Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The firehouse will stay open

The Bethel Island fire station, built in the 1940s, will stay open for now. The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board voted last night to keep the island fire station going. The photo above was taken a long time ago with the proud early volunteers. You can see a picture of the station as it looks today by scrolling down to my post on June 24. A cement block front addition was added to the Quonset hut some time ago.

I handed out over 50 red plastic firefighter helmets to Bethel Islanders attending the meeting. The women put them right on, but the men were a little shy about wearing them. However, the bright red showed up in the hall so the board could see that there were a lot of people from the island in the audience. There was standing room only.

I was so proud of the people from the island. At least 25 of them gave thoughtful comments to the board.
One man was late to the meeting and he told the board why. He said just as he was getting ready to leave the island, a boat pulled in to the dock at his harbor. A passenger on the boat was in distress and needed medical help. The local firefighters and an EMT came right to the dock. An ambulance was called from Oakley. In the meantime the patient was given first aid. The ambulance arrived and it took five men to maneuver the heavy person into the vehicle.
I’ve always been so glad we have a fire station on the island. I designed a pattern a few years ago called Kate & Friends. The cover shows my version of my friend Kate all dressed up to attend the Firemen’s Ball. She was a beautiful person. She was the secretary at the fire station and the whole town loved her. She started her job at the station by washing trucks and equipment, but gradually she began getting the files in order and getting the paperwork done. Kate died a few years ago.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

I hope not

There are plans afoot to close our Bethel Island fire station. This is terrible news and residents are very worried.

The station is housed in an old Quonset hut, surplus from WW II. The department was started by volunteers in the late 1940s. Over the years it finally was staffed by a paid chief and several officers but still operated with on-call volunteers who were paid when they fought fires. A percentage of the island’s property tax goes to fund the station’s operation. The community held many fund raisers to purchase equipment. There were firemen’s balls, bake sales, and other local celebrations. Funds were raised to buy a fire boat which was very valuable to the island and also used for mutual aid in the Delta waters.

A few years ago the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District was formed in conjunction with nearby communities – Brentwood, Oakley, Knightsen, Discovery Bay, and Byron. The County Board of Supervisors promised that the new District would not mean a loss of service. The District became an all-union operation with no more volunteers. Headquarters are located in Brentwood.

Now, budget woes because of property tax losses, are facing the ECCFPD. At the last meeting the Fire District board proposed closing two fire stations to save money. Three stations (Byron, Discovery Bay, and Bethel Island) are being considered and they are going to pick two of them for closure.

Two weeks ago I printed up flyers to notify residents about the proposed closure.
I spent Saturday morning in front of the post office handing out flyers and urging residents to attend the next Fire District meeting to protest the closing of our station. The meeting is scheduled for June 29 at 6:30 pm at the Oakley City Council chamber.

If the island’s station is closed it will take 15 minutes for the off-island fire stations in either Oakley or Knightsen to respond. The only access to the island is over the single bridge. The population of the island is mainly older people and medical calls are frequent.

I plan to stand in front of the post office again this Saturday and hand out flyers and inform islanders about the important meeting. I bought 96 red plastic firefighters hats. I plan to hand them out to islanders attending the meeting on June 29. We want to stand out and get noticed.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Spill cleanup (not oil)

Yesterday evening, I was searching the spice shelf looking for paprika for my beef stroganoff dinner. The spices were all jumbled up and I could not turn the little Lazy Susan amidst the teetering towers of jars and containers. Robert’s storage “system” didn’t make any sense to me. I decided to do a quick cleanup and sort out the spices. I found lots of strange things that I probably will never use. I threw away many bottles and boxes. I had to use my dustbuster to vacuum out the cupboard.

I noticed that I’d spilled some stuff on the floor in the process, so I grabbed some damp paper towels and got down on the floor. My first swipe came up blue-green. Then I noticed spots all over the WHITE floor. Every time I used more damp paper towels they turned blue-green. I saw blue-green foot prints all over the floor. I realized a package of food coloring stuff had fallen out when I cleared out the cupboard. Lucky for me only one little bottle had lost its contents.

Down on my hands and knees with a bowl of water and several sponges I started a serious cleanup. I finally took off my shoes so I would not add to the mess (duh).

I never did find any paprika so I just added extra pepper to the stroganoff. I had a late dinner. The cupboard is rather bare now but I can turn the Lazy Susan around and see what I have.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

A grand view

I think this is a splendid picture of my grandson Joe and my great grandson Joey. They spent Memorial Day at the beach. My granddaughter-in-law April sent it to me.

Life goes on. I love it.

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