Start Content
normal font sizemedium font sizelarge font size Print Page

KCBS Joe O’Hehir and Jeffrey Schaub on Taxi Company Closure-May 4, 2015

KCBS Joe O'Hehir and Jeffrey Schaub on Taxi Company Closure-May 4, 2015


Whistlestop Plans Expansion to Anticipate Downtown SMART Train Station

<!--:en-->Whistlestop Plans Expansion to Anticipate Downtown SMART Train Station <!--:-->Whistlestop is planning to transform it’s location on 930 Tamalpais Ave. into a five-story building that will offer around 50 affordable housing units to seniors in addition to its regular services.

The popular nonprofit, which offers nutritional services and social activities for Marin’s elderly, was looking at relocating to make way for the SMART train downtown station. Now, this new plan will enable the center to remain in its current location and expand on the services it already offers.

“We’ve not only taken this challenge of SMART, we’ve turned it into an opportunity for our clients and our community,” said Executive Director Joe O’Hehir.

Read Full Article

‘Hidden’ Whistlestop cafe draws diverse lunch bunch

‘Hidden’ Whistlestop cafe draws diverse lunch bunch7/6/2011 – Ross Valley Reporter

by Woody Weingarten

My wife had to drag me there.

When she first suggested going, my fears of resembling a geezer surged like ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

I would, after all, have to admit I’m old enough to get the entree at the discounted four-buck seniors’ price.

But my brow-furrowing was unwarranted — Jackson Café is an inviting, cheery purveyor of scrumptious food.

The eaterie is an arm of Whistlestop, a nonprofit that’s been lauded for 57 years for providing services to oldsters and folks with disabilities (more than 5,000 annually).

But its hidden secret is its offspring, the 40-year-old restaurant where everyone’s welcome regardless of age or physical condition.

I find it nearly impossible to drive in Marin for any protracted length of time and not spot a vehicle run by Whistlestop. No wonder: About 50 of them make 400 trips each day of the week, taking folks shopping or to doctor’s appointments, spiritual services or other places they couldn’t get to otherwise.

On the other hand, I must have passed the café, perched across from the bus depot in San Rafael, thousands of times without noticing it there — even though it feeds 60-80 people Monday through Friday between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

My wife, who volunteers for Bread & Roses and plays piano at manifold senior facilities in Marin, learned about it from her audiences.

“Why don’t we try it out?” she proposed one day on a whim.

“We’re not needy,” I replied, oblivious that I was flaunting my ignorance about its customers.

“In no way is that a requisite,” she countered.

So we went, ate heartily, and met Joan Sanders, who commutes to the café, tucked between Third and Fourth streets at 930 Tamalpais Ave., from her home in Fairfax.

Joan, who previously worked with catering companies and event planners, carries the title café coordinator.

She accepted the post less than a year ago, after volunteering there for the previous four. Her job description? Interviewing would-be volunteers (and ensuring that their backgrounds are checked), training those who make the cut, and deciding which five will act as servers and greeters any given day.

“I shuffle them around a lot,” she told me.

Some, she said, “do it to help others, some do it for social contact. Whatever the reason, they work hard, so I make sure they get what they volunteered for.”

View Full Story

‘Hidden’ Whistlestop cafe draws diverse lunch bunch06/07/2011 – Reportero Ross Reportero Valle

por Woody Weingarten

Mi esposa tuvo que arrastrarme allí.

Cuando se sugirió por primera vez en marcha, de mis temores se asemeja a un tío subió como la ceniza del volcán Eyjafjallajökull de Islandia.

Yo, después de todo, he de admitir que tengo edad suficiente para obtener la entrada a precio de descuento del dinero de cuatro ancianos.

Sin embargo, mi frente, surcos era injustificada – Jackson Café es un proveedor atractivo, alegre de la deliciosa comida.

El Eaterie es un brazo del Whistlestop, una organización no lucrativa que ha sido alabado por 57 años para la prestación de servicios a oldsters y la gente con discapacidades (más de 5.000 al año).

Pero su secreto oculto es su descendencia, el restaurante de 40 años, donde todas las personas son bienvenidas sin importar su edad o condición física.

Me resulta casi imposible de conducir en Marín para cualquier longitud de tiempo prolongado y no detectar un vehículo dirigido por Whistlestop. No es de extrañar: Cerca de 50 de ellos hacen 400 viajes cada día de la semana, teniendo gente de compras o para citas médicas, servicios religiosos u otros lugares que no podían conseguir de otra manera.

Por otro lado, debo haber pasado el café, ubicado frente a la terminal de autobuses de San Rafael, miles de veces sin darse cuenta que – a pesar de que se alimenta de 60 a 80 personas de lunes a viernes entre las 11:30 am y 1:30 pm

Mi esposa, que los voluntarios de Pan y Rosas y toca el piano en el colector de instalaciones de alto nivel en Marin, se enterara por su público.

“¿Por qué no probarlo?”, Propuso que un día en un capricho.

“No estamos necesitados”, le respondí, olvidando que yo estaba haciendo alarde de mi ignorancia acerca de sus clientes.

“De ninguna manera es que un requisito”, replicó ella.

Así que nos fuimos, comió con apetito, y se reunió con Joan Sanders, quien viaja a la cafetería, ubicada entre las calles Tercera y Cuarta en 930 Tamalpais Avenue., Desde su casa en Fairfax.

Joan, que ya había trabajado con empresas de catering y organización de eventos, lleva el título de coordinador de café.

Ella aceptó el cargo menos de un año atrás, luego de que el voluntariado de los últimos cuatro años. Su descripción de trabajo? Entrevistar a los aspirantes a voluntarios (y asegurarse de que sus antecedentes son revisados), la formación de aquellos que hacen el corte, y decidir que cinco actuarán como servidores y saludadores un día cualquiera.

“Yo aleatoria en torno a un mucho”, me dijo.

Algunos, dijo, “lo hacen para ayudar a los demás, algunos lo hacen por el contacto social. Cualquiera que sea la razón, el trabajo duro, así que asegúrese de que obtienen lo que se ofreció para “.

Ver noticia completa en Inglés

Whistlestop’s plan for much-needed housing-July 17, 2015

Whistlestop’s plan for much-needed housing-July 17, 2015

As a place to call home, Marin has much to offer with its abundance of natural and human resources.

I am fortunate to have been able to live here since 1980. Unfortunately, Marin is not abundant when it comes to accessibility for people on fixed incomes.

San Rafael is an expensive place to live and housing options are limited — but it doesn’t have to be this way. Projects like the Whistlestop Mission Plaza are one opportunity to provide much-needed housing for our seniors.

I trust our community leaders to recognize the great potential of this project and the many lives it will positively impact.

— The Rev. Jan Reynolds, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, San Rafael Vice President, Marin Interfaith Council Board of Directors

Whistlestop files legal claim against SMART over San Rafael station

Whistlestop files legal claim against SMART over San Rafael station

IJ photo/Robert Tong

1/30/2012 – Marin Independent Journal

Whistlestop has filed a legal claim against the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District over concerns the planned commuter train will force the San Rafael nonprofit out of its building with no cash for an alternative site.

The claim estimates damages at more than $2 million and predicts construction and operation of the downtown San Rafael SMART station “will have disastrous impacts on Whistlestop’s ability to provide its desperately needed services to the elderly and disabled.” SMART officials have called the claim “baseless.”

The nonprofit Whistlestop bought the 15,000-square-foot former Northwestern Pacific Railroad depot at 930 Tamalpais Ave. in 1971 and owns the building outright, allowing the organization to devote most of its $5.5 million annual budget to transportation, programs and classes for Marin’s senior citizens and people with disabilities, CEO Joe O’Hehir said.

“The challenge I’m having is our working capital,” O’Hehir said. “It’s tied up in this building. … What really we need to know is the status of the building. Is SMART going to buy it? If not, what are we going to do?”

View Full Story

My very rewarding job at Whistlestop

My very rewarding job at WhistlestopBy Erika Vaughn Aging in Marin

I finally have a job I truly love, a role that allows me to come into work with a smile on my face and in my heart. As Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels Supervisor, I get to see first-hand how welcome our meals are and the good our drivers do when they make deliveries to recipients who are isolated and homebound.

I recall one delivery that epitomizes the value of Meals on Wheels. I grew very close to a lady who stole my heart. One day when I arrived to deliver a meal to this particular 87-year-old, I saw paramedics. I ran inside her house and saw her strapped on a stretcher, ready to be rolled out. When she saw me her eyes lit up and she said, ‘I’ve been waiting for you.’ I hoped she was going to be okay. The Emergency Medical Technicians said she insisted on waiting for “her second daughter” who worked for Meals on Wheels, which was me! Read More…

Even better, the food’s fine

Even better, the food's fine3/10/2011 – Marin Independant Journal

Marin Readers’ Forum for March 10

I was thrilled to see the front-page article in Sunday’s IJ about the partnership of Whistlestop and Homeward Bound.

However, you do the Jackson Cafe a disservice when you call the meals merely inexpensive and nutritious.

I volunteer once a week at Whistlestop. A few weeks ago, I reluctantly bought my lunch at the Cafe. “Reluctantly,” because the food over the years has been so tasteless.

I was served a plate of vegetarian lasagna (artichoke hearts, mushrooms and gooey cheese), Caesar salad and three adorable cupcakes topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting (not that rot-your-teeth slab of sugar so popular these days).

All for $4 (seniors’ price).

The next week, I had ravioli in broth with slices of prosciutto and fresh, crisp sugar snap peas and a couple of homemade cookies.

The food is fresh, cooked to order. No steam table mush.

I can’t wait until I go in this week. I’m going to try the pizza — made from scratch (including the dough).

For those of you who’ve eaten at the Jackson Cafe over the years, come back — it’s a real treat. It’s not just for low-income seniors.

Carol Golden, Fairfax

View Full Story

Even better, the food's fine3/10/2011 – Marin Independent Journal

Foro Lectores Marin 10 de marzo

Yo estaba encantada de ver el artículo de primera plana en IJ del domingo por la asociación de Whistlestop and Bound vuelta a casa.

Sin embargo, lo hace el Café Jackson un flaco favor al llamar a la comida simple de bajo costo y nutritivos.

Me ofrezco como voluntario una vez por semana en Whistlestop. Hace unas semanas, a regañadientes compró mi almuerzo en la cafetería. “De mala gana,” porque la comida en los últimos años ha sido tan mal gusto.

Me sirvieron un plato de lasaña vegetariana (corazones de alcachofa, champiñones y queso pegajoso), ensalada César y tres bizcochos adorable cubierto con un remolino de glaseado de queso crema (no que se pudren los dientes-su-losa de azúcar tan popular en estos días).

Todo por $ 4 (precio de la tercera edad).

A la semana siguiente, había ravioli en caldo con trozos de jamón y guisantes frescos, crujientes sugar snap y un par de galletas hechas en casa.

La comida es fresca, cocinados a la orden. No papilla mesa de vapor.

No puedo esperar hasta que me vaya de esta semana. Voy a probar la pizza – hecha desde cero (incluyendo la masa).

Para aquellos de ustedes que han comido en el Café de Jackson en los últimos años, vuelve – es un verdadero placer. No es sólo para mayores de bajos ingresos.

Carol de Oro, Fairfax

Ver noticia completa

San Rafael and Novato make AARPs Top 10 List in Livability Categories-May 11, 2015

San Rafael and Novato make AARPs Top 10 List in Livability Categories-May 11, 2015
By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal

When it comes to healthy living and the dating scene, AARP likes what it sees in San Rafael and Novato.

The cities made AARP’s top 10 list for small cities in two categories: best cities for staying healthy and best cities for date night. The categories are for people 50 and older. Read more…

Down by the Station

<!--:en-->Down by the Station<!--:-->Talk about making lemonade from lemons. Rather than threatening to sue SMART over possible construction obstruction at the downtown San Rafael station, Whistlestop now envisions a new building that would be the first transit-oriented development for seniors and people with disabilities in Marin along the SMART rail line.
“We want to take the challenge that we have with the SMART train coming here and really create an opportunity for the community,” says Joe O’Hehir, Whistlestop CEO.

View Full Story

San Rafael in Brief

San Rafael in Brief8/31/2011 – Marinscope Newspointer

Scussel named GM of Whistlestop transit

Terry Scussel joins Whistlestop, the nonprofit organization that provides vital services to Marin County’s older adults and to people with disabilities, as its new general manager of transportation services, effective Sept. 1.

Scussel brings more than 37 years of executive general management experience to the organization, including strategic planning, organization management, budget development, fiscal administration, labor relations, and transportation and fleet management, having worked for companies such as Xerox, Pitney Bowes and IKON. He has been involved in the Marin nonprofit community for the past five years, serving on several boards, including the Whistlestop board of directors.

He is also a supporter and relentless advocate for the special needs of people with disabilities. For more than 24 years, he has worked to ensure that people with disabilities are provided the opportunities to live with independence, dignity and respect.

San Rafael in Brief08/31/2011 – Marinscope Newspointer

Scussel nombrado gerente general de Whistlestop de tránsito

Terry Scussel se une aWhistlestop, la organización sin fines de lucro que proporciona servicios vitales a los adultos mayores del condado de Marin y las personas con discapacidad, como su nuevo gerente general de servicios de transporte, efecrivo, el 1 de septiembre.

Scussel lleva más de 37 años de experiencia ejecutiva de gestión general de la organización, incluida la planificación estratégica, gestión de la organización, el desarrollo del presupuesto, la administración fiscal, relaciones laborales, y el transporte y gestión de flotas, habiendo trabajado para empresas como Xerox, Pitney Bowes y IKON. Ha estado involucrado en la comunidad sin fines de lucro Marin en los últimos cinco años, sirviendo en varias juntas directivas, incluyendo la junta de directores Whistlestop.

Él es también un partidario y defensor incansable de las necesidades especiales de las personas con discapacidad. Por más de 24 años, ha trabajado para asegurar que las personas con discapacidad reciban la oportunidad de vivir con independencia, dignidad y respeto.

Whistlestop is at the right location for seniors- July 19, 2015

Whistlestop is at the right location for seniors- July 19, 2015
At the transportation hub in downtown San Rafael on Tamalpais Avenue, an ideal spot for the services they provide, Whistlestop is developing Mission Plaza.

Whistlestop’s efforts to reconstruct their building is a credit to our community.

By locating at this site, Whistlestop will expand and enhance the critical and important senior services they already provide.

It’s time for Marin to welcome and help this fine organization and the seniors of Marin.

Marin is aging and I hope that the greater Marin community will realize how important the Mission Plaza project is for our seniors and for San Rafael in general.

– Tom Verkozen, Corte Madera

Dining review: New chef draws young fans to Jackson Café

Dining review: New chef draws young fans to Jackson Café

IJ photo/Robert Tong

1/4/2012 – Marin Independent Journal

You’ve driven by it 100 times. A thousand. And you probably never noticed it. Whistlestop’s Jackson Café, adjacent to the Marin Transit Center in San Rafael, one of the many services offered by a 57-year-old organization that promotes independent living and well-being among the county’s seniors and people with disabilities.

Because you never noticed it, you never thought to eat there, right? Adjust your lunchtime routine, and put your automobile in park at 930 Tamalpais.

Here’s why; the food is good and the daily menu of classic, continental American fare — think pork with mustard sauce, spaghetti Bolognese and chicken chow mein — is a steal at roughly $4.50, $7.25 if you were born after 1952, (yes, there is a price break once you grace the age of 60) for an entrée that includes a protein, one or two vegetables and a starch. Added bonus — the people who prep and cook at Jackson Café are either enrolled in are or graduates of Homeward Bound’s Fresh Start Culinary Academy of Marin, which helps local homeless transition back to work. That’s right, it is akin to eating at the Culinary Institute of America as the students provide many of the menu ideas.

View Full Story

Whistlestop Renews Marin Transit Board Contract

Whistlestop Renews Marin Transit Board ContractWhistlestop CEO Joe O’Hehir shared great news with all of us who work at this great organization. The Marin Transit Board awarded Whistlestop a new contract for the operations and maintenance of Marin Access Paratransit Services effective January 1, 2016 through June 30, 2022. “You should all be proud of the work you do every day to help Marin’s older adults and individuals with disabilities get around and stay connected to the community.” Joe said. “It’s not just our mission, it’s also our responsibility.” Special needs Transportation services have been at the very core of Whistlestop’s community-based programs and services since the organization’s inception in 1954. Congratulations to all!

MCF grants $1 million for seniors

MCF grants $1 million for seniorsTuesday, May 3, 2011 – Pacific Sun

by Jason Walsh

In an effort to target lower income older adults, the Marin Community Foundation has approved $1 million in grants to 17 Marin nonprofits that fit into the foundation’s focus on “successful aging.”

The grants are intended to bolster such offerings as employment services, food delivery and community center programs. San Rafael’s Whistlestop, for instance, received $200,000, according to MCF, for its sponsorship of computer and art classes, English language education and exercise programs. Ten projects receiving grants will put the funds toward volunteer opportunities for older adults—such as Audubon Canyon Ranch and the Novato Historical Guild.

Foundation president Thomas Peters said programs that offer multiple benefits—such as those that promote volunteerism– were specifically given consideration for grant monies. “They reduce the risk of social isolation, they improve the volunteers’ quality of life and they are of tremendous value to the agencies themselves, given the budgeting challenges they face.”

MCF grants $1 million for seniorsMartes, 3 de mayo 2011 – Pacific Sun

por Jason Walsh

En un esfuerzo por ayudar a adultos mayores de bajos ingresos, Marin Community Foundation ha aprobado $ 1 millón en donaciones a 17 organizaciones no lucrativas de Marín que encajan en el enfoque de la fundación de “envejecimiento exitoso”.

Las subvenciones están destinadas a reforzar la oferta, tales como los servicios de empleo, la entrega de alimentos y programas de centros comunitarios. Whistlestop San Rafael, por ejemplo, recibió $ 200.000, de acuerdo con CCM, por su patrocinio de las clases de computación y el arte, la enseñanza de idiomas Inglés y programas de ejercicios. Diez proyectos que reciben subvenciones pondrá los fondos hacia las oportunidades de voluntariado para los adultos mayores, como la Audubon Canyon Ranch y el Gremio de Novato Histórico.

Presidente de la Fundación Thomas Peters dijo que los programas que ofrecen múltiples beneficios, tales como las que promueven el voluntariado – se dieron cuenta en particular de los fondos de subvención. “Reducen el riesgo de aislamiento social, que mejoran la calidad de los voluntarios de la vida y son de un enorme valor a los propios organismos, dado el presupuesto desafíos que enfrentan.”

Dad Was Right and Ahead of His Time-May 20, 2015

Dad Was Right and Ahead of His Time-May 20, 2015
By Marty Orgel

Right now, I’m thinking about the years my father spent in a nursing home. And even decades after he died I have fond memories because I always knew my dad was in a good place. His time there still resonates with me, mostly for one reason. Read more…

Whistlestop planning to build new five-story housing complex

<!--:en-->Whistlestop planning to build new five-story housing complex<!--:-->A San Rafael nonprofit that serves senior citizens is planning to turn its downtown property into a five-story affordable senior housing and services center by 2017.

Whistlestop, which owns the former downtown train offices, is planning to redevelop the property, forgoing talk of relocating when the SMART commuter train rolls onto its doorstep.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit train, which will run between Sonoma and Marin counties, would eliminate much of the parking at Whistlestop — an organization providing transportation, nutritious food and activities for more than 5,000 local seniors.

Read Full Article

Innovation ● resourcefulness ● persistence

Innovation ● resourcefulness ● persistenceHow California’s Senior Centers are metting today’s challege.

Whistlestop has been featured in the California Commission on Aging publication. To see the full publications, click here.

Innovation ● resourcefulness ● persistence

There was a senior woman, who lived in a shoe… – July 19, 2015

There was a senior woman, who lived in a shoe... - July 19, 2015
George Russell – Special to 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 as the site of its downtown depot headquarters.

San Rafael man gets U.S. citizenship at age 84

San Rafael man gets U.S. citizenship at age 84

Roberto Borge, 84, holds his certificate of naturalization at home in San Rafael, Calif. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Borge recently became a U.S. citizen. (IJ photo/Alan Dep) Alan Dep

2/2/2012 – Marin Independent Journal

Think you’re too old to pursue your dreams? San Rafael resident Roberto Borge, who will turn 85 this month, became a U.S. citizen in January after more than two decades in Marin.

“Even as a youngster I admired the United States,” said Borge, speaking in Spanish. “I feel like I’ve achieved the American dream.”

Borge came to Marin in 1989 from his native Nicaragua and worked for 10 years as a janitor before retiring.

Borge, a former member of the Nicaraguan military, opposed the revolutionary government that came to power in the Central American nation a decade earlier. He emigrated to the United States for political reasons.

Although Borge had been a legal resident for many years, he didn’t apply for citizenship earlier because of financial constraints and fear he would fail the written test. But Borge said he decided to apply last year after a friend in his Alma Latina social group in Novato told him low-income residents could take the test without paying hefty fees.

After studying for two months, he took the test and passed. On Jan. 24, the father of six and grandfather of 11 became a citizen during a ceremony in Oakland.

“I thought that was pretty awesome for his age,” said Denise Serpa, Borge’s granddaughter and a Richmond resident. “His English isn’t even that good. He was just so disciplined and studied.

View Full Story

Whistlestop in San Rafael delivers holiday greetings to homebound seniors

Whistlestop in San Rafael delivers holiday greetings to homebound seniors

Erika Vaughn, right, Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels program supervisor, delivers food, Christmas cards and gifts to Rita Jones, 75, of San Rafael on Friday. Robert Tong — Marin Independent Journal

By Stephanie Weldy, Marin Independent Journal

POSTED: 12/18/15, 6:17 PM PST 

Seventy-five-year-old Rita Jones opened the front door of her San Rafael apartment Friday afternoon for her routine Meals on Wheels visit.

Not only did she get fruit, milk and a plate of braised turkey with seared kale during the call, but she also got a bundle of holiday greeting cards from community members she’s never met.

One card wished her peace and happiness. Another, from a local Girl Scouts participant, featured a handcrafted winter scene with a snowman made of cotton balls.

Jones, who is paralyzed on the left side of her body and uses a wheelchair to get around, said the cards let her know she’s not forgotten.

“It’s nice knowing someone cares about you like this,” she said.

This is the fourth year San Rafael-based Whistlestop has collected greeting cards from members of the public to give to home-bound seniors they serve through the meal delivery service, Meals on Wheels. The cards are a way to bring a little bit of joy to clients, Whistlestop officials said.

“They’re home by themselves, a lot of time maybe no one is coming to bring them cards,” said Erika Vaughn, Whistlestop’s Meals on Wheels program supervisor. “It’s just the happiness and the joy that someone would care enough to bring them Christmas cards.”

The senior center put out the call to the community seeking signed cards for 250 senior clients they serve through Meals on Wheels. Thirty disabled Marin residents, under the age of 60, are also served through the program through Nourish. This year, the senior center received more cards than last year, with roughly 2,800 cards coming in from local Girl Scouts troops, and students from San Rafael High School and Marin Country Day School. Each senior is to receive 10 cards. Home Instead Senior Care also donated 50 gifts, ranging from throws, scarves and more, to be given to the seniors.

As Vaughn distributed cards, along with meals, she was greeted with a tight embrace, and a kiss on the cheek by one client. After handing two bags to the senior, she was handed a gift in exchange. The cards the client received will be placed around her San Rafael home to make it a bit more festive for the holidays, she said.

Jones said she’s been receiving the cards through the program for a few years. With cards from last Christmas, she has them displayed throughout her residence.

“I put some on my coffee table and I like to sit down and look at them,” Jones said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Weldy covers San Rafael and Novato news for the Marin IJ. Follow Stephanie on Twitter: @StephanieWeldy1.