www.tamvalley.org

Tam Valley Improvement Club
P.O.Box 1446
Mill Valley, CA 94942
Message line: 415-383-3691
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News Around the Valley

Want to be emailed about important meetings and news regarding Tam Valley?
Send an email to president@tamvalley.org to get on our mailing list.

It's Rhubarb Time!

Join us at the 53rd annual Rhubarb Revue as we present your favorite childhood fairy tales as you've never seen them before. Will Prince Charming find true love on "The Dating Game"? Can Rumpelstiltskin defeat Grandma and the Evil Stepmother in "Jeopardy"? And what's happening on "The Jerry Springer Show"? All this, plus songs, more comedy, and an opener in Act 2 that you will have to see to believe. This is not your father's Mother Goose!

Tickets may also be purchased at Coyote Coffee, right next to TJ's Gym on Shoreline, as well as from TVIC PO Box 1446 MV 94942

Click on the poster at left or here for details.

Local crime reports from the Marin County Sheriffs Department

View local crime events displayed on a map at www.crimereports.com. Once on the page, check out the Advanced Search options to change the statistics shown and the time frame displayed.

2014 Membership Drive: Renew or Join Now



Hello to you all,

It's that time again - Membership Month for the TVIC. Join the Tam Valley Improvement Club and help make Tam Valley the best place to live in Marin!



The Tamalpais Valley History Room has made progress!

Since we sent out our membership forms last year we have made quite a bit of progress on our building a History Room for Tam Valley.

We now have the drawings and site plan ready to be submitted to the County for plan review as well as to be presented to the Tamalpais Design Review Board for review and approval---we hope!

As I mentioned last year Tam Valley has a very long colorful history and we are lucky to still have residents who have lived many of these years AND photographed our valley at all stages of its growth. The photo on the membership form taken in 1930 is Jack Martin’s grandfather. Jack’s family founded Martin Bros. at the Junction.

Nancy Mc Donald’s relatives have lived here since Tam Valley was nothing more than a tiny community with a dirt road going through it. Nancy is the Founder of the Tamalpais Valley Historical Guild and the source of much of our photos and memorabilia.

Please renew your membership or become a new member. All the money we generate from Memberships and our annual Rhubarb Revue Show go toward our building fund. We still need quite a bit of money as the cost of the building itself is not the only expense as those of you who know about these things knows!

We still need approximately $25,000.00-$30,00.00 but our design review approval, if and when we get it, will be good for a few years so we still have time to raise the money.

So, please join us as a new member or current member for 2014 and feel free to donate any amount in addition to the membership amount.

Beautiful weather but we sure do need rain! Remember, our birds and squirrels are feeling the drought too so put a dish out for them and you will see the birds scurrying to drink and bath and the squirrels waiting their turn!

Curry & TVIC

2013 Membership Drive: Renew or Join Now



Hello to you all,

This is Membership Month for the TVIC and we have special news for you Tam Valley residents!

This is a rendering of the proposed History Room that the Tamalpais Valley Historical Guild [TVHG] and Tamalpais Valley Improvement Club [TVIC] are hoping to have built on the Tamalpais Valley Community Center [TVCC] property. Its location is just past the TVCC building itself toward the end of the parking area. It is small at 12X20 feet but will fill our needs.



Tam Valley has a very long, active, colorful history as you can see on the enclosed sheet of TVIC accomplishments. We are fortunate to have Nancy McDonald, the Founder of the TVHG, as one of the leaders of this endeavor. Nancy’s family roots go back several generations and her Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and parents have all lived here in Tam Valley. Nancy and her family still live here. Others on the TVIC Board are also longtime residents of 50 years plus each.

The TVHG and the TVIC decided a year or so ago that we need a History Room for all the documents and memorabilia we have collected over the decades. Nancy has many, many pictures from a century ago as well as throughout the 1900’s. We have copies of all The Progress’ which was the newsletter the TVIC mailed to all residents starting in 1941 and continuing for several decades. These newsletters are fascinating to read and give you a real picture of Tam Valley and it’s residents “back in the day”. The official TVIC Minutes from 1925 forward also give a look at the Club and the activism it took to bring about their many accomplishments History is a wonderful thing and our beautiful valley is teeming with it!

Currently the TVHG has many pictures on display in the Lobby of our Southern Marin Fire District fire house on Poplar Street. We plan to continue this display even after the History Room is completed and open to the public.

You may be wondering why now. Well, it is about time someone started this project but also many of us involved in this are not “spring-chickens” and we very much want to get all of the documents and memorabilia safely placed in the History Room, archived ready for current and future generations to enjoy.

The Marin County Community Development Department has said that since we already have a Use Permit on the TVCC we don’t need another Use Permit and because the building is less than 500 square feet only a small scale Design Review will be needed. With these hurdles behind us all we need now is to raise the remaining funds.

We hope you will renew your TVIC membership or become a new member. All of these monies and that of our Rhubarb Revue Show go toward the building of this History Room.

We would also be very grateful for any donations. We still need approximately $20,000.00 and any amount would be helpful.

Unfortunately the TVIC is a non-profit 501[c][4] but not a 501[c] [3] which means your contribution is not tax deductible.

Thank you for your support. TVIC has always been the Watchdog for the Community and we continue to be.

I should also mention that organizing the Neighborhood Watch for the entire of Tam Valley is a TVIC accomplishment completed in 2008. It is not listed on the enclosed sheet.

It looks like it is going to be a beautiful Spring—enjoy our beautiful special place on Earth!

Curry & TVIC

New Tam Valley housing information web page from Kate Sears & the County Planning Staff:

THE HOUSING ELEMENT AND TAM VALLEY

Dear Friends in Tam Valley, Almonte and our Gateway communities:

Thank you for the honor of serving as your District 3 County Supervisor, representing southern Marin. Having grown up in Mill Valley and Sausalito, I am keenly aware of what makes Tam Valley and our other local communities special.

For several months now, there has been ongoing discussion and concern about housing in Tam Valley. While some of the dialogue is helpful, some of the information being shared is inaccurate or incomplete.

It’s important to have reliable information in order to understand basic concepts in planning and housing law and how they affect Tam Valley, Almonte and our Gateway communities. I want to reassure you that, contrary to what you may have heard or read, there is no current application to build “high density housing” in Tam Valley.

Planning is an ongoing responsibility of our county government. It is a continuous, day to day and year round task that is part of the legal responsibility of local government (representatives in consultation with the local communities) to determine how land is used and for what purposes. As your representative at the County of Marin, I take this responsibility seriously and want you to know that preserving and protecting community character and upholding our environmental values are my primary concerns in land use.

I hear and share your concerns. Housing is a complex issue that deserves to be understood by us all. Identification of housing sites is for planning purposes; it does not mean that development proposals for these sites are currently under review or will be submitted in the future. Property owners are free to choose if and when they want to further develop their sites in conformance with the County's zoning rules and other development regulations.

To provide a clearer understanding of planning, housing and the entire breadth of issues under discussion, I have asked our County planning staff to develop a Tam Valley housing information webpage. It is called The Housing Element and Tam Valley. It answers the basic questions that I have heard asked and lets you know how to be constructively involved in this important community dialogue.

The goal here is to let you know:
what is going on with housing and ongoing planning at the county and regional levels,
the big issues (traffic, environmental impacts, flooding and sea level rise) being examined and considered, and
how to stay informed and be constructively involved and heard.

Here is the link to The Housing Element and Tam Valley

Please read it carefully and take the time to fully understand the information provided. Feel free to share this information with friends, neighbors and others who you know would benefit from it. Thank you for taking the time to study this issue with me and to let me know your thoughts and suggestions going forward.

To stay in touch, I have listed below several ways to communicate with me and to keep yourself informed about this and other issues.

I look forward to working with you!

Sincerely,

Kate Sears Supervisor, Southern Marin

Stay In Touch with Kate Sears and Keep Yourself Up To Date About Marin County News and Information

Here are several ways to stay in touch with Kate.

1) Sign Up for Kate Sears News and Information Updates:

You can sign up at this link to receive direct email updates on important events, meetings and issues.

2) Follow Kate Sears’ news and information postings on Facebook: Kate Sears on Facebook

3) Call or write me at my office:

Please feel free to call me or my Aides Maureen Parton and Leslie Alden at 415-473-7331, or email me at ksears@marincounty.org

We've got a new look

Thanks, Thom Chiaramonte
Third Rail Design Lab
This is TVIC's new, beautiful logo. We have wanted a fresh, vibrant new logo for quite a while so I went online to Next Door Tamalpais Valley (see the next article for more info on Next Door) and asked who might like to design a logo for TVIC that reflects some of what we love about Tam Valley.Thom Chiaramonte whose business is Third Rail Design Lab responded and within days he designed our logo and provided it to us in : b/w, color and gradients of gray. This is a very generous gift as Thom designed it for us pro bono! THANK YOU, THOM!

You may be wondering why we asked Thom to make a coyote so prevalent in our logo. Until 1908 our valley was called Coyote Valley or Coyote Hollow and the creek that goes through the center of our valley is Coyote Creek. So coyotes are part of our history - we still have them in our environs and hear them at night.

Check out Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamalpais_Valley. Very interesting. Not complete, but what is there is interesting.
New Neighborhood website There's a great new neighborhood website just recently started for Tam Valley - https://tamvalley.nextdoor.com. Many Tam Valley residents have already signed up on the site, but if you haven't yet, go take a look and join in the fun and conversation.
Transportation Committee of the Tam Valley Vision Group Just posted: a matrix of studied and proposed improvements for biking and walking on Shoreline Highway from Tam Junction to Loring. This is a summary document of ongoing issues with current status and comments. Click Here
New article posted under "Development" The Development page has a new article by Stan Barbarich about the Almonte Marsh being revitalized near Tam High School.

While you're on the Development page, reread the article from 09/04/07 by Dick Spotswood about what might have been our community if the powers-that-be had had their way back in the 50's, 60's and 70's! Super highway thru Tiburon, Marine World in Mill Valley, Marincello in the Marin Headlands. Yikes!
Kathrin Sears, Marin County representative

Kathrin "Kate" Sears

Kathrin, or Kate as she is called, is the seventh County Supervisor for District 3 whom I have had the pleasure of working with in my 41 years of involvement in the Tam Planning Area. We all supported the late Supervisor, Charles McGlashan, as he understood what was/is important to us here in Tam Valley and Almonte. I think we are very fortunate Kate was selected and appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to complete his term. Her values are much the same as Charles' and she is very supportive of programs started previously, at Charles' behest, here in Tam Valley.

Maureen Parton and Leslie Alden who were Charles' Aides, and quite wonderful, are now Kate's Aides. This continuity has helped bring Kate up to speed very quickly.

To be in touch with Kate's office call: 473-7331.
Membership Drive 2013 Join the TVIC for 2013 and support the 92 year old club that is the Watchdog of your Community. Your donation also supports the Tamalpais Valley Historical Guild which holds all the memorabilia for Tam Valley history going back over 100 years.

Family--$25.00 Single--$15.00 Senior--$10.00

You can now join by PayPal or by mail-- RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!.
If you see flooding

Daytime:
415-473-7388

After hours and weekends: 415-473-7513

Reminder : These are the two phone numbers to call if you see flooding in Tam Valley caused by overflowing catch basins, creeks and/or gutters etc. Your phone call goes directly to the County garage where personnel and trucks will be dispatched immediately to Tam Valley.
Now What's happening at Tam Community Center Check it out!
Tam Valley "For Sale" in 1900 Tam Valley was prime real estate in 1900 when lots went on sale. Take a look at this fascinating brochure from 1900.

Here's the link
Tennessee Valley/Manzanita Walk/Bike Path

Construction started in Oct. 2011

Read the details here
Shoreline Master Plan Bicycling and pedestrian safety are being studied and planned in the Unincorporated Area of Southern Marin. Much of the Almonte and Tam Valley area is identified in the Non-Motorized Plan document.

You will find the latest revision of the Non-Motorized Plan here.

Your comments and suggestions are necessary for community input. Use the new TVIC message board to comment, or e-mail Kathy at kmcleod@mcleodfx.com

Marin IJ Article Eucalyptus tree removal . . . The subject of the Eucalyptus trees is a controversial one with the residents in Tam Valley. There is a poll on the page with the article and when I just voted the vote was 72% to cut the trees down. There will be a community meeting here in Tam Valley in the coming months where you can express your thoughts. I will let you know when.

CURRY

http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_10459500?_requestid=2345890

Tam Valley Development

Latest: November 2007 Charles McGlashan Final adoption of the Countywide Plan

There has been a lot of interest lately in the Tamalpais Area Community Plan and development in Tam Valley. We'll try to keep this site updated with letters to/from Curry (President, TVIC) and other relevant correspondence and links to relevant documents.

What's Up With That??

Have a question about something you've seen or heard around the Valley?
Ask it here and we'll get an answer posted for everyone to see . . .

April 21, 2008: Bones found beneath the Fireside!!

The big, white landmark called the Fireside has stood as a gateway to Mill Valley for 92 years, a symbol of a rough, rollicking era when the Bay Area was awash in rum running. But the celebrants who caroused inside the former speakeasy never knew they were dancing on Indian graves.

Read the story by Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, 2008


Oct 5, 2007: Safety issues on Shoreline Hwy 1 and Pine Hill Road

Hung Q Tran wrote:
Dear Ms. Cohn,

I was asked to respond to your note, reporting that the previous efforts for the crosswalk on Shoreline highway and Pine Hill Road have improved the conditions there. We have also reviewed your additional suggestions and are pleased to inform that we will request our highway maintenance crew to trim some of the foliage in the vicinity to help improve the visibility of the warning signs. Please allow six to eight weeks for this work to be incorporated in our workload. Additionally, within the next few months, we will also further evaluate replacing existing pedestrian warning signs with fluorescent yellow green background in each direction, and add supplement plate indicating distance (e.g. xxx FEET AHEAD).

Speed bumps, pavement markers, or rumble strips are not typically approved for use on State highways as traffic calming measures (or for reducing speeds). Enforcement would be very effective measure. As for the in-pavement pedestrian warning lights, they are visible to the first couple of approaching vehicles, and may not be seen by the following cars if the drivers do not pay attention to stopped traffic ahead. In our last field review, when the school was in session, we observed only nine pedestrians crossing from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and much fewer in the afternoon. One of the criteria used for installation of in-pavement pedestrian warning lights is 40 pedestrians per hour for 2 hours each day.

As you are probably aware, for these types of engineering solutions to be effective, they must be accompanied with an appropriate balance of enforcement and driver education. We appreciate the help you are affording us by highlighting this location in the community forums, and we will further coordinate with the CHP for enhanced enforcement. You're also encouraged to contact the enforcement agencies directly.

Thank you for your concerns of the operation of the State highways.

Hung Q. Tran
Office of Traffic
510-286-4585


Click to read Original emails from Linda & Curry

Sean Nozzari
Caltrans/District 4
Deputy District Director, Traffic Operations wrote:

Dear Linda and Curry,

Thank you for your note. In March this year, we received the same concerns from another resident in your neighborhood. We have investigated the matter, including examining the accident history and performing field observations of traffic operations at the intersection. Accident history indicates there were eight accidents at or near the intersection during the last five years. There was one rear-end accident that involved a stopped car which had yielded to a pedestrian but did not involve any pedestrian injury. None of the other accidents involved pedestrians.

Based on our observations between 7:30 - 8:30 AM, on a Thursday, while the school traffic was at its peak, there were nine pedestrians crossing the highway. Traffic flow on the highway was smooth at average speed of about 35-40 MPH. There were adequate gaps on the highway for pedestrians to cross, and on-coming traffic did stop for the pedestrians, as needed. We also re-visited the intersection after school dismissal time, at 2:50 PM, and there was less pedestrians crossing than in the morning (only three during the hour). Traffic volumes on the highway were also much less than the morning period.

The existing advance school crossing warning signs, the advance "Slow School Xing" pavement markings, and school crossing signs at the crosswalk in both directions are in good condition and visible to traffic. However, we decided to re-stripe the centerline (double yellow line) to narrow down the travelway as a measure to slow down traffic, and install "In-Street Pedestrian" signs (State Law - Yield To Ped Within Crosswalk). Re-striping has been completed. We have oredered the "yield to pedestrian" signs on expedite basis and expect to have them installed by the end of this month.

We will request our maintenance crew to re-visit the site again to perform any tree trimming needed. We did inform the local CHP office about your concerns who will do their best for increased enfrocement.

If you have any questions or wish further information, please feel free to call me, Phillipe Van at 510-286-4589, or Hung Q Tran 510-286-4585.

S. Sean Nozzari
Caltrans/District 4
Deputy District Director, Traffic Operations
510-286-6345

Is the 1992 version of the Tamalpais Area Community Plan the most current?

Date: Sept. 7, 2007

Yes, the 1992 version of the Tamalpais Area Community Plan is the current one and the one the County refers to when developments are proposed. Supervisor McGlashan is hoping to get the funding in the County's 2008-2009 budget for a revision of the Plan. It is an expensive undertaking as a planner from the County works with the committee from the community and the committee meets 2X a month. This was the procedure for the 1992 Plan and Charles says it will be done formally this time too.

What is causing the construction delays on Shoreline?

Last year during the heavy rains a hillside washed away on Shoreline, just this side of Loring Ave. They will be digging out that area and building a retaining wall to hold the road up and create a shoulder. They need to go to one lane to accomodate their truck and activity. I'm told it shouldn't take too long.

Curry Eckelhoff
President TVIC

Cars parked in front of the mailbox across from DeLanos Market

Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Drat!!! Have you noticed the cars parking in front of the white painted curb blocking access to our precious mail boxes?? Everyday!! They must be commuters. They obviously don't know what a white painted curb means. I am afraid that this is even more of a safety hazard than the PO thought we had across the street when people would jump out at the curb to mail their letters. I am also afraid that if we don't nip this in the bud we will wake up one morning and ZAPP! our mail boxes are gone! I have printed out a flyer to put on their windshields ( here it is ) if any of you also feel inclined to do so.

Don't you just hate going two steps forward and one step back???

Gads it is frustrating!!!

CURRY

There's a car alarm going off on Marin Drive . . .More info

Anyone know anything about this one? Please let us know.

Are there any community gardens in the Tam Valley area?

Not at this point. There is discussion of it and if anything comes of it I'll let you know.

What will we be able to put in the new gray recycle can? Different from the blue can?

Put the same 'stuff' in the new gray can that you previously put in the blue can. More info

How can I get a copy of your design guidelines?

Tam Valley guidelines are in the Tamalpais Area Community Plan. . . .Read More

What's happening with the other low income housing project in place of Videodroid?

There is only one project going on at this point. . . UPDATED

What's happening with the Chevron station on the corner of Flamingo and Shoreline?

It's gone! Read More

What's that pile of dirt in front of Frantoio?

I'm sure many of you are wondering what the pile of dirt is in front of Frantoio's. Caltrans is using it for the spoils, tree trunks and dirt . . . Read More

What's all the construction on Almonte Blvd?

It is a water district project to replace the water mains . . . Read More

What's happening to the Fireside?

Architects rendering of the Fireside project
The old Fireside motel will become 50 units of affordable housing . . . Read More


Problems with traffic at Pine Hill & Shoreline/Hwy 1

This is the original email from Linda Cohn and Curry's response.

Hi Linda,


I live up Pine Hill too and know exactly what you are talking about with trying to cross Shoreline. We were fortunate to have CalTrans stripe the highway,finally,and paint a cross walk but it is not enough. One reason for these problems is people are impatient and pass on the right with no regard to who or what may be on that side. Your ideas are good for lessening the problem. I will contact CalTrans tomorrow with your problems and possible solutions. I will contact CHP also.

Another problem I have noticed is the people flying down Pine Hill from the top in a type of "free fall" and by the time they get to the bottom they are really moving---pity the child or adult who may be coming from their driveway to cross the street.

I'll be back in touch...

Curry Eckelhoff
President
TVIC


----- Original Message -----
From: Linda Cohn
To: president@tamvalley.org
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2007 5:06 PM
Subject: Tam Valley Question


If this is not the correct address to send this communication to, will you please let me know to whom I should address this?


Thanks!

As I am sure you are aware, the crosswalk at Pine Hill Road and Shoreline Highway is an accident waiting to happen

- the sign for the crosswalk for cars driving west on Shoreline is mostly hidden by trees

- the cars consistently fail to stop for people in the crosswalk (eg yesterday we were half way across Shoreline with the car going west stopped and several cars going east on Shoreline kept going)

- because of the speed and number of cars on Shoreline, drivers may be afraid to stop for fear of getting rear-ended (as the other cars may not notice the crosswalk far enough in advance to stop safely)

- cars going east on Shoreline will typically pull up on the "sidewalk" and pass on the right cars that are stopped - a dangerous situation for people on the sidewalk or in the cross walk (this is often done without much reduction in speed)

I am sure there are plans to improve this situation - but I am wondering by when?

I request some combination of the following:

- better signage
- trimming the trees so the signs are easier to see
- a pedestrian sign in the middle of the road (you know the ones that stick up in the middle of the road and say something like "State Law - Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk")
- And/or blinking lights around the crosswalk that can be activated by pedestrians
- little round metal bumps on Shoreline (whatever they are called) that warn drivers before they get to the crosswalk that then need to slow down
- something to discourage drivers from passing stopped cars on the right at this intersection
- police presence to deter law breakers and to catch and ticket people who fail to stop for pedestrians - this could be a great source of revenue ;-)


Please let me know what the plan is for this intersection and by when we can expect it to be implemented.

Thank you!

Best regards,

Linda Cohn
366 Pine Hill Road

Tamalpais Valley's Flood Control Zone 3

New program to help alleviate flooding problems

Telephone Numbers:
Daytime:415-473-7388
After hours & weekends: 415-473-7513


Local members of the Flood Control Board, the Marin Flood Control District Staff and the County Department of Public Works have worked out a program to help our residents who have flooding problems during storms and high tide. The Flood Control Board voted unanimously to fund cleanings of our catch basins, creeks and gutters on a regular basis in hopes of alleviating some of the damage flooding can bring. They are also working to development and implement other projects and programs that will help to alleviate flood damage.

As a resident you can help by reporting any on-street flooding as soon as possible to the County of Marin dispatch:

Telephone Numbers:
Daytime:415-473-7388
After hours & weekends: 415-473-7513


These phone numbers go from the dispatch directly to the County garage where personnel and trucks will be immediately dispatched to Tam Valley. This is a very special program and is only done in one other community in Marin. Post these phone numbers in a conspicuous place by the phone in your home.


Become a TVIC Board member

Would you be interested in becoming a TVIC Board member? We need you on the Board for your input and discussion on Valley issues.

We meet once a month on the first Thursday of the month. We sponsor the Annual Rhubarb Revue variety show every Spring for three weekends and this is our main social event. The TVIC is the watchdog group of the Valley and always has been. We are the sounding board of what's going on in our community. You can be as active as your time will allow.

For more information contact Curry Eckelhoff, TVIC President, at 388-7247 or by email president@tamvalley.org.

Fernwood Cemetery Update

Margaret Heller
815 Marin Drive
Mill Valley, Ca 94904

Sept 20, 2005

Several years ago I wandered into the Fernwood Cemetery to see what it was about, as I have always loved walking in cemeteries. I have only lived in Tam Junction for 5 years and I was curious about this little corner of my new world. Immediately at the entrance on Tennessee Valley Road, I was met by a monolithic stone wall; it imparts a serious tone before you come upon a typical Tam Junction landscape of bay trees and interior live oak. It turns out that the wall is the northwest wall of the building that houses the business offices and facilities for memorial services. It was a Sunday and everything was locked except for the front gate. I followed the steep, paved road up to the right and I found that all was quiet. At the top it seemed to be a deserted, old, Western cemetery with weathered headstones containing fascinating bits of information. The headstones were in disrepair; many of them tipped over and lying upside down where they had fallen. I thought that the charm of the place was in the fact that it was a nearly abandoned cemetery with very old gravesites most with Hispanic and Asian surnames. There was no fertile ground, no fresh flowers (only plastic), and no order. It was intriguing and I vowed to come back in the winter months after the rains had restored the grass, ferns, and wildflowers and also had brought moss and lichen to the trees.


Then I read in AARP magazine and in a local newspaper that the cemetery was being bought by a national corporation that had a unique idea to turn cemeteries into hiking and meditative places. They also had taken the casket out of "burial" in by allowing families to choose a "green burial" (see web links below). I also heard dark rumblings about how "outsiders" were coming in and taking over "our cemetery". Well they have arrived and from what I can see they are doing an outstanding job. Last fall I saw that they had done some hillside work cleaning debris and pulling out uncountable loads of scotch broom; then they sprayed in the wildflower seeds and fertilizer onto the steep banks. It looks artificial until the spring brings vibrant California wildflowers and all is forgotten.


I returned again the other day after watching increasing activity taking place in the hills. Life is returning to our cemetery. Now in September 2005, heavy equipment is being used to make new trails and solitary workers with rakes and hoes are restoring old trails. There are rows of plants (festuca and mountain mahogany), and potted trees lined up for planting. Hundreds of feet of broken waterlines are being repaired; and in such a vast, steep space there is a need for plenty of water! Some of the old gravesites have plants and flowers in bloom as though someone cared instead of the benign neglect of the past years. There are California native plants- California poppies, lupine, sage - lining pathways to the gravesites. There are trails that lead off into the woods and old gravesites restored that were toppled and buried by leaves and downed branches. The headstones have been righted in the Fernwood Section and the Tiered Family Estates. They follow no typical pattern of the traditional cemeteries of the East Coast in which all is orderly, precise and predictable; ours is random, surprising and engaging as you pass rows of marked graves and a few headstones off by themselves on a hillside. Beautiful new retaining walls wander through the hillside making steps and seating in quiet places facing out towards Tennessee Valley or Coyote Creek. The mausoleum that is built into the hillside has been cleaned and a tasteful, living sculpture hangs from the back wall. From the very top of the hill one of the best views of Tam Valley can be found and the climb is well worth it as you pass interesting sites and guess a little bit of history.


"Maria Daughter of J.S. and Rose Nunes. Died September 29th, 1902. Age 5 years. 3 months and 28 days. "

"Denh Su Phung 1908-1990" with a photo of him as a young man.

One head stone with three disparate names and lifespans: "Joseph A Avilla 1920-1936, Edward W. Bettencourt 1907-1947, Mary Knight 1881 -1950"

"Florence Nightengale Worley 1861-1934 Native of England"

And a small white stone bleached by the sun and the characters worn by the elements "Anton M. Beloved son of Miguel M and Anna Terra 2 mo 1892"

To read about green burials:
http://www.aarp.org/bulletin/yourlife/a2004-06-30-green_graveyards.html

To read about Fernwood Cemetery:
http://www.foreverfernwood.com

Margaret Heller heller@sonic.net

Suggestions? Let us know:
webmaster@tamvalley.org
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