Serving the communities of Valley Springs, Burson and Wallace
Anthony Arvizu, bottom left, of Valley Springs, Ashley and A.J. Robinson of Campo Seco were all smiles after receiving bicycles from National Wild Turkey Federation members, back from left, Thomas Eisenbrandt, Clint Gleason and Tom Dockter.
Turkey federation, San Quentin Prison give bikes to kids
Several children in the area received bicycles this holiday
season due to efforts from the National Wild Turkey Federation, San
Quentin State Prison and its inmates.
The Foothill Bearded Flyers Chapter of the federation received
nearly a dozen rebuilt bicycles from the prison. The bicycles were lost
or stolen from the Marin County area and were left unclaimed. They were
then turned over to the prison to be rebuilt by the inmates.
Clint Gleason, a member of the local chapter’s board, said the
bicycles were given to local children after speaking with school
officials and churches.
Three youngsters were on hand Wednesday when some of the bicycles
were given away. Anthony Arvizu of Valley Springs was quick to jump on
his new bicycle and begin riding it around the parking lot.
The federation is dedicated to conserving wild turkeys and
preserving hunting tradition, according to Tom Dockter, the chapter
The local chapter will have its annual banquet Feb. 23 in Valley
Springs. For more information about the banquet or the organization,
call Dockter at 786-6800.
Noreen and Paul Coca, owners of Firefall Jewelers, have released a gospel album of 13 original songs based on real life experiences.
Jewelers spread gospel through "Street Songs"
At first glance, one would not suspect that Paul and Noreen Coca
of Firefall Jewelers are musical artists.
The owners of Firefall Jewelers spend at least three weekends a
month playing music and singing on the street corners of Berkeley and
San Francisco spreading the word of God and for 11 years they worked
with homeless teenagers in the San Jose area.
Their musical training is as different as night and day. Noreen
is an accomplished violinist who attended college on a musical
scholarship, while Paul is a self-taught guitarist. Paul said he began
playing the guitar when he was 10 and his cousin who managed Carlos
Santana’s band provided the inspiration.
The couple recently completed recording their third album, titled
“Street Songs,” which is available at their Firefall Jewelers
locations at 10 L Nove Way, Valley Springs, and 1259 S. Main St., Angels
The album features 12 songs written by Paul and one by Noreen of
real life experiences – good times and bad - and with messages of
hope, Paul said.
Many of the songs were written within the past three to four
years, but one, “The Spirit and the Bride,” dates back to 1982 when
the couple was spending their first anniversary in Yosemite National
“After a hard day of playing and hiking we settled down to our
campsite and I walked off by myself with my guitar, sat by the river and
wrote this song,” he said.
“We got some amazing people to help us with this,” Paul said,
as he launched into a “Who’s Who” list of Christian music artists.
The album was produced by Chuck Girard, whom Paul said someday
will be in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Girard was a member of The Castells, The Hondells and later, Love
Song, one of the pioneer Christian rock groups. He later enjoyed a solo
career as a performer of Contemporary Christian Music.
His daughter, Alisa Childers, provided some of the vocals in
She is known for being in the all female group ZOEgirl. She has
had a string of top ten radio singles, four studio releases, and
received the Dove Award from being with ZOEgirl.
“Street Songs” features the first time Girard and Childers
have been recorded together, Paul added.
Phil Keaggy played electric guitar on the album. He is a
seven-time recipient of the GMA Dove Award for Instrumental Album of the
Year, and was twice nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel
Rumors have followed Keaggy for years that Jimi Hendrix or Eric
Clapton had supposedly named him as the world’s greatest guitar
And on bass was Mark Childers, who plays for Carrie Underwood.
“It’s just so amazing how this happened,” Paul said.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think these people would help us
out, but they did.”
Work to repair the overhang at the Valley Oaks Center is expected to begin next month.
Work expected to begin in January to repair center
Plans to repair the façade on the west side of the Valley Oaks
Center have been submitted to the county planning department and work is
expected to begin sometime in January.
Several vehicles were damaged and business interrupted Oct. 17
when a portion of the façade above the walkway fell.
The incident has been blamed on a lack of horizontal support in
the façade. The overhang has been shored up and deemed safe.
Once work begins, it is projected that it will take three to four
months to complete. Work will begin on the north end of the building at
Dr. Benedicto Estoesta’s clinic and continue in 100-foot increments
until reaching Mexico Lindo. It is predicted that six to eight parking
spaces will be closed at one time due to the work and the scaffolding
Existing signage will be temporarily removed and the contractor
will install banners for the businesses. The contractor will add
trusses, install a new façade, paint and put the existing signage back
Santa and Rudolph with Jenny Lind Pre-schooler Angela McCullough, 4 1/2, of Valley Springs. Photo by Nick Baptista.
Jenny Lind firefighters help St. Nick gather last-minute wish lists
The Jenny Lind Fire Protection District this week continued its
recent tradition of escorting Santa Claus around the area to receive
last-minute gift wishes from neighborhood children and the popular event
will conclude tonight with one more run.
Firefighters are ushering Santa and his friend Rudolph around
Rancho Calaveras in style with a caravan of fire trucks. The lead truck
carrying Santa and Rudolph is decorated with twinkling Christmas lights
and children can wait at street corners for the trucks to stop and Santa
will visit with them and hear their Christmas wishes inside the fire
The department started their Santa Express run last year and it
proved so popular they decided to do it again this year and make it a
tradition, said Fire Chief Brian Chavez-Ochoa.
The firefighters look forward to assisting St. Nick and seeing
the bright, smiling faces of the children, he added.
Santa and Rudolph combed the area Tuesday and Wednesday nights
and Friday’s final run will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m. The fire
department is scheduled to drive Santa along Kirby Street, Gabor Street,
O’Reilly Street, Owens Way, Redman Road, McAtee Street, Sparrowk Road,
Pardini Place and Hedgpeth Road.
For those children who were unable to catch Santa and Rudolph
while they were on the road, they will return to Jenny Lind Fire Station
No. 1 at approximately 8:30 p.m. for more visits. The fire station is
located at 6501 Jenny Lind Road.
The Bucy residence at 4280 Grisham Road finished in first place in the Rancho Calaveras Holiday Decoration Contest.
Bucys win Rancho Calaveras holiday decoration contest
Santa Claus won’t need Rudolph this Christmas Eve to find West
Calaveras as residents have gone to great lengths to decorate and light
up their homes and yards for the season.
The Rancho Calaveras Property Owners’ Association recognized
those efforts on Saturday by announcing the winners of their annual
Holiday Decoration Contest.
Bob and Linda Bucy at 4280 Grisham Road took top honors with
their front-yard display that is synchronized to music. Bob uses an
8-channel frequency controlled system to have nearly 2,500 lights flash
on and off with the sounds of Christmas and the holidays. He generally
has the lights and music on from 5:30 to 9 p.m. each evening to
Second place went to Tammy Wilhelm’s display at 8296 Hautly
The young and the young at heart gaze Wednesday evening at the newly lit Christmas trees near the downtown intersection of Highways 12 and 26.
Tree lighting ceremony a big hit
Fifty or so brave souls who came out in the cold Wednesday
evening to witness a community tree lighting ceremony behind the Century
21 Tri-Dam Realty office at the corner of Highways 12 and 26.
The realty office and Umpqua Bank of Valley Springs hope to make
the ceremony an annual event and the initial reaction was positive.
Three of the larger evergreens behind the office were lit up
shortly after 6:30 p.m. and the reaction was immediate as passing
motorists honked with approval. The crowd was treated to hot chocolate
and cookies and sang a variety of Christmas and holiday songs to usher
in the tree-lighting ceremony.
The trees are decorated differently with one in red lights,
another in green and the third with a variety of colored lights and
featuring a large gold star on top.
Danielle Scaparro Palm of Umpqua Bank said there is talk of
holding the ceremony the evening of the annual Christmas Parade and
Crafts Fair, which are always scheduled for the first Saturday in
December. She added that with a little more time in advance to prepare
for the ceremony, they hope to make a bigger, better and well publicized
event next year.
Valley Springs Area Business Association President Vip Hale, left, presents the ABA’s Citizens of the Year plaque to Barbara and Bing Stanley.
ABA honors Bing, Barbara Stanley as "Citizens of the Year"
By Nick Baptista
Whether it’s the Christmas Parade and Crafts Fair, Snyder’s
Valley Springs Pow Wow, or Fireworks over New Hogan, the couple honored
Saturday evening as the Valley Springs Area Business Association’s
Citizens of the Year are on hand taking an active role.
Bing and Barbara Stanley of Rancho Calaveras received the award
during the ABA’s annual Christmas Dinner at Jenny Lind Fire Station
The Stanleys have lived in the area for 22 years.
Bing is a retired ironworker and Barbara is a retired surgical nurse,
formerly with Lodi Community Hospital. They run Tri-Valley Water
Services, and Barbara says, “We’re about ready to retire from that
They have been involved with the ABA for nearly a decade and the
Valley Springs Boosters for approximately five years. Barbara is also a
member of the Jenny Lind Fire Department Auxiliary where she has been
the president for two years and vice president for another two.
At the Christmas Parade, Bing can be seen at the end of the event
with the enviable task of pulling Santa and Mrs. Claus’ sleigh, while
at the Pow Wow he’s generally on a Quad runner directing traffic and
parking along with other assorted tasks. Barbara keeps busy helping
Betty Snyder when she’s not manning the pie shop or serving ABA snow
cones at the event.
At the annual Fireworks Show, they’re involved with the set-up,
barbecue, parking and selling raffle tickets.
“We do whatever we can do to help,” Barbara said.
Booster activities also included working at the Oktoberfest and
wine and cheese reception/fundraiser.
When he’s not working or volunteering, Bing likes to hunt, fish
and make wine. He is a member of the Calaveras Wine Alliance and has won
several awards for his winemaking, including recent notification that he
won a silver and bronze medal along with two honorable mentions for the
Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition.
The pace the past few years has been a little hectic, Barbara
said, and the couple is planning “to slow down a little bit.”
Some of the items at the Affordable Gifts of Art Show.
Affordable Gifts of Art Show under way in San Andreas
The public can share the creativity and spirit of local artists
with loved ones by selecting original gifts of art at the Calaveras Arts
Council’s Gallery on Main Street in San Andreas.
More than 30 artists have a variety of items displayed in the
15th annual Affordable Gifts of Art Show and Sale going on now through
Jan. 3, 2008.
Art show shoppers avoid the stress of shopping at malls and
unlike on-line shopping, they can actually touch and see the items
they’re buying. The items are from locals you may even know, who have
painstakingly put their hearts into each creation.
From small paintings to ceramic garden plaques to hand-forged
metal candleholders, the variety of affordable art is endless. There
will be photography, ceramic vases and sculpture, jewelry, ornaments,
pine needle baskets, CDs, books, gallery gift certificates, tickets to
Ovations, boxed cards, and more.
Artists include Randy Metzger (Randall’s Candles), Edie
Schembri, Lynda Gilmore, Megan Aguilar, Dorothy Burnett, Marilyn Thomas
Hinsdale, Margaret Roberts, Ken Winebrenner, Lori Kelly, Robert
Atkinson, Cate Culver, Ruth Morrow, Bambi Papais, Susan King, Ann Nancy
Macomber, Kathy Martinez, Lynn Keever, Lura Francis, Sarah Switek, James
Aarons, Dave Gano, Bonnie Gill, Ingrid Brown, Rory Gage, Michael Wood,
Maren Sampson, Jane Brown, Don Hukari, Martha Wallace, Pat Rohovit,
Barbara Schmidt, Helen Scofield, Lisa Gage, Jerry Gantgen and Andrea
The gallery is located at 22 Main St. and is open 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. weekdays. On Saturdays, the hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Free parking is easily accessible behind the gallery where there
is a parking lot off of California Street.
Call the Calaveras Arts Council, which is a non-profit, public benefit corporation, at (209) 754-1774 for any arts-related information or go its website at www.calaverasarts.org.
Top Hat School of Dance students perform a holiday number to capture the best walking group-children award at the 24th annual Christmas Parade.
Brownies win top honors at Christmas Parade
Brownie Troop 535’s float captured the attention of the judges
on Saturday and won the best float-kids and the grand prize trophy for
the 24th annual Valley Springs Business Association’s Christmas
The Brownies wooed the judges with their colorful holiday-themed
float and Christmas caroling.
The event, which traditionally kicks off the holiday season in
west Calaveras County, attracted 39 entries and a large crowd along
Daphne Street and in front of the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial Hall
where the annual Crafts Faire was under way.
The association’s Citizens of the Year – Bob and Dolly Paden
- were the parade’s grand marshals. The final float of the parade
featured North Pole residents Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus who set up shop
at the Vets Hall to hear everyone’s Christmas gift wishes and pose for
photographs with the young ones.
The parade also marked the unveiling of Foothill Fire Protection
District’s newest piece of equipment, a 50-foot ladder truck recently
purchased for $25,000 from the Waterloo-Morada Fire District. The truck
was a hit as the fire district won the parade’s emergency vehicle
The remaining parade winners were, by category:
American Legion and Boy Scout Troop 302, honor guard; Abbey Water Well, commercial float; Top Hat Dance, walking group-children; Habitat for Humanity, walking group-adults; Foothill Classics Car Club, vintage auto; Double Springs Ranch, vintage emergency/farm vehicles; and Dara Coleman and Family, mounted.
“Things went without a hitch,” ABA President Vip Hale said. “The crafts faire was a success and the vendors were happy.”