"AROUND SUNOL" by VICTORIA CHRISTIAN


January 14, 2007

Sunolian, Kathy Beck, appeared on the very popular NBC game show “Deal or No Deal” on January 7 and while husband Bill, and their children Hunter, Colton & Chase cheered her on from their seats in the audience; she walked away with a whopping $99,000. Approximately 200 family and friends gathered at El Balazo Mexican Restaurant to watch the show which was actually taped on December 12. Although it was announced during the broadcast that she was from San Jose, I believe nearly every television set in Sunol was tuned in to see her nail biting win.

Kathy, an aspiring actress sent an audition tape to the show, was invited to a live audition in May and received word one week later that she had been chosen to appear on the game show. She said, “It was just incredible, it didn’t seem real.” Good friends Michael Velez and Jacque Lopez and Kathy’s Aunt Peggy Graham joined her on stage for support during the taping of the show. Kathy has also appeared as an extra or background actress in several television shows such as Desperate Housewives, Sopranos, George Lopez, NCIS and ER. Congratulations, Kathy!

Do you ever wonder what happens to all those lonely Christmas trees that sit in the corner lots unsold after Christmas? Well, Sunol Cub Scouts pack 912 could tell you. It was a chilly 29 degrees out on the morning of January 6 when they dragged approximately 1,000 donated trees into Lake Del Valle. Den Leader and parent Zouri Zale said, “Fifty foot chains are then staked to the lake bed and the trees are laced, end to end, with nylon rope to these chains. When Mother Nature fills the lake with rain these trees stand up underwater and provide surface cover for eggs and young fish. This also promotes higher productivity of the food chain with algae and insects to help feed the new fish. We saw the trees we did last year in an area close to where we were working.”

The Fish Habitat Enhancement Project is coordinated by the East Bay Regional Park District and 82 volunteers from Scout troops and fish clubs showed up to help on the first Saturday of the new year. Sunol resident and fisheries biologist Pete Alexander was joined by Webelos Scouts Cord Zale, Able Martinez and Lawson Bell; Lexie Fry from Sunol Boy Scouts 912 and Judy Bettencourt, Program Chair. Zouri also said, “It is hard work for a few hours but fun!”

From time to time I get email from curious readers asking if I know a certain person or have history on a particular subject such as Sunol’s architectural styles, long lost friends, former school teachers and local folklore. But I have never heard of the "Battle of Niles Canyon”.

I recently received an email from Rich Barlow of Pleasanton requesting information on this subject. Rich wrote, “I believe it had something to do with General Fremont and possibly some Mexican troops, who I would assume, come from Mission San Jose. But think of it, a battle site for California independence in Sunol. How Cool!”

I also received an email regarding a popular Sunol subject and it’s not Bosco.

Rhoda Byrne of Lodi wrote, “I recall that an article about the Niles Canyon ghost appeared in the Oakland Tribune (or perhaps it was the Daily Review), as well as a photo of the train trestle on/near which she supposedly stood. This was back in the 1960s. It is probably just my childhood memories and a little wishful thinking, but I thought the photo showed a ghostly image as well. My husband and I grew up in Hayward and often drove through Niles Canyon, so naturally, we heard of the Niles Canyon ghost.”

If anyone has any information on either of these subjects please contact me at the addresses listed below.

More sad pet news—Stephan Doyle’s 14 year old Yorkshire Terrier, Haili, passed away on December 29 after a short illness. Haili is survived by her daughter Comet and grandchildren, Rocket & Xena. Stephan said “She went to Yorkie heaven.” She was also a former Sunol Repertory Theater cast member and played “the little dog” in “Lily, the Felon’s Daughter.”

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