Lorraine’s Lowdown: A week of good news | TheUnion.com
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Lorraine’s Lowdown: A week of good news

So much happiness to share this week! Sincere thanks to everyone sending me their good news…

Impressive numbers: 80-year-old Grass Valley resident Stephen Jeffery is the 2,239th registered hiker to complete the Tahoe Rim Trail, officially a whopping 165 miles. But Stephen and his hiking group of 11 logged 192 miles, which included access trails leading them to their starting spot every Wednesday for 11 weeks from June 20 through Sept. 5. Stephen’s not the oldest to accomplish that feat, but he’s close. “It wasn’t a hike, it was a party,” says Stephen, who earned the nickname Blue-Eyed TOG, or Tough Old Guy …

Canine ventriloquist: At the recent Rüdiger Foundation fundraiser, Grass Valley Police Captain Steve Johnson told a humorous tale about when he was a rookie and provided backup for an officer trying to apprehend a suspect hiding in the woods.



“The officer announced over his vehicle’s public address system, ‘Come out with your hands up or we’ll send in the police canine!’ I knew we didn’t have a K9 officer so I asked the officer what he was doing. Then he started growling into the microphone and yelling, ‘Woof! Woof!’ I was thinking, ‘That’s how it’s spelled but that’s not how a dog sounds.’ But the suspect believed it and surrendered. It worked that night, but because we’re a small town, you can only use that ploy once.”

After that encounter, Steve found himself wondering if the Grass Valley Police Department would ever have a “real” K9; now it has two!



The Rüdiger Foundation — which helps buy and financially support K9 police officers — reports its next acquisition will be a canine cop for State Parks. “We recognize the challenge of park officers working in the Yuba River canyon, often without cell or radio service to call for backup,” says foundation president Joey Jordan …

Open Spaces, Wild Places was the theme of the Bear Yuba Land Trust’s annual gala, raising a record-setting $40,000 for land conservation. The Land Trust now holds 15,000 acres in preserves and conservation easements spread over nearly 40 properties. The sumptuous dinner and lively auction was held at Bill and Anna Trabucco’s Linden Lea Ranch, a 760-acre agricultural conservation easement with stunning vistas. Visit BYLT.org for more …

Pig on the spit and love in the air: For nearly two decades, Gene and Sue Downing welcomed family, friends and strangers to their annual Fourth of July party in Nevada City. It was also their wedding anniversary. At the inaugural bash in 1996, Gene — looking smashing in jean short-shorts, red cummerbund and matching red bow tie — took a knee and asked Sue for her hand in marriage. She replied yes, then they both said, “I do” in front of happily surprised guests. Each year, the meal was usually a pig barbecued on a giant backyard spit, and now the Downings want to donate their hand-crafted set-up to a nonprofit or other worthy organization. Included are the spit, motor, charcoal rack, gears, hood and place settings for 200 people. “You can BBQ anything on it weighing up to 200 pounds, from pigs to turkeys to lambs,” says Gene, who offers his email GenePa@comcast.net to interested BBQ buffs …

Chris Isaak will perform at Grass Valley’s Veterans Hall Nov. 16, thanks to the Center for the Arts …

Congratulations to boxer Ken Bigham of Nevada City, who won the World Light Heavyweight Championship in the Master’s Division last month. The 69-year-old won by walk-over, meaning his opponent — even though he flew from Maryland to the competition in San Jose and weighed in — didn’t show for the bout. Friends joked that Bigham’s foe was intimidated by Bigham’s “Ali Shuffle …”

Nevada City’s Chamber of Commerce welcomes new members Outlandish Experiences, offering authentic experiences in nature, town, and beyond; Healing Light Hypnosis, addressing issues such as addictions, weight loss, and self-confidence; and Kimberley’s Kitchen, featuring one-pot convenience meals to be cooked with the addition of a few pantry staples …

No waiting for wine: The Sierra Vintners’ recent Wine Trail seemed lightly attended compared to previous years. Perhaps it’s time to resurrect the bodacious wine festivals held in the 1990s, when locals jumped in wine barrels filled with freshly picked grapes donated by area vineyards. One teammate stomped until a cupful of nectar dripped out and was captured by the other teammate. Wine-stained legs and feet notwithstanding, those were epic events …

Overheard sommeliers’ debate: “Wine is a condiment to food, not a beverage,” claimed the first. “I believe wine is the meal, and food is the condiment,” countered the other …

Have you read any good books lately? How about a GREAT book? The winner of PBS’s “Great American Read” will be chosen by readers Oct. 23. Each week since Sept. 11, book lovers have discussed on-air some of the 100 books nominated for this year’s “Best Novel.” Thanks for the tip, John Bohnert, who reads 100 books every year …

Pasta and Pie: Arnie Romanello, passionate Nevada County Fair Director and Foothill Lions Club President, is helping plan an event as Italian as he is called Pasta Elegante’. The Foothill Lions Club created the Kids’ Fish Pond (Lions Lake) at the Fairgrounds in 1950. Now our six local Lions Clubs want to provide picnic tables with shade covers; hence, the $20 per plate fundraiser at 5 p.m. Oct. 27 at the fairgrounds’ Ponderosa Hall. Enjoy dishes such as Clams Linguini and Spaghetti Alla Abruzzese, then an auction of (not pizza) pies. Former fairgrounds CEO, Lions Club Treasurer, and prolific pie baker Sandy Woods has more info at 530-477-2097 …

Please keep your stories coming. This is your column, so let’s fill it with what you want to share. Options, no obstacles!

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. She welcomes your tidbits and positive news at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

Editor’s note: This column has been changed to reflect the correct last name of boxer Ken Bigham.


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