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Joe O’Hehir radio interview with KEAR Radio-June 26, 2015

Joe O’Hehir radio interview with KEAR Radio-June 26, 2015

ADA Transition Plan update/ Public Survey

<!--:en-->ADA Transition Plan update/ Public Survey<!--:-->As required by Title II of the ADA, the City of Mill Valley is conducting a self-evaluation of its facilities and updating the Transition Plan. This update is an important step in the ultimate goal of ensuring all of the Cities facilities, services, programs and activities are accessible to all individuals.

As part of this process, we are requesting public input in the form of a survey. This survey is available as a link here that can be completed and submitted digitally, or printed out and submitted as a hard copy.

Whistlestop Announces New Staff Member

 Whistlestop Announces New Staff Member11/16/2010 – San Rafael Patch by Clara Franco

Whistlestop, the non-profit organization that provides vital services to Marin County’s older adults and individuals with disabilities, is pleased to announce Skip Corsini as their new Business Development Manager. Skip will be in charge of developing alternative revenue streams for the organization by presenting a range of business to business services. https://whistlestop.org/

”We feel we are adding Skip to the team at a very good stage in our organization’s development,” says Whistlestop’s Development and Marketing Director, Yvonne Roberts. “We have greater capacity to serve the community than ever and we plan to take full advantage of that.” 

View Full StoryWhistlestop Announces New Staff MemberWhistlestop, la organización sin ánimo de lucro que brinda servicios vitales a los adultos mayores del condado de Marin y las personas con discapacidad, se complace en anunciar Skip Corsini como su nuevo Gerente de Desarrollo de Negocios. Ir estará a cargo de desarrollar otras fuentes de ingresos para la organización mediante la presentación de una serie de actividades a otros servicios de negocios. https://whistlestop.org/

“Sentimos que estamos añadiendo Saltar al equipo en una etapa muy buena en el desarrollo de nuestra organización”, dice el Desarrollo Whistlestop y Director de Marketing, Yvonne Roberts. “Tenemos mayor capacidad para servir a la comunidad que nunca y tenemos la intención de sacar el máximo provecho de eso”.

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Study: Thousands of Marin seniors among state’s hidden poor

Study: Thousands of Marin seniors among state’s hidden poor

Whistlestop pantry volunteer Josefina Perez helps a client Thursday at the center’s Brown Bag Pantry in San Rafael. The program helps provide low-income Marin seniors with nutritional food. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)


By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal

More than three-quarters of a million California seniors, including more than 7,700 older Marin residents, are among the nation’s hidden poor, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Read More…


Study: Thousands of Marin seniors among state’s hidden poor

A Whistlestop client selects fruit at the Brown Bag Pantry in San Rafael. The nonprofit operates the food program at senior centers and homes around Marin. (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal)

Bread & Roses Supports Whistlestop

Bread & Roses Supports Whistlestop

Bread & Roses recently presented The Christmas Jug Band at Whistlestop

2/23/2011 – Bread & Roses Blog

Bread & Roses has served Whistlestop in San Rafael for over five years, bringing concerts to seniors at their special lunchtime events. Their monthly newsletter, the Whistlestop Express, is known as the leading information resource for Marin’s active aging movement. The Feb. 2011 issue featured an article by Bread & Roses Executive Director Cassandra Flipper, “Bread & Roses Connects Heart to Heart Through Music.”

Bread & Roses Supports Whistlestop

Bread & Roses recently presented The Christmas Jug Band at Whistlestop

2/23/2011 – Blog de Bread & Roses

Bread and Roses ha servido Whistlestop en San Rafael durante más de cinco años, llevando conciertos a las personas mayores en sus eventos en la hora del almuerzo especial. Su boletín mensual, Whistlestop Express, es conocida como la fuente de información principal para el movimiento activo Marin envejecimiento. El tema 02 2011 publicó un artículo por el Bread & Roses Flipper Director Ejecutivo de Casandra, “Pan y Rosas conecta Heart to Heart través de la música.”

Here’s to the next 60 years for Marin’s Whistlestop

Here's to the next 60 years for Marin's Whistlestop

San Rafael Mayor Gary Phillips proclaimed Aug. 27 as “Whistlestop Day,” commemorating the nonprofit organization’s 60 years of dedicated service for Marin’s older adult population.

Photo: Mayor Gary Phillips

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Drill Baby Drill in Scott Valley

Drill Baby Drill in Scott Valley

Credit: Jim Welte

5/9/2011 – San Rafael Patch

City officials, first responders, local residents and an assortment of aid groups rallied for a simulated wildfire drill and evacuation Saturday.

More than 160 Scott Valley residents and dozens of first responders and volunteers participated in an evacuation drill Saturday morning, simulating a devastating wildfire with Edna Maguire School serving as a command post.

At 9 a.m., an evacuation siren and a reverse 9-1-1 dialing system notified Scott Valley residents of an evacuation by foot, bicycle or car. The evacuees were asked to complete a short survey at the school after the drill ended.

Once residents arrived at Edna Maguire, they received emergency preparedness information and had a chance to visit with organizations like the Red Cross, Marin Humane Society, Whistlestop Wheels, Marin Medical Reserve Corps, Mill Valley Emergency Preparedness Commission and the Salvation Army.

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Drill Baby Drill in Scott Valley

Credit: Jim Welte

05/09/2011 – San Rafael Patch

Oficiales de la ciudad, residentes locales, y varios grupos de ayuda, se reunieron para un simulacro de incendio y evacuación el sábado.Más de 160 residentes del Valle de Scott y decenas de socorristas y voluntarios participaron en un simulacro de evacuación mañana sábado, la simulación de un incendio devastador con Edna Maguire escuela que actúa como un puesto de mando.

A las 9 de la mañana, una sirena de evacuación y un sistema de marcación inversa al 9-1-1 notificado Scott residentes del Valle de una evacuación a pie, en bicicleta o en coche. Los evacuados se les pedirá que completen una breve encuesta en la escuela después de la perforación de composición.

Una vez que los residentes llegaron a Edna Maguire, que recibió información de preparación para emergencias y tuvo la oportunidad de visitar con organizaciones como la Cruz Roja, Marin Humane Society, Rines Whistlestop, Marín Cuerpo Médico de Reserva, Mill Valley de Preparación para Emergencias de la Comisión y el Ejército de Salvación.

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Movers & Shakers: San Rafael woman hired as director of program innovation at Whistlestop-July 2, 2015

Movers & Shakers: San Rafael woman hired as director of program innovation at Whistlestop-July 2, 2015
By Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal

Anita Renzetti of San Rafael has been hired as the director of program innovation at Whistlestop in San Rafael.

Renzetti has been senior director of educational programs for six years at the American Society on Aging. Prior to that, Renzetti served as director of academic affairs for the University of Phoenix and activities director for Atria Senior Living Group. Read more…

Marin IJ: Whistlestop delivers the holiday spirit

<!--:en-->Marin IJ: Whistlestop delivers the holiday spirit<!--:-->Posted December 20, 2013 in the Marin IJ, this article covers the story of our wildly successful holiday card drive for Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels recipients. We were overwhelmed by the community’s response – elementary schools, girl scout troops, families and friends donated over 1,300 cards for the project and our drivers were able to give each of our 250 recipients more than 5 cards a piece during meal deliveries on 12/20/13.

All in Good Taste: Special menus

All in Good Taste: Special menus3/20/2010 – Pacific Sun by Pat Fusco

WHAT A DEAL A win-win situation has evolved in San Rafael as workers from the culinary arts training program of Homeward Bound of Marin are staffing the kitchen for Jackson Cafe, the dining space at 930 Tamalpais Ave. Weekday lunches are served by Whistlestop, the senior service organization. These are affordable meals that include choices of hot entrees (stuffed cabbage, barbecue chicken), sandwiches, soups, etc. Prices are $3.83 for those over 60, $6.57 for younger folk; hours are 11:30am-1:30pm. Everyone is welcome! Details: www.whistlestop.org.

All in Good Taste: Special menus3/20/2010 – Pacific Sun por Pat Fusco

Que buen negocio una situación de ganar-ganar se ha desarrollado en San Rafael, como los trabajadores del programa de formación de artes culinarias de vuelta a casa de Marín son de personal de la cocina de Jackson Cafe, el espacio de comedor a 930 Tamalpais Avenue. Almuerzos de los días de semana son atendidos por Whistlestop, la organización de servicio de alto nivel. Estas son comidas a precios económicos, que incluyen opciones de platos calientes (col rellena, pollo a la barbacoa), sándwiches, sopas, etc precios son $ 3.83 para los mayores de 60 años, 6,57 dólares para los más populares, las horas son las 11:30 am-1: 30pm. Todos son bienvenidos! Detalles: www.whistlestop.org.

Memory Screening a Valuable Tool – August 28, 2015

Memory Screening a Valuable Tool - August 28, 2015
Marty Orgel is the Marketing and Communications Specialist at Whistlestop in San Rafael. Email him at morgel@whistlestop.org.

A lawyer, a writer and an accountant walk into a bar… This is not the start of a joke, but a story that illustrates how we can get more and more forgetful as we age.

Catching up with friends the other night, one casually mentioned he had run a red light. Not a big deal he thought. Especially, he said, because he was at the tail end of a stream of cars, and the opposing traffic signal had not turned green. But the lawyer was worried.

He stressed how running a red light should be taken very, very seriously. And not just from a safety angle. There’s no question we all start to forget things as we age, and the lawyer suggested our red light runner get both a medical and mental checkup to make sure everything was alright.

Just having the conversation made me worry. I forget things all the time and usually think my memory is getting worse. So I signed up for a comprehensive, free memory screening at Whistlestop, administered by Senior Access of Marin.

A Senior Access specialist gave me the test, called a Montreal Cognitive Assessment. It took half an hour and the first part featured a visuospatial exam, which the dictionary defines as my “ability to comprehend and conceptualize visual representations and spatial relationships in learning and performing a task.”

The easiest part of the test was when I was asked to name as many words as I could that began with the letter F. I was still blurting them out when I was told the time for this task was over. The hardest part was when I was asked to remember five words that I would be asked to repeat in about ten minutes. After hearing the words, we moved on to other activities. At the end of the ten minutes I remembered four of the words, but not the fifth. The examiner had to give me a hint before I remembered that fifth word. Hints aren’t good in a memory test. And I lost one point!

I did well enough to pass. My specialist explained how we all forget things over time. We are all overworked and multitasking. There’s no real cause for concern about forgetting where you left your keys, or even running a red light. Running a light is a bad practice all around, but it doesn’t mean you’re losing your memory. It’s more like you are distracted and need to concentrate more on driving when you get behind the wheel. A bigger concern, the specialist said, would be forgetting where you were going while driving.

After getting a clean bill of health on my memory screening, I turned to the medical community. I called Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer. He was the keynote speaker at the recent Aging Healthy Symposium in San Rafael.

“It’s normal to forget things like where you put your keys,” Willis said. “It’s also important that people not rush to get an MRI when you find yourself losing those keys.”

Memory lapses in aging adults are normal, he said. Willis stressed the take-away here is to bring your concerns about memory loss to your healthcare providers, and let them partner with you about your future medical plans.

“Patients do not always bring their concerns to their doctor,” Willis acknowledged, “Memory loss among elders is a major concern in the medical community.”

Willis cited a Centers for Disease Control study of adults 60 and older, which found that only one in five people discuss memory loss with their doctor. Willis called that a “missed opportunity” in relationships between doctors and patients.

Two opportunities not to be missed are an upcoming memory screening and a memory wellness event at Whistlestop. They’re listed below. Put them on your calendar now.

So you don’t forget!

  • Brain Fitness Workshop – Fun and Games, Whistlestop and Senior Access, Thursday, Sept. 10, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Memory Screenings – Whistlestop and Senior Access, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For more information, call (415) 456-9063.

SMART’s Design Confronts Parking Problems

SMART's Design Confronts Parking Problems2/12/2011 – Mill Valley Patch by Nicole Ely

As the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) agency prepares for construction of a downtown San Rafael station, Whistlestop, the 57-year-old senior center on Tamalpais Ave., will have to relocate due to lack of parking.

The downtown San Rafael station will include a two-platform design with the southbound platform about eight feet from Tamalpais Avenue, leaving no space for street parking, which is essential for Whistlestop clientele.

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SMART's Design Confronts Parking Problems2/12/2011 – Mill Valley Patch por Nicole Ely

A medida que el área de Sonoma Marin Rail Transit (SMART) la agencia se prepara para la construcción de un centro de San Rafael estación, Whistlestop, el centro para personas mayores de 57 años de edad, en Tamalpais Avenue., Tendrá que mudarse debido a la falta de estacionamiento.

El centro de San Rafael estación incluye un diseño de dos plataforma con la plataforma hacia el sur cerca de ocho pies de Tamalpais Avenue, sin dejar espacio para aparcamiento en la calle, que es esencial para la clientela Whistlestop.

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At Whistlestock, ’60s bands rock for seniors

At Whistlestock, '60s bands rock for seniors

Back in the day, Pete Slauson knew everyone who was anyone in the Marin rock ‘n’ roll scene. He once owned the legendary heliport in Sausalito, where all the great ’60s bands rehearsed, from Quicksilver Messenger Service to the Grateful Dead.

Photo: Pete Slauson – Courtesy Marin News.

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At Whistlestock, '60s bands rock for seniors

Whistlestop’s Future Still Uncertain as SMART Reviews Design Plans

Whistlestop's Future Still Uncertain as SMART Reviews Design Plans6/16/2011 – San Rafael Patch

The fate of Whistlestop, the senior and coordinating center on 930 Tamalpais Ave., is still unclear as authorities from the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit continue to mull over designs for the downtown San Rafael station.

Approximately 60 people gathered at Whistlestop last night for a workshop where SMART showcased new designs for a platform that would be constructed on Tamalpais Avenue between Third and Fourth streets. The platform will eliminate street parking along Tamalpais Avenue used by Whistlestop clientele.

“We spent three years working with SMART and we’ve had to reach the reality that it’s not possible to stay at this location,” Whistlestop CEO Joe O’Hehir told Patch in February.

O’Hehir hopes that SMART will purchase the current Whistlestop building in order to have the funds to relocate, but “currently no decision has been made,” SMART Rail Planning Manager John Nemeth said.

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Whistlestop's Future Still Uncertain as SMART Reviews Design Plans6/16/2011 – San Rafael Patch

El destino de Whistlestop, el centro para personas mayores y la coordinación de 930 Tamalpais Avenue., Todavía no está claro como las autoridades de la Sonoma Marin zona de tránsito ferroviario seguir para reflexionar sobre los diseños para la estación del centro de San Rafael.

Aproximadamente 60 personas se reunieron en la noche anterior Whistlestop de un taller en el SMART mostró los nuevos diseños para una plataforma que se construirá en Tamalpais Avenue entre las calles Tercera y Cuarta. La plataforma se eliminará aparcamiento en la calle a lo largo de la avenida Tamalpais utilizado por la clientela Whistlestop.

“Estuvimos tres años trabajando con SMART y hemos tenido que llegar a la realidad que no es posible permanecer en este lugar”, dijo el director ejecutivo Joe Whistlestop O’Hehir parche en febrero.

O’Hehir espera que SMART se compra el edificio Whistlestop actual con el fin de tener los fondos para trasladarse, pero “actualmente no se ha tomado la decisión”, dijo el Gerente de Planificación SMART Rail John Nemeth.

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Whistlestop Files Pared Back Plan for Downtown Housing Complex-July 12, 2015

Whistlestop Files Pared Back Plan for Downtown Housing Complex-July 12, 2015
By Stephanie Weldy, Marin Independent Journal

After a public “listening period,” the Whistlestop senior center has formally submitted to the city of San Rafael revised plans for a five-story affordable housing complex and service center at the site of its downtown depot headquarters.

City planning officials and some community members had expressed concerns earlier this year about Whistlestop’s original design proposal, saying it was too massive, its contemporary motif didn’t meld with San Rafael’s design style and that it posed parking issues. Read more…

Whistlestop treats change as opportunity-January 22, 2015

Whistlestop treats change as opportunity-January 22, 2015
By Derek Wilson
Whistlestop is planning a face lift with the hope of better serving Marin County’s aging population, but initial reviews are mixed after the community was invited to examine designs for the nonprofit’s new downtown facility.

The initial proposal is much taller than the current building. The new building would have five floors, with the ground floor occupied by the lobby and Jackson Café. Plans for the second floor offer space for activities, classes and counseling. Eden Housing would operate 47 low-income senior housing units on the top three floors.

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Keeping the Wheels Moving at Whistlestop

Keeping the Wheels Moving at Whistlestop

Mechanic Juan Gonzalez in Whistlestop’s new facility for its vans / photo by Eric Slomanson

Marin Community Foundation

It’s impossible to drive anywhere in Marin without seeing the familiar white vans operated by Whistlestop. They represent the “wheels” part of the organization’s slogan, “Meals, Wheels, and More.”

Each year, the agency’s 55 vehicles provide 148,000 rides to the County’s older adults and people with disabilities — including 23,000 rides for people in wheelchairs. The vans take them to medical appointments and stores and to visit family and friends, with the added benefit of helping them connect with others and avoid isolation.

Behind the scenes, the maintenance of this fleet requires an efficient and safe facility — something that until recently didn’t exist. Drivers, schedulers, and mechanics worked out of several different locations — some cramped, some not safe, and none located conveniently to coordinate administration, operations, and maintenance.

When an ideal single facility became available, Whistlestop approached the Marin Community Foundation about a bridge loan to finance the remodeling — which ended up costing more than the original estimate.

The loan, in the amount of $165,000, helped the agency remodel the building, resulting in a state-of-the-art maintenance facility and more efficient administration of the program. But the real impact, according to Whistlestop executive director Joe O’Hehir was “much more reliable and faster service for our riders.”

“We’re focused on helping people improve the quality of their lives and easing their isolation and the more efficiently we run this service, the more that can happen,” he says. “And our staff — drivers, schedulers, and mechanics — are now more organized, cohesive, and happier.”

MCF’s loan officer, Marc Rand, says this is exactly the kind of project the Foundation’s loan fund was designed for. “They had an immediate need for cash in order to take advantage of a building that became available. The results are felt by the dedicated staff at Whistlestop as well as by the thousands of riders they help. It’s exciting to see what a big impact a loan can make.”

The Marin Community Foundation Loan Fund provides short- and long-term financing for a wide range of important nonprofit endeavors in Marin, including affordable housing, environmental protection, and arts education, among many others.

Keeping the Wheels Moving at Whistlestop

Mechanic Juan Gonzalez in Whistlestop’s new facility for its vans / photo by Eric Slomanson

Marin Community Foundation

Es imposible conducir en cualquier lugar en Marín sin ver las camionetas familiares blanco operado por Whistlestop. Que representan las “ruedas” parte del lema de la organización, “Las comidas, las ruedas, y mucho más.”

Cada año, la agencia 55 vehículos ofrecen paseos en 148.000 a los adultos mayores del Condado y las personas con discapacidad – incluyendo 23.000 viajes para personas en sillas de ruedas. Las camionetas de llevarlos a citas médicas y las tiendas y para visitar a familiares y amigos, con el beneficio adicional de ayudar a conectarse con los demás y evitar el aislamiento.

Detrás de las escenas, el mantenimiento de esta flota requiere una instalación eficiente y segura – algo que hasta hace poco no existía. Los conductores, los programadores y mecánicos han trabajado a partir de varios lugares diferentes – algunos estrechos, algunos no son seguros, y no está convenientemente ubicado para coordinar la administración, operación y mantenimiento.

Cuando una instalación sencilla e ideal se puso a disposición, Whistlestop se acercó a la Fundación Comunitaria de Marin sobre un préstamo puente para financiar la remodelación – que acabó costando más que la estimación original.

El préstamo, por un monto de $ 165.000, ayudó a la remodelación de la agencia del edificio, lo que resulta en un estado de la técnica de las instalaciones de mantenimiento y una administración más eficiente del programa. Pero el impacto real, de acuerdo con el director ejecutivo Joe Whistlestop O’Hehir era “un servicio mucho más rápidas y fiables para nuestros pasajeros.”

“Estamos enfocados en ayudar a mejorar la calidad de sus vidas y aliviar su aislamiento y de la manera más eficiente que ejecutar este servicio, más que puede pasar”, dice. “Y nuestro personal – conductores, programadores, y la mecánica – están ahora más organizadas y unidas, y más feliz.”

MCF oficial de préstamos, Marc Rand, dice que esto es exactamente el tipo de proyecto se diseñó fondos de la Fundación para el préstamo. “Ellos tenían una necesidad inmediata de dinero en efectivo con el fin de tomar ventaja de un edificio que llegó a estar disponible. Los resultados son percibidos por el personal dedicado a Whistlestop, así como por los miles de usuarios que ayudan. Es emocionante ver lo que un gran impacto en una préstamo puede hacer. ”

La comunidad de Marin Fondo de Préstamos para la Fundación proporciona financiación a corto y largo plazo para una amplia gama de importantes iniciativas sin fines de lucro en Marin, incluyendo viviendas asequibles, protección del medio ambiente, y la educación artística, entre muchos otros. 

Marin Voice: Growth can be an opportunity in Marin if it’s well-managed

Marin Voice: Growth can be an opportunity in Marin if it's well-managed

Carol Sheerin speaks at a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday on the county housing plan. (Frankie Frost — Marin Independent Journal)


Source: Mainrij.com – Marin Voice. By Rob Bregoff

David Kunhardt’s Dec. 2 Marin Voice column on housing choices was spot-on. It presented scenarios which will definitely come about, and used them to justify the addition of context-sensitive denser housing developments.

As the population of Marin ages, many senior “empty nesters” will find that the big house on the hill is getting too cumbersome and requires a daunting drive down narrow, winding roads to reach necessary goods and services. Many of these older Marin natives are ready to part with their unmanageable homes. But they want to retain connection to their longtime friends and communities. They also would like to have shopping and medical services within either walking distance or a short transit ride away.

As their mobility becomes more limited, it’s important for them to have a community of friends and support nearby, as well as goods and services.

Furthermore, the millennial demographic is eschewing driving in record numbers, instead opting to live in tighter, more urbanized environments with goods and services a short walk or bike ride away. In other words, the isolation of the big house on the hill is losing its appeal. We’re not talking about high-rises, but townhouses, or three- to four-floor condominium developments with stoops and ample outdoor space.

Your children’s teachers, firefighters, police and local workers would love to be able to live in the communities where they work, and the communities benefit by their presence. There is a connection to the local populace that is lost when one must commute long distances. This is at the heart of community building.

These are but a few of the myriad reasons why Marin must invest in reasonable infill housing and mixed-use developments.

Picture downtown San Rafael. The city is rife with opportunities to add housing on back streets, above existing businesses, or over parking structures. Hundreds of units of all types could be introduced to the downtown area with little traffic impact, as residents of these developments are less likely to rely on cars for their primary transportation mode.

Introducing housing to downtown areas is a boon for local small businesses as well. Their customer base increases as people shop locally. The presence of residents on the downtown streets at night makes the streets safer for all who live in or visit downtown areas.

The key is adding units in a context sensitive way. Hundreds of units could be introduced to downtown San Rafael within a half-mile of the transit center, and if done correctly, their presence would be barely noticeable by long-time San Rafael residents, except for the increased vitality of the sidewalk-scape. People would run into their friends on the street. How great is that?

The increase in pedestrians and cyclists also tends to make the streets safer for active transportation, which is good for everyone.

This type of development has no downside. Urban dwellers generate far fewer car trips, so congestion impacts are minimal.

In fact, many discover that they can conduct their lives without owning a car at all, which brings this into the realm of equity, too. Car ownership typically drains $5,000 to $7,000 from the income or savings of working-class or retired residents, so the option of not owning a car, or owning one instead of two, gives residents a nice increase in disposable income.

Denser housing uses a fraction of the water that large-lot single-family housing consumes. It also saves gas and electricity, and the infrastructure costs a fraction of typical suburban development. Denser development also means less paving and public street maintenance expense.

I realize this scenario is difficult to grasp at first, but the more you visualize it, the better it gets.

The same scenario is applicable to almost any town in Marin with good transit connections.

Growth is not a crisis, it’s an opportunity, but only if well-managed and fit into the existing urban fabric in a way that, in the long run, will prove to be a great improvement.

Rob Bregoff of San Francisco is a transportation planner who has worked on a number of North Bay highway projects.

A Lunch to Whistle About

A Lunch to Whistle About5/31/2011 – Marin Magazine

by Jim Wood

Rocky Packard? Wasn’t he an “american idol” finalist? Or is he catcher for the Giants? Wrong on both counts. Rocky Packard is the head chef at Jackson Cafe, Whistlestop’s lunch spot in San Rafael.

Still, Packard is a celebrity. A celebrity chef. “Rocky rocks” is what they say around the cafe, adjacent to Marin’s main transit center on Tamalpais Avenue. That chant is often followed by “The food here is soooo good!” Here’s the story: Two of the county’s top nonprofits — Whistlestop, a 57-year-old organization that promotes independent living and well-being among the county’s many seniors and people with disabilities, and Homeward Bound, which serves a good portion of Marin’s homeless community — recently got together and transformed a bland senior center’s cafe into a lively, tasty treat of a place for lunch. And Rocky Packard was the key ingredient.

“For several years, I was on Homeward Bound’s board of directors,” he recalls, and “all the while I was head of food services for some of Marin’s most upscale markets.” Meanwhile, Whistlestop’s Jackson Cafe, named for H.C. Jackson — founder of nearby mega-store Jackson’s Hardware, whose grant made the eatery possible — was, in the words of Whistlestop’s popular CEO, Joe O’Hehir, “not doing as well as we’d have liked.”

So Whistlestop, with a so-so seniors’ cafe on its hands, approached Homeward Bound — whose Fresh Start Culinary Academy helps get homeless people back into the workforce — for a solution. From the get-go Packard was part of the discussion. And it didn’t take long before Packard — with three decades of high-end restaurant work on his résumé — stepped out of his Homeward Bound directorship, slipped into his chef’s garb and went to work at Whistlestop’s Jackson Cafe. “I was tired of the rat race,” he says. “Despite many very successful operations, alI I heard were the complaints; now I hear nothing but compliments.” Also a plus: Packard now spends evenings with his wife and three sons.

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A Lunch to Whistle About5/31/2011 – Marin Magazine

por Jim Wood

Roca Packard? ¿No era él un “ídolo americano” finalista? ¿O es receptor de los Gigantes? Mal en ambos casos. Roca Packard es el jefe de cocina en el Jackson Café, lugar Whistlestop el almuerzo en San Rafael.

Sin embargo, Packard es una celebridad. Un cocinero de la celebridad. “Piedras de roca” es lo que dicen de todo el café, junto al principal centro de tránsito de Marín en la avenida Tamalpais. Que el canto es a menudo seguida de “La comida aquí es muuuy bien!” Aquí está la historia: Dos de las organizaciones no lucrativas más alto del condado – Whistlestop, una organización de 57 años de edad, que promueve la vida independiente y el bienestar entre muchas personas mayores de la comarca y la gente con discapacidad, y la vuelta a casa, que sirve una buena parte de la comunidad de personas sin hogar de Marin – recientemente se reunieron y transformaron una cafetería del centro blando de alta en un convite festivo, sabrosa de un lugar para el almuerzo. Y Rocky Packard fue el ingrediente clave.

“Desde hace varios años, yo estaba a bordo de vuelta a casa, de directores”, recuerda, y “todo el tiempo que fue jefe de los servicios de comida para algunos de los mercados más exclusivos de Marín.” Mientras tanto, Jackson Whistlestop’s Cafe, el nombre de HC Jackson – fundador de hardware cercana mega-tienda de Jackson, cuya concesión hizo posible el restaurante – era, en palabras del consejero delegado populares Whistlestop, Joe O’Hehir, “no va tan bien como nos hubiera gustado.”

Así Whistlestop, con un tan-tan Servicio de ancianos en sus manos, se acercó vuelta a casa, – cuya Fresh Start Academia Culinaria ayuda a la gente sin hogar de nuevo en la fuerza de trabajo – una solución. Desde el primer momento Packard fue parte de la discusión. Y no pasó mucho tiempo antes de Packard – con tres décadas de trabajo en restaurantes de gama alta en su hoja de vida – salió de su vuelta a casa de director Bound, se metió en su traje de cocinero y se puso a trabajar en el Jackson Whistlestop’s Cafe. “Estaba cansado de la carrera de ratas”, dice. “A pesar de muchas operaciones de gran éxito, ali oí fueron las quejas, ahora oigo nada más que cumplidos.” También un plus: Packard ahora pasa las noches con su esposa y tres hijos.

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Whistlestop Submits Plans to City-July 15, 2015

Whistlestop Submits Plans to City-July 15, 2015

Contact Derek Wilson at dwilson@marinscope.com.

San Rafael is getting its first look at what could be an active hub for senior residents and officials say the initial reaction has been positive.

Whistlestop and Eden Housing representatives filed a formal application for the new Mission Plaza project with the City of San Rafael on July 9. The goal of the project is to create a new, larger Whistlestop center, including 41 senior apartments, on the site of the current Whistlestop building on Tamalpais Avenue, between Third and Fourth streets. Read more…