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Caspar Community Newsletter: February 2005


Caspar News and Press Releases


February 2005 Caspar Community Newsletter

ELECTRONIC EDITION


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So Much To Do -- So Much Time (100 Years!)

From the President of the Caspar Board

The holiday season is again receding into the past, the light is again returning, and I am again opening the seed catalogs! Gardening this year will be different because a Community Garden is coming to Caspar. And what better place to work for and dream about a sustainable Caspar than a beautiful Caspar garden.

And what better way to react to all those “For Sale” signs in the heart of Caspar than to realize it is time for the community to make some decisions about water and sewer ownership and to update the Caspar Town Plan we created in 1998. Several Caspar folks met with County Planner Pam Townsend in Ukiah in early January to discuss how best to interact with the County as we revisit our plan for a sustainable village. We'll outline this interaction at the Community Meeting.

Of course the town has been realizing and revisiting much of the Town Plan all along — buying Caspar Headlands State Park in 2000, creating our beloved Caspar Community Center in 2002, and creating the Village Square Plan in 2003.

In true Caspar style — commitment to communication, hard work, and good fortune — we are close to realizing part of our Village Square Plan: the building of a school. I hope a town-full of people will turn out to discuss the proposed building of the Caspar Children's Garden preschool at the Community Meeting. How many times did I write Community Meeting? Three! I hope to see you there.

I am so thankful to live in Caspar and share with my neighbors the benefits of our work for a sustainable village. The work itself is one of the benefits!

-- Judy Tarbell      


Caspar Children's Garden

By Paul Reiber

The plans for the Caspar Children's Gardens proposed move to Caspar town center will be presented at the February 13 Community Meeting.

The Caspar Children's Garden has a long history of service to our community providing high quality day care for preschool children. They need to relocate after many years at Sunshine Taylor's site in north Caspar. The possibility of their building a school on the Community Center property has been under discussion for over a year.

A joint committee of Children's Garden and Community Center Board members was formed to find solutions that fit both the Center's and the School's needs. This group has drafted an agreement that would lease land to the Children's' Garden for a new pre-school on the southeast corner of the Community Centers property in Caspar town center. The school building and playground will be enclosed by a low fence and accessed from the Community center parking lot by a walkway to the south of the Center.

The Caspar Community Center Board is excited by this opportunity to bring the energy and enthusiasm of the preschool to the center of town. The presence of the children and their parents will broaden the Community Center's service to the community and draw in more of the young coastal families. Parents coming and going will add to the critical mass needed to bring about our hopes for a café on the site and will create an increased sense of a true village center.

Details of the draft agreement will be presented at the Community Meeting and questions will be addressed. I hope this meeting will resolve any issues that stand in the way of proceeding with the agreement with the Caspar Children's Garden, and that the project can move forward with a projected completion in 2006.


Joe Craven in Caspar

by Paul Schulman

With great excitement and pleasure, on Saturday, February 12, the Caspar Community will present a concert and dance with the Joe Craven Trio. The seed for this event was planted a few years back when Dalen and I saw Joe perform at the Wild Iris Festival. We were so impressed with his spirited and eclectic performance, including his rendition of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" played on his boot lace, that we said "Someday we have to bring him to Caspar."

Since 1989, Joe Craven has been a highly respected multi-instrumentalist playing with the David Grissman Quintet. He is a madman on anything with strings attached and plays all manner of mouth, hand, and found object percussion. He has performed and/or recorded with Stephane Grapelli, Jerry Garcia, The Persuasions, Maria Muldaur, and many others. His own recordings include Camptown, Mo' Joe, and his latest release, Django Latino, an ear opening exploration of Django Reinhardt tunes played in the musical styles and rhythms of Latin America.

Joining Joe on the Caspar Community Center stage will be drummer/percussionist Kendrick Freeman and pianist John R. Burr, both veteran performers and inspired contributors on Joe's recordings. The concert/dance will begin at 8:30. This event might easily sell out. Advance tickets are available at Tangents, Harvest Market and online at CasparCommons.org for $18.00. If there are any tickets left the night of the show they will be $20 at the door. Beer, wine and snacks will be available.

On Sunday, Feb. 13 at noon Joe will offer a musical workshop, "Thinking Outside the Box... and Playing On It!" which is open to all levels and instruments. Cost of workshop is $20, call Dalen at 964-4997 to reserve a space. If you'd like a preview of Joe's work, visit his website: www.joecraven.com

False Spring

by Lila McMurtry

Narcissus blossoming, choruses of tree frogs, flowers opening on some trees and shrubs, even the odd birdsong ... No, it's not Spring at all. It's just our usual Caspar "False Spring."

This is a good time for birding -- look for a Northen Mockingbird in downtown Caspar. And with the soil a little moist, it's a great time to pull out non-native invasive plants. Your own back yard is the place to start. It's educational and stimulating, and good exercise, too. You can pull weeds and watch for birds!

Caspar interviews:


Susan and Jerry Juhl live in a house tucked into the shorepine woods just above Cantus Cove on Caspar Point, where they sat down with Michael Potts on January 14th to talk a little about how they got to Caspar, what they're doing here, and what their future holds. Here's their story:

Susan:  I was born in Carmel, and we lived in Cambria for 17 years, so Caspar is my third California coastal village starting with CA. I'm a fourth generation Californian...
Jerry:  Susan's family came to California during the Gold Rush and started a brewery, which was a very smart thing to do. I started thinking of myself as a Californian before my family moved here from St. Paul when I was 12.

During the early years of our marriage we lived in New York City, where I was writing for the Henson Company and the Muppets. We liked the City but we hated the East. So we moved to Cambria in central California, but wound up working half of most years in London and Toronto, where The Muppet Show and then Fraggle Rock were produced. Susan worked with me on the Fraggle show.

Susan:  It was in London, when Jerry was so busy, that I discovered classical music. I was out three or four nights a week, because there are so many venues, and the music was so fine!

When we moved to Cambria, it was a sleepy ocean front village, but what happened while we were there was sad. It was known as "Cambria Pines by the Sea", but by the time we left, it was more like stumps.

Jerry:  The Real Estate people subdivided the land into such small lots that one practically had to cut down every tree to be able to build.
Susan:  We always joked that when Cambria got its first stoplight, we'd have to move, and when we were packing the moving van, they were installing the first stoplight.
Jerry:  Cambria is still not Bakersfield...
Susan:  Yes, there are nice things there, like Moonstone Beach, but...

We always lived right smack in the middle of a big city, or in a small town, and so when we started looking for a place to move, we started with Monterey, Watsonville, Santa Cruz, but everything was too expensive and too gated. We worked our way on up the coast, and when we made that turn, and Mendocino Village came into view, we said, "That's our place." It just felt right.

Jerry:  I have heard others tell the same story.

Escrow closed on this place on Tax Day, 1987. I guess we don't need to talk about the fire that almost burned us out three weeks later -- that story is on the Caspar website.

Susan:  Well, it surely helped us get to know our neighbors!
Jerry:  I still had ties to the Henson organization, and so for the first few years I was commuting, getting up in the middle of the night and driving to the airport to fly to New York or L.A. One of the things I liked about the Mendocino coast when we first arrived was all the bumper stickers, "Kill Your TV." The irony appealed to me, because I was so involved in television and movie work. It gave us a little perspective!
Susan:  This is my fifteenth year hosting my classical music program on KZYX and Z -- "Loose Canon Classics," I call it, because you never know what I'm going to play. At first, it was called "The Wolfgang Gang" and I was playing lots of Mozart. Now I play a lot of contemporary American compositions, accessible, no serialism or twelve-tone, along with the older music. You can tune in first and second Tuesdays of the month from 10am until noon.

When we moved here, I was weaving professionally twelve hours a day. But we got so involved here. I found I couldn't weave part time, so I gave my looms away.

Jerry:  We were both on the board of Mendocino Performing Arts Company; in fact, Susan did a term as chairperson...
Susan:  ...And I was doing a lot of sound design. They have computers in the booth now, and others do that better than I, but I still like to do the music design.
Jerry:  Up until three years ago I was pretty active in the Henson organization, and I am still involved in the non-profit Jim Henson Legacy project. Last November we went back to a two-day Henson retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was exciting: they had three venues, good crowds...
Susan:  ... And lots of people remembered the Fraggle Rock theme song.

Now the first season of Fraggle Rock is just about to be released on DVD. There was a petition on the web, and 30,000 people signed, that made that happen. The Muppet Show will also be re-released on DVD soon...

Fraggle Rock images
Jerry:  They did a test DVD that was only available at WalMart, so that's the only time I've ever been in one of those. I'm planning a talk about my years writing Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and the Muppet movies at the Caspar Community Center in March -- stay tuned for the date.

I still go on the road, speaking and lecturing. There's actually a college course on the Muppets at UC Santa Cruz, which I thought was pretty amazing until the woman who runs it explained it's a ruse to get students to discuss puppetry and pop culture.

I spent 37 years writing for the Henson Company, and now I'm trying to write again, trying to find a new voice, and this is very challenging.

Susan:  We like to travel, discover new places. We're in love with Australia, and we feel very comfortable in Sydney for some reason. But Caspar is Home. We plan to live in Caspar for the rest of our lives.
Jerry:  They'll have to carry us out of here!

This little community is unique, with its mix of people and houses and lives. There are certainly threats. One of the biggest hopes I have for Caspar is that as it grows, it does so as a community, not as a tourist attraction. We are book-ended by those, but I don't think that is what Caspar needs. I hope Caspar continues to be a community for the people who live here -- an interesting mix.

Join Jerry
for an evening of
Fragglism and Muppetry
Sunday, March 13th


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Solar Generator
Approved by County

What the PVs will look like on our roof

Caspar's Community Center Rooftop Energy Harvest Project passed an important test in late December when Coastal Permit Administrator Ray Hall heard protests and testimony in support, then approved the project. We are now waiting for the California Energy Commission to approve our grant, while gently asking anyone who believes that roofs are a good thing to generate electricity with to donate to the PV Roof Fund. A warm Thank You goes out to those who appeared to support our application, and to those who have already contributed to the Fund.

What's Happening at the CCC

by Dalen Anderson

It has been a busy time of year at the Community Center. The silent auction in November was well supported and we raised enough money to have the north room painted. Now I'm waiting for bids to come in and a week with no scheduled events, and it will happen. New Years Eve was stormy and wet, but the crowd did their best to bring a tropical feel to the evening, listening to Hui Arago and dancing to Kevin and the Coconuts.

I have been told that Caspar Community cuisine is earning a reputation on the coast for fine eating. On February 26th the kitchen crew and I will try again to maintain our reputation with a Breakfast and Books event. You can count on breakfast being fresh, tasty, and lovingly prepared. Local book sellers will be set up in the south room, and will donate a percentage of their sales to the Caspar Community.

Mark May 28, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, for a large outdoor community flea market. Spaces will be available to rent, or you can donate items to the Caspar Community booth. This will be the one big Market Day of the year, so plan ahead to clean out the garage, make crafts items to sell, bring those homegrown chicken eggs, or whatever you've got to sell. I am planting extra vegetable and flower starts for sale or trade.


3rd Annual Folk Festival

by Michael Potts & Dalen Anderson

Festival Music Director Frannie Leopold has convened a small group, including Dalen Anderson and Paul Schulman, to line up artists for the Third Annual Caspar World Folk Festival. Our Festival has been so much fun in past years that part of the problem is deciding how to invite back favorite acts while introducing new groups to the coastal audiences.

Other aspects of the Festival will be improved based on findings from past years. The outdoor stage was a big success, and many vendors said that the enlarged market was one of their best venues ever.

We are presently seeking housing for a few great visiting musicians. Last year, hosts and performers alike were enthusiastic about our musician home stays. If you have a spare cabin, bedroom, or house over the August 6th and 7th weekend, please consider supporting our Festival by housing musicians.

Curmudgeon header

Lions Convention in Caspar

Sea Lion raft in Caspar Anchorage

Sea Lions, that is.

Caspar Anchorage has been the venue for an unusual congregation -- as many as 500 at a time -- of visiting Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus). They don't wear funny hats or drive funny cars, but this predominantly male gathering has awakened sleepers as much as a mile inland with its negotiations for space and dominance in large floating rafts that include hundreds of participants. When the sun is shining, individuals often hold a foreflipper out of the water to gain a solar income.

In recent weeks, stormy seas have also increased the population of the Caspar Sea Lion rookery just off South Caspar Point. This year-‘round hauling out point is critically important for sea lion survival. With the ocean raging, one can often sea very young Sea Lion pups getting the best spots for security and warmth.

Isn't it interesting that the Sea Lions' loud vocalizations blend into the pleasant background noise of sea and wind, but a barking dog...

Dogs -- or, rather, their owners -- are the focus for the Curmudgeon's rant this time.

Dogs are wonderful companions, and I'm always happy to go walking with my next door neighbor Pippin, a young Lab with endless enthusiasm for fetching sticks out of the waves. But I take responsibility for my bumptious friend when he walks with me. I'm the human.

Dog owners are wrong to think that we are all as enchanted as they are by the products of their dogs' bodily functions. I refer to the steaming piles dogs leave behind when they "do their business." I resent dog owners who allow their dogs to foul my street-side property. When Pippin walks with me, I carry small biodegradable plastic bags in a pocket so I can take care of it when he feels the urge. Cleaning up after him is repulsive ...but why should someone else clean up after your dog?

In this era of governmental poverty, our new-won Caspar Headlands is a State Park managed primarily by neglect, and so we manage it best as an extension of our front yard. For dog owners (and the rest of us) this means: First, no one has a right to dispose of trash along the trail -- including cigarette butts, candy wrappers, beer cans ...and dog droppings. This land needs our help to heal, so if you bring it, take it. Second, the precious open space of the headlands and riparian is a wildlife magnet. Most of us choose to live here because nature is abundant, and on headlands and streamside this is especially true for ground nesting birds, small mammals, burrowing owls, and deer that use the tall grass for lying in. Technically, unleashed dogs are not permitted in our park because the State Parks wildlife stewards realize, if dog owners do not, that dogs are never "under control" when their instinctual impulses are triggered. Dogs running wild in Mendocino County may legally be shot, so please keep your dogs close, and if you can see it, pick it up.

Thank you for your consideration.

Caspar News
ELECTRONIC EDITION
Editor: Michael Potts


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