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Village Chat: 03/15/2015

Village Chat

Sixth grade teacher at Kenwood School, Sheila Morrissey, reports that one of her students, Hunter Halkovich, is spearheading a community project for homeless youth. “We contacted a local youth shelter and are collecting general hygiene products to create individual bags filled with what a person needs to take care of themselves for a few days. These things are based on what the shelter told us they needed.” They are working with the Street Outreach Program at SAY (Social Advocates for Youth) in Santa Rosa. The list includes hand and foot warmers, bandaids, Neosporin mini packs, travel size aspirin, Q-tips/cotton balls, alcohol wipes, deodorant, soap, combs, wash cloths, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and full size containers of shampoo and conditioner. People can drop off supplies in the box in front of the school office from 8:30 a.m to 4 p.m., up until March 31.

And now for the really cool part. Hunter's mom Andrea Halkovich writes about a “pay it forward” gesture that's had a huge ripple effect. “Upon hearing about the project, owner of Sonoma's E&R Hair Gallery and Kenwood resident Elena Sanchez, asked for her fee to be put toward supplies for the homeless kids. I posted her good-will on Facebook and former Kenwood resident and owner of Sonoma Valley Landscape, Kathleen Bunte, dropped off a very generous bag full of much needed products over the weekend. Local Nora Russo saw the same post and has become the project's fairy godmother, pitching in $100 worth of supplies. She has told friends about the project, one whom also matched her donation in products and another, dentist Steve Berger, who is donating dental supplies. It's been just so incredible to see this community come together and support these kids in lending a hand to needy kids.” Amen.

Kenwood School 1st graders do the Shamrock Shuffle.
On March 10 at Kenwood School, all classes participated in the Shamrock Shuffle, a running event to promote health and wellness. PE teacher Sharon Watson had each class run around the school field, staggered throughout the day, with Kindergarteners running three laps, 1st and 2nd graders running four laps, and 3rd-6th graders running a full mile.

Pictured with the Cat are the top readers at Dunbar School, fifth graders Sarahi Moreno Aparicio (left) who read 2,442 minutes, and Sophia Girgius (right) who read for a total of 2,340 minutes.
Meanwhile over at Dunbar School, as part of “Read Across America,” the Cat in the Hat arrived on March 6 to meet students and kick off an afternoon of reading. For a month, students had been accumulating reading minutes to help the Cat in the Hat (who looked very much like Casey Wellington of Glen Ellen) make his way from Boston to Glen Ellen, via many different roads. The whole K-5th school read for a total of 103,945 minutes. The top reading class at Dunbar was Wendy Wellender's 4/5 multi-grade class which read a total of 16,132 minutes. The prize for those serious readers is either a pizza party or an ice cream party.

One-week-old mini-nubian buckling named Midnight, Two Moon Family Farm in Glen Ellen.
Here's another photo I couldn't resist. Shannon Lee has baby goats over at Two Moon Family Farm in Glen Ellen, and they are pretty darn cute. Thanks, Shannon!

Intrepid traveler Maud Hallin is crazy about India and has been there many times. She recently spent a month there and sent us a report and a number of photos. Here are the highlights: After an early morning elephant ride through the jungle resort of Satpura, Madhya Pradesh, Maud wanted to give her mount a bit of fruit. She expected it to pick up the fruit with its trunk, but no. “This elephant opened her big mouth, indicating that I should put the treat onto her very large, pink tongue.” This involved reaching down into the elephant's mouth, which even Maud found a little scary.

Maud Hallin takes a break after inspecting a local cook’s bread oven in Himachal Pradesh.
Leopard stalking buffalo calf in India.
In that same jungle she witnessed a leopard attacking a baby buffalo. “We found the calf injured, and stopped to watch the mother care for it. Suddenly we spotted a young leopard (down-wind) in the high grass. Yes, he was preparing for another attack. We spent over an hour watching every step.” (They were in a jeep while all this was going on.) Maud also sent pictures of this wildlife encounter, but, she writes, “obviously I was unable to ask the leopard for a sitting with the Kenwood Press.” We understand! And don't worry, the mama buffalo eventually drove the leopard off with her horns.

Maud also went to Amritsar, the holy temple of the Sikhs, to Dharamsala, the political headquarters of the Dalai Lama, to Bhopal where her hotel/retreat had solar panels and used recycled water in its vegetable gardens, and to Himachal Pradesh on the hills of the Himalayas where the farmers grow both bananas and apples, tea bushes, apricots, plums, cherries, and potatoes that are famous for their flavor.

Susan and Max Schacher on Cuverville Island in the Antarctic Peninsula.
To celebrate his 70th birthday, Max and Susan Schacher traveled to Antarctica. First they flew to Buenos Aires, then down to Ushuaia where they caught a ship that sailed 10 days down and around the Antarctic Peninsula. Susan said it really wasn't too cold (it's summertime there), around 30º in the daytime, but every day “we 'suited up' in our jackets, waterproof pants, hats and gloves with the life jacket on top of all that. I remembered why I stopped skiing.” Max and Susan owned the Kenwood Restaurant before selling it to Bill and Becky Foss two years ago. Now they're enjoying some well-deserved free time. Happy Birthday, Max!

Congratulations to Mike Mullins, Kenwood resident and former Sonoma County District Attorney. Mike has been appointed Dean of Empire College School of Law, an institution he helped found back in 1973. He was Associate Dean to the school's first dean, Hon. Lawrence G. Antolini, and was an instructor of Empire Law School's first graduating class. Mike is the law school's seventh dean. He replaces William Robertson, who retired Dec. 31. President of the College, Roy Hurd, stated, “I believe that Mr. Mullins' vision for the Law School will elevate it to its next level of professionalism and recognition. He brings a great deal of experience and enthusiasm to this position.” Definitely.

I have a lot more to tell you, but I'm out of room. Stay tuned for the next episode of “Village Chat” on April 1. In the meantime, if you have an item, please send in your news and photos to, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP

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