Lorraine’s Lowdown: Patriot Pops concert pays thanks | TheUnion.com

Lorraine’s Lowdown: Patriot Pops concert pays thanks

Lorraine Jewett
Lorraine’s Lowdown

The Music in the Mountains symphony orchestra performed a medley of armed services songs at its Patriotic Pops concert, and military members of each branch stood amid enthusiastic applause from the large crowd spanning the NevCo Fairgrounds. Then the only World War II veteran in attendance Wednesday night — Grass Valley’s 95-year-old Stan Sabka — was honored with heartfelt gratitude of cheers and praise …

The John Kane Penny Pitch at Kane’s Restaurant raised $4,317 for Nevada County’s nonprofit Community Beyond Violence. Competition was fierce but friendly, and the winner was Heather Robinson from Happy Path Wellness Center in Penn Valley …

Let’s Hear from Damian Christen, one of two high school navigators with driver Robert Brocke in the Great Race (last week we heard from NU senior Seth DeSena). Damian, a Bear River High graduate, says, “The greatest things about the Great Race were the scenery, back roads, cars, and the people. We all shared a love of classic cars. I plan to pursue a job as a diesel technician, take additional classes to become a certified technician, and then work on classic cars. My dad and I are going to rebuild a 1968 Dodge Charger and enter it in the 2020 Great Race …”

Happy 55th Wedding Anniversary to Jeff and Lynn Wenzel. They met in Marin in 1963 while students in the esoteric college class, “The Transformation of Nature in Oriental Art.” Lynn, an art major, loved it. Jeff, a business major, enrolled in the class only because the courses he needed were full. “He had no interest, and even less skill,” says Lynn. The couple married the next year at the Presidio. Still smarting from Lynn’s assessment of his art prowess, Jeff jokes that he married “under duress.” The loving couple celebrated their anniversary with laughter and libations at NevCity’s New Moon Café …

Elma Eden Baker enjoyed a festive birthday party as she turned 100 and received a congratulatory plaque from the City of Nevada City. Born in 1919, Elma has done and seen it all — plus remembers it. She’s the reliable “go to” for historical information, names, and dates. Elma lives independently, cooks her own meals, and cheers on her beloved SF Giants. “When I drive her, I have to go very slow so she can tell me who lives or lived in every house in her neighborhood,” says Elma’s daughter-in-law, Kay Baker. “Elma has great memories of the local Indians coming in the spring to pick willows and cattails for their weaving of baskets …”

Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, and more surprises. Craig and Denise Johnson left our humble hamlet for a music-themed vacay at the Las Vegas Park MGM last month. Craig and Denise cheered along with a massive concert crowd as Lady Gaga invited 92-year-old special guest Tony Bennett on-stage for a few numbers. Later, at a more intimate concert starring the Lady’s bandleader, our intrepid couple was seated just a few feet away from the stage. Lady Gaga surprised her bandleader by showing up in red-hot red and agreeing to treat the crowd of 75 to “one” song. Three hours later, the impromptu performance ended. Denise says, “I had to keep pinching myself because it was so unbelievable …”

When in Rome: Jan Fishler, her spouse, and friends spent two weeks wandering Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and Naples. Jan (JanFishler.net) is author of “Don’t Stop Now: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life,” which is a how-to manual for adventurous women over 50. Jan is coordinating a “Wine, Walk, Write” tour to Portugal next year. “The best part of a walking tour,” explains Jan, “is you can eat and drink as much pizza and wine as you want and not gain weight …”

Emmalee Olstad of Smartsville will sing the national anthem July 11 at the Sacramento River Cats game. The talented Emmalee will also perform a variety of songs at the July 25 Grass Valley Thursday Night Market. The Nevada Union High School sophomore, who turns 15 July 20, graciously agrees to sing the national anthem at community events when she’s not pursuing her hobbies of raising and showing pigs, beekeeping, and giving swimming lessons to children …

Kris Stepanian started her own national anthem singing career in 1988, the year she was crowned Miss Nevada County Fair Queen. She continues to generously donate her time and powerful voice to local events. Kris guesstimates she sings the anthem more than a dozen times a year, including six times during four days of the Draft Horse Classic. After 31 years, Kris has probably performed the national anthem more than 400 times. Has she ever flubbed the words? “Never,” says Kris with a smile that slowly fades as she realizes she may now have been jinxed. “No, but now that you’ve asked …”

Friends of Mt. Washington School are selling 2020 calendars showcasing 12 historic Washington photographs. Calendars are $20, plus tax-deductible donations are accepted at FOMWS.org. “Proceeds benefit all school-age kids in Washington,” says Friends Board Member Judi Stewart. “They come to us with a need, whether it’s summer camp or special trip or laptop computer. We want to help their education and get them out in the world a little bit …

Get Prepared for the Sept. 15 Barbara Schmidt Millar Celebration of Life Women’s Triathlon & 5K Run/Walk benefiting Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and free/low-cost mammograms. Organizers are partnering with the South Yuba Club to host a free Training Clinic Expo 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 20. More news: for the first time in its 25-year history, the triathlon will offer an Athena category for female athletes weighing 165 pounds or more. The Greek goddess Athena was known for her inspiration, courage, and strength …

The Local Chapter of the Retired Public Employees Association celebrated its 35th anniversary with a guest appearance by RPEA State President Al Darby of Elk Grove at its monthly luncheon. The organization (RPEA.com) works to protect retired public employees’ rights and benefits…

As actress-comedienne Lily Tomlin so aptly observed, “The trouble with the rat race is, even if you win, you’re still a rat …”

Take a break from the rat race, great race, or any other race and send your news to LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.


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