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Of The Gold Country

Grass Valley, California




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Changing The Community One Child At A Time Serving The Children Of The World  ™
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Guest Speakers

August thru December 2012
These folks gave a talk at our lunch meeting

For other dates, click on 2013 or 01 thru 07, 2012 or 07 thru 12, 2011 or 01 thru 06, 2011

Vern Taylor director of Public Work for  Nevada city

December 27th, 2012


Our guest speaker today was Verne Taylor Director of Public Works for Nevada City for almost 17 years.

Verne happens to be the President of the Nevada City Lions Club. Verne formerly operated the Golden Empire Forest Nursery for 7 years. Prior to that, he was a General Contractor for about 20 years, and brought his knowledge and cost-saving ideas to their City. He shared some of the history and contemporary issues of maintaining an historic city.

Thank you Verne, for your work on behalf of Nevada City.

Fred Skeen

December 20th, 2012


Our guest speaker today was Freed Skeen, from the Hospitality House in Grass Valley. Fred was introduced by his friend Norm Lino.

Fred told us about his experiences and the services provided to local homeless citizens by Hospitality House. Fred is a Registered Nurse who joined the staff of Hospitality House about 7 years ago, shortly after its founding. He described the support of the community, primarily faith-based organizations, and Hospitality Houses’ partnership with County services. Fred is providing outreach to homeless camps and assisting in relocation of folks to healthier environments.


Thanks Fred, for your efforts on behalf of Western Nevada County.

Joe Bell

December 13th, 2012


Our guest speaker today was Local Attorney and Kiwanian Joe Bell.

Joe talked about his trip, returning to Ethiopia, after

serving in the Peace Corps from 1969 to 1971. During his talk Joe showed us a slide show with many of the pictures of his travels in Ethiopia. Joe talked about the cultural, geography, history and people of Ethiopia. A great presentation and interesting perspective of the people and places of Ethiopia.

Thank You Joe, for a most interesting talk about your experiences in Ethiopia.

Joe Bell - Ethopia, the Horn of Africa

Dena Valin

November 29th, 2012


Our guest speaker today was Dena Valin, Executive Director from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County.

Dena talked about the history of Big Brothers Big Sisters. They have been here in Nevada County since 1981. About 5 years ago they expanded, adding another office in the Lake Tahoe / Truckee area. Although BB-BS is affiliated with the national organization, they receive no funding from the national organization.

At the present time BB-BS are working with about 200 children, from the ages of 6 to 18. Each Big Brother - Big Sister meets with each child 3 to 4 times a month for at least a year.

They partner with many other agencies, including behavioral counselors and other professional groups.

There are no minimum requirements to be a Big Brother or Big Sister, except a 1 year commitment to help a child at risk. When someone would like to be a volunteer, they go through a procedure to get to know the BB-BS and BB-BS gets to know them. Other counselors work with each child to get to know the child and their needs. The child at risk and the adult BB-BS are matched.

There will be a fund raising event on March 16; Bowl For Kids' Sake in Grass Valley. For a glimpse at last year's event click on Bowl For Kids' Sake 2012.

Thank You Dena, for sharing the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters !

Simon Olney


Simon holding some of their beer ingredients and a Growler.

November 15th, 2012


Our guest speaker today was Simon Olney from the Ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City. Simon and his partner Jim Harte open their brewery in February of this year. Between the two of them they have over 50 years of beer brewing experience.

Simon and Jim wanted to bring the English Pub experience to Nevada City. A place where family and friends can meet and socialize, a community hangout. Simon grew up in a small town in the United Kingdom, and enjoyed local pubs there for many years.

Simon talked about doing the construction of their brewery, how they got their brewing equipment, and the making of beer. Including the ingredients necessary to create a fine, good tasting
craft beer. They produce several varieties: German Lagers, California Lagers, Irish and English Ale, and others. Right now they do not bottle any beer. However, they plan is to bottle beer at the beginning of next year. You can purchase a Growler ( a container that holds their beer ), to take home or to share with friends. The beer is not pasteurized and the alcohol content is less than 6%.

Children and dogs (on a leash) are welcome in the taproom. The brewery is located behind (and below) SPD Market, next to the Saw Shop in the Seven Hills Business District in Nevada City, 124 Argall Way. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own food, or get take out from nearby restaurants.

Thank You Simon, for sharing the history and details about the Ol’ Republic Brewery.

Nancy n Julia

November 8th, 2012


Our guest speakers today were Nancy Guenther and Julia Carroll-Shea from PiELL, Partners in English Language Learning.

PiELL helps adults learn English. Each volunteer works one-on-one with the person wanting to learn English. The people who come to PiELL are those who want to learn English and are not assigned by anyone to attend the sessions.

Most of us take for granted many of the inter actions we have with other people. Going to the grocery store, participating in your child’s education, getting a job and relating to people at your job are a few examples. It is very important to be able to converse in English. Although people come from many parts of the world, China, Honduras, Poland, Mexico and many other countries, 80% of the people wanting to learn English are Spanish speaking.

No prior teaching or foreign language is needed to become a tutor. If you would like to help a person learn English and help them integrate into our community, contact PiELL 274-8428 or take a look at their web site: PiELL

Thank You Nancy and Julia for sharing the mission of Partners in English Language Learning. You are making a difference !

Dr Sara Woerner

October 25th, 2012



Our guest speaker today was Dr. Sara Woerner.

Dr. Woerner spoke about her experiences helping children in Uganda.

Thank You Dr. Woerner !

Carol Scofield

October 11th, 2012

Our guest speaker today was Inspirational Speaker Carol Scofield.

Carol spoke at our Kiwanis luncheon held at the historic
North Star House in Grass Valley.

Carol gave an inspiring message and asks… "What have you done for Kiwanis lately?".

Kiwanis member Howard Levine, master of the BBQ, cooked lunch. Thank You Howard.


Thank You Carol !

Don Macholz - Comet Hunter

September 27th, 2012

Our guest speaker today was Don Macholz, Amateur Astronomer and Comet Hunter.

Don presented a slide show and talked about his discovery of 11 comets. He described the process of scanning the night sky in pursuit of comets. This is a long arduous task. It took Don about 1700 hours in 1978, spending many many nights searching the sky, to discover his first comet. After discovering his first comet, Don discovered 10 more comets in the next 30 years.

Don is a great example of persistence and dedication in his quest to discover comets.

Don conducts free Star Parties
(star gazing ), and classes at Sierra College here in Grass Valley. He also has an interesting and informative web site: The Comet Hunter.

Thank You Don, for an informative and fascinating talk.

Margo Murphy - The Artist Workshop

September 20th, 2012

Our guest speaker today was Margo Murphy from The Artist Workshop here in Grass Valley. The Artist Workshop is a place where parents or grandparents can drop off their kid / grand kids, to enjoy an open art studio. The children can use the material provided by The Artist Workshop. Material and projects includes clay, pottery, painting, sewing and more. No reservation is needed. You and your child / grandchild can just walk in.

Some of the other programs available are Afternoon School Art, Home School Enrichment, Fall Spring, Summer and Winter Projects.

After Margo earned her Masters Degree in Art, she worked in Boston for a while. And after her second child was born, Margo and her husband Mike moved back to her home town of Grass Valley, where they started The Artist Workshop. Take a look at their web site for more information: Artist Workshop.

Thank You Margo, for sharing The Artist Workshop with us.

Bill Netherby

August 30th, 2012

Our guest speaker today was Bill Netherby from the Nevada County Sheriff's Search & Rescue.  Bill supervises the Search and Rescue teams, consisting of over 170 volunteers.

The Nevada County Sheriff's Search & Rescue teams do about 30 searches a year. On a normal search & rescue, there are between 2 and 7 volunteer members involved. On an unusually big rescue, there can be over 100. Bill talked about a search and rescue in 2010, where there were over 100 people involved, and the search went on for 3 days, in cold and snowy conditions. The search included the use of a helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft.

The Nevada County Sheriff's department is not only responsible for maintaining the county's jail, they area also responsible for Nevada County Search & Rescue. They have 3 snow cats, 2 helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft to aid in rescue missions. They also have access to a military helicopter if the need arises.


Thank You Bill, for sharing your experiences and knowledge of the Nevada County Sheriff's Search & Rescue.

Dave Iorns

August 23rd, 2012

Our guest speaker today was Dave Iorns. Dave is this year's President elect of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. Dave talked about the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada City Miner's Foundry.


The NC Chamber of Commerce puts on many different functions in Nevada City. Including… The Constitution Day Parade, Craft Fairs and Festivals, the Victorian Christmas, the July 4th Parade, and many more events.


Dave serves on the board of the Miners Foundry as the President. The Miner#39;s Foundry opened in 1855 as an ironworks foundry and blacksmith shop, to repair and replace heavy machinery. It is now one of the largest event facilities around, with over 9,000 sq ft available, and can hold 375-500 people. They also now have a 12,000 Watt Main Sound System. The Foundry facilitated 410 events in 2011. They only have 2 full time employees and 4 part time employees.

Thanks Dave, for sharing your thoughts on the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and the Nevada City Miner's Foundry

Sara Hansen n Nicole Boden

August 16th, 2012

Our guest speakers today were Sara Hansen and Nicole Boden from Sierra Forever Families.

Sierra Forever Families is a private, non-profit agency that focuses on finding and nurturing permanent families for children living in foster care. Founded in 1983, the agency has provided permanency services for more than 2,700 children. Sierra believes that every child needs and deserves a permanent, loving family.

Sara and Nicole talked about how Sierra Forever Families goes about finding permanent home for foster children and children from neglected or unsafe homes. They place children in a safe and caring home, in the Nevada County area. They feel it is important that the child continue to have contact with some of their friends and have a familiar area to live in and go to school.

Thank you Sara and Nicole for sharing your enthusiasm and all the work you do at
Sierra Forever Families.

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