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Thanks for making The Francis House possible

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Thanks for making The Francis House possible

Three years ago at about this time we closed on the property at 1403 Myrtle St. in Calistoga. Our lives have never been the same.

Every day since, we’ve had setbacks, triumphs, construction challenges, and debates on design, balanced by the joy from simple visits by passersby and neighbors, all intrigued by what is going on.

Three years later, as we prepare to open our doors, we do so with gratitude to all our new friends in Calistoga. You welcomed us every day and entrusted us to make this dream come true. We joined hands in this together.

Many thought it would never happen. But as a dear friend reminded us: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

Now, 132 years later, 1403 Myrtle St., once known as the James H. Francis House or the Old Calistoga Hospital, is now simply called The Francis House. We hope this will be her best chapter yet.

Thank you from your fellow Calistogans.

Dina and Richard Dwyer


Is ‘Grizzlies’ really the right name for Napa High?

In regards to the selection of the new Napa Valley High School mascot, I can only say, “Meh.”

I understand the need to replace the history and ethnicity-laden Indian name. But Grizzly? Surely someone could have come up with a name that has some association with our town and valley. IMHO, you might as well be calling them the Applebees.

Grizzly conjures up images of forests, mountains and the North. Not a lush vineyard-covered river valley and rolling hills.

I know there is an inclination to selecting something aggressive and menacing, but we do have our own native animals—some of them rather fierce. There are Hawks in the fields (a good choice if not taken) and Beavers in the creek.

While a wine reference may not be the most appropriate thing for a high school (sorry, though, that Crushers is taken), something alluding to our agrarian heritage or pioneering spirit would also have been more desirable. Silverados? Trailblazers? Harvesters (although I confess that more often conjures up an image of heavy equipment)?

While Valley Vignerons or Fighting Sommeliers might not garner many votes, could we not come up with something less generic and reminiscent of a guy in a coonskin cap? Perhaps the choice could be rethought before spending large sums of money on new logos and equipment.

Greg Fuller


Students were not given real choice

So the Napa High Mascot voting has been narrowed down to two choices—Grizzly or Husky. What in the world have those two names got to do with the Napa Valley or Napa County?

Students were given a choice, but not a real choice, because they were not allowed to weigh in on the original name Napa High Indians, which had a proud history of recognizing a proud native people of the Napa Valley.

Pomos lived in this valley for centuries and they more likely represent history in the choosing of a name for a mascot for Napa High School.

However the same people who stole the name Napa Indian from all of us who attended Napa High School for decades did not include that name as a choice. In their goal of perfect political correctness they avoided a name that had significant historical presence in this valley, thereby slandering the native Pomos.

This school board should be impeached for this travesty of correctness fostered on our community. Remember that when they come up for reelection. A Proud Napa High Indian.

Tom Johnson


Editor’s Note: After this letter was submitted, the school district announced the students had chose “Grizzlies” as the new name. Also, none of the seats up for election on the NVUSD Board of Trustees this fall has more than one candidate, so there will be no competitive elections on the ballot.

Maybe the new generation will teach us

The opening of the school year has brought an election for a new mascot for Napa High School. The “Indian” is a thing of the past but many people will not let it go, especially on social media.

I was not raised in Napa, but I have lived here for 14 years. A son attended Napa High for four years. Maybe I have a different perspective on the mascot issue?

This reminds me of people complaining when the statue of a Confederate general was taken down from the pedestal in the town square? Wasn’t the historical statue just part of the traditional cultural fabric? The fact that it represented a violent struggle to maintain the brutal slavery of people kidnapped from their homes in Africa and served to keep them in their place in the 20th century was of course incidental.

The Napa Indian mascot is cultural appropriation to ease the guilty conscience of we Europeans who slaughtered, enslaved, infected, and otherwise destroyed Native Americans and their culture. That is the story that should be taught, not some silly, sanitized cigar store Indian version.

I am sorry that so many Napkins have been fitted with cultural blinders by our community. Replacing the Indian is a step in liberating us all from a funhouse mirror view of history. Napa High students will no longer be indoctrinated with this kind of cultural genocide.

Maybe we will learn from this new generation?

Loren Haas


Off base in criticizing Taxpayer’s Association

I have read the article regarding the Napa Grand Jury, The Napa Taxpayers Association, and the NVUSD, (“Several Napa school trustees blame taxpayer group for grand jury criticism,” July 4) I must say it is rich with intrigue, misdirection, miscalculation, and mismanagement.

Right off the bat Tom Kensok and Jose Hurtado are unhappy at the dual findings of the Napa Grand Jury and blame a third party for the findings. To summarize, “(F1) there will be the likelihood of budget cuts over the next 3 years, but there is no detailed long-term plan. (F2) During the past 3 years the emphasis has been on budget cuts, not revenue generation. (F3) Finally, NVUSD has made a solid effort to communicate to the community their budget issues and invite input from them.”

Kensok and Hurtado point their fingers at the Napa Valley Taxpayers Association for the poor marks given to the NVUSD by the Grand Jury. The GJ found that the NVUSD should by the end of the calendar year “(R1) develop a detailed five (5) year financial plan for the district, and (R2) In Calendar year 2018, the District should develop and implement a comprehensive Marketing Program designed to increase attendance. Finally, (R3) In Calendar year 2018, the Napa Valley Unified School District should develop a website link devoted to budget news and post regular quarterly updates.”

So why all the bluster from Kensok and Hurtado? Does NVUSD have financial issues that they do not want the public to know about?

The article raised all kinds of red flags in my mind. If Hurtado and Kensok are mad because the Grand Jury used the NVTPA as a resource, so what? This the NCTPA’s expertise, they will work with any public agency looking into a tax or a bond measure to insure it is for the public good. If not, they will oppose it.

The article goes on to discuss the grand jury’s look at 30-500 percent increases in construction costs with the District disputing this saying, “they were only 82 percent increases.” The article also discusses the state-mandated “creation and updates to a bi-annual multi-year budget-projection that reflects a three-year budget cycle.”

Also, per Hurtado and Kensok, “projection and expenses beyond three years are fraught with the uncertainty of enrollment and funding levels.” At the time of Measure H, I believe a couple of schools were already on the chopping block as district enrollment was down. So, it was already known to a certain degree the loss of students the district would absorb.

As the conversation turned to financial issues, Jose Hurtado turned the conversation away from money to the children, sidestepping the main issue, Measure H expenditures and oversight. He turned on the emotional spigot blaming the grand jury and the NVTPA for caring more for buildings than for children. Not a good argument when you are overspending and in serious debt.

Since the Register did not quote their source at the district for how their three-year budget cycle works, maybe they can help all us taxpayers out with this quote, “Assistant Superintendent Wade Roach broke the bad news to the school board last Thursday, informing trustees that projected deficits over the next four years could add up to more than $12 million” (Napa Valley Register, March 7, 2018). Funny how that is an exact number.

A hat tip to the grand jury members and the Napa Valley Taxpayer’s Association for looking after our tax dollars and how they are being used. I think NVUSD needs some further investigation. It seems that what they say does not seem to be consistent — article to article.

Mark Gasster


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