Saturday, July 31, 2010

Major happenings in Rio Nido this week ...

Mark your calendars — we’ve got an exciting, jam-packed week coming up! Upcoming events within the next 10 days include: (1) Wrapping up the Pee Wee Mini Golf revamp; (2) Rio Nido’s “National Night Out” celebration; (3) Super-Important Rio Nido Task Force Meeting; (4) RNHOA Golf Tournament; (5) Marshmallow Roast; (6) Pancake Breakfast; and (7) Art Show

For details, please read below:

  1. Sunday August 1st, 10:00am-3:00pm, volunteer day at Pee Wee Mini Golf (you know where): Grab a paint brush and come on down to Pee Wee Mini Golf so we can finish painting in time for the upcoming big weekend on August 7th and 8th! It already looks pretty danged fabulous, thanks to last week’s painting crew (Kim Holliday, Matt Malik, J. Mullineaux, Randie Watson, Kathy DeBrito, Richard Grace, Gigi Grace, and myself), along with lovely paints and tub full of cold bottled water. from Doug Misner and Susie Merkel from the RNHOA. For those of you who’ve said you’d love to help but couldn’t make it last week, now’s your chance! Thank you.
  2. Tuesday August 3rd, 6:30pm, Rio Nido’s “National Night Out” (Rio Nido Roadhouse): Join your neighbors, the Sheriff Dept. and the Fire Dept. for a fun and festive celebration of our community at “National Night Out — America’s night out against crime.” FREE hamburgers, hot dogs, lemonade, and ice water will be served. Please bring a potluck dish and/or some marshmallows for roasting. Sponsored by the Rio Nido Road House and the Rio Nido Home Owners Association. National Night Out is designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and encourage crime prevention. If you’d like to spread the word, please download our National Night Out flier (formatted as a PDF), print it out, & pass it along to your friends & neighbors.
  3. Saturday August 7th, SUPER-IMPORTANT Rio Nido Task Force Meeting, 11:00am (Rio Nido Roadhouse): If you care about our community’s future and have ideas about improving the quality of life here in Rio Nido, we NEED you to come to this meeting! Large amounts of Redevelopment funds are available, and representatives from the County Development Commission and the Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee will be present to hear our ideas and make presentations. Existing proposals from the County-appointed Rio Nido Improvements Task Group (created as a liaison between the CDC and the RNTF) will also be discussed. Please note that Redevelopment funds for the Russian River Project Area are set aside from the property taxes we ALL pay – either directly as property owners, or indirectly as tenants.
  4. Saturday August 7th, RNHOA Golf Tournament, 10:00am-2:00pm (Northwood Golf Course): 10AM Continuous start. 2-Person Scramble Format. $90 per player. Includes: 18 holes, golf cart, tee prizes and a BBQ at Rio Nido Roadhouse. HOLE SPONSORS are still needed for $50 each, at the 1st and $25 2nd-9th holes.
  5. Saturday August 7th, Marshmallow Roast and Outdoor Movie, 6:30pm-9:30pm (Rio Nido Home Owners Association Picnic Area): Domenic and Suzanne Farnocchia will be hosting yet another one of these events which have proven so popular over the years. While waiting for the sun to set, we’ll gather around a campfire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores. As dusk approaches, we’ll bundle up and watch a fun, family-friendly movie on the big projector, which the kids will love. Marshmallows, skewers, graham crackers, and chocolate provided. Please bring water & beverages for yourselves and the kids, along with another layer since it does get chilly at night.
  6. Sunday August 8th, Pancake Breakfast (9:00am-12:00pm), Art Show (12:00pm-3:00pm) (RNHOA Picnic Area): Start the day right with a generous helping of delicious pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, orange juice, and coffee (along with refreshing mimosas, bloody marys, ramos fizzes, and other brunch-y libations for those who wish to buy them), followed by an impressive display of talent from our local artists and artisans, along with face-painting for the kids. This is the perfect finish for a fun-filled weekend.
For more information & to stay up to date, visit our fledgling Rio Nido Web site at

Friday, July 30, 2010

RIP, dear, beloved tire swing ...

This afternoon, my daughter, her friends, and I gazed in mute horror as workers from Russian River Parks & Recreation sawed off the branch of the flimsy tree from which neighbors had hung our short-lived, but much-loved tire swing. Actually, our horror wasn't entirely mute, because my 8-year-old daughter dismounted from her bicycle, strode up to the workers, and politely in a shrill voice, "Excuse me please, but WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH OUR TIRE SWING?!?"
Alas, the workers explained, the tree from which the tire swing swung is not stable, and the branch -- or perhaps the entire tree -- could collapse at any time, and they don't want anyone to get hurt.

I applaud the Russian River Parks & Recreation Department for their concern about our childrens' safety -- not to mention their own legal liability. But I also want us to figure out how to install a viable replacement which would be safe, but which would also provide the sort of spontaneous recreation opportunities for older children, teenagers, & adults which were provided by this wonderful tire swing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The latest in Rio Nido ... for what it's worth

Below, please find the latest jumble of Rio Nido news:

  • Rio Nido Task Force Meeting, THIS Saturday, June 17th, 11am, location to be announced: We can’t hold the meeting at the Rio Nido Lodge as originally planned, because the folks from Pegasus Theater are building sets for their next production. Kim Holliday is exploring options for an alternate location and we’ll keep you posted.

  • Marshmallow roast & pancake breakfast this weekend!: Come one, come all. Our traditional Marshmallow Roast will be held this Saturday, July 17th, 6:30pm, at the Rio Nido Picnic Area (between the Pee Wee Mini Golf Course and the Post Office/Fire Station), followed by a fun, family-0riented, G/PG-rated movie on our big screen. Please bring warm clothing and an endless appetite for marshmallows.

    On Sunday, July 18th, folks can gather for our fabulous pancake breakfast – featuring pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, and orange juice – at the Rio Nido picnic area from 10am-12pm. Adults $6.00, kids #3.00.

  • Three cheers for our Rio Nido Clean-Up crew: Let’s give a huge round of applause to the Beautification Committee’s reigning beauty, Jennifer Ostrom, for organizing last week’s clean-up! In addition, our many volunteers deserve combat medals for their hard work and courage in picking up all sorts of junk without the benefit of gas masks and haz-mat suits. Alas, I don’t have everyone’s names yet, but I personally witnessed Johnny Ethridge, Fred Beeler, and Matt Malik bringing back load after load of rebar, cement blocks, moldy furniture, and heavy, splintered lumber in their trucks; and saw Vicky Cunningham and Ann Thomas hauling construction debris and really scary trash out of our creek-beds. Special thanks also to Dennis Judd from Cipora Properties for hosting us at the Rio Nido Lodge; Brad Metzger from the Rio Nido Roadhouse for providing fuel in the form of coffee and donuts; and to Pamela Davis from North Bay Corporation – our waste management company – for going to bat for us and securing the dumpsters, trucks, and labor required for hauling all this stuff away.

  • Envisioning the future of Rio Nido: Last week, the Sonoma County Community Development Commission met with the recently-created Rio Nido Improvements Task Group, exchanged ideas, and received proposals for funding local redevelopment projects. Proposed projects include major road repair (including underlying water pipes and culverts); stop signs and cross walks; construction of pedestrian walkways to integrate the main areas of Rio Nido (from the entrance by the Rio Nido Road House & Rio Nido Lodge to the Rio Nido Home Owners Association commons, to the Post Office/Fire Station, to the Community Garden./Tennis Courts/Dog Park/Playground); Restoration of waterfront/beach access; Mixed-use construction of housing and retail space by the Canyon 2 entrance to Rio Nido; Construction of a Community Center in the Rio Nido Home Owners Association picnic area; Converting the “Stardust Property” for recreational use; Building observation decks and towers in the redwoods for visitors and environmental education; converting the Pee Wee Golf area into a youth center (and possibly moving Pee Wee Golf to the vacant & flood-free Parks and Recreation-owned land behind the Rio Nido Post Office/Fire Station).

    The Rio Nido Improvements Task Group consists of myself, Doug Misner, John Uniak, and Dennis Judd. I’ve worked hard to include all of your wonderful ideas into the proposals I’ve submitted, and can email them to you as PDF files – along with Dennis’ proposal for the integrated pedestrian walkways, and the list of ideas gathered at the meeting – and would be happy to send them along to you at your request. Please email me at

  • Pee Wee Mini Golf rehabilitation project: Whew! We have FINALLY finished with the yucky cleaning and power washing. Brad from the Rio Nido Road House even sent his bright, competent, and extremely polite teen-aged helper Ershel over with mortar and equipment to patch up most of the crumbling curbs.

    Now, we can move on to the FUN stuff, and start painting, landscaping, and decorating. Doug Misner, president of the Rio Nido Home Owners Association, has offered to provide supplies (for the painting, we need 1 gallon of white, 1 gallon of black, 2 gallons of primary red, 2 gallons of primary blue, 2 gallons of primary yellow; plus 1 set of 4-inch, 2-inch, and 1-inch paint-brushes per hole; for the landscaping, we need soil for 15 planting areas/half wine barrels 2 feet wide & 2 feet deep, along with some appropriately native, perennial, drought-resistant plants as mentioned in my proposal).

    We’re also looking for people to “adopt a hole” – meaning people who are willing to build displays around each hole and then store them for the winter. ALSO, some miscellaneous maintenance tasks need to be performed: (1) The broken leg of the picnic tables needs to be fixed; (2) The detached windmill fixture needs to be repainted and re-installed above one of the golf course holes; (3) The detached “roller” fixture (I don’t know how else to describe this thing – it looks like a baby’s rolling rattle) needs to be repainted and re-installed on one of the golf-course holes; (4) Heavy-duty staples need to be removed from the side of the club house; (5) The club house SERIOUSLY needs some patching up – the exterior moldings have been detached, gaps in the siding need to be filled in to prevent rodent infestation.

  • Random acts of kindness and beauty: In the midst of all these above-mentioned projects, random acts of kindness and beauty are committed on a regular basis by our increasingly numerous “beauty vigilantes”. These folks don’t hash things out in meetings or apply for grants. They don’t even say who they are, or what they’re doing. They just take whatever skills and equipment they have and get jiggy with it. Thanks to our “beauty vigilantes”, the graffiti on our underpass (AKA the “Rio Nido Subway”) gets cleaned up on a regular basis; the rose bushes by the derelict fountain are pruned and revived; a tire swing has been installed across the creek from the Rio Nido playground; and various neighbors are doing things to improve our neighborhood.

Th-th-that’s all folks … at least for now.