May 21, 2007

Sunol Glen School’s eighth grade educational trip to Washington DC was amazing as usual, but what’s even more special was that this years class happened to be touring historic Jamestown and colonial Williamsburg during the areas 400th anniversary. The timing was just right to spot another famous guest also visiting for the special anniversary, the Queen of England. Stunned students clamored to see what all the commotion was about when they caught a glimpse of her exiting her car for a luncheon in her honor in Williamsburg on May 4.

For one student in the class, Ian Player, the sighting of the Queen was extra special because his father Bruce is from England and Ian holds a dual citizenship. Ian, accompanied by his mother, Judy, waited about 45 minutes until the Queen was leaving the luncheon and he snapped a picture of her as she was giving her ceremonial wave to the crowd. Ian himself received a few minutes in the spotlight as well when he was interviewed by two local television stations. Ian said of his experience, “I thought it was really fun.”

All of the students, which included, Danika Beard, Mary Chambers, Becca Brown, Chase Beck, Leny Alexander, Matt Reisenthal, Kyle Bachand, Kyle Harris, Bowie Twombly, Callie Milligan, Josh Bidkram, Katelyn Merrill, Harry George, Amanda Strachan, Sammantha Strachan, Jake Bachelder, Stasia Hylas and Mason Robertson; and parents, John Beard, Stacy Strachan, Cathy Morris, Shawn Robertson, Bill Beddell, Karen Newcomb and Kris Harris and adult chaperones Diane and Bob Everett, and eighth grade teacher Nancy Brazil and her mother, Mrs. Harris, were all equally thrilled to be able to see the Queen.

Sunol’s emergency preparedness meeting was held on May 12, 2007 at the Sunol Depot but unfortunately only approximately ten residents showed up to attend this very important meeting. Those who did attend the meeting received some very valuable information from Marla Blagg, Emergency Manager of the Alameda County Fire Department and Craig Collins with the Department of Forestry.

The meetings included topics such as preventing wildfires and earthquake preparedness. Fireman Craig discussed clearing grass and brush away from homes, cleaning roof gutters and trimming overhanging trees. Most of the discussion was the concern for residents living in Kilkare Canyon. He said notice of fire evacuation would most likely be by the public address system of driving up the road with a bullhorn and would be handled by the CHP or alameda County sheriff or the fire department.

Craig also suggested posting house numbers where they can be clearly visible from the road. This has also been an issue in such rural areas where visibility is a problem; he suggested a possible community project to post large, black numbers on a white background or large white, reflective numbers.

Concerned residents discussed ways of alerting each other locally, the possible use of a radio scanner or fire siren and setting up a phone tree. Craig stressed that they would love to come to your home to help advise on ways of fire prevention and preparedness. He said, “We will be more than happy to come out to your house.” He then gave a fire extinguisher demonstration using both dry chemical and water extinguishers and discussed which might work best depending on the type of fire it would be used to combat.

Nick Chapman commended the California Department of Forestry in Sunol for their hard work and dedication.

The second part of the meeting was presented by Marla Blagg, Emergency Manager of the Alameda County Fire Department. She discussed earthquake and personal preparedness and concerns with the Hayward fault. Marla had some useful suggestions such as finding a staging area in a safe place in town and making a communication plan.

Both groups provided several pamphlets, handouts and brochures and the Sunol Business Guild is considering putting together a package of written emergency materials to send to every resident.

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