Saturday, May 20, 2006

 

Turn around bright eyes

Thursday I attended the annual Turn Around Scholarship presentations from the Los Gatos Kiwanis. This event gives $1,000 scholarships to 10 students in the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District who have overcome all types of difficult challenges. Congratulations to EVELYN BLESSING, DYLAN BURKE, JONATHAN MOULTRUP, ADAM NUDELMAN, RENE STEPHEN, and VALERIE VOLPIN from Los Gatos High School, LORRAINE LOREN from NOVA and LAWRENCE BURGESS, JUSTIN LARZELERE, and KELLY SLABAUGH from Saratoga High School. And, congratulations also to MARY BARTLETT, president of the Los Gatos Kiwanis and all of its members for organizing this outstanding program to recognize young people in our community who have found strength deep within themselves to overcome obstacles and excel. The experience made me think of a quote on a wall plaque that is a key element in the movie “Akeelah and the Bee,” about a girl from South Central L.A. who makes it to the national spelling bee. The quote intrigued me and I tracked it down on the Internet. Here is an excerpt: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? … It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” There were tears and smiles all around on Thursday, and everyone left the Kiwanis luncheon feeling inspired by what these teens have achieved.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

History on the Boulevard


Do you know that feeling when you visit someplace for the first time and you immediately know that it is a friendly, joyous environment? That was my experience on Wednesday when I attended the inauguration of officers of the History Club of Los Gatos. I have been to the History Club many times through the years for wedding receptions and other special events, but it was my first time to meet the members of the club that goes back to 1897. There are now close to 100 members and many of them were in attendance this week to enjoy a refreshing homemade ice cream dessert and applaud the new officers: CAROL BURT [president], MAXENE BLOOD, MARGE ULRICH, THERESE WIESE, HARRIET FISHER, FAUSTENE HEILMAN, MARGE RICE, JUBIE JARAMILLO, KATHY CUSICK, LYNNE DAHMS, MARGARET SCHU, MARYON HICKS, and GWEN DAVIS. It was also wonderful for me to talk with SARA MORABITO who worked with my mom for many years at General Electric. Brought back a lot of great memories. The ladies of the History Club of Los Gatos told me I’m welcome to come back any time, and I surely hope I will be able to do so soon.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

 

A new view


Last night I attended the annual Window on the River Park event that celebrates Guadalupe River Park & Gardens. I’ve been involved with the river park on and off for many years and last year it was my pleasure to handle the grand opening event [50,000 people – were you there?] as part of my day job – president of McNutt & Company, Inc. Public Relations. The Window event was held on the 16th floor terrace of Jeppesen, a company you may not have heard of, but one that probably affects your life. It supplies pilots all over the world with the aeronautical charts you see them carting onto the plane in those black briefcases. The local office – which was located in Los Gatos until about 5 years ago – handles corporate and private flight plans. You may recognize the names of a couple of their best clients: John Travolta and Dolly Parton. It was fascinating to tour their office. It operates 24/7 to put together flight plans and accurate weather forecasts for every possible route around the globe you can think of. I hadn’t thought about the need for pilots to get permits to fly over countries and was surprised to learn that they are charged a fee for every minute they are in foreign air space. Looking at the view of the valley from the terrace reminded me of the geography lesson I used to give to my daughter. I always told her that you can’t get lost in Santa Clara Valley. All you have to do is look up. If you see brown mountains, you’re looking east. If you see green mountains covered with trees, you’re looking west. And if you look to where the green mountain foothills dip down to make a V, you’ve found Los Gatos. And this is my husband pointing the way home.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

 

A dare that's good for us all


DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a national program for 5th graders in which a police officer leads a series of classroom lessons about how to resist the pressures to experiment with drugs and alcohol. At the Council meeting this week, we had three students from Blossom Hill School who were DARE essay contest winners help us with the Pledge of Allegiance – JESSIE BLUMENFELD, HOLLY HOLLAND, and COLE FERGUSON. KELSI KRANDEL, another essay contest winner, could not be present. It was an appropriate time for them to visit Council Chambers since we also that night celebrated our Police Department’s most recent honor – the James Q. Wilson Community Policing Award. Chief SCOTT SEAMAN and several officers were on hand to receive our congratulations for their outstanding efforts in serving our community. Thank you to HELEN BURGAND, Cole’s grandmother, for providing me with a copy of the photo of the essay winners and the Chief, and to PAM FERGUSON, Cole’s mom, for sharing his winning essay, titled Dreams, with us. Here is an excerpt: “Most kids like me have dreams of becoming famous or to become known for doing something brave, but if you smoke, drink, or do drugs your chances will be ruined. In life you have two big choices, which are either eat healthy, don’t smoke, drink, and don’t do drugs, or you can do the opposite…I will never ever take harmful drugs or smoke in my life because I want to full fill my dreams and live long.” Good words to live by for us all.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

 

It's good to have friends


I could not make it to the annual Arbor Day ceremony in Oak Meadow Park on Friday [schedule conflicts seem to be my life nowadays], but my fellow Council Members BARBARA SPECTOR and MIKE WASSERMAN did a great job in talking about the history of Arbor Day and bragging a bit about Los Gatos being a Tree City, USA for 25 years. Our record beats out the other 7 cities in the Valley who also have Tree City status and 5 that haven’t yet qualified for this honor bestowed by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. It was a special ceremony because a tree was planted that day in honor of the late Joseph Pirzynski, father of Vice Mayor JOE PIRZYNSKI. [Memorial trees can be donated by family or friends as a long-lasting tribute.] We are elected to Council as individuals and we continue to act as independent thinkers and decision-makers, but it is nice to develop personal friendships with the people that you spend so much time with. We are all different, but we share a commitment to the community and respect for each other. And I have to say that makes a tough job a little easier.

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