When you hurt yourself on New Year's Day, what does that say about the coming year? The worst is over? Or the opposite - this year is going to be really terrible. Or it means nothing, just a coincidence of bad luck and timing. In any event, that's what happened to me, and to make matters more interesting, I was in Russia visiting my son and daughter-in-law, Gus and Katya Peters. We were up in Vyborg, Katya's hometown near the Finnish border, and I slipped on ice. One second I was walking across a parking lot, and the next I was flat on the ground with a broken wrist. So I got to experience the Russian medical system, and you know what? It works just fine. The hospital was no-frills but completely adequate. They X-rayed my arm, set it, wrapped it up in a plaster elbow cast, X-rayed it again to make sure that everything was in the right place, and sent me home. I was in and out of there in two hours. And it was ALL FREE. Of course we had to buy an Ace bandage and ibuprofen at the pharmacy, but it's hard to argue with decent free medical care and a really nice doctor.
Other than that, the trip was great. My daughter Elizabeth Peters was with me, and we got what we went for, which was the authentic Russian New Year's experience - lots of fireworks, food and champagne, opening presents at midnight and staying up late while friends come over to visit and play games. It's cold and dark and the days are very short, so the cities are lit up with the most extravagant and beautiful light displays I've ever seen, especially in Moscow. A few days before my accident we skated on a two-mile outdoor ice rink set up at VDNKh, which stands for Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy. It's a gigantic, permanent trade show and amusement park in Moscow, which was formerly used for agricultural fairs from all over the Soviet Union. Each former Soviet Republic has its own exhibit hall, which are like palaces, and you skate around them, stopping off for mulled wine or hot chocolate at food stands along the way. (That was when I worried about falling!) The best laid plans…
Speaking of New Year's Eve, Jay Gamel reports that two Kenwood Community Club directors and a Glen Ellen-Kenwood Rotarian put on a last-minute New Year's Eve party at the Kenwood Depot. Nazar Eljumaily, Nigel Hall, and John Meserve thought it would be a great idea to have somewhere local to ring in the New Year. And as long as they were at it, why not have some great music and ask folks to bring something to nibble on? No publicity, word of mouth only, and sure enough, 70 to 80 people showed up from 8 p.m. onward to enjoy each other, the Midnight Rider Review, and a ton of food. Ken Uboldi brought a case of champagne, and the party was on. Midnight Rider is the latest permutation of outstanding local musicians, including Nazar (guitar and whirlygig) and his talented son Aidan (vocals, guitar), playing with Luis Rodriquez (drums), Jeff Patterson (bass), Alex Garcia (tenor sax), and Thomas Molina (trumpet). They started with a cool jazz set featuring horn and sax solos not usually heard outside of East Bay and San Francisco jazz clubs. Rock and blues crept in along the way, and people were worn out dancing by midnight. Thank you, John, Nigel and Nazar, for a great start to 2020!
On Dec. 13 the new Jeff Kunde Hall at Santa Rosa Junior College was dedicated, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and various dignitaries, including Congressman Mike Thompson and SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong. Jeff has served on the SRJC board of trustees since 2006. The new building at 550 Elliott Ave. houses the college's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) facilities, including three computer labs and SRJC's first virtual reality lab classroom. Said Jeff, “I am very grateful for the honor of this new building bearing my name. As a fourth-generation Sonoma County resident, SRJC has been an important part of myself and my family's educational path over the years. To know that Jeff Kunde Hall will be alongside the other campus buildings named after the many great trustees that have served SRJC over the past 100 years is inspiring.” And the building is pretty inspiring, too. According to the college's website, “It was designed to be energy efficient and uses only electric high-efficiency HVAC equipment with heat recovery. Efficient LED lighting uses controls integrated with the campus energy management system. Kunde Hall was also designed to be photovoltaic-ready, so it can eventually utilize solar power.” Congratulations, Jeff!
Before Christmas the Kenwood Girl Scouts organized donations and made 53 Care Kits for homeless youth in Sonoma County via the SAY Dream Center. The girls packed up all sorts of hygiene items, razors, shaving cream, soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste, water, snacks, hair ties, flashlights and batteries, etc. As troop leader Abi Bordigioni said, “They did such a great job! So proud of themselves!”
P.E.O. Chapter JO of Santa Rosa recently awarded scholarship monies to two local students through the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education. Judith Ngoma, originally from Zambia, is an Associate Degree in Nursing student at Santa Rosa Junior College. Constancia Bosha, originally from Zimbabwe, is a BSN (Bachelor of Nursing) student at Sonoma State University. Congratulations, ladies!
I know Shannon Lee also has this tidbit in her Glen Ellen Telegram column, but I can't resist. Lexy Fridell Hommel and Graham Hommel of GlenLyon Winery welcomed a new vintage, Hattie Mae Hommel, into the world on Nov. 24, at 7 pounds, 5 ounces and (almost) 20 inches long. Lexy says, “Hattie has already put in an application to be cellar rat at GlenLyon in 2037. (Let's hope she ages well...)” Congratulations to the whole family, including brand new grandparents, Suzy and Squire Fridell! Now get some sleep.
That's all for now. Hope your 2020 is starting off better than mine. Why not make a New Year's Resolution to submit all your news and pictures to Village Chat? It's easy to do - send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP