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Lorraine’s Lowdown: O Little Town of Washington

By Lorraine Jewett | Special to The Union

It Resembles a ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas Tree, but the love behind the growing assortment of decorations makes the Tree of Li’l Town shine like a beacon in the forest. The decked-out tree is a tribute to The Union columnist and town resident Vivian Herron, who from 1997 until her death in 2004 wrote a weekly, folksy dispatch from Washington. Vivian assigned nicknames to the colorful characters who live there (Hi to “Space!”), and she made famous Washington’s “Little Town” moniker. “I started decorating the tree last year in honor of Vivian,” says town resident Katy Potter, “because she used to sneak up there and decorate a tree…”

Katy Was the First but not the last to add ornaments to the tree at the intersection of Highway 20 and Washington Road turnoff. “I was hoping to be sneaky too, but I was busted by multiple town folks,” says Katy, who worked in the hospital emergency room yesterday instead of spending Christmas with family. “So I put on Facebook that anyone could add decorations and someone added lights! A few citizens added ornaments this year and last year. Whenever I drive by, it seems that little cedar tree is waving at me…”

The Past Two Saturdays, my column has been inadvertently named “Lorrain’e Lowdown” by overworked staff at The Union. The errant apostrophe (‘okina) makes one think of Hawai’i, so I sent editors a photoshopped pic of me sporting a lei at Paumalū. I didn’t receive “da kine” from publisher Don Rogers, but he recognized Hawai’i’s Sunset Beach as the photo background. “I sat there for a minute when last on O’ahu and talked with a surfer wigged about going out,” replied Don, who lived and surfed in the aloha state. “Looked like she had a good safety zone, though, and a nice rip out to the lineup…”



Childhood Obesity Experts at Carnegie Weight Management found that dinner, treats and other meals consumed on Christmas contain up to 6,000 calories, nearly four times what a child should eat in one day. At least it’s only one day…

The Food and Toy Run maintains the honor of being the longest-running Toy Run west of the Mississippi, having never canceled or changed the date of the event in 29 years. On Dec. 12, motorcyclists roared from NevCity to Interfaith Food Ministry in GeeVee, where 711 adults and 990 children received food and toys via contactless, curbside delivery. “It was disappointing that riders couldn’t meet personally with the children as they did in the past,” says organizer Thom Staser, “but everyone was happy and the event was successful…”



It’s a Win-win. Easy access to COVID testing is the result of opening a testing location at Nevada County’s Senior Center, 231 Colfax Ave. The center is operated by Gold Country Senior Services, which plans to launch a one-stop shop for all senior services — once the building that used to house a restaurant is renovated. “The lease with the County of Nevada helps pay some of our mortgage,” says GCSS executive director Janeth Marroletti, “and gives us time to plan fundraisers that will allow us to make necessary renovations…

“Having COVID Testing readily available in our community is incredibly important until the COVID vaccine is more widely available,” says NevCo CEO Alison Lehman, adding her thanks to GCSS for moving quickly on the lease contract. “They have been a great partner in emergency events, from ensuring seniors are prepared for wildfire, delivering meals to homebound seniors, and now partnering with us to provide easy access to COVID testing. This is just one more example that demonstrates the strength of community coming together…”

Best Friends Animal Clinic on Colfax Hwy dispenses its furry patients’ prescriptions in bags that cleverly illustrate “The Social Distancing Guide for Pet Lovers.” When facing each other, social distancing of six feet equates to two Great Danes, four Beagles, or 16 cats…

In New Mexico State Parks, signs recommend social distancing of two black bears, two mule deer with antlers, four roadrunner birds, or six Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. In Texas State Parks, six feet roughly equals three armadillos, 13 Texas Horned Lizards, or one American alligator…

Integration of our two city fire departments has tangible benefits. “We will implement a paramedic program that will see a paramedic in each station 24/7,” says Sam Goodspeed, Division Chief of the new Grass Valley/Nevada City Fire Department. To reduce flammable vegetation and fire risk, staff is working to coordinate both cities’ Hazardous Vegetation Abatement Ordinances…

Response Times Won’t Decrease, because there are the same three fire stations, with the same equipment and same 25 firefighters. But there are cost savings. “With one employee pool able to work at any station, staffing is more flexible and we can reduce overtime costs,” says Sam. “And paperwork is streamlined, for example, when we prepare only one report for both City Councils. Overall, there’s more bang for the buck…”

Congrats to the Early Risers Toastmasters Club as it celebrates its 38th anniversary this month. The club meets via Zoom these days. “You don’t get the personal feel from the audience but you can see their faces,” says charter member Karen Chileski, “but giving and listening to speeches still give members a lot of confidence and helps build communication and leadership skills. It’s the best thing that’s happened in my life as far as personal growth.” The Early Risers, one of three Toastmasters clubs in NevCo, meets Tuesdays at 6:45 a.m. (hence its name) and visitors are welcome (http://www.ToastmastersNevadaCounty.org)…

Many Readers Love the Grinch scene in the front yard of the home next to Maria’s Restaurant. A daytime photo was featured in this column last week, and here’s one more look at those delightful holiday decorations with lights a’blazing…

Special Thanks to Matthew Olsen, Hawaiian scene photoshop wizard by night, Partner and Director of Technology at Owens Estate and Wealth by day…

Spotted Rolling Along Hwy 174 was a sedan with a Christmas tree on its roof. Not strapped to the roof, but standing about two-feet upright complete with ornaments and brightly-shining light strands…

Continuing Christmas Quotes. “As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year.” – David Grayson (1870-1946), American journalist and author. Here’s a plus one: “A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), philosopher, politician, and U.S. Founding Father…

Please continue to send your happy holiday stories and other news to LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

Lorraine's Lowdown akaLorrain'e Lowdown
This Grinch scene in a home’s front yard next to Maria’s Restaurant is enchanting at night when all the lights are on.
Submitted to The Union
Santa and Mrs. Claus warmed up at Grass Valley’s Food and Toy Run before he embarked on his ‘round the globe Christmas journey to deliver gifts to nice boys and girls.
Lorraine Jewett
This decorated tree in the forest at the intersection of Highway 20 and Washington Road is a tribute to The Union columnist Vivian Herron, who from 1997 until her death in 2004, wrote a weekly, folksy dispatch from Washington.
Submitted to The Union
Decorating a scraggly tree at the intersection of Highway 20 and Washington Road turnoff is a Li’l Town community endeavor, and this year, someone added lights.
Submitted to The Union
Best Friends Animal Clinic’s prescription bags illustrate “The Social Distancing Guide for Pet Lovers.” Similar clever signs encouraging social distancing are posted at state parks in New Mexico and Texas.
Submitted to The Union
Best Friends Animal Clinic’s prescription bags illustrate “The Social Distancing Guide for Pet Lovers.” Similar clever signs encouraging social distancing are posted at state parks in New Mexico and Texas.
Submitted to The Union
Best Friends Animal Clinic’s prescription bags illustrate “The Social Distancing Guide for Pet Lovers.” Similar clever signs encouraging social distancing are posted at state parks in New Mexico and Texas.
Submitted to The Union
Congratulations to the Early Risers Toastmasters Club as it celebrates its 38th anniversary this month. During the pandemic, the club has been meeting via Zoom.
Submitted to The Union

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