Sylvia Crawford: News from Glen Ellen April 26

Good news arrived from Margie Foster recently. She and her friends of the Glen Ellen Quilters are happy to announce the debut of their latest creation at the Glen Ellen Firefighters Mother's Day Pancake Breakfast on Sunday May 8.

The quilt was fashioned as a fundraiser for the Jack London State Park Centennial Celebration marking London's death. The quilt is titled “Discover Your Call of the Wild,” as is the Park's Centennial Celebration. The quilters took a year off from making a quilt for the GEVF to help the Park raise funds during this centennial year. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at 1–2 tickets $2 each, 3 tix for $5, 7 tix for $10, 16 tix for $20.

Welcome walks

Good neighbors Chuck Palenchar and BJ Blanchard have been busy lately. A couple of weeks ago, while walking in the Regional Park, BJ and I encountered the Palenchars, as we occasionally do. We were strolling, while they were rolling full speed ahead. Suddenly Chuck stopped to discuss a project he had in mind. Did we think it would be a good idea for provide local visitors with maps to guide them to some of the walks, runs, bike trails we all enjoy. We agreed.

Almost immediately, BJ, who is an artist, started brain-storming with Chuck. He had maps, she had drawing skills.

As Chuck and Christina continued out of the park, B.J. and I resumed our stroll into the park. At each fork in the road, she whipped out her phone and clicked a picture of a sign post.

Within a week, together BJ and Chuck produced a simple, one-page guide to commonly-travelled walking routes around our town. BJ's artful map occupies one side, Chuck's description of the routes occupies the other. Chuck photocopied a bunch of the guides and dropped them off at a few local places.

Because BJ's art can be so expressive and colorful (many of you may remember her stunning Glen Ellen Village Fair posters of an earlier year), I hope to see that map done in glowing colors. Maybe some of the local businesses would consider financing that. Meanwhile, thanks to both of these fine local citizens of our good town for making our visitors welcome with good walks.

A few good women

BJ's more formal (and frankly beautiful) name is Beatrice Kinkead Blanchard. Under that name she was recently appointed by Susan Gorin to the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women. This county organization exists to promote the needs of women and girls in Sonoma County. Commissioners focus on the eradication of domestic violence, mentoring women in political office, voter encouragement, and more.

BJ shared this good news for high school students of the Sonoma Valley: “Currently, we are seeking young women for the Junior Commission on the Status of Women Project. This mentorship program develops and mentors high school youth for future leadership roles. Young women are selected each spring, and may be eligible for school credit for their participation. Applications from 14 to 18 year olds are being accepted through May 1. Please contact the Commission on the Status of Women office.” Better yet, check out this website Then call BJ at 738-5563 and introduce yourself. She's eager to work with local young ladies.

I'd even add that, since BJ loves Glen Ellen as much as I do, she'd surely welcome a local student.

Some SOGS speed ahead

As for Chuck and his happy gang of cohorts, they've been sailing away at Bodega Bay. Those cohorts include Ritch Foster, Ritch's son Evan, and Silas Huey. These gentlemen participated in the Wooden Boat Challenge, which is part of the annual early-April Fisherman's Festival in Westside Park at Bodega Bay.

Each team is given two sheets of 3/8 plywood, screws, some 1x2's and 2x2's, caulk, and a plastic sheet 9x10 feet. Then the team has three short hours to build a boat using only hand tools, with the exception of an electric drill. Once built, the team has half an hour to decorate their craft before the race.

As for the race, Chuck says, “You start from the boat ramp and rush to the water in a mad dash, launch your boat with 1 to 4 sailors and race around a buoy, 100 yards off shore. Some sank, some were fast and some just having fun, such as a school group, a family, and one who built a paddle wheeler.”

Chuck added, “In the first race the best two boats of five move on to the finals. I placed second in ours. In the final race of six boats, Evan Foster paddled our boat to a third place finish.” Hurray for our hometown boaters. Chuck and Ritch are part of the Glen Ellen SOGs (Slow Old Guys), but clearly this race belied that moniker.

Christina Palenchar and Margie Foster set up the display table with a connection to Jack London and sea faring. Their team name was The Cork and Caulker Yachting Society of Glen Ellen.

Fluctuat nec murgitur? Google it.

Gimme that ol town feelin'

Good news for Glen Ellen. On Saturday, April 30 the Glen Ellen Historical Society is showing “The Magic of Lassie,” filmed in 1978 right here in our village. The showing will be at 2:00 p.m. at the Glen Ellen Community Church, 5311 O'Donnell Lane. That's just down the lane from where Jimmy Stewart, tom-boyish Stephanie Zimbalist, and a not-so-cooperative Lassie rode over the O'Donnell Lane Bridge, beginning the action in this sweetly-sentimental, old-fashioned film. The filming was quite the occasion in our little town. The showing is free and it's a film the whole family will enjoy. Come join Pat Carlin, Jim Shere and others as we relive the good old days in Glen Ellen.

Sylvia Crawford can be reached at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442 or by email at

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette