Diana Lindsay takes FIRST PLACE Honors in Outdoor Writers Association of California Craft Awards 2017

Editors Diana Lindsay, Terri Vanrell, and Paula Knoll

From Outdoor Writers Association of California P.O. Box 50136, Oxnard, California 93031

May 3, 2017–

Founded in 1986, OWAC is a non-profit organization of more than 150 professional outdoor communicators from California and surrounding western states, including newspaper and magazine staffers, freelance writers, book authors, radio and television broadcasters, video producers, editors, photographers and artists.

Each year members of the organization meet to honor their finest professional work. At a banquet, held April 26, 2017 in Bishop, California, the OWAC Board of Directors presented awards to individuals whose work has been judged “Superior”.

OWAC’s 2017 Craft Awards Media Competition judging determined the work to be a premier example of professionalism and talented execution. By its superior form and creative style the entry was selected from among all submissions in its category and has been awarded First Place in the Best Outdoor Guidebook category.

Judges felt that the design and visual appeal of the entry, “Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors” was “Inspiring, intriguing and compelling.”

Exhibit Reveals The Art Of Former San Diego City Councilman Tom Hom

By Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh

Source: KPBS Midday Edition, Tuesday, May 23, 2017\

Above: Watercolor painting by former San Diego City Councilman, Tom Hom.
Above: Watercolor painting by former San Diego City Councilman, Tom Hom.

Some say politics is an art.

So it might make sense that if a politician had a hobby, they might give traditional art, like painting, a try.

That is exactly how longtime Chinese-American leader Tom Hom has been spending his time.

In celebration of his 90th birthday, the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum is unveiling paintings and drawings by Hom about the Chinese-American experience.

In 1963, Hom became the first minorit

y elected to the San Diego City Council. He later became the second Asian-American elected to the state legislature.

RELATED: San Diego Political Legend Tom Hom Talks About ‘Bumpy Road’ To American Dream

Hom and Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres, executive director of the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, discuss the exhibit “Unseen Portraint: The Art of Tom Hom,” Tuesday on Midday Edition.

 

She’s history: Iris Engstrand, the go-to source on San Diego’s past, retires from USD

Source: San Diego Union Tribune, May 23, 2017

By Peter Rowe

 

Iris Engstrand
Iris Engstrand signs copies of the second edition of “San Diego: California’s Cornerstone” at the San Diego History Center on November 29, 2016.

To Iris Engstrand, a neglected hillside plot above San Diego’s Mission Valley is the Jamestown of the Pacific.

Presidio Park is dominated by the Serra Museum, dedicated to missionary Junípero Serra. Plaques note that this is the site of the first permanent European settlement on the West Coast.

The park has seen lots of history.

It’s also seen better days.
“Look at the paint!” Engstrand said, gesturing at the museum’s flaking walls.

“You see the mold?” she pointed to black streaks on the museum’s white tower.

“That clump of trees?” she waved at a cluster of shaggy palms. “It blocks the view, it’s ugly and it’s half dead.”

These are not the ravings of a cranky tourist. Engstrand has a doctorate in history (University of Southern California, 1962) and has taught at the University of San Diego and its predecessor for 48 years. She literally wrote the book on local history — “San Diego: California’s Cornerstone” — and is cherished by a network of scholars as colleague, mentor and friend.

“She’s a real dynamo,” said M. Wayne Donaldson, chair of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. “She’s probably one of the most influential people in my entire life.”

“Iris Engstrand,” said William Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, “is a scholarly treasure.”

Now 82, Engstrand will teach her last class Tuesday. Don’t expect her to fade away. She’s helping design a virtual reality tour of the Presidio. Campaigning to win UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for El Camino Real. Co-editing The Journal of San Diego History. And insisting the Presidio gets the respect it deserves.

“San Diego,” she said, “just needs to get a little social consciousness about its past.”

Starting, perhaps, with a simple road sign noting the birthplace of California.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Engstrand said. “Here we are in San Diego, the second largest city in California, the eighth largest in the United States, and we can’t even have a sign here.”

Soaked in salt water

When questions arise about Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Kate Sessions, Alonzo Horton or any other notable from San Diego’s past, Engstrand is the go-to source.

Not bad for an accidental historian.

Growing up in Laguna Beach, Iris Higbie loved to surf and swim. Her passion for the sea led her to enroll at the University of Southern California as a marine biology major. Even her love life was soaked in salt water. While still an undergraduate, she married Larry Wilson, an albacore fisherman.

For the next six years, she’d bunk aboard fishing boats. Life at sea was an adventure, but marriage also meant new financial pressures. Her parents stopped paying her tuition, so the undergraduate landed a job as a legal secretary.

Her work hours, though, conflicted with the marine biology lab schedule.

A professor noted that Iris had gobs of history units. Why not make that her major, marine biology her minor?

She did, becoming so immersed in this field that she pursued it for a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate, all at USC.

Fascinated by Southern California’s Iberian roots, she also won a fellowship that sent her to Spain. In Madrid, she spent two years researching Spanish scientists who had explored the New World.

Her own expedition had touches of glamour, thanks to a roommate’s ties to the crew filming Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren in “El Cid.” The women roamed the Spanish capital in a chauffeured Rolls-Royce, borrowed from a studio executive.

Young and bilingual, Engstrand was invited to parties at the U.S. embassy, mingling with actors and visiting dignitaries, including Nelson Rockefeller, then the governor of New York.

Back in the U.S., the freshly minted Ph.D. taught at USC and Long Beach City College. In 1968, she joined the faculty at the San Diego College for Men.

Soon, this L.A. native was synonymous with San Diego history.

Hidden messages

Despite her devotion to USC, Iris Wilson was happy to leave Los Angeles. Her marriage had fizzled out. Moreover, she was impressed by Old Town and other efforts to preserve San Diego’s heritage.

On paper, though, she looked like a bad fit at her new school. The College for Men was a private Catholic institution that in 1972 would merge with the College for Women, becoming the University of San Diego.

“I was not only not Catholic, I was divorced,” Engstrand said, “and at the College for Men. But they didn’t care.”

She shook up a small school’s little History Department.

“In many ways, it is her department,” said Colin Fisher, USD’s current History Department chairman. “She created it. She played a role in hiring every faculty member.”

In the classroom, she had a talent for resuscitating the past. Instead of memorizing dates, she urged students to examine the raw materials of life — food, fashion, music, relationships, tragedies, triumphs.

For instance, a lecture on Spanish royalty includes a vivid account of the hidden political and cultural messages in the canvases of Francisco Goya.

“She always stresses the ‘lived experience’ of the people and societies we study,” said Andres Meza, a senior in Engstrand’s course on the history of Spain.

Donaldson, an architect, worked on historic preservation campaigns in the Gaslamp Quarter. Engstrand urged him to investigate the people who built and inhabited those buildings.

“Where did they come from? Why did they come to what was to become the Gaslamp Quarter? What were their families like?” Donaldson said.

“She’s the one who turned me on to really look at the people and their character, and not just to rewrite old history.”

Right place, right time

Credit this rich, multi-disciplinary style to a rich, multi-faceted life. Engstrand’s interest in Spanish scientists, surveying a strange land’s flora and fauna, never faded. In 1999, she wrote “Inspired by Nature,” a history of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

A fascination with the region’s arid climate led her to the San Diego Water Authority’s lawyer, Paul Engstrand. They were married 45 years, until his death in 2015.

An aunt who was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ office manager led to a friendship with the team’s general manager, Buzzie Bavasi. After he became the San Diego Padres’ president in 1968, Bavasi often called on his fellow L.A. transplant.

“My life,” Engstrand said, “has been a series of unusual coincidences, of being in the right place at the right time.”

Coincidence may have been one factor behind Engstrand’s success. Others see a rigorous work ethic and ever-expanding social network.

About 11 years ago, The Journal of San Diego History had lost its editor. Engstrand agreed to become co-editor with another USD history professor, Molly McClain.

“It’s an enormous amount of work but incredibly interesting,” said McClain. “Iris makes everything really fun.”

Wendy Kramer agreed. A historian who lives in Toronto, Kramer found documents proving Cabrillo was born in Spain — unwelcome news to San Diego’s Portuguese community, which long had claimed the 16th century explorer as one of their own.

When Kramer flew here in 2015 to meet local historians, she was uncertain about the reception she’d receive.

Her fears quickly vanished. Engstrand picked her up at the airport, took her out to restaurants, put her up in a bayside condo.

“One of the most lovely things about finding those documents,” Kramer said, “was meeting people like Iris.”

‘Plymouth Rock’

The University of San Diego has never been without an Engstrand, and even after this month’s retirement, the Engstrand Era will continue. Iris’ daughter, Kristin Moran, is an associate dean; a grandson, Tanner Engstrand, is the football team’s assistant head coach.

While leaving a university, she’s not leaving scholarship. She may have another book or five in her — Engstrand estimates she’s already penned 25 volumes — and a course to team-teach (with Derrick Cartwright) on art and architecture.

She’ll also have more time to devote to a bedraggled park.

“She’s particularly keen on the Presidio project,” McClain said. “To see the Plymouth Rock of California being neglected, she is very keen to set that to rights.”

On July 16, a plaque will be unveiled in the park. The inscription honors “the soldiers, missionaries and natives of the Portola Expedition that founded San Diego de Alcalá and gave birth to Spanish Alta California.”

Engstrand was one of the plaque’s backers. Just like she’s pushing for fresh paint, signs, pruned trees and a new banner to join the flags waving outside the Serra Museum.

“The Kumeyaay flag should be first,” she said, “then the Spanish, the Mexican and the United States, if you are going in chronological order.”

History, like a certain historian, never rests.

TECATE IS BORDER’S GREAT EXCEPTION

Source: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jun/24/tecate-border-pueblo-magico/?track=san-diego

FOCUS: TECATE IS BORDER’S GREAT EXCEPTION

Despite changes, pueblo’s fans insist it’s still magical

— Life is changing in this Pueblo Mágico, and not every change is mágico.

Border crossings that took seconds now require minutes. This week, a rush hour passage required an entire half hour.

Residents who once left keys in their cars while shopping downtown no longer recommend the practice. (Nonetheless, a distracted reporter accidentally did this on a recent morning, returning in the afternoon to find his vehicle — and keys — where he had left them.)

Perhaps the most dramatic change: You rarely hear hooves clattering on the streets fronting the tree-shaded town square, Parque Hidalgo.

“We used to have more horses than cars,” said Daniel Reveles, Tecate’s unofficial poet laureate and a full-time resident since 1980. “I used to do local errands here from my ranch in a surrey.”

In 2012, Mexico City added Tecate to the federal government’s list of Pueblos Mágicos, places notable for natural beauty, historical significance or cultural import. This year, magic seems in short supply south of the border, as regions grapple with crime, pollution, drought and the U.S. presidential campaign. South of the border, many are leery of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s immigration policy, which includes a fortress-like wall along the U.S.-Mexico line.

Fences already line most of the border between San Diego County and Mexico. In the 1990s, a six-foot-tall fence was erected here, followed by 18-foot-tall metal posts in 2008-2009. These barriers are visible throughout the city, yet irrelevant to most of the region’s 120,000 people.

“I don’t have a problem (with the fence), I can cross any time I want,” said Cristela Melendrez Taboada, 17, a waitress at Restaurante Lola, facing the town square. “And I’m pretty happy with life here in Mexico.”

Contentment is a common theme in this town, which sprawls across a valley about 40 miles east of San Diego. People here insist they are too happy, too relaxed to feel any cross-border tensions.

“I love Tecate,” said Martín Cortizo Rodríquez, who left his native Mexico City to work for the town’s Rancho La Puerta resort and spa. “You live over here with quality.”

In “Guacamole Dip,” “Tequila, Lemon and Salt” and other books by Reveles, Tecate is an enchanted village that floats above such crudities as international politics. Still, the author admits that unpleasant realities occasionally intrude.

“El Trump and La Clinton is all you hear right now,” said Reveles, who dines and drinks with “Los Cafeteros,” a band of genial idlers who meet in the bars and restaurants surrounding the town square. “One person says, ‘Trump is right. We are going to build a wall —to keep out all the illegal Americans!’”

LITERARY MAGICIAN

Tecate was first settled about 1,400 years ago by the nomadic Kumeyaay, who fished and hunted from the Pacific to the mountains. A small but well-organized museum east of downtown, the Museo Comunitario de Tecate, displays shelters and baskets made by current tribal members.

The museum also gives the rest of the story: Indians and European settlers clashed in the early 19th century. Juan Bandini, whose Casa de Bandini stands in San Diego’s Old Town, abandoned a rancho here after numerous raids.

Farmers and ranchers eventually prevailed, producing vegetable oil, wine and grains for brewing. Rails linked Tecate and San Diego from the early 20th century until 1962, when the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railroad discontinued service here.

When Daniel and Harriet Reveles visited Tecate in 1976, the town was best known for its eponymous brewery and Rancho La Puerta, a fitness haven founded by Edmond and Deborah Szekely in 1940. Now a 3,000-acre preserve where guests spend $2,835 to $7,500 each for a week’s stay, the ranch had modest origins.

The same is true of Tecate. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Daniel was afraid that the native New Yorker he had married would find the place hopelessly rustic. She did, in an endearing way.

“She said, ‘Oh, what a charming village,’” Daniel quoted his late wife, who died in 1989. “And indeed it was. It was magical.”

A disc jockey and writer, Reveles was inspired by his new surroundings. The couple bought 30 acres 10 miles south of town, horses, the aforementioned surrey, a stagecoach. He began writing yarns that imbued Tecate with a magical realism reminiscent of the mythical touch Gabriel Garcia Marquez brought to his Colombian hamlets.

Reveles, one critic wrote of 1994’s “Enchiladas, Rice and Beans,” “assures his place at the forefront of a long line of Hispanic literary magicians.”

This week at Bar Diana, a 59-year-old downtown institution, Reveles enjoyed a lunch of carne asadatacos and tequila. In a white Guayabera shirt and Panama hat, he held court like retired royalty. Friends descended on his table for a warm abrazo.

“Don Daniel,” they called him. “Jefe.”

“People love the idea, they appreciate his work,” said Carlos Mateus, 61, the bar’s owner. “He’s a good person.”

In this town, who is not? “I’ve never met a bad person here,” said Reveles, who claims to be 91 but has a fabulist’s touch with cold facts. (In an interview with the Union-Tribune’s Arthur Salm 12 years ago, he gave his age as 94.) “Some scoundrels, but no bad people.”

LIFE IN PARAÍSO

As wildfires raced across San Diego County’s back country last week, Melendrez could see the distant columns of smoke. Miles from Tecate, the flames were moving in the opposite direction. Still, the young waitress fretted.

“I worry that we don’t have enough resources to help with the fire,” she said.

Why? Isn’t the fire in another country? “On previous occasions, the U.S. came to help us here. It would be nice for us to be able to help the U.S.”

You find a lot of warmth toward the United States in Tecate, but that doesn’t mean everyone here obeys U.S. laws. During the 2016 fiscal year, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 80 people crossing the border here illegally. That’s less than .5 percent of the 20,782 apprehended in the entire San Diego sector.

Here as in other places, some blame any uptick in crime on newcomers. At Mini Todo Hidalgo, a gift and school supplies shop near the brewery, manager Grace Adams serves customers from Mexico’s interior. Some were deported from the U.S. to Tijuana or Mexicali, then journeyed to Tecate for the relaxed atmosphere and pleasant climate.

“Some of these people are bad people,” she said. “Not all, but some.”

Good or bad, most migrants are just scraping by. Anastacio Garcia, 64, pushed an ice cream cart across the town square. Earlier this month, he was nabbed during an immigration sweep in Albuquerque, N.M., his home of 44 years — and where his wife and two children still reside.

“I worked in Mexicali,” he said, “but I came here because Mexicali is too hot.”

He had been in Tecate three days: “A nice town, I like it.”

Lacking papers, Garcia can’t cross the border. With the right documents, though, this crossing can be a breeze. Midweek at 3:30 p.m., the line at the border extended a mere three cars.

Yet there are only two lanes at the Tecate Port of Entry, with no provisions for people with SENTRI cards, no separation between cars and 18-wheelers. Moreover, both lanes close daily from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“The lines here can be as long as four hours,” said Joe Crooks, who manages a nearby maquiladora. “It’s gotten worse.”

If Tecate was ever the border’s Shangri-La, untouched by the outside world, Roberto Arjona insists those days are over. He cringes whenever he hears about Trump’s wall or Sinaloa’s drug cartels.

“Every time those conversations happen, there is a direct negative effect on our town,” said Arjona, Rancho La Puerta’s chief executive. “When those comments are made, 98 percent of the time I’ll get calls from my guests, wondering what the heck is going on, whether it is safe to come.”

Slammed by the recession, Rancho La Puerta has bounced back. Business was fair in 2013, good in ’14, better in ’15. This year, the resort is at capacity, welcoming 140 to 160 new guests every Saturday.

“This is paradise,” said Cortizo, escorting guests through the lush grounds and cool, pristine Spanish colonial buildings. “Paraíso.”

Most Mexicans — most Americans, for that matter — can’t afford a week in these heavenly surroundings. But the rancho employs dozens of locals. Its restaurants and shops are stocked with Tecate-produced food, drink and artisan goods. Moreover, the resort’s foundation built and maintains Parque del Profesor, a public park with a soccer field, classrooms and nature trails.

People who live here boast about attractions new (La Finisima craft brewery), old (7,500-year-old petroglyphs in nearby hills) and emerging (the hot new dining spot, Lugar de Nos, led by rising chef Mariela Manzano).

“It is people like her who are giving Tecate a very fine dining scene,” Arjona said.

What they don’t brag about is efficiency or order.

“There are many good reasons to live in Tecate. Convenience is not one of them,” Reveles said. “Here, the road signals don’t always work and people don’t know the rules of the road. Or if they do, they don’t obey them. But you never hear a horn. There is no road rage.

“Everybody lives in harmony. You don’t see hate here.”

It all sounds too good to be true, like mágico.

DPC Educational Bulletin from El Paisano Spring 2016, #222

1437_lambs-ewe-pose_kw-smallThanks to Desert Protective Council for adding information on Mark Jorgensen’s award-winning Desert Bighorn Sheep.  This article by Janene Colby captivates from beginning to end and gives a first-person glimpse into the life of a fish and wildlife biologist including the joys of observation and the concerns about anthropogenic threats.

It begins, “On a brilliantly clear February morning, I sit quietly on the saddle of a ridgeline looking through my spotting scope at a group of bighorn sheep bedded on the opposite slope. So far I’ve counted 6 ewes (females) and a couple of lambs napping near their moms. Fortunately, I’m far enough away that my presence has not caused them to get up and move away. This group does not know it has a “Judas ewe” among them, allowing me to find them in this remote corner of the desert. Ewe 292 sports a collar that emits a radio signal I have tracked to this location using a hand-held receiver and directional antenna…”

Read the full article here: DPCInc.org.