| Richard Rico: Table set for ag, & a mare
FOR a long time now, Vallejo has deserved to win one. From the Civil War through WWII, historic Mare Island had spawned everything from man o’ war gunboats to nuclear subs. But the Navy doesn’t live there anymore. When it shut down the shipyard, it left behind a piece of choice real estate desperately looking for a new compass. It found a few golden nuggets—a home builder, a brewery, a thriving medical Touro University. Now along comes Dave Phinney, winemaker extraordinaire (the Prisoner, Locations, Orin Swift) with cash in his deep pockets after selling those brands, and with ideas sizzling in his head: a restaurant, winery, distillery; a park, rooftop bar, art studios, and who knows what else to transform centuries-old shipyard buildings into a new destination on the Bay. To Vallejo and its historic island named for General M. Guadalupe Vallejo’s white mare that swam ashore after a shipwreck, it must seem like their ship has finally come in.
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SOME people try to do the unusual to usher in a new year, but they’d have to go a long way, literally, to top Shawn climb-any-mountain Lum and daughter, Lauren. Besides being no stranger to the High Sierra’s grandeur and challenging trails, Shawn is the director of Vacaville Museum. The mom-daughter team set out to reach an El Capitan overlook cliff before sunset on New Year’s Eve. A road glitch caused them to hike the last seven miles. They reached the overlook at 3:45 p.m., an hour before sunset. “We saw the last light of 2017,” Shawn posted. Next morning, they threw off their sleeping bags and turned around to see the dawn of 2018. Then they headed home, reeling from a perspective that’s a far cry from watching a ball drop in Times Square. Wow, I said, I expect you to tell me now that you had champagne up there, too. “Oh,” Shawn chuckled, “we celebrated.”
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SCRATCH a longtime Vacan, and underneath you’ll find a peach cutter, a livestock rancher or a prune picker. It’s in our DNA. So when a farm event comes along, a vintage Vacan’s sap rises. So it is with Solano County Farm Bureau’s 100th anniversary dinner at Sunrise Banquet Center on Orange Dr. Friday. Nearly 400 will be there, a real who’s who of Solano farming. Several will be honored. Paul Wenger, former state president, will be speaking. With 80 different crops, and a 2016 value of $347.2 million, Solano is one of the most diverse in Calif. Solano FB started in 1915. First banquet was held two years later. Its mission is still “To promote and represent agriculture in Solano for the benefit of members and community….” Members total 330, Exec Director Lisa Shipley said. Some of those family roots go way back. Vaca cattleman John Pierson is Solano’s president. Want to break bread with farmers? Lisa has a few tickets at 449-8044. Buy by Jan. 17.
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I SWUNG into NorthBay’s Urgent Care clinic at Nut Tree Center the other day, but not because I had to. Suits and stethoscopes gathered to cut a ribbon on the new 365-day clinic, wedged between eateries across from Nut Tree’s train. All that figures into the plan: While waiting for a doc or test results, go get a Fenton’s banana split. It’s not a “McClinic,” but if it gives that kind of comfort, provider and providee would benefit. The concept is as unique as it sounds. As N’Bay CEO B. Konard Jones said, “It will provide care when and where people need it,” 9 a.m. to 7p.m. I couldn’t help flashing on the decades when Vacaville was a medical desert. Now this, care where Nut Tree’s Pumpkin Patch once was. I was like the elder born not long after Lindbergh flew to Paris, and lived to see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Two days before the ribbon cutting, workers were finishing it up. A family walked in, asking for help; one of their kids was ill. Not open yet but a staffer drove them across I-80 to N’Bay Primary Care. The family got full treatment. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
The author is former publisher of The Reporter.
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