Lorraine’s Lowdown: Stockings hung by the chimney with care | TheUnion.com
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Lorraine’s Lowdown: Stockings hung by the chimney with care

Lovely Autumn Colors help distract us from political colors such as red and blue, and pandemic tiers such as purple, red, orange and yellow. And soon, we’ll be enjoying colorful Christmas lights…

It’s a Working Ranch where high schoolers will do hands-on schoolwork. The Phelen Family Trust donated to the Nevada Joint Union High School District 86 acres off McCourtney Road. An advisory group will oversee the property’s conversion to an educational farm and ranch following the guidelines of a Master Plan. “It’s an exciting project,” says NJUHSD Superintendent Brett McFadden. “There are two homes on the property, and we may be able to use a portion of the ranch for minor revenue generation that could help offset some of the costs of maintaining the property, plus add accounting and math components to the ranch work opportunities for students…”

From Chamber Exec to Movie Mogul. That’s the trajectory on which Keith Davies finds himself. Keith helped run the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce 2013-2016; his wife Robin is still at the helm. Keith retired in 2016 and published the novel “Adrian’s Revenge” in 2019. Set in the 1980s in the fictional town of Gold City (thinly-veiled Nevada City), the protagonist descends into a lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll before he finds love and happiness. Last year, Keith wrote a screenplay based on his book. He’s now marketing it to major motion picture companies, several of which appear eager to get the story on the big screen…



Welcoming Back the Holbrooke Hotel has sparked emotional memories for many locals. After their wedding ceremony at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, GeeVee Mayor Lisa Swarthout and handsome hubby Chris Therrien hosted their reception at the Holbrooke in 1988. “We rented the entire hotel and Purcell House for our guests,” recalls Lisa. “People from the East Coast and Bay Area stayed there and loved it. Over the years, we’ve talked about having an anniversary party and bringing everyone back. Now, with new owners and the renovation, we are more enthused than ever to do a big celebration there when the pandemic is behind us…”

Help Make the Holidays bright for nearly 200 local youths who have faced poverty, abuse and trauma. Bright Futures for Youth (Friendship Club+NEO) will deliver handmade stockings filled with age-appropriate gifts to newborns through high school seniors via its “Rocking Stockings” effort. Anyone can fund a stocking for $50, or make any donation by Dec. 21 at http://www.friendshipclub.org/holiday. “The pandemic has affected many families in Nevada County,” says the nonprofit’s executive director Jennifer Singer, “where one of every five children lives in poverty…”



Breanna Deschaine is Moving Up. Bre becomes executive director of the Nevada County Contractors’ Association in February, and Barbara Bashall returns to semi-retirement, RV’ing, and serving as NCCA Government Affairs Manager. Bre has worked in the construction industry since she, her contractor husband Jason, and his father launched Deschaine Enterprises in 2005. “I look forward to continuing to promote strong business relations and ethical practices within the local trades, which has been the NCCA’s mission since 1958,” Bre says. Adds NCCA Board President Steve Piziali, “Bre brings strong leadership skills, technical abilities, and a local family connection…”

Filled with and Fueled by Grit. Denise Funk is the latest Lorraine’s Lowdown Uplift Award winner. In June, Denise earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Accounting from CSU Chico at age 55. Studying alongside students half her age wasn’t even the toughest task after earning an Associate of Arts degree with honors from Sierra College in 2010. “I had to take a few years off from my studies because my son was diagnosed with ADD plus a learning disability,” Denise recalls. She resumed her online classes in 2014, earning an Associate of Science degree and transferring to CSU Chico. For five semesters, while working multiple part-time jobs, the GeeVee mother of two commuted to Chico two days each week. The final two semesters were most challenging: Denise’s husband Clyde was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2019 and passed away September 2019. Diploma now in hand, Denise will pursue a job in accounting when COVID numbers decrease…

Proud Papa John Milam nominated daughter Denise for the Uplift Award, which comes with accolades plus a home-made cheesecake from petite moi. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree when one considers the grit displayed by now 80-year-old John as he played defensive end at Hartnell Junior College in 1960. His team, which was undefeated until narrowly losing a bowl game to Fresno City College, was inducted into the Salinas college’s Athletic Hall of Fame…

Reader Mary Wolleson shares a touching story of two sisters separated by a continent during these tough times when travel is limited. “My friend received a T-shirt in the mail from her sister,” Mary explains. “The shirt was an old favorite of her sister’s. The message included was, ‘When you are feeling low, put this shirt on and know that I am hugging you…’”

“You Only Live Once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – from Mae West (1893-1980), American actress, singer and sex symbol. Thanks for the suggestion, Pete and Nancy Brost…

Send your nominations for Lorraine’s Lowdown Uplift Award to LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com


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