Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells
Pacific Coast Water Rescue
John Garza and his team held a ceremony at the Discovery Bay Marina. It was to honor present and past emergency response folks and included the renaming of two boats.
A hundred or more people attended the presentation starting at 1000 hours with John welcoming the group on the grass near the guest dock at Discovery Bay. The Sea Scouts raised the American Flag. I was asked to say a prayer for the occasion. When I joined the Navy in 1963, we were each issued a bible and prayer book for our denomination. You were expected to attend church services every Sunday morning while you were in boot camp. Every time you have a group of people there are a few outliers that don’t want to conform, so a couple of lads said they were atheists and did not need a bible or Torah. Our company commander Chief Stempleski announced that if you did not have a religion, you would be assigned one – you would be a yogi and spend the time standing on your head while the rest of us were at services. All of a sudden everyone had a religion. I thought putting the good book back in service after 60 years would be a good thing.
Former State Assemblyman Rusty Areias was also honored for his long service to the area at the event. Your correspondent and several others were awarded a fireman’s golden anchor lapel pin by John. “Pacific Coast Water Rescue was formed in 2012 as a result of cuts to Discovery Bay and South Delta Area Water Rescue Vessels,” Garza said. “In that same year, we met with local fire, sheriff and USCG Rio Vista personnel to form the Pacific Coast Water Rescue (PCWR) team.”
After the ceremony on the lawn, we walked down to the dock and completed the renaming ceremony on the two boats. (You can rename a boat or ship as long as you appease the forces of nature that control the seas with a proper ceremony.) Garza said they dedicated and renamed the two vessels in honor of fallen firefighters James Martin and Ray Perry. “Whenever we teach or respond to salvage and tow incidents, the two vessels will bear the proud names and legacy of Chief James Scott Martin and Captain Ray Perry.”
Fremont Fire Deputy Chief Martin died in 2015 after a three-year battle with job-related cancer. Perry, a 30-year veteran of the Newark Fire Department died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2020.
Garza added, “The future looks great for PCWR Captains on Call as we now have six USCG licensed captains, six rescue swimmers and six divers as a direct result of our 12 seasons of experience in our vast Bay and Delta region.”
There were several vessels on display at the guest dock including a 1946 Navy Tug, Admirals Launch, U.S. Coast Guard Surf Boat and the piece de resistance, Rusty’s classic Stephens yacht Miss 102 skippered by our own Pat Carson, to name a few.
John said, “We honored two fallen firefighters and the over 10,000 hours given to our local and Delta communities since 2012.”
I have mentioned this before but John is probably one of the best hustlers in the Delta. Whatever he needs he somehow comes up with; be it boats, equipment or whatever else. He has built a great network of skilled craftsmen in the area too. He does a lot of good work and all of us fans are eager to help him when he calls.
One time we were talking about books we have read and I mentioned that I was a fan of John Steinbeck. At the presentation John gave me a copy of “The Short Novels of John Steinbeck.” It is a 600-page tome and will probably take me the rest of the year to read all the great stories.
San Joaquin Delta Neighborhood Watch (SJDNW)
Tracie Glaves has become a force of nature. She started the organization eight years ago now and it continues to grow. We attended a meeting at the Stockton Yacht Club with about 50 people participating. A representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was on hand and gave a short talk about their efforts to remove the many trees and logs from the river. On July 8 and 9 the USACE will be coming up to the Stockton area to remove as many logs and trees as possible from local waterways. The San Joaquin County Marine Patrol was on hand to answer questions and recently elected San Joaquin County District Attorney Ron Freitas came and told us of his commitment to cleaning up the local waterways and keeping vagrants from camping on the levees.
Tracie started the organization a few years back and she has accomplished a lot; making people aware of criminal acts in the region, helping to enact new laws to better the region’s waterways and being a point person for any local issue. I think Tracie was instrumental in getting Smith Canal cleaned up. It still has a ways to go but is certainly better than before. Roger Kelly and Frank Rauzi are also heroes of the organization. They don’t get in the limelight as much as Tracie, but they both are equal contributors to the cause along with Tracie. Don’t forget Tracie’s husband Jeff Glaves, as he is her right-hand man. The trio deserves a lot of positive recognition for their work defending our Delta.
We need to figure out a way to export SJDNW to other Delta counties. Sacramento County is a disaster, much of it caused by “unhoused” people living in hobo jungles along our waterways, in residential areas and encampments along city streets. The bickering between the county government and Sacramento city government does not help. In Feb. 2019 Governor Newsom appointed Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, to be the heads of a “homelessness task force.” The Governor says Sacramento is set to receive 350 tiny homes, a drop in the bucket when you consider that Sacramento County has some 10,000 unhoused people, up from 5,561 in 2010.
Maybe Sacramento County Supervisors will be able to get a grip on the problem. In May they voted themselves a 36-percent raise retroactive to Feb. 2023 taking their pay from about $127,164 a year to $173,389. County Supervisor Phil Serna said, “we did not ask for the raise.” Supervisor Sue Frost was the only one that voted against it saying that the average annual income of Sacramento County residents is about $79,000 and she did not feel comfortable giving herself such a large salary increase. Hopefully, with their newfound bounty, the supervisors will be able to fix some of the ongoing crises in the county.
JOIE is rapidly becoming one of the most famous yachts in the Delta.
Good Day Sacramento is a local television show that covers interesting lifestyles. They spent a recent morning aboard JOIE at the guest dock of Village West Marina & Resort. The segment is called “Cody’s Caravan.” It started with an interview with Fritz Grupe and his lovely wife Phyllis. Fritz was the original developer of the resort when he was 28 years old. The marina was built in what was swampland and long before I-5 was built. He built Lake Lincoln to handle the water. Phyllis Grupe is a great community leader in her own right. She was one of the founding team members of San Joaquin A+, which is working to eliminate illiteracy in San Joaquin County. Both of them have enough community service awards to fill a few pages. After Fritz gave his fascinating story, Cody interviewed Rusty Areias and Ted Harris who restored this beautiful yacht. They told of the harrowing adventure of her purchase, trucking to Stockton and a complete restoration to better than new. Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln even dropped by for a short segment.
I met Michelle Sekula, who is the interior designer that created the interiors of Rusty’s yachts. She does beautiful work and when she finishes a cabin it looks like it was made that way but is tastefully updated. JOIE’s interior is well, stunning. She put a lot of work into it and it certainly shows.
Rusty’s trusted right-hand man on his projects has been Jose Montano. He was at Delta Boat Works when Rusty and Bob Slobe first brought Contessa in for a new stem and other work. Later, Jose started his own business and has made a good living working on Rusty’s boats, Miss 102, Folly II and JOIE. Jose is a master craftsman and does beautiful work whether planking or interior joiner work.
Mark Erreca, a friend of Rusty’s from his hometown of Los Banos came over for a business meeting with Rusty. We were all invited to take a short cruise back to Delta Marine Sales on the Stockton Channel. Tony Kopshever arrived to serve as skipper for the voyage. He is working for Bay Area Yachting Solutions part-time until he retires from the Coast Guard in June, after which he will go to work for them full-time. Tony is currently the skipper of a Coast Guard Lifeboat.
Be sure to come to the Stephens Yacht Rendezvous at Village West Marina & Resort on Sept. 15-17. You will be able to get your fix of these beautiful vessels. The owners/caretakers will be available to answer questions and share their stories of these fascinating classic vessels.
As I write this Rusty and Ted have announced that this beautiful yacht JOIE is headed back to Southern California for another 50 years of service. They will take her down the coast under her own power along with a professional team of mariners.
Open House At Village West Marina & Resort
The resort invited all the berthers and local boaters to a Sunny Saturday morning event. There were boats for sale in the parking lot and all the businesses were open. I walked around and ran into many of my friends. Mike Garner with Delta Marina Sales filled me in on his latest boat sales. Then I walked into Bob’s at the Marina where Guy and his team were running their legs off filling breakfast orders. I walked out to the patio where Roger Hahn & Suzie Bower were enjoying their breakfast at an outdoor table. Then Kimberly Miller walked up to talk for a few minutes. She and Randy Miller live on their boat at the resort, so they are hanging around the grounds frequently.
I was proud of myself this morning. For breakfast I just had a cup of coffee and some fruit. But as I was standing there talking, here comes Jason and Sadie Freed walking up with their two beautiful children. We spoke for a few minutes and then Sadie said something about wanting a cinnamon roll. Instantly I was starving and remember smelling fresh cinnamon rolls when I walked by Sunset Sweets. I was forced to go back and get one along with a large coffee so I grabbed a table and savored every bite. So much for my diet. The bad thing is that the rolls are addicting. As I write this it has been a week since I had one and I still crave one, even as I write about it I feel this urge pulling at me to head back down to the shop.
I have known Dennis and Tuyen since they first opened their business at Tower Park over a decade ago. They are a charming couple and with some great food you have a winning combination. They do well with their hiring also, and have fast-moving employees that are bright with excellent personalities. The business is an excellent training ground for customer service for young people.
Destiny Stratton, one of their best employees also has her own shave ice catering business. She will come to your party or event and provide delicious Hawaiian-style shave ice. Don’t be a malihini and confuse shaved ice with snow cones. From a distance they may look similar but shaved ice is actually ice flakes shaved from a big block of ice with a special machine. Somehow, it tastes much better than the ice used in snow cones and the flavors are generally more exotic like pineapple, kiwi, tiger blood, Hawaiian punch and standbys like wild cherry and root beer. During the summer they are open until 2100 hours. You can call Destiny directly to have her fit you into her schedule 209-420-9510.
Try to come to the Delta Chambers mixer at Village West on July 12 at 1800 hours. It will be hosted by the marina and will be a lot of fun. The folks at the marina go all out with great food and drink, as well as prizes and surprises. Chamber members, potential members and guests are invited. The winner of the 17th Annual Hal Schell Award will be announced at the gathering. Every year it is awarded to the person “who in their efforts continues to better the Delta.”
Village West is a complete resort community for travelers. For land yachts they are just a couple of miles off of I-5 or if you travel by car, rent one of the waterfront bungalows. For boaters there is a huge guest dock and covered slips for permanent residents. Don’t forget the two great restaurants: Bob’s and Garlic Brothers along with Delta Marine Sales, Freedom Boat Club and boat rental H2O Excursions. There is even the dog park, EmBARKadero for your furry friends. I just wish they would let me live in one of the bungalows full-time.
Oh yes, while I was at the Village West open house, I learned that Vickie Baumann is retiring this year. Vickie is an institution in the Delta and absolutely one of the best marina managers I have ever met. Her friends are invited to an event to honor her on July 15th at the weekly concert on the point at Village West. She has had an illustrious career, born and raised in Rio Vista, graduate of UC Davis, had her own sign painting business and went to work for Marty Stanley for a while. Vickie, along with her husband Jim ran The Point Restaurant and Delta Marina. Later, Vickie was the manager of Willow Berm Marina before going to Village West just when the Pellarin brothers took it over and began their massive upgrade and restoration project. Vickie was instrumental in helping Village West become a world class resort. She will be missed by all of us. She told me that she and Jim plan to spend more time in Hawaii but I am confident that if you had an interesting project, you might be able to recruit her to help. We can’t just let her giant talent slip away.
Increase In Boating Fees
Governor Newsom has proposed a dramatic increase in boat registration fees in his budget. The fee would increase from $20 every other year to $70(!). This coupled with a dramatic increase in fuel prices and increased inflation will serve to drive many boaters off the water. Winston Bumpus of Recreational Boaters of California (RBOC) said that “boaters pay $107 million in fuel tax, but only $15 million goes back into the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). They’ll get an extra $20 million out of boaters with the new registration increase. Somehow the state has gone from a $97.5 billion surplus in July of 2022 to a $31.5 billion deficit in May 2023 (these are Newsom’s figures.) I remember at a Sacramento City Council meeting a few years ago they were discussing raising the berth fees at the Sacramento Marina and a hippie said they should raise the fees “because boaters have a lot of money.” The opposite is true, boating is an expensive pastime and it contributes a lot to local economies via marinas, resorts, fuel, insurance and maintenance and repair facilities. Boaters spend much of their discretionary income on the pastime already.
Instead of jacking up the fees to existing boaters they should make sure all money raised like fuel taxes by boating actually goes to help the industry and not be siphoned off into the general fund. One thing they could do is start charging registration fees for human-powered craft like stand-up paddle boards and kayaks. That would be a huge source of revenue and help bring DBW back into the black.
We attended a great Delta Chambers mixer at the Rusty Porthole on Bethel Island. The Porthole is one of the coolest spots in the Delta, right on the levee overlooking Piper Slough and Frank’s Tract.
Rob and Kim are great hosts and go all out with plenty of exotic snacks. We had a great time with about 50 other Delta Rats. When I first walked in, I spied Jerry Fisher sitting at the bar with Carol Jensen. I immediately thought of a great gossip item about them, but alas she had just been there delivering booklets and sat next to Jerry to talk with him. It was nice to see Scott and Jamie Mack of Bethel Harbor as their workload prevents them from attending many mixers. The Special Occasions Photo Booth was there taking wacky photos of the guests after they had a cocktail or two.
I met Bill Cosbie who came looking for Ty. Bill lives in Florida now, but he was in the Delta back in the Hal Schell/Bill Conner days and was a friend to both. He had many interesting stories of Lost Isle dating back a few decades. He delivers boats for a living now and had some great stories of his adventures.
Bob Hake Celebration Of Life
We told you a while back about the passing of Bob Hake. We attended his celebration of life at the Durst Winery in Acampo. I think it was right about his 98th birthday and a couple hundred of his friends and family attended. We were treated to a buffet and plenty of wine. There was a slide presentation of Bob’s life and a table of memorabilia. Bob had an illustrious life, and over the years we would see him at many Delta events and parties. In his life he had many diversified careers ranging from Henry Kaiser Industries to Stockton Propeller Company that he sold when he turned 94. He married his wife Betty in 1953. I think the Hakes were some of the very first folks to purchase a home on Lake Lincoln. We all miss Bob but he lived a great long life; we should all be so fortunate.
Martin Flaherty has crossed over the bar. He was a native of Oakland and grew up sailing on Lake Merritt. He sailed a Pelican in San Francisco Bay.
Later, he moved to Stockton and had a career as a teacher at Lincoln High School. He was a long-time member of the Stockton Sailing Club. He also built custom houseboats for the Delta. He is survived by his wife Barbara, a son and daughter and the rest of his family.
We start with a little vocabulary review: wench = A girl or young woman, winch = a hauling or lifting device consisting of a line, cable, or chain winding around a horizontal rotating drum, windless = similar to a winch but the line or chain goes around a gypsy and is stored in back of or below the windlass.
Wimpy’s has started their summer music series. They imported 100 tons of sand for their beach and have some great bands lined up. Good Day Sacramento dropped in on them on Memorial Day weekend https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLoBgo9XGQc
Don’t forget Windmill Cove; there are plenty of good bands lined up there for the summer too. Windmill Cove is the new Lost Isle since that resort has not been open for 10 plus years.
Tom Troglia has hung his yacht broker license with Marc Bay and is working with Jerry Dahlinger. They will be working in the Stockton area. You can refer to the team as Tom & Jerry.
Sugar Barge on Bethel Island is doing a fantastic job in entertainment as they are committed to another summer of live music on Saturdays. Be sure to check their website or check our calendar, Down the Rode for updates.
Please be careful out there, the rivers are running swift and cold. There have already been several deaths in local waters. Most of the waterways are cold enough to take your breath away if you go in. You can lose muscle control and drown. There have been at least two deaths on the Kern River at this writing and there were 8 total deaths on the river last year. A few rafters and kayakers have been rescued on the lower American River, most of them were not wearing personal floatation devices. Here in the Delta, there were eight rescues reported so far.
The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department sends these reminders. “All vessels, including stand-up paddle boards (SUPs), must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket for each person. The life jacket must fit the person intending to wear it. Children under 13 must always wear a life jacket while aboard any vessel, regardless of length, unless they are surrounded by an enclosed cabin or bulkhead.
Anyone 50 or under who operates a vessel that is propelled by an engine, regardless of whether the engine is the principal source of propulsion, must have in their possession a California Boater Card issued by the state. By 2025, anyone operating a motorized vessel will be required to possess a California Boater Card.”
Don’t miss the Antique & Classic Boat Society (ACBS) Boat Show – Runabouts on the River at the Stockton Sailing Club on Saturday, July 22. The event will be from 0900 to 1600 hours. You will see antique and classic wood and fiberglass boats on display and on the water at the Stockton Sailing Club at the west end of March Lane in Stockton.
These preserved and restored boats feature some of the most famous names in boating like Chris Craft, Century, Garwood, Besotes and Philbrick. There will be boats in the water and on land, as well as booths, food and children’s activities. At 1400 the boats will “roar off” from the docks for a show off cruise in front of the Stockton Sailing Club. Admission is free. This is a great event and there will be some beautiful boats there, do not miss it.
I saw Thornell Washington at a function recently. He has retired and sold his marine pump out service “Septic Brothers”. He asked me to spread the word that he appreciated all of his customers over the years. Thornell is a great guy who always had a big wave whenever I saw him on the river. We wish him well in his retirement.
The Hilton Foundation has announced that the Venice Island/Mandeville Fireworks Show has been rescheduled to Monday, July 3 to accommodate the Patriots Jet Team. The air show will be at 1830 hours and Fireworks at 2130 hours.
Do not miss the 20th annual Taste of the Delta on Aug. 5 at Windmill Cove. Try samples from many local wineries, breweries and restaurants, as well as live music, prizes and a silent auction. Buy tickets online at https://www.tasteofthedelta.com/. Advance tickets are $45.00 or $50.00 at the door. Come by boat or car. Want to be a vendor? Send an email to email@example.com
Hydro Dave Hernandez has checked in from Arizona. He ordered a new Corvette and it is being built for him. He expects to take delivery in mid-July. I think he said it had 650 horsepower, that should be enough to get you down the road quickly. He moved to Arizona several years ago and is still amazing people there with his custom boats. Hydro is about the coolest first name I have ever heard.
Don’t miss two great events. Christmas in July parade on July 15th at Village West Yacht Club contact Kimberly Miller at Kamiller68@yahoo.com to register and the Unleashed Poker Run on July 28, UnleashedPokerRun.com both events support a good cause.