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Village Chat: 11/01/2013

Village Chat

It's the end of an era at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, as Rev. Hugh Stevens is retiring. The congregation roasted and toasted Hugh and his wonderful wife Angela at a festive farewell party on Oct. 26. Hugh has been the spiritual leader at St. Pat's for 23 years, and parishioners have long enjoyed his British wit and, some would say, irreverence. As Mark Stephens said in his roast, he was right out of central casting, the English vicar, an older Hugh Grant. But of course, he's been much more than that, tending to his flock with great warmth and concern, and he and Angela will be truly missed. There will be an interim rector starting in November, while the vestry searches for a new permanent rector. Enjoy all your free time, Hugh!

Riley Orton with the results of his toy drive last December.
Riley Orton is at it again. Kenwood's nine-year-old philanthropist is organizing two fundraisers - a school supplies drive, and a coin drive, both to help school children in Kenya. Last year at Kenwood School, Riley organized a toy drive for the Valley of the Moon Children's Home and collected three large carts full of toys which he and his mom Jennifer Fee dropped off at the home. Riley then wanted to do something for children in Africa, so he started a school supplies drive, through Develop Africa (, that brought in both money and school supplies. Meanwhile, in Kenya, a man named David Omondi, co-founder of the Aliki Preparatory School in the Obunga slums of Kisimu, Kenya, saw what Riley had done and contacted him via Facebook. He was so impressed that an eight-year-old boy would be so willing to help children both at home and in Africa, that he named the school's foundation The Riley Orton Foundation. How 'bout that! To find out more, go to The coin drive and school supplies drive will be at Riley's new school, Prestwood Elementary in Sonoma, as well as at other schools and businesses in the area. You can also contact Jennifer at 292-4812 for more information.

Liz Parsons tells us that a picnic table has been placed in Sonoma Valley Regional Park to honor Glen Ellen and Kenwood resident Connie Menzies who died in February at the age of 99. There is a plaque that reads:

In loving memory of Connie Menzies 1914-2013

who deeply respected nature and all living creatures

esteemed by all

Connie often walked in the park and knew the name of every flower and tree that grew there. She was a lifelong member of the Sierra Club and the California Native Plant Society. The table is located on the west side of the park near the Carmel Road entrance. There will be a dedication of the table on Nov. 18 at 11 a.m., and Connie's friends are invited to come and celebrate this fitting memorial to an avid nature lover.

Jerry and Nancy Fischman, proprietors of Birmingham Bed & Breakfast in Kenwood, are sad to report the passing of Snickers, their beloved 15 _-year-old, non-retrieving, retriever-mix. People walking along Greene St. were often by greeted by Snickers as they passed by, and she could be seen daily with Jerry at the Post Office when he picked up the mail. The Fischmans rescued Snickers from the Burbank animal shelter many years ago, and she made the move to Kenwood with Nancy and Jerry when they came here 10 years ago.

This year's Blessing of the Animals at St. Francis Winery on Oct. 6 netted $2,600 for the Sonoma County Humane Society. Tasting Room manager Jessica Sandine dropped off the check last week. Thanks to all attendees, both the two-legged and the four-legged variety, who made it such a great success.

Michael Pine supervises Stephen O’Neil (center) and Amaury Nieves at the Dunbar Car Wash last month.
Dunbar School's 4th and 5th graders held their annual car wash on Oct. 19. The students raised $1,500, which helps pay for field trips, including their Voyages of Discovery sailing trip, and an outing to the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The kids washed 87 cars, including a Ferrari and a fire truck. Everybody got a little wet, but all for a good cause.

I wish I had more room, because there's more to tell, but it will have to wait until next time. Thanks to everyone who sent in news and photos for Village Chat. You can, too! Just email or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP


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