Glass Half Full

When the October fires caused the cancellation of the Tolay Regional Park Fall Festival, more than one Flowery Elementary School kindergartener’s Halloween fun took a serious hit – the event is packed with arts, crafts, live animal exhibits, a hay maze, music and, of course, pumpkins. “It’s normally one of the highlights of the Kinder year,” said Flowery kindergarten teacher Melissa Keylon.

But when Sonoma County Parks program coordinator Christina McGuirk got wind of the Flowery kinder-woes, she was on it faster than a trick-or-treater at Willy Wonka’s driveway.

“Within days, their staff had delivered 125 pumpkins to Flowery,” reports Keylon. “We created our own ‘pumpkin patch’ in the Flowery School Garden, and had enough pumpkins for every kindergartner and preschooler to take one home, and still had enough for one to go to every classroom!”

Thanks to the Tolay park staff, plenty of smiles were carved at Flowery this Halloween.

Glass Half Empty

Nancy was surprised this week to open up a letter from FEMA with a $500 reimbursement for food and shelter for property damage at MacArthur Lane due to the fire. Only thing is, says Nancy, she no longer lives at that address, never applied for assistance and her former house suffered no damage.

It seems someone with access to Nancy’s name, birthdate, and last four digits of her social security number applied for the funds, no doubt hoping to scam the government out of money meant for disaster victims.

Nancy says she’s “angry and saddened that people are trying to exploit a system and resources meant to assist people/families who have suffered such extraordinary losses.” And the hucksters may have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for the fact that Nancy’s Sonoma-addressed mail is still being forwarded to her new home. As for the $500?

“I will be sending it back to FEMA asap and, hopefully, the money will go to someone who needs it,” she says.

Jason Walsh