Gold Country Denizens

Recovery, voting, music, gardens, books, lobbying

By: Susan Rushton
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Auburn’s “butt lady,” Sally Dawley, is back from her daughter’s home in Corning. Sally’s recovering from cancer surgery. The staples are gone from her head, she says, and she’s preparing herself for the next step. I’m not sure what that is — chemotherapy or radiation. She says I can share her phone number: 530-537-7828. The area code is necessary. A few people have talked to me about taking up her community project of collecting cigarette butts, keeping note of how many they pick up and handing the numbers over to her. If you want to do that, go ahead. I imagine I’ll have more news for you in a couple of weeks. Get better soon, Sally.

… About a month ago, Ryan Ronco, Placer County’s Clerk-Recorder-Registrar of Voters spoke to the Chamber Forum and shared wonderful information about the voting habits of the county’s citizens. “Of the people eligible to be registered,” he said, “85 percent are registered. And at the general election in November 2016, 84.15 percent of those registered to vote voted.” I love hearing stuff like this.
To register, investigate FYI: The statewide direct primary election is on Tuesday, June 5. According to the website, “the close of registration is 15 days prior to an election.”

… Singer Cliff Johnson, who offered quartet serenades on Valentine’s Day, announces his group is doing the same thing for Mother’s Day. Contact him for more information: 530-823-8172.

… News from Pioneer United Methodist Church, 1338 Lincoln Way: at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, Pioneer Presents hosts soprano Carrie Hennessey, accompanied by Jason Sherbundy on piano. Carrie has offered to sing a selection of favorite love songs to benefit the new building of the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet. Donations accepted.

… I haven’t talked about the Young Artists’ Recital, held over a month ago at the State Theatre. The place winners of the Auburn Symphony’s Young Artists Competition performed, and we had the privilege of hearing what these youngsters are capable of, and how they can stun their listeners. It was lovely. I regret that I didn’t keep the program, but certainly you’ll hear from them soon … and the grand prize winner will be invited to join the symphony at both the Symphony in the Park in September and the Family Concert next year.
I vividly recall two moments: Saying hello to principal cellist Alexandra Roedder and her husband David, sitting in the audience. She grinned at me and said, “I get to watch other people get nervous.” Indeed, one of her cello students was performing.

And another place winner, Lan Ng, played with a bandage on his right pinkie. As I watched him do calisthenics with his fingers on the keyboard of that gorgeous grand piano — and make wonderful, soaring music — I thought of what it’s like to try to do careful stuff with a bandage on my finger. And how awkward it feels, and how much that bandage gets in the way, and how hard it is to ignore it. But he succeeded. My goodness.
Principal second violinist Aubrey Fisher sat in the row ahead of me, with someone who looked a lot like her. Turns out this was Aubrey’s twin, Allison, who plays the flute. It also turns out that they both competed in the competition when they were younger. And now listen to them!

… Because you read this column faithfully, you know that the Placer United Trivia Bee team (Jim Holmes, Mike Holmes and Jennifer Montgomery) won AAUW’s seventh annual Trivia Bee last March 24 at the State Theatre. About a week ago, I picked up the Bee trophy, updated with their team name on it, from Kelvin Clark at Sierra Custom Awards. And I saw six stone slabs leaning against the counter. These were in preparation for the Master Gardeners’ 33rd Annual Mother’s Day Garden Tour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 13. The tour includes six gardens, “five in Auburn and one in Newcastle,” said Kelvin. For information, investigate

… We’re in the middle of the Auburn One Book One Community events. Remember that the book is “The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny,” by Michael Wallis. Two book-related events have passed, and three more approach: Rick Brown moderates a panel discussion at Placer High Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 19; a reservation-only Donner Area Field Trip leaves on Saturday, April 21; and an Evening with the Author is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 — also at PHS Auditorium. Investigate at

… Celebrate Earth Day with me from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, presented by the Forgotten Soldier Program and Auburn Hip Hop Congress at the Armed Forces Pavilion and Community Garden, 995 Lincoln Way. Events include a street fair and garden party featuring live music, art, food and interactive workshops. I’ll be there promoting Silver Screen ( Come say hi!

… The next time you see Mike Holmes, thank him for his participation in the Cap to Cap Program. He and 300 others from the Sacramento region left last Wednesday for Washington, D.C., “to lobby members of Congress” regarding topics that concern residents in our area. “Somebody needs to step up and let them know what we think is important,” he said. Thanks, Mike.

That’s my town. Got any items for me? Email me at