The Kenwood Press
: 03/15/2020

Village Chat for March 15 2020

Ann Q. Peters

Guess who popped into our office the other day? Former Kenwood postal worker Angelo Parisi. Angelo now lives in Lake County with his wife Erica. When he lived in Kenwood, Angelo, an avid astronomer, was a very active volunteer with the Robert Ferguson Observatory. After retiring from the Postal Service, he landed a dream job as manager of the Lake County Office of Education's Taylor Observatory/Norton Planetarium. Angelo says that the night sky is a lot darker in Lake County, and the observatory is at a higher elevation than the Sugarloaf observatory, so there is less particulate matter in the air, which makes for better viewing. Meanwhile, Erica, a costume designer, has started a dream business of her own, hiwirecostumes.com, designing and manufacturing costumes for aerial performers. Both of them are doing what they love and using their creativity, so things really couldn't be better.


Search & Rescue
Exciting rescue stories form the Far North by local author Tracy Salcedo.
Tracy Salcedo's new book, Alaska Search and Rescue (Lyons Press, 208 pages), is hard to put down. I've been reading it at home in the morning when I should've already gone to work. If you like stories of survival against some really long odds, you'll like this well-researched and well-written book. There are few places on the planet where search and rescue is more important than in Alaska. Besides recounting epic rescues, and more than a few recovery missions, Tracy covers some complicated issues, like the proliferation of GPS trackers and cell phones that give people a false sense of security, and the difficult calculations that need to be made in determining when it's too risky to continue a search or try to recover a body. Tracy has been a Kenwood Press contributor over the years, and I already knew that she was a fine writer, but now I really know it! You can buy the book on Amazon.com.

One of the epic rescues Tracy recounts in her book is the 1925 Serum Run from Iditarod to Nome to deliver diphtheria anti-toxin to the town that was facing an epidemic. It's the genesis of the modern day Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and Kenwood's own Catherine Jefferson is in Alaska right now for the second year in a row, volunteering at the starting line and cheering on the dogs and their mushers.
Catherine Jefferson and
Catherine Jefferson (left) hard at work at the Iditarod.


The race doesn't actually start in Iditarod. Catherine wrote in an email, “On Saturday in Anchorage there is what they call the ceremonial start. People call it the fake start. They put snow on the streets, and introduce each musher and let them take off and they do a big circle. My security position was to keep the VIPs behind a rope, so they could not get into the chute where the mushers start. It's a big party. People get drunk, and they have the running of the reindeer. Look that up on YouTube. Then they trailer the dogs up to a place called Willow, and they put the volunteers on buses, and drive them two hours through the snow. And so on Sunday is what they call the restart, where the mushers really start their thousand-mile epic journey to Nome, Alaska.”

Community awards for contributions
Big Heart recipients, from left, Peter and Mary Klabunde, Cynthia Coleman, and Julie and Tom Atwood.
An enthusiastic group of people came out for the Kenwood Education Foundation's Big Heart Awards in the caves at Deerfield Ranch Winery last Friday, March 6. The KEF honored Kenwood School parent and volunteer extraordinaire Cynthia Coleman, Glen Ellen couple Mary and Peter Klabunde, who are huge supporters of Kenwood School, and the amazing Julie Atwood and her husband Tom, whom she jokingly refers to as her silent partner. It's true, Julie is the face for all they do, but they are a true team, founding the HALTER Project (Horse and Livestock Team Emergency Rescue), raising money for ag-related causes, and giving generously to both Kenwood and Dunbar Schools. Congratulations to all of you on this well-deserved honor!

Alessandra and Friend
Grandparents day at shool
And speaking of Kenwood School, Wednesday, March 11, was Grandparents and Special Friends Day at the school, a time when the separate generations meet for art, reading, recess and more. Kids show their grandparents/friends around the school and tell them what their school day is like. For children who don't have a grandparent nearby, Oakmont volunteers are happy to fill in. This is such a heartwarming and FUN day!

Things are pretty quiet around here, with a number of events cancelled due to an abundance of caution over the COVID-19 virus. We've all turned into obsessive hand washers, but we're still venturing out and about. Let us know what you're doing during this weird time. What are your strategies for staying well without going overboard? We'd like to hear about that.

In any event, that's all I have for now. Please send in your own news and photos for Village Chat. It's easy to do. Just email ann@kenwoodpress.com, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP