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PREP FOOTBALL: Bear River falls to Hilmar in D6 playoffs (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY)

HILMAR — The Bruins felt the Yellowjackets’ sting early and often Friday night.

Facing the defending Division 6AA State Champions on their turf, Bear River’s football team struggled to keep pace with the potent Hilmar attack and fell, 49-17, in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section D6 playoffs.

“They were spot on, and we got shell shocked a little bit,” Bear River co-head coach Scott Savoie said. “They’re a good football team. A really, really good football team. We just couldn’t find a stop, we made too many silly mistakes offensively and penalties killed us at key times. The Yellowjackets came ready to play tonight, there’s no doubt about that. Hats off to them for that. I look at that scoreboard and it’s hard to believe. I don’t think they’re 32 points better than us, but they sure as heck were tonight.”

Hilmar, the No. 2 seed, scored touchdowns on all six of its first half possessions en route to a 42-10 halftime lead. The No. 7 Bruins played them evenly in the second half, but the first half damage was too much to overcome.

“They executed and we didn’t,” said Bruins co-head coach Terry Logue. “We just did not play good defense, bottom line. We didn’t tackle and we didn’t cover. (Hilmar’s) quarterback did a good job of hitting people in the open and we got behind, made mistakes and it just snowballed.”

Hilmar’s offense could do no wrong early on and put up 14 quick points coming on a 4-yard touchdown run by Cole Bailey, and a 57-yard touchdown pass from Seth Miguel to Aidan Azevedo.

The Bruins responded by driving deep into Yellowjackets territory, but were forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal off the foot of Cade Torgerson.

Hilmar then reeled off 21 straight points, getting a 6-yard scoring burst from Bailey, a 27-yard touchdown pass from Miguel to Azevedo and a 14-yard touchdown jaunt from Justin Barros.

Bear River finally reached paydirt when sophomore fullback Ryder Kiggins powered in from 3-yards out with 1:26 left in the half.

That was plenty of time for the Yellowjackets to squeeze in one more score before the break. Hilmar got a good kick return, then knifed through the Bruins defense with a couple big chunk gains and finished the drive with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Miguel to Barros with 33 seconds to spare.

Miguel finished the night 15-of-18 for 332 yards and four touchdowns.

Leading the Bruins on both sides of the ball were seniors Tre Maronic and Colton Jenkins. Maronic completed 7-of-11 passes for 139 yards. He also had 27 yards receiving and 25 yards on the ground, including a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. On defense, he tallied seven tackles.

Jenkins led all Bruins with 10 tackles. On offense, he caught four passes for 101 yards. He also threw for 46 yards and rushed for 21 yards.

Senior defensive lineman Caleb Hurst tallied Bear River’s only sack in the game.

“I stand by this team,” said Savoie. “They are a gritty group. They were out here battling ‘til the end. I think they overachieved as a group.”

Logue added, “They played Bruin football. They played hard, they ran hard and they gave us everything they had.”

The loss ends a season in which the Bruins went 8-4 overall and reached the playoffs for the third straight season.

Bear River graduates just six seniors from the team, but all six played big roles in this year’s success.

“We’ve never ever had fewer than six seniors, but we had six pretty dang good seniors and we’re going to miss them that’s for sure,” said Savoie. “They provided us with some really good leadership.”

Hilmar (10-1) advances to the D6 semifinals where they will host No. 3 Ripon Christian.

“It’s tough at the end of these things,” said Savoie. “There’s only one team out of Division 6 that is going to walk out of this thing happy, and I got a feeling it could be (Hilmar).”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

SCORE BY QUARTER

YELLOWJACKETS 49, BRUINS 17

FIRST QUARTER

H: Cole Bailey 4-yard run (#50 kick) 9:10

H: Aidan Azevedo 56-yard pass from Seth Miguel (#50 kick) 6:06

BR: Cade Torgerson 32-yard field goal 4:11

SECOND QUARTER

H: Bailey 6-yard run (#50 kick) 11:57

H: Azevedo 27-yard pass from Miguel (#50 kick) 9:01

H: Justin Barros 14-yard run (#50 kick) 3:53

BR: Ryder Kiggins 3-yard run (Torgerson kick) 1:26

H: Barros 27-yard pass from Miguel (#50 kick) :33

THIRD QUARTER

H: Barros 37-yard pass from Miguel (#50 kick) 4:44

FOURTH QUARTER

BR: Tre Maronic 4-yard run (Torgerson kick) 4:42

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Lady Miners wrap 42-win season

The Lady Miners’ deep run through the postseason came to a close Thursday night in Atherton.

The girls volleyball team from Nevada Union wrapped an impressive season with a four set loss to the Menlo-Atherton Bears in the second round of the CIF NorCal Division 1 Tournament.

NU head coach Chrys Dudek praised his team for their play all season long.

“This team played really well together,” he said. “When they found their flow, they were unstoppable and that happened quite often. They were a team that was highly spirited, was able to run complex offenses and we had more blocks than ever before. Their defense was solid from the front line to the back line. It was just a joy to work with these players all season.”

The loss ends a season in which the Lady Miners went 42-12 overall, placed second in the Foothill Valley League, made the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the fifth year in a row, were the Section’s D3 runner up and won a NorCal tourney game for a third straight season. NU’s 42 wins is second most in school history.

In the contest with Menlo Atherton, the No. 10 seeded Lady Miners came out strong and took the first set, 25-21, but the No. 2 Bears clawed back and took the next three, 25-17, 25-19, 25-21, to advance to the D1 semifinals.

Leading the Lady Miners against Menlo-Atherton was senior outside hitter Faith Menary. The Louisiana Tech commit scored a game-high 23 kills to go with six aces and nine digs. Menary finished the season with 656 kills on the season, which is more than any other player in California, according to MaxPreps.com.

NU’s senior setter Kendall Hughes finished the match with 10 assists, giving her 1,353 for the season, which is tops in California.

NU’s Kailee McLaughlin was strong at the net with five blocks. McLaughlin, a junior, tallied 164 blocks on the season, ranking her third in the state.

The Lady Miners program will bid farewell to several standout seniors, including team captains Menary, Emerson Dunbar, Kendall Hughes and Kendall Gould.

“They left a huge mark and will be sorely missed,” Dudek said of the teams seniors. “They have left a legacy and people want to try and fill those shoes … They’ve been an inspiration to our younger players, and in all the arenas from offense, to defense, to our setting position. They will be impacting the program long after their graduation because all these young players have looked up to them and were able to see what NU can become.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Warriors woes continue; Sharks go streaking

WARRIORS: Last season the Golden State Warriors were expected to win every night. They are currently striving to merely compete. It has been tough. The 2-10 Warriors have emerged as an NBA punching bag. Klay Thompson called his rehab “tedious.” He noted, “We are missing five key guys.” After the 120-94 loss to the Lakers, Golden State is hoping for better fortune the second half of the season. In the meantime…

SHARKS: A positive five-game win streak finds San Jose trending towards a .500 record after a dreadful start. On Thursday night, they went into Anaheim and beat the Ducks 5-3. Two goals by Tomas Hertl before he left due to injury. His line, which includes Timo Meier and Barclay Goodrow has recently caught fire. There is still a lot of heavy-lifting, but perhaps they are emerging in the West.

LADY MINERS: Although they pulled the curtain down on the season, Nevada Union produced a brilliant and exciting campaign. After losing in the Sectional FInal, they went on to upset Oak Ridge in the first round of Nor Cals before being ousted by the Menlo-Atherton Bears on Thursday night. Kudos to Faith Menary, Emerson Dunbar, Kendall Hughes, Kailee McLaughlin and company for orchestrating an outstanding effort.

BRUINS FOOTBALL: Bear River dominated Highlands 64-26 in the first round of the Section Playoffs. It was a rousing win. It epitomized an extraordinary season for Bear River. Tre Maronic and Coach Scott Savoie agree on one thing.Both spoke of the “grit” of the squad. They faced great adversity positively. Last night, they played a storied program in Hilmar. Savoie quipped, “These are the types of games I coach for. This is what it is all about.” Regardless, it has been a stunningly positive season in South County.

49ERS: ESPN’s Joe Tessitor called it “a masterpiece of a regular season game.” In the end, it was the first loss for San Francisco as the Seattle Seahawks seized this one in the closing moments of overtime 27-24. However, the sky is not falling and this is not the time to point fingers or focus on villians. It was an outstanding contest in which the 49ers failed. It happens. Get over it. Move on to this Sunday’s tilt vs. Arizona.

LSU/ALABAMA: In a battle between top college football teams, there were simply too many miscues by Alabama early-on that allowed LSU to surge to a 33-13 halftime lead. CBS’ Gary Danielson labeled it a “messy start.” The Crimson Tide came back to make a game of it, but LSU held-on for the 46-41 win.

Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at adamses@inreach.com.

YOUTH FOOTBALL: Jr. Bruins, Jr. Miners gear up for Shrine Bowl

Due to their ability on the gridiron and their penchant for helping others, several members of the Bear River Jr. Bruins and Nevada Union Jr. Miners football and cheer programs got an extra week of football.

Three Jr. Bruins players, four Jr. Miners players and six Jr. Miners cheerleaders will all be taking part in this weekend’s Youth Shrine Bowl which benefits Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“It’s pretty cool to raise money for someone who really needs it,” said Dustin Philphott, who played quarterback on the Jr. Bruins 14U team and will be representing the Bear River program at the Shrine Bowl. “You get to give back to the community and help someone maybe get a limb and be able to run around.”

Each Shrine Bowl particpant was not only a standout on the field, but also raised more than $700 to be donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“I like it because it goes toward a good cause, and it’s also a way to extend the time you get to play football,” said Blake Simning, a safety for the Jr. Bruins 14U team and Shrine Bowl selection.

Simning and Philphott will be joined by teammate Caleb Watkins as well.

“It feels good to give all that money to the hospital,” Watkins said.

Representing the Nevada Union 14U Jr. Miners at the Shrine Bowl will be Ricky Kiser (football), Nolan Chappell (football), Armando Rodriguez (football), Cole McCracken (football), Allison Perry (cheer), Alyssa O’Leary (cheer), Ava Valenti (cheer), Brooklyn Osborn (cheer), Cadence McAnelly (cheer) and Amy Sandoval (cheer).

The Shrine Bowl, as well as several Sacramento Youth Football All Star games, will take place Sunday at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium.

Jr. Bruins football players and cheerleaders who are also getting an extra week of football and will be competing in the SYF All-Star Games are: Baylor Kelley (12U football), Luke Jeffers (12U football), Madison Franklin (12U cheer), Makayla Magnussen (12U cheer), Addalyn Barks (12U cheer), Avelina Watkins (12U cheer), Isabella Devely (12U cheer), Morgan Block (10U football), Brycen Hickman (8U football), Lillian Rutherford (8U cheer), Leana Rutherford (8U cheer) and Shelby Jeffers (8U cheer).

The NUJM players and cheerleaders participating in the All-Star Games are: Colton Danos (12U football), Kacie Stuessy (12U cheer), Mariah Lang (12U cheer), Araya Pennington (12U cheer), Cheyanne Barker (12U cheer), Nicola Locatelli (12U cheer), Alexis Smith (12U cheer), J.C. Harris (10U football), Owen Hooper (10U football), Molly Sims (10U cheer), Amanda Perry (10U cheer), Kylie Wirtz (10U cheer), Alivia Cookson (10U cheer), Cheyenne MacMenigall (10U cheer), CharleyAnn Eelkema (10U cheer), Julian Cortez (8U football), Ryleigh Stanley (8U cheer) and Molly Peterson (8U cheer).

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

Nevada City Council to consider removing Senum’s mayoral title, not seat

The Nevada City Council will discuss the possible removal of Mayor Reinette Senum’s title, but will not seek her removal from the council, multiple city officials said.

During Wednesday’s council meeting, members approved a motion from Vice Mayor Erin Minett to add the discussion of removing or sanctioning Senum to the agenda of their next meeting on Dec. 10.

“I have concerns and I have received public comments about Reinette’s not clarifying that the opinion she expressed regarding multiple city matters are her own and that she was not speaking on behalf of the city or the City Council,” Minett said at the meeting.

Minett also pointed to concerns that Senum has solicited opposition to the wireless facilities ordinance adopted by the City Council in September, and that she represented herself as mayor — without approval of the council members — in doing so.

Minett declined comment Friday when asked whether the agenda item would attempt to remove Senum from her seat on the council or only remove her mayoral title. Each year, Nevada City Council members vote to appoint a mayor among the five people serving. Senum was appointed to her current term as mayor in July.

“Out of respect for the mayor and the other council members I have no further comments at this time,” Minett wrote in an email. “This matter will be dealt with at the council meeting on December 10th.”

Council member Duane Strawser said the move would amount to a public admonishment but would not go further than that.

“We can’t legally remove someone from council,” Strawser said. “All we have in our discretion is to remove titles, committee assignments or censure.”

While the agenda item states the potential censure is for her public statements, Senum said she believes the item is intended to limit her free speech, particularly on the issue of 5G wireless regulation.

“This is unbelievable,” Senum said Thursday. “Other council members have spoken to the media on issues like Amgen (Tour of California cycling race) before; do we need approval every time we speak now?”

Strawser, who has served as the local organizer for the Amgen race, agreed that some issues for the City Council have been become more contentious, in particular implementing 5G regulations. Strawser said the issues have been boiling up and the difficulty of the wireless facilities ordinance brought things to a head.

According to City Attorney Hal DeGraw, such a situation has not before risen during his tenure and the city will look more into the process Monday.

Laurie Bethel, a Nevada City resident who attended Wednesday’s meeting, said the council should be focused on other priorities.

“We and our city are going through some major concerns with fire, with power shutoffs, I can’t believe this is the best use of time,” Bethel said Friday. “I’m blown away by the non-cohesiveness of this council.”

City Clerk Niel Locke said that while the situation is unprecedented and the exact removal or sanction process in unknown, any effort to recall or remove a representative from the council would need to be initiated through a petition signed by Nevada City residents with a three-digit address.

“We have no idea how the process will go,” Locke said. “It’s going to be an interesting meeting on December 10.”

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.

‘We have to do something’: Nevada County physicians discuss how climate change will damage humans and the Earth

A few nights ago Nevada County public health officer and physician Ken Cutler discussed the precautionary principal.

In essence, Cutler explained that when an idea holds scientific uncertainty, one should urge on the side of caution and prevention — not avoidance or rejection.

The physician was referring specifically to how humans address climate change, and advocated people try to prevent intimidating cascades associated with the phenomenon.

Cutler was speaking alongside three other physicians from a spate of different backgrounds to discuss the effects of climate change Wednesday night at the Nevada Theatre.

“The two big concepts are: we need to adapt and we need to mitigate,” said Cutler.

MORE DESTRUCTION

Ten years ago, The Lancet medical journal declared climate change “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.”

Four physicians took heed of the warning Wednesday night, and encouraged others to do so as well.

Cutler referred to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which states the most vulnerable will be most affected by a changing climate.

“Climate change creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth,” wrote the report’s authors.

Cutler agreed.

“So the people that are going to suffer most are those who already have chronic health conditions; those who suffer from poverty; those who have unstable housing; those who have fewer supports,” he said.

Climate change acts like a warm blanket over us, said Cutler. As we emit more greenhouse gases, the layer of heat overhead thickens, thereby increasing temperature.

“We have more destructive, greater sized, faster fires,” said Cutler. “The Paradise fire was moving a football field every couple of seconds.”

The county officer acknowledged there are many contributors to wildfires, but that climate change heightens the risk.

Internist Dr. Brad Miller, who works in hospice and palliative medicine, said rising sea levels could flood cities and destroy local economies.

By 2100, over 500,000 Californians living along the coast are at risk of being washed away or displaced due to floods, according to a recent report from U.S. Geological Survey scientists.

What lives in the ocean itself is in peril.

At about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean has sucked up more than one-fourth of the carbon emitted by humans and absorbed 90 percent of global warming’s excess heat, according to David Wallace-Wells book “The Uninhabitable Earth.” The result has been ocean acidification, destroying coral reefs and fish populations, which hurts local fish economies and societies that rely on seafood.

“Off the coasts of Australia, fish populations have declined an estimated 32 percent in just ten years,” wrote Wallace-Wells.

Droughts too will worsen, said Miller, referencing the worst drought in 900 years that swept across the Middle East in 1998.

West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease, said Miller, will increasingly become a threat to people in higher latitudes, like the United States.

In his grandchildren’s lifetime, about 30 years from now, Miller said estimated heat-related deaths will climb from 100 to about 300 per year. Smog and particulate matter coupled with wildfire smoke is projected to diminish air quality, he said.

“It impacts people especially with chronic conditions,” said Miller, possibly leading to premature death, asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and more heart attacks.

Pediatrician and climate advocate Dr. Sarah Woerner said the number of heat stroke related deaths of student athletes doubled in the last 10 years in part due to global warming. Emergency Room visits, she said, are expected to increase 10 percent in the next half century due to heat-related issues.

Allergies have significantly increased because of the changing climate, said Woerner, as there is more pollen in the area.

‘Hold their feet to the fire’

Despite the barrage of bad news, Miller tried to be optimistic.

“We have a very powerful drive to protect our homes, our families and our careers,” said Miller, which should encourage us to do things, both granular and expansive, to combat climate change.

“We have to do something,” Woerner said in agreement. “We don’t have a choice not to do something.”

Dr. Roger Hicks, medical director of Yubadocs and Wednesday night’s host, suggested voting for climate conscious politicians on the local, state and national level.

“And when they are elected,” he said, “hold their feet to the fire.”

Topics on climate are increasingly reaching the mainstream, said Hicks, becoming among the top concerns for the U.S. military.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was the first presidential candidate to put climate change at the top of his agenda, and for the first time a Democratic debate was focused exclusively on the topic. Inslee has since dropped out of the race,

Hicks suggested people overlap their monied interests and personal values: make climate conscious investments in solar, wind and renewable energy projects, he said, advocating that those producing fossil fuels should also pay higher costs for the negative externality they create.

“More money can be made in addressing climate change than in continuing to make it worse,” he said.

Cutler suggested reducing emissions by driving less, biking more, eating locally and increasing plant-based consumption.

Toward the event’s end a new organization was introduced.

The Sunrise Movement, a youth climate activist group with hubs across the United States, has come to Nevada County. Introduced by Hicks at the event, a group of Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning students recently initiated the local chapter.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.

Driver in DUI hit-and-run sentenced to 180 days, 5 years probation

A Grass Valley man who pleaded no contest to DUI and hit-and-run charges after crashing head-on into another vehicle was sentenced Friday to 180 days in jail and five years probation.

Mozell Payton, 46, was arrested Oct. 7 after he crashed into another vehicle on Freeman Lane and Taylorville Road and then fled the scene.

The victim told Grass Valley police officers she saw Payton’s vehicle approaching her with its high beams on, swerving into her lane. She tried to avoid the collision, but was unable to and the cars collided head-on.

Payton drove away but officers located his vehicle on Freeman Lane and Mill Street. The car had extensive front-end damage, and the air bag was deployed, authorities said. Payton reportedly had minor injuries and was taken to the hospital to be medically cleared. The victim was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

On Oct. 17, Payton pleaded no contest to driving under the influence causing injury, DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more causing injury, and leaving the scene of an accident.

During Payton’s sentencing in Nevada County Superior Court, Deputy Public Defender Thomas Angell noted that the probation department had recommended outpatient treatment.

“He has been extremely remorseful,” Angell said. “He is willing to take responsibility and get into some kind of treatment.”

Judge Candace Heidelberger said probation seemed appropriate, given Payton’s lack of prior criminal history. She sentenced him to 180 days in jail, with 90 days suspended pending completion of an outpatient substance abuse treatment and no probation violations, and five years supervised probation.

Additional terms in sentencing included no alcohol with search and testing, a nine-month DUI program and attendance at a victim impact panel. Payton’s license was suspended for one year and any vehicle he drives must have an ignition interlock device for one year.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lizk@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

County education board member resigns Wednesday

Paula Sarantopoulos has sat on the Nevada County Board of Education since April of 2018.

At Wednesday’s board meeting, she resigned from her position.

Sarantopoulos has been a long-running education representative in the county. Before her position on the county board, she was a Grass Valley School District board member for 15 years.

Sarantopoulos will be taking a job with Tuolumne County working as a health program technician, leaving her job as the home-care coordinator for Nevada-Sierra Connecting Point Public Authority.

“I really enjoyed seeing how well run our county schools are,” she said.

The county education office has 60 days to fill the empty seat, according to Samie White, assistant to Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Scott Lay. White said usually about one to three individuals apply for the position.

Those eligible to run include county residents who are registered to vote and at least 18 years old, and individuals “not otherwise legally disqualified from holding civil office.”

On Nov. 25, an application to be appointed to the board will be made available in several places, including on the Nevada County Board of Education office’s website (www.nevco.org/nevada-county-board-of-education/), the office’s physical location (380 Crown Point Circle, Grass Valley) and will be posted in The Union.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.

Lorraine’s Lowdown: After the trip of a lifetime, new wanderlust may be unrequited for some time

This is the tale of many cities, as I share some lighter moments of my recent vacation to Europe …

Our cruise from Athens to Rome via the Rock of Gibraltar was delayed several hours when the ship couldn’t leave port. It was an engine malfunction, but the captain had us laughing as he joked over the ship’s loudspeaker, “I seem to have misplaced my keys …”

A cruise ship can essentially be a petri dish floating on water. During our two weeks, a nasty cold made the rounds of guests and crew. At one point it sounded as if we had all contracted Kennel Cough, or been teleported to a tuberculosis ward …

My cabin mate’s cold resulted in some loud snoring. In exasperation one night I got up, arranged a makeshift bed in the only room with a door to block the sound, and slept in the bath tub. My cabin mate wryly remarked the next morning, “Will we have to ask them to make up the bath tub tonight during turndown service? …”

Some cruise ships are now being outfitted with the “Medallion Class,” an interactive software program that allows guests to find each other, order items and have them delivered to them wherever they are onboard, make reservations, etc. Guests carry the medallion instead of a key card. It’s only just a little creepy when you approach your cabin and the kiosk welcomes you, shows your photo, then the door unlocks and opens for you …

I traveled with a set of fun foodies, who affectionately referred to the ship’s buffet as “The Trough …”

One evening we splurged on the “Chef’s Dinner,” a swanky, elite dining experience during which we were invited into the ship’s galley and hobnobbed with the chef while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Next we dined on a five-course meal in a private setting far from the madding crowd. Or so we thought, until a fellow specialty dining guest explained — and demonstrated! — how to aerate wine by stirring it with a fork …

We tried to balance eating and drinking, Gastric Alley vs. Road of Thirst. The cautionary tale became: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Very, very late one evening, a friend confided, “I don’t know how to hiccup in French …”

One traveling companion said he considered himself an “alcohologist.” He explained, “I’m a light eater and a heavy drinker. You can’t be good at everything …”

When some English-speaking guests were frustrated by the language barrier, their ineffective solution was to speak more slowly and louder — yet still in English. Others added “O” to words: “Do you have a map-o?” or “Please, more wine-o …”

Europeans whose jobs force them to interact with tourists are generally friendly and helpful. Checking in at an airport, we asked where to leave the airport’s luggage dolly. The attendant smiled sweetly, “Wherever you want. Just not here …”

A friend noted a heavy religious influence in Rome and observed, “You can’t swing a cat without hitting a nun in Italy …”

During a tour of the Vatican, a man kept asking his wife about the availability of an elevator. “Did you ask the guide about a lift?” he whispered. She didn’t hear him. “I said, did you ask the guide about a lift?” She replied, “What?” He said loudly — in the Vatican — “Jesus Christ woman, what about the lift!? …

Our friends from Indianapolis gave our British friends a “UK to USA” dictionary (As Oscar Wilde said, “We are separated by a common language). We Americans joyfully taught them — and the ship’s crew — how to use “amazeballs” when expressing extreme contentment or when to use “cray cray” to describe a crazy person. From the Brits: If something is “tickety-boo” it’s “satisfactory” and “I don’t give a toss” means “I couldn’t care less …”

We decided to take a local water taxi at one port, which cost one-third less than the Princess Cruise shuttle to the same destination. A Princess staff member tried in vain to redirect our Euros to Princess: “It’s a 20-minute walk to where that local water shuttle leaves.” Us: “We can use the exercise.” Her: “There’s a very long wait and that water shuttle doesn’t come and go often.” Us: “We have all the time in the world. We’re on vacation.” Her: “Local French workers are given priority. They might not let you board.” Us, incredulously: “French workers rush the water taxi at 11 in the morning? …”

For the record: It was a 10-minute walk, we waited less than 10 minutes, and the only French rushing the water taxi were a man, his wife and two toddlers …

In Toulon, France, we took a reconnaissance trip and jumped aboard an open-air train that rolled through the city. The narrative was recorded, and it was obvious English was the narrator’s second language as her enthusiasm mounted for the tourist icon she was describing: “Look at the bell. Look at it! It’s made of wood. Really look at it! Look harder! …”

We were awestruck and humbled by the statue of David in Florence, Italy, one of the most magnificent sculptures in the world. We were horrified as loud, obnoxious tourists talked loudly and elbowed each other so they could take a selfie in front of Michaelangelo’s masterpiece, using their ugly ubiquitous selfie sticks. Thankfully, the boors weren’t all Americans …

Yet Americans are apparently easy to spot. We hadn’t uttered a word at an Italian restaurant when a waiter who spoke very little other English greeted us with, “Howdy, Friends! …”

After the trip of a lifetime, I am filled with a wanderlust which may be unrequited for a time. Me: “I want to travel more often!” My bank account: “Ummm, to Condon Park perhaps? …”

Lorraine promises not to further indulge herself next week, so please send your happy news-o to LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

Driver sustains minor injury in rollover near Nevada City

A woman who rolled her vehicle Friday afternoon escaped serious injury, authorities said.

The woman, who was not identified, was driving on North Bloomfield Road at about 2:10 p.m. when she went off a small embankment and flipped over.

The driver sustained minor injuries and refused treatment, the CHP website stated.