency. But people don’t get paid in that currency unless they work in tourism, so not everyone can shop there. That is where you can get things like cereal, mayo, toilet paper, sometimes yogurt (though we were only lucky one day to find yogurt), soap, shampoo and cookies. Then there are state stores where you can buy things in the other currency, moneda nacional which is what most people earn and where you can get your supplies through the ration booklet everyone is entitled to, la libreta. These are mostly basics like rice, beans and chicken. Vegetables and fruits are sold on the street by farmers, usually walking and calling out in a loud voice so you can just pop out of your house to buy produce as they pass by in carts.”


“Other things might be sold in this way too, like bed sheets or blocks of cheese. Bread can be hard to come by. There are panaderias but they have random hours and make random quality bread. There was one bread we bought once that I liked. It was soft and a bit sweet and we were never able to figure out when that bread would be available again. We heard that a lot of bread was bought up by the guesthouses at midnight when the first batch comes out. The panaderias don’t always have the ingredients to make decent bread. Alexis’ aunt was proud of getting hotdog bun type bread that would stay soft and fresh for a few days longer. She would buy it in the local gas station market, called Cupet, also a popular place to get random things occasionally like beer, yogurt, cheese, bread and ice cream.”


As a B&B owner Alexis’ aunt and family receives many benefits from being in the tourism business. She has special food connections giving her access to a wider variety of food and other products essential to the business, and not readily available to most Cubans.


Alexis’s uncle lives in the town of Pinar del Rio. “While we were there,” said Saskia, “we had to pick up a huge load of rice, toilet paper, cheese, yogurt and various other products that she had him buy. The aunt has connections to get lobster and even beef.”

According to Saskia, local beer was hard to come by at the time of their visit. The government had some type of contract with Heineken, but since it only came in bottles and was more expensive than the local brands, Crystal and Bucanero, no one would buy them. So the local brands disappeared periodically from all the stores and Heineken was the only option. People were buying up cases when the local beer was available so they wouldn’t run out.


In spite of the hardships Cubans make the most of life. Music and dancing happen every night of the week in cultural centers. In Viñales the center is called the Polo Montaner. It offers a live salsa show from about 9-11pm, sometimes with dancers from local towns that put on a choreographed show. The DJ comes on from 11pm-1am.


SUBHEAD: Back to Havana

“To get to Havana (from Viñales) 115 miles away without a car rental took almost a whole day. First we had to take a taxi to the next town over, Pinar Del Rio, and wait at the town taxi/bus station until we could find a car that was going to Havana. A taxi, if it is an old not updated 1950s American car, is called in slang un almendron. Alexis says this refers to pre 1959 Castro era cars. Usually they are rattley cars without seatbelts and terrible diesel emissions that make your eyes and chest burn after 20 minutes. Other taxis are old Ladas that they call ladrillos (square boxes). On one occasion we had to wait over an hour for a van to fill up with enough people to make the trip worthwhile.”


The cathedral pictured is in Old Havana, Havana Vieja, in La Plaza de la Catedral de Havana. There was a classical concert with an opera soloist. The cathedral was decorated with a Christmas tree and Nativity scene. According to Alexis, the celebration of Christmas was banned for many years by the government. People who wouldn’t denounce their religion were barred from joining the communist party, meaning they faced a tough road to secure the good, state-run jobs or attend state-run universities. After the Pope’s visit in 1998, Christmas Day became a holiday once again.


Many American news reports have emphasized the hope of the people that their economic situation will improve rapidly, even expressing the thought that next Christmas will be very different from the past 50 years. However, Saskia and Alexis told me that family and friends are mostly skeptical, although some expressed hope. Many thought there was some hidden agenda. Don’t forget they are used to being left in the dark when it comes to the government. Most don’t think any major change will happen quickly and are skeptical about how change would affect their own lives on a daily basis.



The Havana airport is ill equipped to handle current traffic. The arrivals building is always packed with people waiting for a family member which makes it necessary to wade through throngs when exiting. Travel in and out is slow and tedious, with long lines and delays. It will be interesting to see how the government will handle increased air traffic.


Those who are familiar with Cuba say that change will nothappen fast, at least not for most Cubans. They imagine that the tourism industry will be the first to develop but that it will be a long wait for most residents to see improvement in their lives. Basic infrastructure, food and clothing production and distribution, availability and affordability of essential products, running water, all of this has been neglected during the Castro regimes, and it will take years, possibly decades, to reach a level which benefits all Cubans. There are reports of wealthy art dealers beginning to buy from Cuban artists, and we hear that the old cars will be hot items for collectors in the US. A few may benefit and the prediction is that the first to take financial advantage of increased trade will be the military elite, who have tight control over every aspect of the economy. As many Cubans are saying: “wait and see”………



West Marin Sheriff’s Logs



Monday January 5

Bolinas 3:04 am A silver truck was reported stuck in a drain culvert. Truck removed without incident.

Bolinas 8:54 am Landlord believes his tenant has abandoned his rental property after not paying rent for several months, and not being seen by anyone for over a week.

Woodacre 9:00 am Residents report coper pipe stolen from exterior of house.

Point Reyes Station 12:25 pm Man reports that someone has broken into his bike storage container. Bikes were strewn around the property but none were reported stolen.

Nicasio 3:30 pm Subject was placed on a psychiatric hold for being a danger to themselves and/or others.

Bolinas 10:55 pm Reporting party stated that a neighbor, who is allegedly unstable, was ignoring their dog, who had been barking for the past 30 minutes. Deputies found the dog outside of owners house and owner asleep.


Tuesday January 6

Point Reyes Station 8:44 am Report filed for stolen laptop.

Inverness 10:17 am Homeowner hired people found on Craigslist to do work on their home. Homeowner is now reporting a stolen comforter, antique kitchenware and some tools.

Forest Knolls 10:35 am Woman reported that she and her husband of several years were separating amicably. They still reside in the same residence in separate bedrooms. Her soon to be ex is sending her text messages threatening to abscond to Germany with the children.

Forest Knolls 11:20 am Caller is owner of local produce stand who reported having received a threatening letter. Letter did not explicitly threaten, but mostly complained about the high prices.

Tomales 1:11 pm Woman came home to find a strange message on her answering machine. When she called the number back a person stated they were from the IRS and started asking her personal and obscene questions. Woman does not believe the person actually works for the federal government.

Stinson Beach 4:53 pm Reporting party reports that elderly father has been threatening with a knife. Dad is calm now and caller was given information regarding local care facilities.

Forest Knolls 10:16 pm Reporting party states they have heard yelling coming from possible squatters. Caller also reports that squatters may have a campfire.


Wednesday January 7

Point Reyes Station 10:40 am Reporting party wanted to talk to a deputy about bringing in some ammunition, presumably for disposal.

Lagunitas 11:49 am Woman called to ask about guidelines for psychiatric holds. She is concerned for her friend who has both mental health and alcohol issues.

Bolinas 11:05 pm Reporting party called about neighbor’s barking dog. Deputies found dog locked outside and asked owner to bring it inside.


Thursday January 8

Point Reyes Station 1:49 pm Man reported that he had lost his wallet in the hardware store three days ago. Deputies contacted hardware store. No one had turned in a wallet..


Friday January 9

Point Reyes Station 12:22 pm Dad called deputies to report concern for his son whom he last saw yesterday. Daughter confirmed she had skyped with her brother that morning but dad still wanted deputies to keep their eyes open for him.

Bolinas 1:56 pm Woman called deputies to report she has been trying to serve her ex-husband papers for several months without success. She is very frustrated and wanted to have his cell phone pinged. Deputies explained this is not a service they are able to provide.

Woodacre 8:37 pm Mom called to report she has some concerns after speaking with her ten year old son who was spending nights at his doctor’s house. Deputies investigated and reported that everything was fine.

Saturday January 10

Dillon Beach 1:43 am Caller reported a group of people releasing around 20 lanterns into the sky. Caller believes this could be a fire hazard.

Bolinas 2:30 pm Subject arrested and booked on an outstanding warrant.

Point Reyes Station 3:40 pm Reporting party concerned for a medically fragile friend who they hadn’t seen for over a week. Person was safe and stated that they just hadn’t wanted to talk the person who reported that they might be in trouble.

Point Reyes Station 8:17 pm Woman was having argument and was now having trouble breathing.


Sunday January 11

Woodacre 5:56 am Caller reported Christmas trees on fire in a nearby lot.

Woodacre 11:27 am A car was reportedly on fire after oil dripped on engine. Driver asked passerby to call 911 but fire extinguished itself in a few minutes.

Forest Knolls 11:11 pm A case was opened regarding a recently discovered corpse. Body transported to the coroner.


Farming Over the Edge



Fawning over the Gentle Miwok

By Steve Quirt


A reader of this newspaper commented that I drone on and on, in a sentimental cloud of naive admiration, about the “gentle Miwok” that die at age 37… The reader is correct in his criticism, and I thank him for pointing this out—I may have failed to get my point across clearly so let me explain with a minimum of droning on and on.


It’s not about the Miwok and other California Native American cultures specifically—it’s about their deeply rooted, productive and balanced culture of feeding themselves and keeping their environment clean. There are powerful lessons embedded in their extinct practices. Today, we are operating at the extreme opposite position in all aspects of this and it is a global condition.


“You can’t address climate change without fixing agriculture, you can’t fix health without improving diet, you can’t improve diet without addressing income, and so on. The production, marketing and consumption of food is key to nearly everything. (It’s one of the keys to war, too, because large-scale agriculture is dependent on control of global land, oil, minerals and water.)” Mark Bittman NYT January 20, 2015


There is something happening here, but you don’t know what is, Do you Mr. Jones? (to quote Bob Dylan). Who controls what you eat? You could argue that most of our time is linked to efforts to secure food. Like the hunter gatherers, most folks work to “put food on the table”, or to “make ends meet”, or to “pay the bills.” This is where the majority of people are today—working all the time to just eat. The newest scary data says that 80 (eighty) people control 46% of the “wealth” of the world, which makes it harder for the rest of us to “buy” our food. Not everyone lives a Marin County lifestyle. The point Mark Bittman makes is that everything happening today, especially on the global scale, is founded on a harmful, or even suicidal system of greedy overproduction and control of our food by industrial finance moguls. How far from the around a planet does food need to travel to be eaten? These are burning issues, and it is getting harder and harder to ignore them.


I was once a graphic designer with a busy, successful studio. Sometimes we would get snarled up with a design project that wasn’t working. The more we tinkered with the design, trying to salvage it to justify the time already invested, the worse it got, the uglier it became. When this happened, we had a strategy of trashing the wasted hours of work, sacrificing conference and studio time to the design gods, and start over with the simplest design possible. Why work with broken tools and dirty windows? It always worked. The old had to be replaced with something new, clean, functional. The system that we live under today doesn’t work, and if you argue that it does, you haven’t done your research—or you are not living in the same world as billions of your brothers and sisters. We have a right to be concerned. We need to start with a new, fresh, morally upright design that feeds “need”, instead of serving “greed”. Sound idealist and frothy? Just try it.


To bring healthy, innocent (yes, this sounds dreamy and idealist) food from land to mouth in a practical fashion in an environmentally sound way is nearly impossible today. There is no economic gain in operating like this—the forces of greed and control make feeding mouths without the profit incentive impossible to do without confrontation with the entrenched, self-centered Establishment. Ask small farmers, those who have managed to survive, about their scramble to keep going off of something beside idealism and the desire to live a meaningful lifestyle. To play you need to pay.


Where are we headed when people are economically, politically and culturally cut off from the ability feed themselves on a local level? A few lucky ones from privileged backgrounds are able to do this, but visit a local food bank and talk to some of those folks. There are way more souls in line than souls doing fine, and this is the new reality.


The perennial, boring question remains, “What are we going to do about this?” This is worth a good long, think. How do we mesh this most basic of activities, from earth to plate, with the crazy world that we create and sustain? Is it even worth the time to consider? I mean really consider? The evidence is piling up, day by day. Watching polar ice caps melt into the oceans may be interesting to see on the science channel, and it’s fun to explore carbon credit trading, but the soft focus and the intellectual distance of these abstract efforts mask the deeper pain and fear of what we are doing to the planet and ourselves. This won’t last. Here is the question I ask myself about every action I perform, 24-7:

Does this act support my inner understanding of truth and fairness?


If it doesn’t, what am I going do about it?


If I resist, truly resist down to the roots of my belief, am I willing to act?


Most poignantly, am I willing to pay the price to stand up for my deepest conviction?


This kind of focused analysis automatically casts us into the deeper meanings of our choices. I think the Buddha would approve of this kind of introspection, this sharpened attention on what we are really doing with each action. Actions build on themselves and launch more actions thus perpetuating both thinking and action. Once again we hear the Buddha say,


1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a selfish thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.


2. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with a selfless thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.


That is a pretty good argument for the power to change, for the power to act effectively to help change our collective direction. Think about it, and I promise, no more Miwok sentimentalism.



West Marin Sheriff’s Calls


Wednesday December 23

Marshall 10:11 a.m. Reporting party stated that they had received a message on their answering machine from someone claiming that they worked for the IRS and that they owed the IRS money. Reporting party was given the number for the Inspector General.

Bolinas 10:21 a.m. Neighbor called deputies and reported that their downstairs neighbor had been yelling at his child all night. Furthermore, they believed the child was being physically abused. Deputies spoke with child and dad and decided that there was no abuse occurring.

Woodacre 4:39 p.m. Mom called deputies after her son was contacted for mental health issues the night before but hadn’t been admitted for an evaluation. Son was contacted by deputies who stated he was fine. Mom is concerned due to there being a number of fire arms at the family house.

Forest Knolls 6:49 p.m. Man reported his IPhone was stolen from his unlocked car. When victim came back to his vehicle he smelled cigarette smoke lingering in the air. Deputies do not have a suspect.

Thursday December 24

Stinson Beach 12:22 a.m. Reporting party stated that their neighbor had driven their car into their water main.

Woodacre 8:11 a.m. A man fell unconscious and subsequently passed away. Death was expected and coroner filled out appropriate paperwork.

Point Reyes Station 2:17 p.m. A subject was arrested and booked on a no bail warrant.

Forest Knolls 6:51 p.m. Dad called to report that he believed the mother of his child was meeting with their son in violation of an established restraining order.

Forest Knolls 7:42 p.m. Mom called to report that she believed her autistic son was in danger. Line went dead as call was dropped. Investigating deputies ascertained that son was fine, mom has a history of mental illness and also a restraining order in place to keep her away from her son.

Friday December 25

Forest Knolls 10:47 a.m. Mom and dad have been separated for six years. Dad came to mom’s house on Christmas morning and suffers from mental illness. Dad paced back and forth in front of house until he found out deputies were on their way.

Lagunitas 8:58 p.m. Residents reported two explosions in quick succession. Deputies believe the sounds heard were most likely M-80’s.

Inverness 9:31 p.m. Woman reported that there was possibly a man in her front windows holding a flashlight.

Saturday December 26

Olema 11:36 a.m. Deputy observed a driver crossing over the solid white line for 40 feet and also going through a stop sign at 5 mph. Driver reportedly stated, “Oh okay, just give me the ticket.”

Marshall 12:13 p.m. Woman reported $300 in total charges on her credit card that she believed were made in fraud. Woman’s bank absorbed the fraudulent charges and woman asked for a police report confirming she believed funds were stolen.

Point Reyes Station 11:55 p.m. Reporting party stated that they heard two individuals fighting. Couple seemed to be under the influence. They told deputies they were done fighting for the night but didn’t want to drive home at this time because their brake lights were broken.

Sunday December 27

Point Reyes Station 7:48 p.m. A report came in of a person drunk in public.

Dillon Beach 7:49 p.m. Residents reported hearing what they believed to be three gunshots in the distance.


Louise Franklin, new Interim Executive Director of the Dance Palace



By Ann Emanuels


The Board of Directors of the Dance Palace is pleased to announce that it has appointed Louise Franklin as Interim Executive Director of the Dance Palace in Point Reyes, starting on January 2nd.


Louise has been a resident of West Marin for more than 30 years, both full-time and part-time. She has a wealth of experience as an interim executive director (IED). She has served as the IED at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, and the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside. Before working as an IED, Louise was the Executive Director of The Center for Attitudinal Healing.


In addition to working as an IED, Louise has been a consultant to non-profits. She specializes in leadership training, grant-writing, fundraising and strategic planning. During her tenure at the Dance Palace, Louise will ensure uninterrupted continuation of services and programs while leading fundraising efforts and providing analysis and input that will inform the recruitment of the permanent executive director.


Louise will be with the Dance Palace for four to six months, bringing a fresh perspective during an important time of transition.The Dance Palace recognizes that change can be unsettling, but it is also an opportunity.The Board welcomes Louise and looks forward to benefitting from her many years of non-profit and leadership experience.


Ann Emanuels is the President of the Dance Palace Board of Directors


Christmas at Laguna Honda


“When life is at its worst, there is still life to be had, there is still hope to be found.” – Laguna Honda
Spiritual Care Director, Bob Dee
Christmas morning – quiet, clear, not a cloud in the sky. The air is crisp after the recent rains. The sun casts its bright light on the hillsides of Point Reyes which are afresh with a soothing green. Tomales Bay shines like a jewel, a brilliant treasure and feast for the eyes of us who are blessed to live here.
I am on my way to San Francisco, my devoted terrier, Scruffy, securely belted into the back seat next to colorful gifts and tasty goodies. We are going to visit my 28 year old son, Dylan, who, tragically, was struck by a car while hailing a cab in the Mission District on August 17th, 2014. Following two months at San Francisco General Hospital, most of the time in the neurological intensive care unit, he transferred to Laguna Honda Hospital where he is now in rehabilitation for a severe traumatic brain injury. My purpose for writing is not to focus on him, but to acquaint you with Laguna Honda and to contemplate and hold close those who are spending this festive season in acute and chronic care facilities. It is my belief that most of us do not give them considerable thought, especially at this time of the year.
Following a smooth ride through Marin, south on 101 and across the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, I stop to pick up Hugh, Dylan’s father, at his Mission District apartment. We then proceed through the nearly-empty city streets to visit our son.
A grand facility, Laguna Honda is perched atop a hill between the Forest Hill and Mt. Davidson neighborhoods of San Francisco. In existence since 1867, initially as an almshouse for the city’s first residents, the pioneers of the Gold Rush, it has evolved into today’s 62 acre campus which provides three levels of care: Acute (open to Laguna Honda residents only), rehabilitation, and skilled nursing. Owned and operated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, it houses 780 residents. Requirements for admission are that one must be an adult or senior San Francisco citizen and have a medical condition as a primary diagnosis.
As noted on their website, Laguna Honda’s rehabilitation sector provides physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as vocational programs. The skilled nursing services include:
• The only skilled nursing facility for people with HIV/AIDS in the San Francisco Bay Area
• A nationally-recognized program for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias
• Group living for people with developmental disabilities
• Treatment for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and other degenerative diseases
• Therapeutic services for those with traumatic brain injuries and the effects of stroke
• Guidance and support for people with psychological difficulties
• Complex care for those with multiple diagnoses
• An award-winning restorative care program that assists residents to retain and reclaim physical competency
• Pain management and end of life care emphasizing comfort and dignity, including an in-house hospice oriented in conjunction with the Zen Hospice Program of San Francisco. No one dies alone at Laguna Honda. There are two staff chaplains, eight interfaith volunteer chaplains and two pastoral leaders from the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco.

The new Laguna Honda features three buildings which comprise California’s first green-certified hospital. It is composed largely of recyclable materials. Alternative fuel and electric vehicles are used in its operations and management. The hospital is cleaned with environmentally friendly chemicals and patient rooms are full of natural light and operable windows. Funded partially by the endorsement of city voters in 1999 to use 141 million dollars from a settlement against the tobacco industry, the green hospital has also commissioned 18 artists through the Art Enrichment Ordinance. Throughout the facility one can appreciate projects that energize the senses.

Ample, free parking is available and I find a spot close to our destination. Hugh and I proceed to the South building, packages in hand. Scruffy is excited; he loves visiting here and he is welcomed. In the spacious lobby decorated with a tree and buzzing with the activity of other visitors, Scruffy gets a good deal of attention. Earlier in the morning he obediently sat in the kitchen sink to get a warm bath which was followed by a blow dry. He looked especially festive in his red harness and leash and collar, the later with a big green bow attached.

After checking in, we proceed down the Esplanade, a beautiful, stimulating, wide corridor exemplary of a town’s main street. There are art studios, an indoor-outdoor cafeteria, a beauty salon and barber shop, community theater and multi-media library. Works by the commissioned artists, as well as those by residents, fill the walls. Tapestries depicting the hospital’s history add interest such as President Teddy Roosevelt’s visit in 1909 and images of all the Directors of Nursing. One can also see from the Esplanade the lush park which is central to all the buildings. Alongside the park is the farm: home to hogs, chickens, goats and others. It is a petting zoo and central to the animal therapy program. Animals are brought into the hospital to visit those who are unable to get outside. Also in the park is the site of the horticulture program. Residents can grow their own food in raised beds which are wheelchair accessible.

Planned for healing and well-being, each residential floor is composed of four households each structured as an individual neighborhood with a Great Room at its center to encourage activities and a community atmosphere. Decorated for the holiday, it is filled with tables and benches where people gather. It is here that we find Dylan. He had just finished exploring the hallways in his wheelchair which has an alarm device attached that goes off if he disengages the belt. We spot each other and he eagerly wheels over to us, with a smile and Merry Christmas wishes. Bending over, he picks up Scruffy and places him in his lap where Scruffy happily settles.

Due to divorce and the separation that it brings, it has been years since Hugh, Dylan and I have spent a Christmas together. I must say, that despite the current circumstances, it feels cozy and warm – like the good ole days. Conversation is filled with lots of laughter (the brain-damaged come up with some very funny comments at times!) and reminiscence. We dine, exchange gifts and take photos. We talk about love and Dylan tells me it makes him feel warm inside.

In addition to the residents and visitors, the presence of the staff is manifest. It is tangible that they regard each individual that they care for as a whole person, not just a diagnosis. I wonder what brings them to work on this special day, so I proceed to ask:

Priscilla, a Home Health Aide and Dylan’s favorite caregiver (he has a big crush on her), enjoys working on Christmas because, unlike most days, there is a lot of family visiting. Chris, an LVN, savors the happy atmosphere and enjoys dressing in red and green with the rest of the staff. Gabriela, an LVN for three years who has also worked at San Francisco General Hospital and City Jail #3, volunteered to work on Christmas because she loves holidays. Besides, her husband is at home cooking dinner! Merry, a CNA, also requested to work on Christmas because she enjoys sharing the occasion with residents and staff. Matty RN, and charge nurse of the day shift, has worked at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for 22 years. Having observed Christmas with her husband and daughter the eve before, she believes she is doing extra service to her patients on this day.

Time has passed quickly and the duration of our visit has ended. Hugh and I exchange big hugs and lots of kisses with Dylan. Scruffy hops off his lap, now eager to depart. As Hugh and I leave, we agree that the visit is a bittersweet one. Thus is Christmas at Laguna Honda.

Christine Lucas

Addendum: I highly recommend the book GOD’S HOTEL: A DOCTOR, A HOSPITAL, AND A PILGRIMAGE TO THE HEART OF MEDICINE BY Victoria Sweet.





Alivio Administrativo

Venga a escuchar a las abogadas de inmigracion Judy Bloomberg, una abogada de practica privada, y Alyssa Simpson, una abogada del Canal Alliance, hablar sobre los recientes cambios federales en la poliza de inmigracion (Alivio Administrativo).

Trataremos de dejar tiempo para reunirnos con usted y contestar sus preguntas. Esta presentación será en Español con traducción al Inglés. Habrá cuidado de niños.
Miercoles 14 de enero
Bocadillos y convivencia de 6:00-6:30
Presentacion de 6:30-8:30
Gimnasio Pequeño de Escuela de West Marin


Para más información llame a Socorro Romo 663-8361 o Lourdes Romo al 663-8101

Administrative Relief Information

Come and hear immigration attorneys Judy Bloomberg, an attorney in private practice and Alyssa Simpson, an attorney with Canal Alliance, speaking about recent changes to federal immigration policy (Administrative Relief).

We will try to leave lots of time to meet with you and answer your questions. This presentation will be in Spanish with English translation provided. Childcare will also be provided.

Wednesday, January 14
Snacks and visiting from 6:00-6:30
Presentation from 6:30-8:30
West Marin School Small Gym
For more information, call Socorro Romo at 663-8361 or Lourdes Romo at 663-8101663-8101