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Marin Voice: The best thing about being retired

Marin Voice: The best thing about being retired1/6/2012 – Marin Independent Journal

WHEN anyone asks me what is the best thing about being retired I tell them, “Tutoring second-graders at Sun Valley Elementary School in San Rafael.”

And what makes tutoring the best part of my retirement free time?


I started tutoring at Sun Valley in September 2010, about one year after I retired.

My wife is active in Driftwood, a group that supports Whistlestop, the great organization that helps seniors throughout Marin.

An article in Whistlestop’s monthly newsletter, “Got A Little Love in Your Heart?,” caught my attention, and I contacted Experience Corps, the organization mentioned in the newsletter article.

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Whistlestop Issues Legal Claim Against SMART

Whistlestop Issues Legal Claim Against SMART2/1/2012 – San Rafael Patch

After three years of negotiating with a musical chairs rotation of Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit general managers about the fate of senior services center Whistlestop, Executive Director Joe O’Hehir issued a legal claim to the agency.

“This is an issue that SMART needs to come and work with us on,” O’Hehir said.

The legal claim (avialable on the right) states that SMART owes Whistlestop compensation for the loss of parking spaces the station would take over and the impact construction would have on the center. The claim, issued in November 2011, means that if these issues are not solved before construction begins in the summer of 2013, O’Hehir will sue.

“We’re hoping that it doesn’t go to court,” he said. “We need to work together to find a solution.”

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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Senior Center Without Walls

Senior Center Without WallsWhistlestop is happy to introduce a new service, Senior Center Without Walls

Senior Center Without Walls is a telephone-based outreach program for adults 60 and older with a lineup of workshops and activities offered 7 days a week such as brain games, bingo, book clubs, armchair travelers and daily 30 minute gratitude calls. All of the activities take place on the telephone with participants calling in from their own homes. For more information call 1-877-797-7299, or visit their web site by clicking here.

Brown Bag Pantry

Brown Bag Pantry

Whistlestop’s Brown Bag Pantry offers free, healthy, fresh produce, meats and staple food items provided from the Marin/SF Food Bank. Simply bring proof of Marin residency and sign up. The pantry is open every Friday at 11:30am.