Lori Fantozzi is an intrepid traveler, having lived in Thailand and Dubai, and going almost everywhere in between. But we were still surprised when she told us she was going to North Korea, AKA the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). She even took a Kenwood Press along with her.
Lori was inspired to take the trip after reading the book Nothing to Envy, journalist Barbara Demick's narrative of the lives of six North Korean citizens over 15 years, as they gradually became so disillusioned with their government and leaders that they defected.
Her tour group included six travelers and a Western guide. They, of course, had DPKR handlers as well.
Lori wrote, “I had carefully chosen gifts to bring for the guides and children that were not made in China but instead made in USA. Among those gifts I had six boxes of Crayola markers that were taken from my bag to be looked over. When they were returned to me the U.S. flag on the back of the package was blacked out. My Kenwood Press was not an issue.” [I think it would make a better story if it had been confiscated.]
“This country is pre-industrial revolution. All farming is done by hand; the most they had was an ox and cart. Last year was the first year, since the infamous and devastating famine, that they could feed themselves as a country. The farmers now give over 35 percent of their crop, as opposed to the past when 100 percent was demanded.
“The schools still have painted propaganda on their hallway walls depicting DPRK soldiers holding U.S. soldiers captive and cursing the American Imperialists.” Fascinating stuff. We're really glad you're back, Lori!
Jeff Kunde and brother-in-law Jim Mickelson hosted an event for Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) on Friday, Nov. 6, at the Kunde Family Winery's outdoor patio, providing a meet-and-greet for about a hundred invited guests. Thompson has been a primary mover and shaker for wine-related issues in the U.S. Congress as leader of the Congressional Wine Caucus, and has been working to improve distribution avenues for smaller wineries. He has been instrumental in the fire relief effort for Lake County which is part of his district, and is also on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
Randy and Tim Blythe welcomed their first grandchild, Carson Alexander Blythe, on Nov. 4, courtesy of Trevor and Kelly Blythe. Carson weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce, and was 20 inches long. Trevor and family live in Dana Point in Orange County. He went to Kenwood Elementary, Rincon Valley Middle School, Maria Carrillo High School, got a degree in Environmental Science at UCSB and then eventually got his MBA at the Presidio. Trevor has worked as an Environmental Consultant for EcoNomics, Inc. since graduating from UCSB. Randy says, “He's a hands-on dad which makes this momma proud!” Congratulations, all you Blythe people!
Kenwood School teacher Carol Cagle is retiring (after 30 years) and to mark the occasion, the school collected class photos from 1986 to 2015. Carol's retirement marks the end of an era as almost all the kids who grew up in Kenwood have had her as a teacher. She was KP staffer Sarah Phelps' Kindergarten teacher back in 1988-89 and my kids had her as their 3rd grade teacher when they were at the school back in the '90s. Enjoy your well-earned time off, Carol!
Marissa Rosenberg has finally landed at Johnson Space Center in Houston. This has been a dream of her's since she was a girl (at Kenwood School, speaking of our great little school.) A UCLA grad, she has spent six years in Europe, attaining a Masters of Space Studies from the International Space University, a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and a Masters of Space Medicine from Kings College, London. Her goal has always been to be an astronaut and she has taken one step closer by accepting a position at the Johnson Space Center, where her title is NSBRI Postdoctoral Fellow, Neuroscience Laboratory.
Marissa will be part of the debriefing team meeting astronauts as soon as they land. She will be measuring the effect that space has had on their physical and mental processes. NASA tests the astronauts four times within the first 24 hours of their landing. They start at the landing site in Kazakhstan, then fly to Scotland for more testing, and end at Johnson Space Center. Congratulations, Marissa!
Yoga instructor Alicia Parks is offering a free holiday class on Dec. 9, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church. It's a gift for you during this busy time when we often forget to take care of ourselves. Alicia says, “This is a great way to show gratitude to your body and mind, in a gentle yoga class, open to the public.” St. Patrick's is located at 9000 Sonoma Hwy., across from the Kenwood Fire Station.
And speaking of St. Patrick's, Rev. John Leech and his wife Sarah stopped by last week and took a picture with the Kenwood Press, standing in front of the Kenwood Press office. And if you can believe it, no one has ever done that before! John used to be a parishioner at St. Patrick's, and became an Episcopal priest before moving to Tucson where he is a priest at St. Andrews. He and Sarah were here for Thanksgiving with Sarah's mom who lives in Oakmont.
Kenwood author Todd Board has a new ebook, Evidence of the Journey: Stories of Place, which is available on Amazon.com for $2.99. The book is a collection of loosely linked stories based in the Northern California bio-region, and according to Todd, while no real-life individuals show up, locals might recognize some descriptions of area landscape and culture.
Red City Review says, “Board's collection of stories is masterfully welded with his perceptions of often-ignored issues in today's society, both tangible and intangible…His humor is quiet and strikes at unexpected places, leaving the careful and capable reader thoroughly tickled at times.”
I like this part of Todd's bio on Amazon: “For many years he worked in the corporate world, often writing with commercial audiences, endpoints, and deadlines in mind. More recently he escaped the corporate circus and thus far has evaded recapture.”
Todd has pledged 100 percent of net proceeds from this e-book through Earth Day 2016, to Sonoma-based greenspace organizations, e.g., the Sonoma Land Trust, locally managed state parks, and the Ecology Center.
Ron and Sandy Dodge were visiting family in Ohio recently, and stayed in a beautifully restored WPA-era building at Oak Openings Preserve, part of Metroparks Toledo. Ron said, “Waking up in the a.m. we observed wildlife outside our windows and hiked through the deciduous hardwood forest, including the Wabash Cannonball Trail, which like the Joe Rodota Trail, is a rails to trails project.” Sandy's family has farmed in nearby Swanton for a number of generations and the Dodges visit once or twice a year and like to find interesting places to stay. They joined Metroparks Toledo, and after the caretaker's cottage renovation was complete, members were given first opportunity to stay in it, which they did for two weeks last year, and again last month. Ron also sent pictures of the interior, which is really beautiful, with lots of wood paneling and flooring.
Thanks, everyone, for sending in your news. It's easy to do! Just email email@example.com, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP