Tag Archives: Birthday

Halleck Creek Ranch turns 37


Joy in giggles. I don’t think I have ever been to a birthday party where laughs and smiles between adults and their charges were more a focus than cupcakes. I don’t think I even saw one cup cake in the trash separated from the top after being smeared around someone’s mouth.

HAPPY 37TH BIRTHDAY to Halleck Creek Ranch!

Nearly every Saturday a respectful caravan of vehicles converge from, at times, all 7 Bay Area counties and drive along Halleck Creek to participate in what may be the most unique program in the country. Nicasio’s own Duane Irving, who sadly died in 2010, had been working at the National Park Service’s Morgan Horse Ranch when he became aware that horses could be a way to get kids into the natural environment. Along the way Joyce Goldfield began volunteering and they started focusing on the importance of getting kids with various physical and cognitive challenges outdoors. The program just took shape.

It has since grown to 45 weeks of riding for 250 participants on weekdays and Saturdays. Currently the age range is 3 to 76; however, about 80% of their riders are typically between the ages of 3 and 21.

Calm. This word really captured the day. When I got there everyone was sitting around calmly. Soon the second morning ride returned, calmly. Indeed, families had arrived as usual for their 9:00 a.m. ride knowing that for many kids their weeks revolve around these Saturday rides. The ride just might be more important than home churned ice cream.

Bread and Roses, Dick Miner host, provided perfect atmospheric music by Dick Bay on accordion and Peter Bellal on guitar. Dick and Peter of the Babushka Brothers band played lively blues with a sense of calm and even their spontaneous jam session with Dexter, one of the afternoon riders, was calm while being lively and spirited.

During the musician’s break people meandered over to tables covered with hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, lemonade, and a wide range of trimmings. Joyce and one of the kids in attendance slowly churned ice cream without anyone seeming to notice. However the option of root beer floats later brought on the closest thing to a rush that day. An amazing homemade cake, cookies, and cupcakes guaranteed a sugar high for all.

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Two dedicated staff members, Molly Scannell and Mesa Nordbye took over the mike and started with a quiz. How many total volunteer hours were clocked in the past year? The first guess was around 1300. Someone then quickly added another zero and got much closer to the 13,500 hours that were worth over $300,000. But what every volunteer there knows, the pay of these support people can’t be measured in dollars.

The donated horses too are priceless. Currently they have 11 horses, 6 below the desired target of 17. When horses are donated, often from local ranches, they are first taken on a trial basis. When a horse can no longer work they are given pasture and equine companionship for the rest of their natural lives. A brief glance at their eyes and their coats reveals that the horses are very well cared for.

Calmness pervaded the afternoon ride as well. The certified horse trainers saddled up the horses and then calmly stood with them until their turn to be mounted. Then they were calmly led to the mounting station appropriate to their impending rider. There were at least three, sometimes five or six, assistants to help each rider get safely mounted. Calmly the horse accepted their new rider and then calmly walked to a large open covered ring where they slowly walked until everyone was mounted and comfortable. Then calmly they walked out single file and on to the trail. I did not witness one horse trying to rush ahead or hang back. Calm and steady was their ethic. Calm and steady and caring.

Halleck Creek provides a wide range of activities throughout the year, most of which are listed on their website. They participated in the Human Race this past May with Claudia Johnson being the top finisher for their team. Claudia has been a program participant since she was 13 and now is Board Secretary. (Please see their website to learn more of their accomplishments.) They had three riders in the Marin County Fair who won 1st, 2nd and 3rd places; and many riders participated in Western Weekend. Campouts are amongst their many other activities. Needless to say, tuition (many are on scholarships) manages to cover about one-third of costs. Look for details about their fundraiser November 14th.

Having just gone to Marin County’s “Happiest Fair On Earth”, I think they have stiff competition for the Happiest Place On Earth.

West Marin Citizen Turns Seven: July 2007 – July 2014

Linda Petersen-Publisher and Co-editor:

This week we publish the first edition of Volume 8 of the Citizen. This means our 365th paper. It has indeed been an adventure, with all the elements of good TV drama, including characters, often larger than life, as main players.

As the years have passed since we first began publication, the involved participants (protagonists?) have settled into new roles and the community has become richer from the experience.

How lucky we are. How lucky I am to have arrived in this community in time to learn the stories of the past, and to be a participant in the discussion of where West Marin is going in the future. I thank the community for allowing us this opportunity to keep the doors of the Citizen open for your participation.

After all, as Steve Quirt, our gifted layout artist and contributor likes to say, it is your paper and your history that is being written week by week.


Looking back
by Joel Hack, founding publisher West Marin Citizen

Memorial Day Weekend 2007: Some West Marin folks met at Bear Valley picnic tables and hatched a plan. They overcame great and small obstacles. They produced a Pilot edition for Western Weekend. Then they produced the first West Marin Citizen for that Fourth of July. They felt they responded to their friends, neighbors and their community.
What they heard that fateful weekend: The readers of West Marin were hungry for news about themselves; stories and information that reflected their spirit and wisdom. The readers of West Marin wanted a community newspaper that brought themselves a way of seeing, a way of reaching out, a way of touching one another. The readers of West Marin wanted a community newspaper that built their community.
Did the West Marin Citizen succeed? Yes. At a minimum there are twice as many newspapers in West Marin. Be proud, few if any communities the size of West Marin have TWO newspapers; many don’t have one. Seven full years later (365 editions) a lively, useful, respectful, nurturing record of the LIFE of West Marin arrives each Thursday.
That is success on a person-to-person and global scale. The Citizen folks also had a fun, exciting time producing your newspaper, and they are proud to earn your approval.

Ellen Shehadeh, Copy-editor and co-editor

When the West Marin Citizen was launched 7 years ago I was delighted to be part of the original group who envisioned and then actually began this maverick newspaper. I am proud to say I wrote the first news article for the paper- wouldn’t you know, it was about a cow! I continued as a reporter, doing many articles about health and health care in West Marin among other topics, and was always encouraged to take on bigger and better challenges by our editor Jim Kravets. Later I wrote a series Under the Radar, profiling interesting locals (are there any others?) who would consent to public scrutiny. The story was theirs to tell, from their own unique point of view.

At this point I find myself as co-editor and copy editor. Sadly, I assumed the job after my dearest partner, David Bunnett, died suddenly eight months ago. Only now do I realize how hard he worked. And although ostensibly we have the same job, he did so much more than his job description, from writing superb articles about complex subjects at the last minute when he had an idea that couldn’t wait until next week, to delivering the papers around the community. He worked tirelessly behind the scene in many other ways to make the Citizen a paper we could all be proud of.

And he was also my editor. As I have saved people from writing about “lumbar yards,” he rescued me from some potentially embarrassing and actually quite hilarious missteps that we used to laugh about.

The West Marin Citizen is a different kind of newspaper, a real community newspaper that gives everyone a voice. I am proud to be part of all of this, and thank all our readers and contributors for their participation and faith in the little newspaper that could- and does! Keep the stories coming!

Steve Quirt  Graphics/Layout co-editor

Each week a chorus of community contributions arrive, and we at the West Marin Citizen have the privilege of getting your newspaper ready for delivery on Thursdays.

When I first began as a contributor in 2007, Jim Kravets wrote somewhere that he was continually charmed by the variety and quality of content that came across his desk each week. I was struck by his statement. Now, after a year or so helping out with the Citizen, I appreciate Jim’s comment. What a variety of full spectrum community news and culture! Bay biology, wine reviews, psychology, lots of art and literature, weekly columns from Inverness and Mexico, classified ads, sheriff’s reports and all the announcements calendars and everything else.

And it all comes from you.

No two issues are ever the same. The open format of a Community Newspaper allows for a lot of craziness, but also a surprisingly rich and involved contribution network from readers. And in a community like West Marin, that keeps us hopping, improvising and working hard to make all the moving parts of this dynamic process run smoothly. Thanks to Linda, our Editor-in-chief, for holding it all together and being patient with this process!

Each week, when we get the heads up from the printer that the presses are rolling, we breathe a sigh of collective relief. It always seems like a miracle that, with our tiny staff, we pull it off each week. But that is because of you, the reader, the community, and your content, culture and common goals that we try to hold up and put forth in each issue of the West Marin Citizen.

I believe in Community Journalism
By Mary Olsen

I believe in the power of community. In my younger days I thought the utopian communities of the 19th century might be the way to live. So I lived in a few in the 70’s. The best, most well organized was a Rudolph Steiner community in Copake, New York – Camphill Village. I had a wonderful life there, but there were too many restrictions, and too much mysticism for me. But I left with a genuine appreciation for what can be accomplished by people working together.

A bit later I discovered the Big City and rejoiced in the sense of community in my densely populated, culturally diverse North Beach neighborhood. It was nurtured by the friendly cafe life that brought people together in the morning and after a day’s work. The finest networking ever.

Later I tried another experiment – living in suburbia where everyone had a seven-foot fence around their 10,000 square foot lot. Automatic garage doors swallowed cars whose occupants were seen only on the weekends pushing noisy behemoth machines. Oh, there was community, built around children and their sports and school activities. Once the kids went off to college I plotted my escape.

So here I am getting toward the last chapters of life, at the end of the continent, luxuriating in a real community. But it is one that hangs by such a slender thread. Economic realities push away people who cannot afford the increasing price tag of housing. I myself will get pushed out eventually.

But in the meantime I intend to enjoy all this magic place has to offer. And I’m proud to be a contributor to a community journal that makes us look at the issues we humans face when we try to live together in a healthy society. I just counted the number of contributors to last week’s Citizen. Sixteen different people on sixteen pages of newsprint, all writing about the things that make up the fabric of our lives.

The West Marin Citizen is community journalism. I’m proud to be a contributor.
Happy Seventh Birthday! Live long and prosper, West Marin Citizen!

Reeling in the Years – Bob Evans

On April 15, Bob Evans of Marshall turned 100 years old. A retired architect, Mr. Evans enjoyed a successful career designing university campuses throughout the UC system and as far afield as Okinawa and Afghanistan.

Mr. Evans celebrated his centennial anniversary at Cypress Grove with his daughters and their families, including seven grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. He exchanged email with the Citizen about it all.

West Marin Citizen: When did you move to West Marin and what community do you live in?

Bob Evans: In 1960 we bought our West Marin weekend home in Marshall and retired here fulltime in 1971 from Lafayette.

WMC: If you were to write your autobiography, what would the book be titled?

BE: The book title would be The Family.

WMC: What’s been the biggest surprise of your life so far?

BE: The biggest surprise of my life was that I had enough fortitude and guts to propose marriage to the love of my life.

WMC: When you have a couple of hours to yourself, how do you like to spend your time?

BE: Today I like to remember the past – sailing, swimming, camping, traveling, hiking and fishing. Also, memorizing my great-grandchildren’s names – and painting.

WMC: What surprises you most about the people who live in West Marin?

BE: People are authentic in our community, offering their gifts of time and talent.

WMC: What’s the main thing in your life you’re most proud of?

BE: I am most proud of my family and friends and my professional contribution to architecture, planning and education at the University of California, university-wide. It was an opportunity to enhance and improve the physical planning on the campuses. I was one of the founding four who established the Association of University Architects that has grown to a well-recognized and respected organization.

WMC: If you could change one thing about the world, what would that be?

BE: If I could change one thing in this world, it would be to bring peace and harmony to all. And eliminate greed.

WMC: There’s that saying — Older and Wiser. Any thoughts on that?

BE: There’s more poetry than truth in it. We are never wise enough.

WMC: What are you reading these days?

BE: I read about world affairs and business.

WMC: What really gets your goat?

BE: Trying to remember how to use my computer and iPad really gets my goat. It’s a challenge to adapt to the rapid changes in education, the sciences and the technology world.

WMC: What’s your most notable quirk and/or foible?

BE: Mispronouncing names and forgetting words.

WMC: What are you known to say over and over again?

BE: “What day is it?” “What time is it?”

WMC: Any advice for others approaching their 100th birthdays?

BE: Be grateful. Keep moving.

By Larken Bradley