Write 2 The Top


South Valley Newspapers

and other publications

Angela is a freelance writer for South Valley Newspapers.
South Valley Newspapers owns The Gilroy Dispatch, The Hollister Free Lance, The Morgan Hill Times, and The Pinnacle.

She freelances for Out and About the valley magazine

Angela has also published articles in The Gilroy Patch

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The Art of Preservation
Solve plant crime
Disaster Preparedness Fair Centennial Anniversary Celebration
Community Conversations Capstone Event Parisian Painter Makes Mark in South Valley
Morgan Hill Wind Symphony
Children's Author Karen Beaumont
Ten to watch
Anthony Goularte
Gene Guglielmo
Jon Hatakeyama
Brad Jones & Cinda Meister
Dennis Kennedy
Roger Knopf
Greg Sellers
Jennifer Tate
Steve Tate
Art in the Land Flowing with Milk and Honey Casa Galleria: Art Shop on a Mission
Artist Sonya Paz Minds Her Own Business
King of the Art World
Morgan Hill Wind Symphony

Morgan Hill On The Run (front page story) Angela Young writes a top sports story
Globe Trotting for Sport - Sarah Oliphant part 1 Cool Runnings - Sarah Oliphant part 2
Dirty Legs Footrace
Annual WonderCon isn't just for Geeks
Celebrating the popular arts at WonderCon
'Peanuts' gang is back in new animated special
Big Wow! ComicFest draws local talent
God Bless America Celebration
Wondercon 2012: A super geeky weekend
Thousands attend Big Wow Comic Fest
Remembering September 11
Morgan Hill Dishcrawl
30th annual Wildflower run
Super Cool Summer Camps
Doing business the green way
The International Big Sur Marathon
Morgan Hill's Mushroom Festival
Mushroom Mardi Gras Fun Run

Mushroom Mardi Gras Fun Run for All

This article ran in Out and About the valley magazine in May 2013

Cover of Out & About the Valley magazine with article by writer Angela Young

Pate 1 of article in Out & About by writer Angela Young

Page 2 of article in Out & About by writer Angela Young

The start of last year's 5K by photographer Alheli Curry
Runners in last year's 5K bolt
from the start with winners
Ken Oliver, Andrew and Annie
Bergholz in the lead.
Photo by Alheli Curry.

Sean Curry receives the crown, photo by Alheli Curry
Sean Curry, winner of the 10K,
receives the Jester Crown from a
Live Oak Athletic Booster member.
Photo by Alheli Curry.

2012 champion Sean Curry. Photo by Alheli Curry.
Defending champion of 2012
Mushroom Mardi Gras Fun Run
10K - Sean Curry.
Photo by Alheli Curry.

      Memorial Day weekend is synonymous with barbecues, picnics in the park, honoring our veterans, and the Mushroom Mardi Gras in downtown Morgan Hill. With all that eating, let’s add exercise too.

      The Live Oak Athletic Boosters will host the 27th annual Mushroom Mardi Gras Fun Run on Saturday, May 25th. The race features a 5K and 10K at the Coyote Creek Trail in Morgan Hill. It’s a great way to stay in shape and burn off calories.

      Roughly 65-70 volunteers band together to put on a successful event.  The organizers work hard every year. Proceeds of the race go to the athletic teams at Live Oak High.

      Volunteer coordinator, Leslie Hartl said, “This is Linda Pawlak's second year as race director. She works with the Morgan Hill Mardi Gras coordinator, sets up race logistics, meets with park ranger, takes care of permits, registration, posters, runner bags, t-shirts, prizes and posts results.”

      Last year, the weather was chilly but perfect for running. The race had a small turnout but rabbits of various ages competed and fast times were recorded for the 10K and 5K.

      Sean Curry, 44, from Salinas won the 10K in 2012 with 39:34. “I got out in front fairly early, and didn't look back until the turn around to find I had a good lead. I focused on maintaining that on the return portion, which has a gradual climb. I had to run my own race and not pace off of others as I often do,” recalled Curry. He plans to return to defend his title.

      Fremont’s Rebecca Yi, 37, won the women’s title in 42:52. Yi remarked, “This was my first Mushroom Mardi Gras Fun Run. It was very low key and friendly.”

      The 3.1-mile race had its share of competitive racers. Morgan Hill’s Ken Oliver, 51, won overall in 20:25. Oliver joked, “The 5K is for the young people. The fact they let an old guy like me win was terrific.”

      Annie Bergholz, 37, of Morgan Hill won the women’s division in 21:53.

       Get your athletic groove on and run for the ‘shrooms this year!

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Morgan Hill's Mushroom Festival Primed to Party

This article ran in Out and About the valley magazine in May 2013

Cover of Out & About the Valley magazine with article by writer Angela Young

Photo of the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras by writer Angela Young
See how mushrooms grow
at the growers exhibits

Photo of the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras by writer Angela Young
Inside the growers exhibit

Photo of the Morgan Hill Mushroom Mardi Gras by writer Angela Young
Festival goers

      When you hear the word fungus what comes to mind? Firm yet soft scrumptious morsels dipped in garlicky batter fried to perfection? Can you say portabella?

      The south valley is home to seven mushroom growers that are spread from Morgan Hill to Gilroy. Morgan Hill aka Mushroom Town is known for its 2-day fun-filled fungi festival held every Memorial Day weekend in May.

      It used to be at the park off Edmundson Avenue and moved several years ago to its permanent location on Depot Street and the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. If you’re a shroomer aficionado most likely you have the 34th annual Mushroom Mardi Gras marked on your calendar already. The event is free.

      “The mushroom is the festival star, which can be tasted in soup, stuffed, sandwiched, deep fried, marinated, and put over rice, “ says Sunday Minnich, event director.

      Indeed, the event offers a vast array of fungal delicacies to whet the palate for the carnivore or vegan at heart. You can also sample other tasty treats like local barbecue chicken or beef, hand dipped strawberries in chocolate, Polish hot dogs with sauerkraut, fruit smoothies, and garlic fries.

      If you would like to know how mushrooms are harvested, visit Mushroom Alley. The exhibit is inside a large tent near the huge inflatable mushroom. Folks inside the tent will gladly explain mushroom farming and hand out soup from Monterey Mushrooms.

     Culinary wizards out there would appreciate the cooking demo stage featuring Chef Tyler Stone, Gene Sakahara and Sam Bozzo of Sakabozzo, Patty Tartaglia from The Food Fixx and Emily Baird with Del Fresh Mushrooms who supply mushrooms for the demonstration.

     Besides imbibing on the smorgasbord of food and drink, festivalgoers will have a musical variety of pop, bluegrass, classic rock, and the blues to enjoy. Headliner acts Evolution and Department of Rock will party with the masses playing classic rock and high-energy dance tunes.

     For the little guys, Munchkin Land promises hours of fun with rides, a petting zoo, games, pony rides, and rock climbing for older kids. In the midst of the party, streams of minstrels, jugglers, Mama’s Wranglers with Jimbo the Clown, and Monty the Mushroom will roam through the streets.

      Sunday entices, “Shoppers can entertain themselves for hours browsing fine arts, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, home and garden wares and marketplace vendors.”

        Whatever your preference, you can be sure to find it at the Mushroom Mardi Gras.

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The International Big Sur Marathon: A Grand Tradition

This article ran in Out and About the valley magazine in April 2013

Cover for April 2013 Out & About the Valley magazine

Page 1 of article in Out & About by writer Angela Young

Page 2 of article in Out & About by writer Angela Young

Photo of runners in the Big Sur marathon by photographer Alheli Curry
Elite runners bolt out of the
starting gate at the start line
in Big Sur.
Photo by Alheli Curry

Ocean view at Big Sur by photographer Alheli Curry
Panoramic ocean views enraptured
runners at Big Sur Marathon 2012.
Photo by Alheli Curry

Photo of marathoner Sean Curry by photographer Alheli Curry
Marathoner Sean Curry of Salinas
proudly displays his medals
and awards for his age group win.
Photo by Alheli Curry

Marathoners at the Big Sur start line by photographer Alheli Curry
The start line
Photo by Alheli Curry

One of the most breathtaking scenic coasts in the world offers marathoners an experience bordering on the transcendent in central California. When a runner embarks on the unique racecourse on Highway One for 26.2 miles it feels more like soaring on the wings of the wind rather than pounding the pavement.

 The International Big Sur Marathon (BSIM) organizers will host the 28th presentation of their famous race on the last Sunday in April. Thousands of athletic enthusiasts from all over the world will converge to run from Big Sur to Carmel regardless of weather conditions.

Sometimes a balmy California day greets racers, and other times wind and fog are constant companions on the hilly terrain. However, to the diehards on course, the only thing that matters is the gorgeous oceanic views.

This classy marathon is divided up into different distances for all manner of athletic ability and taste. In addition to the 26.2, BSIM offers a 21-miler, 10.6-miler and 9-miler. People can also form relay teams to run in the marathon as well. If that isn't enough then throw in a 5K on Saturday the day before the marathon. 

Unfortunately, the marathon distance is sold out this year. When the race went on sale last July it took only 26 hours for it to sell out. However, the 5K, 9-miler and relay events are still available. Sign up on http://www.bsim.org.

Some of you may think, "Hey! What about a half marathon?"

The Big Sur Half Marathon takes place every November on the gorgeous Monterey coastline.

The BSIM organizers are racing veterans who love to run the distance and help others achieve their marathon dreams. Marketing Communications Director Julie Armstrong is passionate about their event and how it impacts the environment.

"For this year's race, we have a new sponsor in CamelBak who is now the title sponsor of our [BYOB Bring Your Own Water Bottle] stations.  They are committed to sustainability and proper hydration so we felt this was a good fit for our race," says Armstrong.

 "We were an early-adopter of greening our race.  We began major recycling efforts in 2007, and in 2009 our half marathon became one of the first (and still very few) Gold certified races in the country.  Our full marathon followed in 2010 with Gold Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport.  We were the first marathon to offer an online goodie bag . . .."

Big Sur Marathon fan Sean Curry of Salinas conquered the famous course last year in 3:11 after he did Boston two weeks prior. Sadly, an injury sidelined him last September.

"Last year I could picture myself finishing much faster with better planning and training, but since my training was interrupted I may struggle to even meet last year's time. Curry explains. "I have been cross training with cycling and a little swimming, but not consistently. In the last month, I have been more consistent with my running and am in the 30-60 miles per week range now. I'm learning more about my injury by running on it rather than not."

Curry along with other top runners plan to battle the hills in April. Last year Pacific Grove's Adam Roach won in 2:32:25 and Colorado's Nuta Olaru was the top overall female winner in 2:50:08. Olaru is coming back to defend her title. Who will win the race in 2013?

Armstrong encourages, "The event is regarded as a bucket list race and a highly coveted goal for runners throughout the world.  Registration for the 2014 race opens July 15th at 7AM and we anticipate an even faster sellout!"

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Doing business the green way

This article ran as a pair of articles in Out and About the valley magazine in April 2013
The two articles are reunited here to make them easier to read

Cover of Out & About the Valley magazine with an article by writer Angela Young

Article in Out & About the Valley magazine by writer Angela Young

Photo of People and Planet from an article by writer Angela Young
People and Planet

Photo of the Odeum sign from an article by writer Angela Young

Article by writer Angela Young in Out & About the Valley magazine

Article by writer Angela Young in Out & About the Valley magazine

Photo of Nut Kreations from article by writer Angela Young
Nut Kreations

Photo of Nut Kreations products from article by writer Angela Young
Nut Kreations products

Photo from article by writer Angela Young
The painting Pros

With crazy allergies and health issues popping up like weeds everywhere, most people are fed up with junk in food, water, the things we buy and the environment.

Healthy living in today's world is on everyone's mind. Who wants to eat radioactive fish with three heads? So, what to we do about reducing our carbon footprint on Planet Earth?

We'll focus on six companies spread throughout Silicon Valley, the coast, and the south valley who are taking measures in making their products and practices green.

Let's take a green tour and begin in the charming city of Santa Cruz. This seaside getaway is an ideal model of clean, evironmental living. The first earth friendly commercial enterprise is Nut Kreations on Lincoln Street.

They proudly produce a wholesome, tasty assortment of nuts and fruits in an environmentally safe store. They roast and season their products in-house. You can buy freshly made gourmet trail mix or granola blend that is actually healthy and taste great.

Brody and Mina Feuerhaken own Nut Kreations. Mrs. Feuerhaken is not only crazy about nuts but grew up in a family of pistachio farmers. She and her husband are into a healthy lifestyle promoting wholesome products sans of GMO (genetically modified organisms) elements. Keeping the planet healthy is a crucial mission for the Feuerhakens, who opened their downtown shop in 2011.

She explains, "It is a way of life I was raised on and more recently became more aware of. There is too much waste happening around the world if I can make a tiny difference, I feel way better about it.

"We built the place following the guidelines of being green. Anything from the paint we painted the place, to our lighting our product packaging, waste usage ,...was all in mind for being green and sustainable. I also remind my employees everyday to reuse, and reduce their waste and be considerate in their footprint. It starts from the bottom, and if we all use little measures in our daily efforts it will add up!"

It's no easy task to receive green certification.

"It is very extensive, tons of paperwork and inspection, but like I said we built the place with that in mind. Therefore, we were all ready; the paper work took longer for me to go through though," she says.

Nut Kreations also work with other green companies and purchases from local growers in central California and the south valley.

The next green retailer on our tour is Greenspace on Swift Street in Santa Cruz. This home improvement store's online catalog sell eco-friendly paints, stains, sealers, finishes, plaster, flooring, countertops, tile, solatubes, and mattresses.

Greenspace opened its door in 2006 to meet the cry for more eco-safe products and services in the Monterey Bay area.

Their website states, "Our goal is to provide a resource center to educate the community on the wide array of options available to lighten our impact on the earth and to create healthy environments without sacrificing comfort and beauty.

"We have spent many hours choosing the appropriate products for our store. We select the highest quality materials that provide a high level of ecological benefit to the environment and to our clients."

They use the following guidelines for their products and services:

  • Is it non-toxic?
  • Does it contain recycled content?
  • Is it sourced locally?
  • Is it no more than you need?
  • Does it reduce energy consumption?
  • Does it reduce water consumption?
  • Does it meet or beat strict European indoor air quality standards?
  • Is it of sufficient quality that it will not need to be replaced frequently?
  • Is it biodegradable?
  • Is it sustainably harvested?

Our next stop is the quaint town of Saratoga in Silicon Valley. Rainsavers' founder and president is Brad Daniel. The basic principal of Rainsavers is water conservation.

Daniel reveals, "Rainsavers is green certified, by Santa Clara County. Recognized by the State legislature, we use all recycled plastic products, barrels, tanks, stands.  Have very little waste. We use recycled paper for printing.  No chemicals or toxins. Rainsavers protects the environment by reducing stormwater runoff.  This runoff from properties goes to the street storm drains.  When it travels down streets, it picks ups all the paint, road oils, feces and other  pollutants and goes to the bay.  By stopping the runoff before it begins, that eliminates the pollution going to the bay."

Daniel and his company are aware of how we impact our environment.

He says,"A clean earth to me is all pollution related.  By reducing stormwater runoff, I am reducing pollution to the bay.  Rainwater tanks are also used for fire prevention in the Santa Cruz mountains.  Fire is both a destructive and beneficial condition to the environment.  Fire removes ground level vegetation and causes mudslides, property damage.  The benefit of fire is removing all the dead wood and leaves, and it cleans a forest for new growth." 

We leave Saratoga to visit the unique town of Los Gatos. The Painting Pros, Inc. is the first company to be green certified in Santa Clara County. Owner Cleve Dayton worked in the painting business for thirty nine years and got his license in 1978.

Dayton says, "Many years ago when I started painting, the business was not very green. For example, it was commonplace to pour used paint thinner in the dirt somewhere out of the way where no would see it. Not knowing any better I used to do it too until one day I dumped some thinner at the base of a tree. Of course the tree eventually died. I was not too happy about that. It taught me a really good lesson. Since then I have disposed of all oil-base products in a safe way.

My view is that we only have one Earth. We should make sure that we don't damage the environment and we should do things to make it even better for future generations."

 We now depart Los Gatos and head south to the rural city of Morgan Hill. People and Planet on Vineyard Boulevard is super cool. They care about the earth and also what we put into our bodies.

Mike Monroe at People and Planet not only sells healthy stuff for the environment and people but they offers classes on Saturdays on green subjects as well. I like the slogan on their website, "Think Globally! Act Locally!"

The business sprouted in Gilroy at Monroe's house. They sold fair trade organic coffee, teas, and chocolate but they continued to expand their product line and subsequently moved into an office suite in Gilroy in the mid 1990s. In 2004, they settled in their current location in Morgan Hill on Vineyard.

One of their early customers is Specialized Bikes, who are ecology minded too. Monroe shares, "We grew and grew and started selling more food. Then they (Specialized Bikes) started becoming more interested in snack-type food. One particular employee (who is no longer there) had sensitivity to wheat gluten. She had celiac. She came over and asked if we can give her some snack bars that are gluten-free. From that simple request all of a sudden we started buying more snacking stuff and other gluten-free products." They transitioned from a wholesaler into a retailer.

Monroe says, "A pet interest of mine that I like to pursue is organic gardening. We sell organic produce from local farmers and sell organic local eggs from what I call ranchers. They are people who have a dozen hens and in the past they might've given their eggs away. We would buy their eggs, give them money for them and they in turn would purchase organic feed from us."

People and Planet is serious about selling edibles without GMO's and looking out for the best interest of workers who harvest food worldwide. They support and are part of a large Fair Trade Network.

For our final stop, we go Odeum Restaurant on Depot Street in Morgan Hill for delicious fine dining. This Mediterranean eatery is also green certified.

"Our ethical, environmental, and purcasing policy underlines our mission to work towards a harmonious accord between people, technology and nature, requiring that all activities must take the environment into consideration.  We believe that we can make a useful contribution by becoming a leading 'eco-friendly' operation, striving to achieve harmony with ecology and the environment. Our policy restricts certain products from being sold at our restaurant, such as eggs from caged birds or out-of-season fish, and gives preference to the purchase of local produce, meat and fish," boast co-owner, Ashley Polston, a local estate planning attorney turned restaurateur. Her partner is Michelin Star Chef Salvadore Calisi who creates the suptious menu at Odeum.

Polston also adds, "Odeum also uses solar power to sustain its operation and enjoys an on-site garden and orchard, used to provide the freshest herbs, vegetables and fruit. Customers enjoy a walk through the on-site gardens and often spot Chef Calisi harvesting the herbs and vegetables that will soon become their dinner. "

Good thing we have these green ventures to keep us healthy and our great outdoors pristine.

12881 Pierce road
Saratoga, California 95070
Bradd67 @ comcast . net

California Grey Bears, Inc.
2710 Chanticleer Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95065

A+ Environmental Solutions
3560 Soquel Ave. #A
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Albert's Organic
2450 17th Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

719 Swift Street, 56-A
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: 831-423-7200
Fax: 831-515-5240

Summerwinds Nursery
2460 Winchester Blvd.
Campbell, CA 95008

Nut Kreations
104 Lincoln Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060
(831) 431-6435
Info @ nutkreations . com

The Painting Pros, Inc
14960 Los Gatos Blvd.
Los Gatos, CA 95032

Small Bees
Saratoga, Los Gatos and Gilroy
mfsmall @ smallbees . com

Vista Notes
1278 Morningside Circle
Hollister, CA 95023

Waste Water Solutions
Phone: (831) 638-9892
Toll-free: (866) 497-9892
PO Box 2274
Hollister, CA 95024-2274
info @ wastewatersolutions . net
235 San Pedro Ave
Morgan Hill, California 95020

Odeum Restaurant
17500 Depot Street, Suite 180
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

People and Planet
15750 Vineyard Blvd., Suite 160
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
408-776-3867 (fax)

Silva Chiropractic
18525 Sutter Blvd., Suite 170
Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Timptations and George Chiala Farms
Morgan Hill, CA

Garden Accents
11155 Lena Avenue
Gilroy, CA 95020

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Super cool summer camps

This article ran in Out and About the valley magazine in March 2013

Cover of out & about magazine, article by writer Angela Young

Page 1 of article Out & About article by writer Angela Young

Page 2 of out & about article by writer Angela Young

part 3 of article by writer Angela Young

Part 4 of article by writer Angela Young

Part 5 of article by writer Angela Young

Photo of young photographers
The photography program

photo from article by writer Angela Young
The iPhone
programming academy

photo from article by writer Angela Young
iD Tech camp

photo from article by writer Angela Young
The robotics program

What memories do you have as a kid at a summer camp? Did you sit around a roaring campfire, toasting marshmallows on a stick singing songs or telling scary stories into the wee hours of the morning?

For those who had the privilege of attending camps, a plethora of pine-scented memories fill the mind with adventures of hiking the woods, climbing rocky terrain or collecting bugs by the creek.

What if your child or teen can't eat sugar like other kids because of diabetes? Or what of Sammy who is dealing with chemotherapy and doesn't get to go to camp like his friends? What about 3rd grader Brenda who doesn't seem to fit in with kids at a typical summer camp because of Asperger syndrome? And let's not forget Miguel who'd rather write code and build an awesome computer program rivaling Linux.

We at Out & About Magazine have something different in mind for today's young generation. Namely, summer sleepover camps geared for folks with special needs such as burn victims, hi-tech lovers, cancer patients, kids who suffer from autism or diabetes.

We'll explore six unique camps in California.

Silicon Valley is the technology center of the world and within its borders is a really cool outfit called internal Drive (iD) Tech Camps in Campbell. They offer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) summer programs held at Santa Clara University, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and San Francisco State University. ID Tech Camps are nationwide at 26 prestigious universities with the express purpose of educating youth ages 7 to 17 in a weeklong camp or two week academy intensive on campus.

For example, kids can take courses on creating iPhone and Android apps, video game design and development, C++ and Java programs, 3D modeling and animation with Autodesk and Maya, robots, and web design with Adobe's Dreamweaver.

Karen Thurm Safran, VP of Marketing and Business Development, is passionate spreading the word about iD Camp's summer camps, and their gaming academy, programming academy, and visual arts academy. 

"We are proud of the impact iD Camps have on kids. It's the leading summer technology program in the world. These lucrative careers will grow; 1.2 million jobs that are STEM focused by 2018," Safran says enthusiastically.

Next on deck is Via West Campus in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They provide events for kids with special needs. Their website advertises, "Via West Campus offers year-round day and residential program that gives adults and children, ages 5 and older, with physical and/or developmental disabilities and special needs a chance to learn and grow amid fresh air and scenic surroundings. Our programs emphasize 'Living Healthy' themes that include nutrition, physical activity, health awareness and self-management. Via West is a unique community."

They have summer sessions ranging from 4 to 8 days. Participants are assigned to lodge groups based on age, gender and ability levels.

Via West campground covers 13 acres of forest roughly 15 miles west of San Jose in Stevens Creek County Park. Sign-ups for summer sessions are taken on a first come-first served basis.

Another neat place for kids with physical and mental challenges is Camp Krem in Boulder Creek. They provide summer camp for children and adults with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy. The camp is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains about a half-mile from Big Basin Redwoods State Park. These guys welcome kids of all ages with various disabilities to join the fun at their summer camp programs. Various sleepover sessions are available too.

Camp Krem offers a wide range of activities for all three camp programs. Main Camp offers daily swimming in their huge swimming pool, arts and crafts, music, sports, drama, games, nature study, theme days, and much more. They also have Outdoor Camp that gives physically able campers a chance to experience real outdoor challenges. Participants explore the nearly 100-acre property and local state parks and beaches. Campers gain pride in their accomplishments, learn to cook outdoors, navigate trails, and have plenty of fun.

Camp Sunshine Dreams is a gem located in Central California. These guys cater to children who suffer from cancer. The idea sprang from Sunny Sherven, The American Cancer Society and the Candle Lighters back in 1988. The camp grew from 25 campers to over 100 kids ages 8 to 15 years.

A letter from Spike they posted on their website says it best: "My first year as a camper, I was 8 years old and was going through chemotherapy. At first I was scared to go because I did not know what to expect nor did I know anyone going. I remember arriving at camp and exiting the bus and being greeted by so many smiley faces. There were so many kids but some of them were bald just like me . . .. The first night we arrived there was a campfire, so make sure to bring warm clothes. Expect to gain some weight because the food is great and there are tons of snacks throughout the day. I made so many friends while at camp, some who had cancer like me and some who had brothers or sisters with cancer."

The Burn Institute from Ramona, California, hosts Camp Beyond The Scars; this is for young burn victims. It's a fantastic place for fire survivors. They support these children by helping them promote a positive outlook towards their future and burn rehabilitation. Activities include rafting, swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, biking, rock climbing, astronomy, arts and crafts, campfire songs, and games. Camp Beyond the Scars represents one of the Institute's most successful on-going efforts. Camp Beyond the Scars is available for burn-injured children between the ages of 5 and 17. 

Actor Paul Newman founded a summer camp for kids with serious medical issues like hemophilia and spina bifida. The Painted Turtle is in Lake Hughes, California. Since 2004 they inspired thousands of kids through their summer and family weekend camps. One cool factor is that campers and their families don't have to pay the tab. It's on The Painted Turtle!

They cheerfully say: "Welcome to The Painted Turtle where children with serious medical conditions celebrate just being kids! Our goal is to empower campers-to make new friends, try new things, build self-confidence, and become more independent in their medical care.

Our camp sessions create a community, where kids get to know other kids just like them. With this feeling of belonging-of not being alone-campers are more ready to overcome challenges and embrace the new opportunities that they encounter every day." They have a staff of medical professionals to assist the kids during their stay.

Six special camps for unique kids. Start planning an incredible summer for your children today. You won't regret it.

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Thirtieth Annual Wildflower Run: A Morgan Hill Classic

This article ran in Out and About the valley magazine in March 2013

Cover of out & about magazine, article by writer Angela Young

Page 1 of an article in out & about by writer Angela Young

Page 2 of an article in out & about by writer Angela Young

Runners in the wildflower run, article by writer Angela Young

The Jamba Juice stand, article by writer Angela Young

Runners at the Wildflower Run, article by writer Angela Young

Every spring the ladies of Morgan Hill's American Association of University Women (AAUW) put on a fun athletic event for runners and walkers. The Wildflower Run is synonymous with the family friendly town of Morgan Hill. The kids' 2K, the 5K and 10K are part of the race, which gives everyone a chance to pick their favorite distance.

Although serious contenders in the 5K and 10K races vying for top prizes are at the event, WFR caters to all levels of fitness. There isn't a hint of snobbery among the race organizers, the volunteers or participants toward newbies. You can have elites and the weekend warrior toe the line in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. 

Wildflower Run 2013 (WFR) has a new feature according to Barbara Palmer, who is ubiquitous with the race. Palmer says, "The big news for the run this year is that we are inaugurating a 5k stroller category for moms with little ones. Babies will get their very own shirt that says 'Wildflower Stroller.'"

Another cool element this year is the t-shirt contest. Carol O' Hare, sponsor committee co-chair explains, "To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Wildflower Run, runners are encouraged to wear tee shirts from past runs that they have participated in. To check out dates of shirts, go to http://www.aauw-morganhill.org/files/wfr_shirts.pdf. A prize will be awarded to whomever wears the oldest WFR Run tee shirt."

Speaking of WFR history, let's jump back in time with Palmer and O'Hare. Palmer shares, "I have been with the run since its beginning 30 years ago. I was with Marilyn Gadway when she came up with the idea. We were attending an AAUW convention."

O'Hare recalls, "It was first presented in 1984, just a year after the branch was chartered, for the express purpose of raising funds to support education for women. The first race was for women only, and the organizers were surprised by the large turnout of more than 200 runners."

She then adds, "Elena Moreno, longtime branch member, recalls that when Marilyn Gadway, who came up with the idea of the Wildflower Run, first began talking about a 'run', Elena had no idea what she was talking about. Elena says that the only 'run' she knew about, was a run in a stocking. Elena is now 91 years old and still supports the Wildflower Run."

For roughly three decades WFR expanded in size, changed venues, added several distances, plus a new t-shirt design every year. Their purpose remains the same: To raise funds to support education for women and girls who are planning to seek higher education. They hope to raise $30,000 this year ($1,000 per year the run has been around).

Race director Elizabeth Mandel is proud of her staff. "I have a wonderful team, with different people responsible for different aspects of the run (medals, publicity, sponsors, water stops, signs, course marshals, course setup, registration, MC, hospitality, expo area...) My job is to make sure they are coordinating all the aspects of their areas of responsibility so that, come race day, everything runs flawlessly."

Wendy Bell is in charge registration. She says, "I'm hoping we reach 1000 runners/walkers this year." Bell reflects on the inspiring story of one family who signed up. "I would get registrations from families with 7 or 8-year olds that had signed up for the 5K.  I would call them to see if they wanted to do the 2K.  One Dad said, 'Oh no. He wants to run with us and is practicing every weekend to do the 5K with us.' I think that is so awesome!!"

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Tastiest Ticket in Town: Morgan Hill Restaurant Tour

The sold out debut of the Dishcrawl featured four restaurants in downtown Morgan Hill

This article ran in The Gilroy Patch on 18 October 2012

The Candy Parlour in Morgan Hill by writer Angela Young
Interior of The Candy Parlour

Running from restaurant to restaurant in Morgan Hill, by writer Angela Young
Patrons traveling from one restaurant to another

Ladera Grill plate, by writer Angela Young
A plate at the Ladera Grill
Beef Wellington,
Chicken Parmesan,
Grilled Atlantic salmon,
Gorgonzola roasted potatoes,
and steamed vegetables

Plate from Mr. Falafel, writer Angela Young
A plate from Mr. Falafel
Falafel balls,
Chicken kebab,
Tabbouleh, and Hummus

A plate from the Good Fork by writer Angela Young
A plate from The Good Fork
Pasta filled with figs, pears,
asiago and mascarpone cheeses
in gorgonzola cream sauce.
Pulled pork slider.
Community farm-grown
tomatoes topped with
burrata cheese.

Writer Angela Young in the Morgan Hill Dishcrawl
Angela Young enjoying
the Morgan Hill Dishcrawl

A culinary ride in downtown Morgan Hill made its debut last week. The Dishcrawl was my first progressive dinner. Forty of us met at the Ladera Grill on Monterey Road at the sold out event. I sat with a group of ladies who found out about it online.

Four downtown Morgan Hill restaurants were featured: Ladera Grill, Mr. Falafel, The Good Fork and The Candy Parlour.

The trick was not to eat too much at one restaurant.

Christa Nielsen hosted the fun-filled evening.

"I wanted to start Dishcrawl Morgan Hill because I felt as though Morgan Hill needed something to help build the community and allow more exposure for local restaurants," she told me.

The waiters streamed into the dining room, serving our first meal of the evening: Beef Wellington, Chicken Parmesan, grilled Atlantic salmon, Gorgonzola roasted potatoes, and seasonal steamed vegetables prepared by Executive Chef Tony Garcia.

The restaurants also catered to fellow diner Tina who sat with us and prefers vegetarian dishes. They were most attentive to her culinary needs. I like that.

I sampled each item and liked the grilled salmon, the pastry with the Beef Wellington inside and the potatoes. Tablemates Susan, Liza, Rina, Lynn and Mary agreed the salmon was among the best.

We then departed Ladera Grill and walked down the sidewalk to Mr. Falafel run by Art Nazzal. I shivered in the chilly night air, waiting for them to serve us falafel balls, chicken kebab, tabbouleh, hummus and fried lavash chips. I ate the falafel balls and most of the tabbouleh and nibbled on the rest. Everyone liked the chicken kebab, which seemed the most popular entree.

I felt no guilt partaking in this food affair because I ran 6 miles in the morning.

The Good Fork was up on deck; we strolled our way to the lovely eatery owned by Chef Maurizio Cutrignelli. I wish we ate there first. Indeed, I loved their cuisine the most. They served mouth-watering treats like fresh pasta filled with figs, pears, Asiago and mascarpone cheeses in Gorgonzola cream sauce, pulled pork slider and community farm-grown tomatoes topped with Burrata cheese. I'm coming back to this one!

We left The Good Fork to visit our last stop - The Candy Parlour operated by Nancy Reynolds. This is perfect for anyone who is a kid at heart. We got to enjoy the candy buffet with retro sweets and San Jose's Shurras Chocolates. Needless to say I tried the chocolate-coated caramels with sea salt, the caramel corn and variety of gourmet jellybeans.

Everyone was friendly and I made plenty of Dishcrawling pals that evening. The next Morgan Hill Dishcrawl will be on Nov. 13 with new restaurants. I can't wait!

Meanwhile, I need to take another 6-mile run to burn off the calories!


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Remembering those who died on September 11

This article ran in  The Gilroy Dispatch on 11 September 2012

A name has been redacted from this archive by request

Scan of september 11 newspaper article by writer Angela Young

9-11 families with Olympic medalists
Pentagon family members posing with US Olympic medalists

The 2002 Winter Olympic medalists
US Olympic medalists
 from the 2002 winter games

Angie Young with the Olympic medalists
Angie Young with the best US athletes in the world

Randy Travis
Randy Travis before the event

VIP tickets for WHAHOF
VIP tickets

Click here for more information

A historical, significant act doesn't burst on the scene in one day. It begins with a germ of an idea deep in the crevices of the human heart. The right kind of heart connected to hundreds of other hearts ready to do good for strangers.

When the terrorists attacked the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the ill-fated United Airlines Flight 93, it shook our nation to the core. I remember those surreal post 9-11 days with "God Bless America" posters festooned everywhere. Everyone was patriotic and mourned the loss of life.

In February 2002, five people met at IHOP Restaurant in San Jose to discuss something special birthed in our pastor's heart regarding Sept. 11. <name redacted>, former lead singer of a 1980s rock band, who became the founder and pastor of <name redacted>, shared his vision.

He told us, "God gave me a powerful tribute celebration to encourage the Pentagon families one year after the devastating 9-11 terrorist attack by organizing a major tribute: Washington D.C., Honors America's Heroes of Freedom. Together, we would pay tribute to the surviving families of the 125 who died that horrific day. This included the rescue workers who gave their lives to save people."

It turned out New York received a ton of publicity overshadowing the Pentagon families. Why not honor the nation's capital? Our ministry was small and unknown. We didn't have a budget for such a monumental task. We did everything by faith, trusting God to provide financially for the next seven months.

The five people grew to 40 as people caught the vision and eventually more volunteered from Texas and the East Coast. We had three volunteer teams across the nation assisting <name redacted>, president of the nonprofit America's Heroes of Freedom. No one received a penny to participate in this labor of love.

Anthony A. Williams, mayor of Washington D.C. endorsed the event along with 53 members of Congress. This gave us plenty of favor with the District of Columbia.

<name redacted> was also the promoter and organizer of the tribute. He handed responsibilities to certain key people. He gave me the job as top editor, which meant I was in charge of writing everything from political speeches to letters. I corresponded with the White House, Washington D.C. elite, top entertainers, and the U.S. Olympic committee.

Celebrities like boxing icon Mohammad Ali, Randy Travis, Roberta Flack, Ron Kenoly, and 17 U.S. Olympic medalists accepted <name redacted>'s invitation to participate. Airman Second Class Adrian Cronauer who was the inspiration behind the movie, "Good Morning Vietnam" agreed to be the emcee.

One hurdle after another greeted us as we ran toward the finish line.

The mayor's office in Washington D.C. warned us that Homeland Security reported terrorist threats on the one-year anniversary of 9-11. <name redacted> now found himself in a dilemma whether he should cancel the event or not. On Sept. 11, 2002 no terrorism occurred. The historic tribute took place on schedule.

Before the televised event, family members and recovery workers met the celebrities at the OAS Building for a catered dinner. I loved seeing people, I had written about for the last seven months, face to face. I fought back tears as I witnessed speed skater Casey FitzRandolph place his gold medal around the neck of a fatherless young boy. The kid's eyes exhibited wonder and awe.

After dinner, everyone went to the DAR Constitution Hall for the ceremony. Performances by Randy Travis, Ron Kenoly, Roberta Flack, The Nelsons, 17 U.S. medalists, and a 100-piece choir delighted the masses.Yolanda Ali shared on stage that after the terrorist attacks her husband Mohammad felt compelled to give people hope in the midst of the tragedy. He desired an opportunity to express his heart. When our organization invited him, Mohammad immediately accepted. 

<name redacted> said, "Nothing could stop Washington's D.C., Honors America's Heroes of Freedom Tribute. Overall, 1,800 family members who lost loved ones attended the ceremony. The Lord got his way."

Days after the ceremony, Washington, D.C. was abuzz about the historic event. We received positive reports from those who were there. Overall the general consensus was anyone who skipped the ceremony missed out on the ultimate 9-11 homage for the Pentagon families.

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Thousands attend Big Wow Comic Fest

This article ran in  The Hollister Free Lance and The Gilroy Dispatch on 25 May 2012

Scan of Big Wow article by Angela Young

Photo of Chris Perguidi and Allan Angel by Alheli Curry
Gilroy's Chris Perguidi and Allan Angel,
of San Jose, sell art at Big Wow Comic Fest in San Jose

With "The Avengers" movie dominating the box office, it's no wonder that Big Wow Comic Fest attracted thousands to San Jose last weekend.

The laid-back, two-day comic book convention included graphic novels, comic books, cartoons, fine art, entertainment, games and costumers at the San Jose Convention Center.

This year featured respected comic artist Jim Lee; renowned cartoonist Morrie Turner, creator of the beloved Wee Pals comic strip; Jane Wiedlin from the '80s rock band The Go-Go's; and Thomas Jane, lead actor in 2004's "The Punisher."

Chris Perguidi, of Gilroy, and Allan Angel, from San Jose, owners of Integrity Comics, sold comics to eager fans.

"It's going pretty well. I almost didn't come today because my hot water heater broke, and I was trying to fix it," Perguidi said. "We're working on a new horror comic book and it should come out next month. We're also doing some stuff with Tim Vigil who is a classic comic book artist plus making new movies."

Morrie Turner, 88, from Oakland, came to Big Wow Comic Fest for the first time and enjoyed interacting with fans.

"This is my first time in San Jose. I've been doing this strip (Wee Pals) for 47 years. I finished the book 'Black Sports Heroes Past and Present,'" Turner said. "Peanuts inspired me. I like Charles Schultz. He encouraged me. Wee Pals came through the civil rights movement."

Down the aisle in Artist Alley sat freelance commercial artist Lela Dowling, 55, of Los Gatos, with her artist husband Frank Cirocco. Dowling does conceptual work for various clients including Mattel, Hasbro, Electronic Arts, Yahoo! and Leap Frog.

"I remember when I was in high school, my art teacher telling me I would never make it freelancing," Dowling said. "I actually came to this convention last year just to visit a few people. We were talked into coming out of retirement. Sales are going well."

Oakland filmmaker Ernest Fosselius, 66, entertained visitors with his humorous anecdotes. He created the popular "Star Wars" parody "Hardware Wars" back in 1977.

"I went there (to see 'Star Wars') with some friends and they went, 'This is the coolest thing in the world man! There's never been a movie like this!'" he said. "They were all so hyped up on it. I watched it and thought it's kind of cheesy. I was never into sci-fi. Then I said, 'I'm going to do a spoof.' They said, 'Oh, no man! Lucas, he's got people and they'll get you, man! Nobody makes fun of Lucas!' I said, 'OK. That makes me want to do it all the more.' I grew up on MAD Magazine. They make fun of everybody."

Artist Danny Bulanadi, of South San Francisco, worked for DC and Marvel Comics. He inked for titles like "Captain America" and "Conan The Barbarian." He also illustrated the bestselling "Good vs. Evil" graphic novel for No Greater Joy Ministries. Now, he does art for Kingstone Comics.

"I think Big Wow Comics is really good, especially to the kids who want to draw," Bulanadi said. "Women and girls that are artists need to see this place. It will give them inspiration."

Perguidi offered advice to aspiring comic book creators.

"A lot of people want to do what we do and they want to follow their dreams ... but many people make excuses: 'I'm bored, I'm a woman, I'm black, I'm whatever.' You can't say that," he said. "Everyone has a brain and two hands. My parents were drug addicts. No one believed in anything I did. I still go out there every day and go to every one of these shows. That's how you become successful."

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Wondercon 2012: A super geeky weekend

This article ran in  The Hollister Free Lance, The Gilroy Dispatch, The Morgan Hill Times,
and The Pinnacle on 23 March 2012

Scan of Wondercon 2012 article by writer Angela Young

Photo of Chris Perguidi and Allan Angel at Wondercon by Alheli Curry
Gilroy's Chris Perguidi and Allan
Angel of San Jose sell comics from
a booth at Wondercon 2012
Photo by Alheli Curry

Photo of Keith Knight by Alheli Curry
Keith Knight sells his
books at Wondercon 2012
Photo by Alheli Curry

The 26th annual Wondercon made its debut at the Anaheim Convention Center near Disneyland. Nothing seemed out of place there with Star Wars storm troopers, hairy monsters, fairies, superheroes, and nerds.

Due to repairs at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the organizers moved their popular arts event down to southern California rather than skip a year.

Hollywood made a splash in Anaheim as expected throughout the 3-day convention. Warner Brothers Television and Animation offered attendees several panels, autograph signings and screenings of Alcatraz, DC Nation, Fringe and Person of Interest.

The cast and crew from Cartoon Network's hit show Adventure Time delighted both children and parents. Andy Ristaino works full time with Adventure Time as lead designer.

"It's a very fun job; I do character, prop and effects design. It's fun, but it's still work. If I'm not doing my own stuff on the side, I get kind of depressed," Ristaino remarked. "I still need that creative outlet for my own thoughts." He published several books: The Babysitter, Escape from Dullsville and Night of the Living Videots. 

For music lovers, composers from the Famous TV Theme Music panel talked about their projects. "Right after Cal Arts, I got a job to do sound design for a Michael-Jackson video. It was weird; we worked 21 hours straight, and then we got fired. I love this business," Zuckerman joked. "We did a whole bunch of commercials. I learned how to compose different styles."

Wynn and Zuckerman wrote the music for Heroes and Avatar the Last Airbender-the Legend of Korra.

Wynn added, "I began working for Music House and did a lot of different things for them . . .. Then Avatar came up. We dove into it and ten years later we're still doing it."

Besides watching movies, popular geeky TV shows and sitting at panels, people went to the exhibit hall to purchase their favorite items or meet people from the industry.

Authors Mike Lynch of San Jose and Highland's Brandon Barr were in the small press section. "We are having fun meeting lots of interesting people, and selling books. Two of our books are popular such as When The Sky Fell and After The Cross," Lynch enthused. "They are more in line with the fantasy and comic book people that are here."

Chris Perguidi from Gilroy and Allan Angel of San Jose of Integrity Comics came to test new ground. "I like seeing the artists as usual like Scott Shaw and the other guys in Artist Alley, " Perguidi said. "It's an enjoyable show but it was better in San Francisco."

Angel agreed, "It's been disappointing here."

Paul Dale from Torrence set up his anime caricature business in Artist Alley. "I do more of a performance than just draw-like a comedy act when I work directly with people. It's a fun way to do artwork in which you're drawing people's portraits," Dale explained. He's an improv actor too.

Scott Shaw is a successful cartoonist with four Emmy Awards for his work on Jim Henson's Muppet Babies. "Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be either a cartoonist or a paleontologist. A teacher in junior high told me I would not likely work in a museum but for a petroleum company. So much for that, I'm going to be a cartoonist," Shaw enlightened.

Lonnie Millsap of Los Angeles got a break into cartooning.

"I came up with a book idea in 2009 (My Washcloth Stinks!) and self-published. I submitted to Barnes and Noble and they placed an order. I started trying to market the book, moved to LA and got it in stores. Keith got me in Wondercon in 2011," Millsap said.

 "I met Lonnie last year and his stuff is accomplished. He's really good," His friend Keith Knight, the creator of The Knight Life comics, remarked. Knight sold his books Chivalry Ain't Dead plus other titles. He misses the Bay Area.

"I urge people to let Moscone Center know that we want Wondercon back in San Francisco."

The legendary Stan Lee, creator of Spider Man showed up for a limited time on Saturday to sign autographs. Because Wondercon kept this a secret, roughly 300 people met him. Lee spoke kindly to each fan despite the hefty bodyguard bellowing orders at people nearby.

Next door was renown animator and director Ralph Bakshi and his son Eddie selling his iconic movies: Lord of the Rings, Fritz The Cat, Fire and Ice, Wizards, American Pop and Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures.

Bakshi came to Anaheim to celebrate the 35-year anniversary of his unprecedented fantasy Wizards in the ballroom.

"We had a really good time, we sold out of Wizards Blue Rays, which is premiering here and lot of fan enthusiasm has been great," the younger Bakshi said.

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God Bless America Celebration Fun For Everyone

This article ran in  The Hollister Free Lance, The Gilroy Dispatch, The Morgan Hill Times,
and The Pinnacle on 24 June 2011

A name has been redacted from this archive by request

Scan of article in the Morgan Hill times by writer Angela Young

Scan of a flier that appeared in Angela Young's newspaper article

America's Birthday is around the corner and a new party is coming to town--guaranteed to rock your patriotic socks off. God Bless America Celebration 2011 debuts at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center on a fun-filled July 4th in downtown.

With an estimated 75-thousand to a hundred thousand folks attending the much-anticipated parade, the organizers of God Bless America Celebration are prepped to entertain the masses after the last float leaves Monterey Road. Bring your favorite chair and get there early to secure a good spot on the premises.

The celebration begins center stage at the outdoor amphitheater with a line up of patriotic entertainment from 1pm to 6pm featuring five hours of live music plus a men's choir. There will also be dancing under the sun with a DJ spinning the latest hits.

For hungry and thirsty revelers they can eat delicious Tri-Tip and other goodies at the barbecue or among the food booths. For the little ones the kids' zone with bounce houses, clowns, face painter, balloon twisting and entertainers await them. The US Marine Corps will present the color of the American Flag in a special ceremony.

Steven Lopez Productions and <name redacted> collaborated on the free event for everyone to enjoy. Lopez worked in promotional marketing for over two decades and served in the US Marines Corps.

"Our fore-fathers trusted God from the beginning to establish this great nation and we wish to honor them. God Bless America Celebration calls everyone to be united under God to serve the community. Many Americans have given their lives for this country," Lopez said.

"We salute those who served or who are currently serving in the armed forces. We also want to publicly thank all military, first responders: police, fire and paramedic personnel for serving the south valley community."

<name redacted>, minister of <name redacted>, said, "I do events occasionally, but mostly larger ones. I produced the 911 tribute in 2002 in Washington DC, titled 'Washington DC Honors America's Heroes of Freedom.' We honored the Pentagon families with a star-studded show for the one-year anniversary after the terrorist attacks. The orphans, widows and families of the Pentagon families were blessed and so happy that they were not forgotten a year later."

Both Lopez and <name redacted> know it takes hard work to create a successful production.

"It takes time, creativity and allot of volunteers who share the vision. Steven and a volunteer team from Acts Revival Center worked together tirelessly on the project. Steven really used his experience to make it happen quickly and I support his efforts and the volunteers with our resources and creativity.

Lopez added, "I thank God for the many volunteers I had over the past 25 years, without them I would not have been able to make events happen. Volunteers are the true backbone of any event."

<name redacted> concluded, "Join us in acknowledging God's rich blessing upon our nation as we give thanks in hope for a better future during these challenging times."

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Big Wow! ComicFest draws local talent

Scan of article by writer Angela Young

Photo by Angela Young
Morgan Hill artists Justin and Alexis
Hernandez sell artwork at the convention

Photo by Angela Young
Marissa Suwansupa (Santa Cruz),
Allan Angel (San Jose),
and Chris Perguidi (Gilroy)
enjoy the Big Wow! ComicFest

Photo by Angela Young
Sergio Aragones famous cartoonist of Mad Magazine and creator of Groo The Wanderer comic books

Photo by Angela Young
Ken and Angela Young at Big Wow! ComicFest

Sketch by artist Angela Young
Superhero Ivana Sketch Angela did at Big Wow!

You don't have to drive very far to find a decent comic book convention these days. Big Wow! ComicFest invaded the south bay last weekend at the San Jose Convention Center.

The two-day comic book convention has been around more than 30 years and used to be called Super-Con. The atmosphere at Big Wow was considerately more laid back than WonderCon because of its size.

Although the convention is small compared to Wondercon, the quality of programming was good and this was the first convention where I got to draw a superhero using a live model named Ivana Turner on stage. Artist Frank Cho taught folks how to sketch a basic comic book character. They had everything set up on the platform along with Cho seated with Turner dressed in superhero garb. One of the volunteers videotaped this and the audience watched on the overhead screen. It was really cool.

Outside in the dealers' room artists, media guests, and retailers situated behind their tables lined the walls and aisles of the room. Everyone was kind and friendly.

Writer Chris Perguidi from Gilroy works in comics with artist and publisher Allan Angel from San Jose. Together they created Hero Town comics about an alternate reality.

"It goes into a back-story and uncovers a conspiracy that has to do with the superheroes in the 1940s and why there are no superheroes around now. It's sort of like X-Files meets X-Men," explained Perguidi. "The world doesn't know superheroes are real. Superheroes are hiding amongst us, no one knows they exist and they are trying to come back to our world. They've been trapped in Hero Town, which is a supernatural island that's hidden."

In addition to Hero Town Perguidi writes Baby Warrior and Snake Eyes crossover for Angel. On the side he does short films and his own Death Bunny and Brain Zombie Comics.

A Morgan Hill couple is selling their artwork at their booth in another aisle. They run Glowing Raptor.com where they self publish their works. They both have bachelor degrees in traditional illustration from the San Francisco Academy of Art.  They pursued comics after leaving school.

"After college I wanted to get paid to draw monsters all day. I love drawing them," Justin Hernandez said.

 "We've been self-employed since graduation. Working on various things like postproduction for video games and children's books," Alexis Hernandez replied. "I was always into comics and I love telling stories with art. It definitely occurred to me if I feel fell into it I'd be extremely happy."

"We're having fun doing it, I couldn't imagine doing anything else." He said. They would like to see more of a comics and illustration community in the south valley.

Famous Mad Magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones spent time with each person at his book signing and never seemed to be in a rush. He calmly talks about his well-known comic characters such as Groo The Wanderer, one of my favorites.

"When I'm writing the story I want a word that's going to be offensive to Groo but it's not offensive to anyone else <like mendicant>. Mark does a fantastic work-when I write a story it's very plain direct to the point and he elaborates the dialogue and makes it very funny. He's a great writer-it's Mark Evanier. Groo wouldn't be Groo without him. It's a very fun collaboration," Aragones paused and then said.  "Now I'm doing a new comic book for Bongo, it's called Sergio Aragones Funnies. It will be out in July."

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'Peanuts' gang is back in new animated special

Top half of a scan of an article in the Morgan Hill Times by writer Angela Young

Bottom half of an article in the Morgan Hill Times by writer Angela Young

Photo of Jeannie Shulz, Snoopy, Andy Cohen, and Craig Schulz by Angela Young
From left: Jeannie Shulz (wife of Charles Schulz), Snoopy, Andy Cohen, and Craig Schulz at the movie screening

The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, nestled in Santa Rosa's downtown district is a haven for the kid-at-heart. It's a place where the never-ending story of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang continue to delight fans worldwide.

Life would be dull without Snoopy the energetic dancing dog, Lucy Van Pelt the lovable control freak and Pig Pen, the unflappable kid perpetually shrouded in a dust cloud wherever he goes. 

A new animated special "Happiness is a Warm Blanket Charlie Brown" is available on Warner Brothers Home Video thanks to Schulz son, Craig who maintains his father's cartoon legacy as executive producer and writer. He along with Stephan Pastis creator of "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip co-wrote the script for the original Peanuts special. Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo composed the score for the flick.

The story is about Linus who is faced with the dilemma of his grandmother coming to visit and warns ahead of time that he ditch his blanket. His older sister Lucy doesn't help matters with her over-bearing methods of persuasion. Then the whole Peanuts gang tries to help Linus kick his blanket habit, which you know always spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E. To find out the rest of the story get the DVD or graphic novel.

In late March, the museum featured a fundraiser for its educational programs in cartooning and art for children and teens. Prior to showing the animated special in the museum's theater, donors mingled with the Schulz Family and Bravo Television's Andy Cohen.

"As Snoopy's number-one fan, it was a great privilege for me to help launch a new Peanuts special," Cohen gushed. "Seeing all my Peanuts friends gathered on screen again made me feel like I was kid watching 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' for the first time."

Executive producer, Paige Braddock and animation director Andy Beall were among the folks to meet at the gala. Beall worked for Disney-Pixar Studios on "Up, and Ratatouille." While he was the animation lead on "Up", another production person on the project discovered his Peanuts collection in his office one day.

Beall recalled, "She said, 'you know my friend Paige, she's the creative director for Charles Schulz's studio. When we finish up, why not you and I take a day, it's like a celebration-our little wrap up party, and we'll go up and meet Paige and you can see Charles Schulz's studio where he drew his comic strip.' I said yeah, let's do it!"

After finishing with Up, Beall met with Braddock and eventually he began working for them.

"I started in May 2009, the script had been written by Stephan Pastis and Craig Schulz. I was still working at Pixar at the time and for a while I was working part time on the side. I would work full day at Pixar and then come home at night and worked about 2am on Peanuts stuff. We tried to define what the visual look of the show was going to be. Essentially we were trying to take it back to what it looked like in the 1960s," Beall said passionately. "We wanted to make it <the film> feel handmade. Made by people. We didn't want to have a computer feel to it." He left Disney-Pixar and joined the Peanuts legacy.

"We are glad to have Andy full time and we hope he sticks around for a while," Schulz said proudly before the screening of the film. He also talked about his father creating the character Pig Pen after him because no matter what he did when he was a kid, he couldn't keep his fingernails clean, especially around dinnertime.

Then directing the attention to the young voice actress nearby, Schulz said, "In this room today we have Gracie Rolek, front-row center, the voice of Lucy. She was terrific; you're about to find out. Gracie you did remind me of my sister. I'm not supposed to say who was Lucy in my family because if my sister finds out then I'm in trouble. We're not going to mention anything about who is the real Lucy," Schulz said playfully.

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Celebrating the popular arts at WonderCon

This article ran in  The Hollister Free Lance, The Gilroy Dispatch, The Morgan Hill Times,
and The Pinnacle on 12 April 2011

Headline banner in the Morgan Hill Times advertising an article by writer Angela Young

Top half of scan of WonderCon article by writer Angela Young
Bottom half of scan of WonderCon article by writer Angela Young

Photo in the Morgan Hill Times by Angela Young
'Star Wars' bot R2D2 greets
a young fan at WonderCon Saturday

Wendy Pini
Native Gilroyan Wendy Pini,
artist of 'Elf Quest', enjoys WonderCon

Photo in the Morgan Hill Times by Angela Young
Raptoonist Age Scott and crew hangs out
in the exhibition hall selling their unique
"Hip Hop Isn't Dead" comics and shirts

Celebreties Slater and Odette
Christian Slater,
from the new series 'Breaking In',
hangs out at the convention

Aliens, monsters, zombies, soldiers in combat armor, scientists, artists, actors, writers, elves, freaks, beasts and geeks invaded San Francisco and it wasn't for Bay to Breakers or Halloween.

What compelled close to 40 thousand, roughly the population of Morgan Hill, to swarm the Moscone Center in downtown? Okay, you got me. WonderCon. A fast growing, west coast marvel held every spring for the masses despite the topsy-turvy economy.

Kaboom Studios hosted a booth at WonderCon. Artists Bob and Vicki Scott signed copies of their graphic novel Happiness is a Warm Blanket Charlie Brown based on the story by Craig Schulz and Stephan Pastis, who is the creator of Pearls Before Swine strip.

Pulitzer Prize winner Berkeley Breathed came to San Francisco to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his famous comic strip Bloom County. He signed copies of his book, From Bloom County To Mars, The Imagination of Berkeley Breathed. He also gave a hilarious presentation about his days in the comics industry. He shared about Nancy Reagan's Xerox photo in the background in one Bloom County strip.

"The next morning I get a call, I just gotten out of the shower . . . the White House was on the phone. And they said, 'Please hold for Ronald Reagan.' Which of course you think it's one of your friends calling you up with a joke saying 'hello.' Sure enough he gets on the line . . . it's just as if it was a Saturday Night Live skit about the President calling me, " Breathed said. "He was so tickled . . . of seeing a drawing of his beloved in my comic that's normally savaging him all day long."

President Reagan loved it but Breathed didn't believe it at first.

The Reagan Diaries, posted on http://www.FreeRepublic.com tells the President's version, " . . . In 1985, he writes: "I phoned Berke Breathed - cartoonist who does Bloom County. He obviously thought I was calling to bitch about something; I called to thank him for the Sunday strip where he had Nancy in the strip looking lovely."

Subsequently, Breathed was invited to the White House for dinner.

"Nancy Reagan loved throwing parties. They had steak dinner every single Friday night."

Fox's Breaking In a TV comedy about a hi-tech security firm written by Adam Goldberg and BBC America's Dr. Who delighted everyone at WonderCon. Dr. Who is about a Time Lord who travels in dimensions, time and space in a blue police box called the TARDIS. Actor Mark Sheppard who works on Supernatural came with director Toby Haynes and writer Neil Gaiman. Working on Dr. Who is special to Sheppard.

"It's a dream of a lifetime. It's a show I grew up with as many of its incarnations primarily Pertwee and Baker and now, you know, Matt Smith is my doctor. That's the bottom line. They are all fantastic," Sheppard said.

Christian Slater who plays the main character Oz in Breaking In is a fan of Star Trek.

"The fact that I was sort of over the moon at the opportunity to meet and shake the hand of the guy who played the Gorn in Star Trek 'Arena' episode. It was a big deal for me to get that signature. They charged me $20." Slater said with a smile.

"I'm a nerd," announced Alphonso McAuley who is the fanboy Cash in the series. "If I'm a minimal fanboy then he's <Cash> is like Defcon 5 fanboy. He is definitely like a Stars Wars dude; he knows it back and forth. He can even speak Jabba The Hutt's language Odi ba ha!"

Meeting vibrant folks stationed at their tables were entertaining and insightful.

"My great father was Massy Thomas and they named a road after him in Gilroy. Apparently, Wendy Pini who is a really famous comic book artist in the 80s and me share a great grandfather, I didn't find about this until recently. Interestingly enough, it was Elf Quest <that got him into comics> because I grew up in Gilroy and Wendy Pini was from Gilroy. So they had, in the library, all the Elf Quest books. Everyone always tell me she was from Gilroy. I'm from Gilroy maybe I could do comic books," said Chris Perguidi co-collaborator with Allen Angel of Hero Town. 

Wendy Pini, world-renowned creator of Elf Quest talked about her days as an artist in Gilroy1969.

"It was tough; it was a trial by fire because I was one of the weirdos, one of the different ones, artistic, imaginative. The school system was very conservative, very oriented toward sports and not that encouraging of the arts. It made me tougher and made me stand up to criticism. I left Gilroy as quickly as I could to get into the world. Now, I take every opportunity I can to encourage young women who want to get into the business. But I always let them know this is going to be tough. You can't expect the world to take care of your feelings and emotions. It's going to be as hard on you as it is on the guys."

Pini lives in New York and Los Angeles, however she is willing to visit Gilroy to give the city another chance. "I would be delighted to come back to talk to high students and answer any questions and encourage them in any way I can."

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Annual WonderCon isn't just for Geeks

Scan of the WonderCon 11 article by writer Angela Young

When you think of comic books and graphic novels, what comes to mind? A nerdy single male sequestered in his bedroom reading Superman? Hardly. That stereotype died with the dinosaurs.

I remember when I was a kid; I couldn’t find decent science fiction or comic genre shows on prime time television. Only on early Saturday mornings when the networks aired less than a handful of superhero cartoons.

Actually, I read Archie comics, Little LuLu, Ritchie Rich, Crazy, Cracked and Mad magazine.

Now, the comic book genre is more mainstream. It garnered respect in the entertainment industry where anyone can watch comic-related material at the movie theater, television or on the Internet. Public venues where many like-minded individuals with a passion for comics are able to meet at one of the fastest growing media conventions in the United States.

Wonder Con in San Francisco is the perfect place to interface from April 1st to the 3rd at the Moscone Center. Last year close to forty thousand people got to see Iron Man 2 and notables such as Sergio Aragones, creator of Groo The Wanderer and Michael Chiklis actor, producer, and creator of The Shield.

If you’re a fan of BBC America they will show parts of the new Dr. Who season on Sunday, April 3rd. Anime, gaming, a masquerade competition on Saturday evening, movies, panels with Hollywood professionals, and artist alley await convention goers. Another cool thing is Comic Creator Connection where artists and writers can build creative teams.

Special guest Berkeley Breathed will be in San Francisco this year. He’s famous for the comic strip Bloom County, which won a Pulitzer Prize. One of his children’s books Mars Needs Moms was made into a Disney movie, which is currently in theaters.

However, Wonder Con wasn’t always this large. Comic retailers John Barrett and Bob Borden and Rory Root with comics writer Mike Friedrich formed the small but intimate The Wonderful World of Comics back in 1986. They met in Oakland moved over to San Francisco in 2002 and changed the name to Wonder Con.

Tery Karvonen, from Oakland, attended many Wonder Cons in the past as a professional in small press, self-published comics and illustration along with her husband Kevin. She noticed the stratospheric rise of the 3-day event over the years.

“Comics is the foundation of Wonder Con, but it also pulls in consumers of mass media, television and movies. When Wonder Con started, it was a small local, event, and lot of us who attended knew each other. It was a nice, low-key local alternative. Over time, of course, it kept growing,” Karvonen said.

“I've enjoyed alternative and science fiction ever since I was a teenager, and always loved to draw . . . I came into comics rather late, and became interested in them as a vehicle for serious story telling. My favorite is Maus by Art Spiegelman, which I think should be required reading for anyone who thinks comics are just for kids and sci-fi nerds.”

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Dirty Legs footrace is round-the-clock fun

This article ran in The Morgan Hill Times on 18 January 2011

Photos from Alheli Curry and Angela Young

Scan of a newspaper article by writer Angela Young

Scan of a newpaper article by writer Angela Young

Photo at the Dirty Legs race by Angela Young
24-Hour Winner Pam Reed
Photo at the Dirty Legs race by Angela Young
Sean Curry Having Fun

Photo at the Dirty Legs race by Angela Young
Greg Richards Keeps on Ticking

Photo of Chuck Kaekel at the Dirty Legs race by Angela Young
Chuck Kaekel from Gilroy

SAN MARTIN -- If the Energizer Bunny entered the inaugural Dirty Legs 6, 12, and 24 Hour footrace, he would have serious competition.

Forty stalwarts came to test their mettle in long-distance running Saturday and Sunday at Harvey Bear Ranch. One of the contenders was world-class ultra-marathoner Pam Reed from Jackson Hole, Wyo., who is known for running 300 miles without sleep and is the only woman to win the Badwater ultra-marathon twice.

Dirty Legs 6, 12, and 24 Hour began at 10 a.m. Saturday and concluded at 10 a.m. Sunday -- on the dot. Runners raced in laps, totaling as many laps as possible before their timed section evaporated.

There were three different hourly slots to choose from (6, 12, and 24) either for the solo runner or a relay team. Once the clock ran out in each portion, the organizers of South Valley Endurance blasted an air horn, and runners stopped in their tracks and stuck an orange flag in the dirt nearby.

To the uninitiated, this may have looked like a leisurely weekend jog rather than an actual race because the competitors had to run or walk the 2-mile lap for hours and hours and hours and -- OK, enough.

To some, the thought of doing this may come off as downright crazy, like a treadmill nightmare gone badly. However, the gorgeous backdrop of Harvey Bear made the experience enjoyable and peaceful.

Gobs of training were not a major prerequisite to enter the contest. While, it's highly recommended to be prepared, it's not a good thing to become mental.

Reed, 49, saw it like this: "I don't have a coach. I just run; it's my lifestyle. People get injured because they over train. Don't make a big deal out of it. Just run and have a good time."

Although While Reed won the 24-hour section by plodding nonstop, covering 116.5 miles in one jaunt, she fell short of her goal of accumulating 120 miles.

Most people would love to run a marathon when they become 50; Reed wants to race across the U.S. instead. She would need to run 60 laps in a USATF sanctioned event to qualify for Team USA at the 2011 IAU 24-Hour Run World Championship.

"My legs were dead, like, for the last half of the race. The hills took it out of me. Bummer," she said. "I tried to pick it up and couldn't do it. It was so close ... it was a very hard course. You don't always reach your goal."

Despite her disappointment, Reed graciously spoke with fans, having her photo taken with them, and also signed copies of her book, "The Extra Mile."

There were no 24-hour relay teams present.

Soloist Sean Curry, 42, won the 6-hour running circles around everyone else in that category to the tune of 40.2 miles and Team Sandberg bagged first place, traveling 36.18 miles.

Toshikazu Hosaka, 33, won the 12-hour run individually, covering more than 72 miles, and relay team SVE won with 92.46 miles.

San Josean Lauren Swigart, a member of Team SVE, flew across the asphalt with compatriots Greg Richards and Elliot Doyle of Morgan Hill. Their happy feet blazed the path to victory in the 12-hour portion of the race.

"We all ran much faster than anticipated," Swigart said. "I guess it was one of those days when you feel good. I feel proud about my performance on the team, although it hurt to push myself at some points."

San Martin's Craig Lore, who created the concept of holding the timed ultra-marathon at Harvey Bear, also ran on and off with teammates Kevin Stuart, M.D., from Morgan Hill and Rajeev Patel for 12 hours.

"The location was terrific," Lore said. "There wasn't any traffic. The surface is easy to run on. We had nearly a full moon for most of the night. There is lots of space to pitch a tent and spread out your gear. At night we heard the yipping of packs of coyotes. Altogether, it was kind of magical."

NOTE: For full results, visit http://www.svendurance.com.

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Globe Trotting For Sport

This article ran in The Hollister Free Lance, The Gilroy Dispatch, The Morgan Hill Times,
and The Pinnacle on 26 November 2010
This is part 1 a two-part series about Sarah Oliphant (part 2 is just below)

Morgan Hill Times Article

Scan of front page banner for Sarah Oliphant article by writer Angela Young

Scan of a newspaper article about Sarah Oliphant by writer Angela Young

Scan of a newspaper article about Sarah Oliphant by writer Angela Young
Scan of a newspaper article about Sarah Oliphant by writer Angela Young

Scan of a front page teaser about an article about Sarah Oliphant by writer Angela Young

Gilroy Dispatch Article

Scan of a newspaper article about Sarah Oliphant by writer Angela Young
Scan of a newspaper article about Sarah Oliphant by writer Angela Young

Morgan Hill—While some teens are playing soccer, networking on Facebook or following the latest plot on Dancing with the Stars reality show, Sarah Oliphant, 15 is busily training to run the Antarctic Ice Marathon in December. That’s right. A marathon. And Antarctica isn’t a garden-variety 26.2-miler either, but one with nasty weather conditions that defy human survival and in a hostile environment that makes the coldest day in Buffalo, New York like a summer picnic in Hawaii. Why is she doing this?
There are two clubs that are difficult to accomplish for most folks unless you have the physical ability, mental fortitude, determination, family support and money to finance your dreams. They are the Seven Continents Club and the Grand Slam (Seven Continents plus North Pole). The idea is to finish a marathon on each landmass around the globe.
“Only 295 people are part of the Seven Continents Club and even fewer--forty six are part of the Marathon Grand Slam Club of which only ten are women,” she explained. Oliphant along with her father Arnold, 51 will be doing this amazing feat together to complete the arduous quest to capture the coveted title Grand Slammers plus for the younger Oliphant, the Guinness World Record for youngest female to join both clubs.
Although the close-knit Oliphant Family trains together, only two of them run 26.2 mile organized events while Oliphant’s mother Lynnette, 51 and younger sister Heidi, age 12 help by running with them at shorter distances or supplying food and drink along training routes like the Coyote Creek trail.
“We run three days a week and on Saturdays we do our big runs. We drink a homemade sports drink that has salt and a little citric acid in it to make it taste good. We normally use Vaseline between our toes to prevent blisters and we also get wide shoes if we can find them. We never eat any food before our morning runs we just get up and go run,” she said. Outside of training, Oliphant enjoys singing, playing piano, playing sports with family and drawing.
The manifold 26.2-miler adventure began over three years ago when Oliphant’s older brother Eugene ran a marathon, which inspired her. Around the same time, her father was suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis and could hardly do much physical activity. “I worked out on the elliptical trainer for several minutes and would go back to bed to recover,” he said. As his health improved over time he eventually turned to jogging outdoors around the block with his family.
Their newfound dedication to running enabled the father and his daughter to enter their long distance event together. “My first marathon was the Deseret News Marathon in Utah close to Salt Lake. My time was 5:12,” Oliphant said. She was 13 at the time.
After the race, her father searched on the Internet for other marathons to run with her when he came across information on the Grand Slam and Seven Continents clubs. “Hey Sarah, do you want to run a marathon on each continent?”
Three years, six continents and the North Pole later they are approaching their final destination of the multiple-marathon odyssey, which culminates on December 12th. That’s only a few weeks away.
The race website for this event warns would-be marathoners: “The Antarctic Ice Marathon is the southernmost marathon on earth and a unique opportunity to complete a marathon that is truly worthy of the seventh continent. Don't expect to run your quickest time, however, as winds can blow from the Pole at a steady 10-25 knots. Also, forget about penguins or crowds cheering you along the route.  No penguins live this far south and you will have to rely upon yourself to push onward in the hushed, indomitable surroundings.” Don’t forget about the subzero temperatures waiting for all participants as well.
Oliphant said nonchalantly, “I'm just an average runner who has been lucky enough to have some amazing adventures. There are plenty of youth my age who could have done a better job if they had had the idea.”
For more information on the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the Seven Continents Club please go to http://www.icemarathon.com.

Sahah Oliphant and Arnold Oliphant, photo by Angela Young
Sarah Oliphant, 15, and her father Arnold Oliphant

Sarah Oliphant and her family, photo by Angela Young
Sarah and her family:
Left to right: Lynette, Arnold, Sarah (15),
and Heidi (12)

Sarah Oliphant, Arnold Oliphant, & Angela Young.
Sarah (C), Arnold (R), and author Angela Young (L)

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Cool Runnings

This article ran in The Hollister Free Lance, The Gilroy Dispatch  and The Morgan Hill Times,
and The Pinnacle on 11 January 2011
This is part 2 a two-part series about Sarah Oliphant (part 1 is just above)

Scan of newspaper article about Sarah Oliphant by writer Angela Young

Scan of newspaper article about Sarah Oliphant by writer Angela Young

Sarah Oliphant in Antartica
Sarah Oliphant in Antarctica

Sarah Oliphant at the finish line in Antartica
American Marathoners at the finish

The final mile marker in the Antartic Ice Marathon
The Final Mile

Morgan Hill- On December 15, 2010 marathon winners Bernardo Fonseca of Brazil (4:20:31) and Clare Apps of Great Britain (4:47:37) carved a path to the finish with American Sarah Oliphant in pursuit, nabbing third place in the women's division in 6:32:48. Ice, wind, snow and miles of bleak terrain beckoned her father Arnold toward the end in (6:37:45). There were no throngs of spectators, rock bands, or hordes of cheerleaders encouraging them along the route. Not even penguins or polar bears were present in this part of the Antarctic Circle; it's way too south for the likes of them.

After running 26.2 miles in the Antarctic Ice Marathon the Oliphants accomplished the long-awaited goal of joining the coveted Marathon Grand Slam and 7 Continents Club. The younger Oliphant not only completed multiple marathons, but she is the new world record holder for being the youngest girl to pull off this difficult task.

Oliphant never regarded the Antarctic Ice Marathon as something hard or arduous. She loves challenging courses with extreme weather conditions. "I like it when it's hard because it makes me happy. I feel joy running in that type of environment." Her father has another perspective in mind. The senior Oliphant is thankful he can even run at all after fighting debilitating rheumatoid arthritis four years ago.

"I was in bed for two years and slowly worked out on our home elliptical trainer 5 or 6 minutes at a time until I was able to go outside and walk around our block." One thing led to the other and the Oliphant Family took on running with tiny runs around the block to them eventually increasing the distance over the ensuing months. In January 2008 both father and daughter began their long distance training and capped it off with a Utah marathon in July of the same year. The most difficult obstacle they faced was finding a marathon that would accept the younger Oliphant's entry. She was 12. Now, she'll be part of history in the Guinness Book of World Records.

 "Age doesn't matter when running a marathon. Anyone can do it. Too many adults hold children and teenagers back from accomplishing their dreams because of age. " The elder Oliphant said.

The 15 year-old can run effortlessly when it comes to slogging through snow, rain and nasty headwinds in harsh conditions such as the North Pole and Antarctica. After the race, she along with several others decided to run the Punta Arena Marathon in Southern Chili two days later for kicks. She never felt sore or had stiff muscles after race day like most other runners do. However, both Oliphants got slight sunburn on their foreheads and hands and each lost a single toenail after completing the 26.2-miler on ice. That was the extent of their so-called injuries.

The organized event consisted of two distances: 42 kilometers or 26.2 miles and 100 kilometers or 62-miles; participants had to run two laps to complete the marathon. One lap was 25 kilometers and the 2nd covered 17. The conditions were perfect with sunny skies and a balmy temperature of minus ten degrees centigrade (14 F). Oliphant didn't bother wearing a parka because it was too hot to run in it on the day of the race. The sun never went down and circled the frozen continent brightening the white landscape 24/7 thus enabling the Oliphants to stay perky and wide awake throughout their stay. However, when they returned home to Morgan Hill, they felt more tired and drained due to the skies darkening after 5pm. "I missed the sun," Oliphant said.

The Morgan Hill teen looks forward to doing more marathons in the future and other athletic activities such as snow boarding, skydiving, and skiing. Outside of athletics she plans to attend Gavilan College this spring and study Astrophysics. Her dad plans staying healthy by exercising daily and is contemplating a 100-mile snow-backpacking trip with family in the future.

To read more about the Antarctic Ice Marathon please go to http://www.icemarathon.com.

Photos by Arnold Oliphant

A marathoner in Antartica
Summer in Antarctica
Sarah Oliphant in Antartica
Sarah munching on chips
The top female winners in the Antartic Ice Marathon
  Top female winners in the
Antarctic Ice Marathon
Left to right:
Sara Oliphant of America,
Cathrine Due of Denmark,
and Clare Apps of Great Britain

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Angela Young writes a Top Sports Story

This column ran in The Morgan Hill Times on 31dec2010

Angela Young wrote one of the top 10 sports stories of 2010 for The Morgan Hill Times
The top article was about the Morgan Hill Marathon + Half (Morgan Hill On The Run)
This "Reflections" article sums up the top sports stories of the year and was written by sports editor Scott J. Adams

Scan of the top part of the article mentioning Angela Young's work

Top part of summary of Angela Young's article
Scan of the bottom part of the article mentioning Angela Young's work
Bottom part of summary of Angela Young's article

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Morgan Hill On The Run

Debut Marathon and Half Hits the South Valley

This article ran as a front page story in The Gilroy Dispatch  and The Morgan Hill Times
on 09 November 2010
This was one of the ten top stories in The Morgan Hill Times 2010

Scan of a front page article by writer Angela Young
The first half of the article was on the front page of The Morgan Hill Times

Scan of a front page article by writer Angela Young
The second half was on the back of section 1 of The Morgan Hill Times

Scan of a front page article by writer Angela Young
A summary of the article appeared on the front page of The Gilroy Dispatch

Tegenu Beru and John Weru photo by Angela Young
Marathon winners: Kenyan J.Weru, 1st Place (R) and Ethiopian T.Beru, 2nd Place (L)

Jasmine Sessions, photo by Angela Young
Jasmine Sessions
Women's marathon winner

Angela Young
Angela Young covering the story

Morgan Hill-Hundreds of athletes spilled out over the countryside in the South County's debut 26.2 and 13.1-mile footraces on Sunday despite the soggy weather conditions. Overcast skies with occasional light showers and Daylight Savings Time ending didn't deter the competitors from showing up.
The clouds kept precipitation at a minimum for most of the day until the end and a few straggling runners and walkers were caught in a downpour but trudged on steadfastly to the finish. The area hasn't had a 26.2 miler competition in over a decade; the professionalism displayed by the organizers, volunteers and racers made Morgan Hill proud.
The half marathon's top male finishers are Palmdale's Justin Patananan, 30, with his lightning performance of 1:09:44;Tommy Davis, 25 zipped past the finish in 1:13:25 and Kenyan John Munene, 28 from Santa Clara came in third with 1:14:55. 
 "It's a beautiful course but it was tough because I ran most of it by myself. It was like a long workout. I run faster but the hills got me. It's an honest course, <and> I broke away from the other runners. It was easy to get into a rhythm," Patananan said. He enjoyed the bucolic scenery, a welcome relief from cityscapes typical of most road races.
Kenyan Jackline Okemwa, 32 with 1:24:35 flew to the finish as the number one female winner followed by Gilroy's Kari Bertrand, 40 clinching second place in 1:25:57 and Anna Gunn, 40 from Walnut Creek capping the top three spots in 1:27:34.
Okemwa was impressed on how the volunteers managed the course. "I want to thank the race organizers, it's well organized and I never got lost." she said. "The course is tough with the hills, but for training it is the best. It's beautiful and I would love to move down here someday."
Elite runner and Gynecologist Bertrand had reason to celebrate: "I wanted to run under 1:30, so I am very happy.  Love, love loved the course.   I thought the whole event was well done and professional.   Definitely would do it again . . .. I needed to commemorate turning forty, three days ago with the half marathon. It has been tough to train like I used to with three kids and work, but I'll do it because I still love to race and I want my kids to see how important exercise is," she said. She recently gave birth to her third child.
Running 26.2 miles is no easy feat; ask any one who did it. Yet the top three male athletes made it look like a sprint in the park. Kenyan John Weru, 31 from Oakland shut out most of the pack in 2:37:39 with Ethiopian Tegenu Beru, 29 at his heels in 2:38:29, and Jonathan Le Jeune, 22 right behind him in 2:42:47.
"The race was good but the course was very hilly," Weru said. Although he viewed his marathon finish as slow due to hamstring issues, he felt good overall. "I'm impressed with the Inaugural Morgan Hill Marathon and I'll be back to defend my title next year," he said with a smile.
Beru said this about race day: "This is my first marathon in the United States. I didn't train well for this race because of a left knee injury but the race was good."
San Jose Fit's Esmail Rahimian, 51 tucked his fiftieth marathon under his belt this past weekend and plans to start another fifty beginning next month.  He finished in 5:00:21.
Jasmine Sessions, 30 from Farmington, Utah (originally from Gilroy) blazed the trail for the women marathoners in 2:59:21; Belmont's Monica Zhuang, 37 came in second with 3:18:34 and Jennifer Willoughby, 32 from Soquel closed the gap in third with 3:23:34.
"I wanted to break three hours-I ran hard. The first 19 miles I felt very good then Mile 21 hit me and it got real. It's really a marathon now! How tough are you?" She asked herself during last portion of the race.
The race wouldn't be possible without hard-working volunteers who labored all weekend along with organizers Greg and Debbie Richards, Elliott and Stacey Doyle, Phil Van Ornum of South Valley Endurance.
Ten employees from Anritsu (Aid Station 13) faithfully manned their booth near Mile 25 not caring about the weather. They stayed out there not complaining but having fun passing out water and Gatorade. Robin Kendall, Rachel Perry and Michelle Aitkin handed out cups to the last of the walkers in the rain. "It's like a party," Aitkin said.
At the finish, volunteers Earl and Barbara Handcock from Fresno cheerfully served Round Table pizza, bananas, water and congratulatory remarks as the finishers, grabbed the much-needed carbohydrates off the table before disappearing into the throng of friends and family waiting at the art and wine festival nearby.
Morgan Hill's Pamela Frederick, 27 who walked the half (3:57:24), had this to say, "The course was great! I loved being able to run/walk on Willow Springs Road without having to worry about cars. It was scenic and gave a good picture of Morgan Hill . . .. I have never did a race before where there was free pizza at the end. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to whoever had that idea."
Ultra-marathoner Craig Lore from San Martin who wore a kilt throughout the 26.2-mile journey, finishing in 4:18:31 summed it best.
"Without a doubt I will do the event again next year. For every local race there is always a group of people who, over the years, run the same race again and again. Twenty years from now, I'd like to be one of the people who can say he's down all 20 Morgan Hill Marathons."
To view entire race results go to http://www.mhmarathon.com.

This was one of the ten top stories in The Morgan Hill Times 2010

This followup article was about the top ten stories of 2010. It ran in The Morgan Hill Times
on 31 December 2010.

Top half of an article about an article by writer Angela Young
Bottom half of an article about an article by writer Angela Young

Second half of an article about an article by writer Angela Young

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Morgan Hill Wind Symphony is a Family Affair

This article ran in The Morgan Hill Times on 30 October 2007

Scan of an article in the Morgan Hill Times by writer Angie Young
The article

Photo of the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony by writer Angie Young
The photo in the article:
The Morgan Hill Wind Symphony

Photo of the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony by writer Angie Young
Bonus photo of the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony

Like most musicians, the members of Mushroom Town’s wind symphony are driven to produce harmonious sounds to delight the ears of young and old alike. They don’t do it for the money, as most of their gigs are unpaid ones, unless some special occasion or arrangement is made in advance. Just because they play for the pure enjoyment of creating light-hearted classical renditions or pops for the masses, doesn’t mean they lack talent. What makes the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony (MHWS) stand apart from other bands is the fact that they welcome youth to be part of the ensemble and play alongside them at concerts. You’ll notice family members performing side by side, moms, dads, their children or siblings at gigs. MHWS is a family-friendly lot in the south valley.

“From the very beginning, the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony mentored middle and high school students who are proficient at playing their instruments. We let them try out,” Tuba player Don Jensen said. MHWS gleans musical talent from within the ranks at schools or from the community. They have more junior high kids trying out instead of high school teens because everyone understands the demanding schedule the poor students must endure throughout the four years.

“We want the kids to enjoy the experience <of playing music> for life and not get burnt out,” Jensen said. He probably knew of potential recruits who put down their clarinet or trumpet for good to pursue sports or something entirely different because they were forced to practice everyday and not have a normal life like most other children their age. Another segment of MHWS is the ringers; these part-time performers are similar to auxiliary help whenever there is a gap in the orchestra. They come in and fill the void where a certain player or section is absent. The ringers aren’t committed full-time to the symphony and are delegated to temporary status, yet these guys are extremely helpful and valuable when drafted for musical duty.

Back in the mid-1980’s south valley residents Steve Potter, who held a Masters in Trumpet, and Jensen decided to form an instrumental band for kicks. At the time, they attended Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church on the corner of Dunne and De Witt avenues and the two formed a part-time orchestral group aptly dubbed The Morgan Hill Wind Symphony (MHWS). Their modest beginnings didn’t deter them from recruiting others in the city to partake in this new adventure, the process was painstakingly slow and the numbers were small. Over the years membership grew and remained steady at fifty-five in the summer and slimmed down to thirty-five in the winter. This pattern repeats itself annually. 

Anyone wishing to be part of this group must know how to read music, play any wind or percussion instrument well, and attend rehearsals. MHWS is strict about rehearsals; they’ve been having them every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on the property of the Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church ever since. Because the symphony comprises of volunteers and the outfit being a nonprofit, potential applicants are required to dole out thirty bucks to join the band. This will cover expenses for music, instruments or concert fees for the year.

You may think these are bunch of rank amateurs with little promise but that isn’t the case at all.  Several professional musicians are members too who lovingly share their passion for the classics, including the conductor, Vernon Miyata. He hails from the east bay and is the musical director of San Lorenzo High School. His brother Howard is part of the High Sierra Jazz group that regularly performs at paid gigs. Tom Brozene Sr. another professional, posses a Master’s Degree in Trumpet and mentors the youth like his peers.

Jensen summed up MHWS’s philosophy on their laid-back approach to life and the stressful demand of higher levels of musical complexity. “We don’t want the wind symphony to be a job. We already have jobs. We want to relax when we play.” To get more information on the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony, please go online to www.morganhillwindsymphony.org.

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Art Lovers, Meet the King of the Art World

This article ran in The Gilroy Dispatch on 18 January 2007 and in The Morgan Hill Times on 19 January 2007

Scan of article by writer Angie Young
Scan of article by writer Angie Young

The South Valley is a treasure trove of artistic talent, however most of these gifted individuals or groups are hidden among the bucolic setting and unfortunately are often overlooked by the masses in our cities. Unless the artists themselves advertise and market their wares, whether it is visual expression, dance, music, literary works, or theater, hardly anyone will experience the pleasure of meeting them. My contribution of representing the arts in the south county and beyond via my column hopefully has enlightened, entertained and boost the public awareness of the talent among us. With the recent changes in the paper this will be my last piece for the Arts In Motion series and I choose to honor Morgan Hill artist Tom King.  His simple yet provocative pastel paintings of wild animals, abstracts, landscapes and still lifes captured many an eye with his moody depictions.

King’s rugged exterior belies his gentle thoughtful demeanor and his ability to create living beings on paper in vivid hues in soft pastel. Like most artisans, he unleashed his creative side in grammar school, taking his first art class in junior high, which included clay sculpting, ceramics, wood block carving, paper Mache, and of course drawing.  Later on King took it a step further and enrolled at Central Missouri University, taking commercial art for a year. Down the road the sense of duty prevailed in his heart and he enlisted in the army to help our country fight the Vietnam War. The Mid West native traveled the world and subsequently married Leesa an emergency room nurse and avid runner who he met in Missouri. He is now retired from the military and devotes his time in developing his latest painting or photographic techniques.

When King isn’t painting he is molding or shaping recycled materials into interesting abstract figures. “It helps me to interpret things by which I am influenced though images. This is why I’m doing this after thirty years of putting art on hold,” he said. Customers who purchase his artwork are visibly moved by his portrayal of cats, turkeys or nature working in synergistic harmony.  The influential artist behind King’s works is an oldie but goodie from the 18th Century. “Vermeer is one of my favorite painters for his mastery of light to convey mood,” King said, which explains the luminescence of the animals in his pastel renderings and by contrast the absence of light in his brooding landscapes. The drawings themselves are 3D in quality simply because King is skillful in placing the lights and darks in proper perspective yet arranging them in a stimulating fashion that’s out of the proverbial box.

The Morgan Hill resident has a wide range of style in expressing his ideals, feelings at which point some may not realize the colorful abstract is from the same person who painted the illuminated majestic lion piece. Why abstracts? King replied, “Abstractions are from my sub consciousness. There are no rules.”  These deeply thought out pieces are freeing for King who enjoys painting them and are among his favorites.

As for marketing his work, King is branching out into the community. He is current solo art exhibit and sale will be on for another two weeks at the Buzz Stop (formerly Good Life Café) in downtown Morgan Hill on Monterey Road. His passion for wildlife and domestic animals is such that he is donating 20 percent of the profits from his art sales to the International Humane Society and SPCA. “I sell mostly animal portraitures because of my empathy with them as co-existent beings of our planet. My emotions are expressed in each piece.” Regarding future plans, King said, “I hope to firm up a marketing strategy this year and in five years have my art support me rather than I support it . . . I had much encouragement from family and peers. Leesa continues to be the greatest supporter of my career.”

To find out more about Tom King’s solo exhibit at the Buzz Stop or to purchase any of King’s art please contact the artist at Kingshot2@aol.com or call him at 408-846-5323.

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Artist Sonya Paz Minds Her Own Business

This article ran in The Gilroy Dispatch on 04 January 2007 and in The Morgan Hill Times on 05 January 2007

Scan of newspaper article by writer Angie Young
Scan of newspaper article by writer Angie Young

San Jose artist Sonya Paz loves Pop Art and Cubism sometimes embracing the abstract. However, this wasn’t a conscious choice by Paz, but a deep unquenchable fire that incessantly drives her. Paz said, “I felt drawn to these genres and styles when I was small child. It just seemed a part of myself as long as I can recall.” The quirky lines, round shapes and vivid colors is what draws many to her wacky creations. She could thank Pablo Picasso and George Braque for jumping off the edge in the art world in the early 1900s by painting people or things in cube-like shapes. A disgruntled art critic--Louis Vauxcelles made fun of their work by calling it Cubism and the name stuck to this day. Modern Art is an excellent genre for Paz, and it certainly works for her.

Collectors and art lovers alike are fond of her use of bold reds, blues, greens, yellows, pinks and oranges when she depicts a wine country scene or sassy women out on the town or the business professional on the go. Her simple shapes and saturated palette are magnetic and the happy themes a great remedy for melancholy. Paz gets her inspiration from anything that grabs her attention such as conversations with friends to shopping at a grocery store.

She knows no fear when it comes to marketing and selling her prized colorful depictions of urban life and ebullient musical themes in her acrylic paintings.

Paz has an international collector base along with two gallery-retail stores under her belt in Silicon Valley. She relies solely on her earnings from her art to pay the bills. She does her art gig full time with little time to spare for the things she loves like going to the gym or go on a well-deserved vacation. Eighteen-hour days aren’t unusual for this hard-working petite, brunette who takes her job seriously. Success comes with a price tag; it’s never free. When her high tech group disbanded in 2002, Paz chose to pursue her art full time rather than stay in the technology circuit.

Subsequently, she founded her own gallery and corporate office in Santa Clara and recently opened up another gallery in the prestigious Santana Row Shopping Center in 2006. If that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, her dealings with trade shows, hosting workshops, repeatedly getting picked as poster artist for big name venues, stores across the nation selling her artsy wristwatches and wall clocks did. Paz even got her name into Hollywood and received the red carpet treatment at the 2006 Academy Awards with celebrities taking home Paz’s mod art wristwatches, which were included in the VIP Oscar goodie bags.

How did this happen to the girl next door? Marketing. Paz is confident in marketing her paintings, decorated furniture, wristwatches, bedroom accessories or wall hangings. She simply believes in her work and who she is as a person. “I feel that this comes through my personality and through my paintings. I often refer to myself as a WYSIWIG (What you see is what you get). No hidden agenda, no artificial sweetener. I like to talk with my collectors and public. It’s really easy,” Paz said. “I have a no fear attitude and tenacity that you need to survive in any business. I feel I know my art better than anyone, so it’s easier for me to market because I know the true meanings behind each piece.” With all the framing, print layout, administrative tasks, mixing colors, painting, traveling, training employees, talking to clients, and family life, Paz doesn’t have time to be scared of the unknown.

This spunky artist sold her first paintings in a café and then through Silicon Valley Open Studios and kept showing up at outdoor festivals and local art events to get her name out there. Her design background and working in computer graphics certainly helped her create tight compositions that are lively and whimsical to the eye. Paz hasn’t forgotten where she came from and helps others learn the business side of art by giving workshops. She’s approachable and friendly and loves to share life’s joy in her artistic expression. Like any imaginative person she is growing into other areas of creativity and we’ll be seeing more of her in the future. We can hardly wait what she’ll do next!

Sonya Paz Fine Art Corporate Office is located in Santa Clara and is by appointment only; please call 408-241-0001. Sonya Paz Fine Art Gallery in Santana Row is open Monday to Saturday from 10a.m to 9p.m and Sunday from 11a.m to 6p.m, call 408-247-7789 for more information or go online at www.sonyapaz.com.

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Casa Galleria: Art Shop on a Mission

This article ran in The Gilroy Dispatch and in The Morgan Hill Times on 21 December 2006

Scan of article by writer Angie Young
Scan of article by writer Angie Young

Photo of Jeanie Watson
Casa Galleria Owner Jeanie Watson proudly displays area artist Karen Garnett's work

Photo of the Casa Galleria
Casa Galleria features the work of many area artists

The California Mission town of San Juan Bautista is a cornucopia of shops, art studios, and galleries. This is a wonderful locale to absorb living history while dining in a tasty Mexican restaurant like Jardines or purchase unique handcrafted items among the artsy stores lining The Alameda. One such place, Casa Galleria, offers not only home and office furnishings, but a plethora of fine art from local south valley artisans in both counties: San Benito and Santa Clara.  Owner Jeanie Watson of Morgan Hill opened up Casa Galleria ten months ago to help foster the arts presence in San Juan Bautista. Watson fell in love with the community and set up shop featuring works of local talent such as Karen Garnett, Don Jensen, Joanne Robinson, Joseph Battiato, Oscar Garcia, CJ Myers, Marie-Christine Connolly, Andrew Ballantyne, Russell Holtz, Heidi Cook, Marge Regan, and the Watsons, for example.

Tourists who pass by the Spanish-style hamlet for a bite to eat or visit the Mission occasionally walk into Casa Galleria and browse, searching for the perfect gift to buy for a loved one or for their home. Garnett’s California plein air paintings captured many an eye, thus her works are purchased and carried in the arms of satisfied customers—even from a celebrity couple from Los Angeles. The reason? Her paintings are rendered with palette knives rather than the standard paintbrush, and the perspective excellent like an architect’s drawing. This Morgan Hill artist keeps her compositions simple, the color subdued and yet the layers of oil paint are blended artfully creating a pleasing image for the viewer. Garnett’s Mission and Big Sur Coast paintings are favorites.

Other hot sellers are the mod art metal hearts hanging on the wall near the cash register, the brainchild of Miles Watson and Oscar Garcia.

These come in different sizes with paint on some and none on others. Mr. Watson and his extended family created the metal hearts by welding the scrap pieces of metal together in the most interesting fashion. They have fun making these cool 3D works. All sculptures are signed by the artists and of course are one of a kind. They make great gifts for the holidays or for any special occasion all year round. Mr. Watson also builds custom metal furniture.

Running a shop is time consuming and not easy, however Watson wants to promote art in the area and sacrifices her work as an artist to accomplish this. “My real passion is painting, but I want to help local artists by selling their work that I admire. I’m an Interior Designer so I’m selective in what art I choose to bring into my shop. My desire is to help the community to lift itself up artistically. I want San Juan Bautista to become an art community like Carmel. That’s the reason why I created the ‘Gallery Walk’, which will bring unity among downtown,” Watson said. “I launched the Gallery Walk nine months ago and it got off to a slow start, but it’s now building momentum.” The event occurs on the second Saturday of the month from 5p.m to 7p.m where people visit Casa Galleria, Bear Flag, Galeria Tonantzin, and Mission Gallery and meet their featured artists at a reception with refreshments. 

When she isn’t working hard on forming the ideal artist colony, Watson paints whenever possible between design consulting and her family. Her enormous landscapes and still life paintings attract customers because of their size and bold colors. Watson said, “People comment that they love my use of old world style and tones in my paintings and they like the large heavy duty canvases too. It’s because of my design background that I know the latest trend in European art.”

Paintings may not tickle everyone’s fancy which is one of the reasons why Casa Galleria features functional art like the Japanese themed floral or fruit scented candles by Gilroy candle maker Heidi Cook. The lovely Kokoro candles by Cook are a brisk seller. Don Jensen’s famed wooden wine stops too. Joseph Battiato’s skillfully crafted Grecian style urns are suitable for the workplace or home. For jewelry aficionados check out Marge Regan’s necklaces, rings or earrings on display and buy a set for Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s Eve party.

Casa Galleria is located at 107 B The Alameda, San Juan Bautista. Store hours are Thursday to Sunday, from 11a.m to 5p.m. For more information on the featured artist of the month and the Gallery Walk please contact Jeanie Watson at 831-623-4635.

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Art in the Land Flowing with Milk and Honey

This article ran in The Morgan Hill Times on 08 December 2006

A name has been redacted by request

Scan of article by writer Angie Young
Scan of article by writer Angie Young

Two men working a loom
Two artisans work in the town of Safed, Israel, where art permeates all walks of life.

It’s a thrill to peek through cultural windows around the world whenever the opportunity presents itself. In November a group of us from California and Virginia visited Israel. This is my second trip there and certainly not my last! It’s a special place where arts and culture are infused in every strata of life, whether past, present or future. It’s not forced or squeezed into a city or town to make it artsy or relevant to modern times. It’s just an integral component as the very stones that comprised the ancient and modern communities.

Moshe the tour guide took us from Dan to Beer Sheva in a two-week journey in Ha Aretz (The Land) and along the way we learned the rich history of the Hebrew people. Most folks on the tour were first-timers so we did more sightseeing than normal.

Our first stop was Tiberius near the Sea of Galilee. This coastal town’s vibrant art presence is evident at one of the hotels named after a noblewoman. This charming inn is a museum devoted to telling the story about Dona Gracia a wealthy Sephardic Jew from Portugal who lived in the 1500’s during the Spanish Inquisition. The hotel features a regal banquet hall equipped with fancy chairs, a long table and a cabinet festooned with a variety of masks. Outside the hall is a costume room filled with 16th Century clothing such as turbans, embroidered cloaks, regal gowns for guests to peruse for parties, special occasions, and photo shoots. This was a really fun place for theater buffs.

“The decor and rooms are artistically fashioned from different places and countries where Dona Gracia traveled, Venice, Turkey, Spain, Antwerp, and Portugal. This museum is set up for tours or for individual learning . . . there’s glass cases with period-dressed dolls depicting historical steps of Dona Gracia,” said <name redacted> from San Martin. Remarkably her ancestry is traced to the Spanish Jews.

Our next stop was Safed, which is a 500-year old community perched on a mountain in northern Israel. This peaceful enclave of artists is known for its prevailing wisdom in theoretical mathematics, mysticism, and of course art. <name redacted> enjoy coming to Safed. “It’s one of the four Holy cities of Israel...made so by the sages that came from the Iberian peninsula in the 15th-16th centuries seeking the spiritual and mystical aspects of G-d, “ he said, noting the art as well. “I like the Micro-Calligraphy, it’s intricate and beautiful.” Micro-Calligraphy is a unique art form where illustrations are composed of tiny Hebrew letters instead of brushstrokes or lines.

Yitzhak Duenas of Gilroy fell in love with the handcrafted jewelry he discovered in one of the shops tucked away along the cobblestone corridors. “I bought a Star of David necklace from a local merchant who said it was made from one of the local artists,” Duenas said and showed me. The star had 12 tiny Topaz blue stones in two rows depicting the tribes of Israel and a Hebrew word between them. “The guy who sold me this told me it meant happiness.” He was impressed with the family-oriented atmosphere of Safed.

 “I liked the layout of the city and the shops going through the cobblestone streets and alleyways. The artists are all very nice. They know how to sell and will barter with you. I bought a mezuzah pendant and a wooden mezuzah for my door made out of the local wood there,” Dana Banderet said. “I also liked the way some of the artists made the taluses and garments by hand on a loom and wove everything from a single piece of material and did not mix the fabrics.”

Morgan Hill resident Ken Young added, “Well executed realism creates scenes and moods in the paintings there. Safed is full of delightful artwork, but also a few war-damaged buildings.” Despite the conflict last summer the atmosphere in town was relaxing. There were no jittery people in any stores or at the Sephardic Synagogue; everyone was friendly, going about their daily tasks. The evidence of the past war I saw was a few damaged windows, broken pottery and fragments of glassware piled in a couple of cardboard boxes in an upstairs room in one weaver’s shop.

The next day we drove up to my favorite city on the planet--Jerusalem. This major metropolis not only has the ancient holy sites but also a thriving, bustling modern lifestyle of its own. Galleries, concert halls, theaters, shops, businesses, restaurants are everywhere. It’s a fascinating location to see art in motion firsthand.

Banderet said, “I’d recommend Jerusalem for art lovers because it’s a beautiful place to paint or draw if you are an artist. There are many local artists all over the city who capture the beauty in their paintings of the Western wall, children playing on the cobblestone streets, and what artists portray as the New Jerusalem after the Messiah comes.” The Internationally acclaimed Blue and White Gallery offer abstract art, still lifes and portraitures at the Cardo shopping center. For more information on the Blue and White Gallery go to www.BlueandWhiteArt.com.

A visit to the Old City in the Armenian quarters is a treasure trove of amazing bargains and breathtaking views of the massive stonewall and gates. At the Armenian Ceramic Center, they sell gorgeous artwork of artist John Savage. He captured the heart of Jerusalem in his perfectly skilled paintings of everyday life.  Owner Aida Berj and her family treat guests as royalty and will offer you the best prices in menorahs, scarves, hand-painted china, and shofars.

“Everywhere you look, art is intertwined with life in the paintings, tapestries, and pottery. Even the city walls—the very fiber of the city itself is alive,” Duenas said wistfully. He can’t wait to return next year.

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Top of article by writer Angie Young
Middle of article by writer Angie Young
Bottom of article by writer Angie Young

Ten to Watch

Our top 10 people picks for Morgan Hill as it transitions into a new century are those who have served the community with hours of intense labor and love to make it a better place to live. We tip our hats to them and give them a hearty salute for their contributions.

This set of 9 articles article ran in The Morgan Hill Times on 10 November 2006
It was essentially page A7

Article about Anthony Goularte by writer Angie Young

Anthony Goularte

Associated Concrete business owner and one of the leading citizens of Morgan Hill made his residence here in Mushroom City for 51 years now. He’s the type of guy who performs generous acts and service behind the scenes. Nonetheless, his contributions are visible in the variety of good works in the community throughout his stay. Goularte donated his time and resources in Morgan Hill’s athletic programs, playgrounds, womens shelters, decorating the downtown with American flags or Christmas ornaments, including his own supplies from his cement company. For 25 years he’s been a part of the Rotary Club and also is active in Kiwanis.

When Machado School was in dire need of repairs in April 2003, Goularte was among those who came to its aid; the cost of materials and labor estimated over $13K. Of course they did this for free. Their “paycheck” was to see the kids return to Machado in the fall.

In a July 26, 2005 planning commission meeting about trucks on city streets, Goularte said he tries to avoid using downtown as a byway for his cement trucks from his business, even though his competitors do send their trucks through the downtown area. “I would like to see all trucks barred from downtown streets,” Goularte declared in a statement. He wants to avoid residential streets for hauling if possible, but sometimes the drivers may need to use the shortest route through town, and they do make deliveries within residential neighborhoods. Subsequently, Associated Concrete moved from the downtown area to an industrial location in Morgan Hill near Mast and San Pedro after being approved by the city council at the end of October 2005.

The business owner is a recipient of the Chamber of Commerce’s distinction of being Morgan Hill Man of Year in 1989 for his unending volunteer work and monetary contributions for different causes in society and the 2005 Spirit of Morgan Hill given by Gavilan College Board of Trustees. Goularte humbly stated at the awards breakfast, “I want to thank the trustees for recognizing us and our company and what we do in our community. It’s nice to be recognized, but there are also countless people who give hundreds of hours of their time to make this a better place and we’re just a small part of that.”

Article about Gene Guglielmo by writer Angie Young

Gene Guglielmo

The family winery founded in 1925 by Emilio Guglielmo of Italy. The winemaking business got turned over to second generation George W. Guglielmo and his wife Madeline when the elder Guglielmo passed away in 1961. In the following years, they gave birth to three sons who are Gene, George E. and Gary and now they along with their Dad and Mom operate the business located on East Main Street across from Live Oak High. Back in 2005, Guglielmo Winery celebrated its 80th anniversary with a grand celebration and incorporating local artists and businesses to commemorate the special occasion. It’s not unusual for George E. and his brothers to involve the south valley community in their shindigs or giving a helping hand to those in need. The Guglielmo brothers were taught the value of working hard from their grandparents and parents. They also learned the importance of serving the community, having family members support, take part and provide wine for an exhaustible list of public events and organizations. Above all, the Guglielmos were encouraged by their elders to pursue the things they love. The good fruit bore from their never-ending charitable deeds are: George E. was named Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 1992 for his support of the Live Oak Emerald Regime Band and Color Guard, Spirit Softball, the Farm Bureau and the Wine Growers’ Association.

His wife, Janice (formerly Jan Justino--Morgan Hill 1965) served for more than a year on the city’s Urban Limit Line Committee. He also founded the South Valley National Bank and was past president of the Santa Clara County Winegrowers Association. He and his family are members of the Morgan Hill Sister City organizations. A Tuscan town, San Casciano, was the city’s first sister. The winery usually hosts delegations from the Italian sister city and county.

In 2004, The Guglielmo Family received the Leadership Morgan Hill Excellence Award, chosen for outstanding community leadership. And their award winning wine is pretty good too.

Article about Jon Hatakeyama by writer Angie Young

Jon Hatakeyama

Another wine connoisseur and giver to Morgan Hill is the civic-minded dentist, Dr. Jon Hatakeyama. He is passionate about the local sports scene and every year he and Dennis Martin spearhead the highly successful fundraising event in the spring called the Wine Auction hosted at the Community and Cultural Center in downtown Morgan Hill. This all started seven years ago when Hatakeyama and a group of parents approached Martin who was the track coach at Live Oak about hosting an event to raise money to purchase badly needed new uniforms for athletic programs at the high school. They agreed this would be a one-shot opportunity to do a fundraiser, not having the experience of doing this kind of thing before. After their first and only auction (Martin thought at the time), they made three grand and 35 people attended. Thrilled with the results, Hatakeyama asked him a month later about next year’s benefit and the rest, as they say, is history. In 2006, over $35,000 filled the coffers, corporate sponsors in Morgan Hill donated their services or products such as Fry’s Electronics, Guglielmo and Kirigin Wineries, Rosy’s At The Beach, Maurizio’s plus many other fine businesses. 130 people came to participate in the swanky affair and benefit the local schools in the south county city. Hatakeyama and his crew will be back in 2007 to put on another spectacular fundraiser for Morgan Hill. We can hardly wait. When Hatakeyama isn’t generating income to support athletic programs for Morgan Hill school’s or repairing people’s teeth then he is either running in local races or helping teenage kids compete in them. Last year Hatakeyama and another avid runner, Rich Benner (board members of South Valley Athletic Foundation) offered Live Oak’s cross country team the chance to race at San Francisco’s 29th Annual Bridge to Bridge 12k and 7K. They emphasized to the seven teens that health and fitness should go beyond high school and that is one of the primary reasons why Hatakeyama and Benner took them to San Francisco. The Live Oak students did well at the race and placed out of a field of three thousand in the 7K division, the Benners among the medal winners. The South Valley Athletic Foundation encourages running and related activities for fitness and health for folks.

Article about Brad Jones and Cinda Meister by writer Angie Young

Brad Jones and Cinda Meister

Morgan Hill wouldn’t be the same without Brad Jones and Cinda Meister, owners of the unique vendor of reading material BookSmart in downtown. Before setting foot here in 1991, the kind-hearted couple lived in Colorado Springs, a friend of Jones from San Jose talked them into moving to the south county to open up a restaurant there with him because of their experience in the industry. Jumping at the opportunity, they moved to Morgan Hill and opened up Mushrooms Bar and Grill on Main Street. Three years later, their friend left the restaurant: eventually, they did too. Later on, Jones and Meister saw the “For Sale” sign on BookSmart’s door. One thing led to another and they purchased the store in 1995. Jones and his wife are ubiquitous fixtures in this rural society; you may have run into them at Safeways on Dunne Avenue, or at the Cineplex Theaters on Tennant, or at the next city council meeting, or at the Fourth of July Parade near the Grange Hall, or just taking a stroll on Monterey Road near the Good Life Cafe. They’re extraordinary people, always willing to give the sleeves off their vests to help others. Jones and Meister earned two honors in 2003 for their genuine service to Morgan Hill: Gavilan College Community Spirit Award and the Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year for BookSmart.

The dynamic duo is responsible for putting together the successful “Music Night Series” for downtown Morgan Hill. Although, Meister doesn’t have kids, she believes in education and is one of the board members for Charter School. Throughout the years these two have blessed countless people and organizations with their endearing bookstore, Thinker Toys and Good Life Café.  These are safe havens where people can network and swap ideas on just about anything including the fate of downtown and small business owners. Unfortunately two of these establishments closed due to financial woes that hit all the stores in the downtown area. Recently, BookSmart moved to a temporary location on 3rd Street; Jones hopes that new place on Second will be open for the public before Christmas. They’re waiting on the City for the permits and it’s been a long wait so far.

Article about Dennis Kennedy by writer Angie Young

Dennis Kennedy

Mr. Morgan Hill is stepping down as Mayor of Mushroom City and left the job for the lucky candidate who is seeking to serve this fair town for two illustrious years. Kennedy is a tall, Midwesterner with a gentle voice who worked at helm along with his fellow civil servants in the City Hall chambers for six terms. When Kennedy wasn’t dealing with tough issues at the weekly council meetings, he was out in the open mingling with the local artists at fine art exhibitions, supporting the athletic community by attending and serving at the Wine Auction hosted by Jon Hatakeyama and his team, being present at the premier Poppy Jasper Film Festival and subsequent ones thereafter, shopping at the local stores and feasting on the variety of culinary delights from the city’s plethora of restaurants. He made sure he put his money right back into Morgan Hill’s economy. This mechanical engineer originally hailed from Nebraska loves the outdoors playing volleyball, skiing in water or snow, and hitting a few links out on the golf course whenever he can escape the pressures from his job. Kennedy and his wife, Eileen moved to Morgan Hill in 1976 whereupon he dove into politics a year later. He did three stints with the city planning commission, two terms with the General Plan Update Committee, and was elected to the City Council in 1990. He was the past chairman of South County Regional Wastewater Authority and additionally served four years on the Board of Directors for the Valley Transportation Authority. He was president of the Santa Clara Cities Association too. In 1992, he served his first term as Mayor and didn’t return to sit on that seat again until 1996. However, Kennedy’s aspirations for higher political office in 2002 went down in flames so to speak, and thus he changed his focus back to Morgan Hill. People re-elected him four more times even against the well-liked city councilman Greg Sellers in 2004.

Article about Roger Knopf by writer Angie Young

Roger Knopf

Part of what makes Knopf a tenacious hard working leader and volunteer is his upbringing. He grew up in a 13-acre family property in Los Gatos hills along with his brothers and one sister. The Knopf children were taught the priceless model of work ethics even at an early age. The Knopf Family owned horses, and livestock, Knopf help raise lamb and steer for show at the Santa Clara County Fair. Outside of work, he and his siblings hiked, hunted and camped in the pristine south bay land. Fast forward to 1964 when the newly married couple moved to Morgan Hill to farm prunes on family property off Watsonville Road. The town was bursting with 4 thousand people by then.

The gentleman responsible for fashioning the Morgan Hill Community Foundation: an umbrella organization that enriches the south valley area through granting financial assistance to nonprofits. The foundation links people and resources to create a much better Morgan Hill. Knopf is the president of Knopf Construction, Inc., located in Mushroom City since 1976. He is one of the founding directors of South Valley National Bank. He served as president of the Santa Clara County Landowners Association and Morgan Hill Rotary Club. He did his volunteered on committees in Santa Clara County, including the Morgan Hill Unified School District. Among Knopf’s countless deeds he repaired Hiram Morgan Hill’s 1886 home’s front door. Back in 2003 when Knopf received the Morgan Hill Leadership Excellence Award someone asked him why he spent the last 30 years serving as a committed volunteer for this community. His reply, “It’s fun. Everyone is different. In my case, I developed an interest in my community from growing up in a small community; me in Los Gatos and Janie (his wife of 39 years) in Saratoga. If you get involved in one thing there is more involvement by the whole community and it’s stronger. Otherwise it’s just a place where people live.” He earned the prestigious Chamber of Commerce Morgan Hill Man of the Year award in 1989. Another amazing thing Knopf did between work, volunteering and family is finishing a 26.2-mile race, The Las Vegas Marathon in 2002 with 4:24, and he was 62 years at the time!

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Children's Author Karen Beaumont is San Martin Gem

This article ran in The Gilroy Dispatch on 09 November 2006,
and in The Morgan Hill Times on 10 November 2006

left side of article by writer Angie Young
Right side of article by writer Angie Young

Photo of Karen Beaumont
Karen Beaumont with the books she's written

For more information on booking  Karen Beaumont for author presentations at elementary schools, libraries, and bookstores please contact her at KBeaumontBooks@hotmail.com

South County is known for its distinctive bedroom communities, bucolic hillsides and agricultural crops such as garlic and mushrooms, for example. What about best-selling authors? San Martin resident Karen Beaumont is a children’s book writer with a New York Times bestselling title to her credit—I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!. She has sold thirteen books to publishing houses such as Harcourt, Harper, Dial and Holt. Her seventh title, Move Over, Rover! Was released by Harcourt this fall. Beaumont is dedicated to writing quality picture books for kids starting from infants to seven years of age. She’s a rare find in our society of someone who loves her career.

How did she find her dream job? Although she always loved writing, she seriously considered pursuing it as a career while studying on the French Riviera on a graduate fellowship. In 1985, she took a course in writing children's books and slowly dabbled in sending out her manuscripts in subsequent years.  “I thought it was easy to write picture books . . . it’s a humbling experience. You can’t be ego-driven. If you’re ego bound you can’t have people slicing your work apart. This is not for the faint of heart,”

Beaumont said, referring to her earlier submissions to publishers and receiving over a hundred rejection slips.

Beaumont sold her first book in 1994.  By 1997, she realized she needed an agent (many publishers do not accept un-agented work).  An editor at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators national conference in Los Angeles told her about a top agent with a tough reputation in New York City. Subsequently she submitted numerous manuscripts to the agency and was finally asked to come to New York for an interview. As a single mother on a limited income, she didn’t have the money to fly back east, so she borrowed $1,000 from her parents.

One thing about Beaumont is that she's tenacious and won't give up on anything once her sights are set on a specific goal. Beaumont endured an 8-hour interview with the owner of the agency, all the while he was probing her to find out if she had what it took to make it as a children’s author. Beaumont added, “He shot holes in my story ideas and wanted to know how I felt about his critical remarks and I didn’t let them bother me. I was determined to make it no matter what. He didn’t indicate that he was signing me on until the very end of the interview." Her eighth book entitled, Who Ate All The Cookie Dough? is coming out in the Spring of 2008.

She has plenty to do in the meanwhile including book signings, author presentations at schools, and completing various other writing projects. “The extraneous activities in the business take a lot of energy. I’d rather be writing the next book,” Beaumont said, her azure eyes sparkled knowingly. “I have friends that I'm sure think I don’t work . . . I’m at Starbucks writing or somewhere else. They don’t see when I’m hunkered down at my home writing at all hours of the night or non-stop through the weekend.” Unlike traditional full-time jobs, Beaumont has the flexibility to move her hours around.

Becoming a professional author requires persistence, confidence, skill and talent. The industry is brutally honest with what they expect from writers and it’s a business like anything else so the prospective author should learn the basics in the field and keep pressing on no matter what happens. Beaumont emphasized her point further, “At a reading, I asked children if they would keep knocking on doors for trick or treating if the first five or six houses didn’t respond. How many would keep going? Not many raised their hands. I then said what if the seventh house had the bag of candy? You missed out because you gave up too soon.”

She may at times feel discouraged. However, she knows what she desires and doggedly pursues her dreams. She works hard at the business aspects of the craft and constantly digs into her creativity for a fresh story in rhyme for her young fans. When she’s not snuggled up on the couch with her pad of paper and her faithful cat Jake by her side, she’s writing at Starbucks, teaching night classes at the Adult school in Morgan Hill or working at her friend’s shop, Lady Jane's Antiques. Beaumont is scheduled to read and sign books at Barnes and Noble in Gilroy on November 14 and December 5 at 10:00 a.m.

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Morgan Hill Wind Symphony is a Family Affair

This article ran in The Morgan Hill Times and The Gilroy Dispatch on October 19, 2006

Scan of a newspaper article by writer Angie Young

Like most musicians, the members of Mushroom Town’s wind symphony are driven to produce harmonious sounds to delight the ears of young and old alike. They don’t do it for the money, as most of their gigs are unpaid ones, unless some special occasion or arrangement is made in advance. Just because they play for the pure enjoyment of creating light-hearted classical renditions or pops for the masses, doesn’t mean they lack talent. What makes the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony (MHWS) stand apart from other bands is the fact that they welcome youth to be part of the ensemble and play alongside them at concerts. You’ll notice family members performing side by side, moms, dads, their children or siblings at gigs. MHWS is a family-friendly lot in the south valley.

“From the very beginning, the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony mentored middle and high school students who are proficient at playing their instruments. We let them try out,” Tuba player Don Jensen said. MHWS gleans musical talent from within the ranks at schools or from the community. They have more junior high kids trying out instead of high school teens because everyone understands the demanding schedule the poor students must endure throughout the four years.

“We want the kids to enjoy the experience <of playing music> for life and not get burnt out,” Jensen said. He probably knew of potential recruits who put down their clarinet or trumpet for good to pursue sports or something entirely different because they were forced to practice everyday and not have a normal life like most other children their age. Another segment of MHWS is the ringers; these part-time performers are similar to auxiliary help whenever there is a gap in the orchestra. They come in and fill the void where a certain player or section is absent. The ringers aren’t committed full-time to the symphony and are delegated to temporary status, yet these guys are extremely helpful and valuable when drafted for musical duty.

Back in the mid-1980’s south valley residents Steve Potter, who held a Masters in Trumpet, and Jensen decided to form an instrumental band for kicks. At the time, they attended Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church on the corner of Dunne and De Witt avenues and the two formed a part-time orchestral group aptly dubbed The Morgan Hill Wind Symphony (MHWS). Their modest beginnings didn’t deter them from recruiting others in the city to partake in this new adventure, the process was painstakingly slow and the numbers were small. Over the years membership grew and remained steady at fifty-five in the summer and slimmed down to thirty-five in the winter. This pattern repeats itself annually. 

Anyone wishing to be part of this group must know how to read music, play any wind or percussion instrument well, and attend rehearsals. MHWS is strict about rehearsals; they’ve been having them every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on the property of the Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church ever since. Because the symphony comprises of volunteers and the outfit being a nonprofit, potential applicants are required to dole out thirty bucks to join the band. This will cover expenses for music, instruments or concert fees for the year.

You may think these are bunch of rank amateurs with little promise but that isn’t the case at all.  Several professional musicians are members too who lovingly share their passion for the classics, including the conductor, Vernon Miyata. He hails from the east bay and is the musical director of San Lorenzo High School. His brother Howard is part of the High Sierra Jazz group that regularly performs at paid gigs. Tom Brozene Sr. another professional, posses a Master’s Degree in Trumpet and mentors the youth like his peers.

Jensen summed up MHWS’s philosophy on their laid-back approach to life and the stressful demand of higher levels of musical complexity. “We don’t want the wind symphony to be a job. We already have jobs. We want to relax when we play.” To get more information on the Morgan Hill Wind Symphony, please go online to www.morganhillwindsymphony.org.

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Parisian Painter Makes Mark in South Valley

This article ran in The Gilroy Dispatch on October 05, 2006

Newspaper article by writer Angie Young

Photo of Marie Christine Briot-Connolly beside one of her paintings
Marie Christine Briot-Connolly stands beside one of her paintings

Visual artist Marie Christine Briot-Connolly, a French resident in California, continually leaves an indelible impression in the South Valley with her colorful paintings of the area for several years now. In 2005, the Parisian entered Morgan Hill’s Centennial Poster Art contest and blew the competition away with her vibrant depiction of a sultry August afternoon along the main drag of the city’s downtown. Her award-winning piece demonstrates plainly that she’s an accomplished artist. Briot-Connolly studied Arts in France and Interior Design in the Dublin Institute of Design in Ireland. She pursued her passion for modern literature, which led to a Masters degree in American Literature. This explains why she can speak English fluently despite being on US soil for only a short time. She emigrated from Europe over four years ago, following her husband Peter Connolly, an Irish native. The transition was interesting, as expected for anyone who is diving into an unfamiliar culture. However, she tackled the chore of integrating into the American mainstream with noticeable results.

Not only are her rich representations of the California coastline or the South Valley hanging at various restaurants, public venues or at an exhibition, but also many of her pieces are in the homes of private collectors. How Briot-Connolly got here is by old-fashioned hard work, perseverance and believing in herself that she can pull it off by marketing her stuff to the community. Everyone who ever thought of jumping into visual art knows the road to success is tough, requiring years of training and practice. You keep on learning and creating and practicing until you stop being a painter. There aren’t any shortcuts in this business. Anyone should seriously consider the cost of becoming a professional painter, sculptor or animator before launching into the profession. Whether it is full time or part-time artist.

Learn from Briot-Connolly, she throws herself into everything she does,

Including painting. “I have passion and I’m intense about my work. I’m

intense and passionate about everything I do,” she said. Whenever stormy clouds might gather in the world around her, she finds solace in her creativity and infuses her French personality into each vivid emotional piece, sharing her love of beauty to everyone. She isn’t afraid of color and jumps right into a task always painting something new and not allowing herself to rest in yesterday’s achievements. Briot-Connolly spends long days in her studio, just like any typical full-time job. She has focus and diligence; two key ingredients in success.

Her next body of work is morphing into what she calls French Classical

 Style, subtle pastels and elegant forms inspired from France’s 18th Century, a different path from her whimsical imagery. Not only has her art evolved into another mode altogether but increased in size as well. “I’m going back to more

classical avenues in my paintings—creating a series of murals on canvas . . . 

to open deep perspectives and larger windows in the viewer’s home,” Briot-Connolly said, referring to an eight feet by six Tuscan commissioned piece, she’s working on at the moment. There will be more larger than life paintings from this charming Parisian in the near future.

And when she isn’t in her studio painting, she is out in the community

motivating people to explore the arts through the nonprofit art group Valle Del Sur Art Guild and the Morgan Hill Library Art and Culture Commission. The other love of her life is passing down the knowledge she gained over the years to others in the South Valley who wish to pick up the brush and paint. Although Briot-Connolly is happily fashioning masterpieces and instructing folks here, she still longs for her cherished French and Irish university students. Despite this, she is now dedicating more time to her own art.  Briot-Connolly offers three painting workshops in Morgan Hill throughout the year; her next workshop will be at Karen’s Art Zone in downtown Morgan Hill on September 14th, 15th and 16th.

If you would like to pick up valuable skills from this award-winning artist and add them to your artistic tool chest then sign up today by contacting Karen Hegglin of Karen’s Art Zone at 408-779-7871 or Marie Christine Briot-Connolly at MarieChristine123@Yahoo.com.

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Reluctant support for revenue options

This article ran in The Morgan Hill Times on May 02, 2006

Scan of the first half of a column by writer Angie Young
Scan of the second half of an articly by writer Angie Young

Saturday’s meeting with civic, industrial and nonprofit groups was the capstone event for the community conversations series at the Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. Consultant Viewpoint Learning Inc., and city officials gathered the public’s views on how money should be spent per fiscal year for Morgan Hill. These discussions began in February where people expressed their opinions in a myriad of ways of how to deal with the 1.5 million-dollar budget deficit. On April 29th, thirty leaders, including Mayor Kennedy and all five council members, poured over the same issues that the public had discussed. The diverse groups were split up in three segments and met in different rooms. Three members of Viewpoint Learning, Inc., were on hand. They had trained some of the city staff to facilitate the meetings and were also present as consultants.

City Attorney, Janet Kern seemed pleased with how things were turning out. “This is a very good way to get the community to face the issues and make hard choices,” She said. Although, the process of gathering information from residents was time-consuming, it was worth it.

“We get to participate and we’re excited to get input from the community,” Council member, Greg Sellers said. Overall the mood at Saturday’s meeting was optimistic. It was evident the policy makers were glad to hear what people had to say.

The city of Morgan Hill spends $15 million per year. Over 80% of that is for police and fire. The city only takes in $13.5 million, leaving a $1.5 million shortfall. Because the city has already cut everything it can without obvious loss of services, the city asked its residents what was important to them. Over 330 residents participated, and their demographics closely matched the voting population. Almost all of them were willing to accept a tax increase to maintain the existing services. Very few wanted police or fire service reduced to save money. Since 80% of the budget is spent on police and fire, increasing revenue is the only alternative. Two thirds of them supported a tax on development, and over half wanted more retail development to bring in sales taxes. A third of the participants were willing to accept higher taxes yet, mostly for enhanced police services.

Jack Dilles, Director of Finance, felt the series were fruitful in terms of the staff hearing what the general consensus on the budget is so far. And what’s the outcome of these roundtable talks?  “The council will have an all-day workshop on May 19th to see what common ground people have,” Dilles said. On that day, the deliberations with the council will begin on making decisions based on research gathered from the meetings.

Besides Morgan Hill, the only other city in the bay area to host community conversations is Menlo Park. Hopefully, that won’t always be the case, thanks to our south valley municipality leading the way. Community conversations aren’t strictly limited to fiscal topics and can cover gridlock issues such as traffic, growth and education.

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Centennial Anniversary Celebration full of Color, Memories

Part 1 of article on 1906 earthquake centennial by writer Angie Young
Part 2 of article on the 1906 earthquake centennial by writer Angie Young
Part 3 of article on the 1906 earthquake centennial by writer Angie Young
San Francisco—Before dawn on April 18, 2006, roughly over 5, 000 celebrants flocked to Lotta’s Fountain on Kearny Street for the annual tribute to those who died in the temblor last century. People dressed in 1906 apparel and volunteers from the Red Cross greeted visitors, handing out whistles, flyers and cheer despite it being the wee hours of the morning. The weather even cooperated with dry skies.                                                    

Mayor Gavin Newsom shared the stage with the 11 elderly survivors, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, recording artist Tim Murphy, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, Police Chief Heather Fong, Annemarie Conroy, Executive Director of Office of Emergency Services, and many other dignitaries. A huge clock nearby announced 5 a.m.; everyone watched it with apprehension, knowing that a hundred years ago the earth shook violently at precisely 5:12 a.m. sending shock waves of destruction throughout Northern California.

Murphy sang the National Anthem to the throngs in the crisp morning air while people jostled to get a better view.  Organizer, Taren Sapienza, gave her opening remarks and introduced her special guests. Ten seconds before the black hands reached the 12-minute mark, everyone chimed in as they counted down the seconds much like a typical New Year’s Eve party.

Rumblings broke forth at the appointed time, but not from the earth.  Thousands of voices rocked the streets with their cheers as the clock read 12 after 5. The mood at the celebration was light-hearted and not foreboding. But this is San Francisco and anything goes. A moment of silence then followed, commemorating those who lost their lives during the massive shaker and fire.  A wreath was placed respectfully on the fountain.

People strained to see the raising of the ladder by the San Francisco Fire Department. Ringing of the church bells and sirens added to the cacophony as everyone watched with admiration as firefighters raced down the street in vintage fire trucks with riders decked out in period costume for the show.

Mayor Gavin Newsom then greeted everyone on national television, proudly speaking of how San Francisco built itself from the ashes. The words San Francisco Rising, with the image of the Phoenix ascending above the Golden Gate Bridge on an enormous billboard behind him summed it up best.

He then interviewed the survivors one-by-one on bended knee with hilarious, unpredictable results. When he asked the youngest of the survivors, Norma Norwood, 99 the question, “How are you?” Norwood quipped, “Cold . . . I have Gavin Newsom here to keep me warm.” The crowd applauded and the Mayor was caught off guard but quickly recovered. Norwood continued, “I was the best of the earthquake. I was conceived and born inside a tent in Golden Gate Park. My parents had to snuggle to keep warm and when you snuggle you have a baby.” She then added, “I was raised by prostitutes . . . I was called the earthquake baby but when I was 17 I didn’t want to be called that anymore.”

The eldest of the group, Chrissie Mortensen 109, shared her memories of the temblor and ensuing fire on that fateful morning in 1906, “I remember the smell of smoke and seeing a cow running down California Street with its tail in the air.”  Another survivor, Harold Hamrol, 103 told everyone the secret of longevity by working at a job for at least two days a week. The charming Hamrol, attired in a dapper Navy Blue suit, works part-time at Adronicos’ grocery store in town.  Donna and Chuck Huggins wrapped up the tribute at Lotta’s Fountain, leading the sleep-deprived but happy bunch with a heartfelt rendition of San Francisco based on the 1936 movie classic with the same name.

San Franciscans Mark Tweedie, 42 and his friend Leo Carew III, 39, always attend the major events in the City and were thrilled to be part of the 1906 earthquake and fire commemoration. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Tweedie said and disclosed information behind the destructive blaze that raged for three days in the beloved port city. “My grandmother Edna G. Steele (formerly Barney) was the youngest of five and was born in 1912, her older siblings told stories of how the family had to stay in tents in Golden Gate Park. They moved from upper Market Street,” he said. “People were torching their homes to collect insurance because the insurance companies didn’t cover earthquake damage . . . that’s what burnt San Francisco to the ground.”

The sun’s rays peeked over the horizon, casting a luminous turquoise hue in the morning sky. OES Annemarie Conroy’s invitation rang out to the thousands, her words painting the celebratory attitude of a city that overcame the worst. “Go out and have some fun! The bars open at 6. Raise a toast to the incredible city of San Francisco!”

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Disaster Preparedness Fair

This press release ran for two weeks in <newspaper name redacted> from <date redacted> through <date redacted>

Scan of press release by writer Angie Young

Scan of press release by writer Angie Young

The <newspaper name redacted> cut down the press release a little each time they printed it, in order to fit it into limited column space.

The original press release is below.
<Some information was redacted from this web archive after the fact to remove personal information.>

San Martin, CA—In the midst of turmoil around the globe with an increasing tide of natural and man-made disasters, people are wondering how to deal with such a catastrophe if one should hit southern Santa Clara County. That’s why <redacted> in San Martin is hosting the “Day of Preparedness Fair” on Saturday, October 22nd from 1p.m to 5p.m to the community. On their one-acre parcel they will have booths set up with representatives from CDF, The sheriff’s Dept., Red Cross, U.S. Geological Survey, CERT Personnel, San Martin Neighborhood Alliance, and local law enforcement agencies.

This is a community-wide educational fair where people can learn what do in an event of an emergency. The participating agencies will be present to answer questions and talk to the public in a family-friendly atmosphere of music, a jump house, refreshments, and a raffle where people may win prizes.

is offering their property to the Red Cross as one of the crisis shelters to the south valley. <redacted> says, “We are choosing a proactive approach of wisdom to avoid additional confusion should this situation ever arise. We have chosen the motto: Desperate times call for Wise Measures as our goal.  We invite our community to come together and learn along with us how we can best serve our area. “
<contact information redacted>

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Solve plant crime:

Recognize the pests attacking your garden

This article ran in The Morgan Hill Times, The Gilroy Dispatch and The Hollister Free Lance on April 26, 2005

Part 1 of article on garden pests by writer Angie Young
Part 2 of article on garden pests by writer Angie Young

Imagine if dead bodies were found partially buried in the backyards throughout the south valley neighborhoods—even on your property.  The grisly discovery would cause a panic, but has anyone ever blinked an eye regarding the barrage of botanical murders and assaults taking place in our gardens every day?

Solving these cases require basic knowledge in horticulture and being keenly observant of what’s happening in peoples’ yards. If Rosemary Rosales wants to create award-winning fruit pies for the San Benito County Fair and she walks outside and finds her Elberta peach tree’s leaves shriveling up or the fruit rotting, she’d want to know why.

That’s the job for the garden detective. These sleuths come in the guise of master gardeners and trained professionals in retail nurseries; they are available to help consumers with their botanical woes.

Dennis Roath, a master gardener who works in Morgan Hill, believes in conventional wisdom when it comes to taking care of plants. “Insects seldom kill plants; it’s over watering, neglect, and planting in the wrong location,” he said. He recommends bringing infected plants to a reputable nursery for diagnosis and treatment or calling the master gardener hotline.

Unanimous consent among the garden detectives is that most common pests afflicting gardens in the south valley are aphids and snails. Ants are baddies too, according to master gardeners in Santa Clara and San Benito Counties. They harvest aphids like dairy cows and transport them throughout the garden. Judi from Orchard Supply Hardware in Gilroy recommend Tangle-Foot Goo to combat the ants.  This sticky substance traps the insects and keeps them from traveling. She also suggests spraying the tree with non-toxic horticultural oil to kill the aphids.

Randy Linke from Red Roots Garden Company in Morgan Hill talked about snails devouring young plants. He favors snail bait to poison the troublesome mollusks and said to apply sparingly on soil. Stomping on snails is another way for the sheer joy of squishing the offending hordes.

Judi and Joe from Orchard Supply Hardware advise checking the contents of potting soil purchased from nurseries because the dirt may be infected with snail eggs. Fighting off snails or slugs is a major battle for many in this area and it’s best to examine newly bought plants before putting them into the ground.

“A lady came into the store with a type of potting soil with round, gel-like eggs throughout the bag,” Joe said. “OSH gave her two bags of comparable potting soil because we aim for customer satisfaction and want to take good care of them.”

Most customers walk into Paidl Gardens in Hollister with yellow citrus leaves assuming the condition is caused by not using enough fertilizer. The owner, Caryn Paidl, points out the true culprit.  “Scale causes yellowing of the tree leaves. Check the tree bark for little brown bumps, which are Scale. These can weaken plants because they suck out the sap.” Applying Volk Oil directly onto these parasites will drown them. Non-toxic sprays may work too.

Another pest found in the spring is the Spittlebug. These are the larval form of the Leaf Hopper and are encased in a sudsy mass on the stems of plants. Spittlebugs are considered harmless although their dwelling places are grotesque. Spraying them off with water does the trick and is environment friendly.

To catch the criminals in the act, step outside with a flashlight to find the source of the problem. This is true about other pests like Earwigs, slugs or suckling insects. San Juan Bautista’s Jim Sleznick said it best. “Be alert on what’s in your garden . . . get out there and see what’s going on. Look in the early morning or late evening.”

For those of you who are stumped please call the University of California Cooperative Extension of Santa Clara County Master Gardener Hotline for questions at 408-299-2638 or go online at www.mastergardeners.org.

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The Art of Preservation

This article ran in The Gilroy Dispatch and The Hollister Free Lance on March 24, 2005

Image of top of article by writer Angie Young
Image of bottom of article by writer Angie Young

What keeps a priceless piece of art intact for decades? Finding an answer to this challenge is the quest of any artist, gallery or museum. Art institutions know how to preserve their investments by protecting them from the harmful effects of the sun and the environment. However, the average consumer may not; therefore, it is a matter of educating the public to protect their art pieces. You may wish for the Picasso hanging your living room wall to outlast your grandchildren. It can, too—thanks to technology’s latest trend in protective art ware.

Several galleries and framing shops in the South Valley face the decision of how to preserve photographs and paintings from a variety of ways. For example, Mission Gallery in San Juan Bautista switched over to Museum glass from Conservation Clear for hanging art in the gallery. Even though both Museum and Conservation filter out ultra-violet rays (about 95-97%), there are a couple of stark contrasts between the two. When you visit the gallery, gaze at the artwork on the walls and see if there is any glare on the panes from the lighting in the room, Museum glass is less reflective. However, don’t confuse this product with non-glare glass, which leaves the image distorted when viewing from far away.

Another difference between them is pricing. Behind this is the time-consuming melting process under stringent conditions. Each process is closely monitored to insure the absence of bubbles and imperfections found in standard glass. Let’s say you want to prevent your prized watercolor from fading from sunlight or becoming damaged by fluorescent lighting. The bill for a 9x12 sheet of Conservation glass will be $10. Museum Glass will cost $43 for the same size. The frugal-minded consumer may wish to go with Conservation Clear. Museum is an excellent choice for anyone who wants the anti-reflective qualities. 

Mission Gallery owners, Piper Jaramillo and Boykin Sellers, believe in presenting the conservation package in the best fashion possible. This includes the frame, glass, backing, acid-free matting, hinge tape, and plastic corners to prevent the art from touching the glass. High-end packaging along with well-executed artwork gives the piece more value. Piper Jaramillo explained how some artists have harmed their work by using poorly packaged frames or not using the proper preservation techniques.

What are these framing techniques? Artists and photographers want to preserve their award-winning work so they have the frame shop/gallery select the museum grade matting and back board (acid/Lignin free) and mount the art with removable hinges or Mylar corners. If it is pastel work, then separators may be placed between the mat and the backing board to allow dislodged flakes to fall behind the mat.

Mission Gallery, Leedo Gallery in Gilroy, and the Art Scene in Morgan Hill avoid framing with products that contain wood pulp or Lignin because these contain acid, which discolor, burn and damage photographs and paintings. Using proper mat, backboard, and hinging tape enables the professional to remove the artwork from the frame without damaging the piece. This is what is known in the industry as reversible mounting technique.

As expected these framing techniques will cost the consumer because of the laborious efforts custom-fitting the print or artwork into the frame and conservation “sandwich.” Again, there are choices and if the would be shopper has something in mind for that special Erte or family heirloom, then going the cheap route by buying pre-made frames with standard glass won’t work.

Another interesting item to add to the preservation mix is non-glass alternatives. These aren’t heavy as glass and they don’t shatter. The downside is acrylic pieces may bend or warp and collect lint, hair or fur like Velcro and they scratch easily due to their soft surfaces. If the consumer wants the kind with scratching resistant coating then he or she must shell out more money for the privilege. The same goes for the clear, 95% UV protection type.

Leedo Gallery & Frame uses Conservation Clear for their inventory and framing purposes. They use a variety of Plexiglas products too and will be more than happy to explain the benefits to consumers. Charles Clark, owner of Leedo Gallery & Frame, understands most artists or consumers are budget-conscious these days. However, he’ll use Museum Glass if a customer requests it. Prices in the framing industry will continue to go down and eventually most people will be able to enjoy the high-end qualities of Museum Glass.

For more information on framing techniques or what type of glass to use please contact the following: San Juan Bautista’s Mission Gallery at www.missiongalleryart.com or call Piper Jaramillo at 831-623-2960. For those in Gilroy, check out Leedo Gallery at www.leedoart.com or by phone 408-842-8118. The Art Scene in Morgan Hill offers framing services; call Stacy at 408-779-4306.

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