Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells
Lynn Hahn Delta Reflections Lighted Boat Parade
Lynn Hahn spearheaded this Stockton area holiday parade for 18 or so years when she was a member of the Marina West Yacht Club until her passing a few years back. Lynn’s son Roger was instrumental in keeping the parade alive in memory of his mother. When the Marina West Yacht Club moved to Ox Bow Marina, the Stockton Yacht Club then took it over. The parade dates back to 1980 with 75 boats entered the first year. It has been a much anticipated annual event in Stockton ever since. Lynn made it all look so simple and it was always great to hear her voice on the VHF radio giving instructions to the participants during the parade. She could have been Admiral Halsey directing a naval battle. Roger worked with Jill Stephenson on the event. Colleen Waterhouse and Tracie Glaves also helped with the parade planning. Thom Foulks created the beautiful parade trophies and Tim Martinez managed the publicity and public relations for the event. Money raised by the event went to Ebony Boat Club’s Ebony Youth Foundation.
There were 51 boats registered for the 2021 parade. Some of the participants went all out on decorations. It was a beautiful sight to behold with the boats gathering at Windmill Cove and proceeding upstream past the Downtown Marina, coming about in McLeod Lake and heading back downstream.
Richard Schwager, Sue and I were all asked to be judges, which was a tough job with all the great decorations. The judges assembled at Village West Marina and went aboard Mike Garner’s beautiful yacht Auberge Du Soleil, along with Roger Hahn, Tim Martinez, Maggie Azer, Richard Schwager, Claudia Hubbard and a few others. The boat was loaded with food and drinks. We could have stayed at sea for a few days and all eaten well. We left the harbor at about 1600 hours and headed down Fourteen Mile Slough then headed up the San Joaquin River to McLeod Lake. Mike tied up on the north side of the channel and we waited for the parade to begin. Presently, we could see the vessels packed with colored lights headed up the channel towards us. Adam Palmer was with us on Mike’s boat and took some outstanding videos from his drone flying over the boats.
Eytan Wallace, with Fox 40 News came aboard, interviewed Roger and took a lot of video of the passing boats. The parade made the news later that night. Eytan is a great guy and interested in Delta matters. He went to the Ebony Boat Club later and caught Ann Dukes by surprise as she was working around the clubhouse. She was a great sport and did an excellent job explaining the scholarship program of the club’s non-profit Ebony Youth Foundation in the interview.
Bay and Delta Yachtsman magazine publisher Ty Mellot was the Grand Marshall and did a great job riding on the bow of Bob and Beverly Cain’s boat Beverly Ann. We checked with Becky Mellot a few days after the parade and she said that he was still strutting around bragging about it and insisting that she continue to call him “Grand Marshall,” for a few weeks anyhow.
After we finished judging the parade, Mike headed over to Point Faso and Jill Faso’s Christmas party. Mike expertly pulled up to the dock, and before we knew it we were securely tied. Several folks came aboard including T-bone Faso and the lovely Jill Faso. We headed up to the house where the party was going on in full strength and Brenna Butler Garcia was tending bar and keeping the holiday cheer flowing. The children went down to Mike’s boat and discovered his portable loud hailer. They proceeded to chase each other around while running the siren on the device. It was loud and I am confident the neighbors were impressed.
After enjoying a hot drink and exchanging holiday greetings with the folks at the Faso estate we decided to make the short walk up the street to Terry McDonald’s new home. Sue and I thought it would be great to get a group of folks and sing Christmas carols along the way. Alas, we could not find a single person that would sing with us so we took leave of Mike and the group and walked down to Terry’s where his party was in full swing. He is still remodeling the home, so the décor was a little sparse. J Mills, Trish Krush, Chris Hake, Bob & Sharon McDonald and other Delta folks were there. We inspected how the work was coming along and checked out the new pool. I suspect by the time you read this he may be fully moved in and relaxing in his back yard. Our car was at Village West Marina and J and Trish kindly gave us a ride back over there when they were ready to go. We headed home after a most excellent evening.
The winners of the parade were announced at the Stockton Yacht Club the next morning. We slept in and did not make the ceremony. Roger Hahn announced the winners. The Hal Schell Award went to Martini Shot, Jill & Dick Stevenson. 36 feet and Up – 1st Place: R Final Final Jeffrey & Denise Sonneberger, 2nd Place – Island Girl, Carl & Terry Neely. 23 to 35 feet -1st Place: San Joaquin County Sheriff Department, 2nd Place: Windseeker, Manny Moreno. Under 23 feet – 1st Place: Jeffrey Debock, 2nd Place: Days of Decadence, Daniel Bennett. The Sheriff’s boat was a crack up with a Grinch theme, which shows that they have an excellent sense of humor.
Martini Shot, which was beautifully decorated by Jill and Dick Stephenson even included a human-sized martini glass with olive. The judging was hard as there were many very well decorated boats that participated. Let me suggest that if you participate next year, make sure your number is readable on both sides of your boat. The judges and staff spend considerable time trying to sort out some of the participants. In some cases, we were able to read the names off the transoms, but others are lost to history.
San Joaquin Yacht Club Parade
My Ace reporter, Daniel Witte files this report on San Joaquin Yacht Club’s annual lighted boat parade. “San Joaquin Yacht Club held their annual lighted boat parade on the evening of Dec. 11. The parade escaped the wind and rain, but it was a chilly night. There were 16 boats of all types and sizes including motor yachts, houseboats, patio boats, fishing boats and ski boats. And they were all “decked out” to entertain us. There were boats from San Joaquin Yacht Club as well as boats from the overall Bethel Island community. Yvonne Morrison, San Joaquin Yacht Club’s commodore says the club encourages community members to join the parade in addition to yacht club members. All the boats had a wide variety of Christmas decorations including lights, music and even animated figures. Santa and his reindeer cruised by and Snoopy was there too! The first-place winners were Jamie Bolt and Scott Mack aboard their 29-foot Fishercraft houseboat, Whiskey Tango, also known as the “Bethel Harbor Boat.” Their decorations included a giant nutcracker and people with beautifully lit angel wings fluttering about the boat. Morrison emphasized that the winners are selected by the audiences at both Sugar Barge and Rusty Porthole.
We watched the parade from the front deck of the Rusty Porthole which was packed shoulder to shoulder with spectators. The crowd was very loud and excited as they cheered and sang Christmas songs to the boats as they passed by. They happily sang We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Silent Night. Everyone was in good spirits, especially since the official parade is back.
In addition to the parade, Jackie Carver from Bethel Island held her annual toy drive known as Jackie’s Santa Sack. Many of the local bikers helped out and made several stops to pick up toys that have been donated at places such as Walmart, the Red Caboose, Brentwood Bowling Alley and Delta Sports Bar. The toys were carried in a trailer and then dropped off at Jackie’s home where distribution begins a few days before Christmas. There were about ten motorcycles, 35 people and many presents this year. Jackie has been hosting this run for 20 years. After the run, everyone headed back to the Rusty Porthole where Kim Brunham and Jackie had prepared fried chicken, chili, cornbread and salad for the participants. As usual, Kim and Rob did a great job hosting everyone that came and the food was delicious! As time goes on, events will continue returning such as karaoke at the Porthole and the Frozen Bun run which will be back next year to ring in 2023 properly.” This writer may even participate, that is if our Co-Publisher will join me.
Discovery Bay Lighted Boat Parade
Bob Clappier sends a dispatch from the Discovery Bay Parade: “Attached are two photos of Mike & Grace Milnes’ entry in the Discovery Bay Lighted Boat Parade on Dec. 11. This boat won the Commodore’s Cup, which is the highest award given by the sponsoring Discovery Bay Yacht Club. One of the photos is of the boat on the water the night before the parade, and the other is of the boat with the group who was on it during the parade.
“The Ferris wheel on the boat was turned by an electric motor and the roller coaster cars in front moved by sequential lighting. Work on the boat started just after Halloween and continued until the morning of the parade. As usual, I was in charge of special effects on the boat such as the Ferris wheel mechanics and photography. I am also a general purpose worker bee.”
Ebony Boat Club (EBC)
We attended the EBC change of watch in December. It was a grand party at their clubhouse at the Stockton Downtown Marina. Sue and I arrived at 1800 hours, just in time for the cocktail hour. I tried to buy Otis Brock a cold one, but somehow he always outdraws me and ends up paying, I will keep trying.
After an excellent dinner, the 2022 Change of Watch was held. Past Commodore Robert Willis called the meeting to order. Eddi Jo Mack lead the invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by James Mack. Robert made the introduction of guests. Janet Noyd awarded Mika Millan and Milo Clark with Ebony Youth Foundation scholarships. The club has been awarding scholarships since 1987 and the non-profit foundation was established in 2016.
After that, the officers for 2022 were installed. Jennifer Jo Duhon is commodore, Kerry Davis is rear commodore, Dane McCoy is staff commodore, Reggie Kelly is port captain, Glen Williams is training officer, Otis Brock is treasurer, Dolores Williams is secretary and Robert Willis is parliamentarian.
EBC cleaned up at the recent PICYA awards conference. They received the Perfect Attendance Award (they have received the award annually for the last 21 years.) They credit Ann Dukes and Robert Willis for this achievement. They also received the Club of the Year (COTY) Award for supporting PICYA events, youth programs, safety and other activities (this is their sixth award in this category.)
Last and certainly not least, the Individual Meritorious Service Award went to members Otis and Marilyn Brock. They made two rescues in one day while cruising up the San Joaquin River. First they encountered a small boat that had run out of fuel with adults and children aboard. They could not get close enough to tow them, so they called the sheriff who came to assist while Otis and Marilyn stood by blocking the wind. Next, they were farther up the river and witnessed a boat traveling at high speed flip end over end. The two occupants were thrown free. Otis and Marilyn managed to rescue the man, but even with other boats arriving to assist they were unable to locate the woman that was aboard. She was found later in the water deceased.
Sacramento Yacht Club
Morris Lum attended the change of watch at the Sacramento Yacht Club. He reports that the new board of directors for 2022 are: Commodore – Danielle Love Rawlings, Vice Commodore – Kevin Rogers, Rear Commodore – Tim Hodge, Secretary – Magic Rossi, Treasurer – Jennifer Pike, Measurer – Jessica Cummings and Port Captain – Kelly Simmons. Directors for 2022 are: Sam Teresi, Russ Kaiser, Ray de la Pena, Leslie Allen, Santiono Viramontes and Craig Chavez.
Sacramento Yacht Club is the oldest boating organization in the California Delta region. SYC’s official founding dates back to 1929 with roots reaching back to rowing clubs on the Sacramento River in the 1800s. The club called several locations homeport, but in 1947 they purchased a former Navy barge and used it as a clubhouse for more than 30 years. In the 1970s, the club moved to its current location in West Sacramento and replaced the barge with a permanent facility after a few years. The clubhouse includes a bar, dining room and full commercial-size kitchen. The marina occupies about five acres of land, stretching along nearly a quarter mile of riverfront with space for more than 100 boats. My correspondent Kim Edwards sent me an article from the Sacramento Bee in 1938 that mentions a meeting to organize the “Yachettes,” which was an organization composed of wives of members of the Sacramento Yacht Club. They were meeting at the Hotel Lenhart which now is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. It is located at 1179th Street in downtown Sacramento. There was another item mentioning the “cord and gingham” dance they were holding. The dance hall was to be decorated with “life preservers and nautical flags.”
Marina West Yacht Club
The Marina West Yacht Club held their change of watch in December. Bill Power is the Commodore for 2022. Kyle Cordes is Vice Commodore, John Romero is Rear Commodore, Paul Cameron is Staff Commodore, Bob Steffensen is Port Captain, Patricia Chavez is Treasurer, Patty Romero is Secretary and Cameron Chavez and Debby Steffensen are Directors.
Commodore Power has announced a fun year for 2022 with many cruise outs and social outings. The club has a great clubhouse at Ox Bow Marina with a functioning and licensed bar. The marina has fuel and waste disposal available.
The club also sponsored the lighted boat parade at Ox Bow Marina. Boats cruised from the marina up to the Tyler Island Bridge and back on a chilly December evening.
Classic Yacht Association Change of Watch
We met at the San Francisco Yacht Club for an excellent dinner and the change of watch ceremony. The CYA has held their change of watch at the club many times in the past. We used to meet in a cozy building called the Cove House. It was almost like a family home and not part of the club proper. Alas, the Cove House was torn down to make room for a much larger modern building, so we moved into the clubhouse. We met in a private room of the main clubhouse. It was great and about the same ambiance as the Cove House with its own fireplace. There was even a Strong signal cannon on the threshold of the fireplace. They were among the artworks and many vintage items of nautical lore.
David Cobb was the master of ceremonies and started things off by making introductions and announcing the silent auction. There were some excellent auction items including gift baskets of goodies, wines, nautical parts, memorabilia, a luxury yacht charter and a Mexico vacation. Proceeds from the auction go into the coffers of the CYA and the winners got some great bargains on things. Your writer led the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Presently, we sat down for dinner and there was a choice between filet mignon or filet of sole. Sue and I generally order different entrees so we can sample each other’s selections. I ordered the filet mignon and Sue ordered the sole. Every time I have dined at the San Francisco Yacht Club the food has been excellent and this evening was no exception. During the dinner service we were entertained by a group of carolers dressed in vintage costumes and singing some great old songs. They added tremendously to the ambiance of the evening. The view across the Bay from the club with the lights of San Francisco twinkling at night is stunning. Unfortunately, we needed to get home, so we made the drive back to Sacramento after the dinner.
A Very Breninger Christmas
Dave and Linda Breninger invited some close friends over to their home to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I was pleasantly surprised to see Father John Shively when we first walked in. I used to belong to St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Sacramento and Father John was the head. He baptized and confirmed my children. When I first bought my boat he came down to Arrowhead Harbor in Clarksburg to bless her. It must have worked as I have never had a bad incident since he blessed her in 1993. We used to have lunch together on occasion. I would talk about boats and he would talk about radio-controlled model airplanes. Several of Dave’s friends and former co-workers from Placer County Water Agency were also present. Back in the earlier water war days I met with Dave and his folks a few times to discuss the situation and work on strategies to help save the Delta. A lot of water has flowed down the river since then.
David and Linda are in their 37th year of their Old Radio Theatre on KVMR radio in Nevada City. You can check them out at www.kvmr.org. I am usually on the road when it comes on, but if you get a chance to listen it is great. They play the old radio shows some of us remember before the advent of television.
Grand Island Mansion (GIM)
We met up with the Breningers again, this time at the GIM for brunch. It was Dec. 19, my birthday. Dave’s daughter Cindy was born on Dec. 20, a day after me. This has become somewhat of a birthday tradition for Cindy and I. We have met here for several years except for last year when the pandemic was in full effect and everything was locked down. This year, you wore a mask when you entered and when you were at the buffet table, but took it off to eat and drink naturally. We were joined by John and KT Baker, Monica Mars, Hannah Davis and Brandon and Ashley Potts, a group of charming people indeed.
We started with mimosas and coffee. It worked out good for me. Sue does not like alcohol so she took straight orange juice and I took her champagne added to mine. It worked out great for both of us. Me with champagne and Sue with orange juice! Later, we sidled up to the buffet table and filled our plates with salad, potatoes, eggs benedict, baked filet of salmon, French toast and roast beef, as well as a raft of exotic desserts. It seemed like our end of the table specialized in crème brulee as about everyone had one, and when I went back to get seconds Sue asked me to bring her another one. Well, they were very good, I had one myself.
The GIM is one of the icons of the Delta. Dating back to the 1920s, it has been open to the public for meals and parties for the last few decades. The Delta Chambers held a masquerade ball at the mansion a few years back. Many of us stayed overnight sleeping in the bedrooms. After the ball we moved to the Hemingway Room and had a midnight snack of pizza and Cognac. The mansion is definitely a great destination and an excellent spot for weddings and large parties.
The mansion has something like 200 feet of dock space on Steamboat Slough that is available to visitors and their yachts if you make reservations ahead of time.
Delta Coves held their open house in November. Their sales are moving briskly, so you should go over and select your home while they are still available. “Delta Coves’ prime location on a manmade lagoon sits at the gateway to the Delta’s 1,000-plus miles of waterways and 740,000 acres of natural preserves. The canal-front setting and the region’s warm, Mediterranean-style climate set the stage for an exceptional lifestyle to those who want to experience life on the water. It is unlike any other residential real estate development in the Bay Area.
“It is a haven for water sports lovers and other outdoor enthusiasts, but it also serves as a peaceful retreat where owners can unplug and embrace the low-key vibe that is the California Delta,” says Nick Taratsas, general manager of Delta Coves and executive vice president of DMB Development, LLC.
“Each of the builders took their time crafting home plans designed to take full advantage of their position on the water’s edge and the boating wonderland that awaits at the end of each private dock,” says Taratsas. “Relaxed yet reﬁned, the ‘uniquely Delta’ designs feature generous ground-floor spaces that connect seamlessly to large waterfront decks.” Residents of Delta Coves enjoy a variety of programming and on-site activities available at the island camp. The community’s private amenities feature a clubhouse, fitness facilities, a waterside movement studio, a pool area, an event lawn, a game pavilion and a Duffy boat bar. The bar was created from a refurbished Duffy boat and positioned on a sandy corner of the Island Camp alongside the water. In addition, Delta Coves is situated in a prime location just minutes from “fast water” at the gateway to 1,000-plus miles of waterways for unlimited boating, fishing and water sports pursuits.”
In addition to the open house at the Delta Coves project, Delta Marine Sales had a presence as well. Mike Garner and his staff brought out three boats which were placed at the model home docks. As fortune would have it, a new homeowner happened to see a pontoon boat that he felt would look better on his dock than the model’s dock. This resulted in a boat sale for Delta Marine Sales. The weekend long event brought crowds of enthusiastic home buyers, and with Delta Marine Sales presence, Mike was able to demonstrate the excellent Delta boating lifestyle as well.
Morton Wayne Thiebaud, the internationally recognized artist more commonly known as Wayne Thiebaud has crossed over the bar. He created many recognizable and famous images of ordinary objects such as food and objects found in soda fountains. He did not consider himself a pop artist, but many of his works anticipated the movement and indeed he received a lot of recognition in the 1960s for his pop style works. Starting in 1993 he moved into the Sacramento River region of the Delta and did a series of paintings of the waterways and farms. He showed 36 Delta paintings at an exhibit in San Francisco in 1998. Thiebaud did much to promote the beauty of the Delta through his paintings. Unfortunately, the Delta Protection Commission used one of his paintings in their Delta Narratives series to attack the Delta. Thiebaud is one of my favorite artists. I even have the license plate he created on my Mustang. He lived a long and fulfilling life and will be remembered as one of the great artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
James Russell Fitch crossed over the bar. Jim was a pilot with the Flying Tigers during WWII. He suffered permanent injuries when he crashed while out running a Zero fighter over the Himalayas in his C-46. After the war he got his degree and spent 30 years as a teacher in the Stockton area. He had a 12-foot fishing boat that he cruised up and down the San Joaquin River always looking for that bigger fish. He was a friend to many old riverboat sailors and Delta rats. Jim was born on Jan. 13, 1925.
Dan Bacher has advised me that a giant rainbow trout was caught in Thermalito Diversion Pool below Oroville Dam on Dec. 7. Joshua Giordano of Bangor hooked and released the giant rainbow trout. He estimated the fish to be 38.2 pounds based on its measurements of 41 inches in length and 27 inches in girth.
Dan advises that the current inland rainbow trout state record recognized by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife of 27 pounds, caught by Frank Palmer in Lake Natoma in 2005 measured 37.5 inches long and 26 inches in girth.
The people of Hood are still waiting for Governor Newsom to respond to their Declaration of Protest that they delivered to him in September protesting the plan by Karla Nemeth and the Department of Water Resources to destroy their town. At this writing, they have heard nothing.
You will be pleased to hear that the Sites Reservoir plan is moving forward on your dime. Apparently, all involved are meeting or exceeding expectations and will get a five-percent pay bump for each agent and executive director. This works out to monthly amounts of $32,130 for the folks at the Forsyth Group, $31,200 for Trappaso Consulting Services, $22,834 to Spesert Consulting and $37,275 to Waterology Consulting. These payments are effective Jan 1, 2022. Of course, all this is chump change compared to what the taxpayers will be paying if the tunnel starts construction.
We are sad to learn that Assemblymember Jim Frazier has retired effective Dec. 31, 2021. Frazier is a hardworking man and a strong advocate of the Delta and its people. We are sad to see him leave his position.
Tom Patti, a friend of mine is a San Joaquin County Supervisor currently, but he is running for congress. He is a good man and devotes much of his time as a volunteer to serve the community. He deserves your vote if he is on your ballot.
Bill Smith is a friend of mine and a good man. He is running for San Joaquin County supervisor. If he is on your ballot, you should strongly consider voting for him.
The Rotary Club of Walnut Grove announces their online auction from Feb. 11-26. This is an annual auction to raise money for their scholarships and community service. Last year they raised $35,000 and are confident they will raise more this year. You can participate at walnutgroverotary.org
Take a minute and set your new camera for the highest resolution available so you will be able to send us usable photos for the magazine. Let’s make the 20s roar.
Okay, I am confident 2022 is going to be a great year for us all. We have survived some tough times and they are about over. See you on the water. Send me the reports of your adventures at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 916-869-9141.