Aug 24, 2019
By Gino Gaffney
Hello everyone, thanks for stopping by to orient yourself with the goings on of our wonderful town of Occidental. I am somewhat taken aback to see that this column represents my two year anniversary of writing for the Gazette. It has been fun having a need to stay plugged in to the events and issues around town, and sitting down once a month to write many more words than I have in the time since the preceding column.
At the same time, I do find myself struggling regularly to meet the press deadline and fill up the column with news-worthy items. So please readers and community members if you have somethingyou feel should be in the column let me know, I’d be more than happy to have others input. As well, if you have a hankering for column writing I would welcome sharing the space. Please e-mail me at the address above any thoughts you may have.
The OAEC annual performance tradition of the Chataqua event is upon us the 4th - 7th of September. I went last year for the first time in a while and it was super cool. I just purchased tickets for this year’s shenanigans and am really excited for it. The talent is top notch, the variety of performances keep you on your toes, and there is really something magical about the venue. A beautiful wooden stage surrounded by gardens and wild lands, with the late summer sun going down behind and stars starting to peak out above makes for quite a spell-binding scene. Tickets are going fast but a few were still available as of a couple days ago.
Can’t make it to Chataqua? Well then check out their website at www.oaec.org which is one of the best I have seen, full of great information and beautiful imagery. Here you will find many other opportunities to step foot on their gorgeous property.
They host volunteer workdays in the garden every Wednesday from 10-5 with an organic, vegetarian lunch served at 12:30.
As well, they are hosting in their fabulous new Heron Hall a film screening of the documentary Artifishal on September 30th from 6-8:30pm for a sliding scale price of $10-$100. The movie looks very interesting exposing the follies of the fish hatchery and fish farming systems.
The annual Occidental Holiday Craft Faire is starting to gear uptowards the event which takes place this year on December 7th and 8th. We are currently accepting vendor applications until September 20th so if you have an interest in attending the faire send an e-mail to email@example.com for more info or an application. The Occidental Community Council who produces the Faire can always use more help to make the event a success, our next meeting will be on September 21st at 10:30 at the Community Center. If you have any questions or input regarding the Council, you are welcome to e-mail me. The Craft Faire is our primary fundraising event each year and brings in thousands of dollars that we are then able to distribute throughout the community during the year.
A new project that the Council is engaged in is bringing internet service to the Community Center. It’s rather disappointing that in this day and age a place billing itself as a “Community Center” hasn’t had internet service. This has really been an issue at the Craft Faire over the last few years as we are reminded every time a customer wants to use a credit card how inconvenient those old-school slips and machines were, not to mention insecure. The service will be through Comcast to the tune of about $100 a month which is a stretch for the Council’s budget but a worthwhile endeavor. I can see there being many ways this will benefit the users of the Center as well as the general public.
Unfortunately it looks like the Community Center has lost one of its uses for the time being which is the after school program hosted by the YMCA. Despite the amazing efforts by the local program director Trudy they apparently just weren’t getting the numbers of children needed to keep the program financially viable. While they needed an average of 15 kids for 3 hours per day, they were only averaging 8 for about 1 hour each. While this may speak to larger demographic issues of children in the community (or lack thereof), I am sure the parents of those 8 kids will really miss the resource that this was for them. I wish there was some way to subsidize the costs of the program to keep it going and hopefully somehow it will come back. In the meantime I will miss not seeing the kids down there after school, having fun together in a supervised space.
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